Monday, July 11, 2005

Translation of an Extraction from al-Dawlah al-Makkiyyah

On the details of the Qur’an and vastness of the Muhammadan Knowledge

In the fifth section ( al-khamis) of His far-famed epistle, al-Dawlah al-Makkiyyah bi al-Maadah al-Ghaybiyyah, Imam Ahmad Radha Khan (May Allah have mercy on him) says,

‘‘And by Allah’s given ability I say; Our Lord’s speech is a perspicuous word and a just pronouncement. The Divine says,

‘And We have sent down to thee the Book explaining all things’ (16:89)

‘It is not a tale invented, but a confirmation of what went before it- a detailed exposition of all things’ (12:111)

‘Nothing have we omitted from the Book’ (6:38)

Therefore the exalted Qur’an is a witness and its greatness is understood by the fact that it is a clear exposition of all things (Ar.Tibyaan li kulli shay). Tibyan in Arabic is ‘an explicitly perspicuous exposition (bayaan) in which there is not a single iota of ambiguity’ since the multiplicity of letters in a word indicates increase in meaning. [The aforementioned is a distinctive variation between the linguistic meanings of the words ‘Bayan’ and ‘Tibyan’].

Exposition must have an explainer and someone for whom the explanation is made. In this case, Allah is the explainer and Our Master, Allah’s Messenger is the one upon whom the Qur’an was revealed as a clear exposition. May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him.

The word ‘thing’ (Ar.shay) according to the Sunni agreement applies to ‘all that which exists’. Hence, the verse encompasses entirely every existing thing from the earth to the throne, the east to the west, including all substances, states, movements, inactivities, moments, glances, notions, thoughts, and so forth.

From those ‘things’ is the script of the Sacred Tablet. The Qur’an is a clearly all-encompassing detailed exposition of that too. If we inquire the Qur’an of what is inscribed in it we find it saying,

‘Every matter, small and great, is on record’. (54:53)

‘And of all things have We taken account in a clear Book’. (12:36)

‘There is not a grain in the darkness of the earth, nor anything fresh or dry, but is inscribed in a record clear’ (6:59)

Rigorously authentic hadiths verify that the Scared Tablet contains everything from the First day till the Last, up until the people of Heaven enter it and the people of fire enter their abode. This is what is meant by the word ‘abad’, in the hadith, which designates a long scope of time as explained by Baidhawi in his commentary on the Qur’an otherwise the limited cannot sustain limitless details and this is what is meant by the expression ‘knowledge of the past and future’ (Ar. maa kaana waa maa yakuwnu).

It has been scrupulously established in the Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, a negation which is followed by an indefinite noun engenders generality in its meaning thereby Allah Most High has not omitted any ‘thing’ from His Divine book.

Also, the word ‘kull’ (En. all) is the most explicit form amongst words which entails generality in its import; therefore no-thing remains unexposed and
folded in the absolute clarity of the Qur’an.

The General proposition (Ar.aam) is definitive in its application to its entire constituents and the texts (Ar.nusus) must apply to their apparent meanings as long as there is no sound preventative.

Restriction (Ar.takhsees) and interpretation (Ar.ta’weel) without proof is interpolation (Ar.tahweel) and change (Ar.Tabdeel) in the texts, and the solitary reports regardless of what degree of authenticity they meet are not warranted to restrict the generality of the Qur’an. So how is it then possible that other points which are of a lesser degree than the solitary reports such as mere argumentation (Ar expression. qeela wa qaala) restrict the generality of the texts?

The principles have also explained that later restriction (Ar.takhsees mutaraakhi) is determined abrogation (Ar.naskh) and previous stories (Ar.akhbaar) cannot be abrogated. Moreover, logical restriction (Ar.takhsees aqali) does not disembark the general proposition from its definitiveness (Ar.qat’iyyah), and neither is it permissible for a speculative proof to restrict the general application.

Hence the throne of meticulous investigation in this matter remains firm, and for Allah alone is all-praise.’’

Munawwar Ateeq Rizvi