About the Books of Tafsir

Statements from the Scholars regarding the Books of Tafsir

بسم الله ، والحمد لله ، والصلاة والسلام على المصطفى

One of the main focuses of this site is to share beneficial explanations of the Qur’an from the sound books of tafsir (Qur’anic exegesis). Below is a small compilation of some statements from some of the guiding scholars of modern times regarding some of the books of tafsir and issues related to tafsir. These selected statements are arranged into the following categories.

You can click the the individual categories to open separate page containing the relevant material, or scroll down through all of the sections on this page. The topics and statements have been arranged in such a way on this page as to provide the reader with a better and more complete understanding of the scholars’ approaches to the books of tafsir in general.

For more detailed information about individual books of tafsir and their distinguishing characteristics, please visit our Mufassir Profiles project.

On the importance of studying the Book of Allah and its tafsir:

Sheikh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen was asked:

السؤال : هل يثاب الإنسان الذي يقرأ القرآن ولو لم يفهم معانيه؟

Question: Is a person who recites the Qur’an without understanding its meanings rewarded?

الجواب : القرآن الكريم مبارك ، كما قال الله تعالى (كِتَابٌ أَنْزَلْنَاهُ إِلَيْكَ مُبَارَكٌ لِيَدَّبَّرُوا آيَاتِهِ وَلِيَتَذَكَّرَ أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ) ، فالإنسان مأجور على قراءته ، سواء فهم معناه أم لم يفهم ، ولكن لا ينبغي للمؤمن أن يقرأ قرآناً مكلَّفاً بالعمل به بدون أن يفهم معناه ، فالإنسان لو أراد أن يتعلم الطب مثلاً ، ودرس كتب الطب ، فإنه لا يمكن أن يستفيد منها حتى يعرف معناها ، وتشرَح له ، بل هو يحرص كل الحرص على أن يفهم معناها من أجل أن يطبقها ، فما بالك بكتاب الله سبحانه وتعالى ، الذي هو شفاء لما في الصدور ، وموعظة للناس أن يقرأه الإنسان بدون تدبر وبدون فهم لمعناه ؟! ـ

Answer: The Noble Qur’an is blessed, just as Allah said:

كِتَابٌ أَنْزَلْنَاهُ إِلَيْكَ مُبَارَكٌ لِيَدَّبَّرُوا آيَاتِهِ وَلِيَتَذَكَّرَ أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ

[This is] a blessed Book which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], that they might reflect upon its verses and that those of understanding would be reminded. [38:29]

So the people are rewarded for its recitation whether they understand its meanings or they do not understand. However, it is not befitting for a believer to recite the Qur’an while being charged with the responsibility of acting according to it without being able to understand its meanings. For if a person were to desire to learn medicine, for example, and to study the books of medicine, then he would would not be able to benefit until he knew the meanings and they were opened up to him. Rather he would expended every effort towards understanding their meanings in order to apply them. So what is your condition in regards to the Book of Allah, which is a cure for what is in the chests and an admonition to mankind – that people would recite it without reflection and without understanding its meanings?!

ولهذا كان الصحابة – رضي الله عنهم – لا يتجاوزن عشر آيات حتى يتعلموها وما فيها من العلم والعمل ، فتعلموا القرآن والعلم والعمل جميعاً ، فالإنسان مثاب ومأجور على قراءة القرآن ، سواء فهم معناه أم لم يفهم ، ولكن ينبغي له أن يحرص كل الحرص على فهم معناه ، وأن يتلقى هذا المعنى من العلماء الموثوقين في علمهم وأمانتهم ، فإن لم يتيسر له عالم يُفهّمه المعنى فليرجع إلى كتب التفسير الموثوقة ، مثل تفسير ابن جرير وتفسير ابن كثير وغيرهما من التفاسير التي تعتني بالتفسير الأثري المروي عن الصحابة والتابعين رضي الله عنهم . ـ

And so for this reason, the Sahaabah (may Allah be pleased with them) would not go beyond ten ayaat until they had learned what what in them of knowledge and action, so they learned the Qur’an and knowledge and action all together. So people are rewarded and recompensed for reciting the Qur’an whether they understand its meanings or they do not understand, however it is befitting that they expended every effort towards understanding its meanings, and that they take the meanings from the scholars who are trusted in terms of their knowledge and their trustworthiness. Then if it is not easy for one to access a scholars who can help him to understand the meanings, then he should return to the trusted books of tafsir, such as Tafsir ibn Jareer and Tafsir ibn Kathir and other than them of the books of tafsir which are mindful of the narration-based tafsir narrated from the sahaabah and the taabi’oon (may Allah be pleased with them).

[Noor ‘alaa Darb #85]

Elsewhere, Sheikh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen also said:

 ننصح جميع إخواننا المسلمين أن يعتنوا أولاً بكتاب الله عز وجل ، بفهمه والعناية بتفسيره ، وتلقي ذلك من العلماء الموثوقين في علمهم وأمانتهم ، ومن الكتب كتب التفسير الموثوقة تفسير ابن كثير وتفسير الشيخ عبد الرحمن بن سعدي رحمه الله ، وغيرها من التفاسير التي يوثق بمؤلفيها في عقيدتهم وعلمهم ، لأن الصحابة – رضي الله عنهم – كانوا لا يتجاوزون عشر آياتٍ من القرآن ، حتى يتعلموها وما فيها من العلم والعمل ، ولأن ارتباط الإنسان بكلام الله عز وجل ارتباطٌ بالله سبحانه وتعالى ، فإن القرآن كلام الله لفظه ومعناه ، ولأن الإنسان إذا كان لا يفهم القرآن إلا قراءةً فقط فهو أمي ، وإن كان يقرأ القرآن ! ، قال الله تعالى : (ومنهم أميون لا يعلمون الكتاب إلا أماني) أي : إلا قراءة ، فوصفهم بأنهم أميون ، ولكن لا يعني ذلك ألا نهتم بقراءة القرآن ، لأن قراءة القرآن عبادة ، وقارئ القرآن له في كل حرفٍ عشر حسنات ، قارئ القرآن له في كل حرف عشر حسنات ، فهذا أول ما ينبغي للمسلم أن يبتدئ به ، وهو فهم كتاب الله عز وجل ؛ ثم سنة رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ، فيبدأ بالكتب المختصرة مثل “عمدة الأحكام” ، لعبد الغني المقدسي ، فإنها أحاديث مختصرة من الصحيحين ، وغالب ما يحتاج إليه الإنسان من الأحكام موجودٌ فيه ، وكذلك الأربعون النووية للنووي -رحمه الله- وتتمتها لابن رجب -رحمه الله- ثم يرتقي إلى بلوغ المرام ، ثم إلى المنتقى ، وهكذا يبدأ شيئاً فشيئاً ، أما في كتب العقيدة فمن أحسن ما كُتب وأجمعه وأنفعه “العقيدة الواسطية” لشيخ الإسلام ابن تيمية -رحمه الله- فإنها زبدة عقيدة أهل السنة والجماعة ، وأما في الفقه فمن أحسن الكتب المؤلفة “زاد المستقنع في اختصار المقنع” على المذهب الحنبلي . ـ

We advise all of our Muslim brothers to give care firstly to to Book of Allah, to understanding it and paying attention to its tafsir, and taking that from the scholars who are trusted in terms of their knowledge and their trustworthiness, and from the trusted books of tafsir such as Tafsir ibn Kathir and the tafsir of Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Sa’di, and other than these from the books of tafsir whose authors are trusted in their ‘aqeedah and knowledge. Because the sahaabah used to not go beyond ten ayaat of the Qur’an until they learned them and what was in them of knowledge and action, and because the connection of a person to the speech of Allah is his connection to Allah. For indeed the Qur’an is the speech of Allah in both wording and meaning. And because if a person does not understand the Qur’an at all except recitation, then he is an illiterate, even if he reads the Qur’an. Allah said:

وَمِنْهُمْ أُمِّيُّونَ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ الْكِتَابَ إِلَّا أَمَانِيَّ

And among them are illiterate ones who do not know the Book except in wishful thinking [2:78]

– Meaning, [except] its recitation. So He characterized them as being illiterate, however that does not mean that one should not care about the recitation of the Qur’an, because recitation of the Qur’an is an act of worship and the reciter of the Qur’an receives ten hasanaat for every letter; the reciter of the Qur’an receives ten hasanaat for every letter. So this is the first thing of what they Muslim should begin with, and that is understanding the Book of Allah, then the sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ). So he should begin with abridged books such as ‘Umdah al-Ahkaam by ‘Abd al-Ghani al-Maqdisi, for it is comprised of ahaadeeth abridged from the Saheehayn (al-Bukhari and Muslim), and most of what a person needs in terms of legislative rulings are found therein. And likewise al-Arba’een al-Nawawi by al-Nawawi and its completion by ibn Rajab. Then turn to Buloogh al-Maraam, then to al-Muntaqi, and so on one will begin step by step. As for the books of ‘Aqeedah, then one of the best and most beneficial of what has been written and compiled is al-‘Aqeedah al-Waasitiyyah by Sheikh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyah, for it is the essence of the ‘aqeedah of ahl al-sunnah w’al-jama’ah. And as for fiqh, then one of the best of the books authored is Zaad al-Mustaqni’ fi ikhtisaar al-Muqni based on the Hanbali madhhab.

[Noor ‘alaa Darb #183]

Recommended Books of Tafsir:

Sheikh Saalih al-Fawzaan was asked:

أحسن الله إليكم سماحة الوالد يقول السائل : ما هي أفضل التفاسير الخالية من الأخطاء التي تنصحون بها ؟

May Allah grant you good, honorable father. The questioner asks, “What is the best of the tafsirs which is free of (major) mistakes which you would recommend to us?”

العلامة الفوزان حفظه الله : التفاسير الخالية من الأخطاء كثيرة ولله الحمد .أعظمها وأوسعها تفسير ابن جرير الذي هو إمام المفسرين وكل من جاء بعده فإنهم ينقولون منه ، ثم تفسير ابن كثير ، ثم تفسير البغوي ، ثم تفسير الشيخ ابن سعدي المعاصر ، ثم تفسير شيخنا الشيخ محمد الأمين الشنقيطي ، كلها هذه والحمد لله كتب تفاسير موثوقة ومبنية على الأدلة وعلى كلام السلف . نعم . ـ

Answer: “The tafsirs which are free of (major) mistakes are many, and to Allah belongs the praise. The greatest and most expansive of them is Tafsir ibn Jarir, who is the imam of the mufassiroon, and everyone who came after him – indeed they were transmitting from him. Next there is Tafsir ibn Kathir, then Tafsir al-Baghawi, then the Tafsir of Sheikh ibn al-Sa’di of recent times. Then there is the tafsir of our sheikh, Sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee. All of these – and praise belongs to Allah – are reliable books of tafsir and based upon evidences and upon the statements of the salaf. na’am.”

[retrieved from here]

Sheikh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen gave the following advice in the midst of a longer lesson dealing with tafsir:

إذاً: اعتني يا أخي بالقرآن الكريم .. تفهم معناه، إما من كتب التفسير المعتمدة الموثوق بمؤلفيها كـتفسير ابن كثير ، وتفسير القرطبي، وتفسير عبد الرحمن بن سعدي، وتفسير الشيخ أبو بكر الجزائري ، وتفسير الشوكاني، وغيرها من التفاسير الموثوق بها، وكذلك تفسير البغوي، طالعها، وانتفع بها، وإذا أشكل عليك شيء فعندك العلماء والحمد لله، والاتصال بالعلماء الآن أسهل من ذي قبل

“So, O brother – take an interest in the Qur’an! Understand its meanings! [Understand it] from one of the numerous reliable books of tafsir according to their authors, such as Tafsir ibn Kathir, Tafsir al-Qurtubi, the Tafsir of ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Sa’di, the Tafsir of Sheikh Abu Bakr al-Jazaa’iri,Tafsir al-Shawkaani, and other than these from the reliable books of tafsir. And also Tafsir al-Baghawi. Acquaint yourself with them, and benefit from them! And if something is confusing for you, then the scholars are there for you, alhamdulillaah, and connecting with the scholars today is easier than it was in the past…”

[Silsilah al-Liqaa’ al-Shahri #31]

Sheikh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez bin Baaz was asked:

يسألون عن أفضل كتابٍ في تفسير القرآن الكريم، ويسألون سماحتكم عن رأيكم في تفسير ابن كثير؟ ـ

They ask about the best book in terms of the tafsir of the Noble Qur’an, and they ask your honor about your opinion regarding Tafsir ibn Kathir.

أحسن كتاب في علمت في التفسير تفسير ابن جرير, وتفسير ابن كثير, وتفسير البغوي، هذه الثلاثة أحسن التفاسير, ثم يليها تفسير القرطبي جيد ومفيد, تفسير الشوكاني جيد ومفيد، ولكن كل واحد لا يغني عن الآخر، كل واحد لا يغني عن الآخر، وطالب العلم يميز بين الأخطاء، فقد يقع أخطاء في بعض الروايات ويعتمدها بعضهم, وقد تكون أحاديث ضعيفة عند ابن جرير, أو عند ابن كثير, أو عند غيرهم, فطالب العلم لا بد أن ينظر في الأسانيد ويعتني بها إذا كان من أهل الفن, يعرف صحة السند وعدم صحة السند, كذلك الأقوال يعرضها على الأصول الشرعية والقواعد الشرعية إذا كانت الأقوال مختلفة حتى يتميز أهل الصواب من غيره، ـ

The best book in terms of what I know of al-tafsir is Tafsir ibn Jarir, Tafsir ibn Kathir and Tafsir al-Baghawi. These three are the best books of tafsir. Then they are followed by Tafsir al-Qurtubi – good and beneficial, Tafsir al-Shawkaani – good and beneficial. However, each one of these is not without need of the others; each one of these is not without need of the others. And the student of knowledge will distinguish between the mistakes; perhaps mistakes occurs in some of the narrations and some of them support others, and perhaps there are weak ahaadeeth in ibn Jarir or in ibn Kathir or with others. So the student of knowledge must consider the chains of narration and pay attention to them if he is one of the people of that art, recognizing the veracity of a chain from the absence of a chain’s veracity. Similarly with the statements with oppose the sharee’ah and the foundations of the sharee’ah if the statements are contradictory, such that he distinguishes between the people of the correct opinion and others.

وهكذا بعض المفسرين يؤلون الصفات كما قد يقع في تفسير القرطبي, فلا بد يكون طالب العلم عنده بصيرة فيمن يتأول الصفات, أو يرجح بعض الأقوال المرجوحة حتى يختار ما هو الأفضل، وحتى ينبه على الخطأ, ـ

And likewise some of the mufassiroon made ta’weel of the attributes of Allah, such as what may occur in Tafsir al-Qurtubi. So the student of knowledge must have insight into who makes ta’weel of the attributes of Allah, or hold some of the well-recognized statements as most likely until he is able to chose what is best and until he is informed of the mistakes.

ولا يوجد كتاب يسلم من الأخطاء إلا كتاب الرب- جل وعلا- إلا كتاب الله-سبحانه وتعالى- هو المعصوم المحفوظ, الذي ليس فيه خطأ بل هو محفوظ، أما كتب الناس فقد يقع فيها خطأ من جهة المؤلف, وقد يقع فيها خطأ من جهة الكاتب, وقد يقع فيها خطأ من جهة الطابع, فطالب العلم ينظر ويتحرى إذا اشتبه عليه شيء سأل أهل العلم حتى يتميز له الحق من الباطل.ـ

And one will not find any book which is safe from mistakes except for the Book of the Lord – except for the Book of Allah, and it is infallible and preserved, it is that which contains not mistakes; rather it is protected. As for the books of the people, then mistakes may occur in them due to the author, or mistakes might occurs in them due to the copyist, or mistakes may occurs in them due to publisher. So the student of knowledge looks and seeks out information if doubt arises in him, he asks the people of knowledge until he can thereby distinguish the truth from falsehood.

[Retrieved from the sheikh‘s website here]

Sheikh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen was asked:

أحسن الله إليكم فضيلة الشيخ بماذا توجهون المستمعين من كتب التفسير في قراءتها يا شيخ؟ ـ

May Allah grant you good, honorable sheikh. Of the books of tafsir, what would would direct the listeners towards in terms of reading, O sheikh?

الجواب : كتب التفسير في الواقع كثيرة ومتشعبة والعلماء رحمهم الله كل يأخذ بجهة من جهات القرآن الكريم فمنهم من يغلب عليه تفسير المعاني بقطع النظر عن الأعراب والبلاغة وما أشبه ذلك ومنهم من يغلب عليه مسائل الإعراب والبلاغة وما أشبه ذلك ومنهم من يغلب عليه استنباطات من الآيات العلمية والعملية فهم يختلفون

Answer: The books of tafsir available in the current time are numerous and multifaceted, and the scholars [of tafsir] have each taken an approach from the various approaches to the Noble Qur’an. So among them is he who focuses on the explanation of the meanings irrespective of the syntax, forms of linguistic expression and the likes of that. And among them is he who focuses on the issues of syntax and forms of linguistic expression and the likes of that. And among them is he who focuses on the extracted knowledge- and action-based benefits derived from the ayaat. So they are varied.

لكن من خير ما يكون من التفاسير فيما أعلم تفسير ابن كثير رحمه الله فإنه تفسير جيد سلفي لكن يؤخذ عليه أنه يسوق بعض الإسرائيليات في بعض الأحيان ولا يتعقبها وهذا قليل عنده ـ

However, from the best of what there is of the books of tafsir of what I know is Tafsir ibn Kathir, for indeed it is a good, salafi tafsir. However, one thing that is held against it is that it cites some of the Israa’eeliyyaat stories in some places and does not follow them up [with clarification of their authenticity or discussion of problems therein]. But this is a minor factor with it.

ومن التفاسير الجياد تفسير الشيخ عبد الرحمن بن الناصر بن سعدي رحمه الله فإنه تفسير سلفي سهل المأخذ ينتفع به حتى العامي

And from the good books of tafsir is the tafsir of Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di, for it is an easy salafi tafsir, a source from which much benefit can be taken, even in the case of the common person.

ومن التفاسير الجياد تفسير القرطبي رحمه الله

And from the good books of tafsir is Tafsir al-Qurtubi.

ومنها تفسير محمد الأمين الشنقيطي الجكني لا سيما في آخر القرآن الذي أدركه

And from them is the tafsir of Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee al-Janki, especially in the last part of the Qur’an which he reached to [before his death, after which it was completed by one of his students].

ومن التفسير الجياد في البلاغة والعربية تفسير الزمخشري لكن احذره في العقيدة فإنه ليس بشيء

And from the good books of tafsir in terms of the forms of linguistic expression and the Arabic language is Tafsir al-Zamakhshari, however one must be cautious of it in terms of ‘aqeedah for it is nothing in this regard.

ومن التفاسير الجياد تفسير ابن جرير الطبري لكنه لا ينتفع به إلا الراقي في العلم

And from the good books of tafsir is Tafsir ibn Jarir al-Tabari, however it cannot be benefited from except by one who is well-versed in terms of knowledge.

هناك تفاسير أخري لا نعرفها إلا بالنقل عنها لكن الإنسان يجب عليه أنه إذا لم يفهم الآية من التفاسير أن يسأل عنها أهل العلم حتى لا يفسر القرآن بغير مراد الله تعالى به. ـ

And there are other books of tafsir which we do not know except by being told about them, however the people are obligated if they do not understand an ayah from the books of tafsir to ask the people of knowledge about it such that they do not explain the Qur’an with anything other than the intended meaning that Allah has for it.

[Noor ‘ala Darb #3130 – retrieved here]

Sheikh Saalih Aali Sheikh was asked:

سؤال – سائل يسأل حول إنكم أشرتم في محاضرة سابقة إلى أن من أحسن مختصرات التفسير كتاب زبدة التفسير ، أيهما أفضل هو أم تفسير السعدي ؟ ـ

Question: A questioner asks that in a previous gathering, you mentioned that one of the best summary books of tafsir is the book Zubdah al-Tafsir; which is better – that one of Tafsir al-Sa’di?

