Monday, July 02, 2012

Tafsir of Baqara Verse 30 “I will send my Khalifa on Earth…” by Shaykh `Ata’

Tafsir of surat al-Baqara Verse 30
by Shaykh `Ata ibn Khalil (Allah protect him)
{And [mention, O Muhammad], when your Lord said to the angels, ‘Indeed, I will create[1] on earth a khalifa.’ They said, ‘Will You put there someone who causes corruption and sheds blood, while we declare Your praise and sanctify You?’ Allah said, ‘Indeed, I know that which you do not know’…}
  • The noble shaykh, mufassir and mujtahid `Ata ibn Khalil (Allah protect him) commented on the blessed verse insurat al-Baqara:30:
بعد أن بيّن الله سبحانه أنه المحيي والمميت وأنه الخالق للسموات والأرض وأنه بكلّ شيء عليم، ذكّر الله سبحانه بالمزيد من نعمه على الناس، كلّ ذلك من باب التعجبوالتوبيخ لأولئك الذين يكفرون بالله بعد كلّ هذه النعم التي أنعمها الله عليهم، فبدل أن تكون دافعاً لهم ليؤمنوا ويستقيموا يكفرون ويضلون، ومن مزيد نعمه هي التيأنعمها الله على آدم – عليه السلام – بتأهيله للخلافة في الأرض. وقد استفسرت الملائكة من الله سبحانه عن هذا الأمر الذي يؤهل آدم للخلافة بدلاً منهم، وهم الذينيعبدون الله آناء الليل وأطراف النهار بالتسبيح والتقديس في حين أن بني آدم يفسدون ويسـفكون الدماء كما علموا من حالهم التي أعلمهم الله إياها؟! فأجابهم الله بأنهسبحانه اختصّ آدم بنعمة لم يختصهم بها، وكانت تلك النعمة أن علّم الله آدم الأسماء كلها أي المسميات من حيث خواصّ المخلوقات، ومدلولاتها، ولم يعلِّمها الله للملائكة، حتى يتمكن آدم من استعمال هذه المعلومات لإنشاء أفكار يعمر بها الأرض فتؤهله للخلافة فيها، عندها تَبَيَّن للملائكة أن آدم علم بفضل الله مالا يعلمون، وأن أمر الخلافة لله يضعه سبحانه حيث يشاء فييسر كلّ مخلوق لما خلقه له، فالملائكة مخلوقة لغير ما خلق له آدم – عليه السلام – والله يعلم الغيب ويعلم ما يبدون وما كانوايكتمون.
“After Allah (glorified is He!) explained that He is the Giver and Taker of life, the Creator of the heavens and the earth and that He knows everything, Allah recalls the many favours He has given human beings.[2] All of this is to generate astonishment and rebuke for those who deny His existence despite these bounties and favours He gave them. Rather than being a reason for them to believe in Him and remain on the Straight Path, they disbelieved and misguided others. Of the many blessings, favours and bounties Allah gave to Adam (upon him be peace) one is entrusting him with the responsibility of being khalifa [s: of Allah] on the earth.[3] The Angels asked for an explanation from Allah regarding this matter of entrusting Adam with the responsibility instead of them because they continuously worship Allah, day and night, singing Allah’s praises and glorifying Him while at the same time human beings will corrupt and shed blood from what they learned of their [s: i.e. human being’s] condition having been informed of it by Allah. Allah replied to them that He (glorified is He!) honoured and distinguished Adam with a favour He never gave to them and that bounty and favour was that Allah taught Adam all the names (asma’), i.e. all the meanings of the word (musammiyat) in respect to the attributes and properties of all creatures as well as their senses and significations.[4] Allah did not teach this to the Angels. This is so that Adam can properly utilise this information to generate thoughts with which to flourish on earth and so fulfill the entrusted responsibility of beingkhalifa in it.[5] Allah explained to the Angels that Adam knew by the bounty and grace of Allah what they did not know and the matter of khilafa is something Allah (glory be to He!) gives to whoever He wants and that Allah makes easy for His creation [s: to fulfill] what He created them for. Angels have been created for other than what Adam (upon him be peace) was created for. Allah alone knows the unseen (ghayb) and alone knows what they openly do and what they hide…”[6]
  • Allah has given us countless blessings, favours and bounties.
  • Allah reminds us of these bounties because we humans habitually forget them.
  • For some people, despite the countless favours Allah has given, still for one reason or another, deny His existence and turn away from Him.
  • The Angels asked Allah the reason why He is administering a vice-regency/representative (khalifa) on earth if the result will be corruption and bloodshed and Allah replies that He is Omniscient and is aware of matters not disclosed or known and that there is an underlying greater purpose.
  • One of the immense favours Allah gave to Adam (as) is that He taught him all the realities of names (haqa’iq al-ashya’) and their properties (khawassuha).
  • The reason why this is an immense favour and blessing is that by knowing the realities of things and their properties thoughts can be produced (because accumulated prior information is one of the requisite elements  to enable a judgment on things to occur) that can then be used to flourish on earth and fulfill the trust Allah created him for.
  • Allah grants khilafa to whoever He wants.
  • Allah creates for His creation whatever is needed to make fulfilling their assigned purpose and task easier and in this case the realities of the meanings of words are necessary to enable fulfilling the task of representing Allah on earth to rule by His Law, administer His commands and to progress and develop – all these require thoughts.
  • Allah creates different categories of creation with different purposes, e.g. Angels are created for a purpose and human beings have been created for a purpose and so there is no reason why Allah should overlap the purposes of two different categories.
And Allah alone knows best.
And with Him is all success.

