What is Tayyib?
Bismillah, walhamdulillahi Rabbil ‘aalameen, was salaatu was salaamu ‘alaa Rasoolihil Ameen.
I would like to dedicate the first official post to an analysis of the word Tayyib. Tayyibaat is plural of Tayyibah which is the feminine form of Tayyib. Tayyib is a very comprehensive word and has a great place in the Qur’an and Sunnah. InshaAllah I will briefly go over the meaning of this word, discuss where it has been mentioned in the Qur’an and Sunnah, and what it means to us as believers.
It is important to first note that in Arabic, nearly every word is comprised of a root word which is usually three letters (sometimes two or four) which has a basic meaning to it and this meaning connects with all the derivative words from this root. For a basic run down, check out: what is a root?
Tayyib is from taa-ya-ba (ط ي ب) and it literally means to be good, pleasant, agreeable, lawful. The word ‘tayyib’ itself means to be good, clean, wholesome, gentle, excellent, fair and lawful. From these meanings we get the general meaning for tayyib of anything that is good and pure.
Where does this word appear in the Qur’an and Sunnah?
Firstly, At-Tayyib is one of the Names of Allah ta’ala. At-Tayyib means the One far removed from every imperfection and deficiency. In Saheeh Muslim, Abu Hurayrah radi Allahu anhu reported that the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said: إن الله طيب لا يقبل إلا طيبا InAllah Tayyibun, la yaqbalu ila tayyiba. Indeed Allah is the Good, Far Removed from any Imperfection, and He only accepts that which is good.
Allah ta’ala only accepts the good from the deeds and sayings, He says in the Qur’an:
إِلَيْهِ يَصْعَدُ الْكَلِمُ الطَّيِّبُ وَالْعَمَلُ الصَّالِحُ يَرْفَعُهُ
To Him ascends all the goodly words and it is He who exalts each deed of righteousness. (Surah Faatir, ayah 10)
The Goodly words include:
1- The statement: La ilaha il Allah.
2-dhikrullahi ta’ala, Remembrance of Allah the Most High
3- all the words of advice and beneficial knowledge done sincerely for the sake of Allah.
The purest of speech comprises of La ilaaha il Allah, Alhamdulillah, SubhanAllah, and other words of remembrances as well as the Glorious Qur’an.
Furthermore, those who follow the guidance of Allah only love to say which is good. Allah describes them in the Qur’an:
وَالطَّيِّبَاتُ لِلطَّيِّبِينَ وَالطَّيِّبُونَ لِلطَّيِّبَاتِ
And good words are for good men, and good men are [an object] of good words. (Suratun Noor, ayah 26) The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said in a hadeeth that the tasbeeh (SubhanAllah, declaring that Allah is far from any imperfection) and tahmeed (Alhamdulillah, declaring that for Allah is all praise) would be made easy for the people of paradise as their breath was made easy for them. (Saheeh Muslim).
Allah ta’ala is the One who guides these people to the good statement and guards their tongue from each and every bad word, and He guides them to the straight path. He says
وَهُدُوا إِلَى الطَّيِّبِ مِنَ الْقَوْلِ وَهُدُوا إِلَىٰ صِرَاطِ الْحَمِيدِ
And they had been guided [in worldly life] to good speech, and they were guided to the path of the Praiseworthy. (suratul Hajj, ayah 24)
What is the Path of the Praiseworthy? It is Paradise, the abode for at-Tayyibeen, those who are pure from all evil and worship none but Allah azza wa jal. The key to it is la ilaha il Allah. Allah azza wa jal describes to us how they end their life in the dunya:
الَّذِينَ تَتَوَفَّاهُمُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ طَيِّبِينَ ۙ يَقُولُونَ سَلَامٌ عَلَيْكُمُ ادْخُلُوا الْجَنَّةَ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ
The ones whom the angels take in death, [being] tayyibeen, good and pure; [the angels] will say, “Peace be upon you. Enter Paradise for what you used to do.” (Suratun Nahl, ayah 32)
What do at Tayyibeen receive in Paradise? Allah ta’ala says:
الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ طُوبَىٰ لَهُمْ وَحُسْنُ مَآبٍ
Those who have believed and done righteous deeds – ‘Tooba’ is theirs and a good return. (Suratur Ra’ad, ayah 29)
Allah ta’ala promises ‘Tooba’, from the same root as Tayyib, to the believers in this ayah. We also know this word from the famous hadeeth of the strangers, the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam states: fa Tooba lil ghurabaa’, so Tooba to the strangers. What does Tooba mean?
It is said to be from 3 meanings:
1- plural of tayyibah
2- masdar of tayyib
3- feminine version of atyab اطيب (superlative)
From this we derive that it means every kind of good that has biqaa’, an everlasting nature. Tooba is happiness that lasts. Also Tooba is whatever makes you rich and content and you won’t be in need of anything else to satisfy you. We also learn from a hadeeth that Tooba is a tree in Jannah. The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “Tooba is a tree in Paradise, as big as a hundred year’s journey; the clothes of the people of Paradise comes from the outer parts of its flowers” (Silsilat al-Hadith as-Saheehah, 4/639, no. 1985, the isnaad is hasan)
Lastly, Tayyibaat in the Qur’an also refers to halaal (lawful) food. Allah ta’ala orders us:
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ كُلُوا مِمَّا فِي الْأَرْضِ حَلَالًا طَيِّبًا
O mankind, eat from whatever is on earth [that is] lawful and good. (Suratul Baqarah, ayah 168)
So to summarize: at-tayyibeen speak, do and eat at-tayyibaat and will be given tooba. 🙂 May Allah ta’ala make us among at-Tayyibeen who will be given Tooba. Ameen.
This is a very simple explanation of the word Tayyib, and inshaAllah I hope now you see why I chose to name this blog at-tayyibaat.
wa lillahil hamd, and He knows best.