Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal interprets the verse ‘Wa ja’a Rabbuka’ (narrated by Ibn Kathir)

Cover of al-Bidayah wan n-Nihayah by Ibn KathirInterior page title of Ibn Kathir Bidayah wa n-NihayahPage 327 volume 10 from Ibn Kathir Bidayah wa n-Nihayah with the interpretation by  Imam Ahmad

Ibn Kathir narrates the interpretation of imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal. He says, in the volume 10 of al-Bidayah wa n-Nihayah, p.327 :

“Al-Bayhaqi narrates from al-Hakim who took it from Amr ibn as-Sammaak, who took it from Hanbal, that Ahmad ibn Hanbal interpreted the saying of Allahwa jaa’a Rabbuka‘ by saying that it ‘His mercy will come’. Thereafter, al-Bayhaqi said ‘This chain cannot be argued about.’

[Explanation: the verse ‘wa jaa’a Rabbuka’, if taken according to its literal meaning, would mean that Allah would come. However here we can see that Ibn Kathir confirms that Imam Ahmad made an interpretation about this verse, by saying that it will be the reward of Allah which will come (and not Himself, as allah is not subject to movement), and Ibn Kathir declares that the chain of transmission of al-Bayhaqi cannot be contested.]

Points to remember:

  • Ibn Kathir died in 774, i.e.  about 650 years ago.
  • He is only mentioned here because he is taken as a reference by those who call themselves unrightfully the ‘Salafis’.
  • Here he narrates that Imam Ahmad made a ‘ta’wil‘ i.e. an interpretation. This interpretation is famously narrated by scholars such as as-Saidi al-Hanbali (also present in this website).
  • Also note that he narrates the fact that al-Bayhaqi mentioned that this chain of transmission cannot be argued against.

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