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                                                                    Tafsir of Ayat al Kursi

 

The title given to Surah al-Baqarah's 255th ayah by Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is “Ayat al Kursi” which would mean: “The verse (sign) of (Allah)’s Dominion” Literally Kursi means the “Footstool” but literal meaning cannot apply here therefore metaphorical meaning has to be taken into account as this magnificent verse explains Allah’s Existence, Sovereignty, Power, Knowledge rather the Dominion of Allah azza Wajjal.

 

Here we have divided the explanation of this verse into three sections for easy understanding

 

A) Translation of Ayat al Kursi

B) Fadhail (virtues) of Ayat al Kursi according to hadith and also it’s benefits

C) Finally Step by step explanation of this ayah


 

                                                              The Greatest Ayah of Al- Quran

 

 


 

اللَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ ۚ لَا تَأْخُذُهُ سِنَةٌ وَلَا نَوْمٌ ۚ لَّهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ ۗ مَن ذَا الَّذِي يَشْفَعُ عِندَهُ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِهِ ۚ يَعْلَمُ مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمَا خَلْفَهُمْ ۖ وَلَا يُحِيطُونَ بِشَيْءٍ مِّنْ عِلْمِهِ إِلَّا بِمَا شَاءَ ۚ وَسِعَ كُرْسِيُّهُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ ۖ وَلَا يَئُودُهُ حِفْظُهُمَا ۚ وَهُوَ الْعَلِيُّ الْعَظِيمُ

 

Translation of verse: Allah! There is no god but He,-the Living, the Self-subsisting, Eternal. No slumber can seize Him nor sleep. His are all things in the heavens and on earth. Who is there can intercede in His presence except as He permitteth? He knoweth what (appeareth to His creatures as) before or after or behind them. Nor shall they compass aught of His knowledge except as He willeth. His Throne doth extend over the heavens and the earth, and He feeleth no fatigue in guarding and preserving them for He is the Most High, the Supreme (in glory). [The Glorious Quran 2:255]

The part which says “His Throne (i.e. Kursi) doth extend over the havens and the earth” was underlined above because many translators translate Kursi as throne (Yusuf Ali, Marmaduke Pickthal, Arberry and others) whereas others translate it as “Knowledge (shakir)” and some as Power (Muhammad Asad)” while some left it as Kursi (Imam Ahmed Reza Khan Fadhil Baraili and others). So what Kursi actually means when it is referred to Allah, will be clarified in the lateral part of the article

 

 

 

Fadhail (Virtues) of Ayat al Kursi and it’s benefits


Hadith 1


Ubayy b. Ka'b said: Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: O Abu' al-Mundhir, do you know the verse from the Book of Allah which, according to you, is the greatest? I said: Allah and His Apostle (may peace be upon him) know best. He again said: Abu'l-Mundhir, do you know the verse from the Book of Allah which, according to you, is the greatest? I said: Allah, there is no god but He, the Living, the Eternal. Thereupon he struck me on my breast and said: May knowledge be pleasant for you, O Abu'l-Mundhir!

Reference: Book 004, Number 1768: (Sahih Muslim)

This proves Ayat al Kursi to be most virtuous/greatest verse of Quran al Kareem. 

 

 

Recite it after every prayer!


Hadith 2


It has come in other hadiths

عن أبي أمامة ، قال: قال رسول الله:
«من قرأ آية الكرسي في دبر كل صلاة مكتوبة، لم يمنعه من دخول الجنة إلا أن يموت

Translation: Abi Amama (ra) narrates that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: Whosoever recites Ayat al Kursi after every Prayer then nothing can stop him from entering Paradise except for death (i.e. he will for sure enter paradise after death) [Sunnan Nasai’i al Kubra, (6/30), At-Tabrani in his Al-Kabeer (8/114), Ibn Sunni in Amal al Yawm wal Layla (Page. 43), Imam al-Haythami in Majma az-Zawaid (10/106) where he declared the chain as “HASAN (FAIR)” and others]


