Compiling the Qur’an – “How can you do something that the Prophet did not do?”: Ibn Hajr

In part of his Chapter on the virtues of the Qur’an, Imam al-Bukhari brought the famous hadith of Zayd ibn Thabit describing how Abu Bakr and ‘Umar recruited him to help in compiling the Qur’an during the time of Abu Bakr. The hadith begins with:

حَدَّثَنَا مُوسَى بْنُ إِسْمَاعِيلَ، عَنْ إِبْرَاهِيمَ بْنِ سَعْدٍ، حَدَّثَنَا ابْنُ شِهَابٍ، عَنْ عُبَيْدِ بْنِ السَّبَّاقِ، أَنَّ زَيْدَ بْنَ ثَابِتٍ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ قَالَ أَرْسَلَ إِلَىَّ أَبُو بَكْرٍ مَقْتَلَ أَهْلِ الْيَمَامَةِ فَإِذَا عُمَرُ بْنُ الْخَطَّابِ عِنْدَهُ قَالَ أَبُو بَكْرٍ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ إِنَّ عُمَرَ أَتَانِي فَقَالَ إِنَّ الْقَتْلَ قَدِ اسْتَحَرَّ يَوْمَ الْيَمَامَةِ بِقُرَّاءِ الْقُرْآنِ وَإِنِّي أَخْشَى أَنْ يَسْتَحِرَّ الْقَتْلُ بِالْقُرَّاءِ بِالْمَوَاطِنِ، فَيَذْهَبَ كَثِيرٌ مِنَ الْقُرْآنِ وَإِنِّي أَرَى أَنْ تَأْمُرَ بِجَمْعِ الْقُرْآنِ‏.‏ قُلْتُ لِعُمَرَ كَيْفَ تَفْعَلُ شَيْئًا لَمْ يَفْعَلْهُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ عُمَرُ هَذَا وَاللَّهِ خَيْرٌ

… Zayd ibn Thabit said:

Abu Bakr As-Siddiq sent for me after the people of Yamamah had been killed. I found `Umar bin al-Khattab sitting with him and he said to me, “‘Umar came to me and said, ‘Casualties were heavy among the reciters of the Qur’an on the day of the Battle of Yamamah, and I am afraid that more heavy casualties among the reciters may take place on other battlefields, thereby causing a large part of the Qur’an to be lost. So I suggest that you order that the Qur’an be collected.” I replied to `Umar, “How can you do something which Allah’s Messenger did not do?” ‘Umar said, “By Allah, it is something good.” …

[Saheeh al-Bukhari #4986]

In his famous commentary on Saheeh al-Bukhari, al-haafidh ibn Hajr al-‘Asqalaani addresses the last question mentioned above by writing:

 وقال الخطابي وغيره : يحتمل أن يكون – صلى الله عليه وسلم – إنما لم يجمع القرآن في المصحف لما كان يترقبه من ورود ناسخ لبعض أحكامه أو تلاوته ، فلما انقضى نزوله بوفاته – صلى الله عليه وسلم – ألهم الله الخلفاء الراشدين ذلك وفاء لوعد الصادق بضمان حفظه على هذه الأمة المحمدية زادها الله شرفا ، فكان ابتداء ذلك على يد الصديق – رضي الله عنه – بمشورة عمر ، ويؤيده ما أخرجه ابن أبي داود في ” المصاحف ” بإسناد حسن عن عبد خير قال : ” سمعت عليا يقول : أعظم الناس في المصاحف أجرا أبو بكر ، رحمة الله على أبي بكر ، هو أول من جمع كتاب الله ” وأما ما أخرجه مسلم من حديث أبي سعيد قال : ” قال رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – : لا تكتبوا عني شيئا غير القرآن ” الحديث فلا ينافي ذلك ، لأن الكلام في كتابة مخصوصة على صفة مخصوصة ، وقد كان القرآن كله كتب في عهد النبي – صلى الله عليه وسلم – لكن غير مجموع في موضع واحد ولا مرتب السور ، وأما ما أخرجه ابن أبي داود في ” المصاحف ” من طريق ابن سيرين قال : ” قال علي : لما مات رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – آليت أن لا آخذ على ردائي إلا لصلاة جمعة حتى أجمع القرآن فجمعه ” فإسناده ضعيف لانقطاعه ، وعلى تقدير أن يكون محفوظا فمراده بجمعه حفظه في صدره ، قال : والذي وقع في بعض طرقه ” حتى جمعته بين اللوحين ” وهم من راويه . ـ

al-Khattabi and others said:

It is possible that the only reason why the Prophet did not collect the entire Qur’an together into a mushaf was because he expected that abrogation would come for certain legal rulings or recitations. Then when the revelation came to an end at the time of his death, Allah inspired the Rightly-Guided Khulafaa’ to carry out that task in order to fulfill Allah’s true promise to preserve the Qur’an for this Ummah of Muhammad so that Allah might increase them in honor. This process began at the hand of Abu Bakr with the advice of ‘Umar. All of this is supported by what ibn Abi Dawud recorded in his Kitab al-Musahif with a good chain of narration from ‘Abd Khair who said, “I heard ‘Ali saying, ‘The person with the most reward in relation to the written copies of the Qur’an is Abu Bakr. May Allah have mercy on Abu Bakr; he was the first person to compile the Book of Allah.'”

As for the hadith of Abu Sa’eed that Muslim relayed, that “Allah’s Messenger said, ‘Do not write down anything from me except for the Qur’an …'”, then this is not at odds with the above claim because we are speaking about the specific way that Abu Bakr recorded the Qur’an. For the entire Qur’an had in fact been put down in writing during the lifetime of the Prophet; it is just that it had not been gathered altogether in one place in the order of the surahs. Continue reading

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Loving or Hating Abu Bakr: Tafsir ibn Kathir

Allah says in surah al-Tawbah:

وَالسَّابِقُونَ الْأَوَّلُونَ مِنَ الْمُهَاجِرِينَ وَالْأَنصَارِ وَالَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوهُم بِإِحْسَانٍ رَّضِيَ اللَّـهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا عَنْهُ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي تَحْتَهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدًا ۚ ذَٰلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ

And the first forerunners among the Muhajireen and the Ansar and those who followed them in goodness – Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him, and He has prepared for them gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever. That is the great attainment. [9:100]

The great mufassir al-Haafidh Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir concluded his commentary on this ayah by writing:

فقد أخبر الله العظيم أنه قد رضي عن السابقين الأولين من المهاجرين والأنصار والذين اتبعوهم بإحسان : فيا ويل من أبغضهم أو سبهم أو أبغض أو سب بعضهم ، ولا سيما سيد الصحابة بعد الرسول وخيرهم وأفضلهم ، أعني الصديق الأكبر والخليفة الأعظم أبا بكر بن أبي قحافة ، رضي الله عنه ، فإن الطائفة المخذولة من الرافضة يعادون أفضل الصحابة ويبغضونهم ويسبونهم ، عياذا بالله من ذلك . وهذا يدل على أن عقولهم معكوسة ، وقلوبهم منكوسة ، فأين هؤلاء من الإيمان بالقرآن ، إذ يسبون من رضي الله عنهم ؟ وأما أهل السنة فإنهم يترضون عمن رضي الله عنه ، ويسبون من سبه الله ورسوله ، ويوالون من يوالي الله ، ويعادون من يعادي الله ، وهم متبعون لا مبتدعون ، ويقتدون ولا يبتدون ولهذا هم حزب الله المفلحون وعباده المؤمنون . ـ

Allah the Magnificent has informed us that He is well-pleased with those forerunners in faith among the Muhajiroon and the Ansar and those who followed them in goodness. So then woe to anyone who hates them or insults them, and to anyone who hates or insults any one of them, especially if it is regarding the leader of the Sahabah after the Messenger, the best of them and the most virtuous of them. I am of course referring to the most truthful one and the greatest Khalifah:Abu Bakr ibn Abi Quhaafah – may Allah be pleased with him. Continue reading

Abu Bakr and Umar’s Service to the Qur’an: Tafsir ibn Kathir

al-Haafidh ibn Kathir mentioned the following in the introduction to his tafsir as the second part of his section entitled “The Gathering of the Qur’an” which focused on the preservation and collection of the Qur’an:

قال البخاري : حدثنا موسى بن إسماعيل ، حدثنا إبراهيم بن سعد ، حدثنا ابن شهاب ، عن عبيد بن السباق ، أن زيد بن ثابت قال : أرسل إلي أبو بكر – مقتل أهل اليمامة – فإذا عمر بن الخطاب عنده ، فقال أبو بكر : إن عمر بن الخطاب أتاني ، فقال : إن القتل قد استحر بقراء القرآن ، وإني أخشى أن يستحر القتل بالقراء في المواطن فيذهب كثير من القرآن ، وإني أرى أن تأمر بجمع القرآن . فقلت لعمر : كيف نفعل شيئا لم يفعله رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ؟ قال عمر : هذا والله خير ، فلم يزل عمر يراجعني حتى شرح الله صدري لذلك ، ورأيت في ذلك الذي رأى عمر . قال زيد : قال أبو بكر : إنك رجل شاب عاقل لا نتهمك ، وقد [ ص: 25 ] كنت تكتب الوحي لرسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ، فتتبع القرآن فاجمعه ، فوالله لو كلفوني نقل جبل من الجبال ما كان أثقل علي مما أمرني به من جمع القرآن . قلت : كيف تفعلون شيئا لم يفعله رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ؟ قال : هو والله خير . فلم يزل أبو بكر يراجعني حتى شرح الله صدري للذي شرح له صدر أبي بكر وعمر ، رضي الله عنهما . فتتبعت القرآن أجمعه من العسب واللخاف وصدور الرجال ، ووجدت آخر سورة التوبة مع أبي خزيمة الأنصاري لم أجدها مع غيره : ( لقد جاءكم رسول من أنفسكم عزيز ) [ التوبة : 128 ] حتى خاتمة ” براءة ” ، فكانت الصحف عند أبي بكر حتى توفاه الله ، ثم عند عمر حياته ، ثم عند حفصة بنت عمر ، رضي الله عنهم . ـ

al-Bukhari said … that Zayd ibn Thaabit said:

After the Battle of al-Yamamah, Abu Bakr sent for me, and when I arrived, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab was also there with him. Abu Bakr said, “‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab came to me and said, ‘There were a great number of casualties among the reciters of the Qur’an and I fear that more casualties among the reciters will occur in other battles, therefore resulting in a loss of much of the Qur’an. It is my view that you should order that the Qur’an be collected.” I [Abu Bakr] responded to ‘Umar, “How can we do something which Allah’s Messenger did not do?” But ‘Umar said, “I swear by Allah, this is something good,” and ‘Umar kept urging me to do this until Allah opened up my heart to the idea and I saw that good in it that ‘Umar had seen.

Zayd said: Abu Bakr said to me, “You are a young and intelligent man, we do not have any concerns about you, and you used to write the revelation for Allah’s Messenger. So seek out the Qur’an and collect it together.” I swear by Allah, if they had charged me with moving one of the mountains it would not have been heavier on me than this gathering of the Qur’an that they commanded me to do. I said, “How can you do something which Allah’s Messenger did not do?” He said, “I swear by Allah, this is something good.” So Abu Bakr kept urging me to do this until Allah open up my heart to that which He had opened up the hearts of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with both of them). So I sought out the Qur’an, collecting it from palm leads and stones and from people’s memories. I found the end of surah al-Tawbah with Abu Khazaymah al-Ansari and I did not find that with any one other than him, from

لَقَدْ جَاءَكُمْ رَسُولٌ مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ

Indeed, a messenger from among yourselves has come to you … [9:128]

until the end of surah al-Baraa’ah [9:128-129]. So the papers on which we recorded the Qur’an remained with Abu Bakr until he passed away, then they stayed with ‘Umar for the remainder of his life, then it went to ‘Umar’s daughter Hafsah – may Allah be pleased with them all. Continue reading

The Collection of Abu Bakr and the Mushaf of ‘Uthman: ibn Hajr

In part of a longer hadith about the compilation of the Qur’an during the time of ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan, Anas ibn Maalik said:

فَأَرْسَلَ عُثْمَانُ إِلَى حَفْصَةَ أَنْ أَرْسِلِي إِلَيْنَا بِالصُّحُفِ نَنْسَخُهَا فِي الْمَصَاحِفِ ثُمَّ نَرُدُّهَا إِلَيْكِ فَأَرْسَلَتْ بِهَا حَفْصَةُ إِلَى عُثْمَانَ

