Sunday, July 31, 2011

An Epic Journey part 2

  اسلام عليكم ور حمت الله وبر كته

For this week, the second part of muqadimah, before we can proceed to the tafseer of Surah Yusuf:

Classification of Revelation: Makki/ Madani
Do the ayat within Surah Yusuf comply with the general theme of Makkan verses? And if not, what lesson can be derived from this?
No, Surah Yusuf is an exception of Makkan definition; these principles are used at most circumstances but not all

The Bismillah
This formula of connecting in the name of God is referred to as ‘Bismillah’ in Arabic language

Is the bismillah is an ayat like the other ayat of the Al-Quran?
Scholars agree
….that the bismillah is an ayat of the Qur’an in Surat al-Naml Q 27:20
….that the bismillah is not recited when commencing Surah At-Tawbah (Q 9) i.e it is not an ayat in this surah

Scholars disagree
… ..about whether the Bismillah is an ayat of the Qur’an in other places of Allah’s book.

There are 5 famous opinions on whether the bismillah is one of the ayat of the Qur’an or not:
  1. The bismillah is an ayat fom the ayat of the Qur’an
  2. The bismillah is not an ayat at the beginning of each surah, rather it is present as a means of earning blessings.
  3. The bismillah is only an ayat at the beginning of Surah Al-Fatihah, and in all other places is used only to separate one surah from the next.
  4. The bismillah is an ayat of the Qur’an according to some qira’at (modes of recitation), and not an ayat according to other qira’at.
  5. The bismillah is an independent ayat that exist at the beginning of each surah but not as part of that surah

The evidence below will illustrate that the strongest opinion is opinion no 5, and Allah knows best.

The scholars who hold this view states that the writing of the bismillah in the same Qur’anic font (al-rasm al-‘Uthmani) is evidence that it is a part of the Al-Qur’an.
Furthermore the bismillah has been placed independently before the surah it precedes, providing it is an entity in its own right and not part of the surah

Evidence from the sunnah supporting evidence no 5
1. The Prophet (SAW) said; “Indeed there is a surah in the Qur’an which consist of 30 verses. These ayat will intercede on behalf of its reciter until he is forgiven, and it is Surah Al-Mulk (Q 67).” [Hadith found in the Sunan (authentic) book of hadiths, it is regarded as hasan (sound) by Al-Tirmidhi]

2. Also, after wakening from unconsciousness the Prophet said, “A surah was just revealed to me shortly”, and recited Surat Al-Kawthar (Q. 108) [i.e with the bismillah]. Reported in Muslim’s Sahih.

3. Abu Hurayrah (RA) related that Allah’s messenger once said that Allah said “I have divided up the salah between My servant and Myself; one half is for him and the other half’s is for Me, and My servant will get whatever he asked for”; [i.e the bismillah is not referred to as the first ayat] reported in Muslim’s Sahih

4. The famous hadith of Ibnu Abbas in which the beginning of the wahi (revelation) is described. This hadith reports that Jibril came to the prophet and recited : Surah al-Alaq, 96 : 1-5 [i.e he did not start with bismillah].

5. Anas reported that he offered salah behind the Prophet, Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman, and all of them commenced their salah with “alhamdu li….” (i.e they did not recite bismillah aloud as part of the surah,) [Recorded in Sahih Muslim and part of it is found in Sahih Al-Bukhari]

The Disjoined Letters

" Aliff Lam Ra.."
*[These letters are one of the miracles of the Qur’an, and none but Allah knows their meanings]

Huruf al-muqatta’at (the disjoined letters)
Huruf al-Muqatta’at are unique letters combination that begin certain surahs of the Qur’an. These letters are written together as if to make up a word, but each letter is pronounced separately.

Of the 28 letters if the Arabic alphabet, exactly one half appear as muqatta’at, either as singly or in combinations of two, three, four or five. The fourteen letters are:

أ ح ر س ص ط ع ق  ك ل م ن ه ي

The most common of 14 letters in mim, which appears in 17 surahs. The least common are the kaf and nun; each occurring only once.

What is the meaning and purpose of these letters?
There are several views regarding the meanings of these disjoined letters. Some views are considered acceptable and others are unacceptable. Some of the views mentioned by scholars;

1. These letters are from the unclear ayat (mutashabihat) of the Qur’an and their true (inner) meaning is only known to Allah SWT

Other ayat that referred to as mutashabihat are the ayat that speaks about Allah, the Heavens and the unseen, as their full meanings are obscure and unknowable.

2. They serve the same purpose as other oaths in the Qur’an, similar to the ayat

و ا لعصر
و ا لتين
لتين و ٲ لز يتو ن   وا
However, the mufassirun reject this view, stating that the Arabs never took oath in this manner. They also never used single letters to indicate that an oath was being taken.

3. These names are from the names of Allah, for example the letter alif stands for Allah, the letter mim stands for Majid (the most Glorious), the letter lam stands for Latif (the Most Courteous and Subtle) and so on.

4. They stand for specific meanings.
For example, the letters:
• It was a practice of the Arab to speak at times using letters instead of words. The following couplet of Arabic poetry mentioned by b. Faris (d. 395 AH) illustrates this:
Qulna laha : qifi, faqalat : qaf” - “We said to her stop, and she said ‘qaf’”
[Short for waqaftu, ‘I have stopped’]

5. They are names of the surahs; thus it is possible to say Surah Ya-Sin, Surah Qaf, Surah Ta-Ha, etc..

6. They serve as reference to the other half of the Arabic alphabet, thus reminding the Arabs of the superior nature of the Qur’an, given that it was revealed using their letters and words, and yet cannot be imitated in its style and prose.

That’s all for today. We will start with the ayat from Surah Yusuf next time, insyaAllah :) . In the mean time, Selamat Menyambut Ramadhan, may we be able to utilize the Holy months to the max of our ability. Wallahu’alam.


  1. thx for sharing Jeet.
    happy fasting!

  2. ha ah thanks jeet.. kaktek tak terfikir pula pasal bismillah tu... very good info..
    berpesan2 dgn kebenaran...

  3. Jeet,
    Hmm.. tak tau la pulak isu Bismillah sampai gitu ek. Saya baca untuk setiap surah. Thanks for the info, Jeet :)

    Selamat berpuasa dan menyambut Ramadan :)

  4. Dear Jeet,

    Thanx for sharing, Selamat menyambut Ramadhan Al-Mubarak, happy fasting!

  5. salam all, selamat berpuasa!! teruskan membaca installment seterusnya, am glad to share it with u ;)

    mintak2 kuat nak teruskan sampai habis surah yusuf..insyaAllah.. ;)

  6. As salam :)

    Thanks for sharing. I copied the bismillah pic. Harap dibenarkan. terima kasih. Semoga diberkati Allah.


“Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you." ~ William Arthur Ward...

So what say you? ;)