Published in  
August 7, 2020

Matn Al-Sakhawiyah: Unlocking the Quran

I recently came across a work of classical poetry that blew me away. A friend inquired from our teacher about “Matn al Sakhawiyya” on the Mutashabihat ayat of the Quran. Our teacher replied that it was an excellent way to remember a lot of confusing similarities in the Quran by quoting a line from her memory. Not only did the poem fascinate me, her ability (May Allah Bless her) to immediately recall a verse of a long poem I never even knew existed was remarkable. She then spoke about the importance of memorizing such poems and how it eases learning in the long run.

In the past, our scholars have made painstaking efforts to ease the path of knowledge for generations to come after them. At current, knowledge is abundant and the access is so easy that we often take it for granted. We are so used to having this abundance without having to lift a finger; instead of appreciating classical work, ironically, we question the need for it. Allahu Musta’an.

One such area in the path to knowledge is the memorization of poems. In all fields of Islamic knowledge, anything with a rhythmic flow is easier to understand, grasp, remember and recollect its contents later. The efforts made in all aspects of Islamic literature are innumerable, and unfortunately for non-Arabic speakers, almost always in Arabic. Yet, it is still possible to memorize and understand the context of some of these amazing works. Knowledge memorized and then understood always stay etched in the mind, whereas read and understood are more likely to be lost.

The poem consists of 427 verses in total and is very comprehensive. The author has arranged the mutashabihat in an alphabetical order, in order to bring parts of it to you- parts which are most commonly confusing and hopefully help those memorizing the Quran navigate through challenging similarities and differences.

Those who know Arabic will realize that the translations are not exact. This is because exact translation may make it difficult to understand, and the purpose of this is to give a rough understanding of the lines so as to memorize them, not to use English as the base. The wider purpose is to benefit from the mutashabihat mentioned in these verses even without memorizing the lines.

Some of the verses are extremely difficult and lose meaning when translated, so from those I will only derive the mutashabihat without translating the lines.

The letter Alif


Anyone who has memorized Surah Al-Baqarah and then Al-‘A`raf will find these very useful. These following lines mention the mutashabihat of Al Baqarah, verses 58-59 and Al-‘A`raf, verses 161-162:

(The verses share more mutashabihat than those mentioned in the lines of the poem but we will mention only those mentioned in the above lines.)

What Can be Derived?


Many of you might think this as a long and cumbersome way to remember something so simple. It probably is more work initially. However, in the long run it stays etched in your memory. If you don’t usually get confused in these verses or have your own way to remember them, you may want to skip it. But this may come of use to some of you. And even if you don’t learn the lines, you can use what is derived to help you recall.

And then:


What can be derived?
The story of Prophet Adam عليه السلام and Iblees is mentioned in various places in the Quran. This ayah brings to notice that Surah Sad doesn’t have the word أبى

And next:



What Can be Derived?

These ayat are in Surah al Baqarah and Surah Aal Imran in the last pages of the first and third juz respectively. The ayahs are almost identical with only some minor differences.


I pray this benefits those who have found remembering the differences challenging. May Allah accept our efforts to please Him.
These are the most commonly confused mutashabihat during recitation.

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