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Part I Need For Divine Guidance
       Sensual Faculty
       Intellectual Faculty
       Intuitional (Mystic) Faculty
       Prophetic Faculty
Part II Introduction to al-Qur'an
       Nomenclature of Al-Qur'an
       History of Descent or Nuzool of Al-Qur'an
       Makki and Madni Verses
       Sequence of the Qur'an Shareef
       Shan-e-Nuzool of Al-Qur'an
       Seven Qirats of Al-Qur'an
       Naskh or Abrogation of Verses
       Muhkam and Mutashabih
       Fazail (Virtues) Qur'an
       Qur'an and the Suhaba al-Kiram (RA)
       Rules of Reverence for Reading the Holy Qur'an

Part II

Nomenclature of Al-Quran:

            The most commonly used name of the last Divine book revealed by Allah on Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is Al-Quran. Allah Taala has used this name at least sixty one times in Quran.

Meaning of Al-Quran:

            The majority of Ulema believe that the word Al-Quran is derived from Qara, Yaqrau, 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-Quran 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-Quran:

            Alama Abu-al-Maali has counted fifty five names of Al-Quran while some others have counted more than ninety. These people have in fact counted the attributes of Al-Quran as its names e.g. Karim, Hakim etc.

Actually Al-Quran has five names viz, Al- Quran, Al-Furqan, Az-Zikr, Al-Kitab, Al-Tanzeel. (Uloom-Ul-Quran)

Al-Furqan:

             The Quran is named Al-Furqan as it differentiates between Truth and Falsehood. Allah Taala says:

Blessed is He, Who sent down the Criterion to His servant, that it may be an admonition to all creatures.(25:1)

Az-Zikr:

            It is named Az-Zikr, as it is full of advices and the incidents of past which in turn make a sane person wiser. Allah Taala says:

 We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption). (15:9)

Al-Kitab:

            It is named so, as it collects past incidents and other information excellently. Allah Taala says:

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Ta. Sin. Mim. These are verses of the Book that makes (things) clear.(26:1-2)

At-Tanzeel:   

            It is named so, as it is a revealed book from Allah Taala. He says:

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-Quran itself uses this word WAHY in many such meanings. Allah says in the Quran:

So Zakariya came out to his people from his chamber: He told them by signs to celebrate Allahs praises in the morning And in the evening(19:11)

Here the word is used:

And thy Lord taught the Bee to build its cells in hills. (16:68)

So, We sent this inspiration to the mother of Moses: Suckle (thy child). (28:7)

            These last two verses show that Al-Quran 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 Shariah:

            Words of Allah revealed to a prophet from His prophets. (Uloom ul-Quran, Umdat-ul-Qari)

            Allah Taala 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 Taala came to mans rescue by sending His Guidance in the form of WAHY through prophets.

            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 regularly. This term is used for Al-Quran 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-Quran and is not recited like Al-Quran. In this the meaning is from Allah and words are from Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).

            Other classification is based on the way of receiving WAHY by Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).

1.         Direct speech from Allah:

            In this type of WAHY Allah Taala 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 Meraj, as is mentioned in the Quran:

So did (Allah) convey the inspiration to His servant (conveyed) what He (meant) to convey. (53:10)

Allah Taala also talked to Hadhrat Musa (AS) directly.

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 Jibraeel (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 dreams:

            In this type of WAHY Allah Taala 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-Quran mentions about the dreams of Hadhrat  Yousuf (AS) and Hadhrat Ibrahim (AS):

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 Alaihi Wasallam)

            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 whatever has been said. And sometime an angel comes to me in the form of a man.(Sahih Bukhari)

Salsalat-ul-Jaras ( ) :

            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-Quran)

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) narrates: 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 heavens.

True Dreams:

            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 day light.

Direct Speech from Allah:

            This type of direct speech from Allah was heard by Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) during his ascent (Meraj) to the heavens. In other tradition, it is mentioned that Allah Taala spoke to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) once in a dream also.

Inspiration from Angel into the QALB:

            In one tradition it is reported that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:

Jibraeel (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 misinterpretation. 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-Quran:

            Al-Quran 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 Taala says:

Nay! This is a glorious Quran, (inscribed) in Al-Lauhi-i-Mahfooz (the preserved Tablet). (85:22)

            That means before the creation of the universe, Al-Quran was there in Lauh-i-Mahfooz, the preserved or guarded tablet. From here Al-Quran was sent down to Aasmaan-e-Duniya (Lowest Heaven) to Bait-ul-Mamoor, this is called first descent or Nuzool.

First Descent or Nuzool:

                Whole of  Al-Quran was sent down in total at one instance of time from Lauh-i-Mahfooz to Bait-ul-Mamoor in Aasmaane Duniya. This is called first Nuzool and this type of sending down of whole of the Quran at one instant of time is called Inzaal. The Quran has used two words for its Nuzool or descent viz.,

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 Taala says:

 We sent it down during a blessed night: For We (ever) wish to warn (against Evil).         (44:3) 

            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-Quran from lawh-i-Mahfooz to Bait-ul-Mamoor was done to convey the message that the Al-Quran 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. (Manahil-ul-Irfan, Uloom-ul-Quran)

Tanzeel:

            From Bait-ul-Mamoor the Quran 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.

Al-Quran says:

(It is) a Quran 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 stages. (17:106)

            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.      (Al-Itqaan)

            One reason for this step wise descent was given in above mentioned verse and other reason is also given by the Quran itself, viz.,

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Those who reject faith say: Why is not the Quran 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 Quran:

            There is consensus amongst the Ulema that the initial verses of the Surah Alaq are the first verses of Al-Quran 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 Allahs 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 Allahs 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 calamity-afflicted ones.

            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? Allahs 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. Allahs 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-Quran in his famous Tafseer, Tafseel Al-Kabeer, writes following reasons:

1.         Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was illiterate, if Quran 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 Quran 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 Jibraeel (AS) with the Quranic verse made it easy for him (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) to face these hardships and also provided him solace.

4.         Large portion of the Quran 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 Quran was sent down like that and not once only. As the Quranic predictions were also coming true, that further brightening its truthfulness.

Period of Fatrat:

            Hadhrat Jibraeel (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.

Second verse:

            After the period of Fatrat, Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) narrates the next appearance of Jibraeel as: Suddenly I saw the Angel who had come to me in cave Hira 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 Quran and second time it was sent down as a permanent part of the Quran.

Makki and Madini Verses:

            It has been a tradition with the commentators of the Quran to label the verse of the Quran 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 (migration) 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 Miraj 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 labelled 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 Madani.

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. (Uloom-Ul-Quran)

Sequence of the Quran Shareef:

            Al-Quran 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 Quran Shareef of the Surah Al-Alaq. Then revelation of the Quran Shareef continued part wise over the next 23 years. The Quranic 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 companions. 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 revelation of the Quran 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 particular part of the Quran 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 Quran 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.

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 Quran 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 Dajjal.

            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, Aaraaf etc.,

            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 of Fridays.

            All  these Ahadith Shareef prove that the Surah were framed by Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) himself and the fact the verses of Al-Quran  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 Quran Shareef which were not collected in one place. They neither added nor subtracted anything from the Quran Shareef, nor did they change any sequence. The sequence was decided by Rasulullah (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-Quran 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 Quran Shareef which Allah Taala revealed and ordered to keep safe in written form of which He did not cancel recitation after revelation, that the same Quran 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 Taala and Rasulullah (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 Quran Shareef is written in the guarded tablet (Lowhe-Mehfooz) in the same sequence as it is with us and Allah Taala sent the whole of the Quran 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 place.

            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 thirteen 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 Quran Shareef were being revealed and simultaneously they were being arranged in a definite sequence under the Divine guidance and after Rasulullahs (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) blessed soul departed from this world, the Quran Shareef was complete in the form of a flawless book, no contradictions, no need for any rearrangements, miraculous sequence and inter-relation 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 Quran Shareef and its being the greatest miracle and proof of the Prophet-hood of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).

Shan-e-Nuzool of Al-Quran (background of descent of different verses of Al-Quran):

            Shan-e-Nuzool means the particular circumstances, context or events in which or in response to which, particular verses of Al-Quran were revealed to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). This is also a very essential science needed for understanding Al-Quran. There are two types of verses in Al-Quran, 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 were revealed.

Al-Whadi Says:

It is not possible to understand the meaning of a verse of Al-Quran unless one refers to its Shan-e-Nuzool (Al -Itiqan)

Ibne Daqeeq says:

The Shan-e-Nuzool helps strongly in understanding Al-Quran (al-itiqan)

Ibne Taymiyah says:

To Know Shan-e-Nuzool, helps in understanding of a verse of Al-Quran  (Al Itiqan)

Examples:

1.         Al-Quran contains the verse:

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 Taala 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:

May you perish, is this what you invited us for 

            It was in response to these words of Abu Lahab that Allah Taala revealed the above quoted verses of Surah Lahab to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)

2.         Another verse reads:

  

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;

  

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 Quran? 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 Quran. 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 Quran:

Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:

Indeed the Quran 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 Jibraeel (AS) came to him and asked him to order his Ummah to recite Al-Quran as per a single Harf (word) or Qirat. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) told him that his Ummah was not capable of doing it, then Jibraeel (AS) came again and asked Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) to order his Ummah to recite Al-Quran 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 Jibreaal (AS) asked Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) to order his Ummah to recite the Quran as per seven Haroof or (words) or Qirats.   This permission to recite Al-Quran 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 Tahawis 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 Quran 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 Taal, 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-Quran)

Difference in Seven Types of Qirats:

1.         Difference in nouns: In this there is difference either in number or gender. In one, word is recited and in other .

2.         Difference in verb: In this there is difference of present, past or future tenses.

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 missing.

5.         Substitutions of a word: In this an equivalent of a word is recited in other Qirat.

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 different Qirats.

Sahih Muslim narrates a Hadith on the authority of Hadhrat Ubai bin kab (RA): While I was in the Masjid, someone entered and offered Salah in which he recited the Quran to which I objected (as he recited differently), then another person entered and he recited the Quran 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 Quran 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 Quran 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 Quran 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 Quran was revealed in seven Haroof. Now, here a few questions arise which need to be discussed viz;

1-         Do these seven Qirats still exist?

2-         Did Hadhrat Uthmaan (RA) abrogate six Qirats when he compiled the Quran?

3-         The Quran is a word of Allah and has been promised everlasting protection, then how come some of the Qirats 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 Qirats in his one compilation?

Alaama Zarqani (RA)  in Manaahil-ul-Irfan writes:

All the seven Qirats or Haroof exist in the Quran that Hadhrat Uthmaans (RA) compiled. There was consensus amongst all the Sahabah about the fact that Hadhrat Uthmaans  (RA) compilation contained all the seven Qirats (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 Quran which was compiled by Hadhrat Abu Bakr (RA) which again contained all the seven Qirats or Haroof.

Alaama Zarqani (RA) further writes:

Their is a consensus amongst the most of earlier and later Ulema of Muslim Ummah that Hadhrat  Uthmaans (RA) compilation contained all the seven Qirats 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 Rasulullahs (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) life .

Imam Ahmad has quoted a Hadith in his Musnad that:

Hadhrat Jibraeel (AS) used to recite the Quran to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) once during every Ramadhan. During the last Ramadhan of Rasulullahs (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) life, Jibraeel (AS) recited Al-Quran (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 Quranic revelation got completed and the time of departure of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) came near, Hadhrat Jibraeel AS) recited Al-Quran to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) which was as per the dialect of Quraish and which contained all the seven Qirats. Alama Zikariya(RA) says that Haztrat Uthmaan (RA) completed the Quran as per this last recitation of Hadhrat Jibraeel (AS).

            Alama Ibne-al-Jazri says that I have studied these differences in the Qirats 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 Shariah by the reasons of Shariah.

Naasikh: That Ayat of the Quran which abrogates either recitation or command or both of some other Ayat of the Quran.

Mansookh: That Ayat of the Quran which is abrogated.

Al-Quran says:

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 these Verses:

            Enemies of Islam particularly Jews were raising objections about the Quran 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.

