This Section will explain to you how you can Extract the beautiful Gems from the Qur’an yourself, just like Nouman Ali Khan and Abdul Nasir Jangda have. I’ve (the writer) produced an outline from the outline they used in their Tafseer sessions.
After knowing the Arabic language, we can find gems through looking at;
The Basic Layout by which you can Extract Gems from the Qur’an:
Step 1 – Definitions of words through their pure roots, and the types of words used i.e. their pattern style etc.
Step 2 – Placement of words in an ayah.
Step 3 – Placement of aayaat in a passage/’paragraph’ of discussion.
Step 4 – How all the different passages work together;
Step 5 – To produce a Conclusion, which is derived by finding out the common Theme and overall main Message in the surah. (through steps 1-4)
Step 1 – Focus on Words and their Power:
Look at definitions of words through their pure roots, and the types of words used i.e. their pattern style (verb patterns, Rhymes, Palindromes etc.), the images the words portray, the sounds they make etc. How you can do this;
Focus on the Literary Devices:
- Word Patterns
- Verb patterns; what state are they in? If they are in Faa’il (Doer) form – imagine the object is a living object ‘Doing’ that action.
I.e. Allah says the Final Hour is Aaatiyah (Coming) [Taha 20:15] – the Faa’il (Doer) form shows a picture of the Hour actively coming (as if it is walking and approaching us).
I.e. Allah tells us about the fruits of Jannah (Paradise), that they are “daaniyah” [meaning: "close"] (Haqqah 69:23). But the word is in Faa’il (Doer) form, so some scholars even said that the Faa’il form shows that the tree itself Does this, it ‘Comes Close’ to the person to feed him its fruit in the Gardens of Paradise.),
1 – Look at the Word used, its Root meaning. Its different Usages in;
i – Different contexts of classical texts (i.e. pre-islamic arabic poetry/speeches.)
ii – Different contexts in Qur’an
iii – Different explanations in ahadeeth.
iv – or its Different meanings/usages mentioned in the Dictionaries & Lexicons.
I.e. Allah tells us about Shaytaan, and Allah tells us the promise he made;
I will misguide them all, except the muKhliSeen (see definition of root: Kh-lam-Sad )(Surah Hijr 15: 39-40)] =
i) Sincere (IkhlaaS) slaves,
ii) (Allah’s) Pure (KhaaliS) slaves [who are pure from Shirk and Sins),
iii) Freed & Liberated slaves:
a – Those who Allah has chosen to be saved by His eternal knowledge.
b – Who Allah will Free, liberate from the Hellfire on Judgment Day by His Mercy.
2 - Look at the Harf (Harf (Huroof) words are those small words which 'connect' a sentence together.) word used, and try to look at it from a Literal, Picturesque perspective:
I.e. A word like "Fee" (meaning; "In"), or 'Alaa (meaning; 'Upon'), Ilaa (meaning; 'To'). Words like these
can be looked at from a literal perspective to get more impact to the meanings of a sentence. Example:
a - Allah tells us that the disbelievers are FEE (IN) - Ghuroor (Deception). (see surah Mulk 67:20).
If we look at the word 'FEE' [meaning; 'In'] literally, it implies that the disbelievers are Literally engulfed
in a picturesque object called Deception. So if they are engulfed in that, wherever they will look – they
will always be surrounded by that Deception object.
b – If we look at the word ‘Ilaa’ [meaning; 'To'] (in surah al Baqarah 2:257) – we see that the devils are
pulling the people out of the light (of the fitrah [natural disposition humans are born with of belief in 1
Creator]), and dragging them ‘To’ the Darknesses of disbelief and oppression.
c – If we look at the word ‘Alaa [meaning; 'Upon'] we can imagine someone being ON TOP of what is
being described, as if someone is sitting ON TOP of a train.
So imagine there is a Train called ‘Manners’, Allah describes His Messenger as being ‘Alaa [Upon]
Constantly EXCELLENT and unmatched Character and High Morals (in surah Qalam 68:4).
So we can then imagine someone Upon EXCELLENT manners as being UPON a train of Excellent
Manners, so that wherever the train of perfect manners goes, that person will always be upon it and
following it in goodness.
3 – Look at the Word used, and look for Harf Words Similar to it, and then wonder why this one was used instead of the others.
I.e. Allah told Adam;
And do not approach Haadhi hi al-shajarah – THIS tree. (al A’raf 7:19)
By Allah telling Adam not to approach ‘THIS’ tree, it implied that THIS Tree was near to where Adam lived.
If Allah said to Adam – Do not approach; ’tilka’ meaning ‘That’ [feminine form of dhalika [= That]] Tree (shajarah), it would imply the tree was FAR from where Adam lived in the Gardens of Eden.
This one word ‘This’ (haadhihi ) shows that Allah tested Adam by placing the forbidden tree close to where he lived in the Gardens. Just like when we have desires close to us and we are tested by them.
4 – Look at the Word used, and look for Near Synonyms Similar to it, and then Reflect why this one was used instead of The others. I.e.
ٰSurely Allah is Ni’im (favourable) with what He advises you with… (Quran al Nisa 4:58)
Allah could have used many words to describe that He has been favourable to us by advising us to do good things.
Other words for ‘Favour’ include;
FaDl (لضف ) = Means for something to be more in quantity than what is fair or expected. (i.e. I ask you for $1 and you give me $20 as a FaDl from you.) (see Quran al Baqarah 2:253)
Mann ( نم) = Favor or goodness. To remind another of one’s favor and to use it to impose oneself on another. It is also used for a heavy weight. (see Quran aal Imran 3:164)
aHsana ( نسحأ) = Is any commendable deed whether it has to do with the self or another. (see Quran Yusuf 12:100)
However, Allah chose to use another word instead; Ni’im (معن) – which means; Everything that fulfills a need and becomes a source of happiness.
Ni’m also comes from a similar word meaning; Nu’oomah (هموعن) = ‘softness’
So Allah specifically chose this word to tell us that He is;
1 – Favourable (most common translation of Ni’m is ‘favour’) with what He advises us.
2 – (He is) Fulfilling a need for us (by advising us) so we gain happiness.
3 – (He is) Being ‘Soft’ with us in what He advises us with. (He could have made the rules harder
than needed [like the nations before us], but He was Merciful in His Law to us.)
4 – Look at the Word used, and consider the Antonym (Opposite [-] meaning word) to
appreciate the power of the Negativity in comparison to its Positive [+] meaning.) I.e.
Inna sa’yukum la shatta – Surely your travelling is no doubt Diverse. (Quran Layl 92:4)
Shatta (means ‘shatter’ [divide]). But there are alot of words to mean ‘divide’ in arabic.
So what is this words Opposite? It is “Allafa [ فلأ ] (Put together something divided as one united whole)
So we see that this ayah doesn’t just mean that our (mankind’s) sa’ee (walking fast = travelling [to the next life]) is divided, rather – it means – our [mankinds] travelling was 1 and united once (Allafa) [when all people followed the guidance given to Adam], and now over time it has shattered (like a glass breaks/shatters) and now we are dispersing/shattering (like that breaking glass) into different directions [shatta]. (some travelling and doing deeds of the people of hell, and others travelling and doing deeds of the people of Paradise.)
- Rhyme patterns
- Look for common and Repeated patterns in the surah.
In surah al Haqqah (69: 1-32) – all of the words end in with a letter ‘ha’ [ ه ] which implies;
- Rhyme (which builds up consistency and suspense upto the Ayah when the Rhyme stops)
- implying Severity when Recited (in accordance with the Severe and Violent sound produced from inside your body when pronouncing the letter ‘ha’ [ ه ], and that sound producing the violent punishments being portrayed in the Theme of surah al Haqqah).
This Repeated pattern is sustained from Aayaat 1-12 in surah al Haqqah. And when the Rhyme pattern changes, it’s because the topic of discussion has changed.
Step 2: Sentence Structure:- Placement of words in an ayah:
a – Understand the Main Meaning of the the Ayah.
b – Look for the main Direct Targetted Object [maf'ool bihi - the one to who something is being 'done' to] in the Ayah’s discussion and look at the Location of the words surrounding it to see their relationship with that Main Object.
[Part of Balaaghah - Rhetoric - finding out the reasons why words are sequenced in a certain order.]
See how; Allah mentions His Name near the Saadiqeen [truthful], yet He does not mention His Name near the hypocrites.
This is done because Allah is close to the Saadiqeen [truthful to themselves and truthful to Allah] – so He
mentions His closeness to them by mentioning His Name next to them, and is angry with the hypocrites, so He does not mention His Name near the hypocrites [i.e. He is distant from them].
But to give hope to those who have hypocrisy in their hearts, He mentions that the hypocrite can still reach that closeness toAllah, and that can only be reached by approaching His Forgiveness and Mercy.
He pictures this by placing His Names of Mercy (Ghafoor & Raheem) next to the Name; Allah, so the hypocrite will only get closer to Allah by approaching His Forgiveness & Mercy.
Point #1 is used many times in the Qur’an, sometimes in selected aayaat/verses [like above], sometimes in whole Surahs i.e. in Surah Tariq, Allah does not even mention His Name once in the whole Surah, due to His Anger and distance against the rejectors/disbelievers.
Sentence Tajweed Sound Gems:
- Sound (Onamatopeia) effects,
- Visual effects (i.e. Low note letters like Daad = a heavy/sluggish meaning), or even
- Flow of the ayah recital
- and other sounds produced through Tajweed. To understand the subtle meanings being portrayed in the Aayaat.
Tajweed Sounds: If we study the arts of Tajweed, we see that there are some rules you have to learn to recite the Qur’an well.
The Ikhfaa rule is commonly called ‘the Nasal sound’ rule – wherein you don’t recite the letter ‘Nun’ sound (if a blue letter of Ikhfa is going to come after it) [you don’t touch your tongue on the top roof of your inner mouth] before certain letters, but instead you almost touch it and the sound that comes out of your nose and mouth makes a nasal sound – causing the sound of the recitation to ‘flow’ instead of abrupt pauses (which would happen if you fully pronounced the letter ‘Nun’.) This flow in recitation will give a ‘smooth’ feeling to the listener, as if you’re flying on air or floating over water. So that when the following ayah is recited, it is recited smoothly, as if you are gliding;
Have you not considered how Allah presents an example, [making] a good word like a good tree, whose root is firmly fixed and its branches [high] in the sky? [Quran 14:24]
Comparison: On the other hand, when we see the description being mentioned of a tree representing disbelief, we see there is no Ikhfaa rule applied, and we also hear difficult to pronounce letters (like Daad) being used. This means the letter ‘Nun’ and other difficult to pronounce letters will be pronounced alot in this ayah, which causes abrupt STOPS in the flow of the Ayah. This continuous abrupt stopping in the recitation makes you feel ‘sluggish‘, as if you are continuously falling on your face – making you feel -through hearing the recitation- that disbelief is continuously heavy and hard upon you.
And the example of a bad word [kalimatin khabeethatin] is like a bad tree [ka shajaratin khabeethatin], uprooted from the surface of the earth, not having any stability. [Quran 14:26]
Step 3 – The Location of an Ayah within a Passage of Discussion
Rukoo’: Abdul Nasir Jangda says that the Rukoo’aat (sub sections within a surah) you find in copies of the Qur’an are divided by scholars based on the different subjects within a surah. So take advantage of these when studying different passages within surahs’ of the Qur’an.
a – Step no.2 is often related to Step no.3:
The location of an Ayah may be based on;
i – the context of the whole passage (Rukoo’).
ii – Or even based on the Theme of the entire surah. Example:
And kill not your children out of poverty, We provide you and them. (An’am 6:151)
And kill not your children, fearing poverty. We provide them and you. (Israa’ 17:31)
It seems like it’s the same thing. But it’s not;
In surah al An’am: it is describing when Poverty already exists – Who are you worried about feeding in that moment the most? = Yourself. So Allah tells us that He will provide for YOU and them.
In surah al Isra’: – there is a Future-Fear of Poverty being depicted. People may be able to feed themselves, but they fear for the providing of their children.
So Allah mentions that He will Provide for THEM [the children], since that is the persons main worry.
b – the Location of an Ayah and its content is important. The following examples will explain how;
i – Surah al Baqarah has 286 aayaat within it, and tells us how to be the best nation. If we divide that (286) by two, we get the number 143.
The exact MIDDLE ayah of Surah al Baqarah is 2:143. And in that ayah, Allah tells us;
And like that, We have made you a MIDDLE (wasaTan) nation…
ii – Surah al Haqqah – Order of words gradually going Upwards in location:
i.e. (1) Earth > (2) mountains > (3) sky > (4) > angels, (5) > Throne (‘Arsh), (6) – Our Lord Allah (see Haqqah 69: 13-16)
Then when the Horn is blown with one blast. And the (1) earth and the (2) mountains are lifted and leveled with one blow – Then on that Day, the Resurrection will occur,
And the (3) heaven/sky will split [open], for that Day it is infirm.
