The Best Methods of Explaining the Qur’an: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool, a professor at Umm al-Qura University in Mecca, wrote the following in a series of social media posts dealing with the fundamentals of al-tafsir:

افضل طرق التفسير ؛ ـ
The Best Methods of Explaining the Qur’an

ـ = تفسير القرآن بالقرآن وقد علمنا الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم هذه الطريقة كما مر في حديث استشكال الصحابة لقوله تعالى : (الذين ٱمنوا ولم يلبسوا إيمانهم بظلم) . فما أجمل في مكان فصل في آخر . ـ

Explaining the Qur’an by means of the Qur’an itself. Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) taught us this method, as comes in the hadeeth where the Companions were confused by Allah’s statement:

الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَلَمْ يَلْبِسُوا إِيمَانَهُم بِظُلْمٍ

They who believe and do not mix their belief with thulm [6:82]

For whatever is left general in one place is explained in further detail in another.

ـ = تفسير القرآن بالسنة . فإن من وظيفة الرسول بيان معاني ما نزل إليه. وما مات الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم إلا وبين جميع ما نزل بطريق البيان النبوي وقد سبقت الإشارة إليها. ـ

Explaining the Qur’an by means of the Sunnah. One of the tasks of the Messenger was to explain the meanings of what was revealed to him, and the Messenger did not die until after he had explained all of what had been revealed to him through some method of Prophetic explanation which we have discussed elsewhere. Continue reading

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Examples of Blame-worthy Opinion-based Tafsir: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

Sheikh Muhammad ibn ‘Umar Bazmool, a professor at Umm al-Qura University in Mecca, discusses some examples of “blame-worthy Opinion-based Tafsir“. For those not familiar with this term, you may want to read this article – The Difference Between Narration-based Tafsir and Opinion-Based Tafsir: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool – before proceeding:

أمثلة من التفسير بالرأي المذموم؛ ـ

Some Examples of Blame-worthy Opinion-Based Tafsir

قول باطنية الشيعة في تفسير قوله تعالى: (إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُكُمْ أَنْ تَذْبَحُوا بَقَرَةً ) [البقرة: 67]، قالوا: هي عائشة. وقولهم في تفسير قوله تعالى: {فَقَاتِلُوا أَئِمَّةَ الْكُفْرِ إِنَّهُمْ لَا أَيْمَانَ لَهُمْ} [التوبة: 12]؛ هم أبوبكر وعمر. وهذا التفسير يخالف ما تقرر في الشرع من فضل أمهات المؤمنين، زوجات الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم. ويخالف ما تقرر في الشرع من فضل أبي بكر وعمر رضي الله عنهما، فهذا التفسير باطل لمخالفته المتقرر في الشرع على خلافه. ـ

○ The position of the Baatini Shi’a [those Shi’a who search for hidden meanings in the texts, regardless of whether the texts support those meanings or not] regarding the explanation of Allah’s statement:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُكُمْ أَنْ تَذْبَحُوا بَقَرَةً

Indeed, Allah commands you to slaughter a cow [2:67]

is that this is referring to ‘Aa’ishah. And their position regarding the explanation of Allah’s statement:

فَقَاتِلُوا أَئِمَّةَ الْكُفْرِ إِنَّهُمْ لَا أَيْمَانَ لَهُمْ

then fight the leaders of disbelief, for indeed, there are no oaths to them [9:12]

is that this is referring to Abu Bakr and ‘Umar.

This first explanation contradicts the great virtues of the Mothers of the Believers, the wives of the Messenger (ﷺ), which are emphasized in the sharee’ah. And this second explanation contradicts the great virtues of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with them both) which are also emphasized in the sharee’ah. So these explanations are invalid and false due to their complete opposition to what the sharee’ah affirms. Continue reading

The Difference Between Narration-based Tafsir and Opinion-Based Tafsir: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool, a professor at Umm al-Qura University in Mecca, posed and answered the following question:

ما الفرق بين التفسيربالمأثور والتفسير بالرأي ؟ التفسير بالمأثور هو الذي يقتصر فيه دور المفسر على مجرد النقل؛ فيفسر الآية بالآية = تفسير القرآن بالقرآن. ويفسر الآية بالسنة . = تفسير القرآن بالسنة. ويفسر الآية بقول الصحابي . = ويفسر الآية بما أجمع عليه التابعون. فقط ينقل ماورد من ذلك في تفسير الآية، كما تراه في تفسير عبدالرزاق وابن أبي حاتم، وابن المنذر. ـ

What is the difference between Narration-based Tafsir [Tafsir bi’l-Ma’thoor] and Opinion-based Tafsir [Tafsir bi’l-Ra’yi]?

Narration-based tafsir can be defined as that in which the role of the mufassir is limited to mere transmission. So he would:

  • explain one ayah with another, which is explaining the Qur’an by means of the Qur’an itself.
  • explain an ayah through the Sunnah, which is explaining the Qur’an by means of the Sunnah.
  • explain an ayah with the statement of a Companion.
  • explain an ayah according to a position that all the Taabi’oon agreed on.

So he only transmits what has been relayed through those routes regarding the explanation of an ayah, as you can see in the books of tafsir by ‘Abd al-Razzaaq, ibn Abi Haatim, and ibn al-Mundhir. Continue reading

Thematic Tafsir: Sheikh Saalih Aal al-Sheikh

In the introduction to a speech entitled, “Security and Fear in the Noble Qur’an“, Sheikh Saalih Aal al-Sheikh mentioned:

والتفسير له عدة علوم مختلفة يعلمها أهل الاختصاص، ومنها: التفسير الموضوعي للقرآن. ـ

The field of Tafsir – explaining the Qur’an – is comprised of a number of different sub-disciplines which are known by those who specialize in this area. One of these sub-fields is: Thematic Tafsir of the Qur’an.

والتفسير الموضوعي على قسمين: ـ

Thematic Tafsir can be divided into two main categories:

القسم الأول: التفسير الموضوعي باعتبار موضوع ما، كهذا الموضوع، وكما نقول مثلاً التوحيد في القرآن، الرسالة في القرآن، الإيمان باليوم الآخر في القرآن، القدر في القرآن، الصلاة في القرآن، الفتنة في القرآن، الرجال في القرآن، النساء في القرآن، وحتى إن بعض أهل العلم كتب: الجبال في القرآن. ـ

○ The first category is: thematic tafsir that is oriented around a particular theme, such as the subject of this lecture, or if we were to say, for example, “al-Tawheed in the Qur’an”, “Divine Revelation in the Qur’an”, “Belief in the Last Day in the Qur’an”, “al-Qadr in the Qur’an”, “Prayer in the Qur’an”, “Fitnah in the Qur’an”, “Men in the Qur’an”, “Women in the Qur’an”, and so on. And one of the scholars even wrote a book called, “Mountains in the Qur’an.” Continue reading

How the Prophet Explained the Qur’an: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool, a professor at Umm al-Qura University in Mecca, wrote the following short discussion on how the Prophet (ﷺ) used to explain the Qur’an:

تعلم معني القرآن العظيم ومعاني السنة النبوية للعمل بذلك في عبادة الله وطاعته، هو الغاية التي يسعى إليها كل مسلم! والعمل بهذه المعاني هو حاصل من كل مسلم بالفعل وبالقوة. ـ

Learning the meanings of the Qur’an and the Sunnah in order to act in accordance with them in worship and obedience to Allah is the goal that every Muslim should work towards! Acting upon these meanings is what is required of every Muslim in his actions and efforts.

ولم يوكل الله بيان معاني القرآن العظيم إلا للرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم؛ قال تعالى: ({وَأَنْزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الذِّكْرَ لِتُبَيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ مَا نُزِّلَ إِلَيْهِمْ وَلَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ } [النحل: 44]. فالرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم مامات إلا وقد بلغ الرسالة وأدى الأمانة، ومن ذلك بيان معاني القرآن الكريم؛ فالرسول فسر القرآن العظيم ، وبين معانيه؛ وذلك على وجوه ؛ ـ

Allah did not entrust anyone except for the Messenger (ﷺ) with explaining the meanings of the Qur’an. He said:

وَأَنْزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الذِّكْرَ لِتُبَيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ مَا نُزِّلَ إِلَيْهِمْ وَلَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ

And We revealed the dhikr to you in order that you may make what was sent down to the people clear to them and that they might give thought. [16:44]

And the Messenger (ﷺ) did not pass away until after he had conveyed the message and fulfilled his duty, and one part of that duty was clarifying the meanings of the Qur’an.

So the Messenger explained the Qur’an and clarified its meanings, and this was done in a number of ways: Continue reading

Regarding New Explanations of the Qur’an: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

One of the valuable works of sheikh Muhammad Bazmool is entitled “Misleading Phrases”, in which the sheikh clarifies a series of wordings which are either frequently misused, misunderstood, or simply incorrect. What follows is an excerpt from that work:

ومن هذه العبارات الموهمة: قول بعضهم: “القرآن العظيم له تفسير في كل زمان بما يناسبه”. ـ

And another one of these misleading phrases is what some people say, that “There is an appropriate explanation of the Qur’an for each era.”

إطلاق هذه الكلمة لا يجوز، فإن الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم هو أعلم الخلق بكلام الله ومعانيه، وما مات إلا وقد فسر القرآن جميعه، وأخذ عنه هذا التفسير صحابته رضوان الله عليهم، وعنهم التابعون، فمن فسر القرآن بتفسير يخرج عن تفسير الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم وصحابته، خرج عن الصراط المستقيم في تفسير القرآن العظيم، وشاق الله ورسوله، (وَمَنْ يُشَاقِقِ الرَّسُولَ مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُ الْهُدَى وَيَتَّبِعْ غَيْرَ سَبِيلِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ نُوَلِّهِ مَا تَوَلَّى وَنُصْلِهِ جَهَنَّمَ وَسَاءَتْ مَصِيراً)(النساء:115). ـ

Taken on its own, this statement is not acceptable. For the Messenger (ﷺ) was the most knowledgeable member of the creation regarding the speech of Allah and its meanings, and he did not die until after he had already explained the entire Qur’an. And his Sahabah (may Allah be pleased with them) took this explanation from him, and the Taabi’oon took it from them. So whoever explains the Qur’an with an explanation which departs from the tafsir of the Messenger (ﷺ) and his Sahabah, then he has departed from the Straight Path in relation to the tafsir of the Qur’an, and he has opposed Allah and His messenger: Continue reading

Narration-based Tafsir before Opinion-based Tafsir: Sheikh Saalih Aal al-Sheikh

In a lecture entitled, “How to Read the Books of the People of Knowledge”, sheikh Saaleh Aal al-Sheikh mentioned the following important points related to studying tafsir (explanation of the Qur’an):

وكتب التفسير كما هو معلوم منقسمة إلى مدرستين: مدرسة التفسير بالأثر. ومدرسة التفسير بالرأي، ومدرسة التفسير بالرأي أيضا لها عدة أقسام منها ما هو من ثوابت الرأي المحمود، يعني الاجتهاد والاستنباط، المقبول، الذي له أُسُسه، المقبولة شرعا، ومنها ما فسر القرآن برأي مجرد يعني بغير حجة، إما في الاعتقاد أو في غيره. ـ

As is well-known, the books of tafsir are divided into two schools:

  • The narration-based school of tafsir, and
  • The opinion-based school of tafsir

And the opinion-based school of tafsir also has a number of sub-categories. One of them is that of praise-worthy opinions, meaning the acceptable processes of reasoning and derivation based on the texts, whose basis according to the sharee’ah is that it is accepted. Another one of its categories is that which interprets the Qur’an by mere opinion alone, meaning without any evidence or proofs. This could be in terms of beliefs or in other areas.

