Channel: Jamal Badawi
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welcome once again to assignment focus.
Today we have the 62nd in the series sources of Islam. And we have a new topic, the topic being tafsir which means interpretation of the Quran. I'm your host, Ashok Manish and bear with me for St. Mary's University with Dr. Jamal because Assalamu alaikum Salaam. Before we start our new topic, there were a couple of questions from last week's show, which I didn't have time to do. So before I come to those questions, maybe you can give us a quick summary. Okay. Sure. Basically, we continued with the, almost the last segment or portion of the topic of abrogation or supersession. And the main focus really was on the claim made by some orientalist that there were a few verses in the
Quran that were abrogated and replaced with what is now
verses 19 through 23. In chapter 53 of the Quran, we try to first of all present their case and the kind of support they provided for and then we analyze the stories, first of all, from the historical standpoint. And we found out that, according to the discovery by magnets have the most important biographer of the Prophet as early as the second half of the of the first half actually the second century of hijra, or migration of the Prophet, that this story was actually made by these were, who are people who did not believe in Islam, but were, you know, claiming some kind of nominal relationship to Islam. And we indicated that the study does not exist in any authentic
collection of Hadees, the most trusted ones, like Bukhari and Muslim
and politically speaking, indicated that the story does not seem to fit the content
of the Quran, nor even the context context of the particular chapter where it claimed to have been there. So this was basically the analysis in a way of the this
claim claimed, abrogated versus To conclude, as we said earlier, that obligation or superstition in the Quran, has nothing to do with methods of belief that was restricted to certain aspects of the evolution of Islamic law
implies that the other
plus which may cast doubt, upon the purity of Islamic monotheism. Now, can you give us another example on decision? There's another example.
HG Wells, and his book, outline of history, killing and also that the Prophet Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him at one time, believed in a goddess called money, and like mother a, and is money.
And he was in claims that Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, give that name monies to one of his sons.
As Dr. Khalifa very succinctly explains, in the sublime Koran, that this is best described as a compound error. And it's very strange that you know, a famous historian like HG Wells, you know what fall into that it's a compound error, for a number of reasons. First of all,
from the discussion that we had before, there is absolutely no evidence that Prophet Mohammed before or after he was a prophet, believed in any way shape, or form, in any false gods or goddesses. And that is reflected from the earliest revelation given to the prophet in the very beginning of his mission, let alone when he got children.
Historically speaking, also, none of the children of Prophet Mohammed was called Manny's, they are all well known. The main children of the Prophet were three, Abdullah, Al Carson, and Ibrahim.
Obviously, none of these names has the slightest resemblance to the name many.
Certainly, as Dr. Khalifa suggests that it looks like HG Wells next,
between the main money which is a misspelling of the abdomen, F, Min, F, Ma, and F and abdomen f actually was like
A great grandfather of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. No, that's the big mistake. That's our that's a big difference between great great, great grandfather and
son of the Prophet. And even then, like I say, the name is misspelled.
It is amazing that the name of an ancestor of the Prophet can be taken as an evidence that the Prophet believed in false deities. Well, this example plus the one that we discussed last time, are only examples of a few
such kind of attempts on the part of many orientalist, I'm not saying deliberately to write in such a way that would be quite misleading to the Western leaders, which shows their own biases somehow trying to discredit Islam and attack it in the area, which is perhaps the most valuable and most important in Islam. That is the pure immaculate monotheism that occurred and say, All prophets of God from Adam, to the last prophet Mohammed have preached.
Now, so far we've dealt abrogation with the decline itself. And maybe I'll come to one last question before I get to a new topic. Is there any aggregation between the crown and the province seeing or what's returned as the Hadees? Well, first of all, we have to keep in mind that the Quran and Hadith of the Prophet say authenticated, saying of the prophet in matters of religious teaching, are both forms of revelation started with except that the Quran is a revelation both in meaning and words were based on whereas in hobbyist or syndicated, saying of the Prophet and religious teaching, is a revelation that's given to him by God in meaning, but he uses his own terms. So both of them are
kept actually, excuse me separately. I tried to start with this because as an Imam Shafi, one of the foremost authorities and jurist
said in his book as a seller, he said that the Quran
and that was indicated saying of the Prophet, because as I said before, there are some sayings attributed to the Prophet which is not true. The authenticated ones are definitely fully consistent with each other is complete agreement between them.
But as far as the topic of abrogation,
or as we call this more appropriately, supersession
between Quran and Sunnah, it is possible, for example, that the Quran abrogates or supersedes Sunnah or practice that the Prophet did or allowed,
for example, prior to the revelation of the verse, verse 4044, in chapter two, which commanded Muslims that from now on when you pray, you pray towards the Kaaba, the holy Kaaba. Prior to that, there was no revelation that says, pray to Jerusalem towards Jerusalem, but it was based on Sunnah that the Prophet asked Muslims to pray towards Jerusalem because at that time, the Kaaba, even though it's a holy place, was full of idols. So people had to purify themselves first from having any connection with those idols. So there is this obligation, that sense or superstition, that from now on, no, you, you pray towards that place,
as far as abrogation of sadhana, by Sunnah, that is a prophet Say something. And then at a later time, he evolves more and teaches people something more, or something perhaps that supersedes previous gradual instruction in the matter of their practices, this is also possible. And it happens, for example, we discuss that in the social system of Islam, about the so called temporary marriage, for example, and we discussed that again, later on the Prophet completely abrogated that and showed that now, it is not permissible. So this is the kind of relationship but there is hardly anyone who says, for example, that the word of the Prophet abrogates the Word of God in the Quran,
because as a chef, he said that it's impossible that you be any inconsistency between the Quran and authenticated and verified saying, the Prophet peace you.
Well, thank you for clarifying a very difficult topic, and a topic that many of us were very uncomfortable with. So now maybe I'll come to our new topic a new topic is as you mentioned in the beginning of the program is Tafseer, which is the interpretation of the crowd.
Now in our prior programs, from time to time, we emphasize the importance of using caution in interpreting the crowd.
Can you explain to us what tasks you need, maybe you can start off there and have developed as an area of Quranic studies. One tafsir
in essence means that attempts to understand the Quran to understand the meaning the message of
Han the wisdom in the Quran and also for jurisprudential purposes the injunctions and rules in the Quran. In fact, there's one verse in the Quran at least that's verse 2530, verse 33, in chapter 25.
While I attend academical in logic na COVID happy with Sen. Sierra was the word that CS itself is used, some translated in a more difficult word exegesis. And the Quran or interpretation basically refers to the understanding or interpretation of what the Quran really means or what is meant by certain verse or passage in the Quran. As well as your question on the evolution or development of Tafseer as one discipline or area of Quranic study, we can say that the most important and the first interpreter, if you will, or explainer of the Quran, was par excellence, Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. Because of course, being the recipient of the Quran through the engine of Revelation,
being also the recipient of the other revelation in the form of Hadith that we described in the previously.
It is obvious that no one else during his lifetime can claim to understand the Quran better
than the Prophet himself.
After the death of the Prophet peace be upon him, we find that some of his companions carried this torch or duty to try to help people understand the meaning of the Quran. Among those who became very famous, just for information of those who might wish to study that further, are people like him, so it's
his habits, if not bad, and ashari, administer bear Kobe Unicom. And the 4k lives are full of them, Abu Bakr, Amara ceman, and, and Holly. But perhaps
the ones that I mentioned are perhaps the most famous of all of them, and most famous of them actually was, if not best.
In fact, there is a record record that the Prophet peace be upon him made a prayer for innopolis that you would have a good understanding of the religion and will be quite competent and good at interpreting or understanding the Quran. Actually, the prophet called him a man of Quran, the interpreters of the Quran, so probably Who is the most prominent among the companions of the Prophet. In addition to this most famous 10
there were many other companions of the Prophet like Abu hurayrah. And as of nomadic Abdullah Ahmed and his wife Ayesha, actually, who also had a great deal of contribution. But it was not until the second century that their interpretation or explanation was recorded. In other words, it was more of an oral tradition of what they explained what the Quran meant.
But after that generation, we find that writing began through the followers of those companions of the Prophet. These are normally known as a tabula in the generation after the companions or who learned from the companions of the Prophet.
In fact, there is one interpretation of the Quran that is attributed to Abner bass, which was collected by an author by the name of alpha who is Abadi.
But actually the writing and qualification took place a little later, as indicated before, and we find that many famous tambourine or third generation were very good at it like Sophia and if norina isn't a giraffe and
but perhaps all of their works were like a preparation for a very, very important work in the interpretation of the Quran. That is the word by Edna jetty October tabari, GA, ba R, this is a very, very important work
because it is the first complete interpretation of the Quran in 30, volumes threezero that have reached as complete and is obtainable today. But of course, he based his writing on the, the opinions of the companions of the Prophet and the generation immediately after that, by the way, somebody died in 310 of hijra, or migration of the prophets, we're talking really about the the third and very early parts of the century
that have been many scholars who focused on the Tafseer or the interpretation of the Quran. Now considering the large number of scholars, is there any way of possibly classifying the approaches to the actual study of the Quran? Well,
generally speaking, most jurist divided the basic approaches to the interpretation of the Quran into two
thirds and better
And that sort of means to try to explain the Quran first and foremost,
on the basis of what the prophet said, what the companions of the Prophet illustrated since they were close to the Prophet.
And if not, at least the
reports coming through the following generation of tablet, that those who learn from the companions of the Prophet and then look into these stories or reports and follow the same method, of course, that you said before critical analysis of examining the historicity of there are more than one reports they have to weigh them.
But as you said before, again, the problem of
interpreting based on this reports, and by the way, authority belongs to this basic approach is the most important proponent of this approach. The only problem as we indicated before is the question of unauthentic reports, and sometimes the reports might be put without indicating their degree of accuracy. So the this is the only precaution when one reads this kind of explanations.
Tafseer or interpretation on the basis of early reports, besides Atari can even much later, a very famous writer by the name of Nicosia
of the eighth century of the hedgerows, or migration of the Prophet, and also generality in CLT, these are all categories which might hold within an maxima. This
particular approach of using reports has a great advantage. Because obviously, the companions of the Prophet who listened to the Prophet reciting the Quran, who were quite aware of the circumstances of Revelation and the various incidents are definitely closer in understanding than many others who are just kind of observers or readers of what happened.
But as indicated earlier, also the problem again of false reports, when some elements entered into Islam to destroy it from within, so that prompted the importance not only of just reporting that the companions explained the Quran as such, but to also go beyond that to verify and authenticate those reports. Okay, now, how about the other approach? You just mentioned the one here and how does it differ from the one you've just described? Okay, the other one is basically to interpret the Quran, by arise in Arabic is roughly translated as opinion, but I put that between brackets, because it is opinion, and especially meaning.
I say in a special meaning, because when you say I interpret the Quran, by my own opinion,
this could have both positive and negative connotation, it may be acceptable or unacceptable.
The acceptable part is not really to mean that one uses his opinion,
to interpret the Quran any way he likes. But what is meant by opinion actually, in the technical sense that these people interpret the Quran
after they look first, into the reports narrated about what the prophet said, or what the companions of the Prophet said, however, they give comparatively more weight,
or evaluate the opinion of the companions of the Prophet not necessarily to take it as it is. So they say, unless the Companion of the Prophet say that this verse was revealed, in conjunction with that particular reason or story, which gives it a particular meaning, unless the companion, report that and that support is authentic, they say, if it's just a matter of opinion, as to how the companion understood the verse, we can give it consideration, but not necessarily to take it as,
you know, final words in the explanation of the meaning of the first time. And actually, that position could be defended on the on the basis of the Quran itself.
For example, in chapter 47, verse 22, and similarly, in chapter 38, verse 29, we find that we are urged as Muslims to reflect on the Quran to try to understand the Quran. In fact, in for example, in 4722, it says FLR is that a brunette Quran? Don't they reflect on the air to sink which means that there will be an opinion but not opinion in the placement of other clear and authenticated evidence.
The acceptable also of this opinion, acceptable category is that whatever opinion is given in interpreting verses of the Quran should be consistent with the usage of the language
and would not be something that just you know, far fetched and not have the common ways in which the contemporaries of the prophets understood
That simplistically speaking, another condition is that to accept opinion, in interpreting the Quran,
it should be consistent with the basis of Islam, which should be consistent, consistent with the basic Sharia or Islamic law. So you cannot, for example, give an opinion to interpret a verse to make something for didn't and say, no it is allowed or the reverse should be within their limits. So among this, let's say, acceptable category of interpreting the Quran using opinion in addition to other things, are people like Razi unnecessary has an episode and even among those scholars, we find that each one of them may have slightly different emphasis, for example, or as he is reputed to focus more in his opinion or interpretation, on theological questions, the use of reason, issues
pertaining to eschatology like the life here after our life after this the matter of beliefs
and necessity for example, and for that matter, to some extent, and by law, we respond or reply to people who make innovation and religion and necessity in particular has been very skillful in the matter known as Arab how to interpret the language in terms of, you know, the structure, or the syntax of the language. alfursan was more fascinated with the old stories, as we saw it focused more on the eloquence of the Quran and the beauty of expression. But like I said before, while the word opinion is why this accepted category is really very limited, most of them really are not acceptable type of
interpretation of the Quran violates these rules. No, no, no, why is that so? High was acceptability determined? On what basis should we say that others are not acceptable? Exactly. Okay. Unacceptable category and the subdivision provided by jurist refers to those who try to understand not to try to understand the problem, but try to seek in the Quran for some evidence, or some proof
that would support their particular school of thought, even though it is contrary to others, available authentic, authentic references to the extent that
some of those interpreters went totally away from the path of choice lamb. And something that's contrary to fundamentals even that are found in the Quran.
Let me just give you one example of this interpretation. The esoterics are known as parties
went so far in their understanding of the Quran to say that for the Quran, there is an accurate meaning and hidden meaning. And only some people have access to that hidden meaning.
And as a result of this, you end up in a situation where you violate the very nature and essence of the Quran, and the practice of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. I'll give you an example.
Some, for example, would go as far as saying that the Quran speaks, that Salah prayer is required. But they say prayer does not mean what the Prophet did and what all the Muslims have done for 1400 years, to pray five times a day in silence in orono, tell me and just to you think of God, fasting, they might say no, and fasting does not mean fasting from food and drink in the month of Ramadan, as the Quran clearly states. And as the Prophet did, they claimed for themselves the wisdom that nobody else including the Prophet had access to. And they said, no mean fasting means to fast from evil things. So what we're seeing here really is is not just to be judgmental, and say, oh, like anyone
who disagrees with me, his interpretation is unacceptable, but you're saying that there are basic, generally acceptable rules that you can interpret you can express opinion, but not to the point of carrying or twisting the Quran and neglecting other places in the Quran. And just try to squeeze something to support one idea that the person has presumption, or psi and assumptions from before even touching the Quran. And perhaps these are the people who were meant and one saying of the Prophet which was narrated an actor, maybe an essay and a Buddha would, in which he says, Whoever just says in the Quran, by his sheer opinion, he meant without any evidence, or whoever tried to
explain the Quran without knowledge without sufficient knowledge and let him take his seat and hence so there is a strong exhortation against this sort of, you know, insincere approach to understanding and twisting its meaning to fit, something that you know, you're bent on proving.
Well, this raises one
Very important question, that question being who can interpret the Quran? Can anybody? Well, on one in one sense, we can say that the Quran is the word of God revealed to the entire humanity not only to Muslims, it's a message of God to the whole human race.
anyone says, for example, that only the clergy, quote unquote, has the right to understand or interpret the Quran, and nobody has direct access to the Quran, of course, that would not be correct, because there is no clergy in Islam, there is no official church, and a sense of, you know, exclusive institution to explain the Quran. So in one sense, we can say to everyone, in one sense also we can say that anyone can interpret or understand the Quran. In issues which are pertaining to this sentence, anyone can open the Quran, read the stories of the Prophet, read quite clearly about the signs that God placed in creation as signs of his existence and his power and mercy.
This is especially true or worse, especially so in the time of the Prophet peace be upon him, where people had full understanding of the language and the usage of the language. We're familiar with the reasons for revelation. So there was no evidence that people were instructed not to try to understand the Quran until somebody interpreted for them. That's
one aspect or one level of analysis. However, when we say or if you mean by the question, Who can interpret the Quran, in a sense of someone, not only who read the Quran and react to it and receive its spiritual and moral message and understand the basic knowledge in the Quran, but someone who is really posed as a theologian,
jurists, someone who wants to deduct certain important conclusions about matters of belief or Islamic law, on the basis of the Quran, then, not everybody can do that. And I think we have to respect the specialization as we do in any other discipline and let alone an understanding the most important document in human history, the Quran, the Word of God itself,
if that's what we mean,
by interpreting the Quran, scholarly interpretation and giving new meanings or solving new problems, then the person must master the various sciences of the Quran must have good mastery of the language.
There are a number of very, very important qualification before someone can pose as interpreting the Quran or giving new meanings or new explanation that nobody else offered before. So it depends what you mean really by who can interpret you and I can interpret and the Koran is very clear. Actually, one verse in the Quran says, well, aka the Center for analytics, we made the Quran easy to comprehend and understand. So in the broader sense, yes, everyone, but in legislative matters, you need more scholarly
qualifications. inshallah we'll continue with this next program. time today. Thank you very much for joining us here in Islam and focus from all of us as well.