Exploring Quranic Stories – Few Details Repetition
Channel: Mohammad Elshinawy
File Size: 24.60MB
The suspense is building and then just like just in time before the dad gets the guy he the guy jumps out the window or escapes from the back door hamdulillah Al Hamdulillah hold up, man, what do you mean? hamdulillah then the ocean is in front of them, Pharaohs armies behind them. And that's it. Everyone is afraid. The next person who asks me why does the Quran repeat itself? I think I'm going to tell them because I have to tell you 1000 times to clean your room. Today we have Sheikh Mohammed, as you know, we all the way from America. Today, our topic is going to be storytelling, modern storytelling versus Quranic storytelling. The differences and which is superior stories are
usually associated with children. So you will read a child a bedtime story, and there is that association. Wouldn't the Quran featuring stories reduce its intellectual vigor? Nice, good question. Bismillah Alhamdulillah wa salatu salam ala Rasulillah? Well, if you're talking about bedtime stories, maybe, but what about Instagram stories?
And I'm actually serious, right? Like if we actually pay attention and don't get locked into the word story, the accounts of other human beings and accounts if even angels and the jinn, right? Just the we're social creatures, right? We want to connect we want to walk in other people's shoes wants to sort of like peek at other people's experiences, it would be a huge disservice to assume that stories are only useful for little kids. You know the greatest surah in the Quran, Al Fatiha in it we ask Allah azza wa jal to guide us the straight path within a letter to just leave it there. He alludes to the stories of the best of people by saying the path of those which is the story the
accounts of those whom you favored, because you want to feel like oh, this is doable, and people have done it and so I can do it Allah can grant me this and so that is the power of stories they're like God's army to carry you to better places when you utilize it correctly. You know, Junaid Rahim Allah He used to say
Altisource June Domingo de la stories are the soldiers of God, right? They carry his values his worldview into the hearts and souls of the believers. And even the prophets also let himself was dependent on stories for reaching that unmatched or matchless pinnacle of human excellence. Allah azza wa jal said, you know, Akula Nakazawa, they came in, and they are also the man with a b2b he for others. And all these stories we relate to you, even you or Muhammad, is something by which we anchor your heart with we strengthen you with these stories that relates to a question that I've been thinking about for a while, which I've never gotten an answer to, which is,
the chronic chronic stories are different modern storytelling, modern storytelling is, there's a character, he's a flawed individual. He's heartbreaking. He's going through all these trials and tribulations when he causes some of his own, you know, trials and tribulations as he's going throughout the story. And you see such flawed characters and you relate to that. But then you see the characters featured within the Quran, and they just prophets, how are we supposed to relate to these stories when they just sit above us? Well, clearly, we're reading the same Quran because there's only one version. But maybe we need to just take a little bit more time to pause and pay
attention to the phonics stories because the Quran I don't want to be inappropriate, and so it goes out of its way. But the Quran goes to great lengths to establish the humanity of the prophets. They're actually human.
And even the Quran says that it would not be wise for us to send angels had we sent angels that people would not have been able to read admire them, but you wouldn't be able to relate to them. And that's why the Quran says if we even if we sent an angel, we'd have to dress them like a man. They'd have to look like men, women, humans, right. And so let's look at the story of Musa la sera, it's, you know, extremely humanizing. How many times is the facet of fear, captured in use of Falaise in I'm sorry, in Musala. He's salaams story, like he is
fleeing from Egypt fearful. And then he has that appointment with Allah subhanho wa taala. I'm super fast forwarding
at the blessed Valley, and Allah tells him to throw down the snake and throw down the staff and it becomes a snake and he tells him take it, not just take it, take it and don't be afraid. Now just take it and don't be afraid. intercommunal. Amany Hooda Well, that's a half enactment. I mean, take it and don't be straining to work him through his fears. Meaning we're all we're all life's a journey. We're all part of the process. It's it's not an event. Islam is a process. It's really built for the human being. It's just the natural religion.
So take it and don't be afraid because you could take it while afraid. But you can also not be afraid and still get bit so take it and don't be afraid. I promise you, you will be safe. So then you think he graduated right? He's not running from sort of the fear anymore but no, he's sent to Pharaoh along with his brother huddle and, and Allah says oh Jessa Fein FC he FIFA Musa that he detected when he stood in front of sort of intimidating, you know, presence of fear on all of the armies and the soldiers and all of this. He sends experience fear within himself Musa did. So it's actually if you pay attention, there's a graduation, a gradual, you know, progression happening
here. First time through, down came a snake he ran this time in front of Pharaoh, he scared but within himself he was able to sort of mask it, hide it. And then Allah told him, let us off again, don't be afraid in again, tell Allah you will be supreme today you will sort of when we conquer today. And then you fast forward, he takes his people and rescues them or you know, takes them to escape the persecution, then the ocean is in front of them. Pharaohs armies behind them. And that's it. Everyone is afraid. And they say in LM with Rocco, and we're certainly there's no doubt about it, we will certainly be caught. This time he says absolutely not. No fear today, graduation day,
right. And so if you're paying attention, this has happened so much. And even the prophets also added him he said by Allah subhanaw taala if you fear them, if you fear this, if you fear that. And so these are human natural fears and our faith, when it is fed our fears starve to death. That's that's the message here that even the prophets had to go through this.
So that relatable. Absolutely, we just need to pay a little more attention. And it's interesting, you mentioned this, like the character development that you see with Mussolini's and the way that one stages la more scared and then gradually he overcomes that. So it's the hero's story just told better. Exactly right. We always read about like the hero hero, the hero's journey, right? Yeah, heroes are, but the thing with modern storytelling is it's very cohesive. Whereas the Quran tells one part of the story here, another part of the story there, and it's up to us to go and try and piece it all together. Why does the cran do that in complete contrast to how we understand
storytelling today? Yeah, there's so many points of contrast, but to that point, the scholars you know, they call are attended some of the potential wisdoms. They say that, you know, this helps, among other things, us understand the purpose of that segment of the story being told, you see, it is told in context, if you try to pay attention to what's happening before it and what's happening after it, right, you all this is why the story is being told here. And that's part of the beauty of the Quran. It's not just a story for a story. It doesn't sort of, it's not even built in a way built out in a way built. I know like literature wise, I don't mean to sort of like misappropriated that
term for or misapplied to Allah speech, subhanaw taala, but in a way that prevents you, which is a very human tendency to sort of fall into what they call cognitive dissonance, which is like intellectual disconnect. Or it's just like, you immerse yourself in the story. And you forget, wait, wait, wait, this is supposed to be a purposeful story, not an entertaining story. Yes, of course. They're fascinating. But that's not the point. The point is much higher than that, right? It's to carve the moral framework of Islam into your soul. That's what it's for. And so it's almost like before you fall asleep, and just keep watching passively. Here's what it's for. And I'll come back
out, right, here's a glimpse of that. It's like citing, it's more like preaching than it is storytelling, right? It's more like citing, as a reference a certain part of the story, for the big picture, the theme of the hutzpah, if you will, that's an important part of it. Because you know, it can be very dangerous. It could make the story useless if you just sort of sink into just the passive observer role, and it could also become very dangerous. Not the Quranic stories, but just in general, like you think of these love stories that people just humanly, we love, love. It's normal, right? So there's this appeal, of course, sometimes unethical and contrary to the virtue of modesty
and Islam and modest shame, but like when the two lovebirds are, like, finding obstacles, so they elope, right, they run away. And then you know, they're about to get caught by her father. And like, you know, this suspense is building and then just like, just in time, before the dad gets the guy hit, the guy jumps out the window or escapes from the back door, and then you go
hamdulillah Al Hamdulillah hold up, man, what do you mean? Hamdulillah? What if that was your daughter? Would you want to say you just sided with shaitan? unconsciously? Right. And so, Allah azza wa jal of course that type of story does exist in the Quran, but Allah azza wa jal wants you in the driver's seat, right? He wants you to say, Okay, I'm watching and I'm listening and I'm hearing the
story for this very specific purpose. That's of the wisdoms, right. And other wisdom is to keep people attached to the Quran, keep them thinking, right, like parts of it point to each other. And also parts of it, it shows the brilliance, the linguistic brilliance of the Quran, that you can say the same story reiterated in so many different ways, and yet they're all compatible, right? That's another reason why the stories of the Quran repeat or are sort of interspersed or like segmented in different parts of the Quran. You mentioned, the differences between the storytelling that we are accustomed to, and the storytelling, the grand storytelling of the Quran is purposeful. Whereas the
stories of our day is you just get so engrossed in what's happening, that you lose track of what the meaning is, or what the moral of the story is. That can probably be another reason why the Quran doesn't include too many details within the storytelling in complete contrast, again to modern storytelling, where it's encouraged to put details it's encouraged to build the law of this universe, build story, build story world for sure. I mean, even the Tamia Rahim, Allah the great scholar meets me he says that, you know, perhaps a stronger opinion is that when Allah azza wa jal said, national episodic accidental causes we relate to you isn't sort of the use of at the beginning
of sort of use of we relate to you the best accent cos stories, would be a test of CSS classes means storytelling, meaning the style of the storytelling is best. Not that this story here and now that you're about to hear sort of use of is the best story of all. And there's a lot to substantiate this. It's a great story for sure. And a true story for sure. And a purposeful story for sure. What it was more about Allah speaking about the unique storytelling style through the word castles, not any one particular story through the word castle stories. And part of that is what you said that what's best about it is that it's not even just true. And it's not just like you go to the end, the
sort of use of Allah says,
luck again, if you're constantly him their stories, have a rebuttal or lesson, the only Al Bab for people that are thinking as part of like, why is it jumping? Right? Keep to keep you thinking, you're not just, and then it says McKenna Hadith, and you'll start off, it is not a lie. So it's not just true stories, but they're true stories, not just that have morals because humans can have true stories that have morals, right, there's like, there could be a news story that has a moral to it. Don't commit crime or something, right. But the way it's styled is that is it allows for the morals to reach you. It's not lesson oriented. It's less than orienting it orients you through repetition,
through style, through omitting the distracting details. Human nature, we sort of, you know, what kind of tree did Adam and Eve eat from people have discussed this in human history? Right? What were the names? Or what were the numbers of the boys in the cave, you've missed the whole point. Right? It reframes for you in a way that carries the lesson effectively into your heart. And so and think about it what other book has ever done that? What movie what book what music video, what form of literature, art has ever transformed hearts and minds for a millennium and a half the way the Quran does, I was thinking about that question was grand not include many details, and I was going through
your article, and I was understanding or learning about the wisdoms in theory, or practically, so didn't make too much sense to me. Until that night. I was on the phone with my friend. And he was explaining a story.
The story took one hour to explain, yeah, I entered a room and, you
know, my dad was there and my mom was there and my dad was upset, and my mom for this. I'm like, wow, that's why the Quran excludes all these details, because he got lost explaining the story itself, let alone me understanding what the meaning of the story was. Once you ponder these questions, why why does the Quran do this and you try and be sincere about it, like examples would just come up to you in your own life. Subhanallah and it was very interesting to go through that.
The other question that I have is, why are some stories mentioned all over the place many times over? And some stories only mentioned once? What what what could be one of the wisdoms behind that? Yeah, the scholars
you know, gave so many answers actually.
One of them that they often cite is the fact that the Quran was never intended to be memorized entirely by everyone. Right? That never happened in Islamic history. You almost never had like the overwhelming majority of any city or town or society or civilization that memorized the whole Quran. And so there are certain archetypes right personalities you need to know about you need to know there was a Noah you need to know there was a Moses you need to know there was a feral, you know, every and then every Pharaoh will meet his Moses
Right, every meat is drowning, and so on and so forth. These are as they often call them archetypal. That's not to mean that they're like fictional or symbolic. They're real. But they're representative of an entire class of people that will continue to emerge until the end of time. And so whether you know a bit or much of the Quran, you need to know certain personalities, certain stories, even the short version of the story, but you can't not know the story. That's a part of it. Another part of it is because we need to hear something over and over and over again, for it to stick. Like I think I wrote somewhere in the article that the next person who asks me why does the Quran repeat itself?
I think I'm going to tell them because I have to tell you 1000 times to clean your room.
