Muslim or not, everyone is required to read and understand the Qur’an. But who should or should not explain the Qur’an to other people – do a Tafsir of the Qur’an, as it were – that is not open to everyone.
The only people who should embark on that most arduous and potentially treacherous journey are those who possess at least the following qualifications:
- Unimpeachable sincerity of purpose – Iman and Ikhlas.
- Deep and strong fear of Allah – Taqwa.
- Strong command of Arabic language.
- Strong grasp of Hadith literature.
- Sound knowledge of Tafsir literature.
The first two qualifications – Iman/Ikhlas and Taqwa – are open to anyone.
The last three – Arabic Language; Tafsir Literature; and Hadith Literature – are almost an exclusive prerogative of those who have been blessed with that kind of training, background and expertise.
All others simply must quote their sources as they do their talking and explaining – such as this or that book of Tafsir or Hadith or their own teachers and Shaikhs – whenever they undertake to offer Tafsir of any part of the Qur’an.
My own view is that no one should be told not to think their own thoughts; or to ask their own questions; or to express their own views, with regard anything in the Qur’an – an Aayat or something – even though the Salaf (our early leaders in the field such as Sahabah and later experts and great scholars of yore) had serious reservations on that score.
So, all would-be Tafsir-Doers in any part of the world, not the least in an enterprising place like the Caribbean, should think long and hard about what they do, and tread only gingerly and very, very thoughtfully on the path of doing Tafsir of the Qur’an.