Some Background on the Field of ‘Uloom al-Qur’an: Sheikh ‘Abd al-Kareem al-Khudayr

In the introduction to his explanation of Manthoomah al-Zamzami – an introduction to the Qur’anic sciences in poem form -, sheikh ‘Abd al-Kareem al-Khudayr included the following remarks which include important background information regarding the field of ‘Uloom al-Qur’an:

التأليف في علوم القرآن يندر أن تجد متنا يناسب شرحه في دورة مثلا كما يوجد في العلوم الأخرى، العلوم الأخرى ألف فيها للمبتدئين، كتب كثيرة للمبتدئين؛ في الفقه، في العقائد، في الحديث، في كذا..، كتب كثيرة تناسب المبتدئين، كتب ألفت للمتوسطين، كتب ألفت للمنتهين. ـ

When it comes to the field of the Qur’anic sciences it is rare to find a primer suitable to be explained in a conference setting like the primers that you can find for other fields. In other sciences there are works that have been written for the beginning level, many books suitable for beginners. This is the case in fiqh, in ‘aqeedah, in hadeeth, and so on. There are plenty of books suitable for beginners, books written for intermediate students, and books written for advanced students.

تعال يا أخي إلى علوم القرآن، ما الذي يناسب المبتدئين من هذه العلوم؟ نجد في الدورات عناية بمقدمة شيخ الإسلام ابن تيمية مقدمة التفسير ، شيخ الإسلام رحمه الله إمام من أئمة المسلمين، يكفي أن هذا الكتاب لشيخ الإسلام، لكن هل هو على طريقة المتون التي تعنى بالحدود والأمثلة والتعاريف وضبط الفن وضبط أنواع الفن كالعلوم الأخرى؟ يعني: هل نجد متنا في علوم القرآن مثل ما نجد النخبة مثلا ، أو الكتب التي ألفت للتدرج في تلقي العقيدة الصحيحة؟ ما نجد، يعني على سبيل الاستقلال للعلماء الذين يؤلفون على الجادة لطلاب العلم ما تجد إلا ما ندر. ـ

Let’s look, my brother, at the Qur’anic sciences – what would be a suitable work in this field for the beginning student? We find conferences generally giving attention to the Muqaddimah al-Tafsir of Sheikh al-Islam ibn Taymiyah, the sheikh of Islam (may Allah have mercy on him) and one of the leading figures of the Muslims. It is enough to know that this book was written by this Sheikh al-Islam, but is this work written in the typical mold of a primer that focuses on delimiting the subject, providing examples, giving definitions, precisely defining the field and the various sub-fields within it as we find in the primers of other sciences? In other words, do we find source texts for the Qur’anic sciences like al-Nukhbah al-Fikr, for example or like the books written to help the student gradually progress in acquiring the correct ‘aqeedah? We do not find these, meaning not as their own independent works written by the scholars as part of a progression of knowledge for students of knowledge. Except for the rare exception, we do not find such works. Continue reading

Advertisements

Makki and Madani Series Part 4 – Details: 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 fourth of four sections of that chapter as abridged by Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool. This particular section primarily focuses on some of the sub-fields of Makki and Madani revelation which were initially listed in section two but not yet discussed:

تنبيه 

A Note

قد تبين بما ذكرناه من الأوجه التي ذكرها ابن حبيب : المكي والمدني ، وما اختلف فيه ، وترتيب نزول ذلك ، والآيات المدنيات في السور المكية والآيات المكيات في السور المدنية ، وبقي أوجه تتعلق بهذا النوع ذكر هو أمثلتها فنذكره . ـ

Already a number of the different sub-fields of this knowledge mentioned by ibn Habeeb have been explained in the course of what we have discussed: Makki, Madani and what people disagreed about, the chronological ordering the their revelation, the Madani ayaat in the Makki surahs and the Makki ayaat in the Madani surahs. Now for the rest of the sub-fields related to this subject that ibn Habeeb mentioned he provided some examples which we will reproduce now:

مثال ما نزل بمكة وحكمه مدني : ياأيها الناس إنا خلقناكم من ذكر وأنثى [ الحجرات : 13 ] الآية نزلت بمكة يوم الفتح ، وهي مدنية ; لأنها نزلت بعد الهجرة . وقوله اليوم أكملت لكم دينكم [ المائدة : 3 ] كذلك . ـ

• Some examples of what was revealed in Mecca but whose ruling is Madani is

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَىٰ

O mankind, We have created you from male and female … [49:13]

This ayah was revealed in Mecca on the Day of the Conquest of Mecca, however it is a Madani ayah because it was revealed after the Hijrah. And Allah’s statement

الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ

This day I have completed your deen for you [5:3]

is also like that.

