Tafseer Science Started After the Companions
Fatwa No: 409831

  • Fatwa Date:26-12-2019 - Rabee' Al-Aakhir 29, 1441
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Question

Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh, why is that other Tafsirs are more popular than Tafseer Ibn Abbas? Are there other Tafsirs which are written by the companions of the Prophet Muhammad ( Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him).

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

It is known that Ibn ‘Abbaas – and other Companions  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  them all – did not write books on Tafseer (interpretation of the meaning of the Quran). Rather, they interpreted the Quran, and their students learned from them and conveyed that knowledge to the following generation. Like other Islamic sciences, Tafseer was transmitted orally until the era of transcription and writing, which in turn went through several formative phases, until the science of Tafseer evolved into its current form. The first formative phase of writing Tafseer started as a domain within the science of Hadeeth. During this phase, scholars compiled the interpretation of the Quran as a chapter incorporated into Hadeeth books, not as an independent subject. Afterward, Tafseer became an independent science written in books dedicated to it. Some scholars mentioned that the first to write a Tafseer book was ‘Abdul-Malik ibn Jurayj (d. 149 A.H.) Among the most famous scholars who wrote Tafseer books during that phase were Yahya ibn Sallaam Al-Basri (d. 200 A.H.), Ibn Maajah (d. 273 A.H.), Ibn Jareer At-Tabari (d. 310 A.H.), and others. Everything cited in these Tafseer books was transmitted along with its chains of narration. Scholars said that At-Tabari’s Tafseer is the oldest comprehensive Tafseer book that has reached us intact. In this book, At-Tabari presented the sayings of the Companions and their students and the different narrations about the interpretation of the Quran, and he judged which narration outweighed others. Then, scholars, throughout the following eras, continued to write Tafseer books, some of which became famous and received more acclaim than others. Indeed, this is the favor of Allah, The Exalted, which He bestows upon whomever He wills.

For more benefit on Tafseer, please refer to Fatwa 192685.

Allah knows best.

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