All praise is for Allah the Lord of the worlds Who sent down the Distinguisher (al-Furqaan) upon His servant that it may be a warner for the worlds, for Whom is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth, there is no partner for Him in the kingdom and then He measured it as it should have been measured.

 

He – the High – says, “O Prophet! Surely We have sent you as a witness, and as a bearer of good news and as a warner, and as one inviting to Allah by His permission, and as a light-giving torch.[1]”

Again, He – the High – says,

“And they shall not bring to you any argument, but We have brought to you (one) with truth and best in significance.[2]

Allah’s blessings and salutations be on Muhammad (s.a.w.a.), His chosen messenger, His selected beloved, and upon his cousin and his successor Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.), the preferred one, whom he made his supporter and minister, and upon his (s.a.w.a.) infallible progeny, the purified Imams (a.s.), whom Allah has kept away from all uncleanness and filth and purified them as they ought to be purified. Whoever accepts their mastership will be saved and whoever bears grudge and enmity against them will be thrown in hell-fire.

The nobility of the Holy Quran, its elevated position, the abundance of its knowledge and the clarity of its arguments is not unknown to the Muslims and the believers. It is the ultimate aim, the strong rope, the sturdiest thing to be fastened unto, the highest concept and the grandest path. Whoever fastens unto it will be saved and whoever lags behind will be destroyed. In its learning, recitation and deliberation in its concepts, hearts are enlivened. Acquiring its knowledge and acting upon its teachings is the salvation from difficulties.

Importantly, intellects cannot guide to the secrets of its interpretations and the talent of the inferior cannot reach to the lights of its concealed realities. Therefore, people have differed in its interpretation and have become victims of convenience and contradiction in its elucidation. They explained it as per the demands of their beliefs, tread upon it according to the requirements of their sects and creeds, each one taking pride in what it possessed of knowledge but unfortunately, they didn’t refer to the people of remembrance, the people of revelation and interpretation (a.s.), about whom Allah – Mighty and Majestic be He – says in His Book, “And none knows its interpretation except Allah and those firmly entrenched in knowledge.[3]” None knows the Holy Quran except them.

They are the ones who have been given the knowledge; they are those who possess the authority, the people of derivation and the people of remembrance; masses are ordered to ask them as has come in the traditions of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and the narrations of the infallible Imams (a.s.). Who has all-encompassing knowledge about the Holy Quran except them? Who has complete knowledge about the revelation and its interpretations save them?

Let us have a look at the traditions in this regard:

1)    Imam Abu Ja’far Muhammad Ibn Ali al-Baqer (a.s.) says, “None can claim that he has collected the Quran, all of it, its apparent as well as its concealed, except the successors.[4]” [Successors in this tradition refer to Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) and the infallible Imams (a.s.) after him. Anyone else who makes this claim is a liar. – Basaaer al-Darajaat, p. 213, H.2]

2)    Abdullah Ibn Abbas came to the Master of the nation and its Imam, Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) and asked him about the exegesis of the Holy Quran. He (a.s.) fixed an appointment for the night. When they met, he (a.s.) asked, “What is the beginning of the Quran?” He replied, “The Chapter of al-Faatehah”

What is the beginning of al-Faatehah?

“In the Name of Allah”

“What is the beginning of ‘In the Name of Allah’?”

“In the Name”

“What is the beginning of ‘In the Name’?”

“The (Arabic) alphabet baa’”

He (a.s.) started speaking about the alphabet baa through the night. When the morn was nigh, he (a.s.) remarked, ‘Had the night been lengthier, our discussion would be lengthier.[5]

3)    Abd al-Rahmaan Ibn al-Hajjaaj reports, “I heard Abu Abdillah [al-Sadeq] (a.s.) say, “Nothing is further from the intellects of the people than the exegesis of the Quran.[6]” In another tradition, Imam Abu Ja’far al-Baqer (a.s.) informed, “Nothing is further from the intellects of the people than the exegesis of the Quran; verily, surely a verse, its beginning revealed concerning one thing, its middle was another thing and its last for yet another thing.[7]”

4)    Ameerul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) informed, “Keeping away from interpreting the Quran with your whim and learn it from the scholars. For, often the apparent revelation is similar to human speech while it is Allah’s Word. Its interpretation is not similar to the word of man just as nothing from the creatures is similar to Him. Likewise, His – Blessed and High be He – actions are not akin to the actions of man and nothing from His Word is similar to the word of man. Allah’s word is His attribute and the words of men are their actions. Therefore, don’t liken Allah’s Word with the word of man lest you be destroyed and deviated.[8]”     

There are numerous such traditions on this subject to the extent of being consecutive (متواتر) and it is not possible for us to enlist all of them here taking brevity into consideration. Anyhow, the Ahle Bait (a.s.) are the sources of all sciences and the knowledge of the exegesis of the Holy Quran and its interpretation is in their hands. So whatever has come from them is light and guidance and whatever is sourced from other than them are darkness, misguidance and deviation.

 

[1]Surah Ahzaab (33): Verses 45 and 46

[2]Surah Furqaan (25): Verse 33

[3]Surah Aale Imran (3): Verse 7

[4]Basaaer al-Darajaat, p. 213, H. 1

[5]Al-Seraat al-Mustaqeem, vol. 1, p. 219

[6]Tafseer al-Ayyaashi, vol. 1, p. 17, H. 5

[7]Tafseer al-Ayyaashi, vol. 1, p. 17, H. 1

[8]Tauheed of Shaikh Saduq (r.a.), p. 264, H. 5