CHAPTER X / Final Arrangement Made Far in Advance

Final Arrangement Made Far in Advance

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Another reason which should have made a surah appear particularly disjointed is the way in which the Qur’an joins different parts together in order to establish the unity of each surah.

This provides a third most remarkable aspect that puts the Qur’an in a class apart from all human styles, old and new.

What does a person do when he wants to make a product in which he needs to use several parts and components?

The first thing is to review the parts and components at his disposal, making sure how they fit together, before making a plan that determines the place of every one of them.

Making a plan cannot precede the finding out of the material at one’s disposal; in the same way that a picture cannot be taken of what is unseen.

To reverse these two steps is to force the human mind along an unfamiliar, very slippery way, without providing any sort of guidance.

Have you ever seen anyone following such an unnatural route and managing to achieve his objective without difficulty?

Would any rational human being determine the exact position of every part of what he wants to produce before making sure what parts he has at his disposal and the exact measurements and qualities of each part?

Should he start with such determination, would his initial decision be his final one, subject to no change or review?

If he insists on following such a method, will he manage to achieve the sort of perfection a master craftsman aspires to achieve?

No intelligent person would ever do that. If he does it in respect of certain stages of his work, relying on his intuition, his plan remains provisional.

He will be ready to change it the moment he realises that a change is necessary or desirable.

He will then go back to modify his first plan marginally here, substantially there, shifting an important component from one stage to another, or using it as a separate stage altogether.

He will continue to review his material and modify his overall plan time and again until he comes up with a final version that uses each part in its most suitable place.

Any arrangement that uses the parts before making sure of the available material will be arbitrary, giving only an incomplete picture.

The same applies to any structure that is not worked out on the basis of complete and detailed knowledge of its parts.

It will remain flimsy, liable to collapse at any time.

In fact when a human being begins to put together the components of any matter,

he has to follow the natural way that determines the direction of anyone who has a definite objective in mind, whether physical or logical.

If he needs to cover a number of steps, or climb upstairs,

he simply cannot take a later step before he completes the preceding one, in the same way as he cannot climb a higher flight of stairs before a lower one.

All this is determined by nature and applies to all our material and intellectual products.

The rules apply in the same way to a builder, tailor, writer and poet.

Consider, if you will, this example. Suppose a man arrives in a vast plain where there is neither a building of any sort nor any building materials.

Suddenly he feels an earthquake or a storm, and sees the top of a nearby mountain opening up and casting off some rocks and stones.

After a short or long interval a similar event takes place, giving him a reasonable amount of iron, or silver or gold fragments.

Do you think that any rational human being in this position would immediately resolve to build a whole town, using the material he has and that which he expects as a result of similar quakes and storms?

Would he immediately begin to put his plan into effect and start the building process?

How can he be certain that the phenomena that gave him the initial material will happen again?

If it does, how often?

What sort of material would it give him every time, and in what quantities? How many buildings will it be possible for him to build, and in what system?

How spacious will each building be? How many floors will it have?

In what finish and decoration will it be? How much land is available to him for building?

In such total uncertainty, no rational human being would plan to build a small hut, let alone a large town.

He would certainly not start to build as soon as he received his first few rocks.

Let us now imagine that a person will nevertheless undertake such an adventure, and that fate gives him what he needs of building materials to complete the project he has devised.

Would he undertake another adventure, following an unnatural method of building...

vowing to place each brick or stone he receives in its ultimate place, wherever that might happen to be, the moment he gets hold of it?

Would he do that when he knows for certain that the bricks he receives come in various forms, sizes and strengths; some are light while others are heavy; and arrive in no definite order.

He may have the material to be used in the terrace or the balcony before he receives the posts and beams that support the basic structure.

He may have, at the same time, several incomplete parts to be used wide apart.

Should he try to place each small part in its ultimate place the moment he gets it...

that would inevitably give him scattered, incomplete and unrelated parts, with varying distances in between.

He would have to bring some bits together while others be kept separate.

He may even try to build the loft of one building before he lays its foundation, or start with the ceiling without first raising its support.

How can any human being embark on such an adventure and carry on with it to its completion without going back at any moment to amend his plan...

or move any part from its original position to a new, seemingly better one, or to give any part more support or new decoration?

How is it possible that the moment he lays the last brick or strikes the last nail,

we see a complete town, perfectly planned, with every palace, home, room, or brick right in its most suitable position, adding to the beauty of the whole construction.

Should any part or substance be moved from its place...

a defect will be noticeable. Does that not constitute a huge challenge to the whole human race?

Page II

Planning the Whole Prior to Receiving the Parts

Yet this has actually happened in the matter we are considering. The man in our example is...