Hadith 5

Musa bin Isma’eel told us that Abu ‘Awanah said that Musa bin Abi ‘Aisha said that Sa’eed bin Jubair narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas in the explanation of the Statement of Allah: Move not your tongue with it, [O Muhammad], to hasten with recitation of the Qur’an. (75:16), that Ibn ‘Abbas said, “Allah’s Apostle used to bear the revelation with great trouble and used to move his lips (quickly) with the Revelation.” Ibn ‘Abbas moved his lips saying, “I am moving my lips in front of you like Allah’s Apostle used to move his.” Sa’eed (the narrator from Ibn ‘Abbas) moved his lips saying: “I am moving my lips like I saw Ibn ‘Abbas moving his.”

Ibn ‘Abbas added, “So Allah revealed: Move not your tongue with it, [O Muhammad], to hasten with recitation of the Qur’an, Indeed, upon Us is its collection [in your heart] and [to make possible] its recitation. (75:16-17).

(Ibn Abbas said) Which means that Allah will make him (the Prophet) remember by heart (the portion of the Qur’an which was revealed at that time) and recite it.

And the statement of Allah: And So when We have recited it [through Gabriel], then follow its recitation, ‘ (75:18)

Means ‘listen to it and be silent.’

And the statement of Allah: Then upon Us is its clarification [to you], (75:19)

Means then it is for Us (Allah) to make you recite it.

Afterwards, Allah’s Apostle used to listen to Jibreel whenever he came and after his departure he used to recite it as Jibreel had recited it.”

Ibn Hajar’s explanation:

His saying: Ibn ‘Abbas moved his lips saying, “I am moving my lips in front of you like Allah’s Apostle used to move his.”

This is an example of clarifying a statement by performing part of the action mentioned. Ibn Abbas doesn’t mention here “I saw” the Prophet of Allah صلى الله عليه و سلم move his lips, rather he said the prophet of Allah صلى الله عليه و سلم  “used to” move his lips because Ibn Abbas did not see that occurrence. According to the consensus of the scholars Surah Al-Qiyamah (Surah No. 75) was revealed in Mecca during the early part of the prophethood of the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه و سلم, and at that time Ibn ‘Abbas was not yet born, as he was born 3 years before the migration (Hijrah) from Mecca to Medinah. However, it is possible that the prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم informed Ibn Abbas of the event, or some of the companions that witnessed the event informed him. It is proven clearly in the narration recorded in Musnad Abi Dawood Al Tayalisi from Abu ‘Awanah that the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم himself informed Ibn ‘Abbas about this event afterwards.

His saying : “moved his lips” and his saying “So Allah Revealed, ‘Move not your tongue’ ” (75:16)

There is no contradiction between the two statements, because the lips are moved to pronounce words consisting of letters that cannot be pronounced except with the tongue.  Or it may be that he sufficed with the mention of the lips moving and excluded the tongue as the tongue is the origin of speech, and all other movement is stemmed from the movement of the mouth and tongue. Both organs were combined in another narration in Sahih Al-Bukhari in the Book of Tafseer saying: “used to move his tongue and lips”.

As mentioned by Al Hasan and others, in the beginning of the revelation, the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم used to recite at the same time as Jibreel rather than patiently waiting until he was done, in a rush to memorize that which was revealed, fearing he may forget it.  This is clearly mentioned in:

  • The narration of Al-Tirmidhi:

“Moving his tongue with it to memorize it”

  • And in the narration of Al-Nasaai:

“Hastening with it’s recitation to memorize it”

  • And in Ibn Abi Hatim’s narration:

“He صلى الله عليه و سلم would receive the first part (of the revelation), and then move his lips quickly fearing he would forget the first part by the time it was finished”.

  • However, in the narration of Al-Tabari it is mentioned that the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم “hurried to recite it out of his love for it (the revelation)”.

So we can combine between the narrations and say: both reasons prompted him to do so, and there is no contradiction between his love to recite it and his fear of forgetting it and the hardship that followed. However the prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم was reassured that he would not forget any part of the revelation and therefore was ordered to remain silent while the Quran was being revealed to him. And this verse is similar to Allah’s statement

وَلَا تَعْجَلْ بِالْقُرْآنِ مِن قَبْلِ أَن يُقْضَىٰ إِلَيْكَ وَحْيُهُ

And do not hasten with [recitation of] the Qur’an before its revelation is completed to you

His saying: And the Statement of Allah: ‘Then upon Us is its clarification [to you], (75:19)

Means then it is for Us (Allah) to make you recite it

The meanings mentioned in the hadith are the interpretation of Ibn Abbas.  It is also possible that it could mean that it is upon Allah to clarify the general verses and the meanings the words of the Quran.


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