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Principles of Quranic Tafseer Fall 2009

Principles of Quranic Tafseer قويد التفسير
Sheikh Jamaal Zarabozo
September 29, 2009
Required Textbook:
None 
Grading:
Final Exam  100% or 90% (One final, November 24, one week before last class)
Pop Quiz  10% at the discretion of the instructor 
Basic Outline of the Class
Topic 1:  Qiraat shaadhah and its role in tafseer
Topic 2:  Detailed discussion and principles related to the sources of tafseer
What are the Qira'aat?
Different readings of the Quran
What is the source of the different Qira'aat?
Is it ijtihaad? No.  
The source is the Angel Gabriel via Prophet
a. Consistent with mushafs of Uthmaan
b. Chain has to be mutawaatir or sahih
c. Has to be consistent with the Arabic language
When it comes to the question of tafseer we established some important points in the last quarter. Basically all of the different readings are part of the quran. Each reading is  treated as an independent verse.
The english literature do not touch upon the different qiraat and hence do not translate it either. So we do not have a complete translation of the quran since they skip the qiraat completely.
Cannot have a reading that is contradicting the verses of the quran. Such a qiraat has to be rejected.
Al Muyyassir fi al-quran al arba'ata asharata al-qiraat - has a margin of 14 different readings of the quran (10 are considered mutawattir and 4 are shaad)
mu'jam al-qiraat al-quraaniyah
Another book has a table of different qiraats 
Neither of the books referred has any interpretation.
existence of the qiraat goes back to the fact that Allah(swt) revealed the quran in 7 ahruf but they are not mapping 1:1. 
Qira'aat has to be traced back to the Prophet (saw) not just the mushaf of Uthmaan or the Sahabah. 
We don't have an example of different reading of the same harf from the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasallam). 
There are different readings amongst the sahahbah which we'll cover what the source are etc. 
Question: Suppose we have a narration of a verse in the Quran, e.g. for ibn Abbas, ibn Masood or Ubay bin Ka'b....they're reading a verse of the quran in a way which is not consistent with the mushaf of Uthmaan. Chain is sound, it's consistent with the Arabic language, however it is not consistent with the mushaf of uthmaan. These are called, qira'at ash-shaad (Defintion of shaad -something passed on from the sahaba and goes against what has been established to be the quran -- the strongest source we have about the quran) Qiraat Shaad contradict the mushaf of Uthman.
The knowledge of what is in the mushaf, it is not required that actual mushaf (physical copy) still exists because people are reading from it and it has a mutawatir flow back to it. One of the bounties of the Isnaad system, people have actually memorized and studied it and passed it on. 
Breaking of oath 
Feed 10 people, free slave and towards the end it says somebody who cannot do the preceding will have to fast 3 days. ibn Masud added consecutively ie consecutively fast 3 days as expiation of the sin of breaking of oath.
How did ibn Masud read the verse of the quran in such a way?
There are three different possibilities:
1. It could be the tafseer of the sahaba - ie fast 3 days it must be consecutive - adding words as an explanation
2. Reading of the verse was abrogated - one example is ...??? Allah swt revealed the wording of the verse but due to hikmah or wisdom of Allah swt the word "consecutively" was removed by Allah swt
3. One of the ahraaf that is not captured in the mushaaf of Uthman - it is ibn Taymiyyah's view. In a reading like this, we cannot be definitive that it is part of the Quran and we must withhold any conclusion. Sheikh Jamaal has a problem with this opinion that is for another class.Goes against the idea that Allah has preserved the dhikr. 
4. Tafseer of the prophet -These sahabah understood that to be the quran.  Explicitly attribute this reading to the prophet
5. Mistake by the sahaabi. But some of these narrations are not a one-time narration. They were well established ones so this is unlikely in the terms of what we're discussing. 
Concept ofIdraj: a word is inserted into the text, the one hearing it doesn't realize that he's just explaining it and it's not part of the hadeeth and the one that's passing it passes it on as hadeeth (in this case, it could have been tafseer of hadeeth that was passed on)
Should we reject the shaad readings?
Two types of errors - alpha or beta errors - reject something that is authentic or accept something that is incorrect.
Excluding 5 how much weight should be given to shaad readings
Do we treat them as hadith?
Look at the above 4 possibilities, and think about what is the weight that should be given to these qiraat? should they be used in tafaseer or not? They are strong in narration and well-known from early time. So how much weight should we give it to these qiraat. Should we give any weight to them? We say, we know it's not part of the quran and probably something going on so we just reject it. At the moment, it is like a hadith, would you agree with that? 
