HOW THE QURAN EXPLAINS ITSELF ?
The method with which the Quran explains itself is called Tasreef ul ayaat (Recurrence and Repetition of Subjects or Verses in the Quran).
It is by this manner that God Himself has dealt with different subjects in His Book, i.e. by repeating topics in various chapters throughout the Quran. And it is by this method that the Quran deals with various topics and provides its own explanation.
6:65 “See how We repeat the verses (nusarriful ayati) that they may understand.”
17:89 “And certainly We have repeated (sarrafana) for mankind in this Quran, every kind of similitude, but the majority of mankind do not consent to aught but denying.”
God Himself has circulated topics within His Book, and what is unclear at one passage is made distinct by another verse in another passage within the Quran itself. One verse will throw light on the other. Furthermore we are informed that the messenger of God also explained the Quran by the Quran itself:
6:105 “And thus do We repeat the verses (nusarriful ayati) and that they may say: You (O Muhammad) have read (Darasta); and that We may make it clear (li nu bayyina hu) to a people who know.”
It is evident from the above that the messenger’s lectures on the Quran were based on (Tasreef ul Ayat), i.e. recurrence of Ayat, to clarify topics within the Quran. The messenger gave Dars ul Quran, by this manner, and the Quran was clarified by the Quran itself. This is further supported in Surah al Furqan, where a certain objection of the unbelievers is identified:
25:32-33 “And those who rejected said: “If only the Qur’an was sent down to him in one go!” It was done as such so we may strengthen your heart with it, and We arranged it in gradual stages. And no example do they bring to you (O Muhammad) but We bring to you the truth and the best explanation.”
The above verses inform us about a matter of grave importance. To the objection of unbelievers as to why is not the Quran revealed all at once, it is stated that the Quran is revealed in stages due to the following reasons:
1- So that the messengers heart may be strengthened. This is confirmed when it is stated:
25:32 And those who rejected said: “If only the Qur’an was sent down to him in one go!” It was done as such so we may strengthen your heart with it, and We arranged it in gradual stages.
Hence the messenger was encouraged and enjoined to be stead fast by the revelation of Quranic verses.
2- So that the arguments that the unbelievers may bring forth should be answered sufficiently by ‘Haqq’, i.e. the Quranic truth. As it is stated:
25:33 “And no example do they bring to you (O Muhammad) but We bring to you the truth (Haqq)..”
3- The third reason for the gradual descent of the Quran is to provide (Ahsan ul Tafsir), i.e. the best explanation and exegesis of God’s Book.
25:33 “And no example do they bring to you (O Muhammad) but We bring to you the truth and the best (Ahsana) explanation or exegesis (Tafsir)”.
Thus God revealed verses which provided Tafsir of other verses themselves. What remained ambiguous in one verse, its clarification and exegesis was provided by God Himself by the gradual descent of other verses of the Quran.
Hence God provided the Tafsir of the Quran by the Quran itself, and did not make His Book dependent on any compilations of traditions for its exegesis (Tafsir). It is by this manner that God gave the Tafsir of His Book to the Messenger and the Messenger conveyed to his audience. The messenger did not give any separate book of Tafsir to the Ummah as the Tafsir of the Quran which he imparted on the Ummah was contained inside the pages of the Quran itself.