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On the Subject of yashāʼ in Some Qurʼānic Verses

Authors:

Abstract

This paper investigates a number of Qurʼānic verses that feature the verb yashāʼ, meaning 'to will' or 'to wish', preceded by the relative pronoun man 'مَنْ', in relation to the concepts of guidance and misguidance. The available interpretations of these verses maintain that Allāh guides whom He wishes and misguides whom He wishes. In other words, these standard interpretations assign Allāh the status of the subject of yashāʼ, and assign the relative pronoun man the status of an object. I claim that these interpretations are not accurate with regard to the subject of yashāʼ. I argue that the relative pronoun man should be analyzed as the subject of yashāʼ, not as an object. Using evidence from the Holy Qurʼān and Sunnah, I show that the subject of yashāʼ may not be Allah Almighty, but rather the human being himself/herself. To show how the new interpretation is derived, I provide a syntactic analysis of the sentence that contains the free relative clause man yashāʼ, according to which man 'مَنْ' moves from a subject position, which means that it should be construed as a subject. The observed structural ambiguity thus results from an interpretation where man moves from an object position. The proposed linguistic analysis supports the view that the human being chooses the path, good or evil, that he/she wants to pursue; that is, Allah does not lead the human being along a predetermined path, which is the position adopted by Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jamāʻah. Thus, this paper provides evidence against the Jabriyya doctrine, according to which human beings are compelled to follow a specific path.
Rashid AL-BALUSHI Journal of Islamic Research. 2022;33(2):596-616
596
ARAŞTIRMA VE İNCELEME RESEARCH
On the Subject of

in
Some Qurʼ



Rashid AL-BALUSHIa,b
aDepartment of English Language
and Literature,
College of Arts and Social Sciences,
bSultan Qaboos University,
Muscat
Received: 26.05.2021
Received in revised form: 09.05.2022
Accepted: 10.05.2022
Available online: 19.08.2022
Correspondence:
Rashid AL-BALUSHI
Sultan Qaboos University,
College of Arts and Social Sciences,
Muscat
rash5222@squ.edu.om
Copyright © 2022 by İslâmî Araştırmalar
ABSTRACT This paper investigates a number of Qurʼ     

,
meaning 'to will' or 'to wish', preceded by the relative pronoun
man
'ْ
نَم', in relation to the
concepts of guidance and misguidance. The available interpretations of these verses maintain that

guides whom He wishes and misguides whom He wishes. In other words, these standard
interpretations assign

the status of the subject of

, and assign the relative pronoun
man
the status of an object. I claim that these interpretations are not accurate with regard to the
subject of

. I argue that the relative pronoun
man
should be analyzed as the subject of

, not as an object. Using evidence from the Holy Qurʼ and Sunnah, I show that the
subject of

may not be Allah Almighty, but rather the human being himself/herself. To
show how the new interpretation is derived, I provide a syntactic analysis of the sentence that
contains the free relative clause

, according to which
man
'ْ
نَم' moves from a subject
position, which means that it should be construed as a subject. The observed structural ambiguity
thus results from an interpretation where
man
moves from an object position. The proposed
linguistic analysis supports the view that the human being chooses the path, good or evil, that
he/she wants to pursue; that is, Allah does not lead the human being along a predetermined path,
which is the position adopted by Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jamʻah. Thus, this paper provides
evidence against the Jabriyya doctrine, according to which human beings are compelled to follow
a specific path.
Keywords:

;
man
(who/whom); subject; object; movement; Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jamʻah;
Jabriyya; Qadariyya
ʼ fiilْ
نَم' zamirinin
incelemektedir. Bu
ayetlerin 
        ʼ     e bir
          
    ʼ
  -   ʼesinin
    
   'ْ
نَم'          
      ʼ    ren
        
man zamirinin bir ne
           
           -i
 -           

Anahtar Kelimeler:
y
;
--Cemaat;
Cebriyye; Kaderiyye
Rashid AL-BALUSHI Journal of Islamic Research. 2022;33(2):596-616
597
EXTENDED ABSTRACT
This paper examines Qurʼ     

            
guidance and misguidance. The available interpretations state that Allah Almighty is the subject of

in these verses, guiding whom
He wishes and misleading whom He wishes. I argue that the subject of

in these verses is the human being, not Allah. Section 1
introduces the relevant religious doctrines, and shows that the Jabriyya and Qadariyya doctrines are deviant, since the former assigns the
human being no role in his/her dee   
held by Ahl Al-Sunnah wa Al-Jamʻah. It also introduces the current study, the verse it is concerned with, and the interpretations
assigned to this verse in the main exegesis books. This section also states the main claim of the paper, namely that the human being is the
decision-maker about the path to follow, good or evil, and argues that this understanding become visible when we construe the relative
pronoun
man
in the relevant verses as a subject of

, not as an object, as commonly believed. Section 2 presents another two
relevant verses, together with the interpretations assigned to them in the main exegesis books, showing that they all argue t hat Allah is
the decision-maker about guidance and misguidance, that is, the relative pronoun
man
    
provides four arguments that the subject of

in these verses is not Allah. The first argument is based on the fact that the human
being is an observing, thinking, learning creature, one that can use its intellect to reach conclusions from facts, and so he/she should not
be treated as a passive creature, especially that Allah has inspired his/her soul with inclination for both good and evil. The second
argument is based on the fact that there is no reason for Allah to guide some people and mislead others, since no human being is closer or
more important to Allah than another human being (with the exception of prophets), since neither does He need us, nor are we able to
cause Him harm. The third argument is based on a more linguistically viable analysis of some related verses. The fourth argument is
       ed all mankind
means that He is not concerned about this decision, that is, the right to this decision is assigned to human beings. Section 4 provides two
counterarguments and shows that neither of them constitutes a threat to the proposal advocated in the paper. Section 5 provides a
syntactic analysis of one of the relevant verses, and shows that the ambiguity regarding the relative pronoun
man
  
a result of the position it starts in. If
man

ctic tree diagrams and showing the relevant movement operations. Section 6
argues that pragmatics must be involved in the interpretation of Qurʼ        
interpretations. Section 7 uses a recent understanding (based on linguistic properties) of a famous 
paper, as well as concluding the paper.
1. BACKGROUND
1.1. AHL AL-SUNNAH WA AL-JAMĀʻAH VS. JABRIYYA AND QADARIYYA DOCTRINES
t is well-established in the mainstream Islamic thought (i.e. Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jamʻah) that
human beings are created free to choose the path they like, good or evil, a decision that they make
early on in their mature life (i.e. puberty/adulthood), one that is reversible. This explains why they
are held accountable for their choices and deeds, on the Day of Judgment. This view, however,
does not entail that human beings have full control over what might happen to them or what deeds they
might do. In other words, they can only choose the path (guided or misled) and the subsequent decisions
and deeds. While human beings' decisions and choices are not predetermined by fate, Allah Almighty,
given His Absolute Eternal Omniscience, knows what they will decide even before they make the
decisions. Besides, given His Absolute Omnipotence, He is capable of preventing them from performing
some evil deeds.
1
Two schools of thought disagree with this standard view, the Jabriyya and the
Qadariyya, each of which has developed into a creed with followers.
2
1
Ab l-ʿAbbs Taqiyy al-mad Ibn Taymiyah,
Al-Wa
iyyah al-Kubr
, A-ʾif, Maktabat al-
2
The discussion will not include the origins and sociopolitical backgrounds of these deviant schools.
I
Rashid AL-BALUSHI Journal of Islamic Research. 2022;33(2):596-616
598
The Jabriyya school is based on the belief that "human actions are created by God, and forced upon
human beings, thus defining God as the real agent of human actions".
3
It is based on the doctrine of
jabr
,
an Arabic word that literally means 'compulsion'. These theologians argue that if Allah knows about
human beings' choices and decisions before they are made, then He decides which paths they choose,
and human beings have no authority to act, as their decisions and deeds are predetermined by fate.
4
The
proponents of this sect, therefore, question the legitimacy of accountability on the Day of Judgment,
since human beings must be considered innocent. One reason for this deviant view, which is considered
heretical, is the misunderstanding of verses like the ones that this study examines and provides a
linguistic analysis to, an analysis that shows that the human being is the decision-maker about the path
to follow.
Unlike the proponents of the Jabriyya creed, the advocates of the Qadariyya doctrine deny Allah's
power over human beings' fate, and some of them maintain that Allah does not know human beings'
deeds until they happen.
5
These theologians deny predetermination (i.e.
Qadar
) altogether; for them, the
human being creates his/her own fate, and events happen without the will and permission of Allah.
They attribute no role to Allah and His Omnipotence in managing human beings' lives and leading them
through the paths that they choose, and ascribe all power to the human being. For them, the human
being makes the
Qadar
, hence the label
Qadariyya
.
6
To draw Muslims' attention to the corruption in the
Qadariyya's faith, Prophet Muammad (pbuh) said the  in (1), translated as in (2).
1. "








