The Wisdom of Dividing the Qur’an into Muhkam and Mutashaabih Verses: Ibn ‘Uthaymeen

In part of his primer on the sciences of tafsir, sheikh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen closed his section discussing the issues of the Muhkam (clear) and Mutashaabih (ambiguous) verses by writing:

الحكمة في تنوع القرآن إلى محكم ومتشابه
The Wisdom of Dividing the Qur’an into Muhkam (clear) and Mutashaabih (ambiguous) Verses

لو كان القرآن كله محكما لفاتت الحكمة من الاختبار به تصديقا وعملا لظهور معناه، وعدم المجال لتحريفه، والتمسك بالمتشابه ابتغاء الفتنة وابتغاء تأويله، ولو كان كله متشابها لفات كونه بيانا، وهدى للناس، ولما أمكن العمل به، وبناء العقيدة السليمة عليه، ولكن الله تعالى بحكمته جعل منه آيات محكمات، يرجع إليهن عند التشابه، وآخر متشابهات امتحانا للعباد، ليتبين صادق الإيمان ممن في قلبه زيغ، فإن صادق الإيمان يعلم أن القرآن كله من عند الله تعالى، وما كان من عند الله فهو حق، ولا يمكن أن يكون فيه باطل، أو تناقض لقوله تعالى: (لا يَأْتِيهِ الْبَاطِلُ مِنْ بَيْنِ يَدَيْهِ وَلا مِنْ خَلْفِهِ تَنْزِيلٌ مِنْ حَكِيمٍ حَمِيدٍ) (فصلت: 42) وقوله تعالى (لَوْ كَانَ مِنْ عِنْدِ غَيْرِ اللَّهِ لَوَجَدُوا فِيهِ اخْتِلافاً كَثِيراً) (النساء: الآية 82) . ـ

If the entire Qur’an were to have been made up of Muhkam verses, then the purpose of it being a test in terms of affirming it and acting in according with it would not have been achieved due to the clarity of its meanings and the absence of any opportunity to distort them or to cling to the ambiguous passages, seeking trouble and distortion in doing so. But if the entire Qur’an were to have been made up of Mutashaabih verses, then its role as a clarification and a guidance to mankind would not have been fulfilled and it would not have been possible to act according to it or to build a sound basis of belief upon it.

However Allah, in His wisdom, made part of the Qur’an to be Muhkam verses which the Mutashaabih verses could be referred back to, and He made another part of it as Mutashaabih verses as a test for His slaves in order to clearly distinguish the one who is sincere in his faith from the one who has deviation in his heart. For the one who is sincere in his faith knows that the entire Qur’an is from Allah, and whatever is from Allah is the truth, and it is not possible for it to contain any falsehood or contradiction. This is according to Allah’s statement:

لا يَأْتِيهِ الْبَاطِلُ مِنْ بَيْنِ يَدَيْهِ وَلا مِنْ خَلْفِهِ تَنْزِيلٌ مِنْ حَكِيمٍ حَمِيدٍ

Falsehood cannot approach it from before it or from behind it; it is a revelation from a the Wise and Praiseworthy. [41:42]

and also His statement:

لَوْ كَانَ مِنْ عِنْدِ غَيْرِ اللَّهِ لَوَجَدُوا فِيهِ اخْتِلافاً كَثِيراً

If it had been from any other than Allah, they would have found within it much contradiction. [4:82]

وأما من في قلبه زيغ، فيتخذ من المتشابه سبيلا إلى تحريف المحكم واتباع الهوى في التشكيك في الأخبار والاستكبار عن الأحكام، ولهذا تجد كثيرا من المنحرفين في العقائد والأعمال، يحتجون على انحرافهم بهذه الآيات المتشابهة. ـ

As for the one who has deviation in his heart, he take the ambiguous parts of the Qur’an as a license to distort the clear parts and to follow his desires in doubting the Qur’an’s information and considering himself above following its rulings. For this reason you find many of those who have deviated in belief and actions supporting their deviations by means of these ambiguous verses.

[Usool fee al-Tafsir pg. 35]

See also: The Meanings of Muhkam, Mutashaabih, and Ta’weel: al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah

See also: Who Knows the Ta’weel? : Imam al-Sa’di

See also: Understanding the Qur’an: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

See also: Statements of the Scholars regarding the Books of Tafsir

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “The Wisdom of Dividing the Qur’an into Muhkam and Mutashaabih Verses: Ibn ‘Uthaymeen

  1. Pingback: The Meanings of Muhkam, Mutashaabih, and Ta’weel: al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: Understanding the Qur’an: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool | Tulayhah

  3. Pingback: Who Knows the Ta’weel? : Imam al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

  4. Pingback: Supposed Contradictions between the Qur’an and Hadeeth: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool | Tulayhah

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