How should I behave, when reading tafsir as a layman? I really wanted to know that.

Sometimes, if I look up an explanation of a verse I see different opinions of different scholars. Am I allowed to prefer one of them (as a layman) and choose one of the opinions for my understanding with trust to the scholars?

Sometimes they list different opinions like in one example in Surah Maryam. There were tafsirs (like in Ibn Al-Jawzi’s tafsir, turkish translation), who list the opinions about the Harun, mentioned in one of the verses (19:28). I already read all the answers, but what should I take along from the list as a layman?

But attention, I’m not asking the Harun in the mentioned verse. It’s just an example. I’m asking the etiquettes of reading tafsirs and dealing with differences of opinions.

1 Answer 1


A large part of the Quran is quite clear and it can be understood quite easily even in a translation. For the rest, a Tafsir is a good help. If now, renown scholars differ on the meaning of an Aya, we are in those passages that are really not easy to understand.

There are two cases to discern:

If the interpretation of the passage is something important for us, but not a subject of legal importance, we have to study the arguments of both scholars, and other scholars after them, and finally, it is our own decision that decides for ourselves.

In the case that the subject concerns Sharia, the decision should be given to a contemporary scholar for Fatwa.

In the third case, if it is not really important in our lives, we can simply acknowledge that the passage can be understood in different ways without a decision which one is more likely.

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