All praise and thanks is exclusively for Allah, and then my parents, for they helped me memorize the entire Qur’an by the age of 9. This should have been the biggest sources of happiness for me. However, one of the biggest distresses for me was how to retain it, having no understanding of it. After learning Arabic, the greatest joy in my life is the Qur’an.
One of the greatest tragedies to have befallen the ummah is our distance with the Quran. The main reason for this is because of our lack of understanding of Arabic, and for those that know Arabic, it is due to a lack of appreciation of grammar (Nahu), morphology (Sarf), and rhetoric (balagha). The end result is an overemphasis on listening to the Qur’an, memorizing the Qur’an, teaching the Qur’an, and almost no emphasis on understanding the Qur’an.
But why was the Qur’an revealed?
كتاب أنزلناه إليك مبارك ليدبروا آياته وليتذكر أولو الألباب
[This is] a blessed Book which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], that they might reflect upon its verses and that those of understanding would be reminded. [38:29]
How does Qur’an view those that amass knowledge (in our case simply memorize and have no zeal for understanding or implementation)?
مَثَلُ الَّذِينَ حُمِّلُوا التَّوْرَاةَ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَحْمِلُوهَا كَمَثَلِ الْحِمَارِ يَحْمِلُ أَسْفَارًا ۚ بِئْسَ مَثَلُ الْقَوْمِ الَّذِينَ كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ ۚ وَاللَّهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ
The example of those who were entrusted with the Torah and then did not take it on is like that of a donkey who carries volumes [of books]. Wretched is the example of the people who deny the signs of Allah . And Allah does not guide the wrongdoing people.[62:5]
Even if a donkey is loaded with encyclopaedias, what benefit is it if he cannot understand them. Additionally, Allah began the ayah with a specific people — mentioned the Torah –and then made it general by saying the example of the people. Hence, no one is safe from falling into the same trap.
What does Prophet SAW encourage us to do?
Abdullah bin Buraydah narrated from his father, “I was sitting with the Prophet SAW and I heard him say, ‘Learn Surah al-Baqara, because in learning it there is blessing, in ignoring it there is sorrow and the sorceress cannot memorize it’.” [ibn Majah]
Prophet SAW did not use the word memorize, rather learn, an action that requires a lot of effort, and is far more beneficial than blind memorization.
Prophet SAW describes the qualities of the Khawarij as the following, “this man and his companions would recite the Qur’an but it would not go beyond their throat, and they swerve from it just as the arrow goes through the prey. [Muslim]
How did Sahaba interact with the Qur’an?
The Sahaabah would not go beyond ten ayats until they had learnt them, understood the knowledge therein, and how to act upon it. It took Ibn Umar RA eight years to memorize Surah Baqarah, and at the end he sacrified a goat (i.e. gave a party).
How true and scary is this statement of Umar RA?
Umar RA said, “We were the beginning [the heads] of this Ummah, and perhaps a man from the best of the Companions of Allah’s Messenger and the most righteous amongst them could maintain only one chapter of the Qur’an or there abouts. For the Qur’an was weighty upon them, and they were given knowledge of it or action based on it. But the last of this Ummah will find the Qur’an light [and easy] – the child and the non-Arab will recite it, without possessing any knowledge about it.”
My motivation for starting this blog is first and foremost to help myself remember some of the deep points of tafseer, then my family, and my friends
Insh’Allah, almost every day — in Ramadan — I will post my notes from Tafseer, starting from Fatiha and continuing into Baqarah.
The material on this website comes from:
- Tafseer of Brother Nouman Ali Khan; available here.
- Tafseer of Mufti Muhammad Saeed Khan; available here.
- Tafseer of Dr. Muhammad Abdullah Al-Rbiyeh (محمد الربيعة); available here.
- Tafseer As-Sadei (تفسير السعدي).
- For detail discussions on particular aspects I will be referring to
- The original ibn Kathir in Arabic.
- Jalalyine by Imam Suti.
- Ibn Anshoor.
- Insh’Allah at times, I will also refer to other tafasirs as needed.
- The following grammar books:
- I will add names of respectable scholars as they are required; the point mentioned is not obvious and relies on appeal to authority. Adding references in every bullet point, will take away from the intended goal of this blog.