The Promised Messiah(as) in discussing the first few verses of Sura Al-Baqarah (Chapter 2) of the Holy Quran and later in reference to the verses relating to the death of Jesus(as)emphasizes that Allah always follows a particular sequence in the uses of words and verses in the Holy Quran. The Promised Messiah(as) says:
“There is an order in the Holy Quran, which is not given its due value. Until the order and sequence of the Quran is kept in view and reflected upon, the objectives in the recitation of the Holy Quran cannot be fulfilled .. Allah says I will cause thee to die a natural death and will exalt thee to Myself (3:56). The Holy Quran states the relevant accounts in this context in an appropriate sequence, according to the manner in which they transpired…” (Malfuzat English Vol II page 143)
In the study of Holy Quran we find that Allah follows a particular sequence. This varies with what is being discussed. God is not bound by repeating the same thing in the same words. His intent and words used are His infinite Wisdom. It is interesting to look for the sequence.
Take the narration of the magicians in the court of Pharaoh when they fell down prostrating themselves after being vanquished by Moses. This is mentioned three times in the Holy Quran.
26:47 There upon the magicians were impelled to fall down prostrate.
26:48 They said, ‘We believe in the Lord of the worlds,
26:49 ‘The Lord of Moses, and of Aaron.’
7:121 And the magicians were impelled to fall down prostrate.
7:122 And they said, ‘We believe in the Lord of the worlds,
7:123 ‘The Lord of Moses and Aaron.’
20:71 Then the magicians were made to fall down prostrate. They said, ‘We believe in the Lord of Aaron and Moses.’
In these verses the exalted status of Allah is the determining factor for the sequence used to mention Moses and Aaron. When the Lord of the worlds is first mentioned it is followed by the Lord of Moses and Aaron. When the Lord of the worlds is not mentioned and it is said that the magicians were made to fall down prostrate they said, We believe in the Lord of Aaron and Moses.
Another example of sequence from high to low is:
88:18 Do they not then look at the camel, how it is created?
88:19 And at the heaven, how it is raised high?
88:20 And at the mountains, how they are fixed ?
88:21 And at the earth, how it is spread out?
In the scheme of things earth is the lowest or most lowly position. Everything from God descends from heaven or up high. Everything from man ascends.
If one pursues the study of the Holy Quran we find several examples of how the sequence was done and look for a reason. Some examples are mentioned below:
An example of development of human beings as mentioned in The Holy Quran follows a pattern of which organ starts to function first as noted in these verses (6:47); (23:79); (16:79); (67:24)
It is always ears, eyes and heart (67:24) Say, ‘He it is Who brought you into being, and made for you ears and eyes and hearts; but little thanks do you give.’
The ears start to function first. As soon as the baby exits the womb and light hits the eyes the eyes start to function. When the cord is cut the heart circulation restores to normal. (Stanford Medicine)
Another example is when Hazrat Ibrahim(as) prayed in the words:
‘And, our Lord, raise up among them a Messenger from among themselves, who may recite to them Thy Signs and teach them the Book and Wisdom and may purify them; surely, Thou art the Mighty, the Wise.’ (2:130)
Allah changed his words to proper order and moved purify them up in sequence (yo zakki-him) as a pre-requisite to becoming a momin consistent with hodalil mutaqeen (guidance for the righteous 2:3)
As in the verse below:
Verily, Allah has conferred a favour on the believers by raising among them a Messenger from among themselves, who recites to them His Signs, and purifies themand teaches them the Book and Wisdom; and, before that, they were surely in manifest error. (3:165, 62:3)
In the context of crucifixion of Jesus and his death when Allah says:
And their saying, ‘We did kill the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah;’ whereas they killed him not, nor crucified him, but he was made to appear to them like one crucified; and those who differ therein are certainly in a state of doubt about it; they have no definite knowledge thereof, but only follow a conjecture; and they did not convert this conjecture into a certainty; (4:158)
In the logical sequence it should have been crucified him not, nor killed him. Death (killed) occurs after crucifixion. However in this verse Allah is responding to the claim of the Jews who claimed to have killed Jesus.
An example to lay special emphasis on good deeds and good intentions Allah says:
Except those who repent, and believe and do good deeds; for as to these, Allah will change their evil deeds into good deeds; and Allah is Most Forgiving, Merciful. (25:71)
And those who repent and do good deeds, indeed turn to Allah with true repentance (25:72)
Usually the words used in the Holy Quran are عَمِلَ صَالِحًا meaning do good deeds. In this verse however to put emphasis on perhaps good intent and fear of Allah in doing good deeds the words used are عَمِلَ عَمَلًا صَالِحًا
Khalifatul Masih II(ra) in his commentary says so complete and thorough was the reformation brought about by the Holy Prophet(sa) in the lives of his followers that in the place of every sin and crime in which they indulged before Islam, they practised a corresponding virtue. This is how their evil deeds became converted into good ones.
The Holy Prophet(sa) said:
“All human beings are sinners; the best of the sinners are those who repent.” (Ibn Majah)
What this means is that we must graduate from being recurrent sinners or defaulters to becoming recovering sinners or defaulters.
The advice is to Rise down and fall up.
Rise down means that in good times we must strive to download humility and efface ourselves and our egos. We must be grateful and remember Allah much.
Fall up means that in difficult times we must inculcate patience and steadfastness and upload virtuous deeds and protect ourselves from collateral damage with prayers.
Allahu ʾaʿlam [Allah knows best]. The hidden treasures of knowledge in The Holy Quran are for us to find. May Allah enable us to do so. Aameen.