An Example of Reconciling Different Explanations from the Salaf: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool, a professor at Umm al-Qura University in Mecca, wrote:

مثال لتفسير الصحابي: ابن عمر رضي الله عنه، وتفسير لرجل من أتباع أتباع التابعين الفضيل بن عياض رحمه الله في قوله تعال: (لِيَبْلُوَكُمْ أَيُّكُمْ أَحْسَنُ عَمَلًا)؛ ـ

Here is an example of the tafsir of a Companion is that of ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him), as well as the tafsir from someone of the generation of the Atbaa’ al-Taabi’een, al-Fudhayl ibn ‘Iyyaadh (may Allah have mercy on him), regarding Allah’s statement:

لِيَبْلُوَكُمْ أَيُّكُمْ أَحْسَنُ عَمَلًا

that He may test you, which of you is best in deed [67:2]

روي عن ابن عمر وجاء مرفوعا و لا يصح، أنه قال: “(وأحسن عَمَلًا): أَحْسَنُ عَقْلًا، وَأَوْرَعُ عَنْ مَحَارِمِ اللَّهِ، وَأَسْرَعُ فِي طَاعَةِ الله”. وقال الفضيل بْنُ عِيَاضٍ: أَحْسَنُ عَمَلًا أَخْلَصُهُ وَأَصْوَبُهُ. ـ

It is transmitted from ibn ‘Umar – and it has also been attributed to the Prophet, though not authentically – that he explained:

 أَحْسَنُ عَمَلًا

… best in deed

to mean, “best in intellect, most detached from that which Allah has forbade, and quickest to obey Allah.” While al-Fudhayl ibn ‘Iyyaadh explained it as, “Best in deed – that is, the most sincere and correct of deeds.”

أقول ما روي عن ابن عمر وجاء مرفوعاً و لا يصح، هو من باب تفسير القرآن بالقرآن، وذلك أنه مأخوذ من سياق الآيات؛ ـ

I [Muhammad Bazmool] say: what was transmitted from ibn ‘Umar – which has also been attributed to the Prophet, though not authentically – falls under the category of “tafsir of the Qur’an by means of the Qur’an itself”, and that this explanation is taken from the context of the surrounding ayaat.

ففي سياق الآيات يقول الله تبارك وتعالى: ({كُلَّمَا أُلْقِيَ فِيهَا فَوْجٌ سَأَلَهُمْ خَزَنَتُهَا أَلَمْ يَأْتِكُمْ نَذِيرٌ (8) قَالُوا بَلَى قَدْ جَاءَنَا نَذِيرٌ فَكَذَّبْنَا وَقُلْنَا مَا نَزَّلَ اللَّهُ مِنْ شَيْءٍ إِنْ أَنْتُمْ إِلَّا فِي ضَلَالٍ كَبِيرٍ (9) وَقَالُوا لَوْ كُنَّا نَسْمَعُ أَوْ نَعْقِلُ مَا كُنَّا فِي أَصْحَابِ السَّعِيرِ } [الملك: 8 – 10] ـ

For in the surrounding context of the ayaat, Allah says:

كُلَّمَا أُلْقِيَ فِيهَا فَوْجٌ سَأَلَهُمْ خَزَنَتُهَا أَلَمْ يَأْتِكُمْ نَذِيرٌ * قَالُوا بَلَىٰ قَدْ جَاءَنَا نَذِيرٌ فَكَذَّبْنَا وَقُلْنَا مَا نَزَّلَ اللَّـهُ مِن شَيْءٍ إِنْ أَنتُمْ إِلَّا فِي ضَلَالٍ كَبِيرٍ * وَقَالُوا لَوْ كُنَّا نَسْمَعُ أَوْ نَعْقِلُ مَا كُنَّا فِي أَصْحَابِ السَّعِيرِ

Every time a group of disbeliever is thrown into the Hell-fire, its keepers ask them, “Didn’t a warner come to you?” * They will say, “Yes, a warner had come to us, but we denied and said, ‘Allah has not sent down anything. You are not but in great error.'” * And they will say, “If only we had been listening or reasoning, we would not be among the companions of the Blaze.” [67:8-10]

الشاهد قوله : (وَقَالُوا لَوْ كُنَّا نَسْمَعُ أَوْ نَعْقِلُ ) ومفهوم المخالفة أن الذين هم أحسن عملاً عملوا بخلافهم؛ فهم أحسن سمعاً، وأحسن عقلاً، وأورع عن محارم الله، واسرع في طاعة الله. وهذا تفسير بحسب سياق الآيات، راعى فيه مفهوم المخالفة لللآية. ـ

The supporting detail here is Allah’s statement:

وَقَالُوا لَوْ كُنَّا نَسْمَعُ أَوْ نَعْقِلُ

And they will say, “If only we had been listening or reasoning…” [67:10]

The implication here is that the contrary is true, that those who are best in deed are the opposite of these people – they are the best in listening, the best in intellect, most detached from that which Allah has forbade, and quickest to obey Allah. So this explanation is in accordance with the surrounding context and gives due attention to the implication of that ayah.

وأما تفسير الفضيل فهو تفسير منه للآية لا يخالف المأثور، بل يتفق معه، ويظهر أنه أعمل مدلول آيات أخرى، كقوله تعالى: {قُلْ إِنَّمَا أَنَا بَشَرٌ مِثْلُكُمْ يُوحَى إِلَيَّ أَنَّمَا إِلَهُكُمْ إِلَهٌ وَاحِدٌ فَمَنْ كَانَ يَرْجُو لِقَاءَ رَبِّهِ فَلْيَعْمَلْ عَمَلًا صَالِحًا وَلَا يُشْرِكْ بِعِبَادَةِ رَبِّهِ أَحَدًا } [الكهف: 110]، وكقوله تعالى: {وَمَا أُمِرُوا إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ حُنَفَاءَ وَيُقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَذَلِكَ دِينُ الْقَيِّمَةِ } [البينة: 5]. والله الموفق. ـ

As for the tafsir of al-Fudhayl ibn ‘Iyyaadh, then his explanation of the ayah does not contradict the earlier transmitted understandings. On the contrary, it is line with them. It is clear that he drew on the meanings of other ayaat for his explanation, such as Allah’s statement:

قُلْ إِنَّمَا أَنَا بَشَرٌ مِثْلُكُمْ يُوحَى إِلَيَّ أَنَّمَا إِلَهُكُمْ إِلَهٌ وَاحِدٌ فَمَنْ كَانَ يَرْجُو لِقَاءَ رَبِّهِ فَلْيَعْمَلْ عَمَلًا صَالِحًا وَلَا يُشْرِكْ بِعِبَادَةِ رَبِّهِ أَحَدًا

Say, “I am only a man like you, to whom has been revealed that your god is one God. So whoever would hope for the meeting with his Lord – let him do righteous deeds and not associate anyone in the worship of his Lord.” [18:110]

and such as His statement:

وَمَا أُمِرُوا إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ حُنَفَاءَ وَيُقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَذَلِكَ دِينُ الْقَيِّمَةِ

And they were only commanded to worship Allah, being sincere to Him in religion, inclining to truth, and to establish prayer and to give zakah. And that is the correct religion. [98:5]

And Allah is the granter of success.

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

Follow up this article by reading: We made the way easy for him: Tafsir al-Tabari & Tafsir ibn Kathir

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

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

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4 thoughts on “An Example of Reconciling Different Explanations from the Salaf: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

  1. Pingback: We made the way easy for him: Tafsir al-Tabari & Tafsir ibn Kathir | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: Those who say “our Lord is Allah” and then have al-Istiqaamah: Tafsir al-Baghawi | Tulayhah

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