Don’t be a hater.

peace-dove.gifal-Salāmu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullāh,

When Ibn ‘Aashoor (d. 1973/1393) wrote his tafseer on the Qur’an, which he called Tafsir al-Tahrir wa al-Tanwir, he followed a number of basic principles in his methodology, particularly when it came to the linguistic exegesis, with which his tafseer is replete. These principles are generally based on the semantic connotations of individual words, and how these meanings relate to the context in which they are found.

This linguistic analysis is perhaps the most outstanding feature of this tafseer, and this is due to the high regard in which Ibn ‘Ashoor regarded such analysis. He himself commented in the begining of this work,

“With regards the Arabic language, then the purpose of it is to understand the intents of the Arabs in the speech and literature of their language…the Qur’an is in Arabic, and thus the rules of Arabic [grammar] are a means by which to understand the meanings of the Qur’an. Without [knowledge of] these rules, the reader will fall into error and incorrect understanding…”

This tafseer is truly distinguished from other tafseers by Ibn ‘Ashoor’s precise linguistic analysis, in the way he shows the meaning of the Qur’anic words and their semantic connotations, and the way in which they are used in their context.

As an example of this analysis, Ibn ‘Ashoor explained the difference between the words al-‘Adaawah العداوة and al-Baghdaa’ البغضاء that appear in the verse, (al-Ma’idah, verse 14),

وَمِنَ الَّذِينَ قَالُواْ إِنَّا نَصَارَى أَخَذْنَا مِيثَاقَهُمْ فَنَسُواْ حَظّاً مِّمَّا ذُكِّرُواْ بِهِ فَأَغْرَيْنَا بَيْنَهُمُ الْعَدَاوَةَ وَالْبَغْضَاء إِلَى يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ وَسَوْفَ يُنَبِّئُهُمُ اللّهُ بِمَا كَانُواْ يَصْنَعُونَ

And from those who say, “We are Christians” We took their covenant; but they forgot a portion of that of which they were reminded. So We caused among them al-‘Adaawah (translated as ‘animosity’) and al-Baghdaa’ (translated as ‘hatred’) until the Day of Resurrection. And Allah is going to inform them about what they used to do.

He mentioned that other linguists and exegetes (mufassiroon) failed to mention the difference between these two words, except for two: Ibn ‘Arafah al-Toonisee, and Abu al-Baqaa’ al-Kafawi (author of al-Kulliyyaat); each one’s opinion, however, contradicted the other’s.

Ibn ‘Arafah al-Toonisee held that al-‘Adaawah is more general than al-Baghdaa’, because al-‘Adaawah leads to al-Baghdaa’, for two people may ‘yata’aadaaيتعادى (become enemies; from same root as ‘adaawah) with one another, but it will not lead to anything unless hatred (al-mubaaghadah; same root as al-baghdaa’) stems, then other things may occur.

Abu al-Baqaa’ al-Kafawi, on the other hand, held that al-‘Adaawah is more specific than al-Baghdaa’, because every enemy (‘aduww عدو; same root as ‘adaawah) has become an enemy due to hating (yabghud يبغض ; same root as baghdaa’) another, but one may hate someone who is not their enemy.

Ibn ‘Ashoor then stated that he believed both opinions to be unclear, and in his opinion, the meaning of al-‘adaawah and al-baghdaa’ were in opposition to one another; al-‘Adaawah is a hatred that comes from a person, who then treats the other person with aversion, or harm, or cuts off from them. This is because the word ‘adaawah stems from the word عدو (‘enemy’) which comes from the root ayn, daal, waw ع د و, and all the words of this root connote meanings of transgression and distancing one thing from another.

On the other hand, al-baghdaa’ refers to a very strong hatred and the root ب غ ض only carries the meanings of hatred, so we cannot understand the real meaning of this word simply from its root.

He then turned to al-ishtiqaaq al-kabeer to help solve the problem, and discovered that when you flip around the root ب غ ض  you end up with غ ض ب, which connotes extremely strong anger. Thus, he concluded that al-baghdaa’ refers to an extremely strong form of anger that is not necessarily directed towards a single enemy, but rather it is concealed in a person’s nafs, like a psychological state of anger. Thus, Ibn ‘Ashoor stated that we cannot say that both al-‘Adaawah and al-Baghdaa’ are within a single person at one time in this verse, because one is directed towards an enemy and one is not. Rather, the verse could mean ‘We caused ‘adaawah among some of them, and baghdaa’ among others.”

And Allah knows best.


33 responses to “Don’t be a hater.

  1. Assalam ‘Alikum,

    Jazakallah Khairan. I’ve only recently been introduced to the tafsir of Ibn Ashoor, maybe only about one to two months. I have heard it referenced a lot by Sidi Sohail Hanif in his class at Sunnipath, and now I’d like to use it as a reference more often. Knowledge really is a never ending and absurdly deep ocean. Jazakallah khairan for this post as always. Please keep me in your ad’iyyah.

    Walikum Assalam

  2. Jazak Allahu Khayr for the great post.

    By the way, does anyone know of a good grammatical dictionary or index of the Qur`an? Meaning it tells the reasons of ‘irab for all or most of the words?

  3. Perhaps, I’rab ul Qur’an by Ibn Nahhas….Haven’t read it, I hope Arabic Gems can comment if they have…

  4. Excellent, as always. Your explantions are a marvel. There is real understanding and love of truth in them.

    Ya Haqq!

  5. Wa ‘alaykum al-Salaam,

    Yaser, barak Allaahu feek. It’s a great tafseer alhamdulillaah.

    mujahid7ia, I recommend I’raab al-Qur’an al-Kareem wa Bayaanuhu by Muhy al-Deen al-Darwish, I love it to bits. It not only speaks about the i3raab of the words, also sometimes the sentences, and also the balaghah involved in the ayah, along with the tafseer of course.

    Irving, thank you.

  6. Jazak Allahu Khayr, would you happen to know any websites (that ship to the US) where I could by it?

    Also, I saw معجم إعراب الألفاظ والجمل في القرآن الكريم at and a version without “jumal” at and

    What do you think?

    Jazak Allahu Khayr

  7. I’raab al-Qur’an al-Kareem wa Bayaanuhu sounds really interesting, InshaAllah I’ll get to read it, or even better, study it. The reasoning behind the I’raab of words in the Qur’an are quite fascinating.

  8. mujahid7ia, I also have that i3raab al-Qur’an book you linked to. It is very good as a reference, as you can see in the third link you provided. I have not seen the version with jumal though, but the other one is very good if you just wanted to know the brief i3raab quickly, and not written out in full sentence form. I do recall looking something up in it a few times though, and feeling that the information wasn’t enough. But it is no doubt an excellent one volume reference compared to the Darwish book which comes in approx. nine volumes. I am not sure where to order it from online though, I am sorry.

    sumaiya, I hope you are blessed with the opportunity to do that.

  9. Asalaam alaikum,
    Congratulations on completing your master’s degree. Now put it to good use and teach the world Arabic, insha’Allah. 🙂

  10. Wa ‘alaykum al-Salaam,

    Thank you.

    May Allaah put barakah in the knowledge He has given me, and allow me to pay my zakat on it with tawfeeq.


  11. Congratulations on your Masters Degree. I really hope you could venture into writing some books not only for the learned but also for those of us who are trying to appreciate the beauty of the Language.

  12. Thank you.

    That is my aim, bi idhnillaah. The Arabic Language is the lost property of the Muslims worldwide, I hope that the collective efforts of those in my field will enable us to provide a lost and found service for it in shaa’ Allaah.

  13. Masha Allah! Congratualtions! May Allah provide you with more of what is best in Hereafter and this world. I wait for more gems from your side!

  14. Thank you.

    Wa iyyaakum, ameen.

  15. salams arabicgem

    and a gem u are indeed!!masha allah ur done finally n back at home!!!i love ur articles!!!makes me have whats the word “baghdaa” in my heart for not learning arabic from u when i had the chance!!!may allah help me come closer to him insha allah!hope ill get to learn arabic sooner than later! pls keep posting ur words of wisdom.

    allah hafiz habibti


  16. asalaam alaikum wa rahamtullah,
    can you please explain a little more why the two forms cannot exist in the same person I think i am missing something,
    wa salaam alaikum wa rahmatullah

  17. Tabreek! May Allah reward your efforts and achievements.

    I hope that you continue this blog and share your knowledge with us.