تفسير الشيخ عبد الرحمن السعدي أفضل لأن فيه من الفوائد وتقرير التوحيد والعقيدة فوائد عظيمة جدًا ، ولكن ” زبدة التفسير ” فيه معاني كلمات ، والشيخ عبد الرحمن السعدي قد لا ينقل الكلمة ومعناها ، ويهتم بذكر التفسير الإجمالي مع ذكر الفوائد ، وتفسير الشيخ عبد الرحمن بن سعدي – رحمه الله – يستفيد منه العالم أكثر وطالب العلم أكثر ، لأنه يفتح أبواب وكلمات قد لا يدركها طالب العلم المبتدئ . ـ

[Response of Sheikh Saalih Aali Sheikh]: The tafsir of Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di is better because it contains benefits and repeated focus of tawheed and ‘aqeedah as well as very great benefits, while Zubdah al-Tafsir contains the meanings of the words. And while Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di may not have gone through word-for-word with their meanings, he prioritized mentioning the overall meaning along with mentioning the benefits. And the tafsir of sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di (may Allah have mercy on him) presents more benefit for the scholar and for the student of knowledge because it opens up the subjects and words which perhaps the beginner student of knowledge would not reach.

أما كتاب ” زُبْدَةُ التفسير ” اختصر فيه مؤلفه الأشقر كتاب الشوكاني في اختصار لطيف ، وفي الجملة عليه ملاحظات يسيرة في بعض المواطن لكن ليس فيه خلل في الاعتقاد خاصة في أمور الصفات والغيبيات والإيمان ونحو ذلك ، فهو من الكتب الحسنة جدًا ، والمواضع المشكلة في تفسير الشوكاني يتجنبها مثل : كلام الشوكاني في خلق القرآن ، وعدم حسن الكلام فيه وتوقفه في المسألة ، فإنه اجتنب هذا ولم يتعرض له ، الخلاف في آيات الصفات ، تقريرها غير واضح وهو يقررها بوضوح ، والله أعلم . ـ

As for the book Zubdah al-Tafsir, its author – [Muhammad] al-Ashqar summarized the book of al-Shawkaani [i.e. Fath al-Qadeer] in it with a good summary. And as a whole, there are some minor issues in some places, however it doesn’t contain any serious faults in issues of creed, specifically in the issues of the attributes of Allah, the affairs of the unseen, issues of eemaan and the likes of these, so it is one of the very good books. And as for the problematic issues in Tafsir al-Shawkaani, he avoids these, such as the words of al-Shawkaani regarding the creation of the Qur’an and the absence of good words regarding this and the absence of him abstaining from speaking about this issue. So al-Ashqar stayed away from this and did not discuss it at all. This is in contrast to his dealing with the ayaat al-sifaat; al-Shawkaani’s affirmation of them was not clear but al-Ashqar affirmed them with clarity. And Allah knows best.

Question and Answer session with Sheikh Saalih Aali Sheikh related to his explanation of Muqaddimah fee Usool al-Tafsir [retrieved here].

Sheikh Muqbil ibn Haadee al-Waadi’ee was asked:

نص السؤال: سمعنا بعض أهل العلم يمدحون أو ينصحون بقراءة تفسير البغوي مع وجود مخالفات في تفسير آيات الصفات فما رأيكم ؟

Question: We have heard some of the scholars praise and recommend reading Tafsir al-Baghawi despite the presence of some errant positions in its explanations of the ayaat al-sifaat, so what is your opinion on this?

نص الإجابة: ما أعرف إلا أنه تفسير سلفي ، وأذكر أن الشيخ ابن تيمية رحمه الله تعالى أرشد إلى < تفسير ابن جرير > و < تفسير البغوي > ، وإذا أخطأ في شيء فلا يتبع عليه ، والكتاب مفيد . ـ

Response: I only know it to be a salafi tafsir, and I recall sheikh ibn Taymiyah directing readers towards Tafsir ibn Jarir and Tafsir al-Baghawi. Then if al-Baghawi erred in some issues, then do not follow him in those issues, but it is a beneficial book.

[Retrieved from the sheikh‘s website here.]

-See also: Ibn Taymiyah on the Books of Tafsir

Advice regarding the books of tafsir which contain something of distorted ‘aqeedah – while also containing some benefits:

 Sheikh Saalih al-Fawzaan was asked:

السؤال: يقول فضيلة الشيخ -وفقكم الله- : هناك بعض الكتب التي فُسر فيها معنى الاستواء بالاستيلاء، وكذلك يفسر فيها بمعنى وحدة الوجود، والسؤال : هل تنصحون طالب العلم بقراءة هذه الكتب والاستفادة منها؟ وما أفضل كتب التفسير التي تنصحون بقراءتها؟

Question: You say, O Sheikh – may Allah give you success- that there are some of the books which explain the meaning of al-istiwaa’ with al-isteelaa’, and likewise they explain a meaning of pantheism – so the question: do you advise the student of knowledge to read these books and to take benefit from them? And what is the best book of tafsir which you advise us to read?

جواب الشيخ: أما الكتب التي فيها تأويل الصفات، فلا ننصح للمبتدئ وطالب العلم المبتدئ أنه يقرأ فيها، إلا إن كان يقرأها على العلماء، من أجل يبينون له ما فيها من خطأ وصواب؛ أما أنه يقرأها هو بفسه فقط، فلا يجوز له هذا؛ أما العالم الذي يعرف، فلا بأس أنه يقرأ هذه الكتب ويطلع على ما فيها من أجل أن يأخذ ما فيها من حق ويرد ما فيها من باطل، هذا يميز ويعرف؛ أما الإنسان الذي ما يعرف ولا يميز، فلا يقرأ في الكتب التي فيها تأويل الصفات؛

The response of the sheikh: As for the books which contain al-ta’weel (incorrect interpretations) of Allah’s attributes, then I do not advise for the beginner or the beginning student of knowledge to read from them unless he reads them to the scholars for the purpose of them clarifying what is correct from what it mistaken therein to him. As for reading them purely on his own, then this is not permissible for him; but as for the scholars who knows, then there is no harm if he reads these books and acquaints himself with what they contain in order that he may take what is in them of truth and refute what is in them of falsehood, this is the one who distinguishes and recognizes. But as for the one who does not know or distinguish, then he should not read from the books which contain al-ta’weel of Allah’s attributes.

وأما أحسن الكتب، فهي الكتب الخالية من التأويل، الكتب الخالية من التأويل التي تمشي على مذهب السلف؛ مثل: تفسير ابن جرير، تفسير ابن كثير، تفسير البغوي، وفي وقتنا الحاضر تفسير الشيخ ابن السعدي، هذه تفاسير قيمة جدا مفيدة، تفسير شيخنا الشيخ الشنقيطي، هذا تفسير جيد، لكنه رفيع على المبتدئين، يحتاج إلى طالب علم؛ نعم

And as for the best of the books, then they are the books which are free from al-ta’weel, the books which are free from al-taw’eel which traverse along the path of the salaf, such as Tafsir ibn Jarir, Tafsir ibn Kathir, Tafsir al-Baghawi, and in our current age the tafsir of sheikh ibn al-Sa’di. These books of tafsir are very valuable and beneficial. And the tafsir of our sheikh al-Shinqitee – this is a good tafsir however it is above the level of the beginners and requires a student of knowledge. Na’am.

[retrieved from here]

Sheikh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen was asked:

السؤال: ذكرتم أن نبتعد عن التفاسير التي فيها تحريف لأسماء الله وصفاته، لكن أحياناً يكون في هذه التفاسير فوائد لغوية لا يوجد في غيرها من كتب التفسير؟

Question: They mention that we should distance ourselves from the books of tafsir which contain distortions of the Names and Attributes of Allah, however sometimes in these books of tafsir there are linguistic benefits which are not found elsewhere among the books of tafsir.

الشيخ: لا بأس إذا كان هذا التفسير ليس على مذهب السلف في الأسماء والصفات لكن فيه فوائد لغوية لا توجد في غيره، فلا حرج أن يقرأ فيه بشرط: أن يكون عنده علم، وأما العامي لا، لو كان فيه فوائد لغوية لا يقرأ؛ لأن الحفاظ على العقيدة أولى من الحفاظ على اللسان. ـ

The Sheikh said: There is no harm, if this tafsir is not on the way of the salaf in regards to the Names and Attributes of Allah but there are linguistic benefits therein which you do not find elsewhere, then there is no harm if one reads from it, depending upon one condition: that he possesses knowledge. But as for the lay-person, no. Even if there are linguistic benefits in it, he should not read it, because the protection of ‘aqeedah comes first before the protection of the language.

[Liqaa’at al-Baab al-Maftooh #235].

Sheikh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen was asked:

السؤال : جزاكم الله خيرا ، كتب التفسير تحدثت فضيلة الشيخ عن تأويل بعض هذه الصفات ، طالب العلم الذي يريد أن يقرأ التفسير بماذا ترشدونه يا شيخ؟

Question: May Allah reward you with good. O honorable Sheikh, the books of tafsir which you have spoken about regarding their ta’weel of some of these attributes of Allah – a student of knowledge would like to read this tafsir – so what do you direct him with, O sheikh?

الجواب : أرشده إلى أن يتجنب جميع الكتب التي فيها التحريف ، ثم إذا ترعرع فيما بعد وأحب أن يطلع ويرى ما ابتلي به بعض الناس من التحريف فلا حرج ، أما في بداية الأمر فأخشى عليه الضلال إذا طالع الكتب التي فيها التحريف ، كتحريف استوى بمعنى استولى ، { وجاء ربك } بمعنى جاء أمر ربك ، و { بل يداه مبسوطتان } أي نعمتاه ، وما أشبه ذلك من التحريف الباطل ، هذا لا يمكن أن يقرأه المبتدئ ، لأنه يضل ويهلك. ـ

Answer: I direct him to avoid all the books in which there is tahreef (distorted interpretations of the names, attributes and actions of Allah – such as the practice of the Ash’aris), then if you grow [in knowledge] after that and would like to see and acquaint yourself with what some of the people have been tested with in terms of tahreef, then there is no harm. But as for in then beginning of the affair [of seeking knowledge], then I fear misguidance for you if you familiarize yourself with the books in which there is tahreef, such as the distorted interpretation of istiwaa’ (rising up in a way that befits Allah’s majesty) with the meaning of ‘taking possession’, “And your Lord has come” [89:22] with the meaning of ‘the order of your Lord has come’, and “Rather, both His hands are extended” [5:64] as meaning ‘both his blessings’, and what resembles this of false distortion. So it is not allowed for the beginner to read this, for it is will mislead him and destroy him.

ونحن نؤمن بأن الله يجيء نفسه ، لأن الله أضاف الفعل إلى نفسه ، { جاء ربك } وأنه استوى على عرشه حقا ، وبأن له يدين حقيقتين قال الله عز وجل : (وَمَا قَدَرُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ قَدْرِهِ وَالْأَرْضُ جَمِيعاً قَبْضَتُهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وَالسَّمَاوَاتُ مَطْوِيَّاتٌ بِيَمِينِهِ) ، فالأمر واضح ولله الحمد ، الأمر مثل الشمس في رابعة النهار ، لكني أقول من لم يجعل الله له نورا فما له من نور . ـ

And we believe that Allah came Himself, because Allah attributed the action to Himself – “And your Lord has come” [89:22], and that He rose upon His throne in truth, and He has two real hands. Allah said:

وَمَا قَدَرُ‌وا اللَّـهَ حَقَّ قَدْرِ‌هِ وَالْأَرْ‌ضُ جَمِيعًا قَبْضَتُهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وَالسَّمَاوَاتُ مَطْوِيَّاتٌ بِيَمِينِهِ

They have not appraised Allah with true appraisal, while the earth entirely will be [within] His grip on the Day of Resurrection, and the heavens will be folded in His right hand. [39:67]

So the issue is clear, and to Allah belongs the praise. The issue is like the sun at its height (in terms of clarity), however I say that whoever Allah did not make for him a light, then he does not have any light.

[Noor ‘alaa Darb #372]

Sheikh Saalih al-Fawzaan was asked:

السؤال: أحسن الله إليكم سماحة الوالد يقول السائل: ما رأي فضيلتكم في تفسير الكشاف للزمخشري؟ وهل تنصحون طالب العلم بقراءته؟ ـ

Question: May Allah grant you good, honorable father. The questioner says: Your honor, what is you opinion regarding the tafsir al-Khashshaaf of al-Zamakhshari? Do you advise the student of knowledge to read it?

جواب الشيخ: تفسير الكشاف جيد في نواحي، ناحية اللغة والبلاغة ووجوه التفسير؛ لكنه مشحون بالاعتزال والقدح في أهل السنة؛ فلا يصلح أن يقرأه إلا متمكن في العلم، يأخذ مما فيها من الفوائد ويتجنب ما فيه من المخاطر؛ لا سيما وأن أسلوب بليغ ولاذع، ربما يتأثر به الإنسان غير المتمكن؛ نعم. ـ

The response of the sheikh: Tafsir al-Khashshaaf is good in two respects; in the area of linguistics and eloquence, and from the angle of exegesis. However it is fraught with mu’tazilah beliefs and slandering the people of the sunnah. So it is not appropriate to read it except for the one who is competent in terms of knowledge; he takes the benefits from it and avoids what is warned against from it, especially since it has a way of poignant speech – perhaps it would affect the person who is not competent! Na’am.

[retrieved from here]

Books of tafsir which are advised against – specifically those available in the English language:

Note: While there are many many books of tafsir, this list makes no attempt to be exhaustive and here limits itself to some of those works which have been translated into English or those which are well-known even if they have not been translated.

Sheikh ‘Abd al-Muhsin al-‘Abbaad said:

 كتاب “ظلال القرآن” أو “في ظلال القرآن” للشيخ سيد قطب – رحمه الله – هو من التفاسير الحديثة التي هي مبنية على الرأي، وليست على النقل، وليست على الأثر. ـ

The book, “[In] The Shade of the Qur’an” or Fee Thilaal al-Qur’an by sheikh Sayyid Qutb is one of the modern tafsirs which is based on opinions, and it is not based on texts nor is it based on narrations.

ومن المعلوم أن أصحاب الرأي والذين يتكلمون بآرائهم ويتحدثون بأساليبهم يحصل فيهم الخطأ والصواب، ويصيبون ويخطئون، والإنسان الذي غير فاهم وغير متمكن من الأصلح له أن لا يرجع إليه وإنما يرجع إلى كتب العلماء المعتبرين مثل: تفسير ابن كثير وتفسير ابن جرير، ومثل تفسير الشيخ عبدالرحمن السعدي في المتأخرين فإن هذه تفسيرات العلماء. ـ

And it is well-known that the people of opinions and those who speak according to their opinions and speak with their methods – it is known that they achieve both mistakes and correct statements in doing so, they are (sometimes) correct and (sometimes) they err. The person who does not have understanding and who is not well-rooted, then it is more befitting for him not refer to that book and to refer only to the books of the well-regarded scholars, such as Tafsir ibn Kathir and Tafsir ibn Jarir, and such as the tafsir of sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di from among the latter-day scholars, for indeed these are the tafsirs of the scholars.

[Taken from a question posed after a lesson on Sunan al-Nasaa’i in Masjid al-Nabawi – 7/11/1414 AH (corresponding to 12/25/1993 CE)]

Sheikh Saalih Aali Sheikh wrote:

وكتاب أيسر التفاسير للجزائري هو كتاب مختصر وعليه بعض الملاحظات؛ لكن في الجملة لا بأس به، في الجملة لا بأس به وعليه بعض الملاحظات لاحظها عليه العلماء، ما يحتاج نمثل بأمثلة، موجودة الملاحظات، وهو في الجملة كتاب نافع سليم من البدع؛ لكن ربما نقل أشياء أو ظن أشياء من الحق وهي من أقوال البدع أو من أقوال أهل العصر في المحدثات وتشبيه ما في القرآن من أخبار بما في العصر من مستجدات ووسائل ونحو ذلك. ـ

The book Aysir al-Tafaasir by al-Jazaa’iri is an abridged book and it does has some issues, however, on the whole there is no problem with it. On the whole there is no problem with it but it does have some issues which the scholars have noted which do not require us to give any examples – the remarks are able to be found. But on the whole it is a beneficial book which is free of bid’ah, however perhaps he mentions some things or thinks that some things are from the truth while [in fact] it is from the statements of the people of bid’ah or from the statements of the people of modern times in terms of new ideas and likening the information that is in the Qur’an to recent discoveries and means and the likes.

أما كتاب في ظلال القرآن فهو كتاب دعوي، ولا يصح أن يُنسب إلى كتب التفاسير وإنما هو كما ذكر صاحبه في مقدمة كتابه أنه مشاعر له وتدبُّر في الآيات، فليس من كتب التفاسير؛ لأنه لم يفسر الآية على وفق تفاسير الذين اعتنوا بالتفسير، وإن كان يسمى تفسيرا في هذا العصر؛ لأنه كثرت كتب التفاسير التي على منواله. ـ

As for the book Fi Thilal al-Qur’an, then it is a book of propagation; it is not correct that it be attributed to the books of tafsir. That is merely as its author mentioned in the introduction to his book that he is an intense thinker over it and he pondered over the ayaat, so it is not from the books of tafsir. For it does not make exegesis of an ayah in a way the coincides with the books of tafsir which gave due diligence to exegesis. And if it is called a tafsir in this era, that is only because of the proliferation of books of tafsir which are in its mold.

[Sharh Muqaddimah al-Tafsir pg. 26]

Sheikh Muqbil ibn Haadee al-Waadi’ee was asked:

نص السؤال: ماهو رأيكم في تفسير الظلال لسيد قطب وبعض الناس يقدمونه على نفسير ابن كثير والبغوي وابن جرير فما هو رأيكم في ذلك ؟ ـ

Question: What are your views on tafsir al-Thilaal (“In the Shade of the Qur’an”) by Sayyid Qutb? And some of the people give it precedence over Tafsir ibn Kathir, Tafsir al-Baghawi and Tafsir ibn Jarir, so what are your views regarding this?

نص الإجابة: أرى أنه يستفاد منه ، والحمد لله أخونا ( عبدالله بن محمد الدويش ) رحمه الله قد بين في كتاب ( المورد العذب الزلال في بيان أخطاء الظلال ) كثيراً من الأخطاء الموجودة في ( الظِلال ) فهو يستفاد منه . أما أن بقدم على تفسير ابن كثير وغيره من تفاسير المتقدمين كالبغوي ، فلا ، لا ، لا ، فتفسير ( الظِلال ) عبارة عن إنشاء أديب ، فسيد قطب رحمه الله أديب ولم يكن متضلعاً في علم الكتاب والسنة ،فهو يستفاد منه في فنه ، أما أن يقدم على تفسير ابن كثير فلا . وأنا أعتقد أنه لا يقوله إلا حزبي غال ، أو جاهل ضال ، الذي يقول إنه أحسن من تفسير ابن كثير ، فالحزبية قد تغلغلت في قلبه ، أو جاهل ضال أضل من حمار أهله . ـ

Answer: I consider it to be something that can be benefited from, and alhamdulillah our brother ‘Abdullah ibn Muhammad al-Duwaysh – may Allah have mercy on him – has clarified many of the mistakes found in al-Thilaal in his book al-Mawrid al-Zilaal fee al-Tanbeeh ‘alaa Akhtaa’ al-Thilaal*, so it is something which can be benefited from.

As for giving it precedence above Tafsir ibn Kathir or other premier works of tafsir such as Tafsir al-Baghawi, then no, no, no. For Tafisr al-Thilaal is essentially just the composition of a writer, for Sayyid Qutb – may Allah have mercy on him – was an author and he was not an expert when it came to knowledge of the Qur’an and the Sunnah. So it can be benefited from in respects to its specific area of specialty, but as for giving it precedence over Tafsir ibn Kathir, then no.

And I believe that no one would say this except for a fanatic hizbi (partisan) or a misguided ignorant one. Only such a person would say that it is better than Tafsir ibn Kathir, for partisanship could have spread throughout his heart, or a misguided ignorant one who is more astray than his family’s donkey.

[Qam’a al-Ma’aanid 2/405. *Translator’s note: Sheikh Muqbil mixed the title of sheikh al-Duwaysh’s book with a similar title from sheikh Ahmad al-Najmi. The title al-Duwaysh’s book is [المورد الزلال في أخطاء الظلال], and this is the title which has been transliterated into English in the text of the answer.]

Sheikh Saalih al-Fawzaan was asked:

 نص السؤال : ما رأيكم في ‏”‏ تفسير الجلالين ‏”‏‏؟‏

The text of the question: What are your views on Tafsir al-Jalaalayn?

نص الإجابة : “‏تفسير الجلالين‏”‏ تفسير مختصر ألفه الحافظان‏‏ الحافظ المحلي والحافظ السيوطي ، وكل منهما يلقب بجلال الدين لذلك سمي بالجلالين أي‏‏ تفسير جلال الدين المحلي وتفسير جلال الدين السيوطي ؛ لأن جلال الدين المحلي توفي قبل إكماله فأكمله السيوطي‏‏ وهو تفسير مختصر جدًّا يسهل على طالب العلم أو المبتدئ قراءته أو حفظه لكن من المعلوم أن كلا المُفسّرين على عقيدة الأشاعرة وهما يؤولان آيات الصفات كما هو مذهب الأشاعرة ومن هذه الناحية يجب الحذر في الاعتماد على تفسيرهما في آيات الصفات . ‏‏

The text of the response: Tafsir al-Jalaalayn is a summarized tafsir written by the two haafidhs, al-Haafidh al-Mahalli and al-Haafidh al-Suyooti, and both of them were given the title “Jalaal al-Deen“. So for that reason it is called “al-Jalaalayn” – meaning the tafsir of Jalaal al-Mahalli and the tafsir of Jalaal al-Deen al-Suyooti. This is because Jalaal al-Deen al-Mahalli passed away before he completed it, so al-Suyooti completed it and it is a very cursory tafsir whose reading is easy for the student of knowledge or for the beginner, or to memorize it. However, it is well-known that both of these mufassiroon were upon the Ash’ari ‘aqeedah and they misconstrued the ayaat of the attributes of Allah, as is the way of the Ash’aris. So for this reason, it is necessary to warn against relying upon their tafsir in regards to the ayaat of the attributes of Allah.

[Retrieved from the sheikh‘s website here]

Sheikh Bakr Abu Zayd wrote the following regarding the book Safwah al-Tafaaseer by Muhammad ‘Ali al-Saaboni:

ـ ” صفوة التفاسير ” اسم فيه تغرير وتلبيس ، فأنَّى له الصفاء وهو مبني على الخلط بين التبر والتبن ، إذ مزج بين تفسيري ابن جرير وابن كثير السلفييْن ، وتفسير الزمخشري المعتزلي ، والرضي الرافضي ، والطبرسي الرافضي ، والرازي الأشعري ، والصاوي الأشعري القبوري المتعصب ، وغيرهم ، ولا سيما وهذا المزج على يد من لا يعرف الصنعة ولا يتقنها كهذا الذي تسوَّر هذا الصرح بلا سلَّم ، وإلا فإن أهل العلم يستفيدون من المفسرين المتميزين بما لا يخرج عن الجادة : مسلك السلف ، وضوابط التفسير ، وسَنن لسان العرب . ـ

The title “Safwah al-Tafaaseer” (“The Best of the Tafsirs”) contains deception and fraud, for how can it be the best when it is built upon a mixing of gold and hay [i.e. contents both excellent and worthless], since he mixes the Salafi tafsirs of Ibn Jareer and ibn Kathir with the Mu’tazili tafsir of al-Zamakhshari, the Raafidhi (Shi’a) tafsir of al-Ridhaa, the Raafidhi tafsir of al-Tabirsi, and the Ash’ari tafsir of al-Raazi, and the Ash’ari tafsir of the fanatical grave-worshipper al-Saawi, and others. This is especially the case when this mixing is done by one who neither knows the field nor has mastered it – it is like someone who attempts to scale a wall without a ladder. Otherwise, the people of knowledge may benefit from the distinguished mufassiroon in terms of what does not deviate from the (correct) path: the way of the salaf, the guidelines of the science of al-tafsir, and the norms of the Arabic language.

فيفيد وصفه بالجهل أنه : يصحح الضعاف ، ويضعِّف الصحاح ، ويعزو أحاديث كثيرة إلى الصحيحين ، أو السنن الأربعة أو غيرها وليس في الصحيحين – مثلاً – أو ليس في بعضها ، ويحتج بالإسرائيليات ، ويتناقض في الأحكام .ـ

So he is characterized as being ignorant because he declares weak ahaadeeth to be authentic and authentic ahaaadeeth to be weak; he attributes many ahaadeeth to the Saheehayn or to the four sunan books of elsewhere when they are not, for example, in the Saheehayn or even in one of them; he uses the Israa’eeliyyaat narrations as proofs; and he contradicts himself in terms of rulings.

ويفيد وصفه بالإخلال بالأمانة العلمية : بتر النقول ، وتقويل العالم ما لم يقله ، وتحريف جمع من النصوص والأقوال ، وتقريره مذهب الخلَف في كتب السلف . ـ

And he is characterized with breaching the trust of knowledge by quoting only parts of texts; attributing things to scholars which they did not say; distorting texts and statements; and (falsely) affirming the interpretations of latter-day scholars in the works of the salaf.

ويفيد خَلْفيته في الاعتقاد : مسخه لعقيدة السلف في مواضع من تفسير ابن جرير ، وتفسير ابن كثير ، وبأكثر في ” صفوة التفاسير ” ، وما تحريفه لعدد من النصوص إلا ليبرر هذه الغاية ـ

And because of his personal latter-day ‘aqeedah views he misrepresents the ‘aqeedah of the salaf in many places in his abridgements of Tafsir ibn Jareer and Tafsir ibn Kathir, and even more so in Safwah al-Tafaaseer. And his distortions of a number of places in the texts serve no other purpose than justifying his own views.

[al-Rudood pg. 311, 313-314]

Sheikh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez bin Baaz was asked:

كتاب صفوة التفاسير كثيراً ما أقرأ فيه، وهناك من يعاتبني على هذا ويحذرني منه، فأفيدوني ماذا أفعل؟

Question: The book Safwah al-Tafaasir is a book which I frequently read, but there are some who reproach me for doing do and warn me against it, so direct me as to what I should do.

كتاب صفوة التفاسير كتاب مفيد جمع فيه مؤلفه النقول الكثيرة من تفاسير العلماء, وفيه بعض الملاحظات والمؤاخذات التي نرجو أن يصححها المؤلف في المستقبل, فيه أشياء تلاحظ عليه من جهة بعض التأويل, وأشياء قد لاحظها بعض أهل العلم عليه, والعزيمة منه أنه سوف يصحح كل ما هناك من خطأ نسأل الله أن يعينه على ذلك. بارك الله فيكم

Answer: The book Safwah al-Tafaasir is a beneficial book whose author has gathered a great number of quotes from the books of tafsir of the scholars, but it contains some issues and problems which we hope that the author will correct in the future. It contains certain things which some have noted in terms of false interpretations of Allah’s names and attributes, as well as some other things which some of the people of knowledge have observed. And he has expressed an intention to correct all of these issues.* We ask Allah to aid him in that endeavor. May Allah bless you.

[Retrieved from the sheikh’s website here.]

*Translator’s note: While al-Saabooni may have expressed at intention to correct the mistakes identified by his colleagues and seniors among the scholars at some point in time, he has not followed through on that promise. In fact, he has generally rebuffed the corrections that have been presented, in one case authoring a work entitled Kashf al-Iftiraa’aat – “Unveiling the Fabrications” – in response to sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan’s detailed notes regarding Safwah al-Tafaasir. A number of detailed notes have been written identifying the errors found in his book, most notably from sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan, sheikh Muhammad ibn Jameel Zaino, and sheikh Bakr Abu Zayd, however al-Saabooni has not made significant changes or corrections in the subsequent printings and editions of his tafsir.

Sheikh ‘Abd al-Muhsin al-‘Abbaad was asked:

السائل:كذالك يقول هل تفسير الشيخ الشعراوي من تفسير أهل السنة و الجماعة؟

Questioner: …The questioner also says: Is the tafsir of sheikh [Muhammad Mutawalli] al-Sha’raawi [a.k.a. al-Khawaatir] from among the tafsirs of Ahl al-Sunnah w’al-Jamaa’ah?

الشيخ عبد المحسن العباد حفظه الله:الشعراوي؟

Sheikh: al-Sha’raawi?

السائل:نعم

Questioner: yes.

الشيخ:الشعراوي الموجود المتأخر؟

Sheikh: al-Sha’raawi, the current one in these later times?

السائل:نعم

Questioner: yes.

الشيخ: لا ليس من أهل السنة و الجماعة هو من أهل التأويل

Sheikh: No, he is not from Ahl al-Sunnah w’al-Jamaa’ah. He is from the people of al-Ta’weel.
[Cassette tape #319 from the Sheikh‘s explanation of Sunan al-Tirmidhi]
Miscellaneous benefits:

Sheikh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen was speaking about some of the attributes of the methods of the People of Bid’ah in regards to tafsir when he mentioned:

ومن هذا ما وقع أخيراً من أولئك الذين فسروا القرآن بما يسمي بالإعجاز العلمي، حيث كانوا يحملون القرآن أحياناً ما لا يتحمل، صحيح أن لهم استنباطات جيدة تدل على أن القرآن حق ومن الله عز وجل، وتنفع في دعوة غير المسلمين إلي الإسلام ممن يعتمدون على الأدلة الحسية في تصحيح ما جاء به الرسول عليه الصلاة والسلام، لكنهم أحياناً يحملون القرآن ما لا يتحمله، مثل قولهم: إن قوله تعالي: (يَا مَعْشَرَ الْجِنِّ وَالْإنْسِ إِنِ اسْتَطَعْتُمْ أَنْ تَنْفُذُوا مِنْ أَقْطَارِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ فَانْفُذُوا لا تَنْفُذُونَ إِلَّا بِسُلْطَانٍ) (الرحمن: 33) ، إن هذا يعني الوصول إلى القمر وإلى النجوم وما أشبه ذلك، لأن الله قال: (لا تَنْفُذُونَ إِلَّا بِسُلْطَانٍ) والسلطان عندهم العلم. وهذا لا شك أنه تحريف، وأنه حرام ان يفسر كلام الله بهذا، لأن من تدبر الآية وجدها تتحدث عن يوم القيامة، والسياق كله يدل على هذا. ثم إنه يقول: (أَنْ تَنْفُذُوا مِنْ أَقْطَارِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ فَانْفُذُوا) وهؤلاء ما نفذوا من أقطار السموات، بل ما وصلوا إلي السماء، وأيضاً يقول: (يُرْسَلُ عَلَيْكُمَا شُوَاظٌ مِنْ نَارٍ وَنُحَاسٌ) وهؤلاء لم يرسل عليهم. ـ

And from that which has occurred lately of this is those who have explained the Qur’an with what is referred to as “scientific miracles”, where they sometimes interpret the Qur’an with what it does not permit. It is true that they do have some good conclusions which demonstrate that the Qur’an is true and is from Allah, and which is beneficial in terms of calling the non-Muslims to Islam by means of what they take as reliable from the sensory evidences in verifying what the Messenger (ﷺ) came with. However, sometimes they interpret the Qur’an with what it does not permit, such as their statement that Allah’s statement:

يَا مَعْشَرَ‌ الْجِنِّ وَالْإِنسِ إِنِ اسْتَطَعْتُمْ أَن تَنفُذُوا مِنْ أَقْطَارِ‌ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْ‌ضِ فَانفُذُوا ۚ لَا تَنفُذُونَ إِلَّا بِسُلْطَانٍ

O company of jinn and mankind, if you are able to pass beyond the regions of the heavens and the earth, then pass. You will not pass except by authority [from Allah]. [55:33]

[they claim] that this means reaching the Moon, reaching the stars and what resembles that, because Allah said:

لَا تَنفُذُونَ إِلَّا بِسُلْطَانٍ

You will not pass except by authority [from Allah]. [55:33]

And according to them “authority” means knowledge, and without a doubt this is a distortion [of the meaning], and it is impermissible to explain the Speech of Allah like this, for whoever considers the ayah will find that it is speaking about Yawm al-Qiyaamah and the entire context shows this. He then says:

أَن تَنفُذُوا مِنْ أَقْطَارِ‌ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْ‌ضِ فَانفُذُوا

 to pass beyond the regions of the heavens and the earth, then pass. [55:33]

And this is passing beyond the regions of heavens, not reaching to the sky. And also He said:

يُرْ‌سَلُ عَلَيْكُمَا شُوَاظٌ مِّن نَّارٍ‌ وَنُحَاسٌ

There will be sent upon you a flame of fire and smoke [55:35]

And these are not sent after them.

 والحاصل أن من الناس من يتجاوز ويغلو في إثبات أشياء من القرآن ما دل عليها القرآن، ومنهم من يفرط وينفي أشياء دل عليها القرآن، لكن يقول هذا ما قاله العلماء السابقون ولا نقبله. لا صرفاً ولا عدلاً، وهذا خطأ أيضاً، فإذا دل القرآن على ما دل عليه العلم الآن من دقائق المخلوقات، فلا مانع من أن نقبله وأن نصدق به إذا كان اللفظ يحتمله، أما إذا كان اللفظ لا يحتمله فلا يمكن أن نقول به. ـ

In sum, there are some people who exceed the bounds and go to extremes in terms of affirming things from the Qur’an which the Qur’an does not prove, and there are some who fall short and deny things which the Qur’an does prove. However one may say, ‘This is what the scholars of previous scholars did not say this and we do not accept it’, neither dismissing it nor considering it, and this is a mistake also. For when they Qur’an proves what modern science of the minute details of the created beings proves, then there is nothing to prevent our accepting it and affirming it if the wording supports that; however if the wording does not bear out that meaning, then it is not possible that we say that.

[Sharh Muqaddimah al-Tafsir li-Ibn Taymiyah pg.98-99]

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