Lecture (1):  Three introductions

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To drive the concept of our exploration to you, let us begin by presenting three foundational introductions

Introduction (1):  Divine Segmentation: Identifying the sections:

The categorization of the Quran into segments such as the Seven Long Surahs, the Mi’un, the Mathani, and the Mufassal is not merely an organizational tool, but a profound method established by Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him to navigate through the Quran’s divine wisdom. This methodical division, as mentioned in the teachings of the Prophet, is a tradition deeply entrenched in Islamic practice, reflecting the Quran’s comprehensive guidance for life and governance.


Imam Ahmad’s narration from Wathilah bin Al-Asqa’ conveys the Prophet’s words: “I was given the Seven in place of the Torah, the Mi’in in place of the Psalms, the Mathani in place of the Gospel, and I was favored with the Mufassal.” This system of classification is purposeful, showcasing the Quran’s encompassing guidance.


The Seven Long Surahs include Al-Baqarah, Aal ‘Imran, An-Nisa, Al-Ma’idah, Al-An’am, Al-A’raf, and the combined chapters of Al-Anfal and At-Tawbah. These surahs serve as the foundation for a balanced and equitable Muslim community, offering detailed guidance on community living, justice, and moral integrity.


The Mi’un are surahs with verses close to or exceeding one hundred. They delve deeper into Islamic jurisprudence, ethics, and detailed aspects of worship and daily life, thus providing an extensive understanding of Islamic laws and moral guidance.


The Mathani is characterized by repetition and emphasis on decrees, stories, and parables, enhancing the importance of remembrance and reflection on the Quran’s teachings. This category enriches the Muslim’s connection to their faith and historical legacy, offering lessons by recounting past prophets and communities.

The Mufassal, known for starting frequently with the Bismillah, marks the concluding segment of the Quran, providing concise yet profound directives on faith, accountability, and social conduct. It is further divided into:


  1. Long Mufassal, beginning with Surah Qaf to Surah ‘Amma Yatas’aloon, provides detailed discussions on faith and divine commands.
  2. Medium Mufassal, from Surah ‘Amma to Surah Ad-Dhuha, offers medium-length reflections on moral and societal obligations.
  3. Short Mufassal, from Surah Ad-Dhuha to the end of the Quran, encapsulating brief, powerful reminders for personal reflection and spiritual adherence.


These categories enrich the Quran’s role as a successor to earlier divine scriptures, offering the Muslim Ummah a unique compilation that serves as a spiritual guide and a manual for societal governance. This division underscores the Quran’s adaptability and timeless relevance, providing a divine blueprint for establishing Islam’s principles globally. Through this organization, the Quran addresses the Muslim community’s spiritual, moral, and societal needs, encouraging a holistic engagement with its teachings to navigate life’s complexities with wisdom and integrity. This system, rooted in prophetic tradition, continues to offer clarity and direction for Muslims, affirming the Quran’s position as a perpetual source of guidance and enlightenment.

Introduction (2) : The Strategic Arrangement of the Quran”

The current sequence of the Mus’haf does not follow the chronological order in which the Quran’s revelations were received, presenting a fascinating aspect of its compilation. This discrepancy leads to a pivotal inquiry: Is the arrangement of the Quran as we have it today determined by divine command (Tawqifi) or derived through scholarly effort and judgment (Ijtihadi)? Unraveling this question is not merely an academic exercise but a journey into understanding the profound wisdom and purpose behind the organization of the Quran. It prompts a deeper exploration of how this distinction between Tawqifi and Ijtihadi approaches reflects on the Quran’s role as a guide for humanity, imbued with timeless relevance and divine insight.


Tawqifi vs. Ijtihadi: Understanding the Divine Order

The structure of the Quran invites a profound dialogue on the nature of its arrangement, prompting exploration into whether it is Tawqifi—ordained by divine decree—or Ijtihadi—resulting from the scholarly effort. The prevailing stance supports the Tawqifi perspective, emphasizing Allah’s sacred and unalterable sequence, wherein each Surah’s placement is meticulously aligned with divine wisdom and purpose. This perspective underscores the Quran’s integral function as a holistic guide, adept at navigating believers through life’s multifaceted challenges with timeless relevance and deep-seated wisdom.


This investigation into the Quran’s arrangement celebrates it as a reflection of Allah’s all-encompassing knowledge, providing perpetual guidance and serving as a lighthouse for those traversing the complexities of modern faith and existence. The Quran’s deliberate compilation underscores its capability to address humanity’s evolving challenges, securing its status as an ever-relevant source of inspiration and a blueprint for constructing lives and communities that faithfully reflect Islamic principles.


The Evolution of Quranic Revelation and Its Strategic Compilation

The revelation of the Noble Quran, unfolding over 23 years beginning in Ramadan, addressed the Muslim community’s changing circumstances through two distinct phases. Initially, the Makki surahs laid the groundwork of faith (Tawheed) and ethical living, confronting a polytheist society. This phase prioritized foundational beliefs and moral rectitude. Following the migration to Madinah, the focus shifted to the Madani surahs, which provided detailed instructions on establishing a just Islamic society, covering social justice, economic principles, and governance. This chronological progression of revelations demonstrates Allah’s responsive guidance to the community’s evolving needs.

In contrast, the Quran’s current sequence within the Mus’haf transcends this temporal progression, embodying divine wisdom that ensures its perpetual relevance. This arrangement is not merely a record of historical events but a comprehensive guide for the Ummah’s continual journey toward spiritual fulfillment and societal well-being. It addresses modern challenges distinct from those of the early Muslim community, such as the lure of secular ideologies and the search for meaning, by offering intellectually engaging and emotionally resonant guidance.

This divine orchestration of the Quran’s chapters serves a broader, enduring purpose, making it a timeless beacon for Muslims navigating the complexities of life across generations. It is a testament to the Quran’s role as an immutable source of solace, inspiration, and guidance, encouraging believers to live lives rooted in faith and aligned with Islamic teachings. Through its strategic compilation, the Quran remains a pivotal manual for personal development, societal harmony, and the integration of Islam’s principles with integrity and purpose.

The current arrangement underscores the Quran as a living blueprint, dynamically addressing the Ummah’s needs from the dawn of Islam to the Day of Judgment. It ensures that the Quran continues to enlighten, guide, and inspire, confronting humanity’s evolving challenges with unwavering relevance and profound wisdom.


Understanding the Wisdom Behind the Quran’s Arrangement

1.     Developmental vs. Thematic Focus: The chronological order of the Quran’s revelation closely mirrors the developmental trajectory of the early Muslim community, transitioning from foundational teachings on faith and monotheism in Mecca to more complex societal laws and governance in Madinah. In contrast, the current arrangement adopts a thematic approach that intertwines Meccan and Madinan surahs, offering a more integrated view of Islamic teachings that caters to the spiritual, moral, and legal needs of Muslims across all times.


  1. Audience and Context: The chronological revelation was directly responsive to the immediate circumstances, challenges, and audience of its time, initially addressing the concerns of a predominantly non-Muslim society in Mecca before shifting to the complexities of establishing an Islamic community in Madinah. The current arrangement, however, is designed to speak universally to all Muslims, irrespective of their historical context, focusing on the eternal and comprehensive guidance of Islam.


  1. Arrangement of Surahs: Chronologically, the Quran began with shorter, more concise surahs revealed in Mecca that emphasized the basics of faith, morality, and the afterlife, followed by longer surahs revealed in Medina that detailed community laws and governance. The current Quranic arrangement starts with Al-Fatiha, a surah summarizing the essence of the Quranic message, followed by the longest Surah, Al-Baqarah, and so on, blending Meccan and Madinan surahs in a manner that balances doctrinal teachings with legal and ethical guidance.
  2. Repetition and Emphasis: In its chronological revelation, specific themes and stories were revisited in response to particular events or challenges faced by the Muslim community. The present arrangement allows for a more systematic repetition of themes such as faith, perseverance, and the stories of previous prophets, facilitating a deeper understanding and reflection upon these core elements throughout the Quran.


  1. Purpose and Application: The chronological order guided and supported the Muslim community through its formative years and specific challenges, providing timely revelations that addressed the evolving needs of the community. The current arrangement, however, transcends specific historical moments, offering a timeless blueprint for personal development, spiritual growth, and societal ethics designed to guide individual believers and the Muslim community at large through the complexities of life from the dawn of Islam to the end of times. This arrangement emphasizes the Quran’s role as a comprehensive manual for living by Allah’s will, regardless of the era or circumstances.

Introduction (3): The Concept and Approach of Maqasidic Tafsir

In the aftermath of Prophet Muhammad’s departure from this world, the Muslim community was engulfed in a profound sense of loss and uncertainty. At this pivotal moment, Abu Bakr’s choice to recite Surah Al-Imran, verse 144, was an exemplary act of applying the Maqasidic Tafsir. This approach draws on the Quran’s timeless wisdom to address contemporary challenges. This verse, previously significant during the Battle of Uhud amid rumors of the Prophet’s death, serves as a rallying cry for the Muslim community, affirming the continuation of Islam beyond any individual, even the Prophet. “Muhammad is no more than a Messenger, and indeed (many) Messengers have passed away before him. If he dies or is killed, will you then turn back on your heels (as disbelievers)? And he who turns back on his heels, not the least harm will he do to Allah, and Allah will reward those who are grateful.”


Through Abu Bakr’s recitation, the community was reminded of its resilience and dedication to Islam’s mission, sparking a renewed commitment to its teachings. This historical moment underscores the Quran’s enduring relevance, offering guidance and consolation through the community’s trials and tribulations.


Today, the legacy of figures like Anas Ibn Al-Nadr and Abu Bakr serves as a beacon, encouraging unwavering faith and perseverance. Their examples are a clarion call to uphold and advance the Prophet’s legacy, especially as we navigate the complexities of the modern world. The Maqasidic Tafsir series adopts this strategic wisdom, addressing contemporary issues such as despair, alienation, and the dilution of devout Muslims’ faith. By delving into Al-Saba Al-Tiwal—the seven lengthy chapters of the Quran—this approach seeks to invigorate the Ummah’s spirit, advocating for resilience, unity, and purpose.


The Three-Phased Approach

  1. Assessment and Understanding of Challenges: Reflecting Abu Bakr’s insightful leadership, this phase thoroughly evaluates the challenges Muslims face in secular or non-Islamic societies. It aims to pinpoint the roots of alienation and prepare for targeted solutions.
  2. Historical and Qur’anic Insight: This stage draws on the rich historical context and Qur’anic wisdom that guided the early Muslim community. Exploring the Quran’s first seven lengthy chapters seeks to extract principles that can inform the creation of cohesive, just, and ethically governed communities today.
  3. Strategic Application, Engagement, and Global Collaboration: Inspired by Abu Bakr’s strategic vision, this phase translates historical insights and contemporary understanding into actionable strategies. It emphasizes community building, ethical leadership, and promoting Islamic governance models, fostering active engagement within Muslim communities and collaboration with global Islamic scholars and organizations.


In conclusion, Volume III of the Maqasidic Tafsir series illuminates a path forward for the Muslim Ummah, drawing from Abu Bakr’s exemplary leadership and the Quran’s guidance. It aims to inspire Muslims to navigate contemporary challenges with faith, determination, and a profound commitment to the principles laid down by the Prophet Muhammad, ensuring that his legacy continues to guide and uplift the Ummah through changing times.