An Introduction to the Science of the Qur’an
(How to Study and Understand the Quran)
Dr. Hasanuddin Ahmed, I.A.S.
CHAPTER - 8
STUDY OF THE QUR'AN AS A MIRACLE
The science of 'ijaz al qur’an’ is most fascinating. The contributions of the eminent Muslim scholars to this field of study have been valuable. Outstanding books have been written over the centuries by the Muslim scholars who have regarded the inimitability as 'ijaz' of the Qur'an. They were convinced that the unparalleled beauty of the Qur'anic language is one of the features which make it unique. They made in depth studies on the literary excellence of the Qur'an. These studies, in fact, laid the foundation of literary criticism as we know it today. The word ‘Ijaz’ is derived from teh root 'ajaza' meaning to render powerless, to make dumb founded. The derived meaning of 'Ijaz' is to be inimitable. 'Mujiza' is that final and ultimate argument which renders the opponent helpeless and silent. 'Ijaz al Qur'an' means the inimitable or unique nature of the Qur'an, which leaves its opponents and competitors incapable and helpless. The Qur'an has not used the word 'mujiza' for the miracles by which Allah equipped His messengers. The Qur'an has used the term ayaat ( signs, portents ) for miracles. Says the Qur'an:
"Then after them We sent Moses with Our signs (Ayaat) to pharaoh and his chiefs, but they wrongfully rejected them..." (Qur’an 7:103)
The Qur'an has termed Allah's signs scattered all over the universe which invite human beings to deliberate, as ayaat. Since these signs convey divine messages the word ayaat is most appropriate. The Qur'an says:
“Among His signs is this, that He created you out of dust: and then, behold you are men scattered (fat and wide)" (Qur’an 30: 20)
More signs are enumerated in ayaat 21 to 25.
The Qur'an has also termed its six thousand and odd verses as ayaat: "A L R These are the Ayaat of revelation of a Qur'an, that makes things clear" (Qur’an 15: 1)
According to the Qur'an there is complete uniformity between the ayaat of the Qur'an and th signs of Allah in nature.
As compared to earlier messages of Allah, the signs (miracles) given to Prophet Muhammad (S) are nothing but the ayaat of the Qur'an.
The earlier divine messages (Books) were 'mu'jiza ' as they rendered their respective contemporaries helpless. This 'ijaz' was, however, confined to their teachings. The ijaz of the Qur'an on the other hand, covers not only its teaching, approach and underlying 'hikmah' but also its diction, style literary excellence and its systematic arrangement.
Muslims believe that the Qur'an is the word of Allah.
The 'ijaz al Qur'an' is however, not an attribute which the Muslim scholars of the Qur'an have invented. Apart form the implicit belief of the Muslim, which gives it a very high place the fact that the Qur'an is a miracle and that `ijaz' is one of its chief characteristic is claimed by the Qur'an itself. The Qur'an claims that it is inimitable and that the like of it is impossible to produce. The Qur'an in this regard, has thrown open more than one challenges:
1. "And if you are in doubt as to what We have revealed from on high upon Our servant then produce a 'Surah' like it and call your witnesses or helpers (if there are any) besides Allah if you are truthful. But if you cannot ‑‑‑ and surely you cannot then fear the fire whose fuel is men and stones, which is prepared for those who reject faith." (Qur’an 2:23 & 24)
2. "Say; then bring you a Book from Allah which is better Guide than either of them, that I may follow it! (do) if you are truthful." (Qur’an 28: 49)
3. "Say: "If the whole of mankind and Jinns were to gather together to produce the like of this Qur'an, they would not produce, the like thereof, even if they backed up each other with help and support". (Qur’an 17:88)
Whenever the Prophet was asked for a miracle as a proof of the authenticity of his prophetic mission, he pointed to the revelation of the Qur'an and its incomparable excellence as a proof of its divine origin.
On the negative side, to meet the challenge of the Qur’an, there have been certain attempts to produce compositions against the ayaat of the Qur'an. These attempts were made both to degenerate Islam and in a spirit of competition.
During the last 1400 years there were two kinds of competitors of the Qur’an:
i) those who pretended to be Prophets.
ii) those who did the work for the sake of art and imagined that they could produce a rival to the Qur'an or else others thought that it was so.