            Lets discuss this problem of Naskh in some detail. It is one of the delicate discussions regarding the Uloom-ul-Quran. Naskh literally means abrogation or replacement of one thing by another. In Shariah it means that when the Quran 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 Quran. It is similar to a governments way of enacting a law and implementing the same part wise over a period of years.

            Here the Quran uses the word abrogation of Ayat. The word Ayat in addition to verse of the Quran 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 Taala brings forth different signs and miracles from time to time to prove the truthfulness of the Islam, the Quran and the Prophet-hood of Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). Some Ulema like Abu Muslim Asfahani think that by these Ayats abrogation of previous Shariats like Shariah 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-Quran has abrogated all previous Shariats.

            The question under discussion, in which people have different opinions, is that whether some Quranic verses have been abrogated by the other Quranic verses or not? There is consensus amongst Ulema of Ahl-Sunnah Wal Jamaat that some Quranic verses have been abrogated by some other Quranic 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 Quran 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 Quranic teachings as regards to beliefs, history or predictions have been consistent. Then what is the change, which is being discussed? The Quran 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 all about.

Step-wise Ban on Wine:

            The Quran 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 Quran 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 Taala says in Al-Quran:

Allah doth blot out or confirm what He pleaseth; with Him is the Mother of the Book (13:39)

When We substitute one revelation for another, and Allah knows best what He reveals (in stages). (16:101)

Naskh in Previous Shariats:

1.         It is mentioned in Torah that Allah Taala 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 Taala forbade eating many of these animals in the subsequent Shariats like that of Hadhrat Yaqoob (AS), Hadhrat Musa (AS) and Hadhrat Eisa (AS) etc.

2.         It is mentioned in Torah that Allah Taala 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 Shariats.

3.         Allah Taala 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 Shariah of Hadhrat Musa (AS).

5.         It was permissible in the Shariah of Hadhrat Yaqoob (AS) for a man to marry two sisters at the same time, later it was banned in the Shariah of Hadhrat Musa (AS).

6.         Talaq or divorce was permissible in the Shariah of Hadhrat Musa (AS), but it was allowed in the Shariah 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 Quran

1.         Naskh of Both Recitation as well as Commandment:

            There is consensus amongst the Ulema of Ahle-Sunnah-Wal_Jamat that there have been some verses of the Quran whose recitation 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 says,

There was an Ayat in the Quran 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 suckling by a baby makes him/her haram for the children of that women still persists.

            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-Maani, 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 Quran which was  later on abrogated.

   

 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 Quran?

            Answer is no, we cannot call them Al-Quran, for Al-Quran - Tawatur or continuity is must. As you know Al-Quran is defined as:

.  

 - 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-Quran, this Tawatur is must. Only those verses of the Quran which have come to us from Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) by Tawatur are recited as the Quran. 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 Ashari (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;

            These abrogated verses were totally lifted from the memory of Sahabah and the Quran was completed and recited to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) by Hadhrat Jibraael (AS) during the last Ramadhan of Rasulullahs (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) life. It was this final shape of the Quran 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-Quran?

            Answer: One thing is clear that these verses are not part of the Quran as they have not been transmitted by Tawatur. Ulema treat them as traditions called Khabr-e-Wahid.

3.         Naskh of command and not recitation:

And as for those who can fast with difficulty, they have to feed a Miskeen (2:184)            

             This Ayat of Al-Quran has been abrogated by following Ayat of the Quran.

So whoever of you sights (the crescent) the month (of Ramadhan i.e., is present at home), he must observe fast. (2:185)

Number 02,

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-Quran.

...

Allah commands you are regards your childrens (inheritance): to the male, a portion equal to that of two females. (4:11)

Number 03,

...

If there are twenty steadfast persons amongst you, they will overcome two hundreds (8:65)

This Ayat of the Quran is abrogated by the following Ayat of the Quran.

  ....

 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)

Number 04,

It is not lawful for you (to marry other) women after this, .. (33:52)

This Ayat is abrogated by following Ayat:

   

O Prophet (Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam))! Verily We have made lawful to you your wives, to whom you have paid their Mahr (33:52)

Number 05,

 

 O you who believe! When you (want to) consult the Messenger (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) in private (58:12)

This Ayat is abrogated by:

 

Are you afraid of spending in charity before you private consultation (with him)?... (58:13)

             The issue of abrogation has been taken differently by the ancient 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 ancient scholars gave to the word abrogation. The abrogation of this kind exists in the Quran; 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 fourteen of them and he considers only five as abrogated, out of which four have been mentioned above.

Naskh of the Quran by Sunnah:

            We have seen that there is consensus amongst the Ulema about the Naskh of the Quran by the Quran but there is controversy amongst the learned scholars of Islam that whether the Quran 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 Quran by Sunnah is permissible as whatever Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)  says is also from WAHY called WAHY-Gair-Matloo.

            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 Quran. According to them Quran can be abrogated only by Quran itself.

Muhkam and Mutashabihah:

            Knowledge of Muhkam and Mutashabiha is another very vast field for the learners and scholars of the Quran.

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, Quran 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-Quran says:

  

 Verily, to us are all heifers alike (2:70)

 Technical meaning:

            Ulema are having different opinions regarding the technical meaning of these two words viz., Muhkam and Mutashabiha. Al-Quran also uses two words in different meanings. Al-Quran says:

(This is) a book with verses basic or fundamental (of established meaning) (11:1) 

            As per this Ayat the whole Quran is having well established meaning, is well organised and there is no chance for any discontinuity or contradiction in it.

Al-Quran further says:

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 Quran has been called Mutashabih, meaning consistent with itself. Al-Quran further says:

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 Quran says that there are some verses in the Quran 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. (Manaahil-ul-Irfan)

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 Quran). (Mufradut-ul-Quran 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-Quran 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 Quran in the form of Mutashabih.

4.         Establishing supremacy of the Quran: These Mutashabih make great scholars also helpless and finally they resign by saying that Allah alone knows their meaning. (Manaahi-ul-Irfan)

Some examples of Mutashabihhat:

The most gracious is firmly established on the Throne (20:5)

But will abide (for ever) the Face of Thy Lord (55:27)

The hand of Allah is over their hands. (48:10)

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 Quran:

He replied

Istawa is known, its nature (i.e., in what way) is unknown and to ask question about it is a bidat (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 Quran 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)

Fazial (Virtues) Quran:

1.         Uthman (RA) reported that the Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:

The best of you is he who has learnt the Quran and then teaches it.

2.         Uqbah-b-Amer 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 she-camels.

4.         Ayesha (RA) reported that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:

            One who has got expert knowledge in the Quran is with the honourable pious scribes; and one who reads the Quran 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 Quran 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 Quran is parable of a citron whose fragrance as well as taste is pleasant, and the parable of believer who does not read the Quran 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 Quran 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 Quran 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 Quran and acts upon it is like an action and the believer who neither reads the Quran 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 others. (Muslim)

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.         Baras 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 Quran.  (Agreed upon)

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 Quran 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 Quran. He said: All praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds, that is the seven oft repeated verses and the great Quran which I have brought.

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 Quran 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, Tirmizi)

12.       Abu Huriarah (RA) reported that the Apostle of Allah said:     Dont make your houses graveyards. The devil flees away from the house wherein the chapter Baqarah
(2nd chapter of Al-Quran) is read. (Muslim)

13.       Abu Omamah (RA) reported: I heard the Apostle of Allah (Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam) say:  Read the Quran; 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-Saman reported: I heard the Apostle of Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) say: The Quran 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-Kaab (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! (Muslim)

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 Prophets 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. Dont you know with whom you were speaking since three nights? I said: No. He said: He is the devil. (Bukhari)

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 giventhe 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 Masud (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 Quran? He said: Say, He is Allah, the One, (i.e., Surah Ikhlas) it will be equivalent to one-third of the Quran. (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 Quran) 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 him. (Muslim)

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-Amer (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 thrice.(Agreed upon)

25.       Abdullah-b-Amr (RA) reported that the Apostle of Allah (Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: The readers of the Quran 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 Quran is like a destroyed house. (Trimizi)

27.       Abu Syeed (RA) reported that the Apostle of Allah (Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:

            The Glorious and the Exalted Lord will say: Whoever is kept engaged by the Quran 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 Masud (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 dont say that Alif, Lam, Mim is a letter, Alif is a letter, Lam is a letter and Mim is a letter.(Tirmizi)

29.       Hares-b-Awar 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 Quran 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 Quran 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 Quran, 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-Kaab: How do you read (the Quran) in prayer? Then he read the mother of the Quran (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 Quran which I have been given. (Tirmizi)

33.       Same reported that the Apostle of Allah (Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: Learn the Quran and read it. The parable of the Quran 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 Quran and Suhaba al-Kiram:

            It is reported on the authority of Hadhrat Ibne Masood (RA) and Hadhrat Ubi-bin-Kab (RA) that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) used to recite to them (Suhaba) ten verses of the Quran 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 Quran and Aamal (deeds) together. (Qurtubi)

            Mota Umam Maalik has reported that Hadhrat Ibne Umar (RA) took eight years to learn Surah-al-Baqarah.

      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 Quran but to act upon it was easy for us. And after us it will be easy for the people to memorise the Quran but to act upon its commands will be difficult for them

      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 Quran, amongst them will be even children and blind, but they will not be bestowed with the Tawfeeq of doing deeds as per the Quran. (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 Kabah in Makkatul Mukarramah). Then with an attentive heart, deep devotion and zest befitting the occasion, one should recite the Quran, 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 Quran, 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 Quran 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 Quran, and before resuming reading again first recite Taawwudh (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 Quran.

            One should recite with proper Makharij and Tarteel.

            One should recite the Quran 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 Quran (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 Quran while looking at it. (Qurtubi)

            One should apply the commands of the Quran on ones day to day happenings.

            One should testify the truthfulness of the Quran after finishing the recitation.

            One should not keep anything over the Quran. It should be kept above every other book.

            One should keep it over a selected place in the room and should not be placed on the floor.

            Torn off pages of the Quran 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 Quran 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 Quran 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 Quran. Hadhrat Anas b Maalik (RA) used to call his family members and make dua at the end of completing recitation of the Quran.

            One should not forget the Quran after memorising it.

            It is reported on the authority of Ibne Umar (RA)  that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: Analogy of Hafiz of the Quran 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-Quran recites the Quran day in and day out, the Quran stays with him (in his memory) and when he leaves recitation, Quran also leaves (his memory) i.e., he forgets it. (Muslim)

            Abdullah b Masood (RA) says: Qari-Quran (the specialist in reciter of Quran) 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-Quran 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 Quran.

            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 Quran.

            He should have high morals.

            He should himself act as per the Quranic commandments and he should try his best to understand the Quran.

            The Mashaikh (the spiritual mentors) have mentioned six external and six internal rules of reverence for reading the Holy Quran, 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 Quran. This should be avoided. Likewise the Quran 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 explained earlier.

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 Quran i.e. realising how sublime it is.

2)         Bear in the heart the Loftiness, Majesty and Magnificence of Almighty Allah, Whose revelation the Quran 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 with awe.

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 Quran according to these rules of reverence.

Warning for Learners of Quran:

            Narrated by Abu Hurayrah (RA), it has been narrated 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). Allah 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 Quran. 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 Quran, 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 Quran 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 Allahs 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-Quran (reciters of the Quran) 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 Quran to make his intention purely to please Allah and not for any mundane purposes and also to live his life as per the Quranic principles.

Rewards for Reciters and Listeners of the Quran:

            There is a promise of reward for all the deeds performed as per Shariah but the reward for teaching, learning, reciting and listening of the Quran is quite extra-ordinary. All other acts of worship lead to Qurb (nearness) of Allah indirectly whereas the recitation of the Quran leads to nearness of Allah directly. When someone recites the Quran, he immediately comes under the shower of blessings of Allah. Allah Taala listens to the recitation of the Quran with particular attention. The Angels surround the reciter in large numbers as the angels have not been given this treasure of recitation of the Quran.

            Out of the rewards that the Qari or reciter of the Quran will be given, some are as follows:

1.         His pan of the pious deeds of the balance on the Day of Judgement will be heaviour.

2.         They will have Nur on the Day of Judgement because of recitation of the Quran in the world.

3.         They will enjoy Divine protection along with their family and property.

4.         The Quran 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 Quran 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 stop reciting.

            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 Quran and learn it amongst themselves, the Sakeena (contentment) and Rahmat (mercy) descends upon them and covers them. The Angels surround them and Allah makes a mention of them amongst the angels. (Muslim)

            Allah Taala says:

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            Those who rehearse the Book of Allah establish 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 Quran), there is one Thawab for him and one Thawab is like ten, I dont 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 Quran day and night.

            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 Quran (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 Quran 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 Quran for it will intercede in favour of its reciter on the Day of Judgement  (Muslim)

Reward for Listening to the Quran:

Allah Taala says:

When the Quran is read listen to it with attention 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 Quran and also keep quiet while it is being recited.

And when they listen to the revelation received 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)

Behold We turned towards thee a company of Jinns (quietly) listening to the Quran: 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 Quran, first verse reveals how the Quran 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 Quran so that he (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) would listen. Listening to the Quran is also a great act of worship of unique nature. May Allah grant us Tawfeeq1 of reciting the Quran all day and night, the way He likes it (Ameen).

Cleanliness Needed for Recitation of the Quran:

            The book that Allah Subhanahu-Wa-Taala 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 Taala says:

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            That this is indeed a Quran 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 Quran at dirty and odd places. It is not permissible to recite it in markets where people are busy with their worldly affairs.

            It is reported on the authority of Hadhrat Ali (RA) that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:

            Clean your mouths from the Quran

            Indeed, your mouths are roads for the Quran, clean them with Miswaak.

Reverence of Pages and Words of Quran:

Allah Taala says:

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             That this is indeed a Quran most honorable In a Book well-guarded

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            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)

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Nay this is a Glorious Quran (Inscribed) in Tablet Preserved! (85 :21-22)

Quran and its interpretation:

Allah Taala says:

  

 Verily this is no less than a message to (all) the worlds

            The Quran 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 immense vastness in the meaning of the words of the Quran as it has to accommodate the solution and answers for a great variety of situations and problems of different times which are entirely different from one another. So, it was not feasible to have words of limited meaning in the Quran. Thus a great field has been provided for the scholars of the Quran in the vast ocean of meaning. It is one of the miracles of the Quran 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 Quran but an unseen Divine Hand of protection is always protecting it and maintaining its purity.

 

 And that ye should say of Allah that of which ye have no knowledge

Allah Taala categorically declared:

           

We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and we sill assuredly guard it (from corruption)  (15:9)       

 

 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 Quran. A Hadith says: One, who says something about the Quran without knowledge, should find his abode in the Hell. (Tirmidi)

Another Hadith says:

            One, who interprets Quran 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 Quran of my own opinion or without knowledge.

Sources of Tafseer

(Interpretation of the Quran)

1.      The Quran: The Quran itself is the first source of interpretation of the Quran. Some verses of the Quran are explained by some other verses of it. For example, the verse:

 

Show us the straight way (1:6)

 This verse is explained by another verse of the Quran as:

 

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)

2.      Hadith: Hadith is the second most important source of Tafseer of Quran. Teaching of the Quran to the people was one of the main jobs of Rasulullah (SallaIIahu Alaihi Wasallam). Allah Taala says

  

 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 Quran 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 Quran to rely on authentic Hadith books.

3.         Sahaba-al-Kiram: 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.

4.         Tabaeen: 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 Quran 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 Quran on the basis of literal meaning only, is not permissible.

            The interpreter of the Quran 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

            (Usool-ul-Fiqh)

6.         Intellect: If intellect is used along with above mentioned branches of knowledge then it can be used for interpretation of the Quran. 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 Quran which says:

    

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

 

 as Walk on this rock with the help of the stick

            In the above mentioned verse the Quran 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 Quran.

            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 Quran 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 Quran.

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DARUL ULOOM ILAHIYAH
INSTITUTE OF ISLAMIC RESEARCH
ILAHI BAGH, BUCHPORA, SRINAGAR, 190011, KASHMIR, INDIA