The proof of the divine origin of the Qur’an is embedded within the Qur’an itself. Majority of the scholars hold that it is the special use of the Arabic language that makes the Qur’an miraculous. And an understanding of the science of Balagha is necessary to appreciate this miracle.
Balagha consists of 3 sciences:
1. Ilm ul ma’ani – how to take what is possible in the Arabic language and format it such that it best suits the requirement of the occasion e.g. when to do taqdeem or ta’kheer, whether to use emphasis or not etc. This depends on a good understanding of the sentiments of the audience.
2. Ilm ul-bayan – how to convey a meaning in various degrees of clarity and obscurity e.g. speaking directly or using a metaphor (Isti’aara, Kinayah, Tamtheel).
3. Ilm ul badee’ – embellishments e.g. Imam Taftazani says in the khutbah:
يقول العبد الفقير الى الله الغني
Here the imam contrasts الفقير with الغني which is an example of embellishment.
3 authors are involved in the book Mukhtasar al Ma’ani:
1. Imam as-Sakkaaki wrote on nine sciences out of which the last 3 were on Balagha. His book was called Miftaah al-Uloom.
2. Imam Qazwini rewrote the sections on Balagha in the Miftaah and named his work Talkhees ul Miftaah.
3. Imam Taftazani wrote a longer commentary on the Talkhees called Al Mutawwal. But after being repeatedly requested to rewrite the commentary in an easier-to-understand manner, he wrote a more concise commentary on Imam Qazwini’s Talkhees and named it Mukhtasar al Ma’ani.
Understanding some of the linguistic tools employed in the introduction (ختبة الكتاب):
Mushabbah – the thing that is likened to something
Mushabbah bihi – the thing likened to
E.g. In “Zayd is a lion” (meaning Zayd is courageous), “Zayd” is the mushabbah and “lion” is the Mushabbah bihi.
Isti’aara bil Kinayah – the speaker only mentions the mushabbah without mentioning the mushabbah bihi.
Isti’aara Musarraha – the speaker only mentions the mushabbah bihi without mentioning the mushabbah.
Isti’aara takhyeeliyyah – the necessary attribute of the mushabbah bihi that is established for the mushabbah
Tarsheeh or Isti’aara Tarsheehiyyah – an additional element of the mushabbah bihi that is mentioned.
أذاقه حلاوة التحقيق
“May He make him taste the sweetness of research/scholarship.”
Scholarship (mushabbah) is being likened to sweets (mushabbah bihi), but sweets themselves are not explicitly mentioned.
Therefore, the mentioning of التحقيق and omission of sweets is an example of Isti’aara bil Kinayah.
Sweetness (حلاوة) is the necessary attribute of the mushabbah bihi (sweets) that is established for التحقيق (mushabbah). This is an example of Isti’aara takhyeeliyyah.
The added element of the mushabbah bihi that is also included in the sentence on top of حلاوة is the attribute of tasting. أذاقه – “He made him taste…”. This additional mention of “tasting” the sweetness is Tarsheeh.
2. Sifah describing something associated with the mawsoof, not the mawsoof itself:
…محمد المؤيد دلائل إعجازه ب…
“…Muhammad, the proofs of whose miraculousness are supported by…”
المؤيد onwards is sifah to محمد, but دلائل is na’ib fa’il to المؤيد. So المؤيد is not directly describing محمد, but rather دلائل.
Another example: “The man came to me, the father of whom is a scholar.”
3. Dalaalatu al-Tadammun:
و أغنيته بالإصباح عن المصباح
When you say a word and only intend part of its meaning as opposed to the whole meaning it’s known in logic (mantiq) as Dalaalatu al-Tadammun. E.g. When you mention knife to mean just the blade as opposed to the entire thing including the handle, screws etc.
In the above sentence, إصباح is used in that manner. إصباح means to “enter into the morning” but only “morning”, which is only part of the meaning, is meant here.
4. Sifah made mudaaf to its mawsoof:
استطلاع طوالع أنواره
“Extracting the brightness of its shining lights”
This is reformatted from أنواره الطالعة (shining bright lights). So it can be translated as “Extracting its shining bright lights”.
Another example: خبيات أسراره (its concealed secrets), which is reformatted from أسراره الخبيات.