اَلْہٰىکُمُ التَّکَاثُرُ

The craving for excess wealth kept you negligent.

Tafsir al-Tabari                                                         تفسیر الطبری                                

أَلْهَاكُمْ أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ الْمُبَاهَاةُ بِكَثْرَةِ الْمَالِ وَالْعَدَدِ عَنْ طَاعَةِ رَبِّكُمْ.

O people, boasting of abundant wealth has kept you negligent of obedience to your Lord.

وَرُوِيَ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ كَلَامٌ يَدُلُّ عَلَى أَنَّ مَعْنَاهُ التَّكَاثُرُ بِالْمَالِ وَهُوَ يَقْرَأُ: {أَلْهَاكُمُ التَّكَاثُرُ حَتَّى زُرْتُمُ الْمَقَابِرَ} [التكاثر: 2] قَالَ: «ابْنَ آدَمَ، لَيْسَ لَكَ مِنْ مَالِك إِلَّا مَا أَكَلْتَ فَأَفْنَيْتَ، أَوْ لَبِسْتَ فَأَبْلَيْتَ، أَوْ تَصَدَّقْتَ فَأَمْضَيْتَ»

According to the Hadeeth of the Holy Prophet – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him – which proves that it means “Excess wealth”.  He used to recite the verse as, “O Adam’s children, it was your wealth which you consumed and finished, wore clothes and tattered or gave charity and spent.”

عَنْ أُبَيِّ بْنِ كَعْبٍ، قَالَ: كُنَّا نَرَى أَنَّ هَذَا الْحَدِيثَ مِنَ الْقُرْآنِ: «لَوْ أَنَّ لِابْنِ آدَمَ وَادِيَيْنِ مِنْ مَالٍ، لَتَمَنَّى وَادِيًا ثَالِثًا، وَلَا يَمْلَأُ جَوْفَ ابْنِ آدَمَ إِلَّا التُّرَابُ، ثُمَّ يَتُوبُ اللَّهُ عَلَى مَنْ تَابَ» حَتَّى نَزَلَتْ هَذِهِ السُّورَةُ: {أَلْهَاكُمُ التَّكَاثُرُ} [التكاثر: 1]

Sayyiduna Ubayy ibn Ka’b – may Allah be pleased with him – is reported to have said:  We used to think that this Hadeeth was from the Quran:  “If the mankind had two valleys full of wealth, they would still yearn for a third valley.  Nothing can fill a man’s stomach but the sand (of his grave i.e. death), then Allah will forgive the one who repented.”  Until this Surah (Al-Takathur) was revealed.

Tafsir Al-Tabari (Tafsir Ibn Jareer / Jame’ al-Bayaan fi Taweel al-Quraan) of Imam Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Jareer al-Tabri t D. 310 A.H.

Tafsir al-Baghawi                                                     تفسیر البغوی                            

وَقَالَ مُقَاتِلٌ وَالْكَلْبِيُّ: نَزَلَتْ فِي حَيَّيْنِ مِنْ قُرَيْشٍ؛ بَنِي عَبْدِ مَنَافِ بْنِ قُصَيٍّ، وَبَنِي سَهْمِ بْنِ عَمْرٍو، كَانَ بَيْنَهُمْ تَفَاخُرٌ، [فَتَعَادَّ] السَّادَةُ وَالْأَشْرَافُ أَيُّهُمْ أَكْثَرُ عَدَدًا فَقَالَ بَنُو عَبْدِ مَنَافٍ: نَحْنُ أَكْثَرُ سَيِّدًا وَأَعَزُّ عَزِيزًا وَأَعْظَمُ نَفَرًا وَأَكْثَرُ عَدَدًا، وَقَالَ بَنُو سَهْمٍ مِثْلَ ذَلِكَ، فَكَثَرَهُمْ بَنُو عَبْدِ مَنَافٍ، ثُمَّ قَالُوا: نَعُدُّ، مَوْتَانَا، حَتَّى زَارُوا الْقُبُورَ فَعَدُّوهُمْ، فَقَالُوا: هَذَا قَبْرُ فُلَانٍ وَهَذَا قَبْرُ فُلَانٍ فَكَثَرَهُمْ بَنُو سَهْمٍ بِثَلَاثَةِ أَبْيَاتٍ لِأَنَّهُمْ كَانُوا فِي الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ أَكْثَرَ عَدَدًا، فَأَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ هَذِهِ الْآيَةَ .

Sayyiduna Muqatil and Kalbi – may Allah be pleased with them –said:  It was revealed about two tribes of Arabia; Banu ‘Abd Manaaf ibn Qusay and Banu Sahm ibn ‘Amr.  They had superiority conflict with each other.  Their leaders and dignitaries boasted over that fact that who, between the two, was greater in number, so ‘Abd Manaaf tribe said, “We have more leaders and dignity, and larger population, and the Banu Sahm said the same.  Banu ‘Abd Manaaf exceeded and said, “We will count our deceased.”  They visited the graves and counted them, and said, “This is the grave of so and so.”  Banu Sahm superseded them in number by three generations, for they had larger tribe in the days of jahiliyyah (age of ignorance, prior to the arrival of the Holy Prophet – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him).  Allah Almighty then revealed this verse.

حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ أَبِي بَكْرِ بْنِ عَمْرِو بْنِ حَزْمٍ أَنَّهُ سَمِعَ أَنَسَ بْنَ مَالِكٍ يَقُولُ: قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: يَتْبَعُ الْمَيِّتَ ثَلَاثَةٌ، فَيَرْجِعُ اثْنَانِ وَيَبْقَى مَعَهُ وَاحِدٌ، يَتْبَعُهُ أَهْلُهُ وَمَالُهُ وَعَمَلُهُ، فَيَرْجِعُ أَهْلُهُ وَمَالُهُ، وَيَبْقَى عَمَلُهُ .

Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah ibn Abi Bakr ibn ‘Amr ibn Hazm narrated the Hadeeth to us that he heard Sayyiduna Anas ibn Malik – may Allah be pleased with them – saying:  The Holy Prophet – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him – has stated, “Three things follow the deceased; two of which return and just one remains with him.  His family, wealth and actions follow him but his family and wealth are left behind but only his actions remain with him.”

Tafsir al-Baghawi (Ma’aalim al-Tanzeel) of Muhiyy al-Sunnah Imam Abu Muhammad Al-Husain ibn Mas’ood al-Baghwi al-Shafe’I t D. 510 A.H.

Tafsir al-Kabeer                                                                                                             التفسیر الکبیر                        

الْآيَةُ دَلَّتْ عَلَى أَنَّ التَّكَاثُرَ وَالتَّفَاخُرَ مَذْمُومٌ ۔۔۔وَهُوَ التَّكَاثُرُ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَلَذَّاتِهَا وَعَلَائِقِهَا، فَإِنَّهُ هُوَ الَّذِي يَمْنَعُ عَنْ طَاعَةِ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى وَعُبُودِيَّتِهِ

The verse proves that hoarding the wealth and boasting is immoral.  The meaning of Al-Takaathur is to hoard the worldly wealth and its pleasures and relationships, for they prevent from Allah’s obedience and worship.

وَالْعَقْلُ دَلَّ عَلَى أَنَّ التَّكَاثُرَ وَالتَّفَاخُرَ فِي السَّعَادَاتِ الْحَقِيقِيَّةِ غَيْرُ مَذْمُومٍ، وَمِنْ ذَلِكَ مَارُوِيَ مِنْ تَفَاخُرِ الْعَبَّاسِ بِأَنَّ السِّقَايَةَ بِيَدِهِ، وَتَفَاخُرِ شَيْبَةَ بِأَنَّ الْمِفْتَاحَ بِيَدِهِ إِلَى أَنْ قَالَ عَلِيٌّ عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ: وَأَنَا قَطَعْتُ خُرْطُومَ الْكُفْرِ بِسَيْفِي فَصَارَ الْكُفْرُ مُثْلَةً فَأَسْلَمْتُمْ

It’s logically proven that accumulation and boasting of real bliss is not a bad thing, for it has been reported about Sayyiduna ‘Abbas – may Allah be pleased with him – that he used to say that the well of ZamZam is in his custody.  The boasting of Shaibah, for he used to say that he is the key-holder of the Holy Ka’bah.  Sayyiduna ‘Ali – may Allah be pleased with him – used to say, “I chopped the trunk of infidelity with my sword, so the infidelity became mutilated and then you embraced Islam.”

وَذَكَرْنَا فِي تَفْسِيرِ قَوْلِهِ تَعَالَى: وَأَمَّا بِنِعْمَةِ رَبِّكَ فَحَدِّثْ [الضُّحَى: 11] أَنَّهُ يَجُوزُ لِلْإِنْسَانِ أَنْ يَفْتَخِرَ بِطَاعَاتِهِ وَمَحَاسِنِ أَخْلَاقِهِ إِذَا كَانَ يَظُنُّ أَنَّ غَيْرَهُ يَقْتَدِي بِهِ، فَثَبَتَ أَنَّ مُطْلَقَ التَّكَاثُرِ لَيْسَ بِمَذْمُومٍ، بَلِ التَّكَاثُرُ فِي الْعِلْمِ وَالطَّاعَةِ وَالْأَخْلَاقِ الْحَمِيدَةِ هُوَ الْمَحْمُودُ

We mentioned in the Tafseer of Al-Dhuha verse No. 11 that it is permissible for a person to boast about his obedience and good morals when he perceives that by him doing so, people will follow his example.  It is proven that accumulation by itself is not a bad thing, it is rather recommended to preserve knowledge, virtues and good morals.

Tafsir al-Kabeer (Mafateeh al-Ghaib) of Imam Fakhruddin Muhammad ibn Umar al-Raazi al-Shafe’i t D. 606 A.H.

Tafsir al-Qurtubi                                                                                                                                                                                      تفسیر القرطبی                                                    

قَالَ ابْنُ عَبَّاسٍ: قَرَأَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَلْهاكُمُ التَّكاثُرُ قَالَ: (تَكَاثُرُ الْأَمْوَالِ: جَمْعُهَا مِنْ غَيْرِ حَقِّهَا، وَمَنْعُهَا مِنْ حَقِّهَا، وَشَدُّهَا فِي الْأَوْعِيَةِ).

Sayyiduna Ibn ‘Abbas – may Allah be pleased with him – said:  The beloved Prophet – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him – recited the verse and said, “Hoarding of wealth is accumulating it unlawfully and to withhold it from those who have rights over it and to hoard it in containers.”

Tafsir Qurtubi (Al-Jame’ Li Ahkaam al-Quran) Imam Shamsuddin Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Qurtubi t D. 671 A.H.

Tafsir al-Jalalain                                                                                                                        تفسیر الجلالین                                                

{أَلْهَاكُمْ} شَغَلَكُمْ عَنْ طَاعَة اللَّه {التَّكَاثُر} التَّفَاخُر بِالْأَمْوَالِ وَالْأَوْلَاد وَالرِّجَال

Craving for excess wealth i.e. boasting about the wealth, children and men has kept you negligent of Allah’s obedience.

Tafsir al-Jalalain of Imam Jalaaluddin Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Mahalli al-Shafe’i t D. 864 A.H. and Imam Jalaaluddin Abd al-Rahman ibn Abi Bakr al-Suyooti al-Shafe’i t D. 911 A.H.

Tafsir al-Durr al-Manthoor                                                                              تفسیر الدر المنثور                                         

وَأخرج الْحَاكِم وَالْبَيْهَقِيّ فِي شعب الإِيمان عَن ابْن عمر رَضِي الله عَنهُ قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُول الله صلى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسلم: أَلا يَسْتَطِيع أحدكُم أَن يقْرَأ ألف آيَة فِي كل يَوْم قَالُوا: وَمن يَسْتَطِيع أَن يقْرَأ ألف آيَة قَالَ: أما يَسْتَطِيع أحدكُم أَن يقْرَأ أَلْهَاكُم التكاثر

Imam Hakim, Bayhaqi in Shu’ab al-Iman from Sayyiduna Ibn ‘Umar – may Allah be pleased with them – narrated that the Holy Prophet – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him – has stated, “Is any one of you capable of reciting thousand verses in a day?”  They replied, “Who is capable of reciting thousand verses a day?!”  He stated, “Is there none amongst you capable of reciting Surah Al-Takathur?!”

وَأخرج الْحَكِيم التِّرْمِذِيّ فِي نَوَادِر الْأُصُول وَالْبَيْهَقِيّ فِي شعب الإِيمان وَضَعفه عَن جرير بن عبد الله رَضِي الله عَنهُ قَالَ: قَالَ لنا رَسُول الله صلى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسلم إِنِّي قَارِئ عَلَيْكُم سُورَة {أَلْهَاكُم التكاثر} فَمن بَكَى فقد دخل الْجنَّة فقرأها فمنا من بَكَى وَمنا من لم يبك فَقَالَ الَّذين لم يبكوا: قد جهدنا يَا رَسُول الله أَن نبكي فَلم نقدر عَلَيْهِ

فَقَالَ: إِنِّي قَارِئهَا عَلَيْكُم الثَّانِيَة فَمن بَكَى فَلهُ الْجنَّة وَمن لم يقدر أَن يبكي فليتباك

Hakeem Tirmidhi mentioned it in Nawadir al-Usool and Bayhaqi in Shu’ab al-Iman with a weak chain from Sayyiduna Jareer ibn Abdillah – may Allah be pleased with them – who reported:  The Holy Prophet – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him – said to us, “I am about to recite Surah Al-Takathur for you.  Whoever amongst you cries will enter paradise.”  He then recited it.  There were some amongst us who cried and some who did not.  The ones who did not cry, said, “Ya RasoolAllah, we tried very hard to cry but we could not bring ourselves to cry.”  He then stated, “I am going to recite it for you for the second time, whoever amongst you cries, for him is paradise, and the one whoever cannot bring himself to cry must pretend to cry.”

وَأخرج التِّرْمِذِيّ وحنيش بن أَصْرَم فِي الاسْتقَامَة وَابْن جريروابن الْمُنْذر وَابْن مرْدَوَيْه عَن عَليّ بن أبي طَالب قَالَ: نزلت {أَلْهَاكُم التكاثر} فِي عَذَاب الْقَبْر

Imam Tirmidhi and Hunaish ibn Asram mentioned in Al-Istiqamah, Ibn Jareer, Ibn al-Mundhir and Ibn Mardawaih narrated from Sayyiduna ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib – may Allah be pleased with them.  He said:  Surah Al-Takathur was revealed about punishment in the grave.”

وَأخرج الْحَاكِم وَصَححهُ عَن أبي هُرَيْرَة قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُول الله صلى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسلم: مَا أخْشَى عَلَيْكُم الْفقر وَلَكِن أخْشَى عَلَيْكُم التكاثر وَمَا أخْشَى عَلَيْكُم الْخَطَأ وَلَكِن أخْشَى عَلَيْكُم التعمد

Imam Hakim mentioned it and certified it as Sahih, Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah – may Allah be pleased with them – reported that the Holy Prophet – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him – has stated, “I do not fear poverty upon you but I do fear hoarding of wealth upon you.  I do not fear mistakes upon you but I do fear premeditated crime upon you.”

Tafsir Al-Durr al-Manthoor Bi al-Tafsir al-Mathoor of Imam Jalaaluddin Abd al-Rahman ibn Abi Bakr al-Suyooti al-Shafe’i t D. 911 A.H.

Tafsir Rooh al-Bayaan                                                                                              تفسیر روح البیان                                                

قال الحسن رحمه الله لا يغرنك كثرة من ترى حولك فانك تموت وحدك وتبعث وحدك وتحاسب وحدك

Sayyiduna Hasan – may Allah be pleased with him – has stated:  Do not let the abundance of wealth around you deceive you, for you will die alone, resurrected alone and will be accountable alone.

Tafsir Rooh al-Bayaan of Imam Isma’eel Haqqi ibn Mustafa al-Istanbuli Hanafi t D. 1127 A.H.

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