The Sciences of the Qurʾān contain information about the process of Qurʾān and its structural characteristics, language and stylistic features, as well as statistical data on the content of the Qurʾān. This information, which contributes significantly to the understanding of the Qurʾān, is generally classified within the relevant narratives and the classifications are sometimes associated with verses. In this context, the way in which the Sciences of the Qurʾān explain the verses, which do not act solely on methodical premises, differs from the Qurʾānic exegesis books. In the Sciences of the Qurʾān, the subject of revelation forms are classified within the frame of the narrations, and the 51st verse of the Sūrat al-Shūrā is frequently referred to. In other words, the related classifications are matched with the 51st verse of the Sūrat al-Shūrā. In the exegesis, this verse is handled more comprehensively considering its context and the literal possibilities. There are two remarkable comments about this verse in terms of its reflection in the revelation classifications. However, on the contrary, it is possible to encounter examples where the verse is subject to specific discussions. One of them belongs to Jār Allāh al-Zamakhsharī (d.538/1144) and the other to Nāṣir al-Dīn al-Bayḍāwī (d. 685/1286). When the exegesis of al-Zamakhsharī and al-Bayḍāwī are examined, it is seen that this verse is the subject of ru’yat Allah (seeing Allah) discussion between Muʿtazila and Ahl al-Sunnah and the classifications are made in this context. However, it is interesting to note that the classification of al-Zamakhsharī is more suitable for the perspective of the Sciences of the Qurʾān. In this study, the codes of the determinations made by al-Zamakhsharī and al-Bayḍāwī related to the 51st verse of Sūrat al-Shūrā was read on the commentaries. While al-Zamakhsharī explains this verse as a proof for the argument that God cannot be seen, al-Bayḍāwī develops an example of reactionary interpretation upon Zamakhsharī’s view. The Sciences of the Qurʾān (as a discipline), which opens a separate title to the ways of revelation, uses this verse as a template and takes it away from the discussion. In the study, the subjective dimensions of the discussion and classifications made in the context of this verse were evaluated. As a result, it is concluded that a classification similar to classification of al-Zamakhsharī has been made in the literature of the Sciences of the Qurʾān as it provides more comprehensive framework.
Summary: During the period of revelation of the Holy Qurʾān not only the sunnah and actions of the Prophet which explained the Holy Qurʾān, but also various sources of information based on language and consultation, were used in order to understand the Holy Qurʾān. The first people introduced to the revelation used their own language/oratory skills, which were natural them, to understand the Qurʾān and were also able to observe the events and problems that brought about the revelation of the verses. These elements, used by those first people for understanding the Qurʾān, were readily available in their society. Therefore, understanding of the Qurʾān while the Prophet was still alive did not require a codification of those resources or treatment of the matter on a theoretical level. Subsequent generations mostly compensated the lack of those advantages by the use of the Sciences of the Qurʾān books penned individually after 2nd Century (A.H.), and those written systematically under the collective name "the Sciences of the Qurʾān" starting from the 6th century (A.H.). These works covered many subjects such as the beginning of the revelation, the accentuation of the Qurʾān, the physical development process of the Qurʾānic text, information based on observation as well as the tone and content of the Qurʾān and provided information details for Qurʾānic interpretations. Over time, this information was classified in the Sciences of the Qurʾān literature, organized under various relevant titles and enhanced with examples, numerical and qualitative information.
One of the main topics of the Sciences of the Qurʾān is the subject of “revelation and its forms”. In the literature of the Sciences of the Qurʾān, the classifications made under this topic are generally associated with the verse 51 of Sūrat al-Shūrā. In this verse, the forms of communication between Allah (Jalla Jalaluhu) and the servant/prophet are categorized. The context of the verse 51 of the Sūrat al-Shūrā in the tafsīr literature is different from the context in the Sciences of the Qurʾān literature. As a matter of fact, while this verse is examined in detail with respect to the context, concept analysis, and the possibilities of i‘rāb (classical Arabic grammar), it is merely referred to in the Sciences of the Qurʾān. This is due to the fact that the determinations and classifications made in the Sciences of the Qurʾān are shaped mostly in the light of the historical context and narrations of the subject.
It is also possible to encounter examples of tafsīr where the 51st verse is made the topic of detailed discussions. There are two remarkable comments about this verse in terms of its reflection in the revelation classifications. One of them belongs to Jār Allāh al-Zamakhsharī (d.538/1144) and the other belongs to Nāṣir al-Dīn al-Bayḍāwī (d. 685/1286). The tafsīr s of al-Zamakhsharī and al-Bayḍāwī make it clear that this verse is the subject of ru’yat Allah discussion between the Muʿtazila and Ahl al-Sunnah and the classifications are made accordingly. The fact that i‘rāb examinations of the two authors are similar and both took into account other linguistic possibilities despite their preferences, which also prove that the points of conflict are not literal.
Al-Zamakhsharī thinks that this verse determines the way Allah speaks not only with his prophets but also with all people. According to al-Zamakhsharī, the 51st verse refers to the three forms of communication that takes place between God and any of His servants. Allah communicates with His servants; a) through inspiration, inspiration to heart or through dreams, b) by making His words heard through certain channels, c) by sending one of his angels as a messenger. In the verse, the first is expressed as revelation, the second is to speak behind a veil, and the third is to send a messenger. According to al-Zamakhsharī, Allah's inspiration to the mother of Moses, the dream that He showed to Abraham regarding the sacrificing of his son and inspiration of Psalms to David, all relate to the revelation concept mentioned in the first option. Al-Zamakhsharī believes that revelation from behind a veil is an adage. This adage can be compared to a king speaking with one of those at his service behind a veil/curtain, where the person hears the voice of the king but cannot see him. Allah only spoke to Moses and angels in that manner, and sent angels to speak to His other servants/prophets.
As a response to al-Zamakhsharī, al-Bayḍāwī interpreted the verse concisely explaining the 'revelation' (وحيا) as a secret word that is quickly understood. Because, in terms of its nature, revelation is not a word made up of sound waves that come one after another to make words. In the verse, this word refers both to the Night Journey (Mi‘rāj) and the talk mentioned in the hadiths regarding the ru’yat Allah, and Allah speaking to Moses without Moses seeing Allah. However, in the verse min verâi ḥicâb/attributed to the word 'revelation 'من وراء حجاب makes it clear that the expression refers to a form of speech in which Allah is heard but not seen. Therefore, the word 'revelation' refers to a mutual talk and according to al-Bayḍāwī, this is proof that ru’yat Allah is possible.
The fact that the classifications made in the Sciences of the Qurʾān literature agrees with the classification of al-Zamakhsharī, not al-Bayḍāwī. This result is closely related to the structural features of the Sciences of the Qurʾān in which authors strive to make general explanations that are beyond sectarian preferences and views. Understanding the verse as a conversation between Allah and man, and not between Allah and His prophet, provides a more comprehensive classification in terms of the use of revelations (not only the use of the word revelation) in the Qurʾān. Thus, the address that was made to Abraham in his dream, the revelation of to Moses' mother, and inspiration to our holy Prophet and other people can be interpreted according to this verse. In addition, the ru’yat Allah debate was excluded from the subject in the classifications made in the Sciences of the Qurʾān and implication of the verse was limited to the talks made in a worldly manner.