In the previous post, we introduced the topic of Differences of Opinions. We listed the four ways of categorizing these differences. In this post, we will look at the first category: Differences due to interpretation of word meanings and grammatical constructions.

Within this category, we have several sub categories:

Shared literal meanings/Equivocality/Homonym (Ishtirak):

An example of this would be the word “qur” which means menses as well as the time of purity between menses. This word occurs in 2:228. The scholars thus arrived at two different rulings for the waiting period of divorce. According to those who considered  Qur’ to be the period of purity, the divorce becomes finalized as soon as her third menses have started, while according to those who viewed Qur’ as the actual menses, it is not finalized until her third menses have ended. You can read the details here.

Another example, would be the use of word “nakaha” in surah al-Nisa, verse 4:22, which reads “and marry not women whom your fathers have married”.  Can you find how the word “nakaha” is interpreted differently and the different rulings from it. Post in comments!

Literal and figurative meanings:

An example of this would be the word “lams” that occurs in 4:43. The word is literally used to indicate touching by the hand or the coming in contact of two objects, and figuratively to indicate intimate relation. Hence scholars differed in their interpertation of what does it mean that ablution is nullified on “touching” women as per the verse. Some scholars took the literal meaning while others took figurative meaning. Read the details of the issue here.

Sometimes, the switch between literal and figurative meaning results  from an implied omission or addition (example) of words.

Grammatical meanings:

Certain grammatical constructions may have more than one possible meaning. An example of this would be the verse of whudoo in Surah Maida, where Allah describes washing of hands as “wash your faces and your forearms to( illa ) the elbows”. The word illa in this context, could mean upto and not including elbows or it could include the elbows.  See the details here

These then are the different examples for this category. In the upcoming post, we will Inshallah look at the differences occurring due to hadith narrations.

Action Item:

Find more examples for each category listed above. Post in the comments


May Allah make this series beneficial for us.