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How to cite this thesis
Surname, Initial(s). (2012) Title of the thesis or dissertation. PhD. (Chemistry)/ M.Sc. (Physics)/
M.A. (Philosophy)/M.Com. (Finance) etc. [Unpublished]: University of Johannesburg. Retrieved
from: https://ujdigispace.uj.ac.za (Accessed: Date).
AL-QURTUBI'S TAFS[R OF SORAH YA-SIN
by
MUHAMMAD ASHRAF EBRAHIM DOCKRAT
Dissertation
submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements
for the degree
MASTER OF ARTS
in
ISLAMIC STUDIES
in the
FACULTY OF ARTS
at the
RAND AFRIKAANS UNIVERSITY
SUPERVISORS: PROF. A.R.I. DO I
PROF. J.A. NAUDE
JUNE 1995
"
~ 1I-f I
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
It is customary to prefacesuch works as the present one with a Cormal acknowledgement of
help received Crom various quarters.
I should like to express my gratitude to Professor 'Abdul Rahman I. Doi and Professor J .A.
Naude, my supervisors, who endured me to write my MA thesis on this topic and (or their
valuable suggestions, extensive help and keen interest evinced throughout my work.
Professor J. van Rcnsburg has been kind enough to provide invaluable guidance in the
usage of translation and theory literary.
I am also indebted to Mrs. M.e. Uys for the secretarial assistance she has so efficiently
rendered to me during the preparation of the thesis.
My colleagues and students at the R.A.U. have been generous and supportive of my
endeavours. '1
Special thanks go to my dear friend 'Abd AI-Qldir Chouglay who painstakingly
proof-read the manuscript. My teacher, Hassanbhai Jooma, deserves my appreciation (or
applying his expertise in language to refine this thesis.
I thank my (ather, Ebrahim S. Dockrat, my mother Jamila, my wiCe Aamena, my son
Usamah, my Ma, Nezreen, Siraaj and Yusuf for their support and sacrifice.
I take this opportunity to thank them once again (or their thoughtful appreciation.
May Allah reward them all generously for their contributions.
MAULANA MUHAMMAD ASHRAF E. DOCKRAT
ii
ABSTRACT
Entitled AI-Ququbl's Tabirof Silrah Ya-Sin this thesis begins by introducing the reader
to Islamic scholarship in Spain. The renowned MalikI exegete Abu 'Abdullah Muhammad
ibn Abu Bakr ibn Farj AI-Khazrajl AI-QuqubI AI-Andaiusl (d. 612/1272)
made his greatest contribution in the field of ta/jir (Qur 'llnic exegesis) with his voluminous
Al-Jiimi , Ii Al-Qur'an wa-Mubayyin limj min Al-Sunnah wa-Ay
AI-Furqan.
A central theme of this thesis is toexamine the concept of translation as it concerns works
of tafsir. Most of the great works of tafstr have to date not been rendered into another
language. While one may argue that the ideal way tostudy a religion and its sacred text is
in the language of that particular religion, the non-scholar often finds this an
insurmountable task. These thoughts and reflections of the predecessors on the sacred
texts must be communicated to the laity so that their understanding of their respective
religions may be enriched. Translations of these wtirks, therefore, have an important place
in the development of the religious community.
Translation is complex. This complexity has not, however, deterred scholars from
appreciating its usefulness. This is especially true for religious texts. This study firstly
looks at linguistic translation theories that have been developed. It is concluded that
theories developed in recent times have either described methods adopted by translators in
their translated works or have prescribed to translators an approach to be followed. The
specific purpose of this study is to apply the theory of translation developed by the
translators and interpreters associated with the Ecole Superieure d'lnterpretes et de la
Sorbonne Nouvelle, Universite de Paris III to a work of ta/Jlr. The innovative contribution
of this theory is its "interpretative" approach. Thisschool demonstrates that the theory of
iii
translation must be co-extensive with a general theory of discourse. As opposed to
linguistic theories of translation, the Paris School offers an approach based on an analysis
of the meaning of discourse.
For the purpose of this study a selection of the taJ'Ir is translated by applying the Parisian
theory. Theselection, Sarah Ya-Sin, is referred to in Tradition literature as the "heart oC
the Qur and encapsulates the essential Qur 'nic message for every believer who makes
the recital oC this section part of his daily devotional practice. This thesis also aims to
show that the translation process is a useful one because as the translator goes about his
work he always becomes aware oC aspects of the original, such as style and method, and
these observations should not be lost but instead recorded. The purpose ofsuch endeavour
would be that students of the original tafsir searching Cor a deeper understanding and
appreciation oC the work will benefit from such a study. Here some observations and
conclusions gleaned from translating Sarah Ya-Sln have been made in the case of Imam
work.
With translation as an effective tool, to the understanding of the Qur'lnic message as
comprehended by the scholars of taJ'Ir in all ages the need Cor dynamic translation theories
exists. When a translator adopts a near equivalent Cor a certain word and that word is
then used repeatedly by later translators, the rendering becomes a close equivalent of the
original in its connotation. Translators of the works of tafslr and other Islamic texts face
the challenge of developing similar conventions which through standard usage will achieve
the same effect.
No tafslr may be divorced from its author. The author is very much part of the tafsir. A
knowledge of the background of the author, and the period in which he worked, is
fundamental to understanding and analysing the more subtle aspects of his ta/sIr. This is
essential since the explains the Qur 'in in a manner that the Qur In will address
iv
the essential issues of his time. The iafsir is then useful to the reader as an indication of
the mujassir. This does however not diminish from the usefulness of a tajsfr in later times.
In fact it is shown how an encyclopaedic work like Al-Qurt ubr's AI-Jami' has much use.
One of the i'jaz of the Qur 'an is that, its message is still shining through many screens of
translation. What can be visualised by non-Arabic readers is its subject matter. Having
considered that no translation or interpretation can do justice to the sublime literary style
of the original, the translator of the original Arabic Qur 'an, or its classical Arabic tajsir, if
he is careful, can convey some of the miraculous ideas expounded in the Qur 'an.
Al-Qur t ubr has been successful in his exegesis of the Qur 'an and one hopes that the
present translator of his tajsfr of Siirah. Ya-SIn has captured a glimpse of that success in
his English rendition.
----{)Oo-
v
NOTES ONTIlETRANSLITERATION OF ARABIC WORDS
The system of transliteration followed in this dissertation is as follows:
Letters of theAlphabet (in the order they usually appear)
Vowell and
a (fo.t1}ah)
u
i (k4.!rah)
l (for the o.lIf rna qo.bl jat1}ah)
a ((or the ya' al-mo.qjOrah)
o (for waw rna
vi
(for ya' ma qabl ko.Jrah)
aw (for waw mOo qabl/atJ.&ah)
ay (Ior ya' ma qabl fathah)
. .
When the noun or adjective ending in ta' marbi}!ah is indefinite, or is preceded by the
definite article, without following hamzah a l w a ~ l u' marbiJ!ah is transliterated h.
When the word ending in ta' marba!ah is in the construct state and before hamzah
a l w a ~ l ta'marbll!ah is transliterated t.
The relative adjective is transliterated I and not ryat the end of a word when not (allowed
by hamzah a l w a ~ l .
The al of the article is always transliterated as al whether it is followed by a "sun letter" or
not, i.e. regardless of whether or not it is assimilated in pronunciation to the initial
consonant ofthe word to which it is attached.
Rules (or the capitalization of English are followed, except that the definite article al is
capitalized when the word to which it is attached bya hyphen is capital.
Ibn and bin are both transliterated ibn in all positions.
Note the transliteration of Alllh alone and in combination:
AlIlh
billah
lilllh
--000-
'i
s.tt.
B.C.
C.E.
cf
d.
ed.
Ed.
e.g.
encyc.
etc.
f (pi. If)
l. e.
info.
n.
n.d.
n.n.
p. (pl. pp.)
Q.
q.v.
S.
S./t. ~
s.v.
trans.
v.t
VIZ.
vii
ABBREVIATIONS
after the year of the Hijrah.
before Christ, before the common era.
Christian era.
confer (= compare).
died.
edit, edited.
editor.
exempli gratia (= for instance).
encyclopaedia.
et cetera.
following page.
that is.
information.
note.
no date.
notes.
page.
Qurln.
quod vide (= which see).
sarah (chapter).
~ a u a AllAhu 'alayhi wasaUam (Allah's salutation and peace be upon him)
sub voce (= under the word or title).
translator/so
verse.
videlicet (= namely).
"
viii
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
ABSTRACT
NOTES ON THE TRANSLITERATION OF ARABIC WORDS
ABBREVIATIONS
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION .
Page
I
11
v
VII
1.2 The Life and works of Al-Qur!ubI: A short biographical
sketch
1.1
1.3
1.4
1.5
Islamic scholarship in Spain: An Introduction
Statement of the problem
Aims
Methodology
1
2
7
8
9
CHAPTER TWO: TRANSLATING AL-QURTUBI's TAFSlR OF SfJRAH
YA-SlN:A METHODOLOGICAL APPROACH
2.1 The need for translation and explanation of the Qur arne
Text 11
2.2 Theories and problems of translation 12
2.3 Gadamer's views on fulfillment of sense bestowed by the translator
to the text 14
2.4 Nida's theory and translation theories 15
2.5 The theory applied in this work 18
ix
Page
2.5.1 Introduction
2.5.2 Analysis of the Translation Process
2.6 The methodology followed in this translation
18
20
25
CIIAPTgR THREE: A TRANSLATION OF AL-QURTUBI'S TAFSIR OF
SORAH 27
CIIAPTER FOUR: ANALYSIS
4.1 Introduction
109
4.2 Literary Style
109
4.3
and the aJ:8diil1literature
112
4.4
AI-Qurtubl's methodology of quoting sources
112
4.5
The Encyclopaedic nature of Al-Jiimi'
118
4.6
ubi's concern for detail
119
I!
4.7
and analogical deduction
120
4.8 Use of [srii 7LIyiit
121
4.9 Issues of 'Aqii 'id
123
4.10
observations of natural phenomena
125
4.11 Eschatology
127
x
cnAPTER FIVE: TOE PLACE OF AL-QURTUnl AMONGST THE
MUFASSIRON
Page
.1.1
.1.2
5.3
Introduction
Classifying AI-Ququbl's Al-Jiimi' LI ~ k m Al-Qur'an
AI-Qurtubl's distinctive methodology of taf.slr writing
128
132
139
CHAPTER SIX: CONCLUSION
BIBLIOGRAPHY
144
146
1
CDAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
1.1 ISLAMIC SCDOLARSDIP IN SPAIN: AN INTRODUCTION
Islam, nourished in the Jazlrah AI-AndalUJ (Spain/Iberian Peninsular) for almost
nine centuries beginning with 92/711 almost up to 1610 and beyond.
It is in Spain that great thinkers, philosophers and njal aI-din (men of religion)
Oourished under the noble patronage of Spanish rulers. Spain produced scholars in
all fields: Ibn AI-K,harrlit; Ibn 'Arabt; AI-BlijJ; Ibn 'Abd AI-Barr
in the field of Qur lnj 'Amr AI-Dlinl, the expert muqri (teacher of qira 'at); Baql
ibn Mals.hlad; Qasim ibn Asbaghj Ibn AI-FarlidI and RAjI' ibn Abu Bakr in the
field of AI-Masmudl; Ibn and ibn Waddah in the field
of fiqhj Ibn Tufayl; Ibn Zuhr; Ibn Blijjah in the field of medicine; Ibn Ru.hd; Ibn
Masarrah and Ibn Tumlus in the field of philosophy; and Ibn Zaydun in the field of
poetry.
It is noteworthy that the contribution of the scholars of AI-AndaIUJ is preserved in
biographical works like TariM 'Ulama' AI-AndalUJ of Ibn AI-FarAdl (d. 403/1012);
Jadwah Fi J2hikr Wu14t AI-AndalUJ of AI-Humaydl (d. 488/1095);
KltAb of Ibn Bamkual (d. 578/1185); AI-Mu'jam of Ibn AI-'Abbtr (d.
658/1260); AI- WaJavat AI-A'yan of Ibn Kh!lliklin (d. 680/1282); AI-Mu'Jam
AI-ShuvOM of Ibn DimyAp (d. 704/1306) and of Ibn Zubayr
.'
2
(d. 707/1308).1
In short, Muslim Spain provided its remarkable intellectual contribution in all the
fields oC knowledge. Even after the disintegration of the Spanish Caliphate into tiny
principalities, princely patronage to learning did not diminish. Instead each of these
became new centres oC literary activities. Al-Ququbl had to his advantage the
works of great luminaries who had left behind a treasure. llis Al-JAmi' Ii
AI-Qur'4n mirrors the versatility of his great predecessors in his explanatory notes
on various subjects be it fiqh; al-fiqh; history; etymology; sufism;
philosophy; 'logic; his lucid prose or love for poetry.
1.2 TOE LIFE AND WORKS OF AL-QURrUBI: A SOORT BIOGRAPHICAL
SKETCH
"
Abu 'Abdullah ibn ibn Abu Bakr ibn Farj Al-Ansllrl
AI-K,hazrajl AI-Audalusl (d. 671/1272), was undoubtedly a scholar
well-versed in the Islamic sciences. He was particularly accomplished in the fields
of taf$ir (Qur lnic exegesis), (tradition) and fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence).
was a MaJiJcI scholar since this school of law was prevalent during his
period in the Ma9l1reb and Upper Egypt.
Information about his early life is scanty. The actual date of his birth is, for
example, unknown. lie was certainly born in Cordova in Spain as is confirmed by
Ibn in his article on in his DiUj - a biography of the .\f4/tki
jurists oC Al-Andalus (Spain) and the rest oC the Maghreb detailing their lives and
1 These biographical works are themselves testimony to the scholarly fervour of the time.
"
3
works up to almost the fourteenth century C.E.1
Another valuable source of information on Al-QuqubI is the work Na/1} AI-fib
Min Al-Andaluj AI-Ra!Ib of the famous biographer Al-Maqqarl. Here
teachers are mentioned. They include some of the famous scholars of
Spain at that time. The most well known of Al-Qur] ubi's teachers is SllaYkh Abu
'Abb!s ibn 'Umar Al-Quq ubI the author of Al-Mufham Ii
Muslim. It is from Shaykh AbO 'Abbas that ubi learnt the Qur lnic and
hadIJh disciplines.
Shay!h AbU 'Abblis was an eminent MalikI jurist born in Cordova in 578/1173. He
died in Alexandria in Egypt in the year 656/1259. The Shaykh was also a proficient
grammarian and a foremost expert of the Arabic language. His contribution in the
life and scholarship of ubi is evident in the volumes of Al-Quq ubt's tafsir
and his other works on aspects of ethics. AI-QuqubI not only displays a versatile
command of the language but is also interested in both literary and aesthetical
aspects of the language. Sllaykh Abu 'Abba.s was also a famous traveller wi th a
pious zeal for imparting Islamic knowledge wherever he went. He travelled in the
Orient where his reputation became widespread. 2 Apart from other works of
Sllay!h Abu 'Abbls is Al-Mufham which finds as an authority cited time and again
by the muJ,laddi1b S,.haYkh Sharf AI-DIn AI-Nawawl.
Mention is made of two other teachers of AI-QuqubI from whom he learnt Qur 'an
and had/lb. They are: fUfiz AbO 'Ali AI-Hasan ibn Muhammad ibn Muhammad
. . . . . .
AI-Bakrl and AbU 'Ali ibn ibn 'Ali ibn
Al-Yahsubt.
.
The latter is not mentioned by AI-Ilhahabl in his T'afstr
Ibn Farhan, AI-DiMj AI-Ma4Jjhab Ii Ma'rifah ,t'yin 'UlamA' Al-Ma4!Jhab, Cairo,
1329 A.fI., pp. 317-318.
2 Encyclopaedia of Islam, The, Leiden, 1960, vol. se, p. 512.
4
wa-AI-Mu!a,s,iron.
1
AI-QuqubI's biographers point out that the Imam was a very talented person right
(rom his childhood. He soon became very famous and recognized as an Imam
(leader of thought). Al-Ilhahabl in his TariM AI-I,lam praises AI-Quq ubI's
versatile scholarship in the following words:
"an ocean of learning whose works testify to the wealth of his knowledge, the width
of his intelligence and his superior worth. "2 Another scholar who has written on
Al-Ququbl in his work 'UyOn AI-TawarfM is the biographer Al-Kutub]. He has
eulogised AI-Quq ubi for his brilliance and mentions him as a: "conscientious
scholar who was remembered as a pious man, inclined towards zuhd (asceticism) and
meditation on the life after death."3
AI-QuqubI's works include:
1. Kitab AI-Tagnkar. (The Book of Remembrance). -I
2. Kitab AI-Ta4!Jkirahfi AI-Mawta wa-'UmiJr AI-AMirah. (The Book
Remembering the Condition of the Dead and Eschatological Affairs).
3. Qam' bi AI-Zuhd wa-AI-QanA'ah. (Limiting the Desires by
Asceticism and Satisfaction).
These works all attest that AI-QurtubI was a man of piety (Sahib AI-Taqwa),
. . .
honesty, integrity, sincerity and humility. Agreat deal of evidence to support this
view can be found in his famous work AI-J4mi', where he elucidates on various
.aspects of virtuous life and ideals of simplicity, while explaining the verses of the
Qur 'An. He actualized his t4quui (piety) as he was seen appearing in public clothed
ibid. c.f Al-Ilhahabl, Ta/Jir wa AI-Muffa.sslriJn, Beirut, 1987, p. 150.
2 Dhahabl, ibn TanM Ai-/sUm, Oxford, Bodleran Library
Land. Or. 304, p. 611.
3 AI-Kutubl, 'Uyan Al- Taw4ri&h, Cairo, 1970, vol. 3, p. 98.
5
in a single garment and a small cap (taqiyah).
Al-Ququbl lived and taught in Spain and then following the footsteps of his master
Abu 'Abbas ibn 'Umar ubi; he too made his way to the Orient and
ultimately settled in Upper Egypt1 at a place called Minat Bani Khaslb. He died
in theyear 671/1272.
2
like his contemporaries of Cordova, spent his life in teaching and
writing as the environment was very conducive for scholars and they were mutually
inspired by each other through their intellectual discourses.
The following books have been mentioned unanimously by all his biographers:
1. AI-Jami' Ii Al-Qur'an wa-Mubayyin lima min
Al-Sunnah wa-Ay Al-Furqan.
This work is the magnum-opus of AI-QuqubI and it is by this book that
is well known throughout the Muslim world. Scholars haee
acknowledged the merit of this work and insist on the benefit that may be
derived by the Muslim ummah for all time to come.
'Abd Al-'Allm Al-Bardunt, while commenting on ta/sir in his
preface to the second edition of AI-Jimi' writes: "this work is such that the
reader can almost dispense with the study of works of fiqh."3
It seems quite possible that like his master, settled in Upper Egypt rather
than other place because this region had come under the growing inOuence of the
maflllhab.
2 Ibn Al-'Imld
t
ShaJiharat, Beirut, 1982
t
vol. 5, p. 335.
3 AI-Qurtubl, Al-Jami' Ii AhkAm Al-Qur'an wa-Mubawin lIma Tadammanahu mm
.. .
Al-Sunnah wa-Ay AI-Furqan, Cairo, n.d., vol. It p. 3.
6
2. AI-Asma'
This work deals with the AsmA' Allah (the most beautiful names
of Allah) which is very much in use by Muslims throughout the world, as
they form a major part of !l!Jikr (remembrance) of Allah.
3. AI-Ta!l!Jkiir Ii Al-AgfikAr
This book has been written on the same pattern as Shaykh SharC AI-Dan
AI-Nawawl's work AI-Tibyiin and is perhaps more comprehensive than the
latter.
4. Kitiib AI-Tadhkirah Ii AI-Mawta wa-'UmrJr AI-Akhirah
This book as the name suggests discusses various aspects of Muslim
eschatology. Until recently a shorter version of this book was published in
which the authorship was attributed to AI-5.ha'rlnl. This book has been
published in one volume in Beirut.'
5.
In spite of a long search the present writer has not been able to trace this
"
work or a reference to its contents; hence necessary details have not been
mentioned here.
6. Kitiib Qam' bi AI-Zuhd wo.-Qanii'ah wa Rad/2!J1l AI-Su'iil
This book condemns akhl8.q al-razilah (evil conduct). Ibn has praised
this book bysaying that it is the best example of writing in this genre.
AI-Ququbl, Al-Ta4hkirah Ii AI-Mawt4 wa-'Umar AI-A&lltrah. Beirut, 1990.
The special note on the title page of this edition explains this previous mistake.
7
7. 'Uriij
The Qjma' (names) of the Prophet arediscussed in this work.
All these works provide ample testimony to the fact that AI-QurtubI was a
proficient scholar, whose works offered guidance to his contemporaries and later
generations both in AI-AndalU3 and Egypt.
1.3 STATEMENT OF TIlEPROBLEM
Most of the great works of tafsir have to date not been rendered into another
language. While onemay argue that the ideal way to study a religion and its sacred
text is in the language of that particular religion, the non-scholar often finds this an
insurmountable task. These thoughts and reflections of the predecessors on the
sacred texts must becommunicated to the laity so that their understanding of their
'I
respective religions may beenriched. Translation of these works, therefore, have an
important place in thespiritual development of the religious community.
When a translator adopts a near-equivalent for a certain word and that word is
then used repeatedly by later translators, the rendering becomes a close equivalent
of the original in its connotation. Translators of the works of ta!jir and other
Islamic texts face the challenge of developing similar conventions which through
standard usage will achieve the same effect.
According to Posthumus the semantic proximation in translation can be achieved
by repeatedly using an expression, which is originally only a near equivalent of the
expression in the language of the original. Dy constant usage of certain words,
8
phrases and terminologies the translator gradually breaks down the non-equivalence
and establishes well nigh "perfect" translation fits. I
While embarking on the translation of AI-Ququbt's tafsir of Siirah 1"8-Sfn it
became essential to study the existing translations of the Qur ln, as well as the
available translations ol tafslr works. A close scrutiny of the English words used for
Arabic terms, phrases, idiomatic expressions, maxims, etc. used by the translators
and applying them on the present translation oC tafslr oC Sarah
Y;i-Sin made the task of the present translator relatively easier as opined by
Posthumus.
1.4 AIMS
The aim oC this study is to investigate the concept of translation, as it concerns the
tafsir literature. Translation is complex. This complexity has not, however,
deterred scholars from appreciating its usefulness. This is especially true ftir
religious texts.
The specific purpose oC this study is to apply the theory of translation developed by
the translators and interpreters associated with the Ecole Superieure d'Interpretes
et de Traducteurs de 1a Sorbonne Nouvelle, Universite de Paris Ill, to a work of
tafslr. The translator of a tafsir work inevitably becomes aware of aspects oC style,
method, etc. of the original text. This dissertation aims to show how these
observations can be noted Cor obtaining a better understanding of the original tafslr
work.
Posthumus, M.J., Die Linguistiek van Vertaling, Vertalang 51mposium, University of
South Africa, Pretoria, 1961, p. 27.
.,
9
1.5 METHODOLOGY
The methodology adopted in this study covers thefollowing three stages:
1. Firstly, linguistic translation theories that have been developed are briefly
looked at. The theory that is the focus ofthis study is then detailed.
2. Secondly, an effort has been made to eliminate cumbersome and tedious style
of translation employed by Qur 'An and ta/sIr translators by applying this
interpretive approach in translating AI-Qurt ubI's ta/sIr ofSiJrah Va-Sin.
:J. Thirdlyt the translated text of ubi's work is analysed to highlight
features of his magnum-opus.
This dissertation begins with an introductory chapter outlining the aim and nature
of this work. It is here that the reader is introduced to Islamic scholarship in Spain
and the life and works of Imam AI-QuqubI.
Chapter two examines translation theories in general. and then focuses on a specific
theory, the application of which will be tested in translating AI-Ququbl's tafsir of
Siirah Va-Sin. Entitled" ATranslation of ubt's Ta/Jir of SiJrah Ya-Sin" ,
chapter three. is where AI-Quq ubt's ta/sIrof Sarah Y4-Sin is translated.
In chapters four and five, aspects of tafsir that are fundamental to an
appreciation of ubi's ta/sIr of SiJrah Yi-Sin are approached. The
translator of a ta/sir work becomes aware of features of the ta/Jir being translated.
These observations only reflect in a limited way in the translated text. This is 50
10
because a translation does not aim to analyse a text in detail. The observations of
the translator are useful to the reader who desires a better insight into the
translation or the ta/sir he is reading. Chapter four, therefore, analyses
characteristics of AI-Ququbl's style and other issues. The present translator
became aware of such as ubI's affirmation of the juristic validity of
analogical deduction, his methodology of citation, his use of Isrii 7Uyiit, his acute
criticism of /iraq al-M!ilah (misguided factions), his display ofscientific knowledge,
his eschatological interpretations of various issues concerning physiological details
and his sources of information. Observations made during the course of translation
are used in chapter five to determine where Al-Qurtubl's AI-Jami' Ii Ahkiim
. .
AI-Qur'an wa-Mubayyin lima min Al-Sunnah wa-Ay At-Furqsn
would be placed in the traditional classifications of tafsir and its related works.
The conclusions that surface from this study are discussed in chapter six. Together
with these general conclusions this chapter also assesses the relevance of the
translation theory applied in this dissertation.
----000-
'1
11
COAPTER TWO
TRANSLATING Alr-QUR,!,UBI'S TAFSIR OF SORAII rA -sIN:
A METHODOLOGICAL APPROACH
2.1 TilE NEED FOR TRANSLATION AND EXPLANATION OF TOE
QUR'ANIC TEXT
Even before the whole of the Qur 'ln' was revealed, people asked the Prophet
(S.A.W.) the meanings of certain words in the verses already revealed, of their
bearing on problems as they arose, or details of certain historical or spiritual
matters on which the (Companions) sought clarity. The answers and
explanations given by the Prophet (S.A.W.) were carefully stored in the
memories of the AI-Rasill (Companions) and were afterwards written
down. In the next generation, the tabi'l (Successor) scholars, were those who had
not personally met the Prophet (S.A.W.) like the saJ:Abah, but had conversed
with the saJ}8.bah and learnt from them. In this evolution ofreligious sciences, it
became clear that even among the Companions certain persons had better
opportunities of becoming acquainted with the Prophet's true meaning and the
same may be said ofthe Successor scholars.
The science of that came into existence dealt with multifarious issues
including the deeper meaning and explanations of the Qur In. Ta/sir then
became an independent science by itself and the sphere of La/sir began to widen.
It examined words philologically, analysing the vast storehouse of learning with
regard to etymology and its usage by the various tribes of the Quranh. The
12
proliferation of Jewish and Christian legends with somewhat parallel mention in
the Qur ~ n enabled the ta/Jlr writers to illustrate the text of the Qur ~ n with
reference to brii 7lillat. Then came the ~ i i interpretations and taunlAt. which
aimed at esoteric exposition on the "hidden" meaning or "inner" meaning. The
excesses committed in these fields called for a protest on the part of the learned
'ulama' and mu/aJJlnln.
The rapid spread or Islam in many parts or Asia, Africa and even Eastern Europe
brought in its wake the urgent need to understand the Qur 'nic text and its
explanations in Persian, Turkish, Urdu, Swahili, Ifausa, Slav, English, French,
German and other languages. Scholars who were bilingual with a good command
or Arabic undertook this difficult task or translation from perfectly perspicuous
Arabic ('Arabiwun mubln) into indigenous languages. The process first began
with the translation of the text of the Qur 'n and now in recent times scholars
have translated works or ta/Jlr of the Qur'ln.
'1
2.2 THEORIES AND PROBLEMS OF TRANSLATION
One would like to remark at the very outset that translation from one language
into another and that too of a sacred text is not an easy task. It requires
translational competence which demands an interlingual competence. As Brislin
has rightly put it "interlingual competence is clearly marked orr from the four
traditional monolingual skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing". 1 It
requires u a precondition, a comprehensive syntactic, lexical, morphological and
stylistic knowledge of the text u well as the ability to synchronise these two
languages to communicate effectively.
Brislin, Richard, Translation: Appllcataon.! and Re.ttarch, New York, 1976. p. 120.
13
The translation of Al-Qurtubt's tablr of Siirah Yi-SIn entailed, inter alia, a
.
comprehensive understanding of the text after reading and re-reading and
consulting lexicons, biographical works and ancient as well as modern works of
ta/sir of Sarah Ya-SIn. In this arduous task the translator had to consult three
texts, apart from other lexicographical inputs from the point of view of !J!Jara 'Ib
Al-Qur'iin: the actual text of the Qur AI-Ququbl's ta/sIr and finally a
translation of this text into English. What is evident in the whole process is the .
fact that the tafstr and the translation are both interpretations of the text.
All human languages follow rules. In our case the languages we had to look at
very closely were Arabic and English, although we could not lose sight of some of
the excellent translations and commentaries of the Qur 'an in the Persian and
Urdu languages, which to some extent helped immensely to provide the precise
connotation of certain .terms used by AI-Qur! ubI.
Translation is oneof the most fascinating and complicatedintellectual tasks any
-,
man could perform. When humans translate any text they carefully read the
text in the original language. To do this, they need to know:
1. What the individual words mean.
2. The role each word plays in any particular sentence.
3. Whether the denotation of any word or words is affected byits context.
It is only when the translator has determined these that he transfers the
information content intothe target language, and thus he produces the translated
text. While translating ubi's ta/sIr of Sarah Ya-Sin, it was paramount
on the part of the translator to think that he is after all human, and therefore it
is virtually impossible to produce a translation Cree (rom the translator's
14
"interpretation" of the original textual information in text. It is
probable that the translation is tinged slightly by the human translator's ability
to grasp the concept expressed in the source language (Arabic) and, depending on
the type of material to be translated, his own reactions to that concept. It was
perhaps with this realization that Marmaduke Pickthall cried out that the
Qur 'An is "untranslatable". This is the belief of traditional Sheykhs and the view
of the writer. The Book is here rendered almos t literally and every effort has
been made to choose befitting language. The result is not the "Glorious Qur ':inII,
that inimitable symphony, the very sounds of which move men to tears and
ecstasy. It is only an attempt to present the meaning of the Qur'ln - and
peradventure something ofthe charm ... in English. It can never take the place of
the Qur 'In inArabic, nor is it mean t to do so". I
2.3 GADAMER'S VIEWS ON FULFILMENT OF SENSE BESTOWED BY
THE TRANSLATOR TO THE TEXT
'1
It is in his Wahrheit und Methode that Gadamer propounds his theories on the
translation process. Gadamer says that "every translation is interpretation". 2
He uses the German term" Auslegung". A translation is a fulfilment of a sense
that the translator bestows upon the text offered to him. In this case Gadamer
tries to point out how all the hermeneutic enterprise is mediated by language.
Therefore, according to him, the hermeneutic problem is outside translation,
since Gadamer holds that when people speak to one another they do not
translate. So the hermeneutical problem is not that of attaining a good
Pickthall, Marmaduke, The Meanang of the Glonow Qurln, Mecca, 1977,
p. iii.
2 Gadamer, Wahrheat und Methode (2
1l d
Ed.) p. 362. Quoted by Lorenzo Pena in his
"lntermanacy of Trarulation QJ HernleneutJc Doctrine" in Hermeneutics and Traduion,
vol. 62, Washington, 1988, p. 219.
'1
1S
mastering of a language but that of reaching an agreement about the thing, which
is implemented or carried out by means of language.
According to Gadamer if I understand the other's language I cannot reach the
blending of our two horizons if my own conceptual framework, minted as it is, in
my language, remains outside my dealings with his words and his problems; thus
I am finally compelled to fall back on translation and every translation proceeds
by over-highlighting. This is why the translation's output is more clear than is
its input, a distance that the interpreter is painfully aware of. 1
2.4 NIDA'S THEORY AND TRANSLATION THEORIES
Nidat has outlined a number of characteristics of a person who engages in
effective translation. They are:
1. competence and skill in verbal communication;
2. a sincere admiration for the formal features of the source language;
3. a respect for the content of the source language;
4. a willingness to "express his own creativity through someone else's
creation";
5. an awareness that translational problems are matters of different and
changing foci;
6. an ability to use both a surface structure and a deep structure approach;
7. an awareness that criteria for judging the acceptability of translations are
Gillespie, Michael, TranJlation, Reading and Literary Theory, Ann Arbor, 1988, p. 87.
2 Nida, E.A., A Framework Jor /he Analy.su and Evaluation of Ttuorus of Translation,
in Brislin, R.W. (ed.), Tran.dation Application and Ruearch, New York, 1976, pp.
47-91.
16
not fixed, but are continually ill a stateofflux;
8. an ability to bring an eclectic approach to bear on translation.
Over and above Nida's characteristics of an effective translator, a scholar
engaged in the translation of literary works from Oriental languages into English, .
French or German would certainly need mastery of the language in which the
original work was composed. In particular the works produced in Arabic would
certainly demand on the part of the translator sound expertise in the language
form, grammar (syntax and etymology), idiomatic usages of the Arabic and even
a command over rhetoric (balag!jah).
Theorists of translation, in their efforts to provide a definition of translation and
criteria for the evaluation of translations have become embroiled in theoretical
battles about the nature and even the possibility of translation. Theodore
Savory's much quoted parodic list or "instructions" for the would-be translatot I
is a good illustration of the contradictions which emerge from these debates.
1. Atranslation must give the words of the original.
2. Atranslation must give the ideas of the original.
3. Atranslation should read like an original work.
4. Atranslation should read like a translation.
5. Atranslation should reflect the style of the original.
6. Atranslation should possess the styleofthe translator.
7. Atranslation should read as a contemporary or the original.
8. Atranslation should read as a contemporary or the translator.
9. Atranslation may add to or omit from the original.
10. Atranslation may never add to or ommit from the original.
Savory, Theodore, The Art of Tran.dation, Philadelphia, 1960, p. 49.
17
11. Atranslation ofverse should be in prose.
12. Atranslation ofverse should be in verse.
Even a superficial look at Savory's list of instructions to translators quoted above
makes apparent that there are many contradictions and confusions in the field of
translation studies. Savory highlights this fact by simply juxtaposing assertions
representing different approaches, different perspectives and different
assumptions. The fact that Savory has highlighted the contradictions of
translation theories does not imply that the translator can dispense with a sound
and coherent body of rules or processes that will provide a framework to perform
this complex intellectual activity.!
There will always be translators who have the ability to transpose messages from
one language to another without consciously referring to a set of principles.
However, all too often there are translators, whose works are unsatisfactory
because they have not devoted any thought to the problems of translation.
Dilettante translators are Cast being replaced by translators, who go through
organised training before they join the ranks of proCessional translators.
The real aim of translations of literary works is to bring the author of the original
text to the reader, especially when the reader is unable to read the original text.
It can be the other way around too. The intention may well be to bring the
reader to the author of the original. This is a challenging task and the translator
must do as much justice as possible to both the content, andform of the original,
since the aim is to guide the reader to a Cull appreciation of the original. 2
Harris, Thomas, Is r ~ l h o n Po!!ible?, Edinburgh, 1990, p. 109.
2 Lorscher, Wolfgang, "Models of Translation Process: Claim and Reality", Target:
International Journal of Tran.5lahon Studiu, Amsterdam, 1989, 1:1, 43-{l8.
18
2.5 TOE THEORY APPLIED IN THIS WORK
2.5.1 Introduction
The theory of translation discussed here is that developed by the Ecole
Superieure d'Interpretes et de Traducteurs research group or Paris. The
innovative contribution or this theory is its "interpretive" approach. This school
demonstrates that a theory of translation must be co-extensive with a general
theory of discourse. As opposed to linguistic theories of translation, the Paris
School offers an approach based on an analysis of the meaning of discourse.
Rhetoric, defined as the study of discourse, provides the framework for this
theory.' Discourse is made up of thoughts expressed symbolically and
communicatively. Insearching for an equivalent the translator studies discourse.
The linguist analyses words and sentences in and for themselves whereas the
'1
translator analyses the text at a higher level looking beyond the individual word
or sentence. One of the major weaknesses or linguistic theories of translation is
that they have not ventured beyond the word and sentence. As James S. Holmes
has pointed out:
One of the great drawbacks of practically all the linguistic translation
theories that we have had up to now has been that they have had to work
with a linguistics which is only interested in the sentence and linguistic
phenomena below the sentence level; linguistics iuelf in the structural
period and even in the transformational period had been very frightened or
going beyond the sentence. Translation on the other hand, ... is so
Delisle, Jean, Tran.slation: An interpretative Approach. Translator Patricia Logan
and Monica Creery, Ottawa, 1980, p. 98. This is the most comprehensive work on the
theory discussed here.
19
obviously a question not of translating a series of sentences but of
translating a text".'
The theoretical approach examined here begins with a definition ofthe concept of
translation. In everyday usage both word or sentence equivalents and message
equivalences (equivalences of utterances in context) are called "translations". In
Saussurean terms, the first type of equivalence is established at the level of
language as a system, whereas the second type arises out of the use of language in
a given situation. It is necessary to make this distinction because word and
message equivalences are not established by the same process and their aims are
different. In the case of equivalence between isolated words, the goal is to match
two signifiers to a single signified; in the case of equivalence between messages,
the translator's aim is to faithfully reproduce the thoughts communicated by the
author.
"
The process of translation demonstrates the fact that in discourse a word can
have a completely different meaning from the one normally associated with that
word taken in isolation. In the phrase: nalalat Ii Bani Salimah the preposition
[i means "concerning" and introduces a cause of revelation (-'abab
This meaning would not be found in a bilingual dictionary:
I I Bani Salimah
Translation:
concerning the Banu Salimah.
In this phrase the word I t acquires its meaning from its usociation with the
words that surround and influence it. The context effectively eliminates the
Holmes, James, S., "Tran.datlon Theory, Trarulatlon Studlts, and the Trarulator", In
Translating: A Profcssion, Proceedings of the 8
1h
World Congress of the International
Federation of Translators, 1977, Ed.
20
potential significations so that the one signification relevant in this particular
context remains, and polysemy vanishes immediately. This confirms that
semantic transfer between languages can take place on two levels, that of the
potential significations of linguistic signs ("/ [II ="in''. "at II. lionII, "near"... byII ;
in other words all the significations found in dictionaries) or that ofthe meaning
of the message ("/ I II = "concerning" in a given context).
The translator who searches no further than the most commonly used
signification of a word or the one ~ comes to mind automatically ("I I" =
"in") risks attributing an incorrect meaning to a word. That explains the lapses
typical of novice or incompetent translators, who proceed by looking up every
other word in the dictionary. The meaning oC a word. sentence of whole text is
grasped by means of interpretation. Translation is an exercise in interpretation,
an intelligent analysis of the text.!
-I
Drawing a distinction between translation and inter-linguistic transcoding was a
prerequisite to understanding the intellectual process involved in translation.
2.5.2 Analysis of the Tranalation Process
Broadly speaking, there are three stages in the development of a translation
equivalence: comprehension. reformulation and verification. Each stage can be
further divided into subsidiary operations: comprehension involves decoding
linguistic signs and grasping meaning; reformulation is a matter or reasoning by
analogy and rewording concepts; and verification involves back-interpreting and
Rose, Marilyn, Seeking SvnaPUj: Translators Dtjcnbe TranJlaltng, New York, 1991,
p.29.
21
choosing a solution. I Each of these stages of the complex cognitive process of
translation will now be dealt with.
a) Comprehension
In the first stage of the process, comprehending the text, the translator
essentially attempts to determine what the author wanted to say. It is
obvious that one cannot grasp the meaning of a text simply by reading it.
It is quite possible to visualize the graphic signs of a text written in a
foreign language or to pronounce the sounds they symbolize without
understanding the meaning of the signs. This purely physical act must be
accompanied by a mental acti vity that may be called interpretive analysis.
The written text is the physical basis for what must be analyzed. At this
stage the translator perusing a text to be translated finds himself in the
same position as a unilingual reader acquainting himself with its contents.
.'
Like the reader, the translator is an active participant in the
communication process. 2
Comprehension takes place on two different levels: the level at which
signifiers are grasped and the level at which meaning is grasped. Every
word in an utterance can be comprehended in terms of the language system
from which it draws its signification and in terms of non-linguistic
parameters that give it meaning. Comprehending signification and
comprehending meaning are concurrent and overlapping operations. For
the sake of clarity each of these will be treated distinctly.
Kirsten, Malmjaer, "Underpinning Translation Theory", Target: International Journal
of Tran.dation StudieJ, Amsterdam, 1993, 5:2, p. 133-48.
2 Giovanni, Pontiero, The T4Jk 0/ the Literary TraMlator, Amsterdam, 1992, p. 321.
22
1. Understanding Significra
The decoding of signs, whatever their referents, is an operation at the
level of the linguistic system. The conceptual content of words is
ascertained through lexical and grammatical analysis. Using his
knowledge of Arabic vocabulary, the translator calls up in his memory
the signification of the individual words in the utterance "wa-hiya
makkiyatun bi ijmA' ''. In contrast to the computer which deals with
Corms, the translator is able to identify concepts mediated by
linguistic signs.
This first level of comprehension does not, however, only involve the
ability to recognize sigrufiers. It is also necessary to discern the
pattern of absttact relationships uniting the words of a sentence.
Even-once lexical and grammatical analysis have been done the
translator cannot replace each signifier in the original statement by a
signifier from another language. Doing so would produce a transcoded
formulation with only statistical equivalence, without reference to tobe
context. The translator can never be sure that the string of
transcoded words accurately conveys the meaning of the original.
Transcoding is matching similar words, translation is communicating
an equivalent message.
The comprehension of signifiers is an operation involving only the
linguistic code and would, therefore, by itself not enable the translator
to understand an utterance. If the translator limited himself to
comprehending signifiers, he would produce equivalences based on a
partial interpretation. This is, however, a necessary first step in the
23
translation process. 1
2. Understanding Meaning
The second step in the analysis is, to define the conceptual content of
an utterance more precisely, by examining the referential context in
which the utterance is embedded. The aim of this operation is to
discover what the signs mean as parts of a message. Translation is'
not the re-expression of signs, but of concepts or ideas. It is only this
that makes it possible to bridge the gulf between languages despite
the fact, that one linguistic code cannot be transposed into another.
Words and sentences are always open to interpretation. According to
the situational parameters they take on an additional dimension.
Signification is codified and tends to be static, while meaning is not
codified and tends to be dynamic.
'I
b) Reformulation
Re-expression, which is the next step after comprehension, is the act of
re-verbalizing concepts using the signifiers of another language. This
mental process is the most complicated to analyze. The ideas identified
through interpretive analysis, in the preceding steps, set off a chain of
analogical reasoning in the translator's mind.
This search for equivalents is more than a simple effort of memory, in
which the translator scans a kind of internal dictionary for words,
Hewson, Lama, Redefining Translation: The Variational Approach, London, 1991, p.
251.
24
corresponding to concepts to be reconstituted. I Instead, since thought is
based on speech, in reformulating ideas, the translator continually shuttles
between the deverbalized meaning seeking expression and the linguistic
forms through which it could be verbalized. This back and forth motion
finally ceases when a satisfactory match is made.t
1. Analogical Reasoning
To re-express an utterance the translator reasons by analogy. The
human mind works through association and a translator's competence
depends on his deductive and associative abilities. Analogical
reasoning is a process by which the imagination establishes
similarities. Analogy plays a very important part in the search for
translation equivalents. Translators should possess an imagination
and a sensitivity to parallels and connections between concepts in
order to transfer the concepts contained in a text into another text.
-I
2. Re-verbalizatioD
Once meaning has been grasped it is reformulated by means of ideas
and not words. The next step would be to verbalize the idea into the
target language. The same interpretation can be expressed in
different ways in the target language, as long as the target language
signifiers are not dictated by usage, as is the case with codified
languages, where some equivalents are fixed. For example ~ h b h
can only be translated as "Companions". Thus, the greater the
predominance of set forms in a given field, the less liberty the
translator has to re-express ideas related to that field. lie must
\Vakabayashi, Judy, The TranJlator a.J Editor, Binghamton, 1991, p. 170.
:I Rose, Marilyn, op. cit., p. 59.
25
comply with the accepted usage.
c) Verification
The purpose ol verification, the third and final stage of the cognitive
process of translation, is to confirm the accuracy of the solution. This is
done by checking that the proposed equivalent renders the Cull meaning of
the original utterance.
In verifying his translation, the translator attempts to determine to what
extent his reformulation matches the meaning of the original passage, or to
be more precise, his interpretation of the author's intent.
Verification is in fact a second interpretation. The first interpretation takes
place after the stage of comprehension. Its purpose is to identify the ideas
of the message. The second interpretation takes place after re-expression
and before selection 'of the final version. Its purpose is to determine
'I
whether the signifiers of the tentative solution accurately convey the ideas
of the message. This check is also a reasoning process. Translating thus
entails two interpretations; the first based on the signs of the source text
and the second on the signs or the target language once possible equivalen ts
have been proposed.'
2.6 TOE METHODOLOGY FOLLOWED IN rms TRANSLATION
The principles adopted here in this translation of ta/jir of Surab.
Ya-Sin may now be briefly stated.
Seleskovitch, Danica, La Contribution de l'interpretation a la theorie de la traduction,
Tubingen, 1990, p. 59.
26
Al-Ququbl's tablr of Surah Ya-Sln, although not complicated, is a masterpiece
of fine Arabic language and literature. The more versatile a tablr is, the more
difficult it becomes for the translator. The translator has in his renderings, made
every effort to remain very close to the Arabic original used by AI-Quq ubi and
at the same time attempted to clarify its meaning. For the sake of this
clarification, materials are sometimes added to the text. To ensure an easy
reading some expressions are loosely translated, although eHorts have been made
to keep the meaning closest to the original. Footnotes have rarely been added.
Since ubt's tablr has not yet been critically edited or translated in any
language, variants in its different printed texts have not yet been brought to
light. The translator has at hand two printed texts:
1. The text published by Al-Maktabah AI-Tijlriyyah AI-Kubra, Egypt, n.d.
2. The text published by Inti.hllrat Khusroc, Teheran, n.d,
The English translation of the Qur lnic verses in this dissertation are chiefly
from 'Abdullah Yusuf Ali's translation. I have, however, made my own
-,
modifications in order to provide a greater degree of clarity.
As this dissertation aims at presenting only the English translation of
Al-Ququbl's tafslr of SiJrah Yi-Sfn, much that can be desired in respect of
overall features of ubt's ta/Jlr has been left over, for future research
scholars to pursue. The voluminous taJslr of Al-Quq ubi has a treasure of
knowledge to offer to the readers, and can always open new vistas for human
thought and learning.
27
CHAPTER THREE
A TRANSLATION OF AL-QURTUBI'S TAFSIR OF SORAII YA-SlN
Introduction &0 Surah Ya-SIn)
In the name of Allah, Moat Gracious, Moa& Merciful.
SORAH YA.-SlN
Consensus of opinion [of the scholars) is that this ,arah is Makkan and consists of eighty
three verses. However a group of scholars have said that the verse: "and We record that
which they send before and that which they leave behinff' (Q. 5:36, V:12), was revealed in
[Madinah concerning) the Banil Salimah, a tribe of the who intended to leave their; /l'!
homes and relocate to the neighbourhood of the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.)'s Masjid. In
his work, Abu Da ud [has narrated) on the authority of Ma 'qal ibn Yasar that the Prophet
(S.A.W.) said: "Recite Sarah Yii-STn on your dead". Al....;.AjarI has narrated a hadilh
I
(tradition) from Urn AI-Darda'that the Prophet (S.A.W.) said: "Never is Sarah Ya-Sin
of
read on a dead person except that Allah causes him to experience ease". Mtumad
AI-Darami contains a on the authority of Abil Hurayrah tha& the Messenger of
Allah (5.A.W.) said: "Whosoever recites Sarah Ya-Sin at night, Cor the pleasure of Allah,
will be Corgiven in that night." Aba Na1m has also narrated this
Tirmid,hI has narrated from Anas that the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) said: II For
everything there is a heart and the heart of the Qur'ln is Sarah Ya-SIn, and whosoever
reads Va-SIn it will be written Cor him, the equivalent of reciting the entire Qur 1n ten
28
times." Tirmidhl says that this is [of the!gharib [type!.' Harun Abu
[who is one of the narrators] in the chain of transmission of this is unknown.
[Tirmislhl also informs us that! Abu Bakr has narrated a on the same
topic. This [is unacceptable because of its) weak chain of narrators.
.;\ ishah narrates that the Prophet (S.A.W.) said: "In the Qurln there is a sarah that I.' I
fo I 1'1
intercedes Cor its reader and pleads Corgi veness Cor its listener. Behold, this is Sflrah i J
Ya: -Stn. In the Torah it is called AI- Mu 'immah (The Giver of Blessings in this world and ',' ,
'I,'
the next). The Prophet (S.A.W.) was asked: "What is meant by AI-Mu'immah?". He
replied: "It envelopes its reader with the welfare oC this world and protects him from the
evil of the Hereafter and its other names are AI-Difi'ah (The Remover of Calamities) and ;'
(The Caterer of Needs). He (the Prophet) was asked: "Why is this so, Oh! /
Prophet of Allah?". The Prophet (S.A.W.) replied: "This sarah removes from its reader
all evil and caters for his every need. Whosoever reads it is apportioned with twenty
merits in his favour and whoever listens to it will be rewarded as though he spent one
thousand dinars' [in the way oC Allah), and whoever writes it, and drinks it has entered a
thousand cures into his stomach, a thousand lights, a thousand faiths, a thousand mercies,
his heart becomes softened a thousand times, a thousand guidances and every ailment and
evil thought will be removed from him. AI-Tha1abl has mentioned this on the
authority of 'A irnah and AI-Tirmidhl AI-HakIm has quoted this in his work
Nawadir AI- 'Usal on the authority of Abu Bakr AI-Siddlq. It is reported in Mu.snad
. '.;'
AI- Diirami that s.hahr ibn narrates that Ibn 'AbbAs said: "Whoever recites
Sisrah: Ya-Sin on awakening will experience ease until the evening and whoever recites it
during the beginning of the night will be at. ease until daybreak." quotes
QiJarib is a type of in the classification of It refers to the
existence of a single narration on the issue and as such could be authentic or
unauthentic depending on the standards of the narrators of the particular
These standards arc scrutinized after review of the bibliographical texts that have
classified narrators in conCormity to this relative science.
2 Dinar is a currency in use during the Prophet's time.
29
,f'
'Abd ibn Abl Layt! [as saying): "Everything has a heart and the heart of the
Qur 'an is Sarah Ya -Sin. Whoever reads it during the day his anxieties will be expelled,
and whoever reads it at night, his sins will be forgiven." Shahr ibn 1,Iawroab has said:
" ,
"The inhabitants of Jannah (Paradise) will only recite T4-Hii. and Ya-Sfn". AI-Mawardl 'I
[is of the opinion that) the [above mentioned) statements [of Ibn 'Abbas, 'Abd
ibn Abi Layla and Shahr Ibn 1,Iawlhab] are the words of the Prophet (S.A.W.).
At-Mawardl says that reports from Ibn 'Abbu that the Prophet (S.A.W.)
said: "Everything has a heart and the heart of the Qur tn is Sarah Y4-SIn. Whoever
reads it at night will experience ease during the night and whoever reads it during the day
will experience ease on that day. The Qur'lln will not be available to the dwellers of
Jannah (Paradise) and they will not recite any part or it except T4-lfa and Y4-Sfn."
Yahya ibn Abl Ka1.hlr states: "I have been informed that whoever recites Sarah Yii.-SIn at
night will remain happy till he wakes and whoever recites it when he wakes up will remain
happy till he retires. This has been narrated to me [by those who have] experienced this
benefit [in their lives)." This has been mentioned by AI-Iha 1abl and Ibn 'Apyah. Ibn
'Apyah has said: "Experience proves that this is true." AI-Tirmillhl At-l;Iaklm has
., .
mentioned in his Nawadir Al- Usal that 'Abd AI-A11 narrates from Muhammad ibn
. , .
AI-Salt, who narrates from 'Umar ibn Iha.bit, who narrates from Muhammad ibn Marwan,
., .
who narrates from Abu Ja far, that he said: "Whoever experiences hardness in his heArt
"
should write Sarah Yii.-SIn on a container [with the ink of saffron, and thereafter), drink ,
[water from this container]." My rather, may Allah have mercy on him, narrated to me
from Asram ibn l;Iawroab, who narrated from Baqlyah ibn AI-Walld, who narrated from
I
AI-Mu'tamir ibn Aroraf, who narrated from ibn 'All that the Prophet
(S.A.W.) said: "The Qur In is superior to all else, besides Allah. The superiority of the
Qur 'An to all other words is like the superiority or Allah over His creation. Whoever
[respects the Qur 1n) has shown respect to Allah, and whoever [does not respect the
Qur in] has shown disrespect to Allah. The sanctity of the Qur In by Allah is like the
sancti ty of the father to his child. The Qur In is an intercessor whose intercession is
30
accepted and one who argues by it is on truth. Whoever puts the Qur\n in Cront of him, it '
leads him to Jannah and whoever puts the Qur 'n behind him it drags him, to Jahannam ,"",
(Hellfire). The bearers of the Qur 'n are enveloped in the Mercy oC Allah. They are
enshrouded in the NiJr (celestial light) of Allah. They are the teachers oC the word of
Allah. One who befriends them, befriends Allah and their enemy is an enemy of Allah.
Allah says: 'Oh bearers of the Qur 'An answer your Creator's call by respecting His book.
[Ill return] Allah will love you and make you beloved to his servants. Allah distances
calamities of this world, from the one who listens to the Qurln being recited [and
distances]' calamities of the HereaCter, [from the reciter of the Qur 1n1
2
To listen to one
verse of the nook of Allah being recited is more meritorious than whatever obtains under
the Throne oC Allah till the bowels of the earth. In the Qur 'n there is a "arah called
Al- 'Azizah (the Great). Its reader is an honoured person on the Day ofJudgement. This
surab. is Sarah Yi-Sln. This "arah intercedes for ita reader on more occasions than [the
,. h
livestock of the clan of] Rabl'ah and This ["arah] is Sarah Y4-SIn." AI-Iha 1abl ..
says on the authority of Abtlllurayrah that the Prophet (S.A.W.) said: "Whoever recites
Sarah Ya-SIn on the night [preceeding] Friday will wake up in a condition where all his .'
sins will be forgiven". Anas narrates that the Prophet (S.A.W.) said: "One who enters .,he
graveyard and then recites Sarah Y4-SIn, Allah wiU ease the suffering of the people buried
there and [the reciter will be rewarded] equal to the number of dead buried therein".
ubi'. TofsIrof tbe Apt)
I. Yi-SIn.
2. By the Qur ln, full of wisdom.
3. Thou art indeed oneoC the apostles.
4. On a straight way.
This addition is not found in original but may be found in the Nowodlr
Al-Tirmidhl AI-I.lak1m (Ed.)
2 ibid.
31
5. It is a revelation sent down by the Exalted in Might, Most Merciful.
.. '
There are a few qira'at of the word Y4-SIn. Ahl AI-MadInah and AI-Kis!' recite it by ' ',f
incorporating the nun [(of sIn)] and the waw. Abu 'Amar, AI-A 'mash and Hamzah recite
it as Vii-SIn with izhar
1
of the nun. Ibn 'AbbAs, Ibn AbI IshAq and Nan ibn 'Asim recite
. . .
I t as ya-sini with a kasrah on the nan. 'Isa ibn 'Umar recites it as ya-sina with a fathah
- .
,
on the nun. Hariln AI-A 'war and Muhammad ibn AI-Sumayqa' recite it as ya-sinu with
a on the nl1n. There are [thus] five variant readings of this verse.
The first reading, where the nan and waw are incorporated complies to the demands of
grammar since nun is usually incorporated into waw. Usually a pauseis made after any of
the al-hija' and idgGiim (incorporating of the nan and wiiw) will only take place when
there is no pause between Ya-SIn and wa AI-Qur'an.
Sibaway has given two [shades of] opinion why he feels the word ra-SIn [should be read]
with a He is of the opinion that the word Yi-SIn is Arabicised and similar to the -"
word Habtl. [In this case] the sentence would be "ugakur Ya-SIn" (remember VA-SIn). /. .
Sibaway has understood this to be the name of the sarah. The second reason forwarded by,.:
Sibaway is that ra-Sfn is fixed on /atlJ.ah just as the words kay/a and ayna are fixed on
fathah,
.,
I.#"
Farra' [has likened] the verses Yi-SIn wa AI-Qur'4n to the oath, javrIla af'aL Since jayri
has a kasrah on the ri' YI-SIn as an oath will also carry a kasrah on the sIn. Ibn 'Abbas
[was also of the same opinion]. Another reason given for the kasrah is that the word
Yii-Sin is similar to the words arnsT, hA'uJj'i, and raqtUl.
The term is used here to mean the case where an incorporation of letters would
not take place.
32
The reason given (or 'he opinion Ithat it should end in is that it is similar '0
mUlIdhu, qa!!u and It is also similar '0 the cue where the penon or thing called is
in the singular, after the particle o( interjection. We I(or example] say: 1Ia raJUlu. This is
in the case when we pause onthis verse. Ibn Sumayqa: and Harun [are o(theopinion 'hall
since one o( the explanations (or the meaning of ya-JIn is y4 ra]Ul, it would be preferrable
to place a on the .tIn. Ibn AI-AnbArl is o( the opinion that ya-JIn would be a
recommended pause (or those, [who are] of the opinion that it is the beginning o( the .tOrah.
Those who believe it to be in the meaning of y4 rajul (Oh Man!), should not pause here.
Sa'ld ibn Jubayr says: "It is one of the names out of the names o( (S.A.\V.).
Its proof is the verse" you are andeed one of the apoJtlu."
Abu Bakr AI-WarrAq has said: "It means: Oh leader of man." It has been said that it is ,,,
a name (rom amongst the names of Allah. [This is the opinion] of MAlik. Awhab asked
M!lik whether it was correct to name someone Y4-SIn. To this Mllik replied that it was
not appropriate because of the verse ya-.sln wa AI-Qur'An in which Allah says
that this is my name. Ibn AI-'Arabl comments that Mllik's opinion is commendable
because it is permissible for a person to be named with any of the qualities o(Allah if that
same quality is to be found in man [also]. Examples of such names [would be] 'Alim.
QAdir. Murtd and Mutakallim. Mllik discouraged the use of the name Y4-Sln because its
meaning was unknown and could [possibly] refer to a quality exclusive to Allah.
Some 'ularn4' have said: "Allah has begun this .sarah with Y4 and SIn. There seems to be
all the goodness in it". Theyargue tha' the beginning is the very heart or this "arah The
hean is the controller or the human body. Similarly Yl-STn i. the leader or &11 the "OraJu
comprising the entire Qur'4n. 'U14m4' have differed concernin8 the lor the wordl
y4-.dn. Sa'ld ibn Jubayr and Ikramah are of the opinion that it i. an AbYliinian word.
AI-SIla 1>ly states that it is the dialect of the Tayy peoples. AI-I,IlUan lis or the view thatj .
it is in the dialect or the Kalb. AI-Kalbl lfeell that it wlUj originally a Synllc word used ,
33
by the Arabs and eventually included into the Arabic language. A similar discussion has
passed in the ta/Jlr of SiJrah T4-lla and in the introduction to his work.
'Ayya? [has enumerated the] opinions ot mu!ajjiriJn concerning the meaning o(
'ia-sin. Abu Makkt reports that Nabt (S.A.W.) said: "Allah has ten names
(or me." Nabi (S.A.W.) listed 'fa-Ifa and Ya-Sln as two o( these names. I say [that]
Al-Mawardl has quoted 'Ali 'anhu as saying: "Allah has given me seven names '
in the Qur'ln: Muhammad, Ahmad, T4-H4, Y4-SIn, Al-Muzammil, Al-Muddathir and
. .. .'
'Abdullah." has also recorded this opinion.
Abu 'Abd Al-Sulami has narrated (rom Ja'far that the meaning:
yii-sayyld (Oh masted) is intended and Nabt (S.A.W.) is being addressed. Ibn 'Abbls is
reported to have said: "Ya-SIn means ya-indnu (Oh man!) [and] (S.A.W.) is
intended." Ibn 'AbbAs also said: "It is an oath and it is (rom amongst the names of
Allah." Al-Zujj!j says: "Some say it means (Oh Muhammad!) some
[say] it means Ya-Insan (Oh Mankind!) and some [say] it means yl-rajul (Oh Man!). Ibn
-I
Al-Hanlfah says ya-jln means "Oh Muhammad!". Ka'ab states that ya-jIn is an oath
. .
taken by Allah a thousand years before He created the heavens and the earth. Allah said:
Oh Muhammad "you are indeed one o/the apostles" Then Allah said: "by the Qur'an full
aj unsdom." If we accept that ya-jIn is a name of (S.A.W.) andthat it is used
as an oath, then [it would be a case showing greater respect to that which comes first.
The oath is strengthened by attaching a second oath to it. If it is in :he meaning of an
interjection then the second oath coming after it has the purpose of substantiating
(S.A.W.)'s prophethood and testifying to [his] being rightly guided. Allah
takes an oath by llis name and llis book that has been sent with Revelation to
the servants of Allah and that he is on the "straight way". The mwtaqim may be \
interpreted as that path that has no deviation in it Crom the truth.
supporting the view that ya-jin means ya-."aYvid (Dh Master!), says: "Allah has not
34
taken an oath on the prophet hood of any prophet in the Qur In, except in the case of
uharnmad. This is evidence of the respect and glorification [afforded tal the Prophet
(5.A. \V.).II
The Prophet (S.A. W.) has said: III am the leader of the children of Adam." This is where
the report of stops. Al-Qumayrl quotes Ibn 'AbMs as having said: "The
unbelievers of the Quranh (addressing Muhammad] would say: IIYou are not the
messenger and God has not sent you to us." So, Allah took an oath by the decisive Qur 'An
that Muhammad is from amongst the messengers."
implies that which is perfect since it does not intimate falsehood or
contradiction.
"On a straight way." "Way" is the "religion". [This] "way" is Islam. Al-ZujjAj states
that" on a straight way" means lion the path of the anbiya.' (prophets) who have preceded
you." 'Ala mustaqim is the second predicate of theintensiCying particle inna. The
first predicate being innaka iamin al-mursaUn. The second way this verse may be
understood is to regard 'ala mU$taqlm as the relative clause of al-mursalin. In this
case the verse serves to point out to (S.A.W.) that he is in a long line of
rightly guided messengers.
"It lS a revelation sent down by the Exalted in Might, Most Merciful." Ibn 'Amir,
, I
AI-A 'maID, Yahya, Hamzah, AI-Kisl, and Khalaf recite tanzil4 with a Jathah on the lam.
. . .
They have [understood] tanztia to be the verbal noun. The verbal noun in this case is in
the construct state [and accordingly] becomes a definite noun. Others have recited it u
tanzilu in the nominative. They have taken tanzilu to be the predicate [in a clause, where
the] subject is absent. This nominal sentence would then read: huwa tanzIlu (it is a
revelation) or allaflht unzila tiayka tanzilu al-'azIz al-raJ,lIm. (That which is revealed upon
35
you is a revelation of the Exalted in Might, Most MerciCu1.) Some scholars have [even)
read tantill in the genetive Corm. In this case tanzill is the appositional substanuve
standi ng Cor the substantive al-qur'4ni. These scholars have linked tantil to al-qur 'an,
while others have linked tanzil to Innaka lamin al-mur.salin. In this case the Prophet
(S.A.\V.) is what is "sent down". This may be substantiated by the verse: "For Allah hath
indeed sent doum to you a Mu.sage, an Apo.!tle who rehear"e" to you the .sIgn" of AUah."
(Q. 5:65, V:I0-11). Some scholars have pointed out that it is grammatically correct to ..
oJ
say: arsala Allahu al-ma!ara and anzala AUahu al-ma!ara and they both mean the same.
(Allah has sent down the rain.) Now Muhammad (S.A. W.) is the mercy oC Allah sent
down Crom the sky. Those who have held that tanzIla should be understood as: innaka min
AI-'Anz [is] the avenger of any person who opposes Him.
Ai-Rahim: [He is] merciful to those obedient to Him.
-I
6. In order that thou mayest admonish a people whose Cathers had received no
admonition and who, [thereCore,] remain' heedless.
7. The word is proved true against the greater part of them Cor they do not believe. .'.
8. We have put yokes round their necks right up to their chins, so that their heads are
forced up.
Most scholars of taf.!Ir, including Qatadah, are or the opinion that the word rna is of no
consequence in the sentence [from the point of view ofdiacritical marks]. The verse would
therefore mean: "so that you may admonish a people whose fathers had received no
admonition." Some scholars do translate rna to mean allaflhI (those who). According to
them then the verse would mean: "so that you may admonish them just as their .
36
forefathers had been warned." Ibn 'Abbas, Ikramah and Qatadah all hold this opinion.
Some scholars are of the opinion that ma when placed next to the verb an4!Jara, renders
[the resulting construction] in the infinitive [with thelliterary meaning of: II S0 that you,
may warn a nation the warning of their fathers." It is possible that the warning of the
prophets reached the Arabs. It could be said that they were not warned by a prophet from
amongst themselves. It is also possible that the message reached them but they were
negligent and unmindful of it. It is also possible that a nation is being addressed here who
never received the message of a prophet. The following verses substantiate this argument:
II But We had not given them book.! which they could jtudy, nor "ent to them before
thee a.5 (Q. 5:34, V:44). "That thou mayut admonuh a people to whom no warner
tuu come before thee: in order that they may receive guidance" (Q. 5:32, V:3). Those who
hold that a prophet did in fact come to the Arabs add [that when] a person rejects
something then it is also said that the person is negligent or heedless The,
verse therefore reads: fa hum ghafilun ("and they are heedless").
'1
II The word jj proved true again.!t the greater part of them" means that Divine punishment is
r' .
incumbent on most of them. "For they do not believe
ll
implies that the warning by the :.'
Prophet (5.A.W.) will go unheeded by these unbelievers. Allah knows who will die [in a
state of] disbelief beforehand.
In the next verse: "We have put yoke" round their neck.! right up to their chin.! "0 that their
heads are forced up", the reason [is supplied] for the unbelief of these persons.
It has been reported that this verse was revealed concerning Abtl Jahl and his two friends
of the Makhzuml tribe. AbO Jahl took an oath that if he saw (5.A. W.)
praying he would smash the Prophet's head with a rock. When AbO Jahl saw
(5.A.W.) he advanced towards him with a rock in his hand, (S.A.W.) was in
prayer at the time and unaware of his attacker. As AbO Jahl raised the rock to strike the
37
Prophet (S.A.W.) his hand became attached to his neck land] the rock fixed onto his hand.
Ibn 'Abbas, Ikramah and others report this incident. AbO Jahl immediately returned to
his two friends still with his hand attached to his neck. AbO Jahl's Makhzuml friend,
Walld Ibn Al-Mu&hirah, seeing this said: "I will smash his head." As \Valid approached ,
the Prophet (S.A.W.), who was still in prayer, he suddenly became blind land could only]
hear the voice of the Prophet (S.A.W.). He returned to his friends and could not see them
either until they called out to him. lie said to them: "By Allah! I heard Muhammad but
could not see him." The third person said: "I will smash the head or lie
took a rock and went in the direction of Muhammad (S.A.W.). Soon his Iriende saw him
running backwards in retreat and when he reached them he (ell unconscious on the back of
his head. When he regained consciousness AbO Jahl and Walld ibn Al-MuGlrah asked
him what had happened. He replied: "I had a very strange experience. I saw the man
(Muharnmad], but as soon as I approached him a huge stallion appeared between me and
him. The stallion waved its tail (rom side to side. I have never be(ore seen an animal that
big. By Laot and Uzzah had I come any closer this stallion [would have] devoured me." It
was concerning this incident that the verse: "We have put yoke! round their necks right up
I .
to their chins, so that theirheads are forced up and they cannot see" was revealed. . .
'I
Ibn 'Abbas recited this verse as: innl. ja'alnii Ii aymAnihim. Aymjn is the plural of yamin
and the verse will in this case mean: "We put on their right hands yokes." According to
AI-ZujjAj some recite the verse as: inni ja'aid /f QlIdIhim ("We put on their hands").
has pointed out that these are not variant readings (qinl '4t) and should be
understood as [mere] explanations, which do not affect the text. These explanations were
necessary because the hand is not mentioned explicitly in this verse. In Arabic, this,
[someumes] happens. We see this in the verse: "He made Jlou garmenu to protect you
from heat." (Q. S: 16, V:81); where no mention is made of coldness which is also intended
in the verse. In this verse it is obvious that the shackles would be attached to not only'
their necks but their hands also. The following part of the verse i.e. "and at i.s up to their
38
chms" also shows that the hands are also intended. Fa hum means that their
heads are lifted so that they are unable to bend them. When a person's hand is attached to
his chin his head lifts up.
'Abdullah ibn has narrated that 'All ibn AbU Tllib, peace be upon him, explained
to us the meaning of al-iqmaJ;i. He placed his two hands under his beard and around his
neck and lifted his neck. has commented that this is the best explanation that
has been given to this word and has been narrated byAI-Asma 1.
has explained that aqmaJ:tu aJ-dabbah is said when one has pulled the animal's
reins so that its head is raised. [further explains that] because kaf and qQ.! are
close in pronunciation here, a kafhas been replaced by a qaf We seea similar swop in the
word qahartuhu also written as kahartuhu.
AI-AsmalJ says that we say: akmahtu al-do.bbah when one pulls the reins ofan animal, so '
that its head is raised. Similarly, the poet has said: wa al-ra 'su The words
akmaJ:tuha, akfaJ:tuha and kabaJ:tuha all have the same meaning. AI-Asma'f would write
them without an alif[at the beginning].
Qam,:u al-ba'ira qumu':an is used, when a camel has lifted its head at the water-point and
refused to drink. To describe this camel we can say huwa ba'iron or huwa ba'iron
qami':. The phrase mariba fataqammalJ.a or wanqamaha is used when the camel .,
raises its head from the water, after quenching its thirst. We [would] say qamalJ.at Ibduk4,
if you brought you camel to the watering-point and it did not drink because it was ill, or
the water was too cold; such a camel [would be described as] hiya ibilun maq4mihatu or
ba'Irun or naqatun maqamih. The plural of qam': is qimalJ..
IqrnalJ, [denotes the] lifting of the head and the lowering of the gaze. We say
39
a#-guUu when a person is forced to lift his head because of the tightness of shackles around
his neck. Shahran is used to express the coldest month of the year. From this
very word is the usage al-Jawlq. ibn Salim and Abu Vbaydah are of the _
opinion that Allah has provided a similitude because [just as] a person in shackles is
restricted, so too, some have been restricted from guidance. This is similar to when we say
!u/anun We imply that the person has no insight. A verse of a poem reads:
lahum 'an al-rumdi ighlAlun wa aqyadu (Their guidance and intelligence is shackled and
imprisoned).
Farra.' is of the opinion that a similitude is being employed in this verse. The verse
implies: "We have prevented them from spending in the way of Allah." is also of
this opinion and in substantiation they cite the verse: "And make not thy hand tied to thy
neclt' (Q. 5:17, V:29) which also carries the meaning ofnot spending in the way of Allah.
Some scholars are of the opinion that these verses [indicated the] fate ofthe unbelievers in
Hell, when chains will be put around their necks. This has also been mentioned in the
-I
verse: " When the yokes shall be around their neck and the chai",,"; here the past tense is
used.
"So their heads are forced up". This verse has been explained above. Mujahid has
explained that means "deprived of all goodness".
9. And We have put a bar in front of them and a bar behind them, and further, We
have covered them up; so that they cannot see.
10. The same is it to them, whether thou admonish them or thou do not admonish
them: they will not believe.
11. Thou canst but admonish such a one as follows the message and fears the (Lord)
Most Gracious, unseen: give such a one, therefore, good tidings, offorgiveness and a
40
reward most generous.
Commenting on the verse: II And We have put a bar In front of them and a bar behind them
and further We have covered them up, so that they cannot jet"; MuqAtil explains: "When
Abu Jahl returned to his two friends, unable to harm the Prophet (S.A.W.) the rock fell
from his hand. One of Abu Jahl's friends from the Makhzum tribe picked up the rock and
said: 'I will kill Muhammad with this rock'. When he came close to the Prophet (S.A. W.)
. .
Allah blinded him and [he was] unable to see the Prophet (S.A. W.). When he returned to
his friends he could not reach them until they called out to him. II
Muhammad ibn reports: Vtbah and Shaybah (the two sons of Rabtah], Abu Jahl
and Umayyah ibn Khalaf set an ambush so that they may persecute the Prophet (S.A. W.).
The Prophet (S.A. W.) [gathered] a handful of sand and recited Silrah Va-Sin as he walked
in the direction of his enemies. When he approached them he threw the sand in their
direction and recited the verse: "And We have put a bar in front of them and a bar behind
,I
them." Immediately their heads were bowed and the Prophet (S.A.W.) passed unharmed.
This has already been mentioned in Silrah Sub1}An. The word jaddan has been explained In
detail in the ta/sir of Siirah Kahf
Fa 'a!l!Yhaynahum means "and We obscured their vision". This word has been explained in
Siirah Baqarah. Ibn IAbbu, Ikramah and ibn Ya'mar read this word as . \
fa'a'maynahum. They [hold that this] word originates from the word 'ama '. 'Ama' means
the inability tosee at night.
Allah says: wa may yalmu Ian dlJikri lahu lahuwa lahu
qarin ("And il anyone withdraw himJell from remembrance 01 the Most Gracious We
appoint lor him an eVIL one to be an mtlmate companion to him" (Q. 5:43, V:36)). The
meaning [ofthese two words] is similar, i.e. "We have blinded them."
41
"They cannot see", Qatadah explains that what the unbelievers fail to II see" is guidance.
Others, like Suddl, [have explained thatl they were unable to see (S.A. \V.)
when they intended to kill him. haa explained the in waJa'alna min bayna
aydihlm Jaddan to mean al-dunya, i.e. this world and the Jad in wa mm fshalfihlm Jaddan
If) be al-lik..hirah, i.e. the Hereafter. The unbelievers are blind to the resurrection and blind
tu accepting the roarl'ah in their lives in this world. Allah says: "And We have duhned
for them Intimate companron$ who made alluring to them what before them and behind
them" (Q. 5:41, V:25). In this verse rnA bayna aydIhim refers to this world and wa ma
!i!.lallahum to the Hereafter. Some scholars [have explained] min bayni aydIhim to
mean that the unbelievers have been deceived by this world. Wa min khalfihlm saddat:
they say means that the unbelievers have denied the Hereafter. Some scholars explain that
man bayni aydIhlm refers to the Hereafter and wa minI;halfihlm refers to this world.
"The same i.s it to them whether thou admonl3h themor thou do not admonuh them they wall
not believe." This verse has been explained in SiJrah Baqarah. This [verse] is a refutation
of the views held by the Qadariyyab.
-I
Ibn Sllihlb narrates an incident of the Qadarite Ghaylln. 'Umar ibn 'Abd AI-'Azlz once f
summoned Ghaylln to his court and said to him: "I have been informed that you hold
Qadarite views." Ghaylln replied: "People have falsely accused me Oh Amlr. After a
while Ghaylln said: Oh Amlr! Allah does say: II Venlu We created man from a drop of
mingled $perm, in order to t'l' him JO We gave him Hearing and Sight. We Jhowed tum. the
wav. whether he be grateful or ungrateful (re.su on hu lUIll)" (Q. 5:76, V:2-3). To this
'Umar ibn 'Abd Al-'Azlz replied: "Read on Oh Ghaylln!" Ghayl!n read the verses that
followed till he came to the verse: "Who!oever lUlU, let hIm tah a path tohu Rabb (Lord)"
(Q. 5:76, V:29). 'Umar ibn 'Abd Al-'Azlz instructed him to read further. Ghaylln read
the verse: "But uou waU not tzcept God unlU
ll
(Q. 5:76, V:30). At this point Ghaylln
said: "By Allah, Oh Amlrl, I never realized [that these verses] were also part of the
42
Qur -an. 'Umar ibn 'Abd Al-'Azlz said: "Oh Ghayl!n! Recite the first few verses of Sarah
ni - Sin. When Ghaylan reached the verse: II The same is it to them whether thou
admonisli them or thou do not admonuh them they will not believe", he said: "Oh Amlr, it
is as if I have never read this verse before. Bear witness, Oh Amlr, that I have repented
from my beliefs". To this 'Umar ibn 'Abd Al-'Azlz said a prayer: "Oh Allah if he is
truthful in his repentance then accept his repentance and make him steadfast on truth. IC
he is false in his repentance then let a merciless person be thrust upon him who does not
show him any mercy and makes an example of him". Ibn Shihab says: "llisham had
Ghaylan's legs and hands cut and he crucified him". Ibn 'Awn says: "I saw him crucified"
on the ga.tes of Damascus. We asked him: Why are you here?" Ghayllin replied: "The
prayer of the saintly person 'Umar ibn 'Abd Al-'Azlz has affected me."
The verse: "Thou canst but admonuh such a. one as follows the message" refers to the
Qur 'an and is an instruction toact according to its teachings.
"And fears the Most Gracious, un.seen". Qatadah explains that the punishment and fire of
Allah, for instance, are not present. Others have explained that this group of people fear
Allah despite the fact that they have not seen Him.
,r
"Give such a one, therefore, good tidings of forgiveness". The forgiveness [they will receive]
is for their sins.
"And a reward most generous". The generous reward and bounty referred to in this verse
is that of Jannah.
12. Verily We shall give life to the dead, and We record that which they send before
and that which they leave behind, and of all things have We taken account in a
clear Book (of evidence).
43
This verse contains (our important points:
1. When Allah says: II Verily We stial! give life to the dead", lie is drawing our
attention Ito the (act) that He alone is capable ofreviving the dead thus refuting the
disbelievers. and AI-l,Iasan take this verse to mean: "We have given them
the life of [man after their ignorance". The first interpretation. where the verse is'
taken to mean that Allah gives life to the dead when they are resurrected, is
preferred. Then Allah warns the unbelievers that their actions are being recorded.
2. Allah is aware of all that man does. Qatadah, Mujlhid and Ibn Zayd state that this
verse refers to the actions of man. The examples of this is to be found in the
(allowing verses:
"( Then) shall each soul know what it hath sent forward and (what it hath) kept back"
(Q. S:82, V:5.)
"That day will man be told aU that he put forward and aU that he put back" (Q. 5:75.
V:15). -I
"Fear AUah and let every soul look to what (provi.!ion) he has jent forth for the
morrow" (Q. 5:59. V:18).
Aillar ("that which they leave behind") refers to those actions, good or bad. by which
a person is remembered after his death.
-Umar, Ibn 'AbbAs and Sa'1d ibn Jubayr have explained that this verse refers to the
(ootsteps or those that walk [towards) the masjid (or prayers. states
that this is the most correct view since this verse was revealed concerning the An!lr
who lived far (rom the ma.sJld. The Prophet (S.A.W.) said: "For every step he
takes towards the ma.sjld and returning from the ma.s]1d the reward or a good deed is
44
added to his record anda sin is removed (rom his record."
I say that in TirmidllI there is a on the authority of AbU Sa'ld AI-l\hudrl.
lie says: "The Banil Salimah lived on the outskirts of Madinah and intended to
move closer to the The verse: We give life to the dead and We
record that which they send before and that which they leave behincf', was revealed.
The Prophet (S.A.W.) said: "Your footsteps to the masjid are being rewarded. Do
not relocate." Tirrnidhl states that this is [of the] [type] and is
also narrated by AI-Ihawrl. In MU3lim we find a narrated by Jabir
ibn 'Abdullah. lie says: "The Banu Salimah clan intended moving closer to the
masjid. The news reached the Prophet. (S.A.W.) and he said: "Oh Banil Salimah!
Stay where you are. You are being rewarded Cor all your footsteps [towards t.he]
masjid."
Thabit Al-Bunan: says: "I walked to (prayer) with Anas ibn Ml1ik. I walked
quickly so he stopped me. When we completed our he said to me: "I was
once walking with the Prophet (S.A.W.) for (prayer) and I started walking
quickly. The Prophet (S.A.W.) slowed me down and after said to me: "Do
'l
you not know that your footsteps are being recorded." Qatadah, Mujahid and
Al-Hasan are of the opinion that by alhAr mentioned in the verse is meant
footsteps. AI-Iha1abl narrates that Anas said: By albAr is meant the footsteps to
Jum'ah The singular oC athAr is either albarun or alhrun.
3. These aJ:!dIlh (Traditions) which lend support to this verse indicate that it. is
meritorious to live far from the masjid. If a person does live in the vicinity of t.he
is it necessary for him to move to a house far from the 'Ulams.'
(scholars) have differed in their opinions concerning this. Anas [was] of the opinion
that the closer was preferred to the further house. Other scholars [are of the
.1.
45
opinion] that the person living further from the ma.5jid receives greater reward.
Al-l.Jasan and other scholars are of the opinion that it is maknl (disliked) to leave
the neighbourhood of the m{/,jjid. This is also [the verdict MAlik. The other
question !that arises] is that is it preferable for a person to read in a smaller
masjid or move to a bigger masjid. Ibn MAjah has narrated a on the
authority of Anas ibn Malik that the Prophet (S.A.W.) said: "A persons at
his home is rewarded once. His in the masjid in his locality is rewarded
twenty five times. His performed in a mlUjid in which Jum'ah is performed is .
rewarded five hundred times".
The Prophet (S.A.W.) said to the Banu Salimah: diyarakum tuktab. Diyarakum is
in the accusative [case] because the .complete sentence would read: al...";mll
dillarahm. Tuktab is vowelless because it is an answer to the first clause of the
sentence. The word hila is in the accusative because it is the object intended in
It is as if the sentence reads: wa kulla may. It is also :' (
permissible to regard it to bein the nominative case except that the accusative case .
is preferred, because in this case that which the verb acts upon, will be linked. This
is the opinion of Al-KhalU and Sibaway. The imam referred to here is the book
[that has] to be followed and that stands as proof. Mujlhid, Qatadah and Ibn
say that the PreservedTablet is intended. Agroup of scholars interpret it to mean
the records of actions.
13. Set forth to them, by way of a parable, the (story of) the Companions of the City.
Behold, there came apostles to it.
14. When We (first) sent to them two apostles, they rejected them: but \Ve
strengthened them with a third: they said, "Truly, we have been sent on a mission
to you."
15. The (people) said: "Ye are only men like ourselves; and (God) Most Gracious
46
sends no sort of revelation: ye do nothing but lie. II
16. They said: "Our Lord doth know that we have been sent on a mission to you:
17. "And our duty is only to proclaim the clear Message."
18. The (people) said: "for us, we augur an evil omen from you: if ye desist not, we
will certainly stone you, and a grievous punishment indeed will be inflicted on you
by us."
19. They said: "Your evil omens are with yourselves: (Deem ye this an evil omen). If
ye areadmonished? Nay, but ye are a people transgressing all bounds!"
Allah says: "Set forth to them by way of a parable the (story oj) the Companions oj the
City. Behold there came apostles to it." The Prophet (S.A. W.) is being instructed [in this
verse] to explain to his people the incident of the Companions of the City.
According to AI-MA.wardl most mufassiriln interpret, [that this place] is Antioch. The
word 'an!8kiyah is [derived] (rom [the] word according to AI-SuhayU. Some are .,)
of the opinion that the word is 'antAkiyah written with a t4' instead of a AI-Mahdawl
and Abu Ja far have related this incident from Kaab and Wahb. Antioch was
ruled by a Pharaoh called An] Ikhas ibn Anpkhas who worshipped idols. Allah sent three
persons to them. The first two were and the third ShalOm. This is the
,.
opinion of AI-TabarI. Other scholars are of the opinion that their names were: Sham liin I
and Yuhanna, AI-Naqqash has stated that the names of the first two persons was Sam "1n ,
I ,-
and
In this verse we may regard malhalan and aJ-qaryati to be the two objects of ttJnb.
,lsMb aJ-qaryati can also be taken as the appositional substantive of maUJalan. The
..
sentence would then mean: Provide for them the example of the Companions of the City.
The Prophet (5.:\. W.) is being commanded that he should warn the polytheists of Makkah
just as these three people were sent to warn the people of Antioch. Some scholars arc of
47
the opinion that these three men were messengers chosen by Allah. Others are of the
opinion that they were sent by 'Isa to Antioch and [since] 'Isi did this by command of
Allah, the verse explains that Allah had sent these messengers: llllJ (malnA tlayhlm
Imrlayn, -fsa did this before his ascension to the heavens.
"They rejected them". These messengers were tortured and imprisoned.
"But We $trengthened them with a third." By sending a third person they were
strengthened and assisted. AbO Bakr relates from 'Asim the reading fa'azarnA bl lhiilllhm.
The other scholars recite it with a ta,rodId (fa '4ZZaznA). AI-Jawharl states: "The verse
fa'azzarnA bi lh4lithm may be read with a ttJMjdId and also without and means "We
strengthened" or "We give support to."
Some are of the opinion that when read as fa'azaznA, the word translates as "We were
overpowered." This is similar to the meaning in: wa 'azzaznI Ii ("and is harsh to
me in speech"] (Q. 5:38, V:23). In the case of fao.zaznA the meaning would be "We were
assisted."
-I
'Isa sent two messengers to this nation. They met an old man called the
person referred to in YA-SIn, grazing his sheep. IThe messengers! invited him to Allah
saying: "Weare the messengers of 'Isa and invite you to the worship of Allah." AI-Najjlr
requested the messengers to perform a miracle. The messengers explained that they were
[able to] cure the sick. AI-Najjlr had a son who wu insane since birth. The messengers
touched the boy and he was cured. AI-Najjlr accepted belief in Allah. Some
[scholars! are of the opinion that it is AI-Najjlr referred to in the verse: " Thtn
there came nmnang from the farthejt part of the 4 man". lie exposed the messengers
to the people and many came to the messengers to be cured. The king, who was an Idol
worshipper, came to know of these messenger. and uked them what their mission was.
i 'r ,
48
They replied: "We are the messengers of 'Isa". He asked "What sign do you have?" They
replied: "With the help of Allah we cure the blind, the lepers and the sick. We invite you
to worship Allah alone." The king then decided to beat them. Wahb narrates that the
king imprisoned them and nagged them one hundred lashes each. This news reached 'Isa.
lie therefore, sent a third messenger to assist them. llis name was Sham'tin AI-Sara the f
'I
leader of the Companions of 'Isa. Sham'tin became very close to the king. One day he'
asked the king about the two persons in captivity. The king ordered that the two
messengers be brought before him. Sham'tin asked the messengers: "What proof do you .
have of your truthfulness". They said: "We cure the blind and lepers". Ayoung boy was
brought to them with no eyes. Where his eyes should have been the skin was a smooth as
his forehead. The messengers prayed to Allah and the skin split where the boys eyes
should have been. The messengers then placed sand [onto] these openings and the boy was
immediately able to see.
The king was surprised and said: "This boy has died seven days ago and we have not yet
buried him for we have been waiting for his father to arrive. Is your Rabb (Lord) able to'
give life to this boy again?" The messengers prayed to Allah openly and S,ham'tin prayed
in his heart. The boy was given life again. The boy addressed the people saying: "I died
as a polytheist seven days ago. I was entered into seven valleys of fire. I therefore, warn
you that you believe in Allah. Then the gates of heaven opened and I saw a handsome man
interceeding on behalf of Sham'tin and his two companions. Then Allah gave me life. I
bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, the One, who has no
partners and that 1s1 is the Spirit and Word of Allah and that these three men are the
messengers of Allah." The king asked: "Is Sham'On also one of the messengers?" 'fhe boy
replied: "Yes, he is the best of them." S,ham'On then announced that he was the
messenger of 'Isa to the people. The king was impressed by what Sllam'On said. Sham 'tin
invited the king to the worship or Allah. The king and many other people brought faith
while a few disbelieved. AI-Qulbayrl narrates that only the king believed and his people
49
disbelieved. Jibrl'll cried out and the sound killed all those who disbelieved.
It is narrated that when lIsa ordered the messengers to go to this area they said: "Oh
Prophet of Allah! We do not know the language of these people." 'Isa prayed for them.
They fell asleep and were carried to Antioch by angels. When they woke up they were able
to speak the language oC this nation. It is for this reason that Allah says: "and U't
him with the holy .spirit" (Q. S:2, V:87).
The messengers said: "Truly we havt bttn sent on a mi.",ion to you". The people said:
"Ye art only men like ourselve.s
ll
You eat and walk in the marketplace. IIAnd (God) Most \.
Gracious sends no sort of revelation. II There is nothing we are commanded to do or stay
awav from. II Ye do nothing but lit" in your claim that you are messengers. The messengers
said: "Our Rabb (Lord) knows that wt have been stnt on amission to you
ll
even if you belie
us. "And our duty is only to proclaim the clear mtssage" that Allah is one. II Thty said", to
the messengers, "For us, Wt augur an ill omen from you." We [regard you! as ill luck for
us. Muqatil says: "For three years no rain came to these people and they blamed it on the
presence of the messengers. The messengers warned this nation Cor ten years." " If you
-I
desist not" from warning us, "ee will ctrtainly stone you". According to Farr!' they meant:
"we will kill you" and he said that often [when the Qur in] mentions rajam (death by
stoning) then qatal (killing) is meant. Qatadah says that it refers to death bystoning only.
