“Tadabbur-i-Qur’an” – An Outline of its Pattern of Nazm

Author: Dr. Shehzad Saleem

So long as men can live and eyes can see
So long lives this and this gives life to thee

The Tadabbur-i Qur’an is a monumental commentary of the Qur’an written by Amin Ahsan Islahi. Extending over nine volumes of six thousand pages, this masterful work was completed in a span of twenty two years. If Farahi founded the view that the Qur’an possessed structural and thematic nazm (coherence), it is Islahi who established beyond doubt in this commentary that this was actually correct.

He has presented conclusive evidence that the Qur’an is divided into seven discrete groups. Each group has a distinct theme. Every group begins with one or more Makkan Surah and ends with one or more Madinan Surah. In each group, the Makkan Surahs always precede the Madinan ones. The relationship between the Makkan Surahs and Madinan Surahs of each group is that of the root of a tree and its branches. In every group, all the phases of the Prophet’s mission are depicted. Two surahs of each group form a pair so that each member of the pair complements the other in various ways. Surah Fatihah, however, is an exception to this pattern: it is an introduction to the whole of the Qur’an as well as to the first group which begins with it. There are also some surahs which have a specific purpose and fall in this paired-surah scheme in a particular way.

Each surah has specific addressees and a central theme round which the contents of the surah revolve. The central theme highlights a particular aspect of the central theme of the group of which the particular surah is a part. Every surah has distinct subsections to mark thematic shifts, and every subsection is paragraphed to mark smaller shifts.

Following is a brief description of the seven Qur’anic groups:

Group I {Surah Fatihah (1) – Surah Maidah (5)}
Central Theme: Islamic Law.

Group II {Surah An‘am (6) – Surah Tawbah (9)}
Central Theme: The consequences of denying the Prophet (sws) for the Mushrikun of Makkah.

Group III {Surah Yunus (10) – Surah Nur (24)}
Central Theme: Glad tidings of the Prophet’s domination.

Group IV {Surah Furqan (25) – Surah Ahzab (33 }
Central Theme: Arguments on the prophethood of Muhammad (sws) and the requirements of faith in him.

Group V {Surah Saba(34) – Surah Hujrat (49)}
Central Theme: Arguments on tawhid and the requirements of faith in it.

Group VI {Surah Qaf (50) – Surah Tihrim (66)}
Central Theme: Arguments on the Hereafter and the requirements of faith in it.

Group VII {(Surah Mulk (67) – Surah Nas (114)}
Central Theme: Admonition (indhar) to the Quraysh about their fate in the Herein and the Hereafter if they deny the Prophet (sws).

This is just a brief introduction of the thematic and structural coherence in the Qur’an as presented by Islahi in his “Tadabbur-i-Qur’an”. The masterpiece needs to be studied by every person who wants to understand the Qur’an so that he may have an idea of the giant leap forward it has brought about in the field of Qur’anic Sciences.