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Tafsir Ibn Kathir Englishe

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In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

THE EXEGESIS OF THE GRAND HOLY QUR'AN

INTRODUCTION

The exegesis of the great holy Qur'an by the grand imam Al-Hafiz Ibn Kathir is considered to be the besf and most perfect one after the exegesis of the grand imam At-Tabari. Indeed, Al-Hafiz was so much keen on explaining the Qur'an firstly by Qur'an as possible as it could be, through mentioning the holy Verses in which the meaning of subject is explained in detail. Then, he used to mention the sayings of the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." on the occasion in issue. Then, he would mention the traditions of the ancient companions and early followers concerning such a Verse, which is being explained, depending upon their chains of transmitters.

 

Although he might mention some weak Prophetic traditions, highlighting their weakness, he so often was eager to mention the correct traditions. In this way, his book is considered to be, in addition to being an exegesis of the Holy Qur'an, a guide to the one who wants to learn and study the Prophetic traditions, through which he might know how to criticize the chains of transmitters and the substances (of tradition), and how to distinguish the correct from the false ones. Thus, it is a great instruct ive book, of great use.

 

As for the composer of this book, he is Imad Ad-Din Abu Al-Fida: Isma'il Ibn Umar Ibn Kathir Al-Quraishi, Ad-Dimashqi Ash-Shafi'i.

 

He was born nearly in the year of seven hundred of Hegira, or some time later, in the village of Mijdal of Busra. He had a great noble ancestry. He himself mentioned in his book Al-Bidayah Wan-Nihayah (The Beginning And The End) during his talk about the biography of his father that he died in seven hundred and three of Hegira, and he was almost three years old.

 

His father, Al-Khatib Shihab Ad-Din Abu Hafs: Umar Ibn Kathir, was one from among the glorious religious scholars and orators. He was born, according to Ibn Kathir himself, in six hundred and forty of Hegira. He became the religious instruct or of a village to the East of Busra, where he stayed for twelve years, and followed the Shafiite doctrine. He took knowledge from the grand imam An-Nawawi, and Taqi Ad-Din Al-Fazari. Then, he moved to the village of Mijdal, from which the mother of Ibn Kathir came, where he spent a long period of his life.

 

However, he was a good orator, for whom people had a great respect. His words used to have a great influence upon the people, in view of his good religion, rhetorical eloquence and sweetness. He liked to stay in the villages, for the simplicity and lawfulness of life he used to find there for himself and his dependents.

 

 Ibn Kathir had many brothers, the eldest of them was called Isma'il, though he himself was named Isma'il. The reason for that is that the eldest brother of him was a promising religious scholar in Damascus before he died. So, his father gave him the came narre of his eldest son, for whose death he became so much sad. Ibn Kathir was the youngest of his brothers. In this way, the eldest son was Isma'il, and the youngest was also Isma'il.

 

Four years after the death of his father, they moved to Damascus, in the company of his brother Jamal Ad-Din Abd Al -Wahhab, who was so much kind to them. He died in seven hundred and fifty year of Hegira. Ibn Kathir started studying and learning religious knowledge at the hands of his brother Abd Al-Wahhab, as he mentioned. Then, he went on taking knowledge from the great scholars at his time. He finished keeping the Holy Qur'an in full in the year of seven hundred and eleven of Hegira. He was perfect in reciting it with the different ways of recitation. He heard the Prophetic traditions from many religious scholars and keepers of his time, with which he was so much concerned. He heard Sahih Muslim in vine gatherings from the grand sheikh Najm Ad-Din Ibn Al-Asqalani, through the narration of the great scholar Abu Al-Qasim: Muhammad Ibn Sahl Al-Azdi Al-Ghirnati Al-Andalusi, who died in Cairo in twenty two of Muharram, in the year of seven hundred and thirty of Hegira. That hearing was when he carne to Damascus during the month of Jumada the First, in the year of seven hundred and twenty four, with the intention of going to Mecca for performing Hajj.

 

He learnt religious jurisprudence (Fiqh) from both grand scholars: Burhan Ad-Din Al-Fazari and Kamal Ad-Din Ibn Qadi Shahba. He stuck to the glorious learnt sheikh Abu Al-Hajjaj Al-Mazzi, to whom he recited his great composition "Tandhib Al-Kamal". He gave him in marriage his daughter Zainab. Al-Mazzi died in the year of seven hundred and forty two of Hegira.

 

Ibn Kathir was from among the best disciples of the grand imam Ibn Taimiyah. He stuck to him for a long period, and graduated at his hands. He used to strive in defense of his opinions and verdicts in many cases. He adopted his opinion that the irrevocable divorce should happen if one uttered the word of divorce thrice at a time.

 

He was one from amongst the unique religious scholars at his time. All of his contemporaries and pupils, and those who came after him appreciated him so much.  A mention might be made here of Al-Hafiz Adh-Dhahabi (died in seven hundred and forty eight of Hegira), who estimated him in his book "Tabaqat Al-Huffaz", describing him as the perfect grand keeper (of both Qur'an and Hadith). He described him in his book "Al-Mu'jam Al-Mukhtas" as a good narrator of the Prophetic traditions, and a great exegete.

 

His disciple Shihab Ad-Din Ibn Hajji said about him: "He was the best from among those we've met to keep the Prophetic traditions, to know their Isnad, and to distinguish the correct from the false ones. His contemporary misters and friends used to appreciate him for all of that. He used to recall by memory so many traditions and narrations of history. He never forgot or missed anything. He was a good religious jurist, with a good understanding. He had so many contributions in the Arabic. He was a good poet. I've not met him, though so many times, but that I made use of him."

 

Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar said in his "Kitab Ad-Durar": "He (Ibn Kathir) adhered to Al-Mazzi, and recited to him Tandhib Al-Kamal. He got married to his daughter. He also took from Ibn Taimiyah, because of whom, he was put to trial. He used to bring back from the memory so much. He had a good humor. His compositions became in circulation among all the Islamic countries during his lifetime, of which the people made use after his death. He did not follow the same way as conducted by the ordinary narrators of getting the highest kinds of knowledge, and distinguishing what is good from what is bad, but, he was a religious jurist, who was acquainted with the knowledge of Prophetic traditions. He abridged the book of Ibn As-Salah, to which he added some comments."

 

The imam As-Suyuti appreciated him so much, describing his Tafsir as the one, the like of which none was able to compose.

 

However, his companionship and sticking to the grand imam Ibn Taimiyah was a good source of benefit for him in his religion, knowledge, piety, and good manners, and in developing his independent character. Indeed, he had an independent opinion. He used to pursue the evidence and proof, without being partially fanatic to his doctrine. We might find that in his many books in general, and his Tafsir in particular.

 

 For instance, although he was a Shafiite, he gave the verdict that the divorce should happen if one uttered the word of divorce thrice at a time. Because of such an opinion of him, he was put to trial, and received a great portion of han'', but he kept patient for the sake of Allah.

 

Although he was a good disciple of the grand sheikh of Islam Ibn Taimiyah, and was well-aware of the dispute, which broke up between him and the chief of judges, Taqi Ad-Din As-Subki, he never supported anyone against him when he was troubled. On the contrary, he announced his pleasure that such a distress should be removed away from him.

 

During the last time of his life, he lost his sight, and then died on Thursday, twenty-sixth of Sha'ban, in seven hundred and seventy four of Hegira. A great famous funeral procession was made for him. He was buried, according to his bequest, in the grave of the grand sheikh of Islam Ibn Taimiyah, outside the gate of Victory in Damascus.

 

However, Ibn Kathir has so many compositions, and the following  hist contains the most important of them:

 

1. The exegesis of the great holy Qur'an.

2. The beginning and the end, which was pub hished in fourteen parts, in which he started his talk from the beginning of the creation until the year of seven hundred and sixty eight, ahnost six years before his death. The last two parts were not pub hished, in which he talked about the portents of the dooined Hour, and the afflictions, as well as the battles and the cases of the hereafter.

 

3. The Prophetic biography, which did not appear at ail, but he referred to it in his commentary on the sixth Verse of the Surah of Al-Ahzab.

 

4. Chapters on the abridged biography of the Prophet "P.B.U.H.". But, the pub hished version of this book is incomplete.

 

5. Abridging the disciplines of Hadith, in which, he abridged the composition of Ibn As-Salah.

 

6. The container of the Musnads and Sunan, in which he collected the Musnads of the six books of traditions, in addition to others.

 

However, as for this work of Tafsir which we are going to translate, Allah willing, it consists of over two million and five hundred thousand words, nearly one-third of which contains the chains of transmitters mentioned by Ibn Kathir of the Prophetic traditions and the sayings of the companions and the early followers, upon which he depends in explaining the meaning of the Holy Verses of the Qur'an.

 

We did our best in order to remove those chains of transmitters, but the last one or two narrators. We also made a hard work, as possible as it could be, to deprive our translation of the Israelite tales and stories, upon which Ibn Kathir depends, to Some extent, in his commentaries. He himself explains his situation from those stories and tales in his introductory to the Tafsir as we shah see later.

 

Our method here is to mention at first the Holy Verse in Arabic, followed by its translation into Eng hish. Then, the translated text of the commentary will be mentioned. We hope that this translated work might be, Allah willing, a source of benefit to anyone who reads and acts upon it.

 

TRANSLATOR

 

 

 

 

 

 


THE AUTHOR'S INTRODUCTION

 

The grand imam Abu Al-Fida: Isma'il Ibn Umar Ibn Kathir says: Praise be to Allah Who starts His Book with the praise saying: "Praise be to Allah, The Cherisher and Sustainer of the Worlds; Most Gracious, Most Merciful; Master of the Day of Judgment." {Al-Fatihah 2 - 4}

 

He also says: "Praise be to Allah, Who hath sent to his servants the book, and hath allowed therein no Crookedness. (He hath made it) straight (and clear) in order that He may warn (the godless) of a terrible punishment from Him, and that He may give glad tidings to the Believers who work righteous deeds, that they shah have a goodly reward, Wherein they shah remain forever. Further, that He may warn those (also) who say, Allah hath begotten a son. No knowledge have they of such a thing, nor had their fathers. It is a grievous thing that issues from their mouths as a saying. What they say is nothing but falsehood." {Al-Kahf 1 - 5}

 

He also starts His talk about creation with the praise saying: "Praise be to Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth, and made the darkness and the light. Yet those who reject Faith hold (others) as equal with their guardian Lord." {Al-An'am 1}

 

He Almighty concludes with the praise after talking about the destiny of the inhabitants of Paradise and those of Hell: "And thou wilt see the angels surrounding the Throne (Divine) on all sides, singing Glory and Praise to their Lord. The Decision between them (at Judgment) will be in (perfect) justice, and the cry (on all sides) will be, Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds." {Az-Zumar 75}

 

He also says in this issue: "And He is Allah: there is no god but He. To Him be praise, at the first and at the last: For Him is the Command, and to Him shall ye (all) be brought back." {Al-Qasas 70}

 

He further says: "Praise be to Allah, to Whom belong all things in the heavens and on earth: to Him be praise in the Hereafter: and He is Full of Wisdom, acquainted with all things." {Saba 1}

 

He means by saying "To Him be praise, at the first and at the fast" that He Almighty should be praised for what He has created, as well as for what He Almighty would create. He should be praised for everything as the praying one might say: "O our Lord! All praises be to You, as much as both the heavens and the earth contain, and whatever You want afterwards."

 

For this reason, the people of Paradise would be inspired how to glorify and praise Him, as well as they would be made to breathe. In this way, they would glorify and praise Him as much as the  number of the breathes they take, for His abounding Blessings He would bestow upon them, His complete Power and great Authority they would see, and His continuous Favours and ceaseless graces.

 

He Almighty further says in this context: "Those who believe, and work righteousness- their Lord will guide them because of their Faith: beneath them will flow rivers in Gardens of B hiss. (This will be) their cry therein: "Glory to thee, O Allah!" And "Peace" will be their greeting therein! And the close of their cry will be: "Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the Worlds! "" {Yunus 9 -10}

 

Praise be to Allah Almighty, Who has sent "Messengers who gave good news as well as warning, that mankind, after (the coming) of the messengers, should have no plea against Allah: for Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise." {An-Nisa 165}

 

Praise be to Him, Who ended those Prophets and Messengers with the Arab unlettered Prophet, who guided the people to the clearest ways, whom He Almighty sent to all of His creatures of men and jinn; and his message would remain effective until the estab hishment of the doomed Hour.

 

He Almighty confirms this fact by saying: "Say: "O men! I am sent unto you ail, as the Messenger of Allah, to Whom belongeth the dominion of the heavens and the earth: there is no god but He: it is He that giveth both life and death. So believe in Allah and His Messenger, the unlettered Prophet, who believeth in Allah and His Words: follow him that (so) ye may be guided." {Al-A'raf 158}

 

He further says: "that I may warn you and all who it reaches. Can you possibly bear witness that besides Allah there is another Allah? say: nay I cannot bear witness. Say: but in truth he is the one Allah, and I truly am innocent of (your blasphemy of) joining others with Him." {Al-An'am 19}

 

 So, whomever this Qur'an reaches, be Arab or foreigner, black or red, men or jinn, then, it (Qur'an) should be held as a warner against him. For this reason, He Almighty says: "but those of the sects that reject it, the fire will be their promised meeting place. Be not then in doubt thereon: for it is the truth from thy Lord: yet many among men do not believe!" {Hud 17}

 

This means that if anyone of those whom we mentioned above disbelieves and rejects the Qur'an, then, the fire (of Hell) would be his abode, according to the religious holy text above- mentioned of Allah Almighty, as well as to His saying: "Then leave Me alone with such as reject this Message: by degrees shall We punish them from directions they perceive not." {Al-Qalam 44}

 

In confirmation to this fact, the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." says: "I've been sent to (ail of the people) the black as well the red one."

 

 Mujahid says: He means both men and jinn. He "P.B.U.H." is the Messenger of Allah for both types of creatures, so as to convey to them the Holy Book which Allah Almighty revealed to him, "No falsehood can approach it from before or behind it: it is sent down, by One Full of Wisdoin, worthy of all Praise."{Fussilat 42}

 Indeed, he told them on behalf of Allah Almighty through the Qur'an that He called them to understand it well according to His saying: "Do they not consider the Qur'an (with care)? had it been from other than Allah, they would surely have found therein much discrepancy." {An-Nisa 82}

 

He Almighty says too: "(Here is) a Book which We have sent down unto thee, full of blessings, that they may meditate on its Signs, and that men of understanding may receive admonition." {Sad 29}

 

He further says: "Do they not then earnestly seek to understand the Qur'an, or are their hearts locked up by them?" {Muhammad 24}

 

Relying on this, it is obligatory for the religious scholars to go on interpreting and explaining the meanings of the Holy Verses of Allah's Book, for which they should seek, and be eager to get from the appropriate sources. They also have to learn and then teach that to others, according to the saying of Allah Almighty: "And rememher Allah took a Covenant from the People of the Book, to make it known and clear to mankind, and not to hide it; but they threw it away behind their backs, and purchased with it  some miserable gain: how vile the bargain they made was!" {Al Imran 187}

 

Allah Almighty says in this issue too: "As for those who sell the Faith they own to Allah and their own plighted word for a small price, they shall have no portion in the Hereafter: nor will Allah (deign to) speak to them or look at them on the Day of Judgment, nor will he cleanse them (of sin): they shall have a grievous penalty." {Al Imran 77}

 

In this way, Allah Almighty criticizes the people of Scripture before us for their turning away from Allah's Book, and receiving the pleasures and vanities of this world, in addition to occupying themselves by something different from what Allah Almighty ordered them to do, i.e. to follow (and act upon the principles of) Allah's Book.

 

So, we, O Muslims, have to stop from that, for which Allah Almighty criticizes them, and rather to follow (and act upon the principles of) Allah's Book sent down to us, which we should also learn and then teach to others. We should also seek for understanding it, and then making it known to others according to Allah's saying: "Has not the time arrived for the Believers that their hearts in all humility should engage in the remembrante of Allah and of the Truth which has been revealed (to them), and that they should not become like those to whom was given Revelation aforetime, but long ages passed over them and their hearts grew hard? For many among them are rebellious transgressors. Know ye (ail) that Allah giveth life to the earth after its death! Already have We shown the Signs plainly to you, that ye may learn wisdom." {Al-Hadid 16 - 17}

 

 In those two Verses, Allah Almighty mentions that as well as He gives life to earth after its death, He makes hearts tender with true faith after their being hard because of their committing sins and faults; and it is up to Allah Almighty to do so with us, for He is full of bounty and generosity.

 

 If one asks about the best ways of interpreting and explaining the Holy Qur'an, the answer should be to explain Qur'an by Qur'an. Indeed, what is mentioned briefly in a certain place, might be expounded in detail in another. If you fail to do so (in some cases, for which you find no source or quotation in the Qur'an), you should take refuge to the sunnah, for it is to explain and expound (what is implied in) the Holy Qur'an.

 

 In this point, the grand imam Ash-Shafi'i says that every judgement passed by the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." depended upon what he understood from the Holy Qur'an. Allah Almighty says: "We have sent down to thee the book in truth, that thou mightest judge between men, as guided by Allah: so be not (used) as an advocate by those who betray their trust." {An-Nisa 105}

 

He Almighty further says in this issue: "And We sent down the Book to thee for the express purpose, that thou shouldst make clear to them those things in which they differ, and that it should be a guide and a mercy to those who believe." {An-Nahl 64}

 

For this reason too, the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." says: "No doubt, I've been given the Qur'an and the like of it with it." Indeed, he means the sunnah. It is a well-known fact that the (acts and sayings implied in the) sunnah used to be Divinely inspired to him as the Divine revelation. But it is different from it in the fact that it is not recited like the revelation. However, the grand imam Ash-Shafi'i and others have many proofs for that.

 

Thus, you should first seek for interpreting and explaining the meanings of the Qur'an from it, but if you do not find, you must take refuge to the sunnah as the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." once said to Mu'adh when he sent him to Yemen: "How should you judge between the people?" he said: "I will judge depending upon (the laws and principles of) Allah's Book." He asked: "Then, if you find nothing (to confirm your judgement in Allah's book, what should you do)?" he said: "Then, I would rely upon the sunnah of the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H."." He asked him: "If you find nothing (what should you do)?" he said: "I should do my best to reach what is right depending upon my knowledge." Then, the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." patted upon his breast and said to him: "Praise be to Allah Who made successful the messenger of Allah% Apostle "P.B.U.H." in doing what pleases Allah's Apostle "P.B.U.H."."

 

However, this Hadith is famous nearly in all the books of the correct traditions, with good chains of transmitters. But, if we fail to find the explanation in both the Qur'an and sunnah, we should refer to the sayings of the companions of the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." who knew it better for whatever cases and evidences they witnessed, and this was a particular merit of which they were unique, and also for their good understanding, valid knowledge and right conduct, particularly the learnt ones amongst them such as the four grand imams and rightly-guided caliphs, in addition to Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud, who says: "If anyone from amongst us learnt ten Verses, he would not leave them (to what is next) until he has got a full understanding of their meanings, and then acted upon them."

 

 Abu Abd Ar-Rahman As-Sulari says: "Those who taught (the Holy Qur'an) to us told that they used to ask the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." to recite the Qur'an to them. If anyone of them learnt ten Verses, he would not leave them (to what is next) until they have acted upon whatever (laws and principles) they contained. In this way, they learnt both the Holy Qur'an, and how to act upon it."

 

From amongst those religious scholars, a mention might be made of the great encyclopedist Abdullah Ibn Abbas, the cousin of the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H.", and the good interpreter of the (meanings of the) Holy Qur'an, by virtue of the invocation of the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." for him, when he said: "O Allah! Would You please give him a good understanding of religion, and make him learn how to interpret (the meanings of the Holy Qur'an)!"

It is narrated by At-Tabari that Ibn Mas'ud said: "What a good interpreter of (the meanings of the) Holy Qur'an Ibn Abbas is!" (This Hadith has a correct chain of transmitters.)

 

Ibn Mas'ud died in the thirty second year of Hegira. Since Ibn Abbas lived thirty six years after him, how much knowledge and disciplines do you think he acquired during this period of life?

 

 It is narrated on the authority of Abu Wa'il that once, Ali appointed Ibn Abbas to succeed him in charge of the season of Hajj. He delivered the sermon to the people, in which he recited the Surah of Al-Bagarah (or the Surah of An-Nur according to another narration), which he explained in such a way that if the Romans and those of Dailam had heard it, surely, they would have einbraced Islam.

 

For this reason, most of what Isma'il Ibn Abd Ar-Rahman As-Suddi narrates is taken from those two great men: Ibn Mas'ud and Ibn Abbas. But sometimes, he narrates from them what they brought from the sayings of the people of Scriptures, which were made permissible by the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." when he said: "Convey others on behalf of me even (as little as) a Verse, and narrate from the children of Israel; and there is no haret in it; and whoever attributed lies to me should occupy his scat in the fire (of Hell)." (This is narrated by Al-Bukhari on the authority of Abdullah Ibn Amr.)

 

But, to be sure, those sayings belonging to the children of Israel might be mentioned just for quotation, and not for confirmation. They could be divided into three parts: The first kind is this, which we know is true, because of its compliance with what we have; and this should be held as right. The second is that, which we know is false for its difference from what we have; and this should be considered as untrue. The third is that which is neither known to be true, nor is it learnt to be false; and for this reason, we should neither believe it, nor should we refute it, though it is permissible to narrate for what we've mentioned earlier.

 

 Therefore, most of those narrations have no religious support. So, the people of Scriptures differ among themselves about it, which results in the differences among the exegetes (who narrate from them). The clearest example of that is that they mention those of the cave with their names, the colour of their dog, and their  number. They also talk about the tree from which the stick of Moses was made, and the names of birds to which Allah gave life for the sake of Abraham, in addition to the part of the cow's body, with which the murdered person was struek, and the tree by the side of which Allah Almighty spoke to Moses. They also mention so many things which Allah Almighty does not make clear in the Qur'an, since they have no benefit to anyone in both the world and religion.

 

 But, mentioning the differences among them is permissible, according to Allah's saying: "(Some) say they were three, the dog being the fourth among them; (others) say they were five, the dog being the sixth, doubtfully guessing at the unknown; (yet others) say they were seven, the dog being the eighth. Say thou: my Lord knoweth best their  number; it is but few that know their (real case). Enter not, therefore, into controversies concerning them, except on a matter that is clear, nor consult any of them about (the affair of) the sleepers." {Al-Kahf 22}

 

However, this bounteous Verse shows the good conduct with which one should treat those issues. He Almighty tells us about three opinions they claim in this point. He regards as weak the first two, and keeps silent concerning the third; and in this way, it is proved to be true, for had it been false, surely, He would have rejected it as he did with the first two.

 

Then, He shows that knowing their real  number has no benefit for anyone. He says: "Say thou: my Lord knoweth best their  number." it is but few of people that know their real case, i.e. those to whom Allah Almighty makes it clear. So, He says: "Enter not, therefore, into controversies concerning them, except on a matter that is clear." He means that you should not exert much effort for something which has no benefit to anyone, nor should you ask them about it, for they know nothing of it except as doubtfully guessing at the unknown.

 

This is the best way of dealing with such differences: To understand all of what is said in the issue, single out what is right which you should distinguish from what is false amongst them, and then mention the usage and fruit of this dispute lest it would occupy us for a long time by what is pointless and insignificant from what is more serious and important.

 

However, it is incomplete to mention the differences among the people about anything, without understanding all of what is said in it. What is right might be in that which is left. It is also insufficient to mention the differences without highlighting what is right or false. Moreover, if one considers as true what is untrue, surely, he would tell a lie intentionally. If one does so ignorantly, certainly, he would commit a mistake.

 

Similarly, if one talks in detail about those differences, which have no benefit, or mentions so many sayings, which might be different in verb, though similar in meaning, he would waste a long time, and tell so much things, which would be untrue, likely as the one who wears two false garments; and Allah Almighty might grant us success to do what is right.

 

Chapter: If you do not fend the explanation in the Holy Qur'an, the sunnah, and even in the sayings of the companions, a lot of imams refer to the sayings of the early followers, such as Mujahid Ibn Jabr, who was a uniquely pre-eminent in the interpretation. In this context, it is narrated by At-Tabari from Ibn Abu Mulaikah: I've seen Mujahid having asked Ibn Abbas about the interpretation of the Holy Qur'an entirely, and he had his blank documents to record what he would hear from him. Ibn Abbas used to say to him: "Write (what I'm telling you)" until he got the interpretation of the Holy Qur'an in full. For this reason, Sufyan Ath-Thawri used to say: "If the interpretation (of a certain meaning) comes to you from Mujahid, then it is sufficient for you (to rely on)."

 

A mention might be made here also of Sa'id Ibn Jubair, Ikrimah, the freed slave of Ibn Abbas, Ata Ibn Abu Rabah, Al-Hasan Al-Basri, Masruq Ibn Al-Ajda, Sa'id Ibn Al-Musayyab, Abu Al-Aliyah, Ar-Rabie Ibn Anas, Qatadah, Ad-Dahhak Ibn Muzahim, and others from amongst the early followers, and those who followed them righteously.

 

However, their phrases concerning the interpretation of a certain Verse might be different in verb, but one who has no sufficient knowledge would consider them to be different in meaning, with the result that he might regard them as different sayings having different opinions; and surely it is not so. Some of them might express a certain thing with that which might be concomitant or similar to it, and others might express the thing by itself; and both have the same meaning on so many occasions. So, let the astute prudent one make sense to that, and Allah might guide us (to the right).

 

Shu'bah Ibn Al-Hajjaj and others say that since the sayings of the early followers concerning the branches (of religious jurisprudence) are not held as proofs, then, how should they be considered as evidences in the matter of interpretation? He means by this that they should not be held as proofs against each other; and this is true. But, if they unanimously agree upon anything, there must be no doubt as to holding it as proof. If they differ among theinselves, the saying of anyone of them should not be held as proof against the other, whether it belonged to their time, or any time after them. But, the whole matter should be referred to the language of the Holy Qur'an, the sunnah, the language of the ancient Arabs, or the sayings of the companions about the case in issue.

 

No doubt, it is unlawful to interpret the meaning of the Qur'an relying only upon one's own opinion. In this issue, it is narrated by Muhammad Ibn Jarir on the authority of Ibn Abbas that the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." said: "Whoever said anything concerning (the interpretation of) the Holy Qur'an just depending on his own opinion, or without knowledge, let him occupy his seat in the fire (of Hell)." (It is narrated by An-Nisa'i, Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi who describes it as a good Hadith.)

 

 It is narrated by Ibn Jarir on the authority of Jundub that the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." said: "Whoever said anything concerning (the interpretation of) the Holy Qur'an just depending on his own opinion, surely, he has done a mistake." (It is narrated by An-Nisa'i, Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi who describes it as a strange Hadith.) It is narrated on the authority of Suhail: "Whoever said anything concerning the Book of Allah depending only on his own opinion even though he was right, he has done a mistake." The reason is that he plunged into something of which he had no knowledge, and followed a way different from that by which he was ordered to abide. If he reached the right meaning, he rather would be considered to have committed a mistake for he did not follow the right way of doing that. His similitude is like the one who judged between the people ignorantly, even if his judgement carne to be true by chance; and it is for this reason that he would be admitted in the fire (of Hell), but his crime would be lesser than him who committed a mistake in his judgement.

 

Thus Allah Almightynamesas liars those who accuse people falsely when He says: "When they have not brought the witnesses, such men, in the sight of Allah, (stand forth) themselves as liars!" {An-Nur 13}

 

The one who accuses others with no decisive evidence is a liar, even if the accusation in itself is right. That's because he has told something, which it is unlawful for him to tell, even if he knows it to be right, because he breaks in that, of which he has no (sufficient) knowledge; and it is Allah Alone who knows better.

 

It is for this that some of the early companions used to feel shy of interpreting anything of which they had no knowledge. Abu Bakr As-Siddiq said in this connection: "Which land could carry me, and which sky could shade me if I said something in the Book of Allah, of which I've no (sufficient) knowledge?" it is narrated by Abu Ubaid: Al-Qasim Ibn Salam that once Abu Bakr As-Siddiq was asked about the meaning of Allah's saying: "And Fruits and Fodder." {Abasa 31} he replied: "Which land could carry me, and which sky could shade me if I said something in the Book of Allah, of which I've no enough knowledge?"

 

It is also narrated that once, Umar was delivering a speech on the pulpit when he recited Allah's saying: "And Fruits and Fodder." {Abasa 31} then he said: "As for the fruits, we know that, what about the sort of Fodder He means?" then, considering the matter, he said: "No doubt, this is the pointless difficulty you are attempting to do O Umar!

 

 It is narrated by Abd Ibn Huinaid on the authority of Anas: We were in the house of Umar, and on the back of his garment there were four patches, when he recited Allah's saying: "And Fruits and Fodder." {Abasa 31} then he said: "What about the sort of Fodder He means?" then, he said: "No doubt, this is the pointless difficulty you are attempting to do. What is wrong with you if you does not know it?"

 

Indeed, he intended to uncover of which kind this fodder might be, but in regard to its being a plant, it is a clear well-known matter, in view of His saying: "And produce therein Corn, And Grapes and nutritious Plants." {Abasa 27 - 30}

 

It is narrated by At-Tabari on the authority of Ibn Abu Mulaikah that once, Ibn Abbas was asked about the meaning of a certain Holy Verse, and if anyone of you is asked about it, he would go on interpreting it (so much simply). But he rejected to explain the meaning of it. (This narration is correct.)

 

It is narrated by Abu Ubaid on the authority of Ibn Abu Mulaikah that a man asked Ibn Abbas about the meaning of Allah's saying: "on a Day, the space whereof will be (as) a thousand years of your reckoning." {As-Sajdah 5}. Ibn Abbas said: Then, what do you say about His saying: on a Day, the space whereof will be (as) fifty thousand years of your reckoning." {Al-Ma'arij 4}? The man said to him: "I asked you so that you might tell me." Ibn Abbas said: "They are two days mentioned in the Book of Allah (and I know no more), and Allah has better knowledge of them." Thus, he disliked to say anything in Allah's Book, of which he had no knowledge.

 

It is narrated by At-Tabari that Al-Walid Ibn Muslim said: Talq Ibn Habib came to Jundub Ibn Abdullah and asked him about the meaning of a certain Verse of the Qur'an. He said to him: "I forbid you, if you're a Muslim (to ask me, otherwise) get up and turn away from me (or I forbid you to sit with me, according to another narration)!"

 

It is narrated by Malik on the authority of Sa'id Ibn Al-Musayyab that whenever he was asked about anything from the Qur'an, he would say: "We are not to say anything concerning the interpretation of the Qur'an." It is narrated by Al-Laith that he used not to speak except about what is clearly known from the Holy Qur'an. Ibn Shawzab said: Yazid Ibn Abu Yazid told me: We used to ask Sa'id Ibn Al-Musayyab about what is lawful and what is unlawful, and he was the most knowledgeable of that from amongst the people. But whenever we asked him about the interpretation of a certain Verse from the Qur'an, he would keep silent, as if he did hear nothing.

 

 It is narrated by Ibn Jarir on the authority of Ubaidullah Ibn Umar: "I've seen the religious jurists of Medina, and they used to sanctify the matter of interpretation." A mention might be made of Salim Ibn Abdullah, Al-Qasim Ibn Muhammad, Sa'id Ibn Al-Musayyab and Nafi. It is narrated by Abu Ubaid on the authority of Hisham Ibn Urwah: I've never heard my father having tried to interpret any Verse from Allah's Book." It is narrated that Muslim Ibn Yasar said: "If you tell something about Allah, you should stop until you become well-aware of what is prior and what is next to it." It is also narrated in this context that Masruq said: "You should beware of interpreting (the meaning of the Qur'an), for it is likely as to tell something about Allah Almighty."

 

However, all of those sayings attributed to the pious ancient pioneering predecessors show their shyness and refraining from interpreting anything (in the Qur'an) without having sufficient knowledge for doing that. But, there is no harm for him, who talks about that, of which he has the sufficient knowledge concerning language and religious laws (that enables him to do so). For this reason, sonne sayings concerning the interpretation are narrated from those people; and there is no contradiction (in their situations), for they talked about that of which they had the sufficient knowledge, and kept silent of that, of which they were ignorant. It is then obligatory for everyone to do so, i.e. to keep silent of that, of which he has no sufficient knowledge, and talk about that, of which he had sufficient knowledge, whenever he was asked about it, in view of Allah's saying: "Allah took a Covenant from the People of the Book, to make it known and clear to mankind, and not to hide it." {Al Imran 187}

 

It is also narrated by different chains of transmitters: "Whoever was asked about anything of which he had knowledge but he hid it, would surely be reined with a rein of fire on the Day of Judgement." It is also narrated by Ibn Jarir that Ibn Abbas said: "There are four ways of interpretation: The first is well-known for the Arabs depending upon their speech, the second is (so much obvious and clear) that none might be excused for being ignorant of it, the third is known only to those firmly grounded in knowledge, and the fourth is known only by Allah."

 

 As for the Surahs of the Holy Qur'an, It is narrated that Qatadah said: The following Surahs were sent down in Medina: Al-Baqarah, Al Imran, An-Nisa, AI-Ma'idah, Bara'ah, Ar-Ra'd, An-Nahl, Al-Hajj, An-Nur, Al-Ahzab, Muhammad, Al-Fath, Al-Hujurat, Ar-Rahman, Al-Hadid, Al-Mujadilah, Al-Hashr, Al-Mumtahinah, As-Saff, Al-Jumu'ah, Al-Munafiqun, At-Taghabun, At-Talaq, At-Tahrim, Az-Zalzalah, and An-Nasr. The rest Surahs were sent down in Mecca.

 

As for the  number of the Holy Verses of the Qur'an, they are over six thousand, but there is difference among the people about the exact  number. Soine say that they are no more than this  number, and others raire the  number by two hundred and four more. It is said that they are six thousand, two hundred and fourteen, or nineteen, twenty five, twenty six, or thirty six Verses, as shown by Abu Amr Ad-Dani in his book Al-Bayan. As for dividing the Holy Qur'an into sections and parts, this was made to make easy the matter of keeping and learning it in schools. As for the process of dividing it by the companions, It is narrated by the grand imam Ahmad, Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah that Aws Ibn Hudhaifah asked the companions of the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H.": "How do you divide the Qur'an?" they replied: "Into three, five, seven, nine, eleven, thirteen, and the portion of Al-Mufassal until we finish it."

