Understanding the Qur’an 

فهم القرآن

Understanding the Qur’an

By Sheikh Muhammad ibn ‘Umar Bazmool

أنزل الله سبحانه وتعالى القرآن على رسوله صلى الله عليه وسلم، وبينه له، وأمره ببيانه. قال تعالى: ﴿إِنَّ عَلَيْنَا جَمْعَهُ وَقُرْآنَهُ (17) فَإِذَا قَرَأْنَاهُ فَاتَّبِعْ قُرْآنَهُ (18) ثُمَّ إِنَّ عَلَيْنَا بَيَانَهُ﴾ (القيامة: 17 – 19). وقال تعالى: ﴿وَأَنْزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الذِّكْرَ لِتُبَيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ مَا نُزِّلَ إِلَيْهِمْ وَلَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ﴾ (النحل: 44). فكان هذا هو المصدر الأول لبيان معاني القرآن العظيم وفهمه. ـ

Allah revealed the Qur’an to the Prophet (ﷺ) and He made it clear to him, and He commanded him to clarify it [to others]. Allah said:

إِنَّ عَلَيْنَا جَمْعَهُ وَقُرْ‌آنَهُ * فَإِذَا قَرَ‌أْنَاهُ فَاتَّبِعْ قُرْ‌آنَهُ * ثُمَّ إِنَّ عَلَيْنَا بَيَانَهُ

Verily, upon Us is its collection and recitation * So when We recite it, follow its recitation * Then indeed upon Us is its elucidation [75:17-19]

And He said:

وَأَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الذِّكْرَ‌ لِتُبَيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ مَا نُزِّلَ إِلَيْهِمْ وَلَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَفَكَّرُ‌ونَ

And We revealed to you the message that you may make clear to the people what was sent down to them and that they might give thought. [16:44]

So this [i.e. the Prophet (ﷺ)] is the first source for explanations of the Qur’an and understanding it.

وتلقى معاني القرآن عن رسول الله صحابته الكرام، الذين شاهدوا نزول الوحي، واحتفوا بقرائن النزول، ووقائعه وملابساته، مع كونه نزل بلغتهم التي بها يتكلمون، فصار الصحابة هم المصدر الثاني لبيان القرآن الكريم. ـ

And the meanings of the Qur’an were given from the Messenger of Allah to his noble Companions; those who witnessed the sending of the revelation and were taking part in the context, events and circumstances of the revelation. Not to mention that the Qur’an was sent down in their language with which they used to communicate. So therefore, the Companions are the second source for explaining the Qur’an.

فلزم الأمة اتباع ما جاء به الرسول ، وفق البيان الذي علمه الرسول لصحابته الكرام، ونقلوه لمن بعدهم، فمن خرج عن هذا النهج، فقد خرج عن الصراط المستقيم. وقال الله تبارك وتعالى: ﴿وَمَنْ يُشَاقِقِ الرَّسُولَ مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُ الْهُدَى وَيَتَّبِعْ غَيْرَ سَبِيلِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ نُوَلِّهِ مَا تَوَلَّى وَنُصْلِهِ جَهَنَّمَ وَسَاءَتْ مَصِيرًا﴾ (النساء: 115). ـ

So the Ummah held closely to following what the Messenger came with and living in accordance with the explanations that the Messenger taught to his noble Companions, and which they transmitted to those who came after them. So whoever leaves this methodology, then he has exited from the Straight Path. Allah said:

وَمَن يُشَاقِقِ الرَّ‌سُولَ مِن بَعْدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُ الْهُدَىٰ وَيَتَّبِعْ غَيْرَ‌ سَبِيلِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ نُوَلِّهِ مَا تَوَلَّىٰ وَنُصْلِهِ جَهَنَّمَ ۖ وَسَاءَتْ مَصِيرً‌ا

And whoever opposes the Messenger after guidance has become clear to him and follows other than the way of the believers – We will give him what he has taken and drive him into Hell, and evil it is as a destination. [4:115]

وترتب على هذا أمور ؛ منها أنه لا يجوز للمفسر بالرأي أن يأتي بمعنى يخالف مخالفة تضاد ما جاء عن رسول الله أو عن الصحابة . وهذا أهم شروط قبول التفسير بالرأي ، وسائر الشروط تبع له. فشرط موافقة السياق. وشرط موافقة اللغة. وشرط أن لا يأتي بمعنى يخرج عن الإسلام. وشرط أن لا يؤيد أهل البدع. كلها ترجع إلى شرط أن لا يخالف التفسير الوارد عن الرسول وعن الصحابة مخالفة تضاد! فمن جاء بتفسير للقرآن يخالف ذلك فقد أحدث في تفسير القرآن حدثاً، هو بدعة ضلالة. ـ

And there are a number of things which follow from this.

