The structure of Quran is amazing in its ability to deliver subtleties of the message. There are a number of chapter groups but none so difficult to pin down as Chapters 50-56 and 36-39. These groups do not have as many similarities as other groups yet if we take them as loosely bound stages, there is a certain level of coherence which can be seen.
Ch 50 (Qaaf) begins the set. It starts with ‘qaf – and the existential quran’ (al-quran al-majeed). It then goes on to measure the reaction of the concealers. This shows the realization of the Quran and its reaction. This chapter then focuses on metaphysical issues such as the closeness of Allah (50/16) and the properties of the soul (50/21). The chapter closes with the role of the Quran (50/45) as a vivification device.
Ch 51 decided starts on a dynamic note, talking about forces of nature and its confirming of Allah’s promise and the coming of deen (51/1-6). Signs are also mentioned as ways to achieve certainty (51/20-22). These forces in the beginning are talked about in another way with the story of Ibrahim and the angels (51/24-29) as well as other stories. This chapter, like Ch 42, ends with talking about the zawjayn pair.
Ch 52 speaks about man’s destiny in the written book like a scroll. This is the ‘house’ which human beings must cultivate as his destiny in order to avoid the repercussions (52/1-8). This chapter is also unique in that it contains the challenge to bring a hadith (event) like the one experienced by the self (52/34).
Ch 53 focuses on revelation. It’s first eleven verses talks about the process which happens to the soul (spoken of as ‘your companion’ in 53/1) when revelation happens, including the intimation of Allah during that period. It also speaks about the soul’s capacity to create delusions (tahwaa an-nafs, 53/23). Ch 53 also mentions Ibrahim and musa, like Ch 51. This effectively make them brackets encapsulating Ch 52.
Ch 54, like Ch 55, uses repetition as a means of smashing our internal psychic blockages and driving the point home. In the case of Ch 54, it is the statement, ‘Verily we have made this recitation (referring to the story before) easy for vivification, is there any who will remember’. The stories are familiar ones of nuh, hud, salih and luth. This chapter uses the ‘moon’ as a means of symbolizing their centres of power.
Ch 55 is about the Quran and its application. It focuses on the dual aspect of man (jinn and ins) and addresses them by asking ‘so in which of both your lord’s bounties will you deconfirm’. This shows what the Quran is meant to bring to the people. It finally closes with the application of the Quran.
Ch 56 begins with three classes in the hereafter. This sets the tone for its exposition which is appropriate for the closing of this chapter group. However, this chapter ends by talking about the Quran itself, from Vs 75. It then proceeds to talk about the response to the true meaning of Quran till the very end.
It could be said that Ch 50 begins with the Quran and Ch 56 ends with it, thus creating a huge conceptual bracket. It would be most beneficial for readers to bear this in mind.