al-Habīb Zayn Bin Sumayt, may Allāh preserve him, said in the Fuyūdhāt ar-Rabbaniyah,
It is the ta’wīl (interpretation) of the Qur’ān, not based on it’s zhāhir (outward), due to the isyārāt al-khafiyyah (subtle insinuations), which becomes apparent to the ‘ārifūn billāh (those cognizant of Allāh) from amongst the people of sulūk and mujāhadah (i.e. those who thread the path of spiritual purification). They are those whom Allāh enlightened their basīrah (spiritual insight) and some of the minute meanings thus penetrated into their intellect by means of divine ilhām (spiritual unveilings) or transcendental fath (mystical openings) with possibilities of gathering between them and with its zhāhir meaning which is intended in the noble verse. This is a category of ‘ilm which is not from the ‘ilm al-kasbī (acquirable knowledge) which is obtained through research and deliberation. It is in fact from the ‘ilm al-ladunnī, which is wahbī (by grace and favor). It is the fruit of taqwā and istiqāmah, as mentioned by Allāh most High:
وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۖ وَيُعَلِّمُكُمُ اللَّهُ
Have taqwā of Allāh and Allāh will teach you.
And as what he mentions in the story of Khidhir with Musā, upon them both peace,
فَوَجَدَا عَبْدًا مِّنْ عِبَادِنَا آتَيْنَاهُ رَحْمَةً مِّنْ عِندِنَا وَعَلَّمْنَاهُ مِن لَّدُنَّا عِلْمًا
They both found a servant from amongst Our Servants whom We gave Rahmah (Mercy) from Us and We taught him from Our Ladun, Knowledge. (al-Kahf: 65)
Insinuating to this as well is the saying of the Messenger, Salutations of Allāh and His Peace upon him,
مَنْ عَمِلَ بِما عَلِمَ أَوْرَثَهُ الله عِلْمُ ما لَمْ يَعْلَمْ
One who made ‘amal with what he has knowledge of, Allāh will cause him to inherit knowledge which he does not know.
It is the fruit of making ‘amal with ‘ilm in which its benefits were derived from the Book and the Sunnah, free from the blots of nafs and hawā, realizing the sīwa, accompanied by taqwā, coupled with the vicinity of da’wā.
One of the ‘ārifūn said:
One will never become aware of the asrār (secrets) of the Qur’ān and its honorable meanings except if he have tatahhur ( purification) from the garments of sins and he beautifies his inward and outward with various ‘amal and akhlāq al-mardhiyah (pleasing manners), and he devote himself to Allāh by leaving other than Him, including the ‘uluwī (higher) and siflī (lower) creation (narrated in meaning).
I say: In fact some of them said with regard to the saying of the Messenger of Allah, Salutations of Allāh and His Peace upon him,
لِكُلِّ آيَةٍ ظَهْرٌ وَبَطْنٌ وَلِكُلِّ حَرْفٍ حَدٌّ وَلِكُلِّ حَدٍّ مَطْلَعٌ
For every verse is a zhahr (apparent) and a batn (inward). For every letter is a hadd (hadd), and for every hadd is a matla’ (place of ascent).
(Narrated by ar-Rūyānī from al-Hasan)
Indeed what is meant by its zhahr is what is apparent in terms of its meanings to the people of outward knowledge. It’s batn, on the other hand refers to what it encompasses from the asrār that Allah intends it to ascend from the masters of haqāiq (realities).
Imām as-Suyūtī mentions this in the al-Itqān. (4:196). He mentioned in it as well from asy-Syeikh Taj ad-Dīn Ibn ‘Atā’ Allāh – may Allah benefits us with him – said:
Know that the tafsīr of this group to the Kalām of Allāh and the kalām of His Messenger with gharīb meanings is not a disputation to the zhāhir, against its apparent nature but the apparent of the verse is understood from what the verse conveyed as well as what lisān (speech) has known indicates to. There are afhām (various understanding) which are inward where with respect to an ayah or a verse, is understood by those Allāh opened their hearts. it had indeed came in a Hadīth
لِكُلِّ آيَةٍ ظَهْرٌ وَبَطْن
For every verse is an apparent and an inward.
So never ever turn away from the acquisition of these meanings. Amongst them are the people of jadal (disputation ) and mu’āridhah (difference of opinion) who will say to you: This is ihālah (disputation) to the Kalām of Allāh and the kalām of His Messenger. But this is not ihālah. It is only an ihālah if they said: There is no meaning to the verse except this. And they did not say this. Rather, they acknowledge the dzhāhir of it’s apparent meanings which were it’s intended meanings at the various places, and they were given understanding by Allah what He made them to understand.
Our master, the Imām, al-‘Ārif billāh ‘Aydrūs bin ‘Umar al-Habsyī, may Allāh benefit us by him said:
Certainly, one should adhere to the zhāhir of the verse and the Hadīth unless an ittifāq (agreement) has been realized with regard to its ta’wīl. Thus, when the reality of a transmission from Allah and His Messenger as per the zhāhir, according to the ‘ulama’ is presented to you, there is no harm after that for you to make istikhrāj (inferences) from the hidden meanings of the Book and the Sunnah which has opened for you. This is provided that the Book and the Sunnah itself does not reject it and that you are from its people. ((an-Nahr al-Mawrūd)) of the Imām al-‘Allāmah ‘Ubaid Allāh Bin Muhain as-Seqqāf.
asy-Syeikh al-Imām al-Qutb Ahmad Bin Zayn al-Habsyī, may Allah benefit us by him said,
al-Mutābaqah (Compatibility) with meanings from all angles is not from the conditions of isyārāt al-qaum (inward interpretation of it’s people) and their taking of the meanings from the wordings. Rather, that is realized in general, according to the accepted usage of the wordings. This is because the maqśūd (goal) is the realization of meaning which is śahīh, thābīt and indicated in the Book and Sunnah which the syarī’ah does not reject in terms of its authenticity, coupled with its submission to the outward injunctions which comes with the zhāhir wordings. One should not deny that and should say: I know and I submit that the meaning with regard to it according to the people of zhāhir is as such. I do not deny it. However, I understand from the flow of the wordings a meaning which is śahīh and thābīt as per the indication of the syarī’ah even if it is other than the maqsūd of the wording. From the ((Qurrah al-‘Ayn)) of al-Imām Muhammad bin Sumayt.
Our master, al-Imām Ahmad Bin Hasan al-‘Attās, may Allah benefit us by him said:
The Qur’an has a zhāhir and a bātin. When the bātin of an insān is purified, he understands the bātin of the Qur’ān. When he take his knowledge from the zhāhir of the nuśūs (stipulations) and aqwāl (sayings), he understands the zhāhir of the Qur’ān. The Qur’ān is ‘āmmun (universal). Everyone understands from it upon the qadr (measure)of his martabah (rank).