If you ask most Muslims: who explains the Quran? They will claim that it is the messenger who explains the Quran or that it is the scholars or imams who explain the Quran, but upon a careful analysis of the Quran, we see that God Himself explains the Quran, as God is the Teacher of the Quran.
[55:1] The Most Gracious.
[55:2] Teacher of the Quran.
(٢) عَلَّمَ ٱلْقُرْءَانَ
God informs us that the sole duty of the messenger was to deliver the Quran.
[5:99] The sole duty of the messenger is to deliver the message, and GOD knows everything you declare and everything you conceal.
مَا عَلَى الرَّسُولِ إِلَّا الْبَلَاغُ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تُبْدُونَ وَمَا تَكْتُمُونَ
Throughout the Quran, a handful of words are used in relation “to explaining.” When we look at all these occurrences, we see that when it comes to explaining the religion or scripture, this is always done by God Himself through the scripture.
|to explain in detail
|ف ص ل
|ص ر ف
|to give legal ruling
|ف ت ي
|ب ي ن
|ف س ر
The root for faṣṣala ( فَصَّلَ ) is ( ف ص ل ), and this root occurs 43 times in the Quran. The meanings derived from the root are the following:
to set apart; separate; distinguish; set a limit; part; depart; decide; set out; divide into parts; expatiate into detail; make clear (statement); distinct; judge; narrate a thing in detail; weaning; family; kinsfolk; set out; depart; decide; explain
If we look at every occurrence of this root in relation to explaining, it always indicates that either God or the scripture does the explaining. For example:
[6:55] We thus explain the revelations, and point out the ways of the wicked.
(٥٥) وَكَذَٰلِكَ نُفَصِّلُ ٱلْـَٔايَـٰتِ وَلِتَسْتَبِينَ سَبِيلُ ٱلْمُجْرِمِينَ
[6:97] And He is the One who made the stars to guide you during the darkness, on land and on sea. Thus we explained the revelations for people who know.
وَهُوَ ٱلَّذِى جَعَلَ لَكُمُ ٱلنُّجُومَ لِتَهْتَدُوا۟ بِهَا فِى ظُلُمَـٰتِ ٱلْبَرِّ وَٱلْبَحْرِ قَدْ فَصَّلْنَا ٱلْـَٔايَـٰتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ
[6:98] He initiated you from one person, and decided your path, as well as your final destiny. Thus we explained the revelations for people who understand.
وَهُوَ ٱلَّذِىٓ أَنشَأَكُم مِّن نَّفْسٍ وَٰحِدَةٍ فَمُسْتَقَرٌّ وَمُسْتَوْدَعٌ قَدْ فَصَّلْنَا ٱلْـَٔايَـٰتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَفْقَهُونَ
[6:114] Shall I seek other than GOD as a source of law, when He has revealed to you this book fully detailed? Those who received the scripture recognize that it has been revealed from your Lord, truthfully. You shall not harbor any doubt.
أَفَغَيْرَ ٱللَّهِ أَبْتَغِى حَكَمًا وَهُوَ ٱلَّذِىٓ أَنزَلَ إِلَيْكُمُ ٱلْكِتَـٰبَ مُفَصَّلًا وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَاتَيْنَـٰهُمُ ٱلْكِتَـٰبَ يَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّهُۥ مُنَزَّلٌ مِّن رَّبِّكَ بِٱلْحَقِّ فَلَا تَكُونَنَّ مِنَ ٱلْمُمْتَرِينَ
[6:119] Why should you not eat from that upon which GOD’s name has been mentioned? He has detailed for you what is prohibited for you, unless you are forced. Indeed, many people mislead others with their personal opinions, without knowledge. Your Lord is fully aware of the transgressors.
وَمَا لَكُمْ أَلَّا تَأْكُلُوا۟ مِمَّا ذُكِرَ ٱسْمُ ٱللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ وَقَدْ فَصَّلَ لَكُم مَّا حَرَّمَ عَلَيْكُمْ إِلَّا مَا ٱضْطُرِرْتُمْ إِلَيْهِ وَإِنَّ كَثِيرًا لَّيُضِلُّونَ بِأَهْوَآئِهِم بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِٱلْمُعْتَدِينَ
[6:126] This is the straight path to your Lord. We have explained the revelations for people who take heed.
وَهَـٰذَا صِرَٰطُ رَبِّكَ مُسْتَقِيمًا قَدْ فَصَّلْنَا ٱلْـَٔايَـٰتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَذَّكَّرُونَ
[10:5] He is the One who rendered the sun radiant, and the moon a light, and He designed its phases that you may learn to count the years and to calculate. GOD did not create all this, except for a specific purpose. He explains the revelations for people who know.
هُوَ ٱلَّذِى جَعَلَ ٱلشَّمْسَ ضِيَآءً وَٱلْقَمَرَ نُورًا وَقَدَّرَهُۥ مَنَازِلَ لِتَعْلَمُوا۟ عَدَدَ ٱلسِّنِينَ وَٱلْحِسَابَ مَا خَلَقَ ٱللَّهُ ذَٰلِكَ إِلَّا بِٱلْحَقِّ يُفَصِّلُ ٱلْـَٔايَـٰتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ
The root for sarraf ( أَفْتَى ) is ( ص ر ف ), and this root occurs 30 times in the Quran. The meanings derived from the root are the following:
to turn away; divert; avert; propound; set forth; vary; place to turn to; refuge; to explain; change (of wind); turn aside
If we look at every occurrence of this root in relation to explaining, it always indicates that God or the scripture does the explaining. For example:
[6:46] Say, “What if GOD took away your hearing and your eyesight, and sealed your minds; which god, other than GOD, can restore these for you?” Note how we explain the revelations, and note how they still deviate!
قُلْ أَرَءَيْتُمْ إِنْ أَخَذَ ٱللَّهُ سَمْعَكُمْ وَأَبْصَـٰرَكُمْ وَخَتَمَ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِكُم مَّنْ إِلَـٰهٌ غَيْرُ ٱللَّهِ يَأْتِيكُم بِهِ ٱنظُرْ كَيْفَ نُصَرِّفُ ٱلْـَٔايَـٰتِ ثُمَّ هُمْ يَصْدِفُونَ
[6:65] Say, “He is certainly able to pour upon you retribution from above you, or from beneath your feet. Or He can divide you into factions and have you taste each others’ tyranny. Note how we explain the revelations, that they may understand.”
قُلْ هُوَ ٱلْقَادِرُ عَلَىٰٓ أَن يَبْعَثَ عَلَيْكُمْ عَذَابًا مِّن فَوْقِكُمْ أَوْ مِن تَحْتِ أَرْجُلِكُمْ أَوْ يَلْبِسَكُمْ شِيَعًا وَيُذِيقَ بَعْضَكُم بَأْسَ بَعْضٍ ٱنظُرْ كَيْفَ نُصَرِّفُ ٱلْـَٔايَـٰتِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَفْقَهُونَ
[17:89] We have explained for the people in this Quran all kinds of examples, but most people insist upon disbelieving.
وَلَقَدْ صَرَّفْنَا لِلنَّاسِ فِى هَـٰذَا ٱلْقُرْءَانِ مِن كُلِّ مَثَلٍ فَأَبَىٰٓ أَكْثَرُ ٱلنَّاسِ إِلَّا كُفُورًا
[18:54] We have explained in this Quran every kind of example, but the human being is the most argumentative creature.
وَلَقَدْ صَرَّفْنَا فِى هَـٰذَا ٱلْقُرْءَانِ لِلنَّاسِ مِن كُلِّ مَثَلٍ وَكَانَ ٱلْإِنسَـٰنُ أَكْثَرَ شَىْءٍ جَدَلًا
[20:113] We thus revealed it, an Arabic Quran, and we explained in it all kinds of prophecies, that they may be saved, or it may cause them to take heed.
