Al-Quran isn’t simply a passive book waiting for a person to read and make of it what he wills. It gives freedom of thinking yes, but also gives several suggestions for its reader to take in order to acquire a correct understanding of it, that is an understanding that will lead to a harmonious practice with reality and lead to the desired result. The suggestions are as follows :
1. 16/98 : We are commanded to seek Allah’s refuge from as-shaitaan – the destructive nature in ourselves – when we read Al-Quran. We can infer from this that emotional stability is required when reading Al-Quran.
2. 6/114, 12/111, 17/89, 16/89, 18/54, 39/27 : We are told Al-Quran contains a complete system of concepts in itself and doesn’t require extraneous concepts from other books. Therefore, when we read Al-Quran, we should make sure that other concepts are not added on to our interpretation
3. 3/7 : We are told that Al-Quran contains 2 kinds of verses which are muhkamat/firmly defined and mutashabihaat/analogical. Once we have clearly defined some verse, we may use concepts of those verse to relate to other verses. Without this grounding however, our interpretations are doomed to be deviated.
4. 21/10, 39/23: We are told by 21/10 that in Al-Quran contains our own mentioning. While we may not find our personal biographies in it, we will find the principles governing human civilisation in its perfectly complete form. 39/23 supplements this understanding by telling us that the Quran contains similiarities/analogies which doubled/redoubled. One single verse will apply itself to many situations in many levels of our existence.
5. 4/82 : We are told that anything coming from Allah will not have any contradictions. This also applies to our understanding as well. If we formulate a correct interpretation of Al-Quran, we will find that everything in that chapter will be totally consistent.
6. 20/114: We are told not to rush our learning of the Quran and instead ask Allah to increase our knowledge/ilm.
7. 41/3 : We are told that the in order to further detail and categorise our understanding of Al-Quraan, we need to acquire information. This further confirms the preceeding principle.
8. 75/17-19 : We are told not to rush our learning of Al-Quran once again and that on the contrary, it is Allah Himself who has arranged and unified Al-Quran. Therefore, in order to learn more about Al-Quran, we need to ponder its arrangement and unity.
9. 56/79 : We are told that in order to make contact with Al-Quran’s teachings, we must purify ourselves in order to touch its codified teachings.
10. 73/4-5 : We are told that, in order to receive a weighty or profound word or saying, we need to arrange the likenesses in Al-Quran.
11. 98/3 : We are told that in Al-Quran, there are many systems of information. For example, there is a complete system of action for those who will attain conviction/imaan, a complete system for those who follow the path of each Prophet or Messeger and so on. This principle ties in with 73/4-5 by again telling us about the bringing together of similar concepts.
12. 41/53 : We are told that the signs of Allah in reality and in our own psyche will prove to us clearly that Al-Quran is the ultimate truth. This verse is the only verse which uses the phrase ‘until its made clear to them that this is the ultimate truth’. It’s therefore also a verification technique for Al-Quran.
13. 41/44 : Arabic is named as the tafseel factor of Al-Quran. If we analyse the syntax used in Al-Quran, we can see that various Arabic words are similar to other words. This alludes to a conceptual relationship. For example, Allah’s name ‘ar-raheem’ is linguisticalled rooted in the word ‘rahm’ or ‘womb’. This gives an organic and grounded notion instead of oft-used and abstract interpretation of ‘mercy’.
14. 25/33 : Al-Quran tells us that no matter what the question is, it will provide a better answer and explanation. Once again, we are told to return to Al-Quran to explain Al-Quran.
As a last principle, which does not appear an explicit command but rather my interpretation of the story of Yusuf, I would like to add the principle of living. Yusuf received a vision as a child but it was only after living life itself and ascending the heights, he became aware of the ‘tawil-al-hadith’ or ‘essentialisation of the event’. We must all live our lives and take Al-Quran as a guidebook in order to constantly dig deeper into its wells of knowledge.