Saturday, March 31, 2012

Tafseer: {Illiterates who know not the Book}

بـسـم الله والحـمـد لله والـصلاة والـسـلام عــلى رسـول الله، وبـعـد

Verily there is no doubt about the statement of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم when he said:

 “You will follow the ways of those nations who were before you, span by span and cubit by cubit (i.e., inch by inch) so much so that even if they entered a hole of a mastigure (desert lizard), you would follow them.” The companions asked: “O Allaah’s Apostle! (Do you mean) the Jews and the Christians?” He صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “Whom else?” [Saheeh al-Bukhaaree (3456, 7320) and Saheeh Muslim (2671) on the authority of Abu Sa`eed al-Khudree رضي الله عنه]

Minimum of seventeen times a day we are reminded and commanded to ask Allaah’s guidance and protection from following the footsteps of the Jews and the Christians, when we say:

{You (Alone) we worship (O Allaah), and You (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything). Guide us to the Straight Way The Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your Anger (the Jews), nor of those who went astray (the Christians).} [Surah al-Faatihah (1) 5-7]

Allaah’s protection is sought, for we see amongst us those who imitate the Kuffaar - and especially the Jews and the Christians, about whom we were warned again and again – in nearly all the aspects of their lives.

The people of the Book were tried and tested with certain things and they failed. And among us are those who, instead of taking a lesson from their failure, are imitating them even in their failure – inch by inch – as the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم had said.

One of the many traits of the people of the Book seen among some of the Muslims is the way that some of them interpret the Book of Allaah.

One of the reasons for the failure of the people of the Book was that they used not to take guidance from the Book of Allaah; neither learning its recitation nor its rulings; and instead relied on their wishful thinking and desires, and they would interpret the Book as they liked.

Similarly, we see around us those who interpret the Qur’aan only because they know `Arabic. Or worse still are those who do not know `Arabic and still interpret it, relying on a translation which they got hold of. Or you see them doing an online course, and addressing themselves as scholars. Or you see those who haven’t even memorized 20 or so Ahaadeeth in `Arabic, but addressing the Muslims in their Jumu`ah Khutbah or other gatherings.

This gave rise to the thought that people can interpret the Qur’aan as and when they like. So you see them (some are even clean shaved) giving Khutbah and other lectures in which it is said:

1. Aadam evolved from a monkey.
2. Hoor are male and female.
3. Take what is in the Qur’aan only – thus leaving off the Sunnah.
4. Trying to prove shirk (grave worship) from the Qur’aan.

And this is a great fitnah, about which the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم warned:

Abu Hurairah رضي الله عنه narrated that the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “There will come to the people years of treachery, when the liar will be regarded as honest, and the honest man will be regarded as a liar; the traitor will be regarded as faithful, and the faithful man will be regarded as a traitor; and the Ruwaibidhah will decide matters.” It was said 'Who are the Ruwaibidhah?' He صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “Vile and base men who will speak in the affairs of the people.” [Sunan Ibn Maajah (4036). Shaikh al-Albaanee graded it as “Hasan li shawaahidihee” (Good due to other supporting chains) in “al-Saheehah” (1887). Shaikh Muqbil also graded it as “Hasan li ghairihee” in “Saheeh Dalaail al-Nubuwwah” (568)]

So we see among us the Ruwaibidhah who interpret the Qur’aan like how the people of Book interpret their book.

Allaah نعالى said:

﴿وَمِنْهُمْ أُمِّيُّونَ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ الْكِتَـبَ إِلاَّ أَمَانِىَّ وَإِنْ هُمْ إِلاَّ يَظُنُّونَ﴾
{And there are among them illiterates who know not the Book but (see therein their own) desires and they do nothing but conjecture} [Surah al-Baqarah (2):78]

Shaikh Al-Sa`dee رحمه الله said in his Tafseer:

{Among them} means: the people of the Book.

{Ummiyyoon} means: people who are not learned.

{who know not the Book but (see therein their own) desires} means: they have nothing with them from the Book of Allaah except its recitation only. And they do not have any information (knowledge) that was with those before them, who knew the true reality of their situation. As for these (people), they only have conjectures and blind following of the learned ones among them.

In these verses, their scholars, and the general mass - the hypocrites among them, and those who are not hypocrites among them - all are mentioned. The scholars among them hold on to the falsehood which they are (already) upon, and the general mass blindly follows them. They have no sure knowledge, so there is no benefit for you in both the groups.
--end of quote.

Al-Shinqetee رحمه الله said in Adwaa al-Bayaan:

The saying of the Allaah تعالى:

{and there are among them unlettered people, who know not the Book but trust their false desires (Amaaniyya)}

The scholars differed about the meaning of Amaaniy falling into two opinions:

First: That the meaning of amniyyah is reading; meaning that they did not know anything of the Book except for the mere recitation of its words but without any understanding of its meanings. But this opinion bears no relation to His تعالى saying: {and there are among them unlettered people} because the unlettered one cannot read.

Second: That the exception has been left incomplete, and the meaning is that they do not know the Book, but they put their hopes in false desires. This is opinion is proven by His sayings,

{And they say: ‘none shall enter Paradise unless he be a Jew or a Christian.’ These are their own vain desires (Amaaniyyuhum)} [Surah al-Baqarah (2):111]

{It will not be in accordance with your (Muslims) desires (Amaaniyyukum) and neither the desires (Amaaniy) of the People of the Book. Whosoever works evil, will have the recompense thereof, and he will not find any protector or helper besides Allaah.} [Surah al-Nisaa (4):123]
--end of quote.

Imaam Ibn al-Katheer رحمه الله said:

Allaah تعالى said:
{وَمِنْهُمْ أُمِّيُّونَ}
{And there are among them Ummiyyoon people} meaning: among the People of the Book (the Jews & the Christians), as Mujaahid stated.

Ummiyyoon, is plural for Ummi, that is, a person who cannot write, as Abu Al-`Aaliyah, Al-Rabee`, Qataadah, Ibraaheem An-Nakha`i and others said.

This meaning is clarified by Allaah’s statement:

{لا يَعْلَمُونَ الْكِتَابَ}
{Who know not the Book} meaning: they are not aware of what is in it.

Ummi was one of the descriptions of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم because he was unlettered. For instance, Allaah تعالى said:

{ وَمَا كُنْتَ تَتْلُو مِنْ قَبْلِهِ مِنْ كِتَابٍ وَلا تَخُطُّهُ بِيَمِينِكَ إِذًا لارْتَابَ الْمُبْطِلُونَ} [العنكبوت: 48]
{Neither did you (O Muhammad) read any book before it (this Qur’aan) nor did you write any book (whatsoever) with your right hand. In that case, indeed, the followers of falsehood might have doubted} [Surah al-`Ankaboot (29):48].

Also, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said:

“We are an Ummi (illiterate) nation, we neither write nor do we know calculations. The (lunar) month is like this and this.” (i.e. sometimes thirty days and sometimes twenty-nine days). [Saheeh al-Bukhaaree (1913) and Saheeh Muslim (1081) on the authority of Ibn `Umar رضي الله عنهما]

This Hadeeth stated that Muslims do not need to rely on books, or calculations to decide the timings of their acts of worship.

Allaah تعالى also said:
{هُوَ الَّذِي بَعَثَ فِي الأُمِّيِّينَ رَسُولا مِنْهُمْ} [الجمعة: 2]

{He it is Who sent among the Ummiyyeen (illiterate ones) a Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) from among themselves} [Surah al-Jumu`ah (62):2]

Ibn Jareer said: “The `Arabs used to compare the one who did not know writing from among the men to the one who (is only known by his) mother without (the name of) the father because of his ignorance about writing.”

He (Ibn Jareer) said: “And it has been reported from Ibn `Abbaas رضي الله عنهما that which opposes this.”

This is what Abu Kuraib informed us from `Uthmaan bin Sa`eed, from Bashr bin `Ammarah, from Abu Raoq, from al-Dhahhaak that Ibn `Abbaas said about the aayah:

{وَمِنْهُمْ أُمِّيُّونَ}
{And there are among them Ummiyyoon people} he (Ibn `Abbaas) said: “The Ummiyyoon are the people who do not believe in the Messenger sent to them by Allaah, nor the Book which Allaah has revealed, and they write the book with their hands, and then they say to the ignorant: {this is from Allaah}. And he said: “They used to write with their hands, but were still labeled as Ummiyeen, because of their opposing the Books of Allaah and His Messengers.”

Ibn Jareer then said: “This interpretation is in opposition to what is understood in the language of the `Arabs which common among them. This is because, among the `Arabs, the Ummi is person who does not know (reading and) writing.”

I (Ibn Katheer) say: “There is doubt about the authenticity of this statement from Ibn `Abbaas with this chain.”

Al-Dhahhaak said that Ibn `Abbas said that Allaah’s statement:

{إِلا أَمَانِيَّ}
{But they trust upon Amaaniy} means: “It is just a false statement that they utter with their tongues.”

And Mujaahid said: “It means lies.”

Mujaahid commented on:
{وَمِنْهُمْ أُمِّيُّونَ لا يَعْلَمُونَ الْكِتَابَ إِلا أَمَانِيَّ}
“Some people from the Jews who did not know a thing from the Book, and they used to speak on the basis of their conjectures and that which was not in the Book, and they used to say: ‘It is from the Book’, according to their wishful desires.”

The same was reported from al-Hasan.

Abu `Aaliyah, al-Rabee`ah, and Qataadah said:

{إِلا أَمَانِيَّ}
{But they trust upon Amaaniy} means: “they put their hopes in Allaah (for their false desires), for which they had no rights.”

Mujaahid said: “Allaah described the Ummiyyeen as those who do not understand anything from the Book - that Allaah sent down to Musa - yet they create lies and falsehood.” Therefore, the word Amaani mentioned here refers to lying and falsehood.

Ibn `Abbaas said:
{لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ الْكِتَـبَ إِلاَّ أَمَانِىَّ وَإِنْ هُمْ إِلاَّ يَظُنُّونَ}
{who know not the Book but (see therein their own) desires and they do nothing but conjecture} means: “they do not know what is in (their) Book, and they oppose your Prophethood (O Muhammad) upon conjecture.”

Mujaahid said that Allaah's statement: {And they but guess} means: “They lie.”

Qataadah, Abu al-`Aaliyah and al-Rabee` said that it means: “They have evil false ideas about Allaah.”
--end of quote.

Al-Baghawee رحمه الله said in his Tafseer:

And the saying of Allaah تعالى:
{وَمِنْهُمْ أُمِّيُّونَ}
{And there are among them Ummiyyoon people} means: among the Jews are those illiterates who neither preserved the recitation or the writing (of the Book).

Abu `Ubaidah said: “(they knew nothing) except its recitation and reading from the memory, and they could not read it from the Book.”

And it is said: “They had memorized it and knew its recitation but did not know its meaning.”

And Ibn `Abbaas said: “They did not meaning of (what was written in) the Book.”

Mujaahid and Qataadah said: “except lies and falsehood.”

Al-Faraa’ said: al-Amaaniy means fabricated statements.”

`Uthmaan رضي الله عنه said:
ما تمنيت منذ أسلمت
“I never lied (tamannait) since the day I embraced Islaam” [This narration is Dha`eef, Ibn Maajah (311)]

And by this, it means the things which their learned men wrote from among themselves and then attributed to Allaah the changes they made about the description of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and others (which was found in their Book).

Al-Hasan and Abu al-`Aaliyah said: “It is their wishful hopes, and it is their false hopes which they hope to receive from Allaah like their saying:

{And they say: “None shall enter Paradise unless he be a Jew or a Christian.” These are their own desires.} [Surah al-Baqarah (2):111]

And their saying:

{And they (Jews) say: “The Fire (i.e. Hell-fire on the Day of Resurrection) shall not touch us but for a few numbered days} [Surah al-Baqarah (2):80]

And also their saying:

{And (both) the Jews and the Christians say: “We are the children of Allaah and His loved ones.”} [Surah al-Maaidah (5):18]

So it means: they do not know what is in the Book, but wish for things which was not meant for them. And they don’t do anything except guesses and imaginations away from the reality.

Qataadah, al-Rabee`ah and Mujaahid said: “They lie.”
--end of quote.

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