understand the Qur’aan and memorize by Shaykh Abdullaah al-Ghudyaan


 

The path to traverse in order to understand the Qur’aan and memorize it

by Shaykh Abdullaah al-Ghudyaan,
on Saturday, January 5th, 2008

source: http://studyislaam.org/index.php/Transcribed-Lectures-By-Date/2008-01-05-Methods-to-Understand-Memorize-Al-Qur-aan-by-Shaykh-Abdullaah-al-Ghudyaan.html

The Shaykh حفظه الله began in the Name of Allaah and by praising Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and sending the salaat and salaam upon our Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم, his family members and all his Companions رضي الله عنهم أجمعين.

This subject consists of clarifying the stages which one must traverse in order to gain a thorough understanding of the Book of Allaah سبحانه وتعالى. It also entails a discussion of the various books which an individual must utilize in order to aid his understanding the Book of Allaah, as well as the other sciences which will contribute to a better understanding.

FIRST STAGE – SELECT A TOPIC AND IDENTIFY THE AAYAAT DEALING WITH THAT TOPIC

One must specify a group of aayaat on a particular topic. For example, if you look at Suratul-Baqarah, you will find that it deals with many topics. It contains statements on: eemaan (belief), kufr (disbelief), nifaaq (hypocrisy), likewise ahlul Kitaab (the People of the Book), Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah), siyaam (fasting), talaaq (divorce), ribaa (interest), mudaayanaat (blood money and debts) and other subjects.

The individual must identify the aayaat which discuss one topic. This is the first phase. It is possible to seek help from some of the books of Tafseer and likewise some of the masaahif. There are some masaahif in which the topics are identified; and some books of Tafseer which specify the aayaat which discuss a particular subject e.g. Tafseer ibn Katheer which identifies the aayaat which speak about a single topic, and there are many books of Tafseer which do this.

SECOND STAGE – STUDY THE MEANINGS OF THE WORDS AND PHRASES

The individual must know that each particular subject is made up of a number of words/phrases which have meaning in the Sharee’ah (Legislation) and in the language. An individual must understand the meaning of these words (in order to appropriately use the linguistic or legislative meaning accordingly to correctly understand what Allaah سبحانه وتعالى is saying).

From the best books which have been authored to explain the meanings of the words which are ghareeb al-Qur’aan (detailed terminology of the Qur’aan) as used in the Qur’aan is the book: Mufradaat Ghareeb al-Qur’aan by ar-Raaghib al-Asfahaanee [1]. In this book the author collects all the words in the Qur’aan and explains their (linguistic and legislative) meanings.

THIRD STAGE – UNDERSTAND THE REASON FOR REVELATION

One must be aware that the aayaat in the Qur’aan are divided into 3 categories:

  1. Those revealed without a cause for revelation e.g. there was no specific incident which led to their revelation. These include the aayaat of tahaarah (طهارة – purification), salaah, zakaat, siyaam (صيام – fasting) and Hajj. There are many aayaat of the Qur’aan which were revealed without a specific cause.
  2. Those which were revealed due to a particular incident and those where the Sahaabah asked a question and Allaah سبحانه وتعالى revealed the answer in the Qur’aan. For example:
    يَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الأهِلَّةِ
    {They ask you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم) about the new moons…} [al-Baqarah 2:189]
    يَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ السَّاعَةِ
    {They ask you about the Hour (Day of Resurrection)…} [al-A’raaf 7:187], [an-Naaziaat 79:42]
  3. Those which were revealed due to a reason, but the reason is unknown. The Ulamaa’ of the past have studied these aayaat and written books on this issue. The books are called Asbaab an-Nuzool and they discuss the reasons why the aayaat were revealed. The Books authored on this topic include:
    • Lubaabin-Nuqool fee Asbaabil-Nuzool (لباب النقول في أسباب النزول) and
    • Al-Muharrar fee Asbaabin-Nuzool (المحرر فى أسباب النزول) .

    These were written in order to give a better understanding as to why the aayaat were revealed.

FOURTH STAGE – IDENTIFY THE AAYAAT WHICH ARE NAASIKH AND MANSOOKH

One must know that in the Qur’aan there are aayaat which are naasikh (abrogating) and those which are mansookh (abrogated). The Student of Knowledge needs to know what is naasikh and what is mansookh. A book written on this topic is an-Naasikh wal-Mansookh by Ibn an-Nuhaas [2].

FIFTH STAGE – IDENTIFY THE MUKHAM AND MUTASHAABIH AAYAAT

Next, an individual must understand that the Qur’aan is comprised of aayaat which are mukham (clear and unambiguous) and those which are mutashaabih (ambiguous).[3]

From the aayaat which are mutashaabih are those which are mutashaabih regarding the wording (i.e. recitation) and those which are mutashaabih regarding the meaning (i.e. legislative meaning).

Amongst the mutashaabih with respect to meaning are those which:

  1. Allaah has kept the meaning to Himself and no one understands them e.g. knowledge of His dhaat (self), His Names, His Attributes, and likewise those which relate to the Last Day as Allaah has not informed us about it. Indeed, Allaah has informed us about matters which no one truly understands except Him سبحانه وتعالى.
  2. Those which are mutashaabih and understood by the Ulamaa’.

As for those which are mutashaabih regarding the wording, they are related to recitation as in His Saying in Suratul-Baqarah:

وَمَا أُهِلَّ بِهِ لِغَيْرِ اللَّهِ
{…and that which is slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allaah…} [al-Baqarah 2:173]

You will find that the word bihi (بِهِ) is placed before in Suratul-Baqarah, and after in all other instances where it occurs in the Qur’aan.[4]

And as in His Speech:

وَتَرَى الْفُلْكَ فِيهِ مَوَاخِرَ
{…And you see the ships cleaving (the sea water as they sail through it) …} [Faatir 35:12]

And

وَتَرَى الْفُلْكَ مَوَاخِرَ فِيهِ
{…And you see the ships ploughing through it …} [an-Nahl 16:14]

On this topic there is a book Daleel al-Ayaat al- Mutashaabihaat. It is essential for the individual who wants to memorize the Qur’aan that he pays attention to these aayaat al-mutashaabihaat, familiarity with which is required for recitation.

As for those which are mutashaabih regarding the meaning which are understood by the Ulamaa’; they have been researched by the Scholars of the past. The phrases have been reported by authors in their books, amongst them the books:

  • Ta’weel Mushkil al-Qur’aan by Ibn Qutaybah (تأويل مشكل القرآن لابن قتيب)
  • Daf’ Ihaam al-Idhtiraaf ‘an Aayaatil Kitaab of ash-Shanqeetee (دفع إيهام الاضطراب عن آيات الكتاب للشيخ محمد الأمين الشنقيطي)
  • Durratit Tanzeel wa Ghurratit Ta’weel fi Muttashaabih at-Tanzeel of al-Iskaafi (درة التنزيل وغرة التأويل للإسكافي) and
  • Baahir al-Burhaan fee Mutashaabih al-Qur’aan (باهر البرهان فى متشابه القران)

There are very many books written on Mutashaabih al-Qur’aaan.

As an example of this is the Statement of Allaah سبحانه وتعالى:

فَيَوْمَئِذٍ لَّا يُسْأَلُ عَن ذَنبِهِ إِنسٌ وَلَا جَانٌّ
{So, on that Day no question will be asked of man or jinni as to his sin…}…} [ar-Rahmaan 55:39]

From this ayah, it may be understood that Allaah سبحانه وتعالى will not ask anyone on Yawmul Qiyaamah (the Day of Reckoning). However, affirmation of questioning is found in the Qur’aan as in His Speech سبحانه وتعالى:

فَلَنَسْأَلَنَّ الَّذِينَ أُرْسِلَ إِلَيْهِمْ وَلَنَسْأَلَنَّ الْمُرْسَلِينَ {6} فَلَنَقُصَّنَّ عَلَيْهِم بِعِلْمٍ وَمَا كُنَّا غَآئِبِينَ
{Then surely We shall question those (people) to whom it (the Book) was sent and verily, We shall question the Messengers. Then surely We shall narrate to them (their whole story) with knowledge, and indeed We have not been absent.} [al-A’raaf 7:6-7]

And as He سبحانه وتعالى said:

وَقِفُوهُمْ إِنَّهُم مَّسْئُولُونَ
{But stop them, verily, they are to be questioned.} [as-Saffaat 37:24]

So when the recitor recites these aayaat he is confused with this ambiguity (as they appear to conflict). However, the Scholars of the past رحمهم الله have taken care of these ambiguities (by studying and clarifying the issues for the Ummah).


SIXTH STAGE – UNDERSTANDING THE MEANING OF THE AAYAAT AND THE SIGNS FOR STOPPING

At this stage one must know the meaning of the aayaat. Signs for stopping have been placed in the Qur’aan. These signs have been placed by taking into consideration the meaning of the sentences. From these signs are:

  • The general sign for a waajib (compulsory) stop – laazim (م) is written above. It indicates that the statement has been completed.
  • The sign for a muharram (prohibited) stop – لا is written above it. It means that the sentence after this sign is connected to what is before it. So, the meaning of the phrase before the sign لا is not complete except with the statement which comes after it.
  • Likewise the stop which is jaa’iz (permissible) which is written as صلى and قـلى. This may be mandoob or makrooh.
  • It is intended that in each Mushaf the signs for stopping will be found at the end of the Mushaf and it is allocated to this place in the Qur’aan.

The best book written on this subject is a book entitled Ilal al-Wuqoof (علل الوقوف) which examines the stops which are in the Qur’aan and clarifies the significance of stopping at each place. This book is in three (3) volumes. From the Mufassiroon who have explained the Qur’aan pertaining to the signs of stopping, the best of them is Ibn Jareer at-Tabaree رحمه الله, for in his Tafseer he mentions a sentence and then comments on it (whether on the issues of ‘Aqeedah or Recitation). An individual needs to return to this book for the purpose of understanding the meaning of the sentences. Then, after understanding the meaning of the sentences, he goes to the seventh stage.

SEVENTH STAGE – UNDERSTANDING THE GENERAL MEANING AND EXTRACTING THE RULINGS

At this stage one must understand the general meaning of the aayaat. Amongst the best books dealing with the general meaning of the aayaat, and it is sound i.e. free from any mistakes regarding its ‘Aqeedah, is the book Tafseer as-Sa’dee[5].

When one has finished with the general explanation, he also extracts the general rulings which are contained in these aayaat. It is the same whether these rulings pertain to Tawheed al-Uloohiyyah, Tawheed ar-Ruboobiyyah, Tawheed al-Asmaa’ was-Sifaat or pertain to a pillar of Eemaan (Belief) – like Eemaan in Allaah, His Angels, His Books, His Messengers, the Last Day and with Qadr (Pre-decree) – the good or bad of it, or whether they pertain to the pillars of Islaam, or pertain to any subject.

Amongst the best of books (on this topic) are:

  • al-Jaami’ li Ahkaamil-Qur’aan of Qurtobi (الجامع لأحكام القرآن)
  • Ahkaam al-Qur’aan of ibn al-‘Arabi. (أحكام القرآن لابن العرب)
  • Ahkaam al-Qur’aan of Jassaas (أحكام القرآن للجصاص)
  • Ahkaam al-Qur’aan of ash-Shaafi’ee (أحكام القرآن للشافعي)

The books written by these authors رحمهم الله contain the general meaning of the aayaat of the Qur’aan and the explanation of the Rulings of the Qur’aan, although the book of ash-Shaafi’ee is characterized by an important aspect, and that is the examination of the aayaat which refer to the qawaa’id (principles) whether the Qawaa’id Usooliyyah (principles relating to the Usool of Fiqh) or Qawaa’id Fiqhiyyah (principles relating to Fiqh).

