An Introduction to the Sciences of the Qur'an
IntroductionAHMAD VON DENFFER
The Qur'an contains the revelations of Allah, the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, to mankind. It isthe message from God to man and therefore of utmost importance to us. To properly grasp a message, oneneeds first of all to understand its contents exactly, and for this purpose one must study the Qur'an deeplyand in detail. In fact, some people do spend their whole lives studying the Qur'an, reading and reflectingupon it and, as they grow and develop, both physically and spiritually, they discover for themselves newmeanings and implications.Secondly, some special knowledge of the circumstances that surround the message is also necessary for fuller understanding of its meaning and implications. Although some part of this special knowledge can bederived from the Qur'an itself, there remain other areas of knowledge that can only be discovered by wider study and research.Muslims have from earliest times, applied themselves not only to the message from Allah the Qur'an butalso to its setting and framework, and the preoccupation with these ultimately developed into the 'sciences'of or 'knowledge' about the Qur'an, known as "
.The proper approach to the Qur'an, in my humble view, can be described in three stages. You must:first,
the message of the Qur'an, by hearing or reading it;second,
the message of the Qur'an by reflecting upon it and studying its meanings;third,
the message of the Qur'an by ordering your personal life as well as the life of society accordingto its message.The branch of knowledge, called '
may be used as a means for the accomplishment of thesecond stage, understanding the message of the Qur'an, by understanding its setting and circumstances.According to a general definition, '
[Sabuni, Muhammad 'Ali: al-tibyan fi 'ulum al-qur-an,Beirut, 1970, p. 10.]denotes studies concerned with the book of revelations sent down upon the lastProphet Muhammad,[The customary blessings on the Prophet (Allah's blessings and peace beupon him)each time his name is mentioned will not be repeated in the text, but the reader is kindly requested toobserve this Muslim tradition.]namely:
Its order and arrangement.
Its writing down.
Information about the reasons and occasions of revelation.
About what was revealed in Makka and what in Madina.
About the abrogating and abrogated verses.
About the 'clear' and the 'unclear' verses.
The term also covers Qur'an-related studies, such as: