|Table of Contents||Chapter 2|
He it is who hath sent down to thee "the Book." Some of its signs are of themselves perspicuous; these are the basis of the Book and others are figurative. But they whose hearts are given to err, follow its figures, craving discord, craving an interpretation; yet none knoweth its interpretation but God And the stable in knowledge say "We believe in it; all is from our Lord" But none will bear this in mind, save men endued with understanding.
"None knoweth the interpretation thereof but God and they that are well-grounded in knowledge."1
Move not thy tongue in haste to follow and master this revelation: For we will see to the collecting and the recital of it [qur'anahu];
But when we have recited it, then follow thou the recital,
And, verily, afterwards it shall be ours to make it clear [bayanahu] to thee.2
And now have we brought them the Book: with knowledge have we explained it; a guidance and a mercy to them that believe. What have they to wait for now but its interpretation? When its interpretation shall come, they who aforetime were oblivious of it shall say, "The Prophets of our Lord did indeed bring the truth; shall we have any intercessor to intercede for us? or could we not be sent back? Then would we act otherwise than we have acted" But they have ruined themselves; and the deities of their own devising have fled from them!3
God thus confirms that the interpretation of the Qur'an would come in the future. "What have they to wait for now but Its interpretation?" implies that they should expect and seek the forthcoming interpretation. Moreover, the verse confirms that when the interpretation is revealed, it would be rejected and meet with the opposition of the forgetful and heedless.
Muhammad did not leave an interpretation of the Qur'an, nor did any of His Successors. During later centuries, after the ascension and disappearance of the Imams, when interpretations were attempted, none of the interpreters claimed authenticity or divine origin for their interpretations.
. . . The verses were written down at the moment of revelation or soon after, on palm leaves, leather, stone, the shoulder-blades of sheep; furthermore, the Arabs had wonderful memories, and many learned it by heart....Soon after the ascension of Muhammad many reciters of the Qur'an were killed in battle; it was therefore thought necessary to compile the entire Qur'an into one; the task was given to the Prophet's amanuensis, Zayd ibn Thabit. Therefore, although with misgivings and doubting the propriety of the work, Zayd searched out the entire Qur'an and compiled it, simply putting the long surihs first, regardless of chronology. As a matter of fact, the short surihs at the end, telling of the coming of the Day of ....God, were revealed at the beginning Zayd's text continued to be standard during 'Umar's caliphate, but it was found that variations had crept into many copies; the men of Syria and 'Iraq had different readings, and the caliph 'Uthman
therefore had all the versions compared with Zayd's original, Zayd and three coadjutors being appointed to do the work. Transcripts of this recension were sent out to all the cities, all other copies were burnt, and what we still have is this recension of the third Caliph's. Zayd's original compilation was made within two or three years of Muhammad's ascension, and there is no question as to its accuracy; 'Ali the Imam, was there, and many of the devout who knew the Qur'an by heart, and besides the transcripts of the separate portions were in daily use.
|Table of Contents||Chapter 2|