Foundation of Knowledge – The Beginning of Surahs

The beginning of the surahs of the Qur'an may be divided into ten categories, into which all the 114 surahs may be classified:

1.      The Disjointed Letters (al-Muqatta'aat). For example, Alif-Laam-Meem, Kaaf-Haa-Yaa-'Ayn-Saad, Haa-Meem, etc. These are twenty nine in number.

2.      The Glorification of Allaah: This is divided into two subcategories - The first category is the glorification by means of Praise, and by attributing Names and Attributes of Perfection. For example, "All Praise is due to Allaah ..." (Q1[Fatihah]:1) and "Blessed be He in whose Hands is the Dominion." (Q67[Mulk]:1) The second category is the glorification by means of negating attributes of weakness and imperfection. For example, "Glorified and Exalted be He (i.e. He is Exalted over all evil that is attributed to Him).(Q17[Isra'i]:1) and "Glorify the Name of your Lord, the Most High." (Q87 [al-A'la]:1). There are a total of fourteen surahs that begin with glorification; half of them are the first category and half are in the second.

3.      A call, for example, "O You who believe" (Q5[Maidah]:1) and others: O mankind." (Q22[Hajj]:1) and others; and "O Prophet." (Q33[Ahzab]:1) There are ten surahs that fit into this category, five of which address the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam)

4.      A statement of fact. For example, "Successful indeed are the Believers." (Q23 [Mu'minun]:1), or "He frowned and turned away" (Q80[Abasa]:1) This occurs in twenty-three surahs.

5.      An Oath. For example, "By the Time!" (Q103 [Asr]:1), or "By the Star when it goes down." (Q53[Najm]: I) This occurs in fifteen surahs, all of which are Makkan.

6.      A Condition. For example, "When the Help of Allaah Comes, and the Conquest" (Q110:1), or "When the Event Befalls"

7.      A Command: For example. "Read, in the Name of your Lord!" (Q96[Alaq]:1) or "Say: He is Allaah, the One!" (Q112[lkhlas]:1) There are six surahs that fit into this category.

8.      A Question: For example, "What are they asking about?" (Q78[Naba']:I) or "Have you seen him who denies the Recompense?" (107[Maun]:1)

9.      An Invocation. For example "Woe to those who give less in measure and weight!" (Q83 [Mutaffifin]:1). "Woe to every slanderer and backbiter!" (Q104 [Humaza]:1) and "May the two hands of Abu Lahab perish, and he (along with them)!" (Q111 [Lahab]:1). These are the only three surahs where this occurs.

10.  A Reason or Cause: There is only one surah where this occurs: "For the taming of the Quraysh!"(Q106 [Quraysh]:1)

Uloom Al-Fiqh – The Principles of Fiqh

Foundation of Knowledge – Conditions of Mafhoom al-Mukhaalafah


Last edition we discussed the various types of mafaheem almukhaalafah and we said that mafhoom al-mukhaalafah has to fulfill some conditions for it to be valid. Some of these conditions are as follows:


1.      It must not contradict something weightier such as mantooq (the mentioned text) or mafhoom muwaafaqah. Likewise if it contradicts a qiyaas jaliyy (clear analogical deduction) preference is given to the qiyaas.

2.      The mentioned statement must not be meant to show the favor of Allaah on mankind. So if Allaah intends with the statement the counting of His mercy on humanity, a mafhoom mukhaalafah should not be drawn from the statement. For instance Allaah said: "And it is He who has subjected to you the sea that you eat thereof fresh tender meat (i.e. fish) .. "  (QI6[Nahl]: 14). This however should not be taken to mean that it is not permissible to eat other than fresh fish as Allaah only said this in order to make us realize one of His favors on us.

3.      The mentioned statement must not be brought for the purpose of addressing a situation that has become commonplace. And this is expressed by the scholars of Usool al-fiqh in this manner: "Idha kharaja al-kalaam makhraja al-ghaalib fala mafhooma lahu" i.e. if a statement is mentioned to address a particular common issue one is not allowed to draw any mafhoom from it. For instance Allaah says: "O you who believe! Eat not ribaa ad'aafan mudaa'afah (i.e. doubled and multiplied), but fear Allah that you may be successful" (Q3 [Aal Imran]:130). It would be wrong for anyone to draw a mafhoom mukhaalafah from this verse i.e. to say that we can eat ribaa as long as it is not manifold arguing that Allaah only prohibited ribaa if it is doubled and multiplied. This is because the verse has only come to pass a ruling of forbiddance on the common type of ribaa during the pre-Islamic era which was that somebody would loan another person. However when it was time to pay the debt if the debtor was unable to pay, the lender would then charge an additional interest for his inability to pay. However there are many other verses in the Qur'an which prohibit ribaa generally even if it is not doubled and multiplied.

4.      There should be no word in the statement that shows any emphasis. For instance the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said in authentic hadith in Bukhari and Muslim said: It is not lawful for a woman who believes in Allaah and the Last Day to mourn for a person who dies for more than three days except for a husband for whom she should mourn for four months and ten days". The clause "who believes in Allaah and the Last Day" is an emphatic clause which is only emphasizing the statement. Hence it would be wrong for anyone to deduce a mafhoom mukhaalafah from this text i.e. that a woman who does not believe in this can mourn more than three days for anybody.

From the foregoing one can see that it is necessary that the aforementioned conditions are fulfilled so that a wrong a ruling will not be drawn from statements of the Shaari' (the Lawgiver).

This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited

dawahnigeria admin
dawah to the people