How and Why the Sahabah used Israa’eeliyyaat Narrations: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

In his book devoted to the subject of Narration-based tafsir (al-Tafsir bi’l-Mathoor), sheikh Muhammad Bazmool included the following question and answer in response to an issue that has confused some people:

الاشكال الرابع : كثرة الروايات الاسرائيلية عن الصحابة ، ألا تمنع من اعتماد التفسير بالمأثور والرجوع إليه ؟

The Fourth Concern: There are many Israa’eeliyaat [Judaeo-Christian] stories transmitted from the Sahabah? Shouldn’t this stop up from relying of Narration-based Tafsir and making it our reference point?

والجواب : لا يصح عن الصحابة الكثير من الروايات الاسرائيلئة ، وما صح عنهم من ذلك لا يمنع اعتماد التفسير بالمأثور ؛ لأنهم إنما كانوا يوردونها تعجبا واستشهادا ، لا أصلا واعتمادا . ـ

The Response: There are actually not a large number of Israa’eeliyaat stories authentically transmitted from the Sahabah, but the material of this sort which has been authentically traced back to them does not stop us from relying on Narration-based tafsir. That is because they only relayed these stories out of amazement or as secondary supporting evidence, not as the basis for their understanding or the foundation of the explanations.

والموقوف الشرعي من الاسرائيليات بحسب نوعها . ـ

And the proper legislated approach towards Israa’eeliyaat narrations differs according to what kind of Israa’eeliyaat narrations they are.

فما خالف ما جاءنا في القرآن العظيم والسنة النبوية نوده . ـ

○ Whatever goes against what has come to us in the Qur’an or the Prophetic Sunnah or contradicts it, then we reject it.

وما وافق ما عندنا لا حرج علينا في روايته . ـ

○ And whatever agrees with what he have in our sources, then there is no harm in transmitting it.

وعن عبد الله بن عمرو أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال‏:‏ ‏ “‏بلغوا عني ولو آية وحدثوا عن بني إسرائيل ولا حرج، ومن كذب علي متعمدًا فليتبوأ مقعده من النار‏” . ـ

On the authority of ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr, the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Convey from me, even if it is one ayah. And relate from Banu Israa’eel, there is no problem with that. And whoever intentionally forges a lie against me, then let him take his seat in the Hellfire.”

وما لا يخالف ولا يوافق ، فهذا نرويه ، ولا نصدق ولا نكذب . ـ

○ And whatever neither contradicts what we have nor agrees with it, then we can transmit this but we neither affirm it nor deny it.

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ كَانَ أَهْلُ الْكِتَابِ يَقْرَءُونَ التَّوْرَاةَ بِالْعِبْرَانِيَّةِ وَيُفَسِّرُونَهَا بِالْعَرَبِيَّةِ لأَهْلِ الإِسْلاَمِ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏”‏ لاَ تُصَدِّقُوا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ، وَلاَ تُكَذِّبُوهُمْ وَقُولُوا ‏{‏آمَنَّا بِاللَّهِ وَمَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْنَا وَمَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْكُمْ‏}‏ ‏”‏‏.‏ الآيَةَ‏.‏ ـ

Abu Hurayrah said that the Ahl al-Kitab used to read the Tawrah to the Muslims in Hebrew and then explain it in Arabic. So Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Neither accept what the Ahl al-Kitab say, nor deny it, but say:

آمَنَّا بِالَّذِي أُنزِلَ إِلَيْنَا وَأُنزِلَ إِلَيْكُمْ وَإِلَـٰهُنَا وَإِلَـٰهُكُمْ وَاحِدٌ وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُسْلِمُونَ

We believe in what has been revealed to us and in what has been revealed to you, and our God and your God is One, and we are those who submit to Him alone [29:46]

وأما رد جميع الاسرائيليات ورفضها جملة وتفصيلا ، والتشنيع على التفسير بالمأثور بها ، فهذا موقف يخالف ما دلت عليه الأدلة من التوسعة في ذلك ، وبالله التوفيق . ـ

But as for rejecting all Israa’eeliyaat narrations automatically and impugning the reliability of all Narration-based tafsir because of them, then this is a position that goes against the latitude granted in the texts of our religion that we do have to narrate them.

And Allah is the granter of success!

[al-Tafsir bi’l-Ma’thoor pg. 205]

For more information on this topic, see also: The Types of Tafsir: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

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

See also: What Allah has told us in His Book is sufficient: Ibn Kathir

3 thoughts on “How and Why the Sahabah used Israa’eeliyyaat Narrations: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

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

  2. Pingback: What Allah has told us in His Book is sufficient: Ibn Kathir | Tulayhah

  3. Pingback: The Jews Say the Christians Have Nothing to Stand on …: Tafsir ibn Kathir | Tulayhah

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