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Arabic word has many meanings

Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,

As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.  (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)



One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:

“The nature of arabic language may allow more than one and sometimes opposite meanings of the same word. for e.g. as asa may mean to advance or to retreat (Surah at.takwir:17). The word mahid may mean period of a woman’s menstruation or the actual body region where menses occurs.This results in diverse fiqhi position.” Written in the book ‘Fiqh us Sunnah’by As-Sayyid Sabbiq.


After this there were many examples cited, ( I couldn’t mention them due to the shortage of time)which showed how the various leaders or the hadith writers differed and sometimes very opposite to one another.


Also in various places in the same book there were many sayings of Prophet Mohammed but were taken in various ways. I’m really confused now as to follow what.


I know your reply would be to follow the Holy Quran and the Sunnah but how ? Because I started reading the books in which Allah or Allah’s messengers sayings are written ,only after you said..Please enlighten me coz now I am completely baffled after your mails. 


(There may be some grammatical and spelling errors in the above statement. The forum does not change anything from questions, comments and statements received from our readers for circulation in confidentiality.)




Arabic word has many meanings

In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His  forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad(saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.


The truth is that some words in any language may be used for more than one meaning. But when read in its context, one who knows the language and understands its context, will have no doubt as to what it means.


Lets take a simple example in the English language for the word ‘drop’:

  1. There was a drop of blood on his clothes.
  2. I was supposed to drop him to the airport.
  3. He was told to put his hands up, and drop his gun.
  4. If you drop tea on the sofa, the stain will stay forever.
  5. If you cry and the tears drop on your cheeks, we will know you were upset.


In any language, there are many words that can be used in different ways; but the one who understands the language and reads it in context, will always easily understand the meaning.


Your Statement: I’m really confused now as to follow what. I know your reply would be to follow the Holy Quran and the Sunnah but how ? Because I started reading the books in which Allah or Allah’s messengers sayings are written ,only after you said..

We still say that you follow only what Allah says in the Holy Quran, and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (saws); and if Allah wills, that is what we will keep on saying till our last breath, Insha Allah!


The reason is that there is absolutely no confusion in most of the aayahs of the Holy Quran; unless one tries to take one word or one phrase from the aayah, and try to interpret its meaning in isolation. If one reads the Holy Quran in context, seeking guidance from the All Merciful Lord, he will never ever be confused or mis-guided.


Allah says in the Holy Quran in Chapter 3 Surah Ale Imran verse 7:

It is Allah, Who sent down this Quran to you. (There are two kinds of verses in the Book.) In it are verses Basic or Fundamental (of established meanings which can be easily understood), and they are the essence or foundation of the Book. And the other verses are Allegorical or Ambiguous. Those in whose hearts is perversity will always go for the Allegorical or Ambiguous verses, seeking discord and trying to search for their hidden meanings. None, except Allah, knows their real meanings(Ta’aweel)! In contrast to them, those who are firmly grounded in knowledge, say: “We believe in them all, because all of them are from our Lord.


In the above verse Allah Subhanah Himself declares that there are two kinds of verses in the Quran; one, whose verses are basic or fundemental and of established meanings that can easily be understood, and the other which are allegorical or ambiguous. Allah also declares that the ones which are basic or fundemental are the essence or foundation of the Book!


But there are some allegorical verses (like Alif. Laam. Meem., etc.), whose meanings are known to Allah Alone! Allah declares that those in whose hearts is a disease or perversity, always go after these allegorical and ambiguous verses, and try to interpret them arbitrarily; seeking discord and trying to search for their hidden or mystic meanings.


Thus, those whose hearts are clean, and do not have the disease of hypocrisy and perversity, never have a problem understanding the clear aayahs of the Holy Quran. They trust the words of the Holy Quran, because they know with certainty that these are the very Words of their Lord and Creator, which He has revealed for their guidance.


Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 16 Surah Nahl verse 89:

We have sent down to you this Book, which makes everything plain, and is a guidance, blessing and good news to those who have surrendered themselves entirely.


Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 18 Surah Kahf verse 1-3:

All praise is for Allah Alone, Who has sent down this Book to His Servant (Mohamed (saws), and assigned nothing crooked to it. This Book says everything directly, so that he may warn the people of the severe chastisement of Allah and give good news to the believers, who do righteous deeds, that they will have an excellent reward.


Allah says in Chapter 2, Surah Baqarah aayat 185:

"Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was sent down: this Book is a perfect guidance for mankind and consists of CLEAR teachings which show the right way and are a Criterion of the Truth and falsehood."


Allah Subhanah Himself declares that the Quran is clear, plain, direct, and a Criterion between the Truth and falsehood!


Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allah’s Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.


Your Brother in Islam,






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