How did the people in the past understand the stages of three veils of darkness in verse 6 of the chapter of az-Zumar?

The Details of the Question

- This book was sent down to us so that we would understand it; besides, this verse is presented as a miracle of the Quran. It prepossessed my mind and I wanted to ask you about it:

- Did the people of that time (in the first periods of the Quran) understand this sentence?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

- There are scholars who understand the three veils of darkness as the “abdomen, uterus and placenta”. Some scholars understand the “back” instead of the abdomen.  (Zamakhshari, Razi, the relevant place)

It is stated that this interpretation belongs to Ibn Abbas, Mujahid and Ikrima. (see Tabari, Qurtubi, the relevant place)

Qatada, Suddi and Ibn Zay also hold this view. (ibid)

To sum up, according to the interpretations that have been accepted, the three veils of darkness are the mother’s “abdomen, uterus and placenta”.

Some scholars used man’s “back” instead of placenta. (see Baydawi, the relevant place)

- As it is mentioned in the question, “This book was sent down to us so that we would understand it.”

Who are we?

We are not only the people who lived fifteen centuries ago or who lived later. We are people with different levels of knowledge and culture of all ages in those fifteen centuries.  

Since the Quran addresses us / all of us, its style of expression should encompass the issues that would be understood and learned by people of all ages, not some ages.

People of all levels should receive their shares from the Quran based on their own capacities.

“Just as when some words of the Quran like “All praise and thanks be to Allah” are recited, they fill a cave, which is the ear of a mountain, in the same way that they fill the tiny ears of a fly, so too the Quran’s meanings satisfy ears like mountains in the same way that with the same words they teach and satisfy tiny simple minds, like a fly."

"For the Quran calls to belief all the levels of men and jinn. It teaches the sciences of belief to all."

"In which case, the most lowly of the common people kneels shoulder to shoulder with the most elevated of the elite, and together they listen to the Qur’an’s teachings and benefit from them."

"That is to say, the Holy Quran is a heavenly repast at which the thousands of different levels of minds, intellects, hearts, and spirits find their nourishment. Their desires are fulfilled and their appetites are satisfied. In fact, numerous of its doors remain closed and are left to those who will come in the future. (Nursi, Sözler, p. 390-391)

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