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Arrangement of the Qura#n

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Contents
A. The Classical View Section I: Divisions of the Qura#n i. Initial Format a. Verses b. Su#rahs ii. Later Format a. Divisions regarding the Meaning b. Divisions regarding Memorization Section II: Naz@m (Order and Arrangement) i. The Advocates a. Naz@m as Word Meaning Relationship b. Naz@m as Linear Connection ii. The Adverseries Section III: Makkan and Madi#nan Division

Arrangement of the Quran A. The Classical View Section I: Divisions of the Qura#n
The written and oral text of the Qura#n has undergone two distinct stages as far as its format is concerned. While the initial format existed from the days of the Companions, the exact dates of the latter is difficult to identify. We shall briefly discuss the two. i. Initial Format

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The initial format of the Qura#n consisted of A%yahs (verses) and Su#rahs:
a. A%yahs

-- These are divisions of the Qura#n where the Prophet (sws) paused while reading the Qura#n keeping in view its rhyme and rhythm. -- They were marked by the Companions when they heard the Prophets recital and there exist slight differences in ascertaining them. Suyu#t@i# writes:


The reason that the scholars have differed on the number of verses of the Qura#n is that the Prophet (sws) used to pause at the end of certain verses. When the place of pause became known, he would read the next verse such that he would join the previous one with it without pausing. A person who would happen to hear this reading would think that there is no pause between the two verses [and they are actually one].1 --They do not necessarily signal the end of a sentence and can be compared with the hemistitch (mis@rah) of a couplet (shayr). -- A verse can contain more than one sentence (eg 2:282) and one sentence can be made up of more than one verse (eg. 96:9-10). b. Su#rahs There are 114 Su#rahs of the Qura#n and signify a whole set of meanings. Each Su#rah of the Qura#n, with the exception of the 9th, begins with the words: In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious the Ever Merciful. ii. Later Format a. Divisions regarding the Meaning In the subcontinent, the Ruku# division was introduced to paragraph the Qura#n according to a shift in meaning. It was indicated by the symbol and the explanation of the Arabic numerals written with each is as follows

-- The top figure indicates that the Ruku# of the respective Su#rah -- The middle figure indicates the number of verses of the completed Ruku# -- The lower figure indicates that the Ruku# of the respective Sipa#rah (see below).
1. Suyu#t@i#, Itqa#n Fi# Ulu#mil-Qura#n, 2nd ed., vol. 1, (Bayda#r: Manshu#ra#t al-Rad@i#, 1343 AH), p. 37-8

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b. Divisions regarding Memorization The Huffa#z@ (people who have memorized the Qura#n) and the Qurra# (people who have learnt the science of reciting the Qura#n) divided the Qura#n into thirty equal parts (each part is called a Sipa#rah) by counting the total words of the Qura#n and dividing them by thirty so that the whole of the Qura#n could be recited out in one month. The divisions of a Sipa#rah are: 1. Rub ( ): One-quarter of a Sipa#rah. ): One-half of a Sipa#rah. 2. Nis@f ( ): Three-quarters of a Sipa#rah. 3. Thuluth ( These three division are denoted by the words being written on the margin. According to another division, the Huffa#z also divided the Qura#n in seven equal parts to recite it in a week. These divisions are called Manzil (pl. Mana#zil: Stages). Copies of the Qura#n printed in the Middle East in particular have each Sipa#rah subdivided into four ~H@izbs indicated by the sign . Each H@izb is again subdivided into quarters, indicated as follows: -- First quarter of the H@izb: -- Half of the H@izb: -- Third quarter of the H@izb:

Section II: Naz@m


Are the verses in a su#rah and the su#rahs themselves in the Qura#n arranged in a meaningful way? In technical terms: Does the Qura#n possess Naz@m (order, coherence, meaningful arrangement)? Classical scholars are divided into two groups regarding this question: One group answers it in the affirmative and the other in the negative. We shall take a look at both these views.
1. The Advocates1

As far as the advocates are concerned, two distinct categories exist. These categories spring forth from the connotation of the word Naz@m . One group interprets Naz@m to be some kind of relationship between words and meanings, while others understand it to mean a linear connection between verses, su#rahs or verses and su#rahs both.
1. This section has been summarized and re-arranged from: Mustansir Mir, Thematic and Structural Coherence in the Qura#n, (Ann Arbor: University Microfilms International, 1983), pp. 16-28

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a. Naz@m as Word-Meaning Relationship To this group, the Qura#nic Naz@m is basically a component of Qura#nic Ija#z (inimitability of the Qura#n) and in essence constitutes (with slight differences between the authorities) the particular ways in which words are arranged in order to put across the desired meaning. The upholders of this view are Ba#qilla#ni#, Khat@t@a#bi# and Jurja#ni#. b. Naz@m as Linear Connection Zarkashi# in Burhan discusses the question of interrelationships of Qura#nic verses in a chapter entitled Marifat Muna#saba#t bayn al-A%ya#t (The Understanding of the Relationships between the Verses).2 The word muna#sabah, whose plural, muna#saba#t, is used in the title, literally means suitability, affinity, relation. As the tile indicates, it has the technical meaning of connections or relationships that may exist between the Qura#nic verses. Zarkashi# notes that the task of discovering muna#sabah is a difficult one and very few scholars have therefore attempted it. Of those who have, Zarkashi# cites Ra#zi# as an outstanding figure. We will presently discuss Ra#zi#s method. Ra#zi# is probably the first person to apply the idea of Naz@m to the whole of the Qura#n. He is convinced that the Qura#n yields most of its lata#if (fine points) through the Naz@m or arrangement it possesses. He often draws the attention of the reader to the exquisiteness of the Naz@m of this or that verse, and criticizes certain interpretations of Qura#nic verses on the grounds that they violate the Naz@m of the verses. Ra#zi#s method of establishing Naz@m in a Qura#nic su#rah consists in showing how verse 1 leads to verse 2, how verse 2 is related to verse 3, and so on until an unbroken linear connection between all the verses of the su#rah is established. Sometimes, though not always, Ra#zi# seeks to connect a few su#rahs in similar fashion. Not infrequently, Ra#zi# suggests two or even more types of connections not always mutually reconcilable between verses. Thus he may give his own explanation of the Naz@m connection and, at the same time, adduce a Shanul-nuzu#l (occasion of revelation) that links up the verses in question. It should be noted, however, that Ra#zi# does not hesitate to reject a shanul-nuzu#l if it contradict the Naz@m he himself has arrived, although this does not often happen. Other scholars who belong to this school are Zarkashi# himself, Suyu#t@i# and Baqa#i#. Moreover, it is to be noted that the scholars of this school also acknowledge the word meaning relationship in verses but are more occupied in determining the linear sequence between verses and su#rahs.
2. Zarkashi#, Burha#n, 2nd ed., vol. 1, (Beirut: Da#rul-Fikr, 1980), pp. 35-52

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2. The Adversaries

As far as scholars who are adverse to the concept of Naz@m are concerned, the most notable authorities among them are Qa#dhi# Shawka#ni#, Izzul-Di#n Ibn Abdul Sala#m and Sha#h Wali#ulla#h. The arguments presented by all three of them are summed up as: 1. Since the Qura#n was revealed over a period of twenty-three years and dealt with so many diverse subjects any attempt to induce coherence in it would be futile. Izzul-Di#n Ibn Abdul Sala#m says:

: : : .
The science of Muna#sabah regarding the verses of the Qura#n is a very grand branch of knowledge. However, the prequiste for a piece of writing to be coherent is that it should possess unity and be sequentially arranged from the beginning to the end. If a piece of writing is composed under varying circumstances it cannot be coherent. A person who tries to find coherence in this sort of a writing would inevitably resort to artificial means and would only come up with faulty coherence something which is not found in good writings, what to speak of the best. The Qura#n was revealed in a period that exceeded twenty years and its injunctions and verses were revealed in different circumstances. How can such a writing be coherent?3 2. Sha#h Wali#ulla#h is of the view that the Qura#n has not been arranged in a sequential and coherent way because its foremost addressees were not used to such type of writing. He says:

:
3. Suyu#t@i#, Itqa#n Fi# Ulu#mil-Qura#n, 2nd ed., vol. 3, (Bayda#r: Manshu#ra#t al-Rad@i#, 1343 AH), p. 370

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If they ask: Why are these five types of verses4 are dispersed in su#rahs of the Qura#n and no consideration has been given to their proper arrangement? Why was it not done that the verses relating to the favours of God () should have been mentioned thoroughly and discussed first and then those pertaining to the Days of God ( ) should have been mentioned with due details? After that they both again should have been followed by the verses in relation to disputations held with the unbelievers? In reply to these questions, I would say that though God has the power to accomplish any thing, the fact which governs this layout is the wisdom [of the Almighty]. And that wisdom is that this form of arrangement of the Qura#n is in accordance with the language and the style of expression in vogue among the Arabs to whom the Prophet (sws) was sent. The following verse bears reference to this: They would say, what! [a Book] not in Arabic and [a messenger] an Arab? (41:44). Before revelation of the Qura#n, there was neither any Divine Book with them nor any written by a human being. The type of arrangement [in writings] which authors nowadays have adopted invented was not known to the Arabs. If you have any doubt about this, you should take a deep look at the odes of the poets who have seen both the ages, pre-Islamic as well as Islamic, the epistles of the Holy Prophet (sws) and Umar (rta) so that you may come to know this aspect. Had a style contrary to theirs been employed, they would have been simply astonished because of the fact that had heard something unfamiliar; this would also have made jumbled their comprehension. Moreover, the intention [of the divine wisdom] was not merely to give them the benefit [of imparting divine knowledge], but also to [make this knowledge] a permanent part of their

4. According to Sha#h Wali#ulla#h, the whole of Quran contains five types of verses. For details see Al-Fawzul-Kabi#r.fi# Usulil-Tafsi#r, 1st ed., (Lahore: Maktabah Ilmiyyah, , 1970), pp. 1-3

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memories to make it available to them through repetition. And this purpose is served more strongly and completely through the un-arranged form of writing.5 At another place, he says:


The Qura#n was not arranged in separate sections and chapters so that each topic could be found in one section or other. It is similar to a collection of written ordinances, just as kings, according to the requirements of times and conditions, issue ordinances for their subjects, and after some time some other ordinances are issued in view of the changed circumstances and so on, till many such ordinances are collected. A man puts them into writing and prepares a collection of them. In the same way, the Absolute King [God], for the guidance of His servants, has revealed to His Prophet su#rahs, one after another, according to the requirements of circumstances.6 It is to be further noted that scholars of this category, generally group the Qura#nic su#rahs according to their number of verses. In other words, they do not say that the su#rahs are arranged as regards some coherence in their meaning, but with regard to the number of verses. Suyu#t@I# writes:

...... .....
The first among the Tiwa#l Su#rahs is Baqarah and the last among them is Bara#. Next come the Miu#n Su#rahs. They are named so because each of the
5. Sha#h Wali#ulla#h, Al-Fawzul-Kabi#r, 1st ed., (Lahore: Maktabah Ilmiyyah, 1970), pp 86-7 6. Sha#h Wali # ulla#h, Al-Fawzul-Kabir # , 1st ed., (Lahore: Maktabah Ilmiyyah, 1970), pp 74-5

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Su#rahs of this category have more than one hundred verses or near about this number. Next come the Matha#ni#. They are so called because they come after the Mi'u#n and Next come the Mufas@s@al. They are the shorter Su#rahs of the Qura#n and they are named so because of they are large in numbers and as such are frequently separated by Bismilla#h.7 In other words, Su#rahs of the Qura#n according to these scholars are grouped according to their number of verses according to the following scheme: 1. Al-T@iwa#l: Long Su#rahs (2-10) 2. Al-Miu#n: Su#rahs with approximately 100 verses (11-35) 3. Al-Matha#ni#: Su#rahs with less than 100 verses 36-49 4. Al-Mufas@s@al: The last section of the Qura#n beginning with Su#rah Qa#f: 50114. Who arranged the Qura#n in the present form? Most classical scholars are of the view that it was the Companions of the Prophet (sws) and not the Prophet (sws) himself who arranged the Qura#n in its present shape.8

Section III: Makkan and Madi#nan Division


Su#rahs of the Qura#n have also been classified into Makkan and Madi#nan su#rahs. In this regard Suyut #i @ # has pointed out three views regarding this classification:


The most famous of the opinions is that whatever was revealed before migration is Makkan and whatever was revealed after migration is Madi#nan whether revealed in Makkah or in Madinah in the year Makkah was conquered or in the year of the last pilgrimage or in the various journeys.
7. Suyu#t@i#, Itqa#n Fi# Ulu#mil-Qura#n, 2nd ed., vol. 1, (Bayda#r: Manshu#ra#t al-Rad@i#, 1343 AH), pp. 220-21 8. Suyu#t@i#, Itqa#n Fi# Ulu#mil-Qura#n, 2nd ed., vol. 1, (Bayda#r: Manshu#ra#t al-Rad@i#, 1343 AH), p. 216

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The second opinion is that whatever was revealed in Makkah is Makkan even though if it was revealed after migration and whatever was revealed in Madi#nah is Madi#nan. The third opinion is that whatever portion of the Qura#n is addressed to the people of Makkah is regarded as Makkan and whatever portion is addressed to the people of Madi#nah is regarded as Madi#nan.9 The following 85 su#rahs, according to Zarkashi#,10 are of Makkan origin: 96, 68, 73, 74, 111, 81, 87, 92, 89, 93, 94, 103, 100, 108, 102, 107, 109, 105, 113, 114, 113, 53, 80, 97, 91, 85, 95, 106, 101, 75, 104, 77, 50, 90, 86, 54, 38, 7, 72, 36, 25, 35, 19, 20, 56, 26, 27, 28, 17, 10, 11, 12, 15, 6, 47, 31, 34, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 45, 51, 88, 18, 71, 14, 21, 23, 32, 52, 67, 69, 70, 78, 79, 82, 84, 30. The following 29 su#rahs, according to Zarkashi#,11 are of Madi#nan origin: 2, 8, 3 33, 60, 4, 99, 57, 47, 13, 55, 76, 65, 98, 59, 110, 24, 22, 63, 58, 49, 66, 61, 62, 64, 48, 9, 5. As far as the determination of the Makkan and Madi#nan su#rahs are concerned, no statement on this matter has ever been quoted by any sources from the Prophet (sws). Abu# Bakr Baqilla#ni# (d. 403 AH) confines the sources of information on what is Makkan and what is Madi#nan to the reports of the Companions and the views of scholars from the Tabiu#n generation.12 The Companions were eyewitnesses to the revelation of the Qura#n. They knew very well what came down where. Moreover, it needs to be appreciated that the basic reason for this classification is that Makkan Su#rahs portray that part of his life in which the Prophet (sws) did not have political authority. Therefore, this period marked is mostly marked with directives that pertain to the individual. On the contrary, the Madi#nan Su#rahs depict that part of the Prophets life in which he was blessed with political authority and therefore they contain directives with regard to the collectivity. ______________
9. Suyu#t@i#, Itqa#n Fi# Ulu#mil-Qura#n, 2nd ed., vol. 1, (Bayda#r: Manshu#ra#t al-Rad@i#, 1343 AH), p. 37 10. Zarkashi, # ul-Fikr, 1980), pp. 249-50 # Burhan # , 2nd ed., vol. 1, (Beirut: Dar nd 11. Zarkashi#, Burha#n, 2 ed., vol. 1, (Beirut: Da#rul-Fikr, 1980), p. 250 12. Zarkashi#, Burha#n, 2nd ed., vol. 1, (Beirut: Da#rul-Fikr, 1980), pp. 246-7

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Contents
B. The Contemporary View Section I: General Introduction to the Qura#nic Naz@m Section II: Group Naz@m i. Description ii. Features a. Central Theme b. Description of the Prophetic Mission c. Makkan and Madi#nan Su#rahs d. Su#rah Pairs 1. Brevity and Detail 2. Principle and Illustration 3. Different Types of Evidence 4. Unity of Opposites 5. Premise and Conclusion iii. Sequence Section III: Su#rah Naz@m i. Central Theme ii. Addressees iii. Subdivisions iv. Progression a. Parallelism b. Affinity c. Parables d. Parenthetical Sentences e. Reminder and Admonition f. Return to the Origin Appendices Appendix A. Naz@m of Group II Appendix B. Naz@m of Su#rah Nisa# Appendix C. View of the Orientalists

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B. The Contemporary View Section I: General Introduction to Qura#nic Naz@m


According to this view13 , the Qura#n was arranged and compiled by the Prophet (sws) under divine instructions. The final arrangement of the Qura#n possesses Naz@m both at the structural and at the thematic levels. It is not a haphazardly arranged book. At the structural level, the su#rahs of the Qura#n are arranged in a very meaningful way by the Almighty Himself. This arrangement is closely related to the very theme of the Qura#n. Similarly, at the thematic level the verses within a su#rah are arranged on divine bidding in a very meaningful way. This arrangement also is closely related to theme of a particular su#rah. Moreover, the upholders of this view are of the opinion that it is the initial format of the Qura#n which is really important as far as studying its order and arrangement are concerned. The later format has no such significance. The Qura#n, according to the contemporay view, is divided in seven distinct groups, each consisting of a discrete set of Makkan and Madi#nan Su#rahs. The su#rahs within each group occur in pairs. This scheme, with its seven su#rah-groups and pairing of the su#rahs, is sanctioned by the Qura#n itself:

(:)
We have bestowed upon you saban minal-matha#ni# and the great Qura#n. (15:87) The expression saban minal-matha#ni# is usually interpreted as the seven oftrepeated ones and applied to Su#rah Fa#tih@ah, since the verses of the su#rah are repeated in every ritual prayer. However, this is not true. First of all, it can be argued that the exact number of the verses of the su#rah is not agreed upon; the su#rah can have seven verses only if the formulaic basmalah (In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Ever Merciful) is regarded as part of the su#rah, but this is a controversial matter. Second, the word matha#ni# cannot mean oft-repeated ones, because matha#ni# is the plural of mathna#, which mean in twos, and is used several times in this sense by the Qura#n itself (as in 4:3 and 34:46). The correct interpretation of saban minal-matha#ni# is as follows. Saban refers to the seven
13. This section has been summarized and re-arranged from: Mustansir Mir, Thematic and Structural Coherence in the Qura#n, (Ann Arbor: University Microfilms International, 1983), pp. 159-160

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su#rah-groups, and matha#ni#, to the pairing of the su#rah. The phrase thus means seven of those composed of pairs, and indicates that each of the seven groups is made up of pairs of su#rahs. As for the conjunctive wa#w that precedes The great Qura#n, its grammatical function is explication (tafsi#r), and so the verse means: seven of those composed of pairs, ie, the great Qura#n. In other words almost every Su#rah of the Qura#n has a complementary pair. There are a few Ah@a#di#th in which Muhammad (sws) has called Su#rah Fa#tih@ah saban minal-matha#ni# and the Great Qura#n. The reason, it seems, is that the su#rah epitomises the Qura#n, and, as such, can be taken as the Qura#n in miniature. It is this character of the su#rah that the Ah@a#di#th just referred to seek to bring out.

Section II: Group Naz@m


i. Description

Following is a brief description of the seven Qura#nic groups: Group I {Su#rah Fa#tihah (1) - Su#rah Ma#idah (5)} Makkan: 1 Madi#nan: 2-5 Group II {Su#rah Ana#m (6) - Su#rah Tawbah (9)} Makkan: 6,7 Madi#nan: 8.9 Group III {Su#rah Yu#nus (10) - Su#rah Nu#r (24)} Makkan: 10-23 Madi#nan: 24 # ah Furqa#n (25) - Su#rah Ah@za#b (33) } Group IV {Sur Makkan: 25-32 Madi#nan: 33 Group V {Su#rah Saba#(34) - Su#rah H@ujra#t (49)} Makkan: 34-46 Madi#nan: 47-49 Group VI {Su#rah Qa#f (50) - Su#rah Tih@ri#m (66)} Makkan: 50-56

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Group VII {Su#rah Mulk (67) - Su#rah Na#s (114)} Makkan: 67-112 Madi#nan : 113-14 ii. Features Each group of the Qura#n possesses certain features. They are:
a. Central Theme

Each group has a central theme.


b. Description of the Prophetic Mission

Each group gives an account of the various phases of the Prophetic Mission.
c. Makkan and Madi#nan Su#rahs

(i) Each group begins with one or more Makkan Su#rah and ends with one or more Madinan Su#rahs. (ii) In each group, the Makkan Su#rahs always precede the Madi#nan ones. (iii) The relationship between the Makkan Su#rahs and Madi#nan Su#rahs of each group is that of the root of a tree and its branches. This means that (a) the Madi#nan Su#rahs of a group bring out the practical implications of the doctrinal statements made in the groups Makkan Su#rahs, and (b) the Makkan bloc of su#rahs in a group precedes the Madi#nan bloc by design and not by accident since the root must come before the branches.
d. Su#rah -Pairs14