ـ [قال السيوطي :] وكذا قوله إن الله يأمركم أن تؤدوا الأمانات إلى أهلها [ النساء : 58 ] في آيات أخر . ـ

[al-Suyooti said] And likewise with Allah’s statement: Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Makki and Madani Series Part 2 – Importance: 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 second of four sections of that chapter as abridged by Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool. This particular section focuses on the value of this field, some of its benefits, and a listing of its sub-fields:

[شرف هذه النوع وأقسامه]

The Value of this Branch of Knowledge and its Sub-Fields

قال أبو القاسم الحسن بن محمد بن حبيب النيسابوري في كتاب ” التنبيه على فضل علوم القرآن ” : من أشرف علوم القرآن علم نزوله وجهاته ، وترتيب ما نزل بمكة والمدينة ، وما نزل بمكة وحكمه مدني ، وما نزل بالمدينة وحكمه مكي ، وما نزل بمكة في أهل المدينة ، وما نزل بالمدينة في أهل مكة ، وما يشبه نزول المكي في المدني ، وما يشبه نزول المدني في المكي ، وما نزل بالجحفة ، وما نزل ببيت المقدس ، وما نزل بالطائف . وما نزل بالحديبية ، وما نزل ليلا وما نزل نهارا ، وما نزل مشيعا وما نزل مفردا ، والآيات المدنيات في السور المكية ، والآيات المكيات في السور المدنية ، وما حمل من مكة إلى المدينة ، وما حمل من المدينة إلى مكة ، وما حمل من المدينة إلى أرض الحبشة ، وما نزل مجملا ، وما نزل مفسرا ، وما اختلفوا فيه ، فقال بعضهم مدني وبعضهم مكي . فهذه خمسة وعشرون وجها من لم يعرفها ويميز بينها لم يحل له أن يتكلم في كتاب الله – تعالى – . ـ

In his book al-Tanbeeh ‘alaa Fadhl ‘Uloom al-Qur’an, Abu’l-Qasim al-Hasan ibn Muhammad ibn Habeeb al-Naysaboori wrote:

One of the most valuable of the Qur’anic sciences is knowledge of

• (1-2) the Qur’an’s revelation and to whom is what addressed,
• (3) the order in which it was revealed in Mecca and al-Madinah
• (4-5) what was revealed in Mecca while functioning as if it were Madani, and what was revealed in al-Madinah while functioning as if it were Makki
• (6-7) what was revealed in Mecca regarding the people of al-Madinah and what was revealed in al-Madinah regarding the people of Mecca
• (8-9) what appears to be a Makki revelation among the Madani verses, and what appears to be a Madani revelation among the Makki verses Continue reading

Makki and Madani Series Part 1 – Definitions: 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 first of four sections of that chapter as abridged by Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool. This particular section focuses on the defining the terms Makki and Madani and understanding the different terminologies used.

ـ [تعريف المكي والمدني] ـ

Defining Makki and Madani

وقال ابن النقيب في مقدمة تفسيره : المنزل من القرآن على أربعة أقسام : مكي ، ومدني ، وما بعضه مكي وبعضه مدني ، وما ليس بمكي ولا مدني . ـ

In the introduction to his tafsir, ibn al-Naqeeb said:

What has been revealed of the Qur’an can be divided into four categories: 1) Makki, 2) Madani, 3) part of which is Makki and part of which is Madani, and 4) what is neither Makki nor Madani.

اعلم أن للناس في المكي والمدني اصطلاحات ثلاثة : ـ

Be aware that when it comes to Makki and Madani, people have three different sets of terminology:

أشهرها : أن المكي ما نزل قبل الهجرة ، والمدني ما نزل بعدها ، سواء نزل بمكة أم بالمدينة ، عام الفتح أو عام حجة الوداع ، أم بسفر من الأسفار . ـ

The most common one is this: that Makki is what was revealed prior to the Hijrah, and Madani is what was revealed afterwards, regardless of whether it was revealed in Mecca of al-Madinah, during the year of the Conquest of Mecca or during the Farewell Pilgrimage, or during any one of the Prophet’s travels.

أخرج عثمان بن سعيد الدارمي بسنده إلى يحيى بن سلام ، قال : ما نزل بمكة وما نزل في طريق المدينة قبل أن يبلغ النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم – المدينة فهو من المكي . وما نزل على النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم – في أسفاره بعد ما قدم المدينة فهو من المدني . ـ

وهذا أثر لطيف ، يؤخذ منه : أن ما نزل في سفر الهجرة مكي اصطلاحا . ـ

‘Uthman ibn Sa’eed al-Daarimi brought a chain of narration going back to Yahyah ibn Salam who said: Continue reading

“Good speech ascends to Allah and righteous action raises it”: Narration-based Tafsir

