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Chair Pundit

Why Is The Qur'an So Repetitive?

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For example:

 

[3:90] Surely, those who disbelieve after their believing, then increase in unbelief, their repentance shall not be accepted, and these are they that go astray.

[4:137] Surely (as for) those who believe then disbelieve, again believe and again disbelieve, then increase in disbelief, Allah will not forgive them nor guide them in the (right) path.

 

And

 

[4:48]Allah forgiveth not that partners should be set up with Him; but He forgiveth anything else, to whom He pleaseth; to set up partners with Allah is to devise a sin most heinous indeed.

[4:116]Allah forgiveth not (the sin of) joining other gods with Him; but He forgiveth whom He pleaseth other sins than this: one who joins other gods with Allah, Hath strayed far, far away (from the right). 

 

Did it not suffice for God to mention it once and move on to a different topic? Why is the same point repeated over and over again in similar and different ways in different verses? Please explain.

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For example:

 

[3:90] Surely, those who disbelieve after their believing, then increase in unbelief, their repentance shall not be accepted, and these are they that go astray.

[4:137] Surely (as for) those who believe then disbelieve, again believe and again disbelieve, then increase in disbelief, Allah will not forgive them nor guide them in the (right) path.

 

And

 

[4:48]Allah forgiveth not that partners should be set up with Him; but He forgiveth anything else, to whom He pleaseth; to set up partners with Allah is to devise a sin most heinous indeed.

[4:116]Allah forgiveth not (the sin of) joining other gods with Him; but He forgiveth whom He pleaseth other sins than this: one who joins other gods with Allah, Hath strayed far, far away (from the right). 

 

Did it not suffice for God to mention it once and move on to a different topic? Why is the same point repeated over and over again in similar and different ways in different verses? Please explain.

 

This is probably not a correct answer but... The qur'an wasn't revealed as a whole book. It was revealed by verses over many years. So if Muhammad (saw) was talking to a group of people one year and a verse was revealed and he told them that verse and lets say 10 years later another group of people ask a second verse of the same was revealed as a reminder.

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This is probably not a correct answer but... The qur'an wasn't revealed as a whole book. It was revealed by verses over many years. So if Muhammad (saw) was talking to a group of people one year and a verse was revealed and he told them that verse and lets say 10 years later another group of people ask a second verse of the same was revealed as a reminder.

 

So why did he not show them the original verse? Why copy and paste the same verse?

 

Because it is a reminder.

For those who have a sound heart.

 

There's a fine line between fruitful reminding and needless repetition.

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If this was a textbook then the repetitions would seem unnecessary and even undesired. 

 

That is a reasonable point of view. However, let's be honest here. How many times do we have to be warned about shirk, for example? If it were not for the beauty of the recitation, this would be a one-time read for me to be frank. Could not God have elaborated in more depth on the types of shirk that extend beyond mere carved out idols? To repeat "avoid shirk or you'll be punished severely" so much throughout the text is a tedious read, no?

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I was under the impression that repetition was something like an artistic element. Each artist has a certain style or a certain element in their work that tell you it's their artwork without needing to read the "signature" or knowing what "collection" it came from.

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Adding to what others have said: One thing that repetition does is create emphasis.  For example, the Basmala 114 times, and the blessings of God verse in Surah Rahman a dozen times or so.  It suggests that the message that is being conveyed is particularly important.  Repetition makes people more likely to remember.

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Because it is a reminder.t.

 

Yes and also because it is a collection of messages.

 

It is normal for messages that are not heeded and those that need to emphasized to be repeated.  

 

How many times do we have to be warned about shirk, for example?

 

That is a matter to be decided not by you or me but by the person who is giving the warning and the people who are being warned.

 

If they need more warnings, well then so be it.

To repeat "avoid shirk or you'll be punished severely" so much throughout the text is a tedious read, no?

 

Tough!

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Adding to what others have said: One thing that repetition does is create emphasis. For example, the Basmala 114 times, and the blessings of God verse in Surah Rahman a dozen times or so. It suggests that the message that is being conveyed is particularly important. Repetition makes people more likely to remember.

Surah Rahman and Surah Mursalat are curious chapters. Both have a continuous chorus every verse or every few verses. Is there a reason why God relays his message in a lyrical fashion, as if it is meant to be sung?

Why couldn't he just have revealed it like an article that it could be referred to every so often as a reminder?

It doesn't logically follow that Muslims would be less inclined to obey the commandments if the reminder was not repeated.

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How many times does a father have to repeat something to a son who keeps doing the opposite of what the father says?

You and I do not have the right to interfere in the judgment of the father.

Bad analogy. A warning that is transcribed does not have to be repeated. It can be referred back to.

To obey the warning or command is what is required to be a Muslim in the first place.

A disobedient son does not cease to be a son.

