The Preservation of the Numbering of Ayaat in the Qur’an

Dr. Abdulrahman Al Shehri, professor of Quranic studies at King Saud University and director of Tafseer Center for Qur’anic Studies, wrote the following article regarding one of the German orientalists and the numbering of the ayaat of the Qur’an:

قام المستشرق الألماني جوستاف فلوجل بإصدار فهرس موضوعي لآيات القرآن الكريم سماه ( نجوم الفرقان في أطراف القرآن) حوالي عام 1257هـ وقصد من وراء هذه الفهرسة – بحسب رأي بعض الباحثين – إعادة ترتيب القرآن حسب الموضوعات، إذ إنه بهيئته التي جمعه عليها المسلمون غير مرتب ! وجاء بعده المستشرق ثيودور نولدكه فألف كتابه (تاريخ القرآن) الذي بناه على تلمس إعادة ترتيب سور القرآن على حسب نزولها ، وهذا موضوع كتب عنه الكثير من الموضوعات والبحوث التي أثبتت خطأ نولدكه الشنيع الذي وقع فيه ، والذي اعترف هو بنفسه أنه أنفق وقته في الجزم بنتائج ليس عليها أدلة ، وهو يعني بالذات مسألة إعادة ترتيب السور والآيات بحسب نزولها ، لعدم توفر أدلة تثبت أوقات نزول معظم السور والآيات بدقة تتيح ترتيبها بشكل متسلسل دقيق . ـ

The German Orientalist Gustav Flügel [d. 1870CE] set about producing a thematic concordance of the ayaat of the Qur’an entitled Nujoom al-Furqan fee Atraf al-Qur’an [Also entitled Concordantiae Corani Arabicae] around the year 1257AH [corresponding to ~1842CE]. According to some researchers, the objective behind this concordance was to reconstruct the chronology of Qur’an according to its subject matter, based on the idea that the ordering which the Muslims had unanimously agreed upon is disorderly!

Flügel was later followed by the Orientalist Theodor Nöldeke who authored the book, “The History of the Qur’an” which was built off this quest to reconstruct the ordering of the surahs of the Qur’an according to their order of revelation. There have been many books and studies written about this subject which have accepted Nöldeke’s terrible errors, errors which he himself admitted were just him spending his time coming to conclusions without any evidence to support them. Here he was referring precisely to the issue of reconstructing the order of the surahs and ayaat according to their chronological order of revelation without having access to those sources of evidence which could actually determine the precise time of revelation of most of the surahs and ayaat and could provide their chronological order in a precise and continuous manner.

والذي أحب الإشارة إليه هنا إلى أن المستشرق جوستاف فلوجل قد مهد لمشروعه في تأليف معجمه الموضوعي (نجوم الفرقان في أطراف القرآن) بطباعة مصحف كامل لكي يستعين به في معجمه ، فوقع في أخطاء فاحشة وكثيرة جداً في عد الآي ، فجعل ما ليس برأس آيةٍ رأسَ آية ، ووقع الخلل في معجمه بشكل ظاهر . ولذلك تحير الشيخ محمد فؤاد عبدالباقي عندما أراد ترجمة المعجم للعربية ، حيث وجد اضطراباً شديداً في ترقيم الآيات ، فلما تأمل في الأمر ظهر له أن فلوجل قد اعتمد على مصحفه الخاص المضطرب في الترقيم ، الذي يعتبر من أوائل نسخ القرآن المطبوعة في أوربا عام 1250هـ (1834م) تقريباً بعد طبعة البندقية عام 936هـ تقريباً. ويمكن الاطلاع على نسخة مصورة منه هنا وهي مطبوعة عام 1849م في الطبعة الثانية ربما ، حيث إن نجوم الفرقان له طبع بعده عام 1842م في ليبسك. ويمكن الاطلاع عليه من هنا . ـ

What I would like to draw attention to here is that the Orientalist Gustav Flügel paved the way for his authoring of the thematic concordance Nujoom al-Furqan fee Atraf al-Qur’an by first publishing a complete mushaf to aid him in making that concordance. In this mushaf, he made an enormous amount of egregious errors when it came to the numbering of ayaat, as he would make ayaat begin in places where they did not actually begin, which resulted in many evident faults in his concordance. Continue reading

A Central Theme of Surah al-An’aam: Tafsir al-Qurtubi

After discussing a number of statements from the salaf regarding the revelation and themes of surah al-An’aam, Imam al-Qurtubi then wrote:

تنبيه : قال العلماء : هذه السورة أصل في محاجة المشركين وغيرهم من المبتدعين ومن كذب بالبعث والنشور وهذا يقتضي إنزالها جملة واحدة لأنها في معنى واحد من الحجة وإن تصرف ذلك بوجوه كثيرة . ـ

A Note: the scholars have said that this surah is the foundation for arguing against the Mushrikoon, as well as others such as innovators and anyone who denies the resurrection and gathering of the dead. That is why this surah was revealed all at once, because it all centers around one message of making an argument, even if the surah pursues that goal in a number of different ways. Continue reading

A Point on Promises in the Qur’an: Tafsir al-Shawkaani, al-Qurtubi & al-Baghawi

Allah says in surah al-Baqarah:

الشَّيْطَانُ يَعِدُكُمُ الْفَقْرَ وَيَأْمُرُكُم بِالْفَحْشَاءِ ۖ وَاللَّهُ يَعِدُكُم مَّغْفِرَةً مِّنْهُ وَفَضْلًا ۗ وَاللَّهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ

The shaytaan promises you poverty and commands you to commit immoralities, while Allah promises you forgiveness from Him and bounty. And Allah is rich and all-knowing. [2:268]

In part of his commentary on this ayah, Imam al-Shawkaani wrote:

الوعد في كلام العرب إذا أطلق فهو في الخير ، وإذا قيد فقد يقيد تارة بالخير وتارة بالشر . ومنه قوله تعالى : النار وعدها الله الذين كفروا [ الحج : 72 ] ومنه أيضا ما في هذه الآية من تقييد وعد الشيطان بالفقروتقييد وعد الله سبحانه بالمغفرة ، والفضل . ـ

In the Arabic language, al-Wa’d – a promise – on its own is only used to refer to something good, but if what has been promised is specified in some way then the specification could sometimes be something good and other times be something bad.

An example of the this is Allah’s statement:

النَّارُ وَعَدَهَا اللَّـهُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا

It is the fire which Allah has promised for those who disbelieve [22:72]

This is also the case in this ayah [i.e. 2:268] as it has specified that the shaytaan’s promise is for poverty and it has specified that Allah’s promise is for forgiveness and bounty. Continue reading

Regarding Scientific Miracles in the Qur’an: Sheikh ‘Abdullah al-‘Awaaji

The follow was posed to sheikh ‘Abdullah al-‘Awaaji, a former professor of Tafsir at the Islamic University of al-Madinah:

س/ هل يوجد الإعجاز العلمي في القرآن الكريم (كما زعم بعض الناس)؟ أليس هذا يخالف فهم الصحابة للقرآن لأن العلوم والتكنولوجيا غير معروفة عندهم؟ ـ

Question: Are there scientific miracles in the Qur’an as some people claim? Doesn’t this go against the Sahabah’s understanding of the Qur’an since the physical sciences and technology weren’t known to them?

ج/ تفسير القرآن بغير علم محرم، لقوله تعالى ﴿قل إنما حرم ربي الفواحش ما ظهر منها وما بطن والإثم والبغي بغير الحق وأن تشركوا بالله ما لم ينزل به سلطانا وأن تقولوا على الله ما لا تعلمون﴾ وقوله ﴿ولاتقف ما ليس لك به علم إن السمع والبصر والفؤاد كل أولئك كان عنه مسئولا﴾ ـ

Response: Explaining the Qur’an without knowledge is forbidden according to Allah’s statement:

قُلْ إِنَّمَا حَرَّمَ رَبِّيَ الْفَوَاحِشَ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَمَا بَطَنَ وَالْإِثْمَ وَالْبَغْيَ بِغَيْرِ الْحَقِّ وَأَن تُشْرِكُوا بِاللَّـهِ مَا لَمْ يُنَزِّلْ بِهِ سُلْطَانًا وَأَن تَقُولُوا عَلَى اللَّـهِ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ

Say, “My Lord has only forbidden immoralities – what is apparent of them and what is concealed – and sin, and oppression without right, and that you associate with Allah that for which He has not sent down authority, and that you say about Allah that which you do not know.” [7:33]

and His statement:

وَلَا تَقْفُ مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ ۚ إِنَّ السَّمْعَ وَالْبَصَرَ وَالْفُؤَادَ كُلُّ أُولَـٰئِكَ كَانَ عَنْهُ مَسْئُولًا

And do not follow that of which you have no knowledge. Certainly the hearing, and the sight, and the heart of each of those you will be questioned. [17:36]

وقد روي حديثان ضعيفان في الترهيب من القول في تفسير القرآن بلا علم: ١-حديثُ ابن عباس قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : “من قال في القرآن بغير علم، فليتبوأ مقعده من النار”. ٢-حديث جُنْدُب قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : “من قال في القرآن برأيه فأصاب فقد أخطأ”. ـ

And there are two weak hadith narrations that have been passed down which warn against explaining the Qur’an without knowledge: Continue reading

Assorted Qur’an Benefits #41

The following brief benefits were originally published on our social media channels during February and March of 2020:

♦ “That is the Book …”

Allah begins surah al-Baqarah by saying:

الم * ذَٰلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لَا رَيْبَ ۛ فِيهِ

Which could be translated literally as:

Alif Lam Meem * That is the Book about which there is no doubt … [2:1-2]

In part of his commentary on the second ayah, al-Haafidh ibn Kathir wrote:

 وابن جريج : أن ذلك بمعنى هذا ، والعرب تقارض بين هذين الاسمين من أسماء الإشارة فيستعملون كلا منهما مكان الآخر ، وهذا معروف في كلامهم . ـ

Ibn Jurayj said: The word “that” is carrying the meaning of “this”. The Arabs interchange these two demonstrative pronouns and use each of them in place of the other, as is well-known in their way of speaking.

[Tafsir ibn Kathir 1/163]


♦ Single Revelation vs Ongoing Revelation

Allah describes Himself in the beginning of surah Aal ‘Imran by saying:

نَزَّلَ عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ وَأَنزَلَ التَّوْرَاةَ وَالْإِنجِيلَ

He has sent down the Book to you in truth, affirming what came before it, and He sent down the Tawrah and the Injeel [3:3]

Those able to read Arabic will notice that the verb of “to send down” is repeated twice in the ayah but in two different forms. Imam al-Baghawi comments on this subtle difference in his tafsir by writing: Continue reading

Tafsir of Surah al-Baqarah 221-227: al-Tafsir al-Muyassar

This is the twenty-third installment of our translation of al-Tafsir al-Muyassar‘s explanation of surah al-Baqarah, covering ayaat 221-227. This section continues with a series of legal rulings, specifically concerning marriage and oaths. See the series guide here for more information about this series and other installments.

وَلَا تَنكِحُوا الْمُشْرِكَاتِ حَتَّىٰ يُؤْمِنَّ ۚ وَلَأَمَةٌ مُّؤْمِنَةٌ خَيْرٌ مِّن مُّشْرِكَةٍ وَلَوْ أَعْجَبَتْكُمْ ۗ وَلَا تُنكِحُوا الْمُشْرِكِينَ حَتَّىٰ يُؤْمِنُوا ۚ وَلَعَبْدٌ مُّؤْمِنٌ خَيْرٌ مِّن مُّشْرِكٍ وَلَوْ أَعْجَبَكُمْ ۗ أُولَٰئِكَ يَدْعُونَ إِلَى النَّارِ ۖ وَاللَّهُ يَدْعُو إِلَى الْجَنَّةِ وَالْمَغْفِرَةِ بِإِذْنِهِ ۖ وَيُبَيِّنُ آيَاتِهِ لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَذَكَّرُونَ

And do not marry the polytheist women until they believe. A believing slave woman is better than a polytheist woman, even though she might amaze you. And do not wed to the polytheist men until they believe. A believing slave is better than a polytheist, even those he might amaze you. Those ones invite to the fire, while Allah invites to Paradise and forgiveness, by His permission. And He clarifies His verses to the people so that they might remember. [2:221]

