Important Guidelines About the Authenticity of the Reports and Quotations in the Tafsir of Ibn Kathir
Reports from the Companions of the Messenger of Allah
Reports that are attributed to the companions of Allah's Messenger are commonly used for additional explanation of the meanings of the Qur'an. As for those quotes that Ibn Kathir mentions in passing, these quotes may, or may not be authentically attributed to them. Wherever it is mentioned that one of them said something, and that statement contradicts other clearly authentic texts, then such statements can not be held as an evidence against what is known to be authentic. Additional information in this regard is found in the Introduction of Ibn Kathir.
Incomplete Chains of Narration
The following is a list of common incomplete chains of narrations that AI-Hafiz Ibn Kathir often quotes.
- 'Ali bin Abi Talhah (AI-Walibi) reported that Ibn 'Abbas said...
- ('Atiyah) Al-'Awfi reported that Ibn 'Abbas said...
- Ad-Dahhak from Ibn 'Abbas.
- As-Suddi reported from Abu Malik and Abu Salih from Ibn
- Abbas, Ibn Mas'ud and [or] some men among the companions.
- Al-Hasan AI-Basri reporting from or about the Prophet.
- Qatadah reporting from or about the Prophet.
All narrations coming from these chains are unauthentic according to the Sciences of Hadith. Their meanings, however, may be correct as understood by authentic texts, and for this reason they are commonly referenced.
Reports from the Followers of the Companions and those who Follow them
The following is a list of those who did not see the Prophet , but they report from companions of the Prophet , while often they themselves are quoted for Tafsir. Reports that are attributed to them are used as additional support in understanding certain issues by Ibn Kathir. Such quotes may, or may not be authentically attributed to them. Wherever it is mentioned that one of them said something, and that statement contradicts other clearly authentic texts, then such statements can not be held as evidence against the authentic evidence.
Abu Al-'Aliyah, Sa'id bin Jubayr, Sa'id bin Al-Musayib, 'Ata' (bin Abi Rabah), 'Ata' Al-Khurrasani, Muqatil bin Hayyan, ArRabi' bin Anas, Ash-Sha'bbi, Qatadah, Mujahid, 'Ikrimah, AdDahhak, 'Abdur-Rahman bin Zayd bin Aslam (Ibn Zayd), Ibn Jurayj.
Other Scholars After the Companions
The following are some scholars that Ibn Kathir often quotes from. Since these scholars are not well known to the average English reader, one should beware that their own statements about the Prophet , his companions, or circumstances surrounding the Qur'an's revelation, are not to be considered as important as authentically narrated texts.
Waki', Sufyan Ath-Thawri, Muhammad bin Ishaq, Ibn 'Atiyyah, Ibn Abi Hatim, Ibn Jarir (At-Tabari).