CHAPTER viii / General and clear

General and clear

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This is a unique combination that we do not find anywhere other than in the Qur’an.

The thing is that when people make their thoughts well defined, they do not leave room for any interpretation.

If they make it general, they make their style ambiguous or even confusing, or they leave it totally unclear. It is practically impossible to combine these two aims of clarity and generality.

When you read a passage of the Qur’an, however, you find it transparently clear, with precision in expressing the intended meaning, and without any alien word or concept to confuse the issue in question.

It requires no hard thinking or repetition of the statement; its meaning is readily apparent.

You feel as though you are not listening to words and statements, but looking at images and well established facts. You tend to think that you have gathered its meaning in full.

Yet if you were to read it again at a later time, you will find that you see in it a new meaning that differs from the one you had gathered the first time.

The same may happen time and again, so that the same sentence, or the same word, may have several correct, or potentially correct, interpretations.

It is comparable to a diamond, each side of which gives a different ray.

If you were to take a total view of it, you have an amazing spectrum, comprising the whole colours of a rainbow.

You feel unable to decide what to take and what to leave out.

If you were to let another person look at it, he may see in it more than you do. We will give here a small example. Take the Qur’anic statement:

“God grants sustenance without reckoning, to whom He wills.”

(2: 212.)

This is certainly very clear to all minds. Yet at the same time, there is a great deal of flexibility.

If you were to say that it means that God gives sustenance to His servants without accounting to anyone about what He does, and without anyone asking Him why has He given some people in abundance and given others limited means, you are correct.

If you say that it means that when He gives, He does not reckon up what He has given for fear that resources may be exhausted, you are correct.

If you take it to mean that He gives people their sustenance from where they cannot reckon, you are correct.

Similarly, you are correct to say that He gives His servants their sustenance without putting them first to account for their deeds.

If you finally say that it means that He gives sustenance in abundance, without measure and subject to no calculation, you are correct.

In the first meaning, the statement provides a rule for the granting of God’s provisions. The system does not operate on the basis of what the recipient deserves according to his knowledge or deeds.

Provisions are determined by God’s will, as He wishes to test His servants.

This provides consolation to the poor among the believers and puts the rich and arrogant face to face with the facts so that they do not go too far in their conceit.

The second meaning alerts us to the limitless resources God has at His command, and that He gives in abundance as He wills.

The third meaning provides a hint to the believers of what God will give them of victories so as to replace their hard times with comfort and their poverty with affluence.

All this will come about from where they do not reckon.

The last two meanings give a promise to the good believers either to be admitted to heaven without having to face the reckoning, or to multiply their reward manifold.

Whoever looks at how scholars interpret Qur’anic verses will be amazed at what they come up with.

Thus, we see a book laid open at all times. Everyone takes from it what they are able to take, as fits their different talents and purposes.

We see indeed an endless ocean stretching beyond imagination.

It has accommodated all schools of thought, different as their methodologies and rules of deduction are.

It has also catered for all scientific theories, ancient and modern, different as their methods and means are. Easy to understand and analyse as it is, it retains its vigour and power, remaining free of change and contradiction. Each party finds in it a basis for its argument, claiming its support.

Yet, in its sublimity, it remains above them all, looking from on high to see them fighting over it as though he is telling them:

“Say, Everyone acts according to his own disposition. Your Lord is fully aware who is best guided.” (17: 84.)
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One Example of the Qur’anic Style

We have so far explained some of the characteristics that make the Qur’anic style unique..

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