Tafseer Notes: Sciences (‘Uloom) of Qur’aan #1 (Part 3)

Class 1 continued…

What does the word Qur’aan mean?


The scholars differ regarding the etymology (roots) of this word, the most common understanding is that the word Qur’aan is derived from the root qa ra a (ق ر ء).

Very literally, this word means to bring together and to add one thing to another hence when a person adds many letters together – he forms speech. Hence is why we say that ق ر ء means to recite or to read. Therefore the Qur’aan is something which is recited.


Other scholars say the Qur’aan is called the Qur’aan not because it is read but because it brings together all of the teachings of the previous scriptures.

16:89. and (remember) the Day when we shall raise up from every nation a witness against them from amongst themselves. And we shall bring you (O Muhammad) as a witness against these. And We have sent down to you the Book (the Qur’aan) as an exposition of everything, a guidance, a Mercy, and glad tidings for those who have submitted themselves (to Allaah as Muslims).


The Qur’aan provides a solution to everything, even that which is not in the Qur’aan – there is an ayah in the Qur’aan that states – ask the people of knowledge if you do not know.


Rasuulullaah (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) had three major roles in regards to the Qur’aan:

  1. He was someone who emphasised and reinforced the meanings of the Qur’aan – mu-akkid (مؤكّد).
  2. He was someone who clarified the meaning of the Qur’aan – mubayyin (مبيّن)
  3. He was a legislator himself as he gave laws which coupled the laws in the Qur’aan – musharri’ (مشرّع)


Put together the Qur’aan and the Sunnah then you have the complete code of life, and this is the wisdom behind the shahaadah, it is not enough to say Laa ilaaha illAllaah, you also need to say – wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhu wa rasuuluhu.


The scholars did mention that Allaah send down previously 300+ revelations – not absolutely certain. Allaah gathered the knowledge of all of these scriptures into 4 major books Tawraah, Injeel, Zabuur, Qur’aan. Allaah summarized the teaching of these 4 scriptures in the Qur’aan – it teaches us the major principles of the previous scriptures, maybe not in terms of rulings as we know that each prophet was given his own respective ruling for his nation, but in terms of major themes and messages, aspects of creed, Tawheed, hisaab, hereafter, Qadr.


Scholars say in the Qur’aan is one surah that summarizes all the teachings of the Qur’aan, this is Surat al Faatihah.


Other scholars say the Qur’aan is not derived from the root qa ra a – ق ر ء. rather they say that it is derived from the root qa ra na – ق ر ن. This means to add one thing to another or to be similar to something else or to adhere to something else. Since the verses of the Qur’aan all resemble one another, because of their miraculous nature and their essence, this was the opinion of some scholars, though many scholars say this is the weaker opinion.


Some scholars were even of the view that this word was not a derived word, but saying this implies that it does not actually have a meaning. This was the view of Imaam Ash-Shaafi‘ee (rahimahullaah). Like the Injeel and the Tawraah. So we say it’s an ismun ‘alam – a proper noun. The benefit of proper nouns is that when you give a name to something which doesn’t have a meaning behind it, it becomes a title for it and not just a description, e.g. looking at the names of the children of the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) many of them did not have a meaning. Zaynab, Umm Kulthoom.

To be continued in shaa Allaah…

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