Gathering in the Houses of Allah to Recite and Study the Qur’an: Sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan

Abu Hurayrah narrates that Allah’s Messenger once said, in part of a longer hadith, that:

وَمَا اجْتَمَعَ قَوْمٌ فِي بَيْتٍ مِنْ بُيُوتِ اللَّهِ يَتْلُونَ كِتَابَ اللَّهِ، وَيَتَدَارَسُونَهُ بَيْنَهُمْ؛ إلَّا نَزَلَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ السَّكِينَةُ، وَغَشِيَتْهُمْ الرَّحْمَةُ، وَ حَفَّتهُمُ المَلاَئِكَة، وَذَكَرَهُمْ اللَّهُ فِيمَنْ عِنْدَهُ

No people gather together in one of the Houses of Allah, reciting the Book of Allah and studying it among themselves, except that sakeenah descends upon them, and mercy envelops them, and the angels surround them, and Allah mentions them in the midst of those who are with Him.

[Sahih Muslim #2699]

In his explanation of Imam al-Nawawi’s forty ahaadeeth, sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan provides the following commentary on this part of the hadith:

هذا فيه أن طلب العلم ينبغي أن يكون في المساجد ؛ لأنها بيوت الله ، ومأوى الملائكة ، وفيها السكينة والرحمة ، فينبغي أن يكون طلب العلم في المساجد ، لا في المخيمات ولا في الاستراحات – ولا مانع أن يكون هناك مجلس علمي ، أو هناك مدرسة يدرس فيها العلم ، لكن المسجد أفضل ، مهما أمكن أن تكون الدراسة في المسجد فذلك أفضل ، وإذا كان هناك مجلس علمي منضبط فلا بأس ، لكنه أقل أفضلية من المسجد ، (وَمَا اجْتَمَعَ قَوْمٌ فِي بَيْتٍ مِنْ بُيُوتِ اللَّهِ ) يعني : المساجد (يَتْلُونَ كِتَابَ اللَّهِ) يقرؤونه ويتعلمون قراءته على وجه الصحيح ويحفظونه ؛ لأنه هو أصل العلم ، (وَيَتَدَارَسُونَهُ بَيْنَهُمْ) يفهمون معانيه ، وليس المقصود الحفظ فقط وأنك تحفظ القرآن وتتقنه بالقراءات العشر ، لا ، هذا وسيلة وليس هو المقصود ، والمطلوب أنك تتفهم وتفقه معانيه وتعمل به : أولا : تقرؤه  ثانيا : تفهمه   ثالثا : تعمل به . والعمل بالقرآن هو المطلوب ، ولكن حفظه وتجويده وتفهم معانيه وتفسيره على الوجه الصحيح ، هذه وسائل العمل بالقرآن الكريم . ـ

This hadith includes the fact that seeking knowledge ought to take place in the masaajid, for they are the houses of Allah and the place which the angels frequent, and they contain tranquility and mercy. So seeking knowledge ought to be done in the masaajid, not in tents or hotels [as is sometimes done for conferences]. But there is nothing to prevent there being schools of other gathering places for knowledge in which religious knowledge is studied; however the masjid is better; if it is possible to have the lessons in the masjid then that is better. If there is some place established for systematic religious study, then this is not a problem, however this is less virtuous than if it were to take place in the masjid. Continue reading

Marriage in the Qur’an pt.4 – The Husband’s Roles and Responsibilities: Imam al-Sa’di

In his book of thematic tafsir, sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di dedicated a chapter of his book to the issues related to marriage. This series of articles will present the different sub-divisions of this chapter in order. This is the fourth section, click the links the visit the other sections: 12345678 – 9 – 10

وقوله: {الرِّجَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى النِّسَاءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ اللَّهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ وَبِمَا أَنْفَقُوا مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ فَالصَّالِحَاتُ قَانِتَاتٌ حَافِظَاتٌ لِلْغَيْبِ بِمَا حَفِظَ اللَّهُ وَاللَّاتِي تَخَافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ فَعِظُوهُنَّ وَاهْجُرُوهُنَّ فِي الْمَضَاجِعِ وَاضْرِبُوهُنَّ فَإِنْ أَطَعْنَكُمْ فَلَا تَبْغُوا عَلَيْهِنَّ سَبِيلًا إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيًّا كَبِيرًا} [النساء: 34] .ـ

Allah’s statement:

الرِّ‌جَالُ قَوَّامُونَ عَلَى النِّسَاءِ بِمَا فَضَّلَ اللَّـهُ بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ وَبِمَا أَنفَقُوا مِنْ أَمْوَالِهِمْ ۚ فَالصَّالِحَاتُ قَانِتَاتٌ حَافِظَاتٌ لِّلْغَيْبِ بِمَا حَفِظَ اللَّـهُ ۚ وَاللَّاتِي تَخَافُونَ نُشُوزَهُنَّ فَعِظُوهُنَّ وَاهْجُرُ‌وهُنَّ فِي الْمَضَاجِعِ وَاضْرِ‌بُوهُنَّ ۖ فَإِنْ أَطَعْنَكُمْ فَلَا تَبْغُوا عَلَيْهِنَّ سَبِيلًا ۗ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ كَانَ عَلِيًّا كَبِيرً‌ا

Men are the leaders and maintainers of women due to what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband’s] absence, by the grace of Allah’s protection. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance – [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand. [4:34]

هذا خبر وأمر، أي: الرجال قوامون على النساء في أمور الدين والدنيا، يلزمونهن بحقوق الله، والمحافظة على فرائضه، ويكفونهن عن جميع المعاصي والمفاسد، وبتقويمهن بالأخلاق الجميلة والآداب الطيبة، وقوامون أيضا عليهن بواجباتهن من النفقة والكسوة والمسكن وتوابع ذلك . ـ

This is both informational and a command – meaning: men are the leaders and maintainers of women in the matters of the deen and the dunya, enjoining rights of Allah upon them as well as safeguarding His obligations, and averting them from all forms of disobedience and corruption, and caring for them while having beautiful character and good manners. And they are also the leaders and maintainers of them by virtue of the obligation of spending on them and providing clothing, lodging and so on. Continue reading

A Common Theme of the Disconnected Letters: Sheikh ibn ‘Uthaymeen

Sheikh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen was asked the following question:

 السؤال: أشكل عليَّ حين قلت بأنه لا يوجد في القرآن شيء لا يعرفه أحد من علماء الأمة أو أجمع الناس على عدم معرفته، فماذا نجيب على الحروف المقطعة (ألم)، و(ق)، و(يس)، وغيرها مما كان فيه الخلاف وأشكل على أهل العلم؟ ـ

Question: I was confused when you said that there is nothing in the Qur’an which none of the scholars of this ummah know or which no one of mankind understands. So how do we respond when it comes to the Disconnected Letters [al-Huroof al-Muqatta’ah] – alif lam meen, qaf, ya seen, and other such things – which have been the subject of differing and which have been difficult for some of the scholars?

الجواب: نجيب على هذا أنه لا إشكال في هذا إطلاقاً؛ لأن الله تعالى قال: ﴿بِلِسَانٍ عَرَبِيٍّ مُبِينٍ ﴾[الشعراء:195] ومن المعلوم أن هذه الحروف دون تركيبها كلمات ليس لها معنى، (ق) ليس لها معنى، (ص) ليس لها معنى، (ن) ليس لها معنى، (ألم) ليس لها معنى، فهي بمقتضى اللسان العربي ليس لها معنى، لو قال لك الرجل العربي: (ق) وهو يريد الحرف الهجائي هل له معنى؟ ليس له معنى، إذا كان ليس لها معنى والله -عز وجل- أخبرنا أن القرآن نزل بلسان عربي مبين علمنا أنه ليس لها معنى، لكن على هذا يبقى عندنا إشكال: كيف يكون في القرآن ما ليس له معنى والقرآن حق؟ نقول: نعم ليس لها معنى في ذاتها، لكن لها معنى في غرضها ومغزاها، كأن الله -عز وجل- إذا قال (ق)، (ن)، (ص) وما أشبه ذلك كأنه يقول: هذا الكتاب العظيم الذي أعجزكم أيها العرب لم يأت بحروف جديدة، فالحروف التي فيه هي الحروف التي تركبون منها كلامكم، ومع ذلك أعجزكم؛ ولهذا قال شيخ الإسلام ابن تيمية: لا يوجد سورة مبدوءة بهذه الحروف إلا وبعدها ذكر القرآن، أو ما لا يعلم إلا بالوحي. ـ

Response: We respond by saying that there is no problem regarding this issue at all, for Allah has said:

بِلِسَانٍ عَرَبِيٍّ مُّبِينٍ

In the plain Arabic language [26:195]

and it is well-known that these letters do not carry any meaning when they are not arranged together into words. Qaf does not have any meaning, Saad does not have any meaning, Noon does not have any meaning, Alif Lam Meem does not have any meaning. So these things, according to the Arabic language, do not have any meaning of their own. If an Arabic-speaking person were to say to you, “Qaf” and all he meant by it was a letter of the alphabet, does that carry any meaning of its own? No, it does not have any meaning of its own. So it does not carry any meaning of its own, and Allah has informed us that the Qur’an was sent down in the clear Arabic language, teaching us that these do not carry any meaning. Continue reading

Do the Disconnected Letters Carry Meaning?: Sheikh Saalih Aal al-Sheikh

During question and answer session of his explanation of the book Lum’ah al-I’tiqaad, sheikh Saalih Aal al-Sheikh responded to the following question:

سؤال: هذه الحروف في أوائل السور ما معناها؟

Question: The letters at the beginnings of some surahs – what are their meanings?

الجواب: هذه الحروف في أوائل السور تسمى الحروف المقطعة، والراجح في معناها أنها للإشارة إلى أن هذا القرآن كلماته متألفة من جنس هذه الأحرف، وإذا كان كذلك وهذه الأحرف هي التي يتكلم العرب بها ويؤلفون بها كلامهم، فإن ذلك يدل على أن القرآن معجز، فكأن الله – سبحانه وتعالى- يقول للناس: هذا القرآن مكون من هذه الأحرف التي تتكلمون بها وتنشئون بها كلامكم، وليس من أحرف أخر، ومع هذا أنتم لا تستطيعون أن تأتوا بمثله، ولا بمثل عشر سور، ولا بمثل سورة منه، وهذا يدل على عظم الإعجاز، ويدل على هذا التفسير الاستقراء، والاستقراء أحد أوجه الأدلة التي ينبغي العناية بها، فتجد أن معظم السور التي في أولها الأحرف المقطعة يعقبها ذكر القرآن أو الكتاب، قال جل وعلا:) الم * ذلك الكتاب لا ريب (. [البقرة: 1-2]. ـ

Response: These letters at the beginnings of some surahs are called the “Disconnected Letters” [al-Huroof al-Muqatta’a], and the strongest position regarding their meanings is that they are a sign indicating that the words of this Qur’an are composed of these types of letter. So then if that is the case and these are the very same letters which the Arabs use to speak and of which their speech is composed, then this demonstrates that the Qur’an is miraculous and inimitable. It is as if Allah is saying to mankind, “This Qur’an is made up of these very same letters which you use to speak and which make up your discourse – not any other letters. However, despite that, you are not able to produce the likes of it, nor the likes of ten of its chapters, nor the likes of even one of its chapters.” So this points to the grand miraculous nature of the Qur’an

And detailed scholarly examination of the Qur’an also points to this same position, as detailed scholarly examination is one form of evidence which should be given due consideration. For you find that most of the surahs that begin with the Disconnected Letters immediately follow them up by mentioning the Qur’an or the Scripture. Allah said: Continue reading

The Conditions for Making Tafsir: Sheikh Saalih Aal al-Sheikh

During a question and answer session connected to his explanation of ibn Taymiyah’s Muqaddimah fee Usool al-Tafsir, Sheikh Saalih Aal al-Sheikh was asked the following the question:

سؤال : ما هي الشروط التي يجب أن تتوفر فيمن يفسر كلام الله عز وجل إذا كان من أهل السنة والجماعة ؟ ـ

Question: What are the conditions which must be in place for someone to make tafsir of Allah’s speech [i.e. the Qur’an] if he is from Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah?

