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      Al-Sab c al-mathānī (Q. 15:87)

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      Journal of Qur'anic Studies

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          Abstract

          Scholastic opinion on the meaning of the phrase al-sab c al-mathānī has differed widely. It is variously said to refer to the Fātiḥa, the seven suras al-Baqara, Āl cImrān , al-Nisā , al-Mā ida , al-An cām , al-A crāf , and al-Anfāl plus al-Tawba (the latter two suras counting as one on account of there being no basmala between them), or the entire Qur'an, while others say that al-sab c al-mathānī refers to the division of the Qur'an into commands and prohibitions, glad tidings and admonitions, the coining of likenesses, the enumeration of blessings and accounts of past generations. It is also said that the term al-mathānī is derived from tathniya, repetition, and that the Fātiḥa is connected to repetition in two ways: first, it is repeated in ritual prayer; and, second, it repeatedly embodies praise of God.

          It is also however said that al-mathānī is the plural of mithnā (rope): the mathniyy of a thing is doubled or incorporates two, and accordingly one says ‘I doubled ( thanaytu) something’ meaning ‘I folded it and laid the two pieces side by side’. Thus the meaning of al-sab c al-mathānī is seven things that may each be classified as belonging to a pair, and hence in order to comprehend what is signified by mathānī, one must understand the intended meaning of the Qur'an. This can be achieved through an investigation of its internal intertextualities, i.e. by analysing the relationships implicit in the connections that appear between these texts one uncovers, through one text, the purport of another. This study, therefore, relies upon intertextuality in order to understand the intended meaning of al-mathānī.

          Author and article information

          Journal
          jqs
          Journal of Qur'anic Studies
          1465-3591
          1755-1730
          2004
          : 6
          : 2
          : 184-188
          Article
          10.3366/jqs.2004.6.2.184
          a0aad773-8dbe-4eab-a706-ed5278cc5515
          History
          Categories
          Arabic Articles

          Political science,Literature of other nations & languages,Art history & Criticism,Religious studies & Theology,Arab world & Islam,History

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