quran

Multi-Meaning Verses – Join islam

One of the most discussed and slightly controversial verses of the Quran is Sura 3, verse 7.

[3:7] He sent down to you this scripture, containing straightforward verses—which constitute the essence of the scripture—as well as multiple-meaning or allegorical verses. Those who harbor doubts in their hearts will pursue the multiple-meaning verses to create confusion, and to extricate a certain meaning. None knows the true meaning thereof except GOD and those well founded in knowledge. They say, “We believe in this—all of it comes from our Lord.” Only those who possess intelligence will take heed.

هُوَ ٱلَّذِىٓ أَنزَلَ عَلَيْكَ ٱلْكِتَـٰبَ مِنْهُ ءَايَـٰتٌ مُّحْكَمَـٰتٌ هُنَّ أُمُّ ٱلْكِتَـٰبِ وَأُخَرُ مُتَشَـٰبِهَـٰتٌ فَأَمَّا ٱلَّذِينَ فِى قُلُوبِهِمْ زَيْغٌ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ مَا تَشَـٰبَهَ مِنْهُ ٱبْتِغَآءَ ٱلْفِتْنَةِ وَٱبْتِغَآءَ تَأْوِيلِهِۦ وَمَا يَعْلَمُ تَأْوِيلَهُۥٓ إِلَّا ٱللَّهُ وَٱلرَّٰسِخُونَ فِى ٱلْعِلْمِ يَقُولُونَ ءَامَنَّا بِهِۦ كُلٌّ مِّنْ عِندِ رَبِّنَا وَمَا يَذَّكَّرُ إِلَّآ أُو۟لُوا۟ ٱلْأَلْبَـٰبِ

One of the interesting quirks of this verse is that it is written in such a way that is multi-meaning. Firstly, there is debate regarding the exact meaning of the word that is translated as “multi-meaning and allegorical,” which is “mutashābihātun” ( مُتَشَـٰبِهَـٰتٌ ) and exactly which words or verses this signifies. Some say these are allegorical verses; some say these are the multiple-meaning words, and others believe it to be both.

1 huwa هُوَ He (is)
2 alladhī ٱلَّذِىٓ the One who
3 anzala أَنزَلَ He revealed
4 ʿalayka عَلَيْكَ to you
5 l-kitāba ٱلْكِتَـٰبَ the book / scripture,
6 min’hu مِنْهُ of it (are)
7 āyātun ءَايَـٰتٌ verses
8 muḥ’kamātun مُّحْكَمَـٰتٌ ones which are unambiguous / straightforward –
9 hunna هُنَّ they (are)
10 ummu أُمُّ (the) foundation (of)
11 l-kitābi ٱلْكِتَـٰبِ the book / scripture,
12 wa-ukharu وَأُخَرُ and other
13 mutashābihātun مُتَشَـٰبِهَـٰتٌ ones which are figurative / multiple meaning.

Secondly, the expression, “None knows the true meaning thereof except GOD and those well founded in knowledge. They say,..” can be understood in one of two ways, based on where one chooses to place the period.

  1. None knows the true meaning thereof except GOD and those well founded in knowledge. They say,..
  2. None knows the true meaning thereof except GOD. And those well founded in knowledge, they say,
27 wamā وَمَا And not
28 yaʿlamu يَعْلَمُ [he] knows
29 tawīlahu تَأْوِيلَهُۥٓ its interpretation
30 illā إِلَّا except
31 l-lahu ٱللَّهُ God,
32 wal-rāsikhūna وَٱلرَّٰسِخُونَ and those well founded
33 فِى in
34 l-ʿil’mi ٱلْعِلْمِ [the] knowledge.
35 yaqūlūna يَقُولُونَ They say…

Grammatically and per the rules of tajwīd, both understandings are acceptable, except both versions cannot be correct because one understanding would negate the other understanding if we say that only God knows the meaning of the verses.

My point in bringing this up is not to debate which understanding I believe is correct but to highlight a more significant lesson. In the verse where God tells us that certain parts of the Quran were intentionally designed so that two people may read it and have different interpretations, we can see that this phenomenon exists even within this verse. This informs me that this lesson should not be taken lightly.

Interestingly, when we read much of the Quran, many critical verses on crucial subjects are intentionally written so that conflicting understandings can be justifiably taken.

Ablution

One of the quintessential historical examples of this, which caused much of the distinguishing factor in the early practices between Sunnis and Shias, was the understanding of the fourth step of the ablution (wudu).

[5:6] O you who believe, when you observe the Contact Prayers (Salat), you shall:
(1) wash your faces,
(2) wash your arms to the elbows,
(3) wipe your heads, and

(4) [wash] your feet to the ankles.
If you were unclean due to sexual orgasm, you shall bathe. If you are ill, or traveling, or had any digestive excretion (urinary, fecal, or gas), or had (sexual) contact with the women, and you cannot find water, you shall observe the dry ablution (Tayammum) by touching clean dry soil, then rubbing your faces and hands. GOD does not wish to make the religion difficult for you; He wishes to cleanse you and to perfect His blessing upon you, that you may be appreciative.

 يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓا۟ إِذَا قُمْتُمْ إِلَى ٱلصَّلَوٰةِ فَٱغْسِلُوا۟ وُجُوهَكُمْ وَأَيْدِيَكُمْ إِلَى ٱلْمَرَافِقِ وَٱمْسَحُوا۟ بِرُءُوسِكُمْ وَأَرْجُلَكُمْ إِلَى ٱلْكَعْبَيْنِ وَإِن كُنتُمْ جُنُبًا فَٱطَّهَّرُوا۟ وَإِن كُنتُم مَّرْضَىٰٓ أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ أَوْ جَآءَ أَحَدٌ مِّنكُم مِّنَ ٱلْغَآئِطِ أَوْ لَـٰمَسْتُمُ ٱلنِّسَآءَ فَلَمْ تَجِدُوا۟ مَآءً فَتَيَمَّمُوا۟ صَعِيدًا طَيِّبًا فَٱمْسَحُوا۟ بِوُجُوهِكُمْ وَأَيْدِيكُم مِّنْهُ مَا يُرِيدُ ٱللَّهُ لِيَجْعَلَ عَلَيْكُم مِّنْ حَرَجٍ وَلَـٰكِن يُرِيدُ لِيُطَهِّرَكُمْ وَلِيُتِمَّ نِعْمَتَهُۥ عَلَيْكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ

4 idhā إِذَا When
5 qum’tum قُمْتُمْ you [all] stand up
6 ilā إِلَى for
7 l-ṣalati ٱلصَّلَوٰةِ the Contact Prayer (Salat),
8 fa-igh’silū فَٱغْسِلُوا۟ then wash [you all]
9 wujūhakum وُجُوهَكُمْ your faces,
10 wa-aydiyakum وَأَيْدِيَكُمْ and your hands
11 ilā إِلَى to
12 l-marāfiqi ٱلْمَرَافِقِ the elbows,
13 wa-im’saḥū وَٱمْسَحُوا۟ and wipe [you all]
14 biruūsikum بِرُءُوسِكُمْ of your heads,
15 wa-arjulakum وَأَرْجُلَكُمْ and your feet
16 ilā إِلَى to
17 l-kaʿbayni ٱلْكَعْبَيْنِ the ankles.

The question was whether the verb to wipe or wash should apply to the feet. Again, my point is not to make arguments to my understanding but to highlight the more significant point that God could have easily revealed this verse in such a way to eliminate the confusion, but He knowingly did not.

Beyond this, there are disputes as to when it mentions the elbows and ankles whether this is inclusive or exclusive. Meaning do we wash the elbows and ankles or stop short of them.

The Death of Jesus

Another example is the verse regarding the death of Jesus.

[3:55] Thus, GOD said, “O Jesus, I am terminating your life, raising you to Me, and ridding you of the disbelievers. I will exalt those who follow you above those who disbelieve, till the Day of Resurrection. Then to Me is the ultimate destiny of all of you, then I will judge among you regarding your disputes.

 إِذْ قَالَ ٱللَّهُ يَـٰعِيسَىٰٓ إِنِّى مُتَوَفِّيكَ وَرَافِعُكَ إِلَىَّ وَمُطَهِّرُكَ مِنَ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ وَجَاعِلُ ٱلَّذِينَ ٱتَّبَعُوكَ فَوْقَ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوٓا۟ إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ ٱلْقِيَـٰمَةِ ثُمَّ إِلَىَّ مَرْجِعُكُمْ فَأَحْكُمُ بَيْنَكُمْ فِيمَا كُنتُمْ فِيهِ تَخْتَلِفُونَ

4 yāʿīsā يَـٰعِيسَىٰٓ “O Jesus!
5 innī إِنِّى Indeed, I am
6 mutawaffīka مُتَوَفِّيكَ One who takes in full / (will) cause you to die

The Arabic word that is translated as “terminating your life” “mutawaffīka” ( مُتَوَفِّيكَ ) also means “to take in full,” implying that Jesus did not necessarily die but only fulfilled his mission. So, two people can read this: one person can understand that God terminated Jesus’s life, and someone else can believe that Jesus only fulfilled his mission and never died.

