Who knows the Ta’weel? : Imam al-Sa’di

The following questions and answer was found in a collection of sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di’s written works:

س – أي قولين أصح في قوله تعالى : [وَمَا يَعْلَمُ تَأْوِيلَهُ إِلَّا اللَّـهُ ۗ وَالرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ يَقُولُونَ آمَنَّا بِهِ] (آل عمران 7) ؟ ـ

Question: Which of the two opinions is more correct regarding Allah’s statement:

وَمَا يَعْلَمُ تَأْوِيلَهُ إِلَّا اللَّـهُ ۗ وَالرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ يَقُولُونَ آمَنَّا بِهِ

And no one knows its ta’weel except Allah. And those firm in knowledge say, “We believe in it.” [3:7]

جـ – التأويل يطلق بمعنى التفسير والعلم به ، ويطلق بمعنى بيان الحقيقة التي يئول إليها الأمر . ـ

Response: The word ta’weel can be used to mean tafsir – “explanation” – and knowledge of a thing’s explanation, and it can also be used to mean the clarification of the ultimate reality of an issue.

فإن كان الاول ، فيكون قوله : [وَالرَّاسِخُونَ ] معطوفا على قوله : [إِلَّا اللَّـهُ] وعلى هذا فإن معناه أن المتشابه هو ضد المحكم ، وهو الذي فيه احتمالات ، فالراسخون في العلم يفهمونه ويرجعونه إلى المحكم ، فالنص الصريح يقضي على النص الذي فيه عدة احتمالات . ـ

In the first scenario, Allah’s statement, “and those firm in knowledge” is connected to His statement, “except Allah“. So according to this, the meaning of the ayah is that the mutashaabih (ambiguous verses) are the opposite of the muhkam (clear verses), meanings that they carry more than one possible interpretation. So those who are firm in knowledge understand the mutashaabih verses and refer them back to the muhkam verses, for the explicit texts act as a judge presiding over those texts which offer a number of different interpretations.

وإن كان الثاني ، فالتأويل الذي هو بمعنى نفس حقيقة المخبر عنه من صفات الله وصفات اليوم الآخر ، لا يعلم كنه ذلك وكيفيته إلا الله تعالى ، فيكون الوقوف على [إِلَّا اللَّـهُ] ويكون معنى قوله [وَالرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ] بمعنى أنهم يفوضون معرفة الكنه والكيفية إلى الله ، ويقولون : [ آمَنَّا بِهِ كُلٌّ مِّنْ عِندِ رَبِّنَا] . أي : وما كان من عند ربنا ، فهو حق سواء عرفنا كنه أم لا ، وكلا قولين صحيح ، وقد قال بكل منهما طائفة من السلف ، والجمع بينهما على ما ذكرنا من إختلاف معنى التأويل أولى وأحسن . ـ

And in the second scenario, the word ta’weel takes the meaning of the actual true nature of the attributes of Allah or the attributes of the Final Day which are being discussed, and no one knows their state of being or how exactly they are except for Allah. So the pause in recitation comes after:

إِلَّا اللَّـهُ

except for Allah.

and the meaning of Allah’s statement:

وَالرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ

And those firm in knowledge…

is that they entrust the knowledge of their state of being and their manner unto Allah, and they say:

آمَنَّا بِهِ كُلٌّ مِّنْ عِندِ رَبِّنَا

“We believe in it. All of it is from our Lord”

Meaning: whatever comes from our Lord is true regardless of whether we know its state of being or not.

And both of these positions are correct, and groups of the salaf have come with each of these positions. And it is most fitting and proper to reconcile these two positions according to what we have mentioned regarding the different usages of the word ta’weel.

[Majmoo’ Mu’allifaat al-Sheikh al-‘Allaamah ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di volume 24, page 74]

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

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

See also: Do the Disconnected Letters Carry Meaning?: Sheikh Saalih Aal al-Sheikh

See also: A Note on the Different Qiraa’aat: Sheikh bin Baaz

See also: An Example of Added Meaning from the Different Qiraa’aat

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6 thoughts on “Who knows the Ta’weel? : Imam al-Sa’di

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

  2. Pingback: The Wisdom of Dividing the Qur’an into Muhkam and Mutashaabih Verses: Ibn ‘Uthaymeen | Tulayhah

  3. Pingback: An Example of Added Meaning from the Different Qiraa’aat | Tulayhah

  4. Pingback: The Conditions for Making Tafsir: Sheikh Saalih Aal al-Sheikh | Tulayhah

  5. Pingback: Do the Disconnected Letters Carry Meaning?: Sheikh Saalih Aal al-Sheikh | Tulayhah

  6. Pingback: Tafsir of the Qur’an and its Connection to the Qiraa’aat: al-Suyooti | Tulayhah

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