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The Role of Traditions in Comprehension of the Qur'an

Author : Sayyid Muhammad Kazim Tabatabai
Subject : Comprehension of the Qur'an
Translator : Ahmad Rezwani
Editor : Mahdi Baqi

25 May 2010
Hadith Sciences 1


The writer's aim in the article is to examine the role of hadiths in understanding verses of the Quran and its various forms of effect from different aspects. He also presents some relevant instances in brief. Subsequently, he seeks to answer the question of whether in order to understand the Quran any scientific source is required or there is no need for other epistemological teachings for understanding it.

Key Words

Comprehension of the Qur'an, understanding the Qur'an, understanding verses.


1. prologue

This paper is intended to study the role of traditions in understanding the Qur'an; to delve into the propositions of negation and affirmation; to examine various impressions from different aspects; and to briefly introduce its referents.

It is befitting to begin our study with a question: do we need other scientific sources to understand the Qur'an, or understanding it requires some other epistemic doctrines?

Some believe that understanding the Qur'an requires nothing and no one else, since:

1. The Qur'an has introduced itself as tibyān (clarification) of all things:

﴾We have sent down the Book to you as a clarification of all things and as a guidance and Mercy and good news for the Muslims.﴿ [1]

It has also said:

﴾This is an explanation for mankind, and a guidance and advice for the Godwary.﴿[2]

It is stated in another verse:

﴾Certainly We have sent down manifest signs, and Allah guides whomever He wishes to a straight path.﴿[3]

Naturally, the Qur'an – as a clarifier of all things – first has to clarifies Itself, rather than being in need of another clarifier. The Qur'an is itself a clarification, proof, and, light; ﴾and [Allah] did not let any crookedness be in it.﴿[4] and is complete in terms of signification, needing no elucidation, explanation, and interpretation; rather, It elucidates and interprets Itself and expresses what It intends.

According to a researcher:

As God in His Godhood and Lordship is not in need of others, so also His book in Its signification of Its intention does not need others. That is to say, what Allah has intended by the verses of the Qur'an is either implied directly from those verses or understood by deliberation on other verses – that discuss the subject of the verses – and there is no need for any books or traditions or narrations in signifying the Qur'anic concept – that are intended by Qur'anic verses.[5]

I assert that there is not even a single verse in the Qur'an (except, of course, the verses of Mafātīḥ al-Suwar – keys to the chapters or the mysterious letters) that can not be understood by itself, let alone by other verses, even the ambiguous verses. The ambiguous verses of the Qur'an are of two types: one group of verses have ambiguity and are understood by the unequivocal verses, and another more profound [ambiguous] group that are understood by much deliberation on them.[6]

2. The verses encouraging the contemplation of the Qur'an or reproaching the lack of contemplation of it are among the reasons for the comprehensibility of the Qur'an without needing other clarifiers?

﴾Do they not contemplate the Qur'an, or are there locks on their hearts?﴿[7]

Therefore, if the heart is unlocked, the Qur'anic teachings will diffuse into it; otherwise, reproaching those who do not contemplate the Qur'an would be in vain:

﴾Do they not contemplate the Qur'an? Had it been from [someone] other than Allah, they would have surely found much discrepancy in it.﴿ [8]

This verse, too, is denoting the comprehensibility even for those who do not accept the religion, its law, and the Prophet; i.e., it is possible to grasp the Qur'an by man's normal comprehension.[9]

3. Another group of verses – which signify comprehension of the Qur'an without needing other things – are the challenge verses (āyāt al-taḥaddī).

﴾Say, Should all humans and jinn rally to bring the like of this Qur'an, they will not bring the like of it, even if they assisted one another.﴿[10]

Obviously, challenging others and confirming that they can not bring the like of the Qur'an or even a verse of it, is based on the notion that the Qur'anic verses are to be comprehensible by the public so that they can seek to bring the like of it and that the comparison of the Qur'an with their fabricated text and their distinction from 0ne another would be possible for all people. It is to be said that the primary and original addresses of the challenge verses are the ones who do not believe in the Prophet (S.A.W.) and do not accept his interpretation and elucidation of the Qur'an.

4. In addition to these verses, the traditions enjoining the exposure of ḥadīth to the Qur'an can also be referred to as evidence, explaining the comprehension of the Qur'an without any other prerequisites. These traditions – which are not few in number – have regarded the criterion for the authenticity of a ḥadīth to be its conformity with the Qur'an:

"Verily, there is a truth in every reality and a light in every right [word]; so, whatever that conforms with the Book of Allah take hold of it, and whatever that is in opposition to it give it up."[11]

"Every thing [word or saying] is [to be] referred to the Book and Sunna; and every ḥadīth [saying] that is not in conformity with the Book of Allah is vanity.[12]

Similarly, according to the traditions concerning the resolution of conflicting differences [regarding a ḥadīth], the criterion for preference is the conformity [of the ḥadīth] with the Qur'an.

2. A Survey of this Theory

It is appropriate to begin by specifying our intention of the topic and delineating our direction to the end.

What is intended by "comprehension"? Is it just the comprehension of the applicatory signification of the wording and the literal meaning of the Qur'an? Does it mean the interpretation of the Qur'an with the intention of unveiling the meanings of the Qur'an and even understanding its inner aspects and what is meant by the Author of the Book? Does this comprehension include the Qur'anic allusions and subtleties? Etc.

Comprehension seems to have a widespread meaning that includes the preliminary understanding and grasping the literal meaning of the Qur'an, and achieving the meaning, the expressed intention, and the serious signification of the Qur'an. Even the higher levels of comprehension, i.e., grasping the Qur'anic allusions and subtleties and understanding the profound and inaccessible layers and inner cores of the Qur'anic knowledge are included in the realm of the comprehension of the Qur'an.

Therefore, "comprehension of the Qur'an" is widely extended, ranging from simple and lower layers to highly sophisticated stages of understanding the truths of the Qur'an.

Normally, basic differences in the addressees and the types of their utilizing the Qur'anic teachings and grasping its semantic essence as well as approaching its sublime presence would bring us face to face to a variety of understanding and grasping those teachings some of which are easily achievable and some sound unachievable to the non-Ma‘ṣūm (other than the Prophet and the Imams).

It is also accepted that the Revelation and declaration of the Qur'an, as the Prophet's miracle, is to be coupled with its comprehensibility to all; otherwise its purpose is not served, since sending down a puzzling and mysterious scripture would not fulfill the goal of the Prophetic Mission.

Therefore, the first stage of comprehension – that is, the simple and literal stage – is feasible for all people and every one would enjoy this Heavenly Table Spread according to their capacity and faculty of contemplation.

Now, the question arises that whether all people are equal in their power of comprehension and possess the capability of accessing all the Qur'anic subtleties and sublime teachings. Will they be able to achieve the lofty levels of the Qur'anic knowledge without having access to the Ma‘ṣūmīn and those regarded as firmly rooted in knowledge? The previously mentioned reasons would fail to prove this stage.

What is implied from the aforementioned reasons is just that the primary stage of comprehending the Qur'an should be within reach of all the people. This issue has acceptable reasons, some of which were pointed out in the previous section.

On the other hand, the Qur'an per se has introduced the Prophet (S.A.W.) as its clarifier and said:

﴾We have sent down the reminder to you so that you may clarify for the people that which has been sent down to them, so that they may reflect.﴿[13]

Again, in order to refer to the guiding purposes of the Qur'an the Prophet (S.A.W.)'s clarification in pointed out:

﴾We did not sent down the Book to you except [for the purpose] that you may clarify for them what they differ about, and as a guidance and mercy for a people who have faith.﴿ [14]

Thus, the Prophet (S.A.W.) is the elucidator and the language of the Qur'an so as to elucidate to the people what is revealed to him. What is meant by this elucidation? It goes without saying that elucidation applies to something that would not be comprehensible by the initial understanding of the Muslims and non-Muslims and should include a higher level [of their understanding] so that elucidation is to come true.

In short, for the comprehension and analysis of the Qur'an we have two groups of verses at our disposal, each one of which concerns different type of comprehension:

1. The verses that have corresponding indication or indication per nexum for comprehension of the Qur'an;

2. The verses that have named the Prophet (S.A.W.) as the exponent and elucidator of the Qur'an and viewing his elucidation as guidance to people.

It is evident that presuming differences and confusion between these two groups of verses is wrong and a deliberation on both groups can lead us to these facts:

A. The first group concerns the primary and public comprehension and the second group takes into consideration the higher and deeper comprehension.

Therefore, those who say: "The Qur'an does not need any book, sunna, or tradition in its significations", if they mean the primary and public comprehension, they are right; and if they imply the deeper and more profound comprehension, they have spoken in Opposition to the Qur'an, as the Qur'an has explicitly stated its need for the exponent and elucidator.

B. The two verses that have called the Qur'an as ﴾a clarification of all things﴿ are revealed under the Sūrat al-Naḥl next to one another.

Paying attention to subtlety found in the verse 89 of Sūrat al-Naḥl can resolve this issue. It is stated in this verse:

﴾We have sent down the book to you as a clarification of all things.﴿

It can be implied from ﴾We have sent down to you﴿ that although the Qur'an is a clarification of all things, this specification is true in case the Qur'an is in the presence of the Prophet (S.A.W.), rather than every one being able to comprehend the Qur'an as a clarification of all things. In other words, the first part of the verse – that has brought up the revelation of the Qur'an to the Prophet (S.A.W.) – is specifically denoting that the Qur'an that has been revealed to your heart is a clarification of all things and you, O Apostle of Allah (S.A.W.), are obliged to clarify its comprehension for people and transmit your clarification to them. This point is referred to in traditions as well.

Imam Ṣadiq (A.S.) says:

There is no affair about which two persons disagree except that there is a principle for it in the Book of Allah; but the people's intellect does not reach it.[15]

Also, Imam Bāqir (A.S.) has said to Abū al-Jārūd:

Ask questions from me about the Qur'an.[16]

That means all the sayings of the Ma‘ṣūmīn in stating the rulings and epistemic teachings are deduced from the Qur'an, but the non-Ma‘ṣūm (other than the Ma‘ṣūmīn) are unable to directly comprehend it and require an intermediary. Imam ‘Alī (A.S.)'s words in relation to inquiry from the Qur'an [having the Qur'an speak] is also noteworthy:

This is the Qur'an, ask it to talk to you; it will never talk to you, but I will inform you about it. In the Qur'an exist the science of what has passed and what is going to come up to the Resurrection Day; and it would judge among you and state what you disagree about; if you ask about it from me, I would instruct you.[17]

3. Instances of the efficasy of traditions in comprehension of the Qur'an

Employing the traditions for understanding the Qur'anic verses in various instances can be feasible. Here, we would briefly search into some of these instances.

1. 3- The Revelation Atmosphere:

Each verse has been revealed in a specific milieu and situation that if understood properly will be an effective evidence for understanding the meaning and the signification of that verse. All these evidences – including the cause of Revelation, occasion of Revelation, time and place of Revelation, and the culture of the time of Revelation – are called the atmosphere of Revelation.[18]

Although the fundamental high goals of the Holy Qur'an – which is universal and perpetual – does not have much need for the occasions of Revelation,[19] understanding these occasions would cause removal of ambiguities from the subtleties existing in some verses, prompting a deeper deliberation that leads to a more accurate understanding of the verse.

Sometimes, a verse had been revealed following the rise of a question or misconception that if understood, it would further clarify the Qur'an's response to them. Pay attention to the verse ﴾Indeed Safa and Marwah are among Allah's sacraments. So, whoever makes Ḥajj to the House, or performs the ‘Umra, there is no sin upon him to circuit between them.﴿[20] This verse is apparently stating that trotting between Safa and Marwah is permissible and dose not even imply its being praiseworthy. So, why is it that the sa‘y (trotting) is regarded as obligatory?

Imam Ṣādiq (A.S.) has clarified the cause of Revelation of this verse and crystallized its signification:

Someone asked Imam Ṣādiq (A.S.) whether the trotting between Safa and Marwah was obligatory or recommendable. "Obligatory", said the Imam, I asked: "has not the Almighty and Glorious Allah said ﴾there is no sin upon him to circuit between them.﴿?" He said: "This verse concerns ‘Umra al-Qaḍā (fulfilled pilgrimage). The Apostle of Allah (S.A.W.) stipulated the removal of the idols from Safa and Marwah as a condition [for the trotting]. A man pretended to be occupied and gave up the trotting until the due time expired; and then the idols were brought back. People came to the Prophet (S.A.W.) and said: "O Apostle of Allah! Such and such a person did not performed the trotting between Safa and Marwah and the idols were brought back. Then the Almighty and Glorious Allah revealed the verse, ﴾there is no sin upon him to circuit between them﴿; i.e., while there are the idols [Safa and Marwah].[21]

Clarification of the atmosphere of the Revelation indicates that the Muslims presumed the trotting between Safa and Marwah was a pagan practice and impermissible while the idols of the idol-worshippers were still there. The Qur'anic verse employed the phrase ﴾ there is no sin ﴿ to resolve this false imagination.

Similarly, it is said regarding the cause of Revelation of the verse Kawthat that this verse was revealed after the idol-worshippers (‘Amr ‘Āṣ or his father) called the Prophet (S.A.W.) as abtar (one cut off in progeny) as he did not have any son to leave descendants behind.

Pointing out "giving abundance" – referring to abundant good – the Qur'an gives the glad tiding of a plethora of descendants to the Prophet (S.A.W.). Therefore, even though there is no ḥadīth at hand interpreting the verse of Kawthar as directly referring to ḥaḍrat Fāṭima Zahrā (A.S.), the concept is acceptable that this verse does refer to her holiness and brings to mind the plentitude of her progeny.

The verse, ﴾Your guardian is only Allah, His Apostle, and the faithful who maintain the prayer and give the zakāt while bowing down.﴿[22] is also an appropriate example. It is evident that this verse is referring to a specific event rather than everyone who is characterized by giving alms while bowing down in prayer (rukū‘) deserves to wilāya (guardianship) over the Muslims. On the other hand, giving alms while in rukū‘, is an act that is in basic contradiction with the description of justice and knowledge. The verse is purported to refer to an individual who had performed this action before the Revelation of this verse; rather than everyone who may do it at any time would enjoy the title of wilāya. Even no legal preference in giving alms is implied from this verse.

Thus, only by understanding the cause of Revelation can one find out the purpose of the verse; and without referring to traditions the ambiguity of the verse would by no means be resolved.[23]

Some other verses revealed concerning the virtues of Imam ‘Alī (A.S.) and the Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.) also belong to this group; Verses like ﴾And among the people is he who sells his soul [his life] seeking the pleasure of Allah﴿[24] and ﴾Indeed Allah desires to repel all impurity from you, O People of the Household, and purify you with a thorough purification﴿.[25]

Similarly the verse ﴾Indeed nasī is an increase in unfaith, whereby the faithless are led [further] astray. They allow it in one year and forbid it another year, so as to fit in with the number which Allah has made inviolable﴿[26] is clarified by the traditions related to nasī.

The time and place of the revelation of the verse of tablīgh (communication) ﴾O Apostle! Communicate that which has been sent down to you from your Lord, and if you do not, you will not have communicated His message, and Allah shall protect you from the people.﴿[27] and the verse ikmāl (perfection) ﴾Today I have perfected your religion for you, and I have completed My blessing upon you and I have approved Islam as your religion﴿[28] is greatly effective in clarification of what is the verse meant to impart. There are many traditions in the Sunnī and Shī‘a sources that regard these verses to have been revealed in Ghadīr al-Khum location on the 18th of Dhu'l Hijja.[29]

In contrast, some regard these verses as revealed in relation to the day of ‘Arafa. The second Caliph insisted to pronounce the place and time of the revelation of the verse of ikmāl to be the day of ‘Arafa.

We know the day and the place it was revealed to the Prophet (S.A.W.), it was on the day of ‘Arafa, on Friday while he was standing up.[30]

His emphasis on the verse to have been revealed on a day other that 18th of Dhu'l Hijja and the plenty of reports by such people as Bukhārī indicates the impact of the atmosphere of Revelation on the comprehension of the verse.

2. 3- Expressing the Meaning of the Qur'anic Terms

Perceiving the Qur'anic terms is the first step toward achieving the Qur'anic teachings. Evidently, claiming to understand the Qur'an or undertaking to interpret it without accurate knowledge of the meanings of the words is boastful and incorrect. Conjectural meaning in one's mind or consulting lexicons would not resolve the problem either, since the philologists are aware of the meaning of the term in their own time and we seek to learn the concept of the word in the time of Revelation.

The transformation of the meanings of the words demands that we refer to the experts familiar with the meaning of the words in the time of their Revelation in order to get to the true meaning of the word.

Approaching the meaning of the word is possible in a variety of ways such as referring the application of the word in the Qur'an using the books on "peculiar words of the Qur'an"; referring dictionaries of popular culture in the time of Revelation; etc. One of the best ways of attaining the meaning of the words is the employment of traditions.

In some instances the Prophet (S.A.W.) and the Imams (A.S.) explain the meanings of the Qur'anic terms and clarify them, since they have been referred to by people as the most familiar with the meanings of the revealed words. Dāwūd b. Qāsim Ja‘farī said:

I said to Imam Bāqir (A.S.): May I be your ransom! What is the meaning of Ṣamad? He said: The Master Who is referred to for the little and the much.[31]

On another occasion, the Imam (A.S.) was questioned about rūḥ (spirit), and he referred to it as other than angels, alluding to the verse ﴾He sends down the angels with the Spirit[32]﴿.[33]

In another instance, the Imam (A.S.) is questioned about the meanings of rafth, fusūq, and jidāl. The Imam (A.S.) said:

As for rafth, it means sexual intercourse; and as for fusūq, it means lying… and jidāl is when a person says to another person "yes, by God" and "no, by God" and when a person curses another person.[34]

The reverend ‘Abd al-‘Aẓīm Ḥasanī asked Imam Jawād (A.S.) about the meanings of the terms wa al-munkhaniqa wa al-mawqūda wa al-mutaraddiya wa al-naṭīḥa – which are referred to in Sūrat al-Mā’da – and the Imam (A.S.) said:

Al-munkhaniqa is the animal strangled to death by choking; al-mawqūda is that which dies by disease and the disease throws him down so as not to be able to move; al-mutaraddiya is that which dies by falling off a high place or by falling down a mountain or by dropping in a well; and al-naṭīḥa is that which dies by being mangled by a beast of prey.[35]

Another type of employing traditions in understanding the words is to examine the instances in which the terms are used in traditions. The traditions of the Ma‘ṣūmīn (A.S.) represent the public culture of the time of Revelation. It is obvious that the way the words and their alluding to the meanings are employed in traditions can be adduced like Arabic poetry and culture, or even more that that.

The word rabb (lord) has been used as meaning mentor (educator) in lexicological sources and lexicons of peculiar words of the Qur'an.[36]

Searching for the word rabb in the traditions of the Ma‘ṣūmīn (A.S.) will lead us to a more accurate and beautiful meaning. They have used this term as meaning authority and have regarded marbūb as meaning a servant who has no authority of their own. They have stated in reply to the extremists who considered the Imams as authority over the universe:

Beware of extremism about us, say [instead] we are servants to the Lord, and [then] say whatever you like about our excellence.[37]

Similarly the word mass (touch) in the verse ﴾No one touches it except the pure ones﴿[38] has been interpreted by some exegetes as meaning comprehension.[39]

This can be taken as the esoteric meaning of the verse to which we will refer in the upcoming discussions.

Following up the word mass and its derivatives in the Qur'an and traditions would not approve the application of this word as meaning comprehension and understanding. Therefore, the apparent meaning of the verse is touching with the body skin.

Khashiya (fear) is also a word whose application in the traditions can be a good witness for obtaining the meaning through its narrative usage.

3. 3- Explaining the Serious Intention

Various sources can be used to obtain the meanings of the word, one of which, and the best one, is referring to the Ma‘ṣūmīn (A.S.); however, when it comes to explaining the Qur'an's serious intention, our epistemic sources are scanty and restricted to the verses, traditions, and rational judgment.

Naturally, the serious intention of the Qur'an is in many cases different from its applicatory intention. Sometimes, the Qur'anic verse imparts a general or absolute meaning but intends a specific meaning.

Many instances can be presented as evidence to this issue. ﴾As for the fornicatress and fornicator, strike each of them a hundred lashes﴿[40] is absolute in meaning and includes any person committing fornication, whether married or unmarried.

It is explained in the traditions that this Divine ordainment applies to the unmarried; the married fornicators [and fornicatress] must be stoned. It is related in an authentic ḥadīth by Samā‘a from Imam Ṣādiq (A.S.):

If a free [unmarried] man and free [unmarried] woman commit fornication, each one of them is to be struck a hundred lashes; as for the married ones, they are to be stoned.[41]

The verse concerning the traveler's payer and the traditions appended below it also depict the clarification of the verse's serious intention:

﴾When you journey in the land, there is no sin upon you in shortening the prayers, if you fear that the faithless may trouble you﴿[42]

Muḥammad b. Muslim and Zarāra inquired from Imam Bāqir (A.S.) about this verse, saying: the verse in the Qur'an says: ﴾there is no sin upon you ﴿and has not said "practice", so how come you do view it as shortened? Imam Bāqir (A.S.) referred to the verse concerning sa‘y and said:

There also Allah has said: ﴾there is no sin upon him to circuit between them ﴿

Then, Imam Bāqir (A.S.) went on to mention the obligatoriness of practice in both cases and said:

Do you not see that circuiting those two (Safā and Marwah) is obligatory as the Almighty and Glorious Allah mentioned in His Book and the Prophet (S.A.W.) has performed it; likewise is the shortened prayer during travel, something that the Prophet (S.A.W.) has performed and Allah the Exalted has pointed it out in His book.[43]

Some scholars who believe in non-particularism of the Qur'an by traditions have commented as follows:

The Qur'anic verse's pointing out to [shortening of prayer during] travel is contingent on fear. Therefore, as long as there is no fear of the kuffār (infidels), the traveler's prayer will be complete, since no condition has been laid down by the Qur'an. Even the tradition in question is not qualified to state a legal opinion on shortening prayer. Thus, contrary to what all Shī‘a jurists have decreed – giving judgments on shortening prayer as being obligatory – we should decree to the necessity of not shortening.[44]

In reply to this issue, it is to be said that the traditions decreeing the necessity of shortening prayer in travel and even repetition of prayer within its prescribed time for the person familiar with the decree – who has acted otherwise – are too many to be indifferent to.

These traditions – which in various statements assert the necessity of shortening prayer in travel without being in fear – include scores of traditions with a variety of sanad, many of which enjoy sound sanad and are examples of mutiwātir (frequently narrated) traditions the texts of which are identical in meaning.[45]

Many instances of specific and general, absolute and restricted, metaphor, allegory, and allusion can be found [in the Qur'an] that have been explained by means of traditions.

4. 3- Explanation of the Subtleties and Details (Ordinances, Stories, Resurrection)

Many of the Qur'anic topics and teachings are expressed in a general way and without detailed account and their details and subtleties have not been elaborated on. It is the lingual procedure of the Qur'an not to deal with such details.

These subtleties are not so worth-mentioning, although not always, as to be pointed out by the Qur'an; however, they are influential and acceptable in epistemic collections of religious teachings. By explaining these subtleties and elaborate details, the traditions of the Ma‘ṣūmīn (A.S.) play a significant role in the Muslims' epistemic schema, illumining the dark recesses of the subjects.

The Qur'anic stories and anecdotes are among this category. In the famous story of the Prophet Moses meeting with the learned person from Banī Isrā’īl who represent Divine genesis and legislation, many of the elaborate details are not stated but are pointed out in traditions.

There is disagreement about "Moses" in the aforementioned traditions. Some have known him to be Mūsā b. Mīshā b. Yūsif, one of the Israelite prophets. In contrast, some other traditions assert him to be the Prophet Mūsā b. ‘Imrān.[46]

‘Allāma Ṭabāṭabā’ī (ra) has accepted this view here, given the frequent mentioning of the Prophet Moses (A.S.) in the Qur'an and naming Moses without indications. The learned person mentioned in the Qur'an is known by the traditions to be the Prophet Khiḍr.

It is stated in tafsīr of Qumī:

Yūnis b. ‘Abd a-Raḥmān and Hishām b. Ibrāhīm have debated and disagreed as to whether that learned person had been more scholarly than the Prophet Moses. Might he have been an authority over the Prophet Moses (A.S.), who [as a Prophet] is the Allah's authority over people?

These issues have not been pointed out in the Qur'an. So, they asked Imam Riḍā (A.S.) and the Imam gave a detailed account of this story in reply to them. According to Imam Riḍā (A.S.)'s account during the meeting of these two Allah's authorities, the Prophet Khiḍr says to the Prophet Mūsā (A.S.):

I am commissioned to an affair which you can not tolerate and you are commissioned to an affair that I can not tolerate.[47]

The important point (which is very necessary to pay attention to) is that the Qur'anic and tradition texts do not deal with the unimportant and non-impressive trivialities, whereas, the texts known as Isrā’iliyyāt (Jewish and Christian lore) as well as the weak and romantic stories have more dealt with these details. Careful examination and strictness in delving into epistemic sources and the constituents of human beliefs must be more taken into consideration in these cases, especially the invalid Jewish stories which have found their way to the Islamic exegetic sources, too, and presented some incredible and untrue subjects. So is the lengthy text which is related in the sources of narrative exegesis concerning Hārūt and Mārūt in which the two divine angels have been reduced to a level lower than average human beings.[48]

Details of the legal ordinances and of the Return (ma‘ād) are not clarified along with the Qur'anic stories and are left to the Prophet (S.A.W.) to explain. The Qur'an has frequently enjoined to prayer, pilgrimage, and alms tax but has not explained them in detail.

The fact is that if the sunna of the Prophet (S.A.W.) and that of the Imams had not been available to us, how would such an important and routine act of devotion as daily prayers been performed? Likewise, it is repeatedly pointed out in the verses concerning inheritance that dividing of the bequeathed properties is to be done after paying off the bequeather's debts and upon his/her bequest; ﴾after [paying off] any bequest he may have made or any debt [he may have incurred﴿.[49] Can a person's bequest include all his property, leaving out nothing for the remaining members of the family?

Does the Qur'an present a general statement that can imply this issue? The traditions have clarified the point that in some cases such as fatal illnesses, the person can not leave a financial bequest including more that a third of their properties.[50]

Details of the Return are also another category of topics that require traditions [to clarify]. The existence of ma‘ād itself is proved by rational reasons. The main issues concerning ma‘ād are abundantly pointed out in the Qur'an and employed as admonition to the people who are living in ignorance. Referring the ḥadīth collections that deal with this issue (such as Biḥār al-Anwār) would clarify the details of this significant and impressive notion.

‘Allāma Ṭabāṭabā’ī has written about the role of traditions in understanding certain verses:

Yes, the details of these ordinances are such that no way exists for their comprehension except through the words of the Prophet (S.A.W.), as the Qur'an has also referred them to him in the words of the Exalted Allah ﴾Take whatever the Apostle gives you, and relinquish whatever he forbids you﴿,[51] the meanings of the verses as well as the details of the stories and the Hereafter are as such.[52]

5. 3- Stating the Referents

There are many verses in the Qur'an which in a general way state a ruling about particular subject. Exegetical traditions clarify the subject and the related ruling and facilitate the practicality of the verse by specifying its referents. Some interpreters have commented:

The use and function of the comparative traditions is that by explaining some of the referents of the verse guide the interpreter in presenting a general meaning of the verse.[53]

Explaining the referent has been described as jar’y wa taṭbīq (flowing and comparing). The term jar’y is taken from the words of Imam Bāqir (A.S.) who said:

And if whenever a verse is revealed about a people and then those people die that verse would die too, there would remain nothing of the Qur'an; but the Qur'an will flow [go on to exists] from the beginning to the end as long as the heavens and skies go on to exists.[54]

Notice some examples of Explaining the referent (or jar’y wa taṭbīq): the Qur'an has called acquiring livelihood through suḥt (illicit gains) as one of the worst practices and says: ﴾You see many of them actively engaged in sin and aggression, and consuming illicit gains. Surely, evil is what they have been doing.﴿[55]

Concerning suḥt and its referents, Imam Ṣādiq (A.S.) has quoted Imam ‘Alī (A.S.) as saying:

The money obtained for a dead animal and a dog, the money given to a prostitute, the bribe that a judge accepts, and the money paid to a soothsayer as a wage are counted as illicit gains.[56]

Consuming an orphan's property, the money earned through dealing alcoholic drinks and other intoxicants, the money gained by cooperating with the tyrants, money gained from gambling, usury, and the like are also regarded as illicit gains in other narrations.[57]

Another example is the verse ﴾… the path of those whom You have blessed – such as have not incurred Your wrath, nor are astray﴿,[58] which is a general statement. Imam Ṣādiq (A.S.) has taken ﴾those whom You have blessed﴿ to be the Prophet (S.A.W.) and the Imams.[59] In another instance, he has known the referent of ﴾those whom You have blessed﴿ to be the Shī‘ites.[60]

Ayatollah Jawādī Āmulī has put it this way:

The most perfect blessing, second to the elucidation of pure Monotheism that God has granted to the Muslim community is the wilāyat of the pure Monotheists, namely the Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.); and what is brought up as referent in this blessed community is other than the absoluteness or conceptual generality of the verse. Therefore, what is related in this type of traditions is related as referential jar’y wa taṭbīq rather than conceptual exegesis.[61]

Some referents of dhāll (the one who is astray) and maqḍūb (the one who has incurred God's wrath) have also been referred to in traditions. Imam ‘Alī (A.S.) said:

﴾Not of those who have incurred Your wrath.﴿ The Imam said: these are the Jews about whom Allah has said: ﴾Those whom Allah has cursed and with whom is wrathful.﴿[62]and about ﴾those who are astray﴿ said: they are the Nazarenes about whom Allah has said: ﴾who went astray in the past and led many astray﴿[63].[64]

Imam Ṣādiq (A.S.) has also stated concerning the referents of the verse:

﴾Those who have incurred Your wrath﴿ are [meant to be] the swindlers, and ﴾those who are astray﴿ are the skeptical who have not known the Imam.[65]

Plenty of these traditions can be found related to explain the sublime and utmost Divine blessings that are applied to the Imams (A. S.), and particularly, to Imam ‘Alī (A.S.).

A brief knowledge about the way the Ma‘ṣūmīn (A.S.) talk in their explanation of the Qur'an's verses indicate that most of those explanations have been given in terms of jar’y wa taṭbīq and have elucidated the referents of the verses. Ayatollah Jawādī Āmulī has written:

Many of the traditions presented in traditional exegeses, such as nūr al-thaqalayn and burhān, and are referred to as exegetical traditions are not seeking to interpret the verse since interpretations means explication of the meanings of the Qur'anic terms and statements. Most of those traditions do not fall in this category; rather, they seek to compare the verse to some of the referents and in many cases comparing to the most evident referent of that verse.[66]

The opponents and fault finders who had not been familiar with the speech tone of the Imams (A.S.) or have sought to find faults, have taken these traditions as alteration of the Qur'an. ‘Alāma Ṭabāṭabā’ī (ra) has related a ḥadīth from tafsīr of ‘Ayyāshī and tafsīr of Qumī under his interpretation of the verse 166 of Sūrat al-Nisā as follows:

Abū Hamza Thumālī: I heard Imam Bāqir (A.S.) saying ﴾But Allah bears witness to what He has sent down to you.﴿[67] [is revealed] about ‘Alī ﴾He sent it down with His knowledge, and the angels bear witness [too], and Allah quite suffices as a witness.﴿[68].[69]

Then he goes on to say:

And this is a kind of jar’y wa taṭbīq, so, part of the Qur'an is revealed about his [‘Alī (A.S.)'s] wilāyat; and this does not mean the alteration of the Qur'an nor it is a qarā’a (reading) of the Qur'an.[70]

The verse 168 of the same sūra contains a similar instance: ﴾Indeed those who are faithless and do wrong﴿ toward the household of Muḥammad serve their right in that ﴾Allah shall never forgive them﴿.[71]

Thiqat al-Islam (the trustworthy of Islam) Kulaynī has collected many of these texts in the first volume of his al-Kāfī under the heading of a chapter in "remarks and intricacies from the Holy Qur'an about wilāyat" which concern the referents of the verses in terms of jar’y wa taṭbīq.[72]

5. 3- Explication of the Inner Aspect of the Verses

The Divine knowledge of the Holy Qur'an is not merely exclusive to its apparent knowledge. This Divine Scripture contains higher strata which will not be approached by studying Arabic literature and grasping the applicatory meanings of the words and the only way to approach it is referring to those firmly rooted in knowledge. This category of meanings is named as the inner aspect (bāṭin) of the Qur'an.

Jābir b. Yazīd Ja‘fī said:

I asked Imam Bāqir (A.S.) something concerning the interpretation of the Qur'an and he answered, then I asked him the same question again and he gave me a different answer. Then I said, "May I be your ransom, I asked you this question the other day and you gave me a different answer." He said to me, "O Jābir! The Qur'an has an inner aspect and that inner aspect also has an inner aspect and it has an outer aspect and that outer aspect has an outer aspect. O Jābir! Nothing is farther from the interpretation of the Qur'an than men's intellects. Certainly, the beginning of this verse is about something and its end is about something else, and that is a continuous speech containing various aspects.[73]

What is meant by the inner aspect of the Qur'an is the comprehension of the interior content of the words which do not easily avail to the addressees; sometimes the surface of the verse points out something evident and obvious, but it can easily be found out that the verse is not intended to concern the surface of the speech alone. In such instances, the Imams (A.S.) have introduced the inner aspect and the epistemic stratum of the verse.

Imam Ṣādiq (A.S.) was asked what the verse ﴾So let man observe his food﴿[74] was intended to mean. Evidently, the apparent meaning of this verse is clear to all. Zaid Shaḥḥām's question was about the meaning of "food". And the Imam answered: "It is the knowledge that is adopted from whom it is adopted".[75]

‘Allama Majlisī (ra) has written under this ḥadīth: this is one inner aspect of this holy verse.[76]

Similarly, it is related from the Ma‘ṣūmīn (A.S.) that the meaning of the verse ﴾…makes lawful to them all the good things﴿[77] is that you should learn knowledge from the real scholar.[78]

In another instance, they have stated the meaning hidden in the verse ﴾He brings forth the living from the dead and brings forth the dead from the living﴿[79] as follows:

The living is the believer whose disposition (ṭīna) has been brought forth from the disposition of the unbeliever, and the dead is the one who has been brought forth from the living; he is the unbeliever who has been brought forth from the believer's disposition; so, the living is the believer and the dead is the unbeliever.[80]

Imam Bāqir (A.S.) has said about the verse ﴾Say, 'Tell me, should your water sink down [into the ground], who will bring you running water? ﴿[81] as follows:

This verse has been revealed about the Upriser [Imam Mahdi (AJ)]. It is said [by Allah]: If your Imam gets away from you and you do not know where he is, who will bring you an evident Imam that would inform you about the heaven and earth and the lawful and the unlawful of Allah? Then he [the Imam – A.S.] said: By God, the actualization (ta’wīl) of this verse has not come yet and it will definitely show up.[82]

A ḥadīth has been related elucidating the meaning of the verse ﴾Then let them do away with their untidiness and fulfill their vows﴿[83] which is inclusive of both inner and outer meanings of the verse:

‘Aabd Allāh b. Sinān related from Dhurayḥ al-Muḥāribī who said: I said to Imam Ṣādiq (A.S.) that Allah has given me a command in His Book and I would like to act upon it. He asked what the command was. I said, the Almighty and Glorious Allah says [in His Book]: ﴾Then let them do away with their untidiness and fulfill their vows﴿ the Imam said: ﴾let them do away with their untidiness﴿ [means] meeting with the Imam and ﴾fulfill their vows﴿ concerns [performing] Ḥajj rituals. ‘Aabd Allāh b. Sinān said: I went to Imam Ṣādiq (A.S.) myself and asked him to guide me about this saying of the Almighty and Glorious Allah [in the verse]: ﴾Then let them do away with their untidiness and fulfill their vows﴿. The Imam Said: [it means] trimming the mustachio and cutting the nails short and the like of it. He said: 'I said to him: May I be your ransom! Dhurayḥ al-Muḥāribī related to me from you saying that ﴾let them do away with their untidiness﴿ [means] meeting with the Imam and ﴾fulfill their vows﴿ concerns [performing] Ḥajj rituals. Then, the Imam said: Both you and Dhurayḥ are right; the Qur'an has inner and outer aspects, and who is there to tolerate what Dhurayḥ tolerates?[84]

7. 3- The Esoteric Interpretation of the Verses

The esoteric interpretation (ta’wīl) is taken from the root (awala) which means restoring and bringing back.[85] Terminologically, it means restoring the apparent meaning to its unapparent meaning which may have various types. Some scholars have regarded ta’wīl of a verse as tantamount to explaining the inner aspects of the Qur'an.[86]

In respect to the application of ta’wīl in the Qur'an, ‘Allāma Ṭabāṭabā’ī says: what is meant by ta’wīl is the inner reality and the semantic essence which the Qur'an seeks to express:

The true meaning of ta’wīl is that it is the real truth which is relied on by the Qur'anic statements such as aphorisms, exhortation, views, etc.[87]

It is not now time to deal with the inner difference of these two views. The traditions that pass beyond the apparent meaning of the verse and express its inner aspect or proceed to explain the reality and the semantic essence of the verse are studied under these two headings.

While talking about the unequivocal and ambiguous verses and their existence in the Qur'an, the Holy Qur'an says: ﴾But no one knows its interpretation except Allah and those firmly grounded in knowledge.﴿[88]. Therefore, there is no other way to understand the esoteric meaning of the Qur'an than appealing to Allah and those firmly grounded in knowledge to be helped out by them.

Those firmly grounded in knowledge (al-rāsikhūn fī al-‘ilm) are interpreted to be the Prophet (S.A.W.) and the Imams (A.S.). Obviously, even if this interpretation did not exist, the Ma‘ṣūmīn (A.S.) would be the true and perfect manifestation of al-rāsikhūn fī al-‘ilm.

Imam Ṣādiq (A.S.) said:

We are the firmly grounded in knowledge and we know its [the Qur'an's] interpretation.[89]

Similarly, the following is also related from the Imams (A.S.):

Then, the Apostle of Allah (S.A.W.) is the best of those firmly grounded in knowledge.[90]

Thus, it can be claimed that the only possible way to comprehend the ta’wīl of the Qur'an is to refer to the Infallible and to benefit from their vast wealth of knowledge. Ta’wīl, as a means of attaining the semantic reality of the Qur'an is not available to everyone, since it is a higher level of knowledge.

Imam Bāqir (A.S.) said about Jābir:

May Allah have mercy on Jābir whose knowledge reached the extent that he got to know the ta’wīl of the verse ﴾Indeed He who has revealed to you the Qur'an will surely restore you to the place of return﴿ as meaning al-raj‘a (return).[91]

8. 3- Statement of Qur'anic Knowledge (Elucidation of Divine Teachings)

So far, we have pointed out some of the instances of the Infallible's words which have been of exegetical constitution and concerning the verses of the Qur'an. Should we content ourselves with these instances of using traditions in understanding the Qur'anic verses?

Many of those who have dealt with interpretation derived from tradition have just had these traditions in mind.

Naturally, with this viewpoint the number of the exegetical traditions – particularly the sound traditions – would be very few in number.

This procedure seems to be not correct. The Prophet (S.A.W.) and Imams (A.S.) being the "exponent" of the Qur'an does not mean that they have only dealt with the interpretation and explanation of the Qur'an in technical sense of the word. The truth is that all the actions and inactions and silence and speaking of the Ma‘ṣūmīn are interpretation of the Qur'an. It is said about the morality of the Prophet (S.A.W.): "His disposition is the Qur'an."[92] All the words of the Ma‘ṣūmīn (A.S.) are the explication of the revealed doctrines even if apparently not concerning a verse of the Qur'an.

When the Qur'an says about supplication:

﴾Say, 'What store my Lord would set by you were it not for your supplication? But you impugned [me and my advice], so that will continue to haunt you.'﴿[93]

Or it says:

﴾Your Lord has said, 'Call Me, and I will hear you [r supplication]!' Indeed those who are disdainful of My worship will enter hell in utter humility.﴿[94]

Interpretation of these words is possible by referring to the traditions that are issued about supplication or are their referents. Al-Ṣaḥīfat al-Sajjādiyya is regarded as the exposition of this Qur'anic verse, since it incorporates and manifests the concept, meaning, and the reality of the verse.

The following saying from ‘Alī (A.S.), although not referring to a particular verse, is in fact the interpretation and elucidation of the Revealed knowledge about supplication:

Let it be known that He in whose Hand are the treasures of the world and the Hereafter gave you permission to supplicate and undertook its fulfillment and commanded you to ask Him that He would grant you; and He is the Bounteous Merciful who did not cause someone to veil between you and Him, nor did He have you go to someone who would intercede for you with Him.[95]

Similarly, Imam Ṣādiq (A.S.) has said:

Make du‘ā (supplicate) and do not say nothing can be done; there is a status with the Almighty and Glorious God that can not be reached except through asking.[96]

Therefore, it can be said that the entire Qur'anic and traditional knowledge constitute a conforming and systematic collection with every part being related to every other part interpreting and elucidating it. Centrality of the Qur'an demands require that in order to understand it other doctrines be employed, too. Without referring to the traditions and without compiling a comprehensive and complete collection of all the Revealed knowledge, there can be no way to reach the Lawmaker's true nature of intention or purpose. Traditions of the Ma‘ṣūmīn (A.S.), even if not formally an interpretation of a verse of the Qur'an, do indeed seek to elucidate that knowledge. To grasp that verse and its purpose, it is necessary to take into consideration all the words of the Ma‘ṣūmīn (A.S.) along with that verse.

9. 3- Explanation of the Way to Understand, to Interpret, and to Exploit the Verses of trhe Qur'an

How to exploit the verses of the Qur'an and the way to understand the verses is comprehensible by means of the words of the Ma‘ṣūmīn. Inquiry from the Qur'an and the way to approach the Qur'anic knowledge is among the variations of the function of traditions in understanding the Qur'an. The Imams have told their companions and followers how they can catch knowledge from within the verses.

For instance, referring to the Qur'an and extracting the general rules and applying them to various evidences have been touched upon in traditions. ‘Abd al-A‘lā inquired from Imam Ṣādiq (A.S.) concerning a man whose nail had been injured and had bandaged his finger. In response to him, the Imam (A.S.) refers to a general rule in the inquiry from the Qur'an and says:

This and the like of this can be pinpointed in the Book of the Almighty and Glorious Allah ﴾and has not placed for you any obstacle in the religion﴿[97]; amsiḥ ‘alayh (pass your wet hand over it).[98]

Imam ‘Alī (A.S.) has concluded by juxtaposing the two verses of the Qur'an, i.e. ﴾Mothers shall suckle their children for two full years﴿[99] and ﴾and his gestation and weaning take thirty months﴿[100] that according to the Qur'an the length of gestation is at least six months.[101]

Similarly, Imam jawād (A.S.) while joining the noble verses ﴾The places of worship belong to Allah﴿ [102] and ﴾As for the thief, man and woman, cut off their hands﴿ [103]has stated the point that in punishment of the thief only his fingers ought to be cut off and no more than that can be cut off by relying on the application of hands to the palms or from the tips of the fingers to the elbow or even from the fingers to the shoulder.[104]

As a matter of fact, utilization of the Qur'an in understanding the Qur'an is a procedure left over to us from the Ma‘ṣūmīn. Besides this procedure, it is also emphatically recommended to refer to the Sunna (of the Prophet - S.A.W.) and the Ma‘ṣūmīn. It has been pointed out in many traditions that only the Ahl al-Bayt (A.S.) are aware of all the inner and outer aspects of the Qur'an.

Imam Ṣādiq (A.S.) said to Abū Ḥanīfa who claimed to be cognizant of the Qur'an:

You have claimed a great knowledge. Woe on you! Allah has trusted that kind of knowledge only with the People of the Book and particular people who are from among the progeny of the Prophet (S.A.W.).[105]

In addition to enjoining these two procedures, the Imams (A.S.) have strongly opposed the interpretation by personal opinion and the unscholarly comments and rejected them. It is related from the Prophet (S.A.W.):

Whoever interprets the Qur'an according to his own opinion has indeed fabricated lies against Allah.[106]

The entirety of these traditions clearly express the right way of understanding the Qur'an and thus facilitates the profound and accurate comprehension of the Qur'an.

4. epilogue

So far we recounted various impacts that the traditions may have on comprehension of the Qur'an and gave an example for each one of them. These are not the entire variations of the impact and the function of traditions in comprehension of the Qur'an; as with some deliberation and inquiry, other variations can also be found since in the examples presented as evidence no induction has been made and many instances can be found which are examples of the variations referred to in interpretation and comprehension.

In utilizing the exegetical traditions some remarks are to be taken into consideration:

1. Evidently, what is meant by ḥadīth and riwāya (narration) is their Shī‘ī definitions which imply Sunna (tradition), and what is meant by Sunna is the words, actions, and ratifications by the Ma‘ṣūmīn (A.S.).

So, only the words that are claimed to represent the sayings of the Ma‘ṣūmīn (A.S.) are taken into consideration. The words of the ṣaḥāba (companions), tābi‘īn (successors to the companions), and those near of kin to the infallible Imams (A.S.) are not considered to be ḥadīth, except if proved to be originally stated by the Ma‘ṣūmīn (A.S.).[107]

Therefore, using the Sunnīs' narrational exegesis is to be accompanied by some deliberation, since many of the issues mentioned as narrational exegesis in their books are in fact the words of the companions and their successors which we do not take as valid. (It can be claimed that more than seventy percent of the texts existing in Ṭabarī's Jāmi‘ al-Bayān and Sīyūṭī's Al-Durr al-Manthūr are related from non-Ma‘ṣūm sources.)

2. Only those narrations that are qualified as authenticated and possible to be used and relied on can be exposition of the Qur'an and assist in the comprehension of the Revealed texts.

We may, after research and follow up, get to believe in the "authenticity of the reliable sanad" or else view the "relied on ḥadīth" as authoritative even if it does not have a sound sanad. In other word, we may take the reliability of issuance or the reliability of the sanad as a blueprint for action.

It does not matter what basis we have, but it is important that the reliable or authenticated ḥadīth that is used in the interpretation of the Qur'an be from an authoritative source. Any text that is given the name of ḥadīth can not be regarded as tradition and referred to for understanding the Qur'an.

Strictness in the texts of exegesis by tradition indicates the importance of the Qur'an and traditions and the convictions adopted from them.

The Qur'an has reached us without distortion, misrepresentation, increment, decrement, segmentation, paraphrasing, etc.; hence the revelation being ceased; whereas, the traditions may have been afflicted with all these pathologies in the course of their long historical ups and downs. Among such pathologies the danger of fabrication and devising is the most serious of all; some texts known as isrā’īliyāt (Jewish and Christian lore) have been penetrated into the Sunnī books and even the Shī‘ī texts as well. Any interpreter who derives his interpretation from traditions is legally, scholarly, and morally obliged to take utmost care in adopting from these texts, being strict and critical about them.

3. Acceptance of the authenticated texts and using them in elucidating the verses is regarded rational. Using these kinds of texts can even be recommended in other fields such as history, ethics, and even jurisprudence.

What is important here is that the presumptive content obtained from these traditions, however authoritative, is to be attributed to religion as is proportionate to its dignity. Any tradition text should be chronicled and appraised and be taken into consideration and used as a criteria according to its validity.

Presumption is presumption, and although it gradually weakens despite its incorporated evidences and gets nearer to reliability and can even be followed by rational certitude, the attribution of the content to religion has to be made cautiously so as not to – God forbid – lead to weakening of the religion and law and fabricating lies against Allah. Thus, paying attention to the fact that we should "attribute the presumptive content of the exegetical traditions to the Qur'an and religion in a presumptive way" becomes important.

4. The exegetical traditions are not comprehensive and exclusive. Although some of the problems with the comprehension of the Qur'an would be solved only through traditions, the sayings of the Ma‘ṣūmīn (A.S.) in all their discourses have not reached us. Thus, the type of interpretation and comprehension based on traditions does not disprove other types of interpretation. Even if there are traditions appended below the verses, the number of the sound and reliable traditions are not sufficient to make one needless of deliberation, thinking, and intellection. It is hoped that by juxtaposing various sound, rational, and scholarly types we may find a way toward understanding of the Qur'an.


1. ‘Allāma Majlisī, Biḥār al-Anwār, Beirut: Al-Wafā Institute, 1404 AH.

2. Al-Mawlā Muḥsin al-Fayḍ al-Kāshānī, Tafsīr al-Ṣāfī, Tehran: Maktabat al-Ṣadr, 1416 AH, 2nd edition.

3. Al-Naṣr Muḥammad b. ‘Ayyāshī al-Sulamī al-Samarqandī, Tafsīr al-‘Ayyāshī, researched by Ḥāj Sayyid Hāshim Rasūlī Maḥallātī, Tehran: Al-Maktabat al-‘Ilmiyyat al-Islāmiyya.

4. Abū al-Ḥasan ‘Alī b. Ibrāhīm al-Qumī (d. 329/940), Tafsīr al-Qumī, Qum: Dār al-Kitāb, 1404, 3rd edition.

5. Ṭabarī, Abū Ja‘far Muḥammad b. Jurayr, Jāmi‘ al-Bayān fī Ta’wīl al-Qur‘ān, 30 vols. Cairo, 1321 AH.

6. Al-Siyūṭī, Jalāl al-Dīn, Al-Durr al-Manthūr, Dār al-Ma‘rifa, 1365 AH, 1st edition.

7. Abū Ja‘far Muḥammad b. Ya‘qūb b. Isḥāq Kulaynī Rāzī (d. 329/940), Al-Kāfī, researched by ‘Alī Akbar Ghaffārī, Beirut: Dār-e Ṣa‘b wa Dār al-Ta‘āruf, 1401, 4th edition.

8. Aḥmad b. Ḥanbal, Al-Musnad, Dār-e Iḥyā’ al-Turāth al-‘Arabī wa Dār-e Ṣādir, nd.

9. Shaykh Ṣadūq, Muḥammad b. ‘Alī b. Bābwayh al-Qumī, Ma‘ānī al-Akhbār, ed. ‘Alī Akbar Ghaffārī, Qum: Manshūrāt.

10. Rāghib Iṣfahānī, Mu‘jam Mufradāt al-Qur'ān, researched by Nadīm Mar‘shlī, offset by Maktabat al-Murtaḍawiyya.

11. Abū Ja‘far Muḥammad b. ‘Alī b. Ḥusayn b. Bābwayh Qumī (d. 381/991), Man lā Yaḥḍuru al-Faqīh, Tehran: Dār al-Maktab al-Islāmiyya, 1390 AH.

12. Al-Ṭabāṭabā’ī, Al-Sayyid Muḥammad Ḥusayn, Al-Mīzān fī Tafsīr al-Qur‘ān, Mu’assisat al-Nashr al-Islāmī, 1402 AH.

13. Al-Shaykh Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan al-Ḥurr al-‘Āmilī, Wasā’il al-Shī‘a, researched and published by Mu’assisa Āl al-Bayt li Iḥyā’ al-Turāth, 1409, 1st edition.

14. Rawash Shināsī-yi Tafsīr-e Qur‘ān

15. Faṣl Nāma-yi Pazhūhishhā-yi Qur'ānī

16. Faṣl Nāma-yi Bayyināt

[1] Al-Qur'an, 19: 89.

[2] Al-Qur'an, 3: 93.

[3] Al-Qur'an, 24: 46.

[4] Al-Qur'an, 18: 1.

[5] See: Pazhūhishhā-yi Qur'ānī, No. 9 and 10, p. 286, Interview with Dr. Muḥammad Ṣādiqī.

[6] Ibid, p.289.

[7] Al-Qur'an, 47: 24.

[8] Al-Qur'an, 4: 82.

[9] See: Al-Mīzān fī Tafsīr al-Qur'ān, vol. 5, p. 7.

[10] Al-Qur'an, 17: 88.

[11] Al-Kāfī, vol. 1, p. 69.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Al-Qur'an, 16: 44.

[14] Al-Qur'an, 16: 64.

[15] Al-Kāfī, vol. 1, p.60, t. 6.

[16] Ibid, t. 5.

[17] Ibid, p. 61, t. 7.

[18] See: Rawish Shināsī-yi Tafsīr, p. 144, which is a study of the semantic and extensional differences between cause of Revelation and occasion of Revelation related to discourses of Qur'anic sciences. Also see: Rawish Shināsī-yi Tafsīr-i Qur'ān, pp. 151-154. Sūrat al-Fīl is a good example for the distinction between the cause of Revelation and the occasion of Revelation. Obviously, this chapter of the Qur'an is about the invasion of Abraḥa army to the Holy Ka‘ba, which we call the occasion of Revelation, but the invasion of the army of elephants is not the cause of Revelation.

[19] See: Qur'an dar Islām, p.120.

[20] Al-Qur'an, 2: 158.

[21] Al-Kāfī, vol. 4, p.435.

[22] Al-Qur'an, 5: 55.

[23] See: Muḥammad Bāqir Muḥaqqiq, Nimūna-yi Bayyināt dar Sha’n Nuzūl-i Āyāt; Rawish Shināsī-yi Tafsīr-i Qur'ān, pp. 137-151.

[24] Al-Qur'an, 2: 106.

[25] Al-Qur'an, 33: 33.

[26] Al-Qur'an, 9: 37.

[27] Al-Qur'an, 5: 67.

[28] Al-Qur'an, 5: 3.

[29] Masū‘a al-Imam ‘Alī b. Abī Ṭālib, vol. 2,pp. 251-290.

[30] Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, vol. 1, p. 25, t. 45; vol. 4, p. 1600, t. 4145; p. 11683, t. 433; and vol. 6, p. 2653, t. 6840. For more information on various reports of this statement, see: Al-Durar al-Manṣūr, vol.3, pp. 16-20.

[31] Ma‘ānī al-Akhbār, p. 6, t. 2.

[32] Al-Qur'an, 16: 2

[33] Al-Kāfī, vol 1, p. ???.

[34] Ma‘ānī al-Akhbār, p. 294.

[35] Man lā Yaḥḍuru al-Faqīh, vol. 3, 344.

[36] See: Rāghib, Mufradāt, under the entry ra-b-b (ر ب ب).

[37] Al-Khiṣāl, p. 614.

[38] Al-Qur'an, 56: 79.

[39] Al-Mīzān, vol. 19, p. 138.

[40] Al-Qur'an, 24: 2.

[41] ???

[42] Al-Qur'an, 4: 101.

[43] Man lā Yaḥḍuru al-Faqīh, vol. 1, p.432.

[44] See: Ustād Dr. Muḥammad Ṣādiqī, Baḥthī da bāra-yi Ṣalāt-i Musāfir (A Discussion on the Traveler's Prayer).

[45] See: Wasā’il al-Shī‘a, vol. 8, pp. 451-539. Many of the traditions under this rubric denote the necessity of shortening traveler's prayer without [presence of] fear.

[46] Al-Mīzān, vol.13, p. 338.

[47] Tafsīr al-Qumī, vol. 2, p 38.

[48] See: Jāmi‘ al-Bayān, vol. 1, p. 639; Al-Durr al-Manthūr, vol. 1 pp. 97-99; for more information on the criticism of these texts, see: Al-Mizān, vol. 1, p.239.

[49] Al-Qur'an, 4: 11.

[50] Wasā’il al-Shī‘a, vol. 19, p. 274; chapter on bequeathing a third of one's property.

[51] Al-Qur'an, 59: 7.

[52] Al-Mizān, vol. 1, p.84.

[53] Tasnīm, vol. 1, p. 84.

[54] Tafsīr al-‘Ayyāshī, vol. 1, p. 10.

[55] Al-Qur'an, 5: 62.

[56] Al-Khiṣāl, p. 329.

[57] See: Biḥār al-Anwār, vol. 100, p. 42 and 53.

[58] Al-Qur'an, 1: 7.

[59] Biḥār al-Anwār, vol. 10, p. 61.

[60] Al-Ṣāfī, vol. 1, p. 74.

[61] Tasnīm, vol. 1, p.548.

[62] Al-Qur'an, 5: 60.

[63] Al-Qur'an, 5: 77.

[64] Biḥār al-Anwār, vol. 25, p.274.

[65] Nūr al-Thaqalain, vol. 1, p. 24.

[66] Tasnīm, vol.1, p. 168

[67] Al-Qur'an, 4: 166.

[68] Ibid.

[69] Tafsīr al-Qumī, vol. 1, p. 159; Tafsīr al-‘Ayyāshī, vol. 1, p. 285.

[70] Al-Mīzān, vol. 5, p. 146.

[71] Al-Qur'an, 4: 137.

[72] Al-Kāfī, vol. 1, pp. 412-436.

[73] Tafsīr al-‘Ayyāshī, vol. 1, p. 11.

[74] Al-Qur'an, 80: 24.

[75] Al-Kāfī, vol. 1, p. 50.

[76] Biḥār al-Anwār, vol. 2, p. 96.

[77] Al-Qur'an, 7: 157.

[78] Al-Kāfī, vol. 1, p. 429.

[79] Al-Qur'an, 6: 95.

[80] Al-Kāfī, vol.2, p. 5.

[81] Al-Qur'an, 67: 31.

[82] Al-Imāma wa al-Tabṣira, p.16.

[83] Al-Qur'an, 22: 29.

[84] Al-Kāfī, vol. 4, p. 549, t. 4.

[85] Al-Nihāya, vol. 1, p. 80.

[86] Ayatollah Muḥammad Hādī Ma‘rifat can be regarded as among such scholars. For more information, see: Al-Tamhīd, vol. 3, p. 28; the Bayyināt Quarterly, No. 44, p. 57.

[87] Al-Mīzān, vol. 3, p. 49.

[88] Al-Qur'an, 2: 7.

[89] Al-Kāfī, vol. 1, p. 212.

[90] Ibid.

[91] Tafsīr al-Qumī, vol.1, p. 25.

[92] Tanbīh al-Khawāṭir, vol. 1, p. 89, related from Imam al-Ṣādiq (A.S.); Musnad of Ibn Ḥanbal, vol. 6, p. 91, quoted from ‘Ā’isha.

[93] Al-Qur'an, 25: 77.

[94] Al-Qur'an, 40: 60.

[95] Biḥār al-Anwār, vol. 77, p. 204.

[96] Al-Kāfī, vol. 2, p. 466.

[97] Al-Qur'an, 22: 78.

[98] Al-Kāfī, vol. 3, p. 33.

[99] Al-Qur'an, 2: 233.

[100] Al-Qur'an, 46: 15

[101] Biḥar al-Anwār, vol. 40, p. 180.

[102] Al-Qur'an, 72:18.

[103] Al-Qur'an, 5, 37.

[104] The details of this episode is related in Tafsīr al-‘Ayyāshī, vol. 1, p. 230.

[105] ‘Ilal al-Sharāyi‘, p. 89.

[106] Kamāl al-Dīn, vol. 1, p. 256.

[107] For example, some of the exegetical sayings of Ibn ‘Abbās are considered to be adopted from Imam ‘Alī (A.S.) and the words by ‘Alī b. Ibrāhīm are said to be taken from traditions; so far as this claim is not proved those sayings can not be regarded among our epistemic sources in comprehension of the Qur'an.

Hadith Tags :   Comprehension of the Qur'an,  understanding the Qur'an,  understanding verses
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