In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower.
Allaah [The Exalted] stated:
وَلَقَدۡ ءَاتَيۡنَا دَاوُ ۥدَ وَسُلَيۡمَـٰنَ عِلۡمً۬اۖ وَقَالَا ٱلۡحَمۡدُ لِلَّهِ ٱلَّذِى فَضَّلَنَا عَلَىٰ كَثِيرٍ۬ مِّنۡ عِبَادِهِ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ
وَوَرِثَ سُلَيۡمَـٰنُ دَاوُ ۥدَۖ وَقَالَ يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّاسُ عُلِّمۡنَا مَنطِقَ ٱلطَّيۡرِ وَأُوتِينَا مِن كُلِّ شَىۡءٍۖ إِنَّ هَـٰذَا لَهُوَ ٱلۡفَضۡلُ ٱلۡمُبِينُ
And indeed We gave knowledge to Dawud (David) and Sulaiman (Solomon), and they both said: “All the praises and thanks be to Allah, Who has preferred us above many of His believing slaves!” And Sulaiman (Solomon) inherited (the knowledge of) Dawud (David). He said: “O mankind! We have been taught the language of birds, and on us have been bestowed all things. This, verily, is an evident grace (from Allah).” [Surah An-Naml. Aayaat 15-16]
وَحُشِرَ لِسُلَيۡمَـٰنَ جُنُودُهُ ۥ مِنَ ٱلۡجِنِّ وَٱلۡإِنسِ وَٱلطَّيۡرِ فَهُمۡ يُوزَعُونَ
حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَآ أَتَوۡاْ عَلَىٰ وَادِ ٱلنَّمۡلِ قَالَتۡ نَمۡلَةٌ۬ يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّمۡلُ ٱدۡخُلُواْ مَسَـٰكِنَڪُمۡ لَا يَحۡطِمَنَّكُمۡ سُلَيۡمَـٰنُ وَجُنُودُهُ ۥ وَهُمۡ لَا يَشۡعُرُونَ
فَتَبَسَّمَ ضَاحِكً۬ا مِّن قَوۡلِهَا وَقَالَ رَبِّ أَوۡزِعۡنِىٓ أَنۡ أَشۡكُرَ نِعۡمَتَكَ ٱلَّتِىٓ أَنۡعَمۡتَ عَلَىَّ وَعَلَىٰ وَٲلِدَىَّ وَأَنۡ أَعۡمَلَ صَـٰلِحً۬ا تَرۡضَٮٰهُ وَأَدۡخِلۡنِى بِرَحۡمَتِكَ فِى عِبَادِكَ ٱلصَّـٰلِحِينَ
And there were gathered before Sulaiman (Solomon) his hosts of jinns and men, and birds, and they all were set in battle order (marching forwards). Till, when they came to the valley of the ants, one of the ants said: “O ants! Enter your dwellings, lest Sulaiman (Solomon) and his hosts crush you, while they perceive not.” So he [Sulaiman (Solomon)] smiled, amused at her speech and said: “My Lord! Inspire and bestow upon me the power and ability that I may be grateful for Your Favours which You have bestowed on me and on my parents, and that I may do righteous good deeds that will please You, and admit me by Your Mercy among Your righteous slaves.” [Surah An-Naml. Aayaat 17-19]
The ant sought an excuse for the army if they would have harmed its colony due to being unaware of their presence and it blamed its colony if they failed to take precaution by not entering their dwelling place. And due to this, Sulaymaan [peace be upon him] smiled because indeed it is something that should bring about amazement and make someone smile. (1)
The ant knew Sulaymaan’s affair and that of his army, exalted Sulaymaan’s authority and excused them if they crushed its colony because that would have occurred unintentionally. Sulaymaan heard the ant’s speech and understood it, so he smiled due to being amazed by the ant’s eloquence, [good] advice and fine expression. This is how the Prophets were – perfect manners and expressing their amazement in the right circumstances. They do not laugh; rather they smile just as the Messenger [Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)] mostly used to smile, for indeed a loud burst of laughter is an indication of feeble mindedness and bad manners.
On the other hand, the one who does not become amazed by what should amaze a person, then this is an indication of ill-humour and haughtiness, and the Messengers of Allaah are free from that.
Allaah said: [وَتَفَقَّدَ ٱلطَّيۡرَ -He (i.e. Sulyanmaan) inspected the birds]: This shows his perfect determination and jurisdiction, and the way in which he – himself – administered both the small and big affairs to the extent that he was not inattentive to this affair, which was to inspect the birds and find out whether all of them were present or any of them were not. This is the meaning of the verse. There is proof for those who say that he inspected the birds in order to see where the hoopoe, so that it guides him regarding the farness or closeness of where water could be found, as they claimed about the hoopoe that it could see water under a dense surface of land, because there is no proof for this statement; but rather the sound intellectual and textual proofs demonstrates it falsity.
As for the sound intellectual proof, it is known by way of experience, the norm and what is clearly seen that these animals were all present and none of them had a vision that was beyond what they naturally possessed that made them see water under a dense surface of land. If this was the case, Allaah would have mentioned it, because it would have been one of the greatest signs. As for the textual proof, if this was the meaning intended, the text would have been, “He looked for the hoopoe so that it searched water for him”, but when he could not find him, he would uttred what he did, or, “He looked for the hoopoe” or, “He searched for him” or expressions the like thereof. Rather he inspected the birds to find out which ones were present and which ones were absent, and whether they were in the places he specifically designated for them. Also, neither was Sulayman [peace be upon him] in need of water nor in dire need of water to the extent that he required the expertise of the hoopoe, because he had the devils and extremely strong jinn (who were subjugated to his service) who could have dig out water for him regardless its depth. Allaah subjugated the wind to him, whose morning (stride from sunrise till midnoon) was a month’s (journey), and its afternoon (stride from the midday decline of the sun to sunset) was a month’s (journey i.e. in one day he could travel two months’ journey). Then, why – with all this – would he have been in need of the hoopoe?! [فَقَالَ مَا لِىَ لَآ أَرَى ٱلۡهُدۡهُدَ أَمۡ ڪَانَ مِنَ ٱلۡغَآٮِٕبِينَ – and he said: What is the matter that I see not the hoopoe? Or is he among the absentees?] – Meaning, is that I cannot see him because of me being unaware of his presence due to it being hidden among these numerous different groups, or because – with neither my permission nor command – it is absent?
So, he (Sulaymaan) got angry and issued a threat of punishment, and said: [لَأُعَذِّبَنَّهُ ۥ عَذَابً۬ا شَدِيدًا – I will surely punish him with a severe punishment]- Meaning, but will kill it. [أَوۡ لَأَاْذۡبَحَنَّهُ ۥۤ أَوۡ لَيَأۡتِيَنِّى بِسُلۡطَـٰنٍ۬ مُّبِينٍ۬ – or slaughter it, unless it brings me a clear reason]- Meaning, a clear proof for being absent. This shows Sulaymaan’s perfect Wara [i.e. being fearful of falling into a doubtful matter that would lead to harm in the Hereafter] and equity because he did not merely make an oath to punish or kill the hoopoe, as that can only be done if a sin or wrong doing was committed. It may be that there was a clear excuse for its absence, therefore he made this exception, because of his Wara (i.e. being careful of entering into a doubtful matter – out of fear of Allaah – and thus do something blameworthy that will affect you in the afterlife) and sound perception.
[فَمَكَثَ غَيۡرَ بَعِيدٍ۬ – But the hoopoe stayed not long]. This shows the manner in which his troops venerated him and maintained them his command, to the extent that this hoopoe that was absent due to a valid excuse did not stay away for long time; so it said to Sulyamaan (i.e. after returning): [ أَحَطتُ بِمَا لَمۡ تُحِطۡ بِهِۦ – I have grasped (the knowledge of a thing) which you have not grasped]- Meaning, I have knowledge of something that you do not have, even though you possess vast knowledge and your elevated station in affairs of knowledge. [وَجِئۡتُكَ مِن سَبَإِۭ – and I have come to you from Saba’ (Sheba)]- Meaning, a well-known tribe in Yemen, [بِنَبَإٍ۬ يَقِينٍ – with true news]-Meaning, news based on certainty.
Then the hoopoe explained the news and said: [ إِنِّى وَجَدتُّ ٱمۡرَأَةً۬ تَمۡلِڪُهُمۡ- I found a woman ruling over them]- Meaning, ruling over Saba, and she is a woman: [وَأُوتِيَتۡ مِن ڪُلِّ شَىۡءٍ۬ – and she has been given all things]- Meaning, the things given to kings, such as wealth, weapons, armies, fortresses, citadels etc. [وَلَهَا عَرۡشٌ عَظِيمٌ۬ – and she has a great throne]- Meaning, a throne on which she sits – huge and magnificent throne. The great size of the throne shows greatness of the kingdom, the strength of authority and the numerous men who were consultees.
[وَجَدتُّهَا وَقَوۡمَهَا يَسۡجُدُونَ لِلشَّمۡسِ مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ – I found her and her people worshipping the sun instead of Allah] – Meaning, they were polytheists who worshipped the sun. [وَزَيَّنَ لَهُمُ ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنُ أَعۡمَـٰلَهُمۡ – and Shaitan (Satan) has made their deeds fair-seeming to them]- Meaning, so they thought that what they were upon is truth. [فَصَدَّهُمۡ عَنِ ٱلسَّبِيلِ فَهُمۡ لَا يَهۡتَدُونَ – and has barred them from (Allah’s) Way, so they have no guidance]- Meaning, because the one who thinks that what he is upon is truth, then there is not expectation that he will be guided until he changes his creed. Then it said: [أَلَّا يَسۡجُدُواْ لِلَّهِ ٱلَّذِى يُخۡرِجُ ٱلۡخَبۡءَ فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ – For what reason would they not prostrate before (i.e. worship) Who brings to light what is hidden in the heavens and the earth]- Meaning, Allaah knows what is hidden and concealed in all regions of the heavens and o f the earth – the smallest creatures, the seeds and all that is hidden in the hearts. He brings to light what is hidden on earth and in heaven by sending rain and make plants to grow, and He will bring to light what is hidden in the earth when (He commands the angel to blow) the trumpet and the dead exit from the earth, so that they are recompensed for their deeds. [وَيَعۡلَمُ مَا تُخۡفُونَ وَمَا تُعۡلِنُونَ – and knows what you conceal and what you reveal]. [ٱللَّهُ لَآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ – Allah, none has the right to be worshipped but He]- Meaning, worship, turning repentantly, humility and love (as an act of worship) is not to be devoted to anyone besides Allaah – the one and only true object of worship, because He alone possesses perfect attributes [free from all weakness, deficiencies, co-equals, shortcoming] and because He grants all blessings which necessitates that He alone is to be worshipped. [رَبُّ ٱلۡعَرۡشِ ٱلۡعَظِيمِ – the Lord of the Supreme Throne!] – Meaning, which is the roof of above all the creation and encompasses the earth and heavens. The King, who possesses this mighty authority and might [without any co-equal, weakness, likeness, shortcoming, deficiencies] is the one to whom (humankind and jinn) must humble themselves, prostrate and bow in His presence. So, the hoopoe was saved from punishment when he related this great news, and Sulayman was amazed regarding why this was hidden from him. So, due to his sound intelligence and judiciousness, he stated – whilst seeking to ascertain the news:
سَنَنظُرُ أَصَدَقۡتَ أَمۡ كُنتَ مِنَ ٱلۡكَـٰذِبِينَ
ٱذۡهَب بِّكِتَـٰبِى هَـٰذَا فَأَلۡقِهۡ إِلَيۡہِمۡ ثُمَّ تَوَلَّ عَنۡہُمۡ فَٱنظُرۡ مَاذَا يَرۡجِعُونَ
We shall see whether you speak the truth or you are (one) of the liars. Go you with this letter of mine, and deliver it to them, then draw back from them, and see what (answer) they return.
So, it (the hoopoe) departed with the letter and delivered it. (2)
The Queen [may Allaah have mercy upon her] Receives Prophet Sulaymaan’s [peace be upon him] Letter
Allaah stated that when she (the Queen) received Sulaymaan’s letter, she said to her people:
[ يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلۡمَلَؤُاْ إِنِّىٓ أُلۡقِىَ إِلَىَّ كِتَـٰبٌ۬ كَرِيمٌ – O chiefs! Verily! Here is delivered to me a noble letter]- Meaning, a letter of great stature from the greatest kings of the earth. Then she made known the content of the letter and said:
إِنَّهُ ۥ مِن سُلَيۡمَـٰنَ وَإِنَّهُ ۥ بِسۡمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
أَلَّا تَعۡلُواْ عَلَىَّ وَأۡتُونِى مُسۡلِمِينَ
Verily! It is from Sulaiman (Solomon), and verily! It (reads): In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful; be you not exalted against me, but come to me as Muslims (true believers who submit to Allah with full submission)- Meaning, do not attempt to make yourself superior to me; but rather bring yourself under my authority, submit to my commands and come to me as Muslims. This is very a precise statement together with a perfect clarification, because indeed it included forbidding them from being haughty towards him and persisting upon that state of theirs, commanded them to submit to his command, come under his authority, come to him and called them to Islam. This shows that it is recommended to begin with the Basmalah “In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, The Bestower of (special Mercy to the believers)” in Books, and writing one’s name in the first line of the letter.
And due to her determination and sound intellect, she gathered the senior people of her nation state and the (important) men of her kingdom, and said: [يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلۡمَلَؤُاْ أَفۡتُونِى فِىٓ أَمۡرِى – O chiefs! Advise me in (this) case of mine]- Meaning, tell me what I should respond with- should we obey him and submit or what else should we do?
[مَا ڪُنتُ قَاطِعَةً أَمۡرًا حَتَّىٰ تَشۡہَدُونِ – I decide no case till you are present with me]- Meaning, I do not a make a final decision on an affair except after consulting you. [مَا ڪُنتُ قَاطِعَةً أَمۡرًا حَتَّىٰ تَشۡہَدُونِ – They said: We have great strength, and great ability for war]- Meaning, if you reject speech and refuse to obey him, then indeed we are strong enough to fight. It appeared that this view is what they were ready to act upon and it would have been the cause of their destruction if finalised; but also they did not make a final decision on that; rather they said: [وَٱلۡأَمۡرُ إِلَيۡكِ – but you (i.e. the Queen) are in command]- Meaning, the final decision is yours; because they knew that she possessed sound intelligence and determination, and one who was sincere to them. [فَٱنظُرِى مَاذَا تَأۡمُرِينَ – so think over what you will command]- Meaning, look into the matter, reflect and then decide. So, she said to them – whilst being satisfied with what they said and clarifying the evil outcomes of fighting -[إِنَّ ٱلۡمُلُوكَ إِذَا دَخَلُواْ قَرۡيَةً أَفۡسَدُوهَا – Verily! Kings, when they enter a town (country), they despoil it]- Meaning, killing, capturing, pillaging and destroying its homes; [وَجَعَلُوٓاْ أَعِزَّةَ أَهۡلِهَآ أَذِلَّةً۬ۖ – and make the most honourable amongst its people low]- Meaning, they make the noble leaders among the lowest, therefore the decision to fight is not an upright one; but also I am not going to obey him before learning more about him, send someone who would unveil his affair to me and ponder upon it, so that we would be upon clear-sightedness regarding his affair. Then she said: [وَإِنِّى مُرۡسِلَةٌ إِلَيۡہِم بِهَدِيَّةٍ۬ فَنَاظِرَةُۢ بِمَ يَرۡجِعُ ٱلۡمُرۡسَلُونَ – But verily! I am going to send him a present, and see with what (answer) the messengers return]- Meaning, whether he would continue to hold onto his view or become dazzled due to the present and change his view; (find out) about his state of affairs and that of his armies.
Then she sent a gift to Sulaymaan to be delivered by the intelligent ones and those men of sound opinion among her people; but when they came to Sulyamaan with the present, he said – whilst rejecting this initiative of theirs and manifested his anger due their failure in responding to what he sought after – [أَتُمِدُّونَنِ بِمَالٍ۬ فَمَآ ءَاتَٮٰنِۦَ ٱللَّهُ خَيۡرٌ۬ مِّمَّآ ءَاتَٮٰكُم – Will you help me in wealth? What Allah has given me is better than that which He has given you!] – Meaning, neither is your present of significance to me nor am I happy with it, because Allah has given me what suffices and to be in need of it. [بَلۡ أَنتُم بِہَدِيَّتِكُمۡ تَفۡرَحُونَ – Nay, you rejoice in your gift!]- Meaning, because of your love for this worldly life and the little you have in comparison to what Allah has bestowed on me. Then Sulaymaan advised the messenger of the Queen, but did not do so in writing, because of what he noticed that the messenger was of sound intelligence and would convey his message just as he stated. He said: [ٱرۡجِعۡ إِلَيۡہِمۡ فَلَنَأۡتِيَنَّهُم بِجُنُودٍ۬ لَّا قِبَلَ لَهُم بِہَا وَلَنُخۡرِجَنَّہُم مِّنۡہَآ أَذِلَّةً۬ وَهُمۡ صَـٰغِرُونَ – Go back to them. We verily shall come to them with hosts that they cannot resist, and we shall drive them out from there in disgrace, and they will be abased].
So the messenger of the Queen returned, delivered Sulaymaan’s message and that they get ready to go to Sulayman. Sulayman knew that they would come to him, so he said to the jinn and humans who were in his presence: [قَالَ يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلۡمَلَؤُاْ أَيُّكُمۡ يَأۡتِينِى بِعَرۡشِہَا قَبۡلَ أَن يَأۡتُونِى مُسۡلِمِينَ – He said: “O chiefs! Which of you can bring me her throne before they come to me surrendering themselves in obedience?] – Meaning, so that it will allowed for us to deal with it as we see fit before they become Muslim, because their wealth will not be lawful for me to take after they’ve become Muslims. [See footnote a]
[ قَالَ عِفۡرِيتٌ۬ مِّنَ ٱلۡجِنِّ أَنَا۟ ءَاتِيكَ بِهِۦ قَبۡلَ أَن تَقُومَ مِن مَّقَامِكَۖ وَإِنِّى عَلَيۡهِ لَقَوِىٌّ أَمِينٌ۬ – An Ifrit (strong) from the jinns said: “I will bring it to you before you rise from your place (council). And verily, I am indeed strong, and trustworthy for such work]. [قَالَ عِفۡرِيتٌ۬ مِّنَ ٱلۡجِنِّ – An Ifrit (strong) from the jinns said]. An Ifreet is an extremely strong and forceful one (amongst the Jinn). And what is apparent here is that at that Sulayman was in Sham at the time, so the distance between him and Saba was a period of four months journey- two months to go there and two months to return; however regardless of this, the Ifreet said, “I take it upon myself to bring it – regardless of its big size and heftiness, and regardless of its distance- before you can rise from your (council). Customarily, the councils take a long time and they take most of the forenoon- about one third of the day. This is the mostly the time period of councils, but it may take lesser or more than that. So, there was a subject of this great King (Sulaymaan) who was bestowed with the power and ability to do what was greater than the offer of the Ifreet. Allaah said: [قَالَ ٱلَّذِى عِندَهُ ۥ عِلۡمٌ۬ مِّنَ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبِ أَنَا۟ ءَاتِيكَ بِهِۦ قَبۡلَ أَن يَرۡتَدَّ إِلَيۡكَ طَرۡفُكَۚ – One with whom was knowledge of the Scripture said: “I will bring it to you within the twinkling of an eye!] The Qur’aan commentators stated that he was man – a scholar and righteous in the presence of Sulyamaan, and he was called Aaif Ibn Barkhiyaa. He knew Allaah’s Greatest Name through which Allaah responds and gives when invoked and asked. [See footnote b]
Allaah said that he said: [أَنَا۟ ءَاتِيكَ بِهِۦ قَبۡلَ أَن يَرۡتَدَّ إِلَيۡكَ طَرۡفُكَۚ – I will bring it to you within the twinkling of an eye!]- Meaning, by invoking Allaah with that Name. And Allaah knows best as to whether this is what is intended or that this person had knowledge of the scripture through which he was able to bring something that was far away and attain what was very difficult to attain (by the will of Allaah). (3)
Sulyamaan’s Reaction When He Saw The Throne of Bilqees In His Presence
Allaah [The Exalted] said:
فَلَمَّا رَءَاهُ مُسۡتَقِرًّا عِندَهُ ۥ قَالَ هَـٰذَا مِن فَضۡلِ رَبِّى لِيَبۡلُوَنِىٓ ءَأَشۡكُرُ أَمۡ أَكۡفُرُۖ وَمَن شَكَرَ فَإِنَّمَا يَشۡكُرُ لِنَفۡسِهِۦۖ وَمَن كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ رَبِّى غَنِىٌّ۬ كَرِيمٌ۬
Then when he (Sulayman) saw it (Bilqees’s Throne) placed before him, he said: “This is by the Grace of my Lord to test me whether I am grateful or ungrateful! And whoever is grateful, truly, his gratitude is for (the good of) his ownself, and whoever is ungrateful, (he is ungrateful only for the loss of his ownself). Certainly! My Lord is Rich (Free of all wants), Bountiful]. [فَلَمَّا رَءَاهُ مُسۡتَقِرًّا عِندَهُ – Then when he (Sulayman) saw it (Bilqees’s Throne) placed before him], he praised Allaah [The Exalted] for ability placed at his disposal, his kingdom and the affairs facilitated for him. Then he said: [هَـٰذَا مِن فَضۡلِ رَبِّى لِيَبۡلُوَنِىٓ ءَأَشۡكُرُ أَمۡ أَكۡفُرُۖ – This is by the Grace of my Lord to test me whether I am grateful or ungrateful!]- Meaning, to test me by way of of it. He was not beguiled kingdom, authority and power as is the habit of the ignorant kings (See footnote f); rather he knew that this was a test from his Lord, so he was scared of not being thankful for these blessings. [See footnote G]
Then he clarified that being grateful to Allaah does not benefit Allaah; rather its benefits returns to the grateful one; so he said: [وَمَن شَكَرَ فَإِنَّمَا يَشۡكُرُ لِنَفۡسِهِۦۖ وَمَن كَفَرَ فَإِنَّ رَبِّى غَنِىٌّ۬ كَرِيمٌ۬- and whoever is ungrateful, (he is ungrateful only for the loss of his ownself). Certainly! My Lord is Rich (Free of all wants), Bountiful]- Meaning, Allaah is not in need of a person’s deeds, and He is generous, bestows abundant good that to both a grateful person and an ungrateful person, except that being grateful for the blessings He bestows leads to more blessings and being ungrateful leads to its decrease. [See footnote H] (4)
When Bilqees arrived, Sulayman said to those who were with him:
[ نَكِّرُواْ لَهَا عَرۡشَہَا نَنظُرۡ أَتَہۡتَدِىٓ أَمۡ تَكُونُ مِنَ ٱلَّذِينَ لَا يَہۡتَدُونَ – Disguise her throne for her that we may see whether she will be guided (to recognise her throne), or she will be one of those not guided]- Meaning, alter her throne by adding something to it and removing something from it, in order to test her intelligence- to see whether she will be guided to what is correct, so that it is established that she possesses intelligence and discernment that makes her worthy of being a queen; [أَمۡ تَكُونُ مِنَ ٱلَّذِينَ لَا يَہۡتَدُونَ – or she will be one of those not guided].
[فَلَمَّا جَآءَتۡ قِيلَ أَهَـٰكَذَا عَرۡشُكِۖ قَالَتۡ كَأَنَّهُ ۥ هُوَۚ وَأُوتِينَا ٱلۡعِلۡمَ مِن قَبۡلِهَا وَكُنَّا مُسۡلِمِينَ – So when she came, it was said (to her): “Is your throne like this?” She said: “(It is) as though it were the very same.” And [Sulaiman (Solomon) said]: “Knowledge was bestowed on us before her, and we were submitted to Allah (as Muslims)]- Meaning, when she came, Sulayman showed her the throne and the last time she saw it was in her country; so it was said to her:
[أَهَـٰكَذَا عَرۡشُكِۖ – she was asked: Is your throne like this?)? Meaning, it is established with us that you have a great throne, so it similar to this throne we have presented to you? She said, replied, [كَأَنَّهُ ۥ هُوَۚ – “(It is) as though it were the very same]. This shows her intelligence and discernment, for she did not say, “It is”, due to the presence of changes and disguises to it, nor did she reject that it was hers, because she was acquainted with it. Therefore, she made statements that could apply and be in agreement with what is true in both cases. Sulayman manifested his admiration regarding how she was guided to what is correct and her intelligence, and he thanked Allaah for granting him that which is greater than this. He said: [وَأُوتِينَا ٱلۡعِلۡمَ مِن قَبۡلِهَا – Knowledge was bestowed on us before her]- Meaning, guidance, intelligence and determination before this; [وَكُنَّا مُسۡلِمِينَ -and we were submitted to Allah (as Muslims)]. [See Footnote I]
Allaah [The Exalted] said: [وَصَدَّهَا مَا كَانَت تَّعۡبُدُ مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِۖ إِنَّہَا كَانَتۡ مِن قَوۡمٍ۬ كَـٰفِرِينَ – And that which she used to worship besides Allah has prevented her (from Islam), for she was of a disbelieving people]- Meaning, prevented from Islaam, even though she had the intelligence and discernment by way of which she can distinguish truth from falsehood; however, false creeds takes away the clear-sightedness of the hearts; [إِنَّہَا كَانَتۡ مِن قَوۡمٍ۬ كَـٰفِرِينَ – for she was of a disbelieving people]- Meaning, she remained on their religion due to the fact that in order for an individual to disassociate from the people of a (false) religion (i.e. a religion other than Islam), it occurs when he is able to notice their misguidance and error, and this is very rare. This is why it is not strange that she did carried on in a state of Kufr (disbelief). (5)
Sulaymaan Showed Her Bilqees His Superiority, Authority and Power
Allaah [The Exalted] said:
قِيلَ لَهَا ٱدۡخُلِى ٱلصَّرۡحَۖ فَلَمَّا رَأَتۡهُ حَسِبَتۡهُ لُجَّةً۬ وَكَشَفَتۡ عَن سَاقَيۡهَاۚ قَالَ إِنَّهُ ۥ صَرۡحٌ۬ مُّمَرَّدٌ۬ مِّن قَوَارِيرَۗ قَالَتۡ رَبِّ إِنِّى ظَلَمۡتُ نَفۡسِى وَأَسۡلَمۡتُ مَعَ سُلَيۡمَـٰنَ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ
It was said to her: “Enter As-Sarh” [(a glass surface with water underneath it) or a palace], but when she saw it, she thought it was a pool, and she (tucked up her clothes) uncovering her legs, Sulaiman (Solomon) said: “Verily, it is Sarh [(a glass surface with water underneath it) or a palace] paved smooth with slab of glass.” She said: “My Lord! Verily, I have wronged myself, and I submit (in Islam, together with Sulaiman (Solomon), to Allah, the Lord of the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists”.
[قِيلَ لَهَا ٱدۡخُلِى ٱلصَّرۡحَۖ فَلَمَّا رَأَتۡهُ حَسِبَتۡهُ لُجَّةً۬ – It was said to her: “Enter As-Sarh” [(a glass surface with water underneath it) or a palace]: This shows her intelligence and good conduct, because she did not refuse to enter the place she was commanded to enter, because she was aware of the fact that was only done to treat her honourably, and that Sulayman’s Kingdom and administration established based on wisdom, so there was no doubt in her heart about anything evil after witnessing what she witnessed.
[وَكَشَفَتۡ عَن سَاقَيۡهَاۚ قَالَ إِنَّهُ ۥ صَرۡحٌ۬ مُّمَرَّدٌ۬ مِّن قَوَارِيرَۗ – but when she saw it, she thought it was a pool, and she (tucked up her clothes) uncovering her legs, Sulaiman (Solomon) said: “Verily, it is Sarh [(a glass surface with water underneath it) or a palace] paved smooth with slab of glass”.]- Meaning, there is no need to lift up your garment and thus uncover your ankles.
So, after meeting Sulayman and witnessed what she witnessed, knew about his Prophethood and Messengership, she repented and abandoned her disbelief. She said: [قَالَتۡ رَبِّ إِنِّى ظَلَمۡتُ نَفۡسِى وَأَسۡلَمۡتُ مَعَ سُلَيۡمَـٰنَ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ – My Lord! Verily, I have wronged myself, and I submit (in Islam, together with Sulaiman (Solomon), to Allah, the Lord of the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists].
This is what Allah has related to us regarding the Queen of Saba and what took place between her and Sulaymaan. And that which is other than this story are from the narrations of the people of the previous scriptures (i.e. Jews and Christians) and they have no relationship with the explanation of Allaah’s statements. They are affairs we cannot ascertain based on well-known evidence from the infallible Messenger Muhammad [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him]. All the narrations or the majority of them are not reported from him, therefore, we should be very firm in turning away from them and not put them in the explanation of the Qur’an. And Allah knows best. (6)
Regarding The Israa’eeliyyaat [reports of the Jews]: That which is reported from the Children of Israel and what is said about them is mentioned by the people of knowledge (i.e. upright scholars of Islam) to be of three categories: [a] that which agrees with what is in the Qur’aan, so it is declared true, and likewise agrees with the authentic Prophetic Sunnah. [b] That which contradicts the Qur’an and Sunnah, therefore it is rejected by the Qur’an and Sunnah, and it is declared to be false and lies; [c] that which the Qur’aan and the Sunnah neither confirm to be true nor declared to be false, therefore it is neither declared to be true nor false, rather one abstains from either declaring it true or false. [Refer to article on the following link about the Israa’eeliyyaaat – By Imaam Abdul Azeez Bin Baaz (rahimahullaah): [https://binbaz.org.sa/audios/1323/%D8%AD%D9%83%D9%85-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%89%D9%8A%D9%84%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%AA
Additional Reminder Regarding The Statement of The Hoopoe:
[أَلَّا يَسۡجُدُواْ لِلَّهِ ٱلَّذِى يُخۡرِجُ ٱلۡخَبۡءَ فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَيَعۡلَمُ مَا تُخۡفُونَ وَمَا تُعۡلِنُونَ – so that they do not worship (prostrate before) Allah, Who brings to light what is hidden in the heavens and the earth, and knows what you conceal and what you reveal]: Imaam Muhammad Ameen Ash-Shanqeetee [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: The statement: [أَلَّا يَسۡجُدُواْ – so that they do not worship (prostrate before)] is similar to the statement of Allaah: [لَا تَسۡجُدُواْ لِلشَّمۡسِ وَلَا لِلۡقَمَرِ وَٱسۡجُدُواْ لِلَّهِ ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَهُنَّ إِن ڪُنتُمۡ إِيَّاهُ تَعۡبُدُونَ – Prostrate not to the sun nor to the moon, but prostrate to Allah Who created them, if you (really) worship Him]. [Surah Fussilat. Verse 37] It is also similar to the statement of Allaah: [فَٱسۡجُدُواْ لِلَّهِ وَٱعۡبُدُواْ – So fall you down in prostration to Allah, and worship Him (Alone)]. [Surah An-Najm. Verse 62]
And regarding the statement: [ٱلَّذِى يُخۡرِجُ ٱلۡخَبۡءَ – Who brings to light what is hidden]: Imaam Muhammad Ameen Ash-Shanqeetee [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “Some of the scholars said that [الخبأ في السماء – what is hidden in the heavens] means rain and [الخبأ في الأرض- what is hidden in the earth] means vegetation, minerals and treasures, and this meaning fits the statement [يُخۡرِجُ ٱلۡخَبۡءَ – brings to light]. Some other scholars say that الخبأ is what is secret and unseen, meaning that Allaah knows what unseen in the heavens and the earth as is indicated by the statement that comes after it as follows: [وَيَعۡلَمُ مَا تُخۡفُونَ وَمَا تُعۡلِنُونَ – and knows what you conceal and what you reveal], which is similar to another noble verse as follows: [وَمَا مِنۡ غَآٮِٕبَةٍ۬ فِى ٱلسَّمَآءِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ إِلَّا فِى كِتَـٰبٍ۬ مُّبِينٍ – And there is nothing hidden in the heaven and the earth, but is in a Clear Book (i.e. Al-Lauh Al-Mahfuz)]. [Surah An-Naml. Verse 75] And also the statement of Allaah:
[وَمَا يَعۡزُبُ عَن رَّبِّكَ مِن مِّثۡقَالِ ذَرَّةٍ۬ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَلَا فِى ٱلسَّمَآءِ وَلَآ أَصۡغَرَ مِن ذَٲلِكَ وَلَآ أَكۡبَرَ إِلَّا فِى كِتَـٰبٍ۬ مُّبِينٍ – And nothing is hidden from your Lord (so much as) the weight of an atom (or small ant) on the earth or in the heaven. Not what is less than that or what is greater than that but is (written) in a Clear Record]. [Surah Yunus. Verse 61] (7)
Knowledge of The Unseen – A Brief Rebuttal Against All The Extremist Soofees
Neither Do the Prophets, Messengers and Angels Possess Knowledge of Unseen nor Does Allaah Reveal the Unseen to Anyone Else, Except What He Wishes to Inform the Prophets and Messengers
Allaah (The Most High) said: [وَعِنْدَهُ مَفَاتِحُ الْغَيْبِ لَا يَعْلَمُهَا إِلَّا هُوَ – And with Him are the keys of the Ghaib (all that is hidden), none knows them but He].
In his explanation of the above Ayah, Imaam Ash-Shanqeetee (may Allaah have mercy upon him] brought a number of robust proofs to demonstrate and establish that even the most knowledgeable amongst the creation- Allaah’s Messengers and Angels-do not posses knowledge of the Unseen. The Imaam [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said:
Proof 1: Aa’isha (may Allah be pleased with her] was falsely accused and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him] did not know whether she was innocent or not until Allaah informed him, saying: [ أُولَٰئِكَ مُبَرَّءُونَ مِمَّا يَقُولُونَ- ‘Such (good people) are innocent of (each and every) bad statement which they say].
Proof 2: Prophet Ibraaheem (peace be upon him) slaughtered a lamb for the angels, whilst not knowing that they were angels until they informed him that they were angels. Allaah said that the angels said to him:
[إِنَّا أُرْسِلْنَا إِلَىٰ قَوْمِ لُوطٍ – We have been sent against the people of Lout (Lot)].
Proof 3: When the angels came to Prophet Lut (peace be upon him), he did not know that they were angels, and due to that Allaah said: [عَصِيبٌ سِيءَ بِهِمْ وَضَاقَ بِهِمْ ذَرْعًا وَقَالَ هَٰذَا يَوْمٌ – He was grieved on their account and felt himself straitened for them (lest the town people should approach them to commit lewdness with them). He said: This is a distressful day]. And because of this Allaah said that lut said: [لَوْ أَنَّ لِي بِكُمْ قُوَّةً أَوْ آوِي إِلَىٰ رُكْنٍ شَدِيدٍ – Would that I had strength (men) to overpower you, or that I could betake myself to some powerful support (to resist you). (11:80)]. He did not know the news the angels brought until they said to him: [إِنَّا رُسُلُ رَبِّكَ لَنْ يَصِلُوا إِلَيْكَ – Verily, we are the Messengers from your Lord!]
Proof 4: Prophet Ya’qoob (peace be upon him) lost his eye sight due to grieving for Yusuf (peace be upon him), whilst he was in Egypt. He did not know anything about Yusuf until Allaah reveal news about him.
Proof 5: Prophet Sulaymaan (peace be upon him), even though Allaah gave him authority over the devils and subjugated the wind in his service, did not know about the people Bil Qees until the Hud’hud came with news about them. Allaah said that the Hud’hud said: [أَحَطْتُ بِمَا لَمْ تُحِطْ بِهِ وَجِئْتُكَ مِنْ سَبَإٍ بِنَبَإٍ يَقِينٍ – I have grasped (the knowledge of a thing) which you have not grasped and I have come to you from Saba’ (Sheba) with true news].
Proof 6: Prophet Nuh (peace be upon him) did not know that his son – who was drowned- was not from those members of his household who were to be saved, as Allaah said that Nuh said: [رَبِّ إِنَّ ابْنِي مِنْ أَهْلِي وَإِنَّ وَعْدَكَ الْحَقُّ – O my Lord! Verily, my son is of my family! And certainly, Your Promise is true]. He did not know the reality of the affair until Allaah informed him, saying:
[بِهِ عِلْمٌ ۖ إِنِّي أَعِظُكَ أَنْ تَكُونَ مِنَ الْجَاهِلِينَ قَالَ يَا نُوحُ إِنَّهُ لَيْسَ مِنْ أَهْلِكَ ۖ إِنَّهُ عَمَلٌ غَيْرُ صَالِحٍ ۖ فَلَا تَسْأَلْنِ مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ – He said: “O Nuh (Noah)! Surely, he is not of your family; verily, his work is unrighteous, so ask not of Me that of which you have no knowledge! I admonish you, lest you be one of the ignorant].
And indeed Allaah (The Most High) also stated in Surah Hud about Nuh that he said to his people: [وَلَا أَقُولُ لَكُمْ عِنْدِي خَزَائِنُ اللَّهِ وَلَا أَعْلَمُ الْغَيْبَ -And I do not say to you that with me are the Treasures of Allah, “Nor that I know the Ghaib (unseen)].
Proof 7: And when Allaah said to the Angels: [هَٰؤُلَاءِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ صَادِقِينَ أَنْبِئُونِي بِأَسْمَاءِ -Tell Me the names of these if you are truthful]; Allaah said that the angels replied: [قَالُوا سُبْحَانَكَ لَا عِلْمَ لَنَا إِلَّا مَا عَلَّمْتَنَا -They (angels) said: “Glory be to You, we have no knowledge except what you have taught us.
Therefore, it is very clear that the most knowledgeable amongst the creation, the Messengers and the Angels, do not know anything of the unseen except what Allaah makes known to them. Allaah (The Most High) informs His Messengers what He wishes from the knowledge of the Unseen, as Allaah stated:
[وَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيُطْلِعَكُمْ عَلَى الْغَيْبِ وَلَٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ يَجْتَبِي مِنْ رُسُلِهِ مَنْ يَشَاءُ ۖ- Nor will Allah disclose to you the secrets of the Ghaib (unseen), but Allah chooses of His Messengers whom He pleases].
And Allaah said: [إِلَّا مَنِ ارْتَضَىٰ مِنْ رَسُولٍ عَالِمُ الْغَيْبِ فَلَا يُظْهِرُ عَلَىٰ غَيْبِهِ أَحَد- (He Alone) the All-Knower of the Gha’ib (unseen), and He reveals to none His Gha’ib (unseen).” Except to a Messenger (from mankind)…(8)
Allaah [The Mighty and Majestic] said:
فَلَمَّا قَضَيۡنَا عَلَيۡهِ ٱلۡمَوۡتَ مَا دَلَّهُمۡ عَلَىٰ مَوۡتِهِۦۤ إِلَّا دَآبَّةُ ٱلۡأَرۡضِ تَأۡڪُلُ مِنسَأَتَهُۖ ۥ فَلَمَّا خَرَّ تَبَيَّنَتِ ٱلۡجِنُّ أَن لَّوۡ كَانُواْ يَعۡلَمُونَ ٱلۡغَيۡبَ مَا لَبِثُواْ فِى ٱلۡعَذَابِ ٱلۡمُهِينِ
Then when We decreed death for him [Sulaiman (Solomon)], nothing informed them (jinns) of his death except a little worm of the earth, which kept (slowly) gnawing away at his stick, so when he fell down, the jinns saw clearly that if they had known the unseen, they would not have stayed in the humiliating torment. [Surah Saba Verse 14]
Therefore, it is established without any doubt that none has knowledge of the unseen besides Allaah, and that Allaah only reveals the unseen to Prophets and Messengers when He wishes. So, if anyone claims that he (or she) knows the future or his (or her) Shaikh knows the future, then remind them of the proofs cited above as well as what is stated in the following authentic hadeeth reported by Imaam Al-Bukhaari on the authority Abu Hurairah (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said, “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “When Allah has ordained some affair in the Heaven, the angels beat with their wings in obedience to His statement, which sounds like a chain dragged over a rock.” (`Ali and other sub-narrators said, “The sound reaches them.”) “Until when fear is banished from their (angels) hearts, they (angels) say, ‘What was it that your Lord said? They say, ‘The truth; And He is the Most High, the Most Great.’ (34.23) Then those who gain a hearing by stealing (i.e. devils) will hear Allah’s Statement:– ‘Those who gain a hearing by stealing, (stand one over the other like this). (Sufyan, to illustrate this, spread the fingers of his right hand and placed them one over the other horizontally.) A flame may overtake and burn the eavesdropper before conveying the news to the one below him; or it may not overtake him till he has conveyed it to the one below him, who in his turn, conveys it to the one below him, and so on till they convey the news to the earth. (Or probably Sufyan said, “Till the news reaches the earth.”) Then the news is inspired to a sorcerer who would add a hundred lies to it. His prophecy will prove true (as far as the heavenly news is concerned). The people will say. ‘Didn’t he tell us that on such-and-such a day, such-and-such a thing will happen? We have found that is true because of the true news heard from heaven.” The above hadith is also narrated by Abu Huraira, starting: ‘When Allah has ordained some affair…’) In this narration the word foreteller is added to the word wizard. [Saheeh Al-Bukhaari Vol 6’ Hadeeth Number 4701]
Footnote b: The view of some of the scholars regarding the greatest Name of Allaah. Imaam As-Sadi [may Allaah have mercy upon him] stated in his explanation of Surah Al-Baqarah, Verse 255 (Aayatul Kursi): [ ٱلۡحَىُّ ٱلۡقَيُّومُۚ – (ٱلۡحَىُّ – the Ever Living), (ٱلۡقَيُّومُۚ – the One Who sustains and protects all that exists)]: These two Names of Allaah entail all the other Names of Allaah. [Al-Hayy – The Ever Living] is the One Who possesses perfect life, which necessitates all attributes of His Essence, such as hearing, sight, knowledge, power etc (and free from all imperfections, shortcomings, weakness, deficiencies). And [Al-Qayyoom – the One Who sustains and protects all that exists] is the Only One Who sustains everyone and everything, and they cannot exist or survive with Him, but He is not in need of anything or anyone. This necessitates all the actions of the Lord of the entire existence- [The Creator, Provider and One in Control of all affairs]- Who does whatever He wills, such as ascending over the Throne [in a manner than befits His Majesty without any likeness to the creation] (see footnote c), descending [to the lowest heavens during the last third of the night in a manner than befits His Majesty] (see footnote d), speaking, creating, providing, taking away life, giving life and all types of sovereignty. All these affair are included in the Qayyoomiyyah of Al-Baaree [The Creator’s Action of sustaining and protecting everything that exist, whilst He is not in need of anything or anyone]. And due to this reason, some of the Muhaqqiqeen – (i.e. the scholars who have reached the level where they are able to look into every affair of the religion and derive rulings, such as the Ulamaa of Ijtihaad (see footnote e)] – said that these two are the greatest Names of Allaah.
Footnote d: https://www.abukhadeejah.com/the-names-and-attributes-upon-their-apparent-meanings-fingers-descending-ascending-and-image-by-al-barbahaaree-explanation-of-al-fawzaan/
Footnote e: Who can give Fatwa? Imaam Maalik Ibn Anas (rahimahullaah) said, “I did not give fatwa until seventy (upright) scholars testified that I am worthy of it”. [Hilyatul Awliyaa 6/316] https://masjidfurqan.co.uk/2017/09/22/when-is-a-person-worthy-of-giving-fatwa-by-imaam-ashshaafiee-rahimahullaah/
Footnote F: Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: The Creation [i.e. Humans and Jinns] find themselves within two types of neediness. The first type of neediness is inevitable. It is a type of neediness that applies to everyone – the righteous and the wicked. It neither necessitates praise nor dispraise, neither reward nor punishment; rather it is solely due to the fact that the creation are created beings [i.e. absolutely in need and completely dependent on their Creator in every way].
The second type of neediness is one based on choice from which emanates two noble aspects of knowledge. The first one is the servant’s knowledge and awareness of his Lord and the second is knowledge and awareness of oneself in reality. As soon as one acquires these two types of knowledge, it brings about a type of neediness that becomes a person’s distinguished and most precious source of wealth, the means to success and happiness in [this life and the next]. The people’s different stations in this type of neediness depends on their different stations in these two affairs of knowledge.
Whoever knows that his Lord is the only One Who is Self-Sufficient [absolutely free from all wants and to Whom everyone and everything depends, and cannot do without in the twinkling of an eye], then he will know that he is completely in need.
Whoever knows that his Lord alone is the Possessor of Perfect Ability [possessor of All-encompassing Ability and able to do all things], he will know that he is completely unable [cannot do anything in the twinkling of an eye without the help of] his Lord.
Whoever knows that his Lord is The All-Mighty, he will know that he is one completely in a state of [complete poverty, weakness and want unless his Lord provides for him etc]. Whoever knows that his Lord is the possessor of All- Encompassing knowledge and Wisdom, he will know that he is ignorant.
Allaah brought the servant out of his mother’s womb whilst he knew nothing, not able to do anything and owned nothing; neither able to give nor take; neither able to harm nor benefit. This state of neediness until he reached a more perfect state is something witnessed and tangible for everyone [to see], and it is well known that this is the very essence of the human being and he remains upon that state. He does not move from this state and enters into a state of Lordship – a state in which he becomes absolutely self-sufficient and not need of anyone and anything; rather he does not cease being a slave, a needy one to his Rabb [Allaah the Creator, All-Provider and the Only One Who Controls and Sustains Everything] and His Faatir [Allaah, The Originator and Creator of Everything].
However, after the human being was granted blessings, shown mercy, granted the means to reach a more perfect state, and Allaah -out of His Perfect Kindness and Generosity- granted him apparent blessings [i.e. to recognise the Messengers who were sent with Islamic Monotheism, granted him the lawful pleasures of this world, including health, good looks, etc.] and the hidden blessings [i.e. granted him the innate disposition to recognise his Lord when the Messenger calls him to Eemaan, and granted him knowledge, wisdom, guidance for doing righteous deeds, and also the pleasures and delights of the Hereafter in Paradise, etc.], granted him hearing, sight and a heart, and taught him [i.e. gave him the means to knowledge], granted him ability, subjugated things to him, granted him [the desire and enthusiasm to pursue what is beneficial, and take action], enabled him to receive the service of those of his kind [i.e. gave him authority over other humans], subjugated to him horses and camels, gave him the ability to capture the animals in the sea, drop birds from the sky, subjugate wild animals, dig wells [irrigate water etc], plant trees, dig the earth, learn how to build, acquire the things that are of benefit to him, guard against and protect himself from that which is harmful to him; then the Miskeen [i.e. this absolutely poor, dependent human being] thinks that he has a share of authority and claims – for himself – a kingship [or authority] similar to that of Allaah [Glorified be Allaah and free is Allaah from all imperfections, partners, coequals, similarities etc], and begins to see himself in a manner other than what he was at first, forgets his [prior] state of non-existence, poverty and neediness, until he becomes as if he was not that poor and needy thing. [An Excerpt from Tareequl Hijratayn. Pages 9-10. Slightly paraphrased]
Footnote G: Allaah (The Most High) said:
لِتَسْتَوُوا عَلَىٰ ظُهُورِهِ ثُمَّ تَذْكُرُوا نِعْمَةَ رَبِّكُمْ إِذَا اسْتَوَيْتُمْ عَلَيْهِ وَتَقُولُوا سُبْحَانَ الَّذِي سَخَّرَ لَنَا هَٰذَا وَمَا كُنَّا لَهُ مُقْرِنِينَ
وَإِنَّا إِلَىٰ رَبِّنَا لَمُنقَلِبُونَ
In order that you may mount on their backs, and then may remember the Favour of your Lord when you mount thereon, and say: ”Glory to Him Who has subjected this to us, and we could never have it (by our efforts). And verily, to Our Lord we indeed are to return!” )
Imaam As-Sadi [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: Mentioned (in the above ayah) are the three pillars of gratitude, and they are: to acknowledge Allaah’s blessings, proclaim Allaah’s Blessings, speak about them and Praise Allah for it. Submit to Allah and utilise these blessings to carry out acts of worship for the sake of Allaah (alone). That is because the intent behind the statement of Allah: [وَإِنَّا إِلَىٰ رَبِّنَا لَمُنقَلِبُونَ – And verily, to Our Lord we indeed are to return] is an acknowledgement of recompense and to prepared for it. The objective behind these favours is that they are an aid by way of which the slave (seeks) to fulfil that which Allah has commanded him (i.e. acts of worship and obedience etc)
And regarding Allaah’s saying: [ثُمَّ تَذْكُرُوا نِعْمَةَ رَبِّكُمْ إِذَا اسْتَوَيْتُمْ – And then may remember the favour of your Lord when you mount thereon]; this is a specific mention of the (favour) in that instance (i.e. at the time in which the person enjoys those favours) because blessings intoxicates many amongst the creation, makes them heedless, evil and ungrateful. Therefore, this state in which Allah commanded (a person to remember Allah for His Favours) is a medication for this destructive ailment.
When the slave recalls that he is completely surrounded by the blessings of Allah and that nothing is from him (or herself), but rather blessings are (from Allah) -its means are facilitated and its obtainment made easy (by Allaah)- he (she) submits to Allah, humbles him (or herself), thanks and Praises Allaah. And by way of this he (or she) is given continuous blessings. [An Excerpt from Fataawa Sadiyyah page: 61. Slightly paraphrased]
Footnote H: What if a person receives more blessings whilst persisting upon evil? Allaah [The Most High] said:
وَالَّذِينَ كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِنَا سَنَسْتَدْرِجُهُم مِّنْ حَيْثُ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ
وَأُمْلِي لَهُمْ ۚ إِنَّ كَيْدِي مَتِينٌ
Those who reject Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.), We shall gradually seize them with punishment in ways they perceive not. And I respite them; certainly My Plan is strong. [Surah Al-A’raaf. Verses 182-183]
[سَنَسْتَدْرِجُهُم – We shall gradually seize them with punishment] – by granting them plentiful provision and respite until they think that they will neither be taken to task for their disobedience nor punished, so they increase in disbelief and transgression, and evil upon evil. And through this their punishment is increased and multiplied, so they harm themselves in ways they perceive not. This is why Allaah said: [إِنَّ كَيْدِي مَتِينٌ -certainly My Plan is strong]. [Tafseer As-Sadi]
[ سَنَسْتَدْرِجُهُم مِّنْ حَيْثُ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ – We shall gradually seize them with punishment in ways they perceive not]: Imaam Sufyaan Ath-Thawree [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said that this means, “Whenever they commit (major) sins, Allaah bestows a blessing on them and make them forgetful of seeking forgiveness. [Al-Mukhallisaat 2352]
The Danger of Being Bored With Blessings
Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: One of the common hidden afflictions is when a person has a blessing bestowed on him by Allaah; but he becomes bored with it, seeks to do away with it, and – due to ignorance- turns to what he claims is better for him than it. His Lord – out of Mercy- does not remove him from that blessing- excuses him for his ignorance and the bad choice he make for himself, until he becomes fed up with the blessing, angered and dissatisfied due to it, and being fed up becomes firmly established; then Allaah takes it away from him. After turning to what he sought after and then see the difference between the state he used to be in as opposed to his affair at present, his anxiety and regret intensifies, so he seeks to return to the state he was in.
If Allaah wants good and guidance for His servant, He makes him witness the fact that the blessing he has is one of His blessings and enables him to be grateful for it. If his soul whispers to him to move away from it, he seeks guidance from His Lord – by way of Istikhaarah – as one who is ignorant of his welfare and unable to attain it, and then delegates the affair to Allaah by asking Him to make a good choice for him. There is nothing more harmful to the servant than being fed up with Allaah’s blessings, because neither does he see it as a blessing nor thank Allaah him for it, nor rejoice regarding it; but rather it angers him. He complains and considers it a calamity, even though it is one of Allaah’s greatest blessings conferred on him. The majority of the people are enemies of Allaah’s blessings and they do not realise the blessings Allaah has made available at their disposal, whilst striving to repel and reject them out of ignorance and wrongdoing. And how numerous a blessing is granted to one of them, whilst he is eager to strive his hardest to repel it! And how much reaches him while he was eager to repel and remove it due to hisinjustice and ignorance! Allaah [The Exalted] said:[ ذَٲلِكَ بِأَنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَمۡ يَكُ مُغَيِّرً۬ا نِّعۡمَةً أَنۡعَمَهَا عَلَىٰ قَوۡمٍ حَتَّىٰ يُغَيِّرُواْ مَا بِأَنفُسِہِمۡۙ – That is so because Allah will never change a grace which He has bestowed on a people until they change what is in their ownselves]. [Surah Al-Anfaal. Verse 53]
Allaah said: [إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يُغَيِّرُ مَا بِقَوۡمٍ حَتَّىٰ يُغَيِّرُواْ مَا بِأَنفُسِہِمۡۗ – Verily! Allah will not change the good condition of a people as long as they do not change their state of goodness themselves (by committing sins and by being ungrateful and disobedient to Allah)]. [Surah Rad. Verse 11]
There is not a greater enemy against a blessing than the soul that (whispers evil to the person), because he overcomes himself together with his enemy. His enemy throws fire on his blessings while he blows on itenables him to throw fire and then helps him to blow it; but he calls for help to avoid being burnt when the fire intensifies, whilst his aim is to reprimand Qadr. [An Excerpt from Al-Fawaa’id 259-260. slightly paraphrased]
Footnote I: All the Prophets and their true were Muslims:
Allaah [The Exalted] stated about Ibraaheem:
وَمَن يَرۡغَبُ عَن مِّلَّةِ إِبۡرَٲهِـۧمَ إِلَّا مَن سَفِهَ نَفۡسَهُ ۥۚ وَلَقَدِ ٱصۡطَفَيۡنَـٰهُ فِى ٱلدُّنۡيَاۖ وَإِنَّهُ ۥ فِى ٱلۡأَخِرَةِ لَمِنَ ٱلصَّـٰلِحِينَ
إِذۡ قَالَ لَهُ ۥ رَبُّهُ ۥۤ أَسۡلِمۡۖ قَالَ أَسۡلَمۡتُ لِرَبِّ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ
وَوَصَّىٰ بِہَآ إِبۡرَٲهِـۧمُ بَنِيهِ وَيَعۡقُوبُ يَـٰبَنِىَّ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ ٱصۡطَفَىٰ لَكُمُ ٱلدِّينَ فَلَا تَمُوتُنَّ إِلَّا وَأَنتُم مُّسۡلِمُونَ
And who turns away from the religion of Ibrahim (Abraham) (i.e. Islamic Monotheism) except him who befools himself? Truly, We chose him in this world and verily, in the Hereafter he will be among the righteous. When his Lord said to him, “Submit (i.e. be a Muslim)!” He said, “I have submitted myself (as a Muslim) to the Lord of the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists).” And this (submission to Allah, Islam) was enjoined by Ibrahim (Abraham) upon his sons and by Ya’qub (Jacob), (saying), “O my sons! Allah has chosen for you the (true) religion, then die not except in the Faith of Islam as Muslims – Islamic Monotheism.” [Surah Al-Baqarah. Aayaat 120-132]
And Allaah [The Exalted] stated that Yusuf [peace be upon him] said:
رَبِّ قَدۡ ءَاتَيۡتَنِى مِنَ ٱلۡمُلۡكِ وَعَلَّمۡتَنِى مِن تَأۡوِيلِ ٱلۡأَحَادِيثِۚ فَاطِرَ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ أَنتَ وَلِىِّۦ فِى ٱلدُّنۡيَا وَٱلۡأَخِرَةِۖ تَوَفَّنِى مُسۡلِمً۬ا وَأَلۡحِقۡنِى بِٱلصَّـٰلِحِينَ
My Lord! You have indeed bestowed on me of the sovereignty, and taught me the interpretation of dreams; The (only) Creator of the heavens and the earth! You are my Wali (Protector, Helper, Supporter, Guardian, etc.) in this world and in the Hereafter, cause me to die as a Muslim (the one submitting to Your Will and worshipping You alone), and join me with the righteous.” [Surah Yusuf. Aayah 101]
Allaah [The Exalted] stated that Moosaa [peace be upon him] said to his people:
يَـٰقَوۡمِ إِن كُنتُمۡ ءَامَنتُم بِٱللَّهِ فَعَلَيۡهِ تَوَكَّلُوٓاْ إِن كُنتُم مُّسۡلِمِينَ
O my people! If you have believed in Allah, then put your trust in Him if you are Muslims (those who submit to Allah’s Will and worship Him alone). [Surah Yunus. Aayah 84]
Allaah [The Exalted] related that the magicians said to Fir’awn [i.e. after they believed in Moosaa]: [وَمَا تَنقِمُ مِنَّآ إِلَّآ أَنۡ ءَامَنَّا بِـَٔايَـٰتِ رَبِّنَا لَمَّا جَآءَتۡنَاۚ رَبَّنَآ أَفۡرِغۡ عَلَيۡنَا صَبۡرً۬ا وَتَوَفَّنَا مُسۡلِمِينَ – And you take vengeance on us only because we believed in the Ayat (proofs, evidences, lessons, signs, etc.) of our Lord when they reached us! Our Lord! pour out on us patience, and cause us to die as Muslims”[. [Surah Al-A’raaf. Aayah 126]
Allaah [The Exalted] stated that Bilqees -the Queen of Yemen- said:
رَبِّ إِنِّى ظَلَمۡتُ نَفۡسِى وَأَسۡلَمۡتُ مَعَ سُلَيۡمَـٰنَ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ
My Lord! Verily, I have wronged myself, and I submit (in Islam, together with Sulaiman (Solomon), to Allah, the Lord of the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists). [Surah An-Naml. Aayah 44]
Allaah [The Exalted] stated regarding Prophets of Banee Israa’eel [alayhimus salaam]:
إِنَّآ أَنزَلۡنَا ٱلتَّوۡرَٮٰةَ فِيہَا هُدً۬ى وَنُورٌ۬ۚ يَحۡكُمُ بِہَا ٱلنَّبِيُّونَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَسۡلَمُواْ لِلَّذِينَ هَادُواْ
Verily, We did send down the Taurat (Torah) [to Musa (Moses)], therein was guidance and light, by which the Prophets, who submitted themselves to Allah’s Will, judged the Jews. [Surah Al-Maa’idah. Aayah 44]
Allaah [The Exalted] stated about the Messiah:
فَلَمَّآ أَحَسَّ عِيسَىٰ مِنۡہُمُ ٱلۡكُفۡرَ قَالَ مَنۡ أَنصَارِىٓ إِلَى ٱللَّهِۖ قَالَ ٱلۡحَوَارِيُّونَ نَحۡنُ أَنصَارُ ٱللَّهِ ءَامَنَّا بِٱللَّهِ وَٱشۡهَدۡ بِأَنَّا مُسۡلِمُونَ
رَبَّنَآ ءَامَنَّا بِمَآ أَنزَلۡتَ وَٱتَّبَعۡنَا ٱلرَّسُولَ فَٱڪۡتُبۡنَا مَعَ ٱلشَّـٰهِدِينَ
Then when ‘Iesa (Jesus) came to know of their disbelief, he said: “Who will be my helpers in Allah’s Cause?” Al-Hawariun (the disciples) said: “We are the helpers of Allah; we believe in Allah, and bear witness that we are Muslims (i.e. we submit to Allah).” Our Lord! We believe in what You have sent down, and we follow the Messenger [‘Iesa (Jesus)]; so write us down among those who bear witness (to the truth i.e. La ilaha ill-Allah – none has the right to be worshipped but Allah). [Surah Aal Imran. 52-53]
And Allaah [The Exlated] said:
وَإِذۡ أَوۡحَيۡتُ إِلَى ٱلۡحَوَارِيِّـۧنَ أَنۡ ءَامِنُواْ بِى وَبِرَسُولِى قَالُوٓاْ ءَامَنَّا وَٱشۡہَدۡ بِأَنَّنَا مُسۡلِمُونَ
And when I (Allah) put in the hearts of Al-Hawarieen (the disciples) [of ‘Iesa (Jesus)] to believe in Me and My Messenger, they said: “We believe. And bear witness that we are Muslims.” [Surah Al-Maa’idah. Aayah 111]
Therefore, this religion of the early and latter generations – the Prophet and their followers – is the religion of Islaam, and it is to single out Allaah in worship and not associate a partner to Him in worship, and worshiping Him alone in every era and place through obedience to His Messengers [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon them]. One cannot be a worshipper of Allaah based on that which is in opposition to what His Messengers brought, such as those about whom Allaah stated: [أَمۡ لَهُمۡ شُرَڪَـٰٓؤُاْ شَرَعُواْ لَهُم مِّنَ ٱلدِّينِ مَا لَمۡ يَأۡذَنۢ بِهِ ٱللَّهُ – Or have they partners with Allah (false gods), who have instituted for them a religion which Allah has not allowed. [Surah Ash-Shooraa. Aayah 21]
One cannot be a believer in Allaah, except by worshipping Him alone through obedience to His Messengers; and one cannot be a worshipper of Allaah, except the one who believes in all His Messengers and follows the Messenger who was sent in his era; so every Messenger was to be followed in his era until another Messenger comes after him and is followed. And whoever obeys the Messenger, then he has obeyed Allaah. Allaah [The Exalted] said: [وَمَآ أَرۡسَلۡنَا مِن رَّسُولٍ إِلَّا لِيُطَاعَ بِإِذۡنِ ٱللَّهِ – We sent no Messenger, but to be obeyed by Allah’s Leave]. [Surah An-Nisaa. Aayah 64]
Whoever seeks to make a differentiation between the Messengers by believing in some and disbelieving in others, then he is an unbeliever, just as Allaah [The Exalted] said:
إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ يَكۡفُرُونَ بِٱللَّهِ وَرُسُلِهِۦ وَيُرِيدُونَ أَن يُفَرِّقُواْ بَيۡنَ ٱللَّهِ وَرُسُلِهِۦ وَيَقُولُونَ نُؤۡمِنُ بِبَعۡضٍ۬ وَنَڪۡفُرُ بِبَعۡضٍ۬ وَيُرِيدُونَ أَن يَتَّخِذُواْ بَيۡنَ ذَٲلِكَ سَبِيلاً
أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ هُمُ ٱلۡكَـٰفِرُونَ حَقًّ۬اۚ وَأَعۡتَدۡنَا لِلۡكَـٰفِرِينَ عَذَابً۬ا مُّهِينً۬ا
وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ بِٱللَّهِ وَرُسُلِهِۦ وَلَمۡ يُفَرِّقُواْ بَيۡنَ أَحَدٍ۬ مِّنۡہُمۡ أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ سَوۡفَ يُؤۡتِيهِمۡ أُجُورَهُمۡۗ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ غَفُورً۬ا رَّحِيمً۬ا
Verily, those who disbelieve in Allah and His Messengers and wish to make distinction between Allah and His Messengers (by believing in Allah and disbelieving in His Messengers) saying, “We believe in some but reject others,” and wish to adopt a way in between. They are in truth disbelievers. And We have prepared for the disbelievers a humiliating torment. And those who believe in Allah and His Messengers and make no distinction between any of them (Messengers), We shall give them their rewards, and Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. [Surah An-Nisaa. Aayaat 150-152]
And when it is the fact that Muhammad [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] is the seal of the Prophets and there will be neither be a Messenger after him nor is there anyone to bring something new from Allaah, then Allaah [Glorified and Exalted be He] has not ceased to revive the religion through the means that will necessitate its superiority, just as Allaah has promised in the Qur’aan. So Allaah manifests the excellence of Eemaan and its praiseworthy characteristics through which the disadvantages of disbelief and its corruption is known.
And one of the greatest means by way of which Eemaan and the religion are manifested, and the clarification of the true reality of that which the Messengers brought, is the appearance of opponents of the Messengers – the people who blatantly utter slander, just as Allaah [The Exalted] said:
وَكَذَٲلِكَ جَعَلۡنَا لِكُلِّ نَبِىٍّ عَدُوًّ۬ا شَيَـٰطِينَ ٱلۡإِنسِ وَٱلۡجِنِّ يُوحِى بَعۡضُهُمۡ إِلَىٰ بَعۡضٍ۬ زُخۡرُفَ ٱلۡقَوۡلِ غُرُورً۬اۚ وَلَوۡ شَآءَ رَبُّكَ مَا فَعَلُوهُۖ فَذَرۡهُمۡ وَمَا يَفۡتَرُونَ
وَلِتَصۡغَىٰٓ إِلَيۡهِ أَفۡـِٔدَةُ ٱلَّذِينَ لَا يُؤۡمِنُونَ بِٱلۡأَخِرَةِ وَلِيَرۡضَوۡهُ وَلِيَقۡتَرِفُواْ مَا هُم مُّقۡتَرِفُونَ
أَفَغَيۡرَ ٱللَّهِ أَبۡتَغِى حَكَمً۬ا وَهُوَ ٱلَّذِىٓ أَنزَلَ إِلَيۡڪُمُ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ مُفَصَّلاً۬ۚ وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَاتَيۡنَـٰهُمُ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ يَعۡلَمُونَ أَنَّهُ ۥ مُنَزَّلٌ۬ مِّن رَّبِّكَ بِٱلۡحَقِّۖ فَلَا تَكُونَنَّ مِنَ ٱلۡمُمۡتَرِينَ
وَتَمَّتۡ كَلِمَتُ رَبِّكَ صِدۡقً۬ا وَعَدۡلاً۬ۚ لَّا مُبَدِّلَ لِكَلِمَـٰتِهِۦۚ وَهُوَ ٱلسَّمِيعُ ٱلۡعَلِيمُ
And so We have appointed for every Prophet enemies – Shayatin (devils) among mankind and jinns, inspiring one another with adorned speech as a delusion (or by way of deception). If your Lord had so willed, they would not have done it, so leave them alone with their fabrications. (And this is in order) that the hearts of those who disbelieve in the Hereafter may incline to such (deceit), and that they may remain pleased with it, and that they may commit what they are committing (all kinds of sins and evil deeds, etc.). [Say (O Muhammad)] “Shall I seek a judge other than Allah while it is He Who has sent down unto you the Book (The Qur’an), explained in detail.”
Those unto whom We gave the Scripture [the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel)] know that it is revealed from your Lord in truth. So be not you of those who doubt. And the Word of your Lord has been fulfilled in truth and in justice. None can change His Words. And He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower. [Surah Al-An’aam. 112-115]
And Allaah [The Exalted] said:
وَيَوۡمَ يَعَضُّ ٱلظَّالِمُ عَلَىٰ يَدَيۡهِ يَقُولُ يَـٰلَيۡتَنِى ٱتَّخَذۡتُ مَعَ ٱلرَّسُولِ سَبِيلاً۬
يَـٰوَيۡلَتَىٰ لَيۡتَنِى لَمۡ أَتَّخِذۡ فُلَانًا خَلِيلاً۬
لَّقَدۡ أَضَلَّنِى عَنِ ٱلذِّڪۡرِ بَعۡدَ إِذۡ جَآءَنِىۗ وَڪَانَ ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنُ لِلۡإِنسَـٰنِ خَذُولاً۬
وَقَالَ ٱلرَّسُولُ يَـٰرَبِّ إِنَّ قَوۡمِى ٱتَّخَذُواْ هَـٰذَا ٱلۡقُرۡءَانَ مَهۡجُورً۬ا
وَكَذَٲلِكَ جَعَلۡنَا لِكُلِّ نَبِىٍّ عَدُوًّ۬ا مِّنَ ٱلۡمُجۡرِمِينَۗ وَكَفَىٰ بِرَبِّكَ هَادِيً۬ا وَنَصِيرً۬ا
And (remember) the Day when the Zalim (wrong-doer, oppressor, polytheist, etc.) will bite at his hands, he will say: “Oh! Would that I had taken a path with the Messenger ( Muhammad). “Ah! Woe to me! Would that I had never taken so-and-so as a friend! “He indeed led me astray from the Reminder (this Qur’an) after it had come to me. And Shaitan (Satan) is ever a deserter to man in the hour of need.” And the Messenger (Muhammad) will say: “O my Lord! Verily, my people deserted this Qur’an (neither listened to it, nor acted on its laws and orders). Thus have We made for every Prophet an enemy among the Mujrimun (disbelievers, polytheists, criminals, etc.). But Sufficient is your Lord as a Guide and Helper. [Surah Al-Furqaan. 27-31]
This is because when the truth is willfully rejected and confronted by those [beliefs, ideas, views, methodologies, principles, slogans etc] that are made to resemble truth but are falsehood in reality, then Allaah establishes clear signs and evidences for real truth through which it is made triumphant and falsehood is nullified. Allaah shows the clear proofs and evidences that establish the truth and the corruption of the eradicated false proofs that are in opposition to it. [An Excerpt from Al-Jawaabus Saheeh Lima Baddala Deenul Maseeh by Shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullaah) Vol 1. Pages 18-20]
The Religion of all the Prophets and Messengers [i.e. Tawheed] is One
Allaah [The Most High] said: [شَرَعَ لَكُم مِّنَ الدِّينِ مَا وَصَّىٰ بِهِ نُوحًا وَالَّذِي أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ – He (Allah) has ordained for you the same religion (Islam) which He ordained for Nuh (Noah), and that which We have inspired in you (O Muhammad)’’ [42:13]
Allaah mentions the first Messenger who was sent after Aadam, that is Nooh (alayhis-salaam), and the last of them is Muhammad (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam). Then He mentions those who came in between them who were the Messengers of strong will, namely Ibraaheem, Musa and Isa Bin Maryam [وَمَا وَصَّيْنَا بِهِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَمُوسَىٰ وَعِيسَىٰ ۖ أَنْ أَقِيمُوا الدِّينَ وَلَا تَتَفَرَّقُوا فِيهِ ۚ كَبُرَ عَلَى الْمُشْرِكِينَ مَا تَدْعُوهُمْ إِلَيْهِ [and that which We ordained for Ibrahim (Abraham), Musa (Moses) and ‘Iesa (Jesus) saying you should establish religion (i.e. to do what it orders you to do practically), and make no divisions in it (religion) (i.e. various sects in religion). Intolerable for the Mushrikun , is that to which you (O Muhammad) call them].
This above Ayah mentions all five (Prophets and Messengers), just as they are also mentioned in the Ayah in Surah Al-Ahzaab, where Allaah says: [وَإِذْ أَخَذْنَا مِنَ النَّبِيِّينَ مِيثَاقَهُمْ وَمِنكَ وَمِن نُّوحٍ وَإِبْرَاهِيمَ وَمُوسَىٰ وَعِيسَى ابْنِ مَرْيَمَ – And (remember) when We took from the Prophets their covenant, and from you (O Muhammad), and from Nuh (Noah), Ibrahim (Abraham), Musa (Moses), and ‘Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary)].
The Message which all the Messengers brought was to worship Allaah Alone, with no partner or associate, as Allaah says: [وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا مِن قَبْلِكَ مِن رَّسُولٍ إِلَّا نُوحِي إِلَيْهِ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا أَنَا فَاعْبُدُونِ – And We did not send any Messenger before you (O Muhammad) but We inspired him (saying): La ilaha illa Ana [none has the right to be worshipped but I (Allah)], so worship Me (Alone and none else)].
And in a Hadeeth (the Prophet said): ‘’We Prophets are brothers and our religion is one’’. [Fat’hul Baari 6:550] In other words, the common bond between them is that Allaah Alone is to be worshipped, with no partner or associate, even though their laws may differ, as Allaah said: لِكُلٍّ جَعَلْنَا مِنكُمْ شِرْعَةً وَمِنْهَاجًا – ‘’To each among you, We have prescribed a law and a clear way.’’ [5:48] [Tafseer Ibn Katheer]
Muhammad Is The Final Messenger and The Qur’aan Abrogates all Others Previous Laws
Allaah (The Most High) said: [مَّا كَانَ مُحَمَّدٌ أَبَا أَحَدٍ مِّن رِّجَالِكُمْ وَلَٰكِن رَّسُولَ اللَّهِ وَخَاتَمَ النَّبِيِّينَ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمًا – Muhammad is not the father of any man among you, but he is the Messenger of Allah and the last (end) of the Prophets. And Allah is Ever All-Aware of everything].
Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen [may Allah have mercy upon him] stated in Sharh Mumti that [the Prophet being the seal of the Prophets necessitates that he is the seal of the Messengers and that is due to the fact that ‘Every Messenger is a Prophet whereas not every Prophet is a Messenger’. [For further details see Sharh Mumti 1/250]
The Messenger also said: “By the One in Whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, there is not one of this nation, Jew or Christian, who hears about me and dies without believing in what I have been sent, except that he will be one of the dwellers of Hell fire.” [Reported by Muslim’ Number 153]
The Qur’aan Abrogates All Other Previous Laws
Allaah (The Most High) said:
وَأَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَمُهَيْمِنًا عَلَيْهِ ۖ فَاحْكُم بَيْنَهُم بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ ۖ وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَهُمْ عَمَّا جَاءَكَ مِنَ الْحَقِّ ۚ لِكُلٍّ جَعَلْنَا مِنكُمْ شِرْعَةً وَمِنْهَاجًا ۚ وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ لَجَعَلَكُمْ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَلَٰكِن لِّيَبْلُوَكُمْ فِي مَا آتَاكُمْ ۖ فَاسْتَبِقُوا الْخَيْرَاتِ ۚ إِلَى اللَّهِ مَرْجِعُكُمْ جَمِيعًا فَيُنَبِّئُكُم بِمَا كُنتُمْ فِيهِ تَخْتَلِفُونَ
And We have sent down to you (O Muhammad) the Book (this Qur’an) in truth, confirming the Scripture that came before it and Mohayminan (trustworthy in highness and a witness) over it (old Scriptures). So judge between them by what Allah has revealed, and follow not their vain desires, diverging away from the truth that has come to you. To each among you, We have prescribed a law and a clear way. If Allah willed, He would have made you one nation, but that (He) may test you in what He has given you; so strive as in a race in good deeds. The return of you (all) is to Allah; then He will inform you about that in which you used to differ. [Surah Al-Maa’idah Ayah 48]
Imaam As-Sadi regarding the above Ayah: The Qur’aan gathers all the (good, excellence) in the previous books (i.e. before they were distorted). The Qur’aan contain an increase in all that will lead to the pleasure of Allaah in this life and the next, and the (most beloved and honourable) manners. The Qur’aan gathers every truth found in the other books, and it commands and urges mankind towards it. The Qur’aan is a book that gives news about the earlier and later generations. It contains (perfect) judgements and (perfect) wisdom. Whatever the Qur’aan declares to be truth in the previous Books is to be accepted, and whatever it rejects has to be rejected because it would be something that has been distorted and substituted by those who received it etc. [Excerpt from Tafseer As-Sadi]
Ascription In The Ummah of Muhammad
Ascribing oneself to the Muslim Ummah is a fundamental principle established in the Islamic legislation. The Muslims are a just and balanced nation. Allaah said:
وَكَذَٰلِكَ جَعَلْنَاكُمْ أُمَّةً وَسَطًا لِّتَكُونُوا شُهَدَاءَ عَلَى النَّاسِ وَيَكُونَ الرَّسُولُ عَلَيْكُمْ شَهِيدًا ۗ وَمَا جَعَلْنَا الْقِبْلَةَ الَّتِي كُنتَ عَلَيْهَا إِلَّا لِنَعْلَمَ مَن يَتَّبِعُ الرَّسُولَ مِمَّن يَنقَلِبُ عَلَىٰ عَقِبَيْهِ ۚ وَإِن كَانَتْ لَكَبِيرَةً إِلَّا عَلَى الَّذِينَ هَدَى اللَّهُ ۗ وَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيُضِيعَ إِيمَانَكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بِالنَّاسِ لَرَءُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ
Thus We have made you [true Muslims – real believers of Islamic Monotheism, true followers of Prophet Muhammad and his Sunnah (legal ways)], a Wasat (just) (and the best) nation, that you be witnesses over mankind and the Messenger (Muhammad) be a witness over you. And We made the Qiblah (prayer direction towards Jerusalem) which you used to face, only to test those who followed the Messenger (Muhammad) from those who would turn on their heels (i.e. disobey the Messenger). Indeed it was great (heavy) except for those whom Allah guided. And Allah would never make your faith (prayers) to be lost (i.e. your prayers offered towards Jerusalem). Truly, Allah is full of kindness, the Most Merciful towards mankind. [Surah Al-Baqarah Ayah 143]
They are the best of all nations. Allaah said:
كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ
You [true believers in Islamic Monotheism, and real followers of Prophet Muhammad and his Sunnah (legal ways, etc.)] are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin Al-Ma’ruf (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam has ordained) and forbid Al-Munkar(polytheism, disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden), and you believe in Allah. [Surah Aal Imran Ayah 110]
They are followers of a single religion agreed upon by all the Prophets. They ascribe themselves to it and unite upon it. Allaah said: [إِنَّ هَٰذِهِ أُمَّتُكُمْ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَأَنَا رَبُّكُمْ فَاعْبُدُونِ – Truly! This, your Ummah [Sharia or religion (Islamic Monotheism)] is one religion, and I am your Lord, therefore worship Me (Alone)].
Allaah said: [وَإِنَّ هَٰذِهِ أُمَّتُكُمْ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً وَأَنَا رَبُّكُمْ فَاتَّقُونِ – And verily! This your religion (of Islamic Monotheism) is one religion, and I am your Lord, so keep your duty to Me].
The believers are brothers in Religion and they give allegiance to one another. Allaah said:
[إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِخْوَةٌ فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَ أَخَوَيْكُمْ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ – The believers are nothing else than brothers (in Islamic religion). So make reconciliation between your brothers, and fear Allah, that you may receive mercy].
Allaah named us Muslims. Allaah said:
وَجَاهِدُوا فِي اللَّهِ حَقَّ جِهَادِهِ ۚ هُوَ اجْتَبَاكُمْ وَمَا جَعَلَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ مِنْ حَرَجٍ ۚ مِّلَّةَ أَبِيكُمْ إِبْرَاهِيمَ ۚ هُوَ سَمَّاكُمُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ مِن قَبْلُ وَفِي هَٰذَا لِيَكُونَ الرَّسُولُ شَهِيدًا عَلَيْكُمْ وَتَكُونُوا شُهَدَاءَ عَلَى النَّاسِ ۚ فَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِاللَّهِ هُوَ مَوْلَاكُمْ ۖ فَنِعْمَ الْمَوْلَىٰ وَنِعْمَ النَّصِيرُ
And strive hard in Allah’s Cause as you ought to strive (with sincerity and with all your efforts that His Name should be superior). He has chosen you (to convey His Message of Islamic Monotheism to mankind by inviting them to His religion, Islam), and has not laid upon you in religion any hardship, it is the religion of your father Ibrahim (Abraham) (Islamic Monotheism). It is He (Allah) Who has named you Muslims both before and in this (the Qur’an), that the Messenger (Muhammad) may be a witness over you and you be witnesses over mankind! So perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat), give Zakat and hold fast to Allah [i.e. have confidence in Allah, and depend upon Him in all your affairs] He is your Maula (Patron, Lord, etc.), what an Excellent Maula (Patron, Lord, etc.) and what an Excellent Helper! [Surah Al-Hajj Ayah 78]
And from the branches of this ascription is ascription to Salafiyyah [i.e. the way of the pious predecessors], for indeed there is no prohibition from ascribing oneself to that; rather ascription to Salafiyyah is an ascription to Islaam based on what the Messenger and his companions were upon. Certainly, it is not permissible that ascription to Salafiyyah is made to mean a party [of illegal partisanship] – loving and hating based on other than what the Messenger and his companions were upon, because indeed this is blameworthy.
Ascription to Islaam is done in order to differentiate oneself from the followers of other religions, ascription to the Sunnah is done in order to differentiate oneself from Bidah and the Shiites and ascription to Salafiyyah is done in order to differentiate oneself from the Innovated Dawah Methodologies, which are followed by the followers of the different (deviant) groups. So the Muslim needs to say about himself that he is a Muslim, Sunni, Salafi. [Source: Silsilah Ar-Rasaa’il Al-Manhajiyyah Fin Nus’hi Wal Irshaad Wat-taw’iyah’ pages 46-54]
[Ref 1: An Excerpt from ‘Badaa’i At-Tafseer Al-Jaami Limaa Fassarahu Al-Imaam Ibnul Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah’ Vol 2′ pages 279-282). Slightly paraphrased].
[Ref 2: An Excerpt from ‘Tayseer Al-Kareem Ar-Rahmaan Fee Tafseer Kalaam al-Mannaan’. Slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 3: An Excerpt from ‘Tayseer Al-Kareem Ar-Rahmaan Fee Tafseer Kalaam al-Mannaan’. Slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 4: An Excerpt from ‘Tayseer Al-Kareem Ar-Rahmaan Fee Tafseer Kalaam al-Mannaan’. Slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 5: An Excerpt from ‘Tayseer Al-Kareem Ar-Rahmaan Fee Tafseer Kalaam al-Mannaan’. Slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 6: An Excerpt from ‘Tayseer Al-Kareem Ar-Rahmaan Fee Tafseer Kalaam al-Mannaan’. Slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 7: Excerpt from ‘Tafseer Al-Qur’aan Bil-Qur’aan Min Adwaa Al-Bayaan’ pages 1076. Daar Hady An-Nabawiy’ 2nd ed. (1431AH -2010)]
[Ref 8: Excerpt from ‘Tafseer Al-Qur’aan Bil-Qur’aan Min Adwaa Al-Bayaan’ pages 169-170’ Daar Hady An-Nabawiy’ 2nd ed. (1431AH -2010)]