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Israiliyyat in Tafsir

Israiliyyat in Tafsir

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Israiliyyat in Tafsir: Shaykh Ahmad Shakir’s View
The Place of
 Isra’iliyyat 
 in Tafsir
By Shaykh Ahmad Shakir From his introduction to
‘Umdah at-Tafsir ‘an al-Hafiz Ibn Kathir 
 [1/14-17], his summary of
Tafsir ibn Kathir 
Al-Hafiz in !athir has som" stron# $ords conc"rnin# th" issu" of
 Isra’iliyyat 
 and narratin# th"m% &ith r"#ards to som" of th"m, h" clarifi"d his stanc" conc"rnin# th"m% '"s(it" that, ) ha*" found him m"ntionin# som"% Fr"+u"ntly, h" follo$s th"m u( $ith comm"nts in r"futation% h"r"for", ) thou#ht that ) should #ath"r to#"th"r in this introduction som" of $hat ) found durin# my r"adin# of it i%"% his afsir. $hich ) had r"cord"d% "rha(s ) $ill " al" to #ath"r th" thin#s that ) o*"rlook"d and th"n m"ntion th"n m"ntion th"m u(on com(l"tion of this ook 
 Al-‘Umdah
., if Allah $ills%So h" stat"d in th" introduction of his afsir ((% 40,44. aft"r m"ntionin# th" hadith,
“Convey from me, even if it be an
ayah
, and narrate from the Children of Isra’il, and there is no sin in that And whoever lies !"on me deliberately, then let him take his "lace in the #ellfire$:
 Ho$"*"r, th"s" )sraili narrations ar" m"ntion"d for su((ortin# "*id"nc"s, not to " r"li"d on in and of th"ms"l*"s, so th"y ar" of thr"" cat"#ori"s23n" of th"m2 hat $hich $" to " corr"ct "caus" our sourc"s th" uran and Sunnah. t"stify to its truthfuln"ss, so that is corr"ct%And th" s"cond2 hat $hich $" kno$ its fals"hood "caus" our sourc"s contradict it%And th" third2 hat aout $hich no (osition is tak"n, it is not of "ith"r ty(", so $" do not  "li"*" in it, nor do $" r"5"ct it, $hil" it is ("rmissil" to cit" du" to $hat has (r"c"d"d% )t should " not"d that most of th"m contain no "n"fit in any r"li#ious matt"r, and for this r"ason, th" scholars of th" "o(l" of th" Book th"ms"l*"s disa#r"" conc"rnin# th"s" ty("s of issu"s a #r"at d"al% As a r"sult, th"r" is much disa#r""m"nt amon#st th"
mufassirun
 
as $"ll% 6am(l"s of this ar" $hat th"y m"ntion conc"rnin# th" nam"s of th" "o(l" of th" 8a*", th" color of th"ir do#, and th"ir num"r9 and conc"rnin# th" staff of :usa, and $hat ty(" of tr"" it $as from9 and th" ty("s of irds that Allah rou#ht ack to lif" for )rahim, and9 th" (art of th" co$ $ith $hich th" murd"r"d ("rson $as struck $ith to rin# him ack to lif".9 and th" ty(" of tr"" that Allah s(ok" to :usa from9 and oth"r matt"rs Allah l"ft un"(lain"d $hich contains no "n"fit for ("o(l" in th"ir $orldly affairs or in th"ir r"li#ious affairs% Ho$"*"r, r"(ortin# th"ir disa#r""m"nt is ("rmissil", as Allah ;<=>?. said,
“They will say three, and the fo!rth of them was their do%,$
until th" "nd of th" *"rs"%
 
Ahmad :uhammad Shakir, may Allah (ardon him stat"s2
 h" ("rmission to narrat" from th"m conc"rnin# that $hich $" do not ha*" (roof of its truth or fals"hood is on" thin#, and m"ntionin# that in
tafsir
of th" uran, and makin# it an o(inion or an "(lanation of th" m"anin# of *"rs"s, or in (articularizin# that $hich $as not  (articulariz"d in it, or in clarifyin# th" d"tails of $hat $as m"ntion"d in it in #"n"ral form is som"thin# "ls"% his is "caus" m"ntionin# som"thin# lik" this n"t to th" S(""ch of Allah mi#ht #i*" th" mistak"n im(r"ssion that this r"(ort $hich $" do not kno$ to " tru" or fals" "(lains th" stat"m"nt of Allah @=CD., and clarifi"s th" d"tails of $hat is #"n"ral in itE Allah and His Book ar" fr"" of thatE Allahs :"ss"n#"r GD @IGJ KL ;GM., $h"n h" ("rmitt"d narratin# from th"m, h" ord"r"d us to not affirm nor r"5"ct $hat th"y say, and $hat affirmation of th"ir narrations and th"ir o(inions can " stron#"r th"n conn"ctin# th"m to th" Book of Allah, and (lacin# th"m n"t to it in th" (lac" for
tafsir
or "(lanationNE 3 Allah, $" s""k. for#i*"n"ss%
Al-Hafiz in !athir has hims"lf stat"d in th" comm"ntary
 
on *"rs" OP from
Surah al- Kahf 
, aft"r m"ntionin# o(inions conc"rnin#
 Iblis
and his nam" and $hich tri" h" is from2h"r" ar" many narrations that ha*" ""n r"(ort"d from th"
Salaf 
 conc"rnin# this, and th" ma5ority of th"m ar" from th"
 Isra’iliyyat 
 $hich ar" r"(ort"d so that th"y may " "amin"d, and Allah kno$s "st $hat is th" tru" condition of many of th"m% Amon#st th"m is that $hich $" can affirm $ith c"rtainty that it is fals"hood, du" to its contradictin# our sourc"s, and th" uran suffic"s us from th" r"(orts of th" (r"c"din# nations., "caus" hardly any of th"m is fr"" from distortion, sutraction, or addition, and  "caus" many of th"m ar" for#"ri"s% his is "caus" th"y do not ha*" amon#st th"m th"  (r"cis"
 Huffaz 
 $ho "liminat" from th"ir narrations th" distortions of "a##"rators and th" for#"ri"s of th" falsifi"rs, lik" th" )mams and scholars, th" nol" and (ious, th" ri#ht"ous and distin#uish"d on"s, from th" *"rifyin#, mast"r scholars and #r"at
 Huffaz 
 that this Qmmah (oss"ss"s $ho r"cord"d th"
 Hadiths
 and *"rifi"d th"m, and clarifi"d th"
Sahih
and
 Hasan
from th" $"ak, th" r"5"ct"d and faricat"d% h"y id"ntifi"d th" faricators, th" liars, and th" unkno$n narrators, and th" oth"r *arious class"s of narrators% All of this $as to (rot"ct th" Station of th" S"al of th" :"ss"n#"rs and th" 8hi"f of :ankind GD @IGJ KL ;GM., so that fals"hood not " attriut"d to him, or that som"thin# that is not from him should " r"(ort"d from him, so may Allah " (l"as"d $ith th"m and may H" (l"as" th"m, and may h" may mak" th" Rard"ns of
al-Firdaws
 th"ir aod"% And truly H" has don" so%)n th" comm"ntary on *"rs"s O1-O from
Surah al-Anbiya’ 
 aft"r indicatin# th" r"lationshi( of )rahim TUV<L @IGJ. $ith his fath"r, and his lookin# to$ards th" stars and th" cr"at"d thin#s, h" stat"d2:any of th" stori"s $hich many of th" scholars of
tafsir 
 and oth"r than th"m ha*" m"ntion"d ar" from th" narrations of th" 8hildr"n of )srail% So $hat"*"r of it a#r""s $ith th" truth that $" ha*" comin# from a
ma’soom
, $" acc"(t it, du" to its a#r""in# $ith $hat is auth"ntic, and $hat"*"r of it contradicts anythin# of that, $" r"5"ct it, and that $hich n"ith"r a#r""s nor contradicts, $" do not affirm it or r"5"ct it, rath"r $" r"frain
 
from takin# a (osition conc"rnin# it% :any of th"
Salaf
allo$"d for narratin# this ty(" of narrations, and many of th"m contain no "n"fit, and th"r" is no conclusion that can " dra$n from th"m that is of any r"li#ious "n"fit% )f it had a "n"fit for ("o(l" in th"ir r"li#ion, this ("rf"ct, all-"ncom(assin#
 shari’ah
 $ould ha*" "(lain"d it% h" (ath that $" ha*" tr"ad in this comm"ntary is to a*oid m"ntion of much of th"s"
 Isra’ili
 narrations,  "caus" th"y m"r"ly $ast" tim", and "caus" many of th"m m"r"ly contain th" fals"hood $hich $as in circulation amon#st th"m% his is "caus" th"y mak" no distinction "t$""n $hat is auth"ntic and $hat is $"ak as th" (r"cis"
 Huffaz 
 and )mams of this
Ummah
 do%At th" "nd of his comm"ntary on
 
*"rs" 1PW of
Surah al-Baqarah
, h" stat"d2h"r" ar" narrations conc"rnin# th" story of Harut and :arut from a #rou( of th"
tabi’in
, such as :u5ahid, as-Suddi, al-Hasan al-Basri, atadah, Au al-XAliyah, az-Yuhri, ar-Zai in Anas, :u+atil in Hayyan, and oth"rs, and many of th" scholars of tafsir, from th" "arly on"s and th" lat"r on"s, m"ntion"d th"s" stori"s% )n th"ir d"tails, th"y ar" d"("nd"nt u(on th" r"(orts of th" 8hildr"n of )srail, for th"r" is not a sin#l" auth"ntic,
marfu’ 
hadith
 $ith a conn"ct"d chain #oin# ack to th" ruthful, B"li"*"d 3n" $ho is #uard"d from "rror, th" on" $ho do"s not s("ak as"d on d"sir", conc"rnin# this% h" a((ar"nt m"anin# of th" uran l"a*"s th" m"ntion of th" story in #"n"ral form $ithout #oin# into #r"at d"(ths and $ithout any "a##"ration, so $" "li"*" in $hat has ""n m"ntion"d in th" uran as Allah ;<=>?. int"nd"d it, and Allah is most kno$l"d#"al" conc"rnin# th" r"ality of th" affair%H" stat"d at th" "#innin# of
Surah af 
2)t has ""n narrat"d from som" of th"
 salaf 
 that th"y said, 
af 
 is a mountain that surrounds th" $hol" "arth, and it is call"d :ount afE\ And it is as if this, and Allah kno$s "st, is from th" su("rstitions of th" 8hildr"n of )srail that som" of th" ("o(l" took from th"m, "caus" of th"ir consid"rin# it to " ("rmissil" to narrat" from th"m that $hich is not affirm"d nor r"5"ct"d% ) think that this and its lik"s ar" from th" for#"ry of som" of th"
 !anadiqah
 amon#st th"m $ho d"c"i*" th" ("o(l" conc"rnin# th" matt"r of th"ir r"li#ion, 5ust as hadiths ha*" ""n faricat"d u(on th" ro(h"t @IGJ KL ;GM GD. in this Qmmah  d"s(it" th" #r"at status of its scholars,
 Huffaz 
, and )mams  "*"n thou#h it has not ""n such a lon# tim"% So ho$ aout th" nation of
 Bani Isra’il 
, $hat $ith th" #r"at tim" that has (ass"d, th" lack of (r"cis"
 Huffaz
amon#st th"m, th"ir drinkin# alcoholic drinks, th"ir scholars t$istin# th" $ords from th"ir (lac"s and chan#in# Allahs Books and ^"rs"s% h" _"#islator only ("rmitt"d narratin# from th"m in his stat"m"nt,
&'elate from the Children of Isra’il, and there is no sin in that,’
conc"rnin# that $hich th" int"ll"ct can conc"i*", ut as for $hat th" int"ll"cts find to " im(ossil", and it is d""m"d fals"hood, and it is fairly o*ious that it is a for#"ry  th"n it is not includ"d in that%)n th" comm"ntary
 
of *"rs"s 41-44 of
Surah an-"aml 
, aft"rnin# m"ntionin# a lon# narration from in XAas conc"rnin# th" story of th" u""n of Sh"a, $hich h" charact"riz"d as 
mun#ar$ %harib &iddan
 r"5"ct"d, "tr"m"ly stran#".,\ h" stat"d2

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