Sabab al-Nuzool – its Definition and Wordings: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool mentioned the following in part of his explanation of Sheikh al-Islam ibn Taymiyah’s primer of the fundamentals of al-Tafsir:

ما تعريف سبب النزول ؟ سبب النزول هو الحادثة التي تقع في زمن الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم أو السؤال الذي يسأل عنه الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم فينزل القرآن متحدثاً عنها أو مجيباً عن السؤال. تعريف آخر مختصر : أن سبب النزول هو : ما نزل بصدده قرآن من حدث أو سؤال. ـ

What is the definition of sabab al-nuzool? Sabab al-nuzool [lit. “a reason for revelation”] is an event which occurred during the time of the Messenger (ﷺ) or a question which was posed to the Messenger (ﷺ) and then a portion of the Qur’an was revealed regarding that event or in response to the question.

Another more succinct definition is that sabab al-nuzool is: an event or question regarding which a portion of the Qur’an was revealed.

والعلماء – رحمهم الله – نبهوا أن تعبير السلف عن سبب النزول له صيغتان : الأولى : صيغة صريحة في التعبير عن سبب النزول . الثانية : صيغة غير صريحة . ـ

The scholars – may Allah have mercy on them – have informed us that the wordings which the salaf used to discuss the sabab al-nuzool came in two forms.

1) A form which was explicit in its wording regarding the cause for the revelation.

2) A form which was not explicit.

الصيغة الصريحة، كأن يقال: حدث كذا فأنزل الله كذا ، أو جاء رجل فسأل الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم عن كذا، فيرتب نزول الآية على حدث أو سؤال. ـ

The explicit form would be, for example, to say, “Such-and-such happened so Allah revealed such-and-such,” or “A man came and asked the Messenger (ﷺ) about such-and-such a thing …”, so the revelation of the ayah is predicated on some event or question.

النوع الثاني : الصيغة غير الصريحة : هي أن يقال : سبب النزول هذه الآية كذا، أو نزلت هذه الآية في كذا. هذه الصيغة محتملة لأن يكون ما يذكر من باب سبب النزول على المعنى الأول الصريح، أو من باب بيان دخول هذا المعنى في الآية، كأنه يقول : هذا المعنى مما يدخل في معنى هذه الآية، أو إن نزول هذه الآية يشمل هذا المعنى، فهي صيغة محتملة لأن يكون مراده التعبير عن السبب من الحدث أو السؤال الذي نزل بصدده قرآن، ومحتمل أن يكون ما عناه : البيان عن أنَّ هذا الأمر يدخل ضمن الآية. ـ

The second category – the non-explicit form – is that one might say, “the reason for the revelation of this ayah was such-and-such,” or, “this ayah was revealed regarding such-and-such.” This expression allows for more than one meaning, for it could be used to refer to an issue of the reason for revelation in the same vein and meaning as the first explicit wording, or it could be used to explain something that falls under the meaning of the ayah. This would be like saying, “Such-and-such meaning is one of the things included in the overall meaning of this ayah,” or that “the revelation of this ayah includes such-and-such meaning.”

So this type of wording formulation allows for more than one meaning because the intended message of the speaker in using the word “sabab” could be referring to an event or question on whose account a portion of the Qur’an was revealed, or it could be that what he meant was to explain that such-and-such issue falls under the contents and meaning of the ayah.

[Sharh Muqaddimah fee Usool al-Tafsir pg. 35]

For a more in-depth discussion of this topic, see: Technical wordings for Asbaab al-Nuzool: Ibn ‘Uthaymeen

See also: The Proper Place of Asbaab al-Nuzool in Understanding the Qur’an: Imam al-Sa’di

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

See also: How to benefit from reading the Qur’an during Ramadan: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

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3 thoughts on “Sabab al-Nuzool – its Definition and Wordings: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

  1. Pingback: Technical wordings for Asbaab al-Nuzool: Ibn ‘Uthaymeen | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: The Proper Place of Asbaab al-Nuzool in Understanding the Qur’an: Imam al-Sa’di | Tulayhah

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

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