THE HOLY PROPHET’S AUTHORITY TO INTERPRET THE HOLY QURAN


Chapter 2, Hadith & Seerah, The Authority of Sunnah / Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

The second type of authority given to the Holy Prophet (SAWS) is the authority to interpret and explain the Holy Book. He is the final authority in the interpretation of the Holy Quran. The Holy Quran says:

“And We sent down towards you the Advice (i.e. the Quran) so that you may explain to the people what has been sent down to them and, so that they may ponder.” (16:44).

It is unequivocally established here that the basic function of the Holy Prophet (SAWS) is to explain the Holy Book and to interpret the revelation sent down to him. It is obvious that the Arabs of Makkah, who were directly addressed by the Holy Prophet (SAWS) did not need any translation of the Quranic text. The Holy Quran was revealed in their own mother tongue. Despite that they were mostly literate; they had a command on their language and literature. Their beautiful poetry, their eloquent speeches and their impressive dialogues are the basic sources of richness in the Arabic literature. They needed no one to teach them the literal meaning of the Quranic text. That they understood the textual meaning is beyond any doubt.

It is thus obvious that the explanation entrusted to the Holy Prophet (SAWS) was something more than the literal meaning of the Book, it was an explanation of what Allah Almighty intended, including all the implications involved and the details needed. These details are also received by the Holy Prophet (SAWS) through the unrecited revelation. As discussed earlier, the Holy Quran has clearly said.

“Then, it is on Us to explain it’ (75:19)

This verse is self-explanatory on the subject. Allah Almighty has Himself assured the Holy Prophet (SAWS) that He shall explain the Book to him. So, whatever explanation the Holy Prophet (SAWS) gives to the Book is based on the explanation of Allah Himself. So, his interpretation of the Holy Quran overrides all the possible interpretations Hence, he is the final authority in the exegesis and interpretation, of the Holy Quran. His word is the last word in this regard.

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