Jan 22, 2011

The linguistic excellence of Ayat Al Kursi Part 4

لاَ تَأْخُذُهُ سِنَةٌ وَلاَ نَوْمٌ

 Neither drowsiness overtaken Him nor sleep

The complete negation of drowsiness and sleep reflect the perfection of his attributes: الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ  the ever-living, and the sustainer of the universe  

Sleep is a form of death and if it exists then it would be a deficiency for Allah (swt) with regards to his attribute of the ever-living. 

Sleep makes one heedless and unaware of what goes around them. If Allah (swt) slept, A’uthubillah, then who would be there to take care of all the affairs of the universe. There is verse in the bible which states
But then the Lord awoke from his sleep; he was like a warrior in a drunken rage [Psalms 78:65, The Bible]

For Christians this becomes even more problematic because they say the God died for 3 days!

Allah (swt) is far far dissociated from such attributes which the People of former Scriptures have invented against him. 

لَّهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الأَرْضِ

To him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth

The word مَا ( translated as whatever ) in this verse is a relative pronoun [1] which can be used for both masculine or feminine, whether they are singular, dual or plural. مَا is used to refer to unintelligent beings ( animals, inanimate objects) or the attributes of the intelligent ( humans, Jinns, Angels) . [2]

 مَن is also a relative pronoun and is used to refer to intelligent beings only. So the reason why مَا was used instead of مَن  was to include everything and everyone. 

In a normal Arabic sentence structure one would place the Mubtada (subject) before the Khabar (predicate). So in a normal structure of nominal sentence one would say:

مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ لَّهُ
By placing the Khabar ( Jaarun wa majroor) in the beginning, this gives the meaning of exclusivity or constriction which implies it is only Allah (swt) to whom all things belong. 

لَّهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الأَرْضِ

To him ALONE belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth

There is nothing in existence that doesn’t belong to Allah (swt) who has no co-sharers.

Being a caretaker of something doesn’t imply that it belongs to one or that one has authority over it.  So not only is Allah (swt) the caretaker of everything, but everything he takes care of in the most complete manner, belongs to him and him alone. So this ayah negates any associates.

I guess one can now start to appreciate the language of the Ayah and why it is considered the greatest Ayah of the Quran. It deals with absolute oneness and greatness of Allah (swt) and expresses it in the most accurate and emphatic manner possible.

[1] مَا can have other meanings and usages. In the verse it is known as Ma Al mowsula
[2] مَا used for attributes of intelligent beings is not discussed in introductory Arabic courses. If one is unfamiliar with this usage here is an example in the Quran in Surat Al Shams verses 5-7
وَالسَّمَاءِ وَمَا بَنَاهَا
وَالْأَرْضِ وَمَا طَحَاهَا
وَنَفْسٍ وَمَا سَوَّاهَا
And the heaven and Him Who made it, And the earth and Him Who extended it, 
And the soul and Him Who made it perfect


  1. asalamu alaikum could u also mention the miracle of the sequence of this, as in how its samawat and then ard instead of t being the other way round. jzk

  2. Assalamualaikum. I have a question regarding the use of pronouns in the Quran. Why does Allah sometimes use I or HE or We or Our. For example in 7:156 I afflict my punishment......Who believe in OUR signs. One tafsir explained I as singular is used when describing personal grace,mercy,or in this case wrath. Whereas plural for we and our is for'impersonal law' by which Allah s signs operate in the universe. I don't quite understand what impersonal law means. Would love to hear your take on this. Thanks!