Three Central Themes of the Qur’an: al-Shawkaani

In addition to his famous works in the fields of tafsir and fiqh, sheikh Muhammad al-Shawkani also wrote a number of smaller works, one of which was entitled Irshad al-Thiqat ilaa Ittifaq al-Shara’ia’ ‘alaa al-Tawheed w’al-Ma’ad w’al-Nubuwwat, or “Trustworthy Guidance that All of the Divinely Legislated Systems Affirmed Tawheed, the Ultimate Return, and Prophethood”. After some brief initial remarks, al-Shawkani introduced this book and summarized its main topics by writing:

فإن القرآن العظيم قد اشتمل على الكثير الطيب من مصالح المعاش والمعاد وأحاط بمنافع الدنيا والدين تارة إجمالا وتارة تفصيلا وتارة عموما وتارة خصوصا ولهذا يقول سبحانه ما فرطنا في الكتاب من شيء ويقول تعالى وكل شيء أحصيناه في إمام مبين ويقول تبارك وتعالى ونزلنا عليك الكتاب تبيانا لكل شيء ونحو ذلك من الآيات الدالة على هذا المعنى

The Qur’an includes so much good in terms of bettering one’s life and one’s hereafter, and it encompasses so many beneficial things for both this worldly life and for one’s religious life. Sometimes these things are mentioned in a general manner and other times in a detailed manner. Sometimes they are mentioned with broad wordings and other times in very specific terms. That is why Allah says:

مَّا فَرَّطْنَا فِي الْكِتَابِ مِن شَيْءٍ

We have not neglected anything in the Book [6:38]

وَكُلَّ شَيْءٍ أَحْصَيْنَاهُ فِي إِمَامٍ مُّبِينٍ

And We have counted all things in a clear register [36:12]

وَنَزَّلْنَا عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ تِبْيَانًا لِّكُلِّ شَيْءٍ

And We have sent the Book down to you as clarification for all things [16:89]

and other similar ayaat which point to this same idea.

وأما مقاصد القرآن الكريم التي يكررها ويورد الأدلة الحسية والعقلية عليها ويشير إليها في جميع سوره وفي غالب قصصه وأمثاله فهي ثلاثة مقاصد يعرف ذلك من له كمال فهم وحسن تدبر وجودة تصور وفضل تفكر

As for the central themes of the Qur’an which are frequently repeated, and for which it provides both instinctual and intellectual proofs, and which are mentioned in every surah and in most of the stories and parables of the Qur’an, then there are three central themes. These central themes are known to those with complete understanding, good contemplation, excellent mental organization, and through much consideration.

المقصد الأول إثبات التوحيد المقصد الثاني إثبات المعاد المقصد الثالث إثبات النبوات

The first central theme is: affirming al-Tawheed

The second central theme is: affirming the eventual return to Allah

The third central theme is: affirming that Allah has sent prophets.

ولما كانت هذه الثلاثة المقاصد مما اتفقت عليه الشرائع جميعا كما حكى ذلك الكتاب العزيز في غير موضع أحببت أن أتكلم هاهنا على كل مقصد منها بإيراد ما يوضح ذلك من الكتب السابقة وعن الرسل المتقدمين مما يدل على اتفاق أنبياء الله وكتبه على إثباتها لما في ذلك من عظيم الفائدة وجليل العائدة فإن من آمن بها كما ينبغي واطمأن إليها كما يجب فقد فاز بخيري الدارين وأخذ بالحظ الوافر من السعادة الآجلة والعاجلة ودخل إلى الإيمان الخالص من الباب الذي أرشده إلينا نبينا في جواب من سأله عن الإسلام والإيمان والإحسان فقال في الإيمان أن تؤمن بالله وملائكته وكتبه ورسله والقدر خيره وشره هكذا ثبت في الصحيحين وغيرهما من طرق كثيرة

Since these three central themes are issues which all of the previous divinely legislated systems agree upon – as is mentioned in more than one place in the Qur’an – I wanted to use this space to discuss each of these themes by mentioning the points from the previous scriptures and previous messengers which show that all of Allah’s prophets and scriptures affirm them. I chose this topic because of the great benefit that it would bring, for whoever believes in these points as they ought to and accepts them as one must will have achieved success in both this life and the next and obtained an ample share of joy in the short-term and long-term. Furthermore, he will have taken up sincere faith according to the exact instructions of what the Prophet told us when he responded to those questions about Islam, eemaan and ihsan by describing eemaan as: believing in Allah, His angels, His scriptures, His messengers, [the Last Day], and His qadr – both the good of it and the bad of it. This has been recorded in both al-Bukhari and Muslim as well as elsewhere through numerous chains of narration.

ولا ريب أن من آمن بالله وبما جاءت به رسله ونطقت به كتبه فإن إيمانه بهذه الثلاثة المقاصد هو أهم ما يجب الإيمان به وأقدم ما يتحتم عليه اعتقاده لأن الكتب قد نطقت بها والرسل قد اتفقت عليها اتفاقا يقطع كل ريب وينفي كل شبهة ويذهب كل شك

There is no doubt that if someone believes in Allah and in what His messengers brought and articulated, and in His scriptures then these three central themes are the most important topics that he must believe in and the most pressing things that he must affirm. That is because the scriptures articulate these things and all of the messengers have affirmed them such that there is no room for doubt or uncertainty about them.

وسميت هذا المختصر إرشاد الثقات إلى اتفاق الشرائع على التوحيد والمعاد والنبوات وبالله أستعين وعليه أتوكل

So I have named this short work Irshad al-Thiqat ilaa Ittifaq al-Shara’ia’ ‘alaa al-Tawheed w’al-Ma’ad w’al-Nubuwat – Trustworthy Guidance that All of the Divinely Legislated Systems Affirmed Tawheed, the Ultimate Return, and Prophethood. I seek Allah’s aid and place my reliance on Him.

واعلم أن إيراد الآيات القرآنية على إثبات كل مقصد من هذه المقاصد وإثبات اتفاق الشرائع عليها لا يحتاج إليه من يقرأ القرآن العظيم فإنه إذا أخذ المصحف الكريم وقف على ذلك في أي موضع شاء ومن أي مكان أحب وفي أي محل منه أراد ووجده مشحونا به من فاتحته إلى خاتمته

And it bears mentioning that finding the ayaat that mention each of these central themes and affirm that all of the divinely legislated systems affirm them does not require an entire reading of the Qur’an. If you were to pick up the mushaf and turn to any place you wish or any part you like or any section you want, you would find it bursting with these themes from start to finish.

[Irshad al-Thiqat pg 3-4]

See also: What is Meant by “The Themes of the Qur’an”: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool

See also: How to Identify the Theme of a Surah: Sheikh Musa’id al-Tayyar

See also: Thematic Tafsir Article Index

3 thoughts on “Three Central Themes of the Qur’an: al-Shawkaani

  1. Pingback: Principles and Examples of Analyzing the Themes of a Surah: al-Shatibi | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: A Subtle Point in Surah al-Nisaa’: Tafsir al-Shawkani | Tulayhah

  3. Pingback: The Beginnings and Ends of Surahs: al-Suyooti | Tulayhah

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