How the Sahabah Read and Divided the Qur’an: ibn Taymiyah

Sheikh al-Islam ibn Taymiyah wrote the following letter on the subjects of “Dividing the Qur’an into Daily Portions”, “How Much to Recite”, and “The Legislated Amount of Optional Fasting and Night Prayers.” This letter has been translated in full with some abridgement of technical and tangential discussions. The omitted sections are signaled by ellipses (…). Section headings have been added in bold and placed inside brackets for ease of navigation.

وقال شيخ الإسلام فصل في ” تحزيب القرآن ” وفي ” كم يقرأ ” وفي ” مقدار الصيام والقيام المشروع ” . عن { عبد الله بن عمرو رضي الله عنهما قال : أنكحني أبي امرأة ذات حسب فكان يتعاهد ابنته فيسألها عن بعلها فتقول : نعم الرجل لم يطأ لنا فراشا ولم يفتش لنا كنفا مذ أتيناه فلما طال ذلك عليه ذكر ذلك للنبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال : القن به فلقيته بعد فقال : كيف تصوم ؟ قلت : كل يوم . قال : متى – أو كيف – تختم ؟ قلت : كل ليلة . قال : صم من كل شهر ثلاثة أيام واقرأ القرآن في كل شهر . قلت : إني أطيق أكثر من ذلك . قال : صم ثلاثة أيام من كل جمعة . قلت : إني أطيق أكثر من ذلك . قال : أفطر يومين وصم يوما قال : قلت إني أطيق أكثر من ذلك . قال : صم أفضل الصوم صوم داود صيام يوم وإفطار يوم واقرأ القرآن في كل سبع ليال مرة . قال : فليتني قبلت رخصة رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وذلك أني كبرت وضعفت } ” فكان يقرأ على [ ص: 406 ] بعض أهله السبع من القرآن بالنهار والذي يقرؤه يعرضه من النهار ليكون أخف عليه بالليل ; فإذا أراد أن يتقوى أفطر أياما وأحصى وصام مثلهن كراهية أن يترك شيئا فارق عليه النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم . ـ

[The Legislated Amount of Optional Fasting and Night Prayers]

It is relayed from ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr that he said:

My father married me to a women from a good family, so he used to always ask his daughter-in-law about her husband, and she would say, “What a good man he is, he has not come to my bed or approached me since he married me.” So after that continued for a while, my father mentioned this to the Prophet, who said, “Let me talk with him.” So I met with him and he said, “How do you fast?” I said, “Every day.” He said, “How often do you complete a recitation of the entire Qur’an?” I said, “Every night.” He said, “Fast three days of every month, and recite the Qur’an once in a month.” I said, “I am able to do more than that.” He said, “Fast three days every week.” I said, “I am able to do more than that.” He said, “Do two days off and one day of fasting.” I said, ” I am able to do more than that.” He said, “Fast the the best kind of fasting, which is the fasting of Dawud: one day on and one day off. And recite the Qur’an once every seven nights.”

‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr said, “If only I had accepted one of these allowances from Allah’s Messenger, for I have become old and weak.” He used to read a seventh of the Qur’an to one of his family members each day and he would have them check his memory so that it would be easier for him to recite that portion during the night. And whenever he wanted to gain some strength, he would skip fasting for a number of days while counting those days to make them up later, for he disliked leaving anything that he used to do during the time of the Prophet.

وقال بعضهم : في ثلاث وفي خمس وأكثرهم على سبع . وفي لفظ : ” { اقرأ القرآن في شهر قلت : إني أجد قوة . قال : فاقرأه في سبع ولا تزد على ذلك } ” رواه بكماله البخاري وهذا لفظه . وروى مسلم الحديث بنحوه واللفظ الآخر مثله . وفي رواية { ألم أخبر أنك تصوم الدهر وتقرأ القرآن كل ليلة فقلت : نعم يا نبي الله . وفيه قال : اقرأ القرآن في كل شهر قال : قلت يا نبي الله إني أطيق أفضل من ذلك قال فاقرأه في كل عشر قال : قلت يا نبي الله إني أطيق أفضل من ذلك قال : فاقرأه في سبع ولا تزد على ذلك . قال : فشددت فشدد علي وقال لي النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم إنك لا تدري لعلك يطول بك عمرك قال : فصرت إلى الذي قال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم } ” وعن عبد الله بن عمرو عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال : ” { اقرأ القرآن في كل ثلاث } ” رواه أحمد وأبو داود . ـ

Some narrations mention three or five nights, but most say seven.