ذكر العلماء شروطًا لذلك : الأول : أن يكون عالمًا بالقرآن ، حافظًا للقرآن ، لأن القرآن يفسر بالقرآن ، وإذا كان غير حافظ لكتاب الله – جل وعلا – عن ظهر قلب فإنه قد يفوته تفسير الآية بآية أخرى ، وفي ضمن ذلك أن يكون يعلم ( وهذا على وجه التفضيل لا على الاشتراط ) أن يعلم القراءات ، سواء أكانت السبع أو العشر ، أو ما هو أكثر من ذلك مما صح من القراءات ، لأن التفسير يحتاج فيه المفسر إلى تفسير القراءة بالقراءة الأخرى مثل قوله تعالى : ﴿ وَلا تَقْرَبُوهُنَّ حَتَّى يَطْهُرْنَ فَإِذَا تَطَهَّرْنَ فَأْتُوهُنَّ مِنْ حَيْثُ أَمَرَكُمُ اللَّهُ ﴾ في القراءة الأخرى قال – جل وعلا – : ﴿ وَلا تَقْرَبُوهُنَّ حَتَّى يَتَطَهَّرْنَ ﴾ صار معنى يطهُرن : يعني يتطهرن ، يعني الطهارة الكاملة ، الطهارة من الحيض وطهارة بالاغتسال ، فتفسر القراءة بالقراءة ، بعض الناس لا يكون عنده علم ، أو يجترئ على القراءات ويأتي بقراءة شاذة أصلاً لا تصح ، مثل الذي يأتي – وسمعناها من بعض خطباء الجمعة ، ومن بعض المحاضرين ، هذا جهل في بعض أحواله – بقوله : ﴿ وَإِذَا أَرَدْنَا أَنْ نُهْلِكَ قَرْيَةً أَمَرْنَا مُتْرَفِيهَا فَفَسَقُوا فِيهَا ﴾ يعني جعلنا مترفيها أمراء – ما أدري له هوى أو كذا – المقصود : أمّرنا مترفيها ، يقول : كما في القراءة الأخرى – وهذه ليست قراءة صحيحة – ولكن (أمرنا مترفيها ففسقوا فيها ) يعني أمرنا مترفيها بالهدى والتقى فلم يطيعوا الرسل ، بل فسقوا فيها ﴿ فَحَقَّ عَلَيْهَا الْقَوْلُ فَدَمَّرْنَاهَا تَدْمِيرًا ﴾ . إذن يشترط في المفسر أن يكون حافظًا لكتاب الله – جل وعلا – ، ويفضل فيه أن يكون عالمًا بالقراءات لأن بعض القراءات يفسر بعضًا . ـ

Answer: The scholars have mentioned a number of conditions for that.

○ First: That he be knowledgeable of the Qur’an, having memorized the Qur’an, because the Qur’an explains the Qur’an. For if he is not one who has memorized the Book of Allah by heart, then he might miss the fact that one ayah explains another. And included in this is that he knows – and this is one of the preferred aspects, not a required prerequisite – that he knows the qiraa’aat (variant readings), whether seven or ten or more than those from among what has been authenticated of the qiraa’aat. This is because in tafsir, the mufassir is in need of one reading to explain another reading, for example Allah’s statement:

وَلَا تَقْرَ‌بُوهُنَّ حَتَّىٰ يَطْهُرْ‌نَ ۖ فَإِذَا تَطَهَّرْ‌نَ فَأْتُوهُنَّ مِنْ حَيْثُ أَمَرَ‌كُمُ اللَّـهُ

And do not approach them until they are pure. And when they have purified themselves, then come to them from where Allah has ordained for you [2:222]

And in another recitation, Allah said:

وَلَا تَقْرَ‌بُوهُنَّ حَتَّىٰ يَطَّهَّرْنَ

And do not approach them until they purify themselves [2:222]

So the meaning of “[until] they are pure” comes to mean “[until] they purify themselves” – meaning complete purity, i.e. purity from menstruation and purity by means of performing ghusl. So one recitation is explained by another recitation. Some people do not have any knowledge of this, or they behave brashly with the recitations and bring some odd recitation whose basis is not authentic, such as the one – and I have heard this from some of the jumu’ah khateebs and some of those who give talks, out of ignorance in some instances – such as the one who brings this statement: Continue reading

The Need for Teaching Tafsir: Ibn ‘Uthaymeen

In part of his explanation of his primer on the fundamentals of Tafsir, sheikh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen raised and answered the following question:

مسألة : هل يجب على أهل العلم أن يبينوا للناس معنى القرآن سواء سألوهم أم لا؟ ـ

An issue: Is it obligatory for the People of Knowledge to clarify the meanings of the Qur’an to the people regardless of whether the people ask them for that or not?

نقول : نعم ، يجب إذا سأله الناس بلسان الحال ، أو بلسان المقال ، فمثلا : إذا سمع الإنسانُ أن الناس يفسرون بعض الآيات على غير ما أراده الله ، فالواجب عليه أن يبين المعنى الذي أراده الله ؛ لأن العوام أحيانا يفسرون الآيات بغير ما أراده الله ، بل أحيانا يصنعون آيات من عندهم ـ تجده مثلا يقول : صدق الله العظيم ، وجعلنا لكل شيئ سببا ، وهذا ليس موجودا في القرآن ، لكن هم يعلمون أن الأشياء بأسبابها ، فالمهم أنه إذا رأى الإنسان أنه لا بد أن يبين معنى القرآن بلسان الحال ، أو بلسان المقال ، وجب عليه البيان ، وينبغي أن يجعل للعامة مجلسا لتفسير القرآن . ـ

We say: Yes it is obligatory when the people ask you for that, whether that be by their situation or by literally asking you. For instance, if a person were to hear the people explaining some ayaat with something other than what Allah intended by them, then it is a must for him for clarify the meaning that Allah actually intended. Because the lay people sometimes explain certain ayaat with something other than what Allah intended – in fact they sometimes invent ayaat, for instance you find people saying, “SadaqAllahu’l-‘Atheem” or they say “We have made a means for every thing”, but this phrase is nowhere to be found in the Qur’an even though we know that things do have their means and causes. 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

Who knows the Ta’weel? : Imam al-Sa’di

The following questions and answer was found in a collection of sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Naasir al-Sa’di’s written works:

س – أي قولين أصح في قوله تعالى : [وَمَا يَعْلَمُ تَأْوِيلَهُ إِلَّا اللَّـهُ ۗ وَالرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ يَقُولُونَ آمَنَّا بِهِ] (آل عمران 7) ؟ ـ

Question: Which of the two opinions is more correct regarding Allah’s statement:

وَمَا يَعْلَمُ تَأْوِيلَهُ إِلَّا اللَّـهُ ۗ وَالرَّاسِخُونَ فِي الْعِلْمِ يَقُولُونَ آمَنَّا بِهِ

And no one knows its ta’weel except Allah. And those firm in knowledge say, “We believe in it.” [3:7]

جـ – التأويل يطلق بمعنى التفسير والعلم به ، ويطلق بمعنى بيان الحقيقة التي يئول إليها الأمر . ـ

Response: The word ta’weel can be used to mean tafsir – “explanation” – and knowledge of a thing’s explanation, and it can also be used to mean the clarification of the ultimate reality of an issue.

فإن كان الاول ، فيكون قوله : [وَالرَّاسِخُونَ ] معطوفا على قوله : [إِلَّا اللَّـهُ] وعلى هذا فإن معناه أن المتشابه هو ضد المحكم ، وهو الذي فيه احتمالات ، فالراسخون في العلم يفهمونه ويرجعونه إلى المحكم ، فالنص الصريح يقضي على النص الذي فيه عدة احتمالات . ـ

In the first scenario, Allah’s statement, “and those firm in knowledge” is connected to His statement, “except Allah“. So according to this, the meaning of the ayah is that the mutashaabih (ambiguous verses) are the opposite of the muhkam (clear verses), meanings that they carry more than one possible interpretation. So those who are firm in knowledge understand the mutashaabih verses and refer them back to the muhkam verses, for the explicit texts act as a judge presiding over those texts which offer a number of different interpretations. Continue reading

Why Speaking about Allah without Knowledge is more serious than Shrik: Ibn ‘Uthaymeen

Allah says in surah al-A’raaf:

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 Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen mentioned the following point of benefit during part of his discussion of this ayah in his primer on the sciences of tafsir:

مسألة : وهل هذه الآية من باب الترقي ، أو من باب ذكر الأعلى فالأعلى ؟ ـ

An issue: Is this ayah one of those whose ordering ascends from least to greatest in its listing, or is it one of those that starts with the highest matter and then moves down to the next highest?

الجواب : الأول ، يعني : أن أشد شيء أن يقول على الله ما لا يعلم . ـ

Answer: It is the first category, meaning that the most grave thing is to speak about Allah without knowledge.

فإن قال قائل : كيف يكون هذه أشد من الشرك ؟ ـ

But then someone might ask: How is that a worse offense than al-shirk? Continue reading

Notes on the Book “Safwah al-Tafaasir”: Sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan

In the late 1970s, sheikh Muhammad ‘Ali al-Saabooni, a professor at King ‘Abd al-‘Azeez University and Umm al-Quraa’ University in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, published a book of tafsir entitled “Safwah al-Tafaasir“. This book has since spread far and wide and gained popularity, especially because it was primarily written for a common audience. However, a number of scholars have noted issues and problems within it, and have subsequently written detailed corrections and notes regarding the book, as well as other works of al-Saabooni.