فكتب التفسير إذًا على قسمين كتب التفسير بالأثر وكتب التفسير بالرأي، كتب التفسير بالأثر، نعني بها الكتب التي تمحظت في نقل الآثار، فيأتي في التفسير هذه فسرها ابن عباس كذا وهو قول ابن عباس ومجاهد وسعيد بن جبير مثلا، وابن مسعود وعلقمة إلى آخر ذلك، به قال فلان وفلان وفلان يعني نقل أقوال السلف في التفسير تسمى التفسير بالمأثور ـ

So then, the books of tafsir are divided into two categories: the books of narration-based tafsir and the books of opinion-based tafsir. And by the books of narration-based tafsir, I mean those books which focus on transmitting the statements of the early generations. So it would come in the tafsir as “ibn ‘Abbaas explained this to mean such-and-such” or “this was the position of ibn ‘Abbaas, Mujaahid, and Sa’eed ibn Jubayr”, for example, or “of ibn Mas’ood and ‘Alqamah,” and so on. “This was what so-and-so and so-and-so said.” Meaning: transmitting the statements of the salaf in the field of tafsir, which is called “Narration-based Tafsir“. Continue reading

A Brief History of the Preservation of the Qur’an: Sheikh ‘Abd al-Muhsin al-‘Abbaad

In the introduction to a short work on memorizing the Qur’an sheikh ‘Abd al-Muhsin al-‘Abbaad, one of the senior scholars of al-Madinah, wrote the following brief overview of the Qur’an’s preservation and transmission:

الحمد لله الذي أنزل على عبده الكتاب ولم يجعل له عوجا، وأشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له وأشهد أن محمدا عبده ورسوله الذي أكرمه الله فجعل القرآن له خلقا صلى الله وسلم وبارك عليه وعلى آله الطيّبين الشرفاء، وأصحابه أولي الفضائل والنهى ومن سلك سبيلهم واهتدى بهديهم إلى يوم الدين. ـ

All praise is due to Allah who sent down the Scripture upon His slave and did not place any crookedness in it. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah alone with no partners, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and messenger, whom Allah ennobled and therefore made the Qur’an his very character – may Allah’s peace, blessings, and salutations be upon him, his good and noble family, his excellent and virtuous companions, and whoever follows along his path and is guided by his guidance until the Day of Judgement.

أما بعد: فإن أهم المهمّات وأولى ما تُعمر به الأوقات، الاشتغال والعناية بكتاب الله حفظاً وتلاوة وتدبّراً وتعلّماً وتعليماً وتأليفاً. ـ

To proceed: Certainly, the most important matter and the thing most deserving of our time is giving care and attention to the Book of Allah – memorizing it, reciting it, contemplating over it, studying it, teaching it, and gathering it together [i.e. in one’s heart, or in written form].

وكتاب الله خير الكلام وأحسن الحديث وأصدق القول، وقد وصفه الله بكونه عظيماً وحكيماً ومجيداً وكريماً وعزيزاً ومبيناً ونوراً وهدى ومباركاً، وغير ذلك من الأوصاف. ـ

The Book of Allah is the best speech, the most excellent discourse, and the most truthful of words. Allah has described it to us as magnificent, completely consistent, glorious, noble, mighty, clear, a light, a guidance, blessed, as well as other such descriptions. Continue reading

The Types of Tafsir: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

Sheikh Muhammad ibn ‘Umar Bazmool wrote and posted the following on his personal blog:

أنواع التفسير
The Types of Tafsir

ـ 1 – التفسير نوعان : ـ
ـ = تفسير بالرواية ، ويقال له تفسير بالمنقول، تفسير بالمأثور. ـ
ـ = تفسير بالدراية، ويقال له تفسير بالمعقول، تفسير بالرأي. ـ
والمراد بالتفسير بالمأثور: أن يقتصر المفسر على نقل معنى الآية إما من آية أخرى، أو من حديث، أو من قول صحابي، أو من قول أجمع عليه التابعون. ففي التفسير بالمأثور لا يأتي المفسر بشيء بمعنى من عنده أصلاً. ـ
والمراد بالتفسير بالرأي ، أن يأتي المفسر بمعنى الآية من جهة اللغة والعقل. يعني من عنده باجتهاده. ـ

Tafsir falls into two broad categories:

Tafsir bi’l-Riwayah [Narration-Based Tafsir], which is also known as Tafsir bi’l-Manqool and Tafsir bi’l-Ma’thoor.

Tafsir bi’l-Dirayah [Opinion-Based Tafsir], which is also known as Tafsir bi’l-Ma’qool and Tafsir bi’l-Ra’yi.

What is meant by Tafsir bi’l-Ma’thoor is that the mufassir restricts himself to transmitting the meaning of the ayah either by means of another ayah, or a hadith, or a statement of a Sahabi, or a statement which the Tabi’oon agreed upon. So in Tafsir bi’l-Ma’thoor, the mufassir does not bring anything which originates from himself regarding the meaning of an ayah.

And what is meant by Tafsir bi’l-Ra’yi is that the mufassir brings the meaning of an ayah from the angle of linguistics and intellectual reasoning, i.e. from his own efforts of independent reasoning.

 ـ 2 – طرق التفسير بالمأثور
للتفسير بالمأثور أربعة طرق وهي التالية: ـ
الأولى : تفسير القرآن بالقرآن. ـ
الثاني : تفسير القرآن بالسنة. ـ
الثالث : تفسير القرآن بقول الصحابي. ـ
الرابع : تفسير القرآن بقول التابعين إذا اتفقوا واجمعوا!. ـ

The ways of making Tafsir bi’l-Ma’thoor [Narration-based Tafsir]:

There are four ways to make Tafsir bi’l-Ma’thoor, which come as follows:

First: Explaining the Qur’an by means of the Qur’an itself.

Second: Explaining the Qur’an by means of the Sunnah.

Third: Explaining the Qur’an through the statement of a Sahabi.

Fourth: Explaining the Qur’an by a statement from the Tabi’oon, if they agreed on that and had consensus.

Continue reading

Supposed Contradictions between the Qur’an and Hadeeth: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

The following important clarification was written by Sheikh Muhammad ibn ‘Umar Bazmool:

كيف نفسر وجود الاختلاف والتعارض بين الحديث والقرآن العظيم، والله تبارك وتعالى يقول: ﴿أَفَلاَ يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ وَلَوْ كَانَ مِنْ عِندِ غَيْرِ اللّهِ لَوَجَدُواْ فِيهِ اخْتِلاَفاً كَثِيراً﴾ (النساء:82)؟ ـ

How do we explain the presence of discrepancies and contradictions between the hadeeth and the Qur’an while Allah says:

أَفَلاَ يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ وَلَوْ كَانَ مِنْ عِندِ غَيْرِ اللّهِ لَوَجَدُواْ فِيهِ اخْتِلاَفاً كَثِيراً

Then do they not reflect upon the Qur’an? If it had been from [any] other than Allah, they would have found within it much contradiction. [4:82]

والجواب: وقوع الاختلاف والتعارض بين الأحاديث والقرآن العظيم، يرجع لأسباب: ـ

Response: The presence of discrepancy and contradictions between various ahaadeeth and the Qur’an comes from a handful of reasons:

السبب الأول: الجهل بالمعنى المراد، من الآية والحديث؛ ـ

The first reason: Ignorance of the intended meaning of an ayah or hadeeth.

مثال ذلك حديث الرسول صلى الله عليه وسلم: “لن يدخل أحد الجنة بعمله”، مع قوله تعالى: ﴿وَنُودُواْ أَن تِلْكُمُ الْجَنَّةُ أُورِثْتُمُوهَا بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ } (الأعراف:43)، وقوله: ﴿الَّذِينَ تَتَوَفَّاهُمُ الْمَلآئِكَةُ طَيِّبِينَ يَقُولُونَ سَلامٌ عَلَيْكُمُ ادْخُلُواْ الْجَنَّةَ بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ ﴾ (النحل:32)، وقوله: ﴿وَتِلْكَ الْجَنَّةُ الَّتِي أُورِثْتُمُوهَا بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ﴾ (الزخرف:72)، وقوله: ﴿كُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا هَنِيئاً بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ﴾ (الطور:19)، وقوله: ﴿كُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا هَنِيئاً بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ﴾ (المرسلات:43). ـ

An example of that is the hadeeth of the Messenger (ﷺ), “No one of you will ever enter al-Jannah because of his deeds,” along with Allah’s statement:

وَنُودُواْ أَن تِلْكُمُ الْجَنَّةُ أُورِثْتُمُوهَا بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ

And they will be called, “This is Paradise, which you have been made to inherit for what you used to do.” [7:43]

and His statement: Continue reading