Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tafseer: Tawbah - When it will not be accepted.


بـسـم الله والحـمـد لله والـصلاة والـسـلام عــلى رسـول الله، وبـعـد

From the Tafaaseer of Ibn Katheer and al-Sa`dee رحمهم الله on the saying of Allaah تعالى:

﴿إِنَّمَا التَّوْبَةُ عَلَى اللَّهِ لِلَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ السُّوءَ بِجَهَـلَةٍ ثُمَّ يَتُوبُونَ مِن قَرِيبٍ فَأُوْلَـئِكَ يَتُوبُ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلِيماً حَكِيماً - وَلَيْسَتِ التَّوْبَةُ لِلَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ السَّيِّئَـتِ حَتَّى إِذَا حَضَرَ أَحَدَهُمُ الْمَوْتُ قَالَ إِنِّى تُبْتُ الاٌّنَ وَلاَ الَّذِينَ يَمُوتُونَ وَهُمْ كُفَّارٌ أُوْلَـئِكَ أَعْتَدْنَا لَهُمْ عَذَاباً أَلِيماً﴾

{Allaah accepts only the repentance of those who do evil in ignorance and foolishness and repent soon (afterwards); it is they to whom Allaah will forgive and Allaah is Ever All-Knower, All-Wise. And of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil deeds until death faces one of them and he says: “Now I repent”, nor of those who die while they are disbelievers. For them, We have prepared a painful torment.} [Surah al-Nisaa (4): 17-18]


1.       Tafseer Ibn Katheer:

Allaah تعالى states that He accepts repentance of the servant who commits an error in ignorance and then repents, even just before he sees the angel who captures the soul, before his soul reaches his throat.

Mujaahid and others said, “Every person who disobeys Allaah by mistake, or intentionally is ignorant, until he refrains from the sin.”

Qataadah said that Abu Al-`Aliyah narrated that the Companions of the Messenger of Allaah used to say, “Every sin that the servant commits, he commits out of ignorance.”

`Abdur-Razzaaq narrated that, Ma`mar said that Qataadah said that, “the Companions of the Messenger of Allaah agreed that every sin that is committed intentionally or otherwise, is committed in ignorance.”

Ibn Jurayj said, `Abdullaah bin Katheer narrated to me that Mujaahid said, “Every person who disobeys Allaah (even willfully), is ignorant while committing the act of disobedience.”

Ibn Jurayj said, “`Ata' bin Abi Rabah told me something similar.”

Abu Saalih said that Ibn `Abbaas commented, “It is because of one's ignorance that he commits the error.”

`Ali bin Abi Talhah reported that Ibn `Abbaas said about the Ayah:

﴿ثُمَّ يَتُوبُونَ مِن قَرِيبٍ﴾

{and repent soon (afterwards)}, "Until just before he (or she) looks at the angel of death.”

Ad-Dahhak said, "Everything before death is `soon (afterwards).'”

Al-Hasan Al-Basri said about the Aayah:

﴿ثُمَّ يَتُوبُونَ مِن قَرِيبٍ﴾

{and repent soon (afterwards)}, "Just before his last breath leaves his throat.''

`Ikrimah said, “All of this life is `soon (afterwards).”

Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn `Umar said that the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم said,

إِنَّ اللهَ يَقْبَلُ تَوْبَةَ الْعَبْدِمَالَمْ يُغَرْغِر

“Allaah accepts the repentance of the servant as long as the soul does not reach the throat.”

This Hadeeth was also collected by At-Tirmidhee and Ibn Maajah, and At-Tirmidhee said, "Hasan Gharib'' [Shaikh al-Albaanee graded this as “Hasan”].

By mistake, Ibn Maajah mentioned that this Hadith was narrated through `Abdullah bin `Amr. However, what is correct is that `Abdullah bin `Umar bin Al-Khattaab was the narrator.

Allaah تعالى said,

﴿فَأُوْلَـئِكَ يَتُوبُ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلِيماً حَكِيماً﴾

{It is they to whom Allaah will forgive and Allaah is Ever All-Knower, All-Wise.} Surely, when hope in continued living diminishes, the angel of death comes forth and the soul reaches the throat, approaches the chest and arrives at the state where it is being gradually pulled out, then there is no accepted repentance, nor a way out of that certain end. Hence Allaah's statements,

﴿وَلَيْسَتِ التَّوْبَةُ لِلَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ السَّيِّئَـتِ حَتَّى إِذَا حَضَرَ أَحَدَهُمُ الْمَوْتُ قَالَ إِنِّى تُبْتُ الاٌّنَ﴾

{And of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil deeds until death faces one of them and he says: "Now I repent,”}

and,
﴿فَلَمَّا رَأَوْاْ بَأْسَنَا قَالُواْ ءَامَنَّا بِاللَّهِ وَحْدَهُ﴾

{So when they saw Our punishment, they said: “We believe in Allaah Alone...”} [Surah Ghaafir (40):84]

Allaah تعالى decided that repentance shall not be accepted from the people of the earth when the sun rises from the west, as Allaah said,

﴿يَوْمَ يَأْتِى بَعْضُ ءَايَـتِ رَبِّكَ لاَ يَنفَعُ نَفْسًا إِيمَانُهَا لَمْ تَكُنْ ءَامَنَتْ مِن قَبْلُ أَوْ كَسَبَتْ فِى إِيمَـنِهَا خَيْرًا﴾

{The day that some of the signs of your Lord do come, no good will it do to a person to believe then, if he believed not before, nor earned good through his faith.} [Surah al-An`aam (6): 158].

Allaah تعالى said,
﴿وَلاَ الَّذِينَ يَمُوتُونَ وَهُمْ كُفَّارٌ﴾

{nor of those who die while they are disbelievers.} Consequently, when the disbeliever dies while still a disbeliever and polytheist, his sorrow and repentance shall not avail him. If he were to ransom himself, even with the earth's fill of gold, it will not be accepted from him.

Ibn `Abbaas, Abu Al-`Aliyah and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas said that the Ayah:

﴿وَلاَ الَّذِينَ يَمُوتُونَ وَهُمْ كُفَّارٌ﴾

{nor of those who die while they are disbelievers}, was revealed about the people of Shirk.

Imaam Ahmad recorded that Usamah bin Salman said that Abu Dharr said that the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسام said,

إِنَّ اللهَ يَقْبَلُ تَوْبَةَ عَبْدِهِ أَوْ يَغْفِرُ لِعَبْدِهِ مَالَمْ يَقَعِ الْحِجَاب

“Allaah accepts the repentance of His servant, or forgives His servant, as long as the veil does not drop.”

They asked, "And what does the drop of the veil mean '' He said,

أَنْ تَخْرُجَ النَّفْسُ وَهِيَ مُشْرِكَة

“When the soul is removed while one is a polytheist.” [This Hadeeth has been graded weak by Shaikh al-Albaanee in Mishkaat al-Masaabih]

Allaah تعالى then said,
﴿أُوْلَـئِكَ أَعْتَدْنَا لَهُمْ عَذَاباً أَلِيماً﴾

{For them We have prepared a painful torment}, torment that is severe, eternal and enormous.

--End of quote from Tafseer Ibn Katheer.


2.       Tafseer as-Sa`dee:

Forgiveness from Allaah for His slave is of two types: firstly: Allaah facilitates and guides the person to seek forgiveness*; and secondly: He accepts the repentance, once the person has repented.

* Translators note: An example is that Allaah taught Aadam عليه السلام the words of repentance and then forgave him {Then Adam received from his Lord Words. And his Lord pardoned him (accepted his repentance). Verily, He is the One Who forgives (accepts repentance), the Most Merciful.} [Surah al-Baqarah (2): 37]

He تعالى informed us here that that He has enjoined upon Himself to accept the repentance, as a generosity from Him to the one who commits a sinful act.

{Out of ignorance} i.e. ignorance about its consequences and about the wrath of Allaah and His punishment, and that Allaah is seeing him and watching him, and the ignorance of it devolved due to lack on Imaan. According to this every sinner is an ignorant person even if he knew about its prohibition.

Rather the knowledge about its prohibition is the condition for it to be punishable.

﴿ ثُمَّ يَتُوبُونَ مِنْ قَرِيبٍ

{and repent soon (afterwards)} means: then repent before the agony of death.

Verily Allaah accepts the repentance of the slave if he repents before the agony of death and before (the appearance of) the certain punishment (from Allaah). But after the death has approached, the repentance is not accepted from the sinner, nor turning back (i.e. accepting of Islaam) by the kuffaar.


As Allaah تعالى has said about Fir`aoun:

﴿حَتَّى إِذَآ أَدْرَكَهُ الْغَرَقُ قَالَ ءَامَنتُ أَنَّهُ لا إِلِـهَ إِلاَّ الَّذِى ءَامَنَتْ بِهِ بَنواْ إِسْرَءِيلَ﴾

{till when drowning overtook him, he (Fir`aoun) said: "I believe that none has the right to be worshipped but He in Whom the Children of Israel believe} [Surah Yunus (10): 91]


﴿فَلَمَّا رَأَوْاْ بَأْسَنَا قَالُواْ ءَامَنَّا بِاللَّهِ وَحْدَهُ وَكَـفَرْنَا بِمَا كُنَّا بِهِ مُشْرِكِينَ * فَلَمْ يَكُ يَنفَعُهُمْ إِيمَـنُهُمْ لَمَّا رَأَوْاْ بَأْسَنَا سُنَّةَ اللَّهِ الَّتِى قَدْ خَلَتْ فِى عِبَادِهِ﴾

{So when they saw Our punishment, they said: "We believe in Allah Alone and reject (all) that we used to associate with Him as (His) partners.'') (85. Then their Faith could not avail them when they saw Our punishment. (Like) this has been the way of Allah in dealing with His servants.} [Surah Ghaafir (40): 84-85]


And He تعالى said here:
﴿وَلَيْسَتِ التَّوْبَةُ لِلَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ السَّيِّئَاتِ

{And of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil deeds} means: the sins which are apart from Kufr.

﴿حَتَّى إِذَا حَضَرَ أَحَدَهُمُ الْمَوْتُ قَالَ إِنِّي تُبْتُ الآنَ وَلا الَّذِينَ يَمُوتُونَ وَهُمْ كُفَّارٌ أُولَئِكَ أَعْتَدْنَا لَهُمْ عَذَابًا أَلِيمًا

{until death faces one of them and he says: "Now I repent;'' nor of those who die while they are disbelievers. For them, We have prepared a painful torment.}

This is because the repentance in this situation is a forced one (i.e. one has no choice but to repent because of the approaching death or punishment) which does not benefit the one who repents. The repentance which benefits is the one which is done out of willingness and choice.

And in His تعالى saying: {repent soon (afterwards)}, the implied meaning is the remorse (one feels) soon after the sin has been committed. So it means: the one who feels remorseful soon after the sin has been committed and repents to Allaah (that he will not commit the sin again) and regrets over it, then Allaah will accept his repentance. Opposite to the one who persists in his sins, till it becomes an established habit in him, and so it becomes difficult for him to repent. So apparently, it is that he is not facilitated towards repentance; nor guided/helped towards its means.

Like the one who does evil deeds knowing with certainty and surety that Allaah is watching him, but is careless, then such a one closes upon himself the door of Mercy.

And from His تعالى knowledge is that He knows the one who sincerely repents from the one who is trying to deceive. So He, out of His Wisdom, rewards each one accordingly. And from His Wisdom is that He assists whom He Wills, out of His Wisdom and Mercy, towards repentance. And out of Wisdom and Justice, He does not aid the other towards repentance. And Allaah knows best.

--End of quote from Tafseer al-Sa`dee


On how to repent, see the following link:

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