… ‘Uthman sent a message to Hafsah saying, “Send me the suhuf so that we can copy them over to mushafs, and then we will return them to you.” So Hafsah sent them to ‘Uthman. …

[Saheeh al-Bukhari #4987]

In part of his famous explanation of Saheeh al-Bukharial-haafidh ibn Hajr al-‘Asqalaani mentioned the following points about certain differences between the suhuf [loose sheets] of Abu Bakr and the mushaf of ‘Uthman:

الفرق بين الصحف والمصحف أن الصحف الأوراق المجردة التي جمع فيها القرآن في عهد أبي بكر ، وكانت سور مفرقة كل سورة مرتبة بآياتها على حدة لكن لم يرتب بعضها إثر بعض ، فلما نسخت ورتب بعضها إثر بعض صارت مصحفا

The difference between the suhuf [of Abu Bakr] and the mushaf [of ‘Uthman] is that the suhuf were just sheets of paper on which the Qur’an had been compiled during the time of Abu Bakr. Each of the surahs was on its own sheet or sheets of paper with its ayaat arranged in order, but without the surahs picking up one right after the other on the same page. But then when the surahs were copied over and written to follow immediately one after the other, then it became a mushaf.

[Fath al-Bari #4702]

Ibn Hajr goes on to also explain another distinction between the compilation of Abu Bakr and that of ‘Uthman in a later part of the same explanation: Continue reading

The Most Hope-Inspiring Ayah in the Qur’an: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

In surah al-Noor, in the midst of the ayaat revealed regarding the slander of the Mother of the Believers, ‘Aa’ishah bint Abi Bakr, Allah said:

وَلَا يَأْتَلِ أُولُو الْفَضْلِ مِنكُمْ وَالسَّعَةِ أَن يُؤْتُوا أُولِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِينَ وَالْمُهَاجِرِينَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ ۖ وَلْيَعْفُوا وَلْيَصْفَحُوا ۗ أَلَا تُحِبُّونَ أَن يَغْفِرَ اللَّـهُ لَكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

And let not those of virtue and wealth among you and swear not to give [aid] to their relatives and the needy and the emigrants for the cause of Allah. Let them pardon and overlook. Wouldn’t you like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. [24:22]

In part of his commentary of the ayaat regarding the slander, Imam al-Qurtubi mentioned the following beneficial discussion related to this ayah:

 السادسة والعشرون : قال بعض العلماء : هذه أرجى آية في كتاب الله تعالى ، من حيث لطف الله بالقذفة العصاة بهذا اللفظ . وقيل . أرجى آية في كتاب الله – عز وجل – قوله تعالى : وبشر المؤمنين بأن لهم من الله فضلا كبيرا . وقد قال تعالى في آية أخرى : والذين آمنوا وعملوا الصالحات في روضات الجنات لهم ما يشاءون عند ربهم ذلك هو الفضل الكبير ؛ فشرح الفضل الكبير في هذه الآية ، وبشر به المؤمنين في تلك . ومن آيات الرجاء قوله تعالى : قل يا عبادي الذين أسرفوا على أنفسهم . وقوله تعالى : الله لطيف بعباده . وقال بعضهم : أرجى آية في كتاب الله – عز وجل – : ولسوف يعطيك ربك فترضى ؛ وذلك أن رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – لا يرضى ببقاء أحد من أمته في النار . ـ

Point #16: Some of the scholars have said: This is the most hope-inspiring ayah in the entire Qur’an, from the angle of Allah’s kindness towards disobedient slanderous ones found in this phrase.

