The Art of Rabṭ al-Āyāt Witnessed in Shaykh Amin’s Tafsīr

The Art of Rabṭ al-Āyāt Witnessed in Shaykh Amin’s Tafsīr

Mawlana Kamil Uddin, chair of the Department of Tafsīr at Darul Qasim College, shares the art of rabṭ al-āyāt witnessed in Shaykh Amin’s unique style of tafsir:

“A mufassir is someone who can tap into previous scholarship and add to it by presenting the speech of Allah to an audience in a way that brings them closer to Allah. A mufassir is someone who understands the Quranic content and can connect it to the current context; thus extracting meanings that were previously hidden. 

A step beyond the skill stated above is the skill of connecting verses of the Qurʾān which is called rabṭ al-āyāt. This skill is born from a matchless mastery of nuṣūṣ. Only one with an aerial view of waḥy can see and allow others to sense how seemingly disjointed surahs and ayahs converge. Shaykh Amin, a mufassir whose prowess in tafsīr is known, especially through his distinguished Sunday sessions, shows in this 40 minute clip the adeptness required in both the order of revelation and the order of recitation to truly see the iʿjāz of the Qurʾān. Each sūrah has civilizational themes and values that blend from one to the next and only a skilled mufassir can guide one through the rough terrain of knowledge and stormy sea of understanding. What is obvious to the Polymathic Mufassir, to Shaykh Amin, is not so obvious to others. 

For example, Shaykh Amin states in the context of connecting Sūrat al-Fajr to Sūrat al-Balad, Allah is showing the rays from the sun come upon the Earth at the time of Fajr as a parable, as an example that if you want to get through your day, then you must read the Sūrah and see how Allah dealt with people who disobeyed him, namely the Firʿawn, and then see how he deals with people who obey him, namely the nafs muṭmaʾinnah, the tranquil nafs that is at total peace with its Lord. Then its Lord will address the soul on the Day of Judgment and say:

ارْجِعِي إِلَى رَبِّكِ رَاضِيَةً مَرْضِيَّةً –  الفجر: آية ٢٨  

The whole purpose of life is to ensure that we have a constant relationship with Allah, that Allah’s Nūr keeps us in check and allows us to finish the day and the day’s activities, meaning finish our lives in such a way that we are totally satisfied with Allah. We are at peace with Him for being our Lord, and when that happens, He then instructs us on the Day of Judgment to enter His Jannah and enter into the ranks of His servants.

Then you have Sūrat al-Balad, which means the town or the city. This sūrah provides a formidable concept in the Quran of developing society. Meaning that if you have the nūr of Fajr, then you will be able to use that nūr to navigate to the town and the city in which you live. Every town and city which needs to be developed has a paradigm and it has certain infrastructural rules and regulations, And the key there is

فَلَا اقْتَحَمَ الْعَقَبَةَ – البلد: آية ١١ 

that you have to traverse all the difficult ravines and all the difficult mountains, and you have to bear all the difficulties in life if you are going to make a civilization that becomes into a city, that becomes a role model…

Shaykh Amin continues stringing the pearls of these two sūrahs seamlessly connecting the robustness of riwāyah with the dexterity of dirāyah and into an ornamentation that dazzles the minds and hearts of listeners.

In another example, Shaykh Amin connects sūrah with sīrah and provides listeners a window from to which to view Sūrat al-ʿAlaq and Surat al-Qadr;

“Iqraʾ” is the means by which Allah delivers knowledge to the best human being. Allah kept the Nabi , the last Nabi “ummī”, unlettered, so that he would have an universal appeal to all of human beings whether they write or they do not write. Allah also mentions that as a secondary tool for learning:

الَّذِي عَلَّمَ بِالْقَلَمِ – العلق: آية ٤ 

that He teaches with the pen. In Islamic civilization, we have the oral tradition, and we also have the written tradition. We read and we write and we explain and we learn. We teach by both conventions, the oral tradition and the written tradition. But the point of knowledge is not simply knowledge itself. The point of knowledge is to become close to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala which is mentioned at the very end of this sūrah. That your purpose of knowing is to make one draw closer to Allah.

The very last ayah of this Sūrah explains that you are not supposed to become Abu Jahl because you are smart and you have good leadership abilities. Rather, you are supposed to become humble in front of Allah, you make sajdah when you are in the most humble state and you draw closer to Allah, and that closeness is then experienced in Laylat al-Qadr which is the next Sūrah. In Sūrat al-Qadr, you have this wonderful, amazing expression of Allah’s faḍl, Allah’s raḥmah, Allah’s jūd and karam. For His generosity upon this Ummah, Allah revealed the Qurʾān in the night of Qadr, and he allows Muslims to benefit from this night of Qadr in such a way that if you find it, it will be better for you than a thousand months. For the Muslim Ummah the word Qadr obviously has a sense of planning, has a sense of design, has a sense of appropriation. The āyāt of the Qurʾān gives you a worldview, and they also give you a sense of management and planning.

If you are able to receive Laylat al-Qadr, you will develop within you an insight which perhaps you may not develop in a thousand months. This is the beauty and the genius of the early Muslims who resorted to ʿibādah for guidance and for inspiration…

Like pieces to a puzzle, Shaykh Amin brilliantly connects knowledge to planning and planning to ʿibādah. He illustrates that in order to intimately see one concept, you must connect it to the others outlined in the sūrah. These are just a few examples given to highlight this rare skill of rabṭ al-āyāt showing the interconnectedness that is modeled after scholarly representation and intellectual re-presentation.”

Summary of the video is titled “The Highlights of Quranic Guidance By Sh. Mohammed Amin Kholwadia (Al-Fajr – An-Nas)”