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Abdel-Haleem, Muhammad (2020) 'Structural Coherence in the Qur’an: How to See the Connections.' In: Klar, Marianna, (ed.), Structural Dividers in the Qur'an. UK: Routledge.

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This article deals with a feature of the Qur’an’s style which I identified and named ‘Suspension of composition patterns’. Richard Bell had commented on Qur’an 2:238-39, a passage on prayer, which he thought had no connection with the preceding material on divorce. I saw that the theme of widowhood and divorce was resumed in verse 240, so my question was, ‘What is the purpose of this interruption?’ Remembering Egyptian village custom in settling such disputes after doing the afternoon prayer together, I saw that the purpose of suspending the Qur’anic discussion on divorce with the passage on prayer was clearly meant to help defuse tension and encourage obedience to the teaching on divorce. This made me wonder if there were other such interruptions and if so what was their purpose. I was soon able to collect 20 examples for discussion in this article and grouped them, according to the purposes of the suspension, into four categories: securing obedience, highlighting an important point, reassuring the Prophet and the believers, and giving an urgent explanation. A pattern emerged from the analysis that led me to suggest a theory, which I termed istikhdām, where one passage is employed to serve the teaching of the surrounding passages. In such examples, the passages work together in a way which I termed taḍāfur al-ta‘ālīm (‘interweaving of Qur’anic teachings’). It has become clear to me that suspension, intentionally used (in istikhdām) to weave teachings together (taḍāfur), is found extensively in the Qur’an, so the research will continue.

Item Type: Book Chapters
Keywords: structural cohesion, structural dividers, suspension, interruption, Qur'an
SOAS Departments & Centres: School Research Centres > Centre of Islamic Studies
Departments and Subunits > School of Languages, Cultures & Linguistics
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc
P Language and Literature > PI Oriental languages and literatures
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
ISBN: 9780367800055
Copyright Statement: This is the version of the chapter accepted for publication in Klar, Marianna, (ed.), Structural Dividers in the Qur'an, published by Routledge on 4 Dec 2020
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 21 Jan 2019 09:58
Funders: Other

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