The Quran about similarity

In the name of God, the Gracious, the Merciful.

Nostalgia for the past greatness of Muslims can be clearly traced. Comparing with current “peripheral” status, believers of that time were leaders and dictated world geopolitics. Although, after the death of Muhammad, quarrels began, the Quranic impulse gave a powerful energy, the inertia of which kept the Muslims on the front lines for quite long time.

What is the cause of the regression of the once dominant society? On this subject, enough material is written and basically they justify the current state of things, both by the intrigues of enemies, and by the deviation from the path of the messenger of God.

Quite frankly, the problem lies in the refusal of the normal operation of the “mechanism” of government and development of the state. Failure in any system of functioning, in fact – a violation of the regime of “exploitation”. In our case, there is a clear departure from the correct guidance of the Creator’s prescriptions. What is the optimal adherence to the Word of the Creator?

It is He who has sent down to you the Prescription. In it are precise signs – they are the foundation of the Prescription – and others similar (mutashaabihaatun). As for those in whose hearts is deviation, they follow that of it which is similar, seeking to charm and seeking to interpret it. And no one knows its interpretation except God! But those who firm in knowledge say, “We believe in it. All is from our Lord!” And no one will be reminded except those of understanding. (3:7)


There is an indication of a possible error and the reason for the deviation from the course set by the Lord. The passage clearly states that there are clear (unambiguous) signs and the ones similar to them. This statement is strengthened by the following:

God has sent down the best narrative, with similar repeating prescriptions. The skins shiver therefrom of those who fear their Lord! Then their skins and their hearts relax at the remembrance of God! That is the Guidance of God! By which He guides whom He wills! And one whom God leaves astray – for him there is no guide! (39:23)


I would like to note that a word is used whose root is “shabikha, shabahun” – to be similar, resemble.

It is prohibited to be guided by similar signs, instead of clear ones. They can only be used as a supplement to the clear sign. In the Quran, there are enough examples of people’s delusion due to the orientation toward similarity.

To understand more fully, what is the meaning of similarity; let us consider other situations where this term is used.

And it is He who sends down rain from the sky. We produce thereby the growth of all things. We produce from it greenery from which We produce grains arranged in layers. And from the palm trees – of its emerging fruit are clusters hanging low. And gardens of grapevines and olives and pomegranates, similar (mutashabizah) yet varied (mutashaabihan). Look at its fruit when it yields and its ripening. Indeed in that are signs for a people who believe! (6:99)

And He it is who causes gardens to grow, trellised and untrellised, and palm trees and crops of different food and olives and pomegranates, similar (mutashabizah) and dissimilar (mutashaabihan). Eat of its fruit when it yields. Give its due on the day of its harvest and be not excessive. Indeed, He does not like those who commit excess! (6:141)

Man, being endowed with the ability to analyze and distinguish, is able to classify the processes that take place in the environment. The regularities that occur in nature allow us to conclude that there are different objects in it, but similar to each other. This applies not only to plants, but to animals.

They said, “Call upon your Lord to make clear to us what it is. Indeed, for us all cows look similar (tashaabaha). And indeed we, if God wills, will be guided.”(2:70)


In the well-known story of bickering with Moses about cows, the Jews relied on the fact that they are only externally similar and it can lead to a mistake in choosing a true “victim”. To determine the exact sacrifice, the Almighty gave all the signs of the “original”. In this situation, to confuse a similar cow with the required was not possible.

In another well-known story, there is also a fact of similarity

And for their closed nature and their saying against Maryam (Mary) a great slander, and for their saying, “Indeed, we have killed the messiah, Isa (Jesus), the son of Maryam (Mary), the messenger of God!”

But they did not kill him, crucified him and did not crucify him to death, however, it was similar to them (shubbiha). And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain.Rather, God raised him to Himself. And ever is God Exalted in Might and Wise. (4:156-158)

The apparent similarity with the death led to the formation of a whole direction based on the erroneous worldview about the “victim.” God does not ambiguously point to the absence of a clear proof of the death of Jesus on the cross, the similarity with which led to a split among monotheists.

Situations with external similarity of the phenomenon or objects are repeated in the future life.

And give good tidings to those who believe and corrected themselves that they will have gardens beneath which rivers flow. Whenever they are provided with a provision of fruit therefrom, they will say, “This is what we were provided with before!” It is given to them is similar (mutashaabihan).And they will have therein purified spouses, and they will abide therein. (2:25)

The presence of a “pattern” and its similarity serves as another type of test for believers. The temptation to “pull up” some kind of sign under particular worldview is very great. And this explains the reason for the formation of different movements, based on the same source – the Quran.

Why do people move away from God’s direction? The true cause of rejection is in the heart.

Those who do not know say, “Why does God not speak to us or there come to us a sign?” Thus spoke those before them. Their words are similar and their hearts resemble (tashaabahat) each other. We have shown clearly the signs to a people who are certain. (2:118)

As we see, ignorance leads to delusion, and the reason for the lack of knowledge is laziness, rejection of analysis, the desire to leave everything as it is, i.e. obscurantism. From here the further deepening into polytheism starts.

Ask, “Who is Lord of the heavens and earth?”

Ask, “God!”

Say, “Have you then taken besides Him patrons not possessing for themselves any benefit or any harm?!”

Ask, “Is the blind equivalent to the seeing?! Or is darkness equivalent to light?!

Or have they attributed to God partners who created like His creation so that the creation seemed similar (tashaabaha) to them?”

Say, “God is the Creator of all things, and He is the One, the Prevailing.”(13:16)

Reliance only on the similarity without identifying the clarity leads sometimes to fatal errors. No matter how we would like to see in some place a resemblance to the prevailing doctrine, without a clear indication of the Creator, it cannot be declared true.