Ever since I began talking on the Internet about the Quran, I have
often been told by many Muslims as well as by non-Muslim readers
that I needed to correctly interpret its contents before saying
anything about them. A few Muslim scholars not only advised me not
to follow its [literal meaning], they also abused me for not being
able to correctly [interpret] what is written in their Holy Book.
But when I asked them to give
me the non-literal meaning of a Quranic verse, all of them disappeared
for good. As a result, my inquiry still remains unfulfilled.
Despite being abused and mistreated,
I have steadfastly argued that it is not necessary for anyone
to interpret the Quran in order to understand its messages. I
have also argued that Muslims should act upon its messages on
the basis of what they tell them, and not on the basis of what
they think should be their interpretations.
On the allegorical messages that the Quran contains, I have
maintained a distinct position and it was this: Muslims must not
attempt to interpret the allegorical verses of the Quran in order
to avoid discord among themselves and the punishment that they
would be given by Allah in the world hereafter.
I wanted to give a recital on the word [interpretation] in this
write up, but abandoned the idea after I came to the conclusion
that no matter how strong a recital I give, Muslims would not
accept it on account of their belligerent attitude towards those
beings they consider, albeit unjustifiably, hostile to Islam.
Instead, I decided to make my point by relying on what is stated
in verse 3:7 of the Quran regarding the interpretation of its
Three translations of this verse, done by Abdullah Yusuf Ali,
Pickthall and Shakir, read:
YUSUF ALI: [He it is Who has sent down to thee
the Book: In it are verses basic or fundamental (of established
meaning); they are the foundation of the Book: others are
allegorical. But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the
part thereof that is allegorical, seeking discord, and searching
for its hidden meanings, but no one knows its hidden meanings
except Allah. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say:
"We believe in the Book; the whole of it is from our Lord:" and
none will grasp the Message except men of understanding.
PICKTHAL: He it is Who hath revealed unto thee
(Muhammad) the Scripture wherein are clear revelations - they are
the substance of the Book - and others (which are) allegorical.
But those in whose hearts is doubt pursue, forsooth, that which is
allegorical seeking (to cause) dissension by seeking to explain
it. None knoweth its explanation save Allah. And those who are of
sound instruction say: We believe therein; the whole is from our
Lord; but only men of understanding really heed.
SHAKIR: He it is Who has revealed the Book to
you; some of its verses are decisive, they are the basis of the
Book, and others are allegorical; then as for those in whose
hearts there is perversity they follow the part of it which is
allegorical, seeking to mislead and seeking to give it (their own)
interpretation, but none knows its interpretation except Allah,
and those who are firmly rooted in knowledge say: We believe in
it, it is all from our Lord; and none do mind except those having
Since all the above three translations are a little bit confusing,
I have another translation of it that is absolutely clear and
leaves no scope for us to argue on its true message. It reads:
[He it is Who has revealed the Book to you; some of its verses are
decisive, they are the basis of the Book, and others are
allegorical; then as for those in whose hearts there is perversity
they follow the part of it which is allegorical, seeking to
mislead and seeking to give it (their own) interpretation, but none knows its' interpretation except Allah, and
those who are firmly rooted in knowledge say: We believe in it, it
is all from our Lord; and none do mind except those having
Before one accuses me of being selective, or of harboring an ill
intention in my mind, I hasten to emphasize that I have another
translation of this verse that is as clear as the above. I am not
quoting it here for the sake of keeping this write up short.
That said, we can now go back to the verse and try to understand
what it really tells us.
I believe it tells us this: The Quran has two kinds of verses.
Some of them are decisive, clear and fundamental. They need no
interpretation, as they are clear and easy to understand. They
should be taken to mean what we find stated in them.
There are, in the Quran, some allegorical verses as well. No one
should try to interpret them in order to understand their true or
close-to-true meaning. Attempting to interpret them is what Allah
has called to be a perversity in the hearts of those who seek to
do so, as their meaning is known only to Him. No matter how hard
we humans try, we can never decipher their true import and
Instead of trying to understand what was, or still remains, within
Allah's knowledge, those Muslims who are knowledgeable should
contend themselves by saying: We believe in it [both the decisive
and fundamental verses as well as the allegorical ones], it is all
from Allah and that this belief is enough for us to retain our
faith in Him and in what He has revealed to us through His Quran.
In other words, Allah has prohibited all the humans from
interpreting the Quran. This restriction applies more stringently
to the Muslims. They should never try to interpret anything that
the Quran contains for, attempting to do so would prove that they
are perverts and perverts Allah did not like in the past, nor is
He going to like them in future.
Perverts and those who mislead the Muslims will become, on the Day
of Judgment, the fire of Hell. The Quran is clear on this point.
So the question is:
Should Muslims try to interpret the Quran even after knowing that
they would be living, if they attempted to do, in their earthly
life, what is forbidden, a most frightening and dreadful life in
the world hereafter?
Comments on what I have stated above will be highly appreciated.