Narration-based Tafsir before Opinion-based Tafsir: Sheikh Saalih Aal al-Sheikh

In a lecture entitled, “How to Read the Books of the People of Knowledge”, sheikh Saaleh Aal al-Sheikh mentioned the following important points related to studying tafsir (explanation of the Qur’an):

وكتب التفسير كما هو معلوم منقسمة إلى مدرستين: مدرسة التفسير بالأثر. ومدرسة التفسير بالرأي، ومدرسة التفسير بالرأي أيضا لها عدة أقسام منها ما هو من ثوابت الرأي المحمود، يعني الاجتهاد والاستنباط، المقبول، الذي له أُسُسه، المقبولة شرعا، ومنها ما فسر القرآن برأي مجرد يعني بغير حجة، إما في الاعتقاد أو في غيره. ـ

As is well-known, the books of tafsir are divided into two schools:

  • The narration-based school of tafsir, and
  • The opinion-based school of tafsir

And the opinion-based school of tafsir also has a number of sub-categories. One of them is that of praise-worthy opinions, meaning the acceptable processes of reasoning and derivation based on the texts, whose basis according to the sharee’ah is that it is accepted. Another one of its categories is that which interprets the Qur’an by mere opinion alone, meaning without any evidence or proofs. This could be in terms of beliefs or in other areas.

فكتب التفسير إذًا على قسمين كتب التفسير بالأثر وكتب التفسير بالرأي، كتب التفسير بالأثر، نعني بها الكتب التي تمحظت في نقل الآثار، فيأتي في التفسير هذه فسرها ابن عباس كذا وهو قول ابن عباس ومجاهد وسعيد بن جبير مثلا، وابن مسعود وعلقمة إلى آخر ذلك، به قال فلان وفلان وفلان يعني نقل أقوال السلف في التفسير تسمى التفسير بالمأثور ـ

So then, the books of tafsir are divided into two categories: the books of narration-based tafsir and the books of opinion-based tafsir. And by the books of narration-based tafsir, I mean those books which focus on transmitting the statements of the early generations. So it would come in the tafsir as “ibn ‘Abbaas explained this to mean such-and-such” or “this was the position of ibn ‘Abbaas, Mujaahid, and Sa’eed ibn Jubayr”, for example, or “of ibn Mas’ood and ‘Alqamah,” and so on. “This was what so-and-so and so-and-so said.” Meaning: transmitting the statements of the salaf in the field of tafsir, which is called “Narration-based Tafsir“. Continue reading

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Khutbah at the Beginning of Shawwaal: Imam al-Sa’di

Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di authored the following khutbah for the beginning of the month of Shawwaal, immediately following the month of Ramadan:

الخطبة الأولى لشوال
Khutbah at the Beginning of Shawwaal

الحمد لله الذي افتتح أشهر الحج بشهر شوال ، وجعله متجرا لنيل الفضائل والإفضال ، فسبحانه من إله عظيم متفرد بصفات الكمال والجلال ، عالم بالسرائر والبواطن وجميع الأحوال . ـ

Allah praise is due to Allah, the One who has opened the months of the Hajj with the month of Shawwaal and has made it a marketplace to obtain virtue and goodness. So exalted is He, the Magnificent deity beyond compare in His perfect and sublime characteristics, the One who knows the secret matters, the concealed affairs, and all things.

نحمده على فضله وكرمه ، ونشكره على أياديه ونعمه ـ

We praise Him for His bounty and generosity, and we thank Him for His blessings and favors.

ونشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له الكبير المتعال ، شهادة تنفي الشرك وتنافي الضلال ، نرجو أن يختم بها حياتنا ويؤَمّننا بها من المخاوف والأهوال . ـ

We testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah alone, with no partners, the Great and Most Exalted. This is a testimony that negates al-shirk and opposes misguidance. We hope to conclude our lives with this testimony, and it gives us peace in the face of fear and fright. Continue reading

The Arrangement of the Final Chapters of the Qur’an: Ibn Taymiyah

Sheikh al-Islam ibn Taymiyah mentioned the following benefits in one of his writings:

السور القصار في أواخر المصحف متناسبة . فسورة ( اقرأ هي أول ما نزل من القرآن ; ولهذا افتتحت بالأمر بالقراءة وختمت بالأمر بالسجود ووسطت بالصلاة التي أفضل أقوالها وأولها بعد التحريم هو القراءة وأفضل أفعالها وآخرها قبل التحليل هو السجود … ـ

The shorter surahs at the end of the mushaf have a certain logic and reasoning to their organization and arrangement. Surah Iqraa’ [96] was the first part of the Qur’an to be revealed, and so it opens with the command to recite and closes with the command to make sujood. And in its middle is the prayer, whose best spoken part and the first of them after the initial takbeer is the recitation of the Qur’an, and whose best physical parts and the last of them before its conclusion is the sujood. …

فلما أمر في هذه السورة بالقراءة ذكر في التي تليها نزول القرآن ليلة القدر وذكر فيها تنزل الملائكة والروح وفي ( المعارج عروج الملائكة والروح وفي ( النبأ قيام الملائكة والروح . فذكر الصعود والنزول والقيام ثم [ ص: 478 ] في التي تليها تلاوته على المنذرين حيث قال : { يتلو صحفا مطهرة } { فيها كتب قيمة } . فهذه السور الثلاث منتظمة للقرآن أمرا به وذكرا لنزوله ولتلاوة الرسول له على المنذرين . ـ

So after Allah commands the recitation of the Qur’an in this surah, in the following surah [97 – surah al-Qadr] He mentions the sending down of the Qur’an on Laylah al-Qadr. And in that surah He also mentioned the descending of the angels and the Rooh. Continue reading

Supplicating upon Completion of the Qur’an: Sheikh ibn ‘Uthaymeen

Sheikh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen was asked the following question during the program Fataawaa Noor ‘alaa al-Darb:

السؤال : سؤال يشكل على كثير من الإخوة المستمعين الكرام، السؤال يا فضيلة الشيخ: هو عن دعاء الختمة في أخر ليلة من رمضان، هل هو وارد عن الرسول الكريم أو عن السلف الصالح رضوان الله عليهم؟

Question: This is a question which has confused many of our respected brothers who are listening. The question, honorable sheikh, is about du’aa [supplication] upon completing the Qur’an on the last night of Ramadan – is this something which is textually transmitted from the Messenger or from the Salaf, may Allah be pleased with them?

الجواب الشيخ : الختمة التي يدعى بها في آخر رمضان ليس لها أصل في سنة الرسول عليه الصلاة والسلام، ولا عن خلفائه الراشدين، ولا عن أحد من الصحابة، فلا أعلم إلى ساعتي هذه أنه ورد عنهم أنهم كانوا يدعون مثل هذا  الدعاء في الصلاة. ـ

Response: The supplicating which people do at the end of Ramadan is not something which has any basis in the Sunnah of the Messenger (ﷺ), nor was it practiced by the Rightly-Guided Khulafaa’, nor by any of the Sahabah, and until now I don’t know of any textual evidence transmitted regarding them having practiced something like this supplication during the prayer.

نعم. ورد عن أنس بن مالك رضي الله عنه أنه كان إذا ختم القرآن جمع أهله فدعا، وهذا في غير الصلاة وليس كل مشروع، وليس كل شيء مشروع خارج الصلاة يكون مشروعاً فيها؛ لأن الصلاة محددة في أفعالها محددة في أذكارها ـ

Yes, it has been transmitted from Anas ibn Maalik (may Allah be pleased with him) that he used to gather his family members together and make supplication upon having completed the Qur’an. But this was not in the prayer, and what is legislated outside of the prayer isn’t necessarily legislated inside the prayer. For the prayer is something with well-defined guidelines regarding its specific actions and utterances. Continue reading

The Meaning of “Laylah al-Qadr”: Sheikh ibn ‘Uthaymeen

The term Laylah al-Qadr has been translated into English in a number of different ways, leading to some potential confusion as to the correct and intended  meaning of the word “qadr” in this phrase. In part of his explanation of surah al-Qadr, sheikh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen brought the following clarification of this issue:

وقوله تعالى: {في ليلة القدر} من العلماء من قال: القدر هو الشرف كما يقال (فلان ذو قدر عظيم، أو ذو قدر كبير) أي ذو شرف كبير، ومن العلماء من قال: المراد بالقدر التقدير، لأنه يقدر فيها ما يكون في السنة لقول الله تعالى: {إنا أنزلناه في ليلة مباركة إنا كنا منذرين. فيها يفرق كل أمر حكيم} [الدخان: 3، 4] . أي يفصل ويبين. ـ

Regarding Allah’s statement:

فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ

… during Laylah al-Qadr [97:1]

There are some scholars who say that al-qadr means “honor”, just as one might say, “So-and-so has tremendous qadr” or “has considerable qadr” – meaning: considerable honor. Continue reading

“The Best of You are Those Who Learn the Qur’an and Teach it”: Sheikh al-Albani

Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami narrated from ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan that the Prophet (ﷺ) said:

خَيْرُكُمْ مَنْ تَعَلَّمَ الْقُرْآنَ وَعَلَّمَهُ

The best of you are those who learn the Qur’an and teach it.

[al-Bukhari and elsewhere.]

In his collection of authentic ahaadeeth, sheikh Muhammad Naasir al-Deen al-Albani made the following brief comments on this hadeeth:

وفي هذا الحديث : إشارة إلى تعلم القرآن , وأن خير المعلمين هو معلم القرآن , وأن خير ما تعلم المرء هو تعلم القرآن , فياليت طلاب العلم يعلمون ذلك فإن فيه النفع العظيم , وإنه مما عمت به البلوى في زماننا هذا أنك تجد كثيرا من الدعاة أو المبتدئين في طلب العلم يتصدر للدعوة والفتيا والإجابة على أسئلة الناس وهو لا يحسن قراءة الفاتحة بالمخارج الصحيحة لكل حرف فتراه ينطق السين صادا والطاء تاء والذال زايا والثاء سينا , ويقع في اللحن الجلي فضلا عن اللحن الخفي , والمفروض -بداهة – أن يحسن قراءة القرآن عن حفظه , لكي يحسن استخراج الآيات والإستدلال بها في مواعظه ودروسه ودعوته. ـ

This hadeeth contains direction to learn the Qur’an, and that the best of teachers is the teacher of the Qur’an, and also that the best thing a person can learn is learning the Qur’an. How I wish that the students of knowledge would know this, for this is a tremendous benefit. For there is a terrible condition that has become widespread in this age of ours that you find many of the du’aat and beginning students of knowledge who put themselves forward for da’wah, giving fataawaa and responding to people’s questions when they have not yet become proficient in reciting surah al-Fatihah with the correct pronunciation and articulation of each letter. So sometimes he might pronounce the letter seen as ṣaad, or ṭa as ta, or dhal as zay, or thaa as seen, and they commit gross errors in pronunciation, not to mention less obvious ones. But what is obligatory – obviously – is to become proficient in reciting the Qur’an from memory, such that one is proficient in articulating the ayaat and utilizing them in one’s admonitions, lessons, and da’wah. Continue reading

Learning the Qur’an – Both Wordings and Meanings: ibn Taymiyah

In part of a longer discussion about the qiraa’aat, sheikh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyah wrote:

فإن أصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم تلقوا عنه ما أمره الله بتبليغه إليهم من القرآن لفظه ومعناه جميعا كما قال أبو عبد الرحمن السلمي – وهو الذي روى عن عثمان رضي الله عنه عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أنه قال : ” { خيركم من تعلم القرآن وعلمه } ” كما رواه البخاري في صحيحه وكان يقرئ القرآن أربعين سنة . قال – حدثنا الذين كانوا يقرئوننا عثمان بن عفان وعبد الله بن مسعود وغيرهما : أنهم كانوا إذا تعلموا من النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم عشر آيات لم يجاوزوها حتى [ ص: 403 ] يتعلموا ما فيها من العلم والعمل . قالوا : فتعلمنا القرآن والعلم والعمل جميعا .ـ

The Companions received the Qur’an – both its wordings and its meanings – from the Messenger (ﷺ) as Allah had commanded Him to convey it to them. This is just as Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami described it, and he was the one who relayed from ‘Uthman that the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “The best of you are those who learn the Qur’an and teach it“, as has been recorded by al-Bukhari in his Saheeh along with the comment that Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami had been a teacher of the Qur’an for forty years.

Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami also said, “Those under whom we learned the Qur’an – ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affaan, ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ood, and others – told us that whenever they had learned ten ayaat from the Prophet (ﷺ), they used to not move forward past that until they learned the knowledge which those ayaat contained and actions which they entailed. They said, ‘We learned the Qur’an along with knowledge and deeds all together.'” Continue reading

What to Recite in the Prayers: Sheikh bin Baaz

In part of a larger description of the various parts of the prayer, sheikh ‘Abd al-‘Aziz bin Baaz made the following remarks on the recitation of the Qur’an during the prayer:

صفة القراءة في الصلاة
Description of Reciting the Qur’an in Prayer

ثم يقول الرجل أو المرأة بعد دعاء الاستفتاح أعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم ثم يقرأ الفاتحة وهي: بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ (1) الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ (2) الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ (3) مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ (4) إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ (5) اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ (6) صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ الضَّالِّينَ ، ثم يقول آمين، وآمين ليست من الفاتحة وهي مستحبة، كان النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يقولها بعد الفاتحة في الجهرية والسرية يقول آمين ومعناها اللهم استجب. ـ

Following the opening supplication of the prayer, then a man or woman will say:

أَعُوذُ بِاللَّهِ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيمِ * بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

a’oodhu billah min al-Shaytaan al-Rajeem * bismillah al-Rahmaan al-Raheem

I seek refuge with Allah from the accursed Shayaan * I begin with the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Especially Merciful

And then he recites surah al-Fatihah, which is:

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ * الْحَمْدُ لِلَّـهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ * الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ * مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ * إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ * اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ * صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا الضَّالِّينَ

In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Especially Merciful * All praise is due to Allah, Lord of all creation * the Most Merciful, the Especially Merciful * Master of the Day of Recompense * You alone we worship and You alone we ask for help * Guide us to the Straight Path * the path of those with whom You are pleased, not those deserving anger nor those who are misguided [1:1-7]

And then you say: Continue reading

The Relationship between Supplication and Fasting: Tafsir ibn Kathir

Allah devotes a series of ayaat in surah al-Baqarah [2:183-187] to the rulings of fasting. However, in the middle of these ayaat, He mentions the well-known ayah:

وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ ۖ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ ۖ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُوا لِي وَلْيُؤْمِنُوا بِي لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ

And when My servants ask you (O Muhammad) about Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the call of the supplicant when he calls Me. So let them respond to Me and believe in Me that they may be rightly guided. [2:186]

al-Haafidh Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir shed some light on the relationship of this ayah to the surrounding ayaat of fasting by writing:

وفي ذكره تعالى هذه الآية الباعثة على الدعاء ، متخللة بين أحكام الصيام ، إرشاد إلى الاجتهاد في الدعاء عند إكمال العدة ، بل وعند كل فطر . ـ

So Allah’s mention of this ayah encouraging supplication in midst of the rulings of fasting contains a directive to exert oneself in supplication when the entire period of fasting is completed – as well as of course at the breaking of every fast.

 كما رواه الإمام أبو داود الطيالسي في مسنده : حدثنا أبو محمد المليكي ، عن عمرو هو ابن شعيب بن محمد بن عبد الله بن عمرو ، عن أبيه ، عن جده عبد الله بن عمرو ، قال : سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول : ” للصائم عند إفطاره دعوة مستجابة ” . فكان عبد الله بن عمرو إذ أفطر دعا أهله ، وولده ودعا . ـ

This is just as Imam Abu Dawud al-Tayaalisi recorded in his musnad … that ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr said: I heard Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) say, “At the time of breaking the fast, the fasting person has a supplication which is accepted.” And so when ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr used to break his fast, he would call the members of his household and supplicate. Continue reading