Tasreef - The Concept of How The Quran Explains Itself


Tasreef comes from the triliteral root word SAWD RA FA which in one form of the word reads as Sarraf, means to explain, to expound, or to diversify.

When it comes to the Qur'an it is repeated as Divine Principle and mentioned in a number of places in the Qur'an.

Note how We explain (nusarrifu) the verses by various facets. 6:46 
Note how We use Tasreef, explaining Our verses from various vantage points, that men and women may understand. 6:65 
Thus We give many facets to Our verses so that they may admit that you (O Prophet) have taken all this to heart in the most excellent manner. And (through this method of Tasreef) We make it clear to people who use what they learn. 6:105 
This is how We explain Our verses from various vantage points for those who are grateful to receive such clear guidance. 7:58 
We have explained things in various ways in this Qur’an so that they understand, but it only increases their flight from the truth. 17:41 
Indeed, for the benefit of mankind We use Tasreef to explain the Qur’an from various vantage points. However, man, above all other imperfections, is given to contention. 18:54 
And thus have We sent this down, an Arabic Qur’an, and explained (wassarrafna) therein warnings in many ways, so that people may live upright or that it make them rise to a new level of awareness. 20:113

So there are a number of places God mentions the principle of Tasreef. In the English translation by Dr. Shabbir Ahmed, titled The Quran as It Explains Itself - we find a noble effort of utilizing this Tasreef principal in a consistent and fruitful manner which makes this translation work one of the best in my humble opinion.

From the Introduction of The Quran as It Explains Itself (QXP for short) regarding Tasreef I quote:

"QXP is a Tasreef-based understanding of the Qur’an presented in contemporary English that is easy enough even for teen-agers. It is not a literal translation.

Tasreef is the Qur’anic process where verses in one part of the Qur’an explain or provide a deeper understanding of the verses in other parts of the Book. Concisely, it means looking at the Qur’an in its Big Picture. The Qur’an, thus, lets us look at its terms and concepts from very diverse vantage points. This is how special care has been taken to explain every verse from within the Qur’an itself.

The respected reader should expect to find “The Qur’an As It Explains Itself” different from the prevalent translations and explanations because of the use of Tasreef and the Quraish dialect, and for rejecting extrinsic sources.

I have purposely refrained from explaining the Qur’an through extrinsic sources such as Hadith and very questionable history. Hadith means the supposed sayings of the exalted Prophet collected through hearsay centuries after him. Using these two ‘sources’ for translating or explaining the Qur’an in the distant and recent past has only served to confound the Word of God with manmade traditions and it takes away the profound glory of the Divine message.

In QXP, relevant historical accounts have been given only sparingly for the interested reader and they have no bearing on the Pristine Divine message.

The following three principles applied in this rendition are derived from the Qur’an itself:

One: The Qur’an explains itself. [6:115, 10:37, 75:17-19]

Two: It repeats its verses from diverse angles for clear understanding. [17:41, 17:89, 18:54, and quite a few other verses]."



What is the Result of Using the Tasreef Methodology?

It frees the translation and understanding of the Qur'an from age-old conjecture, historical distortions and myths. Rather it helps to understand the Qur'an in its entirety where each part explains another, giving a more holistic understanding and provide a system meaning.

Thus in the work of Dr. Shabbir Ahmed we find for the first time the proper understanding of important concepts such as Salaat, Zakat and many other terms.

Establishing Salaat = The System in which Permanent Moral Values rule the hearts and minds of men and women. There are neither masters nor subjects in such a system since therein prevails the Rule of Law. 2:177, 22:41, 94:7-8.

Salaat = To follow closely, like a runner-up Musalli follows the winning horse Saabiq =Follow God’s commands closely.

Aqimussallat = To Establish the System that facilitates the following of Divine Commands.

System of Salaat = The System in which following the Divine commands is facilitated in the society.

Zakaat = The Just Economic Order where everyone works according to one’s capacity and is compensated according to the needs. People spend on others or give to the Central Authority (Islamic government) whatever is surplus (2:219). And they do so whenever they earn any income (6:141). The System of Zakaat is managed by the Central Authority that ensures the development of the individuals and the society. The 2.5 percent annual mandatory charity is a non-Qur’anic concept that trivializes the comprehensive Qur’anic System of Zakaat.

Also, the problems of Fiqh minor but confusing and contradictory jurisprudential details about what and who are exempt and what and who are not exempt etc, make the manmade Zakaat an absolute impossibility. For example, a man with an ounce of gold should not pay Zakaat, but a poor man with 52.5 ounces of silver, the value of which is less than 10% of the former instance, must pay! No wonder, God warns us not to make His verses a laughing stock. The Central Authority can vary this percentage according to the changing times and needs of society.

Charity or Sadaqaat are meant only for the interim period whenever the Divinely Prescribed System of Life is not yet in place. For Central Authority, the Qur’an uses the terms Allah and Rasool 3:32. After the exalted Rasool Messenger, it is obligatory upon the believers to elect their leadership through a consultative process in a manner suitable for the times. The basic difference between the western democracy and the Islamic government: Any legislation can pass with the majority approval in the manmade constitutional democracy. But no law can pass contradicting the Qur’an in a truly Islamic State. That is one reason why the Qur’an generally gives us the basic Rules with details to be decided by people with mutual consultation according to changing times. 42:38.

‘Ibadah = Obeying God by serving His creation = Obeying His laws for developing character = Worship, applies in the sense of idol ‘worship’ alone.

‘Amal Saaleh = An act of social welfare = Helping others = Increasing the societal potential = Fulfilling needs = ‘Good work’.

Ihsan = An act of balance = Restoring symmetry and beauty = Social and individual equity = Selfless service = An act of equity.

Taqwa = Seeking to journey through life in security = Protect oneself from disintegration of the personality = Journeying in security = Being careful = Getting empowered against evil = Avoid overstepping the laws = Exercising caution = Preserving the ‘self’ against deterioration = Good conduct = Building character = Live a life upright = Fear the consequences of violating Divine Commands = Being observant = Being mindful of the Creator = Remaining conscious of the Divinely ordained Values = Being watchful against error.




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Technology of the Heart: Tasreef - The Concept of How The Quran Explains Itself
Tasreef - The Concept of How The Quran Explains Itself
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Technology of the Heart
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