How the Sahabah Memorized the Qur’an: Sheikh ‘Abd al-Kareem al-Khudayr

Sheikh ‘Abd al-Kareem al-Khudayr received and responded to the following question:

يقول: هل تطبيق طريقة الصَّحابة -رضوان الله عليهم- في حفظ القرآن بأن نحفظ عشر آيات ولا نتجاوزها إلا بعد فهمها ومعرفة تفسيرها جائزٌ لنا؟ وما رأيُكُم فيمن يقول إنَّ هذا بدعة؟ ـ

Question: Is it really possible for us to put the Sahabah’s method of Qur’an memorization into practice – that we would memorize ten ayaat and not go beyond that until we had understood them and come to know their explanation? And what is your opinion about somebody who says that this is an innovation?

إذا كان هذا بدعة فما السُّنَّة؟! إذا كان صنيع الصَّحابة بدعة فمن يقوم بالسُّنَّة بعدهم؟ على كلِّ حال هذه وسائل للتَّحصيل كلٌّ يفعل ما يُناسبُهُ وكل ما كان العمل أقرب إلى عمل الصَّحابة وفهم الصَّحابة كان إلى الصَّواب أقرب وهذه طريقة، طريقة الصَّحابة

Response: If that is an innovation then what is the sunnah?! If the practice of the Sahabah is an innovation then who was it that established and enacted the sunnah after them? In any case, every person should use whichever methods suit him to achieve his objective, but the closer his method is to practice and understanding of the Sahabah and the closer it is to being correct, and this method was the method of the Sahabah.

لو أنَّ شخصاً ممَّن لديه الحافظة القويَّة وقال عشر آيات أحفظُها في خمس دقائق فماذا أفعل في بقيَّة الوقت؟ نقول: أمامك عمل في بقيَّة الوقت هي ليست مُجرَّد حفظ إنَّما هو فهم ومُراجعة لأقوال أهل العلم وتعلُّم هذه الآيات العشر من جميع الوُجُوه والعمل بهذه الآيات العشر، لا شك أنَّ من يعمل هذا في كل يوم يحفظ عشر آيات ويراجع عليها التَّفاسير ويعمل بمُقتضاها فيها مشغلة وفيها ما يقطعُ الوقت،

A person with a good memory might say, “I can memorize ten ayaat in five minutes, so then what should I do with the rest of my time?” We would respond by saying: You have work awaiting you in the rest of your time. It is not just memorization that you should focus on; rather there is understanding it, examining the statements of the scholars, learning all aspects of these ten ayaat, and acting in accordance with these ten ayaat. If a person were to do this every day, to memorize ten ayaat, look through their various explanations, and put them into practice, there is no doubt that he would remain busy and perhaps even run out of time. Continue reading

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Why Study the Sayings of the Salaf?: Muhammad Bazmool

Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool, a professor at Umm al-Qura University in Mecca, wrote the following beneficial note:

ما فائدة الآثار الواردة عن السلف وعندنا القرآن والسنة ؟ ـ
What is the Benefit of the Transmitted Saying of the Salaf when We Already Have the Qur’an and the Sunnah?

ـ ◇سؤال : ما فائدة الآثار الواردة عن السلف وعندنا القرآن والسنة ؟ ـ

Question: What is the benefit of the transmitted sayings of the salaf when we already have the Qur’an and the Sunnah?

ـ ◇الجواب : الآثار الواردة على السلف على أنواع؛ ـ

Response: There are a number of different types of the transmitted sayings of the salaf:

ـ #النوع_الأول : آثار موقوفة أو مقطوعة ولها حكم الرفع، يعني يأتي قول صحابي أو أثر عن تابعي له حكم الحديث المرفوع، فهذا حكمه حكم الحديث المروي. وجملة كثيرة من الأحاديث النبوية نقلت على هذه الصورة. فالاهتمام بالآثار فيه حفظ جملة كثيرة قد تكون ثلث أو ربع أو خمس الأحاديث فيها، والله اعلم. ـ

1) Mawqoof or Maqtoo’ narrations that take a Marfoo’ ruling – meaning that there is the saying of a Companion or the saying of a Tabi’ee which takes the ruling of a Marfoo’ hadith, so it is treated in the same way as a saying attributed to the Prophet. In fact, a large number of Prophetic hadith narrations have been conveyed in this manner. So by giving attention and importance to these sayings we preserve a large body of hadith narrations, maybe even as big as a third or a fourth or a fifth of them, and Allah knows best. Continue reading

Different Categories of Tafsir from the Companions: Sheikh Saalih Aal al-Sheikh

Sheikh Saalih Aal al-Sheikh mentioned the following points in one of his lectures on the fundamentals of Qur’anic explanation:

 ــ 9 – أنواع تفاسير الصحابة
Part 9: Different Categories of Tafsir from the Companions

الصحابة في تفاسيرهم على أنحاء : الناحية الأولى : أن يُجْمِعُوا على تفسير ، فإذا أجمعوا على تفسير لم يَحِلَّ لأحد ممن بعدهم أن يخالفهم في التفسير ، لِمَ ؟ ـ

The Qur’anic explanations of the Companions come in a few different ways.

The first way: that they were united in one explanation. So if they were unanimous in one explanation, then it is not permissible for anyone who came after them to put forth a different explanation that conflicts with or contradicts that one. Why is that?

لأنه لا يمكن أن يُحْجَبُ الصواب في التفسير عن الصحابة – رضوان الله عليهم أجمعين – ثم يدركه من بعدهم ، لأن العلم بالقرآن لابد أن يكون موجودًا في كل طبقة من طبقات الأمة ، فإذا أجمع الصحابة – رضوان الله عليهم أجمعين – على تفسير آية ، ثم حدث خلاف بعد ذلك في زمن التابعين أو بعد ذلك ، فنعلم أنه خلاف بعد انعقاد الإجماع ، ومعنى هذا الخلاف أن هذا القول إذا قلنا بصوابه فإنه يعني أن الصحابة – رضوان الله عليهم أجمعين – لم يعرفوا هذا القول ، ومعنى ذلك أن جملة الصحابة – رضوان الله عليهم أجمعين -لم يدركوا التفسير الصحيح لهذه الآية . ـ

That is because it is not possible that the correct explanation was hidden from the Companions but then someone who came after them was able to apprehend it, for knowledge of the Qur’an must be present in every generation of this Ummah. So if the Companions were in agreement about the explanation of an ayah, but then some differing as to the correct understanding of that ayah occurred later during the time of the Taabi’oon or after that, then know that this is a conflicting position after unanimous agreement had already been established. If we were to say that the more recently introduced position which conflicts with the earlier consensus was accurate, then that would mean that the Companions did not know this position. And that would mean that none of the Companions were able to grasp the correct explanation of this ayah. 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

A Frightening Ayah for the Leaders and Scholars: Tafsir al-Tabari

In part of surah al-Maa’idah Allah criticizes a number of characteristics of the Jews, and then says:

لَوْلَا يَنْهَاهُمُ الرَّبَّانِيُّونَ وَالْأَحْبَارُ عَن قَوْلِهِمُ الْإِثْمَ وَأَكْلِهِمُ السُّحْتَ ۚ لَبِئْسَ مَا كَانُوا يَصْنَعُونَ

Why don’t the rabbaaniyoon and ahbar forbid them from saying ithm and devouring suht? How wretched is what they have done! [5:63]

In his explanation of this ayah, the great mufassir Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari wrote:

قال أبو جعفر : يقول تعالى ذكره : هلا ينهى هؤلاء الذين يسارعون في الإثم والعدوان وأكل الرشى في الحكم ، من اليهود من بني إسرائيل ، ربانيوهم وهم أئمتهم المؤمنون ، وساستهم العلماء بسياستهم ، وأحبارهم وهم علماؤهم وقوادهم “عن قولهم الإثم ” يعني : عن قول الكذب والزور ، وذلك أنهم كانوا يحكمون فيهم بغير حكم الله ، ويكتبون كتبا بأيديهم ثم يقولون : “هذا من حكم الله ، وهذا من كتبه” . يقول الله : ( فويل لهم مما كتبت أيديهم وويل لهم مما يكسبون ) [ سورة البقرة : 79 ] . ـ

I, Abu Ja’far, say: Allah is saying: Why don’t they prohibit these people who rush to commit sin and oppression and those in authority who take bribes? Why those Jews from the Children of Israa’eel do this? The rabbaaniyoon are their commanders, their political leaders and those experts in political matters, and the ahbar are their religious scholars and moral role models. Why don’t they prevent those from saying ‘ithm, meaning: saying lies and deceptive things. That is because the rulings that these leaders made for their people were not according to Allah’s rulings; they wrote scriptures with their own hands and then said, “This is a ruling from Allah, this is part of His Book.” Allah says:

فَوَيْلٌ لَّهُم مِّمَّا كَتَبَتْ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَوَيْلٌ لَّهُم مِّمَّا يَكْسِبُونَ

Woe to them for what their hands have written and woe to them for that they earn thereby. [2:79]

وأما قوله : ” وأكلهم السحت ” ، فإنه يعني به الرشوة التي كانوا يأخذونها على حكمهم بغير كتاب الله لمن حكموا له به . ـ

As for Allah’s statement:

وَأَكْلِهِمُ السُّحْتَ

and eating suht

Then this is referring to bribes which these rulers used to take for issuing judgements and rulings contrary to Allah’s Book. Continue reading

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

Assorted Qur’an Benefits #2

What follows are a collection of assorted benefits originally posted on our social media page in June, July and August of 2014:

♦ It is part of Allah’s kindness that He warns His slaves of Himself

Allah mentions in surah Aali ‘Imran:

 وَيُحَذِّرُكُمُ اللَّهُ نَفْسَهُ وَاللَّهُ رَءُوفٌ بِالْعِبَادِ

And Allah warns you about Himself. And Allah is kind to His slaves. [al-Qur’an 3:38]

Imam ibn Kathir writes about this ayah:

[قال الحسن البصري : من رأفته بهم حذرهم نفسه . وقال غيره : أي رحيم بخلقه ، يحب لهم أن يستقيموا على صراطه المستقيم ودينه القويم ، وأن يتبعوا رسوله الكريم .]

al-Hasan al-Basri said, “Part of His kindness to them is that He warns them of Himself.” And others said: it means that He is Merciful to His creation. He loves for them to be firmly established on the Straight Path and Upright Deen, and for them to follow His noble Messenger. “

[Tafsir ibn Kathir 2/32]


♦ The Meaning of al-Dhikr

Sa’eed ibn Jubayr said:

الذكر طاعة الله ، فمن لم يطعه لم يذكره وإن أكثر التسبيح والتهليل وقراءة القرآن

al-Dhikr is obeying Allah, so whoever does not obey Him has not made dhikr of Him, even if he engages in an abundance of tasbeeh*, tahleel* and recitation of the Qur’an.

[Jaam’i li-Ahkam al-Qur’an 2/161]

*Translator’s note: ‘Tasbeeh’ refers to saying, “subhanAllaah”, and ‘Tahleel’ refers to saying, “laa ilaaha illallah.”


♦ The Muttaqoon 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

Those who say “our Lord is Allah” and then have al-Istiqaamah: Tafsir al-Baghawi

In part of surah Fussilat, Allah praises:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا رَبُّنَا اللَّهُ ثُمَّ اسْتَقَامُوا تَتَنَزَّلُ عَلَيْهِمُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ أَلَّا تَخَافُوا وَلَا تَحْزَنُوا وَأَبْشِرُوا بِالْجَنَّةِ الَّتِي كُنْتُمْ تُوعَدُونَ

Those who say “our Lord is Allah” and then have al-Istiqaamah, then the angels will descend on them: “Do not fear and do not grieve! And have glad tidings of al-Jannah which you have been promised!” [41:30]

In his tafsir of this ayah, Imam Husayn al-Baghawi mentioned the following narrations:

 قوله عز وجل : ( إن الذين قالوا ربنا الله ثم استقاموا ) سئل أبو بكر الصديق – رضي الله تعالى عنه – عن الاستقامة فقال : أن لا تشرك بالله شيئا . وقال عمر بن الخطاب – رضي الله عنه – : ” الاستقامة ” أن تستقيم على الأمر والنهي ، ولا تروغ روغان الثعلب . وقال عثمان بن عفان – رضي الله عنه – : أخلصوا العمل لله . وقال علي – رضي الله عنه – : أدوا الفرائض . وقال ابن عباس : استقاموا على أداء الفرائض . ـ وقال الحسن : استقاموا على أمر الله تعالى فعملوا بطاعته ، واجتنبوا معصيته . ـ وقال مجاهد وعكرمة : استقاموا على شهادة أن لا إله إلا الله حتى لحقوا بالله . ـ وقال مقاتل : استقاموا على المعرفة ولم يرتدوا . وقال قتادة : كان الحسن إذا تلا هذه الآية قال : اللهم أنت ربنا فارزقنا الاستقامة . ـ

Allah’s statement:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا رَبُّنَا اللَّـهُ ثُمَّ اسْتَقَامُوا

Those who say “our Lord is Allah” and then have al-Istiqaamah

Abu Bakr al-Siddiq was asked about al-Istiqaamah and he replied by saying, “It is that you do not associate any partners with Allah at all.”

‘Umar ibn al-Khattab said, “al-Istiqaamah is that you steadfastly observe the commands and prohibitions, and that you do not swerve off into falsehood and deceit.”

‘Uthman ibn ‘Affaan said, “They make their deeds sincerely for the sake of Allah.”

‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib said, “They perform the obligatory duties.” Continue reading

Assorted Qur’an Benefits #1

What follows are a collection of assorted benefits and short quotes originally posted on our Facebook page in the months of May and June of 2014:

Three Great Sins

Muhammad ibn Ka’b al-Qarthi said:

 الكبائر ثلاثة: أن تأمن مكر الله، وأن تقنط من رحمة الله، وأن تيأس من روح الله . ـ

There are three great sins: 1) feeling secure from the plan of Allah, 2) despairing of the Rahmah of Allah, and 3) giving up hope in the relief from Allah.

[al-Bidayah w’al-Nihayah 9/286]

Muhammad ibn Ka’b al-Qarthi (d. 108 AH) was a scholar of Tafsir among the Taabi’oon, and the three issues that he mentioned are similar to these statements of Allah:

 أَفَأَمِنُوا مَكْرَ‌ اللَّـهِ ۚ فَلَا ‏يَأْمَنُ مَكْرَ‌ اللَّـهِ إِلَّا الْقَوْمُ الْخَاسِرُ‌ونَ

Then did they feel secure from the plan of Allah? But no one feels secure from the plan of Allah except the losing people. [7:99]

 قَالَ وَمَنْ يَقْنَطُ مِنْ رَحْمَةِ رَبِّهِ إِلَّا الضَّالُّونَ

He said, “And who despairs of the Rahmah of his Lord except for those astray?” [15:56]

وَلَا تَيْأَسُوا مِن رَّ‌وْحِ اللَّـهِ ۖ إِنَّهُ لَا يَيْأَسُ مِن رَّ‌وْحِ اللَّـهِ إِلَّا الْقَوْمُ الْكَافِرُ‌ونَ

And despair not of relief from Allah. Indeed, no one gives up hope in relief from Allah except the disbelieving people. [12:87]


The Meanings of Hopelessness and Despair

Allah says in surah al-Fussilat:

 لَا يَسْأَمُ الْإِنْسَانُ مِنْ دُعَاءِ الْخَيْرِ وَإِنْ مَسَّهُ الشَّرُّ فَيَئُوسٌ قَنُوطٌ

“Man does not get tired of praying for good, but if an evil touches him, then he gives up all hope and is in despair. ” [41:49]

In part of his commentary on this ayah, Imam al-Qurtubi wrote: Continue reading