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Muqaddimah – Tafsir Nizam-ul-Quran – Preface – Part 2

August 30, 2009

3. Moreover, it is an indisputable fact that coherence is the necessary characteristic of every discourse. Minus it, you will lose a significant part of the meaning and implications of the discourse.  A whole contains what we may call over and above of the sum total of its parts. Grapes and wine are certainly different things. That is why we see that if someone fails to understand the connections in the parts of a discourse a great part of the meaning of the discourse is lost upon him. His state is not different than that of the People of the Book concerning whom God says (5:14):

Thus they lost a part of that through which they were reminded (of religious truth). Consequently, we stirred up enmity and hatred among them till the Day of Resurrection

I am afraid the enmity and antagonism that has broken out among the Muslims originates in our disregard for the greater part of the meaning of the Holy Quran buried in its coherence. Given this, God forbid, the evil can hardly be curbed. The reason for this, as explained above, is that disputing over the meaning of the Word of God will necessarily lead us to cherish different goals. Consequently, we will share the fate of the People of the Book mentioned in the verse quoted above. They, however, after all this, could hope reform by believing in the Last Prophet (sws) and the Last Revelation of God, still awaited then, but we have no other way except for turning to Quran itself.

4. **The Quran itself testifies to the fact that Allah revealed His Book in small portions, as needed and at different times, according to the requirements of the situation. The aim of this was to develop the ability of understanding the Quran amongst its followers, as the Quran itself says:

“Those who reject Faith say: “Why is not the Qur’an revealed to him all at once?” Thus (is it revealed), that We may strengthen your heart with it” (25:32)

Once a Surah was revealed, it was arranged according to a particular order and its meaning were elaborated within the Quran:

“Surely on Us (rests) the collecting of it and the reciting of it. Therefore when We have recited it, follow its recitation. Again on Us (rests) the explaining of it. ” (75:17-19)

This tells us that whenever a Surah was completed in terms of its entire revelation Allah Himself had its ayahs collected in a particular order and whatever explanation was required was also added accordingly. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) had each ayah placed at its exact and particular location according to revelation and would get anxious whenever there was a delay in completion of a Surah, primarily because of his immense feeling of responsibility toward delivering Allah’s message to his people.  In fact, Allah has drawn attention to this fact in these words:

“…and do not make haste with the Quran before its revelation is made complete to you and say: O my Lord ! increase me in knowledge. ” (20:114)

This is precisely because Allah, in His all encompassing wisdom, knew that relaxations within the commandments of the Shariah will have to be revealed later on, mainly due the weak nature of Man’s spiritual self.**

The Holy Quran, considering human weakness, places the alleviatory verses after the initial commands. That weakness is inherent in all human beings and is indicated in the following verse, which is follows right after the one quoted above (20:115):

And we covenanted with Adam previously and he forgot (our command). Thus, We did not find him well committed

That the alleviatory verses have been revealed considering human weakness can be gleaned from the following verse of the Holy Quran (8:66):

Now God has lessened your burden (of responsibility) seeing that weakness has befell you

This verse has been placed right after the original command it repeals. Similarly, there is a distance of many years between the period of revelation of initial verses of Surah Muzammil, commanding the Muslims to observe the night vigil, and the last verse of the Surah, which serves to repeal the command. Here, in spite of the difference in period of revelation of both the commands, the verse repealing the earlier commands has been placed after the abrogated directive. The case of the verse regarding sexual intercourse with one’s wife during the nights of the month of Ramadan (2:187) and the ones commanding the believers to make a testamentary provision to their wives (2:240) can also be cited to prove this point. The latter verse, as I have discussed in my commentary of the Surah, was put among the verses complementing the entire section. It was in fact very meticulously placed after the first complement in this regard. Such explanatory verses most often are followed by the statement (2:187):

Thus does God makes His verses clear to people

I believe that such explanatory verses fulfilled the divine promise made in the following verse of Surah Qiyamah (75:19):

We shall Ourselves explain it

It also responds to the prayer taught to the Holy Prophet (sws) by the Almighty Himself in the following verse (20:114):

Lord, increase my knowledge

5. In the preceding paragraphs I have pleaded with these Quranic facts in order to substantiate the theory of coherence in the Holy Quran. The Hadith narratives also corroborate this thesis. Many traditions lead us to the conclusion that whenever a part of the Holy Quran was revealed, the Holy Prophet (sws) would determine its Surah and also its place in that particular Surah and would direct his companions to put it there. It was thus put in its proper place under his direct supervision. Some other narratives tell us that once a Surah would be completed Gabriel recited the whole Surah before the Prophet (sws). In my opinion, this also constituted the fulfilment of the divine promise of the jam and the Quran in Surah Qiyamah. It was this arrangement and recitation which the Prophet (sws) was commanded to follow.

Moreover, order of the verses of the Quranic Surahs is recognized by the entire Ummah. All the Muslim sects and schools have the same text with the same order of the verses in the Surahs.

Muqaddimah – Tafsir Nizam-ul-Quran – Preface – Part 3

This is a rendering of English translation of Muqaddimah – Tafsir Nizam ul Quran by the permission of the translator, Tariq Mahmood Hashmi. Original version available here.
** The portion indicated here is missing from the English translation. I have filled in the gap by providing my own

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