Repetition of Stories in the Qur’an: Any Wisdom?

First of all, it should be noted that the Qur’an is the ever-eloquent book. It stands as an inimitable divine book directing all people with all their cultures and races. It is miraculous by itself as Allah challenged the Arabs to compose it’s like or bring similar chapters to those of the Qur’an or a single chapter but they could not. This is simply because the Qur’an is a revelation from Allah.

Allah, the Exalted said, “Lo! those who disbelieve in the Reminder when it cometh unto them (are guilty), for lo! it is an unassailable Scripture. Falsehood cannot come at it from before it or from behind it. (It is) a revelation from the Wise, the Owner of Praise.” (Fussilat, 41-42)

As for the repetition some stories , scholars stated that there are various reasons or wisdoms behind it such as emphasis, exaggeration, reinforcement and so on.

Below are the details of the said wisdoms:

1- Repetition is regarded as a form of eloquence 

Some of those who do not have any understanding of Arabic language criticized the repetition that appears in the Qur’an, and thought that this is not eloquent. The great scholar Al-Suyuti (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “Repetition is more eloquent than merely emphasizing and it is a reflection of good style, contrary to what some people think.”

2 – Benefits of repetition 

Sheikh Al-Islam Ibn Taimiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “There is no pointless repetition in the Qur’an, rather there are benefits in every repetition.” He adds while commenting on the repetition of the story of Musa and his people, “Allah mentions this story in several places in the Qur’an, and in every place He highlights a different idea and conclusion, just as Allah, His Messenger and His Book are called by different names. The story is told in one way that highlights one point, then it is told in another way which highlights a different point. The story is the same, but its details are numerous, and every sentence conveys a meaning that is not indicated by other sentences.

3 – Benefits of repeating some stories and verses: 

Abu Al-Faraj Ibn al-Jawzi (may Allah have mercy on him) said:  If it is said: “What is the point of repeating the verse “Then which of the Blessings of your Lord will you both (jinn and men) deny?” (Surat al-Rahman) 

The answer is: This repetition is in order to confirm the blessing and emphasize the remembrance thereof. Ibn Qutaibah said, “It is the habit of the Arabs to repeat things for emphasis and to ensure that they are understood, although they may also speak briefly so as not to bore the listener, because if a speaker addresses a point from different angles, that is better than him approaching it from just one angle.”

Most of the scholars of semantics said, “The Qur’an was revealed in the language of the Arabs, and it is their way to repeat things for emphasis and to ensure that they are understood, and also to speak briefly so as not to bore the listener, because for a speaker to use different phrases in his speech is better than limiting himself to one phrase.”

From the above explanation, It becomes clear that repetition in the Qur’an is not pointless or a kind of nonsense but is intended for important reasons. In the story of Iblis, the wisdom behind it is contextual. In other words, one should read every passage in consideration for the former and later passages.

May Allah grant us all success