Oaths in the Qur-aan

Human being take oaths to add credibility to the statements they make. Oaths fill the gaps left by a deficiency or lack of evidence. Usually the entities used for taking oaths are those that are considered sacred and exalted or those that are held very dear.

Holy Qur-aan also uses oaths in its text. Many Soorahs start with some kind of oaths and some of them come within the text itself. We cannot, however, interpret the oaths of the Qur-aan from the same perspective as we are used to do in the case of human oaths. Firstly, nothing is exalted or sacred to Allaah SWT. He is the Most Exalted and the Most Holy. Secondly, His word is ultimate. It does not require any support. However, people may not be able to grasp the meaning or the reality of Allaah’s words. They may need props to help them understand the message from the Words of Allaah. That is the sole purpose of the oaths in the Qur-aan.

Mostly, the entities used in the Qur-aanic oaths are not necessarily selected because they are special or significant in their own nature. They are selected because they present the best evidence possible for human beings to grasp the message. So, the use of any items for an oath in the Qur-aan signifies that there is some logical relationship between the item in the oath and the statement that follows the oath. If we reflect and contemplate on the item used for the oath, it will provide us with the rational evidence for the statement that follows it.

This role of oaths in the Qur-aan is quite evident to the people who reflect on the Qur-aan, but it has also been explicitly mentioned in the Qur-aan itself. In Soorah Al-Fajr, after a series of oaths (the dawn, ten nights, odd and even, and the night when it is about to depart), Allaah SWT says: “Is there not a strong evidence in them for the wise?” Or for example, in Soorah Yaaseen, Allaah SWT says, “By the Qur-aan that is full of wisdom, you indeed are one of the messengers, on the straight path.” Here the Qur-aan is being presented as evidence and witness to the fact that Prophet Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah.

In a few places Allaah SWT has taken an oath by Himself. The purpose in such cases is to present witness from His own Absolute Knowledge and His own Infinite Authority for the matter being discussed. Sometimes the Prophet has taken an oath by Allaah for the same purpose.


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