 

Chapter: The people differ about the meaning of "Surah" (chapter), and from which root it is derived. It is said that since it is derived from the root "Sur" (meaning fence), it is then indicative of the case of emerging and rising, in such a way as if the reciter comes up with the help of it from one state to another much  higher. It is said that it is indicative of honour and highness, the some as the fence surrounding the town is. It is said that it is called Surah in view of its being a piece and a portion of the Qur'an, derived from "Su'r" (meaning the remaining of) the utensil. Depending upon this, it should have been uttered first with Harzah, which was replaced and reduced to just Waw. It is said that it is called so in view of its completion and fullness, for the Arabs called the perfect faultless she-camel as Surah. I (Ibn Kathir) say: It might be called so because it contains and encloses its Verses, the same as the fence "Sur" of the town is called in view of its enclosing and surrounding the buildings and houses within it. The Arabic plural of Surah is Suwar or Surat.

 

As for the meaning of the Arabic word "Ayah", it is the sign. It is called so because it acts as the point at which the speech before it terminates, and is distinguished from the coming speech after it. In this way, it is a clear indicallon, according to Allah's saying: "The sign of his dominion..." {Al-Baqarah 248} it is said also that it is called so (meaning Verse, which we will use along this book) because it is a string of corbined letters and words from the Qur'an. It is said that it is called Ayah in view of being inimitable, the like of which none is able to produce. Sibawaih (the greatest grammarian in Arabic) says that its origin was Ayayah, as Akamah and Shajarah. But, the first Ya turned to be Alif, and thus, it carne to be Ayah. Al-Kisa'i (a contemporary of Sibawaih) says that it was Ayiyah, as Aminah, but it turned to be Ayah, and its plural is Ay or Ayat.

 

 

 As for Kalimah (standing for word), it is a single utterance. It might consist of two to ten letters. A single word might constitute a full Verse, such as "Wal-Fajr" (By the Dawn), "Wad-Duha" (By the glorious morning light of forenoon", or "Wal-Asr" (By (the Token of) Lime (through the Ages). But, Some religious scholars as Abu Amr Ad-Dani said: l've never known a single word constituting a full Verse except "Mudhammatan" (Dark green in colour (from plentiful watering). {Ar-Rahman 65-62}

 

Chapter: The grand imam Al-Qurtubi said: The commentators unanimously agree upon the fact that the Qur' an neither has any foreign (non-Arab) syntax, nor does it have any single foreign word, though it has such foreign names as Lut, Noah, Abraham and so on. But, they differ whether it has anything else derived from foreign languages. However, Al-Baqillani and At-Tabari reject this, and say that any foreign word in the Qur'an should belong to this kind of verbs, which happen to occur in more than one language.

 

SURAH  ONE: AL-FATIHAH (THE OPENING SURAH)

 

It is a Meccan Surah, although some say it is Medinian. But, it is said that it was sent down twice, one in Mecca and the other in Medina. But, the first opinion (that it is Meccan) is more correct. It consists of seven Verses. They differ about "In the Name of Allah", whether it is an independent Verse, according to those of Kufah, and some companions and early followers, or a part of a Verse, or not a Verse at all, according to the reciters and religious jurists of Medina; and we will talk about this in detail later, Allah willing, upon Whom we all rely.

 

Al-Bukhari says in the beginning of the book of the commentary on the Qur'an: It is called the Mother of the Book, because it is the first to be written in the Qur'an, as well as it is the first to be recited in the prayer. It is said that it is called as such because the whole meanings of the Holy Qur'an are implied in it.

 

Ibn Jarir says: The Arabs used to call every leading or pioneering thing, having consequences which he gathers or contains like the imam as Mother. For instance, they call the portion of the skin which contains the skull as the Mother of the Head. They also call the banner of the army, under which they gather as Mother.

 

 It is called also the Opening Surah (Al-Fatihah), for it is with it that the recitation of the Qur'an is opened. With it, the companions started writing the leading Mushaf.

 

 It is also called the Seven Repeatedly Recited Verses (Mathani), for it is recited in every rak'ah.

 

 It is narrated by imam Ahmad on the authority of Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." said concerning the Mother  of the Qur'an: "It is the Mother of the Qur'an, the seven Repeatedly Recited Verses (Mathani), and the Great Holy Qur'an."

 

It is narrated by Ahmad Ibn Mardawaih on the authority of Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." said: "(The Surah containing the Verse) "Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds" consists of seven Verses, and "In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful" is one of them. It is the seven Repeatedly Recited Verses (Mathani), the Great Holy Qur'an, the Mother and the Opening of the Book." (This is narrated through different chains of transmission.)

 

It is narrated by Al-Bihaqi that Ali, Ibn Abbas and Abu Hurairah interpreted Allah's saying: "And we have bestowed upon thee the seven oft repeated (verses) and the grand Qur'an" [Al-Hijr 87] as the Opening Surah of Al-Fatihah, and that "In the Name of Allah" is one of those seven Verses.

 

THE SUPERIORITY OF AL-FATIHAH

 

It is narrated by the grand imam Ahmad that Abu Sa'id Ibn Al-Mu'alla reported: While I was praying in the Mosque, Allah's Apostle "P.B.U.H." called me but I did not respond to him. When I finished the prayer, I came to him. He asked me: "What did prevent you from coming to me?" I replied: "O Allah's Apostle! I was praying." He said: "Didn't Allah say: "O ye who believe! Give your response to Allah and His Messenger, when He calleth you to that which will give you life; and know that Allah cometh in between a man and his heart, and that it is He to Whom ye shall (all) be gathered." {Al-Aanfal 24} He then said to me: "I will teach you a Surah which is the greatest Surah in the Qur'an, before you leave the Mosque." Then he got hold of my hand, and when he intended to leave (the Mosque), I said to him: "Didn't you say to me, 1 would teach you a Surah which is the greatest Surah in the Qur'an?" He said: "Yes. It is (the Surah containing the Verse) "Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds, which is known as the seven repeatedly recited Verses, and the Grand Holy Qur'an which has been given to me."

 

However, this Hadith is narrated by Al-Bukhari, An-Nisa'i, Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah. It is also narrated by Al-Waqidi on the authority of Abu Sa'id Ibn Al-Mu'alla, who transmitted it from Ubai Ibn Ka'b.

 

 In this issue, it is narrated by grand imam Malik in his Muwatta (The Well-Trodden Path) a similar Hadith on the authority of Malik from al-Ala Ibn Abd Ar-Rahman Ibn Ya'qub that Abu Sa'id, the freed slave of Amir Ibn Kurz told him that the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." called Ubai Ibn Ka'b while he was praying. When Ubai had finished his prayer he joined the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." and the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." put his hand upon his hand, and he was intending to leave by the door of the mosque. The Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." said: "I hope that you will not leave the mosque until you know a Surah whose like Allah has not sent down in the Torah nor in the Gospel nor in the Qur'an." Ubai said: I began to slow down my pace in expectation for that. Then I said: "O Messenger of Allah! The Surah you promised me!" He said: "What do you recite when you begin the prayer?" I recited the Opening Surah until I came to the end of it. Then, the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." said: "It is this Surah, which is the seven oft repeated Verses, and the Grand Holy Qur'an which I have been given."

 

 It is worthy mentioning here that Abu Sa'id referred to in this Hadith is not the same Abu Sa'id Ibn Al-Mu'alla mentioned in the previous Hadith, as Ibn Al-Athir thinks. Ibn Al-Mu'alla is one from amongst the companions, while this is one from the early followers. Moreover, the former Hadith has a continuous chain of transmitters, but the one of the latter seems to be broken, unless Abu Sa'id heard it from Ubai Ibn Ka'b.

 

On the other hand, it is narrated by the grand imam Ahmad on the authority of Abu Hurairah: Once, the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." went out while Ubai Ibn Ka'b was offering the prayer. He said: "O Ubai!" he turned to him, but with no response. Then, he resumed his prayer which he reduced. Then, he came to the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." and said: "Peace be upon you O Messenger of Allah!" the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." returned back the greeting. He asked: "What did prevent you from coming to me?" He replied: "O Allah's Apostle! I was praying." He said: "Do you not find in what Allah Almighty has revealed to me the following Verse: "O ye who believe! Give your response to Allah and His Messenger, when He calleth you to that which will give you life; and know that Allah cometh in between a man and his heart, and that it is He to Whom ye shall (all) be gathered"?" {Al-Aanfal 24} he said: "Yes O Messenger of Allah! Surely, I shall not do it once again."