Hadith 3


Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah 's Apostle ordered me to guard the Zakat revenue of Ramadan. Then somebody came to me and started stealing of the foodstuff. I caught him and said, "I will take you to Allah's Apostle!" Then Abu Huraira described the whole narration and said: That person said (to me), "Please don't take me to Allah's Apostle and I will tell you a few words by which Allah will benefit you. When you go to your bed, recite Ayat-al-Kursi, (2:255) for then there will be a guard from Allah who will protect you all night long, and Satan will not be able to come near you till dawn." (When the Prophet heard the story) he said (to me), "He (who came to you at night) told you the truth although he is a liar; and it was Satan."

Reference: Volume 6, Book 61, Number 530: (Sahih Bukhari)

 

 

Protection against evil Jinns


وأخرج النسائي وأبو يعلى وابن حبان وأبو الشيخ في العظمة والطبراني والحاكم وصححه وأبو نعيم والبيهقي معا في الدلائل عن أبي بن كعب: أنه كان له جرن فيه تمر فكان يتعاهده فوجده ينقص، فحرسه ذات ليلة فإذا هو بدابة شبه الغلام المحتلم، قال: فسلمت فرد السلام فقلت: ما أنت ! جني أم أنسي؟ قال: جني. قلت: ناولني يدك. فناولني فإذا يداه يدا كلب وشعره شعر كلب، فقلت: هكذا خلق الجن قال: لقد علمت الجن أن ما فيهم من هو أشد مني. قلت: ما حملك على ما صنعت قال: بلغني أنك رجل تحب الصدقة فأحببنا أن نصيب من طعامك. فقال له أبي: فما الذي يجيرنا منكم قال:
 

هذه الآية، آية الكرسي التي في سورة البقرة، من قالها حين يمسي أجير منا حتى يصبح، ومن قالها حين يصبح أجير منا حتى يمسي. فلما أصبح أتى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم. فأخبره، فقال: صدق الخبيث

Translation: Imam Nasai’i, Abu Ya’la, Ibn Hibban, Abu Shaykh in his Al-Azmah, Tabarani, Hakim who declared it Sahih, Abu Nua’ym and Baihaqi in his Dalail narrate from Ubay ibn Ka’b that he used to have a field of dates and he used to guard it but as time passed by he kept less watch over it. One night he planned to guard it, but he saw an (animal) in shape of a young boy. Ubay Ibn Ka’b offered him greetings and he replied back. Ibn Ka’b asked him whether he was a human or Jinn? He replied: He was Jinn! Ubayy asked him to show his hand, Ubayy saw that his hand was like that of a dog and it had hair on it like dog does. Ubayy asked: Are Jinns created in this fashion? He replied: Some Jinns are even more stranger than me. Ubayy asked: Who compelled you to do this (i.e. steal from my field) he replied: I have heard that you love to give Sadaqa so I thought of taking (stealing) something from you. Ubayy asked: What is it that can protect us from you? The Jinn replied: “Ayat al Kursi” which is in Surah al-Baqarah, whosoever recites it in the evening will be safe from our Sharr till the morning, and whosoever recites it in the morning he will be safe from us till evening. On next morning Ibn Ka’b went to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and told him about this, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: The “Khabeeth told the truth” [Imam Jalal ud-din Suyuti in Tafsir Dur ul Munthur, Volume No.2, Page No. 5]

 

 

It benefits us, our children and our houses


وأخرج المحاملي في فوائده عن ابن مسعود قال: قال رجل: يا رسول الله علمني شيئا ينفعني الله به. قال «اقرأ آية الكرسي فإنه يحفظك وذريتك ويحفظ دارك، حتى الدويرات حول دارك 

Translation: Imam al-Mahamli (rah) narrates in his “Fawaid” from Ibn Masud (ra): A man said: O Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) teach me something through which Allah will benefit me. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: Recite Ayat al Kursi, Allah will protect you, your children, also protect your house rather even the houses which are near to yours [Imam Jalal ud-din Suyuti in Dur ul Munthur, (2/6)]



Step by Step explanation:


Now Insha Allah we will try to explain Ayat al Kursi in light of many important Tafsir Books such as Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Tafsir al-Baghawi, Tafsir al Khazin, Tafsir Dur ul Munthur, Tafsir al-Mazhari and others!



{ ٱللَّهُ لاَ إِلَـٰهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ ٱلْحَيُّ ٱلْقَيُّومُ }

Translation: Allah! There is no god but He,-the Living, the Self-subsisting, Eternal.



 

Imam Ibn Kathir (rah) explains :

ٱللَّهُ لاَ إِلَـٰهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ } إخبار بأنه المتفرد بالإلهية لجميع الخلائق { ٱلْحَىُّ ٱلْقَيُّومُ } أي: الحي في نفسه الذي لا يموت أبداً، القيم لغيره. وكان عمر يقرأ: القيام، فجميع الموجودات مفتقرة إليه، وهو غني عنها، ولا قوام لها بدون أمره،

(There is no god but He): It is a statement that He (Allah) is the “ONE AND ONLY” Lord of all creations.

(The Living, the Self-subsisting, Eternal) means: He (Allah) is self-existing (i.e. nothing created him) and that He is ever living who can never die. Qayyum is that (attribute) of Allah through which others exist. He is richest of all and nothing can exist without his order and will. 

 

{ لاَ تَأْخُذُهُ سِنَةٌ وَلاَ نَوْمٌ }


Translation: No slumber can seize Him nor sleep.


 

Explanation by Imam Ibn Kathir (rah)

أي لا يعتريه نقص ولا غفلة ولا ذهول عن خلقه، بل هو قائم على كل نفس بما كسبت، شهيد على كل شيء، لا يغيب عنه شيء، ولا يخفى عليه خافية،

عن ابن عباس، أن بني إسرائيل قالوا: ياموسى، هل ينام ربك ؟ قال: اتقوا الله، فناداه ربه عز وجل ياموسى، سألوك هل ينام ربك، فخذ زجاجتين في يديك، فقم الليلة، ففعل موسى، فلما ذهب من الليل ثلث نعس، فوقع لركبتيه، ثم انتعش فضبطهما، حتى إذا كان آخر الليل نعس، فسقطت الزجاجتان فانكسرتا، فقال: ياموسى، لو كنت أنام لسقطت السماوات والأرض فهلكت كما هلكت الزجاجتان في يديك. فأنزل الله عز وجل على نبيه صلى الله عليه وسلّم آية الكرسي

Translation: (No slumber can seize Him nor sleep) means: Allah could never be negligent, unaware, nor can He err in regards to his creation. Rather He is completely controlling by being aware of what every soul earns. His comprehension upon everything is perfect and nothing can be hidden from His knowledge and there could be no secret kept from him….

Ibn Abbas (ra) narrates: Once Bani Israel questioned Musa (a.s) whether his Lord ever sleeps? Musa (a.s) replied: FEAR HIM! What kind of question is that? Allah called Musa (a.s) and said: Hold 2 bottles in your hands and keep on standing whole night. He followed Allah’s order and did exactly that, but when half of the night went passed he started to slumber and bowed down on his knees, but then he quickly awoke, however in the last part of night he had a deep slumber and both bottles fell from his hands and “GOT BROKEN” Then Allah azza Wajjal said: O Musa! If I sleep then the heavens and the worlds would break into pieces just like these bottles. So Allah revealed this ayah to his Prophet (Muhammad - Peace be upon him) 

 

[Note: Imam Ibn Kathir also narrated another Israeli report in which Musa (a.s) was shown to have asked this question from Allah i.e. whether He sleeps or not, but Imam Ibn Kathir (rah) rejected that report because Prophets cannot ask about such a basic thing, so he finally showed the above report as proof that it was actually the Bani Israel who asked such a thing]
 

 

Dominion, Sultanate and Power of Allah


{ لَّهُ مَا فِي ٱلسَّمَـٰوَاتِ وَمَا فِي ٱلأَرْضِ }


Translation: His are all things in the heavens and on earth.



 

Explanation in light of Imam Ibn Katheer (rah):



إخبار بأن الجميع عبيده وفي ملكه، وتحت قهره وسلطانه، كقوله {إِن كُلُّ مَن فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱڊرْضِ إِڋ ءَاتِى ٱلرَّحْمَـٰنِ عَبْدًا * لَّقَدْ أَحْصَـﯩـٰهُمْ وَعَدَّهُمْ عَدًّا * وَكُلُّهُمْ ءَاتِيهِ يَوْمَ ٱلْقِيَـٰمَةِ فَرْدًا}

Translation: All the servants (including heavens and the worlds) come under His “DOMINION” they also come under his “POWER AND SULTANATE” just like Allah said: Not one of the beings in the heavens and the earth but must come to (Allah) Most Gracious as a servant. He does take an account of them (all), and hath numbered them (all) exactly. And everyone of them will come to Him singly on the Day of Judgment.[Quran 19:93-95]



{ مَن ذَا ٱلَّذِى يَشْفَعُ عِندَهُ إِلاَّ بِإِذْنِهِ }

 

Translation: Who is there can intercede in His presence

except as He permitteth?

 



Explanation in Tafsir al Khazin:



{ من ذا الذي يشفع عنده إلاّ بإذنه } أي بأمره وهذا استفهام إنكاري والمعنى لا يشفع عنده أحد إلاّ بأمره وإرادته، وذاك لأن المشركين زعموا أن الأصنام تشفع لهم فأخبر أنه لا شفاعة لأحد عنده إلاّ ما استثناه بقوله { إلاّ بإذنه } يريد بذلك شفاعة النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم وشفاعة بعض الأنبياء والملائكة وشفاعة المؤمنين بعضهم لبعض 

 

Translation: (Who is there can intercede in His presence except as He permitteth?) It refers to an order and the way of this question is in the form of "Istifahm al-Inkari". This means that nobody can intercede in his presence except by his permission and will. The Mushrikeen used to think that their idols would intercede on their behalf, this is why Allah has explained that no intercession will work in his court except which he permits. Whereas (Except which he permits) refers to Intercession of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), intercession of some prophets, angels and intercession of some Momineen which they will do for some others [Tafsir al Khazin, under 2:255]
 

{يَعْلَمُ مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمَا خَلْفَهُمْۖ}
 

Translation: He knoweth what (appeareth to His creatures as) before or after or behind them.

 



Explanation by Imam Ibn Kathir:


{يَعْلَمُ مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمَا خَلْفَهُمْۖ} دليل على إحاطة علمه بجميع الكائنات، ماضيها وحاضرها ومستقبلها، كقوله إخباراً عن الملائكة {وَمَا نَتَنَزَّلُ إِڑ بِأَمْرِ رَبِّكَۖ لَهُۥ مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِينَا وَمَا خَلْفَنَا وَمَا بَيْنَ ذَٰلِكَۚ وَمَا كَانَ رَبُّكَ نَسِيًّا} .

[He knoweth what (appeareth to His creatures as) before or after or behind them], this is proof of Allah’s knowledge to be encompassing all creations and worlds. The knowledge of past, present and future are included in this, just like Allah said regarding Angels: "We descend not but by command of thy Lord: to Him belongeth what is before us and what is behind us, and what is between: and thy Lord never doth forget (19:64)


{
وَلاَ يُحِيطُونَ بِشَيْءٍ مِّنْ عِلْمِهِ إِلاَّ بِمَا شَآءَ }

 

Translation: Nor shall they compass aught of His knowledge except as He willeth.

