I was asked the following question by a student of the Arabic language.
Have the scholars explained the wisdom why Allah subhanwataala mentioned "He is all hearing" in the verse relating to Hijab. What is the relationship between His attribute of being "All hearing" and this verse.
Surah nur ayah 60 :And women of post-menstrual age who have no desire for marriage - there is no blame upon them for putting aside their outer garments [but] not displaying adornment. But to modestly refrain [from that] is better for them. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing.
One of the linguistic features of the Quran is the ending of Ayaat ( Al-khawateem) . Scholars of the past have spoken about the ending of verses in great detail which Allah (Most High) uses to the greatest of precision. I have discussed this topic in great detail in my courses related to the Quran linguistic miracle.
There are Many Ayaat in the Quran that end in the attributes of Allah (Most High) . One such Ayaah was discussed based on a historical account that occurred many centuries ago. It was narrated that a scholar was reciting the verse regarding the punishment of the male and female thief, found in Surat Al Maida :
However the scholar mistakenly ended the ayaah with:
وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
"... and Allah (swt) is forgiving and merciful".
A desert Arab who was not learned in the Quran heard the recitation and told him that he (the scholar) was mistaken. People were surprised that a desert Arab who was illiterate could actually find fault in the recitation. He was then asked by the scholar why he believed his recitation was a mistake.
The desert Arab then responded by saying “ that cutting the hands of male and female thief is not a ayaah related to Allah's (Most High) mercy and forgiveness but is related to Allah’s Power and wisdom”
When the verse was checked it was discovered that desert Arab was correct and the scholar was mistaken. This desert Arab understood that the words of Allah are used with the greatest of precision.
Now getting to the Ayaah in question. Allah (Most High) says:
Now if one was to read the context of the Surah and Ayaat that precede this Ayaah then one would understand that the whole topic of Hijab ( covering) is mentioned along with male and female interactions and commands of lowering the gaze and not displaying their beauty to others.
What the Ayaah in question and the preceding Ayaah deal with are some exceptions to these laws and commands. The Ayaah in question refers to another exception related to old women. Women who have grown so old that that one would have no sexual desire towards them. For such women, concessions in Hijab are allowed on the condition that no adornment or makeup is applied in order to attract the male.
Allah (Most High) gives a dispensation but say that the second option (modestly) is better for them
Now the final ending of the verse says:
And Allah is Hearing and Knowing.
So why were these attributes used and what is the wisdom?
Let us ask ourselves the following, if a women is covered up and not displaying her beauty, what is the other way a man can be attracted to a women?
This is mentioned in the Quran in Surat Al Ahzab ayah 32:
O wives of the Prophet, you are not like anyone among women. If you fear Allah , then do not be soft in speech [to men], lest he in whose heart is disease should covet, but speak with appropriate speech.
Speech and conversation is spoken and heard. "And Allah is Hearing" .So in other words Allah (Most High) is telling the women that He is aware of everything they say and how they say it.
"and Knowing" and Allah (Most High) knows what is in their hearts i.e. their intentions and motives.
Wa Allahu A'lam
Reference: Sharh Tafseer Qadi Al Baydawi Volume 6 page 254
Muslim Scholars are of the belief that the Language of the Quran has been divinely inspired. There are many proofs of this and one of these is related to base letters of Arabic words together with their associated meanings and their precise usage in the Quran.
An example of this are 3 words used in the Quran that could be considered synonyms for rain. They are:
الودْق المطر الغيث
I have covered the word الودْق and الغيث in lessons found in the following course:
SYN01: Synonyms & perfect word choice in the Quran
Let us examine the word المطر and firstly begin to identify the meanings of it in classical dictionaries as well as the hadith of the Prophet (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم)
المَطَرُ: الماء المنكسب من السَّحاب
المطر is the rain obtained from the clouds
In a Hadith narrated in Sahih Al Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, The Prophet (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم) is quoted as saying, when it rained:
مُطِرْنَا بِفَضْلِ اللهِ وَ رَحْمَتِهِ
“It has rained by the bounty of Allah and His Mercy”
WHAT MAKES THE QURAN UNIQUE?
Islamic scholars such Imam Suyuti believe that the language of Quran, every word, sentence structure, ayah position etc. has been perfected. It is as if the Arabic language was specifically created for the Quran and the Quran alone. This is why 2 words in the Quran can never mean the same thing if both used in the Quran.
The way that the Quran uses the word المطر is not for rain from the clouds. In fact, words associated with the 3 letter root of this word i.e م ط ر , occur for punishment and harm.
Examples in the Quran include:
وَأَمْطَرْنَا عَلَيْهِم مَّطَرًا ۖ فَانظُرْ كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الْمُجْرِمِينَ
And We rained upon them a rain [of stones]. Then see how was the end of the criminals. Quran 7:84
فَلَمَّا رَأَوْهُ عَارِضًا مُّسْتَقْبِلَ أَوْدِيَتِهِمْ قَالُوا هَٰذَا عَارِضٌ مُّمْطِرُنَا ۚ بَلْ هُوَ مَا اسْتَعْجَلْتُم بِهِ ۖ رِيحٌ فِيهَا عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ
And when they saw it as a cloud approaching their valleys, they said, "This is a cloud bringing us rain!" Rather, it is that for which you were impatient: a wind, within it a painful punishment, Quran 46:24
In every instance (besides one) it is used for a punishment falling upon a nation. In this single instance the word is used for a rain, but a rain that causes harm to one.
إِن كَانَ بِكُمْ أَذًى مِّن مَّطَرٍ أَوْ كُنتُم مَّرْضَىٰ أَن تَضَعُوا أَسْلِحَتَكُمْ ۖ وَخُذُوا حِذْرَكُمْ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ أَعَدَّ لِلْكَافِرِينَ عَذَابًا مُّهِينًا
...if you are harmed by rain or are ill, for putting down your arms, but take precaution. Indeed, Allah has prepared for the disbelievers a humiliating punishment. Quran 4:102
In Arabic, we have a lexical tool that is used to obtain further meaning for a word that is used in the Quran. It should be noted that no other speech or text uses words with this precision, not even the authentic ahadith of the Prophet (صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم).
If we rearrange the root letters of م ط ر we obtain the root ط م ر
Words on the root ط م ر mean is to conceal, bury something as well as to bury a corpse.
We have these 2 entries from classical dictionaries Lisanularab and Qamus Al Muheet
طَمَرَ البئرَ طَمْراً: دفَنها
He buried a well i.e. He covered it up.
as well as
الطَّمْر is burying a corpse
Therefore we obtain a nuance that adds further meaning to the word المطر .
In the Quran, this rain is used for the punishments that befell the previous nations that cover up and buried those who were destroyed.
The only place that doesn't use it for a punishment from the sky is the ayah I quoted above in Surat Al Nisa 4:102. In this case, it is used for harm that an injured soldier gets if exposed to the rain. Obviously it's not referring to a sting or slight discomfort but is referring to a major injury during a battle where he fears harm or death . The soldier therefore is given permission to put down his arms and to conceal the wound in order not to expose it to the rain.
By Nabeel Alkhalidy, the head teacher of the Sibaway Institute
I have 2 question related to stories of the Quran:
The Quran quotes all the Prophets ( peace be upon them) talking and advising their people in Arabic ( the language of the Quran). Did all the Prophets speak Arabic?
Also I have memorized some of the Quran and have noticed some differences related to the same stories. for example in the story of Adam (peace be upon him) Allah (swt) says to both Adam and Eve:
In Surat Al Baqarah:
وَكُلاَ مِنْهَا رَغَداً حَيْثُ شِئْتُمَا
and eat both of you freely with pleasure and delight of things therein
In Surat Al A'raaf
فَكُلاَ مِنْ حَيْثُ شِئْتُمَا
and eat thereof as you wish
Why was it worded differently?
Wa alaykum asalam wa Rahmatullah,
Allah (swt) says in the Quran in Surat Ibrahim
وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا مِن رَّسُولٍ إِلاَّ بِلِسَانِ قَوْمِهِ لِيُبَيِّنَ لَهُمْ
And We did not send any messenger except [speaking] in the language of his people to state clearly for them [ the message]
Every Prophet spoke to his people in his own language in order to make the message clear to their people.
When Allah (swt) mentions for example that Prophet Isa (as) said to his people:
وَإِذْ قَالَ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ يَا بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ إِنِّي رَسُولُ اللَّهِ إِلَيْكُم مُّصَدِّقاً لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيَّ مِنَ التَّوْرَاةِ وَمُبَشِّراً بِرَسُولٍ يَأْتِي مِن بَعْدِي اسْمُهُ أَحْمَدُ فَلَمَّا جَاءهُم بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ قَالُوا هَذَا سِحْرٌ مُّبِينٌ
And [mention] when Isa, the son of Maryam, said, "O children of Israel, indeed I am the messenger of Allah to you confirming what came before me of the Torah and bringing good tidings of a messenger to come after me, whose name is Ahmad." But when he came to them with clear evidences, they said, "This is obvious magic."
Isa (as) made the proclamation in his own language ( Aramaic) and what the Quran does is it reproduces the statement in the most precise way, in the Arabic language.
Stories in the Quran
Regarding your second question; Sometimes the same event is mentioned and told from a slightly different perspective based on the context and subject matter of the Surah. This could involve mentioning something in one context and omitting it in another, as in the 2 verses you quoted, where the word رَغَداً is omitted in Surat Al A'raaf and mentioned in Al Baqarah.
Omitting something from a story doesn't mean it wasn't said. What the quran does is mention the part of the narrative that is most relevant to the subject matter and context. All words in the Quran are chosen in the most perfect way and this is one aspect of what makes the Quran a linguistic miracle.
If one was to read the context of Surat Al Baqarah and Surat Al-A'raaf one will notice that Surat Al Baqarah deals with the honoring of Adam and his offspring. While Surat Al-A'raaf is a sura that deals with admonishing man for disbelief and mentions the destruction of a number of townships. So the Quran takes both of these contexts into consideration when narrating both of these stories.
I have highlighted some of the differences in this story in Surat Al Baqarah and Surat Al A'raaf below
I have designed a course that examines the stories of the Qur'an and why these stories also indicate the miraculous nature of the Quran (I'jaz Al-Quran ). The course will delve into the finer points of Classical Arabic grammar and will explain why the eloquence of the Qur’an is unprecedented and unmatched.The subjects covered in the course will be related predominantly to rhetoric.
Wa Allahu A'lam
By Nabeel Alkhalidy
One of the First concepts taught in Basic Arabic Grammar is the subject of Indefiniteness of nouns. Indefiniteness is usually represented by tanween and the removal of the Alif and Laam of definiteness at the beginning of a word . It usually signifies that a noun is unknown or undefined.
اشتَرَيْتُ كِتَاباً I bought a book.
مَرَرْتُ بِرَجُلٍ I passed by a man
It is unknown which book I bought and which man I passed by.
But that's only the tip of the iceberg!
When one studies more advanced books of Grammar and delves into the science of Rhetoric then things get more complicated, but interesting at the same time.Indefiniteness, as Explained by the Scholars of Rhetoric, can have many possible meanings and the only limit is ones own imagination.
One of the ways which Ancient Arabs used it was to magnify something. In other words, something is so great that one is unable to define it by making it definite. It is as if, it has no limit. With this meaning we could translate the following sentence as
مَرَرْتُ بِرَجُلٍ I passed by a GREAT man
This meaning would be applicable if the context mentioned the great qualities this man.
Another example is the word كِتَاباً in the ayah mentioned in the following short video lesson. If you notice, Indefiniteness is used to magnify the Quran.
I have explained this topic along with many others in the following Course. I have given examples from both inside and outside the Quran.
For those who would like to spend time studying Arabic and the Quran linguistic miracle, we have a number of courses available at our eCampus. We also have Premium membership for those who would like complete access to all our courses for relaxed, self paced study.
May Allah ( Ta'ala) make your studies easy and may He grant you success in this life and the hereafter.
Authored by Nabeel Alkhalidy
بسم الله الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ
Asalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu
A common question I get asked by students is "How can I read and understand Arabic fluently without the harakat (Vowel marks)?". It will probably come as little surprise to most students that this process will take years and years of dedicated study. I have included advice for students who want to achieve this goal biithnillah ( with the permission of Allah).
INTENTION AND AIM
We all need to ask Allah to help us in any task we undertake. There is nothing difficult if Allah makes it easy for one. One of the ways he makes something easy is to create a desire for it. The majority of people learning Arabic today are Muslims who want to understand the Quran. Students with lofty aims and aspiration reach their desired goal more than often. I remember once hearing a university professor speaking about how to learn a language in a short space of time and one of the key ingredients he mentioned was to make the language relevant to oneself. If wanting to know what the Creator of the Universe is telling us is not enough of a motivation, then I don’t know what is!
"Ya Allah, Make us of those who learn the Quran and teach it to others for your sake, Ameen!"
INCREASE YOUR VOCABULARY
Like with any language, increasing one's vocabulary is essential in order to understand what one reads. If you read a text and come across a word or two that you don’t understand then make it a habit to check the meaning of the word(s) in a dictionary. If the word is derived from a triliteral root then memorize this 3 letter root and the meaning(s) that it holds. Use the newly acquired word in a sentence and write it down for future reference.
ARABIC GRAMMAR AND MORPHOLOGY
Understanding meaning of words and phrases alone is insufficient and one needs to have a firm grasp of Arabic grammar and Morphology. I will illustrate this point with a few examples:
There are words which change meanings with a change of a vowel mark . An example of this is the active and passive participle of a number of verb forms e.g. مُفْعِل and مُفْعَل (The former is used for one performing the act of أفْعَلَ and the later is the the recipient of this action.
We also can look at certain aspects of words like definiteness and indefiniteness. If we have two consecutive nouns which match in definiteness, number and gender then chances are we are dealing with a صفة / موصوف relationship. If you have an indefinite noun followed by a definite noun then chances are there is an إضافة ( possessive case) relationship and so on....
In Arabic we have a triliteral base system for the overwhelming majority of words. An important skill that will come with time is identifying base letters and extraneous letters ( ا,ء, ن, م, و, ي, ت etc.).
DON’T JUMP IN THE DEEP END IMMEDIATELY
A common mistake made by students is to believe they should be able to read Arabic texts without harakat after completing a 6 or 12 month course of Arabic grammar and Morphology. Knowing grammar and morphological rules can only take you so far. I had a student ask me once that if he learns more advanced grammar and balagha texts, whether this would make him more proficient in reading. I explained to him that this is not the case, because reading is a completely different skill than learning grammatical rules, especially if these rules are only used in ancient poetry and the Quran.
What is crucial is understanding what one reads. If you are not understanding Arabic texts with harakat then here are few steps you need to take before stepping up to read without harakat.
When you initially start reading texts with no vowels then it can be quite difficult at first. The most important aspect to reading anything is understanding what one reads. Start off with simple children books that have harakat on them and that are translated into English or a language you are proficient with:
As an exercise go through the Arabic and try to understand what is being said. Check how your understanding compares to the translation. Identify any weakness you might have, whether its limited vocabulary, inability to identify the main parts of the sentence, problems with weak letters etc.
The following is a children's book that one can use to try this. It can be downloaded HERE
After a while, try this again with more advanced books such as الرحيق المختوم (Al raheeq Al makhtoom) a book of Seerah of the Prophet ( peace be upon him) or any other translated book. There are many translations out there so you have a wide range to choose from.
NOTE: reading without harakat is a process that will occur gradually and will not come overnight. I have provided a sample section of a children's story book entitled: طالوت و جالوت
Try translating the text yourself and compare it with the translation I have provided ( in some cases a word for word translation was not possible) .
ذهب بنو إسرائيل لنبيهم يوما.. سألوه: أ لسنا مظلومي
قالوا: ألسنا مشردين
قالوا: ابعث لنا ملكا يجمعنا تحت رايته كي نقاتل في سبيل الله ونستعيد أرضنا ومجدنا
قال نبيهم وكان أعلم بهم: هل أنتم واثقون من القتال لو كتب عليكم القتال
قالوا: ولماذا لا نقاتل في سبيل الله، وقد طردنا من ديارنا، وتشرد أبناؤنا، وساء حالنا
قال نبيهم: إن الله اختار لكم طالوت ملكا عليكم
Banu Israeel went to their Prophet one day and asked him: "Are we not oppressed?"
He answered " Most certainly you are"
They said "Are we not Musharadeen (those who have fled out of fear)?"
He answered " Most certainly you are"
They said "Assign for us a king who will unite us under his flag so that we can fight in the path of Allah and reclaim our land and honor:
Their Prophet said, and he was more aware regarding them " Are you capable of (i.e. do you know what you are getting yourself into) fighting if fighting is prescribed upon you?"
They said "And why should we not fight in the path of Allah when we have certainly been removed from out of our homes, and our sons have fled for their lives, and our state is calamitous"
Their Prophet said " Certainly, Allah has chosen for you Taloot as a king (to rule) over you"
Like with all things, practice makes perfect! You can't expect to read well if you don’t do it often. Try different types of texts from a wide variety of topics and authors.
PRACTICE OFTEN AND GET HELP FROM A TEACHER
Like with all things, practice makes perfect! You can't expect to read well if you don’t do it often. Try different types of texts from a wide variety of topics and authors. Also, having a teacher to guide you along is important and in many cases can save you plenty of time. The Sibaway Institute aims to provide students with all the prerequisites so that they are able to read and understand Arabic texts proficiently.
Authored by Nabeel Alkhalidy