As-Suyūṭī (Jalāl ad-Dīn), Inner Dimensions from the Order of the Surahs in the Qur’an: An English Translation of Asrār tartīb al-Qurʼān, Translation by Talut Ibn Sulaiman Dawood, Imam Ghazali Publishing, 2024, 289 p. ISBN 978-1952306501
Inner Dimensions from the Order of the Surahs in the Qur’ancontains Imam al-Suyuti’s unique exploration into the structure of the Book of Allah, and specifically the sequence of its chapters in its complete form, at the conclusion of its revelation to Allah’s Final Messenger ﷺ. A consummate master of the Qur’anic sciences, Imam al-Suyuti delves deep into the various reasons behind the order of the chapters (Surahs) in the Qur’an, revealing layers of meaning and intricate interconnections across many levels of language, meanings, context, purpose, and more.
On the effort and research invested in this work, the al-Suyuti writes:
“…since few people have spoken on… this subject, the majority of this text is the result of my own contemplation and borne of my own investigation. However, if I do mention something that someone else has said, I explicitly mention its source, and I only mention that which is accepted, which no one has rejected.”
In this sense, this text feels quite personal, as it provides a glimpse into Imam’s immense knowledge and capacious intellect. Imam al-Suyuti’s superlative scholarship is unmistakable, as he draws on his knowledge Hadith, Tafsir, history, and the Arabic language to make an extraordinary range of connections and insights.
However, despite the obvious brilliance of its author, this work is also easily accessible to readers of all levels. It is meticulously organized to present a coherent flow of ideas and insight, that allows even beginning students to find benefit. The Surahs of the Qur’an are discussed in order, chapter by chapter, with the chapters themselves maintaining a consistent structure. Imam al-Suyuti provides detailed commentary on the placement of each Surah in relation to what comes before it and what will come after it, and what deeper meanings this particular arrangement might signify. His commentary is rich with references to Hadith, historical contexts, and linguistic analyses. Al-Suyuti also frequently quote the opinions and insights of great scholars of earlier generations, adding depth to the text, and situating his own analyses within the vast corpus of scholarship that came before him.
One of the most striking features of this book is Imam al-Suyuti’s method of reflection. He does not merely present facts or traditional interpretations, but also engages in a deep, contemplative analysis that unveils some of the hidden wisdom within the Qur’an’s structure. This approach is both scholarly and spiritual, making the work a gem of a read for all. The Imam’s reflections are presented in a manner that invites readers to join him in this contemplative journey, offering a personal and immersive experience of understanding the Qur’an.
Inner Dimensions from the Order of the Surahs in the Qur’an is a comprehensive guide for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of Allah’s Final Revelation, and will be an invaluable resource for readers, students of Islamic studies, and anyone interested in understanding the Qur’an on a deeper level. Talut Dawood’s translation is fluid, faithful to the original text, and retains the depth and subtleties of Imam al-Suyuti’s reflections, making Imam al-Suyuti’s profound insights accessible to a broader English-speaking audience. This bilingual edition features the original Arabic text and translation in parallel, allowing students who read Arabic to peruse the source text alongside the English.
About Imam al-Suyuti
Imam Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti, also known as Ibn al-Suyuti, was a mujtahid imam and reformer of the tenth Islamic century. He was a prominent Hadith Master, jurist, Sufi, philologist, and historian, who authored works in virtually every Islamic science. A giant among contemporary scholars, he produced a sustained output of scholarly writings until his death at the age of sixty-two. He was buried in Hawsh Qawsun in Cairo.