Law Explained Mutashabahat (resemblance)
S j Tubrazy
The word Mutashabahat as used here is derived from its literal root ‘Shibh’ which means “resemblance”. It refers to the verses of the Holy Qur’an that are figurative, metaphorical or allegorical as distinguished from verses that arc basic, fundamental and very explicit in their meaning. The Commentators of the Holy Qur’an have elaborately discussed the two categories and have referred to both of them as mentioned in the Holy Qur’an from all angles i.e. purely from linguistic point of view as well as the meanings they stand for. Since the Holy Qur’an is a book of guidance, all its Injunctions relating to the permission or prohibition of certain acts are crystal clear and are considered as verses of the first category i.e. “Muhkamat” while those concerning the Attributes of Allah, the nature of Hell, Heaven etc. are considered as ‘Mutashabahat’ In other words the verses relating to Ahkam are ‘Muhkamat’ and they have been made clear in their meaning, with no doubt whatsoever, by the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h.) who implemented them at the individual and collective level of the Muslim Ummah as that was the mission assigned to him by Allah. Other verses that mostly relate to the metaphysical or supernatural matters or things beyond the normal perception of the human beings are categorized as ‘Mutashabahat’. They have been described in words nearest in sense to human understanding, however, their exact comprehension in the true sense is not possible for human mind in this world.
Mutashabihat” are those verses in which there is a possibility of more than one meaning. Their object is to give a certain minimum knowledge about the universe, its beginning and end, the position of man therein, and such other basic things, for these things are essential for the formulation of any system of life. It is obvious that no human language possesses words, expressions, idioms etc., to depict clearly those supernatural things, which have never yet been grasped by human senses, nor seen nor heard nor smelt nor touched nor tasted by human beings. That is why such supernatural things have to be described in terms of human life. That is why the Qur’an uses ambiguous verses in human language which are liable to give rise to more than one meaning. Thus it is clear that the main benefit of such verses is that they help one approach the Reality and form a conception of it. Hence the more one tries to determine their precise meanings, the more one gets involved in doubts and ambiguities. As a result of this, one will not be able to find the Reality but will be led further away from it and cause mischief. Therefore those, who seek after the Truth and do not hanker after superfluities, rest content with the simple idea of Reality they get from the ambiguous verses, which suffices them for an understanding of the Qur’an; they concentrate their whole attention on a fuller comprehension of the Verses which are precise in meaning. On the other hand, those who love superfluities or seek after mischief, spend their time and energies in giving arbitrary interpretations to the ambiguous verses.