Let's say in the case of ibn masood opinion of fasting consecutive days. Is that acceptable? Making up the days of fasting, there is qiraat for that as well saying that they should be consecutive. 
Books of tafseer didn't discuss this very much. The problem if it is #2, those verses that were repealed, ruling was repealed but the verses were not repealed, ruling and verses were repealed. This is a problem with # 2. E.g. verse of stoning was repealed from the quran but the practice still continued and the Prophet continued that. 
Other verses of that nature, where we don't have evidence that the ruling continued, then that's a problem. The madahib discuss this in detail and differ. All agree we cannot read qiraa't shaad in the salah:
1)  hanafi view, if the chain is sahih, one must act according to it. Especially if it's attributed to the Prophet (saw). They say, it's reading that has been prohibited or a correct interpretation of the verse. 
2) Imam Malik, we have narrations where he accepted Shaad reading in general they treat them like Hadeeth Ahaad. And they have strict conditions on Hadeeth Ahaad.
3) Imam Shafi accepts in kitaab al-uloom but Imam an-nawawi says that this is not accepted in our madhab.
4) in hanbali madhab, it's clearly a hujjah. 
One example before we break. let's take the example of the verse that has to do with fasting of Ramadan. 
Baqarah 184http://quran.com/2/184
أَيَّامًا مَّعْدُودَاتٍ ۚ فَمَن كَانَ مِنكُم مَّرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ ۚوَعَلَى الَّذِينَ يُطِيقُونَهُ فِدْيَةٌ طَعَامُ مِسْكِينٍ ۖ فَمَن تَطَوَّعَ خَيْرًا فَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّهُ ۚوَأَن تَصُومُوا خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ ۖ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ
Muhsin Khan: [Observing Saum (fasts)] for a fixed number of days, but if any of you is ill or on a journey, the same number (should be made up) from other days. And as for those who can fast with difficulty, (e.g. an old man, etc.), they have (a choice either to fast or) to feed a Miskin (poor person) (for every day). But whoever does good of his own accord, it is better for him. And that you fast, it is better for you if only you know.
Sahih International: [Fasting for] a limited number of days. So whoever among you is ill or on a journey [during them] - then an equal number of days [are to be made up]. And upon those who are able [to fast, but with hardship] - a ransom [as substitute] of feeding a poor person [each day]. And whoever volunteers excess - it is better for him. But to fast is best for you, if you only knew.
[sheikh considers both translations to be VERY bad] 
anyone young, old, strong, weak, anyone had the option of not fasting and in exchange for not fasting they'd feed one poor person. This is what the verse is talking about. One year later, the next verse comes "whoever is present in the month MUST fast". This verse abrogated the above verse. 
http://quran.com/2/185
شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَىٰ وَالْفُرْقَانِ ۚ فَمَن شَهِدَ مِنكُمُ الشَّهْرَ فَلْيَصُمْهُ ۖ وَمَن كَانَ مَرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ ۗ يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ وَلِتُكْمِلُوا الْعِدَّةَ وَلِتُكَبِّرُوا اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ مَا هَدَاكُمْ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ
Muhsin Khan: The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Quran, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan i.e. is present at his home), he must observe Saum (fasts) that month, and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Saum (fasts) must be made up] from other days. Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you. (He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allah [i.e. to say Takbir (Allahu-Akbar; Allah is the Most Great) on seeing the crescent of the months of Ramadan and Shawwal] for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him.
Sahih International: The month of Ramadhan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur'an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey - then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.
However we have different Shaadh reading from ibn abbas, aishah, tawoos and others. The one from ibn abbaas that is very well-known and he reads it as, "yatuqunahu" instead of "yutifunahu".    يُطِيقُونَهُ This reading is not consistent with any mushaf of Uthmaan since there's a "wow" instead of the "ya". In this word, changes the meaning to "extremely difficult". Based on this, ibn Abbaas and other scholars say, old man/woman, they don't have to fast they give it the poor person. And he says, the pregnant woman/breast feeding woman, they don't fast they pay the poor person (fidyah). According to this verse, this is all that is required from them. So now the question goes, how much weight should be given. So this reading has not been abrogated and ibn Abbas is basing fatwa based on his reading. According to this reading, for an old man, who is not sick but it's difficult on him, he doesn't have to fast whereas other scholars say he still needs to fast. 

October 6 2009

Last week's notes can be found herehttp://etherpad.com/ep/pad/view/principles-of-quranic-tafseer/EkM15qCoFj

What weight should be given to Shaad qiraat?
What is the main weakness?
The chain is sahih, the arabic language is fine, but it contradicts the musahaf of Uthman.
 Shaad qiraat are a problematic issue for those who believe that the musahaf of Uthman did not preserve all of the qiraat. How did they decide which of the qiraat were preserved? Majority of scholars including Tabari do not believe that all of the qiraat were preserved in the mushaf of Uthman.

Baqarah 184http://quran.com/2/184
أَيَّامًا مَّعْدُودَاتٍ ۚ فَمَن كَانَ مِنكُم مَّرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ ۚوَعَلَى الَّذِينَ يُطِيقُونَهُ فِدْيَةٌ طَعَامُ مِسْكِينٍ ۖ فَمَن تَطَوَّعَ خَيْرًا فَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّهُ ۚوَأَن تَصُومُوا خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ ۖ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ
Muhsin Khan: [Observing Saum (fasts)] for a fixed number of days, but if any of you is ill or on a journey, the same number (should be made up) from other days. And as for those who can fast with difficulty, (e.g. an old man, etc.), they have (a choice either to fast or) to feed a Miskin (poor person) (for every day). But whoever does good of his own accord, it is better for him. And that you fast, it is better for you if only you know.
Sahih International: [Fasting for] a limited number of days. So whoever among you is ill or on a journey [during them] - then an equal number of days [are to be made up]. And upon those who are able [to fast, but with hardship] - a ransom [as substitute] of feeding a poor person [each day]. And whoever volunteers excess - it is better for him. But to fast is best for you, if you only knew.
[sheikh considers both translations to be VERY bad] 
anyone young, old, strong, weak, anyone had the option of not fasting and in exchange for not fasting they'd feed one poor person. This is what the verse is talking about. One year later, the next verse comes "whoever is present in the month MUST fast". This verse abrogated the above verse. 
http://quran.com/2/185
شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَىٰ وَالْفُرْقَانِ ۚ فَمَن شَهِدَ مِنكُمُ الشَّهْرَ فَلْيَصُمْهُ ۖ وَمَن كَانَ مَرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ ۗ يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ بِكُمُ الْيُسْرَ وَلَا يُرِيدُ بِكُمُ الْعُسْرَ وَلِتُكْمِلُوا الْعِدَّةَ وَلِتُكَبِّرُوا اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ مَا هَدَاكُمْ وَلَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ
Muhsin Khan: The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Quran, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan i.e. is present at his home), he must observe Saum (fasts) that month, and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Saum (fasts) must be made up] from other days. Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you. (He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allah [i.e. to say Takbir (Allahu-Akbar; Allah is the Most Great) on seeing the crescent of the months of Ramadan and Shawwal] for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him.
Sahih International: The month of Ramadhan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur'an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey - then an equal number of other days. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.

أطاق - يطيقون
To be capable of doing something
Be capable of doing something but with some hardship

Sahih Bukhari: This part of the verse has been abrogated. When this verse was originally revealed, it was difficult for some of them to fast. Even those who were capable of fasting when the first revelation came down, were given an option to fast or feed miskin. However next year the next verse was revealed and it abrogated the first verse.

Ibn Abbas says that the first verse was not completely abrogated put it was particularized to old men or old women and were allowed to give fidya to the poor. Maybe he is not changing the qiraat but he was explaining the verse by using the word يطوقون by adding waw between ط ق there is و

Majority of scholars do not accept ibn Abbas's view and they say that pregnant women have to make up the fasting.

If a woman is weak because of pregnancy or breast-feeding then she is treated just like any one else who is sick or weak, then she has to make up the fast.

However if she is breaking the fast due to fear of safety for the unborn child or breast feeding child. Here she is capable of fasting but she breaks the fast due to fear that fasting might harm the child, then she has to pay fidya and make up the fast. 

There are other examples of qiraat shaada which also have significant implications.

Lot of issues in usool al fiqh point to one side or another, however the qiraat shaad is very difficult to resolve. 

Some consider it to be a hadith and not hujjah (authority, proof, evidence).

For those who say qiraat shaada is hujjah, then how do they defend that it is not preserved in the mushaf of uthman.

Now we will move to methodology and source of tafseer

Would you agree that tafseer of an explanation of the quran should be based on knowledge? It should not be based on conjecture or guess work or emotion?  Since we are talking about Allah swt it has to be based on ilm or knowledge.

ibn Taymiyyah: ilm is either that something that has been affirmed transmission from an infallible source or there is clear evidence for the transmission, or it is a bogus statement that is rejected, or it is something that we have to reserve judgement because we dont know whether it is correct.

Quran, Sunnah, ijmah are considered to be ilm
Statement that has a clear evidence

Tafseer of the quran by quran or sunnah - we will start discussing what it means to interpret the quran in the light of the quran.

What does it mean and what are it's limitations?


October 13 2009

Last week's notes can be found herehttp://etherpad.com/ep/pad/view/principles-of-quranic-tafseer/lc6Jvg7wgE

Tafseer of the Quran by Quran - we will start discussing what it means to interpret the Quran in the light of the Quran. What does it mean and what are it's limitations?

Some of these ways are clear and obvious. Some may require little bit of thought. And others maybe controversial, some may agree with conclusions, some may not.

This falls under the general pattern of "bayan" (to make something clear). Some passages of the quran may be ambiguous, so other verses of the quran make it clear.

Surah Mumtahanah verse 1
 يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَتَّخِذُوا عَدُوِّي وَعَدُوَّكُمْ أَوْلِيَاءَ تُلْقُونَ إِلَيْهِم بِالْمَوَدَّةِ وَقَدْ كَفَرُوا بِمَا جَاءَكُم مِّنَ الْحَقِّ يُخْرِجُونَ الرَّسُولَ وَإِيَّاكُمْ ۙ أَن تُؤْمِنُوا بِاللَّهِ رَبِّكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ خَرَجْتُمْ جِهَادًا فِي سَبِيلِي وَابْتِغَاءَ مَرْضَاتِي ۚ تُسِرُّونَ إِلَيْهِم بِالْمَوَدَّةِ وَأَنَا أَعْلَمُ بِمَا أَخْفَيْتُمْ وَمَا أَعْلَنتُمْ ۚ وَمَن يَفْعَلْهُ مِنكُمْ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ سَوَاءَ السَّبِيلِ
Muhsin Khan: O you who believe! Take not My enemies and your enemies (i.e. disbelievers and polytheists, etc.) as friends, showing affection towards them, while they have disbelieved in what has come to you of the truth (i.e. Islamic Monotheism, this Quran, and Muhammad SAW), and have driven out the Messenger (Muhammad SAW) and yourselves (from your homeland) because you believe in Allah your Lord! If you have come forth to strive in My Cause and to seek My Good Pleasure, (then take not these disbelievers and polytheists, etc., as your friends). You show friendship to them in secret, while I am All-Aware of what you conceal and what you reveal. And whosoever of you (Muslims) does that, then indeed he has gone (far) astray, (away) from the Straight Path.

What is Allah swt mean by my enemies and your enemies as friends? The next part says that you show affection to them. This is bayan al mukhtassal (bayan that is connected)

Bayan that is not connected requires more effort. You have to relate different verses to understand what Allah swt means. Bayan al Munfassal (bayan that is unconnected)

Surah Al Maida verse 1
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَوْفُوا بِالْعُقُودِ ۚ أُحِلَّتْ لَكُم بَهِيمَةُ الْأَنْعَامِ إِلَّا مَا يُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْكُمْ غَيْرَ مُحِلِّي الصَّيْدِ وَأَنتُمْ حُرُمٌ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَحْكُمُ مَا يُرِيدُ
Muhsin Khan: O you who believe! Fulfill (your) obligations. Lawful to you (for food) are all the beasts of cattle except that which will be announced to you (herein), game (also) being unlawful when you assume Ihram for Hajj or 'Umrah (pilgrimage). Verily, Allah commands that which He wills.

Here Allah swt all of the grazing lifestock are halal to you except that which has been announced. The answer is Surah Al Maida verse 3.
حُرِّمَتْ عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَيْتَةُ وَالدَّمُ وَلَحْمُ الْخِنزِيرِ وَمَا أُهِلَّ لِغَيْرِ اللَّهِ بِهِ وَالْمُنْخَنِقَةُ وَالْمَوْقُوذَةُ وَالْمُتَرَدِّيَةُ وَالنَّطِيحَةُ وَمَا أَكَلَ السَّبُعُ إِلَّا مَا ذَكَّيْتُمْ وَمَا ذُبِحَ عَلَى النُّصُبِ وَأَن تَسْتَقْسِمُوا بِالْأَزْلَامِ ۚ ذَٰلِكُمْ فِسْقٌ ۗ الْيَوْمَ يَئِسَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِن دِينِكُمْ فَلَا تَخْشَوْهُمْ وَاخْشَوْنِ ۚ الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الْإِسْلَامَ دِينًا ۚ فَمَنِ اضْطُرَّ فِي مَخْمَصَةٍ غَيْرَ مُتَجَانِفٍ لِّإِثْمٍ ۙ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
Muhsin Khan: Forbidden to you (for food) are: Al-Maytatah (the dead animals - cattle-beast not slaughtered), blood, the flesh of swine, and the meat of that which has been slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allah, or has been slaughtered for idols, etc., or on which Allah's Name has not been mentioned while slaughtering, and that which has been killed by strangling, or by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or by the goring of horns - and that which has been (partly) eaten by a wild animal - unless you are able to slaughter it (before its death) - and that which is sacrificed (slaughtered) on An-Nusub (stone altars). (Forbidden) also is to use arrows seeking luck or decision, (all) that is Fisqun (disobedience of Allah and sin). This day, those who disbelieved have given up all hope of your religion, so fear them not, but fear Me. This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. But as for him who is forced by severe hunger, with no inclination to sin (such can eat these above-mentioned meats), then surely, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

Surah Baqarah verse 37? and Surah Araf verse 23 that are bayan for Surah Baqarah verse 37?

Another example:
Surah Baqarah verse 40
يَا بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ اذْكُرُوا نِعْمَتِيَ الَّتِي أَنْعَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَأَوْفُوا بِعَهْدِي أُوفِ بِعَهْدِكُمْ وَإِيَّايَ فَارْهَبُونِ
Muhsin Khan: O Children of Israel! Remember My Favour which I bestowed upon you, and fulfill (your obligations to) My Covenant (with you) so that I fulfill (My Obligations to) your covenant (with Me), and fear none but Me.

What is the covenant with children of Israel
What is he telling them to do and what will be the response
It is explained in Surah Maidah verse 12
وَلَقَدْ أَخَذَ اللَّهُ مِيثَاقَ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ وَبَعَثْنَا مِنْهُمُ اثْنَيْ عَشَرَ نَقِيبًا ۖ وَقَالَ اللَّهُ إِنِّي مَعَكُمْ ۖ لَئِنْ أَقَمْتُمُ الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَيْتُمُ الزَّكَاةَ وَآمَنتُم بِرُسُلِي وَعَزَّرْتُمُوهُمْ وَأَقْرَضْتُمُ اللَّهَ قَرْضًا حَسَنًا لَّأُكَفِّرَنَّ عَنكُمْ سَيِّئَاتِكُمْ وَلَأُدْخِلَنَّكُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ ۚ فَمَن كَفَرَ بَعْدَ ذَٰلِكَ مِنكُمْ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ سَوَاءَ السَّبِيلِ
Muhsin Khan: Indeed Allah took the covenant from the Children of Israel (Jews), and We appointed twelve leaders among them. And Allah said: "I am with you if you perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat) and give Zakat and believe in My Messengers; honour and assist them, and lend to Allah a good loan. Verily, I will remit your sins and admit you to Gardens under which rivers flow (in Paradise). But if any of you after this, disbelieved, he has indeed gone astray from the Straight Path."

