The Great Status of Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari: al-Dhahabi

In his massive biographical encyclopedia, Imam al-Dhahabi mentioned the following quote in his entry on the great commentator on the Qur’an, Muhammad ibn Jareer al-Tabari:

وقال الخطيب محمد بن جرير بن يزيد بن كثير بن غالب : كان أحد أئمة العلماء ، يحكم بقوله ، ويرجع إلى رأيه لمعرفته وفضله ، وكان قد جمع من العلوم ما لم يشاركه فيه أحد من أهل عصره ، فكان حافظا لكتاب الله ، عارفا بالقراءات ، بصيرا بالمعاني ، فقيها في أحكام القرآن ، عالما بالسنن وطرقها ، صحيحها وسقيمها ، وناسخها ومنسوخها ، عارفا بأقوال الصحابة والتابعين ، عارفا بأيام الناس وأخبارهم ، وله الكتاب المشهور في [ ص: 270 ] ” أخبار الأمم وتاريخهم ” ، وله كتاب : ” التفسير ” لم يصنف مثله ، وكتاب سماه : ” تهذيب الآثار ” لم أر سواه في معناه ، لكن لم يتمه ، وله في أصول الفقه وفروعه كتب كثيرة واختيار من أقاويل الفقهاء ، وتفرد بمسائل حفظت عنه .ـ

al-Khateeb said:

Muhammad ibn Jareer ibn Yazeed ibn Katheer ibn Ghaalib – He was one of the leaders of the scholars. His position carried authority, and his opinions were referred back to due to his knowledge and virtue.

He has amassed such a great amount of knowledge that none of his contemporaries matched him in that, for he had memorized the Qur’an, was well-acquainted with its various recitations, insightful into its meanings, expertly versed in the legal rulings of the Qur’an, knowledgeable of the sunnah and their chains of narration – whether they be authentic or otherwise, abrogating or abrogated -, familiar with the positions of the Sahabah and the Tabi’oon, and well-informed of historical facts and biographies. Continue reading

Advertisements

Five Distinguishing Features of the Tafsir of the Companions: Sheikh Saalih Aal al-Sheikh

In one section of a lecture entitled, “Introduction to the Fundamentals of al-Tafsir“, sheikh Saalih Aal al-Sheikh mentioned the following points:

ـ 8 – ما تميزت به تفاسير الصحابة ـ
8. What Distinguishes the Companions’ Explanations of the Qur’an?

تميزت تفاسير الصحابة بأمور منها : ـ

There are a number of things which set the Companions’ explanations of the Qur’an apart from that of others. These include:

ـ 1- أنها تفاسير من عَلِمُوا القرآن ، وعَلِمُوا السُّنَّة لأنهم شهدوا التنــزيل ، ويعلمون سنة النبي وهديه – عليه الصلاة والسلام -. ـ

1. Theirs were explanations from those who knew the Qur’an and knew the Sunnah, for they have been witness to the revelation and has learned the Sunnah and guidance of the Prophet (ﷺ).

ـ 2- الميزة الثانية : أنها تفاسير من شاهد التنــزيل وعلم أسباب النــزول ، وقد قال شيخ الإسلام ابن تيمية في معرض كلام له ، ” العلم بالسبب يورث العلم بالمسبَّب ” ([37]) يعني إذا عَلِمْتَ سبب الشيءِ عَرَفْتَ المعنى ، عرفت توجيه الكلام ، عرفت المراد منه ، فعلمهم بأسباب النــزول ومشاهدتهم لأسباب النــزول يحعل تفاسيرهم في الغاية ، لأنهم شاهدوا وعلموا فلن يفسروا القرآن بشيء يخالف أسباب النــزول ، أو يخالف سنة النبي – عليه الصلاة والسلام – . ـ

2. The second distinguishing feature is that their explanations were explanations coming from those who had witnessed the revelation and knew the circumstantial reasons for the revelation (asbaab al-nuzool). In the midst of discussing this topic, sheikh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyah said, “Knowledge of the circumstantial reason behind the revelation produces knowledge of the underlying reason for the revelation,” meaning that if you learn the causal factors behind something that you will realize the meanings, know who is being addressed, and understand what is meant behind it all. So knowledge of the circumstantial reasons for revelation and having been witnesses to these reasons places their explanations in a high station. For they witnessed the revelation and had knowledge of it, so they would never explain the any part of the Qur’an with something that contradicted the reasons for why it was revealed or with anything that contradicted the Prophet’s Sunnah (ﷺ). Continue reading

The Early History of the Qiraa’aat: al-Suyooti

In his famous handbook to the Qur’anic sciences, al-Itqaan fee ‘Uloom al-Qur’an, Jalal al-Deen al-Suyooti included the following discussion in his chapter, “Knowing the Memorizers and Transmitters of the Qur’an”. In this excerpt, al-Suyooti gives a brief history of how the qiraa’aat that are widely-used today were meticulously passed down from teacher to student with chains of transmission going back to the Prophet until they became the list of the seven well-known qiraa’aat around the beginning of the fourth century after the Hijrah:

المشتهرون بإقراء القرآن من الصحابة سبعة : عثمان ، وعلي ، وأبي ، وزيد بن ثابت ، وابن مسعود ، وأبو الدرداء ، وأبو موسى الأشعري . كذا ذكرهم الذهبي في طبقات القراء . قال : وقد قرأ على أبي جماعة من الصحابة منهم أبو هريرة ، وابن عباس ، وعبد الله بن السائب وأخذ ابن عباس عن زيد أيضا وأخذ عنهم خلق من التابعين . ـ

The Sahabah most well-known for reciting the Qur’an were seven:

  • ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan
  • ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib
  • Ubay ibn Ka’b
  • Zayd ibn Thabit
  • ibn Mas’ood
  • Abu al-Dardaa’
  • Abu Moosaa al-Ash’ari

al-Dhahabi also mentioned these seven in his book, Tabaqaat al-Qurraa’.* He further said:

A number of the Sahabah also learned from Ubay, including Abu Hurayrah, ibn ‘Abbaas, and ‘Abdullah ibn al-Saa’ib. Ibn ‘Abbaas also learned from Zayd, and then a number of the Taabi’oon also learned from them.

فممن كان بالمدينة : ابن المسيب وعروة وسالم وعمر بن عبد العزيز وسليمان وعطاء بن يسار ، ومعاذ بن الحارث المعروف بمعاذ القارئ ، وعبد الرحمن بن هرمز الأعرج ، وابن شهاب الزهري ، ومسلم بن جندب ، وزيد بن أسلم . ـ

○ In al-Madinah, these Taabi’oon included: ibn al-Musayyib, ‘Urwah, Saalim, ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz, the brothers Sulayman and ‘Ataa’ ibn Yasaar, Mu’adh ibn al-Haarith – more commonly known as Mu’adh the reciter -, ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Hurmuz al-A’raj, ibn Shihab al-Zuhri, Muslim ibn Jundub, and Zayd ibn Aslam.

وبمكة : عبيد بن عمير ، وعطاء بن أبي رباح ، وطاوس ، ومجاهد ، وعكرمة ، وابن أبي مليكة . ـ

○ In Mecca: ‘Ubayd ibn ‘Umayr, ‘Ataa; ibn Abi Rabaah, Taawoos, Mujahid, ‘Ikrimah, and ibn Abi Mulaykah. Continue reading

The Great Attention that the Salaf gave to the Qur’an: Ibn al-Jazari

The famous scholar of the Qiraa’aat Abu’l-Khair Muhammad ibn al-Jazari began his most famous work with some narrations on the virtues of reciting the Qur’an, including the following:

وروينا أيضا في الطبراني بإسناد جيد من حديث عبد الله بن مسعود – رضي الله عنه – قال : قال رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – : خيركم من قرأ القرآن وأقرأه ورواه البخاري في صحيحه عن عثمان بن عفان – رضي الله عنه – ولفظه قال : قال رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – : خيركم من تعلم القرآن وعلمه وكان الإمام أبو عبد الرحمن السلمي التابعي الجليل يقول لما يروي هذا الحديث عن عثمان : هذا الذي أقعدني مقعدي هذا ، يشير إلى كونه جالسا في المسجد الجامع بالكوفة يعلم القرآن ويقرئه مع جلالة قدره وكثرة علمه ، وحاجة الناس إلى علمه ، وبقي يقرئ الناس بجامع الكوفة أكثر من أربعين سنة ، وعليه قرأ الحسن والحسين – رضي الله عنهما – ، ولذلك كان السلف – رحمهم الله – لا يعدلون بإقراء القرآن شيئا فقد روينا عن شقيق أبي وائل قال : قيل لعبد الله بن مسعود – رضي الله عنه – : إنك تقل الصوم . قال : إني إذا صمت ضعفت عن القرآن ، وتلاوة القرآن أحب إلي . ـ

We find the hadith of ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ood (may Allah be pleased with him) transmitted to us in the collection of al-Tabaraani with a good chain of narration that he said: Allah’s Messenger said, “The best of you are those who recite the Qur’an [to others, teaching them] and have it recited to them [by students].”

And al-Bukhari also transmitted this in his Saheeh collection from ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affaan (may Allah be pleased with him) with the following wording, that Allah’s Messenger said, “The best of you are those who learn the Qur’an and teach it.” 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

The sad story of ‘Imran ibn Hittaan

There was an interesting individual from the time of the Tabi’een, whose name was ‘Imran ibn Ḥiṭṭān. Both Imam al-Dhahabi and Imam Ibn Kathir mentioned his biography in their historical works.

Ibn Kathir, in his massive work of history, al-Bidayah w’al-Nihayah, summarized ibn Ḥiṭṭān’s biography by writing:

عمران بن حطان الخارجي، كان أولا من أهل السنة والجماعة فتزوج امرأة من الخوارج حسنة جميلة جدا فأحبها. وكان هو دميم الشكل، فأراد أن يردها إلى السنة فأبت فارتد معها إلى مذهبها

“‘Imran ibn Ḥiṭṭān al-Khaarijee. He was originally among Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah, but then he married a woman from the Khawaarij who was extremely beautiful, so he loved her. And he himself was ugly and misshapen. So he intended to return her to the sunnah, but she adamantly refused, so he apostatized with her to her way (i.e. became a Khaarijee after have been a scholar of Ahl al-Sunnah!).”

[al-Bidayah w’al-Nihayah 9/64]

Imam al-Dhahabi wrote about him saying: Continue reading

Those who tasted evil may love good all the more: Ibn Taymiyah

In part of his long discussion of the du’a of Dhu’l-Noon (Prophet Yunus), Sheikh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyah wrote the following points concerning the relative merits of those born into Islam and those who enter into it later in life:

وما يظنه بعض الناس أنه من ولد على الإسلام فلم يكفر قط أفضل ممن كان كافرا فأسلم ليس بصواب ; بل الاعتبار بالعاقبة وأيهما كان أتقى لله في عاقبته كان أفضل . فإنه من المعلوم أن السابقين الأولين من المهاجرين والأنصار الذين آمنوا بالله ورسوله بعد كفرهم هم أفضل ممن ولد على الإسلام من أولادهم وغير أولادهم ; بل من عرف الشر وذاقه ثم عرف الخير وذاقه [ ص: 301 ] فقد تكون معرفته بالخير ومحبته له ومعرفته بالشر وبغضه له أكمل ممن لم يعرف الخير والشر ويذقهما كما ذاقهما ; بل من لم يعرف إلا الخير فقد يأتيه الشر فلا يعرف أنه شر فإما أن يقع فيه وإما أن لا ينكره كما أنكره الذي عرفه . ـ

What some people think that the one born upon Islam and does not commit kufr ever is better than the one who was a kaafir and then becomes a Muslim – this is not correct. Rather, the criteria is in the outcome, and the one who has more taqwa of Allah in his final end – he is better. That is because it is known that the forerunners from the Muhaajireen and the Ansaar who believed in Allah and His messenger after they had disbelieved are better than those who were born upon Islam and their children and other than their children. Rather, the one who knew evil and tasted it and then knew the good and tasted it, then his recognition of the good and his love for it and his recognition of evil and his hatred of it is more complete than the one who does not know good and evil and has not tasted it as he has tasted it. Rather, the one who does not know anything other than good, perhaps evil will come to him and he will not recognize that it is evil, and he may either fall into it or he may not reject it as the one who knew it would reject it. Continue reading

Abu Bakr’s and Umar’s visit to Umm Ayman: Sharh al-Nawawi

In his chapter on the virtues on the sahaabah, imam Muslim mentions the following narration concerning the virtues of Umm Ayman:

عَنْ أَنَسٍ، قَالَ قَالَ أَبُو بَكْرٍ رضى الله عنه بَعْدَ وَفَاةِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم لِعُمَرَ انْطَلِقْ بِنَا إِلَى أُمِّ أَيْمَنَ نَزُورُهَا كَمَا كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَزُورُهَا ‏.‏ فَلَمَّا انْتَهَيْنَا إِلَيْهَا بَكَتْ فَقَالاَ لَهَا مَا يُبْكِيكِ مَا عِنْدَ اللَّهِ خَيْرٌ لِرَسُولِهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏.‏ فَقَالَتْ مَا أَبْكِي أَنْ لاَ أَكُونَ أَعْلَمُ أَنَّ مَا عِنْدَ اللَّهِ خَيْرٌ لِرَسُولِهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَلَكِنْ أَبْكِي أَنَّ الْوَحْىَ قَدِ انْقَطَعَ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ ‏.‏ فَهَيَّجَتْهُمَا عَلَى الْبُكَاءِ فَجَعَلاَ يَبْكِيَانِ مَعَهَا

Anas reported that after the death of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) Abu Bakr said to ‘Umar, “Let us visit Umm Aiman as Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) used to visit her.” When we came to her, she was weeping. They (Abu Bakr and Umar) said to her, “What makes you weep? What is with Allah is better for the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ).” She said, “I weep not because I do not know of the fact that what is with Allah is better for the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), but I weep because the revelation which came from the Heaven has ceased to come. This moved both of them to tears and they began to weep along with her.

[Saheeh Muslim #2454]

Imam al-Nawawi, in his commentary on Saheeh Muslim mentions the following points of benefit concerning the permissible and recommended activities which are derived from this hadeeth:

قوله : ( قال أبو بكر بعد وفاة رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم لعمر رضي الله عنه : انطلق بنا إلى أم أيمن نزورها ، كما كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يزورها ) فيه زيارة الصالحين وفضلها ، وزيارة الصالح لمن هو دونه ، وزيارة الإنسان لمن كان صديقه يزوره ، ولأهل ود صديقه ، وزيارة جماعة من الرجال للمرأة الصالحة ، وسماع كلامها ، واستصحاب العالم والكبير صاحبا له في الزيارة ، والعيادة ، ونحوهما . والبكاء حزنا على فراق الصالحين والأصحاب ، وإن كانوا قد انتقلوا إلى أفضل مما كانوا عليه . والله أعلم .

His statement, “Abu Bakr said to ‘Umar, ‘Let us visit Umm Aiman as Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) used to visit her.‘” This includes (the permission and/or recommendation of):

-visiting the righteous people and the virtue of that;
-the righteous person visiting those who are less (righteous) than him;
-people visiting those who their friends used to visit and (visiting) the dearly beloved people of their friend;
-a group of men visiting a righteous woman and listening to her speech;
-for the scholar or elder to bring along a companion with him in his visits, habitual activities, etc;
-weeping out of sadness over the loss of righteous people and companions [whether by death or separation], even if they have moved on to a better condition than that which they were previously in.

And Allah knows best.

[Sharh al-Nawawi ‘alaa Saheeh Muslim #2454]

“If he was to die or be killed, would you turn back on your heels?”: Ibn al-Qayyim

Ibn al-Qayyim, while speaking about some of the events of the Battle of Uhud, mentions the following points of great benefit:

ومنها : أن وقعة أحد كانت مقدمة وإرهاصا بين يدي موت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ، فثبتهم ووبخهم على انقلابهم على أعقابهم إن مات رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أو قتل ، بل الواجب له عليهم أن يثبتوا على دينه وتوحيده ويموتوا عليه أو يقتلوا ، فإنهم إنما يعبدون رب محمد ، وهو حي لا يموت ، فلو مات محمد أو قتل لا ينبغي لهم أن يصرفهم ذلك عن دينه ، وما جاء به ، فكل نفس ذائقة الموت ، وما بعث محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم ليخلد لا هو ولا هم ، بل ليموتوا على الإسلام والتوحيد ، فإن الموت لا بد منه سواء مات رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أو بقي ،

And from the benefits: That the Battle of Uhud was like a precursor and prelude before their very eyes of the (actual) death of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ). So Allah fortified them (for that eventually), and rebuked them for their having turned back on their heels in the event that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) had died or been killed. Rather, it was obligatory upon them to remain firm upon his Deen and his (message of) tawheed and for them to die or be killed upon that. For verily they were only worshipping the Lord of Muhammad, and He is alive and does not die. So if Muhammad died or was killed, it is not appropriate for that to change them from his deen. And he did not come for that, for every soul will taste death, and Muhammad (ﷺ) was not sent to remain alive forever – neither he nor they. Rather, in order that they could die upon al-Islaam and al-Tawheed, for death is inevitable, whether it is the death of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) or anyone else. Continue reading

The story of ‘Aṭāʼ ibn Yasār and the bedouin woman

Ibn al-Jawzi, in his famous work iffah al-afwah, mentions the following story about the taabi’ ‘Aṭāʼ ibn Yasār. ‘Abdur-Rahmān bin Zayd bin Aslam narrated:

 وعن عبد الرحمن بن زيد بن اسلم قال خرج عطاء بن يسار وسليمان بن يسار حاجين من المدينة ومعهما أصحاب لهم حتى إذا كانوا بالأبواء نزلوا منزلا فانطلق سليمان وأصحابه لبعض حاجتهم وبقي عطاء بن يسار قائما في المنزل يصلي  قال فدخلت عليه إمرأة من الأعراب جميلة فلما رآها عطاء ظن أن لها حاجة فأوجز في صلاته ثم قال ألك حاجة قالت نعم قال ماهي قالت قم فأصب مني فإني قد ودقت ولابعل لي فقال إليك عني لاتحرقيني ونفسك بالنار

‘Aṭāʼ and (his brother) Sulayman bin Yasār went to run an errand outside al-Madinah along with some companions of theirs. When they reached the outskirts of the city, they stopped at a house to rest. Sulayman and his companions went to see to some of their needs, and ‘Atāʼ stayed in the house alone, praying. Suddenly, a beautiful bedouin woman entered upon him, so when ‘Aṭāʼ saw her, he assumed that she needed something from him, so he sped up his prayer a little and then asked her, “Is there something you need?” She answered, “Yes.” He said, “And what is that?” She replied, “Come and have your share of me, for I am filled with desire and I am without a spouse.” So, he said to her, “Get away from me, and do not cause me to burn in the Fire along with you!” Continue reading