Extract Quran Gems Like Nouman Ali Khan!
Asalaamu alaykum waRahmatullahi waBarakaatuh
How to Extract Gems from the Qur'an like Nouman Ali Khan!
Alot of us have heard the beautiful gems Nouman Ali Khan gives in his tafseer sessions. Whenever I'd take notes of them tafseer sessions (at LinguisticMiracle.com), I used to wish I could do just what he did next time I read the Qur'an.
After some time, I started hearing Arabs who had alot of experience with the Qur'an praising his tafseer sessions too. They said the tafaseer were extremely powerful and in some ways unmatched (because he merged the different sciences of tafseer into one combined study.)
So I prayed to Allah to grant me the ability to understand Qur'anic Arabic, and within a small period of time - I was able to grasp the meaning of Qur'an text and its linguistic beauty. So whenever I'd open the copy of the Qur'an, I could feel the subtle, yet powerful meanings Allah was conveying to us.
So I thought to myself, why not share with you a brief - yet detailed - step by step method on how to extract the gems from Qur'an yourself? Bi-idhnillah.
I've layed this structure out similar to how Nouman Ali Khan and Abdul Nasir Jangda give their tafaseer. They get the entire surah, and break it down into aayaat, and from each ayah - they break it down word for word. This is the focus of outline, and I have divided it into 5 steps. Each step works its way up from a small scale to a larger scale.
After knowing the Arabic language. We can find gems through looking at;
The Basic Layout by which you Extract Gems from the Qur'an:
Step 1 - Definitions of words through their pure roots, and the types of words used i.e. their (verb, or noun) pattern style etc.
Step 2 - Placement of words in an ayah. (Balaaghah)
Step 3 - Placement of aayaat in a passage/'paragraph' [Rukoo'] of discussion. Step 4 - How all the different passages work together = Theme; Step 5 - To produce a Conclusion of the surah, which is derived by finding out the common Theme and overall main Message in the surah. (through steps 1-4)
Step 1 - Focus on Words and their Power:
Look at definitions of words through their pure roots, and the types of words used i.e. their pattern style (verb patterns, Rhymes, Palindromes etc.), the images the words portray, the sounds they make etc.
How you can do this;
Focus on the Literary Devices:
- Word Patterns
- Verb patterns; what state are they in? If they are in Faa'il (Doer) form - imagine the object is a living object 'Doing' that action.
I.e. Allah says the Final Hour is Aaatiyah (Coming) [Taha 20:15] - the Faa'il (Doer) form shows a picture of the Hour actively coming (as if it is walking and approaching us).
I.e. Allah tells us about the fruits of Jannah (Paradise), that they are "daaniyah" [meaning: "close"] (Haqqah 69:23). But the word is in Faa'il (Doer) form, so some scholars even said that the Faa'il form shows that the tree itself Does this, it 'Comes Close' to the person to feed him its fruit.),
1 - Look at the Word used, its Root meaning. Its different Usages in;
i - Different contexts of classical texts (i.e. pre-islamic arabicpoetry/speeches.)
ii - Different contexts in Qur'an
iii - Different explanations in ahadeeth.
iv - or its Different meanings/usages mentioned in the Dictionaries & Lexicons.
I.e. Allah tells us about Shaytaan, and Allah tells us the promise he made. Look at the word used, and its root implication;
I will misguide them all, except the muKhliSeen ( مخلصين ) (see definitionof root: Kh-lam-Sad ( خلص ) [(Surah Hijr 15: 39-40)] =
He will misguide all of us except the;
i) Sincere (IkhlaaS) slaves,
ii) (Allah's) Pure (KhaaliS) slaves [who are pure from Shirk and Sins),
iii) Freed & Liberated slaves:
a – Those who Allah has chosen to be saved by His eternal knowledge.
b – Who Allah will Free, liberate from the Hellfire on Judgment Day by His Mercy.
A really good Resource for Meanings is ejtaal.net - the Arabic Almanac dictionary. You simply type in the root letters in Phonetic English, and the Results for 3 main dictionaries (Hans Wehr, Lanes Lexicon and Hava) come up in 2seconds! *works on smartphones too, is downloadable, and free alhamdulillah!*
2 - Look at the Harf* word used, and try to look at it from a Literal, Picturesque perspective:
*Harf (Huroof) words are those small words which 'connect' a sentence together.
I.e. A word like "Fee" (meaning; "In"), or 'Alaa (meaning; 'Upon'), Ilaa (meaning; 'To'). Words like these can be looked at from a literal perspective to get more impact to the meanings of a sentence.
a - Allah tells us that the disbelievers are FEE (IN) - Ghuroor (Deception). (see surah Mulk 67:20).
If we look at the word 'FEE' [meaning; 'In'] literally, it implies that the disbelievers are Literally engulfed in a picturesque object called Deception. So if they are engulfed in that, wherever they will look - they will always be surrounded by that Deception object.
b - If we look at the word 'Ilaa' [meaning; 'To'] (in surah al Baqarah 2:257) - we see that the devils are pulling the people out of the light (of the fitrah [natural disposition humans are born with of belief in 1 Creator]), and dragging them 'To' the Darknesses of disbelief and oppression.
c - If we look at the word 'Alaa [meaning; 'Upon'] we can imagine someone being ON TOP of what is being described, as if someone is sitting ON TOP of a train.
So imagine there is a Train called 'Manners', Allah describes His Messenger as being 'Alaa [Upon] Constantly EXCELLENT and unmatched Character and High Morals (in surah Qalam 68:4).
So we can then imagine someone Upon EXCELLENT manners as being UPON a train of Excellent Manners, so that wherever the train of perfect manners goes, that person will always be upon it and following it in goodness.
3 - Look at the Word used, and look for Harf* Words Similar to it, and then wonder why this one was used instead of The others.
*Harf (Huroof) words are those small words which 'connect' a sentence together.
I.e. Allah told Adam;
And do not approach ( هَٰذِهِ )Haadhi*hi al-shajarah - THIS tree. (al A'raf 7:19)
By Allah telling Adam not to approach 'THIS' tree, it implied thatTHIS Tree was near to where Adam lived.
If Allah said to Adam - Do not approach; 'tilka' ( تلك ) meaning 'That' [feminine form of dhalika ( ذلك ) [= That]]Tree (shajarah), it would imply the tree was FAR from where Adam lived in the Gardens of Eden.
This one word 'This' (haadhihi ) shows that Allah tested Adam by placing the forbidden tree close to where he lived in the Gardens. Just like when we have desires close to us and we are tested by them.
4 - Look at the Word used, and look for Near Synonyms Similar to it, and then Reflect why this one was used instead of The others.
إِنَّ اللَّهَ نِعِمَّا يَعِظُكُم بِهِ
Surely Allah is Ni'im (favourable) with what He advises you with... (Quran al Nisa 4:58)
Allah could have used many words to describe that He has been favourable to us by advising us to do good things.
Other words for 'Favour' include;
FaDl (فضل ) = Means for something to be more in quantity than what is fair or expected. (i.e. I ask you for $1 and you give me $20 as a FaDl from you.) (see Quran al Baqarah 2:253)
Mann ( من) = Favor or goodness. To remind another of one’s favor and to use it to impose oneself on another. It is also used for a heavy weight. (see Quran aal Imran 3:164)
aHsana ( أحسن) = Is any commendable deed whether it has to do with the self or another. (see Quran Yusuf 12:100)
However, Allah chose to use another word instead; Ni'im (نعم) - which means; Everything that fulfills a need and becomesa source of happiness.
Ni'm also comes from a similar word meaning; Nu'oomah (نعومه) = 'softness'
So Allah specifically chose this word to tell us that He is;
1 - Favourable (most common translation of Ni'm is 'favour') with what He advises us.
2 - (He is) Fulfilling a need for us (by advising us) so we gain happiness.
3 - (He is) Being 'Soft' with us in what He advises us with. (He could have made the rules harder than needed [like the nations before us], but He was Merciful in His Law to us.)
Near Synonyms - Booklet created by Nouman Ali Khan - Download Free:
A good Arabic Reference is: MutaRaadifaat ul-Qur'an - by Imam Raghib al Isfahani (it is translated in Urdu also by Abdul Rahman al Kilaani (author of Mutaraadifaatul Qur’an in Urdu).)
(see a text discussion about it Online by Nouman Ali Khan)
5 - Look at the Word used, and consider the Antonym (Opposite [-] meaning word) to appreciate the power of the Negativity in comparison to its Positive [+] meaning.)
I.e. ( إِنَّ سَعْيَكُمْ لَشَتَّىٰ ) Inna sa'yukum la shatta - Surely your travelling is no doubt Diverse. (Quran Layl 92:4)
Shatta ( شَتَّىٰ) (means 'shatter' [divide]). But there are alot of words tomean 'divide' in arabic.
So what is this words Opposite? It is "Allafa [ ألف ] (Put together something divided as one united whole)
So we see that this ayah doesn't just mean that our (mankind's) sa'ee (walking fast = travelling [to the next life]) is divided, rather - it means - our [mankinds] travelling was 1 and united once (Allafa) [when all people followed the guidance given to Adam], and now over time it has shattered (like a glass breaks/shatters) and now we are dispersing/shattering (like that breaking glass) into different directions [shatta]. (some travelling and doing deeds of the people of hell, and others travelling and doing deeds of the people of Paradise.)
- Rhyme patterns
- Look for common and Repeated patterns in the surah.
Example: In surah al Haqqah (69: 1-32) - all of the words end in with a letter 'ha' [ ه ] which implies;
- Rhyme (which builds up consistency and suspense upto the Ayah when the Rhyme stops)
- implying Severity when Recited (in accordance with the Severe and Violent sound produced from inside your body when pronouncing the letter 'ha' [ ه ], and that sound producing the violent punishments being portrayed in the Theme of surah al Haqqah).
This Repeated pattern is sustained from Aayaat 1-12 in surah al Haqqah. And when the Rhyme pattern changes, it's because the topic of discussion has changed.