It is known that during the time of the Tābʿīn & Tābiʿū at-Tābʿīn, that seeking knowledge & not speaking without knowledge was a matter taken very seriously. When going through their narrations, you’ll see often many instances where they’ll completely abstain from interpreting an ʾĀyah due to fear of Allāh, or reprimanding someone due to that person speaking ignorantly. Herein, we’ll be looking into a few of those narrations so we can not only learn a lesson from them, but to take the morals of these noble men as examples.
ibn Shawdhab reports from Yazīd ibn Abū Yazīd who said: “We would ask Sa’īd ibn al-Musayyib about the ḥalāl and ḥarām, as he was the most knowledgeable concerning these matters. Then when we would ask him about the Tafsīr of an ʾĀyah, he would remain silent as if he had not heard us.”
ibn Jarīr narrated from Aḥmad ibn ‘Abdah aḍ-Ḍabbī, who related from Ḥammad ibn Zayd from ‘Ubaydullāh ibn ‘Umar who said: “I have met the Fuqahā of Madīnah and they considered it a grave matter to speak about Tafsīr. From them was Sālim ibn ʿAbdullāh, al-Qāsim ibn Muḥammad, Sa’īd ibn al-Musayyib, and Nafīʾ.”
Abū ‘Ubayd reported from Mu’ādh from ibn ‘Awn, who related from ‘Ubaydullāh ibn Muslim ibn Yasār from his father who said: “Before you speak about Allāh, pause and look at what precedes and follows it (i.e., look at the context).”
Hushaym narrated from Mughīrah from Ibrāhīm who said: “Our peers used to try to avoid (having to) explain ʾĀyāt and would give (this science) much respect.”
Abū ‘Ubayd narrated from Hushaym who narrated from ‘Umar ibn Abū Zā’idah, who related from ash-Sha’bī from Masrūq who said: “Beware of Tafsīr, for indeed it is reporting from Allāh.”
May Allāh grant us all beneficial knowledge, & protect us from speaking without it.
All praise is due to Allāh, may His peace & blessings be upon our final Prophet Muḥammad, his family, his companions, & all those who follow him in guidance.
Ṣafīullāh Labīb ibn Salīm ʿAbd al-Malik
9th of Rabīʿ ath-Thānī 1443