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Ibn Kathir's Introduction Print E-mail

All praise is due to Allah, Who started His Book by saying,

‘All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all that exists. The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. The Owner of the Day of Recompense’ (AI-Fatihah 1:2-4)


and Who began His creation with the Hamd (His praise and appreciation), by saying,

‘All praise and thanks be to Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth, and originated the darkness and the light; yet those who disbelieve hold others equal to their Lords’ (Al An`am 6:1),


and ended it with the Hamd, by saying, after mentioning the destination of the people of Paradise and the people of the Fire,


‘(and you will see the angels surrounding the Throne (of Allah), glorifying their Lord with praise. And judgement will be made between them (creatures) with the truth. And it will be said “All Praise and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of all that exists.’ (Az Zumar 39:75)

Similarly,

‘He is Allah, there is no illah except for Him, His is the praise in the beginning and in the end, His is the judgment and to Him you (all) return.’ (Al Qasas 28:70),


All thanks are due to Allah in the beginning and in the end the end, for what He has created and what He shall create. Allah is the One praised for all things, just as the praying person says, "O Allah, Yours is the praise, praise that fills the heavens, the earth and whatever You will after that." [1]


All the thanks are due to Allah Who sent His Messengers, whom He described as,

'Say, "What thing is greatest in testimony?" Say, "Allāh is witness between me and you. And this Qur’ān was revealed to me that I may warn you thereby and whomever it reaches. Do you [truly] testify that with Allāh there are other deities?" Say, "I will not testify [with you]." Say, "Indeed, He is but one God, and indeed, I am free of what you associate [with Him].' (An-Nisa 4:165)


And ended them with the unlettered, Arabian, Makkan Prophet who guides to the clear straight path. Allah sent the Prophet Muhammad Peace be upon him to all of His creation - the Jinns and mankind - from the time that his prophet hood began until the commencement of the Last Hour. Allah said,

‘Say (O Muhammad ) :"O mankind! Verily, I am the Messenger sent to you all by Allah, the One to Whom the dominion of the heavens and the earth belongs. There is no god (worthy of worship) but He. It is He Who gives life and causes death. So believe in Allah and His Messenger, the unlettered Prophet, who believes in Allah and His Words, and follow him so that you may be guided.’ (Al-A`raf 7:158) and,


‘That by it, I may warn you and whoever it reaches}’ (Al ­An`am 6:19).


Therefore, whether one is an Arab or non-Arab, black or red, human or Jinn's, whoever this Quran is conveyed to, it is a warning for them all. This is why Allah said,

'So is one who [stands] upon a clear evidence from his Lord [like the aforementioned]? And a witness from Him follows it, and before it was the Scripture of Moses to lead and as mercy. Those [believers in the former revelations] believe in the Qur’an. But whoever disbelieves in it from the [various] factions – the Fire is his promised destination. So be not in doubt about it. Indeed, it is the truth from your Lord, but most of the people do not believe.’ (Hud 11: 17)


Therefore, whoever disbelieves in the Qur'an among those whom we mentioned, then, according to Allah, the Fire will be then their destination. Allah said,

Then leave Me alone with those who deny this narration (the Ow-'an).


‘We shall gradually punish them from where they perceive not’. (Nun 68:44).


The Messenger of Allah Peace be upon him said, I was sent not to the white and red. Mujahid commented, "Meaning, unkind and the Jinns." [1]


Hence, Muhammad Peace be upon him is the Messenger to all creation, mankind and Jinn, conveying what Allah revealed to him in the Glorious Book that,


‘Falsehood cannot come to it from before it or behind it, (it is) sent down by the Wise, Worthy of all praise.’ (Fussilat 41:42)


Therefore, the scholars are required to elaborate upon the meanings of Allah's Speech and to convey these meanings, providing they seek them from their proper resources. The scholars are required to learn and convey these meanings, just as Allah said,


'And [mention, O Muhammad], when Allah took a covenant from those who were given the Scripture, [saying], "You must make it clear to the people and not conceal it." But they threw it away behind their backs and exchanged it for a small price. And wretched is that which they purchased.’

(Al Imran 3:187) and, Ahmad 5:145.

‘Verily, those who purchase a small gain at the cost of Allah's covenant and their oaths, they shall have no portion in the Hereafter (Paradise). Neither will Allah speak to them nor look at them on the Day of Resurrection, nor will He purify them, and they shall have a painful torment}’ (Al Imran 3:77).


Allah criticized the People of the Scriptures - Jews and Christians - who came before us, for ignoring Allah's Book that was revealed to them, and for acquiring and indulging in the affairs of this life, all the while being distracted from what they were commanded, that is, adhering to Allah's Book.

We Muslims are thus required to refrain from doing what Allah criticized the People of the Scriptures for, and to heed what He commanded us; learning and comprehending the Book of Allah, revealed to us, and to convey all that is in it. Allah said,

Has not the time come for the hearts of those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah - Islamic Monotheism) to be affected by Allah's Reminder (this Qur'an), and that which has been revealed of the truth, lest they become as those who received the Scripture before, and the term was prolonged for them and so their hearts were hardened? And many of them were Fasiqun (the rebellious, the disobedient to Allah) Know that Allah gives life to the earth after its death! Indeed We have made clear the Ayat to you, if you but understand}’ (Al Hadid 57:16-17).


Hence, Allah's mentioning this Ayah (57:17) after the Ayah that preceded it, alerts us to the fact that just as He brings life to the earth after it has died, He also softens the hearts with faith and guidance after they become hard because of committing sins and errors. We ask Allah to grant us this good end, He is Most Kind, Most Generous.


[1] Al-Bukhari, Muslim and others have recorded Hadiths mentioning this supplication.

 
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