Mark the Hands

Another example can be seen in the verse that discusses the punishment for stealing.

[5:38] The thief, male or female, you shall mark their hands as a punishment for their crime, and to serve as an example from GOD. GOD is Almighty, Most Wise.

 وَٱلسَّارِقُ وَٱلسَّارِقَةُ فَٱقْطَعُوٓا۟ أَيْدِيَهُمَا جَزَآءًۢ بِمَا كَسَبَا نَكَـٰلًا مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ وَٱللَّهُ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ

1 wal-sāriqu وَٱلسَّارِقُ And (for) the male thief
2 wal-sāriqatu وَٱلسَّارِقَةُ and the female thief –
3 fa-iq’ṭaʿū فَٱقْطَعُوٓا۟ [then] cut / mark [you all]
4 aydiyahumā أَيْدِيَهُمَا both their hands

The word “fa-iq’ṭaʿū” ( فَٱقْطَعُوٓا۟ ) can be either understood as severe (e.g., cutoff) or cut, like in the example of Joseph and the women.

[12:31] When she heard of their gossip, she invited them, prepared for them a comfortable place, and gave each of them a knife. She then said to him, “Enter their room.” When they saw him, they so admired him, that they cut their hands. They said, “Glory be to GOD, this is not a human being; this is an honorable angel.”

 فَلَمَّا سَمِعَتْ بِمَكْرِهِنَّ أَرْسَلَتْ إِلَيْهِنَّ وَأَعْتَدَتْ لَهُنَّ مُتَّكَـًٔا وَءَاتَتْ كُلَّ وَٰحِدَةٍ مِّنْهُنَّ سِكِّينًا وَقَالَتِ ٱخْرُجْ عَلَيْهِنَّ فَلَمَّا رَأَيْنَهُۥٓ أَكْبَرْنَهُۥ وَقَطَّعْنَ أَيْدِيَهُنَّ وَقُلْنَ حَـٰشَ لِلَّهِ مَا هَـٰذَا بَشَرًا إِنْ هَـٰذَآ إِلَّا مَلَكٌ كَرِيمٌ

18 ra-aynahu رَأَيْنَهُۥٓ they saw him
19 akbarnahu أَكْبَرْنَهُۥ they greatly admired him,
20 waqaṭṭaʿna وَقَطَّعْنَ and they cut
21 aydiyahunna أَيْدِيَهُنَّ their hands,

Why?

These are not one-offs; there are countless examples in the Quran of matters like the ones mentioned above. The question one has to ask is: Why? Why did God deliberately reveal a Quran that can be interpreted like this?

Historically

This is not a new question. The earliest Muslims struggled with this question and typically fell into one of three camps in a resolution to this conundrum:

  1. Traditionalist (Sunnis)
  2. Followers (Shias)
  3. Rationalists/Free Thinkers (Mutazilites)

The Traditionalists believed that if only they could figure out how the prophet and the earliest companions understood these matters, they would have the proper understanding. Ironically, when they did this, they just became more confused and divided than they were before.

For example, the divide between understandings regarding whether to wipe or wash your feet. When traditionalists gathered Hadith, they agreed to wash their feet, yet there was a caveat. If one had shoes or socks, they would wipe. So they went from a position to wash one’s feet to a position of washing one’s feet unless you have shoes on. Then, they started having other disputes regarding matters. One of the famous disputes was if eating cooked food, specifically meat, breaks one’s ablution, despite such a practice being non-existent in the Quran.

The other group was that of the followers. You can put the Shias in this group. They believed that the way they would get to the right understanding of these matters was by following the Imam that God had designated. Such that whatever the Imam says is what they will practice, irrespective of whether it goes against the Quran, common sense, or logic and reason.

The third group was the rationalists, most notably known as the Mutazilites. Some express that this group was not formed until after the beginning of the Abbasid Dynasty, but according to the book “The Four Imams” by Muhammad Abu Zahra, on page 204, it states:

“Scholars disagree about when the Mu’tazilites first appeard. Some think that they began with the people of ‘Ali who withdrew from politics and devoted themselves to the pursuit of knowledge when al-Hasan surrendered the khalifate to Mu’awiya. At-Tara’ifi states in his book, The People of Sects and Innovations: “They called themselves Mu’tazilites. When al-Hasan offered his allegiance to Mu’awiya, they withdrew (i’tazala) from al-Hasan and they kept to their homes and mosques, saying ‘We are busy with knowledge and worship.’ “

Continuing on page 303, it states:

“The Mutazilites avoided imitation and were averse to following others without investigation, examination and comparison proofs and criteria. Their respect was for opinons and not names, for the truth and not the speaker. Hence they did not imitate one another; their rule which they followed was that every responsible person is answerable for the principles of the Deen to which his ijtihad [reasoning] has led him. Perhaps that is why they split into so many groups, including the Wasiliyya, Hudhayliyya, Nizamiyya, Ha’itiyya, Bishriyya, Mu’ammariayya, Thumamiya, Hashimiyya, Jahiziyya, Khayyatiyya and Jubba’iyya.

They relied on the intellect to establish their artcles of faith, finding support for their positions in the Qur’an. They did not have muhc knowledg of hadiths because they did not use them for doctrine or evidence.”

Historically, these were three different approaches that the Muslims took to try to come to the right understanding, and not much different than what we see today.

From my perspective, the answer to why God structured the Quran in such a way is in the verse.

[3:7] He sent down to you this scripture, containing straightforward verses—which constitute the essence of the scripture—as well as multiple-meaning or allegorical verses. Those who harbor doubts in their hearts will pursue the multiple-meaning verses to create confusion, and to extricate a certain meaning. None knows the true meaning thereof except GOD and those well founded in knowledge. They say, “We believe in this—all of it comes from our Lord.” Only those who possess intelligence will take heed.

هُوَ ٱلَّذِىٓ أَنزَلَ عَلَيْكَ ٱلْكِتَـٰبَ مِنْهُ ءَايَـٰتٌ مُّحْكَمَـٰتٌ هُنَّ أُمُّ ٱلْكِتَـٰبِ وَأُخَرُ مُتَشَـٰبِهَـٰتٌ فَأَمَّا ٱلَّذِينَ فِى قُلُوبِهِمْ زَيْغٌ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ مَا تَشَـٰبَهَ مِنْهُ ٱبْتِغَآءَ ٱلْفِتْنَةِ وَٱبْتِغَآءَ تَأْوِيلِهِۦ وَمَا يَعْلَمُ تَأْوِيلَهُۥٓ إِلَّا ٱللَّهُ وَٱلرَّٰسِخُونَ فِى ٱلْعِلْمِ يَقُولُونَ ءَامَنَّا بِهِۦ كُلٌّ مِّنْ عِندِ رَبِّنَا وَمَا يَذَّكَّرُ إِلَّآ أُو۟لُوا۟ ٱلْأَلْبَـٰبِ

Below is a word-by-word breakdown of the part of the verse I want to draw your attention towards.

14 fa-ammā فَأَمَّا Then as for
15 alladhīna ٱلَّذِينَ those who
16 فِى in
17 qulūbihim قُلُوبِهِمْ their hearts (is)
18 zayghun زَيْغٌ deviation / perversity / doubt
19 fayattabiʿūna فَيَتَّبِعُونَ [so] they follow
20 مَا what
21 tashābaha تَشَـٰبَهَ it is figurative / multiple-meaning
22 min’hu مِنْهُ of it,
23 ib’tighāa ٱبْتِغَآءَ seeking
24 l-fit’nati ٱلْفِتْنَةِ [the] dissension / division / disputes
25 wa-ib’tighāa وَٱبْتِغَآءَ and seeking
26 tawīlihi تَأْوِيلِهِۦ its interpretation / determination.

God has given every human the instinctive knowledge of God and warned us against falling into sectarianism. The Quran equates this to idol worship, which is an unforgivable sin. (4:48).

[30:30] Therefore, you shall devote yourself to the religion of strict monotheism. Such is the natural instinct placed into the people by GOD. Such creation of GOD will never change. This is the perfect religion, but most people do not know.

فَأَقِمْ وَجْهَكَ لِلدِّينِ حَنِيفًا فِطْرَتَ ٱللَّهِ ٱلَّتِى فَطَرَ ٱلنَّاسَ عَلَيْهَا لَا تَبْدِيلَ لِخَلْقِ ٱللَّهِ ذَٰلِكَ ٱلدِّينُ ٱلْقَيِّمُ وَلَـٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ ٱلنَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ

[30:31] You shall submit to Him, reverence Him, observe the Contact Prayers (Salat), and—whatever you do—do not ever fall into idol worship.

