The Difference Between Narration-based Tafsir and Opinion-Based Tafsir: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool, a professor at Umm al-Qura University in Mecca, posed and answered the following question:

ما الفرق بين التفسيربالمأثور والتفسير بالرأي ؟ التفسير بالمأثور هو الذي يقتصر فيه دور المفسر على مجرد النقل؛ فيفسر الآية بالآية = تفسير القرآن بالقرآن. ويفسر الآية بالسنة . = تفسير القرآن بالسنة. ويفسر الآية بقول الصحابي . = ويفسر الآية بما أجمع عليه التابعون. فقط ينقل ماورد من ذلك في تفسير الآية، كما تراه في تفسير عبدالرزاق وابن أبي حاتم، وابن المنذر. ـ

What is the difference between Narration-based Tafsir [Tafsir bi’l-Ma’thoor] and Opinion-based Tafsir [Tafsir bi’l-Ra’yi]?

Narration-based tafsir can be defined as that in which the role of the mufassir is limited to mere transmission. So he would:

  • explain one ayah with another, which is explaining the Qur’an by means of the Qur’an itself.
  • explain an ayah through the Sunnah, which is explaining the Qur’an by means of the Sunnah.
  • explain an ayah with the statement of a Companion.
  • explain an ayah according to a position that all the Taabi’oon agreed on.

So he only transmits what has been relayed through those routes regarding the explanation of an ayah, as you can see in the books of tafsir by ‘Abd al-Razzaaq, ibn Abi Haatim, and ibn al-Mundhir.

أمّا التفسير بالرأي فالمفسر يذكر رأيه واجتهاده في تفسير الآية، ويأتي بمعاني بمقتضى العقل واللغة؛ فإن لم تخالف مخالفة تضاد التفسير بالمأثور فهذا تفسير بالرأي المحمود. وإن خالفت التفسير بالمأثور مخالفة تضاد فهذا تفسير بالرأي المذموم.  ـ

As for Opinion-based tafsir, then the mufassir mentions his own opinions and academic efforts regarding the explanation of an ayah and produces some explanations according to reasoning and linguistics. If these explanations do not differ from the narration-based explanations in a contradictory way, then this falls into the category of “praise-worthy opinion-based tafsir. However, if these explanations do differ from the narration-based explanations in a way that contradicts them, then that falls into the category of “blame-worthy opinion-based tafsir.

ولذلك تجد المفسرين بالرأي المحمود يوردون تفسير القرآن بالقرآن وبالسنة وبقول الصحابي وبقول التابعي ثم يرجحون ويضيفون معاني بحسب اللغة والعقل لا تخالف مخالفة تضاد المأثور. ومن أمثلة هذا النوع تفسير الطبري، وابن كثير، والشوكاني. وبالله التوفيق. ـ

Following from this, you find that those mufassiroon who produce praise-worthy opinion-based explanations relay the explanations of the Qur’an according to the Qur’an itself, according to the Sunnah, and according to the statements of Sahabah and Taabi’oon, and then after that they weigh the merits of the various opinions and also add some further points pertaining to linguistics and reasoning which do not contradict the narration-based explanations. And some examples that follow this model are the books of tafsir written by al-Tabari, ibn Kathir, and al-Shawkaani.

And Allah is the granter of success.

[Taken from the sheikh’s social media page here]

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

See also: The Types of Tafsir: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

See also: Regarding New Explanations of the Qur’an: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

See also: How the Prophet Explained the Qur’an: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

See also: Examples of Blame-worthy Opinion-based Tafsir: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

See also: The Best Methods of Explaining the Qur’an: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmoo

9 thoughts on “The Difference Between Narration-based Tafsir and Opinion-Based Tafsir: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

  1. Pingback: How the Prophet Explained the Qur’an: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: The Types of Tafsir: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool | Tulayhah

  3. Pingback: Narration-based Tafsir before Opinion-based Tafsir: Sheikh Saalih Aal al-Sheikh | Tulayhah

  4. Pingback: An Example of Reconciling Different Explanations from the Salaf: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool | Tulayhah

  5. Pingback: Examples of Blame-worthy Opinion-based Tafsir: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool | Tulayhah

  6. Pingback: The Best Methods of Explaining the Qur’an: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool | Tulayhah

  7. Pingback: Responding to Some Current Misconceptions in Tafsir: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool | Tulayhah

  8. Pingback: “Good speech ascends to Allah and righteous action raises it”: Narration-based Tafsir | Tulayhah

  9. Pingback: Tafsir of Ayah al-Kursi: Faisal Aal Mubarak | Tulayhah

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