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Chapter 2

 Chapter 2 

The Glorious Qur’an, Self‑Illuminating: Important Questions Answered By the Munificent Qura’an

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The object of this chapter is to discover how the Miraculous Qur'an itself answers some of the questions raised by those who are curious about this Magnificent Book. This exercise is obviously limited to an introductory level, as the title of this book suggests:

1. Who revealed the Book?

 

"And this is a Book which We have revealed as a blessing. So follow it and be righteous, that you may receive mercy." VI:155

 

Quite clearly the Holy Qur'an asserts to be the revelation from God. In another phrase:

 

"1 ‑ The revelation of this Book is from Allah, the exalted in Power, full of Wisdom. 2 ‑ Verily, it is We Who have revealed the Book to thee, in Truth. So serve Allah offering Him sincere devotion." XXXIX:1 & 2 and XLVI:2

 

This is a very important matter. There are many so‑called divine books among people who cannot substantiate the divinity of their Scriptures. The majority of such people believe this only because they were told so. But God reminds us repeatedly in the Glorious Qur'an that these ayat are bestowed upon us only by Him. As we shall see later, this Divine assertion is earnestly backed up by many features of the Glorious Qur'an such as its consistency, perfection, style, the authoritative inclusion of the Absolute and Eternal Knowledge about everything, its unique language, etc.

 

The name Allah has been used by God's prophets since The Prophet Adam (PBUH). This name comes from the combination of two Arabic expressions, Al (The) and Ilah (God), meaning "The God". For example, the Hebrew word Eloha (meaning the Creator) is the same as Allah. However, the Jews use the plural form, Elohim, which denotes more than one God. The Aramaic word, Alaha, for God, used by The Prophet Jesus Christ (PBUH), sounds even closer to Allah. Therefore, even though this name may sound strange to non‑Muslims, it was a familiar name to the previous prophets of God and their followers. Let us now examine if there is any difference between the two words, Allah and God.

 

The Supreme Being, the Creator, is free from being associated with part­ners or gender. He is unique and pure. Unfortunately, the word "God" has lost its uniqueness and purity. Unless we say "the God" it does not denote a unique being any more. And so long as we use words such as gods and goddesses, and follow duality, trinity, and multi‑god worship, we have lost the purity of His name by associating gender and partners with Him. The word Allah (Al‑Ilah), The God, is devoid of any association while it denotes the needed uniqueness. Moreover, it honours the integrity of the Unity of the Almighty God's religion from the very beginning, as other messengers of Allah the Exalted used the same word throughout. Now that we can appreciate this great difference between these two words, I would feel obliged to use the name Allah, not out of prejudice, but in order to reflect appropriately what is meant to be expressed.

 

2. How does the Precious Qur'an describe God the Exalted?

 

"Whatever is in the heavens and on earth, declares the Praises and Glory of Allah; for He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise. To Him belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. It is He Who gives Life and Death; and He has Power over all things. He is the First and the Last, the Evident and the Immanent (Hidden). And He has the full knowledge of all things. He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days (stages, long periods, or ages), then He established Himself on the Throne. He knows what enters within the earth and what comes forth out of it, what comes down from heaven and what ascends up to it. And He is with you wheresoever you may be. And Allah sees well all that you do. To Him belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. And all affairs go back to Allah. He merges Night into Day and He merges Day into Night. And He has the full Knowledge of the secrets of (all) hearts." LVII:1‑6

 

Or:

 

"Allah is He, than Whom there is no other god; Who knows (all things) both secret and open; He, the Gracious, the Merciful. Allah is He, than Whom there is no other god; the Sovereign, the Holy One, the Source of Peace, (and Perfection) the Guardian of Faith, the Preserver of Safety, the Exalted in Might, the Irresistible, the Supreme. Glory to Allah! (High is He) above the partners they attribute to Him. He is Allah, the Creator, the Originator, the Bestower of forms and colours. To Him belong the Most Glorious Names. Whatever is in the heavens and on earth doth declare His Praises and Glory. And He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise." LIX:22‑24

 

Or:

 

"Allah is He besides Whom there is no god, the Everliving (and causing life), the Eternal Self‑subsisting by Whom all subsist. No slumber can overtake him nor sleep. All things in the heavens and on earth belong to Him. Who is he who can intercede with Him but by His permission? He knoweth what is before them and what is behind them, nor shall they grasp any matter of His knowledge except for what He pleases. His Throne extends over the heavens and earth, and the preservation of them tires Him not. And He is the High, the Supreme." II:255

 

Or:

 

"Say: He Allah is One. Allah is the Absolute Self‑Sufficient. He begets not, nor is He begotten, and there is not a single one to equate with Him." CXll

 

There are many more ayat describing the attributes of Allah the Almighty but these few may be sufficient to ask ourselves how we can consider a God who falls short of the qualities extracted from these four ayat. This would mean one who:

 

* is not being praised and glorified by all beings in the heavens and on earth,

* has no control over the dominion of the heavens and earth (cannot induce rain, earthquake, movement of the celestial bodies, etc.),

* cannot give life and death,

* has no power over all things,

* did not exist from "the Beginning" nor shall last to "the End",

* is indistinct and affected,

* does not have full Knowledge of all things,

* cannot create the heavens and earth,

* does not know the inflow and outflow of the heavens and earth,

* cannot be with you wheresoever you may be,

* does not see what you do,

* cannot receive all affairs; or all affairs do not go back to him,

* has no power over the emergence of day and night,

* has no knowledge of the secrets of all hearts,

* is not the Absolute Sovereign,

* cannot create nor originate,

* is not everliving,

* is not the Self‑subsisting, and the Absolute Needless,

* gets tired and drowsy, or slumbers,

* is not One (the Only),

* is not the Absolute Self‑sufficient (on Whom all others depend),

* begets or is begotten,

* is like others (taking spouse, having companions and colleagues).

 

This list can grow rapidly if one uses more ayat which describe Allah's attributes. It is obvious that one who is affected by a tiny insect and escapes from it cannot be considered The Almighty, no matter what names misguided and misdirected people may assign to him to justify their own belief, and perhaps to deceive and mislead others.

 

3. To whom was the Noble Qur'an revealed?

 

"And (as for) those who believe and perform acts of righteousness, and believe in the (revelation) sent down to Muhammad, which it is the Truth from their Lord, He will remove from them their ills and improve their condition." XLVII:2

 

4. Who is Muhammad (SA)?

 

"And certainly, thou hast an exalted character." LXVIII:4

 

"Verily We have sent thee, in truth, as a bearer of glad tidings and a warner But of thee no question shall be asked of the companions of the Blazing Fire." II:119

 

"Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but (he is) the rasul [1] of Allah, and the seal of the nabiys [2] and Allah has the full Knowledge of all things." XXXIII:40

 

Therefore, the message is quite clear that Muhammad (SA), was the rasul and the nabiy of Almighty Allah and that he was the last nabiy. These two words have been much misused and misinterpreted by Muslims and non­Muslims alike. Therefore, it is important to define them for clarity:

 

Rasul:[3]The Arabic root for this word is "R‑S‑L", which denotes ideas such as message, letter, mission, delivering, and many others. Various words have been derived from this root. Two of these words are important in the context of our work:

 

* Risalah, meaning Mission, Apostleship, Message, Letter, Epistle, and

* Rasul, meaning Envoy, Messenger, Apostle.

 

Nabiy: [4]The Arabic root is "N‑B‑'A", which denotes the idea of infor­mation and news. There are many words derived from this root, and all of them have to do with news and information; a few examples are: to announce (news) to anyone, to inform one another of, to prophesy, to enquire, the giver of news or information etc. In particular, there are three words which are important in the context of this work:

 

* nubuwwah, meaning Prophecy,

* nably (plural: anbiya'), meaning Prophet,

* nabawiyy, meaning Prophetic.

 

Therefore, a nabiy is one with whom Allah, the Exalted, has established a divine link. Ordinary pious people can also be inspired by Almighty Allah, but a nabiy, at a much higher level, can bring back Divine information (news) on what people have questioned.

 

A rasul, on the other hand, is commissioned with a major task, and is the Almighty Allah's ambassador and envoy to establish the "principles" of the way of life (dins). Therefore, nubuwwah (the ability to communicate with Allah) is a prerequisite for Risalah (being commissioned, Apostleship), and any rasul is automatically a nabiy (Prophet) by definition. But not all nabiys are, necessarily, rasals. It is maintained that there have been some 124,000 nabiys and about 313 rasuls of Allah.

 

The word "seal" in this ayah asserts the completion of The Divine Message. When a document is sealed it is complete; no further additions, deletions, substitutions, or modifications can be made. Allah's guidance is and will always be continuous but there is no need for further nabiys to do so. The Final Divine Message is complete, according to this ayah, and no additional Prophecies are to be expected. Until the manifestation of Imam Al‑Mahdi (A.F.), people will need thinkers and religious leaders ‑ but not a new nabiy ‑ to explore the truth already revealed in the Glorious Qur'an and the ahadith. This is not an arbitrary matter. It is a decree full of Divine Knowledge and Wisdom, as the above ayah says "and Allah has the full Knowledge of all things" immediately after asserting the completion of The Divine Message.

 

In order to bypass the above ayah and gain legitimacy for post‑Islamic religious groups, some people argue that, unlike Muhammad (SA), who was a rasul and a nabiy, their religious leader is at a higher level, and need not claim to be a nabiy. They say their rasul could communicate with Allah, the Exalted, at his position of Risalah without being a nabiy, thus the above ayah and the seal of nubuwwah do not apply to their leader. They forget the element of interdependency (one entity being the prerequi­site to another). Nubuwwah (being a nabiy) is a prerequisite for Risalah (being a rasul).

 

To do away with the above reasoning, they use a different terminology, instead of rasul. They make use of expressions such as "the Manifestation of God" or "the Reformer", and so on. The fact remains that the Miracu­lous Qur'an cannot be tricked. How can the Reformer, the Manifestation, or the Messenger in any name or terminology, perform God's mission without being in communication with Him? This is the beauty of the powerful language of the Glorious Qur'an, full of absolute wisdom.

 

These examples are given to illustrate why the position of a rasul is much higher than that of a nabiy. Such a clear distinction does not exist in the English language and much confusion and misunderstanding are ex­perienced when one talks about apostles, prophets, messengers, saints, disciples, and so forth. For example, in English, the word apostle is used even for saints, such as St Paul, St John, and other disciples. This lack

of clarity can also deceive people into the creed of a few post‑Islamic "religious" groups which contradict the universal and eternal ayat of Allah the Exalted (as presented above).

 

5. Does the rasul (apostle of God) have Divine authority?

 

"...Say: Divine Signs (ayat) are indeed with Allah. And most certainly, I am only a clear warner!" XXIX:50

 

"Say: 1 have no power over any good or harm to myself except as Allah willeth. If I had knowledge of the unseen, I should have multiplied all good, and no evil should have touched me. 1 am but a warner and bringer of glad tidings to those who have faith." Vll:188

 

These ayat elucidate that in the din of Allah, only He, the Almighty has the Divine power and authority. In some religions, their leaders are thought to have this Divine authority to abrogate, select and change Allah's Message without His authorisation.

 

6. How was the Glorious Qur'an revealed?

 

"It is We Who have sent down the Qur’an to thee by stages." LXXVI:23

 

"(It is) a Qur'an which We have divided (into parts from time to time), in order that thou mightest recite it to men at intervals. We have revealed it by stages." XVIL:106

 

Therefore, it is now clear that the Holy Qur'an was revealed stage by stage for the use of humankind. Why was it not all revealed at one time?

 

"32 ‑ Those who reject Faith say: `Why is not the Qur’an revealed to him all at once?' Such (it is revealed) that We may strengthen thy heart thereby, and We have rehearsed it to thee in slow and well­ arranged stages, gradually. 33 ‑ And no question do they bring to thee but We reveal to thee the truth and the best explanation (thereof)." XXV:32 & 33

 

It should be borne in mind that this gradual revelation over some 23 years relates to the Divine revelation to humankind, through Gabriel (PBUH) and Muhammad (SA), which is thought to be the second stage of revelation. The first stage, in contrast, was all at once from the level of the "Mother Book", (Umm ul‑Kitab), before Allah, to that of the "scribe angels" in the heavens of the world, in one night. [6] Please consider the following ayah from the Glorious Qur'an:

 

"We have indeed revealed this (Message) in The Grand Night." XCVVII:1

 

There is more Divine significance about The Grand Night, not known to humankind as yet:

 

"And what will make you comprehend what The Grand Night is?" XCVII:2

 

The date of this Excellent Night is also a mystery. Several nights in the blessed month of Ramadan have been suggested with the 27th being the most widely accepted date. All we know confidently is that the Grand Night is in this blessed month, according to the Glorious Qur'an:

 

"The month of Ramadan, in which was sent down the Qur’an, a guide for humankind, and Clear Signs of guidance and distinction (between virtue and vice)." II:185

 

7. What is the Mother of the Book (or the Mother Book)?

 

"3 ‑ We have made it a Qur’an in Arabic, that you may be able to understand. 4 ‑ And verily, it is in the Mother of the Book, in Our Presence, high (in dignity), full of wisdom." XLIII:3 & 4

 

"Allah doth obliterate (blot out) or confirm what He pleaseth. With Him is the Mother of the Book." XIII:39

 

The term "Mother of the Book" (or the Mother Book) is believed to represent the Full Knowledge, the essence of all Divine revelations without regard to time and space, the codes known to Him but not understandable by us. It does not necessarily represent a physical book. The following ayat may explain better. It should be clear that this subject is a very large one on which volumes of deep discussions have been rendered, with various points of view. Therefore, no claim is made in this brief writing that this interpretation is the only one or the true one:

 

"Say to whoever is an enemy to Jibril: for certain he brings down the (revelation) to thy heart by Allah's will, a confirmation of what went before, and a (book of) guidance and glad tidings for the believers. " II:97

 

"It is not but wahy that is revealed." LIII:4

 

"Thus doth (Allah) send wahy to thee as (He did) to those before thee, Allah exalted in Power, full of Wsdom." XLII:3

 

"Say: I am but a man like yourselves, (but) the wahy has come to me, that your Allah is one Allah ...." XVIII:110

 

"51 ‑ It is not fitting for a man that Allah should speak to him except by wahy, or from behind a veil, or by the sending of a rasul to reveal, with Allah's permission, what Allah wills. For He is most High, Most Wise. 52 ‑ And thus have We, by Our command, sent inspiration to thee. Thou knowest not what was Revelation, and what was Faith. But We have made (the Qur’an) a Light, wherewith We guide such of Our obedient as We will. And verily thou dost guide to the Straight Path." XLII:51‑52

 

Almighty Allah tells us explicitly that there are three ways in which He bestows His revelation on mankind:

 

A. Wahy: Inspirations may occur in many forms, ranging from a simple and common dream and telepathy, to much more elevated forms of vision and the Divine revelation. In the English language, the word "revelation" is used for all who reveal, being the journalists, politicians, writers, or God! Therefore, the Arabic term wahy is used here for that which is uniquely a Divine revelation. Another point to clarify is that the subjects of inspiration are human beings, in general, whereas the subjects of wahy are chosen Messengers of Allah, the Exalted. In lower forms of wahy, signals are stimulated by Allah the Exalted into the heart and mind of a Messenger who understands the substance of the Message, whether it is a command or prohibition, or an explanation of a great truth. It is quite logical that the more elevated a Messenger, the greater is the value of the message, the quality of its reception and the impact of such a message. In its perfect form, verbal or literal wahy is transmitted in such a way that the actual words of Almighty Allah are conveyed in human language, uttered by the human tongue. This superior ‑ recited ‑ form of wahy is only granted to the greater Prophets, while lower forms may be bestowed upon other Prophets. It is important to realise that not all inspirations or revelations are heavenly. Satan, angels, and humankind may inspire people and reveal certain affairs. This is how many people are deceived by specific ominous visions and inspirations. The safest revelation is that in which Allah the Exalted sends an Angel to recite the wahy personally to His Chosen Messenger, as will be covered under C) below.

 

B. Behind a veil: Not, of course, a material veil, or screen, but a mystic Veil of Light. There are quotations from Muhammad (SA), saying: "Allah has some seventy thousand Veils of Light and Darkness. Were He to with­draw their curtain, then would splendours of His Aspect (or Countenance, or Face) surely consume everyone who apprehended Him with his sight: ' This is a very large subject which has been studied by numerous scholars. This subject will be only briefly introduced in this book (see the mystic elements of the Glorious Qur'an, page 38). For more information, one could start with Appendix VIII of the Glorious Qur'an translated into English by A. Yusuf ‘Ali.

 

C. Rasul (apostle of Allah): The revelations are delivered to the Holy Messenger of Allah through the Angel Gabriel (PBUH), as mentioned earlier, in the purest and most confident form. These spiritual visions, conveying the message of Revelation, are the basis of the Noble Qur'an.

 

Another important point in the above ayah is: "We have made (the Qur’an) a Light, wherewith We guide such of Our obedients as We will." There is another ayah to complement the above:

 

"O mankind! Verily there had come to you a convincing proof from your Lord. For We have sent unto you a Light (that is) manifest (muban)." IV:174

 

The Light refers to the Glorious Qur'an and its manifestation is the character and personality of Muhammad (SA) himself. He is known to be the walking Qur'an. Extensive volumes of traditions (ahadith) fail to give evidence to one single incidence indicating that he (and his kinfolk) deviated from ‑the Qur'anic way. Therefore, his life should be taken as a perfect model to follow for those who wish to be guided according to the Holy Qur'an.

 

 

8. What is the structure of the Great Qur'an? and

 

9. Are we allowed to interpret the allegorical parts of the Holy Qur'an? and

 

10. Can we believe in the Glorious Qur'an selectively?

 

"He it is Who has sent down to thee the Book. In it are ayat basic or fundamental (Muhkamat). They are the foundation of the Book. Others are homologous or allegorical (mutashabihat). But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is allegorical, seeking discord and disturbance (fitnah), and searching for ta'wil of its

hidden meanings. But no one knows its ta'wil except Allah. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: `We believe in the Book, the whole of it is from our Lord.' But only men of understanding really heed." III:7

 

This very important passage beautifully clarifies the structure and the con­cept of interpretation of the Great Qur'an. In this respect, the Munificent Qur'an consists of two portions:

 

1) the nucleus or foundation of the Book (ayat muhkam), and

2) the part which is allegorical, reflecting more than one aspect (ayat mutashabih).

 

Ayat muhkam are those ayat whose inner meaning is identical to their meaning in the sentence in which they appear. No other interpretation can be made; as an example: "Say: Allah is One". The majority of the Qur'anic ayat are of this type.

 

Ayat mutashabih, on the other hand, are those for which more than one interpretation is possible. It is fascinating to utilise the latter part to exer­cise our ingenuity for interpretation of the inner meaning of the Glorious Qur'an. But, as clearly stated in this verse, ta'wal of the allegorical part is associated with perversity, discord and disturbance (fitnah), [8]and Allah the Exalted has assured us that no one knows their correct interpretation except He. This is why Muslim interpreters, commentators and translators should not insist on the correctness of any particular interpretation of these ayat. They say only Allah the Exalted knows which one, if any, is correct. Many of these ayat automatically become clear by the time that scientific and other discoveries give evidence of their truth. This subject will be dis­cussed later. Some non‑Muslim intellectuals, however, press strongly with their interpretations of these ayat, as the above ayah associates this with fitnah.

 

Another important feature of this ayah is the holistic approach to the Noble Qur'an. We should believe in the Book, in its entirety. We cannot believe some parts, and reject other parts.

 

These two very important features should be considered particularly seriously by those who would exert efforts to interpret allegorical issues of the Precious Qur'an, and those who would selectively believe in this Book. We must try to understand it as best we can, but not deviate from the path of Almighty Allah and mislead people by insisting on certain interpretations of metaphorical ayat. Time will clarify them when neces­sary, as time has already clarified plenty of ayat misinterpreted or not understood at all for many years. This subject will be reviewed later.

 

11. Is the Miraculous Qur'an consistent?

 

"Do they not consider the Qur’an (with care)? Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely have found therein much discrepancy" IV:82

 

In the 23 years that Muhammad (SA), received the revelations, he passed through conflicting vicissitudes of life. Any person, during the long course of such a mission, would be forced by circumstances to make compro­mises, and could not help contradicting himself unless every word came from one unique source.

 

Furthermore, the Glorious Qur'an uncovers many matters relating to the nature of the universe, which were totally unknown to humankind over 14 centuries ago, particularly to the untutored Muhammad (SA). Considering all this, it is miraculous that the Great Qur'an is perfectly consistent throughout.

 

 

12. What is the purpose of the Noble Qur'an?

 

"Had We sent down this Qur’an on a mountain, verily thou wouldst have seen it humble itself and cleave asunder for fear of Allah. Such are the similitudes which We propound to men, that they may reflect." LIX:21

 

"O mankind! There hath come to you a direction from your Lord and a Healing for the (diseases) in your hearts. And a Guidance and Mercy for those who believe." X:57

 

"And We reveal from the Qur’an that which is a Healing and a Mercy to the believers. And It adds only to the perdition of the unjust." XVIL: 82

 

"And We have not revealed to you the Book except that you may make clear to them, that about which they differ, and (A.S.) a Guidance and a Mercy for a people who believe." XVI: 64

 

"These are ayat of the Book that make (things) clear (mubin)." XXVI: 2 [9]

 

These are only a few examples of how Allah the Exalted sees the benefits of this Munificent Book. Only from the observation of these four ayat can one realise that the Great Qur'an can subdue arrogance to humility, and can be a source of food for thought and reflection ‑this very important point has been repeated throughout the Glorious Qur'an‑ it is the fountain of Blessing, Mercy and Healing for the heart, it is a Book of Guidance for all peoples and for all times, and finally, the criterion that distinguishes right from wrong. Other similar ayat cast more light on the use of this Unique Book, but we should be content at this level. All these magnificent benefits are for those who wish to be guided. For those who insist on prejudice and arrogance regarding the wahy of Allah the Exalted, this Holy Book can cause nothing but perdition.

 

13. Then what does the Glorious Qur'an clarify?

 

The Noble Qur'an clarifies a great number of subjects. In fact, not all the Qur'anic revelations have been understood as yet. But as time goes by, theological, intellectual, scientific, and historical evidence contributes to a better understanding of these revelations by mankind. The following points are just a few examples:

 

13.1 The Oneness of God the Exalted and His Divine system (tawhid)

 

The following ayat of the Holy Qur'an are self‑explanatory in defining the concept of tawhid. [10]

 

"Say: He Allah, is One. Allah is the Absolute Self‑Sufficient. He begets not, nor is He begotten, and there is not a single one to equate with Him." CXII

 

"O people of the book!" There hath come to you Our rasul, revealing to you much that you used to hide in the Book, and passing over much (that is now unnecessary). There hath come to you from Allah a (new) light and a perspicuous (mubin) Book. Wherewith Allah guideth all who seek His good pleasure to ways of peace and security, and leadeth them out of darkness, by His Will, unto the light, guideth them to a Path that is Straight. In blasphemy indeed are those who say that Allah is Christ, the son of Mary..." V:15‑19

 

"Allah has said: `Take not (for worship) two gods, for He is only One Allah. Then fear Me and Me alone ...'." XVI:51

 

13.2 The unity of all Divine religions; Islam as a concept

 

The concept of Islam ‑ submission to the Will of Allah ‑ is nothing new. It existed well before the development of Islam as a religion. The following ayat clarify that this concept was preached by all the major prophets of Allah. This is a proof of the Unity of all Divine religions, even though they are called differently by mankind.

 

"Behold! his (Ibraham's) Lord said to him: `Be a Muslim (submit yourself to My will)'. He (Ibraham) said: `I am a Muslim (submit myself) to the will of the Lord and Cherisher of the Universe'. And this was the legacy that IbrMam left to his sons, and so did Yacqub; `Oh my sons! Allah hath chosen the Faith for you, then die not except in the Faith of Islam (submission to the will of the Almighty Allah)'." II:131 & 132

 

"When ‘Isa (Masih) found unbelief on their part he said: `Who will be my helpers to (the work of) Allah?'Said the disciples: `We are Allah's helpers, we should believe in Allah, and do thou bear witness that we are Muslims'." III:52

 

"O ye who believe! Bow down, prostrate yourselves, and adore your Lord. And do good that ye may prosper. And strive in His cause as you ought to strive (with sincerity and under discipline). He has chosen you, and has imposed no difficulties on you in religion; it is the cult of your father, Ibrahim. It is He (Allah the Exalted) Who has named you Muslims, both before and in this (revelation); That the Apostle should be a witness for you and you be witness for mankind! So establish regular Prayer, give regular Charity, and hold fast to Allah! He is your Protector ‑ the Best to protect and the Best to help!" XXII:77 & 78

 

This ayah has many important points but the one we need to concentrate on is: "It is He Who has named you Muslims, both before and in this (revelation)". This very clear and strong statement makes Islam distinctly different from all religions of the world in which people coin a name for their religion, normally after the person whom they follow. But when it comes to Islam, Allah the Exalted clearly says that He Himself selected this very profound name, for all His revelations, either before or during the time Muhammad (SA).

 

For the definition of the word Islam please refer to the Glossary.

 

"And remember Ibrdhim and Isma’il raised the foundation of the House (with this prayer): `Our Lord! Accept (this service) from us. For Thou art the Hearing, the Knowing'. Our Lord! make us Muslims, bowing to Thy (Will), and of our progeny a people Muslim, bowing to Thy (Will); and show us our places for the celebration of (due) rites; and turn unto us (in Mercy); for Thou art the Oft­ Returning, the Merciful." II:127 & 128

 

"The Religion before Allah is Islam (submission to His Will): Nor did the `people of the book' dissent therefrom except through envy of each other, after knowledge had come to them..." III:19

 

The above ayat clearly confirm that Islam as a concept existed from the early days of the din of Allah the Exalted, but it took centuries before this concept finally culminated as a religion by His Will through Muhammad (SA), and the most appropriate name, Islam, was explicitly selected by Almighty Allah for His din.

 

Clearly, the din before Exalted Allah is Islam (being in the state of sub­mission to Allah the Exalted) and there is punishment, as shown later on, for those who have seen the Precious Qur'an and yet turn away from His din.

 

"Ibrahim was not a Jew nor a Christian; But he was true in Faith as a Muslim. And he joined not gods with Allah." III:67

 

"Say: We believe in Allah, and in what has been revealed to us and what was revealed to Ibrahim, Isma’il, Ishaq, Yacqub, and the Tribes, and in that which was given to Musa and ‘Isa (Masih) and the prophets, from their Lord. We make no distinction between one and another among them and we are Muslims to Him (to Him we submit). If anyone desires a Religion other than Islam (submission to the Almighty Allah), never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers." III:84 & 85

 

These passages clearly indicate that Islam as a concept goes back to the early days, [12] and that this concept of total submission to Allah the Omni­potent has also been preached by other prominent messengers of Allah the Exalted preceding the last prophet.

 

It is significant to realise that in the entire Qur'an the singular form "din" (Religion) appears about 70 times but the plural form, "adyan", not one single time. This clearly shows that there is only one din before Almighty Allah.

 

13.3 Islam as a religion

 

Now let us see how this concept of Islam (submission to the will of Allah) finally culminates in the form of a religion called Islam.

 

"...This day have those who reject Faith given up all hope of your religion. Yet fear them not but fear Me. This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your Religion .... " V:3

 

It is quite remarkable that in this very last preceptive revelation to Muhammad (SA), Allah the Omnipotent declares, emphatically, that the religion founded from the early times and gradually augmented by various prophets is now perfect, is named Islam and is chosen for humankind by Almighty Allah Himself. With this important message for mankind, the preceptive wahy ends, only 81 days before the last prophet leaves this world, (SA).

 

13.4 Islam as a single ummah

 

"And verily this ummah of yours is a single ummah and I am your Lord (and Cherisher). Therefore fear Me (and no other)." XXIII:52

 

"Verily, this ummah of yours is a single ummah, and 1 am your Lord (and Cherisher). Therefore, serve Me (and no other). But (later gen­erations) will cut off their affair (of unity), one from another. (Yet) they will all return to Us." XXI:92 & 93

 

In his well known English translation of the Qur' an, Yusuf ‘Ali wrote:

 

"God's message was and ever is one; and his Messengers treated it as one. It is people of narrower views who come later and trade on the earlier names, that break up the Message and the Brotherhood [ummah] into jarring sects and tribes." p 843, n. 2750

 

The Islamic ummah is only one in Exalted Allah's view. All the boundaries and differentiations are our own makings. These ayat and the translator's footnote tell us about the unity of Almighty Allah's Word from the beginning to the end, the unity of His din, mankind, and the entire universe.

 

13.5 The universality of Islam

 

"We have not sent thee but as a Universal (Messenger) to men, giving them glad tidings, and warning them (against sin), but most men understand not." XXXIV:28

 

This is a very clear statement of the universality of Almighty Allah's Religion (the concept and religion of Islam). There are more to follow:

 

"Indeed We sent Nuh to his people, and he said: O my people! Worship Allah. Ye have no other god except Him. Verily! I fear for you the Punishment of a Dreadful Day" (VII:59) "And unto (the tribe of) ‘Ad (We sent) their brother Hud. He said O my people! Worship Allah. You have no other god save Him. Will you not ward off (evil)?" (VII:65) "And unto Madyan (We sent) their brother Shu’ayb. He said O my people! Worship Allah. You have no other god but Him." (VII:85) "And to (the tribe of) Thamud We sent their brother Salih. He said O my people! Worship Allah. You have no other god save Him." (VII:73) "And verily We have sent among every nation an apostle (proclaiming): Worship Allah and eschew evil." (XVI:36)

 

"And We sent Nuh to his people, so he remained among them a  thousand years less fifty" XXIX:14

 

"And Ibrahim said to his people "Serve Allah and fear Him. That will be best for you, if ye understand! " XXIX:16

 

Every prophet was sent unto his own nation for their guidance, but the message of The Last Prophet Muhammad (SA) is general for all mankind:

 

"Say: O mankind! Verily! I am sent as the rasul to you all." VII:158

 

"Above all, it is a Message to all the worlds." LXVIII:52

 

Therefore, it is obvious that Almighty Allah's Religion had entered a universal level by the time Islam was introduced as a way of life (din) and that the Noble Qur'an is a Book of Guidance for all humankind, in all places and for all times.

 

13.6 Confirmation of previous revelations

 

"It is He Who sent down to thee (step by step), in truth, the Book, confirming what went before it. And He sent down the Tawrah (to Musa) and the Injal (to cIsa Masah) before this as a guide to mankind. And He sent down al‑Furqan, the Criterion (of judgment between right and wrong ‑ meaning the Holy Qur an)." III:3

 

"Nothing is said to thee that was not said to the messengers before thee..." XLI:43

 

13.7 Correction of people's misunderstanding and misbelief

 

"They say: Allah hath begotten a son'. Glory be to Him, Nay; to Him belongs all that is in the heavens and on earth. All shall render worship to Him." II:116

 

 

14. Does the Great Qur'an identify previous Divine Books and Prophets?

 

Some 124,000 nabiys (Prophets) and 313 rasuls have been chosen by Allah the Exalted to develop, fulfil, and finally perfect His din. Obviously, not all of them have been named in the Great Qur'an. But the following 25 names have been mentioned in this Holy Book; (PBUT all). These names are sorted according to the number of entries in the Glorious Qur'an:

And the names of Divine Scriptures in the Glorious Qur'an are:

 

The Injil meaning "The Tidings" in Greek, the New Testament, The Tawrah meaning "The Law or The Sacred" in Hebrew, the Old Testament, The Zabur (or al‑Mazamir) meaning "The Writ" in Arabic, the Psalms of David, The Suhuf of Abraham, meaning "The Sheets" in Arabic. (PBUT all).

 

15. Does Almighty God's Final Message have a fixed duration?

 

"Nay, this is a Glorious Qur’an, (inscribed) in a Tablet Preserved!" LXXXV:21‑22

 

"We have, without doubt, sent down the Message and We will assuredly guard it." XV:9

 

16. Does God the Exalted abrogate His Final Testament?

 

"None of Our revelations do We abrogate [13] or cause to be forgotten, but We substitute something better or similar. Knowest thou not that Allah hath power over all things?" II:106

 

"...But Allah abrogates [14] anything that satan throws in, and Allah confirms His Signs. For Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom. That He may set whatever thrown in by satan as a tribulation for those in whose hearts are a disease and who are hardened of heart. Verily the wrong‑doers are in a schism far (from the Truth)." XXII:52‑53

 

These passages are of great consideration for the followers of those who have abrogated Almighty Allah's final revelation selectively and/or replaced them with their own inspirations in the name of Allah the Exalted. They quote the following ayah of the Noble Qur'an, using an incorrect translation for the key word:

 

"Allah doth abrogatels or confirm what He decides. With Him is the Mother of the Book." XIIL:39

 

Based on this ayah some people have allowed themselves to cut the Glorious Qur'an into pieces and under the banner of abrogation select what they like and disregard the rest. Let us look at the correct translation first:

 

"Allah doth obliterate [16] or confirm what He decides. With Him is the Mother of the Book." XIII:39

 

One should consider that obliteration (mahw) means blotting out, efface­ment, wiping away, forgetting, suppression, resolution, disappearing because of erasure, loss, absorption or solution. Whereas to abrogate (naskh) means to annul, to cancel, to invalidate and to void.

 

 As the ayah clearly mentions, the Mother of the Book is with Almighty Allah. This is the Full Knowledge, the essence of all revelations, indepen­dent of time and space. Why should Allah, the Knowing, reveal the Final Message and then abrogate it? And how? Muhammad (SA) is the Last nabiy, and we should remember from the earlier discussions that without being a nabiy one could not have full access to the Divine "knowl­edge" necessary for any Divine mission, including abrogation of Divine revelations.

 

One important consideration in this context is that religious tenets (‘aqidah) are never abrogated. They have been fixed from the beginning and have been repeated by all prophets of Almighty Allah. A few examples of such creed and doctrines are oneness of Allah, concept of Islam, the idea of the return of all humankind back to Him for the Judgement, and so forth. Such religious tenets are independent of time and location. The reli­gious laws (shari’ah), however, have been abrogated by Almighty Allah from nation to nation living at different times and in different geographical locations.

 

The second important consideration is that only Almighty Allah and the Divine prophets can abrogate certain rules of shari’ah, not anyone else. He possesses the Mother of the Book, the essence of all revelations.

 

The third important subject is the distinction between obliteration (mahw) and abrogation (naskh). Some local and timed rules and laws are subject to obliteration according to the Plan and Will of Almighty Allah, by not getting effectively recorded, being forgotten with time, or other causes and events. Where are the pure and original words of Allah, exactly

as uttered by many of His rasals or nabs ys? What happened to the Suhuf (Scriptures) given to The Prophet Abraham (PBUH), the Psalms to The Prophet David (PBUH), The Tawrah to The Prophet Moses (PBUH), and the Injil to The Prophet Jesus Christ (PBUH)? Based on clear evidence all or parts of these words may have been lost, translated, forgotten, or obliterated (mahw) either due to satanic alterations or to innocent mistranslation (from the true words. And this is not by accident; it is the will of Allah the Exalted Who dictates that certain things be obliterated or be preserved. When it comes to the Holy Qur'an, however:

 

"... for it is indeed a Message of Remembrance. So, let whosoever will, keep it in Remembrance; in Books held in honour; exalted, pure and holy; (written) by hands of scribes, noble and righteous." LXIX: 11‑16

 

Islam did not come to abrogate the previous Divine Scriptures. On the con­trary, it came to establish and strengthen the unity of all previous Divine religions and their respective messengers. The main question is whether all components of the previous Scriptures are indeed purely and truly the word of Allah, or some parts have been contaminated by the words of humankind.

 

There are, however, people who have read the Glorious Qur'an and yet claim prophethood. They usurp Divine authority, and abrogate the Noble Qur'an selectively in order to remove any sign that is incompatible with their own claim!

 

17. Is Islam (the din of God, the Exalted) difficult