Makki and Madani Series Part 3 – Characteristics: al-Suyooti

In his famous handbook of the Qur’anic Sciences, al-Itqan fee ‘Uloom al-Qur’an, Imam Jalal al-Deen al-Suyooti dedicated his first main chapter to the subject of Makki and Madani revelation, which we have made into the this Makki and Madani Series of articles. What follows is the third of four sections of that chapter as abridged by Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool. This particular section focuses on how to identify whether a surah is makki or madani and some of the distinguishing characteristics of each:

[العمدة في معرفة المكي والمدني]

[The Main Source of Knowledge for Determining Makki and Madani]

قال القاضي أبو بكر في ” الانتصار ” : إنما يرجع في معرفة المكي والمدني إلى حفظ الصحابة والتابعين ، ولم يرد عن النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم – في ذلك قول ، لأنه لم يؤمر به ، ولم يجعل الله علم ذلك من فرائض الأمة ، وإن وجب في بعضه على أهل العلم معرفة تاريخ الناسخ والمنسوخ ، فقد يعرف ذلك بغير نص الرسول . انتهى . ـ

In his book al-Intisar, al-Qadhi Abu Bakr wrote:

When it comes to knowing what is Makki and Madani, then our only point of reference is the recordings of the Sahabah and Tabi’oon as there is nothing on this subject transmitted directly from the Prophet. That is because he was not commanded to speak on that subject, and Allah did not make this field of knowledge something obligatory for every member of this ummah, although some knowledge of it is necessary for the scholars in order to know the timeline of abrogating and abrogated verses, as that is something that can be known without an explicit text from the Messenger.

وقد أخرج البخاري ، عن ابن مسعود أنه قال : والذي لا إله غيره ما نزلت آية من كتاب الله – تعالى – إلا وأنا أعلم فيمن نزلت ، وأين نزلت . وقال أيوب : سأل رجل عكرمة عن آية في القرآن ، فقال : نزلت في سفح ذلك الجبل ، وأشار إلى سلع . أخرجه أبو نعيم في الحلية . وقد ورد عن ابن عباس وغيره عد المكي والمدني . ـ

al-Bukhari reported that ibn Mas’ood said:

I swear by the One besides whom there is none worthy of worship, there is not a single ayah in Allah’s Book except that I know who is was revealed about and where it was revealed. Continue reading

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Surah Yusuf and the People of al-Madinah

In part of his famous manual of the Qur’anic sciences, al-Burhan fee ‘Uloom al-Qur’an, Badr al-Deen al-Zarkashi wrote:

ما حمل من مكة إلى المدينة
Those Parts of the Qur’an which were Transmitted from Mecca to al-Madinah

أول سورة حملت من مكة إلى المدينة سورة ” يوسف ” ، انطلق بها عوف بن عفراء في [ ص: 291 ] الثمانية الذين قدموا على رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم مكة ، فعرض عليهم الإسلام فأسلموا ، وهو أول من أسلم من الأنصار ، قرأها على أهل المدينة في بني زريق ، فأسلم يومئذ بيوت من الأنصار ، روى ذلك يزيد بن رومان ، عن عطاء بن يسار ، عن ابن عباس ، ثم حمل بعدها : ( قل هو الله أحد ) ( سورة الإخلاص ) إلى آخرها ، ثم حمل بعدها الآية التي في ” الأعراف ” : ( قل ياأيها الناس إني رسول الله إليكم جميعا ) إلى قوله : ( تهتدون ) ( الآية : 158 ) ، فأسلم عليها طوائف من أهل المدينة ، وله قصة

The first surah to be taken from Mecca to al-Madinah was surah Yusuf. ‘Awf ibn ‘Afraa’ was the one who brought it there, and he was one of eighty men who came to Allah’s Messenger in Mecca where he presented Islam to them and they accepted and became Muslims, and he was the first one of the Ansaar to enter Islam. He recited this surah to the people of Banu Zurayq in al-Madinah and as a result a number of households of the Ansaar accepted Islam on that day.

This was narrated by Yazeed ibn Ruman, on the authority of ‘Ataa’ ibn Yasar, on the authority of ibn ‘Abbaas.

After that, surah al-Ikhlaas was the next surah taken from Mecca to al-Madinah. Next after that was an ayah from surah al-A’raaf:

قُلْ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنِّي رَسُولُ اللَّـهِ إِلَيْكُمْ جَمِيعًا الَّذِي لَهُ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۖ لَا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ يُحْيِي وَيُمِيتُ ۖ فَآمِنُوا بِاللَّـهِ وَرَسُولِهِ النَّبِيِّ الْأُمِّيِّ الَّذِي يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّـهِ وَكَلِمَاتِهِ وَاتَّبِعُوهُ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ

Say: O mankind, I am certainly Allah’s messenger to all of you, the messenger of the One who possesses the dominion of the heavens and the earth. There is no deity worthy of worship except Him; He gives life and He causes death. So believe in Allah and His messenger, the illiterate prophet who believes in Allah and His words, and follow him so that you would be guided. [7:158]

And so a number of segments of the people of al-Madinah accepted Islam, and there is a larger story around this.

[al-Burhan fee ‘Uloom al-Qur’an 1/290-291]

In the beginning of his explanation of surah Yusuf, al-haafidh ibn Kathir – who was a teacher of al-Zarkashi – mentioned the following report: Continue reading

Makki and Madani Series Part 2 – Importance: al-Suyooti

In his famous handbook of the Qur’anic Sciences, al-Itqan fee ‘Uloom al-Qur’an, Imam Jalal al-Deen al-Suyooti dedicated his first main chapter to the subject of Makki and Madani revelation, which we have made into the this Makki and Madani Series of articles. What follows is the second of four sections of that chapter as abridged by Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool. This particular section focuses on the value of this field, some of its benefits, and a listing of its sub-fields:

[شرف هذه النوع وأقسامه]

The Value of this Branch of Knowledge and its Sub-Fields

قال أبو القاسم الحسن بن محمد بن حبيب النيسابوري في كتاب ” التنبيه على فضل علوم القرآن ” : من أشرف علوم القرآن علم نزوله وجهاته ، وترتيب ما نزل بمكة والمدينة ، وما نزل بمكة وحكمه مدني ، وما نزل بالمدينة وحكمه مكي ، وما نزل بمكة في أهل المدينة ، وما نزل بالمدينة في أهل مكة ، وما يشبه نزول المكي في المدني ، وما يشبه نزول المدني في المكي ، وما نزل بالجحفة ، وما نزل ببيت المقدس ، وما نزل بالطائف . وما نزل بالحديبية ، وما نزل ليلا وما نزل نهارا ، وما نزل مشيعا وما نزل مفردا ، والآيات المدنيات في السور المكية ، والآيات المكيات في السور المدنية ، وما حمل من مكة إلى المدينة ، وما حمل من المدينة إلى مكة ، وما حمل من المدينة إلى أرض الحبشة ، وما نزل مجملا ، وما نزل مفسرا ، وما اختلفوا فيه ، فقال بعضهم مدني وبعضهم مكي . فهذه خمسة وعشرون وجها من لم يعرفها ويميز بينها لم يحل له أن يتكلم في كتاب الله – تعالى – . ـ

In his book al-Tanbeeh ‘alaa Fadhl ‘Uloom al-Qur’an, Abu’l-Qasim al-Hasan ibn Muhammad ibn Habeeb al-Naysaboori wrote:

One of the most valuable of the Qur’anic sciences is knowledge of

• (1-2) the Qur’an’s revelation and to whom is what addressed,
• (3) the order in which it was revealed in Mecca and al-Madinah
• (4-5) what was revealed in Mecca while functioning as if it were Madani, and what was revealed in al-Madinah while functioning as if it were Makki
• (6-7) what was revealed in Mecca regarding the people of al-Madinah and what was revealed in al-Madinah regarding the people of Mecca
• (8-9) what appears to be a Makki revelation among the Madani verses, and what appears to be a Madani revelation among the Makki verses Continue reading

An “Amazing Connection” in the Story of Zakariyyah: Tafsir al-Sa’di

In surah Aali ‘Imran, Allah tells us the story of Zakariyyah, including his du’a to have a son, his amazement at the promise of the fulfillment of this du’a despite his old age and his wife being barren, and his request to have a sign confirming this amazing promise. Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di wrote in his commentary of ayah 3:41:

ـ{ رب اجعل لي آية } أي: علامة على وجود الولد قال { آيتك ألا تكلم الناس ثلاثة أيام إلا رمزًا } أي: ينحبس لسانك عن كلامهم من غير آفة ولا سوء، فلا تقدر إلا على الإشارة والرمز

رَبِّ اجْعَل لِّي آيَةً

[Zakariyyah said] “Lord, make a sign for me”

meaning: a sign of the presence of a son. He replied

آيَتُكَ أَلَّا تُكَلِّمَ النَّاسَ ثَلَاثَةَ أَيَّامٍ إِلَّا رَمْزًا

“your sign is that you will not speak to the people for three days, except by gestures”

meaning: your tongue will be restrained from speaking to them but not due to any disease or malady. So you will not be able to communicate except by way of pointing and gesturing. Continue reading

Makki and Madani Series Part 1 – Definitions: al-Suyooti

In his famous handbook of the Qur’anic Sciences, al-Itqan fee ‘Uloom al-Qur’an, Imam Jalal al-Deen al-Suyooti dedicated his first main chapter to the subject of Makki and Madani revelation, which we have made into the this Makki and Madani Series of articles. What follows is the first of four sections of that chapter as abridged by Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool. This particular section focuses on the defining the terms Makki and Madani and understanding the different terminologies used.

ـ [تعريف المكي والمدني] ـ

Defining Makki and Madani

وقال ابن النقيب في مقدمة تفسيره : المنزل من القرآن على أربعة أقسام : مكي ، ومدني ، وما بعضه مكي وبعضه مدني ، وما ليس بمكي ولا مدني . ـ

In the introduction to his tafsir, ibn al-Naqeeb said:

What has been revealed of the Qur’an can be divided into four categories: 1) Makki, 2) Madani, 3) part of which is Makki and part of which is Madani, and 4) what is neither Makki nor Madani.

اعلم أن للناس في المكي والمدني اصطلاحات ثلاثة : ـ

Be aware that when it comes to Makki and Madani, people have three different sets of terminology:

أشهرها : أن المكي ما نزل قبل الهجرة ، والمدني ما نزل بعدها ، سواء نزل بمكة أم بالمدينة ، عام الفتح أو عام حجة الوداع ، أم بسفر من الأسفار . ـ

The most common one is this: that Makki is what was revealed prior to the Hijrah, and Madani is what was revealed afterwards, regardless of whether it was revealed in Mecca of al-Madinah, during the year of the Conquest of Mecca or during the Farewell Pilgrimage, or during any one of the Prophet’s travels.

أخرج عثمان بن سعيد الدارمي بسنده إلى يحيى بن سلام ، قال : ما نزل بمكة وما نزل في طريق المدينة قبل أن يبلغ النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم – المدينة فهو من المكي . وما نزل على النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم – في أسفاره بعد ما قدم المدينة فهو من المدني . ـ

وهذا أثر لطيف ، يؤخذ منه : أن ما نزل في سفر الهجرة مكي اصطلاحا . ـ

‘Uthman ibn Sa’eed al-Daarimi brought a chain of narration going back to Yahyah ibn Salam who said: Continue reading

Shall We Force You to Believe?: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

In surah Hud, Allah recounts the story of His prophet Nuh, beginning with his calling his people to tawheed, a list of their doubts as to why they disbelieved in him, and then Nuh’s responses to their doubts. Sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee comments on the first part of Nuh’s response to his people by writing:

قوله تعالى : قال يا قوم أرأيتم إن كنت على بينة من ربي وآتاني رحمة من عنده فعميت عليكم أنلزمكموها وأنتم لها كارهون . ـ