In one narration, it is worded:

“Recite the Qur’an once a month.” I said, “I have it within me to do more.” He said, “Then recite it once a week, and do not increase beyond that.”

This is narrated in full by al-Bukhari, and that is his wording. And Muslim relayed a similar hadith with another wording like this one. And in one narration:

“I have heard that you fast every day and recite the entire Qur’an every night.” I replied, “Yes, O Prophet of Allah.”

and also in the same narration: Continue reading

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The Dots and Tashkeel in the Mushaf: ibn Taymiyah

Sheikh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyah wrote:

المصاحف التي كتبها الصحابة لم يشكلوا حروفا ولم ينقطوها ; فإنهم كانوا عربا لا يلحنون ثم بعد ذلك في أواخر عصر الصحابة لما نشأ اللحن صاروا ينقطون المصاحف ويشكلونها وذلك جائز عند أكثر العلماء وهو إحدى الروايتين عن أحمد وكرهه بعضهم والصحيح أنه لا يكره ; لأن الحاجة داعية إلى ذلك ولا نزاع بين العلماء أن [ حكم ] الشكل والنقط حكم الحروف المكتوبة فإن النقط تميز بين الحروف والشكل يبين الإعراب لأنه كلام من تمام الكلام . ويروى عن أبي بكر وعمر أنهما قالا : ” إعراب القرآن أحب إلينا من حفظ بعض حروفه ” فإذا قرأ القارئ { الحمد لله رب العالمين } كانت الضمة والفتحة والكسرة من تمام لفظ القرآن . ـ

The mushafs which the Sahabah wrote did not have any tashkeel [vowel marking] or dots on its letters, for the Sahabah were native Arabic speakers who did not make grammatical mistakes. But later during the end of the era of the Sahabah, they added the dots and tashkeel to the mushafs due to the errors in grammar that arose [i.e. among all the non-Arabic speaking people who entered into Islam].

And that is something permissible according to most scholars, and it was one of two positions reported from Imam Ahmad, though some scholars disliked this. However the correct position is that it not something to be disliked since there is a need which calls for it. Continue reading

The Themes and Contents of Surah Maryam: ibn Taymiyah

Sheikh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyah wrote the following words discussing the major themes of surah Maryam and outlining its contents. We would recommend reading this article with a Qur’an close by in order to better follow the different themes and topics mentioned:

سورة مريم قال شيخ الإسلام رحمه الله فصل ” سورة مريم ” مضمونها : تحقيق عبادة الله وحده وأن خواص الخلق هم عباده فكل كرامة ودرجة رفيعة في هذه الإضافة وتضمنت الرد على الغالين الذين زادوا في النسبة إلى الله حتى نسبوا إليه عيسى بطريق الولادة والرد على المفرطين في تحقيق العبادة وما فيها من الكرامة وجحدوا نعم الله التي أنعم بها على عباده المصطفين . ـ

Surah Maryam includes the following topics:

Affirming worship for Allah alone, and that the best of creation were those who devotedly worshiped Him. For every honor and elevated station lies in this relationship of the creation worshiping the Creator.

This surah also includes a rebuttal of those fanatical people who claim various additional and higher forms of relationship with Allah, to such an extent that they link ‘Eesaa (Jesus) directly to Him as an offspring.

It also includes a refutation of those who go to extremes in their affirmation of sevanthood and who deny the various blessings – such as the miracles given to righteous people – which Allah has bestowed upon His chosen servants.

افتتحها بقوله : { ذكر رحمة ربك عبده زكريا } وندائه ربه نداء خفيا وموهبته له يحيى ثم قصة مريم وابنها وقوله : { إني عبد الله } . . إلخ بين فيها الرد على الغلاة في المسيح وعلى الجفاة النافين عنه ما أنعم الله به عليه ; ثم أمر نبيه بذكر إبراهيم وما دعا إليه من عبادة الله وحده ونهيه إياه عن عبادة الشيطان وموهبته له إسحاق ويعقوب وأنه جعل له لسان صدق عليا وهو الثناء الحسن وأخبر عن يحيى وعيسى وإبراهيم ببر الوالدين مع التوحيد وذكر موسى وموهبته له أخاه هارون نبيا كما وهب يحيى لزكريا وعيسى لمريم وإسحاق لإبراهيم . ـ

Allah begins this surah by saying:

ذِكْرُ رَحْمَتِ رَبِّكَ عَبْدَهُ زَكَرِيَّا

a mention of the mercy of your Lord to His servant Zakariyyah [19:2]

and his calling His Lord with a private supplication, and Allah’s granting him Yahya, and then the story of Maryam and her son, and that son’s statement:

إِنِّي عَبْدُ اللَّـهِ

Indeed, I am a servant of Allah… [19:30]

until the end of the story. In this part of the surah, Allah makes a clear refutation against those who go to extremes regarding the Messiah, as well as rebutting those ill-mannered ones who deny the various blessings which Allah did bestow upon him. Continue reading

Clarifying some Misconceptions about the Seven Qiraa’aat: Ibn Taymiyah

Sheikh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyah once received a letter with a series of questions regarding the different huroof/ahruf (dialects) and various qiraa’aat (modes of recitation) of the Qur’an. One part of this question read:

وسئل عن قول النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ” { أنزل القرآن على سبعة أحرف } ” ما المراد بهذه السبعة ؟ وهل هذه القراءات المنسوبة إلى نافع وعاصم وغيرهما هي الأحرف السبعة أو واحد منها ؟ ـ

The sheikh was asked about the statement of the Prophet (ﷺ), “The Qur’an was revealed in seven ahruf” – what is meant by these seven? And are the qiraa’aat which are attributed to Naafi’, ‘Aasim and others these seven ahruf, or only one of them?

So the sheikh responded to this question by writing:

فنقول : لا نزاع بين العلماء المعتبرين أن ” الأحرف السبعة ” التي ذكر النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أن القرآن أنزل عليها ليست هي ” قراءات القراء السبعة المشهورة ” بل أول من جمع قراءات هؤلاء هو الإمام أبو بكر بن مجاهد وكان على رأس المائة الثالثة ببغداد فإنه أحب أن يجمع المشهور من قراءات الحرمين والعراقين والشام ; إذ هذه الأمصار الخمسة هي التي خرج منها علم النبوة من القرآن وتفسيره والحديث والفقه من الأعمال الباطنة والظاهرة وسائر العلوم الدينية فلما أراد ذلك جمع قراءات سبعة مشاهير من أئمة قراء هذه الأمصار ; ليكون ذلك موافقا لعدد الحروف التي أنزل عليها القرآن لا لاعتقاده أو اعتقاد غيره من العلماء أن القراءات السبعة هي الحروف السبعة أو أن هؤلاء السبعة المعينين هم الذين لا يجوز أن يقرأ بغير قراءتهم . ـ

I say: Among the scholars whose views are given weight, there is no disagreement that the seven ahruf which the Prophet (ﷺ) said the Qur’an was sent down in are not the same thing as the qiraa’aat of the seven well-known reciters.

To the contrary, the first person who grouped these qiraa’aat together was Imam Abu Bakr ibn Mujahid, who lived in Baghdad at the beginning of the third century. He did this because he wanted to compile the well-known qiraa’aat of Mecca, Madinah, Kufah, Basrah, and Syria, as these were the five cities from which the Prophetic knowledge of the Qur’an, its tafsir, hadeeth, fiqh of both the outward and internal actions, and all other religious sciences spread. Continue reading

Overview of Surah al-Insaan: Ibn Taymiyah

Sheikh al-Islam ibn Taymiyah began a long discussion of the different parts of surah al-Insaan [76] by providing this general overview of the surah‘s contents:

اعلم أن سورة هل أتى على الإنسان سورة عجيبة الشأن من سور القرآن على اختصارها فإن الله سبحانه ابتدأها بذكر كيفية خلق الإنسان من النطفة ذات الأمشاج والأخلاط التي لم يزل بقدرته ولطفه وحكمته يصرفه عليها أطوارا وينقله من حال إلى حال إلى أن تمت خلقته وكملت صورته فأخرجه إنسانا سويا سميعا بصيرا . ـ

You should know that surah al-Insaan is one of the amazing surahs of the Qur’an despite its brevity. For Allah the Exalted begins this surah by mentioning how He creates the human being from a mixed sperm drop which, by His Might, Benevolence and Wisdom, He takes through a number of stages of development, moving from one condition to the next until its creation is finished and it is fully formed. Then He brings it forth as a well-formed, hearing, seeing, human being.

ثم لما تكامل تمييزه وإدراكه هداه طريقي الخير والشر والهدى والضلال وأنه بعد هذه الهداية إما أن يشكر ربه وإما أن يكفره . ـ

Then when man’s discernment and understanding have fully developed, Allah guides him to the two paths of either good or evil, guidance or misguidance. After this guidance, man is either grateful to his Lord or ungrateful towards Him. Continue reading

The Arrangement of the Final Chapters of the Qur’an: Ibn Taymiyah

Sheikh al-Islam ibn Taymiyah mentioned the following benefits in one of his writings:

السور القصار في أواخر المصحف متناسبة . فسورة ( اقرأ هي أول ما نزل من القرآن ; ولهذا افتتحت بالأمر بالقراءة وختمت بالأمر بالسجود ووسطت بالصلاة التي أفضل أقوالها وأولها بعد التحريم هو القراءة وأفضل أفعالها وآخرها قبل التحليل هو السجود … ـ

The shorter surahs at the end of the mushaf have a certain logic and reasoning to their organization and arrangement. Surah Iqraa’ [96] was the first part of the Qur’an to be revealed, and so it opens with the command to recite and closes with the command to make sujood. And in its middle is the prayer, whose best spoken part and the first of them after the initial takbeer is the recitation of the Qur’an, and whose best physical parts and the last of them before its conclusion is the sujood. …

فلما أمر في هذه السورة بالقراءة ذكر في التي تليها نزول القرآن ليلة القدر وذكر فيها تنزل الملائكة والروح وفي ( المعارج عروج الملائكة والروح وفي ( النبأ قيام الملائكة والروح . فذكر الصعود والنزول والقيام ثم [ ص: 478 ] في التي تليها تلاوته على المنذرين حيث قال : { يتلو صحفا مطهرة } { فيها كتب قيمة } . فهذه السور الثلاث منتظمة للقرآن أمرا به وذكرا لنزوله ولتلاوة الرسول له على المنذرين . ـ

So after Allah commands the recitation of the Qur’an in this surah, in the following surah [97 – surah al-Qadr] He mentions the sending down of the Qur’an on Laylah al-Qadr. And in that surah He also mentioned the descending of the angels and the Rooh. Continue reading

Learning the Qur’an – Both Wordings and Meanings: ibn Taymiyah

In part of a longer discussion about the qiraa’aat, sheikh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyah wrote:

فإن أصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم تلقوا عنه ما أمره الله بتبليغه إليهم من القرآن لفظه ومعناه جميعا كما قال أبو عبد الرحمن السلمي – وهو الذي روى عن عثمان رضي الله عنه عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أنه قال : ” { خيركم من تعلم القرآن وعلمه } ” كما رواه البخاري في صحيحه وكان يقرئ القرآن أربعين سنة . قال – حدثنا الذين كانوا يقرئوننا عثمان بن عفان وعبد الله بن مسعود وغيرهما : أنهم كانوا إذا تعلموا من النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم عشر آيات لم يجاوزوها حتى [ ص: 403 ] يتعلموا ما فيها من العلم والعمل . قالوا : فتعلمنا القرآن والعلم والعمل جميعا .ـ

The Companions received the Qur’an – both its wordings and its meanings – from the Messenger (ﷺ) as Allah had commanded Him to convey it to them. This is just as Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami described it, and he was the one who relayed from ‘Uthman that the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “The best of you are those who learn the Qur’an and teach it“, as has been recorded by al-Bukhari in his Saheeh along with the comment that Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami had been a teacher of the Qur’an for forty years.

Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami also said, “Those under whom we learned the Qur’an – ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affaan, ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ood, and others – told us that whenever they had learned ten ayaat from the Prophet (ﷺ), they used to not move forward past that until they learned the knowledge which those ayaat contained and actions which they entailed. They said, ‘We learned the Qur’an along with knowledge and deeds all together.'” Continue reading

Turning Away from the Sources of Tafsir: Ibn Taymiyah

In the midst of a wider discussion within his book al-Eemaan, sheikh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyyah included the following valuable aside regarding some of the causes for deviating while making tafsir, centering around turning away from the sources of tafsir. For any readers who are not already familiar with the sources of tafsir, we would recommend first reading this brief article from sheik Saalih al-Fawzan on the subject before continuing:

    وقد دلت النصوص على أنه يخرج من النار من في قلبه مثقال ذرة من الإيمان . وقد عدلت ” المرجئة ” في هذا الأصل عن بيان الكتاب والسنة وأقوال الصحابة والتابعين لهم بإحسان واعتمدوا على رأيهم وعلى ما تأولوه بفهمهم اللغة ، وهذه طريقة أهل البدع ; ولهذا كان الإمام أحمد يقول : أكثر ما يخطئ الناس من جهة التأويل والقياس . [ ص: 119 ]  ـ

The textual sources definitively prove that whoever has a mustard seed’s weight of eemaan in his heart will eventually be taken out of the Hell-fire. However, when it comes to this fundamental principle, the Murji’ah have turned away from the Qur’an, the Sunnah, and the statements of the sahabah and those who followed them in goodness and instead they relied on their own opinions and their own interpretations and their own understandings of linguistic matters. This is the way of the people of religious innovation (ahl al-bid’ah), and it was in their vein that Imam Ahmad said, “The most common areas in which people err are interpreting words outside of their predominant meanings and analogical reasoning.”

     ولهذا تجد المعتزلة والمرجئة والرافضة وغيرهم من أهل البدع يفسرون القرآن برأيهم ومعقولهم وما تأولوه من اللغة ; ولهذا تجدهم لا يعتمدون على أحاديث النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم والصحابة والتابعين وأئمة المسلمين ; فلا يعتمدون لا على السنة ولا على إجماع السلف وآثارهم ; وإنما يعتمدون على العقل واللغة . ـ

And so you find the Mu’tazilah, the Murji’ah, the Raafidah, and other groups of the ahl al-bid’ah making tafsir of the Qur’an according to their own views, reasonings, and linguistic interpretations, and you find that they do not rely on the statements of the Prophet (ﷺ) or the sahabah or the tabi’oon or the scholars. So they do not rely on the Sunnah or on the consensus of the early generations or on the statements and positions relayed from them; they only rely on intellect and linguistics. Continue reading

Which are More Virtuous, the First Ten of Dhu’l-Hijjah or the Last Ten of Ramadan?

A question was posed to Sheikh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyah: Which are more virtuous, the first ten of Dh’ul-Hijjah or the last ten of Ramadan? So he replied:

أيام عشر ذي الحجة أفضل من أيام العشر من رمضان، والليالي العشر الأواخر من رمضان أفضل من ليالي عشر ذي الحجة

The days of the first ten of Dhu’l-Hijjah are more virtuous than the days of the last ten of Ramadan while the nights of the last ten of Ramadan are more virtuous than the nights of the first ten of Dhu’l-Hijjah.

[Majmoo’ al-Fataawa 25/154]

Ibn Taymiyah’s student Ibn al-Qayyim commented and elaborated upon his teacher’s response in one of his own works by writing:

وإذا تأمل الفاضل اللبيب هذا الجواب وجده شافيا كافيا، فإنه ليس من أيام العمل فيها أحب إلى الله من أيام عشر ذي الحجة. وفيها يوم عرفة ويوم النحر ويوم التروية. وأما ليالي عشر رمضان فهي ليالي الأحياء التي كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يحييها كلها، وفيها ليلة خير من ألف شهر. فمن أجاب بغير هذا التفصيل، لم يمكنه أن يدلي بحجة صحيحة

If one were to consider the honor and sensibleness of this answer, he would find it to be comprehensive and sufficient. Indeed, there are no days in which deeds are more beloved to Allah than the first ten days of Dhu’l-Hijjah – and they contain the Day of ‘Arafah, the Day of the Sacrifice, and the Day of Tarwiyah [the 9th, 10th, and 8th days, respectively]. Continue reading

A Note on Differing Reports in Tafsir: Ibn Taymiyah

In his book “Introduction to Tafsir”, Sheikh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyah included the following points of benefit in a larger discussion of the use of Israa’eeliyaat (Biblical) narratives in tafsir. He mentioned that in cases where there is no conclusive evidence as to whether the Israa’eeliyaat narratives are true or not, there is often little benefit that comes from mentioning these different reports. He then listed a number of examples of these reports, such as those concerning what type of wood the staff of Moosaa was made of, the types of birds Ibrahim slaughtered, the names of the inhabitants of the cave, etc. Immediately following this list of examples, he wrote:

ـ … إِلَى غَيْرِ ذَلِكَ ممَّا أَبْهَمَهُ اللهُ تَعَالَى فِي القُرْآنِ مِمَّا لاَ فَائِدَةَ فِي تَعْيِينِهِ تَعُودُ عَلَى الْمُكَلَّفِينَ فِي دُنْيَاهُمْ وَلاَ فِي دِينِهِمْ . وَلَكِنَّ نَقْلَ الْخِلاَفِ عَنْهُمْ فِي ذَلِكَ جَائِزٌ . ـ

… and the list goes on of those things which Allah has left uncertain in the Qur’an in which there is no benefit returning back to those charged with enacting Allah’s commands in specifying them, neither in respects to his worldly life nor in respect to his religion. However, transmitting the differences of opinion regarding these issues is permissible.