 

The Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." said: "Do you like me to teach you a Surah whose like Allah has not sent down in the Torah, nor in the Psalter, nor in the Gospel, nor in the Qur'an ?" He replied in the affirmative. The Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." said: "I hope I will not leave the mosque until you know it." Ubai said: The Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." caught hold of my hand, and started talking with me, and I began to slow down my pace for fear of his leaving before finishing his talk. When we came near the door, I said: "O Messenger of Allah! What is the Surah you promised me?" He said: "What do you recite when you begin the prayer?" I recited to him the Mother of the Qur'an. Then, the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." said: "By Him, in Whose Hand is my life! It is this Surah, whose like Allah has not sent down neither in the Torah, nor in the Psalter, nor in the Gospel, nor in the Qur'an. It is the seven oft repeated Verses." The same is narrated by At-Tirmidhi, with the following end: "It is this Surah, which is the seven oft repeated Verses, and the Grand Holy Qur'an which I have been given." He describes it as a good correct Hadith.

 

It is narrated by both of At-Tirmidhi and An-Nisa'i on the authority of Abu Hurairah, who transmitted it from Ubai Ibn Ka'b: The Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." said: "Allah Almighty never sent down in the Qur'an nor in the Gospel the like of the Mother of the Qur'an. It is the seven oft repeatedly recited Verses. (Allah said) It is divided between Me and My slave." (The wording of the narration is mentioned by An-Nisa'i, and At-Tirmidhi who describes it as a good strange Hadith.)

 

It is narrated by the grand imam Ahmad on the authority of Ibn Jabir: I reached the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H.", while water was dropping from his head. I said to him: "Peace be upon you O Messenger of Allah!" but, he did not reply. I said to him once again: "Peace be upon you O Messenger of Allah!" but, he did not reply. I said to him for the third time: "Peace be upon you O Messenger of Allah!" but, he did not reply.

 

Then, the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." went walking, and I went behind him until he entered his chamber, and I entered the mosque. I sat down sad and grief. Then, the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." came out after getting himself clean, and said: "Peace be upon you" thrice. Then, he said to me: "Should I not tell you O Abdullah Ibn Jabir of the best Surah in the Holy Qur'an?" I said: "Yes, O Messenger of Allah!" the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." said: "Recite (the Surah beginning with) "Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds" until you finish it." (The chain of transmitters of this Hadith is good, and Abdullah Ibn Jabir Al-Ansari Al-Bayadi, or Al-Abdi, according to Ibn Al-Jawzi, is the famous companion of the Prophet "P.B.U.H.".)

However, such religious scholars as Ishaq Ibn Rahawaih, Abu Bakr Ibn Al-Arabi and Ibn Al-Qassar take from this Hadith a proof for the superiority of sole Surahs and Verses to others. But others go on opposing this by pretending that there is no superiority for anyone of the Surahs or Verses to the other, because all are Allah's Words, and also because this might result in a false understanding that the one over which the other is given preference is more inferior than it, though all are superior. This was transmitted by Al-Qurtubi from Al-Ash'ari, Al-Baqillani, Ibn Hibban, and Yahya Ibn Yahya. He also transmitted that from the grand imam Malik

 

It is narrated by Al-Bukhari: Abu Sa'id Al-Khudri reported: We were on a journey, when we dismounted at a place where a slave girl came and said: "The chief of this tribe has been stung by a scorpion and there is none of our men. Is there any of you who can treat him?" One of our men went along with her though we did not think that he knew any such treatment. But he treated the chief by reciting something, as a result of which the sick man recovered. Consequently, he gave him thirty sheep and gave us milk to drink (as a reward).

 

 Returned to us, our companion was asked: "Do you know how to treat with the recitation of something?" He said: "No, but I treated him just with the recitation of The Mother of The Book (Al-Fatihah)." We said: "Do say nothing (concerning it) till we reach or ask The Prophet "P.B.U.H.". When we arrived in Medina, we mentioned that to The Prophet who said: "How did he come to know that it (Al-Fatihah) could be used for treatment? Distribute (the sheep) and fix a share for me."

 

This Hadith is narrated by both Abu Dawud and Muslim, who said in one of his narrations that it was Abu Sa'id himself who treated the sick person by reciting the Surah of Al-Fatihah.

 

 It is narrated by Both of An-Nisa'i and Muslim on the authority of Ibn Abbas that while Gabriel was sitting with The Prophet "P.B.U.H.", he heard a creaking sound above hile. He raised his head and said: "This is a gate, opened in the heaven today which had never been opened before". Then an angel came down from it (that gate), whereupon he said: "This is an angel corning down to the earth, who had never come down before". He greeted and said: "Have the glad tidings of two lights granted to you, which had not been granted to any prophet before you: The Opening (Surah of Al-Fatihah) of The Book, and the concluding verses of the Surah of the Heifer "Al-Baqarah", from which you will never recite a letter except that you will be given (a reward) for it."

 

In this issue too, It is narrated by Muslim on the authority of Abu Hurairah that The Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." said: "He, who offered a prayer in which he did not recite The Mother of The Book "Al-Fatihah", then his prayer would be regarded as deficient and incomplete" (and he said it thrice). Abu Hurairah was asked: "We (offer the prayer while we) are behind the imam (how would we recite it?)" Abu Hurairah said: Recite it in yourself, for I heard The Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." saying: "Allah Almighty said: "I divided (Al-Fatihah recited in) the prayer into two parts between Me and My slave, and he would receive whatever he asked for"". If the slave said: "Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds", Allah Almighty would say: "My slave praised me". If he said: "Most Gracious, Most Merciful", Allah Almighty would say: "My slave commended Me". If he said: "The King (or Master) of The Day of Judgement", Allah Almighty would say: "My slave glorified Me" or: "My slave entrusted to me (his matter)". If he said: "Thy we worship and Thine Aid we seek", Allah Almighty would say: "This is something between Me and My slave, and he would have whatever he asked for". If he said: "The way of those on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy Grace, not those whose (portion) is wrath, nor those who go astray", Allah Almighty would say: "This is for My slave, and he would get whatever he asked for"".

 

However, there are some points, which we are going to discuss here concerning this Hadith. The word "prayer" is mentioned here in the absolute meaning, though the meaning which is aimed at is the recitation, such as in Allah's saying: "Neither speak thy (recitations in the) prayer aloud, nor speak it in a low tone, but seek a middle course between." {Al-Isra 110} this is confirmed in a Hadith narrated on the authority of Ibn Abbas. In this way, the following sentence from the Hadith should be understood: "I divided (the recitation of Al-Fatihah recited in) the prayer into two parts between Me and My slave, and he would receive whatever he asked for."

 

On the other hand, this shows the significance of this division in reciting the Opening Surah; and this is a proof of the great importance of recitation in the prayer, since it is one of its main comers, particularly if worship is mentioned here, in the meaning of one of its main portions, i.e. the recitation, in the same way as the word of recitation is mentioned carrying the meaning of prayer, according to Allah's saying: "and the morning prayer and reading: for the prayer and reading in the morning carry their testimony." No doubt, He means the Dawn prayer, as shown clearly in the two Sahihs, which is attended by the angels of both night and day.

 

It is evident from all of this that the recitation of the Qur'an in the prayer is obligatory; and this is a matter, on which the religious scholars are unanimous. But, they are different as to whether it is obligatory to recite in the prayer the Opening Surah of the Book, and whether it or anything else is sufficient for making the prayer valid. There are two famous opinions concerning this matter.

 

The first opinion is that according to Abu Hanifah and his followers, it is not obligatory to recite Al-Fatihah itself in the prayer, but, whatever one recites from the Qur'an would be too sufficient for him to make his prayer valid. They depend upon the meaning of Allah's saying: "read ye, therefore, of the Qur'an as much as may be easy for you." {Al-Muzzammil 20}

 

They also rely on the correct Hadith narrated on the authority of Abu Hurairah, concerning the one who was not able to offer the prayer well, to whom the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." said: "If you get up for the prayer, magnify Allah and then recite whatever you've from the Holy Qur'an." In this way, he ordered him to read what was easy to him to retain, and he did not assign to him Al-Fatihah or anyone else; and this is a good proof for what they say.

 

The other opinion is that it is necessary to recite Al-Fatihah in the prayer, without which it would become invalid. This is the opinion of all the remaining imams such as Ash-Shafi'i, Malik and Ahmad Ibn Hanbal. They depend upon the Hadith, in which The Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." said: "He, who offered a prayer in which he did not recite The Mother of The Book "Al-Fatihah", then his prayer would be regarded as deficient and incomplete." They also rely upon the Hadith of Ubadah Ibn As-Samit, in which the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." said:, "Unless one recites the Opening of the Book in the prayer, his prayer would rot be valid."

 

It is narrated in the Musnads of both Ibn Khuzaimah and Ibn Hibban on the authority of Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." said: "The prayer of anyone of you would rot be valid unless the Mother of the Qur'an is recited in it." However, there are a lot of traditions concerning this matter.

 

Furthermore, Ash-Shafi'i and many religious scholars say that it should be recited in every rak'ah, while others say that it should be recited in most rak'ahs. Al-Hasan and most religious scholars of Basra say that it should be recited at least in one rak'ah in the prayer, depending upon the absolute meaning of the Hadith: "The prayer of anyone who does rot recite the Opening Surah of the Book would be invalid."

 

Abu Hanifah and some of his followers in addition to Ath-Thawri and Al-Awza'i say that it is rot necessary to recite it in the prayer, and if one recites anyone else, this would be sufficient for him, depending upon Allah's saying: "read ye, therefore, of the Qur'an as much as may be easy for you"  {Al-Muzzammil 20} ; and Allah knows better.

 

It is narrated by Ibn Majah on the authority of Abu Sa'id, who traced it to the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H.": "The prayer of anyone, be obligatory or supererogatory, should be invalid unless he recites in it (the Surah containing) "Praise be to Allah", in addition to another Surah." (However, there is some doubt as to the validity of this Hadith.)

 

The third point we should mention here is: Is it obligatory for the one who prays behind the imam to recite the Opening Surah of the Book? There are three different opinions concerning this matter :

 

The first is that it is obligatory for him to recite it, the same as it is for the imam, depending upon the Prophetic traditions mentioned above.

 

 The second is that it is rot necessary for him to recite at all, either Al-Fatihah or anyone else, loud or secret the prayer might be, depending upon the narration of the grand imam Ahmad on the authority of Jabir, that the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." said: "Whoever offered the prayer behind an imam, then, the recitation of the imam is sufficient for him." But, the chain of transmitters of this Hadith has some weakness. It is narrated also by Malik. But although it is narrated through many chairs of transmitters, attributing it to the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." seems to be incorrect, and Allah Almighty knows better.

 

The third opinion is that it is obligatory for him to recite in the case of the secret prayer, and it is not necessary for him to recite in case of performing a loud prayer, depending upon the narration of Muslim in his Sahih on the authority of Abu Musa Al-Ash'ari that the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." said: "Indeed, the imam is made just to be followed (by those praying behind him). If he magnified Allah, you should magnify Allah after him, and if he recited (Qur'an), you should keep silent (and pay attention to him)."

 

The same is narrated by Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nisa'i and Ibn Majah but on the authority of Abu Hurairah that the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." said: "and if he recited (Qur'an), you should keep silent (and pay attention to him)." Both two traditions indicate to the validity of this opinion, which emerged from an early time at the hands of Ash-Shafi'i, as well as it was transmitted from the grand imam Ahmad.

 

 It is narrated by Al-Hafiz Abu Bakr Al-Bazzar on the authority of Anas that the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." said: "If you went to bed and Iay your side, then recited the Opening Surah of the Book, in addition to the Surah of "Say: He is Allah, the One and Only", you would be saved from any (kind of evil) except for death."

THE EXPLANATION OF IT

Seeking Refuge (With Allah From Evil)

 

Allah Almighty says: "Hold to forgiveness; command what is right; but turn away from the ignorant. If a suggestion from Satan Assail thy (mind), seek refuge with Allah; for He heareth and knoweth (ail things)."

{Al-A'raf 199-200} He also says: "Repel evil with that which is best: We are well acquainted with the things they say. And say O my Lord! I seek refuge with Thee from the suggestions of the Evil Ones. And I seek refuge with Thee O my Lord, lest they should come near me." {Al-Mu'minun 96-98}

 

He Almighty further says: "Nor can Goodness and Evil be equal. Repel (Evil) with what is better: then will he between whom and thee was hatred become as it were thy friend and intimate! And no one will be granted such goodness except those who exercise patience and self restraint, none but persons of the greatest good fortune. And if (at any time) an inciterent to discord is made to thee by the Evil One, seek refuge with Allah. He is the One Who hears and knows all things. {Fussilat 34 - 36}

 

Those are three quotations, and there is no further one in their meaning, i.e. that Allah Almighty orders one to do good, and deal generously with his  enemy amongst men, so that he might rebel his evil with what is better, and bring him back with the help of his good nature to friendship and sincerity.

 

On the contrary, He Almighty orders one to seek refuge with Him from his enemy amongst Satans, who would not accept any kind of generosity or sincerity. Indeed, he has but one purpose, i.e. to destroy the mankind, in view of the severe enmity between him and Adam from very early time, as shown by Allah when He says: "O ye Chiidren of Adam! Let not Satan seduce you, in the same manner as he got your parents out of the Garden, stripping them of their raiment, to expose their shame: for he and his tribe watch you from a position where ye cannot see them: We made the Evil Ones friends (only) to those without Faith." {Al-A'raf 27}

 

He further says: "Verily Satan is an enemy to you: so treat him as an enemy. He only invites his adherents, that they may become companions of the Blazing Fire." {Fatir 6} He says on another occasion: "Will ye than take him and his progeny as protectors rather than me? And they are enemies to you: evil would be the exchange for the wrongdoers." {Al-Kahf 50}

 

Earlier, Satan had taken oath before Adam, the father of mankind, that he was sincere to him, but he proved to be liar. Then, since he did so, how would he deal with us, and it is he who said (as in Allah's Book): "Then, by Thy Power, I will put them all in the wrong, Except Thy Servants amongst them, sincere and purified (by Thy Grace)." {Sad 71-85}

 

Allah Almighty says also: "When thou dost read the Qur'an, seek Allah's protection from Satan the rejected one. No authority has he over those who believe and put their trust in their Lord." {An-Nahl 98-99}

 

It is a well-known fact admitted by the religious scholars that seeking refuge with Allah from the evil whispers (of Satan) should be before the recitation. Thus, the meaning of the Verse: "When thou dost read the Qur'an, seek Allah's protection from Satan the rejected one" is that if you get ready for recitation (of Qur'an), the same as what is meant by His saying: "O Ye who believe! When ye prepare for prayer, wash your faces, and your hands (and anus) to the elbows; rub your heads (with water); and (wash) your feet to the ankles"  {Al-Ma'idah 6} i.e. if you intend to do so.

 

However, there are many traditions in confirmation to that. For instance, it is narrated by the grand imam Ahmad on the authority of Abu Sa'id Al-Khudri that the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." said: "If anyone got up at night, and started his prayers and said Takbir, he should say: "Glory be to You O Lord, with Your Praises I glorify You! Blessed be Your name and Exalted be Your Power; and there is no god other than You!" he then would say: "There is no god but Allah" thrice. Then, he would say: "I seek refuge with Allah, Who hears and knows everything from Satan, the rejected one, from his evil whispers, haughtiness and knots!" (This Hadith is narrated by the four men of Sunan, and At-Tirmidhi says that it is the most renowned one in this respect.)

It is narrated by Both of Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah on the authority of Jubair Ibn Mut'im: I saw that when the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." entered into the prayer, he said: "Allah is Magnificent so great" thrice, "Praise be to Allah so much" thrice, "Glory be to Allah in the morning as well as in the evening" thrice, and "O Allah! I seek refuge with You from Satan, the rejected one, from his evil whispers, haughtiness and knots!"

 

It is narrated by Ibn Majah on the authority of Ibn Mas'ud that the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." said: "O Allah! I seek refuge with You from Satan, the rejected one, from his evil whispers, haughtiness and knots!" It is narrated by Al-Hafiz Abu Ya'li Al-Mawsili on the authority of Ubai Ibn Ka'b that once, two persons quarreled in the presence of the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H.", and one of them became so much angry that his nose seemed as if it were to cut to pieces. Upon this, the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." said: "No doubt, I know something, if he uttered it, his anger would go away from him. It is: "I seek refuge with Allah from Satan, the rejected one!" (It was also narrated by An-Nisa'i.)

 

It is narrated by Abu Dawud, grand imam Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nisa'i on the authority of Mu'adh Ibn Jabal: Two persons quarreled and abused each other in the presence of the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H.", and one of them became so much angry that I thought his nose were to cut to pieces because of his severe anger. Upon this, the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." said: "No doubt, I know something, if he uttered it, his anger would go away from him." I asked: "What is it O Messenger of Allah?" he said: "Let him say: "I seek refuge with Allah from Satan, the rejected one!' Mu'adh advised him to do so, but the man rejected, and grew angrier. (At-Tirmidhi says that this Hadith is Mursal, i.e. since Mu'adh died before the twentieth year of Hegira, Abd Ar-Rahman Ibn Abu Laila did not meet him, and consequently, did not hear it from him directly.)

 

But, perhaps Abd Ar-Rahman Ibn Abu Laila heard it from Ubai Ibn Ka'b, who conveyed it on behalf of Mu'adh Ibn Jabal, for this story implied in the Hadith is famous, and more than one from among the companions attended it. For example, It is narrated by Al-Bukhari on the authority of Sulaiman Ibn Surd: While I was Sitting in the company of The Prophet "P.B.U.H.", two men abused each other with the result that the face of one of them became red with anger, and his jugular veins swelled. On that The Prophet "P.B.U.H." said: "I know a word, the saying of which will cause him to relax, if he does say it. If he says: "I seek Refuge with Allah from Satan, the rejected one" then all is anger will go away." Some body said to him: "Would you not hear what The Prophet "P.B.U.H." has said?" The angry man said: "Am I mad?" (This Hadith is narrated also by Muslim, Abu Dawud and An-Nisa'i.)

 

Chapter: The meaning of "I seek refuge with Allah from Satan, the rejected one": I take shelter to the Power of Allah Almighty from Satan, lest he might harm me in my religion and life, or prevent me from doing what I have been ordered to do, or encourage me to do what I have been forbidden to do. Indeed, Satan could not be kept off from harming mankind except by virtue of Allah.

 

For this reason, Allah Almighty orders us to treat generously the evil men by doing favour to them, so that their original disposition might repel them from doing harm. On the contrary, He Almighty orders that one should seek refuge with Him from Satan, for he never accepts any kind of generosity, nor is he influenced by any sort of favour. That's because he is evil in nature, and none but the One Who created him could stop him (from doing harm). However, this meaning is implied in three Verses from the Holy Qur'an, and no one else could have the some as they have.

 

The word Shaitan in Arabic (Satan in Eng hish) is derived from the root Shatana, meaning to become extremely far-off. Thus, Satan is far-flung, in nature, from the good disposition of mankind, as well as it is faraway, with his wickedness, from any kind of goodness.

 

Some say that it is derived from the word Shatin, which indicate to the fact that it is created from fire. However, both two are right in meaning, though the first is more correct, as confirmed by the speech of Arabs. Sibawaih says that the Arabs used to say: So and so Tashaitana: His acts became as wicked and evil as those of Satan. Had it been derived from Shata (to burn), the appropriate verb for describing this case should have been Tashayyata, and not Tashaitana.

 

To be sure, the word Shaitan (Satan) then is indicative of evil wickedness and deviation (from the right disposition and true nature). For this reason, they used to call every rebellious man, jinn or animal as Shaitan (Evil­wicked one). In this context, Allah Almighty says: "Likewise did we make for every Messenger an enemy-evil wicked ones among men and Jinns, inspiring each other with flowery discourses by way of deception. If thy Lord had so planned, they would not have done it: so leave them and their inventions alone." {Al-An'am 112}

 

It is narrated by grand imam Ahmad on the authority of Abu Dharr that the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." said: "O Abu Dharr! Seek refuge with Allah from the Satans (evil-wicked ones) from amongst men and jinn." I asked him: "Do men have Satans?" he replied in the affirmative.

 

It is narrated by Muslim on the authority of Abu Dharr that The Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." Said: "One's prayer would be interrupted by (the passage of) an ass, a woman, and a black dog". I asked: "O Messenger of Allah! What does distinguish the black dog from the red dog and the yellow dog"? The Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." Said: "The black dog is (likely equal to) a Satan"."

 

It is narrated by At-Tabari that once, Umar Ibn Al-Khattab rode a hackney, which started to swagger with him. The more he struck it, the more it strutted. Then, he dismounted and said: "No doubt, you made me ride none but a Satan. As soon as I had dismounted from it, myself rejected it." (The chain of transmitters of this Hadith is correct.)

 

 The word Rajim (rejected one) is a passive participle, meaning it is rejected, driven away from all kinds of goodness, as shown in Allah's saying: "And We have, (of old), adorned the lowest heaven with Lamps, and We have made such (Lamps) (as) missiles to drive away Satans, and have prepared for them the Penalty of the Blazing Fire." {Al-Mulk 5}

 

He Almighty says too: "We have indeed decked the lower heaven with beauty in the stars, (For beauty) and for guard against all obstinate rebellious Satans (evil spirits), (So) they should not strain their ears in the direction of the Exalted Assembly but be cast away from every side: Repulsed, for they are under a perpetual penalty, Except such as snatch away something by stealth, and they are pursued by a flaming fire, of piercing brightness." {As-Saffat 6 -10}

 

He further says: "It is we who have set out the Zodiacal Signs in the heavens, and made them fair seeming to (all) beholders; And (moreover) we have guarded them from every Satan (evil spirit) accursed: But anyone that gains a hearing by stealth, is pursued by a flaming fire, bright (to see)." {Al-Hijr 16-18} there are more other Verses in this meaning.

 

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ {1}

 

{1} - In the na;e of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

 

The companions started with it the Book of Allah, and the religious scholars agree that it is a part of a Verse in the Surah of An-Nainl. But, they differ whether it is an independent Verse in the beginning of any Surah, or an essential part of any Surah, in the beginning of which it is written, or a part of a Verse at the beginning of every Surah, or it is so only in the Opening Surah of Al-Fatihah, or it is written just for defining the end of a Surah (and beginning of another). Abu Dawud narrated on the authority of Ibn Abbas that the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." was not to know that a certain Surah had come to end until there would be sent down to him: "In the narre of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful."

 

According to Sahih Ibn Khuzaimah, It is narrated on the authority of Umm Salamah that the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." read "In the narre of Allah" in the beginning of Al-Fatihah during the prayer, considering it as a Verse. (It is narrated also through different chain of transmitters.) From amongst the companions who regard it as an independent Verse in every Surah except for Bara'ah, a mention might be made here of Ibn Abbas, Ibn Umar, Ibn Az-Zubair, Abu Hurairah and Ali, and from the early followers, a mention might be made of Ata, Tawus, Sa'id Ibn Jubair, Makhul and Az-Zuhri. Furthermore, this opinion is adopted by Abdullah Ibn Al-Mubarak, Ash-Shafi'i, Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Ishaq Ibn Rahawaih, and Abu Ubaid: Al-Qasim Ibn Salam.

 

Both of Malik and Abu Hanifah with their followers say that it is not a Verse of Al-Fatihah or any other Surah. Dawud said that though it is an independent Verse in the beginning of every Surah, it is not an essential part of it. This is related to whether it is an essential part of Al-Fatihah or not. But, as for the matter of speaking it loud, it is resulting from it, i.e. whoever thinks it is not an essential part or Verse of Al-Fatihah, does not speak it loud, and as for the opinion of its being an essential part or Verse of every Surah, they differ about this matter:

 

Ash-Shafi'i, with a group of the companions and early followers say that it should be spoken loud in the beginning of Al-Fatihah as well as of every Surah. From among the companions who spoke it loud, a mention might be made of Abu Hurairah, Ibn Umar, Ibn Abbas and Mu'awiyah, and from among the followers, it was transmitted from Sa'id Ibn Jubair, Ikrimah, Abu Qilabah, Az-Zuhri, Sa'id Ibn Al-Musayyab, Ata, Tawus, Mujahid, Umar Ibn Abd Al-Aziz, and others

 

It is narrated by both of Dawud and At-Tirmidhi on the authority of Ibn Abbas that the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." used to start (the recitation in) the prayer with "In thenameof Allah, Most Gracious, and Most Merciful." Although At-Tirmidhi did not consider its chain of transmitters as good, It is narrated by Al-Hakim in Al-Mustadrak on the authority of Ibn Abbas that the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." used to speak loud "In thenameof Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful." He regarded its chain of transmitters as correct.

 

In this connection, It is narrated by Al-Bukhari that Anas was asked: "How did The Prophet "P.B.U.H." use to recite The Holy Qur'an?" He replied: " He used to prolong certain sounds." He then recited: "In thenameof Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful", prolonging the pronunciation of "In thenameof Allah", "Most gracious", and "Most Merciful."

 

It is narrated by Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Al-Hakim and Ibn Khuzaimah on the authority of Umm Salamah that the Messenger of Allah "P.B.U.H." used to recite loudly "In thenameof Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, The Cherisher and Sustainer of the Worids; Most Gracious, Most Merciful; King (and Master) of the Day of Judgment."

 

It is narrated by both of Ash-Shafi'i and Al-Hakim in his Mustadrak on the authority of Anas that once, Mu'awiyah offered the prayer in Medina, and left (reciting loudly) "In thenameof Allah". But, the Emigrants who were present there criticized him for that. So, when he performed the prayer once again, he recited loudly "In the name of Allah".

 

All of those traditions and news are sufficient to confirai this opinion. But, there is another opinion, that "In thenameof Allah" should not be recited loudly in the prayer. This is adopted by the four successors, in addition to Abdullah Ibn Mughaffal, and a group of earlier and later followers. It is the opinion of Abu Hanifah, Ath-Thawri and Ahmad Ibn Hanbal. As for the grand imam Malik it should not be recited at


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