Allah’s statement:

 قَالَ يَا قَوْمِ أَرَأَيْتُمْ إِن كُنتُ عَلَىٰ بَيِّنَةٍ مِّن رَّبِّي وَآتَانِي رَحْمَةً مِّنْ عِندِهِ فَعُمِّيَتْ عَلَيْكُمْ أَنُلْزِمُكُمُوهَا وَأَنتُمْ لَهَا كَارِهُونَ

Nuh said, “O my people, what do you think if I am on clarity from my Lord, and a Mercy has come to me from Him, but that has been obscured from your sight – shall we compel you to accept it while you have a strong hatred for it? [11:28]

ذكر تعالى في هذه الآية الكريمة عن نبيه نوح : أنه قال لقومه : أرأيتم [ 11 \ 28 ] ، أي : أخبروني إن كنت على بينة من ربي [ 11 \ 28 ] ، أي : على يقين ونبوة صادقة لا شك فيها ، وأعطاني رحمة منه مما أوحى إلي من التوحيد والهدى ، فخفي ذلك كله عليكم ، ولم تعتقدوا أنه حق ، أيمكنني أن ألزمكم به ، وأجبر قلوبكم على الانقياد والإذعان لتلك البينة التي تفضل الله علي بها ، ورحمني بإيتائها ، والحال أنكم كارهون لذلك ؟ يعني ليس بيدي توفيقكم إلى الهدى وإن كان واضحا جليا لا [ ص: 178 ] لبس فيه ، إن لم يهدكم الله جل وعلا إليه . ـ

In this noble ayah, Allah mentions that His prophet Nuh said to his people:

أَرَأَيْتُمْ

Do you think … Continue reading

“So Turn Away From Them”: Sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan

Sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan mentioned the following in a part of a series of classes he gave on the explanation of the mufassal surahs:

ثم قال لنبيه محمد : (فَتَوَلَّ عَنْهُمْ) ، أي : لا تلتفت إلى أقوالهم ، واعتراضاتهم ، ولا تعبأ بها أبداً ، ولا تهمك ؛ لأنه كان يحزن على قومه ، أنهم يدخلون النار ، وأنهم يكفرون بالله ، (فَلَعَلَّكَ بَاخِعٌ نَّفْسَكَ عَلَىٰ آثَارِهِمْ) (لَعَلَّكَ بَاخِعٌ نَّفْسَكَ أَلَّا يَكُونُوا مُؤْمِنِينَ) ، أي : مهلك نفسك ، فالرسول كان حريصا ، وكان يحزنه ما عليه قومه ، لأنه يريد لهم السلامة ، والنصيحة ، ويريد لهم النجاة ، فإذا رآهم على ما هم عليه من العناد فإنه يحزن . ـ

Then Allah said to His Prophet Muhammad:

فَتَوَلَّ عَنْهُمْ

So turn away from them [51:54]

meaning: don’t pay heed to what they say and their opposition, don’t ever let it bother you or concern you. That is because the Prophet used to grieve for his people [i.e. the Quraish], worrying that they would enter the Hellfire and because they disbelieved in Allah.

فَلَعَلَّكَ بَاخِعٌ نَّفْسَكَ عَلَىٰ آثَارِهِمْ

Perhaps you would kill yourself in grief because of them [18:6]

لَعَلَّكَ بَاخِعٌ نَّفْسَكَ أَلَّا يَكُونُوا مُؤْمِنِينَ

Perhaps you would kill yourself with grief that they will not be believers. [26:3]

meaning: that you would destroy yourself. For the Messenger desired their guidance very much, and used to grieve for his people, because he wanted good for them and to advise them, and he wanted their salvation. So when he would see them in their state of obstinate refusal he would be saddened.