ولا تتزوجوا- أيها المسلمون- المشركات عابدات الأوثان، حتى يدخلن في الإسلام. واعلموا أن امرأة مملوكة لا مال لها ولا حسب، مؤمنةً بالله، خير من امرأة مشركة، وإن أعجبتكم المشركة الحرة. ولا تُزَوِّجوا نساءكم المؤمنات- إماء أو حرائر- للمشركين حتى يؤمنوا بالله ورسوله. واعلموا أن عبدًا مؤمنًا مع فقره، خير من مشرك، وإن أعجبكم المشرك. أولئك المتصفون بالشرك رجالا ونساءً يدعون كل مَن يعاشرهم إلى ما يؤدي به إلى النار، والله سبحانه يدعو عباده إلى دينه الحق المؤدي بهم إلى الجنة ومغفرة ذنوبهم بإذنه، ويبين آياته وأحكامه للناس؛ لكي يتذكروا، فيعتبروا. ـ

221. O Muslims, do not marry the polytheist women who worship idols until they enter Islam. Be aware that a slave women without any wealth or status who believes in Allah is better than a polytheist woman, even if the free polytheist woman might amaze you. And do not marry your believing women – neither slave women or free women – to a polytheist man until he believes in Allah and His Messenger. Be aware that, despite his poverty, a believing slave is better than a polytheist, even if the polytheist man might amaze you. Those men and women who are characterized with polytheism call anyone that they keep company with to things which would lead to the Hellfire. But Allah calls His servants to His true religion which will lead them to Paradise and forgiveness of their sins, by His permission. And He makes His verses and rulings clear to the people so that they would remember and take a lesson.

Continue reading

“Shall We Turn Back on Our Heels After Allah has Guided us?”: Tafsir al-Baghawi

Allah strikes a parable in part of surah al-An’aam by saying:

قُلْ أَنَدْعُو مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ مَا لَا يَنفَعُنَا وَلَا يَضُرُّنَا وَنُرَدُّ عَلَىٰ أَعْقَابِنَا بَعْدَ إِذْ هَدَانَا اللَّهُ كَالَّذِي اسْتَهْوَتْهُ الشَّيَاطِينُ فِي الْأَرْضِ حَيْرَانَ لَهُ أَصْحَابٌ يَدْعُونَهُ إِلَى الْهُدَى ائْتِنَا ۗ قُلْ إِنَّ هُدَى اللَّهِ هُوَ الْهُدَىٰ ۖ وَأُمِرْنَا لِنُسْلِمَ لِرَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

Say: Shall we call on others besides Allah who cannot help us or harm us and shall we turn back on our heels after Allah has guided us like one whom the shayaateen have made go astray in the earth in confusion while his friends call him to guidance – “come to us!”. Say: Surely, Allah’s guidance is the guidance, and we have been commanded to submit to our Lord of all creation. [6:71]

Commenting on this in his famous book of tafsir, Imam al-Baghawi wrote:

ـ ( قل أندعو من دون الله ما لا ينفعنا ) إن عبدناه ، ( ولا يضرنا ) إن تركناه ، يعني : الأصنام ليس إليها نفع ولا ضر ، ( ونرد على أعقابنا ) إلى الشرك [ مرتدين ] ( بعد إذ هدانا الله كالذي استهوته الشياطين في الأرض ) ، أي : يكون مثلنا كمثل الذي استهوته الشياطين ، أي : أضلته ، ( حيران ) قال ابن عباس : كالذي استهوته الغيلان في المهامة فأضلوه فهو حائر بائر ، والحيران : المتردد في الأمر ، لا يهتدي إلى مخرج منه . ـ

قُلْ أَنَدْعُو مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ مَا لَا يَنفَعُنَا

Say: Shall we call on others besides Allah who cannot help us …

if we were to worship them

وَلَا يَضُرُّنَا

… or harm us …

if we were to ignore them. This is in reference to idols, which neither bring about benefit nor harm.

وَنُرَدُّ عَلَىٰ أَعْقَابِنَا

… and shall we turn back on our heels …

back to shirk, apostatizing from Islam

بَعْدَ إِذْ هَدَانَا اللَّهُ كَالَّذِي اسْتَهْوَتْهُ الشَّيَاطِينُ فِي الْأَرْضِ

… after Allah has guided us like one whom the shayaateen have made go astray in the earth …

i.e. if we were to do so, then we would be those one whom the shayaateen seduced – that is, led astray Continue reading

The End-Goals of Claiming that the Qur’an was Created

The following Q&A was posed to sheikh ‘Abdullah al-‘Awaaji, former professor of tafsir at the Islamic University of al-Madinah:

السلام عليكم . ماذا يترتب على القول بخلق القرأن ؟ ـ

al-salaam ‘alaikum. What does the belief that the Qur’an was created entail and lead to?

وعليكم السلام ورحمة الله وبركاته: من المآلات لهذه المقالة عند المعاصرين: القول بنقد القرآن وأنه كغيره من النصوص. -أن البيئة هي التي أثرت في خطاب القرآن وأنه ليس بوحي من عند الله -نفي الإعجاز عنه -إسقاط مرجعيته -تجويز وقوع التحريف والزيادة والنقصان فيه. -القول بتاريخية النص القرآني. ـ

wa ‘alaikum al-salaam wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh

Some of the end goals that people in modern times have with this belief are:

-Taking a position of criticizing the Qur’an and that it is just a book like any other written text.

-Saying that the instructions of the Qur’an were influenced by its historical context, rather than being divine revelation from Allah.

-Negating the miraculous nature of the Qur’an.

-Removing it from its position as a reference point for mankind.

-Making it possible to suggest that distortion, additions and loss of the Qur’an has occurred.

-Taking a stance that there has been a historical development and evolution of the text of the Qur’an.

وهذا مما كتبه د/ ناصر الحنيني بعنوان (مآلات القول بخلق القرآن) وهو منشور في مجلة التأصيل للدراسات الفكرية المعاصرة العدد ١ – السنة ١ – ربيع الأول 1431هـ . و فيه نشأة بدعة القول بخلق القرآن وحقيقتها ومن قال بها، وأصل البحث فصلان: ١-مآلات القول بخلق القرآن قديماً . ٢-مآلاته حديثاً. ـ

This is taken from what Dr. Nasser al-Hunayni wrote in a work entitled “The End Goals of Saying that the Qur’an was Created” which was published in the Ta’seel journal of Contemporary Thought, volume 1, edition 1, Rabee’ al-Awwal 1431. This article discusses the origin of the innovated position that the Qur’an is created, as well as the true nature of this position and of those who advocate it. This study is composed of two main sections:

  1. The end goals of saying that the Qur’an was created in previous times
  2. The ends goals of this position in contemporary times.

[As found on the ConsQuran Twitter page here and here]

See more from sheikh ‘Abdullah al-‘Awaaji here

See also: Rejecting the Sunnah in Order to Reinterpret the Qur’an: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

See also: On Modern Readings of the Qur’an and Sunnah: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

How the Prophet Lived with His Wives: Tafsir ibn Kathir

In the midst of legal rulings related to marriage in surah al-Nisaa’, Allah commands the believing to treat their wives well by saying:

وَعَاشِرُوهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ

… and live with them honorably … [4:19]

al-Haafidh Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir wrote a brief but beautiful commentary on this phrase in his tafsir:

وَقَوْلُهُ : ( وَعَاشِرُوهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ ) أَيْ : طَيِّبُوا أَقْوَالَكُمْ لَهُنَّ ، وَحَسِّنُوا أَفْعَالَكُمْ وَهَيْئَاتِكُمْ بِحَسَبِ قُدْرَتِكُمْ ، كَمَا تُحِبُّ ذَلِكَ مِنْهَا ، فَافْعَلْ أَنْتَ بِهَا مِثْلَهُ ، كَمَا قَالَ تَعَالَى : ( وَلَهُنَّ مِثْلُ الَّذِي عَلَيْهِنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ ) [ الْبَقَرَةِ : 228 ] وَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : ” خَيْرُكُمْ خَيْرُكُمْ لِأَهْلِهِ ، وَأَنَا خَيْرُكُمْ لِأَهْلِي ” وَكَانَ مِنْ أَخْلَاقِهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَنَّهُ جَمِيلُ الْعِشْرَةِ دَائِمُ الْبِشْرِ ، يُدَاعِبُ أَهْلَهُ ، وَيَتَلَطَّفُ بِهِمْ ، ويُوسِعُهُمْ نَفَقَتَهُ ، وَيُضَاحِكُ نِسَاءَهُ ، حَتَّى إِنَّهُ كَانَ يُسَابِقُ عَائِشَةَ أُمَّ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَتَوَدَّدُ إِلَيْهَا بِذَلِكَ . قَالَتْ : سَابَقَنِي رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَسَبَقْتُهُ ، وَذَلِكَ قَبْلَ أَنْ أَحْمِلَ اللَّحْمَ ، ثُمَّ سَابَقْتُهُ بَعْدَ مَا حَمَلْتُ اللَّحْمَ فَسَبَقَنِي ، فَقَالَ : ” هَذِهِ بِتِلْكَ ” وَيَجْتَمِعُ نِسَاؤُهُ كُلَّ لَيْلَةٍ فِي بَيْتِ الَّتِي يَبِيتُ عِنْدَهَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ، فَيَأْكُلُ مَعَهُنَّ الْعَشَاءَ فِي بَعْضِ الْأَحْيَانِ ، ثُمَّ تَنْصَرِفُ كُلُّ وَاحِدَةٍ إِلَى مَنْزِلِهَا . وَكَانَ يَنَامُ مَعَ الْمَرْأَةِ مِنْ نِسَائِهِ فِي شِعَارٍ وَاحِدٍ ، يَضَعُ عَنْ كَتِفَيْهِ الرِّدَاءَ وَيَنَامُ بِالْإِزَارِ ، وَكَانَ إِذَا صَلَّى الْعِشَاءَ يَدْخُلُ مَنْزِلَهُ يَسْمُرُ مَعَ أَهْلِهِ قَلِيلًا قَبْلَ أَنْ يَنَامَ ، يُؤَانِسُهُمْ بِذَلِكَ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَقَدْ قَالَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى : ( لَقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ ) [ الْأَحْزَابِ : 21 ] . وَأَحْكَامُ عِشْرَةِ النِّسَاءِ وَمَا يَتَعَلَّقُ بِتَفْصِيلِ ذَلِكَ مَوْضِعُهُ كِتَابُ ” الْأَحْكَامِ ” ، وَلِلَّهِ الْحَمْدُ . ـ

Allah’s statement:

وَعَاشِرُوهُنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ

… and live with them honorably …

that is: beautify your speech, actions and manners towards them to the best of your ability. Just as you would like for them to do that towards you, then do that towards them. This is as Allah said:

وَلَهُنَّ مِثْلُ الَّذِي عَلَيْهِنَّ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ

… and women have rights over their husbands similar to the rights their husbands have over them … [2:228]

and Allah’s Messenger said: Continue reading

Linguistic Ambiguity and Multiple Meanings of a Qur’anic Ayah: Tafsir al-Shinqitee

Allah begins surah al-An’aam by describing Himself in several ayaat, including:

وَهُوَ اللَّـهُ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَفِي الْأَرْضِ يَعْلَمُ سِرَّكُمْ وَجَهْرَكُمْ وَيَعْلَمُ مَا تَكْسِبُونَ

And He is Allah in the heavens and in the earth He knows your secrets and your statements and He knows what you earn. [6:3]

As one can see from the Arabic and may also be able to see from this approximate translation of the meaning, there is some linguistic ambiguity (what linguists would call syntactic or structural ambiguity) to this ayah resulting in multiple plausible interpretations. Specifically, the question relates to where one should pause while reciting this ayah, a field known as al-Waqf w’al-Ibtidaa’ in the Qur’anic sciences. In his well-known book of tafsir, sheikh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shinqitee addresses this issue in his explanation of this ayah as follows:

في هذه الآية الكريمة ثلاثة أوجه للعلماء من التفسير وكل واحد منها له مصداق في كتاب الله تعالى : ـ

There are three ways that the scholars have explained this ayah, and each one of these explanations has something to support and substantiate it from within the Qur’an.

الأول : أن المعنى ، وهو الله في السماوات وفي الأرض ، أي وهو الإله المعبود في السماوات والأرض ، لأنه جل وعلا هو المعبود وحده بحق في الأرض والسماء ، وعلى هذا فجملة «يعلم » حال ، أو خبر

1) That the meaning is “And He is Allah in the heavens and the earth”, i.e.: and He is the deity who is worshiped in the heavens and the earth because He is the only one truly deserving of worship in the earth and the sky. Continue reading