Before concluding this discussion, it is pertinent to answer a question often raised with reference to the explanation of the Holy Quran. The question is whether the Holy Quran needs any one to explain its contents? The Holy Quran in certain places seems to claim that its verses are self explanatory easy to understand and clear in their meanings. So, any external explanation should be uncalled for. Why, then, the prophetic explanation is so much stressed upon?
The answer to this, question is found in the Holy Quran itself. A combined study of the relevant verses reveals that the Holy Quran deals with two different types of subjects. One is concerned with the general statements about the simple realities, and it includes the historic events relating to the former prophets and their nations, the statement of Allah’s bounties on mankind, the creation of the heavens and the earth, the cosmological signs of the divine power and wisdom, the pleasures of the Paradise and the torture of the Hell, and subjects of similar nature.
The other type of subjects consists of the imperatives of Shari’ah, the provisions of Islamic law, the details of doctrinal issues, the wisdom of certain injunctions and other academic subjects.
The first type of subject, which is termed in the Holy Quran as Zikr (the lesson, the sermon, the advice) is, no doubt, so easy to understand that even an illiterate rustic can benefit from it without having recourse to anyone else. It is in this type of subjects that the Holy Quran says:
“And surely we have made the Quran easy for Zikr (getting a lesson) so, is there anyone to get a lesson?” (54:22)
The words ‘for Zikr’ (getting a lesson) signify that the easiness of the Holy Quran relates to the subjects of the first nature. The basic thrust of the verse is on getting lesson from the Quran and its being easy for this purpose only. But by no means the proposition can be extended to the inference of legal rules and the interpretation of the legal and doctrinal provisions contained in the Book. Had the interpretation of even this type of subjects been open to everybody irrespective of the volume of his learning, the Holy Quran would have not entrusted the Holy Prophet (SAWS) with the functions of ‘teaching’ and ‘explaining’ the Book. The verses quoted earlier, which introduce the Holy Prophet (SAWS) as the one who ‘teaches’ and ‘explains’ the Holy Quran, are explicit on the point that the Book needs some messenger to teach and interpret it. Regarding the type of verses which require explanation, the Holy Quran itself says,
“And these similitudes We mention before the people. And nobody understands them except the learned.” (29:43)
Thus, the ‘easiness’ of the subjects of the first type does not exclude the necessity of a prophet who can explain all the legal and practical implications of the imperatives contained in the Holy Quran.