What follows is an excerpt from the detailed notes and correction of sheikh Saalih al-Fawzan concerning “Safwah al-Tafaasir“. Sheikh Fawzan is a member of the Council of Senior Scholars of Saudi Arabia, among many other positions, may Allah preserve him.

الحمد لله رب العالمين، والصلاة والسلام على نبينا محمد وآله وصحبه، وبعد‏:‏ فإن المسلمين بحاجة شديدة إلى معرفة معاني كتاب ربهم عز وجل؛ لأن ذلك وسيلة للعمل به والانتفاع بهديه، وقد قام أئمة الإسلام بهذه المهمة خير قيام، ففسروا كتاب الله معتمدين في ذلك على تفسير القرآن بالقرآن، ثم بسنة رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – ثم على أقوال الصحابة والتابعين وأتباعهم من القرون المفضلة، وما تقتضيه اللغة التي أنزل بها، فجاءت تفاسيرهم نقية صافية من التأويلات الباطلة والأهواء المضلة التي غالبا ما تشتمل عليها تفاسير من جاء بعدهم ممن لم يحذ حذوهم‏.‏ ـ

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation. Peace and blessings be upon our Prophet, his family and his companions. To proceed:

Indeed, the Muslims are in great need of knowing the meanings of their Lord’s Book, for that is a means to acting in accordance with it and benefiting from its guidance. The scholars of Islam have been attendant to this important matter with the greatest of care, and as such they have explained the Book of Allah and they have made their foundation for that the explanation of the Qur’an by the Qur’an itself, then by the Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger, then according to the statements of the Sahabah, the Taabi’oon and those who followed them from the best generations, as well as what the language in which it was sent down in necessitates. And so their explanations have come pure and unsullied by the false interpretations and misguided desires which are so prevalent in the contents of those explanations which came after them from those who did not follow their example.

وقد ظهر أخيرا تفسير للشيخ محمد على الصابوني تحت عنوان‏:‏ ‏”‏ صفوة التفاسير ‏”‏، وهو عنوان يلفت النظر، لأنه يتضمن أن المؤلف أحاط بالتفاسير وانتقى منها صفوتها الصافية المطابقة للتفسير الصحيح لكتاب الله، وأكد ذلك بما كتبه تحت العنوان من قوله‏:‏ ‏”‏ تفسير للقرآن الكريم جامع بين المأثور والمعقول، مستمد من أوثق كتب التفسير ‏”‏، وكنت ممن استهواهم هذا العنوان، فأقبلت على قراءة هذا التفسير، وسرعان ما تبين لي أنه يشتمل على أخطاء في العقيدة مستمدة من كتب ليست هي أوثق التفاسير، وحيث إن الكتاب قد انتشر ووقع بين يدي كثير ممن قد لا يميزون بين الخطإ والصواب، لذا رأيت أن أدون ما رأيته على الكتاب من ملاحظات، وأن أنشرها للقراء إبراء للذمة، ونصيحة لله ولكتابه ولرسوله ولأئمة المسلمين وعامتهم‏.‏ ـ

In recent times a book by Sheikh Muhammad ‘Ali al-Saabooni has been published under the title “Safwah al-Tafaasir” [“The Choice Cuts of the Books of Tafsir”]. And this is a title which attracts attention, for it implies that the author has taken the creme of the crop from the various books of tafsir, corresponding to the correct explanation of the Book of Allah. And he reaffirms this idea with the book’s subtitle, which is, “Tafsir of the Noble Qur’an, Combining both Narration-Based and Insight-Based Explanations, Taken from the Most Trust-worthy Books of Tafsir”. And I was among those who were enticed by this title, so I sat down to read this tafsir, but it quickly became clear to me that it contained a number of mistakes in ‘aqeedah which is taken from books which are not the most trust-worthy of tafsirs. And subsequently this book has been disseminated and found its way into the hands of many who are not able to distinguish between what is correct and what is incorrect. So in light of that, I thought that I should record what I found in need of being noted in this book, and that I should make this available so as to free myself of blame and as an act of naseehah to Allah, His Book , His Messenger, the Muslim leaders and the lay-people. Continue reading