Friday, October 26, 2007

Rules for Achieving the Optimum in Qur'anic Reflection

Assalamu 'alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh

The following is a list of about 40 rules for enhancing the activity of al-Tadabbur taken from Sh.Abdurrahman Hasan Habannakah al-Midani’s Qawa-‘id al-Tadabbur al-Amthal (Rules for Optimal Reflection).

Rule 1: concerning the relation of the Qur’anic sentence (under reflection) to the general theme or topic of the Surah, and its thematic relation to other relevant verses dispersed throughout the Qur’an

Rule 2: concerning the unity of the Surah’s subject matter

Rule 3: concerning the multiple objectives that the text aims at achieving

Rule 4: concerning the human, temporal, local, psychological, ideological (conceptual), individual and collective aspects of the context and environment in which the text was revealed

Rule 5: concerning specific and narrow interpretations on the one hand and a more general and all-encompassing interpretation on the other

Rule 6: concerning the complementary nature of the Qur’anic texts with respect to the various themes and topics that it covers, and to avoid as much as possible the explanation that a particular instance of repetition is merely the result of emphasis and corroboration

Rule 7: concerning following narrative exegesis (tafsir) in determining the meaning of a text

Rule 8: concerning the mutual equivalence of Qur’anic texts and the necessity of harmonizing them within a complete and coherent conceptual system or framework without having to resort to abrogation except if it has been categorically established on the basis of sound, clear and explicit proof

Rule 9: concerning tracing the stages and phases of revelation

Rule 10: concerning the significance and wisdom behind placing (in some cases) Medinan verses in Meccan surahs and Meccan verses in Medinan surahs

Rule 11: concerning investigating the occasions of descension or causes of revelation

Rule 12: concerning the necessity of understanding a verse according to its order or sequence amongst other verses in the Surah

Rule 13: concerning the fact that there are no contradictions and inconsistencies in the Qur’an, nor is there any disagreement between the Qur’an and the scientific facts established through human means

Rule 14: concerning implied meanings and conceptual links in the text, ellipted elements that have been ellipted for the purpose of brevity and lexical incorporations that expressions are made to incorporate

Rule 15: concerning repetition and the aims it is meant to realize

Rule 16: concerning the necessity of doing proper scientific and linguistic research into the meanings of Qur’anic words

Rule 17: concerning linking between verses and their endings

Rule 18: concerning looking into words that are close or synonymous in meaning

Rule 19: concerning the vacillation of text between two or more meanings

Rule 20: concerning the oath in the Qur’an

Rule 21: concerning agreement between the literary style used and the objective to be realized

Rule 22: concerning searching for stylistic and rhetorical devices used in the text and the purpose behind their use

Rule 23: concerning the adequacy of using different expressions that are spread over similar meaning concepts for the purpose of indicating stylistic complementarity and how their usages can be extended to the rest of group of similar meaning concepts in complementary fashion

Rule 24: concerning the diverse use of devices in stylistic expression

Rule 25: concerning investigating the aims in the use of different expressions in various but similar meaning passages (i.e. various passages with a single theme running through them)

Rule 26: concerning the necessity of observing the rules of Arabic grammar, the meanings of the morphological patterns and the importance of searching for the significance of apparent discrepancies in declension and how they are explained away

Rule 27: concerning the care that the Qur’an takes with regard to verse endings because of the importance placed on the overall balance and uniformity of the text’s outward form and structure

Rule 28: concerning the use of an expression to signify more than one meaning simultaneously

Rule 29: concerning explaining the reason for action by means of the infinitival أن together with that which follows it, and the necessity of assuming an elipted element before it in certain Qur’anic verses

Rule 30: concerning the use of the perfect verb in the case of (a) that which has perpetual and eternal existence, (b) that which has actually happened, (c) that which has been decreed in the future and exists in Allah’s Infinite & Eternal Knowledge, and will definitely happen in the future, and the time in which it will happen is being awaited

Rule 31: concerning looking into those to whom the Divine text is addressed

Rule 32: concerning the word (لعَلَّ) that occurs in the Qur’an in expressions such as (لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُوْنَ)

Rule 33: concerning the word (بَلَى) in the Qur’an

Rule 34: concerning the structure (وَمَا أَدْرَاكَ مَا ...؟) in the Qur’an

Rule 35: concerning the transitivity of the verb (أَرَادَ – يُرِيْدُ) in the Qur’an

Rule 36: concerning the expressions (مِنْ بَيْنِ يَدَيْهِ ، وَمِنْ خَلْفِهِ) and likewise (أَمَامَ and وَرَاءَ )

Rule 37: concerning predicating the verb or that which shares its meaning of its agent or its bearer / possessor, its effect, the one motivating its execution, the one ascribing it to someone, the one finding someone to possess it, the one who desires it, etc.

Rule 38: concerning what is called الاستِثْنَاء الْمُنْقَطِع (disjunctive exception or exclusion)

Rule 39: concerning the word كَذَلِكَ in the Qur’an

Rule 40: concerning the 10 Qur’anic variant readings

Having just listed all these rules, I know that to many readers they would not mean much unless they are accompanied by some examples that not only illustrate their meaning but also their correct application. So, insha Allah, I will try in the future, if time permits, to provide an example or two for each rule in order to maximise the benefit of knowing, understanding and being able to apply these rules.


Humairah Irfan said...

As salamu alaikum
I was looking forward to the examples on these..

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