 مُنِيبِينَ إِلَيْهِ وَٱتَّقُوهُ وَأَقِيمُوا۟ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَلَا تَكُونُوا۟ مِنَ ٱلْمُشْرِكِينَ

[30:32] (Do not fall in idol worship,) like those who divide their religion into sects; each party rejoicing with what they have.

 مِنَ ٱلَّذِينَ فَرَّقُوا۟ دِينَهُمْ وَكَانُوا۟ شِيَعًا كُلُّ حِزْبٍۭ بِمَا لَدَيْهِمْ فَرِحُونَ

My understanding of this is that the foundation of the Quran is straightforward and easy to understand. This is beautifully encompassed in the first Sura of the Quran (Al-Fãtehah) which is also nicknamed the “foundation of the book” ( Umm al-Kitab / أمّ الکتاب‎ )

[1:1] In the name of GOD, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
[1:2] Praise be to GOD, Lord of the universe.
[1:3] Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
[1:4] Master of the Day of Judgment.
[1:5] You alone we worship; You alone we ask for help.
[1:6] Guide us in the right path;
[1:7] the path of those whom You blessed; not of those who have deserved wrath, nor of the strayers.

 بِسْمِ ٱللَّهِ ٱلرَّحْمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

 ٱلْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ ٱلْعَـٰلَمِينَ

 ٱلرَّحْمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

 مَـٰلِكِ يَوْمِ ٱلدِّينِ

 إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ

 ٱهْدِنَا ٱلصِّرَٰطَ ٱلْمُسْتَقِيمَ

صِرَٰطَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ ٱلْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا ٱلضَّآلِّينَ

This theme can also be seein the of the Quran as well as the following verse stated twice in the Quran.

[2:62 & 5:69] Surely, those who believe, those who are Jewish, the Christians, and the converts; anyone who (1) believes in GOD, and (2) believes in the Last Day, and (3) leads a righteous life, will receive their recompense from their Lord. They have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.

إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ وَٱلَّذِينَ هَادُوا۟ وَٱلنَّصَـٰرَىٰ وَٱلصَّـٰبِـِٔينَ مَنْ ءَامَنَ بِٱللَّهِ وَٱلْيَوْمِ ٱلْـَٔاخِرِ وَعَمِلَ صَـٰلِحًا فَلَهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ وَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ

These are the foundation and essence of the Quran, and ideally, our understanding should align with this. The allegorical and multiple-meaning verses in the Quran are part of God’s design as a test for us to see if we become divisive regarding the interpretation we choose to uphold. Again, I am not interested in giving my opinion on which understanding I think is correct for determining the multi-meaning verses, only what our response should be regarding these verses, which is that we should not quarrel over them. If we do, we will still fail this test, even if we have the “right” interpretation.

[6:52] And do not dismiss those who implore their Lord day and night, devoting themselves to Him alone. You are not responsible for their reckoning, nor are they responsible for your reckoning. If you dismiss them, you will be a transgressor.

 وَلَا تَطْرُدِ ٱلَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ رَبَّهُم بِٱلْغَدَوٰةِ وَٱلْعَشِىِّ يُرِيدُونَ وَجْهَهُۥ مَا عَلَيْكَ مِنْ حِسَابِهِم مِّن شَىْءٍ وَمَا مِنْ حِسَابِكَ عَلَيْهِم مِّن شَىْءٍ فَتَطْرُدَهُمْ فَتَكُونَ مِنَ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ

[4:94] O you who believe, if you strike in the cause of GOD, you shall be absolutely sure. Do not say to one who offers you peace, “You are not a believer,” seeking the spoils of this world. For GOD possesses infinite spoils. Remember that you used to be like them, and GOD blessed you. Therefore, you shall be absolutely sure (before you strike). GOD is fully Cognizant of everything you do.

 يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓا۟ إِذَا ضَرَبْتُمْ فِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ فَتَبَيَّنُوا۟ وَلَا تَقُولُوا۟ لِمَنْ أَلْقَىٰٓ إِلَيْكُمُ ٱلسَّلَـٰمَ لَسْتَ مُؤْمِنًا تَبْتَغُونَ عَرَضَ ٱلْحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنْيَا فَعِندَ ٱللَّهِ مَغَانِمُ كَثِيرَةٌ كَذَٰلِكَ كُنتُم مِّن قَبْلُ فَمَنَّ ٱللَّهُ عَلَيْكُمْ فَتَبَيَّنُوٓا۟ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ كَانَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرًا

[25:63] The worshipers of the Most Gracious are those who tread the earth gently, and when the ignorant speak to them, they only utter peace.