Others have said: The most hope-inspiring in the Qur’an is His statement:

وَبَشِّرِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ بِأَنَّ لَهُم مِّنَ اللَّـهِ فَضْلًا كَبِيرًا

And give good tidings to the believers that they will have a great bounty from Allah. [33:47]

And in another ayah, Allah said: Continue reading

The Proper Place of Asbaab al-Nuzool in Understanding the Qur’an: Imam al-Sa’di

Sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di included the following point on asbaab al-nuzool (the reasons for revelation) in his short book of miscellaneous Qur’anic benefits:

الإتيان باللفظ العام في قوله : { وَلَا يَأْتَلِ أُولُو الْفَضْلِ مِنكُمْ وَالسَّعَةِ أَن يُؤْتُوا أُولِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِينَ وَالْمُهَاجِرِينَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ ۖ وَلْيَعْفُوا وَلْيَصْفَحُوا ۗ أَلَا تُحِبُّونَ أَن يَغْفِرَ اللَّـهُ لَكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ } [ النور 22 ] مع أنه نزلت في شأن أبي بكر الصديق رضي الله عنه ، حين تألى أن لا ينفق على مسطح حين شايع أهل الإفك ، مما يحقق أن القرآن العظيم نزل هداية عامة ، وأنه يتناول : من لم ينزل عليهم من الأمة ، ومن نزلت وهم موجودون ، ومن كان له سبب بنزولها وغيره ، وهكذا يقال في جميع الآيات التي نزلت في قضايا جزئية خاصة ولفظها يتناول القضايا الكلية العامة  ـ

Allah’s statement:

وَلَا يَأْتَلِ أُولُو الْفَضْلِ مِنكُمْ وَالسَّعَةِ أَن يُؤْتُوا أُولِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِينَ وَالْمُهَاجِرِينَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ ۖ وَلْيَعْفُوا وَلْيَصْفَحُوا ۗ أَلَا تُحِبُّونَ أَن يَغْفِرَ اللَّـهُ لَكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّـهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

And let not those of virtue and wealth among you swear not to give to their relatives and the needy and the emigrants for the cause of Allah. Let them pardon and overlook. Wouldn’t you like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. [24:22]

This ayah contains language of a general nature despite having been revealed concerning the incident of Abu Bakr al-Siddeeq when he swore not to spend any more money on [his cousin] Mistah after Mistah had sided with the people who slandered Aa’ishah.

So this is one of the things that confirms that the Qur’an was revealed as a guidance for all people, and that it deals with all of the following categories of people: the people of this ummah who were not directly connected to its revelation, those who were connected to its revelation by being present when it was occurring, those who were directly involved in the causes behind certain parts of it revealed, and others as well. And this can be said of all the ayaat which were revealed in connection with a particular and specific circumstance but whose wording conveys a general and universal application. Continue reading

The Sahabah and Tabi’oon known for their Tafsir: al-Suyooti

In his famous work detailing the sciences of the Qur’an, sheikh Jalaal al-Deen al-Suyooti included a section on the different generations of mufassiroon (Qur’anic exegetes). What follows is a condensed and streamlined presentation of the first part of this chapter, as prepared by sheikh Muhammad ibn ‘Umar Bazmool:

طبقة الصحابة
The Level of the Sahabah

اشتهر بالتفسير من الصحابة عشرة : الخلفاء الأربعة ، وابن مسعود ، وابن عباس ، وأبي بن كعب ، وزيد بن ثابت ، وأبو موسى الأشعري ، وعبد الله بن الزبير . ـ

Those who are well known among the sahabah for tafsir are ten: the four Khulafaa’ [Abu Bakr al-Siddeeq, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan, and ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib], ibn Mas’ood, ibn ‘Abbas, Ubay ibn Ka’b, Zayd ibn Thaabit, Abu Moosaa al-Ash’ari, and ‘Abdullah ibn al-Zubayr.

أما الخلفاء ؛ فأكثر من روي عنه منهم : على بن أبي طالب ، والرواية عن الثلاثة نزرة جداً ، وكان السبب في ذلك تقدم وفاتهم ، كما أن ذلك هو السبب في قلة رواية أبي بكر رضي الله عنه للحديث ، ولا أحفظ عن أبي بكر رضي الله عنه في التفسير إلا آثاراً قليلة جداً ، لا تكاد تجاوز العشرة ، وأما على ؛ فروي عنه الكثير . ـ

As for the Khulafaa’, then the one from whom the most is transmitted is ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib, while what is transmitted from the other three is very little. The reason for that is because those three died earlier, just as that is the reason why there is little in the way of hadeeth narrated from Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him), nor was much preserved from Abu Bakr in the way tafsir except for a very few statements which hardly even amount to ten in total. But as for ‘Ali, then a great deal was transmitted from him. 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]