Ulum al Qur'an
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The second kind of tafsir, after tafsir bi'l-riwaya, is the so-called tafsir bi'l-ra'y. It is not based directly on transmission of knowledge by the predecessors, but on the use of reason and ijtihad.
Tafsir bil-ra'y does not mean 'interpretation by mere opinion', but deriving an opinion through ijtihad based on sound sources. While the former has been condemned already in the hadith, the latter is recommendable, when used in its proper place as sound ijtihad, and was also approved by the Prophet, e.g. when he sent Muadh bin Jabal to Yemen.[Mishkat al-masabih, op.cit., II, p.794: (Arabic), Vol. 2, No. 3737.]
Tafsir bi'l-ra'y on the other hand has been declared haram on the basis of the following hadith:
'From Ibn Abbas: Allah's messenger said: "He who says (something) concerning the Qur'an without knowledge, he has taken his seat of fire" .[Ibn Taimiya, p.105, from Tirmidhi, who says it is hasan sahlh.]
However this hadith has been explained in two ways:
The obvious meaning of the hadith is that one should not say something about the Qur'an without having the proper knowledge, the sources of which have already been explained.[The Qur'an explained by the Qur'an, by the Prophet, by the Companions. By the tabiun. by sound ijtihad.]