2. "The Qadariyyah are the Magians of this community. If they are ill, do not pay a sick visit to
them, and if they die, do not attend their funerals." (
Sunan Ab Dwd
4691)
7
Therefore, the Qadariyya creed is the right opposite of the Jabriyya creed, the former attributing no
role to Allah Almighty, and the latter attributing no role to the human being. Besides the
aforementioned sources, the Qadariyya and Jabriyya doctrines have been criticized and declared deviant
factions (i.e. as innovations in religion or
bida
) by many scholars.
8
Avoiding both extremes, Ahl al-
Sunnah wa al-Jamʻah adopt the middle view, which states that human beings are free to choose the
path that they like, good or evil, but that Allah has a role in their lives. The Divine role is manifested in
several ways, among which helping human beings along the path they choose, providing tests to their
faith, and also in making the right path more attractive to them, as well as in sending them messages to
prompt them to re-consider their decisions and choices about the path to follow. Besides, despite the
free will assigned to the human being, his/her actions and deeds are known to Allah in advance, and are
still constrained by the will of Allah, who may allow them or hinder them. Given His Absolute
3
Livnat Holtzman, "Debating the doctrine of jabr (compulsion): Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyya reads Fakhr al-Din al-Razi" In
Islamic Theology, Philosophy and
Law
, De Gruyter, 2013, p. 61.
4
        -Fat Muammad bin ʿAbdi al- -Shahrist
Al-Milal wa al-Ni
al
, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah
Publication Company, Beirut 1992, p. 72-74; ʿAbdu al-mad al-Hamadh,
Shar
al-
u
-Khamsa
, Cairo, Maktabat Wahba, 1996, p. 324.
5
William Montgomery Watt,
The Formative Period of Islamic Thought
, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburg 1973, p. 94.
6
This is stated in many sources, e.g., ʿAbdu al-Qhir bin hir Al-Baghdd
Al-Farq bayn al--Firqa al- 
, Dr al-ʼfq al-
Jadda, Beirut 1982, p. 93-94; Ya  -Khayr Al-ʻ
Al-
inti
-radd
-Mu
tazila al-Qadariyya al-
,
(vol. 1), Maktabat ʼawʼ
al-Salaf, Riyadh 1999, p. 62-69.
7
Ab Dwd Sulaymn bin al-Ashʻath al-Sajistn,
Sunan Ab Dwd,
(vol. 3), Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah Publication Company, Beirut 1996, p. 227. The
translation is form: https://Sunnah.com/abudawud:4691
8
For example, Ab al-ʿAbbs Taqiyy al-mad Ibn Taymiyah,
Minhj al-Sunnah al-Nabawiyya f naq
kalm al-Sh
a al-Qadariyya
, Riyadh, Al-ʼimm
Muammad bin Saʿd Islamic University, 1986; ʿAbdullah bin Muammad Al-Qarn  ʼ  -Qadariyya wa al- ʼafʿ -ʿ
Umm al-Qura University Journal of Sharia Sciences and Islamic Studies
, 2011, vol. 53, no. 1, pp. 381-420.
Rashid AL-BALUSHI Journal of Islamic Research. 2022;33(2):596-616
599
Omnipotence, He can guide all human beings or even misguide them all, but He has left this crucial
decision to them. The current study, to be introduced in the following subsection, provides linguistic
evidence for this view, which is held by Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jamʻah.
1.2. INTRODUCING THE CURRENT STUDY
The verb

, meaning 'to will' or 'to wish', appears in many verses in the Holy Qurʼ
verses 49-50 of srat al-r (Consultation, 42) in (3), translated as in (4).
3.









 
4. "To Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. He creates whatever He wills. He
grants daughters to whomever He wills, and He grants sons to whomever He wills (49). Or He combines
them together, males and females; and He renders whomever He wills sterile. He is Knowledgeable and
Capable (50)."
9
In these two verses, it is undoubtedly the case that the subject of

is Allah Almighty, since it
is Him who decides on whom to have only female children and whom to have only male children, as
well as on whom to have both male and female children and whom to be sterile. Evidence for this comes
from the fact that some people have only boys when they prefer girls, for example, and the fact that
some people cannot have children though they want to. Thus, this is by no means a choice that human
beings can make or something that they can have control over, as it is related to fate, and therefore,
man
, '', is analyzed as an object pronoun, meaning 'whom', as appropriately translated, reflecting an
accurate interpretation. That Allah Almighty decides on this matter, through fate (i.e.
Qadar
), is
supported by the fact that the last clause in the second verse makes reference to Allah's knowledge and
capability (i.e. His Omniscience and Omnipotence).
This paper is concerned with another class of verses that also feature the verb

, ones where
there is good evidence that the subject is not Allah Almighty, and, as a result,
man
, the relative pronoun,
must be analyzed as the subject of the verb

; that is,
man
must be interpreted as 'who',
not
'whom'. Consider verse 56 of srat al-Qaa (The Narrations, 28) in (5), translated as in (6).
5.





6. "You cannot guide whom you love, but Allah guides whom He wills, and He knows best those
who are guided."
10
As the translation of the second clause (i.e. "but Allah guides whom He wills") of this verse shows,
Allah Almighty is construed as the subject of

, 'to will', and the relative pronoun
man
'' is
interpreted as an object, meaning 'whom'. In other words, Allah is assigned the role of the decision-
maker about guidance and misguidance, guiding whom He wishes (and misguiding whom He wishes).
The standard exegesis books, which inspired this and other translations, assign Allah the status of
the subject of

. For example, Al-(i.e. "


") of verse 56
9
https://www.quranwow.com/#/ch/42/t1/ar-allah/t2/en-itania/a1/alafasy-64/a2/itania-48-b/v/49
https://www.quranwow.com/#/ch/42/t1/ar-allah/t2/en-itania/a1/alafasy-64/a2/itania-48-b/v/50
10
https://www.quranwow.com/#/ch/28/t1/ar-allah/t2/en-itania/a1/alafasy-64/a2/itania-64/v/56
Rashid AL-BALUSHI Journal of Islamic Research. 2022;33(2):596-616
600
of srat al-Qaa means "Allah guides whom He wills to guide from His creation, by leading them to
believe in Him and His messenger".
11


who deserves guidance and who deserves misguidance".
12
Also, Al- lls His
Prophet (pbuh) that he will not guide those that he wants to guide, but that Allah guides those who
were destined for guidance, given Allah's knowledge.
13
Similarly, Al-Saʿ  
that Prophet "Muammad cannot guide whom he wants, as this matter is not in the hands of human
                   
guidance and so He guides him, and [knows] who is not good for guidance, and so He leads him
astray".
14
Al-Qur maintains that this verse was revealed to inform the Prophet that his uncle, Ab 
will not embrace Islam "because Allah knows, through fate, that he will die as a disbeliever", and so
Allah will not guide him. But Allah guided the Prophet's other uncle, Al-ʿAbbs, because He knows,
through eternity, that Al-ʿAbbs was going to convert to Islam.
15
This understanding, nonetheless, gives
the impression that Allah Almighty decides in advance on whom to guide and whom to mislead, and
that human beings have no choice, which contradicts the mainstream thought of Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-
Jamʻah. This is because this understanding depicts the human being as an innocent powerless creature
that should not be accountable for Allah's decisions, which is the essence of the Jabriyya doctrine.
Therefore, I believe that the human being should be viewed as the one who wills to be guided or
not, a decision that is followed by Allah Almighty either providing guidance or withholding it. In other
words, the human being should be interpreted as the subject of

, and the interpretation of this
part of the verse should be 'Allah guides who wills', for reasons to be discussed in section 3. Differently
stated, given the fact that there is no reason for why Allah would choose to guide a human being and
mislead another one without prior 'will' or 'desire' on the part of that human being, the subject of

should be construed as referring to the human being, not to Allah Almighty.
This linguistic proposal that attributes to the human being full freedom with regard to the path that
he/she follows, nonetheless, does not challenge the fact that Allah Almighty knows beforehand about
our choices, given His Eternal Omniscience. Also, despite this freedom, Allah can still interfere in our
lives by sending us messages that present the guided path as the more reasonable one, as well as by
preventing us from committing sins. Indeed, a novel understanding of verse 37 of srat al-
(Resurrection, 75) and -ashr (The Mobilization, 59) shows that although the human
being is created with an inclination for conflicting paths, good and evil, Allah Almighty creates human
beings according to the
fi
ra
(i.e. true nature, straight path, ).
16
This prompts human beings
to prefer the guided path and dislike the misled one, thus providing an argument against the Qadariyya
creed, which denies the Divine role in the human being's life. The new understanding of these two
11
Ab Jaʿfar Muh -
-

, Muʾassasat al-vol. 6, p. 36.
12
Ab al-Fid 
Tafsr al-Qur
n al-
a
m
, Dr aibah for Publication and Distribution, Riyadh 1999, vol. 6, p. 246.
13
h ammad Al-H usain bin Masʿ-
Tafsi
r Al-
a
lim Al-Tanzi
l
, Dr aibah for Publication and Distribution, Riyadh 1989,
vol. 6, p. 215.
14
Abdul Rah m -Saʿ
--Rah
m m Al-Mannn
, Darussalam for Publication and Distribution, Riyadh 2002, p.
728.
15
h ammad bin Ah mad Al-Qur
Al-Jmi
li-
A
km Al-Qur
n
, Beirut, Muʾassasat al-2006, vol. 16, p. 297-298.
16
Rashid Al-Balushi, "The Linguistic Reanalysis and Reinterpretation of Verse (Q. 75:37)".
Is lam ic St udies
. Submitted on April 10th, 2022 and accepted.
Rashid AL-BALUSHI Journal of Islamic Research. 2022;33(2):596-616
601
verses indicates that, even before human beings are born, Allah gives them His
blessings
by creating
them
cleansed from dirt and sins
and making them
inclined to prefer the guided path
.
It, however, might be argued that the decision about guidance and misguidance can be attributed to
Allah, and that it is applied in accordance with His Eternal Will, which is associated with His
Knowledge, and that the human being still has the freedom to choose the path. And so, Allah will guide
whom He wishes (i.e. those whom He knows will choose the guided path), and will lead astray whom
He wishes (i.e. those whom He knows will choose the misguided path).
17
Nonetheless, the mere
attribution of the decision about guidance and misguidance to Allah automatically leads to the deviant
belief that Allah decides beforehand on whom to guide and whom to misguide, and so He is responsible
for human beings' choices and deeds. As the syntactic analysis in this paper shows, it is the human being
that decides on whether to be guided or misled, by choosing the path, which makes him/her responsible
for their decisions and choices.
Section 2 presents some relevant Qurʼ       ʼ 
Sunnah that the subject of

must be the human being. Section 4 presents apparent
counterarguments and responds to them. Section 5 provides a syntactic analysis of one of these verses
and shows that the relative pronoun
man
in such verses may linguistically be analyzed as either the
subject or the object of

(thus explaining the ambiguity), but that interpreting
man
as the subject
is more plausible given previously provided evidence. Section 6 looks into one of the factors that
determine the meaning of Qurʼ   concludes the paper. The translations of the
Qurʼʼ
2. OTHER RELEVANT VERSES
This section presents two more relevant verses, 93 of srat al-Nal (The Bees, 16) and 8 of srat
Fir (Creator, 35). It also provides the interpretations assigned to these two verses in five of the main
exegesis books. These interpretations, as well as translations, assign Allah Almighty the role of the
decision-maker on whom to guide and whom to misguide. But this, as we have shown, goes against the
fact that human beings are accountable for their deeds and should therefore be the decision-makers on
whether to seek guidance or not. Verse 93 of srat al-Nal is in (7), translated as in (8).
7.









8. "Had Allah willed, He would have made you one congregation [with one religion], but He leaves
astray whom He wills, and He guides whom He wills. And you will surely be questioned about what
you used to do."
18
This verse is interpreted such that Allah chooses whom to guide and whom to mislead. For
example, Al- "Allah made mankind follow different creeds, by
leading some to believe in Him and behave in obedience to Him, and so they became believers, and
letting others down by depriving them of His help, and so they became disbelievers".
19
Al-Qur
Allah misleads those whom He wishes by letting them down, being fair to them, and guides whom
17
This understanding was pointed out to me by an anonymous
JIR
reviewer.
18
https://www.quranwow.com/#/ch/16/t1/ar-allah/t2/en-itania/a1/alafasy-64/a2/itania-48-b/v/93
19
Al-
-

, 1994, vol. 4, p. 554.
Rashid AL-BALUSHI Journal of Islamic Research. 2022;33(2):596-616
602
He wishes, by leading them to the right path, as a favor from Him, and argues that this verse refutes the
claims of the Qadariyya creed proponents.
20
oes not really provide an interpretation of the
relevant clause in the verse, but seems to understand it in exactly the same way that Al-Qur
it.
21
Al--Qur
22
Al-Saʿ
that "Allah is the decision-maker about guidance and misguidance, and His guidance and misguidance
are among His decisions which follow His knowledge and wisdom, giving guidance to those who
deserve it, as a favor, and withholding it from those who do not deserve it, being fair [to them]".
23
The main exegesis books have the same interpretation for verse 8 of srat Fir in (9), translated as
in (10), with regard to the decision-maker about guidance and misguidance (i.e. the subject of

).
9.




10. "Indeed Allah leads astray whomever He wishes, and guides whomever He wishes."
24
Al-ammad (pbuh) saying that "He lets down whom
He wishes so they will not believe in Him and follow and believe you [the Prophet], by misleading them
away from guidance to the truth. And He leads whom He wishes to believe in you and accept your
message, so you guide them to the right path".
25
Al-Qurmighty the role of
the decision-maker about guidance, argues that this verse refutes the Qadariyya creed.
26
 
states that "Allah guides and misguides according to fate, and that Allah is wise about His fate; He
misguides whom He misguides and guides whom He guides, given His irrefutable proof and absolute
knowledge".
27
Although Al-           
verse, his discussion seems to adopt the same view that is prevailing in the other exegesis books.
28
Al-
Saʿ           
29
The fact that these sources
interpret the subject of

in these verses (and similar ones) to be Allah Almighty indicates, at least
to non-Muslims, that Allah is being unfair, which is untrue, a point discussed in the next section.
Linguistically speaking, on the available interpretations and translations, the subject of the verb

is understood as referring to the noun
Allh
, which precedes it in the same sentence, and where
man
, the relative pronoun, is construed as an object relative pronoun, meaning 'whom'. On the proposed
understanding, the subject of the verb

is interpreted as the human being, and construed as
referring to the relative pronoun
man
, which precedes it in the same sentence, but as a subject pronoun,
meaning 'who', yielding a reading like 'Allah guides those who will/wish (to be guided)'. In other words,
the linguistic difference boils down to how
man
is construed, as a subject (i.e. who) on the proposed
interpretation, or as an object (i.e. whom) on the available standard interpretations. Analyzing
man
as an
object gets us into the issue of who decides on the guiding and misleading. Besides avoiding this
nontrivial issue, analyzing
man
as a subject is in line with the very nature of the human being, as
illustrated in the next section.
20
Al-Qur
Al-Jmi
li-
A
km Al-Qur
n
, 2006, vol. 12, p. 421.
21

Tafsr al-Qur
n al-
a
m
, 1999, vol. 4, p. 600.
22
Al-
Tafsi
r Al-
a
lim Al-Tanzi
l
, 1989, vol. 5, p. 40.
23
Al-Saʿ
--Rah
mm Al-Mannn
, 2002, p. 520.
24
https://al-quran.info/#35
25
Al-
-

, 1994, vol. 6, p. 241.
26
Al-Qur
Al-Jmi
li-
A
km Al-Qur
n
, 2006, vol. 17, p. 348-350.
27

Tafsr al-Qur
n al-
a
m
, 1999, vol. 6, p. 535.
28
Al-
Tafsi
r Al-
a
lim Al-Tanzi
l
, 1989, vol. 6, p. 413.
29
Al-Saʿ
--Rah
mn m Al-Mannn
, 2002, p. 804.
Rashid AL-BALUSHI Journal of Islamic Research. 2022;33(2):596-616
603
Differently put, the three verses in (5), (7), and (9) should be understood such that Allah Almighty
guides those who wish to be guided, and withholds guidance from those who do not wish to be guided.
That is, it is the human being who chooses to be guided or misled, and then takes some action in that
direction, and as a result, Allah Almighty helps him/her along the path he/she chooses with his/her full
freedom. No other will is imposed on the human being in this regard, despite the fact that Allah's Will is
capable of reversing a human decision, and the fact that Allah creates us in a nature that favors the
guided path.
3. WHY THE SUBJECT OF

IS
NOT
ALLAH
This section provides four arguments for the claim that the subject of

is not Allah Almighty,
but rather the human being. The first argument is based on the very nature of the human being. When
Allah Almighty decided to create the human being, the angels asked 'why would You [Allah] create a
human being, a violent and corrupt creature, when we are more obedient and better worshippers?' The
answer was that, unlike the angels, who are fully submissive to the will of Allah, the new creature, the
human being, is a 'learning creature' (since he was able to learn the names of all things/concepts), one
that is able to observe, think, and make choices and decisions accordingly.
30
This is stated in verses (30-
-Baqarah (The Cow, 2) translated as in (11):
11. "When your Lord said to the angels, "I am placing a successor on earth." They said, "Will You
place in it someone who will cause corruption in it and shed blood, while we declare Your praises and
sanctify You?" He said, "I know what you do not know (30). And He taught Adam the names, all of
them; then he presented them to the angels, and said, "Tell Me the names of these, if you are sincere
(31). They said, "Glory be to You! We have no knowledge except what You have taught us. It is you who
are the Knowledgeable, the Wise (32). He said, "O Adam, tell them their names." And when he told
them their names, He said, "Did I not tell you that I know the secrets of the heavens and the earth, and
that I know what you reveal and what you conceal? (33)"
31
Therefore, assuming that Allah guides the people whom He wills and misleads the ones whom He
wishes contradicts the nature of the human being and the very purpose behind creating him/her, which
is using his/her endowed intellect to discover about Allah, through signs and evidence for His existence,
to ultimately reach Him. These 'signs' are placed everywhere for the human being to observe and
contemplate them, as many verses of the Qurʼ-Baqarah (The Cow, 2) in
(12) provides an example.
12. "Indeed in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of night and day, and
the ships that sail at sea with profit to men, and the water that Allah sends down from the sky -with
which He revives the earth after its death, and scatters therein every kind of animal- and the changing
of the winds, and the clouds disposed between the sky and the earth, are surely signs for a people who
apply reason (164)."
32
30
This is argued in Rashid Al-Balushi, "Belief in Allah is the Researchers' Natural Path",
Al-Jumuah Online Magazine
, 2020.
31
https://www.quranwow.com/#/ch/2/t1/ar-allah/t2/en-itania/a1/alafasy-64/a2/itania-64/v/33
32
https://al-quran.info/#2
Rashid AL-BALUSHI Journal of Islamic Research. 2022;33(2):596-616
604
And this new creature, the human being, is free to use these and other signs to reach Allah as the
God worthy of worship, or deny this conclusion that his/her senses and intellect should lead him/her to.
This freedom is, again, an essential component of the build-up of the human soul, as clearly stated in
verses 7 and 8 of srat al-Shams (The Sun, 91) in (13), translated as in (14):
13. 





14. "And the soul and He who proportioned it (7) and inspired it with its wickedness and its
righteousness (8)."
33
In other words, Allah has inspired the human soul with both good and evil; that is, the human
soul was designed to take either of two conflicting paths, and the human intellect was designed to
help the soul make the right choice. Thus, unlike the angels, the human beings are endowed with
an observing, thinking, learning and deciding intellect that is designed to help them to draw
conclusions based on facts and evidence, and then to make choices. This reflects the nature of the
mission assigned to the human being, which is harder than that assigned to the angels, who are
designed to obey Allah only, and are thus saved the test of life that human beings have to undergo.
This explains why Allah asked the angels to prostrate to Adam, the father of the race with the
harder and more demanding mission, as stated in verse 34 of  -Baqarah (The Cow, 2)
translated as in (15).
15. "
34
prostrated, but not Iblis; he
refused and acted arrogantly, and he was one of the faithless."
And therefore, it makes the most sense that the human being, the learning, observing, and thinking
creature, is responsible for his/her choices and deeds, which is the point made in verse 38 of srat al-
Muddaththir (The Enrobed, 74) in (16), translated as in (17).
16.



17. "Every soul is hostage to what it has earned (38)."
35
The second argument is based on the fact that there is no reason why Allah Almighty would choose
to guide some people and misguide others, since He does not favor a human being over another one,
except for the path that they choose. In other words, if we followed the available interpretations and
translations, we would be attributing injustice to Allah, and Allah is not unjust. In fact, 'Al-ʽadl' (The
Just) and 'Al-Muqsi' (The Equitable) are among His Attributes/Names. He states this clearly in verse 44
of srat Ynus (Jonah, 10) in (18), translated as in (19):
18. 





19. "Allah does not wrong the people in the least, but the people wrong their own selves (44)."
36
33
https://www.quranwow.com/#/ch/91/t1/ar-allah/t2/en-itania/a1/alafasy-64/a2/itania-64/v/7
34
https://al-quran.info/#2
35
https://www.quranwow.com/#/ch/74/t1/ar-allah/t2/en-itania/a1/alafasy-64/a2/itania-64/v/38
36
https://www.quranwow.com/#/ch/10/t1/ar-allah/t2/en-itania/a1/alafasy-64/a2/itania-64/v/44
Rashid AL-BALUSHI Journal of Islamic Research. 2022;33(2):596-616
605
Therefore, the merest thought that Allah decides on whom to guide and whom to leave astray (even
based on His Eternal Knowledge), without genuine desire for either path on the part of the human
being, is against belief in Allah, since it contradicts some verses in the Holy Qurʼing,
there is no reason for Allah to be unfair to us, human beings. This is because neither does He need us, as
verse 133 of srat al-ʼanʽm (Livestock, 6) in (20) states, nor do we count as counterparts to Him in any
sense (dispute or agreement), as verse 4 of srat al-ʼikhl (Monotheism, 112) in (21) states, nor are we
able to cause Him harm, as verse 32 of srat Muammad (Muhammad, 47) in (22) states.
20. "Your Lord is the Rich Beyond Need, the Possessor of Mercy. If He wills, He can do away with
you, and substitute whomever He wills in your place, just as He produced you from the descendants of
another people (133)."
37
21. "And there is none comparable to Him (4)."
38
22. "Those who disbelieve, and hinder from the path of Allah, and oppose the Messenger after
guidance has become clear to them-they will not hurt Allah in the least, but He will nullify their deeds
(32)."
39
The third argument is based on a more plausible analysis of some relevant Qurʼ
subject of

in the verses in (5), (7) and (9) may not be Allah Almighty may be concluded from the
structure of the following verses. Consider verse 27 of srat al-Raʽd (The Thunder, 13) in (23) and its
translation in (24).
23. 




