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Is the Quran Easy to Understand?
« on: July 15, 2012, 11:59:52 AM »
Question by brother Mubashir Inayat
(On Facebook Page)

Dear Brother Joseph,

About Allah saying Qur'an is easy to understand, I read the following comment (which says that is not the case):

ABOUT CALLING QURAN EASY: The Ayat says:" Wa laqad YASSARNA Al-Qurana lil-Zikr, Fa hal min Muddakir". YASSARNAA, can easily mean WE HAVE MADE AVAILABLE. The verb " Muyassar karna " is a legitimate meaning of YASSARA. So, the Verse says that WE HAVE MADE QURAN AVAILABLE FOR REMEMBRANCE/FOR TAKING ADVICE/FOR LEARNING BY HEART/GUIDANCE, ETC.

Should you think it means "WE HAVE MADE IT EASY", you would better be taking a look at so many other verses that say that Quran or its understanding is "ONLY FOR THEY KNOWLEDGEABLE PEOPLE", "only for those who deliberate", "only for those who are Jurists", etc.

The actual words scattered at different places in Quran are : "LI QAUMIN YA'LAMOON", "LI-QAUMIN YATAFAKKAROON", "LI-QAUMIN YAFQAHOON", "LI-OOLIL ALBAAB", etc.

And again, Quran continues saying about general public that :"WA LAAKINNA AKSARAN-NAASA LAA-YA'LAMOON". Meaning, "the overwhelming Majority of the people do not have the capability to understand it".

The natural conclusion from the above phrases so manifestly present in Quran is that "QURAN IS NOT EASY - AND THAT IT IS FOR THE HIGHLY LEARNED TO UNDERSTAND". Of course that learned group can, in their turn, make general public understand the message in easier terms.

Can you please, when you get a chance, help us here? Thanks.

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Is the Quran Easy to Understand?
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2012, 12:46:05 PM »
Salamun Alaikum

What language is the phrase 'muyassar karna' from - Urdu / Persian?

One needs to exercise extreme caution not to impose meanings from other languages onto classical Arabic expecting identical nuances. This even surpasses the realms of etymological fallacies well known to any seasoned enquirer as a false argument.

To suggest that the Quranic 'yassarnaa' can easily mean 'we have made available' in the context cited is incorrect, especially by positing support from the usage of a similar verb in another language.

The form I (stem) verb of the root YSR is 'Yasura' which as a verbal noun means with easiness or ease. The Quran also uses the verbal noun 'yusr' in 2:185 where the word's inherent meaning can clearly be derived.

"…God desires ease (yusra) for you, and desires not hardship (usra)…"(2:185)

In the above, the verbal noun 'yusr' is clearly contrasted with 'usra' which means hardship or difficulty. So it is clear what 'yusr means' i.e. ease.

The form of the verb which has been cited in the post you have shared (54:40) is 'yassara'. The same form of the verb is used in 80:20 where the Quran says 'thumma'sabbila yassara' (Then He made the way easy or smooth). So it is clear what the verb 'yassara' means in this context as used by the Quran (easy). If the Quran was not easy for remembrance then the statement "fahal min muddkarin' (so is there any who will receive admonition) would also be meaningless in this context. The Quran is clearly inciting people to take admonition from a Quran that is easy to ponder upon.

As with part quotations bereft of context is an approach unworthy of sincere academic assessment. For example, where does the Quran say that the Quran is 'only for those who are Jurists'? Furthermore, there is a sharp contrast in suggesting that a people do not take heed or use their intellect as in verse 8:22 as opposed to saying that 'the majority people do not have the capability to understand it'.

"Indeed, the vilest of living animals, in God's sight, are the deaf, the dumb and those that do not use their intellect (Aql - Arabic: yAQLun)"

At no point to my humble knowledge does the Quran clearly assert that the majority have no 'capability' to understand the Quran. This is naught but an unwarranted interpolation.

On the other hand, the Quran questions why people don't use their intellect clearly underscoring the capacity of the masses to grasp the message.

007:169 (Part)
"... Will you not use your intellect?" (Arabic: afala tAQLun?)

The Quran even clearly asks the disbelievers to reflect (4:82), to ponder and to deliberate and uses the Arabic 'taddabur' throughout the Quran to entice people to think research / ponder intently till the matter is clear (4:82, 23:68, 38:29, 47:24).

This confirms capacity and not negate it.

Why would the Quran repeatedly ask a community to ponder on the Quran if it was beyond the realms of their faculties to comprehend or grasp?

With respect, candidness and in my humble view, the post’s central argument has no basis from a Quran's perspective and has long been used by many of various theological ilks to rest control over the Quran's interpretation.

'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell