|Introduction to Al-Qur'an|
D Rafiq Ahmed
Need For Divine Guidance
Allahu Ta’ala created this universe with perfection and systematic organisation.
Out of this, He chose our planet for life. He created everything in this planet
which is needed to sustain life. He stretched the earth and flattened it so that
it could be lived upon. He made it neither too hard nor too soft, neither too
hot or too cold unlike other planets. He created an environment within and on
the earth to sustain life. He decorated the skies with sun, moon and millions of
stars. He created the vast oceans, the plant and the animal kingdoms. Finally,
He created the master of this universe “Man”. Man is not essential for the
survival of the universe, if it would have been so the universe would not have
survived without him. On the contrary the universe is very important for the
survival of man. This fact is mentioned in the Qur’an and Hadith (traditions of
the holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) at many places.
In the the Qur’an Allahu Ta’ala says:
وَسَخَّرَ لَكُمْ مَا فِي السَّمَوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ جَمِيعًا
“And He has subjected to you, as from Him, all that is in the heavens and on
And a Hadith (tradition of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi
إنَّ الدُّنيا خُلِقَت لَكُم
“Indeed, world has been created for you.”
Since the universe was essential for the survival of man, it was created first
and later on man was sent to this universe.
Man is the crown of all the creation - the best Creation of Allah Ta’ala. He
says in the Qur’an:
لَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنْسَانَ فِي أَحْسَنِ تَقْوِيمٍ
“Indeed we have created man in the best of moulds” (95:4)
For whom was this cream of all the creation
This question arises almost in the mind of every human being. But unfortunately
mostly people do not get an answer to this inner query. Usually people die
without knowing this reality; they live throughout their lives in complete
ignorance just like animals. Many people ponder over this question but they do
not have enough intelligence to understand it. Their inherent intellectual
capability is clouded and obscured by prejudice, ignorance and blind faith in
the religion of their parents. These factors work on their minds subconsciously
right from the days of childhood and consequently they never perceive the
When a man is born, he is in a state of ignorance, inexperience and
helplessness. As he grows, he starts acquiring knowledge.
Faculties for acquiring knowledge:
1. Sensual-Faculty: which comprises of five senses viz., touch, taste, smell,
hearing and sight.
2. Intellectual Faculty.
3. Intuitional (Mystic) Faculty.
4. Prophetic Faculty.
1. Sensual Faculty:
Man learns through the sense of touch about the temperature of a thing and its
consistency. His sense of smell helps him to distinguish between noxious and
pleasant smell. The sense of taste informs him whether the eatable is sweet,
sour, bitter, pungent or delicious, which enables him to relish it well and also
helps him to avoid harmful food. Much of the knowledge comes through his hearing
and optical senses. He observes the universe and its strange phenomenon with his
eyes. Books and electronic visual aids go a long way in adding to his knowledge.
Another important sense is auditory. Man goes on hearing different things right
from his birth and stores that knowledge in his memory centre of the brain.
This sensual experience plays a tremendous role in man’s acquisition of
knowledge. There are three schools of thought regarding acquisition and
efficiency of knowledge for realization of the ultimate truth. One section of
people believes that sensual experience is useless. They withdraw from the world
and its beauties and preach self-abnegation and ascetic life. This was the
dominant feature of Christianity in the middle ages. Another section believes in
only sensual experience and the faculty of intellect. They think that the
knowledge gained through five senses and crystallised by the intellect can lead
to the realisation of the Ultimate Truth. They include the Greek philosophers
like Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and their followers along with some of the
modern scientists. This group and their ideology will be discussed later on in
some detail, Insha-Allah.
The third group believes in the Qur’an. The Qur’an teaches that an empirical
attitude is very essential for the spiritual life. The Qur’an always encourages
man to use more and more of his sensual experience in understanding the Truth.
It does not teach self-abnegation and withdrawal from the world.
The Qur’an says:
إِنَّ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلَافِ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ
لَآيَاتٍ لِأُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ
“Behold! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of
Night and Day, there are signs for men of understanding. “ (3:190)
أَفَلَا يَنْظُرُونَ إِلَى الْإِبِلِ كَيْفَ خُلِقَتْ () وَإِلَى السَّمَاءِ كَيْفَ
رُفِعَتْ () وَإِلَى الْجِبَالِ كَيْفَ نُصِبَتْ () وَإِلَى الْأَرْضِ كَيْفَ
“Do they not look at the camels, how they are made? And at the sky, how it is
raised high? And at the mountains, how they are fixed firm? And at the earth?
How it is spread out? (88:17-29)
These and the other Qur’anic exhortations about acquiring sensual knowledge have
culminated in the birth of modern science.
This is the primary and important factor behind the Renaissance in Europe.
Church opposed learning during the middle ages. In Europe It often opposed
acquisition of knowledge, and science was branded as black magic and
consequently its study was prohibited in the Christendom in Europe. Church
preached Ptolemaic system which was opposed by Copernicus, who put forward
Copernican system and it falsified the Biblical view of the Cosmology. The
Church authorities felt insulted and prosecuted the scientists like Copernicus,
Galileo and others. In contrast, the Muslims had far advanced knowledge in many
fields under the Qur’an inspirations, which repeatedly exhorts man to study the
universe, its physical, biological and celestial components and their changes.
Europe was quite ignorant about these tremendous advances that were being made
in the Islamic world till the Muslims conquered Spain. When this Islamic
Scientific approach reached Europe through Spain, they began to imbibe it,
culminating in the scientific revolution, which the world is witnessing
But this sensual method of acquiring knowledge too has its own limitations,
which will be discussed later on, Insha Allah.
2. Intellectual Faculty:
This is the second most important faculty of man for acquiring knowledge. This
distinguishes man from other animals and plants. The sensual faculty is present
in animals as well, but they lack the intellectual faculty. Man has used this
intellectual faculty and attained mastery over various ingredients of the
universe whether they are physical, chemical, environmental or biological.
With the help of these two faculties i.e., sensual and intellectual, man has
made great advances in the fields of Chemistry, Physics, Biological Sciences,
Geography, Astronomy and other such fields.
Those people, who saw the success of the faculty of intellect in the fields of
Chemistry, Physics and other Biosciences tried to use the same tool (human
intellect) for understanding the Truth. These people never succeeded in this.
The Greek philosophers such as Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and their followers,
whose ideas supposedly moved the world, stretched their intellect to its maximum
and put forward so many hypotheses about the Ultimate Truth. Though this is not
the place to discuss their ideologies in detail, I would like to quote some of
their main conclusions that were drawn by them about the Truth, so that one can
understand the absurdity of their theories.
Theory of Emanationism:
To explain the relation of God and the world is one of the most difficult
problems in the philosophy of religion. It is well nigh an impossible task and
philosophers have always stumbled over it. According to Neo-plotonic theory,
only one emanates from one, yet three things may emanate three kinds of
knowledge possessed by first intelligence out from each kind. God did not create
the world through an act of volition, for creation thus understood implies
consciousness and will, both of which are limitations with regard to the
Absolute. Knowing implies an object that confronts the knower as something alien
to him. God being infinite and absolute has nothing outside His being; hence
nothing can confront Him as something other than He.
This theory further states that the world emanates from God not directly but
through intermediaries. These intermediary agencies are of various grades. First
intelligence knows the god, there emanates from it the second intelligence, as
it knows its own essence, there emanates from it the soul of the highest
celestial sphere, and finally, as it knows itself as a possible being only,
there proceeds from it the body of that sphere.
Whereas the philosophers endowed the first intelligence and in a similar fashion
all the subsequent descendant intelligences, with three kinds of knowledge as
stated above, they circumscribed God’s knowledge to His own glorious self-only.
It was in keeping with the Aristotelian description of God as thought thinking
itself, it must be itself that thought thinks and its thinking is thinking on
Theory of Cause and Effect Relation and
Eternity of Matter:
These philosophers put forward the theory that cause and effect have direct
relation, one cause can have one effect and that every effect must be preceded
by one cause. Taking the example of the world, they say that if the world is
taken as an effect, then there must have been one cause for it and for that
cause also there must have been one cause and from this the Aristotelian school
of thought put forward doctrine of eternity of the world. They could not
understand this simple thing that for one effect there can be many causes and
that can be both positive and negative and the effect can be delayed also. They
also failed to understand the reality of the will of God and its relation with
His creative activity. The Qur’an uses these two words “Amr” and “Khalq” to
Pringle Pattison, as quoted by Dr. lqbal, deplores the paucity of vocabulary of
English language and says that English language has only one word for these two
words of “Amr “ and “Khalq“ , in English both words are termed as “creation’.
Allahu Ta’ala says in the Qur’an:
أَلَا لَهُ الْخَلْقُ وَالْأَمْرُ
“To Him belongs the creation and direction (Khalq and Amr).
He says that Arabic language is more fortunate to have these two words to
express the two ways in which the creative activity of Allah Ta’ala reveals
itself to us. On the contrary English language possesses only one word
“creation” to express the relation of God and the universe on the one hand; and
the relation of God on the other.
Aristotle’s Active and Passive Intellect
This is quoted from his last book on the soul (De-Anima), in which he makes the
distinction between the active and creative intellect on the one hand and the
passive intellect on the other. Active intellect, according to Aristotle, is the
third between the object and the passive intellect, as light is the third
besides the eye and the object. Thus active intellect is said to create the
truths that we know just as light may be said to make colours which we perceive
with its aid. We see here Aristotle’s general principle that “what is
potentially, comes to be actually by the agency of something that already is
actually” (Metaphysics, I049 b24). In passive intellect all concepts are merely
potential, they are made real or actual by active intellect; actualised
intellect thus may be called intellect in action. The active intellect is said
to be separable from matter and impassive and unmixed, being in its essential
nature an activity. There is no intermission in its thinking, it is only in
separation from matter that it is fully itself and it alone is immortal and
everlasting, while the passive intelligence is perishable and there is no
thinking at all apart from this (De Anima 430).
Aristotle has left unexplained the precise relation between the active and
passive intellects and the unity and individuality of the human personality. It
seems vain to look in his doctrine for the possibility of personal immortality.
The true interpretation of Aristotle on these points was a cause of dispute even
among his own immediate disciples. It is needless to comment on these incoherent
and baseless statements.
Another famous, so called rationalist philosopher, disbelieved his senses,
distrusted all the knowledge acquired by him and disowned all the traditional
authority and stopped at thought, finding certainty in the dictum ‘cogite ergo
sum’ - ‘I think, therefore, I am’. He held that the reason was competent to
explain the ultimate reality.
Famous German philosopher, on the other hand revealed the limitations of reason
and reduced the whole work of rationalists to a heap of ruins, but he according
to Dr. lqbal consistently, could not affirm the possibility of knowledge of God
on the basis of his principles.
Kant further says that: “I think” which
accompanies every thought is formal condition of thought and the transition from
a purely formal condition of thought to ontological substance is logically
illegitimate. He further says indivisibility of a substance does not prove its
Challenging the theory that intellect is a product of evolution, he says: “If
intellect is a product of evolution, the whole mechanistic concept of the nature
and origin of life is absurd, and, the principle which science has adopted must
clearly be revised. We have only to state it to see the self-contradiction. If
intellect is an evolution of life, then the concept of life that can evolve
intellect as a particular mode of apprehending reality must be the concept of
more concrete activity than that of any abstract mechanical movement, which the
intellect can present to itself by analysing its apprehending content. And yet
further if the intellect be a product of the evolution of life, it is not
absolute but relative to the activity of that which has evolved it; how then in
such cases, can science exclude the subjective aspect of knowing and build on
the objective presentation as an absolute? Clearly the biological sciences
necessitate a reconsideration of scientific principle.
An eminent Mathematician and scientist, has conclusively shown that traditional
theory of materialism is untenable. It is obvious that theoretically colours and
sounds etc. are subjective states only and form no part of nature. He says our
perceptions are illusions. His theory reduces one half of the nature to ‘dream’
and other half to the conjecture.
We cannot deny the importance of intellect in knowing the Reality but of course,
it has its own limitations. It is impossible for any person to know all the pros
and cons of a thing keeping everything about that thing in mind at the same
time. Fancies often overlap intellect and inferences drawn by the intellect get
fogged. Take the example of a dead body lying in a room; rarely would anybody
sleep in that room. Though the intellect will clearly know the dead body is
harmless, and there should be no problem in sleeping in that room, yet the fancy
ideas overlap the intellect and people feel afraid of sleeping there. In this
example one can clearly understand that many things influence the intellect.
Hence its decisions cannot be fool proof; there is always possibility of errors
and wrong interpretations.
A well-known Muslim Historian and father of Sociology, says that intellect has
its own boundaries beyond that it cannot work. He gives the example of a balance
and says that with the help of balance (which is meant for weighing gold and
silver), if one tries to weight a mountain, one can imagine the fate of that
balance, similarly, he says that using only intellect to know the Reality is
same as weighing a mountain with a balance meant for weighing gold.
Changing Intellectual Experience:
Imam Gazzali (RA) says, “When a man is
born, he has no knowledge.” Naturally, when a man is born his sensual and
intellectual truths are also in infancy and as he grows, his faculties also
develop. At every step of his intellectual development, he realises that at his
previous step he was at fault and that now he has become wiser.
Again at the next step of intellectual development, he feels the same that at
his previous step (which he was labelling as wiser) he was wrong and this
process continues throughout his life. With this thing in mind at which step man
will feel that he has obtained perfection? Obviously he will never feel so. When
this is the state of his growing and changing his intellectual interpretations
how can he decide with the help of this intellect about the absolute Reality
without any blemish of error? Hence finite cannot comprehend infinite and every
effort to do so is doomed to fail.
The people who rely only on this faculty of intellect for knowing the Reality
always wander in the labyrinth of imagination about the Reality.
3. Intuitional (Mystic Experience) Faculty:
Having noted the limitations of intellect in knowing the Reality, one has to
explore other faculties. Intuition is the next higher faculty after intellect,
before discussing this faculty further, the author feels tempted to present the
view point of some of the famous scholars, in this regard.
“Heart is a kind of inner intuition or insight, feeds on the rays of the Sun and
brings us in contact with the aspects of Reality other than those open to
“The revealed and mystic literature of mankind bears ample testimony to the fact
that religious experience has been too enduring and dominant in the history of
mankind to be rejected as mere illusion. There seems to be no reason, thus, to
accept the moral level of human experience as fact and reject its other levels
as mystical and emotional. The facts of religious experience are facts among
other facts of human experience and in the capacity of yielding knowledge by
interpretation; one fact is as good as another.”
The mystic state brings us in contact with the total passage of Reality in which
-all the diverse stimuli merge into another and form single unity in which the
ordinary distinction of subject and object does not exist.
He himself narrates his spiritual story as follows:
“The thirst of knowledge was innate in me from an early age. It was like a
second nature implemented in me by Allah. No sooner had I emerged from my
boyhood than I had already broken the fetters of tradition and authority and
freed myself from hereditary beliefs. The diversity in beliefs and the varsity
of doctrines in the sects that divide the men are like a vast ocean strewn with
shipwrecks. Each sect believes itself to be exclusively in possession of truth
and of salvation. From the periods of adolescence I again and again plunged
myself into this vast ocean. Struck with the contradictions that I encountered
in endeavouring to disentangle the truth and falsity of these opinions, I was
led to make the following reflection:
The search after the truth being the aim that I propose myself, I ought to, in
the first place, ascertain as to what are the foundations of certitude. In the
next place, I ought to recognise that certitude is the clear and complete
knowledge of things such as leaves no room for doubt, no possibility of error.
(Cf. AI Munqidh minal Dhalal)
AI-Gazzali examined the sum total of knowledge that he had acquired hitherto and
found that none of it could stand the test as proposed by him.
He further says,
“We cannot hope to find the truth except in the matters which carry their
evidence in themselves, i.e., in sense perception and infallible and necessary
principles of thought. We must, therefore, first of all establish these two on a
But he doubted the infallibility of sense perception; he could plainly see that
they do often deceive us. “No eye can see the movement of shadow, but still the
shadow moves; a gold piece can cover any star, but a star is a world larger than
The information given by sense experience can be contradicted and convicted of
falsity in an indisputable manner by the verdict of reason. AI-Gazzali’s
confidence in sense information having been shaken, he turned towards the
scrutiny of what he called the necessary principles, but he doubted even those.
According to AI-Gazzali, in spite of his great respect for Mathematics and
Logic, it is not possible to guarantee absolutely the truth of mathematical
axioms and laws of logic. Are ten more than three? Can a thing be and not be at
the same time? Perhaps he could not tell. His senses have sometimes deceived
him, why should not his reason?
His doubt with regard to sense perception made him very hesitant to accept the
infallibility of reason.
“Well”, says, AI-Gazzali, “perhaps there is above reason another judge, who if
approached would convict reason of falsity and if such a third arbiter is not
yet apparent, it does not follow that he does not exist.’’
AI-Gazzali could not find a way out of this doubt and his experience of dream
phenomena deepened it more. “While asleep you assume your dreams to be
indisputably true, once awake you recognise them for what they are i.e.,
baseless chimeras. Who can assure you then of the reliability of the notions,
which when awake, you derive from the senses and from reason? In relation to
your present state they may appear real but is it not possible that should they
enter upon another state that will bear the same relation to your present state
as the latter does to your condition when asleep? With awakening into that new
state you might recognise that the conclusions of reasons are themselves no more
than mere chimeras of their own brand.”
AI-Gazzali later suggested that, that state might be death. He says that when we
would be awakened in life after death, it would be a true, though different
existence. (Cf. Kimiya-Sa-adat).
While narrating his spiritual struggle he further says,
“After my confidence in sense perception and reason got shaken, I was overtaken
by sophistication for quite some time. Then Allah cured me of this disease and
my condition improved. I developed confidence in axiomatic truths, but this was
not due to any logistic or empiricist but was something intuitional. After
getting cured of this disease, there were four groups in front of me that
appeared to me searchers of truth viz, first was scholastic group
(Mutakaillimeen) who claimed to be the people of reason. Second was Carmathian
sect (Baatiniya) who claimed that they possess special teachings and secrets and
they have acquired knowledge directly from Imam Ma’soom; third was the group of
philosophers who claimed to be the people of logic and argument: fourth was the
group of mystics who called themselves the people of intuition and manifestation
(Kashaf & Shahood). I studied the books and arguments of all the groups but was
not satisfied by any of these.
I read the books of scholastics and wrote myself many books about ‘Ilme-kalam’.
Though it fulfils its own needs but it was not enough for me. It was based on
such prefaces which have been put forward by the opposite group and these
scholastics have believed them blindly or it has been based on the Qur’an,
Hadith and Ijma (science dealing with consensus of Muslim opinion) which are not
effective for a person who does not believe anything except axiomatic truths.”
Before framing my opinion about the philosophers, I thought it important to
study it first thoroughly. Though I was busy writing books and teachings, about
three hundred students used to attend my lesson in Baghdad, still I spared
sometime for it and studied Greek Philosophy in the course of two years. Then I
continued to think over it for another year. I found that Philosophy consists of
six kinds of knowledge viz., Mathematics, Logistics, Physics, Politics, Ethics,
and Metaphysics. First five have nothing to do with religion neither in negation
nor affirmation, nor negation of these important for affirmation of religion. In
Physics some of their views confront religion but they are few; in this one
should believe that physical laws are in the hands of Allah and that these laws
are not independent. But those people, who see the intelligence and subtlety of
these philosophers in the field of Physics, feel brow beaten and think that they
will be similarly intelligent in other fields also, although this is not
necessary that one who is expert in one field will be expert in another field as
Afterwards when they see their irreligious beliefs and non- belief, they also
refute religion while following their footsteps.
On the other hand less knowledgeable ignorant friends of Islam take it as their
obligatory religious duty to refute every theory and claim of philosophers
blindly. They think doing so is a great service to Islam, so much so that they
even reject their research in Physics. The harmful effect of this is that those
people who understand the truth of these theories and research in Physics find
their belief in Islam shaken and become doubtful about Islam. In short, the
branch of philosophy that confronts religion is Metaphysics (Ilahiyat). These
philosophers have always stumbled over it. In fact, the preconditions, which
they had formulated in Logistics, they could not themselves stick to them in
Metaphysics. That is why Metaphysics is surrounded by controversy. I found the
views of these philosophers to be like darkness over darkness, if anybody would
say such things about his dream, he will be labelled as having perverted taste.
I wonder that even a mad person will not get satisfied over such ideas and how
about of those who claim to be intellectuals with hair splitting subtlety.
Finally, I reached to the conclusion that philosophers cannot satisfy me and
that intellect alone cannot encompass all the purposes and neither can solve all
Then remains the Carmathian sect, I got a chance to study this sect in detail
when I was writing my book ‘Al-Mustazhari. I saw that their beliefs depend upon
the teaching of Imam Ma’soom, but the very existence and truth of Imam Ma’soom
itself needs a proof. Both of these things are extremely doubtful.
Now remained mystics only and I devoted myself fully towards it. I believe that
Mysticism is both theoretical and practical. The theoretical part was easy for
me, I went through Quwat ul-Quloob of Abu Talib Makki and the tracts of Harith
al-Muhisibi, Junaid, Shibi, Ba Yazid al-Bustimi and other mystics, and whatever
could be acquired through knowledge I acquired, but I learned that one cannot
reach to truths through reading only but one can reach there through intuition
after changing one’s practical state. The branches of knowledge, which were my
wealth, whether of Shari’ah or intellectual, have given me certitude about the
existence of Allah, Prophet-hood and resurrection, and this was not due to any
proof but was as a result of reason and experience, the details of which are
difficult to convey. This thing had become quite clear to me that salvation in
Hereafter lies in adopting righteousness (Taqwa) and stopping the self (‘nafs’)
from its passions and lusts. For this the relation of the heart with the world
should break with the complete devotion towards Allah, attractions towards
Hereafter and disinterest towards mundane world. But this was not possible
without staying away from wealth and worldly honour and without running away
from obstacles and mundane relations. When I thought over my condition, I
learned that I am sunk in mundane relation from top to toe, my best deed was
teaching (of religion), but on deep introspection I found that I was
concentrating on those branches of knowledge, which are neither important nor
full in Hereafter. I looked into my intention of teaching, I found that it was
not completely for the pleasure of Allah, but it was also to achieve fame. When
I had established the conviction that I was standing on the edge of the cave of
destruction, I knew that if I did not try to reform myself then I would be in
For quite sometime I had intended to leave Baghdad, but was unable to decide,
six months passed like that, sometimes mundane lusts attracted me and sometimes
Iman (unflinching faith in the basic tenets of Islam) was reminding me that a
few years of life are left behind, your departure from the world is near, a long
journey is ahead and all these teachings are based on hypocrisy and
imaginations. Sometimes baser self (‘nafs’) would say that if you leave all
this, it will be difficult to get it again. In this way another six months
passed till things got out of control, I could not say the things that I wanted
to when people came to see me; I became so sad that even my digestion was
effected. I could not swallow even a sip of water and consequently became very
weak. Doctors gave up hope and said that something had affected my heart.
When I saw myself helpless in this situation, I turned towards Allah and invoked
Him in that restless state. Its result was that it became easy for me to leave
all the status and honour. I decided to go to Makkah and thought that I will go
to Syria. I gave up my excuses to leave Baghdad. When Iraqi people came to know
about it, they started criticising me, but I bade goodbye to Baghdad and went to
Syria, there I stayed for two years. There I had no engagement except solitude
and Mujahada (training of the self and purging it of the worldly desires, which
corrupt the spirit). I started purifying my heart as I had learned from the
books of mystics. I stayed in seclusion for a long time in Jama Masjid, of
Damascus. From there I went to Masjid-e-Aqsa (Bayt-ul-Muqaddus). After seeing
Hadhrat Ibrahim (in a dream), I developed the desire to go for Haj, then I went
to perform Haj. From there I went to my hometown.
Imam Gazzali’s Conclusions:
In seclusion the spiritual epiphany or revelation which I experienced is
difficult to convey but I can tell you that I learnt with certitude that only
mystics are truly on the path of Allah. Their morality and their way is the
Such bliss is, undoubtedly, beyond the reach of the intellectuals and scholars,
who rely too much on intellect as the main tool of realising the truth. The
mystics all-external and internal movements are directly derived from the lamp
of prophet-hood and there is no light on the earth better than the light of
prophet-hood, from which light can be obtained.
I learnt that Man is composed of body and QALB and that QALB is a spiritual
entity, which is the instrument for understanding Allah. QALB does not mean
fleshy heart that is present even in animals. As there is health and disease for
the body, so is there soundness and disease for the QALB. Salvation is for those
who will meet Allah with the sound QALB (Qalb-e-Saleem).”
The experiences and the consequent conclusions arrived at by Imam AI-Gazzali
have been quoted at length because, this is an ideal example to understand the
real course which the seeker of Truth should follow. He has superbly analysed
all the sects and all the faculties of understanding the Truth and has been
quite lucky that Allah has taken him out of fallacies and shown him the right
path. He found that the Greek philosophers and scientists have stolen some facts
from the teachings of the Prophets and then claimed to be the originators of
these facts, that is why they miserably failed in collaborating their claims and
in knowing the Truth.
Hadhrat Ali (RA):
He possessed extra-ordinary knowledge than most of the companions of Rasulullah
(Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). Once he was asked by some people if he was told
anything special by Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), which others did
not know? He said, “No, Rasulullah (Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam) didn’t tell him
anything special but that he has been blessed by extraordinary ‘Fahm’
(intuition), which Allah bestows upon His exceptional bondsmen.”
Haffiz lbne Qayyim:
‘Fahm’ (intuition) is a great gift of Allah to a man and that is a Nur
(synonymous to light) which Allah puts in the QALB (heart) of man, which helps a
man to understand those things which others do not understand even if the other
person is equal to him in memory and intellectual power. The ‘Fahm’ is the title
of ‘Siddiqiyat’ and a specific sign of ‘Wilayat-u-Nubuwwa’. In this there are
different grades of Ulema so much so that sometimes thousand Ulema are counted
equal to one Aalim. Look at the ‘Fahm’ of Hadhrat Ibne Abbas (RA) when Hadhrat
Umar (RA) asked the Tafseer (interpretation) of Surah An-Nasr from him and other
Suhaba, Hadhrat Ibne Abbas (RA) said that he understands that in this Surah
there is message of departure of Rasulullah (Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam) from the
world which has been revealed in this Surah, that the time of his (Salallahu
Alaihi Wasallam) departure from the world is near and Hadhrat Umar (RA) agreed
with this interpretation. This meaning remained concealed from other Suhaba
though Ibne Abbas (RA) was younger in age than others. As such there was no such
indication in this Surah, if one considers the literal meaning only. If that
intuition from Allah would not have come to him, he could have not understood
this real meaning.” (Madaarij-u-Salikeen).
Proof of Intution from Hadith:
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:
“One who puts in action the knowledge which he obtains; Allahu Ta’ala teaches
him that knowledge which he did not know”
It is this knowledge and understanding which one gets without one’s endeavour
and effort that is called intuition. Rasulullah (Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam)
“One who worships Allah with sincerity for forty days, Allah Ta’ala opens up
springs of knowledge and understanding in his QALB which then come to his
Talbees-e-Iblees in Mystic Experience
Deceptive and misleading potential of pseudo-mystic experience:
Allah Ta’ala says in the Qur’an:
وَنَفْسٍ وَمَا سَوَّاهَا () فَأَلْهَمَهَا فُجُورَهَا وَتَقْوَاهَا ()
“By the soul, and the proportion and order given to it. And its inspiration, as
to its wrong and its right.” (91:7-8)
Allah Ta’ala created man as a wonderful creature, a treasure house of wonderful
capabilities. One of these wonderful things which was created in man was ‘NAFS’
(baser self). Allah Ta’ala says that He then made ‘NAFS’ proportionate and
inspired in it instincts of both evil and good. Both these instincts are
inherent properties of ‘NAFS’. That means ‘NAFS’ is inherently capable of both
things viz., righteousness as well as evil. Here in this verse Fajoor (wrong)
was mentioned first and then Taqwa (righteousness), from this sequence it has
been inferred that if ‘NAFS’ is left like that, without reforming it, then its
evil properties will predominate, same is admitted by Hadhrat Yusuf (AS) when he
said, as mentioned in the Qur’an:
وَمَا أُبَرِّئُ نَفْسِي إِنَّ النَّفْسَ لَأَمَّارَةٌ بِالسُّوءِ إِلَّا مَا
رَحِمَ رَبِّي إِنَّ رَبِّي غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ
“Yet I don’t absolve myself (of blame): the (human) soul certainly incites evil,
unless my Lord do bestow His mercy but surely my Lord is oft-Forgiving, most
In this verse, Hadhrat Yusuf (AS) admits that the basic property of ‘nafs’ is to
incite evil. The point to be stressed here is that these are the words of a
Prophet and he also says that it is only by the Mercy of Allah that the evils of
‘NAFS’ (self) can be avoided. Allah has protected Prophets from evil; they could
not commit a sin as Allah had bestowed upon them the intense mercy so that their
‘nafs’ could not incite evil. But the fact remains that Hadhrat Yusuf (AS)
admits that the basic property of ‘nafs’ is to incite evil. In the Aayat quoted
first, it is stated that evil has been ingrained first in ‘nafs’.
Allah Ta’ala further says:
“And shown him two highways” (90:10)
Here also Allah Ta’ala says that both potentials have been inspired in man.
How Does ‘Lateefa Nafs’ Mislead:
Allah Ta’ala has given a special function to everything in this world, for
example, Cyanide has the property of killing a person, if anybody takes it, he
will die, in the same way oxygen helps in burning and carbon dioxide
extinguishes fire. A mango tree always gives us mangoes and never an apple and
an apple tree always gives apple and not mangoes. Though; Allah Ta’ala has the
power and capability of growing mangoes from apple tree and apple from mango
tree but it is the Sunnah (tradition) of Allah Ta’ala that He does not change
these properties of things. Believing in Allah is not a pre-condition for such
things, even if a nonbeliever of Allah sows the seeds of a mango tree, he will
also get the mango tree and even if a Muslim takes cyanide, he will most likely
die. The function Allah has assigned for a certain thing, that thing will
normally execute that function only.
Having understood that, one can similarly understand that ‘nafs’ also has
certain functions and it will execute them. We have seen that if ‘nafs’ is left
alone, the evil will predominate, as this is the basic property of ‘nafs’.
Now when somebody goes to some self-made mystic, or some Yogi or a Christian
priest or a Jew Rabi, these people advise him some kind of exercises that help
in lightening of the ‘nafs’. They advise them to observe a fast for a long time
or to remain in solitude and do some sort of Yoga practice or concentrate on a
particular point for a considerable time. All these things help in making ‘nafs’
light. After sometime, because of these exercises, ‘nafs’ manifests some of its
properties that were hidden in it. For this to happen faith in Allah and His
messenger (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is not a precondition. Anybody,
irrespective of any religion can do it and reach this state of ‘nafs’. When
these people experience some unusual manifestations of ‘nafs’, they get deceived
and feel that they have found the Reality. With the result they remain attached
to their Guru (a mentor) for rest of their lives, thinking themselves as
extra-ordinary people. In this way they never come out of their compound
It is human nature that a person cannot believe something without any reason,
there has to be some basis for his beliefs.
So, how do these people remain attached to these ignorant mystics (Jahil Sufis)
or yogis, Christian priests or Rabbis? The reason is the same that before going
to them they were not seeing anything and after they went to them, did some
exercises, started seeing unusual manifestations of ‘nafs’, they become
convinced that they have seen God and some people even believe that they have
become God (Na-uooz billah) (we seek refuge in Allah).
How Astrologers Got Deceived:
Astrologers get deceived in the same way. Actually what happens when Allah
Ta’ala wishes something, He announces it to the Angels. This commandment
descends through the angels from Arsh (the Empyrean) to the 7th heaven, then to
the 6th and so on till it reaches the first heaven. From here the angels descend
with this commandment and produce the desired changes in the celestial bodies
and the stars. Then these angels descend to the earth and get that command
executed. As already mentioned Allah Ta’ala has fixed up the functions of
things, and He does not change them. The astrologers, who study the stars, see
with their experience, that a particular event always takes place on the earth
following a particular movement or change of the stars. Since they cannot see
beyond the stars, they believe that stars are effective in themselves and the
stars only have caused this event and they believe that the stars are the gods
(Inna- Lillahi-Wa-Inna-lllahi-Rajioon). The reality is that these stars are
under the control of Allah Ta’ala and it is He who produces the changes in them
as He wishes. Since these changes of the stars are most of the times linked with
a particular event on the earth, so they get misled, thinking that stars are
doing all this.
In the same way one can imagine how these pseudo mystics get deceived. As the
astrologer’s view stops at the stars and he thinks that he has touched the top,
so does the pseudo mystic’s view stops at the ‘nafs’ and he thinks that he has
realized the Truth. As the astrologer does not appreciate that there are so many
higher and higher, finer and finer states above the stars because they are
invisible to him, so does the pseudo mystic not appreciate that there are much
higher and finer faculties than ‘nafs’ in man, which remain hidden from him.
Role of Satan (Iblees) in Mystic Experience:
Iblees is the perpetual enemy of man. Ever since man has been created, Iblees
follows him. Allah Ta’ala has also given special characteristics to Iblees. It
is stated in the Hadith (tradition) that Iblees runs in the blood of man and
also sits on his heart. Iblees is capable of doing many extraordinary things
which ignorant people think divine, hence get deceived. In any mystic
experience, there remains always the probability that Iblees might have put a
deceptive and misleading interpretation in the heart of that person who is going
through this experience, except the prophets. It is this thing that is called
‘Talbees-e-Iblees’. Only Prophets have been protected from it and no other
person other than prophets is safe from such Talbees of Iblees.
There is a famous incident known about the Hadhrat Shaikh Syed Abdul Qadir
Jeelani (RA). He was a great Wali (saint) of Muslim Ummah. His mystic
experiences were of par excellence. It is said that once, while he was walking
he saw a light (Nur) between the heavens and the earth. From this Nur, a voice
was heard, which said,” O! Abdul Qadir, your Salah (prayer) has been waived off
for you’. Since Hadhrat Shaikh (RA) was a great scholar and he knew that Iblees
could do such things, he relied upon the Prophetic knowledge, which is safe from
the effects of Iblees and NAFS. Prophetic knowledge states that Salah is
compulsory for every adult, sane and conscious person. It cannot be considered
waived off in any circumstances. So Hadhrat Shaikh (RA) rejected the exhortation
of lblees without any hesitation.
Spiritual Faculties of Acquiring Mystic
We have seen earlier the limitations of sensual and intellectual faculties in
acquiring knowledge. The sensual faculty and intellect or reasoning faculty have
their own limitations. Then we have seen the immense potential of mystic
experience in understanding the Reality. Mystic experience uses spiritual
faculties for acquiring knowledge viz., QALB, ROOH etc.
QALB as the Spiritual Faculty of
Acquiring Mystic Experience:
This topic is discussed in detail in the author’s another book “Instrument for
Understanding the Qur’an”. Here a brief synopsis is given.
What is QALB?
QALB is not synonymous with human heart, which consists of muscular, and
connective tissues filled with some venous and arterial blood that we see in the
left side of the chest, but as for the definition given in Jalalain (an
authentic commentary of the Holy Qur’an), QALB is an instrument, which has been
given the capability of perceiving the Divine Attributes.
القلب وهو مشرق اللطيفة الإنسانية و يطلق على نفس اللطيفة النورانية الربانية
العالمة التي هي مهبطة الأنوار إلهية الصمدانية وبها يكون الإنسان إنساناً و بها
يستعد الكتاب الأوامر و اجتناب الزواجر و هي خلاصة تولدت من الروح الروحاني و يعبر
عنها الحكيم بالنفس الناطقة و لكونها هدف سهام القهر و الطف و المظهر الجمال و منشأ
البسط و القبض و مبدأ المحو و الصحو و منبع الأخلاق المرضية و الأحوال الردية و
كثير من الناس ذهب إلا أن تلك مضغة هي محل علم و قيل أنه في الدماغ و قيل أنه مشترك
بينهما و بني ذالك على إثبات الهواس الباطنية و الكلام فيها مشهور و من راجع وجدانه
إدراك أن بين الدماغ و القلب رابطة معنوية و مراجعة سرية لا ينكرها من كان له قلب
أو ألقى السمع و هو شهيد
Allah Ta’ala says in the Qur’an:
إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَذِكْرَى لِمَنْ كَانَ لَهُ قَلْبٌ أَوْ أَلْقَى السَّمْعَ
“Verily in this is a message for any that has a heart and understanding or who
gives ear and is a witness”
And He further says:
وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَحُولُ بَيْنَ الْمَرْءِ وَقَلْبِهِ وَأَنَّهُ إِلَيْهِ
“And know that Allah cometh in between a man and his heart” (8:24)
فَمَنْ يُرِدِ اللَّهُ أَنْ يَهْدِيَهُ يَشْرَحْ صَدْرَهُ لِلْإِسْلَامِ
“Those whom Allah willeth to guide - He openeth their breast to Islam” (6:125)
This opening up of breast, which is seat of QALB, has been linked with
understanding of guidance from Allah.
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has said:
“My eyes sleep, my heart does not”
He further said:
إن في الجسد لمضغة إذا صلحت صلح الجسد كله و إذا فسدت الجسد كله ألا وهى القلب
“Indeed there is a piece of flesh in human body if it stays alright, the body
stays alright and if it goes astray, the body goes astray listen! That is QALB.”
إنه ليغا على قلبي و إني لأستغفر الله في كل يوم مائة مرة
“Indeed, a ghain (a sort of a veil) is put in my heart and indeed I seek
Istigafar (forgiveness) from Allah hundred times every day”.
It is because of this Istigfar (forgiveness) that veil was being lifted and the
QALB-E-MUBARAK of Rasulullah (Salailahu Alaihi Wasallam) continued to receive
higher and higher states of the Divine knowledge.
Abu-Al-Hasan Bin Muhammad Asfahani (RA) used to say:
من وقت ادم إلى قيام الساعة الناس يقولون القلب القلب و أنا أحب أن أرى رجلا يصف
إلى الشق القلب أو كيف القلب فلا أرى
From the time of Adam (AS) upto the Day of Judgement (Qiyamah), people would
continue to say-QALB, QALB. I would like to find a person who could tell me what
QALB is but, I cannot find such a person. People call QALB a piece of flesh but
that is present in children as well as in insane people. Then what is QALB?
If I call “intellect” as QALB
that is not right. If I call “ROOH” as QALB that is also not right. If I call
“knowledge” as QALB that is also not QALB. All the constituents of Reality are
related to QALB but QALB is something other than these.
Shah Wali-ullah Muhaddis Dehlvi (RA) says,
“QALB is that thing by which one loves and hates.”
for Shah Sahib QALB is the seat of love and hatred.
Hadhrat Haji lmdad-Ullah Muhajir Makki (RA), a great spiritual saint of the
recent past as well as Shaikh of great scholars like Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi
(RA), Maulana Rashid Ahmed Gangohi (RA) and Maulana Qasim Nanotvi (RA) (Founder
of Darul Uloom Deoband) used to say that he has been bestowed upon by Allah some
special blessings and these include knowledge about QALB as well, that means
Allah had given him such knowledge by which he could understand the Reality of
QALB and its attributes.
ROOH as the Second Spiritual Faculty for
Acquiring Knowledge About Reality:
Human soul (ROOH) is another faculty with tremendous potential of knowing the
Allah Ta’ala says:
قُلِ الرُّوحُ مِنْ أَمْرِ رَبِّي
“Say, the spirit is of the command of my Lord.”
This ROOH is very fine in nature. This fine nature helps it to penetrate deeply
into the depths of reality that is not possible for things such as the eyes or
Rasulullah (Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:
الأرواح جنود مجندة فما تعارف منها ائتلف وما تناكر منها أختلف
“(Human) souls (ROOH) are a (groups of) collected souls, those who came to know
one another, loved one another (in the world) and those who did not know one
another, differed (in the world).”
From this Hadith the capability of the souls of recognising each other is
Allahu Ta’ala says in the Qur’an:
وَإِذْ أَخَذَ رَبُّكَ مِنْ بَنِي آدَمَ مِنْ ظُهُورِهِمْ ذُرِّيَّتَهُمْ
وَأَشْهَدَهُمْ عَلَى أَنْفُسِهِمْ ألَسْتُ بِرَبِّكُمْ قَالُوا بَلَى شَهِدْنَا
أَنْ تَقُولُوا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ إِنَّا كُنَّا عَنْ هَذَا غَافِلِينَ () أَوْ
تَقُولُوا إِنَّمَا أَشْرَكَ آبَاؤُنَا مِنْ قَبْلُ وَكُنَّا ذُرِّيَّةً مِنْ
بَعْدِهِمْ أَفَتُهْلِكُنَا بِمَا فَعَلَ الْمُبْطِلُونَ () وَكَذَلِكَ نُفَصِّلُ
الْآيَاتِ وَلَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ ()
“When thy Lord drew forth from the children of Adam from their loins, their
descendants and made them testify concerning themselves (saying) Am I not your
Lord (Who cherishes and sustains you)? They said: Yea! we do testify! (This,)
lest ye should say on the Day of Judgement: of this we were never mindful”
This covenant was made before man appeared on this earth. Souls of whole mankind
acknowledged the supreme authority of Allah and recognised Him as their only
Cherisher and Sustainer. This acknowledgement is inherent in ROOH-E-INSAANI
(Soul of man). This faculty remains latent in man, when he is born. At birth he
has no knowledge. As he grows, the first faculty of acquiring knowledge that
develops in man is sensual, but the intellectual faculty is still in infancy.
After that his intellectual faculty goes on developing, the progress of which
depends upon so many other co-factors.
The spiritual faculties of QALB, ROOH and others do not develop until they find
the congenial atmosphere for growth. The majority of the people in the world do
not try to provide the congenial atmosphere to QALB and ROOH where they could
grow and bear the fruit, hence these people fail to understand and recognise the
Reality. There are some people who deny these faculties, but one should remember
that if someone does not know a thing that does not mean, that thing does not
exist. It is same as a blind man denying the presence of the moon.
There are other higher spiritual faculties in man, other than QALB and ROOH as
well but they are so comprehensive that their description is beyond the scope of
4. Prophetic Faculty of Acquiring Knowledge:
We have seen the limitations of sensual and intellectual faculties and have also
seen that mystic experience is a faculty of immense potential by which knowledge
about Reality can be acquired upto the unimaginable levels. We have also seen
that mystic experience can get mixed with deception and erroneous
interpretations. Hence it cannot be relied upon as the ultimate truth. So,
finally we are left with Prophetic faculty of acquiring knowledge. This is the
highest faculty and the safest where there is absolutely no chance of any
deception, erroneous interpretations or Talbees-e-Iblees (deception caused by
Rasulullah (Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:
“When a man is born, an Angel and a Satan are posted on his QALB’’’. The Angel
guides him to righteousness and to Satan incites him to evil deeds”.
Satan cannot affect the Prophets; the receptors responsive to satanic effects
were removed from their Qalbs (Hearts). Prophets are immune to the effects of
Satan. The Satans posted on their hearts were also made harmless so that they
could not incite evil in them.
Incident of SHAQQ-I-SADR:
Shadad Bin Aous quotes Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) as saying:
“One day I was in the valley of Bani Lais Bin Bakr with my foster brothers,
suddenly I saw three persons. One of them was carrying a large golden tray
filled with ice. In another narration, it is narrated that one was carrying a
spouted silver jug and the other was carrying a pot of green emerald filled with
ice. Then they caught me from amongst my companions, my all companions ran away
towards their homes. Then one of these three made me to lie down on the ground
very gently, other person incised my chest from the joints of chest up to the
umbilicus but I did not feel any pain. Then he brought out the vessels, nerves
(could be either of them) of my abdomen and washed them quite nicely with this
ice and then placed them back in their original positions. The other person told
him to move away and then he put his hand in my chest and brought out my heart,
I was seeing it. He incised it and, brought out a black clot and said, “It is
the part of the Satan”, and then they filled it (heart) with something, which
they had got with them. Then he pointed towards his left and right as if he was
asking for something, then they gave him a ring of Nur, the light which was
dazzling, then they put a seal on my heart and my heart got enlightened, filled
with Nur and that Nur was of Nubuwawah (Prophet-hood), Hikmah (Wisdom). Then he
put back the heart at its place. I was feeling the coolness and joy of this seal
for a long time. Then they moved their hands from the umbilicus up to the chest
and that opening (incision) got closed. They lifted me gently and embraced me
and kissed me between my two eyes. They told me, “O Friend of Allah, Don’t ask
anything, if you would know as to what betterment is for you, then you would
become very happy. They left me and flew towards the heavens and I was watching
Ulema say that this washing of QALB was not peculiar about Rasulullah
(Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) only but was common to all the prophets. In them
that part which was belonging to Satan, was removed too. (Madaarij-e-Nubuwwah)
This incident of Shaqq-e-Sadr (opening of breast) was repeated four time to
Rasulullah (Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam) viz:
1. During childhood, when he was with Haleema.
2. Near Adolescence.
3. Before Nubuwwah (Prophet-hood).
4. On the night of Me’raj.
It is this quality of the prophets which immunizes them against evil. None
amongst mankind, other than the prophets, can claim this perfection. Prophets
were born as human beings only. They had all the characteristics of human
beings. As Allah created prophets for a special purpose, so special arrangements
were made for them so that they could serve the purpose for which they were
created. One of them was the same as mentioned in the Hadith of Shaqq-e-Sadr
i.e., the receptors in their hearts responsive to Satan, were removed from them
so that their mystic experience could perceive only the Truth without any
overshadowing, deception or interference from Satan. This important point should
be borne in mind that whatever the experience prophets convey to mankind is
nothing but the Absolute Truth.
Allah Ta’ala is infinite, His Essence and His Attributes are infinite. His
Greatness and His Vastness is unimaginable. Allah Ta’ala wished to give
expression to His Attributes, for this purpose, He created the universe. He
created man for this job. Here it should be remembered that this is the real job
of a man in this world, that is, to know Allah Ta’ala and His Attributes. As man
was created basically for knowing Allah, so he was equipped with the faculties
of acquiring knowledge like sensual, intellectual and spiritual.
But at the same time the very purpose of man’s creation demanded that man should
have opposite faculties as well like self (NAFS), so that he would be distinct
from the Angels, who can do only good, and Satan, which can do only; evil. Man
was created as a mixture of opposites; both good and bad faculties were mixed in
him. This created a problem for man. His sensual, intellectual and spiritual
faculties were becoming overshadowed by the lust of self (NAFS) and cunningness
of Satan. In addition to this one important characteristic of self (NAFS) is
negligence and this is so dominant that man has to strive very hard to overcome
this negligence what is called MUJAHADAH in the terminology of mystics.
(Mujahaddah - Endeavour for self purification. In the Qur’an three states of
self are explained: a) Nafs Ammarrah: Self dominated by vice, greed in
particular. b) Nafs Lawamah: Penitent self. c) Nafs Mutmainnah: contended self,
free from evil tendencies.)
This was one reason that Merciful Allah showed Mercy upon the mankind by sending
Prophets in whom both these evil forces of man viz, ‘nafs’ and Satan were taken
care of. Prophets were bestowed with NAFS-MUTMAINNA rather than NAFS-AMMARA.
NAFS-MUTMAINNA is that NAFS, which does not incite evil but righteousness only.
Their Satan was also deprived of the evil properties.
The second reason for sending the Prophets was that there was a great
discrepancy between the limited faculties of man and the infinite Attributes of
Allah, so the need arose for intermediaries between man and these Eternal
Attributes. The intermediaries resembled on the one hand man, and on the other
with the Divine Attributes. This job could not be assigned to the angels as they
did not resemble man. So Allah selected only some people from amongst mankind
for this job, Allah gave them special capabilities which were necessary for the
divine communication. Their hearts were congenial with Mala-u-Aala - a higher
body of Angels. It is in association with these Angels that the Prophets could
venture such great tasks and accomplished them in a very short time inspite of
the fact that they apparently seemed to be alone with the whole world against
them. Later on, Allah Ta’ala used to mould the hearts of the people, and used to
safeguard these prophets, through angels. We conclude that prophets could only
perceive the Truth without any misinterpretation, deception and also in its
totality. Therefore there is only one way of salvation, only one way of knowing
the truth that is through the prophets of Allah, who receive divine revelation
that is called WAHY.
Why the Qur’an Only?
There is no doubt that Hadhrat Muhammad (Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was a
Prophet. Even the opponents of Islam have no alternative but to accept his
Prophet-hood. Modern scientists, Embryologists and Zoologists who are free from
religious prejudice admit that the Qur’an is supernatural revelation. An
illiterate man like Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), born in a
conservative and ignorant society, could never come up with such perfect
knowledge about realities as is contained in the Qur’an.
One of the essential qualities of Prophet-hood is truth. A prophet cannot tell a
lie. Allah says in the Qur’an that Muhammad (Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is the
last Prophet, prophet hood ended with him. There will be no prophet now onwards
up to the Day of Judgement (Qiyamah), so we have to believe him as the last
prophet. We believe in Hadhrat Isa (AS) Jesus Christ and Hadhrat Musa (AS)
(Moses) as Prophets. They did not say that they were last prophets, so believing
in Muhammad (Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam) does not mean denying prophet-hood of
any other prophet. On the other hand the Qur’an has endorsed their Prophet-hood
Secondly, only the Qur’an, the last testament, exists in its original form as
Allah Himself has guaranteed its safety whereas we don’t have the Bible and the
Tourah (Pentateuch) in their original forms present in the world. We have no
other divine book available these days in the world in original form, of course
except the Qur’an.
I hope that I have proved beyond any doubt my point that to understand Reality,
prophet hood is essential and, as Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is the
last Prophet and the Qur’an, last revelation from Allah, so to understand
Reality, only one door is open and that is the Qur’an.
All Praises for Allah The Almighty.
Nomenclature of Al-Qur’an:
The most commonly used name of the last Divine book revealed by Allah on Prophet
Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is Al-Qur’an. Allah Ta’ala has used this
name at least sixty one times in Qur’an.
Meaning of Al-Qur’an:
The majority of Ulema believe that the word Al-Qur’an is derived from QARA,
YAQRA’U, which means to collect, then this word was commonly used for reading as
in written statements the letters and the words are collected. Others say that
Al-Qur’an is named so because it collects the fruits of all the earlier Divine
Books while others say that it collects all the knowledge.
Other names of Al-Qur’an:
Alama Abu-al-Ma’ali has counted fifty five names of Al-Qur’an while some others
have counted more than ninety. These people have in fact counted the attributes
of Al-Qur’an as its names e.g. Karim, Hakim etc.
Actually Al-Qur’an has five names viz, Al- Qur’an, Al-Furqan, Az-Zikr, Al-Kitab,
The Qur’an is named Al-Furqan as it differentiates between Truth and Falsehood.
Allah Ta’ala says:
تَبَارَكَ الَّذِي نَزَّلَ الْفُرْقَانَ عَلَى عَبْدِهِ لِيَكُونَ لِلْعَالَمِينَ
“Blessed is He, Who sent down the Criterion to His servant, that it may be an
admonition to all creatures.”(25:1)
It is named Az-Zikr, as it is full of advices and the inci¬dents of past which
in turn make a sane person wiser. Allah Ta’ala says:
إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ
“We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it
(from corruption).” (15:9)
It is named so, as it collects past incidents and other information excellently.
Allah Ta’ala says:
طسم () تِلْكَ آيَاتُ الْكِتَابِ الْمُبِينِ
“Ta. Sin. Mim. These are verses of the Book that makes (things) clear.”(26:1-2)
It is named so, as it is a revealed book from Allah Ta’ala. He says:
وَإِنَّهُ لَتَنْزِيلُ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
“Verily this is a Revelation from the lord of the worlds.”(26:192)
WAHY (Divine Revelation):
The need for Divine Guidance is discussed in detail in part-1
Meaning of WAHY:
This word “WAHY” in Arabic has many literal meanings viz., to write, to send,
what is to be sent, to inculcate, to subjugate, to put some good or bad word in
heart, that word which is put in heart, order and intuition or inspiration etc.
Al-Qur’an itself uses this word “WAHY” in many such meanings. Allah says in the
فَخَرَجَ عَلَى قَوْمِهِ مِنَ الْمِحْرَابِ فَأَوْحَى إِلَيْهِمْ أَنْ سَبِّحُوا
“So Zakariya came out to his people from his chamber: He told them by signs to
celebrate Allah’s praises in the morning And in the evening”(19:11)
Here the word is used:
وَأَوْحَى رَبُّكَ إِلَى النَّحْلِ أَنِ اتَّخِذِي مِنَ الْجِبَالِ بُيُوتًا وَمِنَ
الشَّجَرِ وَمِمَّا يَعْرِشُونَ
“And thy Lord taught the Bee to build its cells in hills”. (16:68)
وَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَى أُمِّ مُوسَى أَنْ أَرْضِعِيهِ
“So, We sent this inspiration to the mother of Moses: “Suckle (thy child).”
These last two verses show that Al-Qur’an has not used this word “WAHY”
exclusively for Prophets only but has also used for the creatures like bee and
non-prophets like mother of Hadhrat Musa (AS).
Technical meaning of WAHY in Shari’ah:
“Words of Allah revealed to a prophet from His prophets.” (Uloom ul-Qur’an,
Allah Ta’ala first created this universe and then created the man with the
faculties of senses and the intelligence, yet it was impossible for the man to
know the Absolute infinite Reality with the help of these limited faculties, so
Allah Ta’ala came to man’s rescue by sending His Guidance in the form of “WAHY”
To understand the exact nature of “WAHY” is just impossible as it was
exclusively experienced by prophets of Allah alone. Nobody else can imagine the
exact nature of “WAHY”.
Kinds of WAHY:
One classification is on the basis of recitation viz.,
1. Wahy-Matloo: That WAHY from Allah which is recited
regular¬ly. This term is used for Al-Qur’an i.e., WAHY-Matloo is that in which
both words and meaning are from Allah.
2. WAHY GAIR-MATLOO: That WAHY from Allah to Rasulullah (Sallallahu
Alaihi Wasallam) which is not in Al-Qur’an and is not recited like Al-Qur’an. In
this the meaning is from Allah and words are from Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi
Other classification is based on the way of receiving ‘WAHY’ by Rasulullah (Sallallahu
1. Direct speech from Allah:
In this type of ‘WAHY’ Allah Ta’ala speaks directly to Rasulullah (Sallallahu
Alaihi Wasallam), there is no intermediary like Angels etc. This speech of Allah
is not like human speech. This is very difficult for us to understand its real
nature. This is considered to be the best form of the WAHY. This type of speech
of Allah was heard by Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) during his ascent
to the heavens, what is called as Me’raj, as is mentioned in the Qur’an:
فَأَوْحَى إِلَى عَبْدِهِ مَا أَوْحَى
“So did (Allah) convey the inspiration to His servant (conveyed) what He (meant)
to convey.” (53:10)
Allah Ta’ala also talked to Hadhrat Musa (AS) directly.
وَكَلَّمَ اللَّهُ مُوسَى تَكْلِيمًا
“And to Moses Allah spoke direct.”(4:164)
2. WAHY’ through Angels:
In this type of WAHY the revelation is sent to a Prophet through an angel.
Either the Prophet listens only the voice of the angel, or angel comes in the
shape of human being as Hadhrat Jibra’eel (AS) used to come in the guise of
Hadhrat Dhahya Kalbi (RA), a handsome companion of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi
Wasallam), or rarely the angel would come in his real form to the prophet.
3. WAHY through inspiration or
In this type of WAHY Allah Ta’ala inspires directly in the heart of prophet
something which the prophet realises that it is hundred percent WAHY. This can
happen while awake or in dream. The dream of a prophet is also a WAHY as
Al-Qur’an mentions about the dreams of Hadhrat Yousuf (AS) and Hadhrat Ibrahim
إِذْ قَالَ يُوسُفُ لِأَبِيهِ يَا أَبَتِ إِنِّي رَأَيْتُ أَحَدَ عَشَرَ كَوْكَبًا
وَالشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ رَأَيْتُهُمْ لِي سَاجِدِينَ
“Behold, Joseph said: To his father: “O my father! I did see eleven stars and
the sun and the moon: I saw them prostrate themselves to me.” (12:4)
Methods of ‘WAHY’ on Rasulullah (Sallallahu
Hadhrat Aayesha (RA) narrates that one day a Sahabi, Hadhrat Haarith bin Hisham
(RA) asked Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), how WAHY comes to him,
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) replied: “Sometimes it comes like
ringing of a bell and this type of WAHYis toughest for me, and when this process
ends, I remember whate¬ver has been said. And sometime an angel comes to me in
the form of a man.”(Sahih Bukhari)
Salsalat-ul-Jaras (صلصلة الجرس ) :
It literally means the ringing of a bell. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi
Wasallam) compared this with the ringing of a bell. It was not because of the
fact that it exactly resembled the ringing of bell, then, why was this
comparison made? Great Ulema have given different explanations viz.,
i) To know the exact nature of ‘WAHY’ is impossible for any body, its actual
nature was only experienced by Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). There
were no words to explain its exact nature, that is why Rasulullah (Sallallahu
Alaihi Wasallam) explained it with most appropriate words from the sensual world
and he (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) found it appropriate to compare it with the
ringing of a bell.
ii) Some Ulema believe that it was the sound of the wings of the angels that
produced the sound like that of a ringing bell. (Uloom -Ul-Qur’an)
iii) Imam-ul-Asr Hadhrat Alama Anwar Shah Kashmiri (RA) while quoting Ibne Arabi
(RA) says that it was compared to the ringing of a bell, not because its sound
resembled with it, but because it resembled the ringing bell in continuity and
secondly as it is difficult to localise the direction of the sound of a ringing
bell, so was it difficult to localise the direction of ‘WAHY’. Since, it is the
word of Allah, Who has no single direction, so is His word without any
particular direction. (Faizul Bari)
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said that this type of WAHY was toughest
for him and it was relatively easy for him when the angel used to come with
‘WAHY’ in the form of a man. Hadhrat Aayesha (RA) nar¬rates: “I have witnessed
descent of WAHY on Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) during very cold days
of winter, after the completion of WAHY I used to see lot of sweating on the
blessed forehead of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).” (Sahih Bukhari)
In other tradition it is mentioned that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)
used to turn pale, ashen grey in colour during descent of WAHY.
It is reported that once Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), placed his
blessed head on the thigh of Hadhrat Zayd bin Thaabit (RA) and descent of ‘WAHY’
started during that very time, Hadhrat Zayd (RA) felt so much weight on his
thigh that he thought it was going to crack.
Hadhrat Umar (RA) says that when ‘WAHY” used to come to Rasulullah (Sallallahu
Alaihi Wasallam), there used to be sounds like those of buzzing of bees around
his blessed face. This should not be confused with the earlier Hadith where
‘WAHY’ has been compared with ringing of a bell, later (ringing of a bell) was
experienced by Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and former i.e., buzzing
of bees was experienced by the listeners around, so no confusion.
Arrival of Angel in Human Appearance:
In the Hadith of Hadhrat Aayseha (RA) mentioned above, the second form of ‘WAHY’
that has been mentioned is coming of an Angel in the form of a human being.
Hadhrat Jibreaal (AS) used to come usually in the guise of Hadhrat Dhahya Kalbi
(RA), most handsome amongst the companions of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi
Wasallam). In the famous Hadith of Hadhrat Umar (RA), Hadhrat Jibrael (AS) came
in the form of a stranger whom no Sahabi knew. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi
Wasallam) says that it was the easiest form of ‘WAHY’ for him.
Arrival of Angel in his Actual Form:
It is reported that Hadhrat Jibrael (AS) came in his actual form only three
times with the WAHY to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). He has six
hundred wings and his one wing is enough to spread between whole earth and the
Dreams of prophets are also WAHY. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) used
to receive this form of WAHY even before Prophet-hood. Hadhrat Aayesha (RA)
says: “WAHY got started to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) in the form
of dreams, whatever he used to see in dream, would come true next day like broad
Direct Speech from Allah:
This type of direct speech from Allah was heard by Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi
Wasallam) during his ascent (Me’raj) to the heavens. In other tradition, it is
mentioned that Allah Ta’ala spoke to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)
once in a dream also.
Inspiration from Angel into the
In one tradition it is reported that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)
“Jibra’eel (AS) once inspired (something) in my QALB”.
In this form of WAHY, the angel does not come in front but just puts some word
in QALB without being seen. This is a form of intuition or ‘Ilham’. Intuition or
‘Ilham’ of prophets is 100 percent WAHY as compared to intuition or ‘Ilham’ of
other pious people which always has a possibility of falsehood or
misinter¬pretation. It is for this reason that to follow ‘Ilham’ of prophets is
obligatory while as to follow ‘Ilham’ of others is not.
History of Descent (Nuzool) of Al-Qur’an:
Al-Qur’an is the word of Allah and is not a creation or Makhlooq but it is an
Attribute of Allah, the Creator. Therefore, it was always with Allah like his
other Attributes. Allah Ta’ala says:
فِي لَوْحٍ مَحْفُوظٍ
“Nay! This is a glorious Qur’an, (inscribed) in Al-Lauhi-i-Mahfooz (the
preserved Tablet).” (85:22)
That means before the creation of the universe, Al-Qur’an was there in
Lauh-i-Mahfooz, the preserved or guarded tablet. From here Al-Qur’an was sent
down to Aasmaan-e-Duniya (Lowest Heaven) to Bait-ul-Ma’moor, this is called
first descent or Nuzool.
First Descent or Nuzool:
Whole of Al-Qur’an was sent down in total at one instance of time from
Lauh-i-Mahfooz to Bait-ul-Ma’moor in Aasmaane Duniya. This is called first
Nuzool and this type of sending down of whole of the Qur’an at one instant of
time is called ‘Inzaal’. The Qur’an has used two words for its Nuzool or descent
i. Inzaal: This means sending down whole of it at one instant of time only.
ii. Tanzeel: This means sending down gradually in piece-meal over a period of
time? Allah Ta’ala says:
وَآتَيْنَاهُمْ مِنَ الْآيَاتِ مَا فِيهِ بَلَاءٌ مُبِينٌ
“We sent it down during a blessed night: For We (ever) wish to warn (against
This verse is about the first Nuzool. There is consensus amongst the Ulema that
this first descent was in Lailat-ul-Qadr (Night of Prayer) in the month of
Ramadhan. There are different versions as to which day of Ramadhan it was, as
the day has not been specified. Generally it is believed that it was the night
of 27th of Ramadhan.
Reasons for First Nuzool
Alama Zarqani says that this Nuzool of Al-Qur’an from Lawh-i-Mahfooz to
Bait-ul-Ma’moor was done to convey the message that the Al-Qur’an was a well
protected Book as it was not only revealed on the blessed Qalb of Rasulullah
(Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) but was also preserved in Lawh-i-Mahfooz.
From BAIT-UL-MA’MOOR the Qur’an was sent down to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi
Wasallam) in piece meal over a period of twenty three years, This type of
descent is called TANZEEL.
وَقُرْآنًا فَرَقْنَاهُ لِتَقْرَأَهُ عَلَى النَّاسِ عَلَى مُكْثٍ وَنَزَّلْنَاهُ
“(It is) a Qur’an which We have divided (into parts from time to time), in order
that thou mightest recite it to men at intervals: We have revealed it by
This second type of Nuzool or Tanzeel has also started in the month of Ramadhan,
when the age of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was forty years.
One reason for this step wise descent was given in above mentioned verse and
other reason is also given by the Qur’an itself, viz.,
وَلَا يَأْتُونَكَ بِمَثَلٍ إِلَّا جِئْنَاكَ بِالْحَقِّ وَأَحْسَنَ تَفْسِيرًا ()
الَّذِينَ يُحْشَرُونَ عَلَى وُجُوهِهِمْ إِلَى جَهَنَّمَ أُولَئِكَ شَرٌّ مَكَانًا
“Those who reject faith say: “Why is not the Qur’an revealed to him all at
once?” Thus (is it revealed), that We may strengthen thy heart thereby, and We
have rehearsed it to thee in slow, well arranged stages, gradually.
And no question do they bring to thee but We reveal to thee the truth and the
best explanation (thereof)”. (25:32-33)
First verse of the Qur’an:
There is consensus amongst the Ulema that the initial verses of the Surah Alaq
are the first verses of Al-Qur’an which were revealed to Rasulullah (Sallallahu
Alaihi Wasallam). There is an authentic tradition in almost in all the authentic
books of Hadith on the authority of Hadhrat Aayesha (RA).
Aisha (RA) (the mother of the faithful believers) narrated:
“The commencement of the Divine Inspiration to Allah’s Apostle was in the form
of good dreams which came true like bright daylight, and then the love of
seclusion was bestowed upon him. He used to go in seclusion in the cave of Hira
where he used to worship (Allah alone) continuously for many days before his
desire to see his family. He used to take with him the journey food for the stay
and then come back to Khadija (his wife) to take his food likewise again till
suddenly the Truth suddenly the Truth descended upon him while he was in the
cave of Hira. The angel came to him and asked him to read. The Prophet replied,
“I do not know how to read.”
The Prophet added, “The angel caught me (forcefully) and pressed me so hard that
I could not bear it any more. He then released me and again asked me to read and
I replied, ‘I do not know how to read.’ Thereupon he caught me again and pressed
me a second time till I could not bear it any more. He then released me and
again asked me to read but again I replied, ‘I do not know how to read (or what
shall I read)?’ Thereupon he caught me for the third time and pressed me, and
then released me and said, ‘Read in the name of your Lord, who has created (all
that exists), has created man from a clot. Read! And your Lord is the Most
Generous.” (96:1-3) Then Allah’s Apostle returned with the Inspiration and with
his heart beating severely. Then he went to Khadija bint Khuwailid (his wife)
and said, “Cover me! Cover me!” They covered him till his fear was over and
after that he told her everything that had happened and said, “I fear that
something may happen to me”. Khadija replied, “Never! By Allah, Allah will never
disgrace you. You keep good relations with your kith and kin, help the poor and
the destitute, serve your guests generously and assist the deserving
Khadija then accompanied him to her cousin Waraqa bin Naufal bin Asad bin ‘Abdul
‘Uzza, who, during the Pre-Islamic Period became a Christian and used to write
in Hebrew alphabet. He would write from the Gospel in Hebrew as much as Allah
wished him to write. He was an old man and had lost his eyesight. Khadija said
to Waraqa, “Listen to the story of your nephew, O my cousin!” Waraqa asked, “O
my nephew! What have you seen?” Allah’s Apostle described whatever he had seen.
Waraqa said, “This is the same one (angel Gabriel) who keeps the secrets, whom
Allah had sent to Moses. I wish I were young and could live up to the time when
your people would turn you out.” Allah’s Apostle asked, “Will they drive me
out?” Waraqa replied in the affirmative and said, “Anyone who came with
something similar to what you have brought say was treated with hostility; and
if I remain alive till the day when you will be turned out then I would support
you strongly.” But after a few days Waraqa died and the Divine Inspiration was
also paused for a while. (Bukhari Shareef)
Reasons for Stepwise Descent
Imam Raazi while commenting on these verses of Al-Qur’an in his famous Tafseer,
Tafseel Al-Kabeer, writes following reasons:
1. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was illiterate, if Qur’an would have
been sent down whole of it at a time, then it would have been difficult for him
(Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) to remember. On the other hand Hadhrat Musa (AS)
was literate, so the whole Taurah was sent to him in one go.
2. If the whole Qur’an would have been sent down at a time, then the
implementation of all the laws would have become obligatory at once which would
have been against the benefits of systematic stepwise descent.
3. Day by day the non-believers increased their actions of teasing Rasulullah
(Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), so frequent coming of Angel Jibra’eel (AS) with
the Qur’anic verse made it easy for him (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) to face
these hard¬ships and also provided him solace.
4. Large portion of the Qur’an was sent down to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi
Wasallam) in response to the questions posed to him or the situation faced by
him (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), so it was most appropriate that the Qur’an was
sent down like that and not once only. As the Qur’anic predictions were also
coming true, that further brightening its truthfulness.
Period of Fatrat:
Hadhrat Jibra’eel (AS) came first time to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi
Wasallam) with the first WAHY (of Surah Alaq) in the Cave of Hira, and then
there was a gap of three years during which no WAHY was revealed to him. This
period is called as the period of Fatrat.
After the period of Fatrat, Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) narrates the
next appearance of Jibra’eel as: “Suddenly I saw the Angel who had come to me in
cave Hi’ra and he was sitting on a chair.”
This time Surah Muddhathir was revealed in full. In this way Surah Muddithir is
second in sequence of descent.
Nuzool of Surah Fatihah:
Imam Baihaqi has quoted on the authority of Hadhrat Umru-b-Hubail that
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) before the announcement of Prophet-hood,
used to say to Hadhrat Khadijah (RA), that whenever he used to go in solitude,
some one used to call him, O! Muhammad, O! Muhammad, and one day he read whole
Surah Fatihah to him (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).
This means that Surah Fatihah was revealed before first verse of Surah Alaq.
Allama Anwar Shah Kashimiri (RA) has given an explanation for this. He says that
it is possible that Surah Fatihah was sent down twice, first time it was read to
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) as a part of the Qur’an and second time
it was sent down as a permanent part of the Qur’an.
Makki and Madini Verses:
It has been a tradition with the commentators of the Qur’an to label the verse
of the Qur’an either Makki or Madini, so one must know what is meant by these
terms. Most accepted version is that those verses which were sent down to
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) before the Hijrah (migra¬tion) to
Madinah are called Makki Aayaat (verses) and those verses which were sent down
after the Hijrah are called Madani. It is not true that those verses which were
revealed in Makkah are called Makki and those which were revealed in Madinah are
called Madani. Even those verses which were revealed in Arfat, Minah, on the way
to Madina or during the night of Mi’raj in the heaven are all called Makki and
the verses which were revealed after the Hijrah outside Medinah or even in
Makkah itself at the time of Fatah-i-Makkah (victory of Makkah) are called
Madani. There are some Surahs which are called Madani but they contain some
verses which were revealed in Makkah and vice verse. So, a Surah has been
la¬belled as Makki or Madani as per the majority of its verses that have been
revealed in Makkah or Madinah. If majority of its verses were revealed in Makkah
it is called Makki and if majority of its verse were revealed in Madina, then it
is called Madani.
Some Characteristic of Makki & Madani verses
1. Any Surah, having an Ayat which starts with the word Kalla, is Makki. This
word has come in 15 Surahs - 33 times. All these Surahs are Makki.
2. All those Surahs which have an Ayat of Sajdah are Makki except Surah Haj as
per Shaafi school of thought.
3. All those Surahs in which something is narrated about the incident of Hadhrat
Adam (AS) and Shaitaan except Surah Baqarah are Makki.
4. All those Surahs in which something about Jihad is narrated are Madani.
5. All those Surahs which have some mention about hypocrites (Munafiqeen) are
6. Makki Surahs usually address people as “O! People “and Madani Surahs usually
address as “O! Believers”
7. Makki Aayaat and Surahs are usually smaller and Madani Aayaat and Surahs are
usually longer and detailed.
8. Makki Surahs usually deal with Tawheed, Prophet-hood and Resurrection,
whereas Madani Surahs deal with Social, Cultural, Administrative and other laws.
Sequence of the Qur’an Shareef:
Al-Qur’an was revealed to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) over a very
long period of twenty three years. It started with the word IQRA in the cave of
Hira when the Angel Jabraeel (AS) first time came to him with first verses of
the Qur’an Shareef of the Surah Al-Alaq. Then revelation of the Qur’an Shareef
continued part wise over the next 23 years. The Qur’a¬nic verses covering a very
wide range of topics were revealed and the revelation was often sent in relation
to ground situations faced by Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and his
compan¬ions. These ground situations ranged from the incidents related to the
battle field to marital relations of consorts and included in between a large
variety of things. Some Surahs like Al-Anam were revealed at a time and it is
narrated by Ibne Umar (RA) in a tradition that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi
Wasallam) said that Surah Al-Anam was revealed to him (whole of it) in one go.
On the other hand Surah Al-Baqra was revealed part wise over a period of more
than nine years.
When any verses or Surah was revealed to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi
Wasallam), he used to call his companions and ask them to write these verses or
Surah and at the same time instructed them to place those verses or Surah at
such and such place. It is worth mentioning here that the sequence of
revela¬tion of the Qur’an Shareef and the sequence in which it was compiled are
different. The sequence which we see these days in written form is not the same
sequence in which it was revealed. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam),
under the Divine guidance, used to order his companions to place a particu¬lar
part of the Qur’an Shareef at a particular place. The first verses which were
revealed were from Surah Al- Alaq and that is placed in the 30th Juz i.e., the
last part of the Qur’an Shareef.
Uthman bin Abu-Al-Aas (RA) narrates that while he was sitting once with
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), he said, , “Jabraeel came to me and
asked me to keep this Ayat in this Surah viz.
إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْمُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالْإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَى
وَيَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنْكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ
“Allah commands justice, the doing of good, and liberality to kith and kin and
He forbids all shameful deeds and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you that
ye may receive admonition. (16:90)
There are numerous Ahadith Shareef which prove beyond any doubt that the present
sequence of the Qur’an Shareef was framed by Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi
Wasallam) himself only and not by his Sahabah later on.
Muslim narrates an authentic Hadith Shareef from Abu Dardaa (RA):
“One, who learns the last ten Aayaat of Surah Kahf by heart, is protected from
Similarly in many Ahadith Shareef it is quoted that Rasulullah (Sallallahu
Alaihi Wasallam) recited such and such Surah e.g., Al-Baqra, Aal-e-Imran, Nisa,
Bukhari and Muslim narrate that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) used to
recite Surah Alf Laam Meem Tanzeel (As-Sajda) and Surah Dahr in the Fajar Salah
All these Ahadith Shareef prove that the Surah were framed by Rasulullah
(Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) himself and the fact the verses of Al-Qur’an were
collected and compiled by Zaid bin Thabit during the Khilaafat of Hadhrat Uthman
(RA) of which Hadhrat Abu Bakr and Hadhrat Umar (RAA) had given orders after the
departure of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) from the world, is true but
we should know that they only collected the verses of the Qur’an Shareef which
were not collected in one place. They neither added nor subtracted anything from
the Qur’an Shareef, nor did they change any sequence. The sequence was decided
by Rasu¬lullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and the sequence which we have this
time is the sequence decided by Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), and
Sahabah-Al-Kiram only compiled it in one place.
Qazi Abu Bakr in Al-Intisar says:
“The sequence of Al-Qur’an was an obligatory order and Jabraeel (AS) used to
tell Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) to keep a particular Ayat at a
particular place.” He further says: “That whole Qur’an Shareef which Allah
Ta’ala revealed and ordered to keep safe in written form of which He did not
cancel recitation after revelation, that the same Qur’an Shareef which is with
us between two title covers as compiled by Hadhrat Uthman, he did neither delete
anything from it nor added anything to it and its sequence and arrangements are
the same as arranged by Allah Ta’ala and Rasu¬lullah (Sallallahu Alaihi
Wasallam), he neither brought any verse forward and nor did take any verse
backward from its original position and the Ummah recorded the same sequence
from Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).” (Al-Itqan)
The Author of Al-Itqan writes:
“The Qur’an Shareef is written in the guarded tablet (Lowhe-Mehfooz) in the same
sequence as it is with us and Allah Ta’ala sent the whole of the Qur’an Shareef
down to Aasman-e-duniya from Lowhe-Mehfooz in one go and then from
Aasman-e-duniya it was revealed to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) part
wise as per the need, so the sequence of revelation is different than the
sequence of recitation.”
Ibne Al-Hissar said,
“Keeping of a particular Ayat at a
particular place was decided as per WAHY (revelation), Rasulullah (Sallallahu
Alaihi Wasallam) himself ordered to keep a particular Ayat at a particular
Now think for a while about the blessed life span of Rasulullah (Sallallahu
Alaihi Wasallam) of twenty three years after he announced his Prophet-hood. How
difficult and trying times he had to face while in Makkah-Al-Mukarama for the
first thir¬teen years before Hijrah. One must recapitulate all those varied
events spread over thirteen years, and not forget the condition of the Muslims
and pagans of Makkah after Hijrah, and establishment of an Islamic state and
various expeditions. Through all those twenty three long years verses of the
Qur’an Shareef were being revealed and simultaneously they were being arranged
in a definite sequence under the Divine guidance and after Rasulullah’s
(Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) blessed soul departed from this world, the Qur’an
Shareef was complete in the form of a flawless book, no contradictions, no need
for any rearrangements, miraculous sequence and inter-rela¬tion of verses. This
was simply miraculous. No human being ever can say something for twenty three
years about the ground realities and in the end what he had said in all those
years will make up a flawless marvellous book. Humanly, it is simply impossible.
This is enough proof of the Divine nature of the Qur’an Shareef and its being
the greatest miracle and proof of the Prophet-hood of Rasulullah (Sallallahu
Shan-e-Nuzool of Al-Qur’an (background of
descent of different verses of Al-Qur’an):
Shan-e-Nuzool means the particular circumstances, context or events in which or
in response to which, particular verses of Al-Qur’an were revealed to Rasulullah
(Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). This is also a very essential science needed for
understanding Al-Qur’an. There are two types of verses in Al-Qur’an, one
includes those which Allah sent down Himself and were not in response to any
particular event or question posed towards Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi
Wasallam). The second type includes those verses which were sent down in
response to a particular event or question. It is for understanding of the
second type of verses one needs to know the Shan-e-Nuzool. Some people believe
that it is not important to know the Shan-e-Nuzool, but this are not correct, as
it is very difficult to understand the correct meaning of these verses without
having in mind the background for which or in response to which these verses
“It is not possible to understand the meaning of a verse of Al-Qur’an unless one
refers to its Shan-e-Nuzool” (Al -Itiqan)
Ibne Daqeeq says:
“The Shan-e-Nuzool helps strongly in understanding Al-Qur’an” (al-itiqan)
Ibne Taymiyah says:
“To Know Shan-e-Nuzool, helps in understanding of a verse of Al-Qur’an (Al
1. Al-Qur’an contains the verse:
تَبَّتْ يَدَا أَبِي لَهَبٍ وَتَبَّ
“Perish the two hands of Abu Lahab and perish he!” (111:1)
If one does not know its Shan-e-Nuzool one would wonder as to why Allah Ta’ala
called a particular person by name and then cursed him with such words. After
knowing its Shan-e-Nuzool, it is very easy to understand it. Once it so happened
that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) called Quraish tribe to a mountain
namely Safa soon after he was bestowed upon with prophet-hood, he invited them
to believe in one Allah and His Messenger. On hearing it, one of his uncles
namely Abu Lahab said:
تباً لك الهذا دعوتنا
“May you perish, is this what you invited us for”
It was in response to these words of Abu Lahab that Allah Ta’ala revealed the
above quoted verses of Surah Lahab to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)
2. Another verse reads:
وَمَا رَمَيْتَ إِذْ رَمَيْتَ وَلَكِنَّ اللَّهَ رَمَى
“And you (Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)) threw not when you did throw,
but Allah threw” (8:17)
It is again very difficult to understand these words of Allah unless one knows
the Shan-e-Nuzool. These were revealed in the battle of Badr, when Rasullullah
(Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was trapped by the unbelievers (Kufaar) and he
threw a handful of sand towards them and then succeeded in coming out of that
trap as the non-believers were unable see him after he threw sand towards them.
3- Again another verse reads;
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَقْرَبُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَأَنْتُمْ سُكَارَى
“O you who believe! Approach not As-Salat when you are in drunken state”. (4:43)
If one does not know the Shan-e-Nuzool of this verse, he can say if wine is
totally prohibited in Islam then what is the meaning of this verse of the
Qur’an? The Shaan-e-Nuzool of this Ayat is quoted on the authority of Hadhrat
Ali (RA). He says that Abdul Rehman bin Auf (RA) once invited some Sahabah to
meals, it was before the wine was prohibited in Islam. After taking their meals
they also drank wine and one of the Sahabah led the congregation of Salah in
that drunken state. He committed some mistakes while reciting the Qur’an. This
Ayat was revealed after this incident. After coming to know the Shan-e-Nuzool of
this Ayat, one can easily understand its meaning. Here, we should know that wine
was forbidden in Islam in stepwise fashion, not all at once. The complete
prohibition of the consumption of wine was later on decreed in another Ayat.
Seven Qirats of The Qur’an:
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:
إنّ هذا القران اُنزل على سبعة أحرف فأقرءُوا ما تيّسّر منه
“Indeed the Qur’an was revealed in seven (types of ) Haroof or words (or
Qirats), so read (the way) that is easier to you”. (Sahih Bukhari )
In Sahih Muslim there is a Hadith which states that once Rasulullah (Sallallahu
Alaihi Wasallam) was sitting near a pond which belonged to Bani Gifar clan and
Angel Jibra’eel (AS) came to him and asked him to order his Ummah to recite
Al-Qur’an as per a single Harf (word) or Qirat. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi
Wasallam) told him that his Ummah was not capable of doing it, then Jibra’eel
(AS) came again and asked Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) to order his
Ummah to recite Al-Qur’an as per two haroof (words) or Qirats. Rasulullah
(Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) repeated the same words which he had said on first
occasion, this process continued and in the end Jibre’aal (AS) asked Rasulullah
(Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) to order his Ummah to recite the Qur’an as per
seven Haroof or (words) or Qirats. This permission to recite Al-Qur’an as per
seven Haroof was to make it easy for the Ummah.
What is meant by Haroof? There are many schools of thought about it, some say
that these mean seven different types of words, some say seven different types
of Qirats while others say that these mean seven different dialects of different
clans of Arabs.
Imam Tahawi’s opinion: He says that Al-Quran was revealed in the same dialect
which was used by Quraish, since Arabs were living in different tribes to follow
the Quraish dialect, so in the initial days of Islam, these tribes were allowed
to recite the Qur’an in their own dialect, choosing an equivalent word and
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) himself had chosen these equivalent
words, e.g., word ‘Halumma’ instead of ‘T’aal’, both meaning the same thing. But
this permission was only in the early days of Islam and later it became easy for
other tribes also to follow Quriash dialect and this permission was lifted.
(Mushkilul Aathar Lil Tahawi; Uloom-Ul-Qur’an)
Difference in Seven Types of Qirats:
1. Difference in nouns: In this there is difference either in number or gender.
In one, word كلمة is recited and in other كلمات.
2. Difference in verb: In this there is difference of present, past or future
3. Difference of Aerab (diacritical marks): In which there is difference of Zabr
(Fateh), Zer (Kasrah) and Pesh (Zammah).
4. Difference in number of words: In this there is difference of a word i.e., in
one type of recitation (Qirat) a word is used and in other the same word is
5. Substitutions of a word: In this an equivalent of a word is recited in other
6. Difference in sequence: In this one type of word is preceding a particular
word and in other the same word is succeeding that particular word
7. Difference in recitation: In this same word is recited differently in
Sahih Muslim narrates a Hadith on the authority of Hadhrat Ubai bin ka’b (RA):
“While I was in the Masjid, someone entered and offered Salah in which he
recited the Qur’an to which I objected (as he recited differently), then another
person entered and he recited the Qur’an yet differently than his earlier
friend. After they completed Salah, we all went to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi
Wasallam) and I said, “This person recited the Qur’an to which I objected and
then his friend also recited yet in a different way. Rasulullah (Sallallahu
Alaihi Wasallam) asked both of them to recite the Qur’an and (once they
recited), Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) admired their recitation. This
created a great doubt (about the truthfulness of Islam) in my mind and I felt as
if I have again reached towards the period of Jahilliya. Rasulullah (Sallallahu
Alaihi Wasallam) sensed that and gave a (gentle) blow on my chest, I went all in
perspiration and I felt as I was seeing Allah in this state that I could
distinguish between right and wrong. Then he (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) told
me, “O! Ubai, the Qur’an was sent to me and I was told to recite in one Harf
(word), I recited by saying, O Allah, make it easy for my Ummah, then it was
returned to me and I was told to recite in two Harf (words), I repeated the same
till I was told to recite it in seven Haroof (words)”.
From this Hadith and those quoted earlier we understand that the Qur’an was
revealed in seven Haroof. Now, here a few questions arise which need to be
1- Do these seven Qir’ats still exist?
2- Did Hadhrat Uthmaan (RA) abrogate six Qir’ats when he compiled the Qur’an?
3- The Qur’an is a word of Allah and has been promised everlasting protection,
then how come some of the Qir’ats can be abrogated?
4- What is meant by the fact that Hadhrat Uthamaan (RA) asked the Sahabah to
follow his compilation alone and that he unified all the seven Qir’ats in his
Alaama Zarqani (RA) in
“All the seven Qir’ats or Haroof exist in the Qur’an that Hadhrat Uthmaan’s (RA)
compiled. There was consensus amongst all the Sahabah about the fact that
Hadhrat Uthmaan’s (RA) compilation contained all the seven Qir’ats (Haroof) and
they all agreed to abandon their own compilations and follow the compilation of
Hadhrat Uthmaan (RA). Hadhrat Uthmaan (RA) actually copied that copy of the
Qur’an which was compiled by Hadhrat Abu Bakr (RA) which again contained all the
seven Qir’ats or Haroof.”
Alaama Zarqani (RA) further writes:
“Their is a consensus amongst the most of earlier and later Ulema of Muslim
Ummah that Hadhrat Uthmaan’s (RA) compilation contained all the seven Qir’ats or
Haroof and it was same as was presented to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi
Wasallam) by Hadhrat Jibraeel (AS) in his last presentation in the last Ramadhan
of Rasulullah’s (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) life .”
Imam Ahmad has quoted a Hadith in his Musnad that:
Hadhrat Jibraeel (AS) used to recite the Qur’an to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi
Wasallam) once during every Ramadhan. During the last Ramadhan of Rasulullah’s
(Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) life, Jibraeel (AS) recited Al-Qur’an (whole of it)
twice. As quoted earlier from Imam Tahawi (RA), that in early days of Islam
different tribes were allowed to follow their dialects and when the Qur’anic
revelation got completed and the time of departure of Rasulullah (Sallallahu
Alaihi Wasallam) came near, Hadhrat Jibraeel AS) recited Al-Qur’an to Rasulullah
(Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) which was as per the dialect of Quraish and which
contained all the seven Qir’ats. Alama Zikariya(RA) says that Haztrat Uthmaan
(RA) completed the Qur’an as per this last recitation of Hadhrat Jibraeel (AS).
Alama Ibne-al-Jazri says that I have studied these differences in the Qir’ats
and have observed that they do not exceed three states, viz;
1. Difference of words and not meaning. For example the words like Maalik and
Malik, both having same meaning.
2. Difference between these words with the possibility of incorporating them in
a single word.
3. Difference between these words without the possibility of incorporating them
in a single word, but they coincide in meaning with each other by some other
reason, so no difference. (Manahil-ul-Irfan).
Naskh or Abrogation of Verses:
Literal meaning of Naskh: Abrogation, replacement of one thing by another thing.
Technical meaning: Lifting of law of Shari’ah by the reasons of Shari’ah.
Naasikh: That Ayat of the Qur’an which abrogates either recitation or command or
both of some other Ayat of the Qur’an.
Mansookh: That Ayat of the Qur’an which is abrogated.
“None of Our revelations do we abrogate or cancel to be forgotton, but We
substitute something better or similar. Knowest thou not that Allah hath power
over all things.” (2:106)
Occasion of Descent or Shaan-e-Nuzool of
Enemies of Islam particularly Jews were raising objections about the Qur’an by
saying that Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was a strange person that one
day he commands Muslims to do a thing and the other day he changes the same
commandment with another one, so it is not the word of Allah as that has to be
eternal and unchanging.
Let’s discuss this problem of Naskh in some detail. It is one of the delicate
discussions regarding the Uloom-ul-Qur’an. Naskh literally means abrogation or
replacement of one thing by another. In Shari’ah it means that when the Qur’an
came with some commandment, people thought that commandment was forever but in
actual sense since Allah - being All-knowing and All-powerful sent a particular
commandment for a time being and not forever, so He later sent another
commandment, abrogating or modifying the earlier commandment. This is a change
as we look at it and it is not a change at all as regards to Allah, as He had
sent the earlier commandment for a limited time only and not forever, therefore,
in no way a defect in the eternal nature of the Qur’an. It is similar to a
government’s way of enacting a law and implementing the same part wise over a
period of years.
Here the Qur’an uses the word abrogation of ‘Ayat’. The word ‘Ayat’ in addition
to verse of the Qur’an also means a sign in the nature or history or a miracle.
If we take this meaning then there is no confusion. These verses will then mean
that Allah Ta’ala brings forth different signs and miracles from time to time to
prove the truthfulness of – the Islam, the Qur’an and the Prophet-hood of
Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). Some Ulema like Abu Muslim Asfahani think
that by these Ayats abrogation of previous Shari’ats like Shari’ah of Ibrahim
(AS), Dawood (AS), Musa (AS), Eisa (AS) is implied. If this meaning is taken,
then again there is no controversy, as everyone agrees that Al-Qur’an has
abrogated all previous Shari’ats.
The question under discussion, in which people have different opinions, is that
whether some Qur’anic verses have been abrogated by the other Qur’anic verses or
not? There is consensus amongst Ulema of Ahl-Sunnah Wal Jama’at that some
Qur’anic verses have been abrogated by some other Qur’anic verses either in
recitation or command or both. Here we have to understand that as to what things
have been changed? Has this change occurred in beliefs - that one day the Qur’an
said Allah is one and next day it said, no there are many gods (Naoodh-billah),
or has there been a change in narrations of incidents of past that it has
narrated the incident of Nuh (AS) in one way and then after sometime the other
way. We have to understand that the Qur’anic teachings as regards to beliefs,
history or predictions have been consistent. Then what is the change, which is
being discussed? The Qur’an has been gradual in changing the society and in that
course it has revealed the commands about the improvement of social values in a
gradual manner. It is this thing that is termed as Naskh or change or abrogation
Step-wise Ban on Wine:
The Qur’an banned wine in three stages. To drink was in the blood of the Arabs.
They were used to it since ages, and to ban it in one step was not convenient
for them. The Qur’an first mentioned the evil effects of wine, then asked the
Muslims to refrain from it while going for Salah and finally it was banned
totally for all times to come. Allah Ta’ala says in Al-Qur’an:
يَمْحُو اللَّهُ مَا يَشَاءُ وَيُثْبِتُ وَعِنْدَهُ أُمُّ الْكِتَابِ
“Allah doth blot out or confirm what He pleaseth; with Him is the Mother of the
وَإِذَا بَدَّلْنَا آيَةً مَكَانَ آيَةٍ وَاللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا يُنَزِّلُ
“When We substitute one revelation for another, and Allah knows best what He
reveals (in stages).” (16:101)
Naskh in Previous Shari’ats:
1. It is mentioned in Torah that Allah Ta’ala told Hadhrat Nuh (AS) when he came
out of the ship after the Great Flood that He has made every living animal Halal
(permissible for eating) for him and his progeny. Then Allah Ta’ala forbade
eating many of these animals in the subsequent Shari’ats like that of Hadhrat
Yaqoob (AS), Hadhrat Musa (AS) and Hadhrat Eisa (AS) etc.
2. It is mentioned in Torah that Allah Ta’ala asked Hadhrat Adam (AS) that he
should marry his daughters to his sons. In each pregnancy Eve (AS) would give
birth to a boy and a girl. Girl born in one pregnancy was married to the boy
born in another pregnancy and vice versa. This was banned in subsequent
3. Allah Ta’ala asked Hadhrat Ibrahim (AS) to sacrifice his son then this
command was abrogated.
4. Worldly affairs and hunting is permissible in all days including Saturdays
but it was banned on Saturdays in the Shari’ah of Hadhrat Musa (AS).
5. It was permissible in the Shari’ah of Hadhrat Yaqoob (AS) for a man to marry
two sisters at the same time, later it was banned in the Shari’ah of Hadhrat
6. Talaq or divorce was permissible in the Shari’ah of Hadhrat Musa (AS), but it
was allowed in the Shari’ah of Hadhrat Eisa (AS) only when the offence of
adultery would be proved against the women. Without proving this charge, it was
not allowed to them. (Manahil-ul-Irfan)
Naskh in the Qur’an
1. Naskh of Both Recitation as well as Commandment:
There is consensus amongst the Ulema of Ahle-Sunnah-Wal_Jam’at that there have
been some verses of the Qur’an whose reci¬tation as well as commandment have
been abrogated. These verses were even lifted from the memory centers of
Sahaabah (RA). Muslim has reported on the authority of Hadhrat Ayesha (RA), she
“There was an Ayat in the Qur’an in which it was mentioned that a boy is Haram
(in marriage) to a girl if he has sucked breast of the mother of that girl for
ten known times during his breast feeding period in infancy. Afterwards this
commandment was abrogated and it was replaced by five time suckling instead of
ten. Finally both recitation as well as commandment of these verses was totally
lifted and abrogated as per the majority of Ulema except Imam Shafaee who says
that recitation of this Ayat has been abrogated but its second command, i.e.
five time suckl¬ing by a baby makes him/her haram for the children of that women
This Hadith of Hadhrat Ayseha (RA) is also quoted by Abu Dawood, Tirmidhi and
Dhari-Qutni in addition to Muslim Shareef.
2. Naskh of Recitation but not of Commandment:
Abu Dawood, Ibne Majah, Musnad Ahmad, Rooh-ul-M’aani, Imam Raazi in his Tafseer
Kabeer and Imam Nawawi in his commentary on Muslim Shareef quote on the
authority of Hadhrat Umar (RA) that following verse was a verse of the Qur’an
which was later on abro¬gated.
ؤ الشيخوخة إذا زينا فارجموهما الشيخ
“When an old man and old women will commit adultery, stone (Rajam) both to death
Its recitation has been abrogated but its command still persists. Imam Shafaee
(RA) here also differs from others and he says that this narration is Dhaeef
(weak). For details consult the books on Fiqh or jurisprudence.
Can We Call These Verses - the Qur’an?
Answer is no, we cannot call them Al-Qur’an, for Al-Qur’an - Tawatur or
continuity is must. As you know Al-Qur’an is defined as:
إنّه الكلام المعجز المنزل على النبي . ألمكتوب في المصاحف ألمنقول بالتواتر ألمتلو
“- It is the miraculous word of Allah, - revealed on the Prophet (Sallallahu
Alaihi Wasallam), - written on Mus-haf, - passed on from generation to
generation with Tawatur, - the recitation of which is an act of worship”.
What is meant by Tawatur?
Tawatur means something that is passed on in such a way that in each generation
its narrators are countlessly numerous, and logically it be impossible for so
many people living in different parts of the world to get united for telling a
tell. For a verse to be part of Al-Qur’an, this Tawatur is must. Only those
verses of the Qur’an which have come to us from Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi
Wasallam) by Tawatur are recited as the Qur’an. Some of the verses, which were
revealed to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and Sahabah used to recite
them were later lifted from their memory. Bukhari, Muslim, Trimidhi, Dhari-Qutni
and Ahmad-b-Hambal quote a Sahabi namely Abu Musa Asha’ri (RA) who says that he
used to recite a lengthy Surah, as long as Surah Tobah, but it was lifted from
his memory and he remembered only the following verse from that Surah, viz;
لو كان لابن آدم واديان في مال لابتغى واديا ثالثا و لا يملا جوف ابن آدم إلا
These abrogated verses were totally lifted from the memory of Sahabah and the
Qur’an was completed and recited to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) by
Hadhrat Jibraael (AS) during the last Ramadhan of Rasulullah’s (Sallallahu
Alaihi Wasallam) life. It was this final shape of the Qur’an that is protected
by Allah and has reached to us by Tawatur without undergoing any change even
equal to an iota. Now the question arises as to what is the status of these
abrogated verses which have reached us not by Tawatur but by one or two
narrations from those verses that are preserved and have reached us by Tawatur
in the shape of Al-Qur’an?
Answer: One thing is clear that these verses are not part of the Qur’an as they
have not been transmitted by Tawatur. Ulema treat them as traditions called
3. Naskh of command and not recitation:
“And as for those who can fast with difficulty, they have to feed a Miskeen”
This Ayat of Al-Qur’an has been abrogated by following Ayat of the Qur’an.
فَمَنْ شَهِدَ مِنْكُمُ الشَّهْرَ فَلْيَصُمْهُ
“So whoever of you sights (the crescent) the month (of Ramadhan i.e., is present
at home), he must observe fast.” (2:185)
كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذَا حَضَرَ أَحَدَكُمُ الْمَوْتُ إِنْ تَرَكَ خَيْرًا
الْوَصِيَّةُ لِلْوَالِدَيْنِ وَالْأَقْرَبِينَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ حَقًّا عَلَى
“It prescribed for you, when death approaches any of you, if he leaves wealth,
that he makes a bequest to parents and next of kin, according to reasonable
manners. (this is) a duty upon al-Muttaqun (the pious).” (2:180)
This Ayat is abrogated by following ayat of Al-Qur’an.
يُوصِيكُمُ اللَّهُ فِي أَوْلَادِكُمْ لِلذَّكَرِ مِثْلُ حَظِّ الْأُنْثَيَيْنِ...
“Allah commands you are regards your children’s (inheritance): to the male, a
portion equal to that of two females….” (4:11)
إِنْ يَكُنْ مِنْكُمْ عِشْرُونَ صَابِرُونَ...
“If there are twenty steadfast persons amongst you, they will overcome two
This Ayat of the Qur’an is abrogated by the following Ayat of the Qur¬’an.
الْآنَ خَفَّفَ اللَّهُ عَنْكُمْ وَعَلِمَ أَنَّ فِيكُمْ ضَعْفًا فَإِنْ يَكُنْ
مِنْكُمْ مِائَةٌ صَابِرَةٌ يَغْلِبُوا مِائَتَيْنِ....
“Now Allah has lightened your (task), for He knows that there is weakness in
you. So if there are of you a hundred steadfast persons, they shall over come
two hundreds…..” (8:66)
يَحِلُّ لَكَ النِّسَاءُ مِنْ بَعْدُ
“It is not lawful for you (to marry other) women after this, …..” (33:52)
This Ayat is abrogated by following Ayat:
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ إِنَّا أَحْلَلْنَا لَكَ أَزْوَاجَكَ اللَّاتِي
“O Prophet (Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam))! Verily We have made lawful
to you your wives, to whom you have paid their Mahr…” (33:52)
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا نَاجَيْتُمُ الرَّسُولَ فَقَدِّمُوا
“O you who believe! When you (want to) consult the Messenger (Sallallahu Alaihi
Wasallam) in private …” (58:12)
This Ayat is abrogated by:
أَأَشْفَقْتُمْ أَنْ تُقَدِّمُوا بَيْنَ يَدَيْ نَجْوَاكُمْ صَدَقَاتٍ
“Are you afraid of spending in charity before you private consultation (with
The issue of abrogation has been taken differently by the an¬cient and modern
scholars; the two have differed in its terminology as well. The ancient scholars
used it more widely. When any injunction which was first stated in general form,
and afterwards on some other occasion was particularised, or when something in
the beginning was expressed summarily and later on in details, then, from the
linguistic point of view it was said that the later has abrogated the former.
This actually was the meaning which an¬cient scholars gave to the word
‘abrogation’. The abrogation of this kind exists in the Qur’an; for example, the
Makkan chapters generally mention the universals and principles and the chapters
revealed in Madinah discuss them in detail and also give comments as well.
On account of this difference among the commentators about the significance of
the term ‘Naskh’ (abrogation), the number of abrogated verses rose considerably.
Imam Suyuti, however, after affecting a suitable reduction brought them to
nineteen only. But Shah Waliyullah Muhaddith Delhvi (RA) has provided solution
for four¬teen of them and he considers only five as abrogated, out of which four
have been mentioned above.
Naskh of the Qur’an by Sunnah:
We have seen that there is consensus amongst the Ulema about the Naskh of the
Qur’an by the Qur’an but there is controversy amongst the learned scholars of
Islam that whether the Qur’an can be abrogated by Hadith or Sunnah. Imam Maalik
(RA), Imam Abu Haniefa (RA) and his school of thought and majority of
Muhadditheen agree that Naskh of the Qur’an by Sunnah is permissible as whatever
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) says is also from WAHY called
On the other hand Imam Shafaee (RA), Imam Ahmad (RA) and some others do not
agree to the fact that Sunnah (or Hadith) can abrogate the Qur’an. According to
them Qur’an can be abrogated only by Qur’an itself.
Muhkam and Mutashabihah:
Knowledge of Muhkam and Mutashabiha is another very vast field for the learners
and scholars of the Qur’an.
Literal meaning of Muhkam (Un-ambiguous): It is that thing having established
meaning, to stop (from falsehood, disruption or discontinuity). If it is read as
‘Hikam’, then it has many meanings like justice, knowledge, sobriety,
Prophet-hood, Qur’an etc.
Literal meaning of Mutashabiha (Ambiguous): It means resemblance; one thing
resembles to other thing so much so that one is mistaken for the other.
As Al-Qur’an says:
إِنَّ الْبَقَرَ تَشَابَهَ عَلَيْنَا
“Verily, to us are all heifers alike” (2:70)
Ulema are having different opinions regarding the technical meaning of these two
words viz., Muhkam and Mutashabiha. Al-Qur’an also uses two words in different
meanings. Al-Qur’an says:
كِتَابٌ أُحْكِمَتْ آيَاتُهُ
“(This is) a book with verses basic or fundamental (of established meaning)”
As per this Ayat the whole Qur’an is having well established meaning, is well
organised and there is no chance for any discontinuity or contradiction in it.
Al-Qur’an further says:
اللَّهُ نَزَّلَ أَحْسَنَ الْحَدِيثِ كِتَابًا مُتَشَابِهًا
“Allah has revealed from time to time the most beautiful Message in the form of
a Book, consistent with itself.” (39:23)
In this verse the whole Qur’an has been called Mutashabih, meaning – ‘consistent
with itself’. Al-Qur’an further says:
هُوَ الَّذِي أَنْزَلَ عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ مِنْهُ آيَاتٌ مُحْكَمَاتٌ هُنَّ أُمُّ
الْكِتَابِ وَأُخَرُ مُتَشَابِهَاتٌ
“It is He, Who has sent down to thee the Book in it are verses, basic or
fundamental, clear (in meaning). They are the foundation of the Book; others are
not entirely clear.” (3:7)
In this verse the Qur’an says that there are some verses in the Qur’an which are
Muhkam and others are Mutashabih.
Different Opinions of Ulema about the Meaning of Muhkam and Mutashabih:
1. Muhkam means one that has a
clear-cut meaning and argument and in which Naskh (abrogation) is not possible.
It is also taken as opposite of Naskh.
Mutashabih means one whose meaning has been kept hidden and one can neither know
it by logic nor through narrations, like the Day of Judgement, particular
letters in the beginning of some Surahs, appearance of Dajjal etc,.
2. Muhkam is that which can have only one interpretation whereas Mutashabih can
be interpreted in different ways. This opinion has been attributed to Ibne
Abbas, and most of the people agree with it.
3. Muhkam is that which is self explanatory unlike Mutashabih which needs some
explanation. This opinion is put forward by Imam Ahmad.
4. Muhkam is straight in meaning and sequence and in Mutashabih one cannot rely
only upon the literal meaning but needs some other clues to understand it
clearly. This opinion is attributed to Imam-al-Harmain.
5. Muhkam verses are those which are related with deeds, and Mutashabih are
those which are about the beliefs and are to be believed whether one understands
them or not. Alama Suyuti (RA) has quoted this view from Ikramah and Qataadah.
Types of Mutashabih:
1. Whose understanding is impossible for man - like the Essence of Allah, the
Day of Judgement etc. Allah has kept these things hidden.
2. Which can be understood by the learned scholars of Islam only and not by
common people. This is evident by a dua of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi
Wasallam) about Hadhrat Ibne Abass (RA) in which he said: “Oh, Allah bestow him
(Ibne Abbas) with special understanding of Deen and teach him interpretation (of
the Qur’an).” (Mufradut-ul-Qur’an by Alama Raagib Asfahani)
Purpose of Mutashabih:
1. It is mercy and benevolence of Allah that He has kept such things hidden. How
can a man tolerate the Tajalliyat of Rabb-ul-Alameen? In keeping secret the Day
of Judgement, there are again so many benefits for man.
2. To test Iman-bil-Gaib: Mutashabih also helps to differentiate between true
believer and a false believer. False believer questions the Mutashabih whereas
true believer believes these things quietly and honestly.
3. Imam Raazi (RA) says that since Al-Qur’an is both for common man as well as
scholars, former remain contented with simple and straight commandments like
Muhkam whereas the scholars, want to do research and think-deeply, so for them
there is enough material in the Qur’an in the form of Mutashabih.
4. Establishing supremacy of the Qur’an: These Mutashabih make great scholars
also helpless and finally they resign by saying that Allah alone knows their
Some examples of Mutashabihhat:
الرَّحْمَنُ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ اسْتَوَى
“The most gracious is firmly established on the Throne” (20:5)
وَيَبْقَى وَجْهُ رَبِّكَ
“But will abide (for ever) the Face of Thy Lord” (55:27)
يَدُ اللَّهِ فَوْقَ أَيْدِيهِمْ
“The hand of Allah is over their hands”. (48:10)
وَالسَّمَوَاتُ مَطْوِيَّاتٌ بِيَمِينِهِ
“And the Heavens will be rolled up in His right hand.” (39:67)
Ideal Attitude Towards Mutashabihat:
Imam Maalik (RA) was asked about the
Ayat of Istawa, present in the Qur’an:
الرَّحْمَنُ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ اسْتَوَى
الاستواء معلوم و الكيف مجهول و السوال عن هذا بدعه
“Istawa is known, its nature (i.e., in what way) is unknown and to ask question
about it is a bida’t (innovation). Same answer is also reported from Hadhrat
Ummi Salma (RA) but she also added that to have Iman on this is obligatory.
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:
“The Qur’an has not been revealed in such a way that one part of it will prove
the other part wrong, whatever you understand from it, act as per that and what
ever is Mutashabih, have Iman (belief) in that.” (Manaahil-ul-Irfan)
Fazail (Virtues) Qur’an:
1. Uthman (RA) reported that the Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:
“The best of you is he who has learnt the Qur’an and then teaches it.”
2. Uqbah-b-A’mer reported that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) came out
while we were in Suffah and asked:
“Who among you likes to go out everyday at morn to Bathhan or Aqiq and bring two
large humped she-camels without committing a sin and severing blood-tie? We
replied: “O Apostle of Allah! Everyone of us likes that. He said: “Is it not
better for you that you should come our at morn to the mosque and teach or learn
two verses from the Book of Allah than (to have) two she camels, and three
verses better than three she-camels, and four verses better than four camels and
their equivalent number better than the equivalent she-camels?” (Muslim)
3. Abu Huriarah (RA) reported that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:
“Does anyone of you like, when he returns to his family, to find therein three
big fat pregnant she-camels? Yes, we replied. He said: Then three verses which
anyone of you reads in his prayer are better than three big fat pregnant
4. Ayesha (RA) reported that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:
“One who has got expert knowledge in the Qur’an is with the honourable pious
scribes; and one who reads the Qur’an and struggles therein while it appears
difficult to him gets double rewards.”
5. Ibne Omer (RA) reported that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:
There is no envy except for two: a man whom Allah has given the Qur’an and who
stands up by it throughout the night and throughout the day, and the man whom
Allah has given wealth and who spends there from throughout the night and
throughout the day.” (Agreed upon)
6. Abu Musa (RA) reported that Rasulullha (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:
“The parable of the believer who reads the Qur’an is parable of a citron whose
fragrance as well as taste is pleasant, and the parable of believer who does not
read the Qur’an is the parable of the fresh date that has got no fragrance but
its taste is sweet, and the parable of the hypocrite who does not read the
Qur’an is like the parable of the basil which has got no fragrance but whose
taste is bitter, and the parable of the hypocrite who reads the Qur’an is the
parable of the fragrant flower which has got a pleasant smell but whose taste is
bitter. (Agreed upon)
And in a narration: The believer who reads the Qur’an and acts upon it is like
an action and the believer who neither reads the Qur’an nor acts upon it is like
a fresh date.”
7. Omar-b-Al Khattab (RA) reported that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)
said: “Allah will raise up (in status) some people by this Book and bring down
8. Hadhrat Abu Syed Khudri (RA) reported Osaid-b-Huzair (RA): That while he was
reciting Surat Al-Baqara (The Cow) at night, and his horse was tied beside him,
the horse was suddenly startled and troubled. When he stopped reciting, the
horse became quiet, and when he started again, the horse was startled again.
Then he stopped reciting and the horse became quiet too. He started reciting
again and the horse was startled and troubled once again. Then he stopped
reciting and his son, Yahya was beside the horse. He was afraid that the horse
might trample on him. When he took the boy away and looked towards the sky, he
could not see it. The next morning he informed the Prophet who said, "Recite, O
Ibn Hudair! Recite, O Ibn Hudair!" Ibn Hudair replied, "O Allah's Apostle! My
son, Yahya was near the horse and I was afraid that it might trample on him, so
I looked towards the sky, and went to him. When I looked at the sky, I saw
something like a cloud containing what looked like lamps, so I went out in order
not to see it." The Prophet said, "Do you know what that was?" Ibn Hudair
replied, "No." The Prophet said, "Those were Angels who came near to you for
your voice and if you had kept on reciting till dawn, it would have remained
there till morning when people would have seen it as it would not have
disappear. (Agreed upon)
9. Bara’s reported: A man was reciting the chapter Cave (Surah Al-Kahaf) where
there was a horse by his side tied up with two ropes. A cloud covered him and it
began to come nearer and nearer while his horse was jumping up. When it was
dawn, he came to the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and narrated it to
him. He said: That was the consolation that came down with the Qur’an. (Agreed
10. Abu Syed Al-Mualla reported: while I was praying within the mosque, the
Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) called me but I did not reply to him.
Thereafter I came to him and asked: O Apostle of Allah! Verily I was praying. He
said: Did not Allah say: Respond to Allah and to his Apostle when he calls you?
Then he said: Shall I not teach you the most meritorious chapter of the Qur’an
before you go out of the mosque? He took hold of my hand. When we wished to come
out, I said: O Apostle of Allah! You have said that you would teach me the most
meritorious chapter of the Qur’an. He said: All praise be to Allah, the Lord of
the worlds, that is the seven oft repeated verses and the great Qur’an which I
11. Ziyad-b-Labeed reported that the Prophet (Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam)
mentioned something. He said: That (will come to pass) at the time when learning
will depart. I asked: O Messenger of Allah, how will learning depart while we
have been reading the Qur’an and educating our children to read it and while our
children will educate their children to read it up to the resurrection Day? He
said: O Ziyad! may thy mother be heavy with thee! If I had been the most learned
man at Medina, I could have taught you. Do not the Jews and Christains read the
Torah and the Bible while they do not know what is therein? (Ibne Majah,
12. Abu Huriarah (RA) reported that the Apostle of Allah said: “Don’t make your
houses graveyards. The devil flees away from the house wherein the chapter
(2nd chapter of Al-Qur’an) is read. (Muslim)
13. Abu Omamah (RA) reported: I heard the Apostle of Allah (Salallahu Alaihi
Wasallam) say: “Read the Qur’an; as it will be an intercessor on the
Resurrection Day for its readers. Read the two brilliant chapters ‘Baqarah and
Aal-e-Imran’ because they will be like two clouds (as it were) on the
resurrection Day, or two canopies, or two flocks of birds in rows, giving shade
to their readers. Read the chapter ‘Baqarah’. To take recourse to it is a
blessing and to give it up is a cause of grief, and the indolent will be unable
to overtake it. (Muslim)
14. Nawas-b-Sam’an reported: I heard the Apostle of Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi
Wasallam) say: “The Qur’an will be brought on the Resurrection Day along with
those who used to act on it. The chapters ‘The Baqarah’ and ‘The family of
Imran’ will come in advance of it as if they will be like two clouds or two
black canopies with a shining light between both of them, or both will be like
two flocks of birds in rows giving shade to their readers. (Muslim)
15. Obai-b-Ka’ab (RA) reported that the Apostle of Allah (Salallahu Alaihi
Wasallam) asked: “O Abul Munzir! Do you know as to which verse of the Book of
Almighty Allah is the greatest near you?” I said: “Allah and His Apostle know
the best.” I asked: “O Abu Munzir! do you know as to which verse of Book of
Almighty Allah is the greatest near you?” I said: He is Allah; there is no deity
but He, the Ever-living, the Ever-subsisting (2: 255). Then he struck my breast
with his hand and said:”O Abu Munzir! may learning welcome thee with cheers!”
16. Hadhrat Abu Huriarah (RA) reported that the Apostle of Allah (Salallahu
Alaihi Wasallam) entrusted me with the charge of Zakat during Ramadhan. Somebody
came to me and began to take away some food-stuffs. I over-took him and said: I
must take you to the Prophet. He said: I am a needy man with a big family in my
charge, and so I have got a pressing need. He said: Then I left him go free and
went at the dawn (to the Prophet). The Prophet asked: “O Abu Huriarah! What did
your prisoner do last night?” I said: “O Apostle of Allah! He complained of a
pressing need and a big family. Then I felt pity for him and let him go away.”
He said: “Behold! He belied you and he will soon return.” Then I came to know
that he would soon turn on account of the Prophet’s saying ‘that he would soon
turn back’. I noticed that he came to take food-stuffs. So I arrested him and
said: “I must take you to the Prophet of Allah.” He said: “Leave me as I am a
needy man with a big family in my charge. I shall not come again.” Then I showed
kindness on him and let him have his way. I went at the dawn and the Prophet
(Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) asked me: “O Abu Huriarah! What did your prisoner
do?” I replied: “O Apostle of Allah! he complained of a pressing want and a big
family. Then I took compassion on him and let him have his way.” He said:
“Behold! He belied you and will come soon back.” Then I noticed that he came to
take the food-stuffs. I arrested him and said: “I must take you to the Prophet
and this is the last of three times. Verily you promised that you would not come
again but you have come.” He said: “Leave me; I shall teach you some words with
which Allah may give you benefit. When you go to your bed, read the verse of
Throne, “He is Allah, there is no deity but He, the Ever-living, The
Ever-Subsisting, till you finish the verse (2:255Q). A protector from Allah will
not cease to come over you, and the devil will not come to you till morning.”
Then I let him to go his way. I went at the dawn and the Prophet asked me: “What
did your prisoner do?” I replied: “He promised me that he would teach me some
words with which Allah will do me benefit.” He said: “Behold! he has spoken the
truth to you though he is a great liar. Don’t you know with whom you were
speaking since three nights?” I said: “No.” He said: “He is the devil.”
17. Ibn Abbas (RA) reported: When Jibraeel (AS) was seated near the Prophet
(Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), he heard a voice from above. He raised up his head
and said: It is door of Heaven which has been opened today and which was never
opened before except today. An angel got down from it. He said: He is an angel
who has come down to the earth today and who did never come down before but
today. He greeted and said: Give good news of two lights which you have been
given and which no prophet before you was given—the Opening of the Book and the
last portion of the chapter Baqarah (2:84-86). You will never read a letter from
them for which you will not be given (reward) there for. (Muslim)
18. Abu Mas’ud (RA) reported that the Apostle of Allah (Salallahu Alaihi
Wasallam) said: “As for the two verses at the end of the chapter Baqarah, whoso
reads them at night, they are sufficient for him. (Agreed upon)
19. Abu Darda (RA) reported that the Apostle of Allah (Salallahu Alaihi
Wasallam) said: “Whoever commits to memory ten verses from the beginning of the
chapter Cave, (18:1) will be protected from Dajjal. (Muslim)
20. Same Suhaabi (RA) reported that to Apostle of Allah (Salallahu Alaihi
Wasallam) asked: “Will not any one of you be able to read one third of the Quran
in one night? They replied: And how can one read one-third of the Qur’an? He
said: ‘Say, He is Allah, the One’, (i.e., Surah Ikhlas) it will be equivalent to
one-third of the Qur’an. (Bukhari from Abu Syeed)
21. Ayesha (RA) reported that the Prophet (Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam) sent a man
in command of an army, and the latter used to read (the Qur’an) for his
companions in their prayer and end with ‘Say, He is Allah, the Single (112Q).
When they returned, they mentioned it to the Prophet. He said: Ask him for what
reason he did so? They asked him. He said: because it is descriptive of the
Merciful, and I like to read it. The Prophet said: Inform him that Allah loves
22. Annas (RA) reported that a man said: “O Apostle of Allah! I like this
chapter; ‘Say, He is Allah, the one (112Q). He said: Your love for it will admit
you into the Paradise. (Bukhari)
23. Oqbah-b-A’mer (RA) reported that the Apostle of Allah (Salallahu Alaihi
Wasallam) said: “Do you not see the verse sent down this night the like of which
was never seen? He said: ‘Say, I seek refuge with the Lord of the dawn (113Q)’
and ‘I seek refuge with the Lord of men (114Q)’.” Muslim
24. Ayesha (RA) reported; whenever the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) went
to his bed every night, he used to join together his palms, blow breath unto
them and read therein: ‘Say, He is Allah, the One (112Q), ‘Say, I seek refuge
with the Lord of the dawn (113Q), ‘Say, I seek refuge with the Lord of men
(114Q), and rub therewith his body as far as he could, beginning there with from
his head and face and what was projecting from his body. He used to do it
25. Abdullah-b-Amr (RA) reported that the Apostle of Allah (Salallahu Alaihi
Wasallam) said: “The readers of the Qur’an will be asked: Read, ascend and
recite as you used to do in the world, as your rank is at the time of the last
verse you read.”(Ahmad)
26. Ibne Abbas (RA) reported that the Apostle of Allah (Salallahu Alaihi
Wasallam) said: “He, in whose breast there is nothing of the Qur’an is like a
destroyed house.” (Trimizi)
27. Abu Syeed (RA) reported that the Apostle of Allah (Salallahu Alaihi
“The Glorious and the Exalted Lord will say: Whoever is kept engaged by the
Qur’an for (His) remembrance and beseeching, I give him more than what the
beseechers are given; and the excellence of the Word of Allah above all other
words is like the excellence of the Allah over His creatures.”(Tirmizi)
28. Ibn Mas’ud (RA) reported that the Apostle of Allah (Salallahu Alaihi
Wasallam) said: “Whoso reads a letter from the Book of Allah gets one virtue in
its place; an one virtue has got ten rewards like it. I don’t say that ‘Alif,
Lam, Mim’ is a letter, Alif is a letter, Lam is a letter and Mim is a
29. Hares-b-A’war reported: “I was walking within the mosque when some people
were engaged in vain discussions. I went to Ali and informed him of this. He
said: Are they doing this still? ‘Yes, said I. He said: Behold! I heard the
Apostle of Allah say: Behold! there will soon appear calamity. I asked: What
will be the way of getting out of it, O Messenger of Allah? He said: the Book of
Allah wherein there are the tidings of those before you and the tidings of those
after you and the discussions of what occurs among you. It is clear, not a vain
discourse. Whoso among the oppressors’ abandons it, Allah shall ruin him; and
whoso seeks guidance in what is besides it, Allah shall misguide him and it is
the firmest rope of Allah, and it is the great reminder and it is the straight
path. It is a thing with which passions neither go astray, nor the tongue
falsify, nor the learned are satisfied with it, nor does it grow old by
excessive repetitions, nor its wonders come to an end. It is a thing from which
the Jinn did not turn away when they heard it, so much so that they said: We
have heard a wonderful Qur’an that guides to truth: so we affirm our faith in
it. Whoso speaks according to it, speaks the truth; and whoso acts on it, is
rewarded; and whoso decides therewith is just; and whoso invites to it, is
guided to straight path. (Tirmizi, Darimi)
30. Mauz Al-Johany reported that the Apostle of Allah (Salallahu Alaihi
Wasallam) said: “Whoso reads the Qur’an and acts upon it what is therein, his
parents will be adorned on the Resurrection Day with a crown of which the
brilliance will be greater than the rays of sun in the houses of this world
provided it (sun) exists in your midst. What is then your conjecture about one
who works up to it?” (Ahmad, Abu Dawood)
31. Ali reported that the Apostle of Allah (Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:
“Whoso reads the Qur’an, and commits it to memory, and admits its lawful things
as lawful and unlawful things as unlawful. Allah will admit him into the
Paradise and will accept his intercession for ten persons out of his family
members, for every one of whom the fire has become sure.” (Ahmad, Tirmizi)
32. Abu Huriarah reported (RA) that the Apostle of Allah (Salallahu Alaihi
Wasallam) asked Obia-b-Ka’ab: “How do you read (the Qur’an) in prayer? Then he
read the mother of the Qur’an (1Q). The Apostle of Allah said: I swear by One in
whose hand my life is, the like of it was never revealed either in the Torah,
Zabur, Injeel; and it is the seven oft-repeated verses’ and the greatest Qur’an
which I have been given. (Tirmizi)
33. Same reported that the Apostle of Allah (Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:
“Learn the Qur’an and read it. The parable of the Qur’an for one who learns,
reads and stands up therewith in prayer is like the parable of the bag filled
with musk which diffuses its smell in every direction; and the parable of one
who learns it and sleeps while it is in his belly is like the parable of a bag
of musk that is closed up.” (Tirmizi)
The Qur’an and Suhaba al-Kiram:
It is reported on the authority of Hadhrat Ibne Masood (RA) and Hadhrat
Ubi-bin-Ka’b (RA) that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) used to recite to
them (Suhaba) ten verses of the Qur’an and they would not learn eleventh unless
they would learn what was contained in those ten verses about deeds, so they
used to learn both the Qur’an and ‘Aamal’ (deeds) together.” (Qurtubi)
Mota Umam Maalik has reported that Hadhrat Ibne Umar (RA) took eight years to
Imam Malik has quoted Nafae saying that he heard from Ibne Umar that Hadhrat
Umar (RA) learnt Surah-al-Baqarah in about twelve years.
Abdullah bin Masood (RA) said: “It was difficult for us to memorise the words of
the Qur’an but to act upon it was easy for us. And after us it will be easy for
the people to memorise the Qur’an but to act upon its commands will be difficult
It is reported on the authority of Ibne Umar (RA) “that the distinguished
companions of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), first generation of this
Ummah were not used to memorise more than a Surah at a time and they were
bestowed with the Tawfeeq of doing the deeds as per that (Surah) and the people
of the last part of this Ummah will be reciting the Qur’an, amongst them will be
even children and blind, but they will not be bestowed with the Tawfeeq of doing
deeds as per the Qur’an. (Qurtubi)
Madh-bin Jabal used to say: “Learn whatever you want to learn but you will get
reward only for that upon which you act”
Some other scholars said: “Wise people exert for understanding and foolish
people exert only for memorising”
Rules of Reverence for Reading the Holy
Quran and its Haqooq (Demands, Prerogatives)
After cleansing the teeth with miswaak (a twig of particular tree chewed and
used as a toothbrush) and performing wudhu (ablution), one should sit in a quiet
place with grace and humility and face towards the Qiblah (direction towards
Ka’bah in Makkatul Mukarramah). Then with an attentive heart, deep devotion and
zest befitting the occasion, one should recite the Qur’an, imagining all the
time that he is reciting it to Almighty Allah. If one understands the meaning,
one should pause and reflect on the verses of promise and mercy and should beg
for His forgiveness and compassion. On the verses of punishment and admonition,
one should seek His refuge, as except Him there is no Helper. On the verses
pertaining to his Majesty and Sanctity, one should say “Subhaan Allah “(Glory is
to Allah). If one does not spontaneously shed tears while reading the Holy
Qur’an, one must induce one self to weep a little. For a lover, the moments of
greatest pleasure are those when, in the presence of his beloved, he is full of
self reproach and shedding tears profusely.
One should not read fast unless one desires to memorise it. The Qur’an should be
placed in a slightly elevated position on a wooden stand or on a pillow.
One should not talk to others during recitation. If one is forced by necessity
to speak to someone, it should be done after first closing the Qur’an, and
before resuming reading again first recite Ta’awwudh (seeking refuge of Allah
against Satan). If people nearby are occupied in their work, reading in a low
voice is appreciated, otherwise reading loudly is more rewarding.
One should have clean body and clothes.
One should think that Allah is listening with a particular attention and that
angels are also listening to his recitation as angels have not been bestowed
with this treasure so they encircle one who recites the Qur’an.
One should recite with proper ‘Makharij’ and ‘Tarteel’.
One should recite the Qur’an at least once in a day. In one tradition on the
authority of Sayid Khudri (RA) Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:
“Give the eyes their share of Ibadat (worship). Sahabah asked as to what was the
share of eyes in worship? Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said that the
share of eyes is to look at the Qur’an” (Qurtubi)
It is narrated on the authority of Ubadah b Saamat (RA) that Rasulullah
(Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, “Better worship of my Ummah is to recite the
Qur’an while looking at it.” (Qurtubi)
One should apply the commands of the Qur’an on one’s day to day happenings.
One should testify the truthfulness of the Qur’an after finishing the
One should not keep anything over the Qur’an. It should be kept above every
One should keep it over a selected place in the room and should not be placed on
Torn off pages of the Qur’an should be buried in some nice piece of land where
there are least chances of trampling or these should be burnt and ash buried or
may be thrown into a river.
One should not seek worldly gains by reciting the Qur’an or by teaching it.
One should not recite in such a way that it would resemble singing.
One should not recite it in Markets and at odd and obscene places.
One should not throw the Qur’an if one wants to hand it to other.
One should not use it as a pillow
One should not use gold for any purpose like writing with gold etc. as gold is
from worldly beauties.
One should make Dua at the end of recitation particularly after finishing the
recitation of whole of the Qur’an. Hadhrat Anas b Maalik (RA) used to call his
family members and make dua at the end of completing recitation of the Qur’an.
One should not forget the Qur’an after memorising it.
It is reported on the authority of Ibne Umar (RA) that Rasulullah (Sallallahu
Alaihi Wasallam) said: “Analogy of Hafiz of the Qur’an is like that of a man who
has a camel, if he keeps him tied up with the rope round its neck, the camel
stays and when he keeps it free without tying up, the camel runs away, similarly
if the Haafiz-e-Qur’an recites the Qur’an day in and day out, the Qur’an stays
with him (in his memory) and when he leaves recitation, Qur’an also leaves (his
memory) i.e., he forgets it.” (Muslim)
Abdullah b Masood (RA) says: “Qari-Qur’an (the specialist in reciter of Qur’an)
should distinguish himself from those people who are sleeping by remaining awake
till late in night, by weeping from those who are laughing, by keeping quiet
from those who are gossiping, by humility from the arrogant and by remaining
thoughtful from those who are enjoying.”
Hadhrat Abdullah b Umar (RA) says: Qari-Qur’an should not gossip like others.
He should not become fool like other fools.
He should forgive others and be good to others as in his chest is the treasure
of the Qur’an.
He should talk less, laugh less and live with dignity.
He should not have vanity and pride.
He should not indulge in useless discussions and quarrels.
He should not harm others.
He should help others when they seek his help.
He should teach others the teachings of the Qur’an.
He should have high morals.
He should himself act as per the Qur’anic commandments and he should try his
best to understand the Qur’an.
The Masha’ikh (the spiritual mentors) have
mentioned six external and six internal rules of reverence for reading the Holy
Qur’an, which are given below:
Rules of External Reverence.
1) Perform Wudu and then sit facing the Qiblah in an extremely dignified manner
(It is disrespectful to sit leaning against the wall with feet stretched out in
front while reciting the Holy Qur’an. This should be avoided. Likewise the
Qur’an should not be placed directly on the lap.)
2) Do not proceed fast, but read with measure and correct pronunciation.
3) Try to weep, even if you have to compel yourself to do so.
4) The response to the verses of mercy or of punishment should be the same as
5) Reading should be in a low voice if insincerity is apprehended on your own
part or disturbance is caused to others. Otherwise read in a loud voice.
6) Read in a melodious voice, because there are numerous Ahadith laying emphasis
on this aspect.
Rules of Internal Reverence:
1) The heart should be full of the glory of the Qur’an i.e. realising how
sublime it is.
2) Bear in the heart the Loftiness, Majesty and Magnificence of Almighty Allah,
Whose revelation the Qur’an is.
3) The heart should be free from distraction and doubts.
4) Dwell upon the meanings and enjoy reading it.
5) Submit your heart to the subject-matter of the verses you are reading. For
instance, on the verses containing a message of mercy, the heart should be
filled with delight. And on the verses of chastisement the heart should tremble
6) The ears should be as attentive as if Almighty Allah Himself is speaking and
the reader is listening to Him.
May Allah, out of His mercy and kindness, grant all of us the ability to read
the Qur’an according to these rules of reverence.
Warning for Learners of Qur’an:
Narrated by Abu Hurayrah (RA), it has been nar¬rated on the authority of
Sulayman ibn Yasar who said: People dispersed from around Abu Hurayrah, and
Natil, who was from the Syrians said to him:
“O Shaykh, relate (to us) a tradition you have heard from the Messenger of Allah
(Sauallahu Alaihi Wasallam).” He said: “Yes. I heard the Messenger of Allah
(Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) saying: The first man (whose case) will be decided
on the Day of Judgement, will be a man who died as a martyr. He shall be brought
(before the Judgement Seat). Al¬lah will make him recount His blessings (i.e.
the blessings which He had bestowed upon him) and he will recount them (and
admit having enjoyed them in his life). (Then) will Allah say: What did you do
(to requite these blessings)? He will say: I fought for Thee until I died as a
martyr. Allah will say: You have told a lie. You fought so that you might be
called a “brave warrior”. And you were called so. (Then) orders will be passed
against him and he will be dragged with his face down ward and cast into the
Hell. Then there will be brought forward a man who acquired knowledge and
imparted it (to others) and recited the Qur’an. He will be brought, Allah will
make him recount His blessings and he will recount them (and admit having
enjoyed them in his lifetime). Then will Allah ask: What did you do (to requite
these blessings)? He will say: I acquired knowledge and disseminated it and
recited the Qur’an, seeking the pleasure. Allah will say: You have told a lie.
You acquired knowledge so that you might be called “a scholar” and you recited
the Qur’an so that might be said: “He is a Qari” and such has been said. Then
orders will be passed against him and he shall be dragged with his face downward
and cast into the Fire. Then will be brought a man, whom Allah had made
abundantly rich and has granted every kind of wealth. He will be brought, Allah
will make him recount His blessings and he will recount them and (admit having
enjoyed them in his lifetime). Allah will (then) ask: What have you done (to
requite these blessings)? He will say: I spent money in every cause in which
Thou wished that it should be spent. Allah will say: You are lying. You did (so)
that it might be said about (you): “He is a generous fellow” and so it was said.
Then will Allah pass orders and he will be dragged with his face downward and
thrown into the Hell.” (Bukhari)
It is reported in one tradition that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)
said: “One who seeks lIm (religious knowledge) for something other than pleasing
Allah or intends something other than pleasing Allah, should think his abode in
the Hell” (Qurtubi)
It is reported on the authority of Abu Hurairah (RA) that Rasulullah (SaIlaIIahu
Alaihi Wasallam) said: “One who learns lIm (religious) not for Allah’s sake but
seeks with it worldly benefits will not (even) smell the fragrance of Jannah
(The paradise).” (Tirmizi)
It is reported on the authority of Abu Hurairah (RA) that Rasulullah (Sallallahu
Alaihi Wasallam) said: “Seek refuge with Allah from ‘Jubb-ul-Hazan’. He (Sallallahu
Alaihi Wasallam) said that it was a valley in Jahannum from which Jahannum (The
Hell) itself seeks refuge with Allah one hundred times a day. He (Sallallahu
Alaihi Wasallam) was asked as to who will be the people who will be thrown in
that valley. He (Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said “Qari¬-e-Qur’an (reciters of
the Qur’an) who are hypocrites by their deeds.” (Tirmizi)
There are so many Ahadith in this regard so it is very important for the student
of the Qur’an to make his intention purely to please Allah and not for any
mun¬dane purposes and also to live his life as per the Qur’anic principles.
Rewards for Reciters and Listeners of the
There is a promise of reward for all the deeds performed as per Shari’ah but the
reward for teach¬ing, learning, reciting and listening of the Qur’an is quite
extra-ordinary. All other acts of worship lead to Qurb (nearness) of Allah
indirectly whereas the recitation of the Qur’an leads to nearness of Allah
directly. When someone recites the Qur’an, he immediately comes under the shower
of bless¬ings of Allah. Allah Ta’ala listens to the recitation of the Qur’an
with particular attention. The Angels sur¬round the reciter in large numbers as
the angels have not been given this treasure of recitation of the Qur’an.
Out of the rewards that the Qari or reciter
of the Qur’an will be given, some are as follows:
1. His pan of the pious deeds of the balance on the Day of Judgement will be
2. They will have Nur on the Day of Judgement because of recitation of the
Qur’an in the world.
3. They will enjoy Divine protection along with their family and property.
4. The Qur’an will intercede for its reciter on the Day of Judgement.
5. It will protect its reciter from the Hell-fire.
6. There are specific rewards for reciting specific Surahs. For example, those
who recite Surah ¬Baqarah and Surah Aal-e-lmran, these two Surahs will form
clouds over its reciter on the Day of Judgement and protect him from the
scorching heat of the sun. Surah ‘Mulk’ will give company in the grave to its
reciter. Similarly there are specific rewards for reciting specific verses.
8. Reciter of the Qur’an will be told to recite and ascend. He will ascend one
step for every verse and his place in Jannat (Paradise) will be where he will
It has been reported on the authority of Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (RA) that
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “As soon as the people assemble in
some house from the houses of Allah (mosques) where they recite the Qur’an and
learn it amongst themselves, the ‘Sakeena’ (con¬tentment) and Rahmat (mercy)
descends upon them and covers them. The Angels surround them and Allah makes a
mention of them amongst the an¬gels. (Muslim)
Allah Ta’ala says:
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَتْلُونَ كِتَابَ اللَّهِ وَأَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَأَنْفَقُوا
مِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ سِرًّا وَعَلَانِيَةً يَرْجُونَ تِجَارَةً لَنْ تَبُورَ ()
لِيُوَفِّيَهُمْ أُجُورَهُمْ وَيَزِيدَهُمْ مِنْ فَضْلِهِ إِنَّهُ غَفُورٌ شَكُورٌ
“Those who rehearse the Book of Allah estab¬lish regular Prayer and spend (in
Charity) out of what We have provided for them secretly and openly hope for a
Commerce that will never fail: For He will pay them their wages in full nay He
will give them (even) more out of His Bounty; for He is Oft-Forgiving Most Ready
to appreciate (service). (35:29-30)
It is reported on the authority of Abdullah-b-¬Masood (RA) that Rasulullah
(Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “One who reads one word from the book of
Allah (The Qur’an), there is one Thawab for him and one Thawab is like ten, I
don’t say that Alif Lam Meem’ is a single word, but Alif is one, Lam is one and
Meem is one word.” (Tirmizi)
This Hadith is enough for exhorting the Muslims for reciting the Qur’an day and
It is reported on the authority of Uqbah-b-¬Aamir (RA), that Rasulullah
(SallaIIahu Alaihi Wasallam) came to us and asked: “Who amongst you likes to go
to Bathan or Al-Aqeeq and come with two pregnant she-camels without any sin and
without harming your relations? We said, “We like that” Then he said, “If you
walk up to the mosque and learn or recite two verses from the Qur’an (Book of
Allah) that is better than two she-camels and three verses are better than three
and four are better than four.” (Muslim)
Abdullah-b-Umar (RA) reports that Rasulullah (SaIlaIlahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:
“Beholder of the Qur’an will be told (on the Day of Judgement) recite and
ascend, recite as you used to recite in the world, for your destination is at
the last verse you recite. (Tirmizi)
Abu Amamah (RA) reports that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:
“Recite the Qur’an for it will intercede in favour of its reciter on the Day of
Reward for Listening to the Qur’an:
Allah Ta’ala says:
وَإِذَا قُرِئَ الْقُرْآنُ فَاسْتَمِعُوا لَهُ وَأَنْصِتُوا لَعَلَّكُمْ
“When the Qur’an is read listen to it with at¬tention and hold your peace: that
ye may receive Mercy.” (7:204)
In this verse there is definite promise of mercy for those who listen the Qur’an
and also keep quiet while it is being recited.
وَإِذَا سَمِعُوا مَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَى الرَّسُولِ تَرَى أَعْيُنَهُمْ تَفِيضُ مِنَ
الدَّمْعِ مِمَّا عَرَفُوا مِنَ الْحَقِّ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا آمَنَّا فَاكْتُبْنَا
“And when they listen to the revelation re¬ceived by the Messenger thou wilt see
their eyes overflowing with tears for they recognize the truth: they pray: “Our
‘Lord! We believe; write us down among the witnesses.” (5:83)
وَإِذْ صَرَفْنَا إِلَيْكَ نَفَرًا مِنَ الْجِنِّ يَسْتَمِعُونَ الْقُرْآنَ
فَلَمَّا حَضَرُوهُ قَالُوا أَنْصِتُوا فَلَمَّا قُضِيَ وَلَّوْا إِلَى قَوْمِهِمْ
“Behold We turned towards thee a company of Jinns (quietly) listening to the
Qur’an: when they stood in the presence thereof they said “Listen in silence!”
When the (reading) was finished they returned to their people to warn (them of
their sins)” (46:29)
These two verses speak of the heart moulding effectiveness of listening to the
Qur’an, first verse reveals how the Qur’an affects men and the second verse
shows how it affects even the Jinns:
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) used to ask some of his companions (RA)
to recite the Qur’an so that he (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) would listen.
Listening to the Qur’an is also a great act of worship of unique nature. May
Allah grant us Tawfeeq1 of reciting the Qur’an all day and night, the way He
likes it (Ameen).
Cleanliness Needed for
Recitation of the Qur’an:
The book that Allah Subhanahu-Wa-Ta’ala revealed to the best of the Prophets,
Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) through best of the Angels,
Jibrael (AS) for the best of the Ummah, Ummah of Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu
Alaihi Wasallam), deserves a great respect while touching it, reading it or
while placing it at any place.
While reciting it, there should be cleanliness of body, place, clothes, mouth
and heart - that should be free from Shirk, Fisq and doubts.
Allah Ta’ala says:
إِنَّهُ لَقُرْآنٌ كَرِيمٌ () فِي كِتَابٍ مَكْنُونٍ () لَا يَمَسُّهُ إِلَّا
“That this is indeed a Qur’an most honorable in a Book well-guarded Which none
shall touch but those who are clean” (56:77-79)
It is not permissible to recite the Qur’an at dirty and odd places. It is not
permissible to re¬cite it in markets where people are busy with their worldly
It is reported on the authority of Hadhrat Ali (RA) that Rasulullah (Sallallahu
Alaihi Wasallam) said:
“Clean your mouths from the Qur’an”
“Indeed, your mouths are roads for the Qur’an, clean them with Miswaak.”
Reverence of Pages and Words of Qur’an:
Allah Ta’ala says:
بَلْ هُوَ قُرْآنٌ مَجِيدٌ () فِي لَوْحٍ مَحْفُوظٍ ()
“That this is indeed a Qur’an most honorable In a Book well-guarded”
فَمَنْ شَاءَ ذَكَرَهُ () فِي صُحُفٍ مُكَرَّمَةٍ () مَرْفُوعَةٍ مُطَهَّرَةٍ ()
بِأَيْدِي سَفَرَةٍ () كِرَامٍ بَرَرَةٍ()
“By no means (should it be so)! For it is indeed a Message of instruction.
Therefore let whose will keep it in remembrance. (It is) in Books heId (greatly)
in honour. Exalted (in dignity) kept pure and holy (Written) by the hands of
scribes Honorable and Pious and Just.” (80:11-16)
بَلْ هُوَ قُرْآنٌ مَجِيدٌ () فِي لَوْحٍ مَحْفُوظٍ()
“Nay this is a Glorious Qur’an (Inscribed) in Tablet Preserved!” (85 :21-22)
Qur’an and its interpretation:
Allah Ta’ala says:
إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا ذِكْرَى لِلْعَالَمِينَ
“Verily this is no less than a message to (all) the worlds”
The Qur’an has been revealed neither for a particular nation nor for a
particular period but has been sent for the whole world and for all the people
of all times. lt is for this reason that there is an im¬mense vastness in the
meaning of the words of the Qur’an as it has to accommodate the solution and
answers for a great variety of situations and problems of different times which
are entirely dif¬ferent from one another. So, it was not feasible to have words
of limited meaning in the Qur’an. Thus a great field has been provided for the
scholars of the Qur’an in the vast ocean of meaning. It is one of the miracles
of the Qur’an that despite its vastness it has been able to keep in check its
interpreters. There have been some mischievous elements from time to time that
tried or are trying to misinterpret the Qur’an but an unseen Divine Hand of
protection is always protecting it and maintaining its purity.
وَأَنْ تَقُولُوا عَلَى اللَّهِ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ
“And that ye should say of Allah that of which ye have no knowledge”
Allah Ta’ala categorically declared:
إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ
“We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and we sill assuredly guard it
(from corruption)” (15:9)
وَلَا تَقْفُ مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ
“And pursue not that of which thou hast no knowledge” (17:36)
Rasulullah (SallaIIahu Alaihi Wasallam) laid down the practical guidelines for
the protection of the Qur’an. A Hadith says: “One, who says something about the
Qur’an without knowledge, should find his abode in the Hell.” (Tirmidi)
Another Hadith says:
“One, who interprets Qur’an as per his own opinion, he did wrong even if his
opinion may be correct.” (Tirmizi)
Hadhrat Abu Bakr Siddiq (RA) used to say “Which earth will carry me, which sky
will cover me if I say anything about Qur’an of my own opinion or without
Sources of Tafseer
(Interpretation of the Qur’an)
1. The Qur’an: The Qur’an itself is the first source of interpretation of the
Qur’an. Some verses of the Qur’an are explained by some other verses of it. For
example, the verse:
اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ
“Show us the straight way” (1:6)
This verse is explained by another verse of the Qur’an as:
الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ مِنَ النَّبِيِّينَ وَالصِّدِّيقِينَ
“On whom is the Grace of Allah - of the Prophets (who teach) the sincere (lovers
of Truth the martyrs, and the Righteous (who do good)” (4:69)
“On whom is the Grace of Allah - of the Prophets (who teach) the sincere (lovers
of Truth the martyrs, and the Righteous (who do good)”
Hadith is the second most important source of Tafseer of
Qur’an. Teaching of the Qur’an to the people was one of the main jobs of
Rasulullah (SallaIIahu Alaihi Wasallam). Allah Ta’ala says
هُوَ الَّذِي بَعَثَ فِي الْأُمِّيِّينَ رَسُولًا مِنْهُمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْهِمْ
آيَاتِهِ وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ
“It is He Who has sent amongst the unlettered a messenger from among themselves,
to rehearse to them His Signs, to purify them, and to instruct them in The Book
and Wisdom” (62:2)
It is yet another miracle of the Qur’an that ¬not only its words have been
preserved in pristine purity but its interpretations in the form of Hadith have
also been preserved in a miraculous way. How the Ahadith have been preserved,
should be seen in various Hadith books. In this regards it is mandatory for the
interpreter of the Qur’an to rely on authentic Hadith books.
The companions of Rasulullah (SaIlallahu Alaihi Wasallam)
constitute the third important source of interpretations as they were directly
taught by Rasulullah (SalIaIlahu Alaihi Wasallam), so their interpretation is
taken as next to Hadith even some Ulema include this in the definition of Hadith
as well while others call it ‘Ather’.
Tabaeen are the students of Sahaba, so if a tabaee quotes
some Sahabi, it is also regarded as authentic.
5. Literal meaning of Arabic Language:
Those verses of the Qur’an which are simple in meaning and do not have any
complexity can be their understood by simple literal meaning only, but to
interpret the whole Qur’an on the basis of literal meaning only, is not
The interpreter of the Qur’an should have full command over:
i. Arabic Language
ii. Arabic Grammar - both sequential and analytic
iii. Shaan-e-Nuzool (background of revelation)
iv. Naasikh and Mansookh (abrogating and abrogated verses)
V. Sunnah of Rasulullah (Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam)
vi. Interpretations by Hadith
vii. Interpretations of Sahaba
viii. Interpretations of Tabaeen
ix. Arabic proverbs (Arab Muhawarah)
x. Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence
If intellect is used along with above mentioned branches
of knowledge then it can be used for interpretation of the Qur’an. If the
intellect is used in the absence of these things then that intellect is usually
led by Devil towards Devil, and not towards the Truth. The verse of the Qur’an
وَإِذِ اسْتَسْقَى مُوسَى لِقَوْمِهِ فَقُلْنَا اضْرِبْ بِعَصَاكَ الْحَجَرَ
“And remember Musa prayed for water for his people; We said “Strike the rock
with thy staff”. (2:60)
Sir Syed stretches his intellect and interprets the verse
اَضُرِبْ بِعَصَاكَ الْحَجَر
as “Walk on this rock with the help of the stick”
In the above mentioned verse the Qur’an mentions miracle of Hadhrat Musa (AS)
that Allah asked him to strike a rock with his stick, by which twelve springs
sprouted from that rock. Since Sir Syed did not like that he should be labeled
as an orthodox and unscientific by the English people, who had honoured him with
‘Sir’, and they should not look down upon him, he denied this well known miracle
of Hadhrat Musa (AS) and misinterpreted the verse by twisting the meaning of the
words of the Qur’an.
This intellect is a double edged sword it can lead one to heights if used
properly but it can also lead to lowest ebb if used otherwise.
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) prayed for Hadhrat lbne Abbas (RA) as
“O Allah! Teach him the interpretation of the Qur’an and bestow him with the
proper sense of Deen.”
It is by way of this Dua that Ibne Abbas (RA) properly used his extraordinary
intellect for the interpretation of the Qur’an
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