Fatwa ID: 05564
Answered by: Alimah Habiba Akhtar
What are the opinions about the tafsir of Surah Ale Imran Verse 7? Where some scholars stop at no one knows the meaning of mutashabihat except ALLAH ( as is attributed to Aisha RA), while others continue to include the people who are well-grounded in Knowledge (attributed to Ibn Abbas RA). How is a layman supposed to understand this verse and which explanation to take?
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Your query refers to a common man determining the correct view when there is a contradiction.
Firstly, the knowledge of Islam is vast and therefore, Islam requires intense study to understand the intricacies of the religion.
Therefore, there is a great encouragement for Muslims to seek knowledge. The following Hadith emphasises and demonstrates the vitality of teaching:
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “The best among you (Muslims) are those who learn the Qur’an and teach it.” (1)
Hence, we understand that solely studying the Qur’an isn’t enough but passing on knowledge is important. This, we understand the role of a teacher.
Moreso, the protocol for the Ummah when unaware or underqualified regarding something are encouraged to make use of those who have been given the knowledge.
“[Prophet], all the messengers We sent before you were simply men to whom We had given the Revelation: you [people] can ask those who have knowledge if you do not know. (Surah An-Nahl, 16:43-44)(2)
Therefore, we can see that when the common people require assistance, the correct method is to seek those who are knowledgeable.
As for how scholars should determine between information that may seem contradictory, they have been advised to follow the following method of Qur’an, the Sunnah, then Ijma and then Qiyas as described in the following hadith:
It was narrated from Shuraih that:
He wrote to ‘Umar, to ask him (a question), and ‘Umar wrote back to him telling him: “Judge according to what is in the Book of Allah. If it is not (mentioned) in the Book of Allah, then (judge) according to the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah [SAW]. If it is not (mentioned) in the Book of Allah or the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah [SAW], then pass judgment according to the way the righteous passed judgment. If it is not (mentioned) in the Book of Allah, or the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah [SAW], and the righteous did not pass judgment concerning it, then if you wish, go ahead (and try to work it out by yourself) or if you wish, leave it. And I think that leaving it is better for you. And peace be upon you.”
Only Allah knows best
Written by Alimah Habiba Akhtar
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham
عَنْ عُثْمَانَ ـرضىاللهعنهـعَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلىاللهعليهوسلمقَالَ “ خَيْرُكُمْ مَنْ تَعَلَّمَ الْقُرْآنَ وَعَلَّمَهُ ”.
Sahih al-Bukhari 5027
(وَمَاۤ أَرۡسَلۡنَامِنقَبۡلِكَ إِلَّارِجَالࣰانُّوحِیۤ إِلَیۡهِمۡۖ فَسۡـَٔلُوۤا۟ أَهۡلَ ٱلذِّكۡرِ إِنكُنتُمۡ لَاتَعۡلَمُونَ)
[Surah An-Nahl 43]
(بِٱلۡبَیِّنَـٰتِ وَٱلزُّبُرِۗ وَأَنزَلۡنَاۤ إِلَیۡكَ ٱلذِّكۡرَ لِتُبَیِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ مَانُزِّلَ إِلَیۡهِمۡ وَلَعَلَّهُمۡ یَتَفَكَّرُونَ)
[Surah An-Nahl 44]
عَنْ شُرَيْحٍ، أَنَّهُ كَتَبَ إِلَىعُمَرَ يَسْأَلُهُ فَكَتَبَ إِلَيْهِ أَنِ اقْضِ بِمَافِيكِتَابِ اللَّهِ فَإِنْ لَمْ يَكُنْ فِيكِتَابِ اللَّهِ فَبِسُنَّةِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلىاللهعليهوسلمفَإِنْ لَمْ يَكُنْ فِيكِتَابِ اللَّهِ وَلاَ فِيسُنَّةِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلىاللهعليهوسلمفَاقْضِ بِمَاقَضَىبِهِ الصَّالِحُونَ فَإِنْ لَمْ يَكُنْ فِيكِتَابِ اللَّهِ وَلاَ فِيسُنَّةِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلىاللهعليهوسلموَلَمْ يَقْضِ بِهِ الصَّالِحُونَ فَإِنْ شِئْتَ فَتَقَدَّمْ وَإِنْ شِئْتَ فَتَأَخَّرْ وَلاَ أَرَىالتَّأَخُّرَ إِلاَّ خَيْرًالَكَ وَالسَّلاَمُ عَلَيْكُمْ.
Sunan an-Nasa’i 5399