UNDERSTANDING &INTERPRETING QURAN
Sheikh “Muhammad Abduh”(1849-1905) the Head of Islamic verdict in Egypt & most Islamic countries in his time wrote on that matter saying
- The way of understanding & interpreting Quran has been very simply told by Allah to us in his book , that is by taking the text in its direct simple clear meaning without twisting & using logical rational thinking & reasoning of text aiming at achieving human welfare & interests
4;82 أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ
Translation “What, do they not ponder, do they [not] contemplate, the Qur’ān?,”—–
Q2;164 لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَعْقِلُونَ
translation ” signs for a people who use reason/rationale .
Q10;24 كَذَٰلِكَ نُفَصِّلُ الْآيَاتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ
translation ” Thus do We explain in detail the signs for a people who give thought”
The understanding we need from Quran is this understanding of the book as a religion guiding the people to their happiness in their life & afterlife . this includes looking at the proofs & evidences & logic given to prove the existence & oneness of GOD , the lessons & examples given through the stories telling of predecessors , the legislation (sharia) judgments & worshipping requirements, social dealings, ethics & morals.
- The Sheikh explains that the right & best & easiest way to understand Quran is by understanding it from the most direct straight forward way , just as it was revealed by Allah as what its words mean & infer without trying to assume any different biased meanings or insert any stories or narrations or hadith that can twist or change the meaning, because Allah has explicitly stated that his book is self-explanatory , detailed & clarified
11;1 كِتَابٌ أُحْكِمَتْ آيَاتُهُ ثُمَّ فُصِّلَتْ & 22;16 وَكَذَٰلِكَ أَنزَلْنَاهُ آيَاتٍ بَيِّنَاتٍ
Translation “Book whose verses are perfected then detailed & And thus have We sent the Qur’an down as verses of clear evidence”—— Quran needs to be understood in a mindful logical rational way as Allah has instructed .
- Quran is made simple & it addresses all people to observe Allah at all times in all places as stated in the book & not only to the Arabs living in the Arabian peninsula at the time of Prophet
4;1 يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوا رَبَّكُمُ
Translation “O mankind, fear your Lord,” ——Everyone regardless of his degree of education or social rank can understand what he basically needs from Quran to be guided to the good & avert the bad , for example the least educated person can comprehend & implement the following Allah words
23;2-6 قَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ ﴿١﴾ الَّذِينَ هُمْ فِي صَلَاتِهِمْ خَاشِعُونَ ﴿٢﴾ وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ عَنِ اللَّغْوِ مُعْرِضُونَ ﴿٣﴾ وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لِلزَّكَاةِ فَاعِلُونَ ﴿٤﴾ وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لِفُرُوجِهِمْ حَافِظُونَ ﴿٥﴾ إِلَّا عَلَىٰ أَزْوَاجِهِمْ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُمْ فَإِنَّهُمْ غَيْرُ مَلُومِينَ
Translation “Certainly will the believers have succeeded: They who are during their prayer humbly submissive And they who turn away from ill speech And they who are observant of zakah And they who guard their private parts Except from their wives or those their right hands possess, for indeed, they will not be blamed “———- Allah has denoted that Quran is made simple & easy for those who want to take it as a reminder & guide
54;40 وَلَقَدْ يَسَّرْنَا الْقُرْآنَ لِلذِّكْرِ فَهَلْ مِن مُّدَّكِرٍ
Translation “And We have certainly made the Qur’an easy for remembrance, so is there any who will remember?”—–
- Now , there is a higher level of interpreting Quran & this needs the interpreter to be highly proficient in the Arabic language & it is deemed that the Quran is interpreted by Quran , so if you wish to know what a certain word in Quran means & purports , then you should gather all sentences & contexts including this word in Quran & then interpret the required verse within this & the verse purpose & context . Also the interpreter needs to be having sufficient knowledge of history , anthropology , sociology ,psychology, human studies ,general knowledge because the Quran is a guide to human & talks about nations history & historical events , thus the interpreter needs to understand the human nature to whom the Quran is directed to . This kind of interpretation can be done by specialized people in these fields with the aim to comprehend the wisdom & goal & implementation mode of Quran judgments so as to achieve the reason of Quran revelation to us which is guidance& mercy to all mankind
- On the doomsday , Allah will not ask us about what & how other people said or interpreted Quran, but will ask us if we have properly received his message or not & will judge our actions if good or bad