 



 

Explanation by Imam al-Khazin:


ولا يحيطون بشيء من علمه} يقال: أحاط بالشيء إذا علمه وهو أن يعلم وجوده وجنسه وقدره وحقيقته, فإذا علمه ووقف عليه وجمعه في قلبه فقد أحاط به والمراد بالعلم المعلوم والمعنى أن أحداً لا يحيط بمعلومات الله تعالى: {إلاّ بما شاء} يعني أن يطلعهم عليه وهم من الأنبياء والرسل ليكون ما يطلعهم عليه من علم غيبه دليلاً على نبوتهم كما قال تعالى: {فلا يظهر على غيبه أحداً إلاّ من ارتضى من رسول}
 
 
Translation: (Nor shall they compass aught of His knowledge except as He willeth) refers to “Total comprehension” for example when someone gets knowledge of something’s existence, it's nature, quantity, “(DEEP) REALITY” and he embeds this completely in his heart then it is called “total comprehension” this would mean that none can have “total comprehension” over Allah’s knowledge. (Except whom he permits) refers to those things which Allah wants to reveal to his Prophets and Messengers, so that Allah grants them “FROM HIS KNOWLEDGE OF UNSEEN” which become proofs over their Prophethood. Just like Allah said: He (alone) knows the Unseen, nor does He make any one acquainted with His Mysteries,Except a messenger whom He has chosen… (72:26-27) [Tafsir al Khazin under 2:255]

 

 

What does Kursi mean 

 
 

{وَسِعَ كُرْسِيُّهُ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَاتِ وَٱلأَرْضَ }


 

This part means: His “Kursi” extends over the heavens and the earth . As this verse mentions the word “Kursi” hence it has to be explained with caution so that it is clear that Allah’s dominion is understood without any comparison to creation.

 


Imam Ibn Kathir (rah) has narrated from Ibn Abbas (ra) that Kursi refers to “KNOWLEDGE” he has also narrated a Mawquf hadith from same Ibn Abbas (ra) that Kursi refers to footstool [Note: The Salafi published Tafsir Ibn Kathir has done serious forgeries in their version of Tafsir, even over here they completely removed the hadith in which Kursi is called as “KNOWLEDGE” they did this so that people can only consider Kursi as a footstool]

Imam al Baghawi (rah) writes:

وروى سعيد بن جبير عن ابن عباس رضي الله عنهما قال: أراد بالكرسي علمه وهو قول مجاهد، ومنه قيل لصحيفة العلم كراسه، وقيل: كرسيه ملكه وسلطانه،

Translation: Sa’eed bin Jubayr (rah) narrates from Ibn Abbas (ra) that Kursi refers to “KNOWLEDGE” Mujahid (rah) said: The copies of knowledge (i.e. books) is called Kurasa, It is also said that Kursi refers to “DOMINION AND SULTANATE” [Tafsir al Baghawi, under 2:255]

 

 

Conclusion

 

It also states in Tafsir al Baghawi that Hasan Basri (rah) interpreted Kursi as “THRONE” and this is the translation taken by many translators.


{ وَلاَ يَؤُودُهُ حِفْظُهُمَا }




Explanation in Tafsir al Mazhari :

(And He feeleth no fatigue in guarding and preserving them) means that Allah has no burden in preserving and managing whatever is in Heavens, worlds, Kursi and those who are inside kursi (i.e. all dominion of Allah) all this does not cause any tiredness to Allah [Tafsir al Mazhari, Volume No.2, Page No. 20]


{وَهُوَ ٱلْعَلِىُّ ٱلْعَظِيمُ}




Explanation in light of Imam Ibn Kathir:


{وَهُوَ ٱلْعَلِىُّ ٱلْعَظِيمُ} كقوله: {وَهُوَ ٱلْعَلِىُّ ٱلْكَبِيرُ} وهذه الآيات وما في معناها من الأحاديث الصحاح الأجود فيها طريقة السلف الصالح، أمروها كما جاءت من غير تكييف ولا تشبيه.

(He is the Most High, the Supreme) It is just like Allah said: …the Great, the High Exalted (13:9). Imam Ibn Kathir says: This Ayah and other such ayahs, plus the Sahih hadiths in which Allah’s Sifaat are to be taken as the righteous early Muslims (salaf) have taken them i.e. “LET THEM PASS AS THEY HAVE COME” without saying how they are meant and without making a comparison with (other creations) [Tafsir Ibn Kathir under 2:255]