"And a gritvious punishmtnt indttdwill be inflicted on you by us". Some are of the opinion
that what is meant is that they will be killed. Other scholars say that here torture is
meant. Other scholars explain that this verse refers to severe torture such as skinning the
captives first, or cutting off their limbs first, or cruciCying them.
The messengers said: "Your evil omens are with yourselves." Your ill luck is actually with
you. The messengers tried to explain to the people that good and bad conditions were
linked [directly! to their actions and not [any type! ol omens. is of this
50
opinion. Qatadah explains this verse u the action of the people. Ibn 'AbbiJ says that
t heir sustenance and fate will follow them. AI-Farr!' says that their sustenance and action
IS referred to although both meanings are the same. AI-I,Iasan recites: a!!ayrukum which
means: "your reliance on an evil omen".
'If you art admoniJhed." This is the beginning of the new sentence, The meaning of
,
which [will bel: "Because you are admonished you call it an ill omen". Some scholars say
that they took an ill omen because they were informed that previous nations were
destroyed when a messenger came to them and they belied him.
"Nay but you art a peoplt traTlJgrt!!ing aU boundJ." Qatadah says: "You are transgressors
in your taking an ill omen." a ~ y a ibn SalAm says: "You are transgressor by your
disbelief." Ibn a ~ r says: By transgression in this verse is meant corruption (faJsd) in "
which case this verse would mean: "But you arc a corruptive nation". Some scholars say
that by transgressor is meant pulythcist. Transgression [is to go} beyond bounds and a
polytheist has gone beyond bounds. "
'I
20. Then there came running, from the farthest part of the city, a man, saying, "0 my
people! Obey the apostles:
21. "Obey those who ask no reward of you (for themselves), and who have themselves
received Guidance.
22. "It would not be reasonable in me, if I did not serve Him, Who created me, and to
Whom ye shall (all) be brought back.
23. "Shall I take (other) gods besides Him? If (God) Most Gracious should Intend some
adversity for me, of no use whatever will be their intercession for me, nor can the)'
deliver me.
21. "I would indeed, if I were to do so, be in manifest error.
25. "For me, I have faith in the Lord of you (all): listen, then, to me!"
51
:w. It wu said: "Enter thou the Garden, II lie said: "Ah me! Would that my people
knew (what I know)! -
'27 "For that my Lord hu granted me forgiveness and has enrolled me among those
held in honour!"
:!H. And We sent not down against his people, after him, any hosts from heaven, nor
was it needful for Us 50 to do,
29. It WiU no more than a single mighty blut, and behold! they were [like ashes)
quenched and silent.
"And there came running, from the larthe$t part 01 the Catv 11 man." This man's name was
I.lablb ibn Marrl. Ill' wu a carpenter. Some say he wu a shoemaker and others, that he
was a bleacher. Ibn 'AbbAs, Muj4hid and MuqAtil say that his name wu 1.labib ibn brA'1
AI-NajjAr and he was a sculptor of idols. He was amongst those who brought faith in the
Prophet (S.A.W.) because of the prophecy of the advent of Prophet u ~ m m d in the!
early scriptures, although there was a difference of six hundred years between them.
Others, who did the same were Tubba I AI-Akbar and Warraqah ibn Nawfal. Apart Crom
these persons no one ever believed in a Prophet before his advent. Wahb says: "Habtb was
'I
a leper and his house was situated at the furthest door of the city. He worshiped his idols
for seventy years and prayed sincerely to them [with the hope thatl they cure his ailment.
There was no response to this prayers. After he met the messengers and they invited him
to worship Allah alone, he asked them: "\Vhat sign do you have?" They replied: "\Ve
pray to our Omnipotent Lord to cure you of your sickness." AI-Na.ij1r said: "This is
strange to me. I have been praying to these idols for seventy years and they were unable to
help me. 1I0w do you hope to cure me in a single day?" They said: "Our Lord has power
over cvcrything while these idols are unable to benefit or harm anyone," AI-Na.1J1r
brought faith and prayed to Allah. Allah cured him so that no trace was Icrt of his
sickness. lie then returned to his vocation. In the evening whatever he had carned he
would spend half on his family and give charity of the other half.
52
When his nation intended to kill the messenger he went to them and "he saId: Oh my
people obey the apostles." Qatadah says: "He used to worship Allah in a cave. When he
heard about the messengers he came running. lie asked the messengers: "00 you hope
repayment for what you have come with". They said: "No, our reward is with Allah."
:\ hu Al-'A,liyah says: "lie was convinced of their truthfulness, believed in them and went
to his people saying: "Oh my people obey the apostles. II
"Obey those who ask no reward of you. II Had they been Calse they would have asked you for
wealth. "And who have themselves received guidance. II So seek guidance from them.
"It would not be reasonable in me if [ did not sene Him who created me." Qatadah says:
"Habtb AI-NajjAr's people asked him whether or not he believed in the religion of the
messengers. In reply he said: lilt would not be reQjonable in me if [ did not sene Him who
created me".
"And to whom ye shall be brought backl'. [Here] l,Iablb is presenting his argument to them.
Habtb AI-NajjAr [links] the fact that Allah created him to himself. He does this because
this is a Cavour oC Allah and he is thankful of this Cavour. He [links] the resurrection to the
people. He does this because this is a warning that punishment is possible. He [links] the
bounty to himself as a manifestation oC gratefulness.
"Shall I take other god.3 besides Him." By alihah is meant idols. "1/ God Most Gracious
should intend some adversity for me." Here he is reCerring to his previous illness. "Of no
,t.:
use whatever will be their intercession for me, nor can they deliver me". That is, they are
unable to free me from any calamity.
"1 would indeed if [ were to do so". If I do so then I will II be in manalest error'. Apparent
loss.
53
II For me, I have faith in the Lord of you all. Luten then to me". Ibn Mas 'tid hu said: "lie
IS actually addressing the messengers that he has brought faith in Allah who is their Lord
lOO." In this cue f ~ m a a n would mean: bear witness of my faith. Ka'ab and Wahb state
that what he meant was: "I believe inyour Lord who, you have rejected."
1l is said that when AI-NajjAr said to his people: "Obey the apojtlej. Obey tnose who ajk
710 reward of you", he was taken to the king, They said to him: "You have followed our
enemies." [lie occupied them in] discussion for a long time so that the lives of the
messengers may be spared. When he uttered the words: "For me, I have faIth in the Lord
of you all', he was attacked and killed. Ibn Mas'11d states: "They trampled him with their
feet until his intestines came out of his anus. lIe was then thrown intoa well. This is the
well called Rass and its people were called The Companions of Rass." In one narration we :;
read that all three messengers were killed. AI-Suddl says: "He was pelted to death with
stones. As he was persecuted, he continued to pray: "Oh Allah! Guide my nation."
AI-Kalbl states: "He was placed in a hole [in the groundJ and buried alive." AI-I,lasan
says: "He was burnt and then his body was hung onto the surrounding wall of Antioch."
'I
AI-I,ha 1abl is also of the same opinion. AI-Qulhayrl says: II AI-f.lasan says that when
Habtb AI-NajjAr's people intended to kill him, Allah lifted him up into the heavens. He is
presently in Jannah and will not die except when the heavens and Jannah are destroyed by :
Allah. When Allah recreates Jannah he will enter it once more." Some scholars are of the
opinion that he was sawn in half in such a manner that the sawing began on the top of his
head and ended between his legs. They say that before his soul left his body he was
entered into Jannah. It is for this reason that Allah says in the next verse: "It U ~ Jald:
Enter thou the Garden." When hesaw the Garden (Jannah) he said: "Ah me! Would that
my people knew for that my Lord h(1j granted me forglvent3!." The particle rnA added to
the verb lis the same] as the infinitive. The possibility [also exists that itJ was a reward
that he deserved. It is also possible that rna is an interrogative particle in this sentence
and lis used to) express surprise. It is as if he is saying: I( only my people knew on what
54
count has my Lord forgiven me. This is the opinion of Farra'. AI-Kid. 1 disagrees with
him explaining that had an interrogative sentence been intended the particle would have
,been written as bima instead of bimA. AI-Farra' has said: "It is permissible for the word ;'
to be written as bimii with an alifeven in the interrogative sentence," AI-Zamak.h1harl is
of the opinion that it is preferable that bima ghafarali be written without an alif, although
It iii permissible to retain the alif AI-Mahdawl states that the alif is not always kept [in
the case of an] interrogative particle. In the case where the meaning of the sentence is
understood in the interrogative, the reader will pauseafter ya'lamOn.
Most scholars are of the opinion that" It WC13 "Enter thou the Garden", means: you
will surely attain Jannah. It is informing him that he will in the future, surely enter
Jannah because he is worthy of entry into it. Entry into Jannah is possible, however, only
after resurrection.
In my opinion it is apparent from the verse that when he was killed he was asked to enter
Jannah. Qatadah says: Allah entered him into Jannah. He is alive and given sustenance
in Jannah. Qatadah refers to the verse: "Think not of those who are slain in God's way '4."
dead. Nay they live finding their swtenance in the presence of their Lori' (Q. 5:3, V:169).
This verse has been discussed previously in Sarah AI-'[mrin. And Allah knows best.
"Ah me would that my people knew". The answer to thequestioner as to what is the great
victory that is spoken about follows in the verse: "For that my Lord ha.s granted me
and has enroUed me among those held inhonour. " Some recite: "mukarramin. "
Two possible meanings have been given for AI-Najjlr's words:
1. He was hopeful that his people should know of hi. good condition and praiseworthy
end.
55
2. lie was hopeful that his people bring faith as he has done so that they may have an
end as good as his.
Ibn 'Abbas has said: "lie gave good advice to his people while he was living and [evenJ
after his death. II AI-Qushayrl has reported that the Prophet (S.A.W.) commented on this
verse saying: IIl1e gave his people good advice while he was living and [even] after his
\ /
death. Ibn Abu Laylah says: "The most pious predecessors of all the nations are three.
They never disbelieved in Allah for a moment. They are 'All ibn AbO Talib and he is the
best of them, the believer in the family of Fir 'awn and the person in Ya-SIn. They are the
siddiqiin (truthful). AI-Zamakh1harl has narrated this very saying as a Tradition of the
Prophet (S.A.W.).
In this verse there is a very important lesson. This verse indicates that it is necessary to
suppress one's anger and show forbearance, when confronted by the ignorant, and clemency
should be shown [even] to those associated with the mischievious and rebellious. Efforts
"
should not cease to release them from their falsehood, and one should constantly pray for
them, so that they are delivered from calamity. Do you not see that he aspired for their
good even when he was being killed, in spite of their rebellion and rejection of the truth?
Now when they killed l;Iablb, Allah became angry with them and quickly they were
destroyed. Allah ordered Jibrl'll to sound a loud yell and they all died. This is why Allah
says: "And We jent not down i ~ t nis people after him any hosts from heaven nor wcu It
needful for u.s to do so." Qatadah, Mujlhid and Al-l;Iuan are of the opinion that after
they killed l;Iablb, no Prophet was sent to them. A1-1.1asan states that the jund (hosts
(rom heaven) referred to in this verse are those angels who came to earth with revelation to
the Prophets. Some scholars favour the view that "hoJU from heaven
ll
means army. The
verse then means that it was not necessary (or Allah to send any typeof army to destroy
this nation. Instead they were destroyed by a single loud noise. This is how Ibn Mas 'tid
and others have explained this verse.
56
"Nor wa" it needful for Uj "0 to do". We have destroyed them with a single sound after this
man, or after this man had been lifted to the heavens. Some scholars say that" nor was It
needful for u" to do so", means that they were not sent to people before them.
AI-Zamakh roarl says: III( it is argued that did hosts of angels not descend (rom the sky
during the battles of Badr and AI-Khandaq. lie said: "But We "tnt against them a
hurricane and forces that ye "aw not" (Q. S:33, V:9) and II With three thou"and angel.! sent
doum." (Q. 5:3, V:12). "With five thousand angel.! making a terrific on.,zaught" (Q. 5:3, .
V:125).
I say one angel was sufficient. The town of the People ol was destroyed with a single
feather (rom the wing of Jibra,1. The People and were destroyed by a /. .
loud voice. Allah has given Muhammad (S.A.W.) a higher status than all other Prophets.
The Prophets in turn, we know are higher in rank than Habtb AI-Najjar. It is for this
.
reason that an army was sent only (or the Prophet (S.A.W.) since dispatching an army of
angels is a mighty affair that could only happen for one o(a similarly deserving status.
"It was no more than a single mighty blast:"
accusative [taking the] full sentence to read:
wahidatan.
'1
Most scholars read wal}idatan in the
rna kinat 'uqubatuhum illl.
Abu Ja 'far ibn AI-Qa 'qt', 5.haybah and AI-A 'raj read [in the] nominative. In
this verse these scholars take ana to mean a happening or event. The meaning of this
verse according to them would be: rna waqa'at 'alayhirn iUA Abu
and other grammarians reject this reading, because of the feminine form, as a result
of which this sentence is poorly constructed. This is similar to the inappropriateness of:
mci qamat lila Hindun. AbO says that if this verse is to be read as AbO Ja 'far says,
it should be: in kana ilia says, both these are acceptable because it
51
is said: ma ja'atnI ilia jariyatuka which means the same as: rna ja'atnI imra 'atun aw
jariyatun ilIA jariyatuka.
"And behold they were (like (ljhe!) quenched and !ilent". They weredead andare likened to
the extinguished ashes of a fire. Qatadah says: "They are destroyed". These Imeani ngs
are] the same.
30. Ah! alas for (My) servants! there comes not an apostle to them but they mock
him!
:U. See they not how many generations before them We destroyed? Not to them will
they return:
32. But each one of them all will be brought. before Us (for judgement).
Ya ~ s r t n 'ala al-'ibad is in the accusative. This is so because according to the Basran
school of grammarians in the instance where the interjection is indefinite, the case will
always be accusative. In the recital of Ubayy we find Ya ~ s r t al-'ibidi in the construct
state. The true meaning of ~ s r in the dictionary, is that a person becomes so overcome
'I
with grief that he is fatigued. AI-Farra.' is of the opinion that it is permissible to recite
this word, in the accusative and nominative. To substantiate his point he uses examples
from Arabic speech:
1) Ya muhtammu bi amrin! lA tahtammu.
2) Ya darn taghayyaraha al-bila taghayyara.
AI-Tabarl says [that} the reference here is to the misery from the bondsmen upon
themselves and their disgrace, because they jeered at the messengers of Allah, may peace
be upon them. Ibn 'Abba.s says: "ya hasratan 'alA al'ibid means: Oh destruction on the
bondsmen." Ibn 'Abba.s also believes that these people have reached a stage where such
58
words can be said of them. AI-Rabl' narrates from Anas who narrates from Abu
AI-':\Iiyah that the servants [referred] to in this verse are the messengers. [Now] when the
unbelievers saw their punishment they said: "Ah! alaj lor (the) jenJantJ". They regretted
that they had killed the messengers and not brought faith on them. They wanted to be
believers when their faith was of no benefit to them. Mujahid also narrates this.
says that it was actually the angels, who were grieved when these people belied the
messengers. Some scholars are of the opinion that "Ah' Ala.s lor my jervant", are the
words of the person, who came running from the farthest part of the city, when his people
attacked to kill him. Other scholars are of the opinion that these were the words of the
three messengers, when they witnessed that this man who came from the farthest part of
the ci ty, was being killed. They were grieved that these people had now made themsel ves
worthy of punishment. It is as if these messengers hoped that these people would believe.
Some [scholars] are of the opinion that these the words of the community that they
uttered either when they killed the man, and the messengers left them, or when they killed
the man and the messengers (depending on which narration we regard as correct). We
regret how we have treated the messengers and this man. If only we believed in them,
when our faith was of benefit to us. This is where their words end. Then they bring a new
discussion and say: "There comu not an apostl to them."
.,
Ibn Hurmuz, Muslim ibn Jundub and Ikramah recite: Yi 'ala al-'ibad. The Arabs
do this to emphasise the warning or admonishment. This is similar to what has been
narrated from the Prophet (S.A.W.) that he would recite every word separately, so that it
could be better understood. It is possible that the word 'ala al-'abad are linked to
It is also possible that they are not linked to but to what is implied. It is as if
hasrah is the position of pause.
"On (the) .fervant.!." I am regretful on account of my servants. Ibn 'AbblJ, and
others recite: yi ha.srat4 al-'abadI in the construct state without 'al.l This is
59
contradictory to the [accepted text].
It is possible that in this sentence we have a case of the subject being in the construct
state. This would mean that the word al-'ibildi will serve as two subjects. It is as if when
they witness the punishment, they are remorseful. An example of this, is the sentence }'a
qlYiJ,mah Zaydin (If only Zayd did/did not stand up).
It is also possible that this sentence is a case where the object is in the construct state.
This also will leave us with al-'ihad serving as two objects. It is, as if the people, who are
concerned for the nation being punished, are regretful. The reading: yi nasratan. 'aUi
al- 'zbad gets substantiation if this interpretation is taken.
Allah further says: "See they not how many before them We destroyed? Not to
thr: unll they return." Sibaway has said that here kam is in the meaning of anna. Kam is
not used here as a question, but to state a fact. The meaning of this sentence would
therefore be: Do they not see that the generations before them, who were destroyed do not
return to them?
'I
This verse refutes [those who] believe that some of the creation of Allah will return to the
earth, after their death before the Day of Judgement.
"But each one of them aU - wtU be brought before Us." This verse refers to Yawm
Al-Qiyiimah (the Day of Judgement) when all will be brought for reckoning.
Ibn 'A.mir, lIamzah and 'Asim recite wa in kuUun lammA with a taHldId on lammA. The
others recite it as lama without a tamdId. Ubayy recites: in minhum lllA jamI/lm laydayrul
muhdaran.
, .
60
33. A sign for them is the earth that is dead: We do give it life, and produce grain
therefrom, of which yedo eat.
34. And We produce therein orchards with date palms and vines, and We cause springs
to gush forth therein:
35. That they may enjoy the fruits of this (artistry): It was not their hands that made
this: will they not then give thanks?
:J6. Glory to God, Who created in pairs all things that the earth produces, as well as .
their own (human) kind and(other) things of which they have no knowledge.
Allah says: "A sign for them is the earth that is dead. We do give it life". By this example
Allah [draws the attention of] the unbelievers to his power to resurrect man; His oneness
and the perfection of His power of creation. A marvel of Allah's creation is the dead earth
to which He gives life by the vegetation, that grows on it and the grain that it yields.
II And from it". From the grain. "Ye do eat." And they are nourished. Ahl al-Madinah
recite a mushaddad on al-maytatu while others do not.
-I
II And We produce therein." On the earth. "OrchardJ with date-palms and vines." These
two types of fruit have been specifically mentioned because they are the best type of fruit.
"We cause springs to flUSh forth therein." In these gardens.
II That they may enjoy the fruits of this." The hA' in the word lhamarihI, refers to the water
of the springs, since it is the cause for the growth of the fruit. This is the view of
AI-JurjAnl, AI-Mahdawl and others. Other scholars are of the opinion that the fruits
mentioned above, are being referred to. This is similar to the reference made in the verse:
"And venly in cattle (too) unll ye find an in.structlve sIgn from what .., lUIthan their bodies"
(Q. S: 16, V:66). I.lamzah and AI-Kis! ~ recite lhumurihi with a ~ m m on the lhA' and
the mim [while] others recite it with a lat1}ah. AI- 'A 'mash places a ~ m m on the thA'
61
and a .sa.l1n on the rrUm.
" And their handJ worked it not". lIere the ma is actually in the genitive iC we consider that
It is in conjunction with min 1!Jamarihi. The sentence would thus read: wa mlmma
'anulathu aydihlm. The KuCans recite: wa rnA 'amllat without a h4 '. The rest recite:
'amilathu. The relative clause is sometimes omitted in this way, when the noun phrase
becomes long. It is also correct to regard rnA as a negative. The verse will now mean that
their hands did not work the fields that produced the grain for them. This is the view oC
Ibn 'Abb1S, and MuqAtil. Other scholars have explained that the verse means:
"and Crom those things their hands work". This they say, refers to the Cruits and the
various types ofsweets and foods. It also refers to what man uses Cram the various grai ns
like bread and oil, which are products of sesame. and olive. Ibn 'Abbas is reported to have
said that this verse refers to those things that. are cultivated by man. "WiU they not then
give thaw." For his bounties.
"Glory to God, Who created in pairs aU Allah declares Himself above all that the
unbelievers believe. The unbelievers worship others, besides Allah, despite [the fact that]
'I
they see His blessings, and the signs of His greatness. Some [scholars] say that the word
subluina is used to express surprise. Surprise is being expressed at these unbelievers, who
do not worship Allah, even though his signs surround them. It is common that when we
are surprised by something, we say: !ubhanaUah.
The pairs in the varieties of creation [here] means that for every pair there is a special
Individuality, since it differs in taste, form and sile according to species. Qatadah says
[that) what is referred to here, is themale and female.
"That the earth producu". The vegetation is intended[here] because it is a type, ",I.J u,'tU
theIr own (human) kind." We created for man both male and female children, 50 that
62
they may serve as partners (or one another. "A nd (other) thingJ of whIch they have no
A"1I.owledge". From the various species and types that Allah has created on the land, in the
oceans and skies. It is possible that all that is created is known to the angels and not to
man. It could also be that only Allah knows all, that is created. The message of these
verses is that because Allah alone is capable of creating those things mentioned here, only
lie, deserves tobe worshipped. There can be no place for polytheism.
37. And a sign (or them is the night: We withdraw therefrom the day, and behold they
are plunged in darkness;
:18. And the sun runs his course for a period determined for him: that is the decree of
(Him), the Exalted in Might, the All-Knowing.
"And a sign for them is the night." A sign of Allah's Oneness, His greatness and that He
alone is worthy ofworship.
The word salM means to pull off or remove. We say sala&hahu AllAhu min dinihi which
means: "Allah removed him from His religion". Later the word [came to] mean "to rake
out". In this verse the disappearing of light and the entering of darkness has been likened
to removing one thing {rom another.
"In darkness". What is meant is that they enter intodarkness. We say ~ l m r u meaning
"we have entered into the darkness or the night." A:harnA would mean: "we have entered
the time of :uhr
'.
Similarly a!ba.!'nA means: "we have entered into the morning."
'AdhaynA would mean: "we have entered into the latter part or the morning" and
'am.5aynA would mean: "we have entered into the evening."
Some [scholars] are of the opinion that mmhu here, is in the meaning or 'aMU, which
means "from it". The sentence in this case would mean: "and We remove from it the light
63
of the day."
"And behold they are darkened". In darkness. This [is because) as long as the sunlight of
the day was present they enjoyed light, but as soon as this disappears, they are left in
darkness.
"And the "un run" his course for a period determined for him". It is possible to regard this
sentence as wa iiyatu lahum al-maTTlJu (and a sign unto them is the sun). This would [then
serve as ani explanation for al-l2.!1am.su to be in nominative case. Another reason for the
nommative case being used is that the words wa al-l2.!1am.su indicate the beginning of a new
senrenee. TajrI would thus bethe predicate of the nominative clause.
In Mu..lim there is a report of Abu Illiar in which he says: "I asked the Messenger of
Allah (S.A.W.) concerning the meaning of the verse: "and the sun runs his course for a
period determined for him."
.,
He said: "The period determined" of the sun is under the 'arm (Throne). Muslim
contains another (Tradition) also narrated on the authority of Ablll2har where the
Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) once asked: "Do you know where the sun goes to?" The
Companions replied: "Allah and His Messenger know best." The Prophet (S.A.W.)
explained: "The sun runs its course until it reaches an appointed place under the
where it falls prostrate. It remains prostrated until it is commanded to lift up and return
to its original place. The sun [then] rises from the horizon Crom which it normally appears,
runs its course until it reaches an appointed place under the 'arl2.!1 where it falls prostrate.
This pattern continues until one day the sun is commanded to get up from its prostration
and return from where it came. It will do so, rising from its horizon and running its course
as usual. People will not suspect that anything is different. The sun will, as normal. on
reaching its appointed term Call in prostration under the 'arm. It will then be commanded
64
to get up from its prostration and rise from the west. Dawn will break in the west." The
Prophet (S.A.\V.) then asked: "Do you know, when this will come to pass?" This will be
when "no good wiU at do to a $oul to believe in them then if believed it not before nor earned
riqhieousness through its faIth" (Q. S:6, V:158).
A similar narration may be found in Buk!1arI. In this Abu illlar says the
Prophet (S.A.W.) once asked me when the sun had set: "Do you know where the sun has
gone to?" I replied: "Allah and His Messenger know best." The Prophet (S.A.W.) said:
"The sun falls in prostration under the 'arM of Allah. It then seeks permission to rise and
is allowed to. Atime is close by that the sun will prostrate and this prostration will not be
accepted. It will seek permission to rise, and not be granted [this permission]. Instead, it
will be ordered to return from where it had come, and rise from the west. This is implied
in Allah's words: "And the sun run$ hi3 course for a period determined for him: that is the
decree of (Him) the Exalted in Might the AU-Knowing'.
'1
The version reported by Tirmil1.ht is that Abu Illiar says: "I entered the m4$jid when the
sun had set and found that the Prophet (5.A.W.) was seated. The Prophet (S.A.W.) said:
"Oh Abu Dhar, do you know where the sun has gone to?" I replied: "Allah and His
Messenger know best." The Prophet (5.A. W.) said: "It goes away and after falling into
prostration begs permission to rise again. It is allowed to rise again. A time will come
when it will be said to the sun to rise from the west." The Prophet (S.A.W.) then said
that this is its "period determined". Tirmidhl states that Jlhjliko. mUJtaqarun lahA is the
recitation according to 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ild.
Ikramah states: "When the sun sets it enters a (prayer-niche) under the 'arm
where it glorifies Allah until it rises. When it has to rise the sun begs Allah that it be
exempted from rising because it is ashamed [to do sol. Allah then asks the sun why this is
so. The sun replies: "When I appear in the world then I am worshipped instead of You."
65
To this Allah says: "Go out into the world for you are not to blame ror what others do.
On the Day or Judgement they will be driven by seventy thousand angels towards
Jahannam until they are entered into it."
Al-Kalbt and others have explained the meaning of this verse. In their view the sun sets
at eli fferent places on the horizon. There is however, a certain point on the horizon that
marks the limit oC the sun's [north-south] journey along the breadth or the horizon before
it changes its direction. The sun's "period determintd" refers to this phenomenon. This
may be likened to the journey or a person. Once he has reached his destination and
achieved his purpose he returns from where he started off. When the sun reaches this
farthermost point, it marks the longest day of the year, and the shortest night. The day
will be fifteen hours long and the night will last nine hours.
The day will then become progressively shorter. When Ihurayyah (Pleides) rises the day
and night will be equal in length, with each lasting twelve hours. Thesun then reaches a
point on the horizon that marks thelongest night and theshortest day. The night lasts for
-,
fifteen hours. This then completes a single cycle. The night takes (rom every day one
thirtieth of an hour. In every ten days one third of an hour, and in every month a
complete hour is gained and lost. When they are equal, the night takes (rom the day, until
it is fifteen hours long. In the same way, the day takes (rom the night. I ~ a s a n has said:
"The sun sets at three hundred and sixty different places during the course of the year.
Once it has set at a specific place it only returns to set at that place on the horizon the
next year. It "runs" along these points and this is its mu.ttaqarr (period determined). The
views of AI-I,Iasan and AI-Kalbl are the same. Ibn 'Abbls is of the opinion that when the
sun sets and reaches its farthermost place on the horizon it settles under the 'arjh before it
rises again.
66
I say that the view of Ibn 'AbbAs encompasses both the views mentioned above. Reflect on
this! Some scholars are of the opinion that -this verse refers to the position of the sun
before the Day ofJudgement.
Ion 'Abbas and Ibn Masi1d recite: wa al-shamsu tajri lA mustaqamm laha (the sun runs
his course there is no period determined for him). By this is meant [that] the sun travels
day and night without stopping, until Allah rolls it up on the Day of Judgement. Those
who have differed with the text of the Qur In here, are quick to bring as proof, the names
of Ibn (AbbAs and Ibn Mas't1d. AbO Bakr AI-AnbArl has said: "This is blatantly incorrect
because Abu 'Amar narrates from Muja.hid, who narrates from Ibn (AbbAs and Ibn Kaililr
narrates from MujA.hid, who narrates from Ibn 'AbbAs that the verse reads: wa al-mamsu
tajri li mustaqarrin laha. These two isnAd (chains of narration) are strong and are further
supported by ijma' (consensus). They nullify [that] which has been narrated by way of a
weak sanad(chain of narrators) [and is] opposed to what scholars have agreed upon.
"
I say that the ahadiQ1 (Traditions) I have quoted in this discussion, also make mention of
this verse as wa al-mamsu tajri Ii mustaqarrin laM and thus further refutes the above
mentioned view. May Allah destroy the one who makes baseless claims about the Qur 'In.
[The term] Ii mustaqamn laM. means 'iLA mustaqarrihA. The word mustaqarr means place
of rest.
"That i3 the decree". That which has been mentioned of the phenomenon of the day and
night and the sun is the decree of"the Exalted in Might the All-Knowing."
39. And the Moon, We have measured (or her mansions (to traverse) till she returns
like theold (and withered) lower part of a date-stalk.
61
There are three issues that will be discussed in this verse:
1. Allah says: al-qamaru. The syntax of this sentence would be: wa-4l1atun lahum
aJ-qamaru. It is also possible to (or us to regard aJ-qamaro in the nominative case
because it is the beginning ofa newsentence.
The Kufans recite wa-al-qamara in the accusative. AbU 'Ubayd explains [that this.
is so because] the word wa-al-qamara is preceeded by the verb na$lakhu, and is
followed by the verb qaddarnJihu. AI-Nahhls strongly disagrees, saying that all
..
linguists are opposed to this view. AI-FarrAI also differs with Abu 'Ubayd, lie
says: "I prefer the nominative because the word al-qamaru must be regarded to be
in conjunction with what goes before it. The full sentence would read: wa ayatun
lahum al-qamaru. AbO 'Ubayd's argument that al-qamaru is preceeded by
naslaMu does not hold, because the verb tajri is even closer to aJ-qamaru. We
noticed that tajri is preceeded by the word wa al-mamJu, which is in the
nominative. Abu 'Ubayd has mentioned that a reason why aJ-qamara should be in
the accusative is that it is followed by the verb qaddarnAhu. This argument is also
incorrect since in qaddarnAhu the verb is clearly effective onto the hA'." Abu Hatirn
says: "Regarding aJ-qamaru to be in the nominative is preferred. This is so
because the [effect of the] verb has been spent on the personal pronoun to which it is
attached. Al-qamaru is in the nominative because [it stands] at the beginning of a
new sentence.
Should the question arise that the moon has not been decreed as phases, and the
moon and the moon's phases are two separate entities then why does Allah say:
qaddarnAhu manAztla. There are two answers to this question. The first answer is
that the verse means that Allah has decreed that the moon will be a possessor of
phases. This is similar to when Allah says: "and aJk the town" (Q. 5:12; V.82).
68
The second possible answer is to understand thesentence to read: wa qaddarna lahu
manAzlla, (and we decreed for it p h a ~ e j The lAm has been omitted and this is
appropriate because the verb can then act upon two subjects. This is similar to the
construction in: wa-'a!;htara MU58 qawmahu jab'lna rajulan (" and MOje5 chose
seventy ofhij people) (Q. 5:7, V:155).
There are twenty-eight phases of the moon and every night the moon appears at
another point. [They are]:
1. AI-Shar!lIn
2. AI-Butayn
3. Al-11lurayyah
4. Al-Dabran
5. Al-Haq'ah
6. Al-Han'ah
7. Al-IllJirii'
8. Al-Nalhrah
.,
9.
Al-Tarlah
10. Al-Jabhah
11. Al-Kharatiin
12. M-$arlah
13. AI-'Aww4'
14. AI-SimAk
15. ,11-!i1JAfra
16. AI-Zubanayan
17. Al-lkUI
18. AI-Qa/b
19. Al-Shawlah
69
20.
Al-Na'iiim
21. Al-Baladdah
22.
Sa'd
23.
Sa'd AI-Bul'a
24.
Sa 'd AI-Su'ud
25.
Sa'd AI-Akhbiyah
26.
AI-Far9!J AI-Muqaddam
27.
Al-Far9!J AI-Mu'a&M!Jar
28.
u-u
When the moon passes through all these phases it returns to the first phase. It
completes an orbit in twenty-eight nights. The moon is then hidden from sight,
before it reappears as a crescent. It then continues to traverse its orbit. This orbit
is divided into the signs of the zodiac. consists of AI-Bu ayn
and a third of Al-Ihurayyah. AI-Ihawr will be made up of two thirds of
AI-Ihurayyah, Al-Dabrin and two thirds of AI-Haq'ah. This is the way it will be
for all ofthem.
Some [scholars] have said that Allah has created the sun and the moon from fire,
and thereafter, clothed them in light before they appeared. The light of the sun,
Allah bedecked with the light of the 'arjh and the light of the moon has been
clothed by the light of the kur$( (seat of Allah). That was the original form in
which the sun and the moon were created, and what we see is [only] the outer
apparel. The light of the sun was allowed to shine. However, as far as the moon is
concerned AI-Amin (lIbrA 7Q was ordered tospread his wing over its surface as
a result of which the light of the moon was dimmed. is more powerful than
all other things. This dimness of the moon is what the creationsees. The moon was
then placed into a cover made of water and set into motion. Every night a portion
70
of this cover is exposed and accordingly the night is moonlit. Anight [then] arrives
when the entire cover is lifted and the full moon may be seen. Thereafter I on each
night, the moon returns little by little, behind this cover, until it disappears (rom
sight, and becomes as thin as it was, in the beginning. In its process of decreasing
the light is not seen and that is where it finally sets until it returns "like the old
lower part of a date staW'. It is also said that the moon is called al-qamar because
it illuminates the atmosphere with its light until it disappears.
" riU she returns like the old (and withered) lower part of a date staW'.
l Z u j j ~ j says that 'urjiln is the wood of the stalk or a date-palm panicle. [The
word] is derived when the infinitive al-in'ir4j is put onto the scale o( Ju'Ian. The
word means: "to be curved or bent ".. What is meant is that the moon passes
through various phases and at the last or these, it becomes slender and bent, until it
resembles the stalk o( a date-palm panicle. According to this explanation the nun
in the word al-'urjiln is extra. Qatadah says: 'urjiln is the dry panicle which
dangles (rom the palm tree. I,ha1ab says: "Al-'urjiln is what is left on the
date-palm once it has been cut." AI-qadim suggests that it is old. AI-KhaIU says
that al-'urjun means the yellowish remaining part on the palm tree which resembles
a crescent. AI-Jawharl says: Al-'ur:iun is the stalk at the bottom of a cluster or
dates that remains and dries out once the rruits are removed." According to these
linguists the niln in al-'urjiln is originally part or the word. There is a likeness
between the portion ofa date palm described above and the moon as a crescent.
Arabic equivalents for the word al-'urjan are: al-ihAn, al-kab4sah, al-qmUJa. The
inhabitants or Egypt use the word al-ub4Jah in the same meaning. Some recite
al-'irjawn on the scale or al-firjawn. Both these dialects are acceptable and are
similar [to the wordsj al-buzyun and al-buyawn (silk). This is the opinion of
Al-Zamakh marl who explains that al-'ur)iln is the wood of a date cluster, that is
71
found between the stalk and the place (rom where it grows out ofthe date palm.
The year is divided into four seasons. Every season consists of seven phases. The
first season is spring. It begins fifteen days into March. This season lasts for ninety
two days. During this period the sun traverses three configurations of the zodiac:
AI-{Iamal; AI-Thawr and 11l-Jawza '. Seven phases are also traversed:
AI-Slar!4n; AI-Bulayn; Al-.I!Jurallllah; AI-Dabmn; AI-Jlaq'ah; Al-IIan'ah and
AI-l2hira
'.
The next season is summer, which begins fifteen days into June.
Summer lasts for ninety two days. During this period the sun traverses three
configurations of the zodiac: AI-'Asad and AI-Sunbulah. Seven
phases are also traversed. They are: AI-NatArah; AI-Tarlah; AI-Jabhah,
AI-Kharat4n; Al-Sarlah; AI-'Aww4 ' and AI-Simah. Autumn comes next, after
fifteen days of September have passed. This season consists of ninety one days
during which the sun traverses three configurations of the zodiac. They are
Al-MIzan; AI-'Aqrab and The seven mansions traversed here are
Al-Qhafra; Al-Zubaniyan; Al-lkUl; Al-Qalb; AI-SlJawlah; AI-Na'alm and
AI-Baladdah. Next comes winter, after fifteen days of December have passed.
Winter consists of ninety days, but may even last up to ninety one days. During
this period the sun traverses three configurations of the zodiac: AI-JuddI;
Al-DaIUlU and AI-ijiiwt. Seven phases are also traversed. They are: Sa'd
Al-I2!1abi/:; Sa'd AI-Bul'a; Sa'd AI-Su'ud; Sa'd AI-AMbiyah; Itl-Fargh
Al-Muqaddam; AI-FarRh Al-Mu'a&!lkhar and Ba!n AI-Ifat. The famous Syriac
division of the year is:
TaMirin Al-Awwa/(October)
Tamrin AI-IhAnI (November)
Kanan AI-Awwal (December)
Kanan Al-IhAni (January)
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'A:!llbat (February)
'A!illar (March)
Nisiin (April)
'Ayyar(May)
(June)
Tammuz (July)
'Ab (August)
'Aylal (September)
All three consists of thirty one days, except Tamrln AI-IllanI (November); NIsan
(April); /faziran (June) and Aylal (September) for they consist of thirty days;
Amba.! (February) consists oftwenty eight anda quarter days.
The reason we have provided the above explanation is to draw attention to the
greatness of Allah, as is explained in the verse: "And the moon We have measured
for her mansions (to traverse)."
When the sun is in a particular phase the moon will be at the next phase. The sun
will rise at a point two phases before this. Thus, when the sun is at AI-Ihurayyah
after twenty five days of NIsan (April), then thesun will rise at and the
moon will appear at AI-Dabran. Thereafter, the moon will pass through a different
phase each night, until after twenty eight nights, twenty eight phases have been
traversed. This" i.s the decree 0/(Him) the Eulted in Might, the All-Knowing".
3. Allah says: al-qadIm. AI-Zamak,h marl says that al-qadim means "to undergo
change". When it becomes old, it becomes thin, hazy and [appears] yellowish. It
thus resembles the moon in three qualities. It is said that the minimum period
before something can be classified as qa(/jm, is one year. Therefore, if a person has
73
to declare or bequest that all my slaves that are qadIm (old) are Cree, then those in
his possession for one year, or more, will gain their freedom,
10. It is not permitted Cor the sun to catch up the moon, nor can the night outstrip the
day: Each (just) swims along in (its own) orbit (according to law).
In the above verse is in the nominative because it stands at the beginning of the
sentence and l! is unable to have aneCfect on a definite noun.
Scholars have discussed much concerning this verse. Some are of the opinion that the verse
means, that the sun is unable to reach the moon and each of them has his own domain.
This will continue until Allah causes the sun to rise from the west. Other scholars are of
the opinion that what is meant, is that when the sun rises the light oC the moon is
extinguished and when the moon appears, the sun's light is extinguished. [This is the)
opinion of Ibn 'Abbls and Mujahid says: "What is meant is that the light of
one is not like the light of the other". Qatadah says: "Each of them have their own
limirations, which they do not transgress or fall short of. When the authority of one
appears, the authority of the other disappears." says: "They are never found
together on the night of a new moon. Only when the sun sets will the moon appear."
ibn Salam says: "Thesun will not meet the moon on the night of a full moon. This
is so because it becomes invisible before its appearance."
Other [scholars] are of the opinion that what is meant here is that when the moon and sun
are found together in the sky, then one is always ahead of the other, and they are never
found in the same phase. This is also another opinion of Ibn 'AbblJ. Other scholars say
that the moon is in the heaven of the earth, while the sun is in the fourth heaven, and
therefore, they cannot meet. This is the opinion of and AI-Mahdawi.
has said: "The best explanation provided for this verse is that the speed at
74
which the moon travels in faster than that of the sun. The sun is thus unable to catch up
with it. II Al-Mahdawl has also mentioned this. As far as the verse: IIAnd the .sun and the
moon are joined together' (Q. 5:75, V:9), is concerned then this is when the sun will be
prevented (rom rising and the world will come to an end with the Day of Judgement.
FII rt her explanation appears in Surah An'am and Surah Qiyamah.
" It nd each" refers to the sun, moon, planets and stars, "Sunms along in it" own orbit".
Some scholars have. interpreted to mean "rotating" or "moving". Al-I,Iasan says:
"The sun, moon and stars are in an orbit between they sky and the earth and are not fixed.
Had they been fixed they would not have moved". AI-Iha1abl and Al-Mlwardl have also
mentioned this. Some [scholars] have used the verse: "nor can the night out"trip the day"
to prove that the day has been created before the night. Other [scholars] are of the opinion
that what is meant is, that both the sun and the moon run on their own time and one does
not overtake the other, until Allah shall join them on the Day of Judgement, as Allah says
in the verse: "And the sun and the moon are joined together' (Q. 5:75, V:9). This system
of one following the other is (or the benefit of mankind. Allah says: "that ye may know the
number of year" and the count (of time)" (Q. 5:10, V:5). The night has been created for
rest and the day for work. Allah says: "It 'U out oj Hi.s Mercy that He ha.s made for you
night and day that ye may re"t therein and that ye may "eek of Hu grace and in order that
ye be grateful' (Q. 5:28, V:73). Allah says: "And made your!leep Jor re"t" (Q. 5:78, V:9).
Rest for your bodies from the work of the day.
"Nor can the night OUlJtrip the day". [This] means that the night is not able to overpower
the day, When we say .sabaqa fu14nun fulAnan we mean that a certain person has
overpoweredanother.
AI-Mubarrad mentions that when he heard 'Ammlrah recite: wa-la al-laylu .sablqu
al-naJuir, he asked him why he had recited it this way. 'Ammlrah replied that he had
75
intended to recite $abiqun al-nahAr but the tanwin was dropped, [to make] for easy recital.
says: "It is possible that al-naJulra is in the accusative without a tanwin, and
also that the tanwin has been omitted, because two .9ukiln stand, next to each other.
41. And a sign for them is that We bore their race (through the flood) in the loaded
Ark;
42. And We have have created for them similar (vessels) on which they ride.
43. If it were Our will, we could drown them: then would there be no helper (to hear
their cry), nor could they bedelivered,
44. Except by way of mercy from Us, and by way of (worldly) convenience (to serve
them) for a time.
The words of Allah: "And a &ign for them" has three possible meanings: The first is: "and
a lesson unto them" because this verse contains a lesson. The second meaning is: "and a
blessing unto them" because this [verse makes] mention of a favour of Allah. The third
meaning of this verse is: "and a warning for them" since [this verse] contains a warning.
"ls that We bore their race an a loaded Ark". Some scholars have interpreted this verse to
mean that a sign for the people of Makkah is that Allah carried the people ofancient times
"m a loaded Ark". According to this interpretation the two pronouns indicate to different
groups of people. AI-Mahdawl has provided this explanation. narrates that
'Ali ibn Swaymln heard this explanation from AI-Mahdawl. Other scholars are of the
opinion that both pronouns refer to the people of Makkah and Jlhurriyatahum is a reference
to their children and the weak. [According to the first interpretation] al-fulki (the Ark) is
the vessel of and [according to] the second explanation it is the name of a type of
conveyance. Allah is informing us, that he has favoured us by creating ships on which
children and the weak, who find it difficult to walk, may be carried. In this case both
pronouns refer to the same thing. Some scholars have said that by ilhunwah is meant
76
parents and grandparents, who Allah carried on the ship of "Parents and children",
may both be classified as !JlJuriyyah in accordance with this verse. This is the opinion of
Abu Parents are also called Jihuriyyah because it is from them that children are
horn, who spread (dhara1on the earth. Rabt ' has stated that Jihuriyyah is a particle that
Allah has placed in the womb of women that has been compared to a laden ship. This is
the opinion of 'All ibn Abu Talib and has been mentioned by AI-Mawardl.
AI- means something that is full and heavy. The word fulk is used both in the
singular and inthe piural.
"And We have created for them similar (vessels) on which they ride". Yarkabun is actually
yarkabiinahu. The h4' has been omitted since the word was becoming too lengthy, and also
because it is at the end of a sentence.
There are three opinions concerning [the meaning of] this verse. The first opinion is that of
Mujahid, Qatadah and a group ofexegetes. They base their opinion on the comment of Ibn
'Abbas that the words min milh lihiindicate to the camel that Allah has created for travel
on land just like the ship that is used in the sea. The Arabs do liken a camel to a ship.
The second opinion is that it may be referring to a camel or any other means of transport.
The third opinion is that this verse refers to ships. This is the strongest opinion because it
is narrated from Ibn 'Abbas, who says that this verse means that Allah has created for
them ships similar to that ship, which they are able to use. Abu Ml1ik says: "This refers
to small ships which He has created similar to the big ship". This has also been related
from Ibn 'AbUs and AI-I.lasan. and others say: "This refers to ships that
were made after the ship of AI-Mlwardl says that 'All has explained this verse to
mean the sperm in the belly of a woman. The fifth opinion concerning this verse is that it
refers to the act of sexual relationship bet ween husband and wife. I do not consider this
77
opinion to beappropriate.
II If .t were Our wiU We could drown them", in the ocean. The "them" here refers to all the
members of the family or the offspring. This points towards the correctness of the opinion
expressed by Ibn 'Abbas and also those who have taken mm m.l!J lihi to refer to a ship and
not a camel.
IIThen would there be no helper {to hear their cry)lI. Sa'1d narrates from Qatadah that this
means that there is none to assist them. hayMn narrates from Qatadah that it means
that there is none to give them strength. Thesetwo meanings are very similar, The word
is in the meaning of just as fa'll is inthe meaning of [a'it
The word yunqafillun means to be saved from drowning, Some say that it means to be
saved from punishment.
II Except by way of mercy from Us". AI-Kis! 'I says that here the accusative case is because
of the exception.
"Convenience
ll
is mercy and ease "fora time". Qatadah [says that this meansl"till death".
ibn Salam says that the Day of Judgement is referred to here. Allah has granted
them respite, until then. Allah has hastened the punishment of other nations, but delayed
that of the nation of although they reject faith, till death or the Day of
Judgement.
45. When they are told, "Fear ye that which is before you and that which will be after
you, inorder that ye may receive mercy," (They turn back).
46. Not a sign comes to them (rom among the signs of their Lord, but they turn away
therefrom.
78
H. And when they are told, "Spend ye of( the bounties) with wltich God has provided
you," the unbelievers say to those who believe: "Shall we then reed those whom, if
God had so willed, He would have fed, (Himself]? - Ye are in nothing but manifest
error. II
48. Further, they say, "when will this promise (come to pass), if what ye say is ! rue?"
19. They wil1 not (have to) wait for aught but a single blast: it will seize them while
they are yet disputing among themselves!
50. No (chance) will they then have, by will, to dispose (of their affairs), nor to return
to their own people!
"And when they are told: "Fear ye that which i.! before you and that which will be after you"
Qatadah says: "fear ye that which i.! before you", refers to the incidents of the nations that
had gone before, and "that which wiU be after you" refers to the Hereafter. Ibn 'Abb1s, Ibn
Jubayr and Mujll.hid say that "that which u before you", refers to the past sins, and "that
which wiU be after you" to the future sins. AI-l,Iasan has taken" that which i.! before you",
to mean what has passed you, of your lifespan and "that which wiU be after you'" to mean
what is remaining of your life. Sury1n has said that, "that which i.f before you", refers to
this world, while"that which wiU be after you" points to the Hereafter. Al-Iha 1abt has
narrated the opposite of this opinion from Ibn 'Abb1s. According to this view, "that which
is before you''. refers to the affairs of the Hereafter and the preparations for it, and "that
whICh wiU be after you", refers to the world. Some scholars have said that, "that which is
before you" means: "that which is apparent to you" and "that which wiU be after you",
means: "that which is hidden from you".
The answer to this sentence is not given, [but weI understand it to be that, when this is
said to these people, they reject it. Proof of this is to be found in the next verse: "Not a
SIgn comes to them from among the s ~ of theIr Rabb (Lord), but they turn away
therefrom.II
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"A nd when they are told: "Spend ye 0/ (the bountlu) w1th whICh God haJ protl1ded you".
Spend on the poor in charity. AI-llasan says: "The Jews are being commanded to feed
t he poor". Some say the verse is addressed to the idolaters. The verse: "Out 0/ what God
hath produced in abundance in tilth and in cattle they ajjigned Him a jhare" (Q. 5:6, V: 136)
refers to them. They stoppedspending in Allah's way and said mockingly: "Shall we then
feed those whom i/ God had jO willed He would have fe/'. They heard that the Muslims
believe that Allah is the sustainer. They say in jest that should we sustain one, who Allah
sustains? Ibn 'Abbls says that in Makkah there were atheists. When they were
commanded to spend in charity on the poor, they said: "Not at all. By Allah! Allah
wants to deprive them and we should feed them." They would hear the Muslims
mentioning the will of Allah (inma' Allah) in their speech. They, therefore, intended to
mock the Muslims by these words. Another way of understanding this verse is, that when
the Muslims say to them: "jpend ye 0/ (the bountie,,) with which God haJ provided you",
they answer that when Allah has provided us with wealth, is He not able to make you
wealthy too? This argument of theirs is incorrect because when Allah blesses one with
weal th He has also made obligatory on him, a right for those less privileged. There is,
[therefore.] no reason to object. The unbelievers were correct in saying: "If God had so
willed He would have fuf' but their reasoning was wrong. This is similar to the verses:
"Those who give partnerJ (to God) will Jay: " If God had wished we Jhould not have given
partners to Him" (Q. 5:6. V: 148) and" They say: 'We bear witne.sJ that thou art indeed the
apostle of God'. Yea, Godknowth that thou art indeed HiJ apoJtle and God beareth WItness
that the hypocrite" are indeed liar',," (Q. 5:63, V:1).
"Ye are in nothing but manifeJt errot". Some [scholars] are of the opinion that these are
the words of the unbelievers to the believers, in response to the request for wealth and
following of Muqltil and others are of this opinion. Other [scholars] say that
these words are uttered by the Companions. Another opinion is that it is Allah's response
to the answer of the unbelievers. It is said that AbO Dakr used to feed the poor
80
Mustims. Abu Jahl once met him and said to him: "Oh Abu Bakr, do you think that
Allah is able to feed all these poor?" Abu Bakr replied: "Yes". Abu Jahl then said:
"Why does Allah then not feed them?" Abu Bakr replied: "Allah has tested some with
wealth and others with poverty. He has commanded the poor to be patient and the'
wealthy to spend of their wealth." Abu Jahl said: "By Allah, Oh Abu Bakr, you are truly
misguided. Do you think that Allah is able to feed these poor but He does not, and then
you do?" Then this verse was revealed as well as the verse: "So he who givej (an chanty)
and [ears (God). And (in all jincerity) testifies to the bejt" (Q. 5:96, V:5-6). AI-Quwayrl
and AI-Mllwardl are of the opinion that this [verse] refers to a group of atheists, who did
not believe in a Creator.
" Further they say: 'When wiU this promise (come to pass), if what you jay is true'''. This
is asked in response to the verse, "fear ye that which is before you and that which wiU be
after yoU?". They ask this mockingly not with the intention of knowing when the Day of
Judgement is.
"They will not (have to) wait for aught but a single blast". [This is] the blowing of the
trumpet by IsrllfIl.
"It will seize them while they are yet disputing among themselves". Theywill be disputing in
the affairs of their world and will die in their places. This is the blowing of the trumpet.
There are five variant recitations in the word 1IaM3iman. AbO 'Amr and Ibn Kalhlr recite
wa hum with a fatJ:1ah on the 1Ia' and MA' and a tamdid on the This is
also the recital of Warm narrated from Nlfi '. Besides Warm the other students of Nafi'
recite ya&l!Jtmlln with a s.u'n on the MA' and a ta.mdJd on the dd. YahyA bin Wa1..hib,
.
AI-A 'maID and Hamzah recite with a "Akin on the M4' and a kaJrah on the
'Asim and AI-Kisli recite lIakhiHimiin with a kasrah on the MA' and a ta.HJdfd on
81
the The meaning of this word is that some will dispute with others. Ibn Jubayr
narrates from Abu Bakr who narrates from 'Asim, and from 1.lammad, who narrates from
'Asirn the recital with a kcurah on the ya' and the &h4' and a tamdId. says:
"The word was originally ya&!lto.!iml1n. Theta' became incorporated into the sad and its
. .
was transferred to the kh4 '.
lkramah says that the verse "but a .!ingle blast" refers to the first blowing of the trumpet.
Abu Hurayrah says that the trumpet will blow, while people will be in their business
places.
Nu 'ayrn narrates from AbU Hurayrah that the Prophet (S.A.W.) said: "The Day of
Judgement will come while two people have started to trade in cloth before even they can
complete their transaction. Aperson will prepare his animals to drink water but the Day
of Judgement will come before they can drink. A person will lift his weighing scale but will
not be able to raise it until resurrection begins. Aperson will take his morsel to his mouth
and will not be able to put it into his mouth, but suddenly the Day of Judgement will
come." In a narration of 'Abdullah ibn 'Amr, we read: "The first person to hear it will be
a person repairing his camel's water trough, so that they may feed, but before he can finish
he will fall unconscious and all people will fall unconscious."
"No chance wiU they then have". One will not be able to advise another on the truth that
he possesses. Some [scholarslsay that this verse means that they will not be able to advise
one another to repent, and absolve themselves, but they will die in their marketplaces and
homes.
"Nor to return to their own people" when they die. Some say that by this verse is meant
that their words do not return to them. Qatadah says that this verse means, that they will
not ret urn to their homes, because they have hastenedfrom these.
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51. The trumpet shall be sounded, when behold! From the sepulchers (men) will rush
forth totheir Lord!
5'2. They will say: "Ah! Woe unto us! Who hath raised us up from our beds of
repose?" ... (A voice will say:) "This is what (God) Most Gracious had promised.
And true was the word of theapostles!"
!):t It will be no more than a single blast, when lo! they will all be brought up before
Us!
54. Then, on that day, not a soul will be wronged in the least, and ye shall but be
repaid the meeds of your past deeds.
"The trumpet be jotmdtd". This refers to the second blowing of the trumpet which
shall signal the Resurrection. This verse IS proof that there will be two blowings of the
trumpet and not three. AI-Mublrak Ibn Al-Fa<}llah narrates from AI-I,lasan, who says
that the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) said: "Between the two blowings of the trumpet is a
period of forty years. With the first blow Allah will cause every living to die and with the
second every dead will come to life." Qatadah says that is the plural of and
it is into the souls that the blowing will take place. It is narrated from Abu Hurayrah that
he recited wa nufikha Ii says that it is correct to recite with
a jakin on the waUl, and this has been narrated from the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.).
This is [also] well known in thelanguage of the Arabs.
"When behold from the jepulchre,". [Meaningl from the graves. Zamak.b1barl has
mentioned that al-ajdAlh can be read II al-ajdAl Both words, jadalhun and )adajun are
used, but jadalhun is more correct with the plurals ajdulhun and ajdAlhun.
"WiU rwh forth to their Rabb (Lord)". Ibn 'Abbls and Qatadah have explained that this
means that they will come out. Achild is called n4$lun because it "comes out", from the
womb of the mother. The word with a on the 'in is also used. It means
83
lito walk hurriedly". The meaning of the verse will therefore be: "to come out quickly".
The following verses also indicate this meaning:
"And your creatIon or your re.!urrection i" in no wi"e but a" an indwldual "oul" (Q. S:31,
V:2R).
"They WIll come forth from their grave" like 10cU.!u "cattered abroad" (Q. S:54, V:7).
"The day whereon they will i.uue from their "epulchre" in "udden tuuu, Qj if they were
rushing to a goalpost (fixed for them)" (Q. S:70, V:43).
In the ~ d l h we read that the Companions complained to the Prophet (S.A. W.) of physical
weakness. He advised them to walk briskly (talay1:um bi al-nQ3Q since this improved the
health.
"They will say: 'Ah woe unto u..!'" Ibn Al-Anbllrl is of the opinion that it is best to pause
after qiiliJ y4 waylanA, before reciting man ba'alhana. Some [reciters] read ya waylanA min
ba'lhina. with a ka.srgh on the mimand lhA'. This [reading] is also reported from tAlt.
According to this reading to pause after ye. waylanA, is not preferred and one should only
pause after the words min marqadinA. Ubayy ibn Ka tab recites man habbanii.
Al-Mahdawl says that Ibn Abl Laylah recites: qalu ya waylatanA with an initial tA' that
indicates the feminine. Another instance where al-wayl is found in the feminine is: "y4
waylata 'aalidu wa ana 'ajuron (Q. 5:11, V:72). tAli recites: y4 waylatA min ba'lhuul. Here
the word min is connected to wayl. The phrase min marqadinl. denotes the actual
Resurrection. lIow can they say this when they are being punished in their graves? Ubayy
ibn Ka tab says that they arc sleeping very deeply and aay: "Oh destruction on us! \Vho
disturbed us in our sleep?"
84
Abu Salih says: "When the trumpet will blow for the first time those in the grave will stop
being punished. This lull will continue for [a period forty years till the trumpet will
sound for the second time. It is for this reason that they ask: 'Who haa raised us up from
our beds of repose"!" This is the opinion of both Ibn 'Abbu and Qatadah. Scholars well-
versed in rhetoric have said concerning this verse that when the unbelievers see Jahannam
and the torments it has in store, it appears that their experience in the grave was a dream.
Mujahid says that the believers will say to the unbelievers: II what (God) ....Lost
Gracious had promised." Farra' is of the opinion that these are the words of the angels.
AI-Nahhu says that the above opinions are the same since the angels are also believers.
This aspect is also highlighted in the verse: II Thos who have faith and do deeds
they are the of (Q. 5:98, V:7). The "The believer is better in the
eyes of Allah than all else that has been created", also supports this idea. It is also possible
that the angels or any other believers could have said: "This is what (God) Gracious
had promised'. Some are of the opinion that when the unbelievers see their folly in not
believing in the messenger they testify, but their faith is of no use.
Hafs used to pause after min marqadinA and then resume recital at hAJlhA. AbO Bakr ibn
AI-Anbart says that to pause at the end of man ba'alhanA min marqadini, is a
commendable pause. The reciter will then resume his recitation with hAfi!Jj rna wa'ada. It
is [also] permissible for one to pause on marqadinAhA4hA-
is of the opinion that one sentence ends at min marqadinA. The new sentence
begins at hAflhj which is in the nominative case. The predicate of the nominative clause
[here] is: rna wa'ada
It is also correct to regard hAflhA in the genitive, as an attribute of marqadln4. In this case
too, the complete sentence will end at: II man marqadlM hAdhA".
85
"It unll be no more than a jIngle bll1Jt.
1I
brant will announce: "Oh you dry bones, torn
tissues and shredded ligaments! Allah commands you that you come together (or your
reckoning." This is what is meant when Allah says:
II The day when they wall hear a (mIghty) blast in (very) truth. That will be the Day of
Resurrectton" (Q. 5:50, V:42) and
"Hasteninq, u.rith eye$ transfixed toward$ the caller. '/lard u thl$ day', the unbdiever$ unll
say" (Q. 5:54, V:8).