In the first category the following can be included:
1) Musailima Kazzab (the liar)
His aim was to acquire a kingdom and he offered his terms for peace to the Prophet. Musailima claimed that the angel Rahman brought him the revelation. Here is one of his composition:
"O frog! croak! How much do you croak? Neither You can trouble the water nor you can repulse the water‑seeker".
On the pattern of Surah al Qari'a (101) and Surah Al‑Fil (105) he made the following compositions:
"The elephant ! what is the elephant? And what would explain to you what the elephant is ? It has a hard tail and long trunk and a strong tail, and few among the creatures of our Lord.
Have'nt you not noticed your Lord how he did with the pregnant? He pulled out of her soul, quickly moving between the epigastrium and intestine”.
2) Aswad-al‑Anasi was famous for his eloquence and poetry. He pretended that he received revelation from God.
3) The famous poet Ahmed bin Al Husain Al‑Mutanabbi (Killed in 354/965) in his early life claimed to be a prophet and that a book was revealed to him. Later he gave up his pretention:
4) Abu Mughis Husain bin Mansur Hallaj ( hanged 310/922 ) claimed that he could produce composition equal in literary excellence to those of the Qur'an. He wrote `Kitab al Tawasin'. It neither consists the literary beauty of the Qur'an nor its wisdom (hikmah). It is however, one futher justification of commetteing Mansur to the gallows.
In the second category four names have been given.
1. Nadhr bin al‑Harith
He was the contemporary of the Prophet. He did not pretend to be a prophet. He is said to have written a history of Persians and other stories in imitation of the Qur'an. On account of his foolish assertion and the nature of his composition, his stories have not been quoted by later scholars.
2. Ibnul Muqaffa (d. 142/759)
He was an eminent scholar and a poet of his age. He translated the Sanskrit book 'Kalila wa damna into Arabic. His contemporaries asserted that he was inclined to accept the challenge of the Qur'an and to produce likewise compositions. Later when he heard a young boy reciting the following ayah of the Qur’an:
" When the word went forth, O earth ! swallow up the water and O sky ! with hold (thy rain) ....." (Qur’an 11:44)
he exclaimed: "verily this is not a human utterance and it is impossible to compose anything likewise". It is said that he tore what he had composed and felt shy in disclosing it. Some atheists think that the composition was written by him in a spirit of competition with the Qur'an.
3) Ahmed bin Yahya Abul Hasan ar Rawandi (d.293/906)
He was an atheist and wrote many books against Islam. It is said that he is the author of a book called al‑Taj. According to Abul Fida Muslim scholars refuted all the arguments of ar‑Rawandi including his claim to compete with the Qur'an.
4) Abul `Ala al Ma'arri (d.449/1057)
Some scholars have asserted that al Ma'arri competed with the Qur'an a book named: al‑Fusul wal‑Ghayaat fi‑Muraja’at al Suwar wal‑Ayaat.
The book which is alleged to have been written in competition is only entitled al‑Fusul wal‑Ghayaat and the words fi‑Muraja’at al‑Suwar wal Ayaat are only an addition based on presumption. The style of the work is totally different from that of the Qur'an. To blame al‑Ma'arri for competing with Qur'an is perhaps not justified. In spite of some heretical opinions, al‑Ma'arri expressed excellent opinion about the Qur'an.
On the positive side Qur'anic studies from age to age have brought forth new aspects regarding the contents and the form of the Qur'an which established beyond doubt that the Qur'an is nothing short of a miracle. It can be claimed with confidence that as human knowledge intelligence will grow new horizons will open.
The Qur'an meets every individual reader on his own level of intelligence. Likewise it meets every age at its own level of understanding.
The Theory of Sarafa
The Arabic word `Sarafa' is derived from the root `sarafa' meaning averted, prevented or turned.
Abu Ishaq Ibrahim al Nazzam (d. 222-223) has defined Sarafa as follows:
The eminent scholar al Mawardi (d.450/1058) pointed out that one of the ijaz of the Qur'an was that its opponents were refrained from producing anything like it. There is a difference of opinion on the question whether they had the capacity to produce a similar composition but were deprived of it or they had no capacity at all. The first point of view was held by the rationalists and the second by the orthodox.
Abu Ishaq al-Isfara’ini, al Jahiz and ibn Hazm have also subscribed to the theory of Sarafa.
The belief in the inimitability of the Qur'an continued till the beginning of the 3rd/9th century.
While a majority of the Muslim scholars held the view that the Qur'an was inimitable, the Mu'tazalites (rationalists) maintained that the eloquence of the Qur'an was imitable. They maintained that there is nothing inimitable, in it. They however, agreed that the challenge of the Qur'an (in ayaat 2:23‑24, 10:39 and 17:90) holds good and that the 'tahaddi' of the Qur'an has not been met. They attributed this factor to Allah's 'aversion' which did not allow anyone to produce any piece of literature like the Qur'an.
Different Aspects of 'ijaz'
Muslim scholars have successfully attempted to provide cogent reasons and justification to uphold the claim of the Qur'an that it is a divine miracle like of which cannot be produced individually or collectively by human beings.
The Qur'an has innumerable features which make it unique.
The real ‘ijaz’ of the Qur'an lies in the fact that it is not possible to restrict it in a particular field. The various aspects of 'ijaz' are incalculable and almost beyond human comprehension. It is not possible to enumerate them.
In an attempt to note the other aspects of 'ijaz' in their order of importance it may be noted that the Qur'an is a Book of divine guidance, and its basic aim is guidance of man. All other features are subsidiary and contributory to this basic one. This basic aim, therefore, can be regarded as the first aspect of 'ijaz' (miracle) of the Qur'an. It is a plain fact that other than the Qur'an no other and no better guidance for mankind is available. One of the most important aspects of the `ijaz al Qur'an' is its tremendous effect in changing the course of history. There is no other book in history of the world literature which has awakened the people from their stupor of ages and made them harbinger of a new and a bright epoch in world history. The next aspect of 'ijaz' lies in the literary beauty of the Qur'an. The Qur'an is the miracle of excellence in language. “The early Muslims developed the doctrine of the literary and artistic `unsurpassability' of the Qur'an, but even for the non‑Muslim Arabs it remains an ideal of literary production even to this day". "The Qur'an proved itself beyond imitation in its form and style as well as in its substance. In fact its form so perfectly matched the contents that it looked as if each is made for the other. Each enhanced the effect of the other and together both contributed to convey the divine message most effectively. The music is wonderfully intervowen into the fabric of the theme."
The revelation of the Qur'an coincided with a period of the cumulative dominance of the top poets.
The collective performance of the Arab poets and the Arabic literature itself was at its height when the Qur'an addressed the Arabs.
One important aspect of the 'ijaz al Qur'an' deserves consideration. With the passage of time semantic changes are bound to take place in every language. Anglo‑Saxon, for example, was the fore‑runner of English language: but English has since become an altogether different language. Even the language of Chaucer (1340 ‑ 1400) written about 600 years ago cannot be understood without the help of linguistic experts. Same is the case with all the other languages of the world. The exception is Arabic, There is not much difference in the Arabic language of today and the Arabic which constitutes the language of the Qur'an. It is no exaggerations to say that the Arabic language still draws its inspiration and etymological structure from the Qur'an. This is due mainly to the influence of the Qur'an on the Arabic language. Since its revelation, the Qur'an has retained its syntactic and linguistic supremacy over spoken and written Arabic.
"In every country, at all times, the language that is spoken is different from that which is written. The spoken language cannot match the literary written language. The force of the colloquial cannot be retained in the formal niceties of the written language. What is spoken impinges on the moment: its impact and effect cannot be reproduced in the written language. The celestial melody and intrinsic merit of the Qur'an struck the Arabs dumb when they first heard it as well as when it was written down word by word. This spoken message turned into a masterpiece of literature and the oral messages revealed at intervals became a code of life for all times. This in itself is a miracle not only for believers in the Book, but also for others since it encompasses realities. The claim of the Qur'an to its scriptural divine origin rests on this plea." 
The ardent love and fervour the Muslims have for the Qur'an is unique. No other book known to mankind, can be compared to it in this respect. This is yet another aspect of 'ijaz'.
A bird's eye view of the studies made by Muslim scholars in the field of literary evaluation to unveil the literary excellence of the Qur'an will be interesting.
The fact that in discussing the superiority of the Qur'an as compared to other literary works, the term 'ijaz' was not used by earlier scholars is not very significant as every Muslim scholar was quite aware of the Ijaz of the Qur'an.
The discussion of the miraculous 'uniqueness' of the Qur'an and its 'ijaz' acquired great interest during the third/ninth century. It was generally claimed that the inimitability of the Qur'an applied to its literary form as well as to its contents.
It was fully realized and upheld by scholars of literary eminence that images and figures of speech of the Qur'an surpass in beauty, anything offered by the Arab poets as well as the other scriptures which existed mostly in translation. The Qur'an thus emerged as the only fully significant work of literature and as an inimitable literary creation.
Abu Hatim as Sajistani (d. 250/864) asserted that he did not find in any language stylistic perfection that of the Qur’an.
Abu Uthman al‑Jahiz (d. 255/870) composed a treatise on rhetorical peculiarities of the Qur'an, such as its succinct style (ijaz) its metaphors etc.
In the fourteenth century the rhetorical uniqueness of the Qur'an was further claimed on the basis of literary discussions and thus the unsurpassability character of the Qur'an was fully established.
Ali bin Isa ar‑Rummani (d.384/994) devoted practically all his study of the 'ijaz' to demonstrate the superiority of the Qur’an on the basis of its eloquence (balagha).
Muhammad al‑Qutubi (d. 388/998) in his eminent work Kitab as‑sinaatain calimed that it is an exposition of a particular study through which the ijaz of the Qur'an can be established.
The renowned Muslim scholar Abu Bakr Muhammad bin at‑Tayyab al‑Baqillani (d. 403/1013) in his treatise, 'ijaz al Qur'an has treated the subject more elaborately and in a systematic manner than those of his predecessors. He insisted on the inability of man to reach the stylistic accomplishment of the Divine message. He successfully proved the inferiority of all Arabic literature as compared to the Qur'an.
In his epoch making work, 'ijaz al Qur'an Baqillani has pointed out that in some passages the Qur'an has used figurative language wherein almost all the figures of speech used by the renowned Arabic poets, have been used. He has provided examples of not less than 34 figures of speech employed by the Qur'an.
"Baqillani, in the course of his inquiry into the nature of the uniqueness of the Qur'an, first studies the stylistic tools of the Arab writers and then offers an elaborate ayah by ayah analysis of two recognised masterpieces of poetry, and the additional fact that he conducts his study from an aesthetical rather than a grammatical view‑point, bestows extraordinary significance to his discussion. Indeed accessible Arabic literature does not provide any parallel to Baqillani's undertaking."1
He has emphasised on the following three aspects of 'ijaz'.
1. The Qur'an was revealed through the Prophet who was Ummi yet such wonderful information about earlier prophets, scriptures and events is provided.
2. Another aspect is the information the Qur'an provides about the unseen world the prophecies it contains.
3. The Qur'an was revealed over a period of about 23 years and yet it is absolutely free of contradictions.
Here the word Ummi needs some clarification: In Arabic the person who remains in the same position as he was at his birth is called Ummi. In the Qur'an among others the Prophet is called Ummi. The general concept is that the Prophet was unlettered. The conclusion thus draw in perhaps not quite correct. The fact was that the Arab who were mostly unfamiliar with "Al‑Kitab' (The Book) were usually unlettered. The word Ummi refers to those who were not conversant with the content of earlier Semitic scriptures. It refers to the person who is not a follower of either Judaism or Christianity. 'Ummiyun' are those who have not had a Book, particularly the people of Makkah before Islam.
To establish the fact that the Prophet was not a fabricator, or maker of Books, it is not necessary to prove that he was unlettered. In fact he was unread (of the earlier Books) and untaught in the usual sense of the word. The fact that the Prophet had no occasion to meet men of learning, and yet the Qur'an takes such a comprehensive view of life is sufficient to establish the fact that it is a divine inspiration.
Dr. Syed Abdul latif in his paper "Was the Prophet Islam Unlettered" has expressed his views that the Prophet was not unlettered.
Ahmed Von Denffer in his book 'Ulum al Qur'an says: "Some say that Muhammad could neither read nor write at all, but ummi may also mean that he belonged to an uneducated people. Perhaps he did read or write a little or perhaps not. This does not effect his basic situation as 'ummi'. He was not a scholar and not a historian, neither was he a philosopher nor a priest and the common view is that he did not even read or write but he proclaimed the Qur'an and recited its many Surah and ayah in which he informed about the earlier prophets, earlier scriptures and earlier events, all in spite of his belonging to an uneducated people, in one of the most remote parts of the world and far away from the centres of civilisation and culture. In this also is one of the aspects of 'ijaz‑al‑Qur'an”. 1
Jarullah Zamakhshari (d, 438/1144) in his prestigious book 'Kashshaf' provided material which justify the claim of the Muslims regarding miraculous nature of the Qur'an.
Abdul Qahar bin Abdul Rahman al Jurjani (d. 471/1079) in his books, 'Dalayalal ‘ijaz’ and 'Asrarul Balagha' framed rules and principles of the subject, 'Ilmul i'jaz'. Al Qadi `Iyad of Spain (d. 544/1149) has also written on the subject. Among the later scholars who have dealt with the subject, the following deserve mention:
Fakhruddin Razi (d, 606/1209) has based his treatise 'Nihayatul Ijaz' on the two books of Jurjani.
One part of the treatise, 'Miftah' by Sirajuddin Abu Yakub bin Muhammad ibnul Sakaki (d. 606/1209) covers literary beauties of the Qur'an. Sakaki's other treatise is, 'Tabyan'. The renowned historian ibn Khaldoun has mentioned both the books. Of the innumerable aspects of 'ijaz' the eminent commentator of the Qur'an, Qurtubi (d.656/1258) ‑ has indicated the following ten aspects:
1. Its language excels all other Arabic literature.
2. Its style excels all other Arabic style.
3. Its comprehensiveness is unique.
4. Its comprehensive legislation is unsurpassed.
5. Its authentic narrations are only through divine revelation.
6. Its lack of conflict with natural sciences.
7. The fulfilment of all its promises (both good tidings and warnings)
8. The knowledge it contains.
9. Its fulfilment of human need.
10. Its effect on the hearts of men.
Al‑Imadi (d, 892/1486) has preference over his predecessors, because he has developed the claim of the Qur'an's literary beauties as its miracle, with great success.
A modern Egyptian scholar Mustafa Sadiq ar Rafi'i has also written on the subject.
The Qur'an employed the words which were in use in the contemporary Arabic language but these were fashioned with such an unsurpassed skill that the simple ordinary words gave the Qur'an its distinctive and inimitable features.
The Qur'an is the best and the highest specimen of Arabic literature. It is revealed with concise phrases of unparalleled beauty. The use of appropriate words for expressing ideas is not an easy thing. The selection of most suitable diction requires great literary ability. In the present times thesauruses have been created to enable the writers to select the most suitable word. It is really astounding that all the words used in the Qur'an are, without a single exception the most appropriate and precise. As far as the Qur'an is concerned the question of synonyms does not arise.
When the Qur'an declared that no one could possibly bring such a composition, some contemporary Arabs after careful consideration objected to three words in the Qur'an that they were against the Arabic usage: one was 'Kubbara" (Qur’an 71:22) the other was 'ujjabeen" (Qur’an 38:5) and third was 'huzuwan' (Qur’an 2:67). This word was used in the Qur'an for ten times. The matter was brought before the Prophet. In consultation with the objectors the Prophet called for an elderly person who was accepted an expert in literary matter to be an arbiter. As he approached the Prophet directed him to sit on his side. When he was about to sit the Prophet asked him to sit on the other side then again directed him to sit on the earlier side. The old man agitated and said in anger:
"انا شيخ كبار اتتخذني هزوا هذا شيئ عجاب"
In one sentence he used all the three letters which were objected to. Thus the arbiter gave his decision in full favour of the Qur'an without even giving a hearing.
If a word is used in a special sense and if it pertains to any particular discipline it is called a term.
A major problem with every revolutionary movement is its nomenclature. The Qur'an is not only a representative book of a dynamic movement but it is pre-eminently 'Al‑Hikmah', a book of Wisdom. The Qur'an has also a system of terms. There are many words which have been used in some special sense quite different from their ordinary connotation, such as deen, Salat, Ilah, Zakat, etc.
Even a cursory glance at the terms of the Qur'an will show that the Qur'an has picked up ordinary words which were in usage in the Arabic language and conferred upon them the status of a term. It is certainly the aegis of the Qur'an that through these terms a language which was not capable of expressing higher concepts was used as the means of communication of a Divine Message.
Apart from the diction and the terminology the combination and treatment of words is most wonderful in the Qur'an. In short, through concisely expressed, rhymed compositions important precepts based on truth are beautifully presented which readily sink into hearts. The concepts are based on profound and serene wisdom, 'hikmah' while the form is specimen of best literature.
Literary excellence of the Qur'an resides partly in its style, so perfect and lofty that like of it none could produce. The style of the Qur'an is unique. Its composition is not subject to any known style. It has proved itself beyond imitation. The content and form is so perfectly matched that it looked as if both are made for each other. It is beautiful and fluent. Arabic poetry dealt with pure fantasy, whereas the Qur'an emphasizes important matters of everlasting values. The Qur'an has a remarkable rhythm of peculiar beauty. Almost all the stylistic features which are considered necessary to add beauty to literature are found in the Qur'an.
Thematic Continuity and Order (Nazm)
Muslim scholars have attempted to show that the present arrangement of th ayaat and the surahs of the Qur’an is most systematic and that there is a definite design in their sequence. These studies are relevant and full of significance as the present arrangement of ayaat and surahs is not chronological which fact has given certain doubts among the Muslims and to criticism by the oriental scholars that the arrangement of the Qur’an is arbitrary. The studies of the Muslim scholars in this field have shown that the entire Qur’an is one unit in which all the components are in complete harmony (nazm) with each other. Our scholars have claimed and successfully maintained that this nazm is itself one of the ijaz of the Qur’an.
The miracle of the Qur'an in its arrangement is evident from the fact that the Qur'an was revealed over a period of about 23 years. The arrangement of Chapters (Surahs) and verses (ayaat) was made as per divine instructions; whenever a message was received the Prophet used to indicate the Surah in which it was to be added and the ayah before or after which it was to be placed. In other words the present arrangement of the Qur'an is not chronological. Thus the arrangement was completed only when the last revelation was received. This traditional arrangement is preserved with religiosity over centuries. When this arrangement was studied it was found that there was complete thematic order (nazm) between one Surah and the next and between one ayah and the next thus a miracle of order was established over the entire Qur'anic text. This in itself can be regarded as a miracle. The existence of thematic order is in fact a strong argument in favour of the existing arrangement of the Qur'an as against the chronological order.
The relationship of Surah Al Fatiha with the rest of the Qur'an is that Surah Al‑Fatiha is a prayer for guidance for the right path. The entire Qur'an is a guidance for the pious and the heedful. In respect of some Surahs the end of one Surah and the beginning of the next have close relationship.
Surah Al'Imran (3) has an affinity with Surah Al Baqara. Surah Al‑Baqara starts with the reference of the Book. The type of people who had accepted the guidance of the Divine Book and the type of people who had refused. Surah Al 'Imran also starts with the mention of the Book. One more affinity is shown: In the beginning of Surah Al Baqara there is mention of 'munafiqin' (hypocrites) and in the beginning of Surah Al 'Imran there is mention of 'mulhidin' (atheists).
Surah ‑ An‑Nisaa (4) starts in such a way that it appears as the continuation of Surah Al‑'Imran (3). The subject matter of the last ayaat of Surah Al‑'Imran is also the subject matter of the first ayah of Surah An‑Nisaa i.e., 'taqwa' (heedfulness) and fear of Allah.
Surah Al‑A'raf (7) is the twin of Surah Al'Ana'am (6) Surah Al‑'A'raf contains passages pertaining to delivery of the message, Surah Al An'am contains passages pertaining to warnings. The Quraish were warned that if they did not change their attitude they would face Allah's wrath.
The end of Surah Al‑Hijr (15) contains consolation to the Prophet:
"We are surely sufficient to deal with those who scoff at you. They will come to know soon. We are aware that you are disheartened by what they say" (Qur’an 15: 95 ‑ 97)
Surah An‑Nahl (16) starts with the address to the polytheists. There is a slight indication to hijrah (migration) therein. In Surah Al‑Israa (17) there is more clear mention of hijrah. The preparations required for migration are mentioned to show that the time for migration was approaching.
There is a close similarity between Surah Ad‑Dukhan (44) and Surah Al‑Jathiya (45).
This only shows that in spite of the fact that the chronological order was not followed there is complete thematic order in the inspired (tawqifi) arrangement. Whenever it was found necessary the chronological order was adhered to. In respect of Surah Az‑Zumar (39) to Surah Muhammad (47) both the tawqifi and the chronological arrangement is one and the same.
From a close study of the thematic order of the Qur'an it is evident that the inter-se relationship between the ayaat and between the Surahs is at times apparent and manifest: it is at times inherent and implicit. The relationship between ayaat and ayaat is mostly apparent whereas the relationship between Surahs and Surahs is mostly inherent.
The inter relationship of ayaat can be understood easily by literary aptitude and close study. The understanding of inter relationship of the Surahs, on the other hand is comparatively difficult. The affinity between the two Surahs can be properly understood by going deep into the purport of both the Surahs and determining their respective central themes.
Among the earlier scholars, Razi, Suyuti, Al Baqaee, ibn 'Arabi, Makhdum Ali Al Mohai'mi and others have realized the significance of Nazm in the Qur'an.
Suyuti in his book 'Itqan fi 'Ulumil Qur'an' has observed as follows:
"The discipline of order and nazm in the Qur'an is of a very high order. The exegetes have given less attention to it only because it is a difficult one."
Fakhrudin Razi is one of the exegetes who have shown interest in this regard and discussed the nazm of the Qur'an in his commentary. He says: "Most of the subtle points in the Qur'an are hidden in the nazm Qur'an. The real treasure of the wisdom (hikmah) of the Qur'an can be found therein."
Razi has strongly stressed upon the harmony found in the ayaat and Surahs of the Qur'an. According to him rejecting the presence of such harmony amounts to rejection of the inimitability ('ijaz) of the Qur'an.
Burhanuddin Al‑Baqaee's treatise 'Nazm‑ul‑durar fi Tanasub ul‑ayaat wal Suwar' and Abu Jafar bin Zubayr's treatise: 'Al Burhan fi Munasibat Tarteel Suwar al Qur'an' are important contributions.
In his book Baqa'ee says:
To link the ayaat with the following ones of the Qur'an with such explanation that the whole text may appear as a well arranged single composition is certainly a great discipline.
The eminent Indian scholar Makhdum Ali Mohaimi in his commentary 'Tabsir ur Rahman wa Tayasural Mannan' has highlighted the thematic order in the Qur'an.
Muslim scholars have made extensive studies on this topic and these studies also acquired the status of a distinct discipline. Imam Abu Bakr Neshapuri (d. 324/936) can be reckoned as the pioneer in this field. He made an indepth study and explained in detail the thematic order of the Qur'an. He complained that his contemporary scholars of Baghdad were not fully aware of the logical affinity of one ayah with the following ayah and one Surah with the following one. Whenever a Surah or an ayah was referred to him he would ask as to why it was placed prior to or after such and such Surah or ayah. This particular emphasis of Abu Bakr Neshapuri indicated that there is not only affinity between one ayah with the other but also one Surah and the other The study of affinity between the former, however, has preference over the latter.
Shah Abdul Qadir in the marginal notes of his Urdu translation of the Qur'an has taken special care to explain the thematic order and continuity of the ayah as well as of the Surahs. These marginal notes are however, very short and do not necessarily cover the entire Qur'an.
Moulana Muhammad Ali of Lahore in his translation has provided notes on thematic order which cover the entire Qur'an.
Maulana Hameeduddin Farahi (d. 1350/1931) in his book: 'Nizamul Qur'an has made a very valuable contribution. He has developed the thesis that for the real understanding of the Qur'an the full knowledge about the thematic connection between the Surahs and between the ayaat is absolutely necessary.
In his book 'Dalayalul Nazm', Farahi has pointed out the central theme of every Surah. He has mentioned that all the ayaat of the Qur'an are knit together in a perfect order. Similarly all the Surahs are connected with each other. If we do not see any relationship between one Surah and the other it is mainly due to lack of our own understanding. He was of the opinion that the Qur'an is a mine of wisdom. The secret of this wisdom lies in this 'thematic order'.
Farahi has used the term ‘umud’ for the central theme of the Surah. He was of the opinion that every Surah has a unique 'umud' It is not necessary, he says that the 'umud' should be the most magnificent point of the Surah but it is necessary that it should be the most concise one.
