Alright, final part!
This was the part that truly left me breathless – the wind knocked out of your stomach kind of breathless. From the start, it felt like Ustaz Nouman was building up to a climax. He first talked about his personal journey with the Quran, then how he finally understood the concept of the Quran as a miracle through its language, then finally talking about the actual content of the Quran, starting out with the impeccable word choice. He went on to talk about the sequence of the Quran.
Intratextuality – the Divine in the sequence
Here’s an example he used: Surah Jumuah, verses 1-2:
Take a look at the end of the first verse: “Malikil Quddussil ‘Azizil Hakim”, loosely translated to the four names of Allah: the Sovereign, the Pure, the Exalted in Might (i.e. the Authority) and the Wise.
Move on to the second verse, where Allah describes the roles/actions of Rasulullah s.a.w: “reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the Book and wisdom.”
Now, look at the relationship between these 2 verses – Allah’s names and the Prophet’s actions:
1. Malik (the Sovereign/King – A king is known through His signs and symbols eg: crown, palace, gems) -> Recite to them His verses, i.e. the Quran.
The Quran is one of the signs of Allah’s Sovereignty.
2. Quddus (the Pure) -> and purifying them
3. Aziz (the Authority) -> teaching them the Book
The Quran is the sign of authority and the book of law of Allah.
4. Hakim (the Wise) -> and wisdom.
The two correlate exactly to one another!The 4 names/attributes of Allah mentioned in the 1st verse correlates with the 4 activities in the 2nd verse! Now, do you think that is a coincidence?
Ok hold that thought.
But when they saw a transaction or an amusement, [O Muhammad], they rushed to it and left you standing. Say, “What is with Allah is better than amusement and than a transaction, and Allah is the best of providers.”
In the last verse of the surah, Allah mentioned 2 things: tijarah (business) and lahwan (amusement/entertainment). These 2 words were repeated twice but notice the order. In the first part, Allah mentioned business, followed by amusement. This is in relation to the men who left Jumuah prayers to attend to their business (at that time, a bedouin procession was about to leave so these men left to make some last minute business deals) whom were followed by men who just wanted to join in the fun of seeing the bedouins leave (i.e. for amusement/entertainment). In the first part, Allah addressed what had happened. But in the second part, Allah reversed the order – He’d mentioned amusement/entertainment first before talking about business. He is saying that what He has to give is better than amusement or business! This reflects a keen understanding of the human condition – a weakness for entertainment. All of us will tend to get distracted by the many entertainment of the world. Fewer are involved in business. So Allah emphasises that He has more goodness to give than the entertainment of the dunya first before he addresses the distraction of business.
Notice how concise the wording and sequence are?
The last example Ustaz Nouman gave to drive this point home was the ayatul Qursi. When he completed explaining this point, I was left totally stunned. I cannot even….
So let me do my best to try and convey what he went on to explain.
Most of us know this particular verse of the Quran right? It’s the 255th verse of alBaqarah and personally, I read it so many times in a day. I know the meaning (i.e. I’ve learnt it by heart before) but never did it once occur to me to go one step further and truly analyse it.
Allah – there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of [all] existence. Neither drowsiness overtakes Him nor sleep. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. Who is it that can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is [presently] before them and what will be after them, and they encompass not a thing of His knowledge except for what He wills. His Kursi extends over the heavens and the earth, and their preservation tires Him not. And He is the Most High, the Most Great.
I’m going to point out the things Ustaz Nouman pointed out.
The first and the last verse:(1)Allah – there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of [all] existence.
(9) And He is the Most High, the Most Great.
What do they talk about? They talk about Allah and His attributes.
(2) Neither drowsiness overtakes Him nor sleep.(8) and their preservation tires Him not.
These two verses are talking about His strength that goes beyond human’s limitation of fatigue and sleep – He is never tired nor distracted.
Okay…. What next?
(3) To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth.
(7) His Kursi extends over the heavens and the earth
These two are talking of Allah’s sovereignty over the heavens and earth!
Get the pattern? One more…
(4) Who is it that can intercede with Him except by His permission?
(6) they encompass not a thing of His knowledge except for what He wills.
These are about Allah’s authority to do what He pleases in all matters.
And the one that simply takes the cake for me is:
(5) He knows what is [presently] before them and what will be after them.
Middle part of the verse. Talking about what comes before and after it.
Still can’t see the pattern? Let me try to convey it visually. Check this out:
The verses which are correlated are underlined in the same colour.
You guyssssss! This is just….! How can anyone, anyone, much less an illiterate, speak like this? This is spoken, mind you! (Refer to previous 2 posts about my explanation of the Quran as a spoken message and its implications.)
All of these things, the impeccable word choice, the Divine in the sequence etc – keep in mind that all these verses were sent out during different times, vastly apart! The precision in the Quran is beyond human ability! We’ve heard so many times that the message (the stories etc) of the Quran is testimony to the book being the Word of Allah but now… it’s time to see that the language itself is a strong proof in itself!
Man, I call myself a lover of language but… my capability within the two languages I’m proficient in is nowhere near Ustaz Nouman’s grasp of the Arabic language! I finally understand why it’s so important to learn Arabic – it’s truly the key to connecting with the Quran, mashaAllah.
Phew, alright! Alhamdulillah, I’m finally done with this massive topic. I hope you’ve learnt a thing or two from these! If you do, do pass it forward and share it with others ok? InshaAllah, may it benefit others too! 🙂
Also, I’ll be back with the Singapore leg of Ustaz Nouman’s trip to this part of the world, inshaAllah. In that particular talk, he devoted the entire time to talking about the Alfatiha, something truly powerful for each Muslim to know. Hopefully I’ll be able to complete it before I fly off this weekend! (:
P.s. HOW ADORABLE IS THIS KID?!
Told you I get visually distracted very easily. 😛