Sometime the cause for ambiguity is mushtarah (homonym - word that has multiple meanings)
Surah Hajj verse 29
ثُمَّ لْيَقْضُوا تَفَثَهُمْ وَلْيُوفُوا نُذُورَهُمْ وَلْيَطَّوَّفُوا بِالْبَيْتِ الْعَتِيقِ
Muhsin Khan: Then let them complete the prescribed duties (Manasik of Hajj) for them, and perform their vows, and circumambulate the Ancient House (the Ka'bah at Makkah).
Make tawaf around atiq الْعَتِيقِ. What is the meaning of atiq الْعَتِيقِ ?
It can mean ancient, old, beautiful, excellent, noble. Which one is meant here?
Here Allah swt is referring to the first house built by Ibrahim and hence ancient.

Let's assume that we have no evidence and only thing we have is a description of the house  بِالْبَيْتِ الْعَتِيقِ
If you are forced into making a judgement about the word, otherwise you will have to remain silent.
Allah swt says that there is the first house built by Ibrahim. And this becomes your proof. Sheikh mentioned the ayat 3:96 as the proof of the first house
إِنَّ أَوَّلَ بَيْتٍ وُضِعَ لِلنَّاسِ لَلَّذِي بِبَكَّةَ مُبَارَكًا وَهُدًى لِّلْعَالَمِينَ
Muhsin Khan: Verily, the first House (of worship) appointed for mankind was that at Bakkah (Makkah), full of blessing, and a guidance for Al-'Alamin (the mankind and jinns).

Surah Baqarah verse 7
خَتَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمْ وَعَلَىٰ سَمْعِهِمْ ۖ وَعَلَىٰ أَبْصَارِهِمْ غِشَاوَةٌ ۖ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ
Muhsin Khan: Allah has set a seal on their hearts and on their hearings, (i.e. they are closed from accepting Allah's Guidance), and on their eyes there is a covering. Theirs will be a great torment.

Allah swt is sealing and covering. Covering can apply to hearing and sight. Also sealing can be on hearts and hearings. Linguistically it is ambiguous. So how do we know that seal is for the hearts and hearing. Here we have to refer to another verse where Allah swt added a verb to make it explicit that sealing is of the hearts and hearing. Which Surah/Ayah????

Surah Al Adiyat verse 7
وَإِنَّهُ عَلَىٰ ذَٰلِكَ لَشَهِيدٌ
Muhsin Khan: And to that facthe bears witness (by his deeds);

Who ishe?
Refer to the previously mentioned pronoun.

إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ لِرَبِّهِ لَكَنُودٌ
Muhsin Khan: Verily! Man (disbeliever) is ungrateful to his Lord;

So in verse 7, does the pronoun "he" refers to Allah swt or human being?
From the context of the verse, the pronounhe is human being and not Allah swt.

Another example

Surah Ali Imran verse 90
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا بَعْدَ إِيمَانِهِمْ ثُمَّ ازْدَادُوا كُفْرًا لَّن تُقْبَلَ تَوْبَتُهُمْ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الضَّالُّونَ
Muhsin Khan: Verily, those who disbelieved after their Belief and then went on increasing in their disbelief (i.e. disbelief in the Quran and in Prophet Muhammad SAW) - never will their repentance be accepted [because they repent only by their tongues and not from their hearts]. And they are those who are astray.

Is this verse to be taken at face value, so to speak. Is the door of repentance closed? 

Surah Nisa verse 18

وَلَيْسَتِ التَّوْبَةُ لِلَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ السَّيِّئَاتِ حَتَّى إِذَا حَضَرَ أَحَدَهُمُ الْمَوْتُ قَالَ إِنِّي تُبْتُ الآنَ وَلاَ الَّذِينَ يَمُوتُونَ وَهُمْ كُفَّارٌ أُوْلَـئِكَ أَعْتَدْنَا لَهُمْ عَذَاباً أَلِيماً
Muhsin Khan: And of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil deeds until death faces one of them and he says: "Now I repent;" nor of those who die while they are disbelievers. For them We have prepared a painful torment.

The meaning of verse 90/Ali Imran is more restricted and can be explained by Nisa verse 18 to a specific case.

Another example
Surah Maidah verse 5
وَمَن يَكْفُرْ بِالإِيمَانِ فَقَدْ حَبِطَ عَمَلُهُ وَهُوَ فِي الآخِرَةِ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ ...
Muhsin Khan: ... ....  ...  And whosoever disbelieves in the Oneness of Allah and in all the other Articles of Faith , then fruitless is his work, and in the Hereafter he will be among the losers.

The meaning of this ayat (Maidah 5:5) can be restricted by Baqarah/verse 2:217.
Muhsin Khan: ... ....  ... And whosoever of you turns back from his religion and dies as a disbeliever, then his deeds will be lost in this life and in the Hereafter, and they will be the dwellers of the Fire. They will abide therein forever.

