Tafsir / The Prophet Muhammad

Imam al-Baydawi on the Exalted Status of the Prophet

“Tafsir: 94:4 –

Imam al-Baydawi on the Elevated Status of the Prophet”

***

  • Imam al-Baydawi (d. 685/1286)1 comments on verse 4 of Surat al-Sharh regarding the exalted status of the Prophet (saw):

Arabic text:

{وَرَفَعْنَا لَكَ ذِكْرَكَ} بالنبوة وغيرها، وأي رفع مثل أن قرن اسمه باسمه تعالى في كلمتي الشهادة وجعل طاعته طاعته، وصلى عليه في ملائكته وأمر المؤمنين بالصلاة عليه وخاطبه بالألقاب، وإنما زاد { لَكَ } ليكون إبهاماً قبل إيضاح فيفيد المبالغة.

English Translation:

“{And we have raised you in your remembrance} in Prophethood (bi ’l-nabuwwah) and aspects other than that. And what is more exalted than having his name joined with the Name [of Allah] the Most High as is expressed in the two testifications of faith; to make obedience to him (ta`athu) as obedience [to Allah]; to have [Allah] and the angels impart salutations upon him and has orderedthe believers to also impart salutations on him and has addressed [s: the Prophet] with [s: and loving] honorific   titles (alalqab). And the phrase ‘for you’ (la-ka) was added so that there is ambiguity before disambiguation to denote rhetorical exaggeration (mubalaghah)…” (see: Anwar al-Tanzil, vol.5, p.505).

Notes:

  • The Prophet’s name is joined with Allah’s Exalted name as declared in the shahadatayn (‘two testifications of faith’); this itself is sufficient to raise the rank of the Messenger of Allah to the highest.
  • Obedience to the Messenger is equated with obedience to Allah (see Q.5:92).
  • Allah used honorific and loving titles (e.g. O Muddaththir/shrouded one – 74:1; O Mudhakkir/one who reminds – 88:21; O Muzzammil/’wrapped up in a garment’  – 73:1), etc.
  • Allah Himself with the celestial host of angels imparts salutations on the Prophet and has ordered all believers to do the same and this is imparted every day in the prayers as well as acts of dhikr (‘remembrance of Allah’).
  • In order to remove any doubts as to the referent in verse 4 being the Prophet, Allah adds ‘la-ka’ (‘to you/for you/for your sake’). This is also an instance of grammatical taqdim (‘fronting’) in order to denote ikhtisas (‘specification’) for increase in esteem and honour.
  • Thus, Allah exalts the status of His Prophet in both the recollection of the human heart and mind as well as the chorus of Angels in the Heavens; thus he is raised beyond comparison.

Peace and blessings upon the exalted Messenger,

His companions and family

And all those who follow him.

Amin.

s.z.c.

 _______________________

[1] For some basic references on Imam al-Baydawi, see P. G. Riddell, “al-Baydawi” in The Qur’an: An Encyclopaedia, ed. by O. Leaman, pp.116-118 and I. Lutpi, “AlBaydawi’s Life and Works”, Islamic Studies, XVIII, (1979), pp.311-321.

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