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Muhkam and mutashabih verses of Qur'an
Home Social Issues Religion
By: Dr. Ismail Ulukus Email Article
Word Count: 2197 Digg it | Del.icio.us it | Google it | StumbleUpon it

  

Dear Readers,

Allah is excluded from space and time. In other words, He exists without a location and as timeless. Time and space concepts are the concepts belong to the material world. On the other hand, the material world is created in image level. For this reason, there is a mental necessity in explaining giving another meaning the statements, which seem to assign some organs or locations to Allah. Allah (swt) clearly stated in the verses of Qur'an that "There is nothing whatever like unto Him," (Shura, 11) and "And there is none like unto Him." (Ikhlas, 4). The scientists who are followers of sunnah had to interpret (explain metaphorically) some statements of Qur'an and Hadiths as to make them clear for the Muslims.

The basic is understanding the statements in their real meanings rather than metaphors. Explaining by giving different meaning is an exception. If giving clear meanings of a statement in a verse of Qur'an is not appropriate to logic and religion then competent scholars interpret them. Interpreting the verses of Qur'an requires great responsibility. Rasulullah (s.a.w) ordered that:

"Whoever interprets the Qur'an by his own opinion shall take his place in fire." [Tirmidhi]

# Muhkam and mutashabih verses of Qur'an

The verses of Qur'an, with clear and understandable meaning, which give the provisions about the regulation of the legal relations between people are called "Muhkam" verses (a provision stating verses). Muhkam verses of Qur'an are clear, explicit verses which have a single meanings. There are also "Mutashabih" (similar) verses of Qur'an which have more than one meaning with metaphorical, implicit and allegorical meanings. These verses, which can be understood differently by people of different faith, knowledge and culture levels, are similar and repeated. It was ordered about mutashabih verses of Qur'an that:

"Allah has revealed (from time to time) the most beautiful Message in the form of a Book, consistent with itself, (yet) repeating (its teaching in various aspects)" [Zumar, 23]

Allah (swt) ordered about muhkam verses with clear meanings and mutashabih verses with different meanings that;

"He it is Who has sent down to thee the Book: In it are verses basic or fundamental (of established, clear meaning); they are the foundation of the Book: others are not entirely clear. But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is not clear, seeking discord, and searching for hidden meanings in it, but no one knows its interpretation except Allah. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: "We believe in the Book; the whole of it is from our Lord:" and none will grasp the Message except men of understanding." [Al-i Imran, 7]

Therefore, the companions of Rasulullah and scholar in the first centuries of Islam, who were known as Salaf-i salihin, abstained from expressing their opinions on the mutashabih verses of Qur'an and stated "Allah (swt) knows the state of the subjects that are stated within the verses".

"The previous scholars, who were known as Salaf-i salihin did not need to interpret the words such as istiva, yed [hand] because the meaning of the words were already known. When we state (Iraq is in the hands of the governor), there is no need for explanation because it is clear that the word hand is not the real hand. They understood that Allah (swt) is ruling the arsh upon saying (Allah settled Himself on the Arsh). However, when the wrong party, which was called as Mushabbihe, wrongly interpreted as (Allah has hand like us. Allah sits on the arsh), the following scholars had to explain these words. There are many verses in the Qur'an which must be interpreted. If the real meanings are considered, awkward meanings can cause blasphemy. Therefore, even Wahhabis, who did not accept interpretations, had to comment on some verses of Qur'an." [1]

As it can be understood from the statements, to explain by giving convenient meaning is a necessity to prevent misunderstanding of the religion.

# Some statements require to explain by giving different meaning

Dear Readers,

I stated above that Islam scholars had to interpret the statements in the verses of Qur'an which seem to assign locations and organs to Allah (Swt) in order to prevent misunderstandings. I would like to give you a few examples for a better understanding of the subject.

It is ordered in the verse from the Qur'an that:

"Do ye feel secure that He Who is in Heaven will not cause you to be swallowed up by the earth when it shakes ." [Mulk, 16]

When this verse of Qur'an is considered, it is understood as Allah (swt) is in the sky. However, Tabari interpreted the verse of Qur'an as "Are you sure that the ones in the skies will not cause you to be swallowed up with the order of Allah?" and Imam-i Baydawi commented as "Are you sure about the angel assigned for the administration of the universe, which Allah has made him proxy to be swallowed up you by the earth?"

It is ordered in 10. verses of Fath in the Qur'an that:

"The Hand of Allah is over their hands."

Elmalili H. Yazir stated that Ibni Djarir assigned two meanings in his comment as "They bay'ah Allah by bay'ah to Allah's messenger" and "Allah's power is over their power".

# What must we understand from settling Himself on the Arsh?

It is ordered in the verses from the Qur'an that:

"Who created the heavens and the earth in six days, then He settled Himself on the Arsh." [Araf, 54; Yunus, 3; Hadid, 4]

The word "settled" in these verses of Qur'an were interpreted as "He surrounded the arsh. He ruled over the arsh. He became the ruler of the arsh."

Elmalili interpreted the word "settle" as "Considering Allah (swt) as sitting, standing or lying on a throne in the arsh because the word settle is used as sitting, standing or protecting will be a serious ignorance both in terms of logic and religion. Even the glossary allows such a meaning; the logic and religion do not allow it.

Therefore, the real meaning of settling is higher than our cognition level. The comment which will be appropriate is as follows: Allah (swt) created the heavens and earth in special times and then He settled on the Arsh without the direction and location, in the meaning He intended."

The approach of Mutasawwif Imam-i Rabbani hazrats is different. He states that heart covers both realms as a passage between the khalq (material) and amr (spiritual) worlds, in the Human who is a small kingdom. In the same way, Arsh also covers both realms as a passage between the material and spiritual worlds, in the great kingdom. It is the rising point of hazrat Allah's divine lights, who has gathered over himself all the perfect attributes. (Mektubat-i Rabbani, Mektup: 323-324)

# The power of Allah crushed the mountain

Dear Readers,

In another verse, it is ordered that:

"When Moses came to the place appointed by Us, and his Lord addressed him, He said: "O my Lord! show (Thyself) to me, that I may look upon Thee." Allah said: "By no means canst thou see Me (direct); But look upon the mount; if it abide in its place, then shalt thou see Me." When his Lord manifested Himself to the Mount, He made it as dust. And Moses fell down in a swoon." [Araf, 143]

The statement of "manifesting Himself to the mount" was expressed in the interpretation of Elmalili as follows:

"...It is a relative manifest rather than His power and strength. He made the mountain a dust with a piece of His order and will."

It is ordered in the verse from the Qur'an that:

"To Allah belong the East and the West: whithersoever ye turn, there is Allah's face. For Allah is All-Embracing, All-Knowing." [Baqarah, 115]

Elmalili interpreted this verse of Qur'an as follows:

"Not only the mosques but also entire globe with all its directions and locations and entire earth from West to East belong to Allah. Therefore, wherever you turn, there is a direction to Allah (swt). Allah is excluded from direction and location but all the directions and locations belong to Him. It is not necessary to be in a mosque to perform prayer. It is clear that, in case of necessity, prayer can be performed in any direction or location all over the world for the sake of Allah (swt)."
Tabari interpreted the statement "the face of Allah" as "the will of Allah".

It is ordered in the verse from the Qur'an that:

"On the Day of Judgment the whole of the earth will be but His handful, and the heavens will be rolled up in His right hand:" [Zumar, 67]

Tabari quoted from Abu Huraira that Rasulullah ordered:

"Allah will take the whole earth (in His Hand) and will roll up the Heaven in His right Hand, and then He will say, "I am King! Where are the kings of the earth?" [Buhari, Muslim]

and noted at the end of the interpretation of the verse of Qur'an that:

# The hand means the power of Allah

Salaf-i Salihin accepted the hadith as they are and did not interpret about them. The following scholars explained them by giving convenient meaning in order to prevent the misunderstandings. For example: They stated that "hand" in the statement of "the hand of Allah" means "the power of Allah. Therefore, the explanation of the verse of the Qur'an is as follows:

"They could not appreciate Allah (swt) properly. However, all the earth and Day of Judgment are under His power and dominance. The skies will be convoluted under His power."

In addition to verses of Qur'an, some hadiths have statements, which require comment: It is ordered in the Hadiths that:

"...Don't you trust me? I am the trustworthy of the one in the sky. I am informed about the sky in the morning and evening." [Buhari, Muslim]

"Allah is in the sky but His knowledge is everywhere. Nothing is kept secret from Him." [Ebu Davud]

Mawlana Halid Baghdadi hazrats stated for the verses of Qur'an and hadiths that:

"Allah has no direction or opposition. He is not a material nor an object. He is not limited in number. He cannot be measured. He does not change. He does not have a location. He is not in a single place. He is not limited to time. Before, after, back, front, up, down, right, left concepts can not be used for Him. Therefore, human thought, knowledge and mind can understand nothing about Him. Human cannot perceive how He can be seen. Illicit words to be used for Allah (swt) such as hand, foot, direction, location are stated in the verses of Qur'an and Hadiths but their meanings are different from the real meanings. These verses and hadiths are named as mutashabihat. They are interpreted. Other meanings that are appropriate to Allah (swt) are given. We must say that we believed in as it is wished for the mutashabih verses of Qur'an". (Itikadname) [2]

In Hadith it is also ordered that:

"Seven things are ordered in Qur'an: Prohibitions, orders, unlawful and lawful things, muhkam, mutashabih and examples. Be aware of the lawful and unlawful things and obey the orders! Beware the forbidden! Draw lessons from the examples and stories! Obey the muhkam ones! Believe in the mutashabih ones!" [Hakim]

Be entrusted to Allah.

-------------------------------

[1] http://www.dinimizislam.com/mobile/detay.asp?Aid=5013

[2] http://www.dinimizislam.com/detay.asp?Aid=477

Dr. Ismail Ulukus is a former phytopathologist and researcher. He has various articles written on plant diseases. In these days, he has begun to write articles on moral values due to a moral degeneration growing up on all the world. He is publishing now these articles on his blog, http://ulukus.blogspot.com and on his website, http://www.esinti.biz

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