And we can all relate to that line. It's obviously intended a little bit in Light Spirits, but that's the thing. We we are we are all little kids in a sense. We all have dirty rooms or messy rooms up here. And in here, in our minds in our hearts. Yeah. And so it needs repetition for the sake of effective reinforcement, scripting, not just scripting, reinforcement in terms of inspiration, motivation. And the Quran is very explicit about the Quran is not intended really, to teach you as much as of course teaches us so much priceless teachings that we can never arrive at without the Quran telling us them but to motivate you like what is the Quran, it's a reminder. Why
is it a reminder, because we are hardwired for heedlessness as human beings. It's just built into us the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, he said,
When ESEA add them fantasy at 32 and add them forgot the primordial story of man right Adam forgot at a Salam. And so his progeny his offspring are destined to forget. It's in us right? And we all know this. If we want to know how much repetition we need, even as adults think of the most powerful, tear jerking, you know, transformative or so you thought reminder you ever got something that rocked your world, something that you know, pulled out of you the best intentions you ever made, made you a series as ever about turning things around in a better direction. Could have been a janazah could have been Ramadan, whatever it is. It wanes. It sort of tapers off, this is our
nature. Faith goes up and down. Right. And so faith needs, you know, consistent fueling and refuelling the Prophet SAW Selim said in the Lima last last video for your headache, that faith deteriorates, withers away inside of one of you the same way garments with their way, you can't stop it from happening, meaning forever and perfectly. He says so ask Allah to constantly renew the faith in your heart. One of the ways Allah already response to that is the Quran. And so coming close to the Quran is your answer. You know, it'll bring you to the Quran to do that. It just reinf like the example I gave something like a watershed moment or some huge reminder. It's like a wake up call,
right? It's like dumping ice cold water on you. When you throw ice cold water on something that's rock hard. Think of a stone you throw ice cold water on it a whole bucket. It's trying to do anything, it's gonna remove some of the dust. It's not gonna do anything with when you have a consistent drop, trickle, trickle, trickle trickle, you finally puncture a hole through that rock. So that these are of the wisdoms also because, you know, I'm not sure I believe him a whole lot. He said this that in his commentary on the Quran, that the Arabs, one of the things they could not do was tell stories. Because, you know, you're regulated by the stanzas of poetry, the syllables and
the measures of you know, caleffi There is a very
strict regulation, you know, the compositional structures, right, you had to abide by them. And so for that reason, they would all outdo each other in saying things in short ways. That's why I'm 30 metaphors. And basic fish be like imagery like like the sun, like the buckets, right? Was as far as they can go. You can't do long winded explanations and stay eloquent within sort of the registers. The Quran comes and blows all of this out of the water. I didn't just say the story. I just said the story. 15 different ways. Give me one, right? It's the humble the masters of rhetoric in the human history.
And that's a powerful one, right allows you to seeing to the quote unquote, Shakespeare's of the world, you can give me one, you can say, Oh, the Quran can't be matched. This story can only be told one way. Well, I just told it 10 different ways. You can give me the 11 powerful and similar events as well, not just the story what the similar event Yeah, and you know, the more you repeat, also, the higher the likelihood is that you're going to contradict yourself, you want to repeat because the core is not really repeating. It's sort of repeating in with some variations and diversity. So when you diversify the expressions, the more expressions you use for the same sort of account or
event or scene
The higher the likelihood is that they're going to sort of contradict each other eventually, and yet it never does. That's another powerful facet of the Quran repeating itself. And also let me say one last one. The Quran is sometimes repeating itself, but not really we already said that, but for different purposes. And you know, the scholars give the example of psychotic looks like Makati the most authoritative Hadith book we have in our Islamic tradition, everyone prays the genius of the Al Bukhari Rahim Allah, not just in authentication, per se, but his ability to use one Hadith in so many different ways for so many different rulings, right? They say that the genius understanding of
the body is into Wiebe he, in his classification of the Hadith, what chapters he puts them in, right? And so if that's the body, we're so impressed by, like one Hadith, he uses it for different ways, or six different ways. That's why I'm glad he's like, 1000 Hadith, but they're really like 2000 change, because he's repurposing them. Then what about the creator of the psyche of Buhari, how he uses the same story to prove a whole spectrum of different points, each in their respective context? One thing that I came across in your article that while I was reading, or read that section, and had to stop, Mike, CD is very beautiful. None of my stuff, so I can call it as
beautiful as that, as I care to call it. What that section was explaining further explaining why the client mentions one story once. And some stories multiple times. Oh, yeah. And that was if not Gala. Yeah, that was probably the gem of the whole favor. I came across that and I should let all the listeners know that I enjoyed this paper so much, because I learned the most in it, Dr. Yusuf Webb sort of walked me through the resources about this subject manually. And I'm very indebted to him. He's the director of sort of Quranic Sciences at CFA Institute, which is right that point. Yeah, Dr. Use of the world should know him and forget about me. He basically walked me through the preparation
of this paper. You know, I had like a few nuggets in mind about why I appreciate Quranic stories, and maybe some tidbits here and there that I've sort of picked up over the years and documented somewhere. But he just really brought it to an exponentially different levels was the scholars name, Dr. Yusuf Webb. Oh, orthogonality. Sorry. That's not the law. If not Clayton McKee, Rahim, Allah Allah, He says, it's not just that the Quran repeats itself that you want to pay attention to. It is how much the Quran mentions which stories. So the stories with quote unquote, happy endings, right, the stories of prosperity, they're mentioned much more, much less
frequently than the stories of adversity. And it should be that way. Because this protects the human being from sort of living in lala land, imagining what is the number one reason why people go atheist is because they have faulty expectations about this world, they expect this world to be paradise, wrong expectation, right? And it's it's not paradise. They're all upset at God to the point that they overreact and say, I don't believe in you. They don't actually it actually doesn't correlate.
human suffering doesn't automate that God doesn't exist. There's other explanations out there. Even honest atheists admit that. But the point is it that sense of entitlement or that faulty expectation breeds so much frustration in the human experience, right? And so the Quran comes and the amount of times it speaks about adversity, sort of seamlessly, organically instills in you that oh, man, look at everybody, it's like that. Whereas the happy endings, because they're not that common in this life. There are of course, there's fulfillment, there's inner peace that no one can get without faith, but it's there to carry you through life for the true happy ending. Because every Happy
Ending out there will sort of be done in a day or two or three, it won't be as happy anymore. If you find happiness, it won't remain, and it'll probably disappoint you what if it doesn't disappoint you, it'll sort of get disrupted. There's just no way around it. And so you don't want to build this Disney image, this overly romanticized image of the nature of this world by mentioning too many of those stories, right? The Cinderella story is not a story of this world. This world is an exam room. The exam sheet is this world. It serves its purpose, the sheet gets shredded, you move on to the other room, where the prices are being distributed. The proportionality he says of the Quranic
stories, is that it's so instilled in us that notion that realism, existential realism how to understand the reality of existence so liberating, isn't it? Locate us to find this story? The success archetype, right? Yeah, he goes through tribulations and those that wronged him at the end, or apologize and all prostrate before him and he's like in his high position, and that's that he subdued his legacy in society, and he's like, happily ever after. So success archetype.
But very uncommon, so we don't get much right you hear about it once.
But everyone wants that success archetype for themselves in this dunya Yeah, so Allah braces us from sort of that, that trauma by reminding us that you're on the path of some of the greatest human beings ever. Who God loved them so much. And yet they went through adversities you know, I just heard recently
From shefford dead with the famous mortality scholar I didn't have a chance to look it up yet but he cites it and he's, he's solid. You don't have to fact check after him too much that even if he had Rahim Allah and His commentary on the Quran said about the idea we're in Allah speaks about a yield valleys salaam sutra Ambia Allah speaks with a Ubal SLM job, we all know he went through decades of losing his health and his wealth and his family and these challenges, right? May Allah spirits we don't have to go through that. But usually the closer you are to Allah, because he knows you can handle it, he raises your level even more with adversity, so he went through something exceptionally
difficult. But Allah says what we mentioned this to you vicarage Hill IV Dean as a reminder for the worshipers, meaning for everyone who worships Allah don't ever think you're not important to me that I hate you that I don't love you because I'm putting you through this. It's actually out of love that I'm doing this for you. Just
like look at my brother. And yeah, definitely check out the article campaigns so you can just Google it to gain Quranic storytelling. And may Allah bless all you guys and your work and everyone else don't forget to subscribe to these guys. I'm about to because I didn't know the channel existed and mashallah, how are you guys doing great work I see your your YouTube plaque and may Allah use you for Hey, grant your sincerity and forgive us all for any pitfalls that may happen on route and inspire us to live our lives devoted to him and helping ease people's path towards him LOM I mean,