Deep TafsirsSoul Cleansers

A Curious Case of Elision

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You ought to question the Book. Really.
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You ought to read inquisitively and see and be so sensitive to detail, to a forensic degree, scribbling every question and thought in the margins. You ought to zoom in hard and question the Book.
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Because there is something very mysterious when a writer crops words with an intentional elision; when an architect of language frays at them until they break, raking up just the few letters left behind. I think about this when reciting surat Ṭāhā.
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⠀⠀⠀ ⠀Do you?
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There is a scene when Musa requests from his Rabb an expanded chest, smooth speech, and a companion for the daunting task ahead. His heart yearns. So He ﷻ responds in a voice both absolute and deeply poetic: “You have already been granted your request, O Musa.”
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قال قد أوتيت سؤلك يٰموسىٰ⠀⠀⠀ ⠀
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That word, سُؤْل. If there was ever a word to sow serenity into your heart, it would be this one. So let the inquisitors scribble in the margins, why does the Book say سُؤْل and not سُؤَال, when they both mean “request”? You see, سُؤْل is the abridged version of سُؤَال. Allah elides a letter and what’s left in the meaning is something smaller than a request. Unlike سُؤَال, a سُؤْل is a silent wish, a little longing, a heart’s murmur, hardly heard. It’s small enough to fill your cracks and conquer your thoughts and you think you reached the end of your tether until you remember:
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قد أوتيت سؤلك⠀⠀⠀ ⠀
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To Him, your small, silent wish is nothing but a سُؤْل and He ﷻ promised before He would take care of it.

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