كَمَا قَالَ تَعَالَى : {سَيَقُولُونَ ثَلاثَةٌ رَّابِعُهُمْ كَلْبُهُمْ وَيَقُولُونَ خَمْسَةٌ سَادِسُهُمْ كَلْبُهُمْ رَجْمًا بِالْغَيْبِ وَيَقُولُونَ سَبْعَةٌ وَثَامنُهُمْ كَلْبُهُمْ قُل رَّبِّي أَعْلَمُ بِعِدَّتِهِم مَّا يَعْلَمُهُمْ إِلاَّ قَلِيلٌ فَلاَ تُمَارِ فِيهِمْ إِلاَّ مِرَآءً ظَاهِرًا وَلاَ تَسْتَفْتِ فِيهِم مِّنْهُمْ أَحَدًا } [سُورَةُ الْكَهْفِ :22] فَقَد اشْتَمَلَتْ هَذِهِ الآيَةُ الكريمةُ عَلَى الأَدَبِ فِي هَذَا المُقَامِ ، وَتَعْلِيمِ مَا يَنْبَغِي فِي مِثْلِ هَذَا ، فَإِنَّهُ تَعَالَى أَخْبَرَ عَنْهُمْ في ثَلاَثَةِ أَقْوَالٍ ، { وَ } ضَعَّفَ القَوْلَيْنِ الأَوَّلَيْنِ ، وَسَكَتَ عَن الثَّالثِ ، فَدَلَّ عَلَى صِحَّتِهِ ، إذْ لَوْ كَانَ بَاطِلاً لَرَدَّهُ كَمَا رَدَّهُمَا ، ثمَّ أَرْشَدَ إِلَى أَنَّ الاطِّلاَعَ عَلَى عِدَّتِهِم لاَ طَائِلَ تَحْتَهُ ، فيُقالُ في مِثْلِ هَذَا : { قُل رَّبِّي أَعْلَمُ بِعِدَّتِهِم } ؛ فَإنَّهُ لا يَعْلَمُ بِذَلِكَ إِلاَّ قَلِيلٌ مِن النَّاسِ مِمَّنْ أَطْلَعَهُ اللهُ عَلَيْهِ ، فَلِهَذَا قَالَ : { فَلاَ تُمَارِ فِيهِمْ إِلاَّ مِرَآءً ظَاهِرًا } أَيْ : لاَ تُجْهِدْ نَفْسَكَ فِيمَا لاَ طَائِلَ تَحْتَهُ ، وَلاَ تَسْأَلْهُمْ عَنْ ذَلِكَ فَإِنَّهُمْ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ مِنْ ذَلِكَ إِلاَّ رَجْمَ الْغَيْبِ . ـ

This is as Allah said:

سَيَقُولُونَ ثَلاثَةٌ رَّابِعُهُمْ كَلْبُهُمْ وَيَقُولُونَ خَمْسَةٌ سَادِسُهُمْ كَلْبُهُمْ رَجْمًا بِالْغَيْبِ وَيَقُولُونَ سَبْعَةٌ وَثَامنُهُمْ كَلْبُهُمْ قُل رَّبِّي أَعْلَمُ بِعِدَّتِهِم مَّا يَعْلَمُهُمْ إِلاَّ قَلِيلٌ فَلاَ تُمَارِ فِيهِمْ إِلاَّ مِرَآءً ظَاهِرًا وَلاَ تَسْتَفْتِ فِيهِم مِّنْهُمْ أَحَدًا

They will say there were three, the fourth of them being their dog; and they will say there were five, the sixth of them being their dog – guessing at the unseen; and they will say there were seven, and the eighth of them was their dog. Say, [O Muhammad], “My Lord is most knowing of their number. None knows them except a few. So do not argue about them except with a clear proof and do not inquire about them among [the speculators] from anyone.” [18:22]

for this noble ayah includes the proper etiquette in this circumstance, and it teaches us what is befitting in the likes of this instance. For Allah informed us that there are three opinions regarding them; He described the first two positions as weak and was silent concerning the third, thus demonstrating its validity. For if it had been false then He would have rebutted it just as He had rebutted the other two positions. Then Allah provides guidance that digging into their number is not a beneficial endeavor. So in this circumstance one should say: Continue reading