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The Ambiguous and Unambiguous

MIT
12/4/2016
205 views

All praises and thanks are due and belong to Allah Who revealed Islam as the only perfect religion through which His pleasure is sought. May His special salutations and benedictions be upon the bearer of the final Message to Mankind; the Prophet Muhammad, his family and all companions.

Allah, the Almighty has described His Book as having been perfected, which is a general description that holds true regarding the whole of the Book. Perfection of the Quran means precision that falsehood cannot approach it from before it or from behind it. Allah the Most High says:  

الر ۚ كِتَابٌ أُحْكِمَتْ آيَاتُهُ ثُمَّ فُصِّلَتْ مِن لَّدُنْ حَكِيمٍ خَبِيرٍ

 “Alif, Lam, Ra. [This is] a Book whose verses are perfected and then explained in detail from One who is All-Wise and Well-Acquainted.” [Quran 11:1] He, the exalted, also described His Book as being consistent:

اللَّهُ نَزَّلَ أَحْسَنَ الْحَدِيثِ كِتَابًا مُّتَشَابِهًا مَّثَانِيَ

“ Allah has sent down the best statement: a consistent Book wherein is reiteration.” [Quran39:23] This description holds true regarding the whole of the Book as well. Furthermore, consistency in this verse means its parts resembling each other, being in proportion to one another and consistent with one another, such that they confirm and attest to one another. So there is no contradiction among its reports and legislations.

Allah, the Almighty has also described His Book as including verses that are entirely clear and verses that are not entirely clear. The entirely clear verses (muhkam) are those which are clear and concerning which there is no confusion; this applies to most of the verses of the Qur’an. These verses are the “foundations of the Book”. As for the verses which are not entirely clear (mutashaabih) these are verses which may not be clear to some people, in exclusion to others. The scholars know them but the ignorant do not, and there are some which only Allah knows.

The believers and the followers of the truth refer the verses which are not entirely clear to the verses which are entirely clear, whereas those who follow deviation follow the verses which are not entirely clear, and they use the verses which are not entirely clear to contradict the verses which are entirely clear, for the purpose of creating confusion, distorting and misleading. 

 Ibn Katheer (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in his Tafseer (2/6): Allah tells us that in the Qur’an there are verses which are entirely clear, which are the foundation of the Book, i.e., they are clear in meaning, with no confusion for anyone; and there are other verses which are not entirely clear as to what they mean for many or some people. The one who refers that which is unclear to him to that which is clear, and uses the clear verses to understand what is not clear to him, will be guided. But the one who does the opposite will be misguided. Hence Allah says:

هُوَ الَّذِي أَنزَلَ عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ مِنْهُ آيَاتٌ مُّحْكَمَاتٌ هُنَّ أُمُّ الْكِتَابِ وَأُخَرُ مُتَشَابِهَاتٌ

 “It is He Who has sent down to you (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) the Book (this Qur’an). In it are Verses that are entirely clear, they are the foundations of the Book” i.e., they are the root to which reference should be made in the event of confusion; “and others not entirely clear”. i.e., they could be interpreted in accordance with those that are entirely clear or they could be interpreted in some other way, based on the wording and the way they are written, not according to the meaning.

فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ زَيْغٌ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ مَا تَشَابَهَ مِنْهُ ابْتِغَاءَ الْفِتْنَةِ وَابْتِغَاءَ تَأْوِيلِهِ

“but as for those in whose hearts there is a deviation”, i.e., misguidance, and ignoring the truth in favor of falsehood, “they follow that which is not entirely clear thereof” i.e., they interpret that which is not entirely clear in such a way that allows them to distort it to suit their corrupt aims, because the wording could be interpreted in the way they want. But in the case of the verses which are entirely clear, they have no chance of doing that, so that is clear proof against them. Hence Allah says: “seeking Al-Fitnah (polytheism and trials)” i.e., to misguide their followers and give them the impression that they are using evidence from the Qur’an to support their bid’ah (innovation). This is evidence against them, not for them. It is similar to when the Christians argue that the Qur’an says that ‘Eesa (Jesus) is a Spirit from God and His Word that He bestowed upon Maryam (Mary), but they ignore the verses in which Allah says : 