Since both of the ayats are discussing disbelief, however 2:217 is more restricted case of 5:5

Particularizing a general statement
Surah Nisa/verse 3
Marry whatever women you desire to marry
Do we take this verse in general sense
in v23, Surah Nisa', Allah swt tells us which category of women we cannot marry. Outside of those whom we cannot marry, then we can choose who we wish to marry.

Punishment for fornicators
Noor v2, Does this punishment also apply to a slave woman who also fornicates? If not, why? What is your proof?
Surah Nisa verse 25: Slave woman's punishment is half of a free woman's punishment.

What is meant by the terms Mantooq and Mafhoom
Mantooq what you literally stated / what is clearly stated.
Mafhoom: what is understood although it is not explicitly stated / conclusion from what is literally stated. 
HOMEWORK: Can you prove from the Quran it is not permissible to marry Christian or Jewish slave women?
HINT: Use the principle of Mafhoom to prove that it is forbidden to marry Christian or Jewish slave women.

October 20 2009

Last week's notes can be found herehttp://etherpad.com/ep/pad/view/principles-of-quranic-tafseer/eYMn3v5y3C

HOMEWORK: Can you prove from the Quran it is not permissible to marry Christian or Jewish slave women?
HINT: Use the principle of Mafhoom to prove that it is forbidden to marry Christian or Jewish slave women.

Discussion of the homework.

Is Al-Maidah:5 mafhoom? yes
Is An-Nisa:25 mafhoom? yes. 

both are mafhoom. Which one is stronger kind of mafhoom? 
In the second, more dire situation is being described and only one category is mentioned, then that would be more reasonable case of here the mafhoom applies. Allah (swt) even in the case of need restricted it to limited case. Based on these two verses, could you say the conclusion is definitive (qati')? 

Principle in shariah, basic ruling concerning action is permissibility. However there are 3 exceptions to it: Lahm (meat), taking someone's life and sexual relations (Marriage). 

What we have shown on the board (discussing homework) is it ijtihad? is it definitive? is it necessary for it to be definitive in fiqh? Does every fiqh point have to be qati'? 
Fiqh rulings do not have to be definitive. As long as there is ample evidence, it is enough to pass a ruling.

HW: How do you define muhsinat? Some say it is free women, others say it means chaste. Hanafis do not accept argument by mafhoom. Shafai and Hanbalis accept this ruling. Hanafis say this ruling is not good and is not permissible.

Conclusion is not going to be definitve. And according to some scholars may not be even correct.
Quranic term mushrikoon means non-believer other than the people of the book, even though Quran is clear that Jews and Christians do commit Shirk.

ahkam al-quran by al-jassas, you won't find him agreeing with these kind of arguments of mafhoom that are used by the Shafi/Hanbali. 

Allah swt sometimes uses a word that is referred to as Ghareeb.
Ghareeb here means rare or not commonly used. It does not mean strange. 
For example, Allah swt uses the word Sijjeel
Surah Dhariat verse 33 uses Sijjeel: what is the meaning of this word?  Khan/Hilal translates it as baked clay/hard clay. Rare word / uncommon word. At-Teen and Sijjeel are translated the same way. At-Teen would be better translated as just clay.

Surat Fatiha: Rab-ul-Alameen
What is the meaning of Rab-ul-Alameen
Firaun asked Musa what is Rab-ul-Alameen in surat Shuarah.
What about Maliki Yaw-middeen
In another verse of quran what can explain to you what is ....

Allah swt may explain something but not reveal the cause behind it.
For example Surah Baqarah verse 74 Then your hearts became hardened
Why did their hearts became hardened?
Answer is in Surah Maida verse 13 / Surah Hadeed verse 16 because they broke their covenant.
Would that be a definitive conclusion? No, It is one of the asbaabs or partial conclusion.

Sometimes you can find some incident in the Quran but time and place is mentioned somewhere else
Surah Shuarah verse#? : Prophet is going to be a witness over you or against you.
Where is this witnessing going to happen?
Surat Nisa verse 41 explains the witnessing will take place in qiyamat.

Allah swt presents stories in the quran and the details are presented else where in the quran.

Principle #1:
Interpretation of verse in the quran which is consistent with the context of the quran will be given preference unless there is evidence to show otherwise.

Tabari uses this principle a lot.
He will bring statements that discuss the verse. He rarely critics the chains. Then he discusses in a Q&A format among them which is the strongest view.
For example: Surah An Naml verse 92 and 93
وَأَنْ أَتْلُوَ الْقُرْآنَ ۖ فَمَنِ اهْتَدَىٰ فَإِنَّمَا يَهْتَدِي لِنَفْسِهِ ۖ وَمَن ضَلَّ فَقُلْ إِنَّمَا أَنَا مِنَ الْمُنذِرِينَ
Muhsin Khan: And to recite the Quran, so whosoever receives guidance, receives it for the good of his ownself, and whosoever goes astray, say (to him): "I am only one of the warners."
وَقُلِ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ سَيُرِيكُمْ آيَاتِهِ فَتَعْرِفُونَهَا ۚ وَمَا رَبُّكَ بِغَافِلٍ عَمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ
Muhsin Khan: And say [(O Muhammad SAW) to these polytheists and pagans etc.]: "All the praises and thanks be to Allah. He will show you His Ayat (signs, in yourselves, and in the universe or punishments, etc.), and you shall recognise them. And your Lord is not unaware of what you do."
Who is Allah swt referring to?
Tabari presents evidence that it could be Jews or Mushrikeen of Quraysh
He concludes that the context of the verse and it is preferable to remain in the context and not leave the context of the surah. In absence of clear authentic report, Tabari weighs between the two opinions and chooses the mushrikeen of Quraysh.
Jews have never rejected the idea that ... hence the conclusion that it refers to mushrikeen.

