وَّ الشَّفْعِ وَ الْوَتْرِ ۙ﴿۳﴾

By (oath of) the even and the odd.

Tafsir al-Tabari                                                         تفسیر الطبری                                

عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ، قَالَ: الْوَتْرُ: يَوْمُ عَرَفَةَ، وَالشَّفْعُ: يَوْمُ الذَّبْحِ

Sayyiduna Ibn ‘Abbas – may Allah be pleased with them – is reported to have said:  The odd refers to the day of ‘Arafah and the even refers to the day of sacrifice (Qurbani).

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-Qurtubi                                                                                                                                                                                      تفسیر القرطبی                                                    

عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَنَّهُ قَالَ: الشَّفْعُ وَالْوَتْرُ: الصَّلَاةُ، مِنْهَا شَفْعٌ، ومنها وتر .

The Holy Prophet – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him – is reported to have stated:  The even and the odd are the Salah; the even (number of Rak’at) thereof and the odd thereof.

قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: (وَالْفَجْرِ وَلَيالٍ عَشْرٍ- قَالَ: هُوَ الصُّبْحُ، وَعَشْرُ النَّحْرِ، وَالْوَتْرُ يَوْمَ عَرَفَةَ، وَالشَّفْعُ: يَوْمَ النَّحْرِ (.

وَهُوَ قَوْلُ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ وَعِكْرِمَةَ.

The Holy Prophet – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him – has stated:  The dawn is the morning and the ten nights are the ten nights of (the month of) sacrifice (Dhul Hijjah), the odd is the day of ‘Arafah (9th Dhul Hijjah) and the even is the day of sacrifice (Qurbani).

This is the statement of Sayyiduna Ibn ‘Abbas and ‘Ikramah – may Allah be pleased with them.

وَقَالَ مُجَاهِدٌ وَابْنُ عَبَّاسٍ أَيْضًا: الشَّفْعِ خَلْقُهُ، قَالَ الله تعالى: وَخَلَقْناكُمْ أَزْواجاً  [النبأ: 8] وَالْوَتْرِ هُوَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ. فَقِيلَ لِمُجَاهِدٍ: أَتَرْوِيهِ عَنْ أَحَدٍ؟ قَالَ: نَعَمْ، عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ الْخُدْرِيِّ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ.

Sayyiduna Mujahid and Ibn ‘Abbas – may Allah be pleased with them – have also said the following:

The even refers to His creation, as in the following statement of Allah Almighty:

وَخَلَقْناكُمْ أَزْواجاً  [النبأ: 8]

  And We have created you (in) pairs.

(Al-Naba 78, Verse 8)

And the odd is the Almighty Allah Himself.  A question was then posed before Sayyiduna Mujahid, “Do you have a reference for this?”  He replied, “Yes, it is the report of Sayyiduna Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri from the Holy Prophet – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him.”

وَنَحْوَهُ قَالَ مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ سِيرِينَ وَمَسْرُوقٌ وَأَبُو صَالِحٍ وَقَتَادَةُ، قَالُوا: الشَّفْعِ: الْخَلْقُ، قَالَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى: وَمِنْ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ خَلَقْنا زَوْجَيْنِ [الذاريات: 49]: الْكُفْرُ وَالْإِيمَانُ.، وَالشَّقَاوَةُ وَالسَّعَادَةُ، وَالْهُدَى وَالضَّلَالُ، وَالنُّورُ وَالظُّلْمَةُ، وَاللَّيْلُ وَالنَّهَارُ، وَالْحَرُّ وَالْبَرْدُ، وَالشَّمْسُ وَالْقَمَرُ، وَالصَّيْفُ وَالشِّتَاءُ، وَالسَّمَاءُ وَالْأَرْضُ، وَالْجِنُّ وَالْإِنْسُ.

وَالْوَتْرِ: هُوَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ، قَالَ جَلَّ ثَنَاؤُهُ: قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ. اللَّهُ الصَّمَدُ [الإخلاص: 2 – 1].

Similarly, Sayyiduna Muhammad ibn Seereen, Masrooq, Abu Saleh and Qatadah – may Allah be pleased with them – said:  The even refers to the creation, for Allah Almighty has stated:

وَمِنْ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ خَلَقْنا زَوْجَيْنِ [الذاريات: 49]

And We created all things in pairs, so that you may ponder.

(Al-Dhaariyaat 51, Verse 49)

e.g. the faith and disbelief; misfortune and fortune; guidance and misguidance; light and darkness; day and night; hot and cold; the sun and the moon; summer and winter; heaven and the earth; jinns and humans.

The odd refers to Allah Almighty, for the Almighty has stated:

قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ.

Proclaim (O dear Prophet Mohammed – peace and blessings be upon him), “He is Allah, He is One.”

 اللَّهُ الصَّمَدُ [الإخلاص: 2 – 1]

 “Allah is the Un-wanting.” (Perfect, does not require anything.)

(Al-Ikhlas 112, Verse 1-2)

وَقَالَ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: [إِنَّ لِلَّهِ تِسْعَةً وَتِسْعِينَ اسْمًا، وَاللَّهُ وَتْرٌ يُحِبُّ الْوَتْرَ [.

The Holy Prophet – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him – has stated:  Indeed Allah Almighty has 99 Names and Allah Almighty loves the odd (numbers).

وَعَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ أَيْضًا: الشَّفْعِ: صَلَاةُ الصُّبْحِ وَالْوَتْرِ: صَلَاةُ الْمَغْرِبِ.

Sayyiduna Ibn ‘Abbas – may Allah be pleased with them – also said:  The even refers to the Fajr Salah (Two Rak’ats Fard or collectively 4 Rak’ats) and the odd refers to Maghrib Salah (Three Rak’ats Fard or collectively 7 Rak’ats).

وَقِيلَ: إِنَّ الشَّفْعِ وَالْوَتْرِ: آدَمُ وَحَوَّاءُ، لِأَنَّ آدَمَ كَانَ فَرْدًا فَشُفِعَ بِزَوْجَتِهِ حَوَّاءَ، فَصَارَ شَفْعًا بَعْدَ وَتْرٍ. رَوَاهُ ابْنُ أَبِي نَجِيحٍ، وَحَكَاهُ الْقُشَيْرِيُّ عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ.

It is also said that the even refers to Sayyiduna Adam – peace be upon him – and Sayyidah Hawwa – may Allah be pleased with her, for Sayyiduna Adam – peace be upon him – was alone and was later united with his wife Sayyidah Hawwa – may Allah be pleased with her, so he became even after the state of odd.  Sayyiduna Ibn Najeeh narrated it and Imam Qushayri mentioned it with reference to Sayyiduna Ibn ‘Abbas – may Allah be pleased with them.

وَقِيلَ: الشَّفْعُ: دَرَجَاتُ الْجَنَّةِ، وَهِيَ ثَمَانٍ. وَالْوَتْرُ، دِرْكَاتُ النَّارِ، لِأَنَّهَا سَبْعَةٌ. وَهَذَا قَوْلُ الْحُسَيْنِ بْنِ الْفَضْلِ، كَأَنَّهُ أَقْسَمَ بِالْجَنَّةِ وَالنَّارِ.

It is said that the even refers to the levels of Paradise, and they are eight while the odd refers to the levels of hell which are nine.  This is the statement of Sayyiduna Husain ibn al-Fadhl that it is as if Allah Almighty took the oath of Paradise and hell.

وَقِيلَ: الشَّفْعُ: الصَّفَا وَالْمَرْوَةُ، وَالْوَتْرُ: الْكَعْبَةُ.

It is said that the even refers to Safa and Marwah and the odd refers to the Holy Ka’bah.

وَقَالَ مُقَاتِلُ بْنُ حَيَّانَ: الشَّفْعُ: الْأَيَّامُ وَاللَّيَالِي، وَالْوَتْرُ: الْيَوْمُ الَّذِي لَا لَيْلَةَ بَعْدَهُ، وَهُوَ يَوْمُ الْقِيَامَةِ.

Sayyiduna Muqatil ibn Hayyan – may Allah be pleased with him – said:  The even refers to the days and nights and the odd refers to the day which not followed by a night, and it is the day of Judgment.

وَقِيلَ: الشَّفْعُ: مَسْجِدَيْ مَكَّةَ وَالْمَدِينَةِ، وَهُمَا الْحَرَمَانِ. وَالْوَتْرُ: مَسْجِدُ بَيْتِ الْمَقْدِسِ.

It is also said that the even refers to the two mosques of Makkah Mukarramah and Madinah Munawwarah and the odd refers to the Mosque of Bait al-Maqdis.

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

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