Ibn Mas’ood and the Prophet’s Final Review of the Qur’an

In a small booklet dedicated to a study of the narrated statements regarding the final review of the Qur’an that the Prophet performed with the angel Jibril in the year of his death, sheikh Muhammad Bazmool included the following valuable and clarifying discussion:

المسألة التاسعة : العرضة الأخيرة ، هي قراءة زيد أو قراءة ابن مسعود؟ ـ
Issue #9: The Final Review of the Qur’an, was it in the recitation of Zayd ibn Thabit or the recitation of ibn Mas’ood?

عن شَقِيقُ بْنُ سَلَمَةَ، قَالَ خَطَبَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ فَقَالَ وَاللَّهِ لَقَدْ أَخَذْتُ مِنْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم بِضْعًا وَسَبْعِينَ سُورَةً، وَاللَّهِ لَقَدْ عَلِمَ أَصْحَابُ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَنِّي مِنْ أَعْلَمِهِمْ بِكِتَابِ اللَّهِ وَمَا أَنَا بِخَيْرِهِمْ‏.‏ قَالَ شَقِيقٌ فَجَلَسْتُ فِي الْحِلَقِ أَسْمَعُ مَا يَقُولُونَ فَمَا سَمِعْتُ رَادًّا يَقُولُ غَيْرَ ذَلِكَ‏.‏ ـ

Shaqeeq ibn Salamah said: ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ood addressed us one day and said:

I swear by Allah that I learned seventy-something surahs directly from Allah’s Messenger, and I swear by Allah that the Companions of the Prophet know that I am one of the most knowledgeable of them when it comes to the Qur’an, although I am not the best of them.

and Shaqeeq said, “I sat in the sittings, listening to what was said and I did not hear anyone refuting what he said.”

ولفظ مسلم : عَنْ شَقِيقٍ، عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ، أَنَّهُ قَالَ ‏{‏ وَمَنْ يَغْلُلْ يَأْتِ بِمَا غَلَّ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ‏}‏ ثُمَّ قَالَ عَلَى قِرَاءَةِ مَنْ تَأْمُرُونِي أَنْ أَقْرَأَ فَلَقَدْ قَرَأْتُ عَلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم بِضْعًا وَسَبْعِينَ سُورَةً وَلَقَدْ عَلِمَ أَصْحَابُ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَنِّي أَعْلَمُهُمْ بِكِتَابِ اللَّهِ وَلَوْ أَعْلَمُ أَنَّ أَحَدًا أَعْلَمُ مِنِّي لَرَحَلْتُ إِلَيْهِ ‏.‏ قَالَ شَقِيقٌ فَجَلَسْتُ فِي حَلَقِ أَصْحَابِ مُحَمَّدٍ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَمَا سَمِعْتُ أَحَدًا يَرُدُّ ذَلِكَ عَلَيْهِ وَلاَ يَعِيبُهُ ‏.‏ ـ

In the wording of Muslim, Shaqeeq relayed that ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ood said

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Reasons Why the Tafsir of the Sahabah Differed: Muhammad Bazmool

Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool, a professor at Umm al-Qura University in Mecca, wrote a brief post accounting for the differences found among the Qur’anic explanations of the Sahabah. We have translated it below:

الاختلاف الواقع بين الصحابة في التفسير هو من اختلاف التنوُّع، ولا يقع بينهم اختلاف من باب التضادِّ، إلا فيما لا يصحُّ عنهم. ـ

The differing that did occur among the Sahabah in the field of tafsir is simply variations on a theme. There was not any differing among them that was actual in opposition or conflict, except for things that cannot actually be authentically attributed to them.

ووجه ما يجيء عنهم من اختلاف في التفسير يعود إلى أمرين: ـ

The reasons why there were some differences among their explanations of the Qur’an all go back to two issues:

الأمر الأوَّل: أن تتعدَّد أسماء الشيء وأوصافُه، وشروطه وأركانه، فتارةً يذكره أحدُهم باسمٍ غير ما يذكره به الآخر، وتارةً يذكره بركن فيه غير ما يذكره الآخر، ولا اختلاف تضاد بينهما، كمن يقول: اركع ركعتين، والآخر يقول: اسجد سجدتين، فالسجود والركوع من أركان الصلاة، ويعبَّر بهما عن الركعة من القيام والقراءة والركوع والرفع منه والسجود والجلوس بين السجدتين والسجود الثاني. ـ

1. A single thing can have multiple names, or multiple characteristics, conditions or key parts. So sometimes one of the Sahabah would call something a certain name while another mentioned it by a different name. In other instances, perhaps one of them would refer to the entire thing by one of its essential components while another mentioned it by a different key part. So there is no conflict or contradiction between the two. This is just like if one person said, “Pray two raka’aat” and another person said, “Pray to sajdahs”, because the sujood and the rukoo’ are both essential pillars of the salaah. So the term rukoo’ can be used to refer to the entire salaah without the need to mention the standing, recitation, bowing, coming back up from bowing, prostrating, sitting between the two prostrations or the second prostration. Continue reading

Paying Attention to Who the Qur’an is Addressing: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool, a professor at Umm al-Qura University in Mecca, wrote:

تحت عبارة: اتباع كلام الله، وكلام الله أولى! ومثلها عبارة: أريد حديثاً أن الرسول فعله أو قاله؛ تحت هاتين العبارتين ترد شريعة الله ، ويخالف دينه! يصدق على هاتين العبارتين أنهما: كلمة حق يراد بها باطل! وتوضيح ذلك؛ ـ

Consider the phrase, “Follow the Speech of Allah, for the Speech of Allah comes first!” or the phrase, “Give me a hadith that the Prophet did that or said that!” Both of these phrases run counter to the sharee’ah that Allah legislated and go against His religion! It would be accurate to say that both of these phrases are true statements which are used to support falsehood.

Let me explain:

لا خلاف في أن الأصل هو اتباع كلام الله، وليس ذلك أولى بل هو الواجب على المسلم؛ ولكن ذلك محله فيما كان محكماً لا متشابهاً، وإلا كنا من الذين في قلوبهم زيغ، فيتبعون المتشابه منه. ـ

There is no disagreement that the very foundation of the religion is following Allah’s Speech. That is not just something good; it is something binding on every Muslim. However, the place for that is when it comes to the clear and definitive verses, not the ambiguous verses. If we were to do otherwise, then we be among those people who have deviation in their heart and follow the ambiguous parts of the Qur’an as a result.

ومن المتشابه أن تأت إلى الآية التي ليست في حق عموم المسلمين إنما خاصة بالحكام، أو خاصة بفئة من المسلمين في حال معين، فتأت وتجعلها عامة في حق كل المسلمين. ـ

An example of this ambiguity which some people follow is that they take an ayah that is not directed at the Muslims as a whole but is exclusively dealing with the rulers or specifically directed at military units of the Muslims in a particular circumstance and then treat it as if it applied generally to all Muslims. Continue reading

Responding to Doubts About the Prohibition of Music: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

One of the most commonly-cited evidences for the prohibition of music is the ayah from surah Luqman

وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَشْتَرِي لَهْوَ الْحَدِيثِ لِيُضِلَّ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ وَيَتَّخِذَهَا هُزُوًا ۚ أُولَـٰئِكَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ مُّهِينٌ

And among the people are those who purchase idle talk to mislead others from the path of Allah without knowledge and who take it as a mockery. For these ones, there is a humiliating punishment. [31:6]

and the “idle talk” in this ayah was explained to refer to music, as was explained by ibn Mas’ood, ibn ‘Abbaas and others. Another commonly-cited evidence is the hadeeth of the Prophet

لَيَكُونَنَّ مِنْ أُمَّتِي أَقْوَامٌ يَسْتَحِلُّونَ الْحِرَ وَالْحَرِيرَ وَالْخَمْرَ وَالْمَعَازِفَ

There will be some people from my nation who will consider illicit sexual intercourse, silk, alcohol and musical instruments to be permissible.

which is reported in Saheeh al-Bukhari (#5590). We have previously translated an explanation of this ayah from surah Luqman which brings several more pieces of evidence for the prohibition of music. We would recommend reading that article before proceeding, as it serves as a foundation for this topic.

After understanding the evidences for the prohibition of music, it bears mentioning that there are some who cast doubt on the validity of these primary pieces of evidence listed above. While these doubts may appear to be academic, they are ultimately without a sound foundation, as Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool explains below:

قال : هذا التفسير اجتهاد من ابن مسعود رضي الله عنه. وحديث المعازف مختلف فيه . ـ

Some say: This explanation of ibn Mas’ood is simply his personal scholarly opinion, and there is some differing as to the hadith of musical instruments.

