Researcher’s Companion to Ghamidi’s Al-Bayan: Surah Baqarah (121-141)

Researcher’s Companion to Ghamidi’s Al-Bayan: Surah Baqarah (121-141)

Qur'anic Exegesis

I. Meaning & Morphology (الصرف و اللغة)

1. 'كَلِمَات'

As pointed out by Ghamidi (note 7), the word 'كَلِمَة' occurs both for a word or letter and for compound meanings. The latter usage is also evident from the following usage:

قُلْ يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ تَعَالَوْاْ إِلَى كَلِمَةٍ سَوَاء بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَكُمْ أَلاَّ نَعْبُدَ إِلاَّ اللّهَ وَلاَ نُشْرِكَ بِهِ شَيْئًا وَلاَ يَتَّخِذَ بَعْضُنَا بَعْضاً أَرْبَابًا مِّن دُونِ اللّهِ (64:3)

Say: 'People of the Book, let us come to a phrase that is common between us: that we will worship none but God, that we will associate none with Him, and that none of us shall set up mortals as deities besides God.' (3:64)

2. 'ثَمَرَات'

The use of the word 'ثَمَرَات' for 'fruits' is a specific one. As pointed out by Ghamidi (note 18), in its more general connotation, the word 'ثَمَرَات' is used for produce regardless of the fact that this produce is of crops, fruits or some vegetables. This use is also evident from the following verses:

وَلَقَدْ أَخَذْنَا آلَ فِرْعَونَ بِالسِّنِينَ وَنَقْصٍ مِّن الثَّمَرَاتِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَذَّكَّرُونَ (130:7)

We afflicted Pharaoh's people with dearth and famine so that they might take heed. (7:130)

وَهُوَ الَّذِي أَنشَأَ جَنَّاتٍ مَّعْرُوشَاتٍ وَغَيْرَ مَعْرُوشَاتٍ وَالنَّخْلَ وَالزَّرْعَ مُخْتَلِفًا أُكُلُهُ وَالزَّيْتُونَ وَالرُّمَّانَ مُتَشَابِهًا وَغَيْرَ مُتَشَابِهٍ كُلُواْ مِن ثَمَرِهِ إِذَا أَثْمَرَ وَآتُواْ حَقَّهُ يَوْمَ حَصَادِهِ وَلاَ تُسْرِفُواْ إِنَّهُ لاَ يُحِبُّ الْمُسْرِفِينَ (141:6)

It is He who brings gardens into being: creepers and upright trees, the palm and all manner of crops, olives, and pomegranates alike and different. Eat of their produce when they ripen and give away what is due of them upon the harvest day. But you shall not be prodigal; He does not love the prodigal. (6:141)

3. 'عَلَّمَ'

In the Arabic language, the verb 'عَلَّمَ' when used with an object such as 'الْكِتَابَ', can connote two meanings. The first is that the subject of the verb 'عَلَّمَ' taught the book and second is the contents of the book themselves became a means of teaching.

According to Ghamidi (note 29), the verb 'عَلَّمَ' in the following verse is used in this latter meaning:

رَبَّنَا وَابْعَثْ فِيهِمْ رَسُولاً مِّنْهُمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتِكَ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ العَزِيزُ الحَكِيمُ (2 :129)

In the following verses too, it is used in this sense:

الرَّحْمَنُ عَلَّمَ الْقُرْآنَ (55: 1-2)

It is the Merciful who has taught the Qur'an. (55:1-2)

عَلَّمَهُ شَدِيدُ الْقُوَى (5:53)

The powerful and mighty [Gabriel] taught him [the Qur'an]. (53:5)

4. 'اَلْكِتَاب'

As pointed out by Ghamidi(note 30), the word 'اَلْكِتَاب' in 2:129 denotes 'law' and not 'book' and refers to one of the contents of Islam viz. 'Shari'ah' or 'divine law'. Some usages of the word 'اَلْكِتَاب' for 'law' can be seen in the following verses:

وَلاَ تَعْزِمُواْ عُقْدَةَ النِّكَاحِ حَتَّىَ يَبْلُغَ الْكِتَابُ أَجَلَهُ (235:2)

But you shall not consummate the marriage before the law reaches its term. (2:235)

وَالْمُحْصَنَاتُ مِنَ النِّسَاء إِلاَّ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُكُمْ كِتَابَ اللّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ (4: 23-24)

[Also unlawful for marriage are] married women, except those whom you own as slaves. Such is the law of God. (4:23-24)

إِنَّ عِدَّةَ الشُّهُورِ عِندَ اللّهِ اثْنَا عَشَرَ شَهْرًا فِي كِتَابِ اللّهِ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَات وَالأَرْضَ مِنْهَا أَرْبَعَةٌ حُرُمٌ (36:9)

God ordained the months twelve in number in His Law when He created the heavens and the earth. Of these, four are sacred. (9:36)

5. 'اَلْحِكْمَة'

It is pointed out by Ghamidi (note 30) that in 2:129, the word 'اَلْحِكْمَة' stands for the second of the two contents of Islam: an amalgam of 'faith and ethics'. The first one being 'اَلْكِتَاب', which denotes 'divine law'.

It is evident from verses in which 'اَلْكِتَاب' and 'اَلْحِكْمَة' occur together that they state the content of Islam (see pp. 27-8 for a list of these verses). In the following verse 'اَلْحِكْمَة' is replaced by 'الْإِيمَانُ' showing that 'الْإِيمَانُ' is 'اَلْحِكْمَة':

وَكَذَلِكَ أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ رُوحًا مِّنْ أَمْرِنَا مَا كُنتَ تَدْرِي مَا الْكِتَابُ وَلَا الْإِيمَانُ (52:42)

Thus have We inspired you with a spirit of Our will when you knew nothing of the law and faith. (42:52)

In Surah Bani Isra'il, after various manifestations of moral behaviour are stated, the following verse occurs and designates all these manifestations as 'الْحِكْمَةِ' thereby showing that morality is also a part of 'الْحِكْمَةِ':

ذَلِكَ مِمَّا أَوْحَى إِلَيْكَ رَبُّكَ مِنَ الْحِكْمَةِ وَلاَ تَجْعَلْ مَعَ اللّهِ إِلَهًا آخَرَ فَتُلْقَى فِي جَهَنَّمَ مَلُومًا مَّدْحُورًا (39:17)

These are but some of the wise precepts your Lord has inspired you with. Serve no other deity besides God, lest you should be cast into Hell, condemned and rejected. (17:39)

6. The 'و' in 'يُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ'

It is pointed out by Ghamidi (note 30) that the 'و' preceding 'يُزَكِّيهِمْ' is that of explication: It explains what is said earlier. Thus the correct translation would be: 'He instructs them in 'الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ' and in this manner purifies them.'

Similar usages of 'و' can be seen in the following verses:

إِذْ آتَيْنَا مُوسَى الْكِتَابَ وَالْفُرْقَانَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ (53:2)

When We gave Moses the Scriptures which is the distinguisher of right and wrong so that you might be rightly guided. (2:53)

قَدْ جَاءكُم مِّنَ اللّهِ نُورٌ وَكِتَابٌ مُّبِينٌ (5: 15)

A light which is a glorious Book has come to you from God. (5:15)

اللَّهُ الَّذِي أَنزَلَ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ وَالْمِيزَانَ (17:42)

It is God who has revealed with truth the Book which is the balance. (42:17)

II. Syntax and Declensions

1. The Accusative 'حَنِيفًا'

The word 'حَنِيفًا' in 'قُلْ بَلْ مِلَّةَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ حَنِيفًا' is an accusative of state (حَال) from the governed noun (مُضَاف الَِيْه) 'إِبْرَاهِيمَ'. Such instances are common in Arabic and one finds many examples in which an accusative of state occurs from a governed noun in the genitive. For example:

إِن نَّشَأْ نُنَزِّلْ عَلَيْهِم مِّن السَّمَاء آيَةً فَظَلَّتْ أَعْنَاقُهُمْ لَهَا خَاضِعِينَ (4:26)

Here the word 'خَاضِعِينَ' is an accusative of state from the genitive pronoun 'هُمْ'.

Imam Farahihas quoted many examples from classical Arabic poetry which depict such accusatives of state. Here are some of the examples he quotes1:

قال أبو ذويب الهذلي:

و لتأتين عليك يوم مرة

يبكي عليك مقنعا لا تسمع

و قال امرؤ القيس:

فلما أجن الليل عني غبارها

نزلت إليه قائما بالحضيض

و قال أمية بن أبي الصلت:

فهل تخفي السماء على بصير

و هل بالشمس طالعة خفاء

2. The Construction of 'فَإِنْ آمَنُواْ بِمِثْلِ مَا آمَنتُم بِهِ'

As per the translation of the above expression by Ghamidi viz 'Then if they accept the way you have', the 'ب' affixed to 'مِثْلِ' is for 'اِشْبَاع' and is not a preposition of the verb 'آمَنُواْ' and the particle 'مَا' is 'مَصْدَريه' and not 'مَوْصُوْلَه'. In other words, the sense is: 'اِنْ آمَنُواْ اِيْمَاناً مِثْلَ اِيْمَانِكُمْ بِه'

This 'ب' is similar to the one affixed to 'مِثْلِهَا' in the following verse:

وَالَّذِينَ كَسَبُواْ السَّيِّئَاتِ جَزَاء سَيِّئَةٍ بِمِثْلِهَا (27:10)

In this sense, it is much like the 'ك' in 'كَمِثْلِه'.

A rendering of the above expression by taking the 'ب' to be a preposition of the verb 'آمَنُواْ' would make the meaning quite absurd: viz. 'if they accept something similar to what you have accepted'.

III. Style & Eloquence (الاساليب و البلاغة)

1. Tadmin in 'عَهِدْنَا إِلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْمَاعِيل'

As pointed out by Ghamidi (note 13) the preposition 'إِلَى' signifies the occurrence of Tadmin. In other words, the meaning of 'imposing a responsibility' is encompassed in the verb. The implied meaning is: 'إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْمَاعِيلَو وَصَّينَا إِلَى عَهِدْنَا'.

Here are some other examples of such usage:

وَلَقَدْ عَهِدْنَا إِلَى آدَمَ مِن قَبْلُ فَنَسِيَ وَلَمْ نَجِدْ لَهُ عَزْمًا (115:20)

أَلَمْ أَعْهَدْ إِلَيْكُمْ يَا بَنِي آدَمَ أَن لَّا تَعْبُدُوا الشَّيْطَانَ إِنَّهُ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ مُّبِينٌ (60:36)

2. Elision of the Preposition 'ب' before 'أَنْ'

Elision of the preposition 'ب' before 'أَنْ' is a common feature of classical Arabic, as pointed out by Ghamidi(note 13). Other examples of this elision can be seen in the following:

أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِي حَآجَّ إِبْرَاهِيمَ فِي رِبِّهِ أَنْ آتَاهُ اللّهُ الْمُلْكَ (258:2)

That is 'بِاَنْآتَاهُ اللّهُ '

وَاللَّهُ أَحَقُّ أَنْ تَخْشَاهُ (37:33)

That is 'تَخْشَاهُبِاَنْ'

IV. Exegesis and Explanation (الشرح و التفسير)

1. The Content and Objective of Islam

Verse 129 is one of the most important verses of the Qur'an. According to Ghamidi, this verse not only categorizes the content of Islam but also refers to the objective of this content and hence that of Islam.

Let us consider the verse in some detail:

رَبَّنَا وَابْعَثْ فِيهِمْ رَسُولاً مِّنْهُمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتِكَ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ العَزِيزُ الحَكِيمُ (2: 129)

Lord, send forth to them a messenger from amongst them who shall read out to them Your revelations, and shall instruct them in 'الْكِتَاب' and 'الْحِكْمَة', and shall purify them. You are indeed the Mighty, the Wise One. (2:129)

Two implications of the above verse are very clear:

Firstly, the word 'الْكِتَاب' in the given verse does not mean the Qur'an because it is already mentioned in the first part of the verse viz: 'يَتْلُو عَلَيْهِمْآ يَاتِكَ' (who shall read out to them Your revelations).

Secondly, the word 'الْحِكْمَة' does not mean Hadith of the Prophet (sws) as many scholars contend because other verses of the Qur'an say that 'الْحِكْمَة' itself is divinely revealed, which of course is not true of Hadith:

وَأَنزَلَ اللّهُ عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَعَلَّمَكَ مَا لَمْ تَكُنْ تَعْلَمُ (113:4)

God has revealed to you 'الْكِتَابَ' and 'الْحِكْمَةَ' and taught you what you did not know before. (4:113)

In the following verse, the wives of the Prophet (sws) are addressed and told that they should communicate the verses of the Qur'an and the 'الْحِكْمَةَ' which is being recited in their homes, thereby referring to the divine origin of 'الْحِكْمَةَ':

وَاذْكُرْنَ مَا يُتْلَى فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ مِنْ آيَاتِ اللَّهِ وَالْحِكْمَةِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ لَطِيفًا خَبِيرًا (34:33)

Commit to memory the revelations of God and the wise sayings that are recited in your dwellings. Gracious is God and all-knowing. (33:34)

A study of verses in which these two words 'الْكِتَاب' and 'الْحِكْمَة' occur together show that they refer to the contents of religion which Muhammad (sws) communicated to his followers. The words 'الْكِتَاب' refers to the Shari'ah or divine law and the word 'الْحِكْمَة' refers to faith and morality. Consequently, where these two are grouped together there is no mention of Tazkiyah showing that Tazkiyah is not a content of religion:

وَأَنزَلَ اللّهُ عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَعَلَّمَكَ مَا لَمْ تَكُنْ تَعْلَمُ (113:4)

God has revealed to you 'الْكِتَاب وَالْحِكْمَة'and in this manner taught you what you did not know before. (4:113)

وَاذْكُرُواْ نِعْمَتَ اللّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَمَا أَنزَلَ عَلَيْكُمْ مِّنَ الْكِتَابِ وَالْحِكْمَةِ يَعِظُكُم بِهِ وَاتَّقُواْ اللّهَ وَاعْلَمُواْ أَنَّ اللّهَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ (231:2)

And remember the favour God has bestowed upon you, and 'الْكِتَاب وَالْحِكْمَة' He has revealed for your instruction. Fear God and know that God has knowledge of all things. (2:231)

وَإِذْ عَلَّمْتُكَ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَالتَّوْرَاةَ وَالإِنجِيلَ (110:5)

And how I instructed you in 'الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ' in the Torah and in the Gospel. (5:110)

وَإِذْ أَخَذَ اللّهُ مِيثَاقَ النَّبِيِّيْنَ لَمَا آتَيْتُكُم مِّن كِتَابٍ وَحِكْمَةٍ (81:3)

When God made His covenant with the prophets, he said: 'Here is the 'كِتَابٍ وَحِكْمَةٍ' I have given you. (3:81)

Moreover, Tazkiyah is mentioned separately as the objective of the directives of Islam. It is mentioned for example as the objective of the prayer:

قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَن تَزَكَّى وَذَكَرَ اسْمَ رَبِّهِ فَصَلَّى( 14:87-15)

He succeeded who keeps himself pure and for this he remembered his Lord and prayed. (87:14-15)

V. Scriptures and Testaments (العهود والصحف)

1. God's Promise with Abraham's Progeny

The promise of God referred to in 2:124 is recorded in the Bible in the following words:

And Abraham said to God, 'If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!' Then God said, 'Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation. (Genesis 17:18-20)

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Nothing but the Truth, Please!

Narratives on the Collection of the Qur’ān by ‘Alī(rta) (part 1/3)

Narratives on the Collection of the Qur’ān by ‘Alī(rta) (part 2/3)

Narratives on the Collection of the Qur’ān by ‘Alī(rta) (part 3/3)

A Tribute to Brig (retd.) Noor Ahmed Husain (Quaid e Azam’s Last Military ADC)


Appendix C: A Brief Biographical Sketch of Hamīd al-Dīn al-Farāhī (1863-1930) [1]

Appendix B:  A Brief Summary of the Views of Traditional and Radical Western Scholars

Appendix A:  A Summary of the View of Traditional Muslim Scholars

A Critical Evaluation of Farahī’s View on the Collection of the Qur’ān

A Citizen of Paradise (Written on the Martyrdom of Dr Habib ur Rahman)



Your Questions Answered

Reason and Revelation

Your Questions Answered

Explanation of Some Qur’ānic Words

Explanation of Some Jarh Terms

The Warrior who became a Martyr

A Narrative on the Placement of Sūrah Anfāl (8) and…

A Critical Analysis of the Narratives on the… (Part 1/2)

A Critical Analysis of the Narratives on the… (Part 2/2)

Your Questions Answered

Travelling Alone!

A Narrative on the Schematic Arrangement of the Qur’ān (Part 2/2)