Another example
Surat An-Nahl verse 83
يَعْرِفُونَ نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ ثُمَّ يُنكِرُونَهَا وَأَكْثَرُهُمُ الْكَافِرُونَ
Muhsin Khan: They recognise the Grace of Allah, yet they deny it (by worshipping others besides Allah) and most of them are disbelievers (deny the Prophethood of Muhammad SAW).
Sahih International: They recognize the favor of Allah; then they deny it. And most of them are disbelievers.

HW: What is meaning that they recognize yet they deny.



October 27 2009

Last week's notes can be found herehttp://etherpad.com/ep/pad/view/principles-of-quranic-tafseer/oegk3yNEbT

Principle #1:
Interpretation of verse in the Quran which is consistent with the context of the Quran will be given preference unless there is evidence to show otherwise.

Tabari uses this principle a lot.
He will bring statements that discuss the verse. He rarely critics the chains. Then he discusses in a Q&A format among them which is the strongest view.
For example: Surah An Naml verse 92 and 93
وَأَنْ أَتْلُوَ الْقُرْآنَ ۖ فَمَنِ اهْتَدَىٰ فَإِنَّمَا يَهْتَدِي لِنَفْسِهِ ۖ وَمَن ضَلَّ فَقُلْ إِنَّمَا أَنَا مِنَ الْمُنذِرِينَ
Muhsin Khan: And to recite the Quran, so whosoever receives guidance, receives it for the good of his ownself, and whosoever goes astray, say (to him): "I am only one of the warners."
وَقُلِ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ سَيُرِيكُمْ آيَاتِهِ فَتَعْرِفُونَهَا ۚ وَمَا رَبُّكَ بِغَافِلٍ عَمَّا تَعْمَلُونَ
Muhsin Khan: And say [(O Muhammad SAW) to these polytheists and pagans etc.]: "All the praises and thanks be to Allah. He will show you His Ayat (signs, in yourselves, and in the universe or punishments, etc.), and you shall recognise them. And your Lord is not unaware of what you do."

Who is Allah swt referring to?
Tabari presents evidence that it could be Jews or Mushrikeen of Quraysh
He concludes that the context of the verse and it is preferable to remain in the context and not leave the context of the surah. In absence of clear authentic report, Tabari weighs between the two opinions and chooses the mushrikeen of Quraysh.
Jews have never rejected the idea that ... hence the conclusion that it refers to mushrikeen.

Another example Surat An-Nahl verse 83
يَعْرِفُونَ نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ ثُمَّ يُنكِرُونَهَا وَأَكْثَرُهُمُ الْكَافِرُونَ
Muhsin Khan: They recognise the Grace of Allah, yet they deny it (by worshipping others besides Allah) and most of them are disbelievers (deny the Prophethood of Muhammad SAW).
Sahih International: They recognize the favor of Allah; then they deny it. And most of them are disbelievers.

HW: What is meaning that they recognize yet they deny.

What is this niamat Allah نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ that they are denying?

Tabari says there are different views on the meaning of the verse. He presents the different views and then gives his opinion.
1. One opinion which was stated by Subdi: This niamat is the recognition that Allah swt sent Prophet Muhammad to them and they reject it. They are rejecting that he is a prophet sent by Allah swt
2. Another opinion: A number of bounties are mentioned in the surah. They recognize the bounties. And then they attribute the bounties to their fore-fathers and not to Allah swt. It is just their inheritance.
3. Opinion: They say that their rizk has come due to the intercession of their idols.
According to Tabari, the strongest of the four opinions (sheikh did not mention the fourth opinion) is opinion 1 - sending of prophet to them. And then Tabari says this verse is between two verses that are informing of Prophet. And then the Principle that we are studying is applied. Context of the surah applies unless thiere is evidence to show otherwise.

Surah An-Nahl verse 82-84

فَإِن تَوَلَّوْا فَإِنَّمَا عَلَيْكَ الْبَلَاغُ الْمُبِينُ
Muhsin Khan: Then, if they turn away, your duty (O Muhammad SAW) is only to convey (the Message) in a clear way.

يَعْرِفُونَ نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ ثُمَّ يُنكِرُونَهَا وَأَكْثَرُهُمُ الْكَافِرُونَ
Muhsin Khan: They recognise the Grace of Allah, yet they deny it (by worshipping others besides Allah) and most of them are disbelievers (deny the Prophethood of Muhammad SAW).

وَيَوْمَ نَبْعَثُ مِن كُلِّ أُمَّةٍ شَهِيدًا ثُمَّ لَا يُؤْذَنُ لِلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا وَلَا هُمْ يُسْتَعْتَبُونَ
Muhsin Khan: And (remember) the Day when We shall raise up from each nation a witness (their Messenger), then, those who have disbelieved will not be given leave (to put forward excuses), nor will they be allowed (to return to the world) to repent and ask for Allah's Forgiveness (of their sins, etc.).

Ibn Katheer disagrees with Tabari. The principle that Tabari invoked is good, unless there is contrary evidence.

What ibn Katheer says that the bounty described are from Allah swt, they reject it by worshiping idols. And then ibn Katheer says "As Abi Hateem says". 

Abi Hateem lived at the same time as ibn Katheer. He also has a book of tafseer.

Beduion came to the prophet. Prophet read the verse 80 from An-Nahl which describe the bounties of Allah swt. The beduion agreed with the bounties described in the ayat. And when prophet read the ayat the end of "Thus does He perfect His Grace unto you, that you may submit yourselves to His Will (in Islam)" and the beduion turned away. Then Allah swt revealed the verses 82-83.

{ وَأَكْثَرُهُمُ الْكَافِرُونَ } -كما قال ابن أبي حاتم: حدثنا أبو زُرْعَة، حدثنا صفوان، حدثنا الوليد حدثنا عبد الرحمن بن يزيد بن جابر، عن مجاهد؛ أن أعرابيًا أتى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فسأله، فقرأ عليه رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: { وَاللَّهُ جَعَلَ لَكُمْ مِنْ بُيُوتِكُمْ سَكَنًا } قال الأعرابي: نعم. قال: { وَجَعَلَ لَكُمْ مِنْ جُلُودِ الأنْعَامِ بُيُوتًا تَسْتَخِفُّونَهَا يَوْمَ ظَعْنِكُمْ وَيَوْمَ إِقَامَتِكُمْ } قال الأعرابي: نعم. ثم قرأ عليه، كل ذلك يقول الأعرابي: نعم، حتى بلغ: { كَذَلِكَ يُتِمُّ نِعْمَتَهُ عَلَيْكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُسْلِمُونَ } فولى الأعرابي، فأنزل الله: { يَعْرِفُونَ نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ ثُمَّ يُنْكِرُونَهَا وَأَكْثَرُهُمُ الْكَافِرُونَ } (5) .

Principle #2:
To interpret a word or speech in the way that Allah swt usually uses the word or speech or as is found throughout the quran takes precedence to understanding it in a manner divergent from understanding it

Sometimes there is a term or expression in the Quran. And that expr is used in many places in the Quran. And the meaning is well understood. And then if somebody interprets the expression in a way that is contradicting the expression used in other places in the quran then   that explanation should be rejected.

Now we will discuss the examples of the principle

Surah Qasas verse 88
وَلَا تَدْعُ مَعَ اللَّهِ إِلَٰهًا آخَرَ ۘ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۚ كُلُّ شَيْءٍ هَالِكٌ إِلَّا وَجْهَهُ ۚ لَهُ الْحُكْمُ وَإِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ
Muhsin Khan: And invoke not any other ilah (god) along with Allah, La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He). Everything will perish save His Face. His is the Decision, and to Him you (all) shall be returned.
Sahih International: And do not invoke with Allah another deity. There is no deity except Him. Everything will be destroyed except His Face. His is the judgement, and to Him you will be returned.

كُلُّ شَيْءٍ هَالِكٌ إِلَّا وَجْهَهُ
Everything will be destroyed / perish except his Face / his countenance / but he 

ibn Taymiyah is explaining this verse in context of refuting that everything is part of Allah and that we are all part and parcel of Allah. In context of refuting them, his argument is that when Allah swt uses the word  وَجْهَهُ   Allah swt does not use the word in the context of Allah is the creator, but he uses the word in the context of worshipping Allah swt and gaining his pleasure. ibn Taymiyah does not refute that Allah swt has a face.

He is saying that everything will perish except Allah swt.

One of the arguments he is using: if you go to the quran and see where Allah swt is using hte word  وَجْهَهُ it is in the context of gaining the pleasure of Allah swt.

Everything will perish except what is done for the pleasure of Allah swt.

So what verses is he referring to for his evidence?

Doing charity for the sake of Allah swt - Surah Rum verse 39
وَمَا آتَيْتُم مِّن زَكَاةٍ تُرِيدُونَ وَجْهَ اللَّهِ

For other examples of the usage of the word seehttp://quran.com/search/وَجْهَ

If you look at all of the different surahs except Qasas are in the context of doing something for the sake of Allahs swt when Allah swt uses the word  وَجْهَ 

Now if you try to understand Surah Qasas in a different manner when referring to the word  وَجْهَ then you are contradicting the principle #2

This does not negate the fact that Allah swt has a face. This does not mean that everything will perish except just the face of Allah swt.

HW: Surat Nur verse 31
 وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا
 The word  زِينَ is used in the quran and find out how it is used elsewhere and then describe how it should be used in Surat Nur verse 31
 Here is the url for searching the wordhttp://quran.com/search/زِينَ


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