FAITH: The difference between Tafseer and Tadabbur

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By Noorah Jukaku

What is the difference between (Tafseer) understanding an Ayah and (Tadabbur) pondering upon it??

A person might think that understanding the meaning of an Ayah (Tafseer) is the same as pondering upon it (Tadabbur), but there is a big difference between the two.

Example of Understanding an Ayah:

وَمَن يُطِعِ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ ۥ فَقَدۡ فَازَ فَوۡزًا عَظِيمًا

“And whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger (sallallahualaiwsallam) he has indeed achieved a great achievement.”

(Surah Ahzab: 71)

The meaning of this Ayah is that the one who obeys Allah and his messenger deserves a great success in this world and the hereafter. This is the understanding of the Ayah.

As for pondering upon it, then it is to ask yourself:

  • Where am I concerning this Ayah?
  • Am I obedient to Allah Azza wa jal?
  • If I am, did I feel the success?
  • Do I live by this Ayah?
  • Do I follow what I am commanded to do?
  • Do I prevent myself from the matters that are prohibited?

So taking yourself into account while recitation of the Quran is what is meant by tadabbur (pondering), which is why Allah says:

أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ ٱلۡقُرۡءَانَ أَمۡ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبٍ أَقۡفَالُهَآ

“Do they not then think deeply in the Quran, or are their hearts locked up?”
(Surah Muhammed: 24)

So it is upon each person to do tadabbur of Quran because it is the Book that is sent down upon them to guide them and direct them to the goodness in the world and the hereafter.

And doing this is very easy for everyone.


Noorah Jukaku is masters student in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences in National Chiao Tung University Taiwan. She has completed Bachelors in Sharee’ah and Usool Al Deen from University of Sharjah and co-author of the book “The Blissful Union”.

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