إِنَّ مَثَلَ عِيسَىٰ عِندَ اللَّهِ كَمَثَلِ آدَمَ ۖ خَلَقَهُ مِن تُرَابٍ ثُمَّ قَالَ لَهُ كُن فَيَكُونُ

"The similitude of Jesus before Allah is as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him: "Be". And he was." Quran3:59. and other clear verses which unambiguously show that he was one of the creatures created by Allah, and a slave of Allah, and one of the Messengers of Allah.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: Allaah, may He be blessed and exalted, has divided the Holy Qur’aan into two categories: the verses which are entirely clear and those which are not entirely clear. What is meant by those, which are entirely clear, is that the meaning is clear and obvious to everyone, like the heavens and earth, stars, mountains, trees, animals and so on. This is entirely clear because there is no ambiguity in its meaning. The verses which are not entirely clear are those of which the meaning is ambiguous or unknown to most people, and is known only to those who are well-versed in knowledge, such as some verses which are general in meaning and do not give details, but they are explained in detail in the Sunnah (Traditions of the prophet' peace be upon him) . An example is the verse in which Allah says

وَأَقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ

“And perform As-Salaah [prayer]”

How prayer is to be performed is not known from this verse; all that is known from it is that it is obligatory to perform prayer. But how that is to be done is known from other evidence. The wisdom behind the fact that the Qur'aan was revealed with verses of these two types is that this is a test, because those in whose hearts is deviation will follow that which is not entirely clear and will thus remain confused. But those who are well-versed in knowledge believe in all of it, both that which is not entirely clear and that which is entirely clear; they know that it is from Allaah and that there is no contradiction in it.

Allah Almighty has informed us in many verses of His Book that He is One and there is no deity worthy of worship besides Him, among which is His statement:

قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ

“Say, ‘He is Allah, [who is] One.’” [Quran 112:1]

However, it is mentioned in some other verses that Allah Almighty speaks of Himself in the plural form, such as His statement:

إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ

 “Indeed, it is We who have sent down the Qur’an, and indeed, We will guard it.” [Quran15:9]

Therefore, the first verse is an entirely clear one proving that Allah is One and only One, while the second verse contains a possibility; that what is intended by the plural form is either veneration or plurality. Those in whose hearts is deviation [from truth], they will follow that which is not entirely clear thereof. So they will say that deities are many in number. As for those who follow the way of guidance, they will interpret that which is not entirely clear thereof based on what is entirely clear thereof. So they will go according to the entirely clear verse that is decisive and conclusive; that Allah is One, and that the plural form is for veneration and not for plurality.

Some of the heretics and deviants, in the past and in modern times, tried to seek out everything in the Qur'an and Sunnah that is not entirely clear (al-mutashaabih), for the purpose of creating confusion and doubt.. But the scholars rose to this challenge and wrote beneficial books which refute these doubts. An example of that is the book which was written by Ibn Qutaybah (may Allah have mercy on him), entitled Ta’weel Mukhtalif al-Hadeeth; and the book by Shaykh al-Ameen al-Shanqeeti (may Allah have mercy on him) entitled Daf’ Eehaam al-Idtiraab ‘an Aayi’l-Kitaab.

In conclusion, it is clear that there is no contradiction between the verses of the Qur’an, or between the Sunnah and the Qur’an, because it is all from Allah, and Allah says:

أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ ۚ وَلَوْ كَانَ مِنْ عِندِ غَيْرِ اللَّهِ لَوَجَدُوا فِيهِ اخْتِلَافًا كَثِيرًا

“ Do they not then consider the Qur’an carefully? Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely, have found therein many a contradiction”(Quran3:82).

Moreover, we should believe that whatever has come from Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) of reports of the unseen related to Allah, the Last Day, the angels, or the jinn, etc., they are as Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) have said in their true essence, and their meaning is what they have intended. We do not interfere in that by interpreting it according to our own opinions, nor fancying what we feel according to our own whims; for none is safe regarding his religion except he who has submitted to Allah, the Exalted, and His Messenger (peace be upon him).

 

 

 






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