sorry if its a bit of a vague question

I feel the title is enough but Just as an example

Allah said:

Fight those who (do) not believe in Allah and not in the Day the Last, and not they make unlawful what Allah has made unlawful and His Messenger, and not they acknowledge (the) religion (of) the truth, from those who were given the Scripture, until they pay the jizyah willingly, while they (are) subdued. [ Corpus Quran 9.29 ]

If you interpreted this verse only on the text, then you would identify all of the People of the Book as targets of Jihad and fight them All until they pay the Jizya whenever you are able to do so.

But if you interpreted the verse in the context of revelation, then you would know it is revealed about the expedition of Tabuk against the Byzantines. you might interpret the command 9.29 only to apply

  1. If there is a Powerful expansionist Kitabi empire next to the Muslims

Or you might interpret the expedition of Tabuk as defensive because the prophet awaited the byzantines in Arabia, and then conclude 9.29 only applies in cases where a Kitabi nation threatens a Muslim Nation.

And so on.

My question is which is the correct methodology of Tafsir between interpreting the Quran solely from the Text and interpreting the Text in the context of the text’s Revelation

  • You interpret based on the context to determine if it is general, according to the methodology of the Salaf. Most people have understood 9:29 to be revealed about one context, and the rule applies generally. You are allowed to fight all muharib disbelievers unless there is peace, an agreement, or they pay jizyah.
    – The Z
    Dec 19, 2021 at 19:24
  • @TheZ how can i verify if what you said is the methodology of the Salaf Thx
    – Hisham
    Dec 19, 2021 at 23:34
  • 1
    Read the scholarly explanations of the verse and its rulings.
    – The Z
    Dec 19, 2021 at 23:49
  • @TheZ i only have access to jalalyn and ibn kathir abridged as an english speaker lol
    – Hisham
    Dec 20, 2021 at 3:04
  • 1
    I don't see either of them mentioning that there being a powerful empire is a condition. So, that is enough for you to know the scholarly interpretation. Plus, it is not like individuals need to learn fiqh themselves. If you're really interested in learning fiqh, learn Arabic, then there are plenty of books on the detailed fiqh of jihad and the explanation of the verses.
    – The Z
    Dec 20, 2021 at 4:35

1 Answer 1


The answer to this question comes by itself if you read the entire Quran, which I recommend.

If you take every passage absolute, you will find a heap of "contradictions" inside. Some people searched for them and counted like here, 121 of them. (I do not recommend you to read the linked article).

In fact, those passages that seem contradictory do make sense if you read the Quran as a whole, and with information on the context of the revelation:

  • What is the subject of the verse?
  • Is it the main subject of the verses (what is actually explained) or a side-aspect (where we often find abridged short hints that can more easily be misunderstood)
  • Who is the adressee (sometimes it is advice to Muhammad in person, sometimes a general advice).
  • In which situation was it revealed?

Subject: Condition of acceptance of Jews and Christians under a Muslim Ruler. (Main subject)

Adressee: Muhammed (p.b.u.h) in first row, but most probably also directed to his sucessors (thus it has always been interpreted)

Situation: In the time of Muhammad (p.b.u.h), every empire had an official religion, and the eperors defined the conditions under which people may excerce a different religion, and which one was tolerated and which one not. In this sense, this ruling was not unusual as compared to surounding empires.

With this background knowledge, the advice is logical, and there is no reason not to apply it as long as the situation is the same.

As in your comment, you speak about salafya methodology, the particular approach is to re-establish the religious forms as they were founded by the prophet (p.b.u.h), as well as the civil rulings and laws he decreeed. As such, it can only be realised in a Muslim state, in which this ruling would be applied.

An other approach is that, as many states do not have a stately religion any more, so that Islam can be practised in Rome or in Bangkok, the advice need not be followed as the situation is different from the historical situation when the advice was given.

From which you see that approaches of the interpretation of the Quran may be different, even if both approaches see it in its context.

You asked for tafsir: You find a lot of Tafsir also in English online 1 2 3.

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