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 explore Ch 91/7-10. This small passage is the final mention of the soul in Quran. It deals with the nature of the soul and its formation. It can either be integrated (preserved) or disintegrated (break apart):
And the soul and its perfection of shape
So its guidance towards its preservation and its disintegrity
Truly he is successful who evolves it
And truly he failed who buries it.
Ch 91 which has 15 verses sandwiches this passage about the soul between 2 other passages: the first is on phenomena nature (91/1-6) and the final mention of the people of thamood (91/11-15).
Let us contemplate these questions:
1. Why is this passage the final mention of the soul? What does its contents say that help us see this?
2. Why does the first part of the chapter talk about the phenomena of nature (sun, moon, skies, earth) and time (day and night), do these have something to do with the soul?
3. Why does the end of the chapter focus on the thamood people? What is the relationship between these people and the soul?