.Muhkamat  eindeutige Koranverse



Muhkamaat (Sg. muhkamah) wird abgeleitet von der Wurzel uhkima („zwischen zwei Dingen unterscheiden“). Es ist ein substantiviertes Verb im Plural mit der Bedeutung „Urteile“, „Entscheidungen“. Als Terminus technicus bezeichnet es alle eindeutigen Koranverse mit klaren Entscheidungen, meist gesetzliche Regelungen, aber auch sonstige klare Definitionen wie zwischen wahr und falsch usw. Dies ist die Bedeutung allgemein von muhkamaat.

Beispiel: „Ihr, die glauben, wenn ihr euch verschuldet, mit einer Schuld zu einer festgesetzten Frist, so schreibt sie auf, und es soll zwischen euch ein Schreiber sachgerecht aufschreiben ...“ (2:282)


Mutaschabihaat (Sg. mutaschabihah) wird von der Wurzel  ischtabaha  abgeleitet, mit der Bedeutung „zweifelhaft sein“. Es ist ein substantiviertes Verb im Plural und bedeutet „die ungewissen oder zweifel­haften Dinge“. Als Terminus technicus bezeichnet es diejenigen Verse des Korans, deren Bedeutung nicht klar ist, oder über die nicht völlige Einigkeit herrscht, und die zwei oder mehr Auslegungen zulassen.

Beispiel: „Der Allerbarmer, den Thron hat Er eingenommen.“ (20: 5)



muhkamaat and Mutashabihat 



The word muhkamaat - (sg. muhkama) is derived from the root uhkima which means to decide between two things. It is a verbal noun in the plural, meaning judgements, decisions and in technical language refers to all clearly decided verses of the Qur'an, mostly those concerning legal rulings, but also to other clear definitions such as between truth and falsehood etc. This is what is meant by 'general muhkamaat'.

Mutashabihat (sg. mutashabiha) is derived from the root 'ishtabaha' meaning 'to be doubtful'. It is a verbal noun in the plural, meaning the uncertain or doubtful things. In technical language it refers to those verses of the Qur'an the meanings of which are not clear or not completely agreed upon, but open to two or more interpretations.

Example of muhkamaat:

'O you who believe! When ye deal with each other, in transactions involving future obligations, in a fixed period of time, reduce them to writing. Let a scribe write down faithfully as between the parties ...' (Al-Qur'an 2: 282).

Example of mutashabihat:

'(God) Most Gracious is firmly established on the throne (of authority)' (Al-Qur'an 20: 5).

Note that the words in brackets have been added by the translator in an attempt to interpret this aya.

The Qur'an on muhkamaat and Mutashabihat

The Qur'an says of itself that it contains two kinds of ayat, both of which are fundamental components of the book, and both of which must be accepted:

'He it is who has sent down to thee the Book: in it are verses basic or fundamental (of established meaning); they are the foundation of the book: others are allegorical, that is those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is allegorical, seeking discord and searching for its hidden meanings, but no one knows its hidden meanings except God and those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: "We believe in the book; the whole of it is from our Lord;" and none will grasp the message except men of understanding' (Al-Qur'an 3: 7).

Here muhkamaat and mutashabihat are described as follows:


  • Something of which knowledge was desired.

  • Something with only one dimension.

  • Something sufflcient in meaning, requiring no further explanation.


  • Something known to Allah only.

  • Something with more than one dimension.

  • Something requiring further explanation.

Hence in the Qur'an those ayat dealing with halal and haram, punishments, inheritance, promise and threat, etc.belong to the muhkamaat, while those concerning the attributes of Allah, the true nature of the resurrection, judgement and life after death etc. belong to the mutashabihat.

General and Specific

Some verses of the Qur'an are of a very wide, general application (al-'am), e.g. including all human beings, or all Muslims etc. Other ayat are restricted in their application to certain special circumstances only (al-khas).


'Every soul shall have a taste of death' (Al-Qur'an 3: 185)

'Let there be no obscenity, nor wickedness nor wrangling in the Hajj' (Al-Qur'an 2:187).

'God (thus) directs you as regards your children (inheritance)' (Al-Qur'an 4: 11).

Furthermore one also distinguishes between 'general verses' which remain general, and others which intend a specific meaning.


'Pilgrimage thereto is a duty man owes to God- those who can afford the journey' (Al-Qur'an 3: 97).

Of the 'special meanings' there are several varieties. Usually some kind of condition or limitation is specified.


'Your step-daughters under your guardianship, born of your wives to whom you have gone in' (Al-Qur'an 4: 23).

'It is prescribed when death approaches any one of you, if you leave any goods that he make a bequest to parents and next of kin' (Al-Qur'an 2: 180).

'So keep away from the women in their courses, and do not approach them until they are clean' (Al-Qur'an 2: 222).

'Free' and 'Bound' Verses

Some of the ahkam verses are valid, 'free' (mutlaq) from any conditions or circumstances, while others are 'bound' (muqayyad) to special conditions or situations, and apply only therein.


'If it is beyond your means, fast for three days, that is expiation for the wrath ye have sworn' (Al-Qur'an 5: 92).

It is free, i.e. left to one's discretion whether to fast three days consecutively or with interruptions.

'And if ye find no water then take yourselves clean sand or earth and rub therewith your faces and hands' (Al-Qur'an 5: 6).[Some say this aya is 'bound', as the same aya mentioning wudu' instructs washing of the hands 'to the elbows'; others say it is 'free'.]

'Literal' and 'Understood' Meanings

The meaning of certain ayat is derived from the literal wording (mantdq) while that of others is derived from what is understood (mafhum) by them:

Of the literal understanding there are several kinds. The first concerns a clear text, i.e. a text clear and without ambiguity.


'But if he cannot afford it, he should fast three days during the Hajj and seven days on his return, making ten days in all' Al-Qur'an 2: 196).

In other cases the text may be somewhat ambiguous in its expression but obvious as far as the meaning is concerned.


'And do not approach them until they are clean' (Al-Qur'an 2: 222).

The Arabic word tatahharna may refer to the end of the woman's menstrual period, or the completion of the bath after the period; the second being more obvious. [Qattan, M.: mabahith It 'ulum al-qur'an, Riyadh. 1971.]

Still other verses imply a meaning through the context, although the wording itself is not clear.


'And out of kindness reward to them the wing of humility' (Al-Qur'an 17: 24).

This applies to parents, and not to all human beings in general, as the context of this verse suggests.

Al Muqatta'at

The so-called 'abbreviated letters' are an important section of the mutashabihat' [Itqan, II, p.8f. A summary of the orientalists' efforts on this topic is in Jeffery. Arthur: The Mystic Letters of the Quran, MW, 14 (1924), pp. 247-60. Some of the orientalists suggested that the letters are abbreviations of the names of the various Companions who used to write the Qur'an for Muhammad. Still others say that the letters are simply symbols employed to distinguish the Sura from others before the now common names were introduced. Sura Ta Ha would be a case in point. This is also based on some Muslim scholars' views (Itqan, 11, p.10). Watt, the Edinburgh priest-orientalist, writes 'We end where we began; the letters are mysterious, and have so far baMed interpretation' (Watt, M.: Bell's Introduction to the Qur'an, Edinburgh, 1977, p.64).] insofar as their meanings are not known.The word is derived from the root 'qata'a' - to cut, and means 'what is cut', and also 'what is abbreviated'.

In technical language the word is used for certain letters found at the beginning of several suras of the Qur'an, called 'the abbreviated letters'.

Their Occurrence

There are fourteen such letters occurring in various combinations at the beginning of 29 suras. The following is a list of their occurrence and distribution in the Qur'an:

Alif Lam Ra: 10, 11, 12, 14, 15.
Alif Lam Mim: 2, 3, 29, 30, 31, 32.
Alif Lam Mim Ra': 13.
Alif Lam Mim Sad: 7
Ha Mim: 40, 41, 43, 44, 45, 46.
Sad: 38.
Ta Sin: 27.
Ta Sin Mim: 26, 28.
Qaf: 50.
Kaf Ha Ya 'Ain Sad: 19.
Nun: 68.
Ya Sin: 36.

Variety of Explanations

The meaning and purpose of these letters is uncertain. There have been a variety of explanations offered by Muslim scholars throughout the ages. Among them are: [See itqan, 11, pp.9-11.]

These letters might be abbreviations for certain sentences and words, such as e.g. Alif Lam Mim meaning Ana llahu A'lam; or Nun meaning Nur (light), etc. These letters are not abbreviations but symbols and names of Allah, or something else. [e .g. the letter nun standing for 'fish' . which occurs in every sura that has nun as 'abbreviated letter' in front, or ta standing for snake, as every sura with [a as abbreviated letterw in front contains the story of Musa and the snake.] These letters have some numerical significance, as the semitic letters also have numerical value. These letters were used to attract the attention of the Prophet (and later his audience) for the revelation to follow.

There are also many other explanations which cannot be referred to here. The 'abbreviated letters' are part of the Qur'anic message, revealed to the Prophet Muhammad and therefore included in the text of the Qur'an. They are to be recited and read as part of the suras where they occur. They are a good example for one kind of mutashabihdt which is referred to in the Qur'an itself, (3: 7), the meaning of which is known to Allah. The Qur'an says of them: '... these are the symbols of the perspicuous book' (12: 1).




Muhkam and Mutashabihah

Book: Introduction to Al-Qur'an

Chapter No.: 8

Knowledge of Muhkam and Mutashabiha is another very vast field for the learners and scholars of the Qur’an.

Literal meaning of Muhkam (Un-ambiguous): It is that thing having established meaning, to stop (from falsehood, disruption or discontinuity). If it is read as ‘Hikam’, then it has many meanings like justice, knowledge, sobriety, Prophet-hood, Qur’an etc.

Literal meaning of Mutashabiha (Ambiguous): It means resemblance; one thing resembles to other thing so much so that one is mistaken for the other.

As Al-Qur’an says:

إِنَّ الْبَقَرَ تَشَابَهَ عَلَيْنَا

“Verily, to us are all heifers alike” (2:70)

Technical meaning:

Ulema are having different opinions regarding the technical meaning of these two words viz., Muhkam and Mutashabiha. Al-Qur’an also uses two words in different meanings. Al-Qur’an says:

كِتَابٌ أُحْكِمَتْ آيَاتُهُ

“(This is) a book with verses basic or fundamental (of established meaning)” (11:1)

As per this Ayat the whole Qur’an is having well established meaning, is well organised and there is no chance for any discontinuity or contradiction in it.

Al-Qur’an further says:

اللَّهُ نَزَّلَ أَحْسَنَ الْحَدِيثِ كِتَابًا مُتَشَابِهًا

“Allah has revealed from time to time the most beautiful Message in the form of a Book, consistent with itself.” (39:23)

In this verse the whole Qur’an has been called Mutashabih, meaning – ‘consistent with itself’. Al-Qur’an further says:

هُوَ الَّذِي أَنْزَلَ عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ مِنْهُ آيَاتٌ مُحْكَمَاتٌ هُنَّ أُمُّ الْكِتَابِ وَأُخَرُ مُتَشَابِهَاتٌ

“It is He, Who has sent down to thee the Book in it are verses, basic or fundamental, clear (in meaning). They are the foundation of the Book; others are not entirely clear.” (3:7)

In this verse the Qur’an says that there are some verses in the Qur’an which are Muhkam and others are Mutashabih.

Different Opinions of Ulema about the Meaning of Muhkam and Mutashabih:

1. Muhkam means one that has a clear-cut meaning and argument and in which Naskh (abrogation) is not possible. It is also taken as opposite of Naskh.

Mutashabih means one whose meaning has been kept hidden and one can neither know it by logic nor through narrations, like the Day of Judgement, particular letters in the beginning of some Surahs, appearance of Dajjal etc,.

2. Muhkam is that which can have only one interpretation whereas Mutashabih can be interpreted in different ways. This opinion has been attributed to Ibne Abbas, and most of the people agree with it.

3. Muhkam is that which is self explanatory unlike Mutashabih which needs some explanation. This opinion is put forward by Imam Ahmad.

4. Muhkam is straight in meaning and sequence and in Mutashabih one cannot rely only upon the literal meaning but needs some other clues to understand it clearly. This opinion is attributed to Imam-al-Harmain.

5. Muhkam verses are those which are related with deeds, and Mutashabih are those which are about the beliefs and are to be believed whether one understands them or not. Alama Suyuti (RA) has quoted this view from Ikramah and Qataadah. (Manaahil-ul-Irfan)

Types of Mutashabih:

1. Whose understanding is impossible for man - like the Essence of Allah, the Day of Judgement etc. Allah has kept these things hidden.

2. Which can be understood by the learned scholars of Islam only and not by common people. This is evident by a dua of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) about Hadhrat Ibne Abass (RA) in which he said: “Oh, Allah bestow him (Ibne Abbas) with special understanding of Deen and teach him interpretation (of the Qur’an).” (Mufradut-ul-Qur’an by Alama Raagib Asfahani)

Purpose of Mutashabih:

1. It is mercy and benevolence of Allah that He has kept such things hidden. How can a man tolerate the Tajalliyat of Rabb-ul-Alameen? In keeping secret the Day of Judgement, there are again so many benefits for man.

2. To test Iman-bil-Gaib: Mutashabih also helps to differentiate between true believer and a false believer. False believer questions the Mutashabih whereas true believer believes these things quietly and honestly.

3. Imam Raazi (RA) says that since Al-Qur’an is both for common man as well as scholars, former remain contented with simple and straight commandments like Muhkam whereas the scholars, want to do research and think-deeply, so for them there is enough material in the Qur’an in the form of Mutashabih.

4. Establishing supremacy of the Qur’an: These Mutashabih make great scholars also helpless and finally they resign by saying that Allah alone knows their meaning. (Manaahi-ul-Irfan)

Some examples of Mutashabihhat:

الرَّحْمَنُ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ اسْتَوَى

“The most gracious is firmly established on the Throne” (20:5)

وَيَبْقَى وَجْهُ رَبِّكَ

“But will abide (for ever) the Face of Thy Lord” (55:27)

يَدُ اللَّهِ فَوْقَ أَيْدِيهِمْ

“The hand of Allah is over their hands”. (48:10)

وَالسَّمَوَاتُ مَطْوِيَّاتٌ بِيَمِينِهِ

“And the Heavens will be rolled up in His right hand.” (39:67)

Ideal Attitude Towards Mutashabihat:

Imam Maalik (RA) was asked about the Ayat of Istawa, present in the Qur’an:

الرَّحْمَنُ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ اسْتَوَى

He replied

الاستواء معلوم و الكيف مجهول و السوال عن هذا بدعه

“Istawa is known, its nature (i.e., in what way) is unknown and to ask question about it is a bida’t (innovation). Same answer is also reported from Hadhrat Ummi Salma (RA) but she also added that to have Iman on this is obligatory.

Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:

“The Qur’an has not been revealed in such a way that one part of it will prove the other part wrong, whatever you understand from it, act as per that and what ever is Mutashabih, have Iman (belief) in that.” (Manaahil-ul-Irfan)