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Usulu t'Tafsir Notes  


Tafsir is the explanation of the Qur'an. The person doing Tafsir is called a Mufessir.

To do Tafsir there are fundamentals that need to be followed. The Ulema teach these fundamentals of doing Tafsir and the lesson is called Usulu t'Tafsir, fundamentals of Tafsir. The other name of Usulu t'Tafsir is Ulumu l'Qur'an, which means knowledge of Qur'an. Attempting to do Tafsir without knowing Usulu t'Tafsir is forbidden, because the Qur'an is the Word of Allah Ta'Ala and making statements without Ilm about Allah Ta'Ala is forbidden.



Some of the subjects covered in Usulu t'Tafsir are:

Compilation of the Qur'an

During the lifetime of Rasulullah Salallahu aleyhi wa Sallam in Medina during the month of Ramadan the Malik Jibril Aleyhi Salaam brought the Qur'an to Rasulullah in the arrangement that we have today. After the time of Rasulullah Salallahu aleyhi wa Sallam Abu Bakr As Sadiq and Umar Radiallahu anhuma witnessed many of the Hufazh martyred. They then decided to collect the Qur'an. The Qur'an was then collected from the narrations of the Sahabah all in one place and every Ayah in the Qur'an is Mutawatir. Later during the time of Uthman Radiallahu anhu Muslims had disagreements on how the Qur'an should be read. Uthman Radiallahu anhu then wrote down the Qur'an with the way it should be read in Arabic the way the Kureysh spoke. This is the correct way of reading the Qur'an and it has seven ways of read based on the seven word types of the Qureyish. In Arabic the seven wording types of the Kureysh that the Qur'an is read is called Qiraatu Saba'a in Arabic.

Tartibu t'Tafsir

Tartib means order in Arabic. he first Tafsir that is looked at is Rasulullah's Tafsir. Then the Tafsir of the Sahabah. Then the Tafsir of the Tabain. The Tafsir of the Ulema comes after that. The Ulema do Tafsir in the following order:

1. Tafsir of the Qur'an by the Qur'an where some Ayat explain the other Ayat.

2. Tafsir of the Qur'an by the Sunnah where the Hadith explain the Qur'an.

3. Tafsir of the Qur'an by the words of the Sahabah and Tabain.

4. Tafsir of the Qur'an by the Arabic language.

Ayat that are Mekki and Medeni

The Ayat that came before the Hijra are called Mekki and the Ayat that came after the Hijra are called Medeni.

Asbabu n'Nuzul

Asbabu n'Nuzul means causes for coming down. Asbabu n'Nuzul are the causes for certain Ayat to come down such as the Ayat that came after the battle at Bedr when Rasulullah captured the enemy. The causes for those Ayat to come down were the events regarding the battle at Bedr.

Muhkam and Mutashabih

In the Qur'an there are Ayat that carry laws from the Shariyah. These Ayat can be clearly understood and they are called Muhkam. The word Muhkam comes from the Arabic word Hukm which means law, rule. In the Qur'an there are Ayat that are like the Muhkam Ayat but the complete meaning of what is mentioned in them only Allah Ta'Ala Knows. These Ayat are called Mutashabih. The word Mutashabih comes from the Arabic word Tashbih which means to look alike, to resemble. An example of a Mutashabih Ayah is the Ayah where Allah Ta'Ala Says that He is above His Arsh, Throne. We know what Arsh means in the language and we accept the Ayah as it is and we acknowledge that we can't possibly even imagine how Allah Ta'Ala is above His Throne. When a man asked Imam Malik how Allah Ta'Ala is on His Throne, Imam Malik said that being on something is known in the language and the way Allah Ta'Ala is on His Throne is the unknown. This is how all of the Mutashabih Ayat are.

Aam and Khas

It is learned in Usulu l'Fikh.

Mutlaq and Muqayyid

It is learned in Usulu l'Fikh.

Mantuk and Mafhum

It is learned in Usulu l'Fikh.

Nasikh and Mansukh

It is learned in Usulu l'Fikh.

Ijazu l'Qur'an

Ijazu l'Qur'an are the miracles in the Qur'an.

Kisasu l'Qur'an

Kisasu l'Qur'an are the stories in the Qur'an.

Amthalu Qur'an

Amthalu Qur'an are the examples in the Qur'an. In Suratu l'Bakara Allah Ta'Ala Gave an example with people going through the dark.

Rules of the Khat of the Qur'an (Khat in Arabic means line referring to writing.)


   Harf is to not write a letter.


   Ziyada is to an extra letter.


   Hamza is how the Hamza is written


   Bedl is to write one letter instead of the other. Like writing an Alef instead of a Waw.

5.Kat'i wa Wasl

   Kat'i wa Wasl means cut and continue and refers to the connections and separations between words.

6.Inclusion of two readings.

   This is the inclusion of two readings means that a word can be read in two ways according to two different readings.

Tafsir wa Ta'awil

Tafsir means explanation and the word Ta'awil in it's original form means Tafsir. In Usulu t'Tafsir the word Taawil is understood in it's original form and therefore it means explanation, Tafsir.

Shurut wa Adaabu Mufessir

Shurut wa Adaabu Mufessir are the conditions and etiquettes of a person doing Tafsir, a Mufessir. Shart means condition in Arabic. Adaab means etiquettes in Arabic.

Shurutu Mufessir:

1. Having the correct Aqueedah

2. Being free of following whims

3. After knowing Rasulullah's Tafsir and Tafsir by the Sahabah and by the Tabain, wanting to do Tafsir by the Qur'an.

4. Wanting to do Tafsir by the Sunnah.

5. Wanting to do Tafsir by the words of the Sahabah.

6. Wanting to do Tafsir by the words of the Tabain.

7. Knowing Arabic and all parts of it.

8. Knowing all the knowledge in connection to Tafsir and knowing Tawhid.

9. Being precise.

Adaabu Mufessir:

1. Having good intentions.

2. Having good morals.

3. Having knowledge of Sahih Riwayat.

4. Being humble and gentle.

5. Being honorable and staying away from degrading things.

6. Talking slowly and with order so that the audience understands.

7. Not to fear nor hesitate to speak the truth.

8. Knowing to let a more knowledgeable person talk. Not letting a more knowledgeable person talk violates his rights.

9. Knowing the order of Tafsir.


















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