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“What earth will hold me” – Speaking about the Qur’an without Knowledge

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy, All praise is for Allah. We look for His help, pray for forgiveness and seek refuge from our evils and misdeeds.

No one can mislead whom He guides and no one can guide whom He misguides. I witness that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah, the one without a partner. I also witness that Muhammad is His servant and His messenger. May Allah bestow upon him peace and blessings.

Qur’an; the words of Allah. Words so heavy that they can destroy the mountains but yet so light upon the hearts of the believers.

“And if there was any qur’an by which the mountains would be removed or the earth would be broken apart or the dead would be made to speak, [it would be this Qur’an].” [13:31]

If we really think deeply about this verse, they will realise just how powerful and mighty the words of Allah are. It is their miraculous nature that despite their power and magnificence, these words are easy on the tongue and the mind.

“And indeed, We have made the Quran easy to understand and remember, then is there any that will remember (or receive admonition)?” [54:17]

It is this ease that brings with it a test and a trial. Anyone can recite it, anyone can read it, anyone can speak about it and anyone can claim to understand its meanings.

We see corruption (fasad) today as people profess to understand the meaning, the tafseer of the words of Allah subhanAllaah wa’ ta’ala without knowledge.

“Whoever talks about the Qur’an without proper knowledge makes room for himself in Hell” [Ahman, Musnad]

This is something anyone can fall into. How often do we quote ayaat of the Qur’an without any proper knowledge, sometimes only to gain the upper hand in a dispute?

“Whoever talks about the Qur’an merely on the basis of his reason is a sinner, even though what he says is right” [al-Tirmidhi]

Al Tirmidhi has reported the hadeeth as rare (gharib), however, a number of scholars from the companions and salaf have agreed with the meaning. One must not speak without knowledge about the Qur’an, relying entirely on his own reason. Even if what one says is right, it is still a sin, as he has not followed the command to speak only with knowledge.

In the Qur’an, Allah refers to slanderers as liars even though what they say could be true. “And when they do not produce the witnesses, it is they, in the sight of Allah, who are the liars.” [24:13]

If one does not bring knowledge as a witness to what he says, then he is simply conjecturing about the meanings of Allah’s words. In the case that he is right, his sin is less severe than in the case of the one whose judgement is wrong. This is why a number of the salaf used to refrain from speaking about the Quran when they did not posses proper knowledge.

Talq ibn Habeeb went to Jundub ibn Abdullah (radiyaallahu ‘anhu) and asked about a verse of the Quran. He said: “Go away from me, if you are a Muslim.” Al Sha’bee, from Masrood said “Beware of tafseer! It is in fact reporting from Allaah”

Yet, despite the seriousness of speaking about Allah and His words without knowledge, it has become rampant among the ummah. People derive rulings that satisfy their desires, or to achieve a worldly gain – they are those who have sold the verses of Allah for a small price.

“ not exchange My signs for a small price, and fear [only] Me.” [2:41]

Even Abu Bakr radhyAllahu anh, the greatest of all the companions, when he was asked about a verse in Surah al-Abbasa: “wa faakihatan wa abba,” said: “What earth will hold me, and what heaven will protect me if I say something concerning the Book of Allah which I do not know”

May Allah protect us from speaking about Allah and His verses without proper knowledge.

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