Divine Speech | Verbal Idiom #4 “To Double Up a Chord & Twist It”

A building is hold up by its beams or pillars. Back in old times, the beams were held together by a really strong type of rope. The people would use this strong rope, then double it, and twist it many times so that the bond becomes super strong. In comparison to shoelaces which are only temporary knots, the tied-up ropes in construction must not come undone under any circumstances. They are permanent and the word “Abrama” (أبرم) in the Arabic language literally means to tie something with a knot permanently. We find this word in the following Ayah:

Is it that they have firmly resolved (أَبْرَمُوا) to do something?
Then, We have firmly resolved (
[Surah Az-Zukhruf 43:79]

1. Firm & final decision

Allah s.w.t. asked a rhetorical question to the Quraish who did shirk:

Have they tied the knot / completely set with regard to their decision that they will not accept Islam?

The Ayah is not talking about tying knots in a construction, but it’s about tying knots in their decision. Allah s.w.t. asked if they’ve made up their mind. If they’ve tied up their rope then…

Then We (Allah s.w.t.) have tied the rope too.

The Mushrikin have tied their knot because they refused to accept the Oneness of Allah and His Messenger s.a.w. Because of their refusal, He s.w.t. made them permanent that way. In other words, Allah s.w.t. will never seal anybody’s heart until they have completely made up their mind on their decision to reject the truth, and who knows better the inner depths of our hearts than Allah s.w.t.

2. Temporary (Verb) VS Permanent (Noun)

This Ayah is beautiful because this figure of speech shows the comparison between the Mushrikin’s decision and Allah’s decision. If we refuse to accept the truth, then Allah will let us stay that way. I thought this was scary enough! But there is something SCARIER that is being implied in this Ayah.

When the Mushrikin tied their rope, the word أَبْرَمُوا is used. This is actually a verb.
But when Allah s.w.t. tied His rope, the word مُبْرِمُون is used. This is a noun.
I previously learnt that verbs are temporary by nature, whereas nouns are PERMANENT.
What does this mean?

Sometimes when we make a decision, we’re not quite sure on what we have decided, so we might go back on that decision and change it. Then there are times when we think we’ve really made up our mind, that there is no way that we would ever change it. The Mushrikin said that they have completely made up their mind, but rhetorically Allah s.w.t. shows that their decision was still something temporary. When Judgment Day comes and they finally see the reality of what they were denying… Do you think they still want to remain with their decision not to accept Islam?

It may be that those who disbelieve wish ardently that they were Muslims.
[Surah Al-Hijr 15:2]

On that Day, oh how they would wish that they could untie their rope! But when Allah s.w.t. has made up His decision, it is permanent. Allah’s rope is PERMANENT.

May Allah s.w.t. protect and guide us!

Reference: Notes extracted from the Divine Speech Seminar by Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan.