How the Prophet Explained the Qur’an: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool, a professor at Umm al-Qura University in Mecca, wrote the following short discussion on how the Prophet (ﷺ) used to explain the Qur’an:

تعلم معني القرآن العظيم ومعاني السنة النبوية للعمل بذلك في عبادة الله وطاعته، هو الغاية التي يسعى إليها كل مسلم! والعمل بهذه المعاني هو حاصل من كل مسلم بالفعل وبالقوة. ـ

Learning the meanings of the Qur’an and the Sunnah in order to act in accordance with them in worship and obedience to Allah is the goal that every Muslim should work towards! Acting upon these meanings is what is required of every Muslim in his actions and efforts.

ولم يوكل الله بيان معاني القرآن العظيم إلا للرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم؛ قال تعالى: ({وَأَنْزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الذِّكْرَ لِتُبَيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ مَا نُزِّلَ إِلَيْهِمْ وَلَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ } [النحل: 44]. فالرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم مامات إلا وقد بلغ الرسالة وأدى الأمانة، ومن ذلك بيان معاني القرآن الكريم؛ فالرسول فسر القرآن العظيم ، وبين معانيه؛ وذلك على وجوه ؛ ـ

Allah did not entrust anyone except for the Messenger (ﷺ) with explaining the meanings of the Qur’an. He said:

وَأَنْزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الذِّكْرَ لِتُبَيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ مَا نُزِّلَ إِلَيْهِمْ وَلَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ

And We revealed the dhikr to you in order that you may make what was sent down to the people clear to them and that they might give thought. [16:44]

And the Messenger (ﷺ) did not pass away until after he had conveyed the message and fulfilled his duty, and one part of that duty was clarifying the meanings of the Qur’an.

So the Messenger explained the Qur’an and clarified its meanings, and this was done in a number of ways: Continue reading

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A Point on Numbering in the Qur’an: Ibn ‘Uthaymeen

In surah al-Kahf, Allah mentions the following ayaat during his discussion of the People of the Cave:

سَيَقُولُونَ ثَلَاثَةٌ رَّ‌ابِعُهُمْ كَلْبُهُمْ وَيَقُولُونَ خَمْسَةٌ سَادِسُهُمْ كَلْبُهُمْ رَ‌جْمًا بِالْغَيْبِ ۖ وَيَقُولُونَ سَبْعَةٌ وَثَامِنُهُمْ كَلْبُهُمْ ۚ قُل رَّ‌بِّي أَعْلَمُ بِعِدَّتِهِم مَّا يَعْلَمُهُمْ إِلَّا قَلِيلٌ

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….” [18:22]

In his explanation of Sheikh al-Islaam Ibn Taymiya’s “Introduction to Tafsir”, Sheikh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen took some time to expand on this ayah and some of the points related to it. Below is one of these points:

وهنا نكتة في مسألة العدد، قال: {سبعة وثامنهم كلبهم} ولم يقل ثمانية ثامنهم كلبهم؛ لأن الكلب من غير الجنس، وإذا كان من غير الجنس فإنه لا يدخل في العدد ولكنه يجعل بعده، ولهذا قال الله عز وجل: {ما يكون من نجوى ثلاثة إلا هو رابعهم} ولم يقل: من نجوى أربعة إلا هو رابعهم؛ لأنه خالق وهم مخلوقون. ـ

And here there is a point about quantities. Allah said:

سَبْعَةٌ وَثَامِنُهُمْ كَلْبُهُمْ

there were seven, and the eighth of them was their dog [18:22]

And He did not say, “there were eight, and eighth of them was their dog”, because the dog was not of the same category of being. So since it was not of the same category of being, it was not included in their count but instead was mentioned afterwards. Continue reading

Contemplating the Qur’an: Sheikh bin Baaz

Sheikh ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn ‘Abdillah bin Baaz, the former mufti of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, once mentioned the following words on the subject of contemplating the Qur’an:

 التدبر مشروع كما بينه الله عز وجل، وهو المقصود، المقصود من التلاوة التدبر والتعقل والفهم ثم العمل، قال عز وجل: كِتَابٌ أَنزَلْنَاهُ إِلَيْكَ مُبَارَكٌ لِّيَدَّبَّرُوا آيَاتِهِ وَلِيَتَذَكَّرَ أُوْلُوا الْأَلْبَابِ فهو أنزل للتدبر قال تعالى: أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ أَمْ عَلَى قُلُوبٍ أَقْفَالُهَا فالمشروع للمؤمن عند التلاوة وهكذا المؤمنة التدبر والتعقل والتفهم، فمعناه تعقل الآية، يتدبرها يتعقلها ما هو المراد؟ يعني يتعقل ويتفهم ما هو المراد من قوله: وَأَقِيمُواْ الصَّلاَةَ وَآتُواْ الزَّكَاةَ من قوله: حافظوا على الصلوات والصلاة الوسطى من قوله: فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ من قوله: وَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ وغير ذلك  ـ

