Is The Qur’an Easy To Understand

Question

I have heard from scholars that Quran is easy to comprehend while many scholars say that it is not easy to comprehend the Quran. I would like to know your opinion whether the Quran is easy to understand or not. The verses in Surah Al-Qamar repeatedly says that Quran is easy to understand but we find some scholars who say that it is difficult to understand the Quran? I personally observed some laymen who understood the meanings of the Quran very well just with the translation while others find it hard to grasp. What is your opinion and observation?


Answer

There is no denying the fact that the Qur'an has been made easy and appropriate to serve as a reminder of the great relativities of faith. It however contains things which can only be fully grasped and used as a guide in deriving laws etc. by the scholars but that does not render it a book that is completely useless for the common reader. It provides sufficient guidance to a commoner as well as scholars. It is only deriving the laws and deciphering meaning of parts of the text that are difficult (for their being in Arabic language) we are not concerned about that. We can read a reliable translation of the text and try to understand what it says.

The matter of a text being easy or difficult is a relative thing. A text may be easy for me and not for you and the vice versa. This means that people are of different abilities and skills and have different background and paradigms. This necessarily affects the result in endeavor to understand the text of the Qur'an.

As for the Qur'anic statement in this regard it should be studied in its proper context. It would not be right to derive this meaning from the referred to verse of the Qur'an which concerns a completely different matter.

According to the verses of Surah Najm the Qur'an is easy for its first addressees and is appropriate for the purpose of warning as it is in clear Arabic language. It did not speak to them in a strange language difficult to them to comprehend. The Almighty always sends down the revelations to a people in their own language. The Almighty revealed the Qur'an in parts so that it is not rushed upon them. They are given parts of the revelation according to the circumstances and after the Prophet have divulged the previous parts to them and educated them. Some Surahs of the Qur'an, especially the ones revealed first, were short and comprehensive and later on their discussions were further explained in much-detailed Surahs. The Qur'an cogently repeats the thoughts in different parts and in different styles so that the addressees are able to comprehend important and basic realities and these are imprinted on their minds. This is called tasreef al-aayaat (repetition of the verses in different ways and styles). All these things proved that the Qur'an served as a complete reminder to the people and had it not been the case the addressees of the messenger could not be punished for they could present excuse for their crimes before God. They could hold the message was not clear to them.

Almighty says:

We have made this Qur'an appropriate to serve as a reminder. (54:17)

The key words are 'we made it appropriate'. The Arabic word 'yassara yuyassiru: tayseer' is usually translated as 'we made it easy'. However we understand that it is not a very accurate rendering of the expression. Imam Amin Ahsan Islahi in his book Tadabbur-i Qur'an has explained that the word is used to connote supplying something with necessary equipment and preparing it for a purpose and decorating it accordingly. The Arabs say: yassara al farasa lil rukoob. He prepared the horse for riding ie he fed it accordingly, broke it in, and provided with necessary equipment used (like saddle, bridle etc). From this the word became to be used to mean preparing someone for an important task and providing him with all the necessary items to enable him proceed. The poet says:

We help out leader out when he is confronted with an important adventure till we smooth the way for him (nuyassiruhoo) to fulfil his responsibilities typical of the leaders.

It should be noted that the word Zikr (reminder) in this context refers education, warning, admonition, etc. The Qur'an does not require us to ponder over things strange to us. It brings the realities already known to us to our notice. It wants us to give thought to things we knew but have grown forgetful about.

The context of the verses is that the Almighty says to the Quraysh that they are ignoring a very simple, plain and definite reality. The punishment they are being warned of will come to them definitely. They have been given a plain and clear book which has not left any of their question unanswered and their confusion unclear. They must take advantage of this book and heed to their messenger and should not invite the

punishment distained for the rejecters of the Messengers of God

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