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

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The likeness of good company is a perfume merchant

Abu Moosaa narrates that the Prophet (ﷺ) said:

إِنَّمَا مَثَلُ الْجَلِيسِ الصَّالِحِ وَالْجَلِيسِ السَّوْءِ كَحَامِلِ الْمِسْكِ وَنَافِخِ الْكِيرِ فَحَامِلُ الْمِسْكِ إِمَّا أَنْ يُحْذِيَكَ وَإِمَّا أَنْ تَبْتَاعَ مِنْهُ وَإِمَّا أَنْ تَجِدَ مِنْهُ رِيحًا طَيِّبَةً وَنَافِخُ الْكِيرِ إِمَّا أَنْ يُحْرِقَ ثِيَابَكَ وَإِمَّا أَنْ تَجِدَ رِيحًا خَبِيثَةً

The likeness of good company and that of bad company is like the perfume merchant and of the (blacksmith with a) bellowing furnace. So the perfume merchant would either offer you free of charge or you would buy it from him or you would smell its pleasant odor. As for the bellowing furnace, he would either burn your clothes or you shall have to smell its repugnant smell.

[Muslim #2628]

Imam al-Nawawi, in his commentary on Saheeh Muslim, wrote the following about this hadeeth:

فيه تمثيله صلى الله عليه وسلم الجليس الصالح بحامل المسك ، والجليس السوء بنافخ الكير ، وفيه فضيلة مجالسة الصالحين وأهل الخير والمروءة ومكارم الأخلاق والورع والعلم والأدب ، والنهي عن مجالسة أهل الشر وأهل البدع ، ومن يغتاب الناس ، أو يكثر فجره وبطالته . ونحو ذلك من الأنواع المذمومة

In his (ﷺ) allegory, the good companion is the perfume merchant, and the bad companion is the bellowing furnace. And therein is the virtue of good company and the people of good and chivalry and noble character and wara’ (abandoning what is doubtful in order to stay clear of the haraam matters), and ‘ilm and good manners, and the prohibition of the company of the people of evil and the people of bid’ah (innovated religious practices and beliefs), and those who backbite the people, or those who frequently commit trespasses or falsehood, and similar to that from the blameworthy categories.

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The original Ash’aris

Abu Moosa al-Ash’ari reported that the Prophet (ﷺ) said,

إن الأشعريين إذا أرملوا في الغزو أو قل طعام عيالهم بالمدينة جمعوا ما كان عندهم في ثوب واحد ثم اقتسموه بينهم في إناء واحد بالسوية فهم مني وأنا منهم

“When the Ash’ariyoon [a tribe from Yemen] run short of food during an expedition or when they are at home in Al-Madinah, they gather all the provisions they have in a single sheet and then divide it equally among themselves. They are of me and I am of them.” [al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Imam al-Nawawi, in his explanation of Saheeh Muslim, writes about this hadith:

قوله صلى الله عليه وسلم : ( إن الأشعريين إذا أرملوا في الغزو إلى آخره ) معنى ( أرملوا ) فني طعامهم . وفي هذا الحديث فضيلة الأشعريين ، وفضيلة الإيثار والمواساة ، وفضيلة خلط الأزواد في السفر ، وفضيلة جمعها في شيء عند قلتها في الحضر ، ثم يقسم ، وليس المراد بهذا القسمة المعروفة في كتب الفقه بشروطها ، ومنعها في الربويات ، واشتراط المواساة وغيرها ، وإنما المراد هنا إباحة بعضهم بعضا ومواساتهم بالموجود .

His statement, “When the Ash’ariyoon run short of food during an expedition…“; the meaning of “run short” is that their food supply dwindles. And this hadith includes the excellence of the Ash’ariyoon, and the excellence of the altruism and sympathetic charity, and the virtue of mixing the provision during travel, and the virtue of gathering them in something when they are small in number, then dividing them (equally). And the well-known division found in the books of fiqh involving contractual agreements is not the intended meaning here, and preventing it from becoming usurious, whether based on altruistic charity or otherwise. And the only meaning here is the permissibility of some (giving) to others in altruistic charity. Continue reading