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With above of what other have mentioned. Remember, each verse also comes with a context of past prophet's commonalities and during when it was revealed. So, this is in another way a mercy of Allah.  There by Allah commanding the Messenger A.S to warn the meccans, christians, jews, and Muslims.

Edited by PureEthics

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A warning that is transcribed does not have to be repeated

 

That is for the father to decide. 

 

Not  your problem or mine.

 

It can be referred back to.

 

'Can be' is not the same as 'will be'

 

To obey the warning or command is what is required to be a Muslim in the first place.

 

But many did not do and still don 't.

 

A disobedient son does not cease to be a son.

 

Of course not.

 

You have got it right this time around.

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It doesn't logically follow that Muslims would be less inclined to obey the commandments if the reminder was not repeated.

 

A person who is genuinely averse to something would not be inclined to it - repetition or no repetition.  But if someone has a positive state of mind, there can be no doubt that repetition of selected parts, subject to the author's sound judgment, could help.

 

Plain psychology! 

Edited by baqar

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The Qur'an was intentionally revealed in a poetic rhythmetic way because the trend at time among the Arabs was poetry and poetry competitions. This way the Prophet communicated to them in a way they know, but out did them in eloquence. Also it is more enjoyable for future generations to read, recite, and listen to. The Bible on the other hand is long boring and drawn out, now that is a burden to read.

 

The reason for repetition is to emphasize certain points. A lot of things are never repeated, for example the verses on certain punishments and laws like inheritance. Those are just simple laws - not as important. The stuff about shirk, certain prophetic stories, human nature etc is repeated to drill certain points into your head. Also each time they are repeated, it is from a different angle. For example each time the story of Moses is told, there are new and different details with each retelling. The human mind is lazy and forgets things quickly, so in the main aspects of the religion there is repetition and different arguments and explanations each time .

 

The Prophet was trying to get people to stop idol worshipping so there was constant arguments on that issue, so constant need for these verses. The miracle is that this applies to future times too, in our day and age people are falling into atheism so all those repetitive verses about God and the signs of God proving his existence and oneness are still necessary.

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That is a reasonable point of view. However, let's be honest here. How many times do we have to be warned about shirk, for example? If it were not for the beauty of the recitation, this would be a one-time read for me to be frank. Could not God have elaborated in more depth on the types of shirk that extend beyond mere carved out idols? To repeat "avoid shirk or you'll be punished severely" so much throughout the text is a tedious read, no?

 

Look at the verse pertaining to the # of times of salah in a day. It appears once and the Muslim Ummah is split on whether it is 3 times or 5 times a day. If shirk was mentioned once, maybe some people will take it less seriously?

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Look at the verse pertaining to the # of times of salah in a day. It appears once and the Muslim Ummah is split on whether it is 3 times or 5 times a day. If shirk was mentioned once, maybe some people will take it less seriously?

Shirk is mentioned many times and there is still a split within the Shia community regarding the legitimacy of praying directly to the Imams as intercessors, not to mention visiting shrines.

So that's not a strong, consistent argument for why the Qur'an had to repeat the same thing over and over to different people in differing contexts.

Edited by Chair Pundit

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That is a reasonable point of view. However, let's be honest here. How many times do we have to be warned about shirk, for example? If it were not for the beauty of the recitation, this would be a one-time read for me to be frank. Could not God have elaborated in more depth on the types of shirk that extend beyond mere carved out idols? To repeat "avoid shirk or you'll be punished severely" so much throughout the text is a tedious read, no?

 

If youre looking for entertainment read Mody Richard.

[edit] ^ xD i was censored.

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If youre looking for entertainment read Mody Richard.

It isn't about being entertained, though. It's about substance. I've memorised large portions of the Qur'an and I can't deny that a lot of what I've memorised did not have to be memorised at all because it has not benefited me, intellectually or otherwise. The Qur'an could be easily shortened down to at least a quarter of its length and deliver a message just as punchier and effective, minus the painful sequenced repetition about chastisement; shirk; God being all knowing and seeing; threats of doom; doing good; reward of heaven with a flowing river beneath, etc.

Edited by Chair Pundit

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There is wisdom in the repition. Firstly, any good teacher knows that repetition is one of the best tools in teaching, especially if a student is only listening or reading and not doing an action.

Second, there are signs in the repition, like how the word :Imam appears 12 times in the :Quran.

Also the repition helps making memorization easier.

Im sure there is more but there are three points for you.

Ws

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There is wisdom in the repition. Firstly, any good teacher knows that repetition is one of the best tools in teaching, especially if a student is only listening or reading and not doing an action.

No, there is a key distinction needed to be made here. Repetition is used as a tool in academia because there is usually a lot of information to digest that has to be chunked, learned thoroughly and memorised for an assignment or exam.

The Qur'an is entirely different. It talks about concepts that are not exogenous to one's intuition. And since it is not a complex text, it does not need memorising. One does not need to memorise the Qur'an to become a Muslim. Why? Because it can simply be referred back to.

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There are deeper understandings to the :Quran that simply "do this and not that." You should listen to Nouman Ali Khan, I dont know if he records them and posts them on youtube, but he has given lectures along with many others on deeper meanings of the :Quran by looking at exact wording and whatnot. We are :Shias, not wahabis who take the :Quran only at face value.

Ws

Edited by :Ruffles

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It is poetic. And for emphasis.

This topic makes me think "...and the raven never flitting still is sitting, still is sitting on the pallid bust of Pallas above my chamber door."

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There are deeper understandings to the :Quran that simply "do this and not that." You should listen to Nouman Ali Khan, I dont know if he records them and posts them on youtube, but he has given lectures along with many others on deeper meanings of the :Quran by looking at exact wording and whatnot. We are :Shias, not wahabis who take the :Quran only at face value.

Ws

Ok. Here's your cue.

[4:48] Allah forgiveth not that partners should be set up with Him; but He forgiveth anything else, to whom He pleaseth; to set up partners with Allah is to devise a sin most heinous indeed.

[4:116] Allah forgiveth not (the sin of) joining other gods with Him; but He forgiveth whom He pleaseth other sins than this: one who joins other gods with Allah, Hath strayed far, far away (from the right).

What's the qualitative difference? What are the essential differences in terms of their purported "deeper meanings?"

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The most repeated thing in Quran is hell for disbelievers.  The Quran then instead of becoming a book primarily motivating people to believe or hold on to faith out of love of God and truth, out of moral responsibility, etc, becomes one that seeks to motivate believers to remain on faith and disbelievers to become faithful primarily through fear.

Edited by StrugglingForTheLight

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The most repeated thing in Quran is hell for disbelievers.  The Quran then instead of becoming a book primarily motivating people to believe or hold on to faith out of love of God and truth, out of moral responsibility, etc, becomes one that seeks to motivate believers to remain on faith and disbelievers to become faithful primarily through fear.

 

You know what is mentioned more than hell? Forgiveness and Mercy. :) So, sorry my dear brother but your point is invalid and wrong. It is not the the most repeated thing.

 

Forgiving*-97 http://corpus.quran.com/search.jsp?q=forgiving

Mercy*-165 http://corpus.quran.com/search.jsp?t=1&q=mercy

Hell- 83 http://corpus.quran.com/search.jsp?q=hell

 

*+ more due to the conjugate of the words

Edited by PureEthics

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becomes one that seeks to motivate believers to remain on faith and disbelievers to become faithful primarily through fear.

Exactly. This exemplifies how the Qur'an strives to ratchet up the fear within the disbeliever constantly throughout the text, as if the exercise of repeating it has any particular useful effect or positive outcome. If the disbeliever it is threatening has rejected in a deliberate manner, which is what a "kafir" is, the stark threats would not come as a world shaking shock to the disbeliever in the first place. However, if it is referring to any type of disbeliever who rejects based on sincere doubts or questions yet to be clarified, the threats are unfair and disproportionate to say the least.

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Chair Pundit,

 

first of all read my first post on the first page. Secondly, the Qur'an isn't usually read all at once. People usually read a few verses at a time, or at most a surah or two in one sitting. And most people don't even do that every day. So certain topics are repeated so when you have your occasional reading you are reminded of the main points the Qur'an wants to get across. That's why like I mentioned earlier simple laws are mentioned once, but the emphasis on monotheism is repeated so even if you flip to a random page in the Qur'an and just read for a few minutes you are reminded of the big takeaway. That is honestly how most people read or recite.

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And most people don't even do that every day. So certain topics are repeated so when you have your occasional reading you are reminded of the main points the Qur'an wants to get across.

You're honestly stretching the truth, even outright lying when you claim that a Muslim doesn't get the "main message" after reading a few verses. The main points of the Qur'an are fleshed out by other resources: books and lectures. Which means that one doesn't necessarily have to read the entire Qur'an in order to understand the overall message. Therefore the repetition in the Qur'an does not serve any essential purpose.

Unless you're saying that, had the Qur'an been a text that didn't repeat itself constantly that we would not be practicing or understanding the faith, then you have a perspective that is alien to reality. In truth, quality trumps quantity. Repeating something over and over does nothing for the quality. The quality stands on its own, and people are attracted and repelled on that basis, regardless of the number of times it is repeated.

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Actually I was claiming that a Muslim DOES get the "main message" after reading a few verses. The whole point is that most Muslims do just that - they read a few verses here and there. They aren't constantly reading the whole book all the time. Since they just read a few verses they'll pick up the main points. And when the Prophet was preaching to different separate groups of people he had verses with similar themes to deliver to them each. Of course there is repetition. Also like I said before the repetitions often have small but important differences each time.

 

The Qur'an is quality even with its repetitions, unless you can recommend me to a more powerful, eloquent religious text?

 

And not all Muslims read extra books and listen to lectures. Most Muslims actually don't even bother doing any reading on Islam.

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