Makki and Madani Series Part 3 – Characteristics: al-Suyooti

In his famous handbook of the Qur’anic Sciences, al-Itqan fee ‘Uloom al-Qur’an, Imam Jalal al-Deen al-Suyooti dedicated his first main chapter to the subject of Makki and Madani revelation, which we have made into the this Makki and Madani Series of articles. What follows is the third of four sections of that chapter as abridged by Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool. This particular section focuses on how to identify whether a surah is makki or madani and some of the distinguishing characteristics of each:

[العمدة في معرفة المكي والمدني]

[The Main Source of Knowledge for Determining Makki and Madani]

قال القاضي أبو بكر في ” الانتصار ” : إنما يرجع في معرفة المكي والمدني إلى حفظ الصحابة والتابعين ، ولم يرد عن النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم – في ذلك قول ، لأنه لم يؤمر به ، ولم يجعل الله علم ذلك من فرائض الأمة ، وإن وجب في بعضه على أهل العلم معرفة تاريخ الناسخ والمنسوخ ، فقد يعرف ذلك بغير نص الرسول . انتهى . ـ

In his book al-Intisar, al-Qadhi Abu Bakr wrote:

When it comes to knowing what is Makki and Madani, then our only point of reference is the recordings of the Sahabah and Tabi’oon as there is nothing on this subject transmitted directly from the Prophet. That is because he was not commanded to speak on that subject, and Allah did not make this field of knowledge something obligatory for every member of this ummah, although some knowledge of it is necessary for the scholars in order to know the timeline of abrogating and abrogated verses, as that is something that can be known without an explicit text from the Messenger.

وقد أخرج البخاري ، عن ابن مسعود أنه قال : والذي لا إله غيره ما نزلت آية من كتاب الله – تعالى – إلا وأنا أعلم فيمن نزلت ، وأين نزلت . وقال أيوب : سأل رجل عكرمة عن آية في القرآن ، فقال : نزلت في سفح ذلك الجبل ، وأشار إلى سلع . أخرجه أبو نعيم في الحلية . وقد ورد عن ابن عباس وغيره عد المكي والمدني . ـ

al-Bukhari reported that ibn Mas’ood said:

I swear by the One besides whom there is none worthy of worship, there is not a single ayah in Allah’s Book except that I know who is was revealed about and where it was revealed.

Ayyub said:

A man asked ‘Ikrimah about a certain ayah in the Qur’an, so he replied, “It was revealed at the base of that mountain,” and he pointed to Sil’a.

Abu Nu’aym brought this report in al-Hilyah.

And lists of the Makki and Madani surahs have been transmitted from ibn ‘Abbaas and others. [see part five of this series – forthcoming, inshaAllaah]

ضوابط [منهج القياسي في معرفة] المكي والمدني : ـ

Guidelines for [the Analogical Reasoning Method of Determining] whether a Surah is Makki or Madani

وقال الجعبري : لمعرفة المكي والمدني طريقان : سماعي وقياسي . فالسماعي : ما وصل إلينا نزوله بأحدهما . والقياسي : كل سورة فيها ( ياأيها الناس ) فقط ، أو ( كلا ) أو : أولها حرف تهج – سوى الزهراوين والرعد – أو : فيها قصة آدم وإبليس – سوى البقرة – فهي مكية ، وكل سورة فيها قصص الأنبياء والأمم الخالية مكية ، وكل سورة فيها فريضة أو حد فهي مدنية . انتهى . ـ

al-Ja’bari said:

There are two ways to know whether something is Makki or Madani: 1) Transmitted knowledge or 2) Analogical reasoning.

1) Transmitted knowledge is what has reached us stating that it was revealed in one time period or the other.

2) Analogical reasoning would be that every surah containing only “O Mankind …” or the word “kallaa” or which opens with the the alphabetical letters – that is, aside from al-Baqarah, Aal ‘Imran and al-Ra’d – or which contains the story of Adam and Iblis – aside from al-Baqarah – is a Makki surah, and every surah that contains the stories of the previous Prophets and nations is a Makki surah, and every surah that mentions specific legislation or legal punishments is a Madani surah.

أخرج الحاكم في مستدركه ، والبيهقي في الدلائل ، والبزار في مسنده : من طريق الأعمش ، عن إبراهيم عن علقمة عن عبد الله ، قال : ما كان ” يا أيها الذين آمنوا ” أنزل بالمدينة ، وما كان ” يا أيها الناس ” فبمكة . وأخرجه أبو عبيد في ” الفضائل ” عن علقمة مرسلا . ـ

It is reported by al-Haakim in his al-Mustadrak, al-Bayhaqi in al-Dalaa’il, and al-Bazzaar in his Musnad that … ‘Alqamah relayed that Abdullah [ibn ‘Abbaas] said:

Whatever has “O you who have eemaan …” was revealed in al-Madinah, and whatever has “O mankind …” was revealed in Mecca.

This was also reported by ‘Ubayd ibn al-Fadhaa’il from ‘Alqamah with a gap in the chain of narration.

وأخرج عن ميمون بن مهران ، قال : ما كان في القرآن ( ياأيها الناس ) أو ( يابني آدم فإنه مكي ، وما كان ” ياأيها الذين آمنوا ” فإنه مدني . ـ

‘Ubayd also transmitted that Maymun ibn Mihran said:

Whatever you find in the Qur’an with “O mankind …” or “O children of Adam …” is Makki and whatever you find with “O you who have eemaan …” is Madani.

قال ابن عطية وابن الفرس وغيرهما : هو في ( ياأيها الذين آمنوا ) صحيح ، وأما ( ياأيها الناس ) فقد يأتي في المدني . ـ

But ibn ‘Atiyyah, ibn al-Fars and others said:

This is true as far as “O you who have eemaan …” is concerned, but the phrase “O mankind …” can be found in the Madani verses.

وقال ابن الحصار : وقد اعتنى المتشاغلون بالنسخ بهذا الحديث ، واعتمدوه على ضعفه ، وقد اتفق الناس على أن ( النساء ) مدنية ، وأولها : ( ياأيها الناس ) وعلى أن ( الحج ) مكية ; وفيها : ياأيها الذين آمنوا اركعوا واسجدوا [ الحج : 77 ] . ـ

Ibn al-Hassaar said:

Those who are preoccupied with abrogation give great attention to this hadith and rely on it despite its weakness and despite the fact that the scholars have agreed that surah al-Nisaa’ is a Madani surah even though it opens with “O mankind …” and that surah al-Hajj is a Makki surah even though within it you will find:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا ارْكَعُوا وَاسْجُدُوا

O you who have eemaan, bow and prostrate … [22:77]

وقال غيره : هذا القول إن أخذ على إطلاقه فيه نظر ، فإن سورة البقرة مدنية ، وفيها ياأيها الناس اعبدوا ربكم [ البقرة : 21 ] ياأيها الناس كلوا مما في الأرض [ البقرة : 168 ] وسورة النساء مدنية ، وأولها : يا أيها الناس . ـ

And someone else [al-Zarkashi] said:

If we take this statement as an absolute rule then we run into some problems. Surah al-Baraqah is Madani but within it you find:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اعْبُدُوا رَبَّكُمُ

O mankind, worship your Lord … [2:21]

and

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ كُلُوا مِمَّا فِي الْأَرْضِ

O mankind, eat from the earth … [2:168]

and surah al-Nisaa’ is Madani but it begins with

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ 

O mankind … [4:1]

وقال مكي : هذا إنما هو في الأكثر وليس بعام وفي كثير من السور المكية : يا أيها الذين آمنوا . ـ

Makki said:

This rule is often but not always the case, for you will find “O you who have eemaan …” in many of the Makki surahs.

وقال غيره : الأقرب حمله على أنه خطاب ، المقصود به – أو جل المقصود به – أهل مكة أو المدينة . ـ

Someone else [al-Zarkashi] said:

The most accurate position is to take such statements as an address solely or primarily intended for the people of Mecca or the people of al-Madinah, respectively.

وقال القاضي : إن كان الرجوع في هذا إلى النقل فمسلم ، وإن كان السبب فيه حصول المؤمنين بالمدينة على الكثرة دون مكة فضعيف ، إذ يجوز خطاب المؤمنين بصفتهم وباسمهم وجنسهم . ويؤمر غير المؤمنين بالعبادة كما يؤمر المؤمنون بالاستمرار عليها والازدياد منها . نقله الإمام فخر الدين في تفسيره . ـ

al-Qadhi said:

If ascribing a surah that contains the address “O you who have eemaan …” as being Madani is based on a transmitted report indicating that ascription, then that is fine. But if the reason for this ascription is simply because there were more believers in al-Madinah than there had been in Mecca, then that is weak reasoning since Allah could address the believers by a description, by their names, or by their class. Also, the non-believers are commanded to engage in worship just as the believers are commanded to persist and increase in it.

This was mentioned by Imam Fakhr al-Deen al-Razi in his tafsir.

وأخرج البيهقي في الدلائل ، من طريق يونس بن بكير ، عن هشام بن عروة ، عن أبيه قال : كل شيء نزل من القرآن فيه ذكر الأمم والقرون فإنما نزل بمكة وما كان من الفرائض والسنن فإنما نزل بالمدينة . ـ

In al-Dalaa’il, al-Bayhaqi brought a narration from ‘Abdullah ibn al-Zubayr:

Every part of the Qur’an that was revealed mentioning something about the past nations and the previous generations was revealed in Mecca, and those parts which deal with specific legislated deeds – whether mandatory or recommended – were revealed in al-Madinah.

وقال مكي : كل سورة فيها ذكر المنافقين فمدنية ، زاد غيره : سوى العنكبوت . ـ

Makki said, “Every surah that includes some mention of the munafiqoon is Madani,” though someone else stipulated, “except for surah al-‘Ankaboot.”

وفي كامل الهذلي : كل سورة فيها سجدة فهي مكية . ـ

And in the book Kaamil of al-Hudhali, “Every surah that contains a sajdah is Makki.”

وقال الديريني – رحمه الله – : وما نزلت كلا بيثرب فاعلمن ***** ولم تأت في القرآن في نصفه الأعلى

Al-Dirini (may Allah have mercy on him) said,

Know this: the word Kallaa was not revealed in Yathrib
and it does not come in the earlier half of the mushaf

وحكمة ذلك : أن نصفه الأخير نزل أكثره بمكة ، وأكثرها جبابرة ، فتكررت فيه على وجه [ ص: 83 ] التهديد والتعنيف لهم ، والإنكار عليهم ، بخلاف النصف الأول . وما نزل منه في اليهود لم يحتج إلى إيرادها فيه لذلتهم وضعفهم ; ذكره العماني . ـ

The explanation of this is: That the latter half of the mushaf was mostly revealed in Mecca, and most the people of Mecca were arrogant and haughty. So this term Kallaa was frequently used in the these revelations as a form of threat, reprimand, and disapproval of the disbelievers, in contrast to the first half of the mushaf. And those parts of the Qur’an which were revealed about the Jews did not need to use this term due to their lowliness and weakness. This explanation was mentioned by al-‘Immaanee

فصل

Chapter

قال البيهقي في الدلائل : في بعض السور التي نزلت بمكة آيات نزلت بالمدينة فألحقت بها . وكذا قال ابن الحصار‏ : ‏ كل نوع من المكي والمدني منه آيات مستثناة‏ . قال‏ : ‏ إلا أن من الناس من اعتمد في الاستثناء على الاجتهاد دون النقل . ـ

al-Bayhaqi mentioned in al-Dalaa’il:

In some surahs which were revealed in Mecca there are ayaat that were revealed in al-Madinah and thus that surah might be ascribed to the latter.

Ibn al-Hassaar said something similar when he mentioned, “Both Makki and Madani surahs have some ayaat which are exceptions.” He also said, “However there are some people who rely on their own judgement to decide which ayaat are the exceptions, rather than relying on transmitted statements.”

وقال ابن حجر في شرح البخاري : قد اعتنى بعض الأئمة ببيان ما نزل من الآيات بالمدينة في السور المكية . قال : وأما عكس ذلك ، فهو نزول شيء من سورة بمكة ، تأخر نزول تلك السورة إلى المدينة ، فلم أره إلا نادرا . ـ

In his explanation of Saheeh al-Bukhari, ibn Hajr said, “Some scholars gave special attention to clarifying which ayaat in the Makki surahs were revealed in al-Madinah.” He also said, “As for the reverse situation, that a part of a surah was revealed in Mecca but the revelation of the remainder of that surah did not occur until al-Madinah, then I have only seen this in a few rare cases.”

فائدة 

A Benefit

أخرج الطبراني ، عن ابن مسعود : نزل المفصل بمكة ، فمكثنا حججا نقرؤه ، لا ينزل غيره . ـ

al-Tabarani brought a report from ibn Mas’ood that:

The Mufassal surahs were revealed in Mecca, so we remained reciting these for years without anything else being revealed.

[Tahdheeb wa Tarteeb al-Itqan fee ‘Uloom al-Qur’an pg 103-106]

Explore this series further with Makki and Madani Series

See also: Zakah al-Fitr in the Qur’an: Tafsir al-Baghawi

See also: The Makki and Madani Surahs in Chronological Order: al-Suyooti

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2 thoughts on “Makki and Madani Series Part 3 – Characteristics: al-Suyooti

  1. Pingback: Makki and Madani Series Part 2 – Importance: al-Suyooti | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: The Makki and Madani Surahs in Chronological Order: al-Suyooti | Tulayhah

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