In the recital of Ibn Mas ud, if the attribution to him is correct we find: "in kanat allA
zaqyatun wahldatan" where zaqyatan means the sameas
II When lo! they will aU be brought up before Us". Here the words fa i!lhAhum are the subject
of the nominal sentence and jumf/un is the indefinite predicate with as an
adjective. [The word] means [that] all will be gathered and present at the place
of reckoning. This is meant by the verse: II And the decision of the Hour (of Judgement) i$
as the twinkling of an eye" (Q. 5:16, V:77).
"Then on that day not a soul unll be wronged In the lel1Jt". The rewards ofdeeds will not. be
decreased.
"And ye shaU but be repaad the meed.s of you PC$t deed.s". The particle rna is in the
accusative for two reasons: The first is that it is the second object. The second reason is
that because the adjective has been replaced here. The sentence would otherwise read: IUJi
bimii kuntumto. 'mailln.
55. Verily the Companions of the Garden shall that day have joy in all that they do;
86
56. They and their associates will be in groves of (cool) shade, reclining on thrones (of
dignity);
57. (Every) fruit (enjoyment) will be there (or them; they shall have whatever they call
Cor;
58. "Peace!" - a word (oC salutation) from the Lord, Most Merciful!
59. "And 0 ye in sin! get ye apart this Day!
" Verily the Companion3 of the Garden 3haU that day have joy in all they do". Ibn 'Abbas,
Qatndah and Mujahid say: "They will be concerned with the defloration of foodstuffs.
This will be uninhibited enjoyment". Tirmidllt says in his Mumk11 Al-Qur'lin:
"Muhammad ibn Humayd AI-Rul narrates (rom Ya'qt1b AI-Qumml, who narrates from
ibn Hamid, who narrates from S,hamt ibn 'Aliyah, who narrates from Shaqlq ibn
Salimah, who narrates from 'Abdullah ibn Mas'lid concerning the verse: "Verily the
Companions of the Garden $hall tha.t day have joy in all they do" he said: "They will
experience uninhibited enjoyment". Muhammad ibn narrates from Harun ibn
AI-Mughayrah, who narrates from who narrates from who narrates
from 1bn 'Abbas the same as above. Abu Qilabah says: "A person from the dwellers of
Jannah will be with his family when it will be commanded to turn towards his family. He
will reply that he is already with his family. It will be said to him: "Turn towards your
family also." Some [scholars] say that the dwellers of Jannah will be so occupied enjoying
the blessings of Jannah that they will not be concerned with the sufferings of those in
Jahannam, even if these be their relatives. This is the opinion of Sa1d Ibn Jubayr and
others. Wakl'says that what is intended here is the listening to music. Ibn Kaysan has
interpreted ft $u9l1ulihim, to mean the meeting or the dwellers of Ja.nnah. Some [scholars]
say that they will be occupied as guests or Allah.
It has been narrated that when the Day of Judgement comes a caller will call out: "Where
are my bondsmen, who obeyed me and were loyal to their oath with me, despite not seeing
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me?" They will then stand up with Iaces like the Cull moon and shinin Itan and will be
made to mount a dromedary oC celesua! light with a halter of pearls which will bring him
before everyone, until he stands before the (celestial throne) of Allah. Allah will say
to him: "Peace beon my bondsman who obeyed meand upheld my oathdespite nol seeing
me. I ..ave specially chosen you. Go now and enter Jannah without reckoning. "No [ear
.1haU bt on you that day nor Jhall ye grieve" (Q. 5:43, V:68). They will pus over the
(bridge spanning lIell) with the speed of lightning and the gates of Jannah will be opened
to them. Then the creation will be standing on the plains of reckoning and will say to one
another: "Where is 50 and SOli and when they do SO, a caller will call out: "Venly the
Companion.. 0/ the Garden ..hall that day havl! joy an all that theJl do",
The word t2hugbul may be read U HJu!ZllulIn or mugh/in. AI-I.luan has explained /4kIhOn to
mean "happy". Ibn 4Abbls hu used the word "joyous". MujAhid and (take
this wordlto mean "pleased". AI-Suddl says it refers to the enjoying of bounties. These
meanings are close [to one another].
Enjoyable fruits and goodly conversation will be their reward. AM Ja'far, Shaybah and
AI-A 'raj recite fiihhun without an aliI According to Farra.' these are variations just u
[anhI : /arihI and hA4!Jiri : ha!l!Jirl. AI-Kist' and Aba 'Ubaydllh say that refers
to something with fruit, just u the connotation in the words lAhlm, tAmlr and
LAban.
FthJu]n without an ali/means "pleued" accordinKto Qatadah. Aba Zayd is of the opinion
that we say ra]Ulun /UshtJn, when such a person is of a good disposition and always smites.
Talhah ibn Musarrif recites fjMtJnin the accuJ&tive cue.
. . .
"TheJi and their 4.UOClalu u,'Il1 be an grovu oj (cooO Ihadt, rtdlnln9 on thrones (oJ
dlgnaLJI)". This sentence contains both the subject and predicate. It is also to
88
regard hum as a particle used for emphasis and the word azwajuhum to be linked to that
intended by hum. The adjective of fiikihiin would be multaA:iun. Most recite wit h a
kasrah on the '. Ibn Maa'Ud; 'Ubayd ibn 'Umayr; AI-A 'malb; l.Iamzah;
Al-Kisa t and Khalaf recite: Ii zulalin with a damm!!!1 on the za' without an alif Ziliil is
. . .
the plural of zillun and zulalun is the plural of ;:ullgh.
.. .
II Reclining on thrones (of dignitv)". They are reclining on beds in the shape ofships.
"(Every) fruit (enjoyment) will be there for them". This is a subject andpredicate.
II They shall have whatever they call/or'. Whatever they want they will get. Abu 'Ubaydah
says: yadda'an refers to the fulfilment of all their supplications because Allah will grant
their desire with what is more beautiful and much better than what they ask for.
ibn Salam says [that] yadda'lln means what they desire. Ibn 'Abbas: "What you ask for".
And the meanings are close [to one another]. Ibn Al-AnblrI says: "To pause after lahum
rna yadda'an is recommended in which case salAmun would mean: "and this is for them
peace". The other meaning is that what they desire for is completely submitted to them.
According to this, it is preferred to pause after rna yadda'l1n. AI-Zujjlj says: "They will
be granted peace from Allah and this is the gift for thedwellers of Jannah".
Jartr ibn 'Abdullah AI-BajalJ narrates that the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) said: "The
dwellers of Jannah will be enjoying the blessings when a celestial light will appear on top of
them. They will lift their heads and there they will see Allah, who will appear above them
saying: "Salutation be upon you! Oh dwellers of Jannah." This is meant by the verse:
"Peace! - a word (of salutation) from a Rabb (Lord) Most Merciful". They will look at
Allah and Allah at them. The dwellers of Jannah will not look at anything of their
blessings as long as they are looking at Allah. Then Allah will become hidden from them
but Allah's light and blessings will remain with them in their dwelling places." This has
89
been mentioned by AI-Iha1abl and AI-Quffiayrl. A similar theme is found in
Muslim and this has been mentioned in SiJrah YunUJ when the verse" To thoje who do "ght
in a goodly (reward) yea, more (than in rnea.!ure)" (Q. 5:10, V:26) is dealt with. It is also
possible to regard rna as a negative and salAm as its substantive. This means that
whatever they desire, they will be given completely. It is also possible that ma is in the
nominative, because it is a predicate with "alAmun as its verbal noun. According to these
instances [then] wa lahum ma yadda/iJn will not carry a pause. Ibn Masild recites "alamun.
Muhammad ibn KatAb Al-Qurazi recites "ilmun. In this case it means that they will get
what. t.hey desire without anydisputation [and] in a complete form.
"A word". This phrase means that Allah says a saying. 5ajasUnl says that to pause after
saliimun is preferred. This is incorrect. in my view because the act of saying is separated
from what is before it requires elucidation.
"And Oh ye in sin! Get ye apart thu day!" It. is said that tamayyazu, ammazll and amtaziJ
have the same meaning. This will be said to them when they are gathered for questioning
and t.he dwellers of Jannah are made to enter Jannah. Qatadah says: "They will be
distanced from all good". says: "What is intended here is that the
transgressors will be divided into groups". also comments that for everyone of
these groups, there will be a bouse in Jahannam that it will enter. They will dwell therein
forever, not tobe heard nor seen.
D1 ud ibn Al-Jarrah says: "The Muslims will be divided from the transgressors except
those who follow their carnal desires. They will be with the transgressors".
60. "Did I not enjoin on you, 0 ye children of Adam, that ye should not worship Satan;
for that he was to you an enemy avowed? -
61. "And that ye should worship Me (for that) this was the straight way?
90
62. "But he did lead astray a great multitude of you. Did ye not, then, understand?
63. "This is the lIell of which ye were (repeatedly) warned!
tH. "Embrace ye the (fire) this Day, for that ye (persistently) rejected (truth)".
"Did I not enjoin on you, Oh you children of Adam". [By] 'ahhad [here is] meant "strong
advice". Did I not enjoin onyou and send the message on the tongue of the messengers?
"That ye should not worship Satan" by obeying him in sin. Al-Kisa' says that the word la
is [used] for negation.
"A nd that ye should worship me" with a on the nan of u'budilnI. "This is the
straiqhi way".
"But he did lead astray a great multitude of you". Alarge number of creatures were led
astray. This is the opinion of Muja.hid. Qatadah says a great number ofpeople is intended
here. Al-Kalbl [interprets it to] mean many nations. All these explanations [yield the
same] meaning. Ahl Al-Madinah (The reciters of Madinah) recite jibillan with a kasrah on
the JIm and ba'. Abu 'Amr and Ibn 'Amir recite jublan with a dammah on the jim and a
sukun on the ba I. The rest recite it as jubulan with a on the jim and baI and
without a tamdid on the lam. Al-Hasan recites it with a taHIdid. Ibn Abl 'Isa ibn
'Umar, 'Abdullah ibn 'Ubayd and Nadr ibn Anas all recited it as Al-Hasan did. Jiblan is
. .
how Abu and the companions of AI-'Aqill recited. This then indicates five various
reci rations.
AI-Mahdawl and AI-Iha1abl saya that all these are variant readings, all meaning: "the
creation". states: "The most clear seems to be the first reading", His proof is
that all of them unanimously recite "we al-JlbaUata al-awwaan". In this case Jlbalan is the
plural of ftbillah. This refers to all that Allah has created. A sixth reading has been
91
narrated as: wa laqad adalla minkum jUan kailJiran. AI-Dahhak states that one JII is equal
. . ..
to ten thousand. A great number that only Allah knows is how AI-MAwardl explains the
verse.
"Did ye not then that Satan is their enemy and that it is necessary to obey
Allah.
"This is the Heir'. The keepers of lIell will say to them"thif if the Hell' We warned you
about and you belied. Aba lIurayrah says that the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) said:
"When it will be the Day of Judgement, Allah will gather humans and jinn.s and those who
came before and those who came later, on a single plain, then a caller will callout: "This
is the Hell of which you were repeatedly warned. Embrace you the Fire this day for that
you rejected the truth". At this point nations will come on their knees and every pregnant
women will miscarry and every nursing mother will drop her child. You will see people
who appear intoxicated, but they will not be intoxicated, their state will be owing to the
punishment of Jahannam that will be severe."
65. That day shall We set a seal on their mouths. But their hands will speak to Us, and
their feet bear witness, to all that they did.
66. If it had been Our will, we could surely have blotted out their eyes. Then should
they have run about groping for the path.but how could they have seen?
67. And if it had been our Will, We could have transformed them(to remain) in their
places. Then should they have been unable to move about, nor could they have
returned (after error).
68. If We grant long life to any, We cause him to be reversed in nature. Will they not
then understand?
92
II That Day We $hall set a $talon their mouths but their hand" will .speak to U$ and their fut
bear witne$$ to all that they did". In Afu"lim there is a narration [on the authority] of
Anas ibn MAlik, who says: "We were in the company of the Prophet (S.A.W.) when he
laughed and asked: 'Do you know why Llaugh'", We said: 'Allah and His Prophet know
best '. The Prophet (S.A.W.) said: "From the discussions of the bondsman with his Rabb
(Lord) on the Day of Judgement is where he will say: 'Oh my Lord have you not delivered
me (rom oppression"'" Allah will reply: 'Surely'. The bondsman will say: 'I find as a
witness today none but myself'. Allah will say: 'Yourself and the Recording Angels
(Kirliman katibln) are sufficient as witnesses '. llis mouth will be scaled and his body parts
will [be made to] speak. They will relate his deeds. lie will then be allowed to speak. He
will say: 'Be away. It was on account of you that I sinned'".
This is also narrated in the Muslim on the authority of Abu Hurayrah. In this
narration we read: lilt will be said to him: 'Now we will send as a witness from yourself
against you'", He will wonder who this will be, and his mouth will be scaled. It will be
said to his thighs, flesh and bones: "Speak!" and they will do so relating his actions. This
is how he was trying to seek an excuse (or himself. He is a hypocrite and, therefore, the
anger of Allah was sent on him.
Tirmid,hl narrates on the authority of MU'lwiYih bin that the Prophet (S.A. W.)
pointed towards Syria saying: "From here to here you will be resurrected whether you are
mounted or walking. You wiu be dragged on your faces on the Day of Judgement. On
your mouths will be reins. Seventy nations will pass and you will be the best and most
honoured of them by Allah. The first to speak on any ofyou will be his thigh". In another
narration, "his thigh and his hand", are mentioned. Abu 'Ubayd says: "They will be
prevented from speaking until their thighs speak".
There are (our possible reasons why their mouths would besealed:
93
1. They say: "8y God our Lord, we were not tho,e who jOined ~ W1th God' (Q.
S:65, V:23). Allah therefore seals their mouths until their limbs speak. This is the
opinion of Abu Mus! AI-AG'arl.
2. So that they may be distinguished from others. Ibn Ziy!d is of the opinion [that
this is sol.
3. The testimony of something that does not usually speak is more worthy of
consideration, than that ofsomething that speaks.
4, The limbs that were of use to him, have ,now turned against him, to bear witness in
favour ofits Rabb(Lord).
The question may arise [that] why does this verse make mention of the speech of the hand
and only the witness of the feet. The answer to this is, that the hand did not only witness
the action but perpetrated the action, before the person, whereas the other limbs were not
as directly involved.
Uqbah ibn 'Arnir says: "I heard the Prophet (S.A.W.) say: 'I'he first body part of a man
who will talk on the Day of Judgement, when their lips will be sealed will be the left
thigh. ," AI-Mlwardl and AI-Mahdawl both mention this. Abu Milsa AI-Am'arl says: "I
am of the opinion that the first that will talk will be a person's right thigh". This has also
been mentioned by AI-Mahdawl. AI-Mlwardl says: "It is possible that the reason for
especially mentioning the left thigh is that it is part of the bottom half of the body, from
where lust originates. Since it is closer it gives witness quickly". lie further states: "The
left side has been singled out, because the lust in the right side of the body is greater than
that in the left side. The left side has therefore been mentioned because it has lesser lust."
I say: On the contrary it refers to the overpoweringof the lust or both of them committing
94
or stopping an action at the same time, because the entire actions [that emanate) from all
of them are desires and lust. And Allah knows best.
".4 nd if It had been Our will, We could have blotted out their eyeJ. Thm should they
liai: run about groping for the path, but how couldthey have seen?" Kisl' recites:
ya!mlSu and According to linguists ma!mllJ and al-!amIJ is one who is blind.
without a hole in his eyes. Ibn 'AbbAs says: "They are blind to guidance and will never be
guided to the path of truth. They do not see the path at their disposal to reach their
destination". AI-Hasan and AI-Suddl say: "The verse means: We leave them aside to
falter." This is also the choice of AI-TabarI.
.
The phrase: "groping for the path
ll
means that they would have been groping for the path
to traverse it, "But how could they have means: from where can they see? 'Atao',
Muqatil; Qatadah and Ibn 'Abbas narrate: "If we so wished we would have turned their
vision from being misguided to guidance". Then he says: "But how could they have seen?"
But Allah did not do this to them. How can they be guided when the eyes which guide are
blinded? 'Abdullah ibn Salim, however, explains this verse differently. He says that it
refers to the Day of Judgement when the Bridge will be lengthened. A caller will
then call out to the followers of Muhammad (S.A.W.). They will follow
(5. A.W.). The evil and the good. When they are on the Bridge Allah will blind those who
did evil. Then 151, peace be upon him, will be called and he will be followed by his
followers and they will have the same Cate. This will be the condition of all tbe nations.
has mentioned this. We have written this incident in our book AI-Ta/lhk1rah
in the same way that Ibn Mublrak has written it in his Raqa'iqah. Qumayrl has
mentioned this. Ibn 'AbbAs says that this verse reCers to the incident when AI-Aswad ibn
AI-Aswad and a tribe of the MakhzQm took a rock and wanted to smash the head of the
Prophet (5.A.W.). Allah blinded them and caused the rock to join to their hands. They
did not see and could not be guided. This verse was revealed concerning this incident.
9S
:\l-Akhfat,b and AI-Qalbl say that matmil.s is one without holes between his eyelids.
"It nd if it had been our wiU We could have tranJformed them (to remain) in their place.
Then should they have been unable to move about nor could they have returned (after
error)". Maj!i!J is to change creatures into stone; an inanimate object or an animal.
Al-I.lasan says: "We will make them stand still and they will not be able to move
forwards or backwards. Similarly a lifeless object does not move in any direction."
Sometimes maJ&a is used when a human is turned into an animal. Then this animal
becomes perplexed, does not recognize its place, and is unable to move forwards or
backwards. Ibn 'Abblis says: "This verse means: 'And they can be destroyed in their
homes if We so wish'".
Some [scholars] say that what is meant is that Allah could destroy these people, in the
place where they perpetrated their sin. Ibn Salim states that all this will take place on
the Day of Judgement, when their eyes will be blinded from the (Bridge).
Al-Sulaml; Zir ibn HubaYID and 'A!imin the narration he takes from Abu
Bakr recite: makanatihim in the plural. The rest recite this in the singular. Abu
recites: famaJ tata'u madiyyan with a fathah on the mIm. With a dammah on the mIm
... .
this word is a verbal noun.
"If We grant long life to anv We caUJe him to be rejerved in nature. Will they then not
understand?" 'A!im and recite: nunakhshuwith a on the first nun and
a tamdId on the kAf, from the word al-tankIs. The rest recite with a fat1}ah on
the first nan and a on the kfJJ,
Qatadah says that this verse means that a person becomes "like a feeble old person who
resembles a child". Sufyln says that when one reaches the age of eighty, his body changes
96
and his strength diminishes. Along life makes the youth a feeble, old person and strength
[turns] into weakness and certain capabilities diminish. This is generally so. The Prophet
(S. A. W.) prayed to Allah to safeguard him from reaching a disgraceful old age. This has
passed in Siirah a ~ l
"WIll they not then underJtand?1I that one who effected these changes in you is also
powerful in the manner of your resurrection. NAfi' and Ibn Zakwln recite ta'qilUn with a
((1'. All theothers recite it with a y4', i.e. ya 'qilOn.
69. We have not instructed the (Prophet) in- poetry, nor is it meet for him. This is no
less than a message and a Qur 'An making things clear:
70. That it may give admonition to any (who are) alive, and that the charge may be
proved against those, who reject (truth).
There are four important issues to consider in the verse: "We have not instructed the
(Prophet) in poetry nor is It mut for him":
1. Allah is explaining the condition of his Prophet (S.A.W.) and refuting the allegation
of some unbelievers that the Prophet (S.A.W.) is a poet and the Qur In is poetry.
The Prophet (S.A.W.) would not recite nor compose poetry. When he did try to
quote an old hemistich in order to provide an example, he would do so, breaking the
Oow ofthe rhyme and[only] explain the meaning.
2. At times, the speech of the Prophet (S.A.W.) would coincide with the rhyme of
Arabic poetry. This does not mean that he knew poetry. On the Battle of lIunayn,
he, for example recited:
97
Hal antlllla 'un dimiti Ii jabil Allahi rna laqiti.
(You are nothing but a bleeding vein by what you have suffered in the path
oC Allah).
On another occasion he said:
Ana IA kadhib anaibn 'Abd Al-Mu! !alib.
(I am the Prophet, I do not lie, I am the son oC 'Abd
This happens often in the verses of the Qur 'An and all other modes of speech but it
is not poetry nor was it intended to be poetry. For example, Allah says:
Ian tanalu tunfiqil mimma
(By no means shall ye attain righteousness unless ye give (Creely) of that
which ye love) (Q. 5:3, V:92).
and: min Allahi wa-fatlfun qarfb.
(Help from Allah and a speedy victory) (Q. 5:61, V:13).
and: wa-ji,[anin kaljawabi wa-qudiirin nUiyat.
(And basins as large as reservoirs and cauldrons fixed) (Q. 5:34, V:13).
andsome other verses, which run in excellent rhyme.
Ibn Al-'Arabl has discussed many of these verses showing also why they cannot be
regarded as poetry. AbO has proved that even ana al-nablu lA
kagnib is not a poem. Al-KhalU says in KitAb Al- 'Ayn: "Those words said in
battleagainst the enemy cannot be regarded as poetry since they come extempore in
98
order to arouse valour in the hearts of the combatants. It has been said that it will
not rhyme except if one pauses on the b4' of IA kaJl!Jib and of 'Abd
The problem is that we do not know how the Prophet (S.A.W.) recited the verse.
Ibn Al-'Arabl says that it is best [to regard itJ as lA ka!ilJibu. says:
"These words have been reported wi th caseendings and cannot be a poem."
It was not essential that the Prophet (S.A.W.) should have been with a person
knowledge of poetry nor was he a poet if one considers the rhyming phrases in the
battle cry. The person who utters such rhymes does not necessarily mean that he
knows poetry, nor will he be called a poet, by the consensus of the learned scholars.
Here the analogy of one who stitched one stitch, does not necessarily make him a
tailor, applies.
Abu IshAq AI-ZujjAj says: "This verse means that We have not made Muhammad
. .
(S.A.W.) a poet. This does not mean that he is unable to recite poetry."
says: "This is the best explanation concerning this". Some scholars say
that what Allah is pointing out is that He did not teach (S.A. W.)
poetry and does not confirm whether Muhammad (S.A.W.) could recite poetry or
not. It is said that this is clear and all linguists agree upon this, because they hold
that if someone says something that happens to rhyme unintentionally, then these
words can not be regarded as poetry, [although they might] conform to poetic
conventions. They say that Allah refutes the fact that (S.A.W.) has
been taught poetry, not its criteria. The Prophet (S.A.W.) was never accused of
being poetical. The Quraysh disagreed concerning this. Some said that the Prophet
(S.A.W.) was a poet. The intelligent from them, however, swearing by Allah,
replied that the Arabs will not agree with this because the Prophet's words were not
poetical and By Allah! did not resemble poetry. Unays, the brother of AbU I2har,
says: "I tried to analyse the Prophet's words on the scale of poetry, but they did
99
not feature as poems". This narration comes from MU$lim and Unays is
considered to be the most knowledgeable, from the Arabs, in the art of poetry.
Similarly 'Utbah ibn Abu Rabl'ah said while he talked about the Prophet's speech:
"Dy Allah! it is not poetry, soothsaying nor magic". This [narrationI will again
occur in detail, when we discuss Sarah FUHilat, if Allah wills. Similar opinions are
. ..
to be found from the eloquent literary men, and those who had a command of
rhetoric amongst the Arabs.
A sick person once shouted out and his words are from the prosody of the
intelligent: i!lhhabu bl itA al-!ablbi wa-qOla qad iktaw4. Aperson once said that our
teacher was narrating to us when he exclaimed: Ya .sahib aI-wi 'I. These
[exclamations] will not be regarded as poetry.
3. Ibn QAsim narrates that when MAlik was asked concerning the composition of
poetry he replied: "Don't increase in it. From amongst its faults is that Allah says:
'We have not in.strocted (the Prophet) in poetry nor is it meet lor him'''. It has
reached me that 'Umar ibn wrote to AbO Mos! AI-Alb 'arl that he
should gather the poets and ask them concerning poetry and if the knowledge of
such poetry was still with them. He was also asked to ensure that Labtd was
amongst them. AbO MOaa. gathered them, and asked them as he was requested to:
They replied: "We know poetry and we recite it". When he asked Labld he replied:
"I have not composed a single verse after I heard Allah say:
QhAltka al-kitAbu tA fthi'''. (AIi! Lim. ArIm. Thi.s is the book in It a.s guidance
sure, !lItthout doubt) (Q. S:2; V: 1-2). Ibn AI-'Arabl says: This verse does not deal
with the fault in poetry. Just as the verse: "And thou 1U4St not (able) to recite a
book be/ore tha.s (book came) nor art thou (able) to tran.tcnbe at lIJIth nght hand",
(Q. 5:29, V:48), does not point to any fault in the art of writing. LIkewise, not
attributing poetical attributes to the Prophet (S.A.W.) is not the fault of [an)'
100
academy],
It is narrated that Ma'mun said to Abu JAIl AI-Minqarl: "News has reached me
that you are unlettered, that you do not compose poetry and that you speak an
Arabic that is grammatically incorrect ". AI-Minqarl replied: "Sometimes I do
make grammatical slips. Concerning my being unlettered and unable to compose
poetry than the Prophet (S,A. W.) did not write or compose poetry". Ma'ml1n said:
"I asked you concerning three faults in you and you have pointed out a fourth and
that is your ignorance. Oh ignoramusl That was a praiseworthy trait in the
Prophet (S.A.W.) but in you and your like it is nothing but a fault. The Prophet
(S.A.W.) was asked not to compose poetry, so that people do not suspect fanciful
imaginations of poets".
4. Allah says: "Nor u it meet lor him". It is not fitting for themto say so. Allah has
made this a sign from among the signs of his Prophet, so that there is no doubt in
the minds of those he was sent to, that u ~ m m d (S.A.W.) could have influenced
the Qur'in by his ability of writing poetry. There should be no room for the
unbeliever to doubt this [justI because the verses of the Qur'in or the words of the
Prophet (S.A.W.) happened to have rhymed. If it were poetry then every word of
an ordinary person that rhymed would have had to be considered as poetry, as is
explained above. AI-Zujjlj says: "The phrue "nor is it meet for him", means that
it would not have been euy for him to compose poetry if Allah's will was not
present.
"Thu 1.9". That which We recite on you. "No le.u then e mtuege and e Qur'an
m4kmg thing! deer'.
101
"That it may give admonition to any (who art) alive". "One whose heart is alive" is
how Qatadah has glossed this [line]. A l I a ~ ~ a k says: "An intelligent person".
Some scholars say the verse means "to warnone, who is a believer and one who is a
potential believer, is only in the knowledge of Allah". This is when we recite
litun4!lira with a la/and the Prophet (S.A.W.) is addressed. This is the reading of
NUi'and Ibn 'Amir. Others recite it with a y4/with the subject being either Allah,
the Qurin or Muhammad (S.A.W.). Ibn Al-Sumayqah recites li1lanJlhara with a
fa0ah on the yii' and 4h4L
" And the charge may be proved again.st thOJe who reject (truth}". And the proof is
established by the Qur 'an for disbelievers.
71. See they not that it is We Who have created for them among the things which our
hands have fashioned, cattle, which are under their dominion?
72. And that We have subjected them to their (use)? Of them some do carry them and
some they eat:
73. And they have (other) profits from them (besides), and they get (milk) to drink.
Will they not then begrateful?
"See they not that it ~ We who have created for them". This means "seeing" by the heart.
Do they not see, derive lessons from and ponder over the matter?
"A mong the thing! which our handJ have ftJ3hionuf'. Without any agency or partnership.
Here rna is in the meaning of allafI!!I and the hA' has been deleted because the noun was
becoming too lengthy.
,I n'lim is the plural of ni'mun and al-no'mu is the masculine.
102
" U'hzch are under their dominion". They have mastery and power over them.
"A nd that We have .subjected them to their we". We have made them subservient to them
[so much so] that a small child is able to control a huge camel; beat it, and manoeuvre it
as he likes, without the camel disobeying.
"A nd of them some do carry them". Generally it is recited with a fathah on the r4'. [This]
means you mount it. This is the same as saying n4qatun which means naqatun
mahlubun.
.
AI-A 'mash, and Ibn Al-Sumayqa I recite fa minha rukubuhum with a
on the ra' with rukubuhum. as a verbal noun. It. is reported by 'A 'Ulh that she recited: fa
minha rakrJbahum and this reading is also in her codex. The words al-rukilb and
al-rukubah are the same as and and and al-hamulah. It is
reported that the Kufan grammarians say that the Arabs say: imra 'atun and
imra 'tunihakrirun without a Ita'. They say wa nctqatun rakubatun because
they want to distinguish between the verb and what is the result. [To do this they] drop
the ha.' in thesubject and retain it in the object. This is why it must be rakubatuhum. The
Basrans drop the hii'. The proof for the first interpretation is what AI-Jarml narrates
(rom Abu 'Ubaydah. Rakubah is used for both the singular and plural while al-rakuba is
only used (or the plural. AbU regards rukabuhum as incorrect since it is a verbal
noun. The thing that is mounted is called al-r4kIb. FarrA' has permitted rukubuhum with
a on the r4' like it is said: fa minM rukabuhum wa-minhA 'uqilluhum wa-mtnh4
Hlunlbuhum.
"t1 nd ",ome they eat" fromits meat.
"A nd theyhave (other) profiu from them" (rom its wool, skin, hair, (at, flesh, etc.
103
II And thty get milk to drinJt
I
[This] refers to the milk.
II Will thty not then be grattfulll to Allah for His blessings.
74. Yet they take (for worship) gods other than God, (hoping) that they might be
helped!
75. They have not the power to help them: but they will be brought up(before our seat
of Judgment) as a troop (to be condemned).
76. Let not their speech, then, grieve thee. Verily We know what they hide as well as
what they disclose.
" }'et they takt (for worship) gods other than Goff'. They have seen Our manifest signs but
sttll take besides Us others as gods.
II( Hopmg) that they might bt htlptd". Whenever the punishment descends on them they
wish to behelped.
II They havt not the power to htlp thtm". Their gods. And the plural has been used with a
wiiw and a nun because[they are being regarded] as masculine.
"But they". The unbelievers. "For them". For theirgods. "WiUbe brought up (before Our
JUdgement "eat) a.t a troop (to be condemned)". I ~ a s a n says: "They will be prevented
from it". Qatadah says: "They took Divine wrath upon themselves in this world because
of these gods." Some scholars say that what is intended is that they worship gods and
stand by them, thus resembling an army, but are unable to assist them. These opinions are
close to one another. It is also said that these are the army of worshippers with them in
the fire of lIell. Others say that this is the army of Allah upon them in lIell because they
curse them. Some say that these unbelievers imagine their deities to be in the form of an
104
army, which will be present on the Day of Judgement, inorder to help them.
In a hadiilJ we read that what people worshipped besides Allah in this world, will be
transformedfor them and made tofollow them in the fire.
I say that what is meant here is what has been established by Mu.slam and Tirmi4.!!i
from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (S.A. W.) said: "Allah will gather people on the Day
of Judgement on a single plain. Then the Lord of the Worlds will appear to them. It will .
be said to them: "Every person will be accompanied by what he used to worship". Then
for the worshipper of the cross will be his cross, for the worshipper of images will be his
images and for the firc-worshipper, his fire. They will all follow what they used to worship
in the world. The Muslims will be left by themselves". The complete version of this hadIJiJ
has been narrated in the Sahlh Muslim.
. ..
"Let not their speech, then, grieve thee". This is the pure and eloquent Arabic recital.
Other Arabs recite: fal8. This is to reassure the Prophet (S.A.W.) against the
allegations ofthe unbelievers that the Prophet (S.A.W.) is a poet or a magician. Now their
sentence is complete and a new sentence begins with: "Verily, We know what they hide es
well as what they disclo.se" from speech and actions and We will compensate them for this.
77. Doth not man see that it is We who created him from sperm? Yet behold! he
(stands forth) as an open adversary?
"Doth not man see". Ibn 'Abbas says that the "man" is 'Abdullah ibn Ubayy. Sa1d ibn
Jubayr says that ibn Wi U AI-Sahmi lis intended). AI-1.lasan says that it is
Ubayy ibn Khalaf This is also the opinion of Ibn IshAq and has been narrated
from MAlik by Ibn Wahb.
105
" That It i" We who created him from "perm". This is the flowing of water. Na ~ afa is used
to describe something as it drips.
" }"et behold! he ("tand" forih) a" an open adver"ary". From being nothing he soon becomes
a disputant. This is so because he came to the Prophet (S.A.W.) with a dry bone saying:
"Oh Muhammad! Do you really believe that Allah can make this come to life again after it
has died?" The Prophet (S,A.W.) said: "Yes. And Allah will resurrect you and enter you
into lIell". Then this verse was revealed.
78. And he makes comparisons for Us, and forgets his own (origin and) Creation: lie
says, "Who can give life to (dry) bones and decomposed ones (at that)?"
i9 Say, "l1e will give them life Who created them for the first time! For He is well
versed inevery kind of creation!
In the verse: "And he make" compa,;"onJ for U.!, andforgetJ hi" own (origin and) creation.
He say.!: II Who can give life to (dry) bones and duompo.!ed one.! (at that)?", there are two
matters for consideration. They are:
1. Allah says: "And he make.! compari.9oru for U.!, and forgeu hu own (origin and)
creation", by forgetting that I created him from a dead sperm and put life therein.
"He a ~ : Who can give life to (dry) bones and decompo.!ed onu (at that)?" This is
an answer from his side. [For this reason) the Prophet (S.A.W.) said: "Yes! and
Allah will resurrect you and enter you into theHell fire".
This is proof for the permissibility and validity ofanalogical deduction (qIYa,,) since
Allah refutes the negator of the resurrection, by mentioning the first creation.
106
In the verse: "He "ay": 'Who can glve lafe to (dry) bone" and decompo"ed onu (at
that)?''', the word ramim means dried. It is said ramma a l a ~ a m u and the bone is
ramIm or nmAm. The word ramIm is used and not ramlmah because it is from
fti'llah and whatever is modified on its scale, is changeable as Car as its diacritical
marks are concerned. Just as in the verse: wa-ma kAnat ummuki ba9!Jiyya (Q. S: 19,
V:28) there is no y4', as it has been derived Crom b49lJillah.
It is said that this unbeliever said to the Prophet (S.A.W.): "Tell me, iC it becomes
dust will Allah restore it once again?" It is concerning this that the verse: "Say He
will give them life who created them Cor the first time". Out oC nothing He is able
to return and recreate it the second time Cram the back bone. Borh the words 'aJb
al-411amb and 'ajm al-Jihamb are used.
"For He is well ver3ed in every kind o] creation". As to how He will create and
recreate.
2. This verse proves [that] bones have life and become impure with death. This is the
opinion of AbO JJanlCi!l and some of the disciples of Imam Shifi'l. Shlfi'l is of the
opinion that there is no liCe in these bones. This discussion has passed in Al-Nahl.
If it is argued that what is meant by "Who can give life to(dry) bond' is the people
who have bones. The first noun oC a genitive construction is often used in place of
the second noun. This is also a consideration in Islamic law. We say that this is
only done when there is a necessity for it, and here there is no need Cor this. Allah
is inCorming us that this is 50 and lie is able todo so and reality also testifies to this
because sensitivity, which isa sign or lire, is present here. This is the opinion or Ibn
AI-'Arabl.
107
80. "The same Who produces for you fire out of thegreen tree, when behold! Ye kindle
therewith (your own fires)!"
81. "ls not He Who created the heavens and the earth able to create the like thereof?"
Yea, indeed! For He is the Creator Supreme. ofskill and knowledge (infinite)!
82. Verily. when He intends a thing, His Command is. "Be", and it is!
A3. So glory to Him in Whose hands is the dominion of all things: and to Him will ye
be all brought back.
"The same who produces for your fire out of the green tree". Allah is drawing our auention
to His oneness and proves the perfection of His power by resurrecting the dead, [just as it
is] observed in the extraction of dry burning ashes from the green aloewood. The
unbeliever said: "From hot wet sperm there came something that looked alive and there
came life from it. How can life ever appear Crom a cold, dry bone which appears dead". At
this instance Allah revealed: II The same who produces for you fire out of the green tree".
The green tree is from water, and water is cold, wet and the oppositeof fire and these two
cannot mix. Allah takes fire out ofwood and He is able to balance one with another. He is
powerful over all things.
What is intended in this verse is a simile of the ancient device of rubbing a stick on a piece
of wood, in order to kindle fire, as used by the prehistoric people. This is why Arabs say:
"In every tree there is fire", which becomes perceptible, when the upper stick rubs Cast on
to the lower piece oC wood.
"Out of a green tree". Here the plural is not used. Some Arabs say:
just as Allah says: min shajarin min zaqqam ("Of the tree of Zaqqum")
(Q. S:56, V:52).
108
To emphasise this fact Allah says: "Is not He who created the heavens and the earth able to
create the like thereof". Allah is able to create examples of rejecters of the truth and the
resurrection. Salam Abu Mundhir and Ya 'qub. recite this verse as: yaqdirii
'alii. ay yakhluqa mithlahum with yaqdirii as a verb.
" Yea, indeed!" the Creation of the earth and heavens is greater than their creation. That
Being who has created the heavens and the earth, can easily resurrect man.
"For He is the creator supreme of skill and knowledge (infinite}". recites it
differently as al-khaliqu.
"Verily when He intends a thing His command is: 'Be' and it is!" AI-Kisa. 'r recites
fayakuna in the accusative case due to yaqul. If Allah wants to create something, He does
not have to fatigue Himself at all or recover after [such] creation.
"So glory to Him in whose hands is the dominion of all things". Allah is distancing Himself
from the quality of inability and that of having partners. The words malakutu and
malakutay both mean possession. Arabs say: jabarutay kharun min malakutay. Sa td
narrates from Qatadah that by "the dominion of all things" is meant the keys to all things.
Talhah ibn Musarrif, Ibrahim AI-TImI and AI-A recite malakatah, which means the
same as malakutu, but does not agree with the codex.
"And to Him wiU ye be all brought back', You will return to, and journey towards Him
after your death. The general recital is turja'iin with a tA'. AI-Sulaml, Dhir ibn l;Iubaysh
and the companions of 'Abdullah recite the predicate as yarjitiin witha ya ',
----000-
109
CHAPTER FOUR
ANALYSIS
4.1 INTRODUCTION
This chapter analyses the fundamental approaches to an appreciation of
Al-Ququbl's ta/sIr of Sarah Y4-SIn. The comprehensive approach employed by
Al-Qur!ubl in his Al-Jami' covers aspects as diverse as his literary style, a
discussion on analogical deduction, AI-Qurtubl's use of /Jra'Iliyat, issues of
.
'aqa'id, scientific and astronomical discussions and eschatological details.
4.2 LITERARY STYLE
The language that AI-Qur!ubl employs is lucid and his arguments are convincing.
His choice of diction is such that an average reader with a good grasp of the Arabic
language and literature can understand him without encountering any difficulty. .
One of the difficulties a reader often experiences while reading works of ta/sIr is
that the Dow of ideas are often interrupted by lexicographical and grammatical
details, and at times by excessive use of philosophical jargon. Such a reader thus
encounters difficulty in understanding the Divine text. The prospective reader of
Al-Ququbl's work however, is not likely to encounter this problem, as he would
not have to re-read tocomprehend.
110
The appeal of AI-Quf!ubl's work is enhanced by his systematic methodology.
AI-Qurt ubi begins by quoting the verse or verses of the Qur ln, he will interpret
simultaneously. At times he treats a single long verse, or a group of up to ten or
more verses. Verses focusing on definite ideu are grouped together. This division
is in itself an aid to understanding the Divine text.
Next, AI-Ququbl identifies the number of important il5ue5, which arise out of the
text, which he calls ma.s4 'il; that he discusses. He for example says: liM .hda
. .
wa-\!hruna ma.s 'alah (in this there are twenty-<>ne important issues). Numbering
these he discusses each one in turn.
Closer examination of Al-Quq ubi'S exegesis of individual issues reveals a definite
methodology. Wecould list his method as follows:
1. Firstly hequotes the verse or part of the verse.
2. Then he examines various recitations mentioning in each case the qari
(reciter) or qurri '(group of reciters).
3. He then details grammatical aspects identifying the views of various
grammarians.
4. Next he provides the interpretations of scholars of ta!jIr to further elucidate
the meaning of the verses. He introduces weaker opinions by employing the
words qUa but leaves them anonymous.
5. AI-Ququbl introduces his opinion with the phrase q'Ultu: ... (I say: ... ).
111
6. He buttresses his opinion by quoting a scholar holding a similar view.
A distinguishing feature of ubi's style, is that he does not divide his
discussion into paragraphs to distract his reader's attention to the issues raised.
The only apparent division is that of the ma.94 'il (issues) he deals with. Within
each issue, therefore, there is no further separation by way of paragraphs. The
exception to this is the paragraph that begins with the word qultu: (I say:). Since
Al-Ququbl's original manuscript is not available to us, wc are unable to
determine whether even this is the work of the editor, or the author himself.
Another important feature of AI-Ququbl's literary style is that any verse that
contains jurisprudential issues he tackles with great dexterity making evident
(lawful), from (unlawful). He supports his view with the opinions of the
fuqahA' and confirms it again by quoting an appropriate He also mentions
the consensus of the scholars on the issue by using words like: al-muttafiq 'alayha
(it is agreed upon), bi ijmA' (by consensus of the 'wam4?, jamhar
(majority of the predecessors), akl/1ar ahl al-'ilm (the majority of the learned) and
al-qawl al-jamA'A!J (the view of the majority of the scholars). While mentioning a
fiqhi (juristic) point of view, does not show prejudice against other
schools of Islamic jurisprudence. At times he shows some slightly unease when he
does not agree with a certain school by, for example, saying: qad MJaddada ahl
AI-Ir4q (the IrAqi school have given an acute opinion) referring to the Hanaft
school. At the same time his levelheadedncss is evident when repeatedly he I
supports the lIana} point of view.
\
112
4.3 AL-QURTUDf AND TilE LITERATURE
While quoting aJ:adlilJ. AI-Quq ubi is very careful about c1usification. llis
preference seems to be (or MUjlim although he does mention other books of
the jlhah jlUah. llis preference for Sahlh MUjlim rather than SahIh 8u5!liiri or
. . . . . . . ..
other works in the six authentic collections is a token of respect for his teacher
Abu 'AbbAs ibn 'Umar who wrote the famous
(commentary) of MU.511m entitled ,U-Mujham f1 Muslim.
AI-Ququbl sat in the halqah (lessons) of 5.hllykh Aba 'AbbAs and learnt 'ulUm
Al-Qur'4nand 'ulam from him.
AI-Ququbl has made references to AI-Tirmidhl's AI-J4mi', while at the same
time he has quoted Tirmidhl AI-Hakim and his two famous works Nawadlr
and MuHlkil AI-Qur'An. In his tafJlr of Sarah Y4-Sin, AI-Ququbl
quotes the tafJlr works mentioned above, along with Sunan Aba Di 'ad, AfU.5nad
tll-Daraml and Sunan Ibn MAjah. It is surprising that he has quoted SahIh
Bu5!lArr only once, while commenting on the entire jarah.
4.4 AL-QUaTUBI'S METHODOLOGY OF QUOTING SOURCES
AI-Ququbl's taf$ir is a valuable library of the opinions of various scholars of
many shades concerning the Qur bie text. Al-Ququbi, in cues where a
worthwhile opinion hu been provided, also gives the name of the scholar
subscribing to that particular view. llis style of presenting thcte opinions is direct
and effective. We can illustrate this with an extract from his work \\'hlle
rxploring the termfihhOn, he statcs:
113
(Fak1hl1n) QiUa ma.srunln. Wa-qiiJa Ibn 'Abb4J: Mu;ahtd
mu'jabl1n. AJ-SuddJ: M'lmUn.
1
We note that he reports all the opinions in the direct speech, i.e. AI-I,luan said:
"... ". The opinions of AI-Hasan and Ibn 'Abbu are introduced by "qaJa". In the
next two sentences we observe that even the qaJa is dropped leaving only the
names of Muj!hid, AI-DahhAk and AI-Suddl with a colon and their opinions.
, .,
Other instances where this style is adopted is in the explanation of the phrase
tHrukum ma'ak'um: Wa qala Qatadah: a'm4Jukum ma'akum. Ibn 'Abba,,:
ma'nMu al-orzaq wa al-aqdAr tutbi'ukum. AJ-Farra':
nzkukum wa a'malukum. 2
t4'irukum ma 'aA-um
.
We sec a similar method adopted in: (bal antum qaunnun mU.tnflln). Qala
Qatadah: mU.trifun fi tatayyurakum. Yahya ibn Salam: mU.trifi1n fi kufnkum.
, . .
Wa-qala Ibn al-sar] hahunA al-!a.tad wa ma'nAhu bal antum qawmun
mU!jidi1n. Wa-qIla: mu.sri/iJn wa-al-ura! mujawazah
ujawiz J
These are only some examples of style when quoting his sources.
When AI-Qurtubl states the opinion oC a scholar in direct speech, as illustrated
,
above, it gives the reader the impression that rather than quoting the exact words' ..
,1.
of a scholar, ubI gives a gist of what the particular scholar wishes to-
convey.
AI-Ququbl, Itl-J4ma', op. cit., vol. 8, p. 44.
2 AI-QuqUbl, AI-Jama', op. cit., vol. 8, p. 16.
J AI-Ququbl, AI-Jama', op. cit., vol. 8, p. 17.
114
As an erudite scholar, ubI quotes copiously from a large number of
sources. He employs suitable terminology while expressing the opinions of others.
lie quotes from his father, his teachers, his contemporaries, his predecessors, the
a'immah al-arba'ah, the muhaddiilliJn, nahwiyun, muJa.uiriin and indi vidual
. .
scholars, whose statements, he seems to have valued.
His methodology of quoting sources can be expressed in the following order:
1. While quoting from his father he respectfully says:
{/addallJanI abI Allahu qala 'an 'an [Q]
My father, may Allah's mercy be upon him, narrated to me that
narrated (rom who narrated (rom that ...
2. A reference to a book in which the opinion of a em is to be
found is done as:
Ii kitab 'an [[].
In the work , narrated (rom [ID.
3. When the book to which he is referring is known by the name of the author
then we observe:
Ii mUJnad 'an em.
In the mu.snad of (rom [ID.
4. When a second scholar haa also narrated a and AI-Ququbl
wishes to bring this to our attention he says:
kharrajahD
has also narrated this.
115
5. To show that a certain scholar narrates from a [ID I
uses:
RuUJia 'an [ID.
narrates (rom rnJ.
6. To provide a similar reference he uses:
min [ID.
narrates (rom a of rnJ.
7. To say that a scholar has mentioned a (rom the aJuldilh
narrated by a em he uses:
Jihakarahu min rn.
has mentioned it as a o( 1]].
8. To refer to an author and his work , says:
fllJakarahu Ii .
9. To simply quote someone hesays:
qala
says/said.
10. If a scholar has mentioned a few aJ:AdIlh that has quoted,
makes reference as:
rajala hAlIlJlhi aJ-akhb4r aJ-JhalAlhah
these three have been narrated by
116
11. When the scholar AI-Quq ubi quotes says that the knowledge he hu
received has also come to him by means of an i.snad, which he does not
want to mention, then AI-Qurt ubi says:
qiila Balaghanl ...
says: lilt has reached me ... "
12. To mention two sources and Cor the same information,
says:
!lhakarahu wa
and mJ have mentioned this.
13. When quoting a scholar and his work and also the complete sanad
(chain of narrators) of the scholar, says:
!lhakarahu Ii [g] 'an m] qa/a [Q] 'an [QJ.
has mentioned in Crom who says that we have
narrated from [QJ who narrated from [Q].
14. When a scholar has quoted a [ID then says:
!lhakara 'an [[] .
mentions from []].
15. To quote the recitation of a qari he says:
qara'
recites as:
16. If two qurra'(reciters) and ml are oC the same opinion he says:
qara' wa [g]:
and ml recite:
117
17. Once an opinion has been stated and AI-QuqubI wants to refer to the
scholar, who holds the view just mentioned, he says:
qalahu
this is theopinion of
18. To say that the explanation he has given is a gist of scholars report on
the issue, he says:
wa-huwa ma 'khuIlhun min rna
and this is taken from what has been reported by
19. To add the opinion of another in a discussion he says:
wa-minhu qawl .
and from it is the opinion of
AI-Ququbi adopts various techniques to elucidate verses. At times he provides
aninterlinear gloss (or the Qur lnie word. Sometimes he "translates" and provides
the reader with a word similar in meaning. Often between verses he adds
pronouns or particles, to facilitate an easy comprehension of the verse.
ubi, we see, very often links two verses with explanatory words in
between or at the end.
The following are some examples:
1. (Ia in lam tantahO) 'an indhArina (Ianarjumannakum) I
"If you desist not" from warning us "we will certainly stone you".
Al-Jami', op. cit., vol. 8, p. 16.
118
2. (In huwa) ay ha4Jja yatluhu jalaykum (IlIA !J!Jlkrun wa-qur 'anun
muMn) I
"This that We rehearse to you is no less than a message and a Qur'in
making things clear".
3. ( Wa IA ila ahlihim yarji'iJn) id!!a mata
2
"Nor to return to their own people" when they die.
4. (lnnI idhan) ya'nl an fa'altu flhalika (Iaft mubln)S
"I would indeed" if I were to do so"be in manifest error".
4.5 TOE ENCYCLOPAEDIC NATURE OF AIr-JAMl'
Islamic literary activity experienced many phases through the course of history.
One such phase may be identified by the encyclopaedic works that were produced.
The criticism levelled against the encyclopaedists by some latter-day scholars, is ,
that, no fresh intellectual activity took place. They maintain that opinions of
scholars of the past were only collated. This is an unjust criticism considering the
work we are presently studying.
It is evident that AI-Jimi' Ii is a work ofencyclopaedic scope in
which ubt has gathered the opinions of various scholars to elucidate the
Qur 'nie meaning.
AI-Ququbl, Al-Jama', op. cit., vol. 8, p. 55.
2 AI-Ququbl, Al-Jama', op. cn., vol. 8, p. 39.
3 AI-Ququbl, Al-Jami', op. en., vol. 8, p. 18.
119
The service that AI-Jami' provides the present day .cholar i. invaluable. At a
glance the opinions of many great mu/a.Ulrlln (exegetes) of the Qur 'An are
available to the researcher. The merits of these opinions are weighed by
AI-Ququbi, who leaves the reader with his informed view on the issues under
ducussion. We see in his AI-J4ml' proudly using the heritage of
Qur learning at his disposal, and thereafter I forging ahead with his own fresh
contribution.
4.6 AL-QURTunl'S CONCERN FOR DETAIL
ImAm reveals himself to his reader as a scholar, with a love for detail.
llis discussions on qir4'4t [various recitations), grammar and other aspects are an
excellent reflection ofthis.
In his explanation of the verse: "Set forth to them 6J1 waJl 0/ aparable the 0/
the Companions 0/ the City. Behold there came apostlls to it" (Q. 5:36, V: 13),
AI-QuqubI states that all exegetes agree that the city referred to here i.
'An!ak1y.Q!.l (Antioch). This city waa named after the person who built
it. Another opinion is that the name of the city is Antakivill (with a tA l A
pharaoh called An!iv&h4J Ibn An!IJl5lJA$ lived here, who worshipped idols.' All
available information on tbe origin of the word is detailed here, by
AI-Ququbl.
AI-Ququbl, AI-J4ml', op. cit., vol. 8, p. 14.
120
4.7 AL-QURTunl AND ANALOGICAL DEDUCTION
Al-Ququbl's AI-Jimi' Ii AI-Qur'4n has been classified by some historians
oC ta/sir literature as a fiqhI tafsIr. This is owing to Al-Ququbl's emphasis on
matters of jurisprudence. The way Al-Ququbl deals with jurisprudential matters
shows that besides being a mufassir, he is concerned with matters of fiqh
(jurisprudence).
Adistinguishing feature of the Malik! jurisprudence is its reliance on the sunnah
and Madinan 'amal ('amal ahl AI-Madinah). Ra'y (opinion), for the MalikI jurist
is always taba' (subordinate) to the 'amalof Madinah. R4'y is a composite term
and includes various methods of legal reasoning. Foremost among these we can
identify the concepts of qiyas (analogical reasoning), (considerations of
equity), sadd al-4!1ara'i' (lit. "the obstruction of means" i.e. preventing the use of
lawful means to achieve unlawful ends) and al-mursala (considerations of
public good).
ubl, the jurist, is aware of these methods of legal reasoning, and when the
opportunity arises, to support any of these he does so. In Sarah Yi-Sin,
finds a proof for the validity of qiyas. In his exegesis of the verses:
"And he makeJ compariJons for Us and /orgeu hi.! oum creation. He says: ' Who
can give life to bones and duomposed one" (at that)'" (Q. 5:36, V:78), "Say: 'He
unll give themlife who created them for the fir"t time. For Ife IJ well ver"ed In every
kind of creataon'" (Q. 5:36, V:79).
121
Al-Quq ubI, states: "and in these verses there is proof for the validity of qtya.,"
(analogical reasoning}.'
Al-Quq ubi's argument runs as follows: In these verses Allah argues against those
who deny Resurrection by employing qiyaJ. When Allah uses qiyas then qiyiU is
an acceptable form of reasoning.
The qiyas in these verses is as follows: Allah gave life to man when lie created.
him for the first time. Since Allah was able to do this once, lie shall give life to
their dead bones again.
Although AI-Qurtubl subscribes to the M41ikI school of jurisprudence which does
.
not accord much prominence to qiyaj, he in his fairness and scholarly maturity
finds proof for the juristic validity of qiyjj.
4.8 USE OF ISRA 1L1YAT
Wahb and Ka'ab are Al-Quq ubi's chiefsources for the [jr8 7liyat material he has
employed in his ta!jlr.
Scholars of the science of tafjlr ('ulrlm al-tafjlr) have identified three types of
/jr8 71Iyat material:
1. Those narrations we arc convinced are correct because they have been
narrated from the Prophet (S.A.W.). An example of this is the narration or
Bukhlrl in which the Prophet (S.A.W.) states that the name of the
AI-Ququbt, AI-J4ma', op. cit., vol. 8, p. 58.
122
companion of Musa was
2. Those narrations about which we are convinced are false because they
contradict accepted principles of Barl'ah or are illogical. These we do not
accept nor narrate.
3. Those narrations that do not fall into either of thc above categories. It is
concerning this type that the Prophet (S.A.W.) said: Do not verify or .
falsify the narrations of the People ofthe Book, but say: "I believe in Allah
and what has been revealed to us". The information in this category of
narrations have no bearing on religion. The names of the Companions of
the Cave, the type of wood that. the staff of MQsa was made of, the colour
of the dog that accompanied the Companions of the Cave are some of the
narrations in this category.
The narrations in Sarah Ya-Sin concerning the three messengers and Habib
AI-NajjAr that has quoted could also be classified in the last category
mentioned above. The narrations in the tafjlr of Sarah Yi-Sin are from the
period, or just after the period of 'Isa. They can still be called [jr8 7ut/it although
the term [jrB. 7lIy4t clearly refers to the narrations of the Jewish sources, its
definition includes reports from Christian sources as well.
AbO Ka'ab ibn MaU' AI-Himyarl, popularly known as Ka'ab
was originally from a Jewish tribe of Yemen. lie accepted Islam during the
caliphate of Umar. He died in Hims in 32 A.H. Scholars such as Ibn 'AbbA5, Abu
lIurayrah and Mu 'awiyah narrated from Ka 'ab and were aU unanimous in their
judgement regarding his reliability.'
illlahabl, Husayn, Tafjfr Wa AI-MuJaulnln R'Vadh, 1976, vol. I, p. 189.
123
Abu 'Abdullah Wahb ibn Munabbah ibn Sayj ibn Dhl Kin!! waa an excellent tJib,'j
(Successor) scholar. He died in 110 A.H. Bukhlrl, Muslim, AI-Nas!',
AI-Tirmidhl and Abu D!Ud have relied on his narrations. (Wahb was an author
of a book on history and on predestination.) He said that he had collected and
learnt (rom both 'Abdullah ibn Salim and Ka 'ab AI-Ahb!r.
1
4.9 ISSUES OF 'AQA'ID
Another salient feature of this tafstr is that ubi is a competent theologian.
When a verse supports the 'aq4'id (creed) that ubi subscri bed to, he
clearly pointed this out.
While elucidating the meaning of "The "ame i! it to them whether thou admoni"h
them or thou do not cdmonish. them, they wiU not believe" (Q. S:36, V: 10),
ubi states:
"wa al-iyatu raddun 'ala AI-Qadariyah wa 9hayruhum."2
And this verse is a refutation of the Qadarites and others.
The Qadarites, that refers to, emerged during the Umayyad period
during which, there was much discussion among Muslims on the question of free
will, and predestination. The central concept was that of Allah's Qadar or power.
to determine events, including human acts. The standard Sunnite doctrine, to
which subscribes, is that Allah by llis Qadar, determined all
happenings and acts. The term Qadarite in standard usage was applied to those.
who denied this doctrine. Thus a Qadarite is a believer in human (ree will.
IDlahabl, Husayn, Taf!lr Wa AI-Muf4!!lnln, op. cit., p. 198.
2 AI-J4mi', op. cit., vol. 8, p. 10.
124
Al-Ququbl quotes the famous encounter between .Q.haylin and 'Umar ibn -Abd
Al-'Azlz (717 - 720 C.E.). Abu Marwin Qhaylln ibn Muslim AI-Qubp
Al-Dimaihql was a prominent Qadarite. He had a position as a secretary in the
Umayyad administration at Damascus. He left a collection of rtU8'11 (letters or
epistles) which came to be well known and which consisted of over two thousand
pages. Heresiographers have some difficulty in classifying Ghaylan and assign him
to both the Qadariyyah and Murji'ah, while claims him (or the
Mu'tazilah. It is said that Q,haylAn wrote to the caliph 'Umar ibn 'Abd Al-'Azlz
in a critical vein, presumably urging him to bring about certain reforms. 1 Imam
AI-Ququbl has detailed the ensuing discussion between 'Urnar ibn 'Abd
Al-'Azlz, who was a bitter opponent of Qadarite doctrine, and Q.,haylln in the
court of the caliph.t
In his tafstr of:
"See they not how many generatio7U before them We destroyed? Not to them UIIU
they return" (Q. 5:36, V:31),
Al-Quq ubi states:
wa hadhihi aI-ayah raddun 'ala man za'ama anna min al-Malq man yarji 'u qabl
al-qiyamat ba'd al-mawt.
(And this verse is a refutation against those, who maintain that some of the
creation of Allah will return to the earth, after their death, before the Day of
Judgement. )
Watt, Montgomery, The Formatave Penod of Thought, p. 85-86.
2 AI-Jami
',
op. eu., vol. 8, p. 11.
125
It is likely that during time a group existed, which held such beliefs.
It is difficult for us to determine exactly who this /iraq (group) actually was.
It is interesting to note how Shiite beliefs have to some degree inOuenced Sunni
writers and scholars. To use the title Imam for 'Ali, Hasan or Husayn is now
. .
common amongst Sunnis and Shines alike.
when referring to the fourth caliph of IslAm, instead of the regular
Allahu 'anhu (may Allah be pleased with him) prefers to use al-Jalam (peace
be upon him), anepithet normally used for Prophets of Allah.
4.10 AL-QURTUBI'S OBSERVATIONS OF NATURAL PHENOMENA
In his tafsir of Sarah Ya-Sin, ubt discusses various scientific phenomena
while elucidating the meanings of certain verses. These verses are:
tl And a sign for them is the night, We withdraw therefrom the day and behold they
are plunged into darkness. And the Jun run.! hu ceurse for a period determined for
him. That u the decree of (Him) the Exalted in Might the AU Knowing. And the
moon we have mea.fured for her maruion.! (to travene) till she return..! like the old
(and withered) lower part of a date Jtalk. It u not pennitted to the sun to catch the
moon nor can the night out.strip the day. Each (juJt) swims along an it.! own orbit
(according to law)" (Q. 5:36, V:37-40).
AI-Quq ubt's methodology of interpreting these verses maybe summarised as:
126
I. ubi by citing chAdilh dealing with the scientific theme
discussed in the verse. lie presents tJhAd/1!J on the movements o( the sun,
moon and the alternation of day and night. U more than one exisu
on the subject, AI-Ququbl quotes one in full, and then cites only the
additional information reflected inother narrations.
2. AI-Quq ubI pursues a detailed scientific exposition or the verses. lie uses
the beat and most recent knowledge on astronomy available at his time
(1200 C.E.). While he docs this, AI-Ququbi still attempts to find support
(rom the views or (amous scholars o( Qur'lln such u Ikramah, Kalbt,
AI-lluan and Ibn 'AbbAs.
.
3. Keeping to his usual style, AI-Ququbl concludes his discussion with a
paragraph beginning with the words qultu: ... (I say: ... )
In Qur translation and interpretation in modern times there has been a
tendency to force the words of the Qur 'n toyield meanings which would apply to
a new idea or a new scientific discovery.
As he concludes his exegesis of the verses quoted above, categorically
says:
"/nnamA aradnA 61 hadl!A an ft qudrah AUahl Ta'4LI".1
(Our intention ror this entire discussion is to behold the power or Allah), the One
who is most high.
AI-Quf!ubl, AI-J4mi', op. cit., vol, 8, p. 32.
127
In AI-Jami' Ii Ahkam AI-Qur'an the purpose and intention of the Qur'lnic
message is not lost to science.
4.11 ESCHATOLOGY
One of the articles of the Islamic faith is belief in eschatology. The verse: "That
day shall We set aseal on their mouths. But their hand will speak to Us and their
Jut bear witness to aU that they did" (Q. S:36, V:65), of Sarah Y4-Sln focuses on
eschatological belief in Islam. The reader of AI-Quq ubi'S work is likely to be
astounded by the length and detail of I Q u r ~ ubt's discussion on this issue.
Aspects of physiology and narrations that specify which of the limbs will speak
first, all receive I Q u r ~ ubI's attention.
---000-
128
CHAPTER FIVE
TUE PLACE OF AL-QURTUBI AMONGST TOE MUFASSIRON
5.1 INTRODUCTION
After going through the translation and some features of ta/sIr of
SiJrah Ya-Sin, it will beappropriate to examine the placeof Al-Qurtubl among the
.
other famous tafsIr writers, from his predecessors, contemporaries and successors.
Tafsir literature began as a pious task of interpreting the message of the Qur In in
the early days or Islam with Ibn 'Abbls (d. 68/687) being the first mufassir
(exegete}', It continued vigorously and the world of Islam witnessed rich literature
on tafsir reflecting the intellectual endeavours of Muslims throughout the centuries.
The inspiration for writing ta/sir arises from the Qur'inic teaching itself inspiring
Muslims to delve into tadabbur (contemplation),2 tafakkur (reDection)3 and
tafaqquh (comprehension)4.
The science or ta/sir writing was strengthened and given an impetus by
simultaneous efforts of Muslim scholars, to produce works on various individual
aspects of the Qur'1n. Some scholars wrote complete works on asbab al-nuztll,
(causes for revelation), while others compiled the words of foreign languages used in
the Arabic language during the Prophet's time. The scholarly studies also
AI-5uyup, Jalaluddtn, Al-Uqan Ii 'Ulam Al-Qur'an, Cairo, 1975, vol. I, p. 9.
2 c.I. Q. 5:4, V:82; Q. 5:47, V:24 and Q. 5:38, V:29.
3 c.I Q. 5:16, V:42; Q. 5:16, V:69 and Q. 5:59, V:21.
4 c.c. Q. 5:6, V:98; Q. 5:6, V:65 and Q. 5:4, V:78.
129
concentrated on writing on amlllBl AI-Qur'4n (similitudes), on qa"a" AI-Qur'an
..
and on the study ofoft repeated ayiW.
It appears that the motivating factor behind the study of the Qur'lin in the very
early days of Islam was devotional, rather than literary. We may classify works on
various aspects of Quranology that emerged into theological, literary, historical and
linguistic categories. These were connected with and based on the Qur 'lin.
Works called Al-Qur'an were produced by Ismlll ibn Abu Dakr
AI-Rlzt and Qldl Yahya ibn Ak1.ham. They all chose the same title for their works
. . ,
but focussed on various fiqhI issues and discussed these, from their own perspectives
reflecting their background and scholarship.
The literary works focusing on bal8.ghah (rhetoric) and i'jAz (uniqueness) were
written to show the literary marvel of the Qur In. 'Abd AI-QAhir AI-Jurjllni's
Dalail Al-I'jaz and I"rar AI-Baliighah are unique in this field. Historical works
concentrated on the earlier prophets before Islam, as well as great personalities such
as Luqman. Grammatical works such as I'rib AI-Qur'an by Rut explained in
detail grammatical considerations of various constructions.
At the same time linguistic works were produced like Imlm RA&hib's AfufradAt
Al-Qur'an; Abu 'Ubaydih's LuglJAt AI-Qur'an and SinAi' we AI-BadA'i by Abi
Asba'.
All these and other innumerable works show that Muslim scholars paid most
attention to the study of the sciences of the Qur ln, all of which helped the great
muf4-'sinin in every period.
AI-QaHln, Manni', Mabahith.fi 'Ulam AI-Qur'&n, Riyadh, 1976, p. 12.
130
Scholars have identified five periods in thedevelopment of taf$lr.
1. Tafstr during the period of the Prophet.
2. Ta/sIrduring the period of the (Companions).
3. Tafstr during the period of the tAbi'Dn (Successors).
4. Tafstr during the period of the taba
'
t4bi
'On
(the students of the Successors).
5. Ta/jIr after the period of the tabaI Ubi 'an.
Tafslr writing has been classified into the Collowing categories:
1. Tafsir bi al-rna'1!1iJr.
2. Ta/sIr bi al-ra.'y al-mahmad.
3. The MU'tazilI tafasir.
4.
The ShI'l ta/8.slr.
5. The aft tafaslr.
6. The fiqhI ta/8.sfr.
7. The modern tafasir.
At this stage it is important to note that although all the above categories can be
identified, the consensus of the scholars oC tafjlr is that there are only two broad
categories of ta/iJfr.
TafsIr 6i dI-m4'1htJr
As the name suggests this type of ta/slr involves using transmitted literature.
Ta/8.slr in this genre display a reliance on other verses of theQur ln, the aJ.1Adilh of
the Prophet (S.A.W.) and the sayings oC the and Ubl'an in their
elucidations.
131
Scholars have differed whether the explanations o( the tAbi'un should also be
included in this category. My view is that the opinion of the t4bi'iln, should also be
regarded as ma'thilr. The reason for this is that all taft!!lr works classified as tafsir
bi al-ma 'ilJllr do include the opinions o( the t4bi'un. Tafjir Ibn Jsrir, (or example.
is oft cited as a tafsir of the ma 'llJur category. Besides aJ:4dilh and sayings of the
this work contains the elucidation of the t4bi/iJn also. Another reason is
that the tiibi'iln received instruction (rom the and their understanding of
the Qur 'An was influenced by the interpretations of the
The famous works of tafJlr bi al-ma 'thar may be listed as:
1. Jjjmi' AI-Bayan ft Tafjir AI-Qur'an -Ibn Jarlr AI-Tabarl.
2. Ba!}.r AI'Ulum- Aba AI-Lay1h Samarqandl.
3. Al Kashfwa AI-Bayan 'an Tafjlr AI-Qur'4n - AbO Ishlq Iha1abl.
4. Ma'4lim AI-Tanzll- Husayn ibn Mas'ild BaghdAdI.
5. AI-MuJ:arirAI-wajiz Ii Tafstr AI-Kitib AI-'Aziz - Ibn 'Atiyah Andalust.
6. Tafsir AI-Qur'an AI-'Azim - 1mAd AI-Din Ibn Kalhlr.
7. Al-Jawiihir AI-HiJan - 'Abd AI-Iha1abl.
8. Al-Durr AI-Manthar - JallU AI-Din Suya I.
9. Tanwir AI-MiqbiJ min Tafsir Ibn 'AbbiJ - AbO Tahir Firozlbldl.
TafsIr hi GI-ri'V
Ta/jlr bi al-r4 'y is that exegesis of the Qur In done on the basis of the scholar's
ijhhAd.
Scholars of tafJir have classified' tafJIr bi into ta/JEr hi al-ni'V
(acceptable and praiseworthy exegesis) and ta/JIr bl al-1'4'V al-maJthmam as
132
unacceptable exegis.
According to 'Allimah Raghib AI-I!fahlnl and a group of scholars, all tafsir b,
al--ra'y is impermissible. A second groupsays that there is no harm with such tafJir
on condi tion that the mula.",ir'! ijtihad is based on (text ual evidence).
Some famous works of ta/JIr in this type include:
1. AI-Qhayb - Imam RAzl.
2. Anwir AI-TanzII wa I!rar AI-Ta'wIl- Al BaidAwl.
.
3. Madiirik AI-TanzIl wa Haqaiq AI-Tq.'wII- AI-NasaO.
4. Lubab AI-Ta'wil Ii Ma'anI AI-TanzIl- Al Khuin.
5. - Abu
6. Rilh AI-Ma'anI - AI-Alusl.
7. Irmad AI-A'aqal AI-Salim- Abu AI-Sa'ild.
8. Al-Siraj Al-MunIr- AI-S,hirblnl.
9. Qharii'ib Al-Qur'an wa Naghaib AI-Furqan - AI-NlsabUrl.
Arter enumerating the classification of tafJlr works, an attempt will now be made to
identify taf!Ir and show where it could possibly be included in the
above classification.
5.2 CLASSIFYING AL-QURTUBI's AL-JAMI' LI AIIKAM AL-QUR'AN
. .
It will be observed that the AI-J4ma' II A,wm AI-Qur'an of ImAm Qurtubl is not
. .
included in any of the above lists. We will now attempt to place
work.
133
Imam Qur] ubi's work is not Car removed Crom tafsIr bi al-ma'l!Jiir or tafsir bl
al-ra'y andshould in my opinion Call between these two types.
Adetailed study or his tafsIr supports the view that AI-Ququbi's method cannot
be called anything but tafsir bi al-ma'1!Jur. lie has preserved and critically
analyzed scores of views traced through chains of narrators (iofnad) to the Prophet
(S,A.W.) and his companions. In this respect AI-Qurtubl's work is no different in
.
it's usage of 4lhAr to some of the best examples of tafsir bi al-ma'l!Iiir like Ibn
Jartr's J4mi' AI-BoyAn ft Tofstr tH-Qur'An and Al-'Vll1m or Al-Samarqandl.
5:39, V:23 is a good example of use of and dependence on iilhAr. The
verse means:
"Allah has revealed the most excellent diJcourse, a book consimilar oft repeated,
whereat trembles the skinJ of those who fear their Lord, then their skms and thar
hearts soften at the remembrance of Allah. This is Allah's guidance, whereWIth lie
guides whomsoever He will. And whomsoever AUah send.! astray for him there is no
guide".
The word aJ:sana (the most excellent) is explained by another verse i.e. 5:39, V:18.
This verse means" Who hearken unto the Word and folloUJ that which is the excellent
thereof Those are they whom Allah has guided and thoofe are men ofunderstanding".
This is an example of to/sIr Al-Qur'iin bi tU-Qur'iin. This type of use of 4tJuir is
found often in ubi's explanations of verses. To explain the meaning of the
word (discourse) that appears in this verse, uses the following
verses of the Qur '!n: 5:77, V:50; 5:53, V:59; 5:18, V:6; 5:4, V:87; 5:68, VA. and
134
5:21, V:6.
We may tabulate the number of times allJar is used in the exegis oC this verse as:
Number of verses DC the Qur in ci ted
Number of ahadiJh quoted
Number of quoted
Number of tAbi
'
l1n quoted
8
3
5
4
We should not infer from the information given above that AI-Ququbi only uses
iIil!4r or only uses r4'y in the explanation oC a particular verse. In the verse we
quoted above (5:39 V:23) we see that AI-Quq ubi has used the last part of this
verse in a manner that is typical of bi al-r4 'y.
After dealing with the section of the verse"And whorruoever Allah astray jor
him there is no guide", ubI says that this statement may be used as an
argument against the Qadarites.
1
In 5:44 V:I0 we see that goes into a detailed explanation of the term
duMan used here. Arter mentioning the opinions oC scholars on themeaning of this
word, he classifies these opinions into threegroups. He thenexpresses his preference
Cor the opinion that duMan is a phenomenon that will occur closer to the Day of
Qiyamah. Since this opinion is based on nau we can safely say that the type oC
tajJlr displayed here is ta/Jlr bi al-nl'y al-mamduh.
2
c.f. AI-Ququbl, AI-Jami', op. cit., YOI. 15, p. 250.
2 c.I, AI-Ququbi, AI-Jimi', op. cit. YOI. 2, p. 518.
135
Often when AI-QuqubI mentions his r4'y he ends his statement with the words
wa-Allahu a'lam (and Allah knows best). An example of this is 5:49 V:13. The
verse when translated reads: II Oh human-kind, verily we have created you a male
and female...
11
The fourth statement that AI-Qur] ubI reflects in his explanation of this verse
concerns the creation of man. lie says that a group of scholars is ofthe opinion that
only the rna' al-rajul is involved in the reproductive process. lie cites the verses
that they used to prove their opinion. This verse is used to show that both the rna'
aJ-rajul wa-al-mar'ah is used. explains away each of the verses used
by those, who attempt to show that only the m.t' al-rajul is instrumental in the
process. He ends his discussion with the words wa AllAhu a'lam (and Allah knows
best ).1
Conceding that AI-Ququbl's tafstr can be regarded as ta/sIr bi aJ-ra'y, it would be
appropriate to assess whether tas aunuu] played a significant role in his esoteric
interpretation and whether or not we can find sufficient examples where he has
given a typically (mystic) interpretation of the Qur In. This question becomes
more pertinent, if we consider that Andalusia at that time, was very much under
theinfluence of and philosophers.
The interpretation of the Qur J.n would certainly require, as the believe,
that the true meaning of the 4y4t cannot be attained by an ordinary reader, no
matter how profound his grammatical knowledge of the language is, nor how much
proficiency he has attained in its syntax and ba149!Jah (rhetoric). The believe
that the true hidden meaning of the Word of Allah is known to Allah and that this
knowledge is imparted through divine illumination, which is known in parlance
AJ-Ququbl, op. cit., vol. 16, p. 343.
136
as kamt given to the awllya', who ascend to ma'rifah. (gnosis) through Collowing the
may!!J and his !ariqah.
Sahl ibn 'Abdullah Al-Tustarl is oC the opinion that no wali Allah is leCt, without
the knowledge of the II real II meanings of the 4y4t of the Qur 'In. His tajJIr is typical
of the type of writing. S:8 V:148 relates the incident of Samirl, who in the
absence of MOsa made a golden cal( out of ornaments he melted. lie influenced the
Banllsra'I1 to worship this calC.
Sahl Al-Tustarl is of theopinion that the literal interpretation should not be taken
here. The golden calf is symbolic of passion and love Cor family and other worldly
things, which distract one from the worship of Allah. The worshippers oC the calf
saved themselves from divine chastisement by renouncing false worship and turning
towards Allah. Similarly, a person cannot find abundance until he abandons the
golden calC, which signifies all types or human lusts and material attachments.
This mystic interpretation given here is far fetched, as the incident in the lire of
Miisa was a real one. Golden ornaments were certainly melted by Samirt and
shaped into a calf.
Inspite or the Cact that AI-Quq ubi's ta/sIr shows his inclination (or
(sufism), he does not admit the exaggerated views or some whose views and
personal mystic experiences at times go contrary to the established principles oC
Islam.
While explaining (5:38 V:42): bi ri)/ik ("stamp the grollnd wtth lut") -
an order by Allah to Prophet Job so that a spring may Dow from beneath his Ceet to
cure him or his ailment, criticises the ignorant ascetics amongst the
137
(jahhal al-mutazAhidAh wa-tagam who deduce
permissi bility Cor dancing (jawiz (rom this verse.
Al-Qur] ubi further explains this verse quoting various theologians and scholars like
Abu Al-Farj Al-Jawzl and Ibn 'AqU to denounce that movement or the Ieet was
not enough to prove the permissibility or dancing in Islam; such examples abound
in the Qur 1n like bi (strike with your staCr on the rock) (5:7
V:160). Here too, we can, because of MOsa's action or the hand, deduce
permissibility for dancing. AI-Qur!ubl then prays saying: "We seek protection
(rom Allah from playing with the mJarl'ah". AI-Qurtubl is so very well versed in
. .
literature that he quickly quotes the relevant traditions or the Prophet
(5.A. W.), where his companions on hearing good news Crom him moved their bodies
in joy. The Arabic term (or this is which means to gambol, or move the body
as an expression of joy. comments that this has hardly anything to do
with dancing. It would seem that these misguided use these al}adiJiJ as proof
for dancing.
Although these are fine examples of AI-QuqubI's acute criticism or degenerated
siiM, they also serve as examples for us to identify that his ta/JIr is based on tafsir
bi al-ma'lhiir.
Furthermore, dancing is a fiqhI issue that AI-Qur!ubi deals with here, together
with valid and substantiated traditions. This is further evidence that AI-Quq ubi's
work falls bet ween ta/JIr bi aI-rna 'lhar and ta/Jlr hi aJ-ri 'g.
The reader of AI-Jimi' Ii Al-Qur'jn immediately notices AI-Quq ubi's
concentration on matters o( fiqh (jurisprudence). In his introduction AI-Quq ubi
states that he has made a special effort to include matters of jurisprudence into his
138
discussion of ay4t.
1
This will place his work firmly into the category of tafj;r
ubI wrote his work long after the maJlhjhib (schools of fiqh) had
been formulated. When AI-Quq ubI wrote his work a trend in ta/sIr writing had
already developed, where mu/assiriJn wrote works emphasising juristic matters.
These may be classified according to the maJihahib of their authors. Some oC the
more famous works include:
From the Ilanafi School:
1. Abu Bakr AI-RAzl (d. 370 A.H.) better known as AI-JaHAJ wrote a ta/jlrin
three volumes called AI-Qur'4n.
2. ibn Abil Sa tId, better known as Mull! Jlvan, an eleventh century
hijrah scholar, compiled a worker called AI-Ta/jirat Ii Bayan
Al-Ayat AI-Shar'iyah.
From the Shaft'; School:
1. AI-Qur'an by Abn AI-l;Iasan AI-Tabarl (d. 504 A.H.).
2. Abu Al-'AbbAs Ahmad ibn Yilsuf ibn Muhammad AI-Halabl (d. 756 A.H.)
. ..
wrote AI-Qawl AI-Wa)1: Ii AI-KitAb AI-'Ad:.
From the Malik! School:
1. Abu Bakr ibn AI-'Arabl (d. 453 A.II.) wrote his famous AI-Qur'4n.
AI-Jiimi', op. dt., vol. 1, p. 3.
139
Al-Quq ubI will also be included in this category since he was a M41lkI scholar.
5.3 AL-QURrUnl'S DISTINCTIVE METHODOLOGY OF TAJ.'S1R WRITING
Since the place or ubI amongst the muflUjiran cannot be appreciated
without an investigation into the distinctive methodology used by Al-Quq ubI, we
will briefly dwell on this aspect. The AI-Jlmi' of in twelve volumes
displays the following special characteristics, which the reader cannot ignore. We
must be fair to other mufasjiriJn in saying that they too have touched all the
aspects we are going to discuss below, perhaps some even in greater depth.
has handled the same details with greater dexterity like a master
craftsman and has arrived at certain conclusions, which are easy to grasp for the
students or readers or this work:
1. Al-Ququbi has given appropriate causes of revelation (a.sbab al-nuzal) of
various portions or the Qur ':J.n. Agood example of this is Al-Quq ubi'S tafjlr
of 5:36 V:12. This verse of Sarah Yi-Sfn when translated reads: "Verily We
shaU quicken the dead. And We write down that which they send before and
their footsteps. And everything we have counted up in a book lummous.u
Explaining the cause of revelation ubI says that in TirmlJlhI there is a
on the authority of AbO Sa'Jd Al-Khudrl
lie says: The BanG Salimah lived on the outskirts of Madinah and intended to
move closer to the mQ.Jjid. The verse We shaU quicken the dead. And
We write down that which "end before and their footsteps. And
we have counted up in a book luminow" was revealed. The Prophet (S. A.W.)
140
said: "Your footsteps are being rewarded. Dot not relocate".'
2. AI-Quq ubi goes into great detail concerning the types (C1q"am) of various
qirii'at (readings), j'riib and handles very carefully the aspects of
al-glJarib. In 5:36 V:19 the word ain dlJukkirtum appears. AI-Ququbl
provides the reader with nine various readings of this verse. Each of these
qirii'at is mentioned together with the name of the q4rl that read in that
particular manner.!
3. ubi is aware and it seems he has studied in depth various
philosophical sects which emerged before him, the traces of which were found
during his time. Throughout his taf"Ir he has very ably refuted the
exaggeration and heretical views of the Shiites, Mu \azilites, Qadarites,
degenerated and also certain philosophers. It seems from his refutations
that he had studied in depth the works of his predecessor Imam Abu Hamid
AI-Q.hazlll (d. 1111), particularly his Tahafut AI-FaiA.!afah (The Incoherence
of the Philosophers), and possibly the reply given by the eminent Muslim
philosopher Ibn Rumd (Averoes) in his book Tahafut Tahafut AI-Fawafil
(The Incoherence of the Incoherence of the Philosophers). Ibn Rulhd was,
after all, a fellow countryman of also from Anda/UJia (Spain).
We see AI-Quq ubi refuting the Shiite belief that 'Ali is the rightful successor
of the Prophet (S.A.W.) and AbO Bakr, 'Umar and U!hmln were the usurpers
of the Caliphate. While elucidating 5:2 V:30, AI-Ququbl examines this
Shiite view and shows how the al-ambiy4 have become the basis of
Shii te arguments.
AI-Jami', op. cit., vol. 8, p. 12.
2 op. eu., vol. 8, p. 17.
141
The exclusive right of the Quranhto be caliphs was certainly affirmed in the
Saqlfah BanO Sa'Idah immediately after the death of the Prophet (S.A. W.).
By popular bay'ah (oath of allegiance) Aba Bakr was appointed as the Caliph.
Al-QuqubI gives reasons (or his refutation of the Shiite claim and explains
the two on the basis of which the shiites build their argument. The
are: man kuntu mawlAhu fa 'aUi mawliiha and anta minni bi manz1/at1
Haran man Mil,li a/la annahu lJl nablya ba'dI.
The Sunnl argument emphasizes the differences in the position of HArOn as
opposed to 'All: shared the prophet hood with MOsa while 'All did not
share the prophet hood with the Prophet (S.A.W.). HirOn was the brother of
Moses, while 'All was not Muhammad (S.A.W.)'s brother. The Prophet's
intention was not that 'All would be his khallfah; this is indicated by the fact
that Hanln died before the death of Mosa, and was not his Mallfah; the
&halIjah of MOsa was YOrnA' (Joshua). If the Prophet (S.A.W.) had the
intention to intimate that 'All would be his successor, he would have said:
anta minni ba mann/ati Yu.shA' min MUsa.
As to the tradition man kuntu mawLihu, quotes the opinions of
scholars to the effect that the tradition was not considered to be sound;
philological analysis and comparisons with other traditions in which the word
mawlA appeared, proved that the Shiite interpretation was misleading. &
4. As compared to other mufa..u.ran, some of whom have used the l.sra
material unabatedly in their tafB.slr, AI-Quq ubi has been, by and large, very
cautious in his use of Ism 7Uy4t. Moreover. he has used these materials
selectively when quoting his 131'4 7Uy4t sources.
AI-Ququbl, AI-Jima', op. dt., vol. 1, p. 264.
142
5. AI-Ququbl has remained impartial in his fiqhi judgements in spite of the fact
that he belonged to the MiilikI school of jurisprudence. Rather than following
the views or individual schools, however great their founders might be,
AI-Ququbl follows a cogent argument or proof. The best example one finds
in support or this scholarly methodology, is found particularly in his ta/j;r of
5:2 V:43. The verse reads: wa aqlmO al-ja14ta wa 4ta al-zakata warko'u ma"a
al-riU"i'In.
The sixteenth law he derives from this verse concerns the leading of the prayer
by a boy, who has not attained puberty (imAmah al-$a9!lIr). AI-Qurt. ubi lists
. .
those who do not permit the boy to lead the prayer viz. ImAm MlUik; Sufyan
AI-Ihawrl and the AI-RA'yo then quotes the incident of the
(Companion), 'Arnar ibn Salamah, who would lead the prayers in his
town, although he was only a young boy. This incident related by BukhArl is
reason enough for ubi to disagree with his Imam, Imam MlUik.
1
6. The second most glaring example or his scholarly attitude is depicted in his
tafstr of 5:2 V:158. The verse reads: SlJahar aUaJIhI unzila fihi
AI-Qur'an. While explaining this verse, discusses the of
the 'Id prayer. Firstly, he discusses the l&/Jhl&j (diferences or
opinions) of the 'ulamA' on whether it is permissible to say this prayer on the
next. day or not. Ibn 'Abd AI-Barr has reported from Imam MlUik and his
disciples, who insist t.hat. 'Id can only be offered on the day of 'IeL Since
'Id prayer is junnah according to ImAm MAlik, there cannot be a qatJah of the
sunnah. J( the of ,[d could be offered after its due time has lapsed, it
would be like the of obligatory prayers. ImAm ubi differs from
this view and says that. the -u prayer can be said on the next day and it is in
AI-Jam", op. cit., vol. I, p. 353.
143
accordance with the Prophetic tradition, as narrated by Tirmid,hl on the
authority or AbU lIurayrah that the Prophet (S.A.W.) said: "Anyone who has
not said the two rakA'at of ",unnah prayer of fajr should say these immediately
after sunrise". The majority of M4/iki scholars are of the opinion that one who
has missed these two raka'at of fajr may do so after sunrise. On the basis of }
the above takes the view that 'Id prayer may be said the
next day. To buttress his view he says that such an occasion comes only once
a year. In support of his argument has also quoted a
reported in Sunan AI-Na,,. 'I', which says that some people sighted the moon
and came to the Prophet (S.A.W.) toinform him. It took some time (or them
to reach Madinah and the day advanced. The Prophet (S.A.W.) asked
people to break their (ast and say the 'Idprayer the next day.'
7. In the field or scholarly contributions, will be remembered (or his
constructive criticism. This approach does in no way detract (rom the great
contributions made by the illustrious scholars, both his predecessors and
contemporaries alike.
-000-
AI-Ququbl, Al-Jami', op. cit., vol. 2, p. 304.
144
CHAPTER SIX
CONCLUSION
The activity of tafsIr writing, as we have seen, has generated various types of Qur bic
literature through the ages. This dissertation has attempted to find a place for the
translation of tafiIsIr among these works.
There is a need for the development of translation theories that are specific to tafsIr
literature. Much work has already been done in the techniques or translation (rom one
language to another. Basically theories developed in recent times have either described
methods adopted by translators in their translated works or have prescribed to translators
an approach to be followed. With translation as an effective tool, to the understanding of
the Qur lnie message as comprehended by the scholars of tafsIr in all ages. the need for
both types of translation theories. exist. The first will serve as an indication of methods
already being followed by the few translators in this field. These methods may be
scrutinized and evaluated. They will then provide the basis for more comprehensive
prescriptive theories for the translators of works of tafsIr. This is certainly a challenge
facing the scholars in this field.
No tafsir may be divorced from its author. Theauthor is very much part of the tablr. A
knowledge of the background or the author, and the period in which he worked. and thrived
is fundamental to understanding and analysing the more subtle aspects of his t f ~ i r This
is essential since the mulassirexplains the Qur In in a manner that the Qur In will address
the essential issues of his time. The tafstr is then useful to the reader as an indicator of the
mu/asslr. This does not diminish from the usefulness of a talslr in later times. In (act, we
145
have shown how an encyclopaedic work like AI-Ququbl'S AI-J4mi
'
has much use.
The very nature o( translation means that the translator becomes aware oC many aspects oC
the work he is translating. These observations must not be lost. They can pave the way
for the person, who intends to understand the t a ~ r better.
One of the i'jiiz of the Qur ln is that, its message is still shining through many screens of
translation. What can be visualized by non-Arabic readers is its subject matter. Having
considered that no translation or interpretation can do justice to the sublime literary style
of the original, the translator oC the original Arabic Qur 'ln, or its classical Arabic tafsir, iC
he is careful, can convey some of the miraculous ideas expounded in the Qur In.
AI-Ququbl has been successful in his exegesis ol the Qur'ln and one hopes that the
present translator of his t a ~ r o( Sarah Y4-SIn has captured a glimpse oC that success, in
his English rendition.
In conclusion it would be (air to say that AI-Ququbl is the most prominent of all Muslim
mufassiriin, to whom we are indebted for a balanced exposition of the entire Qur'ln in
general and Sarah Va-Sin in particular.
---<>00-
146
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