24. "Allah leads astray whomever He wills, and He guides to Himself whoever repents (27)."
40
Although the subject of 'to will' is
Allh
according to the main exegesis books that inspired this
translation, the subject of 'to repent' is the human being.
41
Nonetheless, if the second occurrence of
man
is understood as the subject of the verb 'to repent', then there is no reason not to consider the first
occurrence of
man
to be the subject of the verb 'to will'. In other words, if the subject of 'to repent' is
the human being, then the subject of 'to will' should also be construed as the human being. In fact, this
is a more plausible interpretation since it achieves parallelism in terms of structure and meaning.
Differently stated, if the second part of the verse says 'Allah guides those who repent', then the first part
of the verse should say 'Allah leads astray those who will (to be led astray)'. On the available
t al-
42) in (25), translated as in (26):
25. 


26. "Allah chooses to Himself whom He wills, and He guides to Himself whoever repents (13)."
42
37
https://www.quranwow.com/#/ch/6/t1/ar-allah/t2/en-itania/a1/alafasy-64/a2/itania-64/v/133
38
https://www.quranwow.com/#/ch/112/t1/ar-allah/t2/en-itania/a1/alafasy-64/a2/itania-64/v/4
39
https://www.quranwow.com/#/ch/47/t1/ar-allah/t2/en-itania/a1/alafasy-64/a2/itania-64/v/32
40
https://www.quranwow.com/#/ch/13/t1/ar-allah/t2/en-itania/a1/alafasy-64/a2/itania-64/v/27
41
Al--Qur-65; - vol. 4, p. 315; Al-Saʿ
42
https://www.quranwow.com/#/ch/42/t1/ar-allah/t2/en-itania/a1/alafasy-64/a2/itania-64/v/13
Rashid AL-BALUSHI Journal of Islamic Research. 2022;33(2):596-616
606
Traditional exegesis books maintain that Allah chooses whom He wishes, an interpretation that
seems to miss the parallelism in the structure of this verse.
43
If Allah Almighty is the subject of 'to
choose' in the first conjunct and the subject of 'to guide' in the second conjunct, then the subject of 'to
will' in the first conjunct and the subject of 'to repent' in the second conjunct should be the human
being. That is, in both occurrences,
man
'' is a subject pronoun of the verb that follows it. This way,
another more plausible interpretation is as in (27):
27. "Allah chooses those who will/wish [to be chosen, by seeking guidance], and guides to Himself
those who repent."
The fourth argument for our view that it is the human being who decides on whether to be guided
or not is provided by verse 31 of srat al-Raʽd (The Thunder, 13) in (28), translated as in (29):
28. 



29. "Had Allah wished He would have guided mankind all together (31)."
44
Basically, this means that it is beyond dispute that if Allah Almighty wanted to guide mankind, He
would have done it, but He wants to leave it up to mankind, to the individual human being. Human
beings first wish to be guided, and then Allah guides them. When they do not wish to be guided,
guidance is withheld from them (and so they become easy prey for the Devil).
Evidence that the decision about guiding a human being is a human, not a Divine, one comes from
the fact that if a human being really wishes to be guided, guidance will automatically be provided by
Allah. However, if Allah wants to guide a human being (which Allah wants for all mankind), but that
human being rejects guidance (despite the evidence for the right path) or does not seek it, then Allah
withholds guidance from him/her, and leaves him/her to suffer the consequences of his/her own
decision. If Allah would guide a human being who rejects guidance, then He might as well guide all
mankind, which He can do, but will not do it. In fact, the standard understanding of the first and third
clauses of verse 93 of srat al-Nal (The Bees, 16), repeated in (30), indicates that the relative pronoun
man
is the subject of the verb

.
30. "Had Allah willed, He would have made you one congregation [with one religion], but He
leaves astray whom He wills, and He guides whom He wills. And you will surely be questioned about
what you used to do (93).
45
This is because if Allah were the decision-maker about whom to guide and whom to misguide, He
would have guided all mankind, by making them one ummah, with one religion (i.e. first clause). But,
since this is against the concept of

(i.e. imposition or assignment of a religious duty), He left it to
human beings to decide on whether they want to be guided or misled (i.e. second clause), since He is
going to hold them accountable for their deeds, on the Day of Judgment (i.e. third clause). People choose
their paths and deeds, and therefore destinies. Section 5 shows how this suggested interpretation is also
linguistically possible. Before that, the next section presents two apparent counterarguments and shows
that they are untenable.
43
Al- Al-Qur - vol. 7, p. 187; Al-Saʿ
44
https://al-quran.info/#13
45
https://www.quranwow.com/#/ch/16/t1/ar-allah/t2/en-itania/a1/alafasy-64/a2/itania-48-b/v/93
Rashid AL-BALUSHI Journal of Islamic Research. 2022;33(2):596-616
607
4. APPARENT COUNTERARGUMENTS
A possible counterargument to the view advanced in this paper may be presented by verse 26 of
ʼ-ʽ(The Family of Imran, 3), in (31), translated as in (32). I will show, however, that it is
invalid.
31. "




  "
32. "Say, "O Allah, Owner of Sovereignty. You grant sovereignty to whom You will, and You strip
sovereignty from whom you will. You honor whom you will, and You humiliate whom you will (26)."
46
The relevant part of the verse is the last clause, " 

 ". An opponent might argue,
'why would Allah honor some people and humiliate others?' Given the logic advocated in this paper,
shouldn't the human being be the one to decide on whether to be honored or humiliated? But the verse
says that it is Allah who decides on whom to honor and whom to humiliate. And, by the way, this is the
only possible interpretation since the verb 'to will' is in the second person in Arabic,
ta
, referring to
Allah Almighty, and may never be construed as referring to the human beings.
To address this possible counterargument, I would say that it is Allah Almighty who honors and
humiliates, exactly as the verse reads, but that this happens, again, according to the human beings'
will/wish. To explain, Allah Almighty has left it to the human beings to choose whether to take the
guided path or the misled one, and based on this decision, Allah provides His guidance to those who
wish to get it and withholds His guidance from those who do not wish to get it. And based on this initial
decision by the human being, Allah decides on whom to honor and whom to humiliate.
In other words, 'those whom Allah honors' are 'those who have chosen the right path', the
guidance, and the eternal honor (in the hereafter, and in this life as well). By contrast, 'those whom
Allah humiliates' are 'those who have chosen the wrong path', straying, and the eternal humiliation (in
the hereafter, though may enjoy some false dignity in this life). Basically, the 'honoring' or 'humiliating'

is no third option. Thus, in the end, it is the human being who decides on whether to be 'honored' or
'humiliated', a consequence of 'seeking guidance' or 'rejecting it', respectively. This understanding is
-
33. 



 "
34. "But honor belongs to Allah and His Messenger, and to the Believers; but the Hypocrites know
not (8)."
47
Basically, honor or "
" (also translated as 'power' and 'might') is in the company of Allah and His
Messenger, which requires 'willing/wishing' the guided path.
Another apparent counterargument may be posed by the following Holy 
as in (36); prophet Muammad (pbuh) said:
35.
48







46
https://www.quranwow.com/#/ch/3/t1/ar-allah/t2/en-itania/a1/alafasy-64/a2/itania-64/v/26
47
http://search-the-quran.com/search/Surah+Al-Munafiqoon/8
48
-usayn Muslim bin al--
a
Muslim
, Cairo, al-Maknaz al-
Rashid AL-BALUSHI Journal of Islamic Research. 2022;33(2):596-616
608
36. "O My servants, I have forbidden oppression for Myself and have made it forbidden amongst
you, so do not oppress one another. O My servants, all of you are astray except for those I have guided,
so seek guidance of Me and I shall guide you." (
a
Muslim
2577)
49
Unless we believe that Allah is 'The Just' (a notion that the first clause of the 
will not decide on whom to guide and send to Paradise, and whom to mislead and send to Hellfire, this
               
unjust' (having forbidden oppression for Himself), and also says 'all of you are astray except for those I
have guided'. The second part (i.e. 'all of you are astray except for those I have guided') gives the
impression that Allah decides on the 'guiding' and 'misleading' of human beings, but this might have
been a possible understanding without the very last clause of the      
command for seeking guidance, says 'so seek guidance of Me and I shall guide you', and thus points out
that the 'guiding' by Allah is not achieved unless first sought by the human being, which is in line with
the main claim of this paper. This shows that there is no contradiction in the  
just, and therefore He will provide guidance to those who seek it.
The view that the human being, and not Allah, decides on whether to do good deeds (and so be
guided) or do evil deeds (and so be led astray) is also supported by the   
(38). Prophet Muammad (pbuh) said:
37.
50
". 





"
38. "I have left two matters with you. As long as you hold to them, you will not go the wrong way.
They are the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Prophet." (
Muwa

a
ʼ
Mlik
1628)
51
The meaning of this         
avoid the wrong way, which is basically through holding fast to Qurʼ 
human beings are created with a free will to make choices (i.e. ), and are not compelled to act in a
predestined manner (i.e. not ), despite the fact that Allah Almighty knows about their decisions
and choices before they are made, given His Absolute Eternal Omniscience.
52
5. THE SYNTACTIC ANALYSIS
This section provides an analysis of the sentence in (39), which is a simpler statement of the
relevant parts of verses 56 of srat al-Qaa (The Narrations, 28), 93 of srat al-Nal (The Bees, 16), and
8 of srat Fir (Creator, 35), which is ''. It is simpler because it represents the canonical
word order of Arabic, which is Verb-Subject-Object. Though displaying both SVO and VSO orders,
49
https://sunnah.com/qudsi40/17
50
Ab ʻAbdullah Mlik bin Anas,
al-Muwa

a,
(vol. 1), Dar Iyʼ al-Turth al-ʻArab Publication Company, Beirut 1985, p. 899.
51
https://sunnah.com/urn/516070
52
It might run counter to human beings' common sense that Allah Almighty knows about our decisions and deeds before they happen. I believe that this is
because we attempt to apply to Allah the rules that apply to ourselves. We, therefore, should view the Divine Being in a different way. To illustrate, when a
human being invents a machine or a device (e.g. a cellphone), he/she knows how it will behave because he/she has equipped it with a chip with all the
instructions and information necessary for it to work efficiently. And the machine or device has no control over its behavior; that is, it can only behave as
instructed, or just die. Likewise, Allah Almighty knows how his creation (i.e. mankind) will behave, but the crucial differen ce is that the creation of Allah
has control over their choices and decisions. Allah Almighty draws our attention to the fact that there are differences betwe en what He creates and what we
create or invent in verses like 11 of s31) translated in (i), and 14 of srat Al-Muʼminn (The Believers, 23) translated in (ii).

Most Blessed is God, the Best of Creators.
Rashid AL-BALUSHI Journal of Islamic Research. 2022;33(2):596-616
609
Arabic has been argued to be a VSO language.
53
As the discussion in the preceding sections has shown,
this sentence is ambiguous between two interpretations, one where the Noun Phrase (NP)
Allh
is the
subject of both 'to guide' and 'to wish', and one where the NP
Allh
is the subject of 'to guide' and the
human being is the subject of 'to wish'; (39) shows both interpretations are possible.
 ʼu
guides Allah whom/who wishes
'Allah guides whom He wishes.'
'Allah guides who wishes.'
This ambiguity arises because the relative pronoun
man
is analyzed as an object, meaning 'whom',
on the first (i.e. old) interpretation, and as a subject, meaning 'who', on the second (i.e. new)
interpretation.
54
On both interpretations, however, the verb

has a clausal complement, one that
reads like
an yahdiya-hu (Allhu)
('to guide' or 'to be guided (by Allah)', depending on the perceived
meaning), but this clausal complement is phonetically null, that is, it is not pronounced.
Thus, the whole sentence reads as in (40); the strikethrough indicates that this part is silent (i.e.
unpronounced). The provided syntactic analysis assumes the principles of generative syntax.
55
It is
worth mentioning that the analysis of how the two interpretations arise from the relevant verses
(difference being related to the position that
man
'' starts from, as I will show soon) is not contingent
on any specific analysis of free relative clauses. The index i (i.e. subscript i) on the phonetically null
pronoun, '
pro
', and the NP

in the earlier clause means that the pronoun refers to

, since
Allah Almighty is the subject of 'to guide' on both interpretations.
i man ʼu [ʼan yahdiya-hu]
pro
i
guides Allah whom/who wishes Comp guides-him
'Allah guides whom He wishes to guide.'
'Allah guides who wishes to be guided by Him.'
Therefore, on the first/common interpretation,
man
, interpreted as 'whom', starts as the
object
of
the lower verb
yahdiya-hu
(i.e. as the complement of 'to guide' in the silent clause), whose subject is
Allh
(marked with '
pro
' that refers to
Allh
, through co-indexation). Then,
man
moves to the Specifier
position of the Complementizer Phrase (CP) layer of the free relative clause, which is the position
relevant for this type of element and movement, as illustrated in the tree in (41).
53
Usama Soltan,
On Formal Feature Licensing in Minimalism: Aspects of Standard Arabic Morphosyntax,
PhD Dissertation, University of Maryland, College
Park, 2007, p. 50-61; Rashid Al-Balushi, "Why Verbless Sentences in Standard Arabic are Verbless",
Canadian Journal of Linguistics
, 2012, vol. 57, no.1, pp.
1-30.
54
English has two relative pronouns corresponding to Arabic
man
 -ii) show, thus
revealing the grammatical function;
man
in Arabic does not reveal this information.
i. raʼay-tu
man
yu-ibbu-
saw-I who he/she-love-me
'I saw who loves me.'
ii. raʼay-tu
man
ʼu-ibbu
saw-I whom I-love
'I saw whom I love.'
55
E.g., Peter W. Culicover,
Principles and Parameters: An Introduction to Syntactic Theory,
Oxford University Press, New York 1997, p. 179-217.
Rashid AL-BALUSHI Journal of Islamic Research. 2022;33(2):596-616
610
And this is how
man
gets to be construed as an object, where
Allh
is construed as the subject of

, meaning in total, 'Allah guides whom He wishes', since the subject of

, which is the earlier
silent pronoun, '
pro
', is also co-indexed with the NP
Allh
.
The '
t
' in the lowest NP position refers to the 'trace' that the relative pronoun
man
, meaning
'whom', leaves behind after it moves. The index i (i.e. subscript i) on the NP

and the two
occurrences of '
pro
' means that these occurrences of '
pro
' must be interpreted as referring to the NP

. In simple terms, this means that the subject of the main clause verb

, 'to guide', which is
Allh
, is the same as the subject of the verb

, 'to wish', in the free relative clause


is also the subject of the verb

, 'to guide', in the silent complement clause
-hu
. This
leads to the understanding that

is the subject of both 'to guide' and 'to wish', and that the human
being is just the object of 'to guide', which refers to the common interpretation of these verses.
Rashid AL-BALUSHI Journal of Islamic Research. 2022;33(2):596-616
611
On the second/proposed interpretation,
man
, construed as 'who', starts as a subject of the verb

(i.e. Specifier of

position in the free relative clause), and then undergoes movement to the
same position as in the common interpretation, the Specifier of the CP layer of the relative clause, as
illustrated in the tree in (42). So, on both interpretations,
man
moves to the same position, and the
distinction in the interpretation is derived based on its base-generation position (i.e. where it starts), as
an
object
of
yahdiya-hu
in the unpronounced clause, or as a
subject
of

in the relative clause.
In other words, unlike in the tree in (41), where
Allh
is the subject of

, 'to wish', the subject
of

in the tree in (42) is the human being. On both interpretations, the subject of

'to guide' is

, and the object of

is the human being. This is achieved through the co-indexation (through
the index k, subscript k) between the object of
yahdiya-hu
in the unpronounced clause in (42), which is
'
pro
', and the subject of

, which is
man
, which later moves to the Specifier position of the free
relative clause, leaving a trace
't'
in the subject position of
.
Rashid AL-BALUSHI Journal of Islamic Research. 2022;33(2):596-616
612
Therefore, when
man
'' originates as an object, as in (41), it is interpreted as 'whom', and when it
originates as a subject, as in (4), it is construed as 'who'. This shows that the ambiguity resulting from
verses like 56 of srat al-Qaa (The Narrations, 28), 93 of srat al-Nal (The Bees, 16), and 8 of srat
Fir (Creator, 35) is accounted for by the base-generation (i.e. starting) position of the relative pronoun
man
, whether an object position or a subject position.
Now, one main reason why scholars were tempted to assign Allah Almighty the role of the subject
of

, that is, favoring the old interpretation, might be traced to the belief that everything in the
universe happens with the permission, or
ma
ʼ
ah
, of Allah. But, then, I think, they overlooked the fact
that, though Allah Almighty controls everything and knows everything, including our future actions,
He would not cause a human being to do good or bad, because then He would have influenced their
choice. And, I think this should not happen. Although Allah controls the
ma
ʼ
ah
of everything, given
His Absolute Omnipotence and Eternal Omniscience, He has left the
ma
ʼ
ah
for belief or disbelief in
Him to the human beings to decide about, as He states in verse 29 of -Kahf (The Cave, 18) in (4),
translated as in (4).
4. "


 "
4. "And say, "The truth is from your Lord. Whoever willslet him believe. And whoever wills-let
him disbelieve"
56
Now, if the right of the
ma
ʼ
ah
for belief in Allah, or the lack thereof, is granted to the human
being, then the
ma
ʼ
ah
for seeking guidance (or the lack thereof), which will lead to the belief (or the
lack thereof), must be assigned to the human being as well.
6. WHAT DETERMINES THE MEANING?
The discussion in the previous sections leads to the question about the factors that determine the
meaning of Qurʼ

in verse 22 of srat Fir (Creator,
35), in (4-4), must be Allah Almighty, what makes the subject of

in verse 56 of srat al-Qaa
(The Narrations, 28), repeated in (4-4), the human being, despite the syntactic similarity, manifested
in the word order?
4. 








4. "Nor are equal the living and the dead. Allah causes whomever He wills to hear, but you cannot
make those in the graves hear."
57
4. 






4. "You cannot guide whom you love, but Allah guides whom He wills, and He knows best those
who are guided."
58
To address this nontrivial question, I suggest that pragmatics be also utilized in the interpretation of
the Holy Qurʼ     
56
https://www.quranwow.com/#/ch/18/t1/ar-allah/t2/en-itania/a1/alafasy-64/a2/itania-64/v/29
57
https://www.quranwow.com/#/ch/35/t1/ar-allah/t2/en-itania/a1/alafasy-64/a2/itania-64/v/22
58
https://www.quranwow.com/#/ch/28/t1/ar-allah/t2/en-itania/a1/alafasy-64/a2/itania-64/v/56
Rashid AL-BALUSHI Journal of Islamic Research. 2022;33(2):596-616
613
this conclusion has already been reached by many scholars.
59
Pragmatics is defined as the "study of how
context affects language use: both whether or not a particular utterance is felicitous in a given context
and how the context affects that utterance's meaning or interpretation".
60
It is also defined as the
"speakers' and addressees' background attitudes and beliefs, their understanding of the context in which
a sentence is uttered, and their knowledge of how language can be used for a variety of purposes".
61
This, therefore, means that context and beliefs affect how a sentence, or a Qurʼ 
case, may be interpreted. In other words, pragmatics points out that Allah Almighty is the subject of

in verse 22 of srat Fir (Creator, 35), but that the human being is the subject of

in verse
56 of srat al-Qaa (The Narrations, 28), given the reasons and relevant beliefs outlined in the previous
sections.
The inevitable involvement of pragmatics in the interpretation of the Holy Qurʼ 
the first sentence of verse 144 of srat al-Baqarah (The Cow, 2) receives the desired interpretation (i.e.
the one in line with our beliefs), though the grammatical properties point to another interpretation, one
which contradicts verses in the Holy Qurʼ), and examples of its translation are
in (-5):
4. "

"
. "We have seen your face turned towards the heaven."
62
5. "We certainly see
you
turning
your
face about in the sky."
63
5. "We see the turning of your face (for guidance) to the heavens."
64
 
fact that the grammatical elements and properties in this sentence point out to an interpretation that
    
qad
is followed by a present tense verb (like
nar
'we
see'), it implies possibility. When
qad
is followed by a past tense verb, it implies confirmation.
65
This is
illustrated by the examples in (53-54).
53. qad ʼa-qraʼu l-kitba
QAD I-read.present the-book
'I might read the book.'

54. qad qaraʼ-tu l-kitba
QAD read.past-I the-book
'I (have certainly) read the book.'
59
E. g., HusseinAbdul-Raof,
Qur'an Translation: Discourse, Texture and Exegesis
, Routledge Press, London 2001, p. 14; Ahmad Mahmoud Saidat,
The Syntax
of Quranic Classical Arabic: A Principles and Parameters Approach,
PhD Dissertation, University of Texas at Arlington, 2006; Nawfal Saeed Majeed, "A
 alization in English",
Journal of Tikrit University for the
Humanities
, 2009, vol. 16, no. 12, p. 11.
60
Hope Dawson and Michael Phelan,
Language Files: Materials for an Introduction to Language and Linguistics
, The Ohio State University Press, Columbus
2016, p. 707.
61

Contemporary Linguistic Analysis: An Introduction
, Pearson, Toronto 2016, p. 517.
62
https://www.quranwow.com/#/ch/2/t1/ar-allah/t2/en-itania/a1/alafasy-64/a2/itania-64/v/144
63
https://al-quran.info/#2
64
The Holy Quran, p. 14, translated by Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Goodword Books, India 2007.
65
Karin C. Ryding,
A Reference Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic
, Cambridge University Press, New York 2005, p. 450-451.
Rashid AL-BALUSHI Journal of Islamic Research. 2022;33(2):596-616
614
This thus shows how the pragmatic factors, namely the fact that Allah
always sees
, and that there is
no single moment in which Allah does not see everything in the universe (being Al-Bar, the All-
Seeing), contribute to providing a plausible interpretation to verse (2:144). Following an interpretation
based solely on the grammatical properties of this sentence (according to which Allah might see!)
contradicts many verses in the Holy Qurʼan, like verse 18 of srat al-
translated as in (56).
55. "






"
56. "Allah knows the secrets of the heavens and the earth, and Allah is seeing of everything you
do."
66
A possible question is then, why Allah Almighty did not say the statement in (57), with the verb in
the past tense,
ra

, translated as in (58)?
57. ''
58. 'We saw/have seen your face turning towards the heavens.'
It is simply because this statement indicates that Allah
saw
prophet Muammad's face turning
towards the heavens, and might imply that He
no longer does
(i.e. describing a past event only), which
is incorrect. Therefore, the structure that Allah Almighty masterfully chose was one with the
confirmation particle,
qad
, and also with the verb tense which "denotes a stative or habitual or eternally
true action", which is present tense.
67
This combination (with this meaning/function) is clearly not
available in Modern Standard Arabic, given the examples in (53-54) (maybe because the resulting
meaning is only true of Allah Almighty).
7. CONCLUDING REMARKS
In the preceding sections, we provided evidence from both the Qurʼ
the scientific study of sentence structure (i.e. syntax), that the subject of

, meaning 'to will' or 'to
wish', in relation to seeking guidance and going astray, is the human being, not Allah Almighty. Allah
does not impose a preference on the human being, nor does He favor one human being over another
(except for the Messengers and Prophets, whom He chose for His religions). It is our fully free choices,
whether good or evil, that inform Allah about our preferences, guidance or the opposite.
The rationale behind the interpretations proposed for the relevant parts of verses 56 of srat al-
Qaa (The Narrations, 28), 93 of srat al-Nal (The Bees, 16), and 8 of srat Fir (Creator, 35) receives
support from Dr. Muammad Hidyah's interpretation of the       
68
Prophet Muammad (pbuh) said:
59. "


 



  "
60. "When Ramadan begins, the gates of Jannah are opened, the gates of Hell are closed, and the
devils are chained." (
a
Muslim
1079)
69
66
https://www.quranwow.com/#/ch/49/t1/ar-allah/t2/en-itania/a1/alafasy-64/a2/itania-64/v/18
67
https://www.learngrammar.net/english-grammar/present-tense
68
aʼ ʼiʽ  ʼ-Jannah wa ʼʼ- al-
Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oH7o5DFvc-s, accessed in May 2021.
69
https://Sunnah.com/riyadussaliheen/9/230
Rashid AL-BALUSHI Journal of Islamic Research. 2022;33(2):596-616
615
Dr. Hidyah says that it is incorrect to think that it is Allah who 'opens the gates of Paradise', and
'closes the gates of Hell' and 'chains the devils'. For one thing, the wording of the   
               
Allah chains the devils, who were created to provide tests to the human beings' faith (by trying to
mislead them), then why should the human beings get the great reward of fasting, which is 'entering
Jannah through the gate of al-        ); prophet
Muammad (pbuh) said:
61. "There is a gate in Paradise called al-
on the Day of Resurrection and none except them will enter through it. It will be said, 'Where are those
who used to observe fasts?' They will get up, and none except them will enter through it. After their
entry the gate will be closed and nobody will enter through it." (
a
al-
1896)
70
 atrocious as adultery
during the daytime in Ramadhan proves that the devils are not chained by Allah. This is because if
Allah Almighty chains the devils, His chaining would be perfect (as perfect as Allah is), and so no
devils would be able to escape those chains. However, the fact that they were able to escape and
mislead some Muslims indicates that those Muslims' faith was not strong enough to chain those
              
consequently deeds) that open the gates of Paradise and close the gates of Hell for them, and also
chain the devils.
71
Now, it is vitally important that the interpretations of these and similar verses be amended in a way
that reveals the intended meaning, the one in line with the various pieces of evidence provided in this
paper. Equally important, we also need to correct the translations of these Qurʼ
paper and online translations, as well as TV ones, to reflect the reality of the situation. Telling people,
especially non-Muslims who appeal to online exegesis sources as well as translations of the Holy Qurʼ
that Allah decides on whom to guide and whom to mislead conveys a false view about the duty and role
of the human being in this life, and also about the Divine role in the life of human beings. This false
view has implications for how people in general, and non-Muslims in particular, view this religion. It
must therefore be clear that human beings are free to make their decisions and choose their deeds, and
so be accountable for what they choose to do.
70
     -
al-Ja
mi
al-S
ah
i
h
lil-Bukha
ri
,
(vol. 2), al-Salafiyya Press, Cairo 1980, p. 29. Translation from:
https://sunnah.com/bukhari/30/6
71
A possible counterargument here is that if it is the Muslims who chain the devils in Ramadhan, it is still the Muslims who chain them outside Ramadhan;
and so, what is special about Ramadhan, and what is the logic behind the han, Muslims are fasting during the daytime, and
     bors, which provides a good
opportunity for them to stay away from sins, thus chai ning the devils during Ramadhan, hence this 
Rashid AL-BALUSHI Journal of Islamic Research. 2022;33(2):596-616
616
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Article
Full-text available
تقدم هذه الورقة تفسيراً جديداً للآية السابعة والثلاثين من سورة القيامة، قال تعالى: "أَلَمْ يَكُ نُطْفَةً مِّن مَّنِيٍّ يُمْنَى". يستند هذا التفسير إلى فهم جديد للآية الكريمة وكذلك للعلاقات النحوية بين كلماتها. ويستند كذلك إلى تحليل لغوي للخصائص الصرفية والاشتقاقية والدلالية لكلمات هذه الآية وغيرها من الآيات المرتبطة بهذا الموضوع. ويقود هذا التحليل إلى فهم كلمة "يُمْنَى" على أنها صفة بصيغة التأنيث ترتبط بالاسم المؤنث "نطفة"، بخلاف الفهم السائد، والذي يقول بأنّ "يُمْنَى" فعل مبنٍ للمجهول يرتبط بالاسم المذكر "مَّنِيٍّ". تقدم الورقة جملة من الأدلة والقرائن التي تدعم الطرح الجديد، بعضها من القرآن والسنة. ومن هذه الأدلة ما يعتمد على فهم جديد لبعض الآيات القرآنية ذات الصلة بموضوع الآية السابعة والثلاثين من سورة القيامة.
Article
Full-text available
This article aims to account for why verbless sentences in Standard Arabic lack a copular verb. In contrast to previous accounts which attribute the absence of the copula to some defect of present tense, I claim that a verbless sentence does not take a copula because its nominais do not need structural Case. The proposed analysis argues that structural Case is licensed by a “Verbal Case” feature on the relevant Case-checking heads, and assumes the Visibility Condition. The present analysis is based on a unique interaction between tense and word order, and on the observation that verbless sentences are finite clauses composed of a topic and a predicate, as well as on the observation that they do not involve licensing of structural Case.
Book
A Reference Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic is a comprehensive handbook on the structure of Arabic. Keeping technical terminology to a minimum, it provides a detailed yet accessible overview of Modern Standard Arabic in which the essential aspects of its phonology, morphology and syntax can be readily looked up and understood. Accompanied by extensive carefully-chosen examples, it will prove invaluable as a practical guide for supporting students' textbooks, classroom work or self-study, and will also be a useful resource for scholars and professionals wishing to develop an understanding of the key features of the language. Grammar notes are numbered for ease of reference, and a section is included on how to use an Arabic dictionary, as well as helpful glossaries of Arabic and English linguistic terms and a useful bibliography. Clearly structured and systematically organised, this book is set to become the standard guide to the grammar of contemporary Arabic.
Thesis
This is a qualitative study of the syntax of Quranic Classical Arabic (QCA). It answers two main questions. First, considering its complex and unique syntactic behavior, how can QCA most accurately and comprehensively be described? Second, to what extent can the theory of Principles and Parameters (P&P) account for this complex and unique behavior? To answer these questions four modules of P&P were selected: Theta Theory, Case Theory, X-bar Theory and Binding Theory. The initial proposal of this study was that QCA manifests a canonical SVO word order, and starting from that position, QCA was treated under theta theory and the results were compared to those of transitivity theory. Using case theory, all possible case markings in QCA were described including those of copula sentences. Using X-bar theory, all possible word orders of QCA were described. Finally, using binding theory, the distribution of NPs in the sentences of QCA was discussed. In conclusion, we were led to the conclusion that transitivity theory predicts the wrong number of arguments required by certain predicates. The case theory module revealed that the word order in QCA very much depends on case assignment. There are more assigners in QCA than have been assumed before. In X-bar theory, it was found that all word orders are possible in QCA except SOV. This finding contradicts previous claims that Arabic allows scrambling in word order. It was also found that the claim that VSO is the canonical word order of Arabic is not supported by the data of QCA. SVO and VSO are syntactically equal in status while SVO is morphologically preferred over VSO. In binding theory, QCA proved a special language variety manifesting 'iltifat' attracting the attention. Binding theory concludes that this technique results in ungrammatical sentences. The claim that was made in this study is that feature matching in QCA is not adhered to and that it is violated in order to satisfy pragmatic imperatives.
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Naqd ʼasās Shubhat al-Qadariyya wa al-Jabriyya fī ʼafʿāl al-ʿibād
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