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Day 5: Introduction Part 5


This video touches on the fundamental principles of coherence within a surah, a brief overview of the 8 different
sections that Surat Al-Kahf is divided into and a list of a number of books and resources from which the tafsir of this
series was taken.

Disclaimer (from Ustadh Nouman): I may be critical of some things that some scholars say in some occasions in
their writings. But that doesnt mean Im ever critical of the scholars themselves. I hold them in very high esteem.
Even if I find something that is utterly ridiculous, I still td decades if not even half or all of their lives studying this
deen in way more intensity than you and I ever will. So even if we find something kind of strange, when youre
reading the tafseer of surah kahf youll find some scholars debating the color of the dog that is mentioned in surah
Kahf that is found in classical tafseers. This doesnt take away from any of the great stuff that they do. I do not
want you to have a dismissive attitude. The ummah in our times has an imbalance. On one hand we have this
attitude that scholars are sacred, that they cannot be criticized under any circumstance and we attribute the more
knowledge someone has, the more righteous they are. Which is not actually a real equation at all. You could be
extremely knowledgeable and still be a really bad human being. At the same time, we are not western academics
who actually look at all human beings as being corrupt. And they must have had an alternative agenda, so they
begin with the assumption that human beings cannot possibly be good. In other words, they superimpose some of
their own psychological issues on to the people they study. But a balanced view is that we take the good from the
people of the past, we are open to criticizing if the ideas they present dont add up. Its ok we can discuss them
openly. But that doesnt take away our respect for them. They are still Muslims, they are still scholars, and they are
still people who serve the deen. We have to assume they are much better people than we are ourselves. We dont
glorify them on the one extreme. But we dont leave them as open targets on the other extreme. We have to find
that balance in between. I hope that through these discussions one of the things you are appreciating is the respect
for that balance.

Fundamental Principles of Coherence within Surahs (continued from Lesson 2)

1. Every Surah is a unified whole.
a. A surah is a division made by Allah (swt) of a set of His ayaat
b. It is one unit
c. You cannot call a Surah a Chapter
i. Saying 114 Chapters is incorrect.
ii. What is the difference between a Surah and a chapter?

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1. Surah: outer walls of a city alluding to the fact that lots of things are happening
inside, not just one thing. Its not a monolithic thing. Not just schools, but hospitals
and homes and all these other services.
2. Chapters are usually about one subject. You give it a heading and everything about
that heading. The heading tells you everything there is to know about a chapter.
iii. How are Surahs named?
1. The names we have of the Surahs are actually nicknames. They are ways by which
the Surahs are remembered by the Companions or even by the Prophet (SAWS).
They are not official names, necessarily. But they are names by which they got
2. Sometimes Companions would call a Surah by its first ayah because it would remind
them of the rest of the Surah.
3. This is why some Surahs have multiple names.
4. Some surahs were explicitly named by the Prophet (SAWS) and he talked about their
names. But even then you could say that he is making reference to them for the
benefit of the Companions who think of them by the distinctive term that defines
those Surahs.
5. The names are just something that reminds you of the Surah, nothing like a heading
of a chapter.
2. Every Surah has its own unique organization.
3. You cannot conclusively say, especially about long Surahs, that they have just one theme or just one topic.
4. Everything is working with everything else in cohesion
5. Same reason why some surahs dont have just one official name
6. There will be multiple lessons, multiple elements of guidance, multiple wisdoms
7. There is no formula for how a Surah is organized
8. Organization of each Surah is unique
9. When figuring out the layout of a Surah you have to start from scratch and go from the beginning
10. The easiest thing to find is the organization of short Surahs. The trouble is in the bigger Surahs
11. types of relationship with a surah
12. Its relationship with preceding Surah
13. Its relationship with the following Surah
14. Its relationship within a Surah

Applied to Surah al-Kahf: 8 distinct sections

... ayahs 1-9 is a sermon from
Section 1. Khutba from Allah (swt)-

Allah (swt) giving us good news and warning.
Section 2. Story of the people of the Cave- ayahs 10-26
Section 3. Ayahs 27-31. Second khutbah from Allah. The first khutbah that Allah gives in the beginning of the
Surah is directly connected to this section. Re-iterating and re-enforcing.
Section 4. The story of the two gardeners.
Section 5. Third sermon from Allah (swt) Ayahs 45-59 (longer sermon).

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Section 6. Story of Musa and Khidr

No sermon in between
Section 7. Story of Dhul Qarnayn
These 2 stories (section 6 and 7) are structurally similar because there are 3 stops in Musas story and 3 stops in
Dhul Qarnayns story
Section 8. Last sermon of Allah (swt). Section 5 sermon and this last sermon have a lot of parallels just like the first
and second sermons had a lot of parallels.
The 3rd sermon when it open it reminds you of the summary of the first and second sermons. So you dont go on
to the 3rd sermon before the first and second are summarized.
The final sermon concludes with where the Surah began. So it takes you back all the way to the beginning.

Sources on Coherence
1. Ustadh Noumans own observations
2. ( Tadabbur al Quran) by Amin Ahsan Islahi- in Urdu only
3. 2 volumes have been translated- Pondering over the Quran by Islahi
4. The Outwardly Structure of Quranic Surahs - Khalil ur Rahman Chishti- in Urdu
5. ( Nidham al Quran) by Hamiduddin Farahi
a. He passed away before he could finish the whole Quran
b. Source 2, Islahi, is the student of Farahi
6. ( Bayan alNadhm fee Tarteeb al Suwar) by Farooq al-Zayn
a. modern work, 3 volumes
b. one liners on how a few ayahs are connected to the next ayaat
c. he shows you the flow of the text
7. ( Nadhm al Dorar fee Tanaasub al Ayaat wal Suwar) by al-Biqai
a. classical scholar, 8th century, very classical Arabic
b. he shows you how everything is connected to everything within the Quran
8. A Contemporary Approach to a Veiled Text by Neal Robinson
a. orientalist
b. this book is written for those that are studying Islam in the West
9. Consonants in the Quran- Professor Abdul Raof
a. at Leeds University, UK
b. wrote the only book on rhetoric ever written in English- called Arabic Rhetoric: A Pragmatic
10. Textual Relations in the Quran by Aisha al-Awab
11. ( Mawsooat al Tafseer al Mawdooi)- commissioned 8 PhDs (by Qatari
Government) to work on a thematic tafseer of the Quran, the structure of the surah, the context the
wisdom, etc
Sources of Ayah by Ayah- Root Analysis
1. Al-Qutoof Min Lughat Al-Quran, Mujam Alfath Wa Tarakib Lughawiyyah Min Al-Quran Al-Karim. (Al
Qutoof, A Dictionary of Linguistic Terms and Structures from the Holy Koran) by Mohamed Mikati,
Mohamad Zuhri Masarani & Abdallah Ahmad Al Dandashi

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summary of what all the other scholars talked about to what is most pertinent to what you need for the
study of the Quran, summarized root analysis of the words
2. Llisaan al Arab
3. Lanes lexicon- easily available online
4. Verbal Idioms of the Quran- on the figures of speech used in the Quran- written by Professor Mustansir
Meer - studied Arabic for about 20 years
Grammar and Rhetoric Sources
1. - detailed grammatical analysis books
2. ( irab al Quran)
3. Tafsir.com- theres a grammar section- AlNohaas
4. Al-Kashaaf by Al-Zamakhshari
5. Al-Razi- a lot of linguistic analysis
6. Books of Dr. Fadel Saleh Samarai- on linguistic benefits of the ayahs

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