What follows is Shafaqna’s review of the article entitled as ‘Qur’anic exegesis by the Prophet’s (PBUH) household’, written by Muhsin Qasimpur, which is published as Chapter 3 of the book ‘Tafsir (Qur’anic Exegesis): An Entry from Encyclopaedia of the World of Islam’, Edited by Gholamali Haddad Adel, Mohammad Jafar Elmi, Hassan Taromi-Rad.
Shia Imams (AS) have articulated expositions in the way of Quranic interpretation which have been recorded in the works of their disciples. The holy Quran asserts that clarifying the meaning of Qur‘anic verses is a duty of the holy Prophet (PBUH) and after his death according to the Hadith of the weighty things (Thiqalayn) a consecutive (Mutavatir) hadith, this duty was entrusted to his household.
From the Shia perspective, all the words of the Imams (AS) carry the same authority as those of the holy Prophet (PBUH). Provided that they be authenticated by applying the assessment principles and criteria of content and chain of transmission, the Hadiths from the Prophet’s (PBUH) Household are on a part with those from the Holy Prophet (PBUH). Sheykh Mufid narrates Imam Baqir’s (A.S) Hadith. He believes that they derive first from the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and, ultimately, from God. Imam Sadiq (A.S) also has the same belief.
Also, Imam Ali (A.S) and by extension all the Imams, have a thorough comprehension of the meaning of the Quran. It is stated that Imam Ali (A.S) was personally tutored by the Holy Prophet (PBUH) in the knowledge of the Quran. Therefore, the authority of the Hadiths narrated from the Prophet’s (PBUH) Household is substantiated by the verses of Quran as well as by Hadiths. Based on some verses such as the verse of purity, the Prophet‘s (PBUH) household are secured against all impurities of speech and conduct and this is shown in their discourse.
The Hadiths from the Prophet’s Household focus mainly on the content and meaning of the verses of the Quran. It does not mean that the literal aspect of the verses of the Quran has been neglected. The Prophet’s (PBUH) household were concerned with the content and meaning like Quranic versus allowed of various interpretations, and then they direct their focus toward this aspect and showed people how to benefit from the meaning of the Quran. Imam Ali (A.S) is the greatest and the most knowledgeable of the Prophet‘s (PBUH) companions on the revelation and interpretation of the Quran. He claims that he has arranged the verses of the Quran in their chronological order of revelation. Also, in Nahjul-Balaghah , there are some passages that reveal the meaning of the verses of the Quran.
Other Imams after and Imam Ali (A.S) used the the intra-texual method of interpretation focusing on the deeper meaning of the words of the Qur‘an. For example, Imam Hassan (A.S) and Imam Hussain (A.S) did not establish a new hermeneutical school, but there are occasional reports of their interpreting the Qur‘an. There are also several Hadiths from Imam Sajad (A.S) referring to the same fact mentioned above. In Imam Baqir’s (A.S) Hadiths , the same intra-textual method of interpretation are seen. Several Hadiths refer to the events that will happen to Imams in future. Some other verses by Imam Baqir (A.S) expounds on the abrogating and abrogated versus and on the jurisprudential aspect of God’s words.
The Hadiths of Imam Sadiq (A.S) have also been narrated in various Quranic subjects in Hadith books and narrations. Among the interpretive narrations of the Prophet’s (PBUH) Household, the verses of the rules and jurisprudential answers are mentioned. They interpreted the verse based on the words of Prophet (PBUH) or the previous Imams. Imam Kadhim (A.S), Imam Ridha (A.S) and Imam Hadi (A.S), also had a method similar to the previous ones in their interpretation; That is, either their interpretation is based on other verses of the Quran or on the words of the Prophet (PBUH) or other infallible Imams (AS).
Quranic exegesis by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)