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The Sciences of the Qur’an

April 29 2012

The following notes were taken from the sciences of the Qur’an classes by Mustapha Al Majzoub

The Sciences of the Qur’an
The Etiquette of seeking knowledge Mu’awiyah (R.D.U.H) reported: “The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) said: ‘when Allah wishes good for someone, He (swt) bestows upon them the understanding of the Deen (religion of Islam).’”[Saheeh
Bukhari and Muslim]

Explanation : if Allah had not favoured a person He (swt) would allow that person to carry on about their lives ignorant and unprotected but when He (swt) shows His (swt) signs and gives them understanding of religion of Islam and guides them to the straight path He (swt) is in fact covering that person with His infinite Mercy and favour.

Abu Umamah (R.D.U.H) reported: “The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) said: ‘the world, with all that it contains, is accursed except for the remembrance of Allah that which pleases Him (swt); and the religious scholars and seekers of knowledge.’”[At-Tirmidhi] Explanation : cursed means that there is more harm than benefit in it and in its consequence.

Abu Umamah (R.D.U.H) reported: “The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) said: ‘the superiority of the learned over the devout worshipper is like my superiority over the most inferior amongst you (in good deeds).’ He went on to say; ‘Allah, His Angels, the dwellers of the Heavens and the earth and even the ant in its hole and the fish in water supplicate in favour of those who teach people knowledge.’”[At-Tirmidhi] Explanation : Allah Azawajal does not supplicate (send prayers) on the learned or devout worshipper rather it means that He (swt) sends down His Mercy and blessings upon them.

Abu Darda (R.D.U.H) reported: “The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) said: ‘he who follows a path in quest of knowledge, Allah will make the path of Jannah easy to him. The angels lower their wings over the seeker of knowledge, being pleased with what he does. The inhabitants of the Heavens and earth and even the fish in the depth of the oceans seek forgiveness for him. The superiority of the learned man over the devout worshipper is like that of the full moon to the rest of the stars (i.e. in brightness). The learned are the heirs of the Prophets who bequeath neither dinar or dirham but only that of knowledge; and he who acquires it, has in fact acquired an abundant portion.’”
[Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi]

The Sciences of the Qur’an
The etiquettes of the seeker of knowledge’s inner self 1). Treat knowledge as a noble act of worship by being sincere; and that is to be adherent to the path of the salaf as saalih (pious predecessors) in all aspects of Islam and to leave doubtful matters. 2). Acknowledge the beauty of Taqwa (fear, hope, love and remembrance of Allah swt) and adorn yourself with the beauty of knowledge by observing and spreading what is learnt furthermore obtaining noble characteristics, mannerisms and actions which Allah is pleased. Also avoid gatherings of vain speech – gossip and backbiting. “Whosoever is excessive in something is recognised by it.” And so from this phrase it is understood that excessive traits make a person’s reputation therefore excessive joking and laughing degrades your rank and honour and there is nothing humorous about Islam though many prefer sheiks to include many jokes in their lecture to lighten the mood but this is a distraction and deviation from the truth and seriousness of obtaining knowledge of Islam. 3). A person is responsible for their reputation as the outside appearance (how a person dresses and presents themself in public) is used to categorise a person and the outside appearance leads to your inner inclination. Therefore dress like a scholar or student of knowledge which is white garments which Umar ibn Al Khattab (R.D.U.H) loved to see a learned person dressed in white garments. 4). Abandon all acts of arrogance, pride and show humility in the face of truth even if it comes from those seemingly lower than you as it may lead you to go astray and leave the fold of Islam. And strive to make your scales heavy in good deeds and righteousness until the ambitions of men die before they have reached your level and enjoy these noble qualities which you have gained through obtaining knowledge such as bravery, righteousness and noble manners and giving for the sake of pleasing Allah. 5). Be content with what you have gained and been blessed with and distance yourself from the boundaries of the haraam and unclear matters. The only thing that you should not be content with is the knowledge or imaan you have gained as you are always able to increase and improve in that area. 6). Contemplate and think before you speak or give da’wah as you must be careful in conveying the message as not to cause any misunderstandings of Islam or to cause anyone to run away from the religion. And contemplate about the knowledge gained, about Allah and His blessings upon you and how everything learnt is interrelated to the greatness and superiority of Allah swt.

The Sciences of the Qur’an
7). Remain steadfast upon the straight path of Allah as a seeker of knowledge you will be faced with calamities and serious situations where people that you love might oppose you for example; so remain patient and perseverant and always refer back to Allah. How to interact with your teachers A teacher, shaykh and the likes thereof are nothing more than human beings and should not be looked up to more than the point where a student begins to worship their teacher by following blindly everything that they teach. The intention of a student is to be obedient to Allah by respecting their teachers who are teaching them how to correctly obey Allah and follow His Commandments. That said a student should not go to another extreme as to fully disrespect their teacher or to have too much respect that it leads to worshipping their teacher. 1. Sit in an appropriate manner, do not slouch or stretch out legs. Imam Ash –Shafi’i said that he would turn the pages of his book in front of his teacher Imam Malik in a soft, quiet way so that it did not disturb his teacher, out of respect for him. 2. Speak in an appropriate manner, choose respectful words, do not interrupt or ask too many questions or avoid starting an argument. Do not precede the teacher in speech or steps. A teacher is like a spiritual father who takes care of your faith (belief and values) and upbringing while your biological father takes care of your personal needs i.e. shelter, food, love etc. 2 a). Do not ask too many questions until it becomes thoughtless questions that would annoy and bore the teacher or continue to annoy the teacher for an answer as the teacher might not be able to respond due to it being personalised question that should not be asked in public or that he does not know the answer too. 3. Avoid calling the teacher by first or last name rather it is respectful to call the teacher shaykh, ustadh or shaykhunna. The teacher obviously through extensive learning has gained a rank that deserves for him or her to be called as such. 4. If a shaykh makes a mistake do not allow that to degrade his or her status in the student’s eyes as everyone makes mistakes while the student can benefit from their teacher’s knowledge in everything else (apart from that mistake they just made). 5. If a student decides to change shaykh then it is advised that the student seeks the permission of his or her teacher by informing them of their decision which will maintain the love and respect between student and teacher.

The Sciences of the Qur’an
How to choose the right teacher to seek knowledge Find a teacher that: 1. Fear of Allah which is seen by their strict adherence of Shari’ah (Qur’an and Sunnah). 2. Speaks without any fear of the blame of blamers. 3. Studied in a reputable school and studied from a reputable teacher although the place and person from which a person studies from should not be the major aspect of which we judge them. 4. Has quality in their knowledge because they put things in the right context without exaggerating that something is one thing while it is not that bad. Quality in knowledge also includes referencing everything. 5. Has testimonies from other reputable teachers and learned people about their reputation and quality.

The Sciences of the Qur’an
Chapter One:
The Qur’an The word Qur’an has been around for a long time before the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w but it was when the Prophet s.a.w became a Prophet and Messenger of Allah that the Qur’an had a technical meaning to the Muslims. The technical meaning is that it is the ‘Words of Allah’. Literally throughout time Qur’an means ‘a reading or reciting.’ Some other names of the Qur’an     Furqan which means ‘criterion’ (see Qur’an 25: 1) Tanzil which means ‘sent down’ (see Qur’an 26: 192) Thikr which means ‘reminder’ (see Qur’an 15: 9) Kitab which means ‘scripture’ (see Qur’an 21: 10)

The Qur’an is described as the following     Mubin which means luminous light, glowing (see Qur’an 5: 15) Karim which means honourable and noble (See Qur’an 56: 77) Nur which means Sacred Light (see Qur’an 7: 157) Huda which means right guidance (see Qur’an 2: 1- 2)

Science of Qur’an means to look into its revelation, collection, order and arrangement, writing down, information about the reasons and occasions of revelation, where it was revealed i.e. Makah or Medina, about abrogating and abrogated verses and about clear and unclear verses. What is the difference between Hadith Qudsi (sacred Hadith) and Qur’an? Hadith Qudsi is a direct saying from Allah without the Prophet s.a.w interpreting it into his own words as he s.a.w had done with other Hadiths. So the words of a Hadith Qudsi are exact words from Allah much like in the Qur’an however the only difference is that firstly, Allah challenged mankind to produce a chapter equivalent to one of the Qur’an’s chapter (and no one is able to do so which highlights the miraculous nature of the Qur’an) but this is not the case with Hadith Qudsi. Secondly the recitation of the Qur’an is used in prayer but a Hadith Qudsi is not recited during a prayer. Thirdly, the Qur’an is frequently reported but a Hadith Qudsi is not and yet it is still accepted. Also when reciting a Hadith Qudsi there is no need to be in a state of purity and having made ghusl such as the case when reciting from Qur’an. And when reciting the Qur’an there is a reward in each letter as it is considered ibaadah but there is no reward in reciting a Hadith Qudsi.

The Sciences of the Qur’an
The Miraculous Qur’an The Qur’an is the miracle of all miracles because of the fact that it was revealed more than 1400 years ago yet its contents has been well preserved that not a single statement in it has been changed by anyone; moreover, the exquisite miracles are actually within the words and its meanings which were revealed so long ago yet they are still relevant in this modern and changing society. The Qur’an’s miraculous nature can be seen from the time of its arrival until the end of time itself and as scientists and intellectuals continue to explore the Qur’an they discover more aspects of its miracles however, one can no longer see the miracles of Moses pbuh (when he split the sea into two) and Jesus pbuh (the raising the dead) anymore as these Prophets have gone and so have their miracles but their stories remain alive through the Qur’an. Scientists such as Dr. Keith L. Moore whose book on human Development which was used in every medical university was later re-written upon his discovery of certain information found in the Qur’an regarding the embryo; this shows that scientists have just confirmed that which was written 1400 years ago in the Qur’an regarding that matter. And it was revealed by The One and Only God through an illiterate Arab man whose name was Muhammad (pbuh) with no connection to science or had any prior schooling and also who had no knowledge of the people of the scriptures before him (Jews and Christians). This shows that the Qur’an was clearly from God Himself (which is a clear miracle that the Qur'an came from God All Mighty) and not from a man and that the Qur’an holds significant information which scientists are just discovering. Other topics which the Qur’an had covered and in which scientists have recently been able to confirm include the spherical structure of the earth (as opposed to the prior understanding that the earth was flat), the nature of oceans and rivers (such as the miracle of the sweet and salt water that do not mix even as waves, strong currents and tides are apparent in this area), the importance of mountains (which hold up the earth with their peg like roots), the science of the brain, the origin of the universe and the study of the soul (which is still to be uncovered by scientists and only little information was given on this matter in the Qur’an).

The wife of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) whose name was Khadijah (before she embraced Islam had no religious affiliations herself); she had a Jewish relative but as mentioned earlier the Prophet (pbuh) had no prior knowledge of the people of the scriptures (Jews and Christians) so when the verses were revealed to the Prophet (pbuh) and he addressed the Jews and Christians "have you heard the story about Moses..." they were amazed to hear the Prophet (pbuh) speak accurately about the topic which is another miraculous sign that the Qur’an was from the One God of Moses and Jesus and that the Qur'an addresses all groups of people i.e. people of the scripture, polytheists, hypocrites and Muslims too.

The Sciences of the Qur’an
To further explain the miraculous nature of the Qur’an in relation to its significant information and contents which have just been confirmed by scientist Keith L. Moore; he explains that a Muslim medical student bought the Qur’an to his attention one day as he was lecturing and he showed him the verses from Chapter 96 of the Quran, verse 2: “created man from a clinging substance” the word which the Muslims referred to was “Aalaqa” translated into “clinging (leech like) substance” and “clot of congealed blood.” With this newly found information he took to his lab and for months he researched the embryo in the first stage (from one week old to three months old) and as the embryo was too small to see with the naked eye he had to create a microscope to allow him to see it and what he saw to his shock and amazement was exactly as the Qur’an had stated. He saw a leech like embryo which clung itself to the womb and would suck its sustenance from it. And so he revised his first book to include the terms used in the Qur’an and because of his discovery of the truth in the Qur’an and in Islam he became a Muslim. This story shows the miracle of the language of the Qur’an which exceeds the eloquent speech of any other book as one word (eg. Aalaqa) can fulfil the complete meaning of the statement and there is no book that can match its perfect language and knowledge of everything and without contradicting itself. Another sign of its miracle is that of its ease to memorise and recite, even a child or the old aged can memorise the entire contents of the Qur’an therefore it is instilled in the heart and chests of thousands of Muslims around the world and throughout the life of this earth.

For more information please refer to the textbook “A Brief Illustrated Guide To Understanding Islam” by I. A Ibrahim or for the soft copy please visit

The Sciences of the Qur’an
Chapter 2:
Wahy (Divine Revelation) Revelation came to Prophet Muhammad s.a.w directly (true dreams, inspiration, instinct, intuition and direction or direct conversation) and indirectly (through Angel Jibreel). The types of wahy included the Qur’an (words and meaning from Allah) and Hadith (words from the Prophet s.a.w and meanings from Allah). Revelation comes down by Allah in the following ways: “and your Lord inspired the bees to make its home in the mountains, trees and what (men) build” Qur’an 16: 68 - Thus revelation is instinctually built into the Prophet s.a.w (brain) by Allah. “and We inspired Musa’s mother by wahy to suckle him” Qur’an 28: 17 - from this verse it is known that inspiration is instilled into a person such as motherly instinct in which every female knows to breastfeed her child. Moreover Allah inspired the Prophet s.a.w with revelation. “then, when you fear for him, cast him into the river (in a basket) and don’t be afraid and don’t grieve” Qur’an 28: 17 – sometimes revelation comes through a person’s intuition which is a strong feeling that a certain action is right thing to do even if there may not be any logical evidence for it. And Allah guided (and directed) the Prophet s.a.w towards the right path and gave him intuition leading to Him (Allah) and His Paradise. Anas ibn Malik reported that there was only revelation to have come down in a vision (while the Prophet s.a.w was asleep in the Masjid) which was Chapter 108- Al Kawthar. There were only two Prophets able to receive revelation directly from Allah with His Divine Speech, the first Prophet was Musa (a.s) while Musa was awake Allah veiled himself with light to prevent Him from being seen and the second Prophet was Muhammad (s.a.w) who conversed with Allah above the seven Heavens on his night journey called Isra Wal Miraj. Angel Jibreel would recite to the Prophet s.a.w the revelations. At first as revelation came down the Prophet s.a.w tried to repeat Angel Jibreel word for word but later on Allah revealed that the Prophet s.a.w should listen attentively and Allah will cause him s.a.w to remember without any effort on his part. It is impossible that Muhammad s.a.w could have written the Qur’an because: There are statements in the Qur’an which is impossible for the Prophet s.a.w to have known as he did not have access to such information. Eg). The Prophet s.a.w had never seen the ocean yet he recites about the salt and fresh water meeting each other in the ocean but it does not cross between one another. Or the Prophet s.a.w recites about how man was created from a single clot of blood which has just been proven by scientists in recent years. There are statements in the Qur’an which admonish the Prophet s.a.w himself regarding his actions and why if he were to have written the Qur’an would he have criticized himself lest he would have lost the respect of his followers i.e. “which you conceal within yourself that which Allah is to disclose and you feared the people while Allah has more right that you fear Him...” (Found in Qur’an 33: 43).


The Sciences of the Qur’an
In the beginning of Prophecy he was waiting for revelation to come down from Allah but if he written the Qur’an himself he would have revealed it sooner.

The first revelation was Chapter 96- Al Alaq. “recite in the Name of your Lord who created man from a single clinging substance (clot), recite and your Lord is the Most Generous who taught by the pen that which he (man) knew not.” Quran 96: 1- 5 Then there was a waiting period between the first and second revelation which might have been few days, months and even years but the best opinion is a few days. During that time the Prophet s.a.w was in a state of shock and perplexity and depression. It is said that the pause in revelation occurred to give the Prophet s.a.w time to recover and absorb everything that had happen and is yet to happen and also to make the Prophet s.a.w yearn for the next revelation. Then, after the Prophet s.a.w saw Angel Jibreel in his true Angelic form he rushed home and the revelation came down Qur’an 74: 1 – 5. Then the revelation started coming strongly and frequently. Second revelation was Chapter 74 Al Mudaththir. “O you who covers himself (with a garment), arise and warn and your Lord glorify, and your clothing purify and uncleanness avoid.” Qur’an 74: 1-5

The last chapter revealed was 110- An Nasr, which was revealed in Mina during the farewell Hajj. “When the victory of Allah has come and the conquest , and you see the people entering into the religion in multitudes, then exalt (Him) with praise of your Lord and ask forgiveness of Him. Indeed He is ever accepting of repentance.” Qur’an 110: 1-3 And according to Ibn Abbas the last verse revealed was verse 281 in Chapter Al Baqarah. “and fear a day when you will be returned to Allah. Then every soul will be compensated for what it earned, and they will not be treated unjustly.” Qur’an 2: 281

The Sciences of the Qur’an
Chapter 3:
The decent of the Qur’an The Qur’an came down in three stages: 1. It was inscribed in Al Lawh Al Mahfuz (The Preserved Book/Tablet) before time (that mankind knows) existed 2. Then it came down to the lowest Heaven in to Bayt al Izzah (The House of Honour or Power) on laylatul Qadr (the Night of Decree) 3. Then Angel Jibreel brought it down in a process of twenty three years to Prophet Muhammad s.a.w The significance of it being segmented was to deal with the problems that occurred at present, to ease the workload of the Prophet s.a.w, to make the laws easily applicably that if it were to all come down at once it would become a burden and people will not believe and leave it altogether, to memorise each revelation perfectly and have time to reflect and practice and there were little writing material readily available therefore the gradual revelations allowed them to have breaks and memorise and find somewhere to record it. Other reasons why the Qur’an came down in stages is because it is fact of life that everything in life comes in stages.

The Sciences of the Qur’an
Chapter 4:
The Collection of the Qur’an The Prophet s.a.w instructed his companions to memorise the Qur’an and would ensure that his companions memorised and recorded the Qur’an by: Reciting the verses of Qur’an out loud during congregational prayers daily in order for them to memorise and record it in the way the Prophet s.a.w recited it Those who embraced Islam had to memorise parts of the Qur’an and recite it in their prayers therefore everyone was always teaching and learning various parts of the Qur’an The Prophet s.a.w encouraged his followers to memorise and teach others by stating that whoever does so will be classed as the best of men The Prophet s.a.w told his companions who could read and write to write down the Qur’an as they were revealed and the Prophet s.a.w would tell them in what order they should record the verses.

When the Prophet s.a.w passed away the whole Qur’an was written down but not in one book. During Abu Bakr (the first caliph) reign there were the riddah (apostasy) wars in which sixty of the Qur’an memorises (who memorised the entire Qur’an) were killed. Umar ibn Al Khattab was concerned that the Qur’an would be lost in time and discussed with Abu Bakr about preserving it into one book, at first Abu Bakr opposed because it seemed to be an innovation in the religion but later on he realised its necessity (to preserve it) and that it was not a change in religion but a method of preservation as the Prophet s.a.w had instructed his companions to write down the Qur’an and so compiling it into one book was just the completion of what the Prophet s.a.w had began. Zayb ibn Thabit was in charge of compiling the Qur’an in to one book. He was chosen because he had memorised the entire Qur’an and was present when the Prophet s.a.w was revising the entire Qur’an in the last Ramadan of his s.a.w life, the Prophet s.a.w had asked him to write the Qur’an down as it was revealed and because Zayd was a beautiful recitor. Zayd began the process by collecting all the materials on which the Qur’an was written down on and gathered all those who memorised all or portions of the Qur’an. Then Zayd would compare what was written down with what he and the others had memorised and if it matched and they agreed they would write it down on pages of leather. Abu Bakr kept the first copy of the entire Qur’an and then on his deathbed he handed it over to Umar ibn Al Khattab, who he chose as the second caliph. Ten years after his assassination the Qur’an was handed over to his daughter and the wife of the Prophet s.a.w Hafsah who kept it in her house in Medina and it was made available to anyone who wished to read it or make copies or check the accuracy of what they have memorised. In total that copy of the Qur’an stayed intact for thirteen years and its recitation (there are seven other different dialects acceptable) was chosen to survive til the present time. Uthman was the third caliph and by then Islam had expanded to non Arab speaking countries. The non Arab speaking converts learnt the Qur’an from the early Muslims. The Prophet s.a.w had revealed the Qur’an in seven different dialects and the early Muslims taught the Qur’an in its different readings but this caused the non Arab speaking Muslims to differ and debate regarding

The Sciences of the Qur’an
their accuracy in reading the Qur’an as it was hard to know if someone was making a mistake or if it was one of the seven different dialects acceptable. For example the vowel difference i.e. “suddan” or “saddan”, letter differences such as ta and ya i.e. “turja ‘una” or “yurja ‘una” and different places for pausing i.e. verse in Al Baqarah - Dhalika'l-Kitabu la rayb" or "Dhalika'l-Kitabu la rayba fih." This was becoming an issue which Huthayfah ibn Al Yamaan noticed whilst in Iraq (battle of Athrabijan) and so he brought it up with the present caliph, Uthman who immediately decided to limit the recitation to Abu Bakr’s compiled version of the Qur’an and called Zayd ibn Thabit to lead the committee who was in charge of making official copies and sending it to major cities along with an official recitor in order to clear up any problems that might arise. Uthman also ordered other copies of the Qur’an to be destroyed as people have had their personal notes on them and some copies were incomplete. This process was complete two years after the beginning of Uthman’s reign. The Uthmani script: The Qur’an which Uthman made official had no dots and dashes it was the plain standard (Quraish) Arabic text which included the seven different dialects. It did not even have pauses, numbering of verses or pages or dots to distinguish letters that looked similar such as seen and sheen and saad and daad. It was easy for the Arabs to read but difficult for the non Arab Muslims.

The Qur’an during Caliph Uthmani’s era Ziyad, the Governor of Basrah (Iraq) requested that Abul Aswad Ad Du’alee develop signs (dots and dashes) to make it easier for all the Muslims to read it correctly as someone in Iraq had made a major error in recitation which caused a change in meaning. The person recited Qur’an 9: 3 Annal – laaha baree um minal mushrikeena wa rusulih (instead of) rusuluh meaning “verily Allah and His Messenger are free from (any obligation) to the idolaters” but because that person said rusulih he changed the meaning to “verily Allah is free from (any obligation) to the idolaters and His Messenger.” This is very bad to say that Allah has done as such. At first Ad Du’alee delayed responding to the Governor for fear of changing the religion but after that incident he realised that it was necessary to prevent others from making major errors.

The Sciences of the Qur’an
Chapter 5:
The Qur’anic text Order of Verses – the Prophet s.a.w told his companions were to put the verses. Order of Chapters – there are three views the first being that the order of chapters was done by the companions, or second view was that it was part divine and partly by the companions and third view was that it was divinely placed in its order and none of the companions or the Prophet s.a.w argued with the order confirmed by Uthman’s Qur’an copy that even others burnt their own copies to avoid confusion. The naming of Chapters is not known how it came about but it is known that the Prophet s.a.w named Al Baqarah, Ali Imran, Al Fatihah An Nisa because he s.a.w named it by the first word or meaning. Decoration of the text: in the third century after the Hijrah calligraphers began to compete in beautification of the Qur’an. Flowery scripts were created and the ‘w’ mark was introduced to indicate a doubled consonant (tashdeed). Also introduced was the ending sign of a verse and signs to show the portions of the Qur’an according to juzz (one of thirty parts) hizb (half the juzz) and signs were it is recommended to prostrate. The scholars opposed the decorations fearing to add to the main text and changing the Qur’an but they were all agreed that the dots and dashes were acceptable in order to prevent readers from making errors, especially the non Arab Muslims. However the scholars were ignored regarding the decorating of text in the Qur’an and therefore the Qur’an is how it is seen today.

Note: the Qur’an seen today is from the Uthamani script however there were many additions added to it from the calligraphers and from Abul Aswad Ad Du’alee (introduced dots and dashes).

The Sciences of the Qur’an
Chapter six:
The seven dialects of the Qur’an Abdullah bin Abbas narrated that the Prophet s.a.w said: ‘Angel Jibreel recited the Qur’an to me in one way, then I requested him to read it another way and continued asking him to recite it in other ways until he ultimately recited it in seven different ways.” *Sahih Al Bukhari+ Benefits of the seven dialects To make its reading, pronunciation and memorisation easier as many were illiterate To show the unique nature of the Qur’an in its language, the meaning and legal rulings To explain the legal ruling in more detail To unite the Muslim community of one common Arabic language which is the Arabic of the Quraish with some minor variations.

The Quraish Arabic was the main language spoken for trade and pilgrimage in Arabia. Similar to the example of English which is the main language in America and Australia and it is also known worldwide. However America and Australia have slight variation in sounds, accent and slang words and meanings and spelling of a word. Understanding the seven dialects Besides the seven authenticated dialects there are various other ways of reciting the Qur’an though it may not be authenticated. Thus the dialects were divided into muttawattir (authentic and approved as so many have approved it then it is unlikely to be untrue this includes the seven dialects) and ahad (transmitted by one but its authenticity can go back to the Companions. There are three dialects that fall into this category called mashoor) and lastly the shadh (exceptional. These can be traced back only to the tabi’un). In order for the dialect to be accepted the scholars have put three conditions in which are the following: 1. Correctness according to Arabic grammar 2. Agreement with written text of Uthman 3. Traced back reliably to the Prophet s.a.w And the condition for preference is the above two points plus it is reported or preferred by the majority.

The Sciences of the Qur’an
Chapter Seven:
Asbaab An Nuzool : Reasons for Revelations A revelation would be sent down to the Prophet s.a.w because of a certain event that had just occurred in a certain time and place. Or a revelation would be sent down to the Prophet s.a.w because a companion had directly asked the Prophet s.a.w a certain question that was unclear to them. How the reasons for revelation of a verse is known To find out the reason for the revelation of a verse is to seek the witnesses of the relevant event who knew what was happening at the time the Prophet s.a.w revealed that verse or be a witness to it such as the Companions and the tabi’un. The reliability then depends on reliability of the chain of narrators. Ibn Abbas and Ibn Ahmad are two prominent scholars of Asaab An Nuzool. The benefits of understanding the reasons for revelation Understanding the reasons behind a revelation is very beneficial as it shows the mercy of Allah which in turn strengthens the conviction of the Muslim. Ibn Abbas reported that Hilal ibn Umayyah came to the Prophet s.a.w with an accusation that his wife had committed adultery and the Prophet s.a.w told him to produce four witnesses lest he should receive the punishment of eighty lashes on his back. But Hilal was certain and he replied ‘O Messenger of Allah if one sees a man on his woman should he leave and seek witnesses?’ and the Prophet s.a.w repeated the above statement so Hilal then said ‘I swear By the One who sent you with the Truth that I am telling the truth and Allah will surely reveal something to free my back from punishment.’ Then Angel Jibreel immediately came down with the following verses of the Qur’an 24: 6-9 “and for those who accuse their wives without witnesses except themselves, the testimony of one of them (can be accepted) by bearing witness (with an oath) to Allah four times that he is telling the truth, and the fifth time that the curse of Allah be upon him if he is telling a lie. However, it would avert punishment from (the wife) if she bears witness four times (with an oath) by Allah that he is lying, and the fifth (time) that Allah’s wrath be upon her if he was truthful.” This also shows that the reason for its revelation is specific and so it should be interpreted according to its specific meaning. It also explains the wisdom behind the verse (especially regarding legislations) as the reasons of the Islamic laws can provide scholars with general principles that help them to work out laws for new problems which have similar causes or effects. Such as when Allah revealed in the Qur’an 5: 43 “O you who believe! Approach not the salah while you are in a drunken state, so that you know what you utter.” The reason for that revelation was because a Companion stood as an imam while he was drunk (before the prohibition of alcohol) and he read surah Al Kaafirun incorrectly and recited ‘I worship that which you (disbelievers) worship.’

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This also shows that the reason for revelation is specific but its meaning may be used in general terms therefore anyone who is drunk whether by intoxicants, lack of sleep or the likes thereof should not perform the prayer. Understanding the reason behind a revelation also helps to perfect the carrying out of the deen as a specific law may be obvious however it was revealed for a different reason and that reason allows the Muslim to understand and apply that verse in the correct manner. For example Urwah the nephew of Aishah (rduh) understood the verse found in Qur’an 2: 158: “verily as Safa and Al Marwah are among the shrines of Allah, so there is no sin on anyone who walks between them when making Hajj or Umrah” to mean that the walking between As Safa and Al Marwah is mubaah (permissible) instead of wajib (compulsory) because of the fact that the people of Ansar would dedicate their pilgrimage to the two idols Isaaf and Naa’ilah and would walk between As Safa and Al Marwah then shave their heads and none of the Muslims liked to walk between As Safa and Al Marwah because of that pagan tradition but it was then when Allah revealed the verse “verily As Safa and Al Marwah are among the shrines of Allah...” to show that it is wajib to do so for pilgrimage. This shows that the verse may seem general but is in fact holds a specific meaning and should be interpreted according to its specific meaning. The guiding principle to be followed when interpreting or applying the verses of the Qur’an is that the lesson lies in the general meaning of the words and not simply in the special circumstances in which they were revealed. However, knowledge of the events surrounding the revelations puts its general meaning of the verses in proper context and prevents deviation.

The types of reasons for revelation Sometimes, a revelation is specific to an aspect though its wording is quite vague and generalised and so because of this, people may understand it and include other circumstances which were not intended by Allah. Such as the verse from Qur’an 3: 188 “you should not think that those who are happy with what they have brought about and enjoy being praised for things they have not done, will successfully escape the punishment. They will have a painful punishment.” Marwan, understood the following verse to have meant that anyone who is happy about what they have done and likes to be praised for what they have not done will be punished but then, everyone would be punished as everyone is happy when they have done something and they do enjoy praises when they refrain from something So ibn Abbas explained that the reason for this revelation is intended for the people of the Book such as the Jews and Christians and then he recited the verse that came before it Qur’an 3: 187: “And when Allah took the solemn pledge of those who were given a Book (of revelation), (saying to them), ‘make it known to mankind and do not conceal it! But they cast this (pledge) behind their backs and bartered it away for a trifiling gain; and how evil was their bargain.” Then Ibn Abbas explained that when the Prophet s.a.w would ask the people of the Book about something they would conceal it from him and gave something else in its place, and they would

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make the Prophet s.a.w believe that he s.a.w had been well informed by them and they sought his praise and thanks, they were also very happy to have been able to conceal something from the Prophet s.a.w. therefore the first mentioned verse does not refer to everyone that is happy about what they have done but is specific to the people of the Book who hid the meanings from whoever wished to know the truth. In some cases the reason for a revelation is specific and the verse is also specific to the reason therefore the verse is interpreted according to its specific meaning but may be taken as a general lesson. For example Allah revealed in Qur’an 92: 17-21 “but (the Hell Fire) will be avoided by the most God Fearing, he who gives his wealth for self purification and does not seek a favour as a reward from anyone, but only seeks the Face of his Lord Most High, and he will soon be pleased.” This verse is referring to As Abu Bakr who set free six or seven slaves because they were being tortured due to their belief in Allah but the Muslims may reflect upon this verse and apply it to their daily lives as generally speaking all who are charitable and God Fearing will be saved from the Hell Fire. In other cases a revelation is generally speaking of a matter and its reason for revelation was not specific to an event that had occurred but rather to answer a question. Such as the following verse from Qur’an 2: 222 which was revealed to answer the question of the Companions regarding the Jews who used to remove their women from their houses when they menstruated and they would not eat or drink or sit with them in their houses. “they ask you about menstruation. Say: ‘its a harm so keep away (sexually) from women during menses. And do not approach them (sexually) until they have become purified. But if they have cleansed themselves, you may approach them (sexually) in the way that Allah has ordered you. Verily, Allah loves those who repent often and cleanse themselves.’” Then the Prophet s.a.w said: ‘sit with them in your houses and you may do everything with them except intercourse.’ (Sahih Muslim) So the general meaning that women should not be approached sexually is confirmed by events surrounding its revelation.

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Chapter eight:
Makan and Medinan revelations The reasons why the verses are categorised as Makkan or Medinan verses is not because it is from this place but because it was revealed during the time that the Prophet s.a.w was in Makah or in Medina thus it is a periodic description and not a geographical description. Furthermore there were instances where the Prophet s.a.w was outside of Makah when he (s.a.w) received revelation such as in Badr which is why it is not suitable to categorise the verses according to geographical location as those verses would not fit into the Makah or Medina category. Also verses that were revealed in Makah during the period of time that the Prophet s.a.w lived in Medina is part of the Medina category as the verses are categorised by period of time instead of geographical location. The features of Makkan revelation All the revelations that were brought to the Prophet s.a.w before the Hijrah (622 CE) are known as the Makkan revelations including verses revealed in Ta’if. The revelations were regarding the following : Tawheed (the oneness of Allah) Salaah (formal prayer) The Unseen : - the people of Makah were interested in magic and jins and the like thereof The People of Old : - stories of past nations that the Arabs can relate to such as the people of Ad and Thamood who carved beautiful houses in the mountains in Petra, Jordan. Imaan : - the Makkans were devoted to the religion of their forefathers and so verses concerning imaan were revealed to bring them closer to Allah

The verses were mainly clear and concise as the audience (people of Makah) were basically opposed to the message of Islam and as soon as they heard any part of the Qur’an they would stick their fingers in their ears and turn away so it had to catch the attention of its listeners through quick and catchy rhymes and a strong rhythm.

The features of Medinan revelations All verses and chapters of the Qur’an revealed after the Hijrah are known as the Medinan verses. These verses included revelations during all the battles and during and after the farewell pilgrimage in Makah and Mina. The main characteristics of these revelations were : Laws : - the Prophet s.a.w became the leader of Medina and so revelations were regarding the social, economical and spiritual laws which organised the Islamic state. People of the book : - the Muslims came in contact with the Jews and Christians for the first time in Medina and the Jews used to ask the Prophet s.a.w questions to try and shake the beliefs of the Muslims and to catch the Prophet s.a.w as a liar but it never occurred. The Christians used to ask the Prophet s.a.w concerning Jesus (a.s) and to clarify for them.

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The munaafiqoon (the hypocrites) : - Abdullah ibn Ubayy ibn Salool was about to be crowned as the ruler of Medina but the Medinans accepted Islam and asked the Prophet s.a.w to be their leader and because the Medinans were strong Abdullah ibn Ubayy could not oppose them and so he became a Muslim but only to work against the Prophet s.a.w and Islam. Jihad : - it was during the time where the Prophet s.a.w was in Medina when they were to fight in battles therefore the revelations concerning jihad only came down in Medina period as they had to defend themselves and uphold the banner of Islam. It was not revealed in Makah period because those Muslims were little in number and many did not acquire true faith.


These verses were mainly long and detailed as the people of Medina readily accepted Islam. The longest verse is the verse concerning loans found in the Qur’an chapter Al Baqarah : 282.

The order of the chapters in the Qur’an There were verses from various chapters that were revealed together and sometimes a whole chapter would be revealed at once and whenever there was a single verse revealed the Prophet s.a.w would tell his companions to write it down and place it in a certain chapter. Once the Medinan verses were revealed the Prophet s.a.w told his companions to place them before or after certain Makkan chapters or verses. This was all done by the command of Allah All Mighty. The reason for the mix may have been that the verses were revealed according to the needs of a developing community whereas the order for reading purposes were varied to make it clear that the Qur’an is not merely a historical document so by separating the verses from the sequential order of their revelations makes the general and universal aspects of their meanings more emphasized and clear.

The importance of distinguishing a Makkan and Medinan revelation It is important to know at which time a verse was revealed in order to apply it properly as the laws were revealed over a stretch of twenty three years and so some laws may cancel earlier laws and other laws were revealed gradually. Eg): the law concerning alcohol initially was a simple warning of its dangers as Allah said in the Qur’an 2: 219: “And they ask you about khamr (alcohol) and maysir (gambling); tell them that they contain some benefit, but the sin is greater than the benefit.” But some time after the above revelation Allah warned Muslims to stay away from the prayer whilst they’re intoxicated: “verily khamr, maysir and azlaam (fortune telling) are filth, as a result of shaytaan’s work, so stay away from them.” If a person was unaware of which order the verses were revealed he may think that it is allowed for him to benefit from the sale of alcohol or that it is allowed to consume alcohol as long as it does not intoxicate him before he is to perform his prayer.

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It is also important to know the order of the revelation of verses to learn the best method of teaching Islam to others. Eg). The Qur’an teaches Muslims not to curse the disbelievers or make fun of them so that they won’t run away from Islam and so they will not curse Allah out of ignorance instead the Qur’an teaches to reason with the disbelievers through logic as Allah quoted the Prophet Ibraaheem (a.s) saying to his people, found in Qur’an 21: 66: “Are you worshipping besides Allah other gods which cannot benefit you at all nor harm you?” And so Allah explained in Qur’an 60: 4: “there is an excellent example for you in Ibraaheem and those with him. Whey they said to their people. ‘we are clear of you and of whatever you worship besides Allah; we have rejected you, and there has arisen between us and you, enmity and hatred forever, unless you believe in Allah alone.”’ And it is important to know the order of revelation in order to understand the most important events in the lifetime of the Prophet s.a.w and to understand a large portion of the biography of the Prophet s.a.w.

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Chapter nine:
Al Nasikh and Al Mansukh The verses of the Qur’an that deal with lawful issues can be known as al Nasikh or al Mansukh which means that they have been abrogated (abolished) or replaced. Allah states that whatever verse He chose to be abrogated or caused to be forgotten, He would bring another better than it (see Qur’an 2: 106). Al Nasikh refers to the verse found in the Qur’an (and not later on in another historical development) which replaces the abrogated verse and al Mansukh refers to the verses which has been abrogated or cancelled out.

Why a verse is considered al mansukh or al nasikh It is important to know which verse is al nasikh and which verse is al mansukh in order to correctly practice the Shari’ah (laws) of Allah.

How to recognize a mansukh or nasikh verse In order to identify which is mansukh and which verse is the nasikh one must have an understanding of the history of revelation (i.e. which verses of the Qur’an preceded another), to know of the reports from the Prophet s.a.w or the companions and to know of the ijma (consensus of the majority of Muslims, scholars upon what is mansukh and what is nasikh).

There are four categories of nasikh (replacement) verses : 1. Qur’an verse is revealed to cancel out another Qur’an verse 2. A Sunnah practice of the Prophet s.a.w cancels out the Qur’an verse (this is a controversial category as some say that the Qur’an should be superior in all cases all though the Sunnah of the Prophet s.a.w also came from Allah, thus both the Sunnah and Qur’an is from Allah and both should be taken as a strong source of evidence and information) 3. The Qur’anic verse cancels out a Sunnah 4. A Sunnah cancels out another Sunnah practice When a law was abrogated it may or may not be replaced; in the case of its replacement the new law is either of lesser difficulty, similar difficulty or more difficult.

Examples of the four categories of nasikh verses : 1. Initially in the Qur’an (4: 15) the punishment regarding women who committed illicit sexual relations was that after four witnesses testified against her she was to be sentenced to a life imprisonment in her home. But later on (as Allah says at the end of that verse that He will

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ordain another way) a verse was revealed in Qur’an (24: 2) stating that the punishment for illicit sexual relations is a hundred lashes for the men and women. 2. In Qur’an (2: 180) it states that it is prescribed for each person who leaves behind wealth to have a bequest (a will) for their parents and relatives. But then, later on the Prophet s.a.w explained “verily Allah has given every one with a right his rightful (share in inheritance) so there is no bequest for one who inherits.” [Abu Dawood] Therefore, it is understood that from this Hadith whatever a person inherits should come from the laws of inheritance which Allah had ordained (see Qur’an 4: 176) and a person may not give more or less to those that inherit their wealth. 3. The Prophet s.a.w used to face Jerusalem for prayers until a verse was revealed that the direction of the qiblah (direction for prayer) had shifted from Jerusalem to the Ka’bah in Makah. This verse is found in Qur’an 2: 144 where Allah says: “so turn your faces towards al Masjid al Haraam (Makah) and wherever you all may be, turn your faces towards it.” 4. In the beginning the Prophet s.a.w forbade the Muslims from visiting graves as it was a norm in their time to do so in order to seek protection from the deceased instead of Allah but once the faith of the Muslims were perfected the Prophet s.a.w advised them to visit graves in order to reflect upon death and to strengthen the faith in Allah Azawajal.

There are three types of nasikh (replacement verses) in the Qur’an : 1. Abrogation of the recited verse together with its legal ruling which means that the law and the verse was removed from the Qur’an 2. Abrogation of the legal ruling without the recited verse which means that the verse is still found in the Qur’an but the law of that verse no longer applies 3. Abrogation of the recited verse without the legal ruling which means that the verse was removed from the Qur’an but the law still applies i.e. the verse regarding the punishment for illicit sexual relations was removed from Qur’an but the law is still applicable and can be found in the Sunnah of stoning the adulterers’ men and women.

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Chapter 10:
Mukham and Muttashaabih Mukham are the clear verses that are not open to interpretation. In the Qur’an these verses are in regards to what are halal (permissible) and haraam (forbidden) and the laws of Islam. Muttashaabih are the unclear verses when read on its own, thus it requires explanation from the mukham verses. Muttashaabih does not mean ‘symbolic’ but it does mean ‘resembling’ or ‘unclear’ of its literal meaning and the two meanings of resembling and unclear interlock with one another. Allah speaks about this matter in the Qur’an 3: 7 “He (Allah) is the one who has sent down to you (O Muhammad) the Book. In it are verses that are mukham – they are the foundation of the Book, and others are muttashaabih. So as for those who have a deviation in their hearts, they follow that which is muttashaabih, seeking to cause confusion and chaos, and seeking for its ta’weel. But none knows its ta’weel except Allah, and those well grounded in knowledge; they say: ‘we believe in it, all of it (both the mukham and muttashaabih) is from our Lord’. And none receive admonition except those of understanding.” The word ta’weel which is used in the above verse can be basically defined as ‘explanation’ and there are three methods of defining a ta’weel. The first method of ta’weel is to explain a word or phrase which is what tafseer does, it interprets and translates a word or phrase. The second method of ta’weel is that when something occurs it will explain itself such as the time Prophet Yoosuf informs his family of the dream he had coming true – “this is the ta’weel (i.e. fulfilment) of my dream of old” (See Qur’an 12: 100). And the third method of ta’weel is to understand a word within its context otherwise this word cannot make sense or be understood in its literal meaning. For example the Prophet s.a.w describes the courageous fighting of his uncle Hamzah by stating “he was a lion on the battlefield.” Here the Prophet s.a.w is not using the word ‘lion’ in its literal meaning (an animal) as it does not make sense in this context but in fact the Prophet s.a.w is referring to the bravery of Hamzah similar to that of a lion i.e. the ta’weel of ‘lion’ in this case is in regards to its characteristics of bravery and courage and not as its actual meaning that a lion is an animal.

Explaining muttashaabih verses In regards to muttashaabih Allah states in that above verse that “none knows its ta’weel except Allah” and this is an acceptable statement as the ta’weel of a muttashaabih verse – its actuality (i.e. its time, its methodology or how-ness,) cannot be known to anyone besides Allah alone. But as the verse continues it reads “none knows its ta’weel except Allah and those well grounded in knowledge” which is also an acceptable statement as there are muttashaabih verses that may be understood by Allah and by those who have knowledge and are able to interpret it, Ibn Abbas stated “I am of those well grounded in knowledge who know the meaning of the muttashaabih.”

Examples of the mukham and muttashaabih The Qur’an is an example of what is mukham because it is perfect in its clarity and acts as a Criterion for good and evil and Allah has protected falsehood from seeping into it. (See Qur’an 41: 42).

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As well, Allah explains that this Qur’an (39: 33) is muttashaabih because the verses resemble and complement one another in beauty and eloquence (the verses help to explain one another), and in its beliefs and laws. Therefore the Qur’an can be seen as both mukham and muttashaabih. It is mukham as it is clear and not open to distortion and it is muttashaabih as it is unclear and can be opened to distortion by those ‘who have a deviation in their hearts.’ (See Qur’an 3: 7) It is also important to note here that the muttashaabih can also be clear ‘to those who are well grounded in knowledge’ but its actual meaning is only known to Allah so those well grounded in knowledge can only interpret or translate a muttashaabih verse to the best of their understanding (with the knowledge that Allah had bestowed upon them). The Attributes of Allah are mukham because it is clear that Allah is All Seering, All Hearing and All Knowing meaning that nothing escapes His knowledge but it is also muttashaabih as it is unclear as to how Allah does this. In regards to the Attributes of Allah being mukham and muttashaabih we examine the above mentioned verse (Qur’an 3: 7) when it reads““none knows its ta’weel except Allah” - this is acceptable as only Allah alone understands the actuality and how-ness of His Attributes but we can also read further “none knows its ta’weel except Allah and those well grounded in knowledge” - and this is also acceptable as those well grounded in knowledge may understand its interpretation or translation of the Attributes of Allah. Therefore the Attributes of Allah are not known in one perspective (that of their actuality and how-ness) but it can be known from another perspective (that of their meanings and interpretations) thus, the Attributes of Allah are both mukham and muttashaabih.

The opinion of the Ash’arees Abu Hasan ibn Ash’aree was a famous scholar of Tawheed. In his studies he came to believe that the Attributes of Allah are all muttashaabih because its meaning (and its actuality and how-ness) is only known to Allah and he thought that the people who interpreted the Attributes of Allah were the people who Allah referred to as ‘those who have a deviation in their hearts and who follow the muttashaabih.’ The Ash’arees claim that the following verses are muttashaabih because Allah alone knows of its apparent and actual meanings, these are : – Qur’an 48: 10 (referring to the ‘Hands of Allah’) Qur’an 11: 37 (referring to the ‘eyes of Allah’) Qur’an 55: 27 (referring to the ‘face of Allah’) Qur’an 20: 5 (referring to the ‘settling *Istiwaa+ of Allah’s Throne’) His followers then split into two groups regarding this matter, the first group believe that the meaning of these verses can never be known or understood by humanity but instead these meanings are entrusted to Allah and are not discussed any further and then they attributed this philosophy to the Salaf; while the second group believe that the apparent meaning can be interpreted to mean other meanings so for example the ‘Hand of Allah’ is in reality the ‘capability or power of Allah’ and ‘the Istiwaa over the Throne’ in reality means ‘the conquering of the Throne.’ In regards to the second group they have implied that:

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- Firstly, Allah had revealed in the Qur’an muttashaabih verses which are apparently misleading or deceptive to its readers instead of guiding them. In that case, the muttashaabih verses should not have been revealed as it had caused doubts and deception. -Secondly, Allah did not reveal the truth regarding His Attributes but only hinted in vague terms to the point that the truth cannot be known except by distorting their meanings thus leading one astray from the actual truth. -Thirdly, the second group of Ash’arees have implied that the best of this ummah – the Salaf (from the first of them to the last of them), did not understand the concept properly and that the Ash’arees know better or that the Salaf did not explain it because they were not sincere in spreading Islam; both of these possibilities cannot be true as the Salaf are the most knowledgeable and sincere generation of this ummah as the Prophet s.a.w had declared. The Ash’arees did not understand the Attributes of Allah in its proper manner and they have denied its meanings as they have understood it in the Anthropomorphic terms (human like attributes) but Allah had stated that none is comparable to Him (See Qur’an 112: 4) and so it is not proper to even begin understanding the Attributes of Allah as equivalent to anything else as Allah is in a class on His own. The Ash’arees however, understand the following verse found in the Qur’an (42: 11): “there is nothing like unto Him (Allah) and He is the All Seeing and All Hearing” as though Allah is All Seeing and All Hearing without attributing its meaning to the seeing and hearing of a human being yet they have fallen in to errors with regards to other Attributes of Allah. The correct method of understanding the Attributes of Allah is to accept that Allah in fact does have “Hands, Eyes, Face, Istawa over the Throne” etc but it is unlike the human being has ever seen and it is correct to accept both the mukham and muttashaabih because both are from Allah while denying that Allah has these Attributes are far worse as it implies that Allah is a liar or misleader. The only reason the Ash’arees deny these Attributes is to save people from being led astray and thinking beyond what they are allowed to think of Allah but while doing so they have led them further astray. Later on, Abu Hasan Ash’aree refuted his former opinion regarding the Attributes of Allah being all muttashaabih and he accepted that it is clear in its meaning for example Allah does have a “Hand” but it is unclear in its actuality and how-ness.