Tafsir Originated in the Era of the Prophet (s.a.w.)

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Tafsir originated in the era of the Prophet (s.a.w.).  If the companions were puzzled by a certain verse, they would ask the Prophet (s.a.w.) and he would clarify to them anything that they did not understand or anything that was obscure.  ibn Mas’ud (r.a.) said, “When the verse:

“It is those who believe and mix not their beliefs with wrong ...” (Surah al-An’am:82)

was Revealed, the companions of the Prophet (s.a.w.) were distressed by it and said, ‘Who of us does not wrong himself!’

So, the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, ‘It is not what you think, but it is only as Luqman said to his son:

… “O my son!  Join not in worship (others) with Allah: for false worship is indeed the highest wrong-doing.” (Surah Luqman:13)”

The companions were keen on learning the Qur’an from the Prophet (s.a.w.) and were keen on its interpretation and its memorisation.  Abu ‘Abd ar-Rahman as-Sulami (r.a.) stated that those who would recite the Qur’an, like Utsman ibn ‘Affan (r.a.), Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (r.a.) and others, would tell them that if they had been taught ten verses by the Prophet (s.a.w.), they would not exceed that amount until they had learnt what they contained in terms of knowledge and practice.  They said, “So we learned the Qur’an, knowledge, and practice at once and for this reason they used to spend some time in memorising one particular surah.”


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