Some scholars not having the insight in this aspect concluded in a superficial manner that the ayaat had no interconnection and that they were separate entities.
Some of the scholars who accepted the existence of 'thematic order' have gone too far to prove it and have put forth such arguments which are found to be rather far fetched.
Discovery of yet another miracle
As observed earlier the real 'ijaz' of the Qur’an lies in the fact that it is not confined to any one field. With the progress of human intellect new horizons will open and more dimensions of 'ijaz' will come to light.
In the modern computer age on more 'ijaz' of the Qur'an was discovered by Dr. Rashad Khalifah (d. 1411/1990) of which the earlier Muslim scholars were not aware of.
Dr. Khalifa based his theory on exact science i.e., mathematics for mathematics is never partial. To prove to the satisfaction of every atheist and every agonostic that the Qur'an is the word of Allah he took the aid of computer. By counting every letter and every word of the Qur'an Dr. Rashad khalifa established that the Qur’an has its own mathematical code. The computer data revealed that there was close relationship between the letters as well as the words of the Qur'an and number 19. Thus a 'mathematical proof was provided for the unique nature of the Qur'an. Dr. Khalifa based his theory on the following ayah of the Qur'an.
“ . . . .Over it are nineteen." (Qur’an 74 : 30)
According to the earlier commentators the pronoun ‘it’ refer to the hell and they explained that there are 19 angels guarding the doors of hell. According to Dr. Rashad Khalifa the pronoun ‘it’ referred to the Qur’an and that number 19 is assigned to the Qur’an.
From the following findings, among more than 50 others, Dr.Khalifa has concluded that it is not humanly possible to compose a text of the size, form and content, of the Qur'an, with these essential features.
The opening formula of the Qur'an (Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim) in Arabic consists of 19 letters. Qur'an consists of114 Surah (6X19=114) The first Qur'anic revelation (Qur’an 96: 1‑5) was of 19 words and these 19 words consisted of 76 letters (19X4=76). The first Surah revealed (96), is 19th in position from the end of the Qur'an. It consists of 19 ayaat: and 285 letters (19X15=285). Last Surah revealed (110) consists of 19 words and the first ayah of this Surah consists of 19 letters. Second revelation (Qur’an 68: 1‑9) was of 38 words (19X2=38). Third revelation (Qur’an 73:1-10) was of 57 words (19X3=57), Fourth revelation (Qur’an 74:30) mention number, 19 itself. Fifth revelation placed the 19 lettered opening statement (Bismillah) immediately after the number 19 of 74: 30.
First word (ism) in Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim occurs in the Qur'an exactly 19 times and the second word (Allah) occurs 2698 times, a multiple of 19, (19X142=2698), Third word (Rahman) occurs in Qur'an 57 times (19X3=57) and the fourth word (Rahim)occurs 114 times, (19X6=114) Multiplication factors of the above words (1 + 142 + 3 + 6) add up to a total of 152, which is again a multiple of 19, (19X8=152)
Each frequency of occurrence connected with Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim i.e., 19, 2698, 57 and 114 corresponds to the numerical value of one of Allah's names. All compiled lists of the known names of Allah (more than 400) were found to include only four names with numerical values divisible by 19. These four names are the same four whose numerical values corresponds to the frequencies of occurrence of the four words of Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim.
Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim is missing from Surah 9, but compensated in Surah 27, ayah 30. This restores the frequency of this formula of initiation to 114: (19X6=114) and also the frequencies of the four constituent words of Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim. Between the missing Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim (Surah 9) and the extra one (Surah 27) there are 19 Surahs.
Several more intricate facts have also been mentioned by Dr. Rashad Khalifa in support of his contention.
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 Fazlur Rahman-Major Themes of the Qur’an.
 The author’s –A New Approach to the Study of the Qur'an" page 20
 The author’s ------An Easy Way to the Understanding of Qur’an, part 1 pages 2 & 3 .
1 A Tenth century Document of Arabic Literary Theory and Criticism.
1 Ahmed Von Denffer – ‘Ulum al Qur'an’ pages 151 & 152.
 See annexure - 3
 Rashad Khalifa – Quran: Visual Pesentation of the Miracle. 1982.