The Dispute Between ‘Umar and Hisham: Ibn Hajr

Imam al-Bukhari mentioned the following narration in his Saheeh, in the section on the merits of the Qur’an:

حَدَّثَنَا سَعِيدُ بْنُ عُفَيْرٍ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنِي اللَّيْثُ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنِي عُقَيْلٌ، عَنِ ابْنِ شِهَابٍ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنِي عُرْوَةُ بْنُ الزُّبَيْرِ، أَنَّ الْمِسْوَرَ بْنَ مَخْرَمَةَ، وَعَبْدَ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنَ عَبْدٍ الْقَارِيَّ، حَدَّثَاهُ أَنَّهُمَا، سَمِعَا عُمَرَ بْنَ الْخَطَّابِ، يَقُولُ سَمِعْتُ هِشَامَ بْنَ حَكِيمٍ، يَقْرَأُ سُورَةَ الْفُرْقَانِ فِي حَيَاةِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَاسْتَمَعْتُ لِقِرَاءَتِهِ فَإِذَا هُوَ يَقْرَأُ عَلَى حُرُوفٍ كَثِيرَةٍ لَمْ يُقْرِئْنِيهَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَكِدْتُ أُسَاوِرُهُ فِي الصَّلاَةِ فَتَصَبَّرْتُ حَتَّى سَلَّمَ فَلَبَّبْتُهُ بِرِدَائِهِ فَقُلْتُ مَنْ أَقْرَأَكَ هَذِهِ السُّورَةَ الَّتِي سَمِعْتُكَ تَقْرَأُ‏.‏ قَالَ أَقْرَأَنِيهَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم‏.‏ فَقُلْتُ كَذَبْتَ فَإِنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَدْ أَقْرَأَنِيهَا عَلَى غَيْرِ مَا قَرَأْتَ، فَانْطَلَقْتُ بِهِ أَقُودُهُ إِلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَقُلْتُ إِنِّي سَمِعْتُ هَذَا يَقْرَأُ بِسُورَةِ الْفُرْقَانِ عَلَى حُرُوفٍ لَمْ تُقْرِئْنِيهَا‏.‏ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏”‏ أَرْسِلْهُ اقْرَأْ يَا هِشَامُ ‏”‏‏.‏ فَقَرَأَ عَلَيْهِ الْقِرَاءَةَ الَّتِي سَمِعْتُهُ يَقْرَأُ‏.‏ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏”‏ كَذَلِكَ أُنْزِلَتْ ‏”‏‏.‏ ثُمَّ قَالَ ‏”‏ اقْرَأْ يَا عُمَرُ ‏”‏‏.‏ فَقَرَأْتُ الْقِرَاءَةَ الَّتِي أَقْرَأَنِي، فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏”‏ كَذَلِكَ أُنْزِلَتْ، إِنَّ هَذَا الْقُرْآنَ أُنْزِلَ عَلَى سَبْعَةِ أَحْرُفٍ فَاقْرَءُوا مَا تَيَسَّرَ مِنْهُ ‏”‏‏.‏

… al-Miswar ibn Makhramah and ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Abd al-Qari told us that they both heard ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab say:

I heard Hisham ibn Hakeem reciting surah al-Furqan while the Prophet was still alive, so I listened to his recitation and I noticed that he recited it differently in several ways from how Allah’s Messenger had recited it to me. I nearly struck him while he was still praying, but I held myself back until he completed the prayer and then I grabbed him by his shawl and said, “Who taught you this surah that I just heard you recite?” He said, “Allah’s Messenger recited it to me.” I said, “You have misspoken, for Allah’s Messenger recited it to me in a different way than how you recited it.”

So I immediately set off to see Allah’s Messenger, taking him along with me. I said to the Prophet, “I heard this person recite surah al-Furqan in some ways other than how you taught it to me.”

Allah’s Messenger said, “Let him go. Recite it, Hisham.” So he recited it in the way I had heard him recite it before. Then Allah’s Messenger, “That is how it was sent down,” and then said, “Recite it, ‘Umar.” So I recited it in the way I had been taught, and Allah’s Messenger said, “That is how it was sent down. This Qur’an was sent down in seven ahruf [dialects], so recite whatever of it is easy for you.”

[Saheeh al-Bukhari #4992]

While there has been much differing among the scholars as to the meaning of the seven ahruf, the correct meaning – inshaAllaah – is that they are different dialects of the Arabic language in which the Qur’an was revealed. However, as scholars have pointed out, ‘Umar and Hisham were both from the tribe of Quraysh and thus shared the same dialect. This raises the question: if they shared the same dialect, why would they differ in which harf they recited the Qur’an in?

The great scholar of hadith ibn Hajr al-‘Asqalaani addressed this point in his explanation of Saheeh al-Bukhari by writing:

قوله : ( فإن رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – قد أقرأنيها ) هذا قاله عمر استدلالا على ما ذهب إليه من تخطئة هشام ، وإنما ساغ له ذلك لرسوخ قدمه في الإسلام وسابقته ، بخلاف هشام فإنه كان قريب العهد بالإسلام فخشي عمر من ذلك أن لا يكون أتقن القراءة ، بخلاف نفسه فإنه كان قد أتقن ما سمع .ـ

Regarding ‘Umar’s statement, “For Allah’s Messenger recited it to me…” Continue reading

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Conditions for the Acceptance of Deeds: Tafsir ibn Kathir

The famous mufassir al-haafidh Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir mentioned the following point in the midst of his explanation of surah al-Furqaan:

وقوله تعالى : ( وقدمنا إلى ما عملوا من عمل فجعلناه هباء منثورا ) ، وهذا يوم القيامة ، حين يحاسب الله العباد على ما عملوه من خير وشر ، فأخبر أنه لا يتحصل لهؤلاء المشركين من الأعمال – التي ظنوا أنها منجاة لهم – شيء; وذلك لأنها فقدت الشرط الشرعي ، إما الإخلاص فيها ، وإما المتابعة لشرع الله . فكل عمل لا يكون خالصا وعلى الشريعة المرضية ، فهو باطل . فأعمال الكفار لا تخلو من واحد من هذين ، وقد تجمعهما معا ، فتكون أبعد من القبول حينئذ; ولهذا قال تعالى : ( وقدمنا إلى ما عملوا من عمل فجعلناه هباء منثورا ) . ـ

Allah’s statement:

وَقَدِمْنَا إِلَىٰ مَا عَمِلُوا مِنْ عَمَلٍ فَجَعَلْنَاهُ هَبَاءً مَّنثُورًا

And when We come to the deeds they have done, then We shall make them into dust particles, scattered. [25:23]

This is on the Day of Judgement when Allah will take His slaves to account for the good and the bad which they used to do. So here He is informing us that these mushrikoon will not obtain any benefit at all from these deeds of theirs which they thought were going to be a source of good and protection for them. Continue reading

Those who do not witness al-Zoor: Tafsir al-Tabari

In surah al-Furqaan, Allah devotes a number of ayaat to describing the characteristics of the ‘ibaad al-Rahman (the slaves of the Most Merciful). Among these descriptions is His statement:

وَالَّذِينَ لَا يَشْهَدُونَ الزُّورَ وَإِذَا مَرُّوا بِاللَّغْوِ مَرُّوا كِرَامًا

And they are those who do not witness al-zoor, and if they pass by some ill talk, they pass by it with dignity. [25:72]

al-Haafidh ibn Kathir clarified the meaning of “those who do not witness” briefly in his tafsir by writing:

 والأظهر من السياق أن المراد : لا يشهدون الزور ، أي : لا يحضرونه; ولهذا قال : ( وإذا مروا باللغو مروا كراما ) أي : لا يحضرون الزور ، وإذا اتفق مرورهم به مروا ، ولم يتدنسوا منه بشيء ; ولهذا قال : ( مروا كراما ) . ـ

From the context, it appears that the intended meaning of “they do not witness al-zoor” is that they are not present for it or in attendance when it is happening. In line with this, Allah said:

وَإِذَا مَرُّوا بِاللَّغْوِ مَرُّوا كِرَامًا

and if they pass by some ill talk, they pass by it with dignity.

meaning: they are not in attendance when al-zoor occurs, and if they do happen to pass by it, then they do not let it sully them in the least. In this vein, Allah said:

مَرُّوا كِرَامًا

they pass by it with dignity.

[Tafsir ibn Kathir 6/132]

There were a number of different interpretations of the meaning of al-zoor among the salaf. Sheikh ibn al-Jawzi summarizes these different opinions as follows: Continue reading

The Reckoning for the Believers will End in the Middle of the Day: Imam al-Shinqitee

In his book dedicated to responding to supposed contradictions or problematic passages of the Qur’an, Sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee brought the following section in his treatment of surah al-Furqaan:

قَوْلُهُ تَعَالَى: أَصْحَابُ الْجَنَّةِ يَوْمَئِذٍ خَيْرٌ مُسْتَقَرًّا وَأَحْسَنُ مَقِيلًا. هَذِهِ الْآيَةُ الْكَرِيمَةُ تَدُلُّ عَلَى انْقِضَاءِ الْحِسَابِ فِي نِصْفِ نَهَارٍ، لِأَنَّ الْمَقِيلَ لِلْقَيْلُولَةِ أَوْ مَكَانِهَا، وَهِيَ الِاسْتِرَاحَةُ نِصْفَ النَّهَارِ فِي الْحَرِّ . ـ

Allah’s statement:

أَصْحَابُ الْجَنَّةِ يَوْمَئِذٍ خَيْرٌ مُسْتَقَرًّا وَأَحْسَنُ مَقِيلًا

The dwellers of Paradise will, on that Day, have the best abode, and have the fairest of resting-places [25:24]

This noble ayah shows that the conclusion of the reckoning [on the Day of Judgement] will be in the middle of the day, because al-maqeel (resting-place) refers to a qaylulah or the place where one takes a qaylulah. And a qaylulah is period of rest in the middle of the day during the hottest part of the day.

وَمِمَّنْ قَالَ بِانْقِضَاءِ الْحِسَابِ فِي نِصْفِ نَهَارٍ: ابْنُ عَبَّاسٍ وَابْنُ مَسْعُودٍ وَعِكْرِمَةُ وَابْنُ جُبَيْرٍ لِدَلَالَةِ هَذِهِ الْآيَةِ عَلَى ذَلِكَ، كَمَا نَقَلَهُ عَنْهُمُ ابْنُ كَثِيرٍ وَغَيْرُهُ . ـ

And among those who said that the conclusion of the reckoning will be in the middle of the day were ibn ‘Abbaas, ibn Mas’ood, ‘Ikrimah, and ibn Jubayr based on the evidence of this ayah in support of that position. This is as ibn Kathir and others transmitted that from them[1].

وَفِي تَفْسِيرِ الْجَلَالَيْنَ مَا نَصُّهُ: وَأُخِذَ مِنْ ذَلِكَ انْقِضَاءُ الْحِسَابِ فِي نِصْفِ نَهَارٍ، كَمَا وَرَدَ فِي حَدِيثٍ، انْتَهَى مِنْهُ، مَعَ أَنَّهُ تَعَالَى ذَكَرَ أَنَّ مِقْدَارَ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ خَمْسُونَ أَلْفَ سَنَةٍ فِي قَوْلِهِ تَعَالَى: فِي يَوْمٍ كَانَ مِقْدَارُهُ خَمْسِينَ أَلْفَ سَنَةٍ [70 \ 4] . ـ

And in Tafsir al-Jalalayn is the text, “And it is derived from this that the conclusion of the reckoning will be in the middle of the day, as is mentioned in a hadeeth[2],” end quote. All of this while also bearing in mind that Allah mentioned that the length of the Day of Judgement will be fifty thousand years in His statement:

فِي يَوْمٍ كَانَ مِقْدَارُهُ خَمْسِينَ أَلْفَ سَنَةٍ

… during a Day the extent of which is fifty thousand years [70:4]

وَالظَّاهِرُ فِي الْجَوَابِ: أَنْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ يَطُولُ عَلَى الْكُفَّارِ وَيَقْصُرُ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ، وَيُشِيرُ لِهَذَا قَوْلُهُ تَعَالَى بَعْدَ هَذَا بِقَلِيلٍ: الْمُلْكُ يَوْمَئِذٍ الْحَقُّ لِلرَّحْمَنِ وَكَانَ يَوْمًا عَلَى الْكَافِرِينَ عَسِيرًا [25 \ 26] فَتَخْصِيصُهُ عُسْرَ ذَلِكَ الْيَوْمِ بِالْكَافِرِينَ يَدُلُّ عَلَى أَنَّ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ لَيْسُوا كَذَلِكَ، وَقَوْلُهُ تَعَالَى: فَذَلِكَ يَوْمَئِذٍ يَوْمٌ عَسِيرٌ عَلَى الْكَافِرِينَ غَيْرُ يَسِيرٍ [74 \ 9 – 10] ، يَدُلُّ بِمَفْهُومِهِ أَيْضًا عَلَى أَنَّهُ يَسِيرٌ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ غَيْرُ عَسِيرٍ. كَمَا دَلَّ عَلَيْهِ قَوْلُهُ تَعَالَى: مُهْطِعِينَ إِلَى الدَّاع يَقُولُ الْكَافِرُونَ هَذَا يَوْمٌ عَسِرٌ [54 \ 8] ـ

And what is apparent in terms of a resolution is: that the Day of Judgement is lengthy for the disbelievers and shortened for the believers, and this is indicated by Allah’s statement which comes shortly after the initial one [in surah al-Furqaan]: Continue reading