I Meaning & Morphology (الصرف و
Contrary to its meaning of
‘disobedient’ as a term in Islamic Jurisprudence, it has been used in the
Qur’ān to denote a person who is ‘arrogantly defiant’ and ‘one who does not
accept the authority of God’.
The particle ‘ثُمَّ’
is not always used for describing a sequence. It is also used for enlisting
things without reference to any sequence between them. In the words of Imām
ثالثها: وهو الجواب الصحيح أن قوله: «ثم» ليس للترتيب ههنا
وإنما هو على جهة تعديد النعم، مثاله قول الرجل لغيره: أليس قد أعطيتك النعم
العظيمة ثم رفعت قدرك ثم دفعت الخصوم عنك، ولعل بعض ما أخره في الذكر قد تقدم
فكذا ههنا والله أعلم.
Thirdly, and this [to
me] is the right view that ‘ثُمَّ’ in this verse
is not used for tartīb (sequence); it is used to enumerate the favours of
Allah. For example, when a person says to another: ‘Have I not bestowed
great favours on you, then enhanced your honour, then rid you of your
enemy’; in this statement, there is all the possibility that the thing
enumerated at the end might have actually occurred the foremost in time.
Thus, in the expression ‘…ثُمَّ
اسْتَوَى إِلَى السَّمَاءِ’, it is not necessary to conclude that the
Almighty fashioned out the skies once he had made the earth.
II Syntax & Declensions & (النحو و
1. Declension of ‘بَعُوضَةً’
is a permutative (بَدَل) of ‘مَثَلًا
مَا’, which itself is an object of ‘يَضْرِبَ’.
2. Declension of ‘مَثَلًا’
In the expression ‘مَاذَا
أَرَادَ اللَّهُ بِهَذَا مَثَلًا’, the word ‘مَثَلًا’
is an accusative of state (حَال) from the
demonstrative pronoun ‘بِهَذَا’. Some commentators
regard it to be a ‘تَمْيِيْز’ (specification that
removes an ambiguity). Preference to the former declension owes to the fact
that there is no ambiguity that needs to be removed by bringing ‘مَثَلًا’
as a ‘تَمْيِيْز’; the expression ‘مَاذَا
أَرَادَ اللَّهُ بِهَذَا’ lucidly conveys the meaning ‘what does Allah
intend by this’ – ie., by this example.
3. Declension of ‘سَبْعَ’
is an accusative of state of ‘هُنَّ’ from the verb
refers to ‘السَّمَاءِ’, which is a generic noun
and hence can be referred to by a plural pronoun as well.
4. The Status of ‘مَا’
in ‘مَثَلًا مَا’
The particle ‘مَا’
occurs to emphasize the indefinite noun ‘مَثَلًا’
just like the ‘مَا’ in ‘قَلِيْلاً
مَا’ and ‘كَثِيْراً مَا’.
III Style & Eloquence (الاساليب و
1. Parenthetical Sentence
Verses 26-27 are two
parenthetical sentences that occur in the discourse (ref. 1) to warn the
addressees of a contingent matter. The discourse from verse 28 then takes up
what was being discussed earlier and proceeds from where it was interrupted
by these parenthetical sentences.
2. Tadmīn (تَضْمِيْن)
i. In the expression ‘ثُمَّ
اسْتَوَى إِلَى السَّمَاءِ’, since the preposition ‘إِلَى’
does not collocate with the verb ‘اسْتَوَى’, there
exists a Tadmīn in the verb: it encompasses the meaning of another verb
which collocates with ‘إِلَى’. Thus the implied
meaning is: ‘ثُمَّ اسْتَوَى وَ تَوَجِّهَ إِلَى السَّمَاءِ’
ii. In the expression ‘فَتَابَ
عَلَيْهِ’, on similar reasons as above, there exists a Tadmīn. The
implied meaning is ‘فَتَابَ وَ اَقْبَلَ عَلَيْهِ’.
IV. Exegesis and Explanation (الشرح و التفسير)
1. The implication of
وَيَقْطَعُونَ مَا أَمَرَ اللَّهُ بِهِ أَنْ يُوصَلَ
It is evident from the
following verse that the above expression refers to severing blood
فَهَلْ عَسَيْتُمْ إِنْ تَوَلَّيْتُمْ أَنْ تُفْسِدُوا فِي
الْأَرْضِ وَتُقَطِّعُوا أَرْحَامَكُمْ (٢٢:٤٧)
Then, is it to be
expected of you, if you were put in authority, that you will spread disorder
in the land, and break your ties of kith and kin? (47:22)