قال تعالى : (وَلَقَدْ نَعْلَمُ أَنَّكَ يَضِيقُ صَدْرُكَ بِمَا يَقُولُونَ) ، (قَدْ نَعْلَمُ إِنَّهُ لَيَحْزُنُكَ الَّذِي يَقُولُونَ ۖ فَإِنَّهُمْ لَا يُكَذِّبُونَكَ وَلَـٰكِنَّ الظَّالِمِينَ بِآيَاتِ اللَّـهِ يَجْحَدُونَ) ، فهذه تسلية للرسول . ـ

Allah said: Continue reading

“O you who have believed, look after your own souls”: Tafsir al-Sa’di & al-Shinqitee

In surah al-Maa’idah, Allah commands the believers by saying:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا عَلَيْكُمْ أَنفُسَكُمْ ۖ لَا يَضُرُّكُم مَّن ضَلَّ إِذَا اهْتَدَيْتُمْ ۚ إِلَى اللَّـهِ مَرْجِعُكُمْ جَمِيعًا فَيُنَبِّئُكُم بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ

O you who have believed, look after your own souls. Those who have gone astray will not harm you when you have been guided. To Allah is you return all together; then He will inform you of what you used to do. [5:105]

In his book of tafsir, sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di commented on this ayah by writing:

يقول تعالى: { يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا عَلَيْكُمْ أَنْفُسَكُمْ } أي: اجتهدوا في إصلاحها وكمالها وإلزامها سلوك الصراط المستقيم، فإنكم إذا صلحتم لا يضركم من ضل عن الصراط المستقيم، ولم يهتد إلى الدين القويم، وإنما يضر نفسه. ـ

Allah says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا عَلَيْكُمْ أَنفُسَكُمْ

O you who have believed, look after your own souls.

meaning: exert yourselves in their rectification, their perfection, and making them steadfast in traversing the Straight Path. For once you have rectified yourselves, then those who have strayed from the Straight Path and are not guided to the upright religion will not harm you; it is only themselves that they harm.

ولا يدل هذا على أن الأمر بالمعروف والنهي عن المنكر، لا يضر العبدَ تركُهما وإهمالُهما، فإنه لا يتم هداه, إلا بالإتيان بما يجب عليه من الأمر بالمعروف والنهي عن المنكر. نعم، إذا كان عاجزا عن إنكار المنكر بيده ولسانه وأنكره بقلبه، فإنه لا يضره ضلال غيره. ـ

However this does not mean that slacking off in commanding the good and forbidding the evil or abandoning it completely is something that does not negatively affect a slave. For the fact of the matter is that being guided is not complete unless one follows through with the commanding of good and forbidding of evil which that guidance demands of him. Yes, even if he is not able to take action against wrongdoing by means of his hands or his tongue and is only able to disapprove of them in his heart, then still the misguidance of others will not harm him.

وقوله: { إِلَى اللَّهِ مَرْجِعُكُمْ جَمِيعًا } أي: مآلكم يوم القيامة، واجتماعكم بين يدي الله تعالى. { فَيُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ } من خير وشر. ـ

And Allah’s statement: Continue reading

Know that your wealth and your children are but a trial: Tafsir al-Tabari

Allah informs the believers in surah al-Anfal:

وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّمَا أَمْوَالُكُمْ وَأَوْلَادُكُمْ فِتْنَةٌ وَأَنَّ اللَّـهَ عِندَهُ أَجْرٌ عَظِيمٌ

And know that your wealth and your children are but a trial, and that Allah has with Him a tremendous reward [8:28]

Commenting on this in his famous book of tafsir, Imam Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari wrote:

قال أبو جعفر : يقول تعالى ذكره للمؤمنين : واعلموا ، أيها المؤمنون ، أنما أموالكم التي خولكموها الله ، وأولادكم التي وهبها الله لكم ، اختبار وبلاء ، أعطاكموها ليختبركم بها ويبتليكم ، لينظر كيف أنتم عاملون من أداء حق الله عليكم فيها ، والانتهاء إلى أمره ونهيه فيها . ” وأن الله عنده أجر عظيم ” ، يقول : واعلموا أن الله عنده خير وثواب عظيم ، على طاعتكم إياه فيما أمركم ونهاكم ، في أموالكم وأولادكم التي اختبركم بها في الدنيا . وأطيعوا الله فيما كلفكم فيها ، تنالوا به الجزيل من ثوابه في معادكم . ـ

I say: Allah is telling the believers, “Know, O you believers, that the wealth which Allah has granted you and the offspring which Allah has given you are a test and a trial that has been given to you in order to test and try you by means of them. So look to how you behave when it comes to fulfilling Allah’s rights over you in relation to these things, and set your limits at what Allah has commanded and forbidden you regarding these things.”

وَأَنَّ اللَّـهَ عِندَهُ أَجْرٌ عَظِيمٌ

… and that Allah has with Him a tremendous reward

Allah is saying, “And know that Allah has with Him tremendous good to be given as reward for obedience to Him in what He has commanded and forbidden regarding the wealth and offspring which have been used to test you in this worldly life. So obey Allah with what He has entrusted to you. Through doing so you will receive a great reward in the hereafter.

ـ 15934 – حدثني الحارث قال ، حدثنا عبد العزيز قال ، حدثنا المسعودي ، [ ص: 487 ] عن القاسم ، عن عبد الرحمن ، عن ابن مسعود ، في قوله : ” إنما أموالكم وأولادكم فتنة ” ، قال : ما منكم من أحد إلا وهو مشتمل على فتنة ، فمن استعاذ منكم فليستعذ بالله من مضلات الفتن . ـ

… ibn Mas’ood said about Allah’s statement:

وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّمَا أَمْوَالُكُمْ وَأَوْلَادُكُمْ فِتْنَةٌ

And know that your wealth and your children are but a trial

“There is not one of you who is not involved in some trial, so whoever wants to seek refuge, let him seek refuge in Allah from the misguidance of trials.”

ـ 15935 – حدثني يونس قال ، أخبرنا ابن وهب قال ، قال ابن زيد ، في قوله : ” واعلموا أنما أموالكم وأولادكم فتنة ” ، قال : ” فتنة ” ، الاختبار ، اختبارهم . وقرأ : ( ونبلوكم بالشر والخير فتنة وإلينا ترجعون ) [ سورة الأنبياء : 35 ] . ـ

ibn Zayd said about this statement:

The “trial” here is a test, meaning their test

and he recited:

وَنَبْلُوكُم بِالشَّرِّ وَالْخَيْرِ فِتْنَةً ۖ وَإِلَيْنَا تُرْجَعُونَ

And We shall test you with evil and with good as a trial. And to Us shall you return. [21:35]

[Tafsir al-Tabari 13/486-487]

See also: Ibrahim’s interactions with his father: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

See also: Four categories of parentage and four categories of offspring: Tafsir ibn Kathir

We gave Ibrahim good in this life: Tafsir al-Shawkani

In the end of Surah al-Nahl, Allah describes Ibrahim with several attributes, including:

وَآتَيْنَاهُ فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً

And We gave him good in this world [16:122]

The scholars of tafsir have brought a number of explanations for this phrase, and Sheikh Muhammad al-Shawkani collected the majority of them in his tafsir where he wrote:

وآتيناه في الدنيا حسنة أي خصلة حسنة أو حالة حسنة ، وقيل هو الولد الصالح ، وقيل الثناء الحسن ، وقيل النبوة ، وقيل الصلاة منا عليه في التشهد ، وقيل هي أنه يتولاه جميع أهل الأديان ، ولا مانع أن يكون ما آتاه الله شاملا لذلك كله ولما عداه من خصال الخير

وَآتَيْنَاهُ فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً

And We gave him good in this world

i.e. good qualities or a good condition.

  • Some have said that it refers to righteous offspring.
  • Some have said that it refers to good praise and commendation.
  • Some have said that it refers to the station of prophethood.
  • Some have said that it refers to our prayers upon him during the tashahud.
  • And still others have said that it refers to the people of all religions inclining towards him in affection.

And there is nothing to prevent that which Allah gave him from including all of these good qualities or even more.

[Fath al-Qadeer 1/808] Continue reading