There is also a Tafseer of the Qur’aan pertaining to the fundamental principles and it is al-Ishaaraat al-Ilaahiyyah ‘ila al-Qawaa’id al-Usooliyyah[6] of at-Toofee.

SUMMARY

These are the stages which one can adhere to when he wants to memorize the Qur’aan by heart. He categorizes the aayaat of a topic, familiarizes himself with the meaning, the vocabulary, the reason for revelation, the naasikh and mansookh (abrogated and abrogating aayaat). He also recognizes the mutashaabih related to the pronunciation and the mutashaabih related to the meaning. He also understands the meaning of the aayaat regarding the signs for stopping and the general meaning of the aayaat and the rulings which are contained in these aayaat.

After completing these stages, he takes as much as he is able to of these aayaat and he begins to memorize them by repeating them as much as he needs to. This is because an individual differs in the amount that he is able to memorize. Some suffice by repeating something ten (10) times, or twenty (20) times, or thirty (30) times and some go as far as one hundred (100) times.

This is the end of the talk on this topic. In the next session we will discuss the ‘Uloom (Sciences) which the Mufassir (Commentator of the Qur’aan) is in need of. The ‘Uloom are more comprehensive than these stages because these stages are for those who want to memorize the Qur’aan. As for the one who wants to comment (give Tafseer) on the Qur’aan (Mufassir) then I will speak about this in the next lesson bi-idhnillaah.

Questions and Answers

1. Question: Is it permissible to sell things in the masjid?

Answer: Buying and selling is not permissible in the masjid because the masaajid are built for the remembrance of Allaah as He سبحانه وتعالى says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا نُودِي لِلصَّلَاةِ مِن يَوْمِ الْجُمُعَةِ فَاسْعَوْا إِلَى ذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَذَرُوا الْبَيْعَ
{O you who believe (Muslims)! When the call is proclaimed for the Salaat (prayer) on Friday (Jumu’ah prayer), come to the remembrance of Allaah [Jumu’ah religious talk (Khutbah) and Salaat (prayer)] and leave off business (and every other thing)…} [al-Jumu’ah 62:9]

They (the Sahaabah) used to buy/sell outside the masjid and when he صلى الله عليه و سلم heard a man crying out in the mosque about something he had lost, he صلى الله عليه و سلم said: “May Allah not restore it to you.”[5] So all that is related to this matter should not occur in the masjid.

The Shaykh حفظه الله was further asked about buying and selling in the masjid if the intent behind the trade is to benefit the masjid. He replied by saying that even if it is for the benefit of the masjid it is not permissible to buy, sell and do trade in the masaajid. The exchange of money from hand to hand should be done outside the masjid.

2. Question: What advice do you have for an Imaam who moved from one city where there were funds in the Masjid Account that belongs to that community, and he left that area with the funds and established a masjid in another community. Is it waajib (obligatory) upon him to return the money or give it to the Administration of the old masjid?

Answer: The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said: “Indeed actions are by intentions, and every person will have (the reward of) what he intended.”[6] If the individuals who paid the funds to this imaam when he was the imaam of the old masjid view that it belongs to the old masjid, then it is not permissible for him (the imaam) to carry it to another masjid. If he carried it then it is obligatory upon him to return it.

3. Question: Sometimes, I wish to tell you and other scholars or some brothers that, “I love you for the sake of Allaah,” but I refrain from doing so for fear that I may be lying. How does one know when he really loves another person for the sake of Allaah?

Answer: Allaah سبحانه وتعالى is more knowledgeable about the servant than the servant is about himself; and the servant knows himself more than others know him. So, if he finds in his heart that he loves this individual for the sake of Allaah سبحانه وتعالى and not for any worldly affairs from the affairs of the dunya, whether from the perspective of wealth or any other matter, then this is evidence that he loves this individual for the sake of Allaah.

