Nouman Ali Khan’s the Bayyinah Dream program curriculum includes Safwat ul Tafseer by Muhammad ‘Ali al-Saabooni*
[ *This As-Saaboonee is not to be confused with the great imaam, Aboo Uthmaan Ismaa'eel Abdur
Rahmaan As-Saaboonee who was born 373 A.H. and died 449 A.H. May Allaah have mercy on him.]
Muhammad ‘Ali al-Saabooni was refuted by many scholars such as Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz, Shaykh al-Albaani, Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan, Shaykh Bakr Abu Zayd, Shaykh Muhammad Jameel Zayno and others.
With regard to his book Safwat al-Tafaaseer, it is one of those books of his which were most emphatically refuted by the scholars. There follows a list of some of those who refuted it, along with the titles of their books:
- al-Radd ‘ala Akhta’ Muhammad ‘Ali al-Saabooni fi Kitaabihi Safwat al-Tafaaseer wa Mukhtasar Tafseer Ibn Jareer, by Shaykh Muhammad Jameel Zayno, teacher of Tafseer in Daar al-Hadeeth, Makkah.
- Tanbeehaat Haammah ‘ala Kitaab Safwat al-Tafaaseer by Shaykh Muhammad Jameel Zayno.
- Mulaahazaat ‘Aammah ‘ala Kitaab Safwat al-Tafaaseer by Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan.
- al-Tahzeer min Mukhtasaraat al-Saabooni fi’l-Tafseer by Shaykh Bakr Abu Zayd; this is included in his major book al-Rudood.
These criticisms led the Ministry of Awqaaf in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to ban this book and confiscate it, as stated in the Decree of the Ministry of Hajj and Awqaaf no. 945/2/S, dated 16/4/1408 AH, from the General Headquarters of Awqaaf and Mosques in the Riyaadh area, pertaining to the confiscation of the book Safwat al-Tafaaseer and banning circulation thereof until its errors with regard to ‘aqeedah have been corrected.
Shaykh Bakr Abu Zayd said:
The title Safwat al-Tafaaseer (“The Best of Tafseers”) is deceiving and confusing. How can it be described as the best when it mixes good and bad, when it mixes the tafseers of the Salafis Ibn Jareer and Ibn Katheer with the tasfeers of the Mu’tazili al-Zamakhshari, the Raafidis al-Radiy and al-Tubrusi, the Ash’ari al-Raazi and the fanatical Ash’ari grave-worshipper al-Saawi and others? Especially when this mixing is done by one who does not know what he is doing and is like one who tries to climb a wall without a ladder. Otherwise scholars may benefit from the prominent mufassireen who do not stray from the path of the salaf, the guidelines of tafseer and the rules of the Arabic language.
Al-Rudood, p. 311.
And he said: He is described as ignorant because he classes da’eef (weak) reports as saheeh (sound), and vice versa; he attributes many ahaadeeth to the two Saheehs or the four Sunans etc when they are not to be found in the two Saheehs or in any of those books; he quotes the Israa’eeliyyaat (reports derived from Jewish sources) as evidence; and he contradicts himself when discussing rulings.
He is described as betraying the academic trust because he misquotes reports, quoting them only partially; he attributes things to scholars that they did not say; he distorts many texts; and he tries to produce evidence for the views of the khalaf (later scholars) concerning the verses that describe the divine attributes from the books of the salaf.
Because of his own beliefs, he tries to distort the ‘aqeedah of the salaf in his commentaries on the Tafseers of Ibn Jareer and Ibn Katheer, and even more so in his own book Safwat al-Tafaaseer. His distortion of a number of texts is aimed only at proving his own distorted ‘aqeedah.
Al-Rudood, p. 313, 314.
Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz offered him the following advice:
We advise you to fear Allaah, and strive to follow the path of the righteous salaf in all your books. We also advise you to study the Qur’aan, the pure Sunnah and the words of the salaf of this ummah a great deal, and to benefit from the writings of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah and his student Ibn al-Qayyim. And we advise you to study the two essays al-Tadmuriyyah and al-Hamawiyyah by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah, and al-Sawaa’iq, and Ijtimaa’ al-Juyoosh al-Islamiyyah by Ibn al-Qayyim, and other books of the salaf.
Al-Rudood, p. 375.
Comments on the book entitled ”Safwat Al-Tafasir” by Al-Sabuny and his Ta’wil of Ayat-ul-Sifat
Q. What is your opinion with regard to the book entitled ”Safwat Al-Tafasir” for it quoted Al-Sawy as saying that the Messenger (peace be upon him) is the origin of mercy and blessings? Also, Al-Sawy said that adopting the apparent meaning of the Qur’an and Sunnah is Kufr (disbelief).
Ans by Ibn Baaz.
This is all incorrect. The Messenger (peace be upon him) is not the source of mercy, except by way of Ta’wil (allegorical interpretation), if we consider that he was a source of Shari`ah (Islamic law) which is mercy.
Otherwise, mercy is from Allah Alone and this saying is erroneous and wrong.
Moreover, claiming that adopting the apparent meanings of the Islamic texts is Kufr, is also wrong; this is extremely bad and condemned statement by Al-Sawy. We ask Allah to save us from this.
Kufr is to stray from the true path. In fact, a sound person never says so for both sayings are decisively great abomination.
May Allah protect us from that!
Ibn Baz Fatwas > Browse by volume number > Volume 24 > Book on Tafsir > Some comments on the book entitled ”Safwat Al-Tafasir” by Al-Sabuny and his Ta’wil of Ayat-ul-Sifat
Here is the screenshot from Nouman Ali Khan’s bayyinah website: