Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(Say) to them, O Muhammad: (Cry unto Allah, or cry unto the Beneficent, unto whichsoever ye cry (it is the same). His are the most beautiful names) the most sublime attributes such as knowledge, power, hearing, sight; so call Him by using them. (And thou (Muhammad), be not loud voiced in thy worship) do not be too loud in your recitation of the Qur'an during prayer so that the idolaters do not harm you (nor yet silent therein) such that your Companions cannot hear you, (but follow a way between) a middle ground between loud and silent recitation.
The Prophet (s) would often say, ‘O God, O Compassionate One’. So they said, ‘He [Muhammad, s] forbids us to worship more than one god, and yet he calls upon another [god] together with Him [God]’. The following was then revealed: Say, to them: ‘Invoke God or invoke the Compassionate One, that is to say, invoke Him by either of these [Names] or call upon Him by saying, ‘O God! O Compassionate One!’, whichever (ayyan is conditional; mā is extra), in other words, whichever of these two [Names], you invoke, is beautiful — this [predicate, ‘beautiful’] is indicated by the following [statement]), to Him, to the One called by these two [Names], belong the Most Beautiful Names’, these two [Names] being from among them; and they [the other Names] are [the following] as [mentioned] in hadīth: God, there is no god except Him, the Compassionate, the Merciful, the King, the Holy, the Peace, the Securer, the Controller, the Mighty, the Compeller, the Sublime, the Creator, the Maker [out of nothing], the Fashioner, the [ever] Forgiving, the Almighty, the Bestower, the Provider, the Deliverer, the Knower, the Seizer, the Extender, the Lowerer, the Raiser, the Glorifier, the Abaser, the Hearer, the Seer, the Arbiter, the Just, the Subtle, the Aware, the Forbearing, the Tremendous, the Forgiver, the Thankful, the High, the Great, the Preserver, the Conserver, the Reckoner, the Majestic, the Generous, the Watcher, the Responsive, the Embracing, the Wise, the Loving, the Glorious, the Resurrector, the Witnessing, the Truth, the Guardian, the Strong, the Firm, the Patron, the Praiseworthy, the Numberer, the Initiator, the Restorer, the Life-giver, the Death-maker, the Living, the Eternal Sustainer, the Originator, the Magnificent, the One, the Single, the Everlasting Refuge, the Powerful, the Omnipotent, the Advancer, the Deferrer, the First, the Last, the Outward, the Inward, the Ruler, Exalted, the Benign, the Relenting, the Avenger, the Pardoning, the Gentle, Master of the Kingdom, One of Majesty and Munificence, the Equitable, the Gatherer, the Independent, the Availing, the Restrainer, the Harming, the Benefactor, the Light, the Guiding, the Innovator, the Enduring, the Inheritor, the Reasonable, the Patient, as reported by al-Tirmidhī. God, exalted be He, says: And do not be loud in your prayer, when you recite [the Qur’ān] therein, lest the idolaters hear you and curse you, as well as the Qur’ān and the One Who has revealed it; nor be silent, do [not] murmur, therein, so that your companions might [be able to hear it and] benefit [therefrom]; but seek between that, loudness and silence, a, middle, way.
Say: 'Invoke God, to annihilation in the Essence that comprehends all attributes, or invoke the Compassionate One, to annihilation in the attribute which is the mother of all attributes: whichever, of these two stations you seek, you are not an existent there, nor do you have any remnant or name or entity or vestige, since [the name] the Compassionate One (al-Raḥmān) is a name that is valid only for that Essence and that attribute, namely, the Mercy of the Compassionate One (al-Raḥmān) cannot be established for any other than that [Essence] and so it does not require the existence of a remnant, which is distinct from all of the other names and attributes; to Him belong the Most Beautiful Names', all of them in these two stations and not to you. And do not be loud, in the prayer of presential vision by manifesting the attribute of prayer from your soul so that then insolence and I-ness are called to manifest themselves; nor be silent, totally so that the call for obliteration is then made in the locus of annihilation without the return to the station of subsistence in which case no one will be able to follow your example; but seek between that a way: [this is] an indication of [the necessity for] uprightness and [for] adhering to a conduct full of equity in the world of multiplicity and cleaving to the straight path through the Truth.
("Invoke Allah or invoke Ar-Rahman (the Most Gracious), by whatever name you invoke Him (it is the same), for to Him belong the Best Names.) meaning, there is no difference between calling on Him as Allah or calling on Him as Ar-Rahman, because He has the Most Beautiful Names, as He says:
(To Him belong the Best Names. All that is in the heavens and the earth glorify Him.) 59:24 Makhul reported that one of the idolators heard the Prophet saying when he was prostrating: "O Most Gracious, O Most Merciful.'' The idolator said, he claims to pray to One, but he is praying to two! Then Allah revealed this Ayah. This was also narrated from Ibn `Abbas, and by Ibn Jarir.
The Command to recite neither loudly nor softly
وَلاَ تَجْهَرْ بِصَلاتِكَ
(And offer your Salah neither aloud) Imam Ahmad reported that Ibn `Abbas said: "This Ayah was revealed when the Messenger of Allah was preaching underground in Makkah.''
وَلاَ تَجْهَرْ بِصَلاتِكَ وَلاَ تُخَافِتْ بِهَا
(And offer your Salah neither aloud nor in a low voice,) Ibn `Abbas said: "When he prayed with his Companions, he would recite Qur'an loudly, and when the idolators heard that, they insulted the Qur'an, and the One Who had revealed it and the one who had brought it. So Allah said to His Prophet :
وَلاَ تَجْهَرْ بِصَلاتِكَ
(And offer your Salah (prayer) neither aloud) means, do not recite it aloud, lest the idolators hear you and insult the Qur'an,
وَلاَ تُخَافِتْ بِهَا
(nor in a low voice,) means, nor recite it so quietly that your companions cannot hear the Qur'an and learn it from you.
وَابْتَغِ بَيْنَ ذَلِكَ سَبِيلاً
(but follow a way between. )'' This was also reported in the Two Sahihs. Ad-Dahhak also narrated something similar from Ibn `Abbas, and added: "When he migrated to Al-Madinah, this no longer applied, and he recited as he wished.'' Muhammad bin Ishaq said that Ibn `Abbas said, "When the Messenger of Allah recited Qur'an quietly while he was praying, the (idolators) would disperse and refuse to listen to him; if one of them wanted to hear some of what he was reciting in his prayer, he would try to listen without anyone seeing him, because he was afraid of them. If he realized that anybody knew he was listening, he would go away lest they harm him, so he would stop listening. If the Prophet lowered his voice, those who wanted to listen to his recitation could not hear anything, so Allah revealed,
وَلاَ تَجْهَرْ بِصَلاتِكَ
(And offer your Salah neither aloud) meaning, do not recite aloud, lest those who want to listen disperse for fear of attracting unwelcome attention,
وَلاَ تُخَافِتْ بِهَا
(nor in a low voice,) but do not make your voice so soft that the one who is trying to listen without being seen cannot hear anything at all. Perhaps he will pay attention to some of what he hears and benefit from it.
وَابْتَغِ بَيْنَ ذَلِكَ سَبِيلاً
(but follow a way between. )'' This was the view of `Ikrimah, Al-Hasan Al-Basri and Qatadah that this Ayah was revealed concerning recitation in prayer. It was narrated from Ibn Mas`ud: "Do not make it so soft that no one can hear it except yourself.''
(And say: "All the praises and thanks be to Allah, Who has not begotten a son...'') because Allah has stated that the Most Beautiful Names belong to Him, and has declared Himself to be above having any faults or defects.
(And say: "All the praises and thanks be to Allah, Who has not begotten a son, and Who has no partner in (His) dominion...'') indeed, He is Allah, (the) One, the Self-Sufficient Master, Who begets not, nor was He begotten, and there is none co-equal or comparable unto Him.
وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لَّهُ وَلِىٌّ مَّنَ الذُّلِّ
(nor He is low to have a supporter.) means, He is not so humble or weak that He needs to have a helper or supporter or adviser, rather He Alone, with no partner or associate, may He be exalted, is the Creator of all things and is the One Who is running and controlling them by His will, with no partner or associate.
وَلَمْ يَكُنْ لَّهُ وَلِىٌّ مَّنَ الذُّلِّ
(nor He is low to have a supporter).) Mujahid said: He does not form an alliance with anyone, nor does He seek the support or help of anyone.
(And magnify Him with all magnificence.) means, glorify and extol Him far above whatever the transgressors and aggressors say. Ibn Jarir recorded that Al-Qurazi used to say about this Ayah,
(And say: "All the praises and thanks be to Allah, Who has not begotten a son...'') that the Jews and Christians said that Allah has taken a son; the Arabs said, "At Your service, You have no partner except the partner You have, and You possess him and whatever he owns;'' and the Sabians and Magians said, "If it were not for the supporters of Allah, He would be weak.'' Then Allah revealed this Ayah :
(And say: "All the praises and thanks be to Allah, Who has not begotten a son, and Who has no partner in (His) dominion, nor is He low to have a supporter. And magnify Him with all magnificence.'') End of Tafsir Surah Subhan Surat Al-Isra'. And to Allah be the praise and blessings.
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
This is the answer to another objection of the disbelievers. They said, "We have heard the name Allah for the Creator but where from have you brought the name Rahman?" This was because the name "Rahman " was not used for Allah and they did not like it.
This instruction was given at Makkah. Ibn 'Abbas relates that when the Holy Prophet or his Companions offered their Prayers, they recited the Qur'an jn a loud voice. At this the disbelievers would raise a hue and cry and often called them names. Therefore, they wen enjoined that they should neither say their Prayers in such a loud voice as might incite the disbelievers nor should they say it in such a low voice that their own Companions might not hear it. This instruction was discontinued under the changed conditions at Al-Madinah. However, if the Muslims they have to face the same conditions, at any place or at any time, they should observe the same instruction.
A subtle sarcasm is implied in the sentence. The mushriks believed that Allah had appointed assistants and deputies for the administration of His Kingdom. Obviously this meant that Allah was helpless and powerless to carry out the administration of His Kingdom: therefore, He needed supporters to help Him in the work of His Godhead. This sentence negates their false creeds, saying, “He does not stand in need of any gods and saints in order to delegate to them the different departments of His Godhead or make them governors in different parts of His Kingdom.”
(Say (unto mankind): Cry unto Allah, or cry unto the Beneficent…) [17:110]. Said Ibn ‘Abbas: “One night in Mecca, The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, stood up for the night vigil prayer. He kept saying in his prostration: ‘O Beneficent, O Merciful!’ And so the idolaters said: ‘Muhammad used to call unto one Allah; now he is calling unto two gods: Allah and the Beneficent. We do not know of anyone by the name of the Beneficent except the beneficent of al-Yamamah (meaning Musaylimah the liar)’, and so Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse”. Said Maymun ibn Mihran: “At the beginning of revelation, the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give peace, used to write ‘In Thy name, O Allah’ until this verse was revealed (Lo! It is from Solomon, and lo, it is: In the name of Allah the Beneficent, the Merciful) [27:30], after which he always wrote ‘In the name of Allah the Beneficent, the Merciful’. The Arab idolaters then commented: ‘We know this Merciful but who is the Beneficent?’ As a response, Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse”. Said al-Dahhak: “The people of the Book said to the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace: ‘You mention very little the Beneficent and yet Allah mentions this name in the Torah in abundance’. Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse as a response to them”. (And thou (Muhammad), be not loud-voiced in thy worship nor yet silent therein, but follow a way between) [17:110]. Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Ibrahim ibn Muhammad ibn Yahya informed us> his father> Muhammad ibn Ishaq al-Thaqafi> ‘Abd Allah ibn Muti‘ and Ahmad ibn Mani‘> Hushaym> Abu Bishr> Sa‘id ibn Jubayr> Ibn ‘Abbas who said regarding the words of Allah, exalted is He (And thou (Muhammad), be not loud-voiced in thy worship nor yet silent therein…): “This verse was revealed while the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, was in hiding in Mecca. Whenever the unbelievers heard the Qur’an being recited, they reviled it and reviled the person who had brought it. Hence, Allah, glorious and majestic is He, said to His Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace (And thou (Muhammad), be not loud-voiced in thy worship) i.e. upon reciting the Qur’an in prayer, lest the idolaters hear it and revile the Qur’an, (nor yet silent therein) such that your Companions do not hear you, (but follow a way between)”. This was narrated by Bukhari from Musaddid and by Muslim from ‘Amr al-Naqid, and both Musaddid and ‘Amr related it from Hushaym. ‘A’ishah, may Allah be well pleased with her said: “This verse was revealed about the testification in prayer (tashahhud). One Bedouin used to raise his voice upon saying: ‘Greetings and good salutation to Allah’, and so this verse was revealed”. ‘Abd Allah ibn Shaddad said: “After the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, concluded the prayer, the Bedouins of Banu Tamim were in the habit of supplicating loudly, saying: ‘O Allah, provide us with wealth and offspring’, and so Allah, exalted is He, revealed this verse”. Sa‘id ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Ja‘far informed us> Abu ‘Ali al-Faqih> ‘Ali ibn ‘Abd Allah ibn Mubashshir al-Wasiti> Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Harb> Abu Marwan> Yahya ibn Abi Zakariyya al-Ghassani> Hisham ibn ‘Urwah> his father> ‘A’ishah, may Allah be well pleased with her, who said regarding the words of Allah, exalted is He (And thou (Muhammad), be not loud-voiced in thy worship nor yet silent therein…): “It was revealed about making supplications”.