There has Certainly Been an Excellent Example for You in Ibrahim

One of the valuable books of Badr al-Deen ibn Jamaa’ah (d. 733AH) was Kashf al-Ma’aani fee al-Mutashaabih min al-Mathaani, which focused on providing explanations for the slight differences in otherwise similar ayaat. What follows are his notes related to surah al-Mumtahinah [60]:

مسألة: قوله تعالى: (قَدْ كَانَتْ لَكُمْ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ فِي إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَالَّذِينَ مَعَهُ) ثم قال تعالى: (لَقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِيهِمْ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ) كرر ذلك مرتين، فما فائدة تكراره؟ . ـ

Question: Allah says

قَدْ كَانَتْ لَكُمْ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ فِي إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَالَّذِينَ مَعَهُ

There has certainly been an excellent example for you in Ibrahim and those with him … [60:4]

and then He says:

لَقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِيهِمْ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ

There has certainly been an excellent excellent for you in them … [60:6]

This has been repeated twice, so what is the benefit of it being repeated? Continue reading

A Question about the Length of the Makki Surahs

I posed the following question to sheikh ‘Abdullah al-‘Awaaji, a professor of Tafsir at the Islamic University of al-Madinah, via Twitter on the @ConsQuran channel on November 2, 2019:

احسن الله إليكم . ذكر السيوطي في الاتقان : “أخرج الطبراني ، عن ابن مسعود : نزل المفصل بمكة ، فمكثنا حججا نقرؤه ، لا ينزل غيره .” كيف نفهم هذا اثر وسور طويل نزلت قبل الهجرة كسورة الكهف و سورة يوسف وسورة الأعراف ونحوها . بارك الله فيك . ـ

[Question] May Allah be good to you. al-Suyooti mentions the following quote in al-Itqan:

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

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

How should we understand this narration when long surahs such as surah al-Kahf, surah Yusuf, surah al-A’raf and others were revealed before the Hijrah?

May Allah bless you.

أولًا في ثبوت ذلك عن ابن مسعود رضي الله عنه نظر والراجح تضعيفه وقد مال محققو الاتقان ط المجمع الى تحسينه تساهلًا لانه يتعلق بالتفسير ،وممن ضعفه لعلتين مؤثرتين المحقق أد/ سعد الحميد في ج ١ من تخقيقه لسنن سعيد بن منصور وهذه صورة كلامه ـ

[Response] Firstly, there is some question as to whether this is actually an authentically transmitted statement of ibn Mas’ood. The predominant opinion is that it is weak, though the verifier of al-Itqan inclined towards grading it as acceptable due to his more relaxed standards with material related to tafsir. One of those who graded this report as weak due to two problems in its chain was the verifier Dr. Sa’d al-Humayd in the first volume of his critical edition of the Sunan of Sa’eed ibn Mansoor, and you can see the image of his comments below. Continue reading

Reciting Surah al-Sajdah and Surah al-Insan on Fridays: ibn Taymiyah

Ibn Taymiyah was asked the following questions about the recitation for the Fajr prayer on Fridays:

وسئل عن الصلاة يوم الجمعة بالسجدة : هل تجب المداومة عليها أم لا ؟ . ـ

There is a question about making sajdah in the [fajr] prayer on Friday – are we required to always put this into practice or not?

فأجاب : الحمد لله . ليست قراءة { الم } { تنزيل } التي فيها السجدة ولا غيرها من ذوات السجود واجبة في فجر الجمعة باتفاق الأئمة ومن اعتقد ذلك واجبا أو ذم من ترك ذلك فهو ضال مخطئ يجب عليه [ ص: 205 ] أن يتوب من ذلك باتفاق الأئمة . وإنما تنازع العلماء في استحباب ذلك وكراهيته . فعند مالك يكره أن يقرأ بالسجدة في الجهر . والصحيح أنه لا يكره كقول أبي حنيفة والشافعي وأحمد ; لأنه قد ثبت في الصحيح { عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أنه سجد في العشاء بـ { إذا السماء انشقت } } وثبت عنه في الصحيحين { أنه كان يقرأ في الفجر يوم الجمعة { الم } { تنزيل } و { هل أتى } } . وعند مالك يكره أن يقصد سورة بعينها . وأما الشافعي وأحمد فيستحبون ما جاءت به السنة مثل الجمعة والمنافقين في الجمعة . والذاريات واقتربت في العيد والم تنزيل وهل أتى في فجر الجمعة . ـ

Response: al-hamdulillaah. Neither reciting surah al-Sajdah which contains a sajdah nor reciting any other surah containing a sajdah is mandatory for the Fajr prayer on Fridays. This is the unanimous position of the scholars, and whoever believes that it is mandatory or that whoever does not practice this is blameworthy is misguided and mistaken and needs to repent from that. This is also the unanimous position of the scholars.

The only area of disagreement among the scholars is whether it is encouraged or disliked to do this, for Malik disliked recited surahs with a sajdah in the audible prayers, however the correct opinion is that this is not disliked, which was the position of Abu Hanifah, al-Shafi’ee, and Ahmad. That is because of what has been authentically transmitted in the Saheeh that the Prophet made sajdah in the ‘Ishaa’ prayer when he recited surah al-Inshiqaaq. And is has also been authentically transmitted in both al-Bukhari and Muslim that he used to recited surah al-Sajdah and surah al-Insaan in the Fajr prayer on Fridays. Continue reading

Responding to Doubts About the Prohibition of Music: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

One of the most commonly-cited evidences for the prohibition of music is the ayah from surah Luqman

وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَشْتَرِي لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ لِيُضِلَّ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ وَيَتَّخِذَهَا هُزُوًا ۚ أُولَـٰئِكَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ مُّهِينٌ

And among the people are those who purchase idle talk to mislead others from the path of Allah without knowledge and who take it as a mockery. For these ones, there is a humiliating punishment. [31:6]

and the “idle talk” in this ayah was explained to refer to music, as was explained by ibn Mas’ood, ibn ‘Abbaas and others. Another commonly-cited evidence is the hadeeth of the Prophet

لَيَكُونَنَّ مِنْ أُمَّتِي أَقْوَامٌ يَسْتَحِلُّونَ الْحِرَ وَالْحَرِيرَ وَالْخَمْرَ وَالْمَعَازِفَ

There will be some people from my nation who will consider illicit sexual intercourse, silk, alcohol and musical instruments to be permissible.

which is reported in Saheeh al-Bukhari (#5590). We have previously translated an explanation of this ayah from surah Luqman which brings several more pieces of evidence for the prohibition of music. We would recommend reading that article before proceeding, as it serves as a foundation for this topic.

After understanding the evidences for the prohibition of music, it bears mentioning that there are some who cast doubt on the validity of these primary pieces of evidence listed above. While these doubts may appear to be academic, they are ultimately without a sound foundation, as Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool explains below:

قال : هذا التفسير اجتهاد من ابن مسعود رضي الله عنه. وحديث المعازف مختلف فيه . ـ

Some say: This explanation of ibn Mas’ood is simply his personal scholarly opinion, and there is some differing as to the hadith of musical instruments.

قلت : لاحظ ان تفسير ابن مسعود رضي الله عنه للآية ليس فيه ما يخالف لفظها بل هو يقرر معناها فهو يقول : من لهو الحديث في الآية الغناء لانه يحصل به اضلال للناس في باب الشهوات. فاللام ليست للتعليل بل للعاقبة، كاللام في قوله تعالى: ({فَالْتَقَطَهُ آلُ فِرْعَوْنَ لِيَكُونَ لَهُمْ عَدُوّاً وَحَزَناً إِنَّ فِرْعَوْنَ وَهَامَانَ وَجُنُودَهُمَا كَانُوا خَاطِئِينَ }) (القصص:8). ـ

I say: It must be noted that ibn Mas’ood’s explanation of this ayah does not contain anything that is at odds with the ayah itself. Rather, his explanation affirms the ayah‘s meaning, as he is saying that one example of the “idle talk” mentioned in this ayah is music because it leads to the misguidance of people by way of lowly desires. So the preposition laam in the ayah is not meant to imply causation but rather consequence, like the laam in Allah’s statement: Continue reading

The Meaning of Taghoot: Sheikh al-Fawzan

The following question was posed to sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan:

نص السؤال : ما معنى الطاغوت‏؟‏ وهل كل طاغوت كافر‏؟ ـ

Question: What is the meaning of “Taghoot“, and is every taghoot a disbeliever?

‏نص الإجابة : الطاغوت في اللغة مشتق من الطغيان وهو مجاوزة الحد ومجاوزة الحق إلى الباطل ومجاوزة الإيمان إلى الكفر وما أشبه ذلك والطواغيت كثيرون وكل طاغوت فهو كافر بلا شك‏‏  ـ

Response: Linguistically, the word “al-taghoot” comes from “al-tughyaan” which is overstepping the limits, crossing over from truth into falsehood, stepping out of eemaan into disbelief, and so on. There are many taghoots, and every taghoot is a disbeliever. There is no doubt about this.

والطواغيت كثيرون ولكن رءوسهم خمسة كما ذكر ذلك العلامة ابن القيم وغيره‏‏ الأول‏‏ إبليس – لعنة الله – فإنه رأس الطواغيت وهو الذي يدعو إلى الضلال والكفر والإلحاد ويدعو إلى النار فهو رأس الطواغيت‏‏

There are many taghoots but five of them are the main ones, as has been stated by the great scholar ibn al-Qayyim and others.

The first is Iblees, may Allah curse him. He is the head of all the taghoots, and he is the one who calls to misguidance, disbelief, and atheism, and to the hellfire. So he is the head of the taghoots.

والثاني‏‏ من عبد من دون الله وهو راضٍ بذلك فإن من رضي أن يعبده الناس من دون الله فإنه يكون طاغوتًا كما قال تعالى‏‏ ‏( ‏وَجَعَلَ مِنْهُمُ الْقِرَدَةَ وَالْخَنَازِيرَ وَعَبَدَ الطَّاغُوتَ ) ‏[‏المائدة : 60‏]‏ فالذي يعبد من دون الله وهو راضٍ بذلك طاغوت أما إذا لم يرض بذلك فليس كذلك‏‏

The second is anyone who is worshiped besides Allah while being pleased with that worship, for whoever is pleased with people worshiping him alongside Allah is a taghoot. This is as Allah said Continue reading

Where Do the Differences in the Qiraa’aat Come From?: ibn Taymiyah

Sheikh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyah once received a letter containing a series of questions related to the qiraa’aat [various recitations of the Qur’an]. What follows is part of his response:

وأما قول السائل : ما السبب الذي أوجب الاختلاف بين القراء فيما احتمله خط المصحف ؟ فهذا مرجعه إلى النقل واللغة العربية لتسويغ الشارع لهم القراءة بذلك كله إذ ليس لأحد أن يقرأ قراءة بمجرد رأيه ; بل القراءة سنة متبعة وهم إذا اتفقوا على اتباع القرآن المكتوب في المصحف الإمامي وقد قرأ بعضهم بالياء وبعضهم بالتاء لم يكن واحد منهما خارجا عن المصحف . ـ

Now we turn to the writer’s question, “What is it that causes there to be differences among the reciters within the bounds of the text of the official ‘Uthmani Mushaf?

These differences go back to the transmission of the qiraa’aat and to the Arabic language, for Allah allowed the people to recite the Qur’an in all of these ways as a means of ease for them. And none of these reciters recited the Qur’an merely according to his own opinion. On the contrary, the qiraa’aat are a sunnah of the Prophet to be followed. So then, the reciters are all united in following the Qur’an that is written in the official ‘Uthmani Mushaf, and then some of the reciters recite a word with the letter yaa’ while others recite the same world with the letter taa’, but none of them have gone outside the bounds of the official ‘Uthmani Mushaf.

ومما يوضح ذلك أنهم يتفقون في بعض المواضع على ياء أو تاء ويتنوعون في بعض كما اتفقوا في قوله تعالى { وما الله بغافل عما يعملون } في موضع وتنوعوا في موضعين وقد بينا أن القراءتين كالآيتين فزيادة القراءات كزيادة الآيات ; لكن إذا كان الخط واحدا واللفظ محتملا كان ذلك أخصر في الرسم . ـ

One of the things which clearly shows this is that in certain places all of the reciters recite with a yaa’ or in certain places all of them recite with a taa’, while in other places some will recite it one way while others recite it the other way. For example, all of the reciters are agreed in reciting this statement of Allah as such [i.e. with a yaa’ and not a taa’]: Continue reading

“Ask the Ahl al-Dhikr if You Don’t Know”: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

The following question was posed to sheikh Muhammad Bazmool, a professor at Umm al-Qura University in Mecca:

سؤال: ما التقسيم والمفهوم الصحيح في قول الله تعالى:{فسئلوا أهل الذكر إن كنتم لا تعلمون} النحل ؟ ـ

Question: What is the division of people and correct understanding regarding Allah’s statement:

فَاسْأَلُوا أَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ إِن كُنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ

So ask the ahl al-dhikr if you do not know [16:43]

جواب : الحمد لله رب العالمين والصلاة والسلام على أشرف الأنبياء والمرسلين سيدنا محمد وعلى اله وصحبه وسلم. أما بعد: فإن قوله تعالى: {فسئلوا أهل الذكر إن كنتم لاتعلمون}النحل[7] يدل على أمور: ـ

Answer: All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation. May peace and blessings be upon the most noble of the prophets and messengers, our leader Muhammad, as well as upon his family and companions.

To proceed: Allah’s statement:

فَاسْأَلُوا أَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ إِن كُنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ

So ask the ahl al-dhikr if you do not know [16:43]

points to a number of things:

الأمر الأول : أن المسلمين ينقسموا إلى قسمين قسم هم أهل العلم ،وقسم هم ليس من أهل العلم وهم الذين يسمون بالعوام. ـ

Point #1: That Muslims can be divided into two categories. One category is the people of knowledge, and the other category are those who are not the people of knowledge, those who are referred to as the laypeople. Continue reading

The Different Meanings of al-Thann in the Qur’an

The following question was posed to sheikh ‘Abdullah al-‘Awaaji, a professor of Tafsir at the Islamic University of al-Madinah:

روى ابن جرير وابن كثير عن مجاهد أنه قال : كل ظن في القرآن يقين . ماذا نفهم من هذا القول مع أن كلمة الظن وردت في القرآن بمعان أخر؟

Both ibn Jarir and ibn Kathir relate a narration from Mujahid in which he said, “Every instance of the word al-Thann [literally: thought, doubt, assumption, conjecture] in the Qur’an means Yaqeen [certainty].”*

How should we understand this statement in light of the fact that the word al-thann is used elsewhere in the Qur’an with other meanings?

The sheikh responded by writing:

عن الضحاك:كل ظن في القرآن من المؤمن فهو يقين،ومن الكافر فهو شك. وعن مجاهد:كل ظن في القرآن فهو يقين. وقول الضحاك أقرب وقد يحمل قول مجاهد على أن الذي يفيد اليقين:ما كان متعلقاً بأمور الآخرة،أما ما كان متعلقاً بأمور الدنيا فيفيد الشك وقد رويت رواية ثانية عن مجاهد تدل على هذا المعنى،وفيها:ظن الآخرة يقين، وظن الدنيا شك؛ ونحو هذا قول قتادة :ما كان من ظن الآخرة فهو علم . ـ

al-Dhahhaak said: Every time the word thann is used in the Qur’an in relation to the believers, it means yaqeen, and every time it is used for the disbelievers, it means “doubt”.

Mujahid said: Every time the word thann is used in the Qur’an, it means yaqeen.

However al-Dhahhaak’s statement is more accurate.

And Mujahid’s statement could also be interpreted to mean that thann takes the meaning of yaqeen when it is connected to matters of the Hereafter, but when it is related to matters of this worldly life it takes the meaning of “doubt”. Continue reading

Why do the Qiraa’aat Differ?: Makki ibn Abi Taalib

Makki ibn Abi Taalib, one of the great scholars of the Qur’anic sciences among the earlier generations, posed the following question and answer in his book al-Ibaanah dealing with some foundational issues around the qiraa’aat, or multiple recitations of the Qur’an. What follows is one chapter from this work:

باب: “سبب اختلاف القراءة فيما يحتمله خط المصحف” ـ
Chapter: The Reason Why the Qiraa’aat Differ Within the Bounds of the Text of the Official ‘Uthmani Mushaf

فإن سأل سائل فقال: ما السبب الذي أوجب أن تختلف القراءة، فيما يحتمله خط المصحف، فقرءوا بألفاظ مختلفة في السمع والمعنى واحد. نحو: جُذوة وجِذوة، وجَذوة. وقرءوا بألفاظ مختلفة في السمع وفي المعنى نحو: يُسَيِّركم، ويَنْشُرُكم. وكل ذلك لا يخالف الخط في رأي العين؟ ـ

If someone were to ask: What is it that causes the qiraa’aat to differ within the bounds the text of the official ‘Uthmani mushaf?

The reciters may recite variant wordings in how they are pronounced while the meaning is one, such as

لَّعَلِّي آتِيكُم مِّنْهَا بِخَبَرٍ أَوْ جُذْوَةٍ مِّنَ النَّارِ

… perhaps I may bring to you from there some information, or a judwah … [28:29 according to the qiraa’ah of Hamzah and Khalaf]

لَّعَلِّي آتِيكُم مِّنْهَا بِخَبَرٍ أَوْ جِذْوَةٍ مِّنَ النَّارِ

… perhaps I may bring to you from there some information, or a jidwah … [28:29 according to the qiraa’ah of Naafi’, ibn Kathir, Abu ‘Amr, and ibn ‘Aamir]

لَّعَلِّي آتِيكُم مِّنْهَا بِخَبَرٍ أَوْ جَذْوَةٍ مِّنَ النَّارِ

… perhaps I may bring to you from there some information, or a jadwah … [28:29 according to the qiraa’ah of ‘Aasim]

And sometimes they recite variant wordings in terms of both their pronunciation and meanings, such as:

هُوَ الَّذِي يُسَيِّرُكُمْ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ

It is He Who enables you to travel through the land and the sea … [10:22]

هُوَ الَّذِي يُنْشِرُكُمْ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ

It is He who disperses you throughout the land and the sea … [10:22 according to the qiraa’ah of ibn ‘Aamir]

And all the while none of these are in conflict with the text of the official ‘Uthmani mushaf in terms of its appearance (i.e. the form of the words without dots of tashkeel). Continue reading

Did You Know? … about the Books of Tafsir: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

Sheikh Muhammad ibn ‘Umar Bazmool, a professor at Umm al-Qura University in Mecca, posted the following series of “did you know…?” questions related to the books of tafsir on his Facebook page:

هل تعلم أن تفسير ابن جرير الطبري وتفسير ابن كثير يعتبران من الكتب الجامعة بين الرواية والدراية يعني بالمنقول والمعقول . فلا يعدا من كتب التفسير بالمأثور الا تجوزا بحسب الغالب عليهما. ـ

○ Did you know that Tafsir ibn Jarir al-Tabari and Tafsir ibn Kathir are both classified as those books which combine the perspectives of both narrations and expert scholarship – i.e. both transmitted material and intellect-based analysis? So they are only counted among the books of narration-based tafsir due to that being their predominant content.

هل تعلم أن كتب التفسير بالمأثور هي الكتب التي يقتصر دور المفسر فيها على مجرد ايراد الروايات كتفسير عبدالرزاق وابن أبي حاتم . ـ

○ Did you know that the books of narration-based tafsir are those books whose authors limit themselves to only transmitting the narrated statements? These are books such as Tafsir ‘Abd al-Razzaaq and Tafsir ibn Abi Haatim.

هل تعلم أن كتب التفسير بالمأثور اهتمت فقط بتفسير القرآن بالروايات عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وعن الصحابة والتابعين. فلم تورد ما يتعلق بتفسير القرآن بالقرآن الا ما جاء ضمنا في الروايات المشار إليها. ـ

○ Did you know that the narration-based books of tafsir are limited in their scope only to the explanations of the Qur’an that come with a chain of narration from Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ), or from the Companions, or from the Taabi’oon? So they do not mention what is connected to the explanation of the Qur’an by the Qur’an unless it comes as part of a narration which includes that.

هل تعلم أن كلمة أهل العلم متفقة أن أعظم كتب التفسير واصحها كتاب ابن جرير الطبري . ـ
ويكاد يكون تفسير ابن كثير ملخصا له. ـ
واحسن منه في التلخيص كتاب البغوي في التفسير. ـ
ولا اعرف كتابا يسامت تفسير البغوي في اختصاره وسلامته من البدعة وجمعه لكلام السلف. ـ

○ Did you know that the scholars are unanimous in their stance that the greatest and most sound book of tafsir is the Tafsir of ibn Jarir al-Tabari? Continue reading