[1] The meaning of the Arabic word “ja`il”/ جاعل amongst other meanings can either be ‘to create’ or ‘to make’. “And regarding Allah’s saying {I will put on earth a khalifa}, there is disagreement over the meaning of {ja`il} with two opinions: The first is that it means ‘khaliq’ [s: to create] and the second is that it means ‘ja`il’ [s: to make] because the reality of making something, is doing something [s: to something already pre-existing] in a certain manner whereas to create something is to bring that thing out of non-existence [s: from nothing]…” Imam al-Mawardi, al-Nukat wa ’l-`Uyun, vol.1, p.31.
وقوله تعالى: { إِنِّي جَاعِلٌ في الأَرْضِ خَلِيفَةً } اختلف في معنى { جاعل } على وجهين: أحدهما: أنه بمعنى خالق. والثاني: بمعنى جاعل، لأن حقيقة الجَعْل فِعْلُ الشيء على صفةٍ، وحقيقة الإحداث إيجاد الشيء بعد العدم.
[2] Imam al-Mawardi writes: “[...] that Allah Most High after reminding His creation of His favours He created for them on earth, He reminds of the favour He gave to their father Adam {When your Lord said to the Angels I will create on a earth a khalifa}. This is the opinion of al-Mufaddal…” See al-Nukat wa ’l-`Uyun, vol.1, p.31.
أن الله تعالى لما ذكَّر خلقه نِعَمَهُ عليهم بما خلقه لهم في الأرض، ذكّرهم نِعَمَهُ على أبيهم آدَمَ { إذ قال ربك للملائكة إني جاعل في الأرض خليفة } ، وهذا قول المفضَّل.
[3] Imam Ibn al-Jawzi writes regarding he meaning of the word “khalifa”: “Regarding the meaning of the word ‘khalifa’, there are two opinions: One of the meanings is that he khalifa of Allah Most High in establishing His Law, proving His oneness and ruling His creation. This is the opinion of Ibn Mas`ud and Mujahid. The second opinion is that it means succeeding someone who came before on earth. This is the opinion of Ibn `Abbas and Hasan…” Zad al-Masir, vol.1, p.2:
وفي معنى خلافة آدم قولان. أحدهما: أنه خليفة عن الله تعالى في إقامة شرعه، ودلائل توحيده، والحكم في خلقه، وهذا قول ابن مسعود ومجاهد. والثاني: أنه خلف من سلف في الأرض قبله، وهذا قول ابن عباس والحسن.

[4] Imam al-Razi comments: “The second discussion: some people hold that {And He taught Adam the names of all things} means Allah taught Adam the attributes and properties of things, their descriptions and their specific attributes…” See Mafatih al-Ghayb, vol.1, p.176:
المسألة الثانية: من الناس من قال قوله: { وَعَلَّمَ ءادَمَ ٱلاسْمَاء كُلَّهَا } أي علمه صفات الأشياء ونعوتها وخواصها والدليل عليه أن الاسم اشتقاقه إما من السمة أو من السمو، فإن كان من السمة كان الاسم هو العلامة وصفات الأشياء ونعوتها وخواصها دالة على ماهياتها، فصح أن يكون المراد من الأسماء: الصفات، وإن كان من السمو فكذلك لأن دليل الشيء كالمرتفع على ذلك الشيء فإن العلم بالدليل حاصل قبل العلم بالمدلول، فكان الدليل أسمى في الحقيقة، فثبت أنه لا امتناع في اللغة أن يكون المراد من الاسم الصفة
[5] For a detailed account of this tafsir, see Sh. `Ata’ Ibn Khaili,’s al-Taysir fi Usul al-Tafsir, pp.68-70 and cf. Imam al-Nabhani, al-Shakhsiyya al-Islamiyya, vol.3, pp.122-125 discussion on language and designating words (wad` al-kalimat).
[6] Sh. `Ata’ Ibn Khaili, al-Taysir fi Usul al-Tafsir, pp.67-68.

1 comment:

Aamir said...

سلام علیکم

You are putting Tafseer but you should also create a separate link button for it like you created Usul , Fiqh m Aqeedah etc, wo that when someone search it finds it easilty

Aamir Zeb