Wisdom behind verses with unclear indication (mutashaabih)
Fatwa No: 322657

  • Fatwa Date:7-4-2016 - Jumaadaa Al-Aakhir 29, 1437
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Assalaamu alaykum. A non-Muslim asked why Allaah put verses in the Quran that confuse people, I said that it was due to the fact that Allaah wants to make you think and ponder and engage with the Quran in order to try to understand it. I heard this somewhere. Is this correct?


All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

Allaah, The Exalted, tests His slaves with whatever trials He wishes; He tests them with blessings and deprivation, with the good and the bad, with the commandments and prohibitions. Similarly, He tests them with the verses with clear indication (muhkam) and those with unclear indication (mutashaabih). Allaah, The Exalted, says (what means): {It is He Who has sent down to you (O Muhammad) the Book; in it are verses (that are) precise - they are the foundation of the Book - and others unspecific. As for those in whose hearts is deviation (from truth), they will follow that of it which is unspecific, seeking discord and seeking an interpretation (suitable to them)...} [Quran 3:7]

Ibn Katheer  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him wrote, "Allaah tells us that in the Quran, there are verses that are precise; they are the foundation of the Book, i.e. they are clear in meaning, with no confusion for anyone; and there are other verses that are not entirely clear as to what they mean for many or for some people. The one who refers that which is unclear to him to that which is clear and uses the clear verses to understand what is not clear to him will be guided, but the one who does the opposite will go astray."

Shaykh Ibn ʻUthaymeen  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him wrote:

"Allaah, The Exalted, divided the Holy Quran into two categories: the verses that are precise (muhkam) and those that are not entirely clear (mutashaabih) ... The wisdom behind revealing the Quran in these two types is that this is a test, because those in whose hearts is deviation will follow that which is not entirely clear and will thus remain confused. Those who are well-versed in knowledge, however, believe in all of it, both that which is not entirely clear and that which is precise; they know that it is from Allaah and that there is no contradiction in it. An example of verses that are not entirely clear are the verses in which Allaah says (what means): {Then there will be no (excuse upon) examination except they will say: By Allaah, our Lord, we were not those who associated.} [Quran 6:23] along with the verse: {That Day, those who disbelieved and disobeyed the Messenger will wish they could be covered by the earth. And they will not conceal from Allaah a (single) statement.} [Quran 4:42] Someone may come along and say that they contradict one another. How can they say, 'By Allaah, our Lord, we were not those who joined others in worship with Allaah,' then it is said of them that 'they will never be able to hide a single fact from Allaah?' They quote the verses against one another in order to confuse people. But those who are well-versed in knowledge say, 'It is all from Allaah and there is no contradiction in the words of Allaah ... The Day of Resurrection will be as long as fifty thousand years, and things will change throughout that Day. The first verse is applicable to one stage and the second verse is applicable to another." [Fataawa ʻala Ad-Darb]

Hence, we come to know that the intended wisdom was to test their faith with the verses with unclear indication and not merely to make them think and ponder over the verses of the Quran.

For more benefit, please refer to fatwa 276151.

Allaah knows best.

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