guidance sure for those who fear Allah,”(2:2) and others like it, as you saw in “But if a breath of your Sustainer’s punishment touches them.”(21:46)
The Fifth Matter
Know that the richness of [any part of] speech and its scope lie in its serving the main aim, and its manner and overall form and allusive meanings all indicating and pointing to the main aim together with its subsidiary and secondary meanings. Then levels of meaning appear one after the other, and stations appear one behind the next. If you want an example of this, study “When it is said to them: ‘Do not spread corruption on the earth...” (to the end of the verse, 2:11), and “When they meet those who believe...” (to the end of the verse, 2:14), as expounded above.
The Sixth Matter
Know that the meanings garnered from the chart of speech are taken and inscribed by the camera of the wording according to their various sorts and degrees. Some are like air; they can be felt but not seen. Others are like steam; they can be seen but not held. Yet others are like water; they can be held but not grasped. Others are like molten metal; they can be contained but not determined as to shape. And others are like strung pearls or beaten gold; they can be given specific shapes and forms. Then, under the effect of the aim and station, the insubstantial meaning acquires firmness and body. Three conditions mould a single meaning: have you not observed that when some external matter affects your conscience, your heart is agitated? Your emotions are excited, insubstantial meanings take flight and desires are born. Some of these are attained. Then some of these take form. And some of these latter are inhibited. In each of these levels, some of the meanings become established and some contract and yet others are suspended, like part of the voice is suspended when forming certain letters, and like part of an ear of corn becomes the husk as the grains are formed. Thus, the eloquent speaker is marked by his expressing clearly those things intended by his speech and required by its station, and demanded by those he is addressing. The other levels of meaning he refers – in relation to their proximity to the main aim – to what the sense infers and the words indicate and the particular circumstances evince and the exordium betokens and the style implies and his own attitude suggests.
Then there are the suspended meanings; they are ephemeral significative (ḥarfiyya) meanings, not expressed by particular words. They are itinerant travellers with no fixed abode. Sometimes they are concealed in a word,