قلت : لاحظ ان تفسير ابن مسعود رضي الله عنه للآية ليس فيه ما يخالف لفظها بل هو يقرر معناها فهو يقول : من لهو الحديث في الآية الغناء لانه يحصل به اضلال للناس في باب الشهوات. فاللام ليست للتعليل بل للعاقبة، كاللام في قوله تعالى: ({فَالْتَقَطَهُ آلُ فِرْعَوْنَ لِيَكُونَ لَهُمْ عَدُوّاً وَحَزَناً إِنَّ فِرْعَوْنَ وَهَامَانَ وَجُنُودَهُمَا كَانُوا خَاطِئِينَ }) (القصص:8). ـ

I say: It must be noted that ibn Mas’ood’s explanation of this ayah does not contain anything that is at odds with the ayah itself. Rather, his explanation affirms the ayah‘s meaning, as he is saying that one example of the “idle talk” mentioned in this ayah is music because it leads to the misguidance of people by way of lowly desires. So the preposition laam in the ayah is not meant to imply causation but rather consequence, like the laam in Allah’s statement: Continue reading

“Ask the Ahl al-Dhikr if You Don’t Know”: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

The following question was posed to sheikh Muhammad Bazmool, a professor at Umm al-Qura University in Mecca:

سؤال: ما التقسيم والمفهوم الصحيح في قول الله تعالى:{فسئلوا أهل الذكر إن كنتم لا تعلمون} النحل ؟ ـ

Question: What is the division of people and correct understanding regarding Allah’s statement:

فَاسْأَلُوا أَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ إِن كُنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ

So ask the ahl al-dhikr if you do not know [16:43]

جواب : الحمد لله رب العالمين والصلاة والسلام على أشرف الأنبياء والمرسلين سيدنا محمد وعلى اله وصحبه وسلم. أما بعد: فإن قوله تعالى: {فسئلوا أهل الذكر إن كنتم لاتعلمون}النحل[7] يدل على أمور: ـ

Answer: All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation. May peace and blessings be upon the most noble of the prophets and messengers, our leader Muhammad, as well as upon his family and companions.

To proceed: Allah’s statement:

فَاسْأَلُوا أَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ إِن كُنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ

So ask the ahl al-dhikr if you do not know [16:43]

points to a number of things:

الأمر الأول : أن المسلمين ينقسموا إلى قسمين قسم هم أهل العلم ،وقسم هم ليس من أهل العلم وهم الذين يسمون بالعوام. ـ

Point #1: That Muslims can be divided into two categories. One category is the people of knowledge, and the other category are those who are not the people of knowledge, those who are referred to as the laypeople. Continue reading

All of the Islamic Sciences Originated in Service to the Qur’an: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool, a professor at Umm al-Qura University in Mecca, wrote the following words on one of his social media channels:

هل تعلم …أن جميع العلوم في الثقافة الإسلامية أو الحضارة الإسلامية نشأت خدمة للقرآن الكريم؟! فاللغة من أجل ضبط ألفاظ القرآن الكريم. والنحو من أجل عدم اللحن في نطقه. والبلاغة من أجل الوصول إلى وجه الإعجاز في بيان القرآن ومعانيه . والحديث من أجل تفسير القرآن وبيان معانيه. والفقه من أجل إبراز ما في القرآن من أحكام تتعلق بأفعال المكلفين. والتاريخ من أجل معرفة تواريخ الأمم التي قص الله لنا في القرآن قصصهم وأخبارهم. والعقيدة من أجل معرفة الله سبحانه وتعالى كم في القرآن العظيم. وأصول الفقه من أجل فهم القرآن واستنباط الأحكام منه. وعلوم القرآن من أجل إبراز ما فيه من العلوم وما بيساعد في تفسيره وفهم معانيه. وقس على هذا!. ـ

Did you know that all of the fields of knowledge of Islamic culture or Islamic civilization originated in service to the Qur’an?

The study of linguistics came about in order to precisely preserve the wordings of the Qur’an.

The study of grammar came about in order to avoid grammatical errors when articulating the Qur’an.

The study of linguistic eloquence came about as a means to understand the inimitable nature of the rhetorical style of meanings of the Qur’an. Continue reading

Did You Know? … about the Books of Tafsir: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

Sheikh Muhammad ibn ‘Umar Bazmool, a professor at Umm al-Qura University in Mecca, posted the following series of “did you know…?” questions related to the books of tafsir on his Facebook page:

هل تعلم أن تفسير ابن جرير الطبري وتفسير ابن كثير يعتبران من الكتب الجامعة بين الرواية والدراية يعني بالمنقول والمعقول . فلا يعدا من كتب التفسير بالمأثور الا تجوزا بحسب الغالب عليهما. ـ

○ Did you know that Tafsir ibn Jarir al-Tabari and Tafsir ibn Kathir are both classified as those books which combine the perspectives of both narrations and expert scholarship – i.e. both transmitted material and intellect-based analysis? So they are only counted among the books of narration-based tafsir due to that being their predominant content.

هل تعلم أن كتب التفسير بالمأثور هي الكتب التي يقتصر دور المفسر فيها على مجرد ايراد الروايات كتفسير عبدالرزاق وابن أبي حاتم . ـ

○ Did you know that the books of narration-based tafsir are those books whose authors limit themselves to only transmitting the narrated statements? These are books such as Tafsir ‘Abd al-Razzaaq and Tafsir ibn Abi Haatim.

هل تعلم أن كتب التفسير بالمأثور اهتمت فقط بتفسير القرآن بالروايات عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وعن الصحابة والتابعين. فلم تورد ما يتعلق بتفسير القرآن بالقرآن الا ما جاء ضمنا في الروايات المشار إليها. ـ

○ Did you know that the narration-based books of tafsir are limited in their scope only to the explanations of the Qur’an that come with a chain of narration from Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ), or from the Companions, or from the Taabi’oon? So they do not mention what is connected to the explanation of the Qur’an by the Qur’an unless it comes as part of a narration which includes that.

هل تعلم أن كلمة أهل العلم متفقة أن أعظم كتب التفسير واصحها كتاب ابن جرير الطبري . ـ
ويكاد يكون تفسير ابن كثير ملخصا له. ـ
واحسن منه في التلخيص كتاب البغوي في التفسير. ـ
ولا اعرف كتابا يسامت تفسير البغوي في اختصاره وسلامته من البدعة وجمعه لكلام السلف. ـ

○ Did you know that the scholars are unanimous in their stance that the greatest and most sound book of tafsir is the Tafsir of ibn Jarir al-Tabari? Continue reading

What to do when Multiple “Reasons for Revelation” are Mentioned for the Same Ayah?: al-Suyooti

In his famous manual of the Qur’anic science, Imam Jalal al-Deen al-Suyooti included a chapter dealing with the sub-field of the Asbab al-Nuzool or the “Reasons for Revelation”. He dedicated one part of that chapter to how describing how to approach multiple differing reports of the reasons for revelation about a single ayah, providing copious examples. Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool condensed this section to its core contents, which we have translated below:

المسألة الخامسة‏ [إذا تعددت أسباب النزول] : ـ

The Fifth Issue: What to do When Multiple “Reasons for Revelation” are Mentioned?

كثيرا ما يذكر المفسرون لنزول الآية أسبابا متعددة ، وطريق الاعتماد في ذلك أن ينظر إلى العبارة الواقعة : ـ

It frequently happens that the mufassiroon will mention multiple reasons for the revelation of a single ayah. A reliable way to approach such a situation is to look at the wording used:

فإن عبر أحدهم بقوله : نزلت في كذا ، والآخر : نزلت في كذا ، وذكر أمرا آخر ، فقد تقدم أن هذا يراد به التفسير لا ذكر سبب النزول ، فلا منافاة بين قوليهما إذا كان اللفظ يتناولهما . ـ

○ If one person used the phrase, “It was revealed about such-and-such” and another said, “It was revealed about such-and-such” while mentioning another situation, then we have already explained that the intended meaning of this phrase is an explanation of the ayah, not mentioning the reason for its revelation. Therefore there is no conflict between the two statements if they both used this wording.

وإن عبر واحد بقوله : نزلت في كذا ، وصرح الآخر بذكر سبب خلافه فهو المعتمد وذاك استنباط . ـ

○ If one person used the phrase, “It was revealed about such-and-such” while another person explicitly mentioned a reason for revelation contrary to that, then the explicit statement should be taken to be the reason for revelation while the other one is just someone deriving a point or benefit related to the ayah.

وإن ذكر واحد سببا وآخر سببا غيره ، فإن كان إسناد أحدهما صحيحا دون الآخر فالصحيح المعتمد . ـ

○ If one person mentions one reason for revelation and another person mentions a different reason for revelation, if the chain of narration for one of these reports is authentic while the other is not, then the one with the authentic chain is taken to be the reason for revelation. Continue reading

The Link Between Seeking Forgiveness and Receiving Aid: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

One of the many sciences of the Qur’an is the study of its munasabat, meaning the links and connections between one ayah and the next, or one passage of ayaat and the next, or between one surah and the next, or between the beginning or a surah and its conclusion, and so on. In a short work devoted to this topic, Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool mentioned the following benefit related to surah al-Nasr:

سورة النصر : أولها ذكر النصر والفتح قال تبارك وتعالى : (إِذَا جَاءَ نَصْرُ اللَّـهِ وَالْفَتْحُ) وآخرها ذكر التوبة والاستغفار ، قال تبارك وتعالى : ( فَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ وَاسْتَغْفِرْهُ ۚ إِنَّهُ كَانَ تَوَّابًا) ، والتوبة والاستغفار هي طريق النصر والفتح ، قال تبارك وتعالى : (يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِن تَنصُرُوا اللَّـهَ يَنصُرْكُمْ وَيُثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَكُمْ) {محمد 7}ـ

Surah al-Nasr

In its beginning Allah mentioned aid and victory, saying:

إِذَا جَاءَ نَصْرُ اللَّـهِ وَالْفَتْحُ

When the aid and victory of Allah has come … [110:1]

And in its end Allah mentioned repentance and seeking forgiveness, saying:

فَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ وَاسْتَغْفِرْهُ ۚ إِنَّهُ كَانَ تَوَّابًا

Then make exaltation with the praise of your Lord and ask Him for forgiveness. Indeed, He is ever Accepting of repentance. [110:3]

And making repentance and seeking forgiveness is the route that leads to aid and victory. Allah said:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِن تَنصُرُوا اللَّـهَ يَنصُرْكُمْ وَيُثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَكُمْ

O you who have believed, if you support Allah, He will support you and make your feet firm [47:7]

[‘Ilm al-Munasabat fee al-Suwar w’al-Ayaat pg. 193]

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Is the Qur’an Sufficient on its Own?: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool, a professor at Umm al-Qura University in Mecca, wrote:

قال : اﻻ يكفي القرآن فقط..ام انه (يحتاج) الي سنة؟؟ ـ

A person asks, “Is the Qur’an sufficient on its own, or is it in need of the Sunnah?”

الجواب : القرآن العظيم يحتاج إلى السنة لتبينه، وهي قاضية عليه . قال الله تعالى : ﴿…وَأَنْزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الذِّكْرَ لِتُبَيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ مَا نُزِّلَ إِلَيْهِمْ وَلَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ٤٤﴾ [النحل: 44]. وقال تعالى: ﴿وَمَا أَنْزَلْنَا عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ إِلَّا لِتُبَيِّنَ لَهُمُ الَّذِي اخْتَلَفُوا فِيهِ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةً لِقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُونَ٦٤﴾ [النحل: 64]. ـ

Response: The Qur’an needs the Sunnah to clarify it, and the Sunnah is a definitive word regarding the Qur’an. Allah said:

وَأَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الذِّكْرَ لِتُبَيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ مَا نُزِّلَ إِلَيْهِمْ وَلَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ

And We sent down the dhikr to you in order to make clear to the people what has been sent down to them and in order that they would reflect. [16:44]

and He said:

وَمَا أَنْزَلْنَا عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ إِلَّا لِتُبَيِّنَ لَهُمُ الَّذِي اخْتَلَفُوا فِيهِ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةً لِقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُونَ

And We did not reveal the Book to you for any other reason than to clarify for them what they have been differing about and as a guidance and a mercy for the believing people. [16:64]

فالسنة تبين القرآن وتفسره، فلا يكفي القرآن العظيم بدون السنة؛ والسنة وحي أوحاه الله إلى نبيه محمد – صلى الله عليه وسلم – قال تبارك وتعالى: {مَا يَنْطِقُ عَنِ الْهَوَى. إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا وَحْيٌ يُوحَى} (النجم:3 – 4). والرسول – صلى الله عليه وسلم – أوتي القرآن ومثله معه. ـ

The Sunnah acts as a clarification and explanation of the Qur’an, therefore the Qur’an is not sufficient without the Sunnah. The Sunnah is divine revelation which Allah gave to His prophet Muhammad. Allah said:

مَا يَنْطِقُ عَنِ الْهَوَى * إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا وَحْيٌ يُوحَى

The Prophet does not speak of his own desires * It is only a divine revelation that has been sent. [53:3-4]

and the Messenger was given both the Qur’an and something like it along with it. Continue reading