○ Among them is that it is not permissible for the one who makes opinion-based tafsir of the Qur’an [i.e. rather than narration-based tafsir] to produce a meaning which is in opposition to and in contradiction of what the Messenger of Allah of the Companions brought. And this is the most important condition which must be met for opinion-based tafsir to be accepted, and all other conditions come after this one. And it is stipulated the the opinion-based tafsir must agree with the context. And it is stipulated that it must be in agreement with the language. And it is stipulated that one may not bring a meaning which takes one out of the pale of Islam. And it is stipulated that it must not aid the People of Innovation. All of these stipulations go back to the condition that the opinion-based tafsir must not be in opposition to or contradiction of the tafsir transmitted from the Messenger and from his Companions. So whoever produces an explanation of the Qur’an which is in opposition to that, then he has introduced something new into the explanation of the Qur’an, which is a misguiding innovation.

ومنها أن أعداء الدين صار همهم وتركيزهم إبطال الرجوع إلى تفسير السلف؛ فالقراءات المعاصرة للقرآن العظيم كلها تنتهي إلى هذه الغاية، وهي فصل تفسير القرآن العظيم عن المعاني التي بينها الرسول وقررها الصحابة رضوان الله عليهم! ـ

○ And among them is that the enemies of the religion have made it their emphasis and their concern to abolish the notion of returning back to the tafsir of the salaf [early generations]. So all of the modernist readings of the Qur’an have this objective as their end goal, which is to separate the act of explaining the Qur’an from the meanings which the Messenger clarified and which the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) affirmed.

ومنها أن التفسير اللغوي للقرآن العظيم لا يعتمد في بيان معاني القرآن ما لم يخرج عن مخالفة التفسير الوارد عن الرسول والصحابة الكرام مخالفة تضاد. ولذلك ليس كل ما ساغ لغة ساغ تفسيراً. وليس كل ما ساغ إعراباً ساغ تفسيراً. وهذا يشير إلى أن تفسير القرآن يراعى فيه المعنى المراد، لا مجرد معنى اللفظ بحسب اللغة! ـ

○ And among them is that linguistic tafsir of the Qur’an is not relied upon for explaining the meanings of the Qur’an unless it doesn’t oppose the explanation transmitted from the Messenger and the noble Companions. That is because not everything which the language entails holds true for the tafsir, and not everything which the grammatical inflection entails holds true for the tafsir. This indicates that attention should be paid to the intended meaning while making tafsir of the Qur’an, not just to the linguistic meanings of the phrases.

وما تمت الإحالة فيه إلى لغة العرب إنما المراد به، أن المعنى المراد بحسب ما جاء عن الرسول والصحابة الكرام هو ذلك، لا أن لغة العرب هي المعتمدة في تقريره بمجردها! ففي تفسير الطبري (جامع البيان ط هجر 1/ 70): قَالَ ابْنُ عَبَّاسٍ: “التَّفْسِيرُ عَلَى أَرْبَعَةِ أَوْجُهٍ: وَجْهٍ تَعْرِفُهُ الْعَرَبُ مِنْ كَلَامِهَا. وَتَفْسِيرٌ لَا يُعْذَرُ أَحَدٌ بِجَهَالَتِهِ. وَتَفْسِيرٌ يَعْلَمُهُ الْعُلَمَاءُ. وَتَفْسِيرٌ لَا يَعْلَمُهُ إِلَّا اللَّهُ”. ـ

And in those cases where the linguistic meaning has been turned to for explanation, that was only because the linguistic meaning was the intended meaning; that that was the intended meaning in accordance with what the Messenger and the noble Companions brought, not that the Arabic language was the only relied-upon source in coming to that conclusion. For in al-Tafsir al-Tabari, ibn ‘Abbaas said, “There are four types of tafsir: the type which the Arabs know from the language, the tafsir which none can be pardoned for being ignorant of, the tafsir which the scholars know, and the tafsir which none but Allah knows.”

فالمراد بذلك الوجه الذي تعرفه العرب من كلامها ، هو ما أحال الرسول والصحابة في بيانه على لغة العرب؛ لا أن لغة العرب تستقل ببيان معاني القرآن العظيم، وإلا ما كان لهذه الوجوه الأخرى معنى! ـ

So the meaning of that type which the Arabs know from the language is that which the Messenger and the Companions referred back to the Arabic language for clarification, not that the Arabic language can be used on its own to clarify the meanings of the Qur’an; otherwise what is the point of these other categories!

ومنها أن ما ورد عن التابعين في التفسير، لا يأخذ مكانه في التفسير بالمأثور إلا إذا جزم بأنه يتحقق فيه أنه مأخوذ عن الصحابة، ولذلك قيد بأن يكون مما اتفقوا عليه، وإلا فإن كلامهم ككلام غيرهم في معاني القرآن العظيم. ـ

○ And among them is that what is transmitted from the Taabi’oon regarding tafsir does not fall into the position of narration-based tafsir unless it is definitely ascertained that that explanation was taken from the Companions. If that is the case, then it it becomes something which is agreed upon. Otherwise their speech is no different from the speech of others when it comes to the meanings of the Qur’an.

فإن قيل : ألم يجتهد الصحابة في تفسير القرآن العظيم؟ فالجواب : بلى اجتهدوا، ولكن اجتهادهم كان مبنيا على بيان النبي للقرآن وما شاهدوه وعلموه من قرائن التنزيل ووقائع التأويل؛ فاجتهادهم في التفسير يحمل في طياته البيان الذي علموه من النبي لمعاني القرآن العظيم. ـ

So then, if it is said, “Didn’t the Companions make ijtihad in explaining the Qur’an?” Then the response is: Of course they made ijtihad. However their ijtihad was based on the Prophet’s explanations of the Qur’an, and what they witnessed of that, and what they knew of the context and events of the revelation. So their ijitihad in tafsir contains clarifications of the meanings which they learned from the Prophet.

وبهذه الطريقة لا يفهم القرآن العظيم فقط، بل الدين كله؛ إذ هو يقوم على ما جاء عن الله ورسوله ، بما نقلوه الصحابة من بيان! وهذا يفسر اهتمام الأئمة رحمهم الله بجمع التفسير الوارد عن الصحابة رضي الله عنهم في تفسير القرآن الكريم. ـ

So one should not only understand the Qur’an in this way, but rather the entire religion, since it is based on what has come from Allah and His Messenger, according to what the Companions transmitted of its explanations. And this explains the great importance which the early scholars placed on collecting the explanations of the Companions (may Allah be pleased with) regarding the tafsir of the Qur’an.

واعلم أن بيان النبي للقرآن العظيم على صور شتى؛ فتارة يذكر الرسول الآية ويفسرها. وتارة يذكر الرسول ما يفسر الآية بغير أن يذكرها. وتارة يفسر الآية بالتطبيق العملي منه ، فكل ما ورد عنه في الصلاة ، وفي الزكاة، هو بيان لقوله تعالى: ﴿وأقيموا الصلاة وآتوا الزكاة﴾، وكل ما ورد عنه في الصوم هو بيان لآيات الصوم، وهكذا في آيات الحدود والعقوبات، وغيرها. وتارة يفسر القرآن بخلقه الذي كان عليه في كل شأنه . ـ

And you should know the the Prophet’s tafsir of the Qur’an came in a number of different forms. For sometimes the Messenger would mention an ayah and then explain it. And sometimes the Messenger would mention what explains an ayah without mentioning the ayah directly. And sometimes he would explain an ayah by carrying out an action which the ayah contained; and everything which is transmitted from him regarding the salaah or the zakah is an explanation of Allah’s statement:

وَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ

and establish the salaah and pay the zakah

And everything which is transmitted from him regarding fasting is an explanation of the ayaat of fasting. Likewise regarding the ayaat of the prescribed punishments, discretionary punishments, etc. And sometimes he would explain the Qur’an through his character which he exemplified in every situation.

وبهذا تعلم أن الرسول فسر جميع القرآن وبينه، امتثالاً لأمر ربه له ببيانه، فكان فيه إنهاء الاختلاف والهدى والرحمة؛ وقال تعالى: ﴿وَمَا أَنْزَلْنَا عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ إِلَّا لِتُبَيِّنَ لَهُمُ الَّذِي اخْتَلَفُوا فِيهِ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةً لِقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُونَ﴾ (النحل: 64). ـ

So therefore you can know that the Messenger explained and clarified the entire Qur’an, in accordance with his Lord’s command for him to explain it. And in knowing this, there is guidance and mercy and an end to differing. Allah said:

وَمَا أَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ إِلَّا لِتُبَيِّنَ لَهُمُ الَّذِي اخْتَلَفُوا فِيهِ ۙ وَهُدًى وَرَ‌حْمَةً لِّقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُونَ

And We have not revealed to you the Book, [O Muhammad], except for you to make clear to them that wherein they have differed and as guidance and mercy for a people who believe. [16:64]

[Retrieved from Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool’s Facebook page (April 30th, 2016)]

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s