The Structural coherence of the Quran.

The Qur’an is a very unique book in terms of its composition. Its 114 chapters are not arranged chronologically. Even within the individual chapters, numerous topics can be covered with sudden switches from one topic to another and then back again.

Quran states:

Ya Seen. By the Qur’an, full of wisdom. [Surah Ya Seen verses 1 and 2]

Hakeem means, Al-Muhkam (perfect), best for judgement and well structured. [Tafsir Ibn Kathir]

The relationship of the ending of a surah with the beginning of the next surah is of great importance when it comes to the coherence of the Quran. The ending of surah al-Fatihah is a request to Allah to guide us to the straight path and the beginning of surah al-Baqarah describes the Quran as the guidance as an answer to the prayer. Likewise the ending of surah Ale-Imran exhorts the believers to be patient and fear Allah, and the beginning of surah an-Nisa commands humankind to fear Allah and fulfil the ties of kinship. The ending of surah an-Nisa contains the laws of being just amongst the relatives with regards to inheritance and the beginning of surah al-Maidah reaffirms these commands by commanding the believers to fulfil their trusts.

Surah Ali-Imran is the sequel to Surah Al-Baqarah and the invitation therein is continued to the people of the Book. In Al-Baqarah the Jews were pointedly invited to accept the Guidance and in Surah Ali-Imran the Christians have particularly been admonished to give up their erroneous beliefs and accept the Guidance of the Quran.

In Surah As-Saff there is a prophecy of a messenger called Ahmad وسلم عليه اللهصلى to come:

“And [mention] when Jesus, the son of Mary, said, “O children of Israel, indeed I am the messenger of Allah to you confirming what came before me of the Torah and bringing good tidings of a messenger to come after me, whose name is Ahmad.” But when he came to them with clear evidences, they said, “This is obvious magic.” [Quran 61:6]

The next chapter called Surah Jumu’ah mentions that the prophesized messenger has come:

“It is He who has sent among the unlettered a Messenger from themselves reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the Book and wisdom – although they were before in clear error.” [Quran 62:2]

Effective endings of some Surahs:

The ending of the surahs have a certain unique style and are typically comprehensive and powerful and therefore leaving a strong impact on the reader. An example is the ending of Surah Ibrahim:

“This [Qur’an] is notification for the people that they may be warned thereby and that they may know that He is but one God and that those of understanding will be reminded.” [Quran 14:52]

Another example is the comprehensive dua that forms the last two verses of Surah Al-Baqarah. Surah Al-Maida and Al-Hashr end with the praise and glorification of Allah (SWT). Surah At-Tawbah ends with a beautiful description of the Prophet (SAW):

“There has certainly come to you a Messenger from among yourselves. Grievous to him is what you suffer; [he is] concerned over you and to the believers is kind and merciful.” [Quran 9:128]

Coherency between Surah Isra and Surah Kahf:

Surah Isra and Surah Kahf are the 17th and 18th Surahs in the Qur’an. Isra has 111 ayaat, and Kahf has 110 ayaat.

Surah Isra begins with:

بعبده سرى أالذي سبحان

And Surah Kahf begins with:

عبده على أنزل الذي لله الحمد

Notice the similarities and differences here. Both are glorifying and praising Allah, and both are discussing revelation. In Surah Isra, the Prophet (sal-Allahu alayhi was-Sallam) is ascending up to receive the revelation, and in Surah Kahf the revelation is being sent down. Both of them have the word ‘abdihi.

In the middle of both surah’s is also an ayah talking about the story of Iblis refusing to prostrate to Adam (alayhis Salam).

In Surah Isra the ayah is as follows:

And (remember) when We said to the angels: “Prostrate unto Adam.” They prostrated except Iblis (Satan). He said: “Shall I prostrate to one whom You created from clay?”

In Surah Kahf it reads:

And (remember) when We said to the angels; “Prostrate to Adam.” So they prostrated except Iblis (Satan). He was one of the jinns; he disobeyed the Command of his Lord.

Surah Isra is also sometimes called Surah Bani Israa’eel. It also contains a series of ayat that Ibn Abbas (ra) mentioned were similar to the 10 commandments given to Musa (alayhis Salam). So this surah is primarily addressing Bani Isra’eel, who had knowledge but became arrogant. [Tafsir Tabari]

Surah Kahf is addressing the Christians. We can see this from ayah 4, “And to warn those who say, ‘Allah has begotten a son (or offspring or children).’” The Christians disobeyed their Lord.

So when the surah is addressing those who were afflicted with arrogance, the part of the story mentioned is the one pertaining to them because Iblis disobeyed due to his arrogance. When the surah is addressing a different audience, it uses the part of the story most pertinent to them because the Christians alleged that Iblis was an angel, but the Quran refutes their dogma.

Surah Isra and Surah Kahf are beautifically connected by the mention of Prophet Musa alayhi salaam. One surah mentions his public life and the other mentions his private life. The Jews appreciated the public life of Musa alayhi salaam: when he rescued them from Firawn is mentioned in Israa. The Christians are a private people; they appreciate spirituality so which journey of Musa is mentioned in Kahf? The private journey of Musa alayhi salaam with Khidr, a journey of knowledge, discovery and wisdom which was appropriate to what the Christians needed to hear.

Another connection between Surah Isra and Surah Kahf is through the dhikr of Allah. Surah Al Israa begins: الَّذِي سُبْحَانَ SubhanAllah. Surah Al Kahf begins: لِلَّهِ الْحَمْدُ Alhamdulillah. One begins with Allah’s Perfection and one begins with Allah’s Hamd.

In Surah Al Israa, Allah begins: Glorified and Exalted be He, Who took His slave for a journey by night from Al-Masjid-al-Haram to the farthest mosque, the neighbourhood whereof We have blessed, in order that We might show him of Our Ayat. On the other hand, in Surah Al Kahf, Allah begins: All praise and thanks are only for the One who sent down upon His slave the Book.

In surah 17, the slave has been taken in the middle of the night up to receive revelation from Allah, and in surah 18, the book has been sent down upon His slave. In one the slave goes up, and in the other, the book comes down.

The Connection between Surah Al-Mursalat and An-Naba

The surah before An-Naba it is surah Mursalaat (number 77). In Mursalaat, we found two groups of people. One group is the people of taqwa, the mutaqeena fi dhalim ‘oyoon (ayah 41). Also, the people who are mentioned over and over are the mukadhibeen. The oft repeated ayah of the surah is way lil yowmaidhil lil mukhadhibeen: they are those who deliberately lie against truth and accuse those who do tell truth of wrong and try to invalidate their character. They are those who propagate falsehood.

The Connection between Surah An-Naba and An-Naaziat

The conclusion of surah Naba’ related to the beginning of Surah An-Naaziat; Allah says;

“The Day the Rooh [Angel Jibreel] and the angels will stand in rows. None will speak except who the Most Merciful (Allah) gives permission to, and he will (only) speak what is right. (Surah Naba’ 78:38)

So Allah ends the previous surah with the mention of the angels and the Judgment Day, and starts Surah An-Naaziat with the mention of the angels and Last (Judgment) Day.

Also Surah An-Naba ends with the disbelievers being regretful;

“Indeed, We have warned you of a near punishment on the Day when a man will observe what his hands have put forth and the disbeliever will say, “Oh, I wish that I were dust!” [Quran 78:40]

Surah An-Naaziat begins with the punishment of the disbelievers:

“By those [angels] who extract with violence.” [Quran 79:1]

al Baghawi mentions: Ibn Abbas had the view that; Nazi’at and Nashitaat, Sabihaat,Sabiqaat and Mudabiraat – Are the Angels.

In surah Naba’ – Allah describes the sceptic first (ayah 1 – 3: what are they asking each other, about the Great news, about that which they are in dispute).Then later describes the hereafter (inna yawm al fassli kaana meeqaata – surely the Day of Decision will be established – ayah 17).

In surah Nazi’at – Allah describes the Resurrection first (ayah 6 onwards), and then the sceptic later. (ayah 10)

This in Arabic is a mechanism called; Al Laf wan-Nash ‘alal Aks. (i.e. You fold something up, and then unfold it in its reflective/symmetrical form).

Surah An-Naaziat will be a symmetrical (similar yet opposite) ordering of the previous surah Naba’.
Connection of Surah Nazi’at to Surah Abasa

In the previous surah of Nazi’aat – we found 2 types of contrasting people near the end.

As for him who was rebellious, [who] disbelieved, and preferred the life of this world, Then indeed, Hellfire will be [his] refuge. [Nazi’at 79: 37-39]

But as for he who feared the position of his Lord and prevented the soul from [unlawful] inclination, Then indeed, Paradise will be [his] refuge.[Nazi’at 79: 40-41]

In Surah Abasa there are also 2 types of people;

1 –The one who doesn’t care[Istaghnaa]. (Surah Abasa verse 5)

2 – The one who fears and comes to the Messenger of Allah running. (Surah Abasa verse 8 and 9)

In Surah an Nazi’at -Moses showed Pharaoh the ayat al kubra/the greatest sign [Nazi’at 79:20]. He saw the great signs but still did kufr/rejection (disbelief and ungratefulness).

In Surah Abasa -Prophet Muhammad (sal Allah alaihi wasalam) showed the greatest of signs (the honoured, raised and purified Book) yet the ungrateful still rejected it.

Surah At-Takwir connects with Surah Abasa

At-taamah (the calamity which surrounds from all sides) [Surah Nazi’at]

And as-saakhah (deafening noise of the 2nd trumpet to initiate the resurrection). [Surah Abasa]

Surah At-Takwir begins with the effect the trumpets, mentioned above, causes on the last day:

“When the sun is wrapped up [in darkness].” [Quran 81:1]

In Surah (Infitar) – the slave has distanced from his Lord [Allah].

In surah Takweer- the person was distancing from Allah’s Messenger.

In the surah before Takweer (surah Abasa) – they are distancing from the Book of Allah.

Chain of the surahs previously in Juzz ‘Amma are;

Naba’, Nazi’at, Abasa, Takweer and now Infitar. All these surahs’ mention angels:

Naba’ – the day on which the angels will be standing in rows. [Naba 78:38]

Nazi’at – the ones who pull out [i.e. the souls]. [Nazi’at 79:1-5]

Abasa – the angels that record the revelation. [Abasa 80:15-16]

Takweer – Ar-Rooh [Jibreel] who reveals the revelation. [Takweer 81:19]

Infitar – the angels record your deeds – good and bad. Qadamat wa akharat. [Infitar 82:10]

The connection between Surah Al-Mutaffifeen and Al-Inshiqaq is the following main message:

You’re going to meet your own labour. The fruits of your efforts of this life (whether good or bad), you will meet them with your Lord.

No! Indeed, the record of the righteous is in ‘illiyyun (exalted place). [Surah Al-Mutaffifeen 83:18]

Then, as for him who will be given his Record in his right hand

He surely will receive an easy reckoning

[Surah Al-Inshiqaq 84:7-8]

In Surah Al-Mutaffifeen – the books contained the people’s records – the Sijjin [book of the evil] and Illiyeen [book of the righteous].

The surah before that [Infitar] – the angels write the peoples deeds.

In Surah Al-Inshiqaq – even the thoughts and emotions, Allah was constantly watching them; the joys and dhan (thoughts).

Connection between the beginning and ending of a same Surah

Also the relationship of the beginning and the end of the same surah is also interesting.

Allah says at the beginning of Surah Al-Kahf:

“All the praises and thanks be to Allah, Who has sent down to His slave the Book, and has not placed therein any crookedness. Straight to give warning of a severe punishment from Him, and to give glad tidings to the believers, who work righteous deeds, that they shall have a fair reward.” [Surah Al-Kahf, 18:1-2]

Within the first verse Allah praises Himself, an act which increases the believer in faith, and then mentions the Messenger and the Book.

Likewise, Allah concludes the chapter by saying:

“Say, ‘If the sea were ink for writing the Words of my Lord, surely, the sea would be exhausted before the Words of my Lord would be finished, even if we brought another sea like it for its aid. Say: ‘I am only a man like you. It has been inspired to me that your God is One God. So whoever hopes for the Meeting with his Lord, let him work righteousness and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord.” [Surah Al-Kahf, 18: 109-110]

Once again, Allah mentions His Words, the Prophet and worshipping Him alone which is the essence of faith.
Structural coherence of the same Surahs in Juz Amma

My intention for picking this section of the Qur’an is because this is the most commonly memorized and most commonly recited portion of the Qur’an, so it is probably the most beneficial to the majority of Muslims.

One of the fundamental purposes of these surahs is to demonstrate how every surah in the Qur’an has a cohesive argument; it is unified and its subject matter is presented in a cohesive fashion. This is an aspect often overlooked in tafsir. When you go so far in depth to each little thing, such as a grammatical nuance – which is great – you sometimes lose sight of the main theme. You must understand that this was originally recited without any tafsir.

How the beginning of surah An-Naba correlates to the beginning: in the beginning, the disbelievers were adamant and arrogant, in total disregard of the hereafter. In the end, their state will be that they will not be able to speak freely. Now, let them run their mouth, but a time will come when their mouth will be silent.

In the beginning they had disagreement over what would happen in the hereafter. That Day, there will be only one true opinion. Finally, Allah warned them that they will know the consequences of their speech. In the end, they will say, “Oh, I wish that I were dust!”

In the beginning of the surah An-Naaziat – Allah spoke about Judgment Day. (ayah 6 onwards).In the end – the Judgment Day is again mentioned. (ayah 34 onwards)

In the beginning of Surah Abasa we found the one in istighnaa [carefree] –looking down at the believers in this life. We found the one in need for the truth -fearing and wanting to purify himself.

At the end of Surah Abasa it is mentioned that the istighna [carefree] character is now – on this Day – in fear, dread and worried about what he did.

While the one who feared this Day- now – he is content. His purification has paid off. He has achieved the great success of Paradise.

Beginning of Surah Takwir Relation to its End:

The surah begins with some of the most enormous manifestations of Allah’s will. so what intents are you going to make except by the will of Allah? You can’t, so do your bit and ask Him to help you in that guidance. He will help you – the One who even has the power to change the way the universe runs; the beginning explains what is going to happen in the near future. After telling us all of this, He says; where are you heading (fa ayna tadhhaboon)? So Allah’s message leads humans from thoughts and understandings to actions and implementation of Allah’s guidance.

Beginning of Surah Infitar’s Relation to its End: At the beginning of the Surah, there is a description of the big stars in the sky which we take for granted. They will break out of control and fall in chaos. Then at the end – we see how man will be left powerless on that Day – without any authority or power whatsoever.

Surah Al-Inshiqaq began with – when the sky is completely cracked open out of obedience to Allah. (ayah 1)

Consequence: So the disbelievers’ bodies [on Judgment Day] will also throw themselves into destruction, out of obedience of Allah.

Central ayah [ayah 6] –kadhan fa mulaqeeh– you are struggling towards your Lord, and you will meet your Lord and the fruits of your deeds. Consequence: The surah concludes; you will then either have painful punishment or noble reward.

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