وَكَذَٰلِكَ أَنزَلْنَـٰهُ قُرْءَانًا عَرَبِيًّا وَصَرَّفْنَا فِيهِ مِنَ ٱلْوَعِيدِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَّقُونَ أَوْ يُحْدِثُ لَهُمْ ذِكْرًا
The root for afta ( أَفْتَى ) is ( ف ت ي ), and this root occurs 21 times in the Quran. The meanings derived from the root are the following:
to be young; full-grown; brave; generous; youth; generosity; manly qualities; young man; bold; courageous; young slave; fine fellow; servant; to advise; explain; give opinion or instruction; judgment or decision in a matter of law; give a formal legal decree; issue a (divine) decree or a sacred law; explain the meaning; pronounce; to consult; ask opinion or advice; decision; opinion; advice
It is worth noting that from this root we get the word Fatwa, which is an “explanation” or “clarification” of an edict or ruling regarding in Islamic law. If we look at every occurrence of this root in relation to explaining the scripture, it always indicates that either God or the scripture does the explaining. For example:
[4:176] They seek your ruling; say, “GOD explains to you concerning the single person. If one dies and leaves no children, and he had a sister, she gets half the inheritance. If she dies first, he inherits from her, if she left no children. If there were two sisters, they get two-thirds of the inheritance. If the siblings are men and women, the male gets twice the share of the female.” GOD thus clarifies for you, lest you go astray. GOD is fully aware of all things.
يَسْتَفْتُونَكَ قُلِ ٱللَّهُ يُفْتِيكُمْ فِى ٱلْكَلَـٰلَةِ إِنِ ٱمْرُؤٌا۟ هَلَكَ لَيْسَ لَهُۥ وَلَدٌ وَلَهُۥٓ أُخْتٌ فَلَهَا نِصْفُ مَا تَرَكَ وَهُوَ يَرِثُهَآ إِن لَّمْ يَكُن لَّهَا وَلَدٌ فَإِن كَانَتَا ٱثْنَتَيْنِ فَلَهُمَا ٱلثُّلُثَانِ مِمَّا تَرَكَ وَإِن كَانُوٓا۟ إِخْوَةً رِّجَالًا وَنِسَآءً فَلِلذَّكَرِ مِثْلُ حَظِّ ٱلْأُنثَيَيْنِ يُبَيِّنُ ٱللَّهُ لَكُمْ أَن تَضِلُّوا۟ وَٱللَّهُ بِكُلِّ شَىْءٍ عَلِيمٌۢ
[4:127] They seek your ruling concerning women: say, “GOD explains to you regarding them, as recited for you in the scripture. You shall restore the rights of orphaned girls whom you cheat out of their due dowries when you wish to marry them: you shall not take advantage of them. The rights of orphaned boys must also be protected as well. You shall treat the orphans equitably. Whatever good you do, GOD is fully aware thereof.”
وَيَسْتَفْتُونَكَ فِى ٱلنِّسَآءِ قُلِ ٱللَّهُ يُفْتِيكُمْ فِيهِنَّ وَمَا يُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْكُمْ فِى ٱلْكِتَـٰبِ فِى يَتَـٰمَى ٱلنِّسَآءِ ٱلَّـٰتِى لَا تُؤْتُونَهُنَّ مَا كُتِبَ لَهُنَّ وَتَرْغَبُونَ أَن تَنكِحُوهُنَّ وَٱلْمُسْتَضْعَفِينَ مِنَ ٱلْوِلْدَٰنِ وَأَن تَقُومُوا۟ لِلْيَتَـٰمَىٰ بِٱلْقِسْطِ وَمَا تَفْعَلُوا۟ مِنْ خَيْرٍ فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ بِهِۦ عَلِيمًا
Notice that in both the above examples, the people go to the messenger for a ruling and he is commanded to respond that “God explains the ruling to you” concerning the matter. This shows that God is the One who explains the matter despite people asking the messenger, and God gives His ruling by means of the verses of the Quran.
We have two historical examples in the Quran where Joseph’s prison mates asked for his ruling regarding the interpretation of both their dreams (12:41) and the King asked his advisers (12:43) and Joseph (12:46) for the interpretation of his dream. But neither of these examples constitutes the explanation or ruling of verses in scripture.
Lastly, we see the following example regarding the sleepers of the cave, which explains to us that we should not seek explanations about the scripture from outside of the scripture.
[18:22] Some would say, “They were three; their dog being the fourth,” while others would say, “Five; the sixth being their dog,” as they guessed. Others said, “Seven,” and the eighth was their dog. Say, “My Lord is the best knower of their number.” Only a few knew the correct number. Therefore, do not argue with them; just go along with them. You need not consult anyone about this.
سَيَقُولُونَ ثَلَـٰثَةٌ رَّابِعُهُمْ كَلْبُهُمْ وَيَقُولُونَ خَمْسَةٌ سَادِسُهُمْ كَلْبُهُمْ رَجْمًۢا بِٱلْغَيْبِ وَيَقُولُونَ سَبْعَةٌ وَثَامِنُهُمْ كَلْبُهُمْ قُل رَّبِّىٓ أَعْلَمُ بِعِدَّتِهِم مَّا يَعْلَمُهُمْ إِلَّا قَلِيلٌ فَلَا تُمَارِ فِيهِمْ إِلَّا مِرَآءً ظَـٰهِرًا وَلَا تَسْتَفْتِ فِيهِم مِّنْهُمْ أَحَدًا
|and (do) not
|you consult / seek opinion / seek a ruling
A famous verse that people love to site to try to claim that the messenger had the ability to judge outside of the scripture is the following:
[4:65] Never indeed, by your Lord; they are not believers unless they come to you to judge in their disputes, then find no hesitation in their hearts whatsoever in accepting your judgment. They must submit a total submission.
فَلَا وَرَبِّكَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ حَتَّىٰ يُحَكِّمُوكَ فِيمَا شَجَرَ بَيْنَهُمْ ثُمَّ لَا يَجِدُوا۟ فِىٓ أَنفُسِهِمْ حَرَجًا مِّمَّا قَضَيْتَ وَيُسَلِّمُوا۟ تَسْلِيمًا
Even though the word here for “judge” ( yuḥakkimūka / يُحَكِّمُوكَ ) is from a different root ( ح ك م ) it is worth pointing out that even when the messenger was obligated to judge strictly by the Quran.
[4:105] We have sent down to you the scripture, truthfully, in order to judge among the people in accordance with what GOD has shown you. You shall not side with the betrayers.
إِنَّآ أَنزَلْنَآ إِلَيْكَ ٱلْكِتَـٰبَ بِٱلْحَقِّ لِتَحْكُمَ بَيْنَ ٱلنَّاسِ بِمَآ أَرَىٰكَ ٱللَّهُ وَلَا تَكُن لِّلْخَآئِنِينَ خَصِيمًا
The root for bayyana ( بَيَّنَ ) is ( ب ي ن ), and this root occurs 523 times in the Quran. The meanings derived from the root are the following:
to be distinct and separate; far away; remote; divorced (women); clear; obvious; appear; explain; easily understood; declaration; explanation; argument; rhetoric; clear meaning; intelligent and distinct speech or thought; evidence; clear proof; precise testimony; clear explanation; beyond doubt; parting; cutting; manifest; distinct; perceive; between; before; expound; became clear; became manifest; open; self expressive; luminous;
In the context of explanation, it predominately is associated with clarifying or making something clear. In the following verses of the Quran, we see that it states that the prophet was prohibited from explaining the Quran and that this responsibility would be handled by God and the scripture itself.
[75:16] Do not move your tongue to hasten it.
[75:17] It is we who will collect it into Quran.
[75:18] Once we recite it, you shall follow such a Quran.
[75:19] Then it is we who will explain it.
(١٦) لَا تُحَرِّكْ بِهِ لِسَانَكَ لِتَعْجَلَ بِهِ
(١٧) إِنَّ عَلَيْنَا جَمْعَهُ وَقُرْآنَهُ
(١٨) فَإِذَا قَرَأْنَاهُ فَاتَّبِعْ قُرْآنَهُ
(١٩) ثُمَّ إِنَّ عَلَيْنَا بَيَانَهُ
Verse 19 of Sura 75 uses the term “we,” which constitutes that God will utilize other entities to carry out this act. And throughout the Quran, we see that it is God who clarifies the revelations for the people.
[2:187] Permitted for you is sexual intercourse with your wives during the nights of fasting. They are the keepers of your secrets, and you are the keepers of their secrets. GOD knew that you used to betray your souls, and He has redeemed you, and has pardoned you. Henceforth, you may have intercourse with them, seeking what GOD has permitted for you. You may eat and drink until the white thread of light becomes distinguishable from the dark thread of night at dawn. Then, you shall fast until sunset. Sexual intercourse is prohibited if you decide to retreat to the masjid (during the last ten days of Ramadan). These are GOD’s laws; you shall not transgress them. GOD thus clarifies His revelations for the people, that they may attain salvation.
أُحِلَّ لَكُمْ لَيْلَةَ ٱلصِّيَامِ ٱلرَّفَثُ إِلَىٰ نِسَآئِكُمْ هُنَّ لِبَاسٌ لَّكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ لِبَاسٌ لَّهُنَّ عَلِمَ ٱللَّهُ أَنَّكُمْ كُنتُمْ تَخْتَانُونَ أَنفُسَكُمْ فَتَابَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَعَفَا عَنكُمْ فَٱلْـَٔـٰنَ بَـٰشِرُوهُنَّ وَٱبْتَغُوا۟ مَا كَتَبَ ٱللَّهُ لَكُمْ وَكُلُوا۟ وَٱشْرَبُوا۟ حَتَّىٰ يَتَبَيَّنَ لَكُمُ ٱلْخَيْطُ ٱلْأَبْيَضُ مِنَ ٱلْخَيْطِ ٱلْأَسْوَدِ مِنَ ٱلْفَجْرِ ثُمَّ أَتِمُّوا۟ ٱلصِّيَامَ إِلَى ٱلَّيْلِ وَلَا تُبَـٰشِرُوهُنَّ وَأَنتُمْ عَـٰكِفُونَ فِى ٱلْمَسَـٰجِدِ تِلْكَ حُدُودُ ٱللَّهِ فَلَا تَقْرَبُوهَا كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ ٱللَّهُ ءَايَـٰتِهِۦ لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَّقُونَ
[2:219] They ask you about intoxicants and gambling: say, “In them there is a gross sin, and some benefits for the people. But their sinfulness far outweighs their benefit.” They also ask you what to give to charity: say, “The excess.” GOD thus clarifies the revelations for you, that you may reflect,
يَسْـَٔلُونَكَ عَنِ ٱلْخَمْرِ وَٱلْمَيْسِرِ قُلْ فِيهِمَآ إِثْمٌ كَبِيرٌ وَمَنَـٰفِعُ لِلنَّاسِ وَإِثْمُهُمَآ أَكْبَرُ مِن نَّفْعِهِمَا وَيَسْـَٔلُونَكَ مَاذَا يُنفِقُونَ قُلِ ٱلْعَفْوَ كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ ٱللَّهُ لَكُمُ ٱلْـَٔايَـٰتِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَفَكَّرُونَ
[2:230] If he divorces her (for the third time), it is unlawful for him to remarry her, unless she marries another man, then he divorces her. The first husband can then remarry her, so long as they observe GOD’s laws. These are GOD’s laws; He explains them for people who know.
فَإِن طَلَّقَهَا فَلَا تَحِلُّ لَهُۥ مِنۢ بَعْدُ حَتَّىٰ تَنكِحَ زَوْجًا غَيْرَهُۥ فَإِن طَلَّقَهَا فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْهِمَآ أَن يَتَرَاجَعَآ إِن ظَنَّآ أَن يُقِيمَا حُدُودَ ٱللَّهِ وَتِلْكَ حُدُودُ ٱللَّهِ يُبَيِّنُهَا لِقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ
[2:242] GOD thus explains His revelations for you, that you may understand.
كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ ٱللَّهُ لَكُمْ ءَايَـٰتِهِۦ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ
[3:138] This is a clarification for the people, and a guidance and enlightenment for the righteous.
هَـٰذَا بَيَانٌ لِّلنَّاسِ وَهُدًى وَمَوْعِظَةٌ لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ
[4:26] GOD wills to explain things for you, and to guide you through past precedents, and to redeem you. GOD is Omniscient, Most Wise.
يُرِيدُ ٱللَّهُ لِيُبَيِّنَ لَكُمْ وَيَهْدِيَكُمْ سُنَنَ ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ وَيَتُوبَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَٱللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ
[16:89] The day will come when we will raise from every community a witness from among them, and bring you as the witness of these people. We have revealed to you this book to provide explanations for everything, and guidance, and mercy, and good news for the submitters.
وَيَوْمَ نَبْعَثُ فِى كُلِّ أُمَّةٍ شَهِيدًا عَلَيْهِم مِّنْ أَنفُسِهِمْ وَجِئْنَا بِكَ شَهِيدًا عَلَىٰ هَـٰٓؤُلَآءِ وَنَزَّلْنَا عَلَيْكَ ٱلْكِتَـٰبَ تِبْيَـٰنًا لِّكُلِّ شَىْءٍ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةً وَبُشْرَىٰ لِلْمُسْلِمِينَ
[24:18] GOD thus explains the revelations for you. GOD is Omniscient, Wise.
وَيُبَيِّنُ ٱللَّهُ لَكُمُ ٱلْـَٔايَـٰتِ وَٱللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ
[24:46] We have sent down to you clarifying revelations, then GOD guides whoever wills in a straight path.
لَّقَدْ أَنزَلْنَآ ءَايَـٰتٍ مُّبَيِّنَـٰتٍ وَٱللَّهُ يَهْدِى مَن يَشَآءُ إِلَىٰ صِرَٰطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ
[26:2] These (letters) constitute proofs of this clarifying scripture.
تِلْكَ ءَايَـٰتُ ٱلْكِتَـٰبِ ٱلْمُبِينِ
[43:2] And the clarifying scripture.
Now we have a handful of verses where we see the messenger also clarifies (14:4, 43:29, 43:63, and 44:13), but upon careful analysis, we see this has to do with the clear delivery of the message and not its explanation.
[16:82] If they still turn away, then your sole mission is the clear delivery (of the message).
فَإِنْ تَوَلَّوْا فَإِنَّمَا عَلَيْكَ الْبَلَاغُ الْمُبِينُ
|they turned away
|upon you (is)
Additionally, when the messenger is called upon to clarify, it is typically in relation to the scripture being concealed, like in the following examples.
[3:187] GOD took a covenant from those who received the scripture: “You shall make it clear it to the people, and never conceal it.” But they disregarded it behind their backs, and traded it away for a cheap price. What a miserable trade.
وَإِذْ أَخَذَ ٱللَّهُ مِيثَـٰقَ ٱلَّذِينَ أُوتُوا۟ ٱلْكِتَـٰبَ لَتُبَيِّنُنَّهُۥ لِلنَّاسِ وَلَا تَكْتُمُونَهُۥ فَنَبَذُوهُ وَرَآءَ ظُهُورِهِمْ وَٱشْتَرَوْا۟ بِهِۦ ثَمَنًا قَلِيلًا فَبِئْسَ مَا يَشْتَرُونَ
[5:15] O people of the scripture, our messenger has come to you to make clear for you many things you have concealed in the scripture, and to pardon many other transgressions you have committed. A beacon has come to you from GOD, and a profound scripture.
يَـٰٓأَهْلَ ٱلْكِتَـٰبِ قَدْ جَآءَكُمْ رَسُولُنَا يُبَيِّنُ لَكُمْ كَثِيرًا مِّمَّا كُنتُمْ تُخْفُونَ مِنَ ٱلْكِتَـٰبِ وَيَعْفُوا۟ عَن كَثِيرٍ قَدْ جَآءَكُم مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ نُورٌ وَكِتَـٰبٌ مُّبِينٌ
This shows that the messenger can extract matters from within the scripture that were previously suppressed. Besides this, the strongest verses one can try to utilize to say that the messenger explains the scripture comes from the following verse.
[5:19] O people of the scripture, our messenger has come to you to clarify things for you, after a period of time without messengers, lest you say, “We did not receive any preacher or warner.” A preacher and warner has now come to you. GOD is Omnipotent.
يَـٰٓأَهْلَ ٱلْكِتَـٰبِ قَدْ جَآءَكُمْ رَسُولُنَا يُبَيِّنُ لَكُمْ عَلَىٰ فَتْرَةٍ مِّنَ ٱلرُّسُلِ أَن تَقُولُوا۟ مَا جَآءَنَا مِنۢ بَشِيرٍ وَلَا نَذِيرٍ فَقَدْ جَآءَكُم بَشِيرٌ وَنَذِيرٌ وَٱللَّهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَىْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
But if we look at the other verses, we see again that it is the scripture that the messenger delivers that does the clarifying. This only further reinforces that the messenger only clarifies by delivering the message.
[16:44] We provided them with the proofs and the scriptures. And we sent down to you this message that it may clarify for the people everything that was sent down to them, perhaps they will reflect.
بِٱلْبَيِّنَـٰتِ وَٱلزُّبُرِ وَأَنزَلْنَآ إِلَيْكَ ٱلذِّكْرَ لِتُبَيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ مَا نُزِّلَ إِلَيْهِمْ وَلَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ
[16:64] And not we have sent down this scripture to you, except to clarify for them what they disputed, and to provide guidance and mercy for people who believe.
وَمَآ أَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْكَ ٱلْكِتَـٰبَ إِلَّا لِتُبَيِّنَ لَهُمُ ٱلَّذِى ٱخْتَلَفُوا۟ فِيهِ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةً لِّقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُونَ
These examples show that all explanations and all judgments in matters of religion and scripture are determined by God alone and found within God’s scripture, the Quran. The messengers are only responsible for the clear delivery of the message, and they, just like all believers, must try to apply the scripture to practice to the best of their ability. Also, this shows that messengers are not authorized to give explanations outside the scripture like we find depicted in the Hadith corpus.
We see that it was the enemies of the messenger who attempted to have him do just that.
[17:73] They almost diverted you from the revelations we have given you. They wanted you to fabricate something else, in order to consider you a friend.
وَإِن كَادُوا۟ لَيَفْتِنُونَكَ عَنِ ٱلَّذِىٓ أَوْحَيْنَآ إِلَيْكَ لِتَفْتَرِىَ عَلَيْنَا غَيْرَهُۥ وَإِذًا لَّٱتَّخَذُوكَ خَلِيلًا
[17:74] If it were not that we strengthened you, you almost leaned towards them just a little bit.
وَلَوْلَآ أَن ثَبَّتْنَـٰكَ لَقَدْ كِدتَّ تَرْكَنُ إِلَيْهِمْ شَيْـًٔا قَلِيلًا
[17:75] Had you done that, we would have doubled the retribution for you in this life, and after death, and you would have found no one to help you against us.
إِذًا لَّأَذَقْنَـٰكَ ضِعْفَ ٱلْحَيَوٰةِ وَضِعْفَ ٱلْمَمَاتِ ثُمَّ لَا تَجِدُ لَكَ عَلَيْنَا نَصِيرًا
God warns the messenger that in no uncertain terms, if he was to deviate from the rulings of God in the scripture, the punishment would have been severe.
[69:44] Had he uttered any other teachings.
(٤٤) وَلَوْ تَقَوَّلَ عَلَيْنَا بَعْضَ ٱلْأَقَاوِيلِ
[69:45] We would have seized him by the right hand.
(٤٥) لَأَخَذْنَا مِنْهُ بِٱلْيَمِينِ
[69:46] Then we would have severed from him the aorta.
(٤٦) ثُمَّ لَقَطَعْنَا مِنْهُ ٱلْوَتِينَ
[69:47] None of you could have helped him.
(٤٧) فَمَا مِنكُم مِّنْ أَحَدٍ عَنْهُ حَـٰجِزِينَ
The messenger simply delivered and followed the scripture that was revealed to them.
[10:15] When our revelations are recited to them, those who do not expect to meet us say, “Bring a Quran other than this, or change it!” Say, “I cannot possibly change it on my own. I simply follow what is revealed to me. I fear, if I disobey my Lord, the retribution of an awesome day.”
وَإِذَا تُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْهِمْ ءَايَاتُنَا بَيِّنَـٰتٍ قَالَ ٱلَّذِينَ لَا يَرْجُونَ لِقَآءَنَا ٱئْتِ بِقُرْءَانٍ غَيْرِ هَـٰذَآ أَوْ بَدِّلْهُ قُلْ مَا يَكُونُ لِىٓ أَنْ أُبَدِّلَهُۥ مِن تِلْقَآئِ نَفْسِىٓ إِنْ أَتَّبِعُ إِلَّا مَا يُوحَىٰٓ إِلَىَّ إِنِّىٓ أَخَافُ إِنْ عَصَيْتُ رَبِّى عَذَابَ يَوْمٍ عَظِيمٍ
It is the human and jinn devils who attempted to deceive the people with their fabrications, but God’s words are complete, fully detailed, and provide explanations for everything (6:112-116). So if we want to follow the path of the messenger, then we must follow the Quran alone.
[25:27] The day will come when the transgressor will bite his hands (in anguish) and say, “Alas, I wish I had followed the path with the messenger.
وَيَوْمَ يَعَضُّ ٱلظَّالِمُ عَلَىٰ يَدَيْهِ يَقُولُ يَـٰلَيْتَنِى ٱتَّخَذْتُ مَعَ ٱلرَّسُولِ سَبِيلًا
[25:28] “Alas, woe to me, I wish I did not take that person as a friend.
يَـٰوَيْلَتَىٰ لَيْتَنِى لَمْ أَتَّخِذْ فُلَانًا خَلِيلًا
[25:29] “He has led me away from the message after it came to me. Indeed, the devil lets down his human victims.”
لَّقَدْ أَضَلَّنِى عَنِ ٱلذِّكْرِ بَعْدَ إِذْ جَآءَنِى وَكَانَ ٱلشَّيْطَـٰنُ لِلْإِنسَـٰنِ خَذُولًا
[25:30] The messenger said, “My Lord, my people have deserted this Quran.”
وَقَالَ ٱلرَّسُولُ يَـٰرَبِّ إِنَّ قَوْمِى ٱتَّخَذُوا۟ هَـٰذَا ٱلْقُرْءَانَ مَهْجُورًا
This tesimony is followed by the people challeing the prophet, and we see that their complaint is that they have to wait for him to receive the appropirate verses to answer their questions. Note the reason they were complaining why the Quran did not came down to him all at once.
[25:31] We also set up against every prophet enemies from among the guilty. Your Lord suffices as a guide, a master.
وَكَذَٰلِكَ جَعَلْنَا لِكُلِّ نَبِىٍّ عَدُوًّا مِّنَ ٱلْمُجْرِمِينَ وَكَفَىٰ بِرَبِّكَ هَادِيًا وَنَصِيرًا
[25:32] Those who disbelieved said, “Why did not the Quran come through him all at once?” We have released it to you gradually, in order to fix it in your memory. We have recited it in a specific sequence.
وَقَالَ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ لَوْلَا نُزِّلَ عَلَيْهِ ٱلْقُرْءَانُ جُمْلَةً وَٰحِدَةً كَذَٰلِكَ لِنُثَبِّتَ بِهِۦ فُؤَادَكَ وَرَتَّلْنَـٰهُ تَرْتِيلًا
And in response God states that the Qruan is the best Tafsir.
[25:33] Whatever argument they come up with, we provide you with the truth, and the best understanding (tafsir).
وَلَا يَأْتُونَكَ بِمَثَلٍ إِلَّا جِئْنَـٰكَ بِٱلْحَقِّ وَأَحْسَنَ تَفْسِيرًا
|they come to you
|with an example / argument
|we brought you
|[in] the truth,
|and (the) best
|tafsir / explanation / commentary / understanding.
The word tafsir today infers to the explanations or exegesis of the Qurʾān. The only place this word or root is used in the entire Quran is in the above verse (27:33). This again solidifies that only God explains the Quran, and He does this by means of the Quran itself. If people fail to see this, they may be supernaturally blocked from seeing the truth.
[17:45] When you read the Quran, we place between you and those who do not believe in the Hereafter an invisible barrier.
وَإِذَا قَرَأْتَ ٱلْقُرْءَانَ جَعَلْنَا بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَ ٱلَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِٱلْـَٔاخِرَةِ حِجَابًا مَّسْتُورًا
[17:46] We place shields around their minds, to prevent them from understanding it, and deafness in their ears. And when you preach your Lord, using the Quran alone, they run away in aversion.
وَجَعَلْنَا عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمْ أَكِنَّةً أَن يَفْقَهُوهُ وَفِىٓ ءَاذَانِهِمْ وَقْرًا وَإِذَا ذَكَرْتَ رَبَّكَ فِى ٱلْقُرْءَانِ وَحْدَهُۥ وَلَّوْا۟ عَلَىٰٓ أَدْبَـٰرِهِمْ نُفُورًا