Two su#rahs of each group form a pair so that each member of the pair complements the other in various ways. Some su#rahs like Su#rah Fa#tihah are an exception to this pattern: it is an introduction to the whole of the Qura#n as well as to the first group which begins with it. There are also some su#rahs which have a specific purpose and fall in this paired-su#rah scheme in a particular way. This pair concept is based on the idea of complementarity: two su#rahs form a pair because they complement each other in significant ways. Some forms of complimentarity are : (1) Brevity and Detail: Muzzammil (73) informs the Prophet (sws) that Allah will soon lay on his shoulders a heavy responsibility, and Muddaththir (74) explains
14. This section has been summarized and re-arranged from: Mustansir Mir, Thematic and Structural Coherence in the Qura#n, (Ann Arbor: University Microfilms International, 1983), pp. 125-29

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the nature of this responsibility and tells the Prophet (sws) how he must discharge it. (2) Principle and Illustration: Muja#dalah (58) sets down the law that in the end victory belongs to God and His Prophets, their opponents being destined for defeat. H@ashr (59) illustrates this law by referring to certain events that had recently taken place. (3) Different Types of Evidence: Qiya#mah (75) and Dahar (76) both seek to establish the necessity of the Day of Judgement. The arguments of Qiya#mah are from human conscience and those of Dahar from the cognizance of good and evil in the human soul. (4) Unity of Opposites: One su#rah deals with the positive and the other the negative sides of the same theme. T@ala#q (65) tells Muslims how to observe the limits of Allah in a relationship of hostility with others while Tah@ri#m (66 ) tells them how to observe these limits in a relationship of love. (5) Premise and Conclusion: Ma#u#n (107) indicts the Quraysh for being unworthy custodians of the Kabah, and Kawthar (108) pronounces the punishment: dismissal from the custodianship. These are the characteristics of the Naz@m of every group. For an analysis of the Naz@m of a Group, see Appendix I. iii. Sequence The groups of the Qura#n are arranged in a meaningful sequence and order as described below:15 1. The second group is the culmination of the groups as in this group after the truth has been unveiled in its ultimate form to the extent that no one is left with an excuse to deny it, the law of retribution is implemented on all the religious groups present in Arabia in the time of the Prophet (sws). 2. From the seventh to the second group the topical arrangement is ascending in nature. The basic addressees are the idolaters of Makkah. While Indha#r is meted out to the idolaters, Muslims are organized and steps taken for their inner purification. This process culminates in the second group with the result as in 1. 3. From the first to the second group the topical arrangement is also ascending in nature. The basic addressees are the People of the Book. While Indha#r is meted out to the People of the Book, Muslims are organized and steps taken for their inner purification. This process also culminates in the second group with the result as in 1. 4. In both 2 and 3 Muslims are principally addressed in the Madi#nan Su#rahs. 5. The first group is placed the foremost since its main addressees are the new
15. Gha#midi#, Us@u#l u Maba#di#, 1st ed., (Lahore: Danish Sara, 2000), pp. 64-5

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Ummah instituted who have replaced the People of the Book.

Section III: Su#rah Naz@m16


Each su#rah of the Qura#n is a complete unit in itself.17 It has the following features: i. Central Theme a. Each su#rah has a central theme round which its contents revolve. b. The central theme is not the most prominent topic of a su#rah; it is the most comprehensive statement of its contents. For example, the Nu#r verse of Su#rah Nu#r is the most prominent topic of the su#rah; however it is not the central theme. c. The central theme of a su#rah highlights a particular aspect of the central theme of the group of which the particular su#rah is a part. ii. Subdivisions Su#rahs have distinct sections to mark thematic shifts, and every section is paragraphed to mark smaller shifts. Some su#rahs may be without sections. Certain su#rahs also have an introduction and an ending beside the main text. iii. Topical Progression (Irtiqa) The basic unit of a su#rah is a paragraph which is composed of one or more verses. Within a section, the topic progresses paragraph by paragraph and not in verse to verse linear progression.18 Sections themselves are related to one another in the manner paragraphs are related. Some of these relations are: a. Parallelism (Taqabul): In this type of progression, the verses which mention opposite things are placed adjacent to one another. For example after a mention of Infa#q (2:261-274), interest (2:275-281) is mentioned.19 Similarly, fate of the
16. Based on: Gha#midi#, Us@u#l u Maba#di#, 1st ed., (Lahore: Danish Sara, 2000), pp. 62 17. For an analysis of the Naz@m of a su#rah, see Appendix II. 18. In other words, since a verse or group of verses may or may not mark a thematic shift, verses cannot be taken as the basic unit of progression. This seems to be one basic difference between the concept of Naz@m of the classical scholars and that of the modern ones. 19. In the words of Is@la#h@i#: It is needless to say that [taking] interest is the very opposite of infa#q. Whereas the motivational force of dealing in infa#q is based on the virtues of intrepidity, sympathy, philanthropy, sacrifice, and mercy, the driving factors behind riba-

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believers (69:19-24) and disbelievers (69:25-37) is mentioned in parallel. b. Affinity (Muna#sabah): In this type of relationship, things which have a certain affinity to one another are placed adjacent to one another. For example documentation of loans and transactions is mentioned (2:282) after a mention of interest (2:275-281). The reason obviously is that since interest is based on loan, its mention paved the way for certain directives regarding loan itself. Similarly, prohibition of liquor and gambling (2:219) are mentioned after directives about Infa#q (spending on the poor) and Jiha#d (2:215-218). The reason is that in those times, liquor and gambling were a source of Infa#q.20 c. Parables (Tamthi#l): Parables help in drawing an illustration to what is mentioned in simple words. For example21 , verse: 6-7 of Baqarah mentions the diehards of the People of the Book who have persisted to deny the Qura#n. Verse 8-16 mentions the weak in faith of the People of the Book. Verses 17-20 draws two parables of these two peoples. d. Parenthetical Sentences (Jumulah Mutaradah): These are sentences which explain a certain thing that has found a mention. While what is before and after them is directly connected, their own status is that of a inserted explanation. For example22 the idolaters of Madi#nah are addressed in 2:21-29 and are presented
oriented attitude are cowardice, callousness, and a desire to benefit from the difficulties of others. Infa#q aims at supporting the needy and riba# relishes in sucking their blood. Both are the very antithesis of each other. It is a natural principle that the reality of a phenomenon is not truly appreciated unless it is accompanied by a description of its antithesis as well. It is on this principle that the Qura#n describes simultaneously, on many occasions, certain realities accompanied by a mention of their very opposites. (Ami#n Ah@san Is@la#h@i#, Tadabbur-i-Qura#n 5th ed., vol. 1, (Lahore: Faran Foundation, 1993), pp. 625-6) 21. Gambling and Drinking in pre-Islamic times were a means through which the rich showed their generosity and helped the poor and needy. In winters, when cold winds blew in and caused conditions akin to drought, the courageous would gather at various places, drink liquor and, in their state of inebriation, slaughter any camels they could get hold of. They would pay the owner of the camels whatever price he demanded. They would then gamble on the meat of the slaughtered camels. Whatever parts of meat a person won in this gambling, he would generously distribute them among the poor who would gather around on such occasions. In the pre-Islamic Arabia, this was a matter of great honour and people who took part in this activity were considered very philanthropic and generous. 21. Ami#n Ah@san Is@la#h@i#, Tadabbur-i-Qura#n 5th ed., vol. 1, (Lahore: Faran Foundation, 1993), pp. 121-2 22. Ami#n Ah@san Is@la#h@i#, Tadabbur-i-Qura#n 5th ed., vol. 1, (Lahore: Faran Foundation, 1993), pp. 151-2

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with arguments to profess faith in Allah, the Prophet (sws) and the Hereafter. 2:25 is a parenthetical sentence about the details of Jannah mentioned in the Qura#n. (more details in the next chapter) e. Reminder and Admonition (Tadhki#r u Tanbi#h): In the Qura#n, emotions and feelings are expressed to make it a living Book. As the name implies, in this type of relationship, admonition is sounded to the addressees during the course of a discourse. For example23 , in between directives that relate to the reformation of the society, Muslims are reminded in 4:26 that they are being handed over the Shari#ah which was also given to the previous Prophets; so they should prove its worthy recipients. After that those sections of the society which were resisting the new Shari#ah and the reformation it was suggesting, are admonished for this behavior (4:27-8). f. Return to the Origin (Awd alal bad): Sometimes in a group of directives, important directives are placed both at the beginning and at the end. Examples Tawh@i#d (17:22 and 17:39) and Salah (70:23 and 70:34)

Appendices
Appendix A: Naz@m of Group II24 This group is composed of four su#rahs: Ana#m (6), Ara#f (7), Anfa#l (8), and Tawbah (9) in that order. The first two are Makkan while the two latter ones are Madi#nan. The central theme of the group is: retribution by the Prophet (sws) and his companions on all the religious groups who had denied the truth in spite of being convinced about it. The Quraysh claimed to be the followers of Abraham (sws) and heirs to the religion established by him. Ana#m accuses them of distorting the religion of Abraham (sws), presents Islam as the true Abrahamic religion, and invites them to become Muslims. Since the Quraysh were meant to be the direct recipients of the Islamic message, the next su#rah, Ara#f, warns them of the grave consequence of rejecting the message. The third su#rah, Anfa#l, instructs the Muslims to unite under the banner of Islam in preparation for a confrontation with the Quraysh. Tawbah, the last su#rah in the group, throws an ultimatum to all the adversaries of the Prophet (sws). The four su#rahs would thus appear to be systematically arranged in
23. Ami#n Ah@san Is@la#h@i#, Tadabbur-i-Qura#n 5th ed., vol. 2, (Lahore: Faran Foundation, 1993), p. 281 24. This section has been summarized and re-arranged from: Mustansir Mir, Thematic and Structural Coherence in the Qura#n, (Ann Arbor: University Microfilms International, 1983), pp. 141-4

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the Qura#n. Ana#m is a su#rah of invitation: in invites the Quraysh to embrace Islam. Ara#f is a su#rah of warning: it warns the Quraysh against repudiating Islam. Anfa#l is a su#rah of preparation: it exhorts the Muslims to prepare for combat with the Quraysh. Tawbah is a su#rah of war: it announce war against the Quraysh, the People of the Book and the Hypocrites for their unfaithfulness to the religion of Abraham, declares Muslims to be the rightful heirs to that religion, and replaces the Quraysh by Muslims as the custodians of the Kabah the symbol and legacy of the Abrahamic religion. This is an incisive analysis of the central themes of the four su#rahs and of the relationship between the su#rahs. It needs to be appreciated that a greater affinity will be found to exist between su#rahs 6 (Ana#m) and 7 (Ara#f), and 8 (Anfa#l) and 9 (Tawbah), than, for example, between su#rahs 6 and 8 or 7 and 9. A number of verses in su#rah 6 (like verses 5-6, 22-24, 30-31, 42-45, 49, 65, 92, 157-158) contain themes that are discussed more elaborately in su#rah 7. Similarly, a number of verses in su#rah 8 (like verses 5-12, 15-16, 19, 34, 39, 41-45, 60-62, 64-65) introduce themes that find a fuller treatment in su#rah 9. Such close affinity, as we said, does not exist between su#rahs 6 and 8 or 7 and 9. This fact should remind us that, in the scheme of su#rah-pairs, su#rahs 6 and 7 form one pair, and su#rahs 8 and 9, another pair. In effect, what this means is that, in studying the Naz@m of a su#rah-group, it is helpful to keep in mind the Naz@m of the su#rah-pairs that make up the su#rah-group. This would facilitate the establishment of Naz@m connections in a group-for it is easier to see Naz@m connections between larger, and fewer, units. More important, the interaction of su#rah-pairs, and not simply of individual su#rahs, would yield a wider, richer perspective for the study of the relationship between Qura#nic su#rahs. Incidentally, just as a su#rah is a self-contained whole, but assumes a complementary character upon becoming a member of a su#rah-pair, so a su#rah-pair, in itself a selfcontained whole, becomes complementary to the other pair or pairs with which it forms a su#rah-group. Appendix B: Naz@m of Su#rah Nisa25 # The su#rah is divided into the following three sections: 1. Social Reforms (Verses 1-43): All human beings are united through God, their Creator, and Adam and Eve, their common ancestors (1). God-mindedness (taqwa#) and kinship thus provide a basis for the regulation of human affairs. An
25. This section has been summarized and re-arranged from: Mustansir Mir, Thematic and Structural Coherence in the Qura#n, (Ann Arbor: University Microfilms International, 1983), pp. 74-6

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appeal to this basis underlies: the instruction to the guardians of orphans to treat the latter with kindness and to shun avarice when it comes to managing the latters property (2-10); the statement of the law of inheritance (11-14); the placing of checks on sexual anarchy (15-18); the prescription of rules for safeguarding womens rights (19-22); and the description of women one may or may not marry (23-25). The importance of these injunctions is driven home (29-33), and their scope is enlarged (34-35). A final note on the rights of God and humanity sums up this part (36-43). 2. The Islamic Community and Its Opponents (44-126): Analysis of Jewish opposition to the reforms, and prophecy of the establishment, in the face of all opposition, of an Islamic State (44-57). Unlike Jews, Muslims must never let national and sectarian conflicts keep them from truth and justice. The means by which Muslims can achieve unity, and the need for them to beware of the Hypocrites, who may subvert this unity (58-70). The Hypocrites, skeptical about the fate of Islam, are reluctant to make any sacrifices for this religion. Thus they shrink from participating in war; Muslims must go to war when necessary (71-76). The weaknesses and machinations of the Hypocrites (77-85). Recommended attitude Muslims should adopt toward the Hypocrites at this stage (86-100). The manner of performing ritual prayer during war (101-104). There is no need to make undue allowances for the mischief-making Hypocrites (105-115), who will face the wrath of God (116-126). 3. Conclusion (127-176): Reply to a few questions about verses 2-4 of the su#rah (127-134). Muslims must keep their responsibilities in mind and beware of the Hypocrites, who are admonished (135-152). Warning to the People of the Book (153-162). Consolation to Muhammad (sws): he should not worry over the disbelief of the opponents. The opponents given a final warning (163-175). Supplement to verse 12 (176). In short, the three parts are interlinked in a progressively unfolding scheme of thought. The first part deals with some of the social reforms that Islam introduced in Arabia. The second part evaluates the hostile response these reforms evoked from the Madi#nan opponents of Islam Jews and Hypocrites and also deals with certain organizational matters pertaining to the Muslim community. The third part answers a few questions that arose about some of the earlier verses of an-Nisa#, warns the opponents of Islam, and consoles Muhammad (sws). The three parts in that sequence thus exhibit a logical thematic development that takes place within a coherent structural framework. Appendix C. View of the Orientalists According to the popular Orientalist view, the Qura#n is not a very well

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arranged book and therefore makes a very tedious reading. It is precisely for this reason that many western scholars tried to restructure the Qura#n according to its chronological sequence thinking that this would perhaps be more meaningful. Carlyle writes: The real beginning of it, in that way, lies almost at the end: for the earliest portions were the shortest. Read in its historical sequence it perhaps would not be so bad. Much of it, too, they say, is rhythmic; a kind of wild chanting song, in the original. This may be a great point; much perhaps has been lost in the translation here. Yet with every allowance, one feels it difficult to see how any mortal ever could consider this Koran as a Book written in Heaven, too good for the Earth; as a well-written book, or indeed as a book at all; and not a bewildered rhapsody; written, so far as writing goes, as badly as almost any book ever was.It is the confused ferment of a great rude human soul, rude, untutored, that cannot even read; but fervent, earnest, struggling vehemently to utter itself in words. With a kind of breathless intensity he strives to utter himself; the thoughts crowd on him pellmell: for very multitude of things to say, he can get nothing said. The meaning that is in him shapes itself into no form of composition, is stated in no sequence, method, or coherence; -- they are not shaped at all, these thoughts of his; flung-out unshaped, as they struggle and tumble there; in their chaotic inarticulate state.26 William Muir writes27 : We are not, however, to assume that the entire Quran was at this period repeated in any fixed order. The present compilation, indeed, is held by the Muslims to follow the arrangement prescribed by Muhammad; and early tradition might appear to imply some known sequences.28 But this cannot be
26. Thomas Carlyle, Heroes and Hero Worship, (London: Everymans Library, 1964), pp. 299-300 27. William Muir, The Life of Muhammad, 1st ed., (New York: AMS Press, 1975), pp. xvi-xix. 28. Thus we read of certain Companions, who could repeat the whole Qura#n in a given time, which might be held to imply some usual connection of the parts; but the original tradition may have intended such portions only as were commonly used in public worship, and these may have followed, both in copying and repetition from memory, some understood order; or the tradition may refer to a later period when the order had been fixed by means of Omars compilation. There was no fixed order observed (as with Lessons in Christian worship) in the portions of the Qura#n recited at the public

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admitted; for had any fixed order been observed or sanctioned by the Prophet (sws), it would unquestionably have been preserved in the subsequent collection. Now the Qura#n, as handed down to our time, follows in the disposition of its several parts no intelligible arrangement whatever, either of subject or time; and it is inconceivable that Muhammad should have enjoined its recital invariably in this order. We must even doubt whether the number of the Su#rahs was determined by Muhammad as we now have them.29 The internal sequence at any rate of the contents of the several Su#rahs cannot, in most cases, have been that intended by the Prophet (sws). The constant chaotic mingling of subjects, disjoined as well by chronology as by the sense; a portion produced at Madi#nah sometimes immediately preceding a passage revealed long before at Mecca; a command put in some places directly after a later one which cancels or modifies it; or an argument suddenly disturbed by the interjection of a sentence foreign to its purport; all this forbids us to believe that the present, or indeed any complete, arrangement was in use during Muhammads lifetime.

prayers. The selection of a passage was dependent on the will and choice of the Imam. Thus Abu Hureira one day took credit to himself for remembering which Su#rah the Prophet (sws) had read the day before; and on urgent occasions we hear of a short Su#rah being used. It is only in private recitals that the whole, or large portions, of the Qura#n are said to have been recited consecutively. The common idea of the Muh~ammadans, that the Qura#n was fixed by Muh@ammad as we have it now, originates in the tradition that Gabriel had an annual recitation of the whole Qura#n with the Prophet (sws), as well as in the desire to augment the authority of the book as it now stands. 29. But there is reason to believe that the chief Su#rahs, including all passages in most common use, were fixed and known by name or other distinctive mark. Some are spoken of, in early and well-authenticated traditions, as having been so referred to by Muhammad himself. Thus he recalled his fugitive followers at the discomfiture of Honein, by shouting to them as the men of the Su#rah Baqarah [Ibn Ish~a#k@ has not this expression] (i.e. Su#rah ii.) Several persons are stated by tradition to have learnt by heart a certain number of Su#rahs in Muhammads lifetime. Thus Abdulla#h Ibn Masu#d learnt seventy Su#rahs from the Prophets own mouth, and Muhammad on his death-bed repeated seventy Su#rahs, among which were the seven long ones. These traditions signify a recognized division of at least some part of the revelation into Su#rahs, if not a usual order in repeating the Su#rahs themselves. The liturgical use of the Su#rahs by Muhammad must, no doubt, have in some measure fixed their form, and probably also their sequence. But I fail to follow Sprenger in his conclusions as to double Su#rahs, and Su#rahs in groups (matha#ni# and maz@a#ir).

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On the other hand, there is no reason to doubt that several at least of the Su#rahs are precisely the same, both in matter and order, as Muhammad left them;30 and that the remainder, though often resembling a mosaic of various material rudely dovetailed together, are yet composed of genuine fragments, generally of considerable length, each for the most part following the connection in which it was recited in public, and committed to memory or to paper from the mouth of the Prophet (sws) by his followers.31 The irregular interposition and orderless disposal of the smaller fragments have indeed frequently destroyed the sequences, and produced a perplexing confusion.
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30. Where whole Su#rahs were revealed at once, this would naturally be the case; but short passages were often given out in driblets, and even single verses, as occasions required. With regard to these, it is asserted in some traditions that Muhammad used to direct his amanuensis to enter them in the Su#rah which treated of such and such a subject. This, if authentic (and it is probably founded on fact), would indicate that Muhammad intended the Qura#n to be arranged according to its matter, and not chronologically. There are also several Su#rahs which, from the unity of subject, or from the form of composition, are evidently completely and integral. Such are the history of Joseph, Su#rah xii.; and the psalm descriptive of Paradise, Su#rahs iv., quoted in ch. iv. The traditions just cited as to the number of Su#rahs which some of the Companions could repeat, and which Muh~ammad himself repeated on his death-bed, also imply the existence of such Su#rahs in a complete and finished form. 31. Anecdotes are told of persons who, in reciting the Qura#n, from an imperfect memory, or when tired, omitted passages passing from one to another, because of the similar termination, and of other who, having been guilty of such omission, could spontaneously correct themselves. (Homoioteleuta are of very frequent recurrence in the Qura#n from the rhythm of the verses being often formed by the repetition of set phrases at their close, such as the attributes of God, &c.). These anecdotes certainly suppose a settled order of the parts repeated; and though the period referred to is subsequent to Muhammads death, yet the habit of such connected repetition was most probably formed during his lifetime, and before the collection into one volume.