The Prophet forbade arguing over the Qur'aan, and stated that such argumentation leads to disbelief. Once, he passed by a group of people arguing over the Qur'aan. He commanded them,
"Verily the nations before you were destroyed by this action of yours; they would try to contradict part of the Book of Allaah with other parts. Indeed, the Book of Allaah came to confirm its verses with each other (and not to contradict them). Therefore do not reject its verses due to other verses. When you know something from it (the Qur'aan, say it, and if you do not know it, then leave it to one who does know!" (Muslim)
The Companions and the early generations were very cautious when it came to interpreting the Qur'aan without proper knowledge. Masrooq said:
"Beware of tafsir for it is as if you are narrating concerning Allaah!" It is no exaggeration' to say that every single deviant sect that has sprung forth in the history of Islaam has misinterpreted the Qur'aan in order to support its particular beliefs. For example the very first sect to split from the Muslim nation, the Khawaarij, believed that Ali and Mu'awiyyah, and the people who followed them, had disbelieved, since they had both agreed to allow arbitrators to judge between them. They felt that Ali and Muawiyyah had, by accepting the judgment of the arbitrators, rejected the verse in the Qur'aan,
"Verily, Judgment is only for Allaah." (Q 12 [Yusuf] :40)
However, the proper interpretation of this verse is that all judgment must be based upon the commands of Allaah (and by extension the commands of the Prophet) and not that people are prohibited from judging between themselves. It is even possible to misinterpret verses so that it seems that the Qur'aan itself is proving some of the most Islaamically heretical ideas possible! An example of this is the interpretation (or rather misinterpretation) of the Ahmadiyyah sect (i.e." the Qadianis) concerning the finality of the prophethood of Muhammad. The Qur'aan says:
"Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Messenger of Allaah, and the Seal (khaatim) of the prophets." (Q33[Ahzab]:40)
This verse is the most explicit indication of the finality of the prophethood. However, the Qadianis try to prove that, by using the word khaatim (translated by them as 'seal') and not khaatim ('the last of something'), the Qur'aan is stating that the Prophet was the best and most perfect of the prophets, but not necessarily the last of them.
This interpretation can only be accepted by one who is ignorant of the Arabic language, and of the principles of tafsir. This is because, although khaatam does signify 'seal,' a look at any of the dozen classical Arabic lexicon will show that it also signifies finality, or the last of something.
The interpretation of the Qadianis has absolutely no basis in the Arabic language. An even more blatant indication of the ludicrousness of this interpretation is the fact that, of the ten qiraa'aat, only Aasim read the phrase in question as khaatam; the rest of the ten qiraa'aat read the phrase as khaatim! This is a stark indication of the ignorance of misguided sects with regards to the proper methodology required to interpret the Qur'an.
It is essential to take all the qiraa'aat of a verse into account when interpreting it, and all the different readings must complement one another. With this in mind, the interpretation of the Qadianis is shown to be baseless, even if their unique interpretation of the Arabic meaning of khaatam is considered. And Allaah knows best.
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited