In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Tafseer Al-Baqarah Ayaat 151-152
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala reminds His believing servants with what He has endowed them by sending Muhammad salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam as a Messenger to them, reciting to them His clear ayaat and purifying and cleansing them from the worst types of behavior, the ills of the souls and the acts of jahiliyah [pre-Islamic era]. The Messenger salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam also takes them away from the darkness (of disbelief) to the light (of faith) and teaches them the Book, the Qur’an, and the Hikmah [wisdom], which is his Sunnah. He also teaches them what they knew not. During the time of jahiliyah, they used to utter foolish statements. Later on, with the blessing of the Prophet’s Message and the goodness of his prophecy, they were elevated to the status of the Awliya [loyal friends of Allah] and the rank of the scholars. Hence, they acquired the deepest knowledge amongst the people, the most pious hearts, and the most truthful tongues.
In ayah 164 of Surah Aal-Imran, Allah subhanahu wa ta’alaa tells that the sending of the Messenger salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was a great favor on the believers:
لَقَدْ مَنَّ اللَّهُ عَلَى الْمُؤمِنِينَ إِذْ بَعَثَ فِيهِمْ رَسُولاً مِّنْ أَنفُسِهِمْ يَتْلُواْ عَلَيْهِمْ ءَايَـتِهِ وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ
“Indeed, Allah conferred a great favor on the believers when He sent among them a Messenger (Muhammad) from among themselves, reciting unto them His ayaat (the Qur’an), and purifying them (from sins).” (3:164)
A similar ayah also appears in Surah Al-Baqarah ayah 129.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has criticized those who do not give this bounty its due consideration, as we read in Surah Ibraheem ayah 28,
“Have you not seen those who have changed the Blessings of Allah into disbelief (by denying Prophet Muhammad and his Message of Islam), and caused their people to dwell in the house of destruction?” (14: 28).
Ibn ‘Abbas radhiAllahu ‘anhu commented, “Allah’s favor means Muhammad (salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).” Therefore, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has commanded the believers to affirm this favor and to appreciate it by thanking and remembering Him.
“Therefore remember Me. I will remember you.”
Hasan Al-Basri commented that it means: Remember Me regarding what I have commanded you and I will remember you regarding what I have compelled Myself to do for your benefit (i.e., His rewards and forgiveness).
An authentic hadeeth states:
يَقُولُ اللهُ تَعَالَى: مَنْ ذَكَرَنِي فِي نَفْسِهِ ذَكَرْتُهُ فِي نَفْسِي وَمَنْ ذَكَرَنِي فِي مَلَأٍ ذَكَرْتُهُ فِي مَلَأٍ خَيْرٍ مِنْه
“Allah the Exalted said, ‘Whoever mentions Me to himself, then I will mention him to Myself; and whoever mentions Me in a gathering, I will mention him in a better gathering.’”
Imam Ahmad reported that Anas radhiAllahu ‘anhu narrated that Allah’s Messenger salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:
قَالَ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ: يَا ابْنَ آدَمَ، إِنْ ذَكَرْتَنِي فِي نَفْسِكَ ذَكَرْتُك فِي نَفْسِي، إِنْ ذَكَرْتَنِي فِي مَلَإٍ ذكَرْتُكَ فِي مَلَإٍ مِنَ الْمَلَائِكَةِ أَوْ قَالَ: فِي مَلَإٍ خَيْرٍ مِنْهُ وَإِنْ دَنَوْتَ مِنِّي شِبْرًا دَنَوْتُ مِنْكَ ذِرَاعًا، وَإِنْ دَنَوْتَ مِنِّي ذِرَاعًا دَنَوْتُ مِنْكَ بَاعًا، وَإنْ أَتَيْتَنِي تَمْشِي أَتَيْتُكَ هَرْوَلَة
“Allah the Exalted said, ‘O son of Adam! If you mention Me to yourself, I will mention you to Myself. If you mention Me in a gathering, I will mention you in a gathering of the angels (or said in a better gathering). If you draw closer to Me by a hand span, I will draw closer to you by forearm’s length. If you draw closer to Me by a forearm’s length, I will draw closer to you by an arm’s length. And if you come to Me walking, I will come to you running.” [Saheeh Bukhari].
وَاشْكُرُواْ لِي وَلاَ تَكْفُرُونِ
“…and be grateful to Me (for My countless favors on you) and never be ungrateful to Me.”
In this ayah, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala commands that He be thanked and appreciated, and promises even more rewards for thanking Him. In another ayah, He says: “If you give thanks (by accepting faith and worshiping none but Allah), I will give you more (of My blessings); but if you are thankless, verily, My punishment is indeed severe.” [Ibraheem 14: 7]
Abu Raja’ Al-`Utaridi said: `Imran bin Husayn came by us once wearing a nice silk garment that we never saw him wear before or afterwards. He said, “Allah’s Messenger salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:
مَنْ أَنْعَمَ اللهُ عَلَيْهِ نِعْمَةً فَإِنَّ اللهَ يُحِبُّ أَنْ يَرَى أَثَرَ نِعْمَتِهِ عَلَى خَلْقِه «عَلَى عَبْدِه»
“Those whom Allah has favored with a bounty, then Allah likes to see the effect of His bounty on His creation),” or he said, “on His servant” – according to Ruh (one of the narrators of the hadeeth).
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