When Interpretation Becomes Commentary...

“Feiza kara’nahu fettebi’ Kur’anehu sümme inne aleyna beyanehu-When we read it, follow the Koran attentively, We-Allah shall explain its meaning.” (Qıyamah, 18, 19)

According to the above verse: Although our Lord explained the Koran to our Prophet (A.S.W.), He did not interpret the verses of the Koran one by one starting from “Elif Lam Mim- the Sura of Baqhara” to “the Sura of Nas”, which is the last Chapter.

Hz. Ali, Ahl al Bayt and the Four Caliphs, the Companions, the Followers of the Prophet even the people who obey the Companions of the Prophet (Tebe-i Tabiin), the Twelve Imams, the Imams of the Four Religious Sects did not make the commentary of the whole Koran verse by verse. Hasan al Basri, Junayd al Bagdadi, Maruf-i Karhi, Sırri Sakati, Sayyid Abdülqadir Gilani, Sayyid Bahaeddin Naqshibendi, Abdülhalik-i Gücdüvani, Yusuf-u Hemedani, Beyazid-i Bistami, Zunnun-i Mısri, Ahmet Yesevi, Ahmed Faruk-u Serhindi, Jalaladdin-i Rumi, Hadji Beqtash-i Weli, Muhyiddin-i Arabi (May peace be with them) none of the Sufis attempted to interpret the Koran. These personalities are surely great scholars and Gnostics-wise people who know Ledünni- the Knowledge of Reality and the Physical Sciences very well. Even Hasan al Ashary and Maturidy did not attempt to comment on the Koran. (1)

These great, wise and valuable personalities explained only the necessary verses of the Koran, they did not interpret it in details, one by one.

Nobody can claim that the Knowledge of those great personalities, mentioned above, including the Ahla-l Bayt and the Companions have less or missing knowledge in interpreting the Koran than those who interpreted it. Since they had not interpreted the Koran, those commentators are really heedless.

Who attempts to make comments on the Koran verse by verse then? As it is seen, all the commentators are the scholars of the Physical Sciences or Exterior Sciences. They are philosophers and theological scholars.


(1) According to Maturidy “commentary” is the definite meaning of the word. It means to testify that this word has such a meaning on behalf of Allah. This can be done only with a definite proof. Or else it will be a commentary done using personal interpretation and this is forbidden. Forced or allegorical, symbolic interpretation (te’vil) means to prefer one of the likely meanings without being definite.” (Itkan, vol.2, p.179)

In this case, those, who attempted to interpret the Koran during the third and fifth centuries according to the Muslim Calendar, are the heedless of the Reality, and unaware of the Secrecy and Reality. The heedless are ignorant.

“Eccahilü cesurün-The ignorant are courageous.”

The Glorious Koran which spurted out from the pure spring of our dear Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) had taken a completely different form because of the personal benefits of some people, traditions, tribes, regions and the influence under certain sovereignties afterwards. If you search it with a well-intentioned effort impartially, you will get surprised and wondered whether these interpretations are based on this Divine Source book or not.

We regard the good ones free from this and remember them with respect.

The following are the examples of it:

In the commentaries of Mutazila, mind (reasoning) is essential. His commentaries have the seal of the principle: “Everything, which mind sees well, is good, everything, which mind sees badly is bad. As for them, the verses (the incontrovertible proofs) narrated by the Prophet are in the second place. They rarely explain the meanings using hadiths. They, themselves, made up most of the hadiths concerning mind (reasoning). Among these rationalist commentators, Carullah Mahmud Ibn Omar az Zamahsheri is the best one. Fazi attaches importance to Philosophy and Theology in his commentaries.

Beydavi has become the favourite of Ehl-i Sunnat because of his strong oppositions to the precepts of Mutazila Sect in his commentaries, in general.

Eb’u Suud Efendi also shows proofs in his commentaries to defend the precepts of the People of Sunnat.

Elmalılı Muhammad Hamdi Yazır wrote his commentary in the view of the People of Sunnat concerning belief (faith) and as for the practice, he wrote it according to the view of Hanefi sect.

Thus, each commentator has attempted to comment on the Koran and explain it in the way of his own belief. So, they suit (fit) the religion and the Koran to their own precepts. They suit the religion to religious sects whereas the Sects should be suited to religion. As a result, the religious sects take the place of the Religion and this causes contradictions, fights, duality and divisions. Unity is broken due to it.

There is also another claim among the Scholars of Exteriority (Externalists): “The holy traditions are the commentaries of the Koran”. If so, there should have been a book in which these holy traditions were collected. There is no such a book. If there is one among the holy traditions, it is possible to collect them. Then, why do they not collect them? Therefore, this is not a proved claim. This is an unwarranted assertion. It is an unreal claim.

If the Holy Traditions were considered as the whole commentary of the Koran, then, these Exterior commentators would make the commentaries of the Holy Traditions and they should interpret the commentaries.

     There is also a matter of the Translation of the Koran and the Meaning (meal) of the Koran:

     The Koran is obviously Arabic. It is suitable for Arabic Grammar and it is extraordinarily eloquent. For this reason, “the Koran cannot be translated into another language” is not a definite judgment. If so, the Koran becomes perceptible for only Arabs and for those who know Arabic. However Allah said for our Prophet:

     “Vema erselnake illa kaffeten linnasi- I have sent you forth to all mankind.” (Saba, 28) According to this verse, He is sent to all the people and He is a blessing for all the people. It is also impossible to translate a language into another language a hundred percent correctly. None of the languages can be translated into another correctly as a whole. However, it can be correct ninety-five percent. There may be some difficulties in complete translation. The right meaning of the words may not be found or there may be some grammatical problems. In this case, the translator tries to find the closest meaning of that word. He does not attempt to explain the meaning of it because it becomes a short commentary then. The commentaries are not the translations of the Koran. For this reason, there are differences, conflicts and contradictions in the commentaries of it.

     In addition to this, each commentator and interpreter comments or interprets according to his own belief, his understanding, his precept and his character. And this causes several disputes, separations and great groupings in understanding religion. The essence of religion is affected badly due to this. Our opinion on this subject shortly consists of these views.

We finish this chapter with an extract from Abdullah Ibn. Mes’ud:

Once, while Ibn Mes’ud was sitting with his friends, somebody came and said that he explained the 10th verse of the Sura of Duhan according to his own conjecture. Abdullah Ibn Mes’ud, who was one of the Prophet’s Companions, became angry and said: “Oh! People! Beware of Allah! If somebody knows something, he should say what he knows, if not he should say that Allah knows the best.” (2)

(2) Sahih-i Buhari, vol.6, p.142; Sahih-i Müslim, vol. 4, pp.2155-2156