بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The Qur’an states “Will they not contemplate the Quran?” (47:24).

This article discusses the concept of tadabbur (contemplation on the Qur’an) at one level of application by looking at the relationship between Surah al-Fatiha and Surah al-Nas. The Qur’an is a linguistic miracle, and this includes many aspects.  One of these is the coherence of the Qur’an, which is a theory that argues that there are relationships or connections within the Qur’an (i.e., a structure), and the coherence can be at two levels:

  • Connections between each surah to the one before and after it. This view is widely accepted and easier to see.
  • Connections between each verse to the one before and after it. Some major scholars accept this coherence for each verse whilst others accepted it in some verses.

The connections may be overlooked at first, but deep contemplation will reveal the connections.

This miracle is reinforced by the historical fact that the order of revelation was different to the order in which the Qur’an is currently compiled. It is very hard to have coherence in a book when each verse or group of verses have been revealed in response to different situations and context. Nevertheless, there comes a point when the coherence is so vast and in so many different aspects that no human is able to create such a literary piece. Various classical and authoritative scholars in the field of Qur’anic sciences such as al-Zarkashi, al-Biqa’I, al-Suyuti and al-Razi argued in support of the view of coherence, which is evidenced through a deep reflection upon the Qur’an. An example of such a book is al-Suyuti’s “Secrets within the Order of the Qur’an.”

Surah al-Fatiha (1) is the first surah of the Qur’an whilst surah al-Nas (114) is the last surah of the Qur’an, in the order of compilation. Yet when the two surahs are considered side by side, they reveal fascinating links and lessons. In order to show the practical application of the theory of coherence, I reveal some of them below, not all, because the ocean of the Qur’an is vast.

Surah al-Fatiha Surah al-Nas Commentary
After the Basmala, Surah al-Fatiha starts off with praise of Allah Most High and then linguistically (through a rhetorical method called iltifat) shifts to du’a in verse 5. After the Basmala, Surah al-Nas starts off with a command (in the first word “say!”), praises Allah as the Rabb (Lord) of mankind and contains a du’a in verse 1. -This teaches us the adab of starting off with the praise of Allah Most High
-Both surahs contain du’a.
Verse 1 (after the Basmala) describes Allah as the Rabb of the worlds, thus giving a “macro” level to Allah’s power. Verse 1 (after the Basmala) describes Allah as the Rabb of mankind, thus giving a “micro” level to Allah’s power. -The two surahs give contrasting yet illuminating displays of how Allah Most High cares for both the small and large things, not neglecting anything.
-Both surahs contain the word “Rabb”.
Surah al-Fatiha mentions the word “Allah” in reference to God. Surah al-Nas mentions the word “Ilah” in reference to God. -Both terms are used to refer to God. There is also a scholarly opinion that the word “Allah” is linguistically derived from the word “al-Ilah”.
Surah al-Fatiha mentions the phrase “King/Owner (Malik/Maalik) of the Day of Judgement”. Surah al-Nas mentions the phrase “King (Malik) of mankind”. -The Day of Judgement is the day that mankind is judged. It is the day that all of mankind is moving towards.
-Both surahs contain the word “Malik”.
Surah al-Fatiha has the du’a of seeking Allah’s aid and to be guided to the straight path. Surah al-Nas has the du’a of seeking refuge in Allah Most High from Shaytan, the accursed. -Shaytan is the one who whispers in the hearts of mankind and jinn to swerve from the straight path. It is only through seeking Allah’s aid that we can be saved from Shaytan.

As one can see from the above, there are clear examples of coherence in the Qur’an. Incorporating contemplation into our personal readings of the Qur’an can reveal new levels of meanings of the Qur’an to us and is one of the reasons why the Qur’an can be explicated by many scholars in various generations and contexts yet reveal new insights.