Contemplating the Qur’an is a legislated action as Allah has made clear, and it is what is actually desired. The objective of reciting the Qur’an is to contemplate, to engage with it and understand it, and then to act according to it. Allah said:

 كِتَابٌ أَنزَلْنَاهُ إِلَيْكَ مُبَارَكٌ لِّيَدَّبَّرُوا آيَاتِهِ وَلِيَتَذَكَّرَ أُوْلُوا الْأَلْبَابِ

A blessed Book which We have revealed to you that they might reflect upon its verses and that those of understanding would be reminded. [38:29]

 So He revealed it for it to be contemplated. And He said:

أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ أَمْ عَلَى قُلُوبٍ أَقْفَالُهَا

Then do they not reflect upon the Qur’an, or are there locks upon their hearts? [47:24]

So what is legislated for the believer when he is reciting the Qur’an – and this is true for both males and females alike – is to contemplate it, to engage with it, and to understand it. The meaning of this is to engage with the ayah, reflect on it and engage with it – what is the intended meaning? Meaning, engage with the text and understand what is the intended meaning of Allah’s statement:

وَأَقِيمُواْ الصَّلاَةَ وَآتُواْ الزَّكَاةَ

and establish the prayer and pay the zakah

What is the intended meaning of His statement:

حَافِظُوا عَلَى الصَّلَوَاتِ وَالصَّلَاةِ الْوُسْطَىٰ وَقُومُوا لِلَّـهِ قَانِتِينَ

guard the prayers, and especially the middle prayer, stand devoutly obedient before Allah [2:238]

What is the intended meaning of His statement:

فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ

So have taqwa of Allah as much as you are able [64:16]

And what is the intended meaning of His statement:

وَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتُوا الزَّكَاةَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ

And establish prayer and give zakah and obey the Messenger – that you may receive mercy. [24:56]

and so on.

يعني يتدبر المعنى ما هو المعنى، يتفهم حتى يعمل به، وحتى يوصي الناس به، فالمؤمن إذا تدبر يتحفظ ولو بالكتابة، يتحفظ ما ظهر له حتى يعمل به، حتى ينصح إخوانه بذلك إذا كان عنده علم وفهم، يعمل بذلك ويوصي إخوانه بذلك، وأهل بيته، هكذا ينبغي للمؤمن أن تكون عنده عناية إذا قرأ القرآن يتعقل ويتدبر حتى يستفيد، وحتى يعمل. جزاكم الله خيراً ـ

In other words, one should reflect on the meaning – what is the meaning? – and comprehend it such that he acts upon it and such that he encourages others to do so as well. For when the believer contemplates the Qur’an, he takes it to heart even if he has not memorized it by heart. He carefully attends to what he understood from it such that he acts upon it and such that he advises his brothers to do so as well if he has some knowledge and understanding. He acts according to what he learned and also encourages his brothers to do so, as well as the members of his household. This is what the believer ought to do, that when he is reciting the Qur’an he should give importance to engaging with what he is reading and contemplating it such that he can get something out of it and such that he can act according to it. May Allah reward you all with good.

[Taken from the sheikh’s website here.]

See also: Which is more virtuous: reading a small amount of the Qur’an with tarteel and contemplation, or a large amount quickly? – Ibn al-Qayyim

See also: Understanding the Qur’an: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

See also: The Virtue of Memorizing the Qur’an: Sheikh Muqbil

See also: Naseehah to the Qur’an: Sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan

See also: Etiquette of Reciting and Listening to the Qur’an: ibn ‘Uthaymeen

Regarding New Explanations of the Qur’an: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

One of the valuable works of sheikh Muhammad Bazmool is entitled “Misleading Phrases”, in which the sheikh clarifies a series of wordings which are either frequently misused, misunderstood, or simply incorrect. What follows is an excerpt from that work:

ومن هذه العبارات الموهمة: قول بعضهم: “القرآن العظيم له تفسير في كل زمان بما يناسبه”. ـ

And another one of these misleading phrases is what some people say, that “There is an appropriate explanation of the Qur’an for each era.”

إطلاق هذه الكلمة لا يجوز، فإن الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم هو أعلم الخلق بكلام الله ومعانيه، وما مات إلا وقد فسر القرآن جميعه، وأخذ عنه هذا التفسير صحابته رضوان الله عليهم، وعنهم التابعون، فمن فسر القرآن بتفسير يخرج عن تفسير الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم وصحابته، خرج عن الصراط المستقيم في تفسير القرآن العظيم، وشاق الله ورسوله، (وَمَنْ يُشَاقِقِ الرَّسُولَ مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُ الْهُدَى وَيَتَّبِعْ غَيْرَ سَبِيلِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ نُوَلِّهِ مَا تَوَلَّى وَنُصْلِهِ جَهَنَّمَ وَسَاءَتْ مَصِيراً)(النساء:115). ـ

Taken on its own, this statement is not acceptable. For the Messenger (ﷺ) was the most knowledgeable member of the creation regarding the speech of Allah and its meanings, and he did not die until after he had already explained the entire Qur’an. And his Sahabah (may Allah be pleased with them) took this explanation from him, and the Taabi’oon took it from them. So whoever explains the Qur’an with an explanation which departs from the tafsir of the Messenger (ﷺ) and his Sahabah, then he has departed from the Straight Path in relation to the tafsir of the Qur’an, and he has opposed Allah and His messenger: Continue reading

Precautionary Language in the Qur’an: ibn ‘Uthaymeen

Imam Muslim recorded the following hadeeth in his Saheeh, that the Prophet (ﷺ) said:

الْمُؤْمِنُ الْقَوِيُّ خَيْرٌ وَأَحَبُّ إِلَى اللَّهِ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِ الضَّعِيفِ وَفِي كُلٍّ خَيْرٌ

The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, but there is good in both of them. …

[Saheeh Muslim #2664]

In part of his commentary on this hadeeth in Riyaadh al-Saaliheen, sheikh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen mentioned the following:

وقوله: (خير) يعني خير من المؤمن الضعيف، وأحب إلى الله من المؤمن الضعيف، ثم قال ـ عليه الصلاة والسلام ـ: (وفي كل خير) يعني المؤمن القوي والمؤمن الضعيف كل منهما فيه خير، وإنما قال: (وفي كل خير) لئلا يتوهم أحد من الناس أن المؤمن الضعيف لا خير فيه، بل المؤمن الضعيف فيه خير، فهو خير من الكافر لا شك. ـ

The Prophet’s statement “better” is referring to: better than the weak believer, and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer. But then he (ﷺ) said, “but there is good in both of them,” meaning: both the strong believer and the weak believer have good in them. He only said, “but there is good in both of them” lest one might wrongly suppose that there is no good in the weak believer. On the contrary, there is good in the weak believer, for there is no doubt that he is better than a disbeliever.

وهذا الأسلوب يسميه البلاغيون الاحتراز، وهو أن يتكلم الإنسان كلاماً يوهم معنى لا يقصده، فيأتي بجملة تبين أنه يقصد المعنى المعين، ومثال ذلك في القرآن قوله تبارك وتعالى: (لا يَسْتَوِي مِنْكُمْ مَنْ أَنْفَقَ مِنْ قَبْلِ الْفَتْحِ وَقَاتَلَ أُولَئِكَ أَعْظَمُ دَرَجَةً مِنَ الَّذِينَ أَنْفَقُوا مِنْ بَعْدُ وَقَاتَلُوا وَكُلّاً وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الْحُسْنَى) (الحديد: 10) ، لما كان قوله: (أُولَئِكَ أَعْظَمُ دَرَجَةً مِنَ الَّذِينَ أَنْفَقُوا مِنْبَعْدُ وَقَاتَلُوا) يوهم أن الآخرين ليس لهم حظ من هذا، قال: (وَكُلّاً وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الْحُسْنَى) . ـ

This type of language has been called “precautionary language” by the the experts of linguistic style. That is when a person says something that might mistakenly be taken in a way which he didn’t intend, and so he brings another sentence or clause to clarify the exact meaning that he intended.

There are a number of examples of this in the Qur’an. Take Allah’s statement: Continue reading

Differing Levels of Merits for Certain Surahs and Ayaat: al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah

The Permanent Committee for Islamic Research and Fataawaa of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia [al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah] received the following question:

سؤال : هل صحيح أن قراءة وتلاوة بعض سور القرآن وتدبرها لها أجر وفضل كثير ومميزات عن السور الأخرى، كسورة يس؟ وما هي هذه الفضائل؟ ـ

Question: Is it true that some surahs of the Qur’an, such as surah Yaasin, have greater reward and more merits and distinction for reading, reciting, and contemplating them than others? And what are these virtues?

 جواب : التفاضل بين آيات القرآن الكريم وسوره ثابت في السنة المطهرة، كفضل الفاتحة وآية الكرسي وسورة الإخلاص وغيرها، مع اعتقاد أن الجميع كلام الله حقيقة، وهذا التفاضل لما تشتمل عليه بعض السور والآيات من المعاني التي اختصت بها، ومع ورود السنة أيضًا ببيان هذه الأفضلية، فإن هذا التفضيل سبيله التوقيف ولا مجال فيه للاجتهاد، وأما سورة ( يس ) على الخصوص فلا نعلم حديثًا صحيحًا عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم يخصها بشيء من الفضائل. والله أعلم. وبالله التوفيق، وصلى الله على نبينا محمد وآله وصحبه وسلم. ـ

Response: Differing levels of virtues among the ayaat and surahs of the Qur’an is something authentically verified in the pure Sunnah, such as the merits of surah al-Fatihah, ayah al-Kursi, surah al-Ikhlaas, and others, while still believing that all of it is the literal speech of Allah.  Continue reading

A Note on Qur’anic Dictionaries: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool wrote the following short clarification on his personal blog:

 معلومة حول كتب معاني كلمات القرآن وكتب غريب القرآن: ـ
Some information regarding books on Qur’anic terms and uncommon vocabulary

ليس كل ما جاز لغة جاز تفسيراً، وهناك قوم يستندون في تفسيرهم على الاستدلال، يفسرون الآيات والأحاديث بحسب اللغة، فنتج عن هذا إهمال المرادات الشرعية؛ ـ
– فأضاعوا الحقائق الشرعية للألفاظ، ـ
– وأضاعوا الحقائق العرفية للألفاظ، ـ
وبالتالي صار عندنا تفسير قرآن ليس هو التفسير الذي أراده الله سبحانه وتعالى. ـ

Not everything which is true linguistically is true in terms of tafsir, however there are some people who base their explanations of the Qur’an upon linguistic analysis and explain the ayaat and ahaadeeth according to their linguistic meanings. This, however, leads to a neglect of their intended sharee’ah-based meanings. So they neglect the true sharee’ah meanings of these words, and they also neglect the actual conventional meanings of the words. In our view, by doing so these explanations of the Qur’an are not the explanation which Allah meant for us to understand. Continue reading

The Virtues of Surah al-Ikhlaas: Sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan

Sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan, a member of the Council of Senior Scholars as well as Permanent Committee for Islamic Research and Fataawaa of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, was asked the following question:

 نص السؤال : ما صحة هذا الحديث‏:‏ ‏«من قرأ‏:‏ ‏{‏قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ‏}‏ في ليلة ألف مرة فقد شرى نفسه من الله‏» ؟‏

Question: What is the veracity of the hadeeth, “whoever recites surah al-Ikhlaas (102) one thousand times within the course of a night, then he has purchased himself from Allah”?

نص الإجابة : أما سورة‏:‏ ‏{ ‏قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ‏ }‏ فهي سورة عظيمة أخبر النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم – في أحاديث صحيحة” أنها تعادل ثلث القرآن‏” ،، وذلك لما تتضمنه من أوصاف الله سبحانه وتعالى ونعوت جلاله، فهي سورة خالصة في التوحيد، ولهذا تسمى سورة الإخلاص، وكان النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ” يقرأها مع المعوذتين عند النوم” ‏‏، وكان يحث على قراءتها ‏لما فيها من الفضل العظيم، وأنها تعدل ثلث القرآن‏.‏  ـ

Response: As for surah al-Ikhlaas, it is a tremendous surah about which the Prophet (ﷺ) informed us in a number of authentic reports that “it is equal to one third of the Qur’an”, and that is due to the descriptions and attributes of Allah that it contains. For it is a surah which is entirely devoted to the subject of tawheed, and this is why it is named “surah al-Ikhlaas“. And the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “recite it along with the surah al-Falaq (113) and surah al-Nas (114) before sleeping”. This encouragement to recite it is due to the great virtue it holds and that it is equal to one third of the Qur’an. Continue reading

Six Categories of Wrong-Doings: Sheikh al-Raajihi

In surah al-A’raaf, Allah mentioned:

قُلْ إِنَّمَا حَرَّمَ رَبِّيَ الْفَوَاحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَمَا بَطَنَ وَالْإِثْمَ وَالْبَغْيَ بِغَيْرِ الْحَقِّ وَأَن تُشْرِكُوا بِاللَّـهِ مَا لَمْ يُنَزِّلْ بِهِ سُلْطَانًا وَأَن تَقُولُوا عَلَى اللَّـهِ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ

Say, “My Lord has only forbidden immoralities – what is apparent of them and what is concealed – and sin, and oppression without right, and that you associate with Allah that for which He has not sent down authority, and that you say about Allah that which you do not know.” [7:33]

Sheikh ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Raajihi mentioned the following points of benefit regarding this ayah by saying:

قال بعض العلماء على آية :   قُلْ إِنَّمَا حَرَّمَ رَبِّيَ الْفَوَاحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَمَا بَطَنَ وَالْإِثْمَ وَالْبَغْيَ بِغَيْرِ الْحَقِّ وَأَنْ تُشْرِكُوا بِاللَّهِ مَا لَمْ يُنَزِّلْ بِهِ سُلْطَانًا وَأَنْ تَقُولُوا عَلَى اللَّهِ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ . الآية عطف بعضها على بعض ، وإن كان المعطوف داخلا في المعطوف عليه ، فبعضها داخل في بعض ، إذ الإثم والبغي والشرك داخل في الفواحش وعمومها ؛ لأن مظالم العباد بعضهم مع بعض والاعتداء عليهم يكون في ستة أشياء في البدن وفي النسب وفي الدين وفي العرض وفي العقل وفي المال ، فالاعتداء على الإنسان يكون :  في البدن .  وفي النسب .  وفي الدين .  وفي العرض . – وفي العقل .  ـ

Regarding the ayah:

قُلْ إِنَّمَا حَرَّمَ رَبِّيَ الْفَوَاحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَمَا بَطَنَ وَالْإِثْمَ وَالْبَغْيَ بِغَيْرِ الْحَقِّ وَأَن تُشْرِكُوا بِاللَّـهِ مَا لَمْ يُنَزِّلْ بِهِ سُلْطَانًا وَأَن تَقُولُوا عَلَى اللَّـهِ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ

Say, “My Lord has only forbidden immoralities – what is apparent of them and what is concealed – and sin, and oppression without right, and that you associate with Allah that for which He has not sent down authority, and that you say about Allah that which you do not know.” [7:33]

some of the scholars have said that this ayah has some overlap in its categories with some overlapping others and that some categories in this listing could fall under other categories, and so some of them are included in others. For sin, oppression, and al-shirk all fall under the category of immoralities and its general encompassing nature. This is all because the wrong-doings and transgressions which human beings perpetrate against one another occur in relation to six things: physical well-being, lineage, religion, honor, intellect, or wealth. So the transgressions against people can be distilled down to: Continue reading

Regularly Reciting Specific Surahs: al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah

The Permanent Committee for Islamic Research and Fataawaa of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah) received the following question:

س : أنا شاب ملتزم بقراءة سورتي الواقعة والحديد بعد أن قرأت أحاديث تذكر أن لهما فضلاً عظيمًا، فالأولى تقي وتدفع الفقر، والثانية تجلب صلاة وسلام الملائكة على قارئها، فهل علي حرج في هذا الالتزام؟ ـ

Question: I am a young person who regularly recites surah al-Waaqi’ah and surah al-Hadeed ever since I read some ahaadeeth mentioning their great virtues, that the former protects against and fends off poverty while the latter brings about the supplications of the angels upon the one who recites it. Am I doing anything wrong in regularly reciting these?

ج : قراءة القرآن مشروعة كل وقت، وتخصيص سورة معينة يلتزم الإنسان قراءتها كل ليلة يتوقف على هذا الدليل، فإن وُجد دليل صحيح ينص على قراءتها شرع ذلك، كما في آية الكرسي وسورة الإخلاص والمعوذتين دبر كل صلاة وعند النوم، وتكرار الإخلاص والمعوذتين ثلاث مرات بعد صلاة المغرب والفجر وعند النوم. ـ

Response: Reciting the Qur’an is something that is legislated at all times, but singling out any particular surah as one that a person should routinely recite every night is something that requires a textual evidence for doing so. So if an authentic textual proof indicating that reciting in this manner is found, then that is something legislated – as is the case with reciting ayah al-Kursisurah al-Ikhlaas, and surahs 113 and 114 after every prayer and before sleeping, or reciting surah al-Ikhlaas and surahs 113 and 114 three times after salah al-Maghrib, salah al-Fajr, and before sleeping. Continue reading