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The Thirty Sixth Narration

‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhuma narrates:


عن ابن عباس ، قال : كنت عند خالتي ميمونة زوج النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ، فدخل رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم لقضاء الحاجة فأتيته بماء ، فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم لميمونة : من فعل هذا ؟  فقالت : عبد الله بن عباس ، فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : اللهم فقهه في الدين ، وعلمه التأويل

I was by my aunt Maimunah, the wife of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam came to relieve himself and I brought his water.

Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam asked Maimunah, “Who did this?”

She replied, “‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas.”

Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “O Allah grant him the understanding of din and teach him the interpretation.”[1]


The chain of narration is authentic as recorded in Musnad Ishaq ibn Rahawayh. Imam Ahmed and others have also narrated it.

Those that reference this narration with these wordings to Sahih al Bukhari and Sahih Muslim are mistaken. The following wording appears in Sahih al Bukhari:

اللهم علمه الحكمة

O Allah, teach him wisdom.

Imam al Bukhari says:

الحكمة : الإصابة في غير النبوة

Hikmah means to come to the correct conclusions without being a prophet.


The narration of al Tabari in Tahdhib al Athar has the wording:

تأويل القرآن

Interpretation of the Qur’an.


Commentary and Lessons Learnt from this Narration:

  1. The virtue of Ibn ‘Abbas, who was the recipient of this accepted supplication of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. He thus went on to be counted amongst the most knowledgeable of the Qur’an and Sunnah.


  1. Correct conclusions in interpreting the injunctions of Shari’ah is not merely by ability. Ability matched with divine assistance is a prerequisite.


  1. Going over and above in reciprocating good to the Ahlul Bayt is highly emphasised.


  1. The desirability of staying in the company of the scholars and adopting their character. Especially those of the Ahlul Bayt.


  1. When a scholar sees potential in a student he should supplicate for him.


  1. The interpretation of the Qur’an as explained by Ibn ‘Abbas is superior than others due to the following factors as explained by Muhammad ibn Ibrahim al Wazir in al Ithar:


 دعوة النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم له ومنها : أن التأويل قد جاء عنه تفسیر کامل ولم يتفق مثل ذلك لغيره من الصدر الأول  الذين عليهم في مثل ذلك المعول . ومتى صح الاسناد اليه كان تفسيره من أصح التفاسيرمقدمة على كثير من الأئمة والجماهير. ومنها : اتفاق الصحابة على تعظيمه في العلم عموما، وفي التفسير خصوصا، وسموه البحر والحبر، وقصة عمر معه رضي الله عنهما مشهورة في إدخاله مع أكابر الصحابة. ومنها: كونه من أهل بیت النبوة ومعدن الرسالة. ومنها : أنه كان لا يستحل التأويل بالرأي حتى إنه قال: «من قال في القرآن برأيه فليتبوأ مقعده من النار». اه

a. The supplication of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam for him.

b. The interpretation of the Qur’an has come from him in a more complete manner than anyone else from that era. When the chain of narrators of such explanations are authentic, the interpretation will be authentic.

c. The consensus of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum of his great stature in knowledge especially in the science of tafsir. The incident of ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu with him and the other elder Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum in this regard is famous.

d. His being from the Ahlul Bayt.

e. He would deem interpretations by mere intellect unlawful. He would say, “Whoever interprets the Qur’an by mere intellect should prepare his abode in the fire.”[2]


  1. Ibn al Qayyim writes:


والفرق بين الفقه والتأويل أن الفقه هو فهم المعنى المراد ، والتأويل إدراك الحقيقة التي يئول إليها المعنى التي هي أخيته وأصله ، وليس كل من فقه في الدين عرف التأويل ، فمعرفة التأويل يختص به الراسخون في العلم ، وليس المراد به تأويل التحريف وتبديل المعنى ; فإن الراسخين في العلم يعلمون بطلانه والله يعلم بطلانه

The difference between Fiqh and interpretation is that the former applies to understanding the intended meaning whilst the latter applies to understanding the reality of the principle behind such. Not everyone who has the knowledge of Fiqh grasps the science of interpretation. Only those who have a firm understanding of all the sciences of Shari’ah will be capable of this branch of knowledge. Such interpretation is not interpolation of the text and meaning.[3]

  1. Those in positions of authority should know who has done good to them so they may befittingly recompense them.


  1. Spending time in the company of the pious scholars leaves one with a sound understanding of Shari’ah and grants one the ability to attain the knowledge of Shari’ah.


  1. This narration is a prime example of the benefits one receives by serving the scholars.


  1. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam supplicated for wisdom as not every person is blessed with it. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says:


يُؤْتِيْ الْحِكْمَةَ مَنْ يَشَاءُ ۚ وَمَنْ يُؤْتَ الْحِكْمَةَ فَقَدْ أُوْتِيَ خَيْرًا كَثِيْرًا

He gives wisdom to whom He wills, and whoever has been given wisdom has certainly been given much good.[4]


A person’s wisdom only becomes apparent in times of trials and tribulations.


  1. Wisdom can be attained through learning and the intelligent will grasp the aspects of wisdom much quicker than others.


NEXT⇒  The Thirty Seventh Narration

[1] Musnad Ishaq ibn Rahawayh, Hadith: 1833.

[2] Ithar al Haqq, pg. 147.

[3] Adwa’ al Bayan, vol. 4 pg. 815.

[4] Surah al Baqarah: 269.

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