What are the affairs of wisdom which are mentioned in the Surah Duhan in the Quran (44. The Evident Smoke), and who does make them distinct?

Details of the Question

What are the affairs of wisdom which are mentioned in the Surah Duhan in the Quran (44. The Evident Smoke), and who does make them distinct?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Allah is Hakim (the All-Wise) and every deed of Allah is wise.

Since both causes and effects are created by Allah, Allah is the owner of all deeds whether they are based on a reason or not; and He makes them distinct.

The verses regarding the issue are given below.

“Ha-Mim. By the Book that makes things clear; We sent it down during a Blessed Night: for We (ever) wish to warn (against Evil). In the (Night) is made distinct every affair of wisdom, By command, from Our Presence. For We (ever) send (revelations), As Mercy from thy Lord: for He hears and knows (all things);” (ad-Duhan, 44/1-6)

The sentence “In the (Night) is made distinct” in the verse means “It is made distinct, and determined by Allah in that holy night”. Allah is the one who determines and who makes anything distinct.

The word “حَكِيمٍ” (Hakim) in the verse means wise. For, Allah’s giving life, livelihood, death, happiness and unhappiness or etc. to every creature shows Allah’s superior wisdom. Since those deeds are the evidences of the doer’s wisdom, those verbs themselves described as wise (“حَكِيمٍ”), which is a metaphor. For, wise is the attribute of the real doer. Therefore, the description of the deeds with that attribute is a metaphor. (see Fakhruddin Razi the interpretation of the verses in question)

The thing which is sworn by is precious and important; and sometimes it is holy. In this verse, the one who swears is Allah and the thing sworn by is the Holy Quran; the aim is to state how important and precious this book is.

“Mubarak” means lucky, good, blessed, precious. Allah may reward as holy and divine some of the places and times which He created and may make them special for some of the important things and deeds of worship to be done at those times and places. Allah may also give thawabs and rewards to His servants who fulfill their duties at those places and times, Allah may reward them and may give them gifts because of those true deeds. This is normal and there is nothing strange about it.

The nights known as “blessed nights”, Ramadan days and nights, eves of eids, Masjid al-Haram In Mecca, Masjid an-Nabawi in Medina, Masjid al-Aqsa in al-Quds (Jerusalem) , the land where the Kaaba is located are important examples for those holy times and places.

The Quran started to be revealed in Ramadan (Surah: al-Baqara 2/185, Surah al-Qadr 97/1) and there are also some narrations that the other holy books were also revealed in Ramadan;  according to some narrations, the Quran started to be sent down in the last ten days of the Ramadan (Qurtubi, XVI, 124).

In the verse, the phrase “We sent it down” may mean “sent down all of it” or it can be understood as “we started sending it down”.

It is a historical fact that Quran was revelated in 23 years part by part; so, it is possible to refer the second meaning as well.

There is another explanation stating that the Quran was totally sent down in one night (the night of power) from Allah to the spiritual realm, where Gabriel (Jibril) is in, and that it was sent down to the Messenger of Allah part by part in 23 years.

There are some narrations stating that the night when the Quran was sent down and  every affair of wisdom was given to the angels to fulfill could be the fifteenth night of Shaban, which was later called Night of Barat  (Qurtubi, XVI, 125)

While it is stated that “all the affairs of wisdom” are made distinct on that night, it is also stated that the Quran was made distinct on that night too. So, it means “that night is the night when all the affairs of wisdom were made distinct and that the Quran was made distinct on that night too”

Since “sending down” and “sending” are mentioned before and after the phrase “made distinct”, the meaning of the phrase here is explained.

The Quran is the thing which was sent down with the command of Allah or, according to another explanation, which was made distinct and sent down as the command of Allah. What is meant by the phrase “making distinct” is sending down, sending it to people  via Jibril and the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

That the phrase “making distinct” is used along with “sending (down)” aims to show that all deeds, whether it is the Quran or any other pre-determined wise deed, are made distinct and that they are transformed into practice from theory, into qada from qadar, into actualization from plan, into realization from knowledge and into creation from design.

As a matter of fact, the same phrase “making distinct” is used in the surah of “Isra” (17/106) to state that the parts of the Quran were sent to the Prophet Muhammad in due time.

In those verses, which were explained above,, the following outstanding attributes and features listed below are explained by virtually being highlighted:

1. The Quran is such a precious book that Allah swears by it.

2. It was sent by Allah.

3. It started to be sent down on a night which is worthy of its glory and significance.

4. Throughout human history, Allah sent prophets and books to show His servants the true path and to warn them. The Quran is a book of that series and it is a guide, a book of warning and a book showing the true path.

5. With all those qualifications, the Quran is a mercy from Allah; it is an evidence of Allah’s love and mercy to the servants. (See: Razi, ibid.)

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