Tafseer/explanation of Quran

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

A divinely sent book by God is supposed to be perfect and free of errors. Is it logical to assume that this Book can be explained by other books which are written by man? in other words, other books which are written by man and therefore will certainly have errors in them, can they explain a divinely sent perfect Book?

An attribute of the divinely sent Book is the Furqan i.e the Criteria between the truth and falsehood. If the criteria itself is dependent upon other explanations for understanding it, then logically it cannot be the criteria over the things which are explaining it.

25:1  تَبَارَكَ الَّذِي نَزَّلَ الْفُرْقَانَ عَلَىٰ عَبْدِهِ لِيَكُونَ لِلْعَالَمِينَ نَذِيرًا

Blessed is He who sent down the Furqan/Criterion to His servant, to be an admonition to all the worlds;-

The True sprit of an ayat of Al-Quran will be that which does not conflct with the understanding/sprit of other ayahs. So, if the understanding of an ayat conflicts with the understanding of other ayahs of the Book, it would mean there exists a problem and more study is required towards its understanding.

4:82 أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ ۚ وَلَوْ كَانَ مِنْ عِندِ غَيْرِ اللَّهِ لَوَجَدُوا فِيهِ اخْتِلَافًا كَثِيرًا

Do they not consider/ponder The Quran/The Reading, if it had been from other than Allah, they would surely have found therein much discrepancy/contradictions.

7:52  وَلَقَدْ جِئْنَاهُم بِكِتَابٍ فَصَّلْنَاهُ عَلَىٰ عِلْمٍ هُدًى وَرَحْمَةً لِّقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُونَ

And we have come to them with a Book, which We explained in detail with knowledge,- a guidance and a mercy to the believing nation.

The Tafseer/explanation of Al-Kitab is contained within The Book, i.e the ayahs explain each other.

25:33  وَلَا يَأْتُونَكَ بِمَثَلٍ إِلَّا جِئْنَاكَ بِالْحَقِّ وَأَحْسَنَ تَفْسِيرًا

And no example do so they bring to you, but We bring to you the truth and the best tafseer / explanation.

6:105  وَكَذَٰلِكَ نُصَرِّفُ الْآيَاتِ وَلِيَقُولُوا دَرَسْتَ وَلِنُبَيِّنَهُ لِقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ

And in this way We do explain the ayahs/signs, so that they may say, “you taught (this)” and that We may make the matter clear to those who know.

The below ayat informs about the Prophet’s method of giving sermon from the Quran for clarification of a certain topic, i.e the topic was explained from ayahs from various Soorahs/chapters,  not necessary in their original order in the Book. So when by this method the topic is clarified and  if it were not according to the wishes of the people, they would say that the Messenger made this up.

16:101  وَإِذَا بَدَّلْنَا آيَةً مَّكَانَ آيَةٍ ۙ وَاللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا يُنَزِّلُ قَالُوا إِنَّمَا أَنتَ مُفْتَرٍ ۚ بَلْ أَكْثَرُهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ

When We substitute the place of one ayat with another ayat and Allah knows best what He reveals ,- they say, “You are but a forger”. But most of them do not understand.

Allah is asking; Is the Book not enough for you? why you seek then, other explanations outside Quran.

29:51  أَوَلَمْ يَكْفِهِمْ أَنَّا أَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ يُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْهِمْ ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَرَحْمَةً وَذِكْرَىٰ لِقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُونَ

And is it not enough for them that we have sent down to you the Book which is rehearsed to them? Verily, in it is Mercy and a Reminder to those who believe.

49:1  يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تُقَدِّمُوا بَيْنَ يَدَيِ اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ ۖ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ

O You who believe! Do not go beyond from before Allah and His messenger; but fear Allah,  for Allah is He Who hears and knows all things.

Majority of the people are following conjectures which cannot be confirmed from Allah’s Book; there are volumes of books with stories which are believed to be religious; so Allah is warning don’t go beyond Allah and his messengers i.e don’t make your beliefs other than what Allah has revelead and which is the Qaul/saying of the honorable Messenger; 69:40 (إِنَّهُ لَقَوْلُ رَسُولٍ كَرِيمٍ)

10:36 وَمَا يَتَّبِعُ أَكْثَرُهُمْ إِلَّا ظَنًّا ۚ إِنَّ الظَّنَّ لَا يُغْنِي مِنَ الْحَقِّ شَيْئًا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ بِمَا يَفْعَلُونَ

But most of them follow nothing but conjecture. truly conjecture can be of no avail against truth. Verily Allah is well aware of all that they do.

12:111 لَقَدْ كَانَ فِي قَصَصِهِمْ عِبْرَةٌ لِّأُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ ۗ مَا كَانَ حَدِيثًا يُفْتَرَىٰ وَلَٰكِن تَصْدِيقَ الَّذِي بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ وَتَفْصِيلَ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةً لِّقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُونَ

There is, in their stories, admonition for men endued with understanding. It is not an invented Hadith/narration, but a confirmation of what is between the hands,- a detailed explanation of all things, and a guide and a mercy to those who believe.

On the day of judgement the messenger shall be the witness on all the people, in order to testify what he delivered to people and what they have been attributing to him.

16:89  وَيَوْمَ نَبْعَثُ فِي كُلِّ أُمَّةٍ شَهِيدًا عَلَيْهِم مِّنْ أَنفُسِهِمْ ۖ وَجِئْنَا بِكَ شَهِيدًا عَلَىٰ هَٰؤُلَاءِ ۚ وَنَزَّلْنَا عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ تِبْيَانًا لِّكُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةً وَبُشْرَىٰ لِلْمُسْلِمِينَ

One day We shall raise from all Peoples a witness against them, from amongst themselves. and We shall bring you (the messenger)  as a witness against these (your people). and We have sent down to you the Book explaining all things, a Guide, a Mercy, and Glad Tidings to Muslims.

And at that time the messenger will testify that alas my nation held the Quran as if like leaving it,  which means that while paying lip service to Quran, in essence they made the Quran ineffective by indulging in traditions and mixing traditions with Quran.

25:30  وَقَالَ الرَّسُولُ يَا رَبِّ إِنَّ قَوْمِي اتَّخَذُوا هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنَ مَهْجُورًا

And the Messenger will say, O my Lord! Surely, my people took this AL-QURAN and abandoned it.

7:53 هَلْ يَنظُرُونَ إِلَّا تَأْوِيلَهُ ۚ يَوْمَ يَأْتِي تَأْوِيلُهُ يَقُولُ الَّذِينَ نَسُوهُ مِن قَبْلُ قَدْ جَاءَتْ رُسُلُ رَبِّنَا بِالْحَقِّ فَهَل لَّنَا مِن شُفَعَاءَ فَيَشْفَعُوا لَنَا أَوْ نُرَدُّ فَنَعْمَلَ غَيْرَ الَّذِي كُنَّا نَعْمَلُ ۚ قَدْ خَسِرُوا أَنفُسَهُمْ وَضَلَّ عَنْهُم مَّا كَانُوا يَفْتَرُونَ

Do they just wait for its’ Taweel (explanation)? The day when the Taweel shall come, those who forgot it before, will say. “The messengers of our Lord did indeed come with the truth. Now, do we have any intercessor to intercede on our behalf? Or could we be sent back? Then we would behave differently from our behaviour in the past.” In fact they have put themselves in loss, and the things they invented will leave them in the lurch.

Shane Nazool:

Another concept being propagated is that of Shane Nazool (i.e the conditions of revelation). The concept is that we have to understand  the causes of revelation of Quranic Ayahs i.e historic background, in order to understand why a certain verse was revealed, and its intentions.

However, We know that Qur’an is not a book restricted to time and space. It’s injunctions are applicable in all times and eras. To suggest that the Qur’an’s ayahs are  in need of the historical background information in certain time of history for its exegesis is to limit the Qur’an to just one particular era. It is tantamount to saying it as  ‘Asateer ul Awaleen/tales of the past. Quran states that the Book is a reminder to all the nations (81:27)  and “Guidance for all mankind” (2:185). These universal values do not change with time. The narrations in Quran are not tales of the past, but they teach principles, for present day solutions and are not meant for digging historical tales from outside sources.

83:13 إِذَا تُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْهِ آيَاتُنَا قَالَ أَسَاطِيرُ الْأَوَّلِينَ

When Our Ayahs/signs are recited on him, he says these are but lines/tales of the earlier ones.

Historical back ground and tafseer books are not required to understand Al-Quran. All information to get the spirit of ayah’s of  Al-Quran is contained within Quran therefore the burden of carrying the historical details of the shane nazool etc is not necessary. 

27:1  طس ۚ تِلْكَ آيَاتُ الْقُرْآنِ وَكِتَابٍ مُّبِينٍ

Ta Seen. These are signs of the Qur’an and a clear book.

27:75  وَمَا مِنْ غَائِبَةٍ فِي السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْضِ إِلَّا فِي كِتَابٍ مُّبِينٍ

And there is nothing concealed in the heaven and the earth but it is in a clear book.

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