Assalamu alaikum warahmatulaahi wabarakatuhu,
Many a times people quote verses of Quran to support their ‘theories’ of Islam. I’ve heard many people contradicting with eachother on a single verse of the Quran. To fit their personalities and way of living every now and then, they interpret the Quran in a quite lazy manner. And this lazy approach, I think, has led to the sectarianism among the Muslims. Time seems to be drifting quickly when it comes to learning the Quran. No one wants to go into the details and study the tafsir of the Quran. Seriously, translation is not enough to understand the message and teachings of the Quran. Even when one quotes a complete verse from the Quran, arguably it can still be out of context if one hasn’t read the whole text. The meaning of a verse to be ‘out-of-context’ depends on the relative ‘subject of learning’ the text or verse. Sometimes a part of the verse can be out of context , and sometimes the whole verse.The Quran is extraordinarily significant and the only combination of prose and poetry in this world. So,a simple word-to-word or line-by-line translation is not going to help in comprehensive understanding of the message in the Quran. The best way to learn is to be like a stranger. If one follows an approach of the stranger to Islam and the Quran, he would find that the methodology for studying the Quran is given by Allah-The Almighty in the beginning of the Quran.
And (remember) when We said to the angels: “Prostrate yourselves before Adam.”. And they prostrated except Iblîs (Satan), he refused and was proud and was one of the disbelievers (disobedient to Allâh). [Surah Al-Baqarah, Verse #34]
Allah Ta’ala is not (nauzubillah) deficient in the use of language. The verses are constructed in such a way that as a stranger one can draw many conclusions. If the verse is taken as stand-alone (seperately), then the ‘logical’ conclusion of above verse could be drawn as that: ‘Since the order was given to the angels, and they all obeyed except one, i.e., Iblis.’
Now implication one can make is that, ‘Iblis is an angel’. Is Iblis an angel? You would not know that unless you go to rest of the Quran. If we stay with this verse alone then , Iblis has to be an angel. But, as a curious stranger if one goes to another verse of Quran its mentioned as,
“….angels who never disobey Allah’s command and who promptly do what they are commanded to do.” [Surah Al-Tahrim Verse #6]
So,Angels can’t disobey. Simply, if Iblis disobeyed, he couldn’t be an angel. The clearer implication is provided by a similar verse as that of the one in Surah Al-Baqarah .
When We said to the angels: “Prostrate yourself before Adam,” all prostrated themselves except Iblis (Shaitan), who was one of the Jinns and chose to disobey the command of his Rabb. [Surah Al-Kahf Verse 50]
The above two verse clearly implies that Iblis was not an angel but was among the Jinns. Clearly, the methodology of studying a verse or even a hadith separately is totally wrong. Its necessary to take the Quran as a whole in totality to draw meaning of any verse.
So, from this lesson taught at the very beginning of the Quran, what you have to do is to get all the verses of Quran which pertain to that particular subject. Collect the verses together,metaphorically I would say like, the beads of the necklace. And to keep them together you’ll need string. In case of Quran the string is the system of meaning or relevance of the subject. Thus when verses are collected according to the system of meaning of the subject, only then we have to open the books of Ahadith. Just like, only those beads[Verses or Ahadith] have to be taken which fit in the String [Relevance to Subject]. When we open the books of ahadith, we have to take only those ahadith that are harmonious with the system of meaning of the subject and keep the rest ahadith aside for that could be fabricated and thus in conflict with the Quran.Therefore,before drawing the meaning or interpreting any verse, don’t be lazy and read just the translation, as the message could be different. You should act like a stranger, who is curious enough to do hardwork on analyzing the verses of the Quran in totality.
May Allah Bless us with the sight and vision to perceive the truth.
Peace be on you.