Today we did the Tafseer and Word Analysis of Ayatul Kursi, and because it’s so amazing mashaAllah, I have to share right away. (It seems every time we have a class, I think it’s the best one, and then next class, the Qur’an just manages to wow me again… amazing isn’t it? 😛 )
A Brief Introduction:
This is called the great ayah of the Qur’an (the greatest surah is Surah Ikhlaas which is said to be 1/3 of the Qur’an). It teaches us to use the names of Allah in our du’aa. Ibn Taymiyyah rahimahuAllah said that no ayah has what is in this ayah. Of it’s virtues:
- If you recite it at night, no shaytaan will be able to bother you
- If you recite it after your fardh salah, Allah protects you until the next salah
- If you recite it after every fardh salah, death is the only thing seperating you from Jannah
Ayatul Kursi imparts the message of Tawheed – it gives an introduction to who Allah is.
Now, Word Analysis and Tafseer, section by section:
ٱللَّهُ لَآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ – Allah, there is no God but He
Ilah comes from the root hamza, laam, ha and means to worship. Ilah is the one who is worshipped. It is shown dediction and humilty to, and the worship is done with love and respect. This teaches us for ‘Ibaadah, it should also be driven by love and respect.
The problem with the translation given is that people do worship other things besides Allah. We have to take a look at the grammar: The la is called ‘nafi’ – negatory la. It is followed by 2 things: 1. The noun which is negated (‘ism) and 2. The description of the Noun (khabar). Here, there is no description – it is implied ‘bi haqqin.’ This in turn makes the real translation: ‘There is no deity worthy of Worship except Allah’.
This part shows that Allah is the one true Deity.
ٱلۡحَىُّ ٱلۡقَيُّومُ – The Ever Living, the Self-Subsisting
Al Hayy comes from the root haa, ya, ya which means life. Hayat gives a meaning of being alive and existing. It is the opposite of the word death. Al Hayy is the One Who has life and is Alive – He is Ever Living, Eternal, and lives a perfect life. He is always there and He always will be. He is the One who gives life – the Giver of Life.
Al Quyoom comes from the root qaf, wow, meem which means to stand. Qa’im is the one who is established. Al Quyoom is the One who is Established perfectly without any support. It is the One who is independant and doesn’t rely on anyone. It is also the One who Establishes other – the Sustainer of all Existence.
For example, He sustains us, humans, because we cannot live without rizq, air, etc. We need His support. Also, it gives a meaning of He does not die.
لَا تَأۡخُذُهُ ۥ سِنَةٌ۬ وَلَا نَوۡمٌ – No drowsiness takes Him nor any sleep.
Ta`khudo comes from the root hamza, kha, dhaal which means to seize. Sinatun comes from the root wow, seen, noon and means to yawn, drowsiness or sleepiness. It is the inital stage of sleep. Even this does not overtake Allah. Naum comes from the root noon, wow, meem and means sleep.
So, no drowsiness or sleep overtakes Him. He doesn’t even get tired. Only Allah is the One who does not sleep – everything else, plants, animals, human, all sleep. Sleep (and death) both overtake a person. We have no control in that. In Surah Kahf, when it is mentioned how Allah created the heavens and earth, it is also mentioned that no weariness touched Him.
لَّهُ ۥ مَا فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَمَا فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ – (Only) For Him is whatever in the heavens and whatever is in the Earth
The word Lahu means 3 things here: 1. Allah is the Owner – it all belongs to Him. 2. He is the Creator of all the creation. 3. He is the master of all the servants.
To Him belongs everything – He created it and He sustains it. Man has been on Earth for so long yet we still don’t know everything in it. Also, this shows that we should give Allah His right by worshipping Him because everything we have is essentially His.
ۗ مَن ذَا ٱلَّذِى يَشۡفَعُ عِندَهُ ۥۤ إِلَّا بِإِذۡنِهِ – Who is that who intercedes with Him expect without His permission?
He is the Rabb of the Dunya and the Akhirah – even the Prophet, sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam will have to ask for His permission to intercede on the Day of Judgement. On the note of intercession, there are 3 conditons for it to be valid: 1. Allah’s permission 2. Allah is pleased with the interceder 3. Allah is pleaced with who is being interceded for.
يَعۡلَمُ مَا بَيۡنَ أَيۡدِيهِمۡ وَمَا خَلۡفَهُم – He knows what is before them and what is behind them
Bayna aydihim is an expression literally meaning ‘between their two hands.’ It basically means what is in front of them, the creation – what they can see and perceive. Khalfahum is from the root kha, laam, fa and means to be behind. This means what is unknown to the creation – behind them (past) and ahead (future).
Only Allah knows the past, present, and the future. Human beings on the other hand are extremely forgetful (think, what did you eat for dinner 2 weeks ago today? You most likely cannot remember!)
وَلَا يُحِيطُونَ بِشَىۡءٍ۬ مِّنۡ عِلۡمِهِۦۤ إِلَّا بِمَا شَآءَۚ – And they cannot access to anything our of His knowledge except with what He wills
We only know that which Allah wills us to know. In the story of Musa and Khadr, Musa went to go learn from Khadr. They were sitting on a boat and a bird came and dipped its beak into the water to take a drink. Khadr then said that Allah’s knowledge is like the ocean and his is like the water the bird got – subhanAllah so minimal! We only know what Allah taught us and made known – imagine if He didn’t teach us anything!
ۚ وَسِعَ كُرۡسِيُّهُ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضَ – His Footstool is more vast than the heavens and the earth
Wasi’ is from the root wow, seen, ‘ayn and means vast, encloses, contains, comprises. Kursi comes from the root kahf, ra, seen and means literally chair. Keep in mind ‘arsh is a throne so these two are different things. Kursi is said to the footstool in front of the throne. Some say it is a figurative expression for ‘ilm (karasee is a learned man) but others disagree. The strongest and safest opinion is to keep it as it is – a footstool.
It is said the throne (‘arsh) is the largest creation of Allah. The heavens and earth in comparison to the footstool (kursi) is said to be a ring in the desert. The footstool (kursi) in comparison to the throne (‘arsh) is said to be again, a ring in the desert. SubhanAllah. That is barely comprehensible. Allahu Akbar!
وَلَا يَـُٔودُهُ ۥ حِفۡظُهُمَاۚ – And guarding of these two does not tire Him
You`uduhu is from the root hamza, wow, daal and means when something becomes really heavy and you cannot bear to carry it anymore. Hifdhuhuma comes from hifdh and means to guard. Allah is not even tired from guarding the heavnes and the earth, 24/7, 365 days a year, from the beginning of time to the end of time. SubhanAllah. He has no fatigue.
وَهُوَ ٱلۡعَلِىُّ ٱلۡعَظِيمُ – And He is the Most High, the Always Most Great
Al ‘Aliyy comes from the root ‘ayn, laam, wow which means height. ‘Alaa is that which is above everything else. It refers to the height of Allah’s Power and His Position. There is no one above Him. Al ‘Adheem is from the root ‘ayn, dhaw, meem and it means immense power, importance, greatness of power. This shows the Greatness of His Dominion and Attributes.
Ayatul Kursi shows Allah’s Greatness and why He should be worshipped. We should Affirm the 5 names of Allah mentioned (Allah, Al Hayy, Al Quyoom, Al ‘Aliyy, Al ‘Adheem). Know that everything you have is from Allah so it makes giving for the sake of Allah (putting this in context with verse 254 which says to spend in the way of Allah) easy. Allah swt speaks of disbelievers and Bani Israeel earlier on in the Surah and then comes ayatul Kursi. It’s like saying – ‘Look at Who you’re disobeying!’ In verse 253, the messengers were mentioned and how some of them have higher ranks than others. Now Allah is mentioned, showing that He is greater than anyone.
Remember that the Dunya is a means to collect the Akhirah – He, Allah, gave you everything, not needing anything in return, to help you get the Akhirah.
Wa’Allahu ‘alim. If I made a mistake anywhere, please let me know inshaAllah!