Is the Qur’an Easy to Understand?


Question:

Christians and those who disagree with the Qur’an often cite the verse which claims that the Qur’an is clear to understand. They ask, if the Qur’an is clear and easy to understand, why are there so many different interpretations of it?

Answer:

The questioner also submitted the following clip as an example:

Dr. James White says:

“I don’t know, it’s [sic], the, the Qur’an claims to be mubeenun ummm [sic] which means clear, perspicuous, but this text is not clear and perspicuous, which is a problem because it’s been misused.”

He is probably referencing a verse such as this (emphasis ours):

“Alif, Lam, Ra. These are the verses of the Book and a clear Qur’an.” – Qur’an 15:1.

The Qur’an however, qualifies and explains, what’s clear and to whom it is clear in understanding (emphasis ours):

It is He Who has revealed the Book to you. Some of its verses are absolutely clear and lucid, and these are the core of the Book. Others are ambiguous. Those in whose hearts there is perversity, always go about the part which is ambiguous, seeking mischief and seeking to arrive at its meaning arbitrarily, although none knows their true meaning except Allah. On the contrary, those firmly rooted in knowledge say: ‘We believe in it; it is all from our Lord alone.’ No one derives true admonition from anything except the men of understanding. – Qur’an 3:7.

The Qur’an clarifies that not everything in it is understandable to everyone. It further clarifies that its verses are clear to men of understanding who are, “firmly rooted in knowledge”. Hence, claiming that the Qur’an is clear to everyone is not true and wholly incorrect.

Let us then, now consider some examples. Someone may ask, why would God reveal a verse that cannot be clearly understood? God says that He sustains Himself, while this informs us of the nature of God, as humans it is difficult for us to grasp how anything can sustain itself and not depend on anything for its livelihood. Humans need food, animals need food, computers need electricity, cars need oil and gas, but God needs nothing. While we cannot wrap our heads fully around this concept, we still have learned about the nature of God.

We must also then consider the example of a car of which the manufacturer says it is the easiest to drive. Someone purchases the car and then crashes it. Does that make the manufacturer’s statement false? No, it does not. It means that the driver has made a mistake and despite the car’s handling being easy, the fault lays with the actions of the driver.  The same is with the Qur’an, while the Qur’an has been made clear and easy, it does not mean that everyone will have the ability or capacity to understand it.

and Allah knows best.

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