İlk inen vahiy meselesi Kur’ân tarihi ve tefsir ilmi açısından önemli bir konudur. Bu mesele ulûmu’l-Kur’ân literatüründe müstakil bir başlık altında incelenmektedir. Kaynaklar bu konuda dört görüş olduğunu belirtmektedir. Bunlara göre ilk inen vahiy Alak Sûresi’nin ilk ayetleri, Müddessir Sûresi’nin ilk ayetleri, Fâtiha Sûresi veya “besmele”dir. Gerek ulûmu’l-Kur’ân kitaplarının ilgili bahisleri gerekse tefsir kitapları bu görüşlere dair tartışmaları ve delilleri ihtiva etmektedir. Söz konusu kaynakların bir kısmında bu konuda Zemahşerî’nin, el-Keşşâf’ isimli eserinde geçen bazı ifadelerinden dolayı eleştirildiği görülmektedir. Bu eleştirilerde İbn Hacer el-Askalânî’nin Zemahşerî’den yaptığı nakil ve eleştirileri referans olarak öne çıkmaktadır. İbn Hacer ilk inen vahyin Fâtiha Sûresi olduğu yönündeki görüşü müfessirlerin çoğunluğuna ait bir görüş olarak takdim ettiği gerekçesiyle Zemahşerî’yi eleştirmiştir. İbn Hacer’i referans alan bazı âlimler de bu eleştiriyi devam ettirmişlerdir. Hâlbuki Zemahşerî’nin çoğunluğa nispet ettiği görüş onların zannettiği görüş değildir. Bu çalışma, Zemahşerî’nin yanlış anlaşılmasına bağlı olarak yapılan bu eleştirilerin geçersiz olduğunu ortaya koymayı ve onun doğru anlaşılmasını sağlamayı amaçlamaktadır.
The issue of the first revelation is an important subject for the history of Qur’an and its commentary. There are four different opinions about this subject in the resources. Each of these opinions claims that the first revelation is the first verses of Sūra al-ʿAlaq, or the first verses of Sūra al-Muddaththir or the Sūra al-Fātiḥa or the basmala. Both Qur’anic sciences books and commentaries books include discussions about this subject, and mention related evidences. Some sections of the above-mentioned resources criticize Abu al-Qāsim Maḥmūd ibn ʿUmar al-Zamakhsharī (538/1144) because of his statements about this subject in his book named al-Kashshaf. These criticisms refer to the narration and criticism of Ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānī (852/1449) about Zamakhsharī. Ibn Ḥajar criticizes Zamakhsharī because the opinion that the Sūra al-Fātiḥa is the first revelation, which is adopted by a very small minority, contradicts to the majority of the glossators. The claim expressed in these criticisms is incompatible with the scientific identity of Zamakhsharī and accuses him of transmitting information that does not agree with the facts on a scientific subject. Since there are no data which show that the opinion of the Sūra al-Fātiḥa is the first revelation is adopted by a majority in no period of exegesis history. When Zamakhsharī’s work is examined, it is seen that the relevant statements have different aspects than what Ibn Ḥajar narrated, and that they can be understood in a more accurate way. This study aims to reveal that these criticisms made due to misunderstanding of Zamakhsharī are invalid, and make an offer for the accurate understanding of his statements.
The statements of Zamakhsharī that are criticized are as follows: “According to the narration of Ibn ʿAbbās and Mujāhid, this is the first sūra revealed. The majority of glossators is in the opinion that the “Sūra al-Fātiḥa” is the first revelation. Then follows the Sūra al-Qalam.” The main point in Ibn Hajar’s objection to Zamakhsharī is that the opinion of the Sūra al-Fātiḥa is the first revelation was reflected as the majority opinion. Numerous scholars who lived after Ibn Ḥajar have mentioned that Zamakhsharī transmitted false information based on Ibn Hajar’s statements. Recently, the relevant statements of Zamakhsharī have come to the fore in a different way based on Ibn Hajar’s comment, and are regarded as a factor supporting the probability that Sūra al-Fātiḥa is the first revelation.
When the statements of Zamakhsharī and the statements of Ibn Ḥajar who criticized him by narrating his word are examined, it is seen that Ibn Hajar’s narration is different than the statements in al-Kashshaf. Ibn Ḥajar allocated Zamakhsharī’s general statements such as “al-Fātiḥa” and “Avvalu mā nazal” in terms of meaning and narrated them as the “Sūra al-Fātiḥa” and “Avvalu sūratin nazalat.” In other words, Ibn Ḥajar narrated Zamakhsharī’s statements not directly, but with his own interpretation and in an indirect way. In one way, instead of narrating Zamakhsharī’s statements, Ibn Ḥajar transmitted what he understood from these words or what should be understood from them. The subject that Ibn Ḥajar accused Zamakhsharī, who is accepted as the authority in language and commentary, does not comply with the scientific identity of Zamakhsharī. However, if Zamakhsharī’s statements were as Ibn Ḥajar narrated, it would be necessary to accept the accuracy of Ibn Hajar’s criticism. But the fact that Zamakhsharī’s statements are different than narrated requires thinking about these statements and trying to understand his opinions based on his own statements.
Unlike what Ibn Ḥajar expressed, Zamakhsharī does not report that the majority of glossators accepts that the Sūra al-Fātiḥa is the first revelation. The word “al-Fātiḥa” in his statements was not used in its term meaning as “Sūra al-Fātiḥa,” but it was used in its word meaning as the “entrance/beginning,” and in context of the “beginning/entrance of Sūra al-ʿAlaq.” Therefore, the statement “avvalu mā nazal” does not mean the first revealed sūra but it means the first revelation. In this case, it would be more accurate to interpret Zamakhsharī’s statements as follows: “According to the narration of Ibn ʿAbbās and Mujāhid, this (the Sūra al-ʿAlaq) is the first sūra revealed. The majority of glossators is in the opinion that the beginning/entrance (al-Fātiḥa) of the sūra is the first revelation. Then follows the Sūra al-Qalam.” Accordingly, the opinion attributed to Ibn ʿAbbās and Mujāhid states that the Sūra al-ʿAlaq as a whole is the first revealed sūra, and what is contradicting to the opinion of the majority of glossators is that the first revelation is not the whole sūra but the verses in the beginning/entrance of it. In this case, Zamakhsharī did not present the acceptance of a small number of people as the opinion of the majority of glossators. Therefore, the criticisms of Ibn Ḥajar and his followers about Zamakhsharī do not rely on accurate data. Thus, the relevant statements of Zamakhsharī should not be regarded as an evidence that the first revelation is the Sūra al-Fātiḥa; on the contrary, it should be regarded as data which confirm that the first revelation is the Sūra al-ʿAlaq. The data show that Zamakhsharī regards the Sūra al-ʿAlaq as the first revelation.
The misunderstood statements of Zamakhsharī are not the only foundation of those who argue that the Sūra al-Fātiḥa is the first revelation. On the contrary, this opinion is based on various narratives in the hadith and prophetic biography resources, and especially on the evaluations of textual context of the Sūra al-Fātiḥa. Therefore, this study does not come to a final conclusion on the issue of first revelation as it focuses on a specific point. Moreover, the study does not have such objective. However, this study aims to reveal that Zamakhsharī’s statements on the first revelation are misunderstood, that Ibn Hajar's interpretation was effective in this misunderstanding, and that no deduction can be made based on this interpretation.
Additionally, this conclusion we reached about the statements of Zamakhsharī regarding the meaning of the word “al-Fātiḥa” applies to the word “al-Fātiḥa” in al-Nasafī’s and al-Rāzī’s related statements. The researchers consider that the abovementioned authors used the word “al-Fātiḥa” as in the meaning of the entrance of the Sūra al-ʿAlaq rather than the Sūra al-Fātiḥa. When understood in this way, the following expression of the Sūra al-Qalam in the paragraph should not need to be interpreted as the Sūra al-ʿAlaq.
Lastly, this study shows that even scholars who are the authority in their area of work may be mistaken in some of their narrations, and can cause the spread of false information involuntarily. Scientific texts should be evaluated based on the conditions and conceptual structure of its period. When it is not the case, the concepts are misevaluated as they can undergo semantic changes, thus, conceptual anachronism can occur. Zamakhsharī’s statements which were not criticized since Ibn Ḥajar whether because they were understood correctly or as not problematic became the target of criticism after Ibn Ḥajar attributed different meanings to them. Ibn Hajar’s criticism affected some subsequent reputed scholars, lead them to understand Zamakhsharī’s statements in the way Ibn Ḥajar narrated, and caused the spread of a false opinion about him. This false opinion caused the relevant statements of Zamakhsharī to be seen as the basis of an important scientific claim about “the first revelation,” and the term Sūra al-Qalam to be regarded as the Sūra al-ʿAlaq. In this regard, this study resolved the incriminating misunderstanding about Zamakhsharī, and revealed the role of individuals in the process of forming a tradition, and that how false assumptions become widespread and turn into a general opinion over time.