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Researcher’s Companion to Ghamidi’s Surah al-Baqarah (26-29)
Qur'anic Exegesis
Dr. Shehzad Saleem

I Meaning & Morphology (الصرف و اللغة)

 1. ‘اَلْفَاسِقْ

Contrary to its meaning of ‘disobedient’ as a term in Islamic Jurisprudence, it has been used in the Qur’ān to denote a person who is ‘arrogantly defiant’ and ‘one who does not accept the authority of God’.

2. ‘ثُمَّ

The particle ‘ثُمَّ’ is not always used for describing a sequence. It is also used for enlisting things without reference to any sequence between them. In the words of Imām Rāzi:

ثالثها: وهو الجواب الصحيح أن قوله: «ثم» ليس للترتيب ههنا وإنما هو على جهة تعديد النعم، مثاله قول الرجل لغيره: أليس قد أعطيتك النعم العظيمة ثم رفعت قدرك ثم دفعت الخصوم عنك، ولعل بعض ما أخره في الذكر قد تقدم فكذا ههنا والله أعلم.

Thirdly, and this [to me] is the right view that ‘ثُمَّ’ in this verse is not used for tartīb (sequence); it is used to enumerate the favours of Allah. For example, when a person says to another: ‘Have I not bestowed great favours on you, then enhanced your honour, then rid you of your enemy’; in this statement, there is all the possibility that the thing enumerated at the end might have actually occurred the foremost in time.1

Thus, in the expression ‘…ثُمَّ اسْتَوَى إِلَى السَّمَاءِ’, it is not necessary to conclude that the Almighty fashioned out the skies once he had made the earth.

II Syntax & Declensions & (النحو و الاعراب)

 1. Declension of ‘بَعُوضَةً

بَعُوضَةً’ is a permutative (بَدَل) of ‘مَثَلًا مَا’, which itself is an object of ‘يَضْرِبَ’.

2. Declension of ‘مَثَلًا

In the expression ‘مَاذَا أَرَادَ اللَّهُ بِهَذَا مَثَلًا’, the word ‘مَثَلًا’ is an accusative of state (حَال) from the demonstrative pronoun ‘بِهَذَا’. Some commentators2 regard it to be a ‘تَمْيِيْز’ (specification that removes an ambiguity). Preference to the former declension owes to the fact that there is no ambiguity that needs to be removed by bringing ‘مَثَلًا’ as a ‘تَمْيِيْز’; the expression ‘مَاذَا أَرَادَ اللَّهُ بِهَذَا’ lucidly conveys the meaning ‘what does Allah intend by this’ – ie., by this example.

3. Declension of ‘سَبْعَ

سَبْعَ’ is an accusative of state of ‘هُنَّ’ from the verb ‘فَسَوَّى’. ‘هُنَّ’ refers to ‘السَّمَاءِ’, which is a generic noun and hence can be referred to by a plural pronoun as well.

4. The Status of ‘مَا’ in ‘مَثَلًا مَا

The particle ‘مَا’ occurs to emphasize the indefinite noun ‘مَثَلًا’ just like the ‘مَا’ in ‘قَلِيْلاً مَا’ and ‘كَثِيْراً مَا’.

III Style & Eloquence (الاساليب و البلاغة)

 1. Parenthetical Sentence

Verses 26-27 are two parenthetical sentences that occur in the discourse (ref. 1) to warn the addressees of a contingent matter. The discourse from verse 28 then takes up what was being discussed earlier and proceeds from where it was interrupted by these parenthetical sentences.

2. Tadmīn (تَضْمِيْن)

i. In the expression ‘ثُمَّ اسْتَوَى إِلَى السَّمَاءِ’, since the preposition ‘إِلَى’ does not collocate with the verb ‘اسْتَوَى’, there exists a Tadmīn in the verb: it encompasses the meaning of another verb which collocates with ‘إِلَى’. Thus the implied meaning is: ‘ثُمَّ اسْتَوَى وَ تَوَجِّهَ إِلَى السَّمَاءِ

ii. In the expression ‘فَتَابَ عَلَيْهِ’, on similar reasons as above, there exists a Tadmīn. The implied meaning is ‘فَتَابَ وَ اَقْبَلَ عَلَيْهِ’.

IV. Exegesis and Explanation (الشرح و التفسير)

1. The implication of وَيَقْطَعُونَ مَا أَمَرَ اللَّهُ بِهِ أَنْ يُوصَلَ

It is evident from the following verse that the above expression refers to severing blood relationships:

فَهَلْ عَسَيْتُمْ إِنْ تَوَلَّيْتُمْ أَنْ تُفْسِدُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَتُقَطِّعُوا أَرْحَامَكُمْ (٢٢:٤٧)

Then, is it to be expected of you, if you were put in authority, that you will spread disorder in the land, and break your ties of kith and kin? (47:22)





1. Rāzī, Imām Fakhru’l-Dīn, 2nd ed., vol. 2, (Tehran: Dāru’l-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah), p.

2. Kashshāff, Zamakhsharī, 1st ed., vol. 1, (Beirut: Dāru’l-Ahyā al-Turāth al‘Arabī, 1997), p. 146 / Rāzī, Imām Fakhru’l-Dīn, 2nd ed., vol. 2, (Tehran: Dāru’l-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah), p. 137

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