"He it is Who has sent down to thee the Book. In it are ayat basic or fundamental (Muhkamat). They are the foundation of the Book. Others are homologous or allegorical (mutashabihat). But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is allegorical, seeking discord and disturbance (fitnah), and searching for ta'wil of its
hidden meanings. But no one knows its ta'wil except Allah. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: `We believe in the Book, the whole of it is from our Lord.' But only men of understanding really heed." III:7
This very important passage beautifully clarifies the structure and the con cept of interpretation of the Great Qur'an. In this respect, the Munificent Qur'an consists of two portions:
1) the nucleus or foundation of the Book (ayat muhkam), and
2) the part which is allegorical, reflecting more than one aspect (ayat mutashabih).
Ayat muhkam are those ayat whose inner meaning is identical to their meaning in the sentence in which they appear. No other interpretation can be made; as an example: "Say: Allah is One". The majority of the Qur'anic ayatare of this type.
Ayat mutashabih, on the other hand, are those for which more than one interpretation is possible. It is fascinating to utilise the latter part to exer cise our ingenuity for interpretation of the inner meaning of the Glorious Qur'an. But, as clearly stated in this verse, ta'wal of the allegorical part is associated with perversity, discord and disturbance (fitnah), and Allah the Exalted has assured us that no one knows their correct interpretation except He. This is why Muslim interpreters, commentators and translators should not insist on the correctness of any particular interpretation of these ayat. They say only Allah the Exalted knows which one, if any, is correct. Many of these ayatautomatically become clear by the time that scientific and other discoveries give evidence of their truth. This subject will be dis cussed later. Some nonâ€‘Muslim intellectuals, however, press strongly with their interpretations of these ayat, as the above ayah associates this with fitnah.
Another important feature of this ayah is the holistic approach to the Noble Qur'an. We should believe in the Book, in its entirety. We cannot believe some parts, and reject other parts.
These two very important features should be considered particularly seriously by those who would exert efforts to interpret allegorical issues of the Precious Qur'an, and those who would selectively believe in this Book. We must try to understand it as best we can, but not deviate from the path of Almighty Allah and mislead people by insisting on certain interpretations of metaphorical ayat.Time will clarify them when neces sary, as time has already clarified plenty ofayat misinterpreted or not understood at all for many years. This subject will be reviewed later.