The textuality or ‘kitabiyyah’ aspect of Quran is the most crucial element in the quest to understand its message. There are verses which may seemingly be out of place but actually are crucial to understanding the ‘flow’ of a particular passage.
In this exercise, we will consider 7/157:
Those who follow the Messenger, nabi al-umiyy, whom they find written in what they have of the taurat and the injeel, who enjoins upon them what is recognised and forbids them what is not and makes lawful for them the good things and prohibits for them the evil and relieves them of their burden and the shackles which were upon them. So they who have believed in him, honored him, supported him and followed the light which was sent down with him – it is those who will be the successful.
The main discussion about this verse is identity of the messenger. Most Muslims say that it is the historical Muhammad although some disagree, referring to the immediate context which refers to *musa*. We will not debate this here but rather try to discern a deeper meaning through contexts.
Let us consider the following questions:
1. Why is this verse encouched in one of the longest stories of *musa* (7/160)?
2. Who are these people who follow the messenger, the ummiy prophet, given the context
3. What is at-tauraat and al-injeel, given the context?
4. What are the recognised and unrecognised given the context?
5. What is the wholesome and the unwholesome given the context?
6. Why does the next aya (7/158) address the whole of humankind?