A study of the most important rules one should be familiar with to understand the Word of Allah properly. This session shall cover Arabic language and linguistic issues in tafseer.
Prerequisite: NONE (all topics are independent of previous sessions).
Time: Tuesdays 7:00 - 8:00 PDT - (time for final session TBA)
Basic Outline of the Class
Topic 1: Principles related to Arabic
Final Exam 100% or 90% (One final, June 1, one week before last class)
Pop Quiz 10% at the discretion of the instructor
2010-04-06 Class Notes
Some of the ways Quran uses prepositions
In english we have different prepositions, each one of those has its own specific meanings. And if you use wrong preposition, it might sound strange and some other times its ok.
Arabic language is more flexible with respect to its particles and they could be used interchangeably. Even when they are used interchangeably, in the context of poetic language, they never loose their original essence and meaning.
Surah Al Hijr verse 41
قَالَ هَٰذَا صِرَاطٌ عَلَيَّ مُسْتَقِيمٌ
Sahih International: [ Allah ] said, "This is a path [of return] to Me [that is] straight.
Muhsin Khan: (Allah) said: "This is the Way which will lead straight to Me."
The preposition عَلَيَّ is used instead of ila
Quran uses عَلَيَّ ala instead of ila. When you interchange preposition like this, you have the meaning of preposition ila and also of عَلَيَّ ala
It provides a new shade of meaning.
عَلَيَّ translates to upon or on
ila translates to "to"
When someone is rightly guided, it is described as it is upon, he not us on it or in it, it is something elevated, it is upon.
Surah Baqarah: They are upon guidance from their Lord,
Sahih International: So rely upon Allah ; indeed, you are upon the clear truth.
Muhsin Khan: So put your trust in Allah; surely, you (O Muhammad SAW) are on manifest truth
Surah Taubah verse 45
When Allah swt describes those people who are following errant paths, they are obviously not upon guidance. They are not on a praiseworthy place. He uses fi instead of ala. They are fi instead of ala on their doubt. hum fi ghairi
Sahih International: But those who deny Our verses are deaf and dumb within darknesses. Whomever Allah wills - He leaves astray; and whomever He wills - He puts him on a straight path.
Muhsin Khan: Those who reject Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) are deaf and dumb in darkness. Allah sends astray whom He wills and He guides on the Straight Path whom He wills.
In arabic language, if I want to say I am at the university, in arabic you will say I am in the university. So it is similar to using in instead of at, and you will recognize it immediately.
Verb Preposition Idioms
Verb and preposition together give a unique meaning.
Verb X + Preposition A => Meaning
Very Y + Preposition B => Meaning
Verb X + Preposition B => You get the implied meaning and existence of the verb Y.
Sahih International: A spring of which the [righteous] servants of Allah will drink; they will make it gush forth in force [and abundance].
Muhsin Khan: A spring wherefrom the slaves of Allah will drink, causing it to gush forth abundantly
We are expecting min ha instead of bi ha بِهَا
Satisfy yourself completely and Get pleasure will be used with bi ha. By implication the preposition bi ha بِهَا captures the meaning of complete satisfaction. (Drink to your satisfaction arwa bi ha or ladheez bi ha
Yashrabu min ha instead of Yashrabu bi ha
Drink from it instead of something that will completely satisfy by drinking from it.
In very few amount of words, you express a meaning which far exceeds
Surah Naziat verse 18
فَقُلْ هَل لَّكَ إِلَىٰ أَن تَزَكَّىٰ
Sahih International: And say to him, 'Would you [be willing to] purify yourself
Muhsin Khan: And say to him: "Would you purify yourself (from the sin of disbelief by becoming a believer)",
Ila إِلَىٰ is not what you expect, you would expect fi or no preposition.
Saying ila instead of fi, is the implication of making dawah.
Sahih International: And We will have removed whatever is within their breasts of resentment, [while] flowing beneath them are rivers. And they will say, "Praise to Allah , who has guided us to this; and we would never have been guided if Allah had not guided us. Certainly the messengers of our Lord had come with the truth." And they will be called, "This is Paradise, which you have been made to inherit for what you used to do."
Sahih International: Indeed, this Qur'an guides to that which is most suitable and gives good tidings to the believers who do righteous deeds that they will have a great reward.
ila is showing you the path and li is putting you on the path.
When both ila and li are missing, then we get the meanings implied by both ila and li.
2010-04-13 Class Notes
Arabic of the Quran is very stylistic because of that it goes over and beyond the simple grammar rules that you learn in Arabic class.
Principle: Sometimes you will see min (من) in front of ... statements or in front of fail (verb) or object, if that is the case, then the meaning of من is to emphasize negation and rejection (Ziyadatun ?????)
من in front of relative pronoun
(It is true for any kind of Arabic writing and it has to do with the word min which means from)
Sahih International: Then it will be said to those who had wronged, "Taste the punishment of eternity; are you being recompensed except for what you used to earn?"
To those who did wrong instead of wrong doers, and that is the reason why they will taste punishment
The dhalimun will taste perpetual punishment does not mean that the reason for the punishment is because of their actions, but when you say those who did wrong, then you are stating the reason for the punishment.
Say to disbelievers versus Say to those who disbelieve
Use of pronouns
Principle: Trailing pronoun can be applied to two antecedents if applicable.
Some scholars of tafseer implement it as something special for the Quran. If you have a pronoun at the end of a statement and you have to antecedents. In general speech, the pronoun is refering to one of the two antecedents, but if the pronoun can be applied to both antecedents, then as a special case it can be applied to both.
Sahih International: O mankind, indeed you are laboring toward your Lord with [great] exertion and will meet it.
Muhsin Khan: O man! Verily, you are returning towards your Lord with your deeds and actions (good or bad), a sure returning, so you will meet (i.e. the results of your deeds which you did).
فَمُلَـٰقِيهِ (meeting) could refer back to the efforts (كَدۡحً۬ا) or to your Lord (إِلَىٰ رَبِّكَ)
Tabari will say you will meet both your Lord and to the results of your deeds
(Sheikh is not certain about this principle. In standard Arabic the meeting would refer to the closest antecedent which is the efforts (كَدۡحً۬ا) in this case, unless there is more stronger evidence. Sheikh is not completely convinced of this principle. Unless they can give some evidence for this principle.)
Al aijaaz - few words are used to express the greatest amount of ideas.
Idafa Construct (إضافة)
One of the common ways of expressing possession (literally or figuratively) in Arabic language
Rasool allah - Messenger of Allah or Allah's messenger
Kitab allah - Book of Allah or Allah's book
Idafa is made of two nouns
Mudafa(first noun) and Mudafila (2nd noun) and then you have pronoun.
Principle: Pronoun after mudafila is going to refer to Mudaf unless there is evidence otherwise.
Sahih International: And He gave you from all you asked of Him. And if you should count the favor of Allah , you could not enumerate them. Indeed, mankind is [generally] most unjust and ungrateful.
Muhsin Khan: And He gave you of all that you asked for, and if you count the Blessings of Allah, never will you be able to count them. Verily! Man is indeed an extreme wrong-doer, - a disbeliever (an extreme ingrate, denies Allah's Blessings by disbelief, and by worshipping others besides Allah, and by disobeying Allah and His Prophet Muhammad SAW).
Discussion about case of the noun which I did not understand
Sahih International: The ways into the heavens - so that I may look at the deity of Moses; but indeed, I think he is a liar." And thus was made attractive to Pharaoh the evil of his deed, and he was averted from the [right] way. And the plan of Pharaoh was not except in ruin.
If you make a claim that pronoun refers to mudafila, you have the burden of proof to show why.
Principle: Use of pronoun without any mention of its antecedent.
This is common in Arabic language and poetry.
Pronoun is refering to something other than what is being mentioned.
Sahih International: And strive for Allah with the striving due to Him. He has chosen you and has not placed upon you in the religion any difficulty. [It is] the religion of your father, Abraham. Allah named you "Muslims" before [in former scriptures] and in this [revelation] that the Messenger may be a witness over you and you may be witnesses over the people. So establish prayer and give zakah and hold fast to Allah . He is your protector; and excellent is the protector, and excellent is the helper.
Muhsin Khan: And strive hard in Allah's Cause as you ought to strive (with sincerity and with all your efforts that His Name should be superior). He has chosen you (to convey His Message of Islamic Monotheism to mankind by inviting them to His religion, Islam), and has not laid upon you in religion any hardship, it is the religion of your father Ibrahim (Islamic Monotheism). It is He (Allah) Who has named you Muslims both before and in this (the Quran), that the Messenger (Muhammad SAW) may be a witness over you and you be witnesses over mankind! So perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat), give Zakat and hold fast to Allah [i.e. have confidence in Allah, and depend upon Him in all your affairs] He is your Maula (Patron, Lord, etc.), what an Excellent Maula (Patron, Lord, etc.) and what an Excellent Helper!
The huwa هُوَ above refers to Allah not to Ibrahim.
Sahih International: It will be, on the Day they see it, as though they had not remained [in the world] except for an afternoon or a morning thereof.
Muhsin Khan: The Day they see it, (it will be) as if they had not tarried (in this world) except an afternoon or a morning.
What does the ha refer to in the above ayat?
2010-04-20 Class Notes
Sheikh has to choose principles that are not too difficult for us to understand from the perspective of non-Arabic speaker. So the sheikh will not discuss any principles based on pronouns.
The sheikh wants to emphasize that we are studying the principles in order to
Recognize the principles when we read the Quran
Appreciate the beauty of the language and how to use it
Comments on use of pronoun
Normal case of the pronoun, it will refer back to the closest antecedent noun.