If he loves him for example, as the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said: “Thus he whose migration was for Allaah and His Messenger, his migration was for Allaah and His Messenger, And he whose migration was to achieve some worldly benefit or to take some woman in marriage…”[7] So if an individual loves someone in the way a man loves his wife, or if he has love for another person such that it is not based on the Deen, or he loves him for his wealth or his status or other than this from these matters; then if the love is based on the Deen he would know this in his heart. So the one who would know this is the individual himself.

4. Question: A brother has many questions about matters related to hijrah (migration). A summary of the questions is: Every Muslim who wishes to make hijrah must obtain a visa. Is the concept of the visa Islaamically legislated? Are there any reasons for this condition as we know that it was not the case during the time of Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم? Are our Scholars advising the Muslim rulers to lift this and to allow Muslims to immigrate to their countries?

Answer: There was some problem with the connection with the Shaykh حفظه الله during the response to this question. However, from what could be ascertained, the Shaykh حفظه الله mentioned that from the Principles of the Legislation of Islaam is (loosely translated) ‘When there is difficulty it is required that something is introduced to make that thing easy.’ It means that whenever there is a difficulty upon the Muslims, there is an obligation upon the leaders of the Muslims to remove that difficulty by making things easy. This is from the Principles of the Legislation of Islaam and it may be looked at from a number of different angles.

However, what the individual must understand is that Allaah سبحانه وتعالى will only hold you accountable for that which you are in control of, as Allaah سبحانه وتعالى says in the Qur’aan:

لاَ يُكَلِّفُ اللَّهُ نَفْساً إِلاَّ وُسْعَهَا
{Allaah burdens not a person beyond his scope…} [al-Baqarah 2:286]

Therefore, if an individual has the ability, and it is easy for him to make hijrah then he can make hijrah and if he cannot, due to some obstacle or hindrance then he is not held responsible for that, and Allaah سبحانه وتعالى will not hold him accountable for that.

References

[1] مفرادات غريب القرآن للراغب الاصفهانى
[2] الناسخ و المنسوخ لابن النحاس

[3] Diagram of the classification of the Muhkam and Muttashaabih aayaat. (See attached file)

[4] Surah al-Maaidah 5:3; al-An’aam 6:145; an-Nahl 16:115

[5] Tayseer al-Kareem ar-Rahmaan fee Tafseer Kalaamil-Manaan (تيسير الكريم الرحمن في تفسير كلام المنان)
[6] Book found by this name: الإشارات الإلهية إلى المباحث الأصولية by الطوفي

[5] Reported in Saheeh Muslim, The Book of the Masjid and the Matters of Prayer (كتاب المساجد ومواضع الصلاة). Hadeeth (#568).

من سمع رجلا ينشد ضالة في المسجد، فليقل: لا ردها الله عليك. فإن المساجد لم تبن لهذا

[6] Reported in Saheeh al-Bukhaaree, The Beginning of the Revelation (بدء الوحي), Hadeeth (#1); and in Saheeh Muslim, The Book of Leadership (كتاب الإمارة), Hadeeth (#45).

إنما الأعمال بالنيات، وإنما لكل امرىء ما نوى

[7] Reported in Saheeh al-Bukhaaree, The Beginning of the Revelation (بدء الوحي), Hadeeth (#1); and in Saheeh Muslim, The Book of Leadership (كتاب الإمارة), Hadeeth (#45).

…فَمَنْ كَانَتْ هِجْرَتُهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ فَهِجْرَتُهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَمَنْ كَانَتْ هِجْرَتُهُ لِدُنْيَا يُصِيبُهَا أَوِامْرَأَةٍ يَنْكِحُهَا فَهِجْرَتُهُ
إِلَى مَاهَاجَرَ إِلَيْهِ  
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