What are the explicit [muhkam] and allegorical [mutashabih] verses?

Question 19: What are the explicit [muhkam] and allegorical [mutashabih] verses? And how do we distinguish which is which?


Answer: The allegorical is,
“What is ambiguous to the one who does not know it,” as narrated from them pbut [1].  And the explicit verses are the Mother of the Book [2].  And the mother is what is born from and returned to, meaning that the mother is the origin. So in order to know what is meant from the allegorical verses, they must be returned to the explicit verses. And to know the difference between the explicit and the allegorical, it must be known that the Quran, the words of Allah swt, and the words of the prophets and the Imams pbut contain:

1) Words from the mother of the book (the book of the explicit verses); and that is the board in which whatever is written in it is not delayed or And it is knowledge of what was, or will be, until judgement day, with no replacements whatsoever. And it is the knowledge of the unseen, which Allah swt shows no one except for the prophets, the messengers, and the Imams pbut. He swt shows them some of it, according to the need, in the best interest of delivering the message or performing the tasks of Imamate.

{[He is] the Knower of the Unseen and He reveals His unseen unto none ۝ except unto every messenger whom He has chosen and then He makes a guard to go before him and a guard behind him ۝ That He may know that they have indeed conveyed they messages of their Lord. He surrounded all they have and He keeps count of all things.} [The Quran 72:26–28]


2) Words from the board of erasure and confirmation (the book of the allegories); and it is also knowledge of what was or is to be, but on many aspects, and numerous possibilities, for the same One of them will happen, and it is the possibility which is in the Mother of the Book. As for the rest of the possibilities, they do not happen for some reason; maybe a certain event stops them from happening. For example: it is written for a person who is 50 years old to die this morning by the sting of a scorpion, but if he spends some money in charity, this evil will be pushed away from him, and he will live for ten more years. After the ten years are over, if he treats his parents well, his life will be extended for five more years.

So, in the board of erasure and confirmation, there are many possibilities for the life of the human being. This person, for example, will maybe not live after the scorpion’s sting, and perhaps he spends in charity therefore lives for ten more years, and perhaps he dies after these 10 years, and perhaps he treats his parents well and lives for five more [3]. If it was not for this divine regard, work and dua would be invalid. Allah swt said,
{Not a disaster befalls the earth or yourselves, but it is in a book before We bring it into being. Verily that is easy for Allah} [The Quran 57:22].

As for the mother of the book, only one of these possibilities is writ- ten in it for that person, and this possibility cannot change. For example:

it is written for a person to live for 65 years, or it is written that a person lives for 60 years or 50 years. Only one of these possibilities is in the board of mother of the book.

Therefore,  the  board  of  erasure  and  confirmation  is  the board of the allegories. But for whomever knows the details of these allegories, such as the Imams pbut, they are explicit. And there is no allegorical to the infallibles pbut, as all of the Quran is explicit for them. [4] And there is nothing explicit for any person other than them, except if that person takes [the knowledge] from them pbut. The Quran, to the non-infallibles, is all allegorical. [5] This is because a non-infallible does not distinguish the explicit from the allegorical verse in it. And how could anyone other than they pbut distinguish, while Al-Sadiq pbuh uses it as a proof against Abu Hanifah that none is to recognize the explicit from the allegorical, except for the Imams pbut?! [6]
Add to that, that people do not know anything from the Quran except for the wording, [7] and the wordings are shells and only a part of the meaning which they obtain. They either obtain that meaning from illusion and the lower worlds, therefore being false, or from the Kingdom of Heaven and the facts of things there, therefore being from the board of erasure and confirmation. [8]

And the things in that board either do not happen to begin with, therefore the meaning of the wording connected to it also does not hap- pen at any time, or that they happen, and they are truth, but they are in many aspects. Each aspect has its own people, time, and place to happen in. This is clarified to the people in this lower world by the infallible pbuh.

Therefore,  the  same  Quranic  verse  is  interpreted  in  the  time  of Al-Sadiq pbuh by an interpretation that varies entirely from the interpretation in the time of Imam Al-Mahdi pbuh, because the time, place, and people are different; or, say, because the variables are replaced in the worlds of the descent of the Quran, whether the world of descent was the Kingdom of Heavens, or this world. [9] Therefore, making an allegory an explicit verse is the task of the infallible, and no one is to recognize the explicit from the allegorical, other than the infallible. [10]

And the allegory in the verses includes the desired meaning, and the events which happened and happen throughout time. The same Quranic wording could have a lot of meanings, and each one of these meanings would apply to various events. Therefore, the Quran has many exteriors, which no one is to know other than Allah, and whoever Allah chooses to show them to, and those people are the infallibles pbut. Therefore, it is the Bismillah would be carried by seventy camels. [11]

And there are wisdoms behind the allegorical verses, such as know- ing the necessity and the need of the infallible pbuh, [12]  reviving hope in peoples’ spirits, [13] and testing, and sifting,[14] and much wisdom which I will not go through.

And the allegories are definite matters, which are inseparable from the descent of the Quran to the world of the Kingdom of Heavens, or this world, or the descent of the board of the mother of the book to the worlds of multiplicity, and variables, and its multiplication in these worlds to form the board of erasure and confirmation. [15]

And in the allegories there is the perfect solution in order for the prophets, messengers, and Imams pbut to speak to people by the ability of the people to comprehend. [16]

And to make a allegory an explicit verse, which is the task of the infallible Imam pbuh, is a sign and a mark to recognize Imam Al-Mahdi pbuh,  and  whoever  reports  from  him  pbuh.  That  is  why  the  Imams pbut narrated what means:

“If a man ever claims it [the Imamate], then ask him about the great matters which a man like him [an Imam] would answer.” [Book of Occultation by Sheikh al-Numani page 173.]


And the great matters today make the ark of the progeny of Muhammad pbut march in the overwhelming depths and temptations, and to end the sovereignty of oppression on the earth.

Ahmed Alhasan
The Allegories – volume 1



[1] Masada Bin Sadaqa said that he asked Abu Abdullah pbuh about the abrogator and the abrogated, and the explicit and the So he pbuh said, “The abrogator is the fixed one, which is worked by, and the abrogated is what was worked by until something came and abrogated it. And the allegorical is what is ambiguous to he who does not know it.” Tafseer Al-Ayashi Vol 1 page 11.

[2] Masada bin Sadaqa narrated that he asked Abu Abdullah pbuh about the abrogated and abrogating verses, and the explicit and allegorical verses, so he pbuh said, “The abrogating verse is the fixed one, and it is the one to be worked by, and the abrogated verse is what used to be worked by until an abrogating verse came after And the allegorical verse is what is made of a likeness to he who does not know it.” The interpretation of Al-Ayashi Vol. 1 page 11.

[3] Abu Jafar pbuh said, “Doing good and spending in charity negate poverty, increase age, and push away ninety wicked deaths.” Al-Kafi Vol. 4 page 2

[4] Bareed Bin Moawiya narrated that he asked Abu Jafar pbuh about the saying of Allah swt, {It is clear verses in the hearts of those who were given knowledge}, and he asked, “Are you those people?” So he pbuh said, “Who else would it be other than us?” Wasail Al-Shia Vol. 27 page 198.

[5] Jabir Bin Yazeed said, “I asked Abu Jafar pbuh about things from the interpretation so he answered me, then I asked him again so he gave me a different answer so I said, ‘but you gave me a different answer before,’ so he pbuh answered saying, ‘O Jaber, the Quran has an interior [and the interior has an interior] and it has an exterior and the exterior has an exterior. O Jabir nothing is farther from the minds of men than the interpretation of the Quran. And a verse’s beginning would be about something while its end is about something else, all while it is connected speech which has various aspects.’Wasail Al-Shia Vol. 27 page 192.

