The Glorified Allah commands: “Nay! were you witnesses when death visited Yaqoub, when he said to his sons: What will you worship after me? They said: We will worship your God and the God of your fathers, Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac, one God only, and to Him do we submit.” (Al Baqara/ The Cow 2/133)
A question is asked to learn or make the other acknowledge something. The first one is interrogative ‘tasvvur’ while the second one confirmative ‘tasdik’ question. Questions can be asked for different reasons as well. These are the most common usages of questions in Arabic.
1. ‘Istifham-I ikrari’. Questions asked to stress the veracity of something. For example if a father asks his son: “Am I your father?”
2. ‘Istifham-I inkari’. Questions asked to stress the inveracity of something. For example, a stranger asks another: “Am I your father?”
3. ‘Istifham-I temsili’. These questions are asked to obtain the attention of the listener. For example: “would you like to know how we teach a lesson to those who don’t respect us?” is one of them. In Arabic they are called warning ‘tenbih’, explicating ‘vaid’ andthreatening questions. The term ‘istifham-I temsili’ has been used as it includes all these questioning types in itself.
These types of questions have been used widely in the Qur’an. In the verse at the beginning of the chapter there is a similar question. While translating or commenting this type of verses it is important to give the verse’s meaning in accordance to the questions target not its type.