 وَعِبَادُ ٱلرَّحْمَـٰنِ ٱلَّذِينَ يَمْشُونَ عَلَى ٱلْأَرْضِ هَوْنًا وَإِذَا خَاطَبَهُمُ ٱلْجَـٰهِلُونَ قَالُوا۟ سَلَـٰمًا

This does not mean that we cannot share our understanding and even debate topics of the Quran when requested, but we should be patient with people who do not share our understanding as long as the core of our understanding of the Quran is the same.

[16:125] You shall invite to the path of your Lord with wisdom and kind enlightenment, and debate with them in the best possible manner. Your Lord knows best who has strayed from His path, and He knows best who are the guided ones.

 ٱدْعُ إِلَىٰ سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ بِٱلْحِكْمَةِ وَٱلْمَوْعِظَةِ ٱلْحَسَنَةِ وَجَـٰدِلْهُم بِٱلَّتِى هِىَ أَحْسَنُ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَن ضَلَّ عَن سَبِيلِهِۦ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِٱلْمُهْتَدِينَ

[16:126] And if you punish, you shall inflict an equivalent punishment. But if you resort to patience (instead of revenge), it would be better for the patient ones.

 وَإِنْ عَاقَبْتُمْ فَعَاقِبُوا۟ بِمِثْلِ مَا عُوقِبْتُم بِهِۦ وَلَئِن صَبَرْتُمْ لَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لِّلصَّـٰبِرِينَ

[16:127] You shall resort to patience—and your patience is attainable only with GOD’s help. Do not grieve over them, and do not be annoyed by their schemes.

 وَٱصْبِرْ وَمَا صَبْرُكَ إِلَّا بِٱللَّهِ وَلَا تَحْزَنْ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا تَكُ فِى ضَيْقٍ مِّمَّا يَمْكُرُونَ

[41:33] Who can utter better words than one who invites to GOD, works righteousness, and says, “I am one of the submitters”?

 وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ قَوْلًا مِّمَّن دَعَآ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ وَعَمِلَ صَـٰلِحًا وَقَالَ إِنَّنِى مِنَ ٱلْمُسْلِمِينَ

[41:34] Not equal is the good response and the bad response. You shall resort to the nicest possible response. Thus, the one who used to be your enemy, may become your best friend.

 وَلَا تَسْتَوِى ٱلْحَسَنَةُ وَلَا ٱلسَّيِّئَةُ ٱدْفَعْ بِٱلَّتِى هِىَ أَحْسَنُ فَإِذَا ٱلَّذِى بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَهُۥ عَدَٰوَةٌ كَأَنَّهُۥ وَلِىٌّ حَمِيمٌ

[41:35] None can attain this except those who steadfastly persevere. None can attain this except those who are extremely fortunate.

 وَمَا يُلَقَّىٰهَآ إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ صَبَرُوا۟ وَمَا يُلَقَّىٰهَآ إِلَّا ذُو حَظٍّ عَظِيمٍ

[41:36] When the devil whispers an idea to you, you shall seek refuge in GOD. He is the Hearer, the Omniscient.

 وَإِمَّا يَنزَغَنَّكَ مِنَ ٱلشَّيْطَـٰنِ نَزْغٌ فَٱسْتَعِذْ بِٱللَّهِ إِنَّهُۥ هُوَ ٱلسَّمِيعُ ٱلْعَلِيمُ

[10:19] The people used to be one congregation, then they disputed. If it were not for a predetermined word from your Lord, they would have been judged immediately regarding their disputes.

 وَمَا كَانَ ٱلنَّاسُ إِلَّآ أُمَّةً وَٰحِدَةً فَٱخْتَلَفُوا۟ وَلَوْلَا كَلِمَةٌ سَبَقَتْ مِن رَّبِّكَ لَقُضِىَ بَيْنَهُمْ فِيمَا فِيهِ يَخْتَلِفُونَ

From this, we see that it is part of God’s design that he placed things in the Quran that can be interpreted in multiple ways, and the intent is not in the action but in our reaction to such a design. How do we react to such people who have understandings regarding the verses of the Quran that are different than ours? Therefore, our reaction to the people’s understanding of the multiple-meaning verses is the real action we should be conscious of and not their interpretation, as this is part of God’s grand design with the Quran.

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