I was first alerted to idea of calls in Quran by Mohamed Shiekh, the Chairman of IIPC (www.iipc.tv). Back in the late 90ies, Mr Shiekh in his groundbreaking video ‘What Al-Quran says about Bani Israil’ mentioned the number of various calls in Quran (o mankind, o children of israil, o those who have believed, o people of the book) and declared that this showed the living nature of the book. A call after all had to have listeners, I thought and so I agreed wholeheartedly.
Over the years, I came to find that calls to those who believed (ya ayyuha alladhina amanoo) play a vital role which is describing the action plan formulated after sections on theory. Another vital role in demarcating sections within Quranic chapters. A call, if you think about it, is a way of calling attention to something.
Another thing to note is that these calls are in the past tense and therefore context-sensitive. The word ‘amanoo’ means ‘they believed’. This shows a direct connection with the preceding context of these calls. For example, the first call to those who believed is 2/104 which comes after a long discussion on how to achieve the utopia on earth (2/47-103). This shows that the people addressed in 2/104 have come to be secure in the ideas of the previous passage. They now need instructions so that they may work towards the goal of the previous passage. This is also the reason why Quran does not have all these calls in a single chapter. These calls are contextualised to the chapters and passages they exist in thus giving us a richer overview of the action plan of Quran.
There are 88 verses of Quran which begin with these calls to those who believed. An 89th verse (33/56) contains this call but does not begin with it. By analysing these 88 calls, we will thus able to understand a great deal about structure of Quran. This in turn will help us resonate better with the text and achieve the Quranic State of Being which is the objective of our reading.
Of these 88 calls, 43 of them appear in Chapters 2, 3, 4 and 5! Some may say at this high frequency is due to the fact that these chapters are long but there are other long chapters (like Ch 7, 26) without a single one of these calls. Every word in Quran is purposeful to the delivery of the message and therefore, there is a reason that these calls were heavily placed in Ch 2 – Ch 5.
In Ch 2, there are 11 of these calls. They are divided between the first section of Ch 2 (2/21-167) which has only 2 of these calls and the second section (2/168-283) has 9. The calls in the first section (2/104 and 2/153) deal with the attitudes and overall strategies of those who have believed in the utopian project and thus move towards realising it. In the second section (2/168-283), the remaining 9 calls deal with personal development (2/183-207), social norms (2/208-242) and economic strategies of the believer (2/254-281). There is even a call dealing with conducting transactions (2/282-283) before the closing statement (2/284-286).
In Ch 3, there are 7 of these calls all of which start after the story of *isa* (3/35-64). These calls are therefore the seven stages to bring about the state of *isa*. They are not separate from the calls in Ch 2 above in terms of ideas but approach them from a different angle, perhaps a much more personal one than Ch 2.
In Ch 4, these calls are mostly after a very unique call which is to those who were given mandate by Allah to establish justice among mankind (4/47-58). These calls are therefore geared towards establishing this state of justice. Two of the longest passages beginning with these calls (4/70-93 and 4/94-134) are about expeditionary strategies of system of peace and justice.
In Ch 5, one of these calls actually begins the chapter (5/1) as a single verse passage . Ch 49 also begins like this and so does Ch 60 but not as a single verse passage. After that, the call to those who believed mostly come after the only two calls to the messenger in Quran, (5/41 and 5/67) which total 10 calls altogether. These calls should be seen as responses to the message given to the messenger (5/41-50 and 5/67-86) and thus how best to assist the messenger in peaking the system.
After Ch 2-5, the calls to those who believed become rather sparse. Ch 6 and 7 do not have a single one of these calls, focussing on more theoretical aspects of Quranic teachings. However , Ch 8/9 (a single chapter containing 204 verses) has 12 of them! This is obviously because Ch 8/9 is very action-oriented. It details the life cycle of the system of peace and justice and requires raw action to realise its project. It is also interesting to note that 53 of the total 88 calls to those who believed appear before Ch 10!
We would need to go all the way to Ch 22 before we see the next call to those who believed. 22/77’s call occurs almost at the end of the chapter, after a long discourse bout the system. The next chapter, Ch 23 does not have this call but Ch 24 which has three of them (24/21, 24/27 and 24/58). These seem to be focussed on social laws. If we see these three chapters together, they seem to have a bracketing effect, with Ch 22 and 24 bracketing Ch 23.
Once again, there is a noted absence of these calls all the way to Ch 33. From this fact, we can discern a pattern of the usage of these calls. Ch 24 was focussed on the system of the rasool (messenger) while Ch 33 is focussed on the system of the nabi (prophet). The chapters in between them do not really focus on the system as such but rather more theoretical aspects of realising them. Ch 29-32 for example, we consider as a chapter quadruplet which contribute towards realising the system of Ch 33
Ch 33 has 6 calls to those who believed. These calls deal with their interaction with the nabi in the operations of his system. This is not unique to this chapter. Ch 65 and 66 later on will do the same.
After Ch 33, we find the next call much further ahead in Ch 47. Ch 47 and Ch 49 act like Ch 22 and 24 above, in that they bracket a chapter without any calls (Ch 48 and Ch 23 respectively). Together, Ch 47 and 49 have a total of 7 calls to those who have believed. These chapters come after a long group of chapters (Ch 40-46, the HM Series) which emphasise revelation. They are therefore the action strategies for those chapters.
There is another short break in chapters before the next occurrence of these calls in Ch 57. Ch 57-66 is what we consider to be the first layer of summaries in Quran. This first layer or summaries are very action oriented and contain 16 calls to those who believed over 10 relatively short chapters. One chapter , Ch 60, even starts with this call, like Ch 5 and Ch 49 above but is not a single verse passage.
The final call to those who have believed is worth noting as its wording seems to have a summarising effect. It is Ch 66 Vs 8 which is a single verse passage. 66/8 seems to have a very universal message to those who believed. It speaks of returning to Allah (tuboo ila Allah) with an authentic returning (taubatan nasuha). Allah will then conceal their evils and admit them into the garden in a period where Allah does not disgrace the nabi and those with him. Their light will run between their capacities and oaths and they will ask Allah to perfect that light and He is potentialiser over every thing.
Very poignant end for the calls to those who believe. From here we can see that there is a deep purpose to how Quran is arranged and so it will benefit us tremendously from being cognizant of this structure.