Different opinions regarding the Tafsir of Al-Sab`-ul-Mathany

Q 5: What are Al-Sab‘-ul-Mathany (the Oft-recited Seven)? Why are they given this name?


A: It is reported that Al-Sab‘-ul-Mathany are the seven long Surahs: Al-Baqarah, Al-‘Imran, Al-Nisa’, Al-Ma’idah, Al-An‘am, Al-A‘raf, and Yunus, or Al-Anfal and Al-Tawabah, according to the scholars who consider both Al-Anfal and Al-Tawabah one Surah, and replace Surah Yunus by these two Surahs. It is also reported that Al-Sab‘-ul-Mathany refers to Surah Al-Fatihah which consists of seven Ayahs (Qur’anic verses), without Al-Basmalah (Bismillah Al-Rahman, Al-Rahim i.e. In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful), according to the more correct of the two scholarly opinions. Ibn Jarir and Ibn Kathir upheld this opinion, for the report of Al-Bukhari that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said to Abu Sa`id ibn Al-Mu`ala (Part No. 4; Page No. 346) regarding the merit of Al-Fatihah: “It is Al-Sab‘-ul-Mathany and the Grand Qur’an.” Similarly, Imam Al-Bukhari reported on the authority of Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Umm-ul-Qur’an (the Mother of the Qur’an: Surah Al-Fatihah), is Al-Sab‘-ul-Mathany and the Grand Qur’an.” The seven Ayahs of Surah Al-Fatihah are called “Al-Mathany”, because they are repeatedly recited, meaning they are recited in every Rak‘ah (unit of Prayer), whether the Salah (prayer) is obligatory or supererogatory.

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