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Tafseer Soorah al-Kawthar
Author/Source: Tafseer Ibn Katheer  (http://www.islaam.com/Article.aspx?id=353) Posted by: Nadya Omer
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In the Name of Allaah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

1. Verily, We have given you al-Kawthar,
2. So turn in prayer to your Lord and sacrifice,
3. For he who makes you angry, he will be cut off.

It is narrated that Anas ibn Maalik said, "The Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam was dozing and then he raised his head and smiled, then either he said to them (the Companions), or they said to him: "Why did you laugh?" The he sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam said: "Verily, a soorah has been revealed to me." Then he recited, < In the Name of Allaah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful, Verily We have given you Al-Kawthar > to the end of the Soorah. The he asked, "Do you know what Al-Kawthar is?" They replied, "Allaah and His Messenger know best." He said: "It is a river granted to me by my Lord, the Almighty, the All-powerful in Paradise, in which is great goodness; its drinking vessels are as (limitless as) the heavenly bodies. It refuses to allow one of the slaves to drink, and the Prophet will say: "Oh, my Lord! He is one of my community." But it will be said to him: "You know nothing of the innovations (in religion) that they practiced after you.

It has been narrated about the pool of Al-Kawthar that it has two streams running into it from the heavens which emanate from the river known as Al-Kawthar and its drinking vessels are as limitless as the stars in the sky. (Narrated by Muslim, Abu Dawood and An-Nasaa'i) Many qurraa' (scholars of Quranic recitation) have taken this as proof that the Soorah was revealed in Madinah, while many fuqahaa' have deduced from it that the basmalah is an integral part of the Soorah and that it was revealed from it.

As for the Words of Allaah: < Verily, We have given you Al-Kawthar > it has already been mentioned that Al-Kawthar is a river in Paradise and Imaam Ahmad has narrated, on the authority of Anas, that he recited this Soorah and then he said: "The Messenger of Allah sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam said: "I have been given Al-Kawthar and it is a flowing river in Paradise which does not flow along a normal channel, but instead its banks are domes of pearl and I struck its earth with my hand and it was a strong-smelling musk, and its pebbles were pearls." Ibn Jareer has narrated, on the authority of Anas, that he asked the Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam about Al-Kawthar and he said: "It is a river in Paradise, given to me by my Lord, whose colour is whiter than milk and whose taste is sweeter than honey; upon it are birds whose necks are like those of camels." `Umar said: "Oh, Messenger of Allaah! It is an ostrich." He sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam replied: "Its meat is more delicate and tender than that, O `Umar."

Al-Bukhaari relates on the authority of Ibn `Abbaas, that he said Al-Kawthar is the blessings bestowed on the Messenger sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam by Allaah. Abu Bishr then told Sa`eed ibn Jubair (who narrated it from Ibn `Abbaas): "But people say that it is a river in Paradise." Sa`eed replied: "The river in Paradise is from the blessings bestowed by Allaah upon him sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam. Mujaahid said, "It is the abundant blessings of this world and the Hereafter." And it has been confirmed that Ibn `Abbaas also explained it (Al-Kawthar) as being a river.

Ibn Jareer narrates on the authority of Ibn `Abbaas that he said: "Al-Kawthar is a river in Paradise, its banks are of gold and silver and its bed is of precious stones and pearls and its water is whiter than snow and sweeter than honey." Something very similar was narrated on the authority of Ibn `Umar and At-Tirmizi narrates something like it in a mawqoof form, while Ahmad has narrated it in a marfoo` form.

< So turn in prayer to your Lord and sacrifice > That is, since We have given you such blessings in this world and in the Hereafter, including the river described previously, then devote your obligatory and your optional prayers to your Lord Alone, likewise your sacrifices and all your acts of worship. Worship Him Alone, without associating any partners with Him and sacrifice in His Name Alone, without associating any partners with Him, as in the Words of Allaah: < Say: Verily, my prayer and my sacrifice and my life and my death are for Allaah, the Lord of the worlds. No partner has He, this I have been commanded to do and I am the first to submit [to Allaah]." > (Soorah Al-An`aam 6:162) Ibn `Abbaas, `Ataa', `Ikrimah, Mujaahid and Al-Hasan are all agreed that the word nahr means halaal slaughter - most of the scholars from amongst the pious Salaf agreed with this and it is contrary to the practices of idolaters who prostrated themselves before false gods and sacrificed animals in their name. Allaah, Most High says: < And do not eat of that which was not slaughtered in the Name of Allaah > (Soorah Al-An`aam 6:121) The word nahr was also interpreted as meaning the position of the hands when slaughtering and to the raising of the hands in prayer, at the time of the opening takbeer (saying "Allaahu Akbar" in the prayer) and an instruction to face the Qiblah (the direction which Muslims face when they pray, i.e. the Ka`bah in Makkah) when slaughtering; but all of these sayings are very unusual, and the correct interpretation is the first, i.e. that it refers to halaal slaughter. Because of this, the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam, used to pray `Eed prayer before slaughtering an animal, and he said: "Whoever prayed and then slaughtered has performed the slaughter (correctly) and whosoever slaughters before prayer, there is no slaughter for him." Then a Companion named Abu Bardah stood up and said, "Oh, Messenger of Allaah! I have slaughtered my sheep before the prayer for I knew that today was a day on which the meat would be desirable (for slaughter)." He sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam said: "Your sheep is merely meat (i.e. it is not acceptable as a sacrifice). Abu Bardah then asked: "I have a young, female goat which is dearer to me than two sheep - is this sufficient recompense from me?" The Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam said: "It would recompense you but it would not recompense anyone after you." The correct interpretation of the verse, according to Ibn Jareer is: So make all your prayers for your Lord and for Him Alone and for no other, neither partner, nor deity; likewise make your sacrifices for Him Alone, not to any idols - in gratitude to Him for the provision and generosity which He has given you which is without equal.

< For he who makes you angry, he will be cut off > That is, the one who hates you, oh, Muhammad, and hates that which you have brought (i.e. the Message of guidance, truth and proof most clear and light most evident) is defective, insignificant, despised and is cut off (from remembrance).

According to Ibn `Abbaas, Mujaahid, Sa`eed ibn Jubair and Qataadah, the Soorah was revealed in regard to Al-`Aas ibn Waa'il, for it was said that Al-`Aas ibn Waa'il used to say, whenever Allaah's Messenger, sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam, was mentioned: "Leave him, for he is a man who is cut off and is of no consequence, and if he were killed, he would be forgotten." And so Allaah revealed this Soorah. It was also said that it was revealed concerning `Uqbah ibn Abi Mu`eet

Ibn `Abbaas and `Ikrimah are reported to have said that it was revealed in regard to Ka`b ibn al-Ashraf and a number of the pagans of Quraish.

Al-Bazaar reports from ibn `Abbaas sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam that Ka`b ibn Al-Ashraf approached Makkah and the people of Quraish said: "You are their leader (i.e. the people of Makkah). Do you not see this weak, feeble, despised man, who is without family or any who might help him and who is cut off from his own people? He claims that he is better than we! We are the people of (the House of) the pilgrims, the custodians (of the Ka`bah), the suppliers of water (to the pilgrims)." He said: "You are better than he." So Allaah revealed this Soorah. This is an authentic narration.

'Ataa` said that it was revealed concerning Abu Lahab; this was when the Prophet's son died and Abu Lahab when to the polytheists and said: "When his sons die, he will no longer be remembered." Far from that! On the contrary, Allaah has preserved his memory for all the world to witness and has placed the responsibility of (implementing) His Revealed Law upon their shoulders forever, until the Day of Congregation and the appointed time arrives - peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him always till the Day of Assembly. This is the end of the tafseer of Soorah Al-Kawthar, all praise is due to Allaah and from His proceeds all Grace.

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