Links Between the Beginnings and Ends of Surahs: al-Suyooti

In part of his chapter on the munasabat [connections and links between ayaat and surahs] in his famous handbook on the Qur’anic sciences, Imam al-Suyooti mentioned the following:

من هذا النوع مناسبة فواتح السور وخواتمها ، وقد أفردت فيه جزءا لطيفا سميته مراصد المطالع في تناسب المقاطع والمطالع . ـ

Another type of munasabat are those between the beginning of a surah and its conclusion. I have written a work specifically focused on this category of munasabat entitled Maraasid al-Mataali’ fee Tanaasub al-Maqaati’ w’al-Mataali’.

وانظر إلى سورة القصص كيف بدئت بأمر موسى ونصرته ، وقوله فلن أكون ظهيرا للمجرمين [ القصص : 17 ] . وخروجه من وطنه ، وختمت بأمر النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم بأن لا يكون ظهيرا للكافرين ، وتسليته عن إخراجه من مكة ، ووعده بالعود إليها لقوله في أول السورة إنا رادوه [ القصص : 7 ] . ـ

Consider how surah al-Qasas begins with with the story of Moosaa, his helping the man in the market, his statement:

فَلَنْ أَكُونَ ظَهِيرًا لِّلْمُجْرِمِينَ

So I will never again be a helper to the criminal wrong-doers [28:17]

and his leaving his homeland. Then it ends with commanding the Prophet to not be a helper to the disbelievers and giving him some consolation for his leaving Mecca. And Allah also gives him a promise that he will return to Mecca in His statement:

إِنَّا رَادُّوهُ

… Indeed, We shall bring him back … [28:7]

قال الزمخشري : وقد جعل الله فاتحة سورة قد أفلح المؤمنون وأورد في خاتمتها إنه لا يفلح الكافرون [ المؤمنون : 117 ] . فشتان ما بين الفاتحة والخاتمة . ـ

al-Zamakhshari said: Allah placed

قَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ

The believers will certainly be successful [23:1]

at the beginning of surah al-Mu’minoon, and put

إِنَّهُ لَا يُفْلِحُ الْكَافِرُونَ

Indeed, the disbelievers will not be successful [23:117]

at its close, and what comes in between the opening and the closing deals with many different topics.

وذكر الكرماني في العجائب مثله . وقال : في سورة ( ص ) بدأها بالذكر وختمها به في قوله : إن هو إلا ذكر للعالمين [ ص : 87 ] . ـ

al-Karmani also mentioned something similar in his book al-‘Ajaa’ib where he said:

In surah Saad Allah begins with dhikr [38:1] and ends by saying:

إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا ذِكْرٌ لِّلْعَالَمِينَ

This is only a reminder for those with knowledge [38:87]

وفي سورة ( ن ) بدأها بقوله ما أنت بنعمة ربك بمجنون وختمها بقوله : إنه لمجنون [ القلم : 2 ، 51 ] .ـ

And in surah al-Qalam He begins by saying:

مَا أَنتَ بِنِعْمَةِ رَبِّكَ بِمَجْنُونٍ

By the grace of your Lord, you are not mad [68:2]

and ends by saying:

وَيَقُولُونَ إِنَّهُ لَمَجْنُونٌ

… and they say, “he is certainly a madman.” [68:51]

ومنه مناسبة فاتحة السورة لخاتمة ما قبلها ، حتى إن منها ما يظهر تعلقها به لفظا ، كما في فجعلهم كعصف مأكول [ الفيل : 5 ] . لإيلاف قريش [ قريش : 1 ] . فقد قال الأخفش : اتصالها بها من باب فالتقطه آل فرعون ليكون لهم عدوا وحزنا [ القصص : 8 ] . ـ

Another type of munasabat are those which occur between the beginning of one surah and the conclusion of the previous surah. Sometimes this even comes as a clear link in the wordings, such as with

فَجَعَلَهُمْ كَعَصْفٍ مَّأْكُولٍ

So We made them like empty stalks [105:6]

لِإِيلَافِ قُرَيْشٍ

For the good of the Quraish [106:1]

al-Akhfash said about this:

The link between these two is the same kind of link as in Allah’s statement:

فَالْتَقَطَهُ آلُ فِرْعَوْنَ لِيَكُونَ لَهُمْ عَدُوًّا وَحَزَنًا

And the family of Fir’awn picked Moosaa out of the river, so that he would come to be an enemy and source of grief for them [28:8]

[Translator’s Note: i.e. the letter laam both in the beginning of surah Quraysh and in the middle of this ayah from surah al-Qasas carry the meaning of the eventual outcome of something. So the eventual outcome of the destruction of Abraha’s army was the safety of the the Quraysh, just as the eventual outcome of Fir’awn saving Moosaa was that Moosaa came to be an enemy to him. And Allah knows best.]

وقال الكواشي في تفسير المائدة : لما ختم سورة النساء أمر بالتوحيد والعدل بين العباد أكد ذلك بقوله ياأيها الذين آمنوا أوفوا بالعقود [ المائدة : 1 ] . ـ

In his explanation of surah al-Ma’idah, al-Kawaashi said:

After Allah concluded surah al-Nisaa’ by commanding al-Tawheed and justice among His slaves He then stressed these matters by saying:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَوْفُوا بِالْعُقُودِ

O you who have eemaan, fulfilll the contracts … [5:1]

ـ [ ص: 225 ] وقال غيره : إذا اعتبرت افتتاح كل سورة وجدته في غاية المناسبة لما ختم به السورة قبلها ، ثم هو يخفى تارة ويظهر أخرى ، كافتتاح سورة الأنعام بالحمد ، فإنه مناسب لختام المائدة من فصل القضاء ، كما قال تعالى : وقضي بينهم بالحق وقيل الحمد لله رب العالمين [ الزمر : 75 ] . ـ

Someone else [al-Zarkashi] said:

If you were to consider the opening of each surah you would find them to have the utmost of connection to the end of the surah immediately before that. Sometimes this is hidden and sometimes it is very clear, such as how surah al-An’aam opens with praising Allah, which is a connection to the end of surah al-Ma’idah with Allah enacting the final judgement over His creation. This connection is similar to Allah’s statement:

وَقُضِيَ بَيْنَهُم بِالْحَقِّ وَقِيلَ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّـهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

And all the creatures will be judged with the truth. And it will be said, “all praise belongs to Allah, Lord of all creation.” [39:75]

وكافتتاح سورة فاطر بالحمد لله ، فإنه مناسب لختام ما قبلها من قوله : وحيل بينهم وبين ما يشتهون كما فعل بأشياعهم من قبل [ سبأ : 54 ] . كما قال تعالى فقطع دابر القوم الذين ظلموا والحمد لله رب العالمين [ الأنعام : 45 ] . ـ

Or how surah Faatir [35] opens with praise, which is connected to the end of the previous surah where Allah says:

وَحِيلَ بَيْنَهُمْ وَبَيْنَ مَا يَشْتَهُونَ كَمَا فُعِلَ بِأَشْيَاعِهِم مِّن قَبْلُ

And barrier will be placed between them and what they desire [i.e. repentance], as was done with their kind before [34:54]

And that connection is similar to what comes is Allah’s statement:

فَقُطِعَ دَابِرُ الْقَوْمِ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا ۚ وَالْحَمْدُ لِلَّـهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ

So the people that committed wrong were eliminated. And all praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds. [6:45]

وكافتتاح سورة الحديد بالتسبيح فإنه مناسب لختام سورة الواقعة بالأمر به .ـ

And also how surah al-Hadeed [57] opens with tasbeeh (praising Allah), which is a connection to how surah al-Waaqi’ah [56] ends with a command to make tasbeeh.

وكافتتاح سورة البقرة بقوله الم ذلك الكتاب فإنه إشارة إلى الصراط في قوله اهدنا الصراط المستقيم كأنهم لما سألوا الهداية إلى الصراط ، قيل لهم : ذلك الصراط الذي سألتم الهداية إليه هو الكتاب ، وهذا معنى حسن يظهر فيه ارتباط سورة البقرة بالفاتحة . ـ

Another example is that Allah opens surah al-Baqarah by saying:

الم * ذَٰلِكَ الْكِتَابُ

Alif Laam Meem * That is the Book … [2:1-2]

which is a reference pointing back to the Path in Allah’s statement:

اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ

Guide us to the Straight Path [1:6]

It is as if when they asked for guidance to the Path it was said to them, “That Path which you asked to be guided to is this Book.” This is a sound interpretation which clearly shows a link between surah al-Baqarah and surah al-Fatihah.

ومن لطائف سورة الكوثر أنها كالمقابلة للتي قبلها ، لأن السابقة وصف الله فيها المنافق بأربعة أمور : البخل ، وترك الصلاة ، والرياء فيها ، ومنع الزكاة ، فذكر فيها في مقابلة البخل إنا أعطيناك الكوثر أي : الخير الكثير ، وفي مقابلة ترك الصلاة : فصل أي : دم عليها ، وفي مقابلة الرياء : لربك أي : لرضاه لا للناس وفي مقابلة منع الماعون : وانحر وأراد به التصدق بلحم الأضاحي . ـ

One of the subtle points of surah al-Kawthar [108] is that it is like a counterpart to the surah that preceded it [i.e. surah al-Ma’oon – 107]. For in the previous surah, Allah had characterized the munaafiq [hypocrite] with four qualities: 1) stinginess, 2) abandoning the prayer, 3) performing the prayer only to be seen by others, and 4) withholding the zakah.

But then in this surah, as a counterpart to stinginess He mentioned:

إِنَّا أَعْطَيْنَاكَ الْكَوْثَرَ

Indeed, We have granted you al-Kawthar [108:1]

meaning: an abundance.

And as a counterpart to abandoning the prayer, He said:

فَصَلِّ

so turn in prayer …

meaning: always be consistent in it.

And as a counterpart to the desire to be seen by people, He said:

لِرَبِّكَ

… to your Lord …

meaning: for His pleasure, not for the sake of people.

And as a counterpart to withholding neighborly acts of kindness, He said:

وَانْحَرْ

… and sacrifice. [108:2]

and what is intended here is the charitable distribution of the sacrificial ‘Eid al-Adhaa meat.

[End quote from al-Zarkashi]

[al-Itqaan fee ‘Uloom al-Qur’an 2/224-225]

See also: Connections and Links between Surahs: al-Zarkashi

See also: Munasabat Article Index

See also: The Link Between Seeking Forgiveness and Receiving Aid: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

See also: ‘Ilm al-Munasabat and its Proper Place: Sheikh Saalih Aal al-Sheikh

See also: The Arrangement of the Final Chapters of the Qur’an: Ibn Taymiyah

2 thoughts on “Links Between the Beginnings and Ends of Surahs: al-Suyooti

  1. Pingback: Connections and Links between Surahs: al-Zarkashi | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: ‘Ilm al-Munasabat and its Proper Place: Sheikh Saalih Aal al-Sheikh | Tulayhah

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