A Commentary on Ayatul Kursi

  • بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم

    اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِيْن،وَالصَّلاۃ وَالسَّلامُ عَلَی النَّبِیِّ الْکَرِيم وَعَلیٰ آله وَاَصْحَابه اَجْمَعِيْن۔

    A Commentary on Ayatul Kursi

     The translation of Ayatul Kursi  is as follow:

    "Allah! There is no ilah (god) but Him, the Alive, the Eternal. Neither slumber nor sleep overtakes Him. Unto Him belong whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth. Who is he that intercedes with Him except by His permission? He knows what is in front of them and that which is behind them, while they encompass nothing of His knowledge except what He wills. His seat encloses the heavens and the earth, and He is never weary of preserving them. He is the Sublime, the Tremendous". (Al-Baqarah: 255) 

    This verse is an embodiment of divine grandeur and majesty. It is named as Ayatul Kursi after the word kursi which occurs in it. This verse proclaims the one-ness of Allah, the Exalted, and some of His enormous attributes. In the collections of the sayings of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) many virtues of this verse have been narrated. For the sake of brevity we mention only some of them here.

    The Grandest Verse

    Once the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) queried his companion Ubi Bin Ka'ab (RA) about which ayat was the grandest in the Book of Allah? The latter replied: Allah and His Messenger know best.  Queried by the Prophet repeatedly, Ka'ab (RA) replied: Perhaps the Ayatul Kursi. Tapping his bosom the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said:  O Abul Mundhir, may Allah bless you for your knowledge. I swear by Allah who possesses my soul in His hand that this Ayat shall have a tongue and lips and it shall narrate the sanctity of the Real Ruler and shall be sticking with the pillar of the 'Arsh ((the Throne), (Musnad Ahmad 5/141-14).

    On being queried by Abu Dharr Ghifaari (RA) about what is the grandest ayat the Messenger of Allah (PBUH)) said: The grandest ayat is "Allaholailahaillahu . . . ."  (Musnad Ahmad 5/178; Nasai, 9055).

    A Vehicle for Entry into the Paradise

    As narrated by Abu Umamah al-Bahili (RA), the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: Anybody who recites the Ayatul Kursi at the end of each obligatory salat nothing will prevent him from entering the Paradise except death, (Ibn Habban; Nasai).

    Protection against Satans and Jinnis

    Abu Hurairah (RA) narrated that I was guarding the proceeds of zakat during the month of Ramadhan when some intruder began to put it in his sheet. He forbade him from doing so repeatedly but he did not desist.  He said: If you let me take it I will teach you teach such a formulation which if you recite before going to bed Allah, the Exalted, will appoint a guard for you and Satan will not be able to approach you till morning. That formulation is AyatulKursi. When Abu Hurairah (RA) informed the Messenger of Allah about this episode he said he has told you the truth but he himself is a liar because he is Satan (Bukhari).

    Ubai Bin Ka'ab (RA) narrated that he had a quantity of dates in his possession which was diminishing day by day. One night I kept surveillance over it. Then an animal in the shape of a young man arrived and I saluted him. He reciprocated my salaam. I asked him whether you’re a human being or a Jinn? He replied that he was a Jinn. I told him to give me his hand, He extended his hand. Lo! It was a hand like that of a dog and had hair on it like a dog. I questioned him why had he come here? He said that because I was fond of giving my goods in charity he has come to take out my goods to disable me from giving charity. I asked him what was the way to keep safe from his evil. He said, it is Ayatul Kursi. Whosoever recites it in the evening remains safe till morning and whosoever recites it in the morning remains safe till the evening. The next morning Ubai Bin Ka'ab (RA) narrated this episode to the Messenger of Allah (PBUH). He said: The rogue has told you the truth (Nasai; Tibrani).

    A similar experience of Abu Ayub Ansari (RA) has been mentioned in collections of Ahadeeth. In sum, a number of companions of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) experienced many such events of protection from jinnis and devils through the medium of AyatulKursi (Tafsir Ibn Kathir). As narrated by Abu Hurairah (RA), the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) stated: Anybody who recites the Surah Al-Mominoon from HaMeem to Ilaihil Maseer as well as the AyatulKursi in the morning shall remain in Allah's protection till the evening and one who recites it in the evening shall remain protected till morning (Tirmidhi; Ibn Majah).

    AyatulKursi Embodies the Ismal-A'zam

    As narrated by Asmaa Bint Yazid (RA), the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: These two ayats embody the ismal-a'zam, one AyatulKursi, the other Alif lam meem Allaho lailaha illahual-hayyal-qayyum (Ahmad; Abu Daud; Tirmidhi; Ibn Majah).

    As narrated by Abu Umamah al- Bahili (RA), the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: The grandest name of Allah, which makes any supplication to be granted if invoked, is embodied in three Surahs: Surah Al-Baqarah, Surah Aal Imraan, and Surah Taha (Ibn Majah). It may be noted that the relevant ayaat are: Ayat 255 of Al-BaqarahAyat 2 of AlImraan, and Ayat 111 of Taha.

    AyatulKursi is Equivalent to a Quarter of the Quran

    The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) has described the AyatulKursi as equivalent of the quarter of the holy Quran (Ahmad; Tirmidhi).

    AyatulKursi Explained 

    This ayat affirmative of the one-ness of Allah is composed of 10 pithy and evocative clauses, as follows:

    Allaho Lailah aillaha: The message of one-ness of Allah is one that has been transmitted by all messengers and apostles of Allah. He is alone worthy of worship. He is the creator. He is the sustainer. He runs the whole universe without having a co-partner. We are all His bondsmen and we must worship him alone. He is the solver of all our problems and dispenser of all our necessities. He sent His apostles and messengers for the guidance of the mankind. He sent his last messenger and the chief of all the apostles Muhammad (PBUH) as mercy for all the human beings till the Last Day.

    Al-hayyal-qayyum: Hayy means alive that is God Almighty is eternal, immortal and immune from death. It is pronounced in the Quran that whatsoever exists on earth is bound to die but the face of your Lord possessor of majesty and honour shall remain for ever. Qayyum in Arabic is the superlative degree of Qaem, meaning an entity which is self-sustaining, which stands alone firmly without any support and which in turn is a means for sustaining others.

    Note:  Qayyum is an exclusive attribute of Allah, the Exalted. If somebody is named as Abdul Qayyum he should be called and addressed as such and not as Qayyum because that will imply that he possesses the attribute of Allah.

    La takhudhuhu sinatun wa la naumSinah means drowsiness and naum means slumber. This indicates that he is immune from both the beginning and end of sleep. He is eternally awake and immune from self-complacence.

    Lahu ma fis-samawaatiwa ma fil-ardh: He is the sole owner of whatever is in the heavens and earth. He reigns supreme over His creation.

    Man dhalladhi yashfa'u 'indahuilla bi-idhnihi: Since it is evident that Allah alone is the Owner of the universe, nobody can be senior to Him or a ruler over His universe. Therefore, nobody has any right to question him regarding any work. Whatever He ordains, nobody has the least choice to question His ordinance. All what can be done is that somebody intercedes before Allah, the Exalted, for a person. This has also been made clear that without the permission of Allah the Exalted, even His pious slaves cannot intercede for any person before Him. This is the special preserve of the Prophet. This is described as Maquam Mahmud (the praiseworthy station), as mentioned in Surah Isra (79): "It may be that thy Lord will raise thee to a praiseworthy station."

    Apart from the Messenger of Allah's special privilege to intercede on behalf of his followers the righteous bondsmen of Allah too will be able to intercede on condition of fulfilling three requirements:

    1. Allah must be pleased with one who is the object of intercession. Allah, the Exalted, proclaims: ". . . and they cannot intercede except for him whom He accepteth, and they are fearful for awe of Him."
    2. Allah should also be pleased with the intercessor. He proclaims: "And how many angels are in the heavens whose intercession availeth naught save after Allah givetth leave to whom He chooseth and accepteth!" (An-Najm: 26).
    3. Except Allah, the Exalted, gives His permission to an intercessor. In verse of Surah An-Najm Allah, the Exalted, says "أن يأذن الله""If Allah givetth leave" and in Aayatul Kursi, Allah, the Exalted, says "إلا بإذنهExcept by His leave". In light of the above verses, this condition has become evident. Likewise, in Surah Younus, verse 3, Allah, the Exalted, says "مَا مِن شَفِيعٍ إِلاَّ مِن بَعْدِ إِذْنِهِ" No intercessor (can plead with Him) except only after His permission.

    Ya'lamu ma bainaaidihimwa ma khalfahum: He knows what is in front of them and what is behind them, that is, he is aware of all their affairs of the past and the present. This may also mean that God is knowledgeable of what happened before their birth and afterwards. Yet another meaning of it may be that God is aware of what is in front of them, the open and manifest phenomena, and whatever is behind them, the hidden and the unknown. That means human beings have knowledge of some matters which are open before them but are ignorant of others which are hidden from them. This is of no consequence before God since He is knowledgeable of all matters equally

    Wa la yuheetunabishain min ''ilmihiillabimaashaa: They cannot encompass aught of His knowledge save what He wills. This means it is beyond the capacity of human and other beings to encompass any portion of the knowledge possessed by God. They can know only that much which is allowed by God.

    This Ayat declares that the comprehensive knowledge off His universe is a preserve of God. No human being and no other creature can have a share in it.

    Wasiah kursiyyuhus samaawaat wal ardh:It means that His Kursi (seat) is wide enough to envelop the seven heavens and the earth.  However this should not be taken literally. The Divine Being is above the earthly conceptions of space and location as well sitting and rising.  Such ayats should not, therefore be interpreted in a worldly way. Such phenomena and expressions thereof are beyond human reason sand comprehension. Nevertheless, from authentic traditions of the Prophet we can guess that 'Arshh (Throne) and Kursi (Seat) are are gigantic celestial bodies which are far bigger than all the heavens and earth. Ibn Kathir has cited a narration by Abu Dharr Ghifaari who asked the Prophet about the nature Kursi and shape of the Kursi. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: By the Being in whose possession is my soul as compared with the Kursi the seven heavens and earth are no more than a finger-ringg thrown on a big plane. Likewise some traditions reveal that as compared with the 'Arsh the Kursiis no more than a finger ring on a big plane.

    According to Abdullah Ibn Abbas (RA), kursi is a figurative expression for knowledge. Some people take it for the footstool.  In a tradition it is mentioned that nobody save Allah has the knowledge of the reality of these expressions.  Abu Malik (RHA) opined that the Kursi is located beneath the 'Arsh. Saddi (RA) says the heavens and earth are in the cavity of the Kursi and The Kursi is parallel to the 'Arsh. Abdullah Ibn 'Abbas (RA) says that if the seven and earth are stretched they would still be like a finger-ring placed on a surfaced plane. Ibn Jareer (RA) has narrated a tradition that the seven heavens beneath the Kursi are like seven drachms thrown in a big case. Some interpreters have commented that all this simply signifies the dominium of the Almighty over heavens and earth and celestial bodies beyond. Nothing lies outside his reign and jurisdiction.

    Wa la yauduhu hifdhu ma:Means that the preservation of these mighty bodies is not burdensome for Him as these have no significance before His might and reach.

    Wahual 'aliyyul 'adheem:Means he is the loftiest and great. After comprehending the attributes and omnipotence of God Almighty as mentioned in the above-mentioned nine sentences every rational being will be compelled to attest to the loftiness and greatness of the Divine Being.

    The theme of the one-ness of God, His omnipotence and Omni competence has been amply spelled out in ten aphorisms. May Allah, the Exalted, enable us to understand the holy Quran and act according to it. Amen!   ::


    Mohammad Najeeb Qasmi (www.najeebqasmi.com)

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