The normal case does not always work, there are other usages of pronoun in the Arabic language. You don't refer to special cases if the normal case applies. And if you refer to special cases then you have to present evidence why you are applying it. Nothing is left open for you to abuse the special cases of the pronoun.
Rule: Not everything which is possible wrt the Arabic of the text is acceptable as tafseer.
Rule: Using Arabic language is not the only source for tafseer, you cannot interpret the Quran that contradicts other verses of the Quran, then we have sunnah of the prophet, the ijmaa of the sahaba, we have to take all of it into account.
In general you will not use the pronoun without first stating the reference and then use the pronoun to refer to it.
Inna anzalna hu fi lailatil qadr.
Here the pronoun hu refers to the Quran, but the antecedent Quran is not mentioned anywhere in the verse. So this goes against the normal use of pronoun, but it is a legal usage of Arabic language. It is used in Arabic poetry.
We know what hu refers to.
Rule: Not everything that is possible in Arabic language is a valid source for tafseer
If you are basing your understanding on the translation of the Quran, so you can see how far are you from the proper meaning of the Quran
Principles related to Conjunction
When you use a conjunction, you are connecting things which are distinct
Example: Mazan and the students of the class
You are trying to give preference or higher ranking to the first noun as compared to the second noun connected by the conjunction
Inna salahti wa nusuki
إِنَّ صَلَاتِي وَنُسُكِي
You are highlighting the importance of salah as compared to the second noun nusuk
Surah Tahrim verse 4
وجبريل وصالح المؤمنين والملائكة
wajibreelu wasalihualmu/mineena walmala-ikatu
Showing preference to Angel Jibrael
2:98 Whoever is an opponent to Allah and his angels and Jibrael
Here Jibrael is an angel but yet he is highlighted to denote his special status.
Hafidhu wa salah wa usta
Safeguard your prayers and the middle prayer / most excellent prayer
Again here the middle prayer are salah too but they are being highlighted
In english we would have said something like:
All of the students of this class have to study hard specially Mazan
Sometimes there is a connection between the two nouns, second noun is implied by the first noun. For example, do not mix truth with falsehood and conceal the truth.
Concealing the truth is not an independent clause, there is a relationship between the two.
Alladhena amanu wa amilu salihat
Amilu salihat cannot be done with iman. What is going to happen to those who perform jihad to show off or gain recognition in this world will be punished in the hereafter
So the second clause is built upon the foundation of the first clause. It also implies the necessary conclusion of the first clause.
Taukeed - Concept of emphasis
One of the principles related to taukeed, in the presence of taukeed, the metaphorical or allegorical meaning of the word is now removed
Surah Nisa 4:164
When Allah swt is speaking about Musa,
wa kalama allahu musa takleema
وَكَلَّمَ اللَّهُ مُوسَىٰ تَكْلِيمًا
There are groups of people who do not believe that Allah swt speaks. However the principle of taukeed is applicable because of the word takleema and it removes any allegorical or metaphorical understanding of the word kalama allahu (speech of Allah), for example some invalid meaning such as Musa was inspired by Allah swt
Surah Tur verse 9
يَوْمَ تَمُورُ السَّمَاءُ مَوْرًا
Sahih International: On the Day the heaven will sway with circular motion
Muhsin Khan: On the Day when the heaven will shake with a dreadful shaking,
Some might say that heaven might not literally shake, but once the cognitive accusative is applied then it removes any allegorical meaning of shaking, it will shake literally.
Maful Mutlaq (cognitive accusative) will remove the allegorical understanding of the word
And the earth and the mountains are lifted and leveled with one blow -
And the earth and the mountains shall be removed from their places, and crushed with a single crushing,
There is no way from the Arabic perspective can you say that earth and mountains will not be literally lifted and leveled.
Here the concept of reification is applied, concept is made into an action, or ask sheikh said, it is concrete
Principle More important the statement, the greater the number of particles will be given to it in the Quran
When translating these concepts, the emphasis is usually lumped into one word such as indeed or truly, and it does not convey the emphasis as the Arabic text does.
Two aspects of emphasis
If you dont use any emphasis, you could translate it as you have watchers over you.
Once you introduce inna then an emphasis is added and another emphasis is ala
And verily appointed over you truly are watchers
Inna is used when emphasizing a concept to the mushreekun, specially the verses revealed in Makkah, Inna is used for emphasis or swearing. They knew the prophet and his honesty, so when a verse is revealed that swears by Allah swt
Surah Layl verse 12:
Innaalaina al huda
If you want to remove emphasis, you would say alaina al huda or huda alaina
So we have two emphasis, Inna and the word alaina before al huda, to emphasize that guidance is from indeed Allah. Arabic listener will feel the difference when he hears this passage.
إِنَّ عَلَيْنَا لَلْهُدَىٰ
Sahih International: Indeed, [incumbent] upon Us is guidance.
Muhsin Khan: Truly! Ours it is (to give) guidance,
Innal abrara lafi naeem lafi jaheem
2010-04-27 Class Notes
Importance of emphasis
If prophet is using the emphasis then there is a lot of importance to it.
There are three different kinds of cases of using emphasis in Quran, you see these three approaches:
1. If the person you are dealing with is rejecting what you are saying. Depending upon the level of rejection you may use emphasis
2. Person is not rejecting what you are saying but he may be negligent about what you are saying, and to waken his negligence you may use emphasis.
3. When the evidence is so clear and there is no room left for rejection, then you may leave out emphasis. You are trying to make a point that the presentation is so clear, that you leave out emphasis.
Modern english usage, verily truly are left out, there is no place for it in english usage.
Sahih International: This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those conscious of Allah
Two words that have the same meaning. There is debate whether there are synonyms in the Arabic language. In general there are no synonyms. There has to be some shade of difference in the words.
The only exception in classical Arabic, as it became unified from different dialects, slowly the pecularities of the individual dialect are dying out. Some of the lahajat of the qiraat are dead. Some of the lahajat from the qiraat are kept. ????
Fusaha - Best dialect of Arabic language
Next best dialect of arabic language
Kaskasa - Dead dialect of Arabic language
If two dialects are preserved in the Arabic language, then you can possibly find two words which are synonyms. However some scholars might argue that there are still some differences.
If Allah swt uses some pairs of words, there has to be some difference in the meaning of the two words.
Faqir and Misqeen
There is definitely difference between faqir and misqeen, however they might not agree on the differences but they agree that there are differences in the words. So they are not synonyms.
If you just use fuqara, then it implies misqeen and vice versa.
Rahman and Rahim are definitely two different meanings, different patterns from the same root word, then you know definitely that there are different meanings to the word Rahman and Rahim.
Looking at the pattern and seeing if the pattern is different is used to highlight the differences in meaning.
Sual and Istikhaam
Sual is question, Istikhaam you are trying to seek some information. You will use istikhaam if you are ignorant. When you use sual, it is general, you could ask sual even when you know the answer. For example when Allah swt ask sual.
There are 90 different words for camel, how old it is, whether it is pregnant, whether it is suckling, for how long it is suckling, etc
Ilm and Maroof
Ilm is knowledge and Maroof is cogniscence. One is doubly transingent, ilm implies you know something is something. Maroofa is to know something, singly transingent.
Difference between knowledge and cogniscence.
Distinguish between words using the following techniques:
1. Positive and negative connotation
Two words may be close in meaning but one may have postive connotation and other word have negative connotation. Difference between joking and ridiculing. Joking does not result in harm or injury while in the case of ridiculing the ultimate goal is too harm or injure somebody.
Hilm is forbearance
2. Use of Preposition
Use preposition to highlight differences between synonyms or similar words
Al afu wal gufran
Sometimes the preposition can imply forgiveness and covering their sins
For more details of using preposition see the previous notes. Edit: Since I don't know Arabic grammar, this portion is bit too difficult for me to understand and comprehend.
3. Use of opposites
Iman and Takdheeb
Use opposites to highlight the differences. Takdeeb is just one form of kufr.
4. Use the roots of the words istiqaq
Go back to the root of the word to highlight differences between the synonyms
Sahih International: And how many a prophet [fought and] with him fought many religious scholars. But they never lost assurance due to what afflicted them in the cause of Allah , nor did they weaken or submit. And Allah loves the steadfast.
Muhsin Khan: And many a Prophet (i.e. many from amongst the Prophets) fought (in Allah's Cause) and along with him (fought) large bands of religious learned men. But they never lost heart for that which did befall them in Allah's Way, nor did they weakennor degrade themselves. And Allah loves As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.).
وَهَنُوا Body becomes weak due to fear, when you feel that it is a lost cause, then it impacts how you behave and how you act
wahan is also implies love of this world and hatred of death
ضَعُفُوا Become weak not due to any reason
Order has lots of meaning in Arabic. Here in this case, if it means two different things, we don't know how much emphasis to give to order of the words.
Intersection of tafseer and usool al fiqh. We will discuss it using only few examples, however in depth discussion will bein the usool al fiqh class.
2010-05-04 Class Notes
Amr imperative and Nahi the opposite of Amr
What is the implication of the imperative?
The strongest opinion is that the imperative implies obligation unless there is evidence to show otherwise. We are talking about both the direct and indirect imperative. In Arabic language itself, imperative implies obligation, for example when master says to the slave, wash my car, then if the slave does not do it, then the slave is to be censured for not following the imperative.
The Amr goes from somebody high in authority to the one less in authority. If the two individuals are at the same level or if the person giving the command is at lesser authority then it is not an amr, but it is stating your plea to demonstrate the strength of the plea.
For language principles just static the above is sufficient, however it is not sufficient for the usoolian, they have to provide other proofs also.
Muhsin Khan: Make not the calling of the Messenger (Muhammad SAW) among you as your calling of one another. Allah knows those of you who slip away under shelter (of some excuse without taking the permission to leave, from the Messenger SAW). And let those who oppose the Messenger's (Muhammad SAW) commandment (i.e. his Sunnah legal ways, orders, acts of worship, statements, etc.) (among the sects) beware, lest some Fitnah (disbelief, trials, afflictions, earthquakes, killing, overpowered by a tyrant, etc.) befall them or a painful torment be inflicted on them.
This ayat is the proof that amr implies obligation. The reason we need this proof because sometimes you use it in speech to imply permission or threat or inability to do so. Because of these other possibilities, we need to submit the proof that amr implies obligation.
Another verse they quote to support their view is: Surah Ahzab verse 36
Sahih International: It is not for a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decided a matter, that they should [thereafter] have any choice about their affair. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly strayed into clear error.
Muhsin Khan: It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he has indeed strayed in a plain error.
He said: What hindered thee that thou didst not fall prostrate when I bade thee? (Iblis) said: I am better than him. Thou createdst me of fire while him Thou didst create of mud.
Hadith of prophet as a proof
Prophet said, were it not a hardship for my ummah, I would have ordered them to use the miswaq at every prayer.
Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him), who reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Were it not for the fact that I did not want to make things too hard for my ummah, I would have commanded them to use the siwaak at every time of prayer.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 2/299 and Muslim, 1/151). According to another report narrated by al-Bukhaari, he said: “…at every time of making wudoo’.”
If Amr is simply recommendation then Amr would not have been a hardship. So this proves that Amr is an obligation.
Ijmaa of Sahaba as a proof
There is ijmaa among sahaba that amr is an obligation unless there is evidence. most book of usool claim this
To say that amr is not an obligation is a form of taweel
The form for aqeemus salah wa atuz zakat are forms of imperatives. It is well known that these are obligations and you cannot make taweel.
Amr as a recommendation
There are other cases, it is clear that the meaning of the amr simply means permissibility. For example: Surah Jumuah
Seek bounty when you finish the salah.
It is permissible to seek bounty but it is not an obligation.
One of the ways a slave can free themselves is to enter into an agreement to purchase their freedom which is known as kitaba - And such of your slaves as seek a writing (of emancipation), give them such writing
Muhsin Khan: And let those who find not the financial means for marriage keep themselves chaste, until Allah enriches them of His Bounty. And such of your slaves as seek a writing (of emancipation), give them such writing, if you know that they are good and trustworthy. And give them something yourselves out of the wealth of Allah which He has bestowed upon you. And force not your maids to prostitution, if they desire chastity, in order that you may make a gain in the (perishable) goods of this worldly life. But if anyone compels them (to prostitution), then after such compulsion, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful (to those women, i.e. He will forgive them because they have been forced to do this evil action unwillingly).
The ones who say that it is a recommendation, the burden of proof is on them.
Amr as a threat
Sometimes amr can be used as threat and not as an obligation
Surah Fussilat verse 40: Do whatever you want to do and Allah is aware of all what you do. For more discussion see the notes for Forty Hadith of Nawawi notes.
Muhsin Khan: Verily, those who turn away from Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc. by attacking, distorting and denying them), are not hidden from Us. Is he who is cast into the Fire better or he who comes secure on the Day of Resurrection? Do what you will. Verily! He is All-Seer of what you do (this is a severe threat to the disbelievers).
Amr as a reminder
Sometimes amr is a sign and as a reminder of the incapacity of the intended audience of the ayat
For example: Surah Yunus verse 38: Come with a surah which is similar to it.
Allah swt is stating that they do not have the ability to do so.
Muhsin Khan: Or do they say: "He (Muhammad SAW) has forged it?" Say: "Bring then a Surah (chapter) like unto it, and call upon whomsoever you can, besides Allah, if you are truthful!"
Can Amr as an obligation be postponed or does it need to be done immediately?
The scholars point the following ayat as proof that Amr has to be done immediately, unless there is evidence to show otherwise, amr has to be done as soon as you are able to fulfill it.
Surah Ali Imran- Sariyu maghfiratul
Surah Al Baqarah around verse 150
Surah Muminun verse 61- Ulaika sariyun khairat
They point to the language that the master asks the slave to do something and the slave decides to do it whenever he wants to do it or postpones it then it conflicts with the construct of the language
Surah Ali Imran verse 97: Hajj baitullah - Obligation to perform hajj - you must do it as soon as you have to do it.
What about iqamas salat?
There is evidence that there is time restriction for each salat. What about within the timeslot, is the salah to be done immediately? There is hadith of the prophet that salat does not have to be done as soon as the time for salat becomes valid.
Making up days for fasting due to travel or illness - there is flexibility to do it as shown by the hadith.
An-Nahi is the opposite of obligation
You cannot do this. Prohibition. As soon as an-naahi come down you have to stop it immediately and you cannot do the act in the future.
Amr in general is one time command, while nahi is always permanent for ever. however, if amr comes down with conditions, then as soon as the conditions are met, then you have to fulfill the obligation. For example salat and fasting in Ramadan.
However for nahi there is no question that response has to be immediate and complete. For example the restriction of alcohol is nahi and not amr. The response is immediate and complete and forever.
Amr in general is qualified by ability while nahi in general is not. Sometimes nahi can be qualified, because sometimes it might be almost impossible to stay away from haraam. In general, nahi is something everyone can fulfill because it is an absence of an act while amr is asking us to do an act and it is qualified by capability.
There is no dispute about whether nahi is immediate and permanent.
An-Nahi of a lesser act to signify the importance or penalty of greater act
Sometimes nahi is expressed in the Quran as a necessary step leading (lazam) to another act (manzoom). Sometimes Allah swt will prohibit lazam to show how great the manzoom is.
For example, do not come close to zina, it is much stronger than saying do not commit zina. This is an indication that how great a sin zina is and you should not even be close to it.
Surah Anam verse 150: Wa la taqrabu fawashiya - any kind of open illegal act
wa la taqrabu maalal yateem - Do not come close to the wealth of the orphan
You should speak well or remain silent
An-Nahi as indirect and direct command
All of the above are indirect commands, they are statements of volition (an act of making a choice or decision) or inshaaq.
A stronger form of amr or nahi is to put it in the form of khabar or fact. For example when speaking about hajj in Surah Baqarah: There is to be no arguing or lewd act or sexual act during hajj. This is stronger than inshaaq.
Surah Ali Imran verse 97: Wa lillalihi nass wa hajj baitullah - This is an example of khabar. We used this example earlier to highlight that we cannot keep on postpoing amr as an obligation. Here the same example highlights that the amr can arise out of a khabar. See the explanation below about how a statement of fact can become amr.
Khabar - statement of fact as an amr or nahi
Surah Baqarah verse 83
When speaking about bani Israel, Allah swt says la tabuddun ... it is not nahi because it is a negation, it is khabar, you cannot worship anybody else other than Allah swt. (The statement is a negation manzoom it is a negation)
Amr has to be second person in grammatic form or it has to be a direct statement. So the verse about waiting period for divorce is not in the amr form, it is a khabar as an amr.
Those who are in waiting period must wait for period before divorce, surah Baqarah verse 288. So this is an example of amr in the form of khabar.
Amr grammatically is not a statement of fact. The door is closed.
Amr requires action on somebody's part. The door must be closed. So now the statement of fact has become an amr.
J Edgar Hoover said, one of the person is a pin-head, so they took hat sizes of everyone in the room and measured their hat sizes and fired the one with the smallest headsize. SO they took the statement for Hoover as an amr. Because of his authority.
There is no special term for amr that arises from a khabar.
2010-05-18 Class Notes
Aspects of arabic language wrt tafseer and some of these aspects are to identify and understand and then there is another level to appreciate the beauty and it can have much stronger affect on you. Every student has to work on it and it cannot be spoon fed, you have to understand that this level exists.
Miracalous nature of the quran
What do we think of when we think of the miraclous nature of the quran, we said prophecies, preservation, scientific claims, stories of the past, predictions, etc
Quraysh had no idea about the things that we mentioned, the only thing that they could say was the language. The effect of the language on them and they knew it was not written by human being.
Challenge in the quran also has to do with the language of the quran. The Quraysh knew that the Quran was not from human being. They did not have an answer to the message, the reason why they rejected it or plotted against it, was because they did not like the message.
Bedouin who after hearing Surah Hijr verse 94 and he made sajdah. The reason for his sajdah was because of the excellence and he recognized the message from Allah swt and the effect that it had on him, he had to perform sajdah. There is no sajdah after this verse.
Surah Yusuf verse 80, when the brothers dispaired of him and they secluded in private consultations, the words used are so concise and so powerful, that the verse has to be from Allah swt according to scholar Abu Ubayd, a very early scholar 4-5 Hijri and this study of his is in an aqeedah book.
Next principle is the question of al haqeeqa versus majaaz.
Let's discuss what these terms mean.
Linguistically haqeeqa means literal and majaaz is the figurative meaning. Discussion of mutashabiha which is not majaaz but it is allegorical, which means more than one meaning. Another confusion was mithaal which means to give an example.
Is there such a thing as majaaz in the Quran?
Ibn Taymiyyah and recent scholar Shawkiki reject the idea that there is majaaz in the quran, all of the words in the Quran are in oene of their haqeeqi meanings. Shawkiki in his tafseer, he refers to .... After he wrote adwal al bayan, he came to the conclusion that there is no majaaz. These are the only two scholars who have this conclusion.
Others say that it is distinctive nature of the Arabic language and since Quran is in Arabic it also has majaaz. For example how to treat your parents, lower onto them the wing of submission and humility, what is the meaning of wing here? Ibn Taymiyyah says that this word "wing of mercy" has a well established meaning and it is its literal meaning and he has an answer to all such objections.
For example Surah Kahf and when Khidr and his companion come to the city and asked for food and were not treated properly, then they came across a wall that wanted to come down - yurid ..., ibn Taymiyyah says we do not know the aspects of inanimate objects and how they perform tasbeeh, for example the palm tree that wept after the prophet stopped leaning on the tree, or when the prophet said that we love the mountain and the mountain loves us, so we cannot say that we know whether the wall wanted to come down.
When it came to attributes of Allah swt, it became common for people to do taweel they would resort to the majazi meaning of the word.
Principle of tafseer: Any text is to be understood by its literal meaning unless there is evidence otherwise.
What is their supposed evidence for their usage of majazi meaning of the attributes of allah such as yad or hands. They say that Allah is free of defects and he is unlike any of the creation. The people who resorted to majazi meaning have to prevent evidence and their well-intentioned reasoning is not an excuse.
The creation of many sects are a response to the extreme views of some sects such as the mutazillah.
If a word is supposed to be majazi, it should be clear from the text, and nothing should be open to confusion, specially in the matters of aqeedah.
Wasal qariah - ask the city - this is clearly metaphorical or majazi, it has to be clear. We cannot blindly apply metaphors to the attributes of Allah swt and if you do this in matters of aqeedah and then where can you stop for example if he does not have a hand, then what about alim or life. The ashiri stop at a certain level. You can see this is due to the extreme view of the sect that the attributes of allah swt have to be majazi.
However in the other extreme of ibn taymiyyah where he would try to explain away all of the valid allegorical meanings.
Arab theorists say that haqeeqi meaning is the actual meaning or the original meaning of a word, whether you think the language originated from Allah swt or from human beings.
If you start to understand Allah swt from rational logic and have some preconceived notions which might setup a trap and then we go to the text, you start making some excuses when you to the text that conflicts with your preconceived notions. To avoid this trap you have to give precedence to the text.
The mutazillah concluded that quran is not miraclous and it is created, since it is created, then lets go and find mistakes in it. Any time they see anzalah and replace it with khalaqa.
Three kinds of haqeeqi meaning:
1. Haqeeqa al sharieeh - Established by the text of the sharieeh or by Allah swt
2. Haqeeqa al urfiyah - Literal meaning according to the customary usage of the word, it could be a subset of the whole, the customary literal meaning
3. Haqeeqa al lugliya - Linguistic literal meaning - the literal meaning of the language.
Whenever we text of quran or hadith, and if it has more than one haqeeqi meaning, then the precedence has to be haqeeqa al sharieeh to understand it according to it unless there is evidence against it and then to urfiyah meaning and finally to the linguistic meaning.
For example, Allah swt uses some words in the Quran, we see that the term is understood is differently in the shareeah meaning then the customary meaning.
Salat - shareaah meaning is set of actions beginning with takbeer and then ending with tasleem.
This term existed in the language before the shareeah meaning, it's linguistic meaning is dua. The name for something is taken from something that is most significant in it and hence the word for Salaat is taken from the salaat.
Suppose someone came along and said that salaat is dua, how would you refute it? We find many example from hadith of the prophet that describe the salaat and the sunnah of the prophet is one of the most important sources of tafseer.
Surah Taubah verse 103: Take from their wealth zakat to purify them and make them grow. The word salli hear means dua. The example is poor because it is a prepositional idiom, verb preposition idiom, shareeah meaning is independent of the verb prerposition idiom.
Shareeah meaning takes precedence over other haqeeqi meanings. One madhab has a problem with it.
What is the proof that shareeah meaning will take precedence over other haqeeqi meanings? We will discuss it next time.
2010-05-25 Lecture Notes
Different levels of haqeeqa meaning - shariah and laguyiha. Shariah haqeeqa is the shariah meaning attached to the word such as salat or zakat or siyam. Laguyiha is the linguistic or lexical meaning of the existing word such as salat or zakat or siyam. What is the default understanding of the word? Is it Shariah or Laguyiha unless there is evidence otherwise? What is your proof?
Vast majority of the scholars are on one position, but what is the evidence? Is there a guiding principle?
The main purpose of quran and sunnah is to give us the shariah and the various ahqam or commandments of Allah swt.
Arguments used by vast majority of scholars regarding giving precedence to haqeeqa shariah over haqeeqa laguyiha
1. Shariah meaning that has come through the prophet and quran is an abrogation or takhsees of the pre-existing meaning unless you have evidence to show otherwise.
2. Urf meaning of the word. If we know over and over what the word salat means then we use the urf meaning instead of the linguistic meaning. The words have this urf meaning and this is the default unless we show otherwise. Once we establish the urf, then we have to understand the words how Allah swt use it
Other reasons are logical arguments and we will not discuss them.
Abu Hanifa's view
However Abu Hanifa and other scholars argue that the haqeeqa laguyiha takes precedence. Since this the word has a linguistic meaning and it was well established and the shariah meaning is an addition or majaaz. And he says haqeeqa takes precedence over mijaaz.
Response to Abu Hanifa by most of the scholars, is that the shariah is giving a new haqeeqa meaning to the word. The dividing line between haqeeqa and mijaaz is what comes to the mind first, and the scholars who oppose Abu Hanifa say that the shariah meaning is the haqeeqa and not the mijaaz.
The main goal why prophet and Quran was sent was to explain the shariah. This principle says that the shariah meaning will take precedence over the linguistic meaning.
What is sajdah and rukuh?
Sajdah or Bowing from linguistic perspective versus bowing in salat from the shariah perspective. Just tilting your body a few degrees complies with linguistic meaning, however in the shariah meaning that the bones have come to a rest in the position. The Hanafi school does not require the tamaninah or resting of body in sajdah or rukuh and leads to their divergent view.
Example of Haqeeqa Shariah versus Haqeeqa Laguyiha
Say, O [Muhammad], "I am only a man like you to whom it has been revealed that your god is but one God; so take a straight course to Him and seek His forgiveness." And woe to those who associate others with Allah -
Say: ‘I am only a human being like you. It has been revealed to me [simply] that your God is One God. So be upright [in your conduct] before Him, through faith and obedience, and seek forgiveness from Him. And woe (waylun is an expression implying ‘chastisement’) to the idolaters,
Those who do not give zakah, and in the Hereafter they are disbelievers.
who do not pay the alms and who are disbelievers in the Hereafter ([the repetition of] hum, ‘they’, is for emphasis).
Woe to the idol worshiper who do not give zakat and in the hereafter they are disbelievers.
What is the meaning of zakat in this verse, is it shariah or laguyiha meaning?
Should the disbelievers be punished for not paying zakat?
Ibn Abbas and Ikramah and others say, they do not obey Allah and purify their wealth (linguistic meaning) tahara.
Qatadah and Hasan al Basri: They do not accept the idea of zakat and pay the zakat
Al Tabari comes to the conclusion that it is shariah meaning. Ibn Juzaiy and others. Tabari says that shariah is the most apparent meaning of the word, but then he goes on to say, that they do not obey Allah and perform shahadah, then the last part has no meaning (????) according to Tabari.
This verse was revealed in Makkah before the command for zakat was revealed in Medinah. The linguistic meaning is to purify the wealth and the shariah meaning is paying 2.5% of the excess wealth.
Let's assume that the shariah meaning of the word zakat did not exist in Makkah, if that were the case, would it be permissible to understand the verse according to the shariah meaning, if that meaning came later.
When this verse was revealed, there was no shariah meaning of zakat, our principle is that the default assumption is the words have shariah meaning unless we present evidence otherwise, so we have done so, now we have to use the linguistic meaning of the word.
That is what is happening right now, people are using later meanings or changing the meaning of the words to present new understanding of the quran.
Question whether the disbelievers will be punished for not fasting or not praying is question for aqeedah class. Since by choice they chose to not believe and then they will be held accountable for not doing the ahqam, but there is a big debate about scholars and we will not go into it.
Another point, there is also something known as haqeeqa al urfiyah, in general it means, the customary meaning is always referring to the subset of the meaning of the linguistic meaning of a word.
A word like dhabba means anything that crawls, it is a big subset of creatures, however among Arabs, dhabba is usually refers to mean creatures such as ants and others etc. So it is a subset of all of the creatures that crawl.
Surah Taubah verse 60 talking about zakat and sadaqah
What is the meaning of fi sabi lillah? This question will most probably be in the exam. Could it possibly mean dawah? Remember the context in which this question was asked.
Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed to collect [zakah] and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the [stranded] traveler - an obligation [imposed] by Allah . And Allah is Knowing and Wise.
As-Sadaqat (here it means Zakat) are only for the Fuqara' (poor), and Al-Masakin (the poor) and those employed to collect (the funds); and for to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islam); and to free the captives; and for those in debt; and for Allah's Cause (i.e. for Mujahidun - those fighting in the holy wars), and for the wayfarer (a traveller who is cut off from everything); a duty imposed by Allah. And Allah is All-Knower, All-Wise.
Next week we have exam.
We cannot change the context of the meaning of words. We cannot now say that siyara meant car in the Quran. We have to understand the words as defined and understood by the prophet.