  18. Wa ‘alaykum al-Salaam wa rahmat Allaah,

    habeeba, good to see you 🙂 and glad you are enjoying the articles al-Hamdu lillaah. I pray you try to actualise the hope to learn Arabic soon = make sure you grab the next chance that comes along! You are very welcome to come to the UK for the summer and join my Arabic course there in shaa’ Allaah.

    thanweer, what I understood Ibn ‘Ashoor to mean is that al-‘adaawah is anger that is caused by something external, and baghdaa’ is anger that is caused by something internal. When he said that they cannot co-exist within a single person at one time, he meant that the anger that a person feels at any one moment will have been caused by either the external or the internal. Although it may be argued that someone can be internally angry (have baghdaa’) and then an external stimulus (i.e. an enemy) provokes him to further anger (‘adaawah), Ibn ‘Ashoor was saying that the two can inherently be separated. This is how I understood it, wallaahu a3lam.

    Qushayri, ameen. I have no plans to discontinue the blog in the foreseeable future, but allh is in the Hands of Allah.

  19. Yes, I have that book in my main library. It is beneficial as far as Qur’an dictionaries go, and I would recommend it.

  20. Great Post! The arabic language is so intricate and complex, you did a great job explaining things…

    Also, those interested in Arabic books should contact Arabic Professors at local Univeristies, they often have connections to great books hubs.

  21. Jazak Allahu khayr for the info on the ‘irab al-Qur`an books. The 9 volume one seems like it has a lot of explanations, but since I don’t know where to get it, maybe I’ll try the one I liked above.

    I will try to contact the Arabic professor at a few universities, thanks MuslimADay.

  22. bintasadullah

    Assalam alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

    Jazaki Allahu Khairan for this wonderful resource. Barak Allahu Feeki.

    What does it mean to be ‘internally angry’? Is that directed at an idea versus a person? Or could it be directed at one’s self?

    ‘Adaawah and baghdaa also appear together in an apparently similar combination in Surah Al-Mumtahina:
    60:4 There is for you an excellent example (to follow) in Abraham and those with him, when they said to their people: “We are clear of you and of whatever ye worship besides Allah. we have rejected you, and there has arisen, between us and you, enmity and hatred for ever,- unless ye believe in Allah and Him alone”: But not when Abraham said to his father: “I will pray for forgiveness for thee, though I have no power (to get) aught on thy behalf from Allah.” (They prayed): “Our Lord! in Thee do we trust, and to Thee do we turn in repentance: to Thee is (our) Final Goal.

    In this specific ayah, could ‘Adaawah represent enmity towards the mushrikoon while the baghdaa represent anger towards ‘shirk’? Then again, I always thought it was part of Islamic etiquette to hate the action disliked by Allah (swt) but not the person committing the act. How would one then make sense of the ‘adaawah here?

    Jazaki Allahu Khairan
    Wa Assalam alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

  23. Pingback: Arabic Gems: Don't be a Hater « Softest of Tongues

  24. Great to see the contributions of Tahir Ibn ‘Ashur being discussed – my Arabic is not sufficient enough yet to grasp his tafsir, but his other works regarding Islamic law (especially maqasid) and hadith are simply amazing!

    Keep up the good work and `Eid mubarak to all 🙂

  25. dawood, alhamdulillaah. Belated Eid mubarak.

    Arshad Rahmani, wa alaykum al-Salaam

  26. Excellent work…

    May allah reward you for this

  27. Excellent work…

    May allah reward you for this

  28. As Salâmu 3laykum

    Very interesting subject. Postulate that each aramaic letter are morphemes, so عدو = Percieve + sens + multiply. It appear that عدو is opposite to DYN. Dyn is the Sens (direction/law) given by the Lord. Means toward (D) the Will (Y) of Us (N) Dyn imply One direction, One sens toward Unity in Allah’s will. So عدو express the opposite, toward (D) multiple sens (W+W). The function of عدو is to confuse whom see it. This is why I always think that english translation impoverish the essence of the arabic.


  29. Pingback: Don’t be a hater. (via Arabic Gems ~ جواهر العربية) | quran reciter blog

  30. Pingback: Don’t be a hater. - Forum

  31. Pingback: Don’t be a hater. | ServisTech

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