And the (4) angels are at its edges. And there will bear the (5) Throne of your (6) Lord above them, that Day, eight [of them (i.e. angels)].
Step 4 – See how all the Passages are Different yet how they all
Connect to work Together to produce ‘Themes’:
This can be done through;
- Finding out when a Passage of Discussion has finished.
Which can be figured through seeing; a change of Theme in i.e.
- Word Patterns or
- changes in Sentence structure,
- Change in topic of Discussion, or Change in Rukoo’ etc. Example:
In surah al Haqqah (69: 1-32) – all of the words end in with a letter ‘ha’
This Repeated pattern is sustained from Aayaat 1-32 in surah al Haqqah. And when the Rhyme pattern changes, it’s because the topic of discussion has changed.
In Surah al Haqqah – from ayah 1 – 32 – Judgment Day and the Next Life is being discussed in great detail.
The last letter and tune of the surah changes from ayah 33 onwards. So we know that a new topic is being discussed in the surah now – which depicts what actions one should have done to be saved from the Punishment of the Hellfire.
The letter ‘ha’ has stopped being used (because that made you feel hopeless), yet gentle letters are still not being used, rather ‘extended’ sounds like (‘ADheeem, Miskeeen, Hameeem, etc. are being used to show that you are still blameworthy and not saved from the punishment, until you remove this blame off yourself by doing the good actions mentioned.)
Once you have differentiated between the Different Passages in the surah, you have to work out and see how all these Passages are Related to each other = Theme of the surah.
Step 5 – Produce a Conclusion, which is derived by finding out; the Theme, Message, & Placement of the Surah in the Qur’an.
- studying points 1-4 in depth,
- studying the Cause for Revelation of a Surah and it’s Aayaat [aSbaab al Nuzool]
- and by studying the Classical Linguistic tafaseer,
You will be able to find out the Main Message of a surah and its Main Theme which connects all its; words, aayaat, passages [Rukoo'aat], and overall structure together. This Theme is usually one main lesson or Word you can use to define the entire message of the Surah. Examples:
If you read Surah al Mutaffifeen (83) – you will see from the beginning till end that Allah criticizes those who are ‘Greedy and Sly characters’.
“Who, when they take a measure from people, take in full.
But if they give by measure or by weight to them, they cause loss.
And when they (the disbelievers) passed by them (the believers), they would exchange sarcastic eye movements.”
(Beginning and Ending aayaat from surah Mutaffifeen).
These aayaat show that this surah strongly focuses on the evil of those who are of a Greedy and Sly nature.
Surah InShiqaaq (84) – has a Theme of Inevitability;
Shaq – is irreversible. Once the sky is torn/ripped – it cannot be back to normal again like before its tearing.
The inevitable – the point of no return – the conclusion of the sky we have above us is that it will be torn and will never return to its normal state after that.
Other forms of ‘the point of no return’ are implied in the surah, i.e. the Earth being spread out completely, the Earth spitting out all that it contains within it, etc.
Surah Burooj (85) – has a Theme of ‘Possession’;
The Sky – possessing – the burooj (stellar stars).
The Fire – possessing – the fuel (which burns the believers in this life, and the disbelievers in the
The Rabb/Lord – possessing the ‘Arsh – Mighty throne. Etc.
Then judge why the surah would be placed in that part (Juzz) of the Qur’an (especially in relation to the Suwar [Surahs] surrounding it.)
(1) More examples can be found at;
(2) A really good Resource for Meanings is ejtaal.net – the Arabic Almanac dictionary. You simply type in the root letters in Phonetic English, and the Results for 3 main dictionaries (Hans Wehr, Lanes Lexicon and Hava) come up in 2seconds! *works on smartphones too, is downloadable, and free alhamdulillah!
(3) Near Synonyms – Booklet created by Nouman Ali Khan:
A good Arabic Reference is: MutaRaadifaat ul-Qur’an – by Imam Raghib al Isfahani (it is translated in Urdu also by Abdul Rahman al Kilaani (author of Mutaraadifaatul Qur’an in Urdu).)
Extracted From : AL QURAN – THE LINGUISTIC MIRACLE
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