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Quranic Concept of Tafakkur.
Author/Source: Tauseef Ahmad Parray (tauseef.parray21 @gmail.com)  (tauseef.parray21@gmail.com) Posted by: TAUSEEF AHMAD PARRAY,
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Quranic Concept of Tafakkur

TAUSEEF AHMAD PARRAY, PH.D RESEARCH SCHOLAR, DEPTT. OF ISLAMIC STUDIES, AMU, ALIGARH, INDIA

“People should use their ‘Aql’ (intellect) so that they may understand Allah’s Ayat (signs, proofs, evidences revelations, lessons). Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is ordered (by Allah) to relate parables (i.e. stories of the previous nations) to people so that they may get a lesson from these parables.”

The term ‘Tafakkur’ is a Qur’anic world used in many verses which is derived from the root world ‘Fakara’ meaning ‘ponderous’ or ‘deeper thought’. Thus the term ‘Tafakkur’ has various meanings (according to various Arabic English dictionaries) like ‘to think deeply’, ‘to meditate’, ‘to be thoughtful’, ‘contemplation’, ‘reflecting’, ‘considering’, ‘meditating’ and ‘thinking’. In religious sense it means ‘to reflect and to meditate over the creation of Allah, to think deeply and ponder on the Ayat (sings, proofs, evidences, revelations, lessons) mentioned in the holy Quran and be thoughtful and deeply understand whatever is in the heavens and earth (on in the universe). Tafakkur has been used in various verses of holy Quran [in different surahs (chapters)] in different sense. In Sura al-Baqarah (2) verse no. 266, it is used in the sense that for a rich man who does good deeds out of obedience of Allah, he will be bestowed by various blessings in the paradise.

In verse (50) of al-Anam (6) it is used in the sense that men of seeing or men of Allah cannot be compared with blind men or ordinary men as men of Allah have the higher light with them; so think deeply. In verse (176) of Al-Aeraf (7) it is used in the sense that people should use their ‘Aql’ (intellect) so that they may understand Allah’s Ayat (signs, proofs, evidences, revelations, lessons). Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is ordered (by Allah) to relate parables (i.e. the stories of previous nations) to people so that they may get a lesson from these parables.

“Verily, the likeness of this worldly life is as the rain (water) which we send down from the sky…. Thus do we explain the Ayat in detail for a people who reflect (or who think or ponder)” (10:24)

In this verse ‘Tafakkur’ is used in the sense that this world is temporal and mortal. No one knows except Allah what will happen at what time? So use your ‘Aql’ (intellect) that you may understand what Reality is. Abdullah Yusuf Ali in the explanation of this verse writes:

“a beautiful parable, explaining the nature of our present life. The rain comes down in drops and mingles with the earth. Through it, by God’s matchless artistry the womb of the earth is made fruitful…. The earth is covered with bravery of green and gold and all kinds of colours…, but a hailstorm or a blast, a frost or a volcanic eruption comes and destroys it and the bravery and beauty of yesterday is destroyed. All that is left in ashes and dust. What more can we get from this physical material life?”

In verse no. (3) of al-Rad (13), Tafakkur is used in the sense that Quran is the source of thinking and people are asked to go for deep understanding by understanding the holy Quran. In this verse the earth, mountains, rivers, every kind of fruit, night as a cover over day are described as signs of Allah for a people who reflect and who think.

In An-Nahl (16), verse (44), Tafakkur is used in the sense that clear signs and inspired books were revealed to many prophets and also God’s message came to Prophet (SAW). He (SAW) is required to elucidate the teachings of holy Quran not merely by wood. He (SAW) is also required to do so by his conduct. People are asked to give a though on this Dhikr (holy Quran) so that they may understand what is revealed. Verse (42) of chapter al-Zumar (39) declares that one should understand the life and death, sleep and dreams as there are signs in it for those who their, who ponder and for those who understand. Abdullah Yusuf Ali in its explanation writes:

“The mystery of life and death, sleep and death is fascinating enigma, of which the solution if perhaps beyond the ken of man…”.

The holy Quran also declares in verse (21) of al-Hashr (59): “Had we sent down this Quran a mountain, you would surely have seen it humbling itself and rent asunder by the fear of Allah. Such are the parables which we put forward to mankinds that they may reflect (think or ponder)”. (59:21)

Abdullah Yusuf Ali in its explanation writes, “There are two ideas associated in men’s mind with a mountain:

“One is its ‘height’ and the other is that it is rocky, stony and hard etc. The reality is that the God’s revelation is so sublime that even the highest mountains humble themselves before it. The revelation is so powerful and convincing that even the hard rock splits asunder under it. But the man has became so arrogant that he considers himself superior to it and has become so hard- hearted that he is not affected by the powerful message of the Quran. The mountain refused to accept the trust because they felt themselves to be ‘too humble’ to be equal to such a tremendous truth”.
In this verse (59:21) Tafakkur is used in the sense that even the powerful and strong mountains refused to take this trust (message) as they surrendered themselves before Allah’s power and supremacy. So think deeply on it so that you may understand what is reality and how powerful convincing is the message to Quran.

To conclude, it is clear from above mentioned Qur’anic verses and its interpretation (explanation) that we have (signs, proofs, evidences, revelations, lessons) of Allah so that we may understand the reality, the holy Quran, signs of Allah which are in the earth (and in the universe) and what is on earth etc we should ponder on ourselves, on life and death etc so that we may understand the reality (by understanding these things).


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