One of the many valuable works authored by Jalal al-Deen al-Suyooti in service of the Qur’an is al-Durr al-Manthoor, a book dedicated to collecting the explanations of the Qur’an transmitted from the Prophet, the Sahabah, and the Tabi’oon. What follows is his complete explanation for the following ayah from surah Faatir:

قوله تعالى : إليه يصعد الكلم الطيب والعمل الصالح يرفعه

Allah’s statement:

إِلَيْهِ يَصْعَدُ الْكَلِمُ الطَّيِّبُ وَالْعَمَلُ الصَّالِحُ يَرْفَعُهُ

Good speech ascends to Allah and righteous action raises it [35:10]

أخرج عبد بن حميد ، وابن جرير ، وابن المنذر والطبراني والحاكم ، وصححه، والبيهقي في “الأسماء والصفات” عن ابن مسعود قال : إذا حدثناكم بحديث أتيناكم بتصديق ذلك من كتاب الله، إن العبد المسلم إذا قال : سبحان الله وبحمده، والحمد لله، ولا إله إلا الله، والله أكبر، وتبارك الله . قبض عليهن ملك فضمهن تحت جناحه، ثم يصعد بهن إلى السماء، فلا يمر [ ص: 258 ] بهن على جمع من الملائكة إلا استغفروا لقائلهن، حتى يجيء بهن وجه الرحمن، ثم قرأ : إليه يصعد الكلم الطيب والعمل الصالح يرفعه . ـ

It is reported by ‘Abd ibn Humayd, ibn Jarir, ibn al-Mundhir, al-Tabarani, al-Hakem (who graded it as saheeh), and al-Bayhaqi in al-Asmaa’ w’al-Sifaat that ibn Mas’ood said:

Whenever I mention a hadith to you, I will bring you something from the Qur’an to affirm it.

When a Muslim slave says subhanAllah wa bi-hamdi, al-hamdu lillah, laa illaah illallaah, Allaah akbar, or tabaarakAllaah then an angel comes and takes these statements and puts them under his wing. He then goes up with them to the heavens, and there is no group of angels that he passes by with these words who don’t supplicate to Allah to forgive the one who said them. He continues like this until he brings them to the very face of al-Rahman.

He then recited: Continue reading

The Story of Saalih as explained by Mujahid and Qatadah

In addition to co-authoring Tafsir al-Jalalayn, sheikh Jalal al-Deen al-Suyooti also has another book of tafsir to his name, entitled al-Durr al-Manthoor fee Tafsir bi’l-Ma’thoor. As one might suspect from the title, al-Durr al-Manthoor was dedicated to presenting the explanations of the Qur’an transmitted from the Prophet himself, his companions, and those who followed their way in the early generations.

What follows is an excerpt from his explanation of the story of the Prophet Saalih and his people as it comes in surah al-Nahl [27:45-53]. al-Suyooti collected a number of the statements from the two leading mufassiroon of the tabi’oon, Mujahid ibn Jabr and Qatadah ibn Di’amah, found in the previous books of narration-based tafsir and arranged them to present an explanation of the passage as a whole from each of these great figures.

As mentioned in a previous post, the early generations would often only explain those parts of an ayah which were not immediately clear to their audience. As such, the reader may find it helpful to have a mushaf and/or translation nearby to follow along with the entire passage:

قوله تعالى : ولقد أرسلنا إلى ثمود الآيات . ـ

Allah’s statement:

وَلَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا إِلَىٰ ثَمُودَ

And We sent to Thamud … [27:45]

until the end of this passage [27:45-53].

أخرج الفريابي ، وابن أبي شيبة ، وعبد بن حميد ، وابن جرير ، وابن المنذر ، وابن أبي حاتم ، عن مجاهد في قوله : فإذا هم فريقان يختصمون قال : مؤمن وكافر؛ قولهم : صالح مرسل من ربه . وقولهم : ليس بمرسل . وفي قوله : لم تستعجلون بالسيئة قال : العذاب . قبل الحسنة قال : الرحمة . وفي قوله : قالوا اطيرنا بك قال : تشاءمنا . وفي قوله : وكان في المدينة تسعة رهط قال : من قوم صالح . وفي قوله : تقاسموا بالله قال : تحالفوا على هلاكه، فلم يصلوا إليه حتى هلكوا وقومهم أجمعين . ـ

al-Firyaabi, ibn Abi Shaybah, ‘Abd ibn Humayd, ibn Jarir [al-Tabari], ibn al-Mundhir, and ibn Abi Haatim reported the following from Mujahid:

فَإِذَا هُمْ فَرِيقَانِ يَخْتَصِمُونَ

… and at once they were two parties conflicting.[27:45]

meaning: believers and disbelievers. The first group said, “Saalih is sent from his Lord,” while the other group said, “He was not sent.” Continue reading