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 2/186 (given that it’s Traditional Ramadhan!):
And when My servants ask you concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me and believe in Me that they may be rightly guided
This verse is often quoted in popular Muslim discourse but almost never with context in mind. This verse appears in the middle of verses about fasting (2/183-187) and more generally in the passage detailing our philosophy of action in Ch 2 (2/183-207).
Let us contemplate these questions:
1. Why is this verse placed in between fasting and non-fasting periods?
2. Why is this verse placed in a passage which is more action oriented than spiritual?
3. What does being rightly guided at the end of this verse indicate?