Coherence in the Quran
A Study of Islahi's Concept of Nazm in Tadabur-I Quran
A widely held view about the Qur'an is that, in its received form, it lacks coherence. Not surprisingly, most approaches to the Qur'an have remained atomistic in character. Also, some Western scholars have tried to rearrange the Qur'an in order to make it 'more comprehensible'.
The contemporary Pakistani scholar Amin Ahsan Islahi rejects the view that the Qur'an is disjoined. Developing the seminal ideas and insights of his teacher, Hamid ad-Di al-Farahi, he has argued in Tadabbur-i Qur'an, his multi-volume Qur'an commentary, that the Qur'an possesses a nazm or coherence that is not only aesthetically pleasing but carries profound hermeneutical significance.
According to Islahi, the Qur'an is marked by thematic and structural nazm on three levels, those of the individual surah, the surah pair, and the surah group. Proceeding from this nazm premise, Islahi offers many valuable insights and fresh interpretations, and, more important, works out a methodology for studying the Qur'an that may well alter our perception of the kind of book the Qur'an is.
This is the first detailed study of Islahi's contribution to Qur'an exegesis. After putting a historical perspective on the idea of nazm in the Qur'an, it makes a critical examination of the major aspects of Islahi's theory of Qur'anic nazm, and tries to assess the significance of this new approach to the Qur'an.