Concise Principles in Tafseer and the science of the Qur’aan (Part 5)

From: http://ah-sp.com/2011/08/25/concise-principles-in-tafseer-and-the-science-of-the-quraan-part-5/

 

Bismillah Was Salaatu Was Salaamu ‘Alaa rasoolillahi,

Ammaa Ba’d,

The origin concerning the revelation of verses in the qur’aan is that its verses were revealed once.

Though it may occur in relation to verses in the Qur’aan (and surahs for that matter) that have more than one reason for revelation, that if the two reasons for revelation are authentic and there is a clear distance in time, as it relates to the two incidents (i.e. that one verse was revealed when the messenger (Sallallahu ‘alahi was Sallam) was living in Makka and the other while he was resident in Madina after the Hijra) the scholars rule that the verse was revealed twice.

The reason for that (they mention) is in order to re-affirm a past ruling and to affirm that the (new) incident falls within the meaning of the verse.

Imaam Zarkashi Mentions:

“An affair may be revealed twice in order to fortify its importance, and to remind of it when its reason re-occurs, fearing it may be forgotten. This is what has been said concerning the revelation of Suratul Faatihah, that it was revealed twice, once in Makka and a second time in Madina…”

(Al Burhaan 1/29)

An example of this is that which occurs concerning the statement of Allah the most high:

“Alif Laam Meem.  The Romans have been defeated…(Suratur Room 1-4)

Upon the authority of Niyaar ibn Mukrim who said:

When Allah revealed:

Alif Laam Meem. The Romans have been defeated. In the nearest land (the region of Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Palestine) and they, after their defeat will be victorious. Within three to nine years.

When this verse was revealed, the Persians had overpowered the Romans. The Muslims wished that they (The Romans) overpowered the Persians due to the fact that they were both people of the book (i.e. The Muslims and the Roman Christians). Concerning this there occurs the statement of Allah:

“And on that day the believers (Muslims) will rejoice with the help of Allah. He helps whom he wills and he is the All Mighty the Mercy-giver”

But Quraish wished that the Persians were victorious since neither of them were people of scripture or belief in the resurrection.

So when Allah revealed this verse, Abu Bakr went out to regions of Makka shouting:

The Romans have been defeated. In the nearest land (the region of Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Palestine) and they after their defeat will be victorious. Within three to nine years…”

So a group from the tribe of Quraish said:”Let us deal with this between us.  Your companion (Muhammad) claims that the Romans will defeat the Persians in a number of years between three and nine, Come let us make a bet upon that! So Abu Bakr said: “Ok!” and this was before the prohibition of Gambling. So Abu Bakr agreed with them to make a bet. They said let us agree upon a time period because Bid’ (the Arabic term used in the verse) is an amount between three and nine so let us name a year that we bet upon. So they agreed upon the sixth year, since it was a middle period between the two periods. So six years passed and they (The Romans) were not victorious. So the pagans took the amount Abu Bakr had placed upon the bet (some narrations mention it was 100 camels) some of the believers reproached Abu Bakr for what he had done, due to the fact that Allah had mentioned (this will occur in) Bid’ years (which refers to a number between three and nine). Then on the seventh year the Romans gained victory over the Persians and many people entered Islaam because of this” (Collected by Tirmidhi 3194 and declared: Hasan by Sheikh Al Albaani)

There is a narration that indicates that the verse was revealed again in Madina

Imaam At Tirmidhi collects upon the authority of Abu Sa’eed Al khudhri (Radhiyallahu ‘anhu): ”During the (period of) battle of Badr, the romans defeated the Persians (in battle). The believers were happy about this and Allah revealed:

Alif Laam Meem. The Romans have been defeated. In the nearest land (the region of Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Palestine) and they, after their defeat will be victorious. Within three to nine years. The decision of the matter, before (the defeat) and after (the defeat) is only with Allah. And on that day the believers (Muslims) will rejoice”

(Suratur Ruum 1-4)

So the believers were happy at the victory of the Romans over the Persians” This then is an example of a verse being revealed more than once. The verse was revealed in Makka before the Hijra then again in Madina some seven years later Another example of that is the hadeeth related to the revelation of the verse in suratul Israa Vs 85:

They ask you about the soul…

Imaam Bukhaari (7297) and Muslim (2794) collected upon the authority of Ibn Mas’ood who said:

I was walking with the Messenger (Sallallahu ‘Alahi was Sallam) (on an occasion) in the agricultural (area) in madina and he was reclining upon a palm branch stripped of its leaves. He passed by a group of Jews and some of them said: why not ask him (a question) while others among them said: Don’t ask him (anything) for you will hear from him what you will dislike: So they said: “Oh Abul Qaasim: Inform us about the soul? So the messenger stood for a period and raised his head to the heavens and I knew he was receiving revelation then when it passed over he said:

They ask you about the soul; say The Rooh (soul) is (from those things) the knowledge of which is with my lord and of knowledge, you (mankind) have been given only a little” (Israa:85)

Imaam Ibn Katheer mentions about this Hadeeth:

That which is apparent from this wording and is initially taken from this is that the verse is Madinan and that it was revealed when the Jews asked him this question in Madina, though (the reality is that) the surah in its totality is Makkan. And the explanation of this is that it is possible that the surah was revealed in Madina a second time after its initial revelation in Makka…”

(Tafseer Ibn Katheer 3/60)

A note concerning the Makkan and Madinan Surahs

What should be noted here is that there is a common misconception about Makki (Makkan)and Madani (Madinan) Surahs. Many people erroneously believe that the Makkan surah is that which came to the messenger when he was in makka and that the Madani surah is that which was revealed upon him in Madina.

That which the scholars (Ibn Katheer  and others)mention is that the Makkan surah is that surah which was revealed before the Hijra (even if some of its verses were revealed in Madina) and that the Madani Surah is that surah that was revealed after hijra (even if some of its verse were revealed in Makka)

Wallahu a’lam

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