Did some scholars from the Salaf interpret the verse about the eyes of Allah Most High?

ⓘ Supported by Al Medina 313.



Islamic Text

Yes, some scholars from the Salaf did interpret the verse about the Eyes of Allah Most High.

وَاصْنَعِ الْفُلْكَ بِأَعْيُنِنَا وَوَحْيِنَا

And build the Ark in our Eyes and our revelation. (Surah Hud, 37).

Some people claim that the Salaf never engaged in Taweel. Which is to interpret certain verses of the Holy Quran based upon evidence. They believe this to be misguidance and repeatedly claim the Salaf (early Muslims) did not do it.

This claim is false. Although it is true to say that many of the Sahabah and Tabieen refrained from making Taweel and simply repeated the verse without discussion (Tafweed). Others did provide an interpretation.

An example of this is regarding the word بِأَعْيُنِنَا which literally means ‘In Our Eyes.’ This word is mentioned in the Holy Quran numerous times, See Surah Hud verse 37, Surah al-Mominoon verse 27, Surah al-Tur verse 48 and Surah al-Qamar verse 14. Although it is correct to say that many of the Salaf did not provide an interpretation, others did.

بِأَعْيُنِنا يعني بعلمنا. (تفسير مقاتل بن سليمان)

In Our Eyes. Meaning our knowledge. (Imam Muqatil).

In the Nass (text) above Imam Muqatil interpreted ‘Our Eyes’ as ‘Our Knowledge.’ The interpretation (Taweel) is very clear, and this is mentioned in his own Tafseer.

Taweel or interpretation regarding this word has also been attributed to Sayidina Abdullah bin Abbas by Imam al-Baghawi. However, he did not narrate it with a Sanad:

وَاصْنَعِ الْفُلْكَ بِأَعْيُنِنا، قَالَ ابْنُ عَبَّاسٍ: بِمَرْأًى مِنَّا. وَقَالَ مُقَاتِلٌ: بعلمنا. وقيل: بحفظنا
(معالم التنزيل في تفسير القرآن)

And build the Ark in our Eyes. (Sayidina) Ibn Abbas said, in our vision. Muqatil said, by our knowledge. And it was said with our protection.

Since Taweel (interpretation) of such verses was well established with the Salaf. Leading Tafseer scholars who came later mentioned it too. Amongst them Imam Ibn Katheer, who is one of the most highly regarded scholars of Tafseer in the history of Ahl al-Sunnah.

{وَاصْنَعِ الْفُلْكَ} يَعْنِي: السَّفِينَةَ {بِأَعْيُنِنَا} أَيْ: بِمَرْأَى مِنَّا
(تفسير القرآن العظيم)

And build the Ark. Meaning the ship. In our Eyes. Meaning in our vision. (Imam Ibn Katheer).

بِأَعْيُنِنا أَيْ بِمَرْأًى مِنَّا وَحَيْثُ نَرَاكَ. (الجامع لأحكام القرآن)

In our Eyes. Meaning in our vision, where we see you. (Imam al-Qurtubi).

Taweel and Tafweed are both established from the Salaf when it comes to verses that seem to describe Allah (Most High). However, anthropomorphic literalism is absolute Kufr and must be avoided to safeguard ones Iman.

And Allah Most High Knows Best.

-Answered by Shaykh Noorud-deen Rashid (29.08.2022)

See also:
Salaf never interpreted verses of the Holy Quran describing Allah?

Everyone interprets verses of Quran describing Allah?

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