In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Tafseer Surah Aal-Imran Ayah 7 [Part 2]
“And no one knows its [true] interpretation except Allah…” The word ta’weel [تَأْوِيل] is from the root word hamza-wau-laam and it means “to explain, to expound, to interpret.”
Ibn ‘Abbas radhiAllahu ‘anhu said, “Tafseer is of four types:
1.Tafseer that the Arabs know in their language
2.Tafseer that no one is excused of being ignorant of
3.Tafseer that the scholars know and
4.Tafseer that only Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala ”
Ibn ‘Abbas radhiAllahu ‘anhu is the greatest scholar of the Qur’an; the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam especially prayed for him in the following words:
اللَّهُمَّ فَقِّهْهُ فِي الدِّينِ وَعَلِّمْهُ التَّأْوِيل
“O Allah! Bestow on him knowledge in the religion and teach him the Ta’weel (interpretation).”
Ta’weel has two meanings in the Qur’an: the true reality of things, and what they will turn out to be. For instance in Surah Yusuf, when Prophet Yusuf [Joseph] ‘alayhi salaam is made the finance minister of Egypt he says to his father,
يأَبَتِ هَـذَا تَأْوِيلُ رُؤْيَـى مِن قَبْلُ
“O my father! This is the Ta’weel of my dream aforetime!” (12: 100)
Likewise in Surah Al-A’raf it appears:
هَلْ يَنظُرُونَ إِلاَّ تَأْوِيلَهُ يَوْمَ يَأْتِى تَأْوِيلُهُ
“Await they just for its Ta’weel on the Day (of Resurrection) its Ta’weel is finally fulfilled,” (7:53) meaning the true reality of Resurrection that they were told about.
While some people try to argue over the unclear, those firmly grounded in knowledge say, “We believe in it. All [of it – clear and unclear Ayaat] is from our Lord.” The word rasikhoon [رَّاسِخُونَ] is from the root word ra-seen-kha and it means “to be firm, stable, rooted.”
Who are the rasikhoona fil ‘ilm? They are the scholars who are firm in their knowledge. They have spent many years in studying the Qur’an and know what the ayaat are talking about. They may not know the exact true reality but yet they can hint at it. Therefore, note that whenever a learned person gives an opinion about a matter he ends it with: Allahu Alam [Allah knows best]. It should be remembered, however, one cannot attain this status without sincere dedication to the task. Going through the Qur’an casually without delving deeper into its meaning cannot make one a scholar of the Qur’an. It requires commitment and hard work. You have to give priority to it over all other worldly tasks.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala mentions the learned scholars right after He talks about Himself. This shows us the close status of a learned person to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. While we keep delaying our plans to study religion deeply and regularly, we should remember it is the only way to build a strong relationship with the Creator. Our deeds cannot improve unless we know what our Creator expects from us. May He allow us to value the virtue of knowledge, and make us of the Rasikhoon, ameen.
When the Rasikhoon come across a Mutashabih ayah instead of questioning Allah’s wisdom, they say, “We believe in it.” Such is their conduct. They say, “…all of it is from our Lord,” meaning both the Muhkam and the Mutashabih are true and authentic, and each one of them testifies to the truth of the other. There is no need to debate or argue over them. They know that whatever Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has recorded in the Qur’an is free from contradiction or discrepancy.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala ends the address by saying, “And no one will reminded except those of understanding.” So, when we do not understand an ayah of the Qur’an, instead of questioning the ayah or debating over its meaning, we should look at our intellect. It is because we lack the understanding that we cannot recognize what the Qur’an is telling us. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala guide us and open up our hearts to the true meaning of the Qur’an, ameen.
People of understanding are those who have sound minds and comprehension, they understand and contemplate over the ayaat in the correct manner. Describing their traits, Ibn Al-Mundhir recorded in his Tafseer that Nafi’ ibn Yazeed said, “Those firmly grounded in knowledge are those who are modest for Allah’s sake, humbly seek His pleasure, and do not exaggerate regarding those above them, or belittle those below them.”
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