[6] Al-Majlisi mentioned the full incident in the book of Al Bihar, and this is a part of Shoayb Bin Anas narrates from some of the companions of Abu Abdullah pbuh saying, “So he pbuh said ‘Are you the cleric of the people of Iraq?’ So Abu Hanifa said, ‘Yes.’ So the Imam pbuh said, ‘And what do you preach them by?’ So he said, ‘By the book of Allah and the Sunna of His prophet.’ So he pbuh answered, ‘O Abu Hanifa, do you claim to know the book of Allah as it should be known, and you know the abrogated and the abrogating verses?’ So he said Yes. The Imam pbuh said, ‘O Abu Hanifa, you have falsely claimed knowledge. Woe to you, Allah has not given that to any one other than the people of the book whom the book descended upon. Woe to you, it is only to the particular ones from the progeny of our prophet pbuhap. And Allah has not let you inherit a single letter from His book…’ etc.”

[7] Abu Jafar pbuh said to Amro Bin Obayd, “People must read the Quran in the form in which it descended, so if they need its interpretation, then O Amro, guidance is by us and to us.” Wasail Al-Shia Vol. 27 page 202.

[8] And by this division, acquiring the knowledge of the book is exclusive to whoever wants to survive by Ahlul Bayt pbut

[9] Isaac Bin Ammar said that he heard Abu Abdullah pbuh saying. “The Quran has an interpretation, some of it has already occurred, and some has not. So, if the interpretation occurred in the time of one of the Imams, then the Imam of that time is to know that interpretation.” Wasail Al-Shia Vol. 27 page 196.

[10] Many narrations occurred which state that the allegories of the Quran are not known by any except for the successors of the Messenger Muhammad pbuhap, such as: Abu Jafar pbuh said, “We are the ones firmly grounded in knowledge, and we know its interpretation.” Wasail Al-Shia Vol. 27 page 198.

[11] The Prince of Believers pbuh said, “If I wanted, I would have made seventy camels carry the interpretation of Al-Fatiha.” Mostadrak Safinat Al-Bihar for Sheikh Ali Namazi Vol. 2 page 338.

[12] In a speech about the knowledge of the Holy Quran, the Prince of Believers pbuh said, “And a part which none knows, except for Allah, His angels, and those firmly grounded in knowledge. And He swt has done so in order for no one from the people of falsehood, who usurped the legacy of the Prophet of Allah pbuhap, to claim knowledge of the Book, unless Allah swt has bestowed it upon them, and in order for the necessity to lead them into following the successor assigned over them, so they became too proud to obey him.” Wasail Al-Shia Vol. 27 page 194.

[13] Meaning that if it was not for the board of erasure and confirmation (the allegories) then nothing which is written would change, and people would never hope for their situations to improve, for their graces and ages to increase, and for them to have a good consequence [in the hereafter], due to dua, charity, good treatment of parents, kindness to relatives, and so on from the good deeds

[14] If the entire Quran was explicit verses to all people, each person would therefore be the imam of himself, and there will no longer be the test of going back to the infallible, and referring to him about the interpretation of the Quran. But Allah swt has made it in allegories, so that He knows the obedience of people to the assigned successors, and how people commit to what had been narrated from them pbut, and how people will not be too proud to follow them, nor take the knowledge of the Quran from other than them.

[15] The world of intellect, or the seventh sky, is the world of generalities, and each time knowledge descends to the six skies, the circle of that knowledge becomes wider, and it branches, and the details and aspects of it increase until they reach their peak in this world we live in, that is why Ahlul Bayt pbut mentioned that they can speak of seventy aspects, and they have justifications for each one. Abu Abdullah pbuh said, “I speak of seventy aspects, and in each of them there is a justification.” Basair Al-Darajat page 349–350.

[16] The Prophet pbuh said, “We prophets were commanded to speak to people by their ability to comprehend.” Al-Kafi 1 page 23. Therefore, if the entire knowledge of the religion was explicit verses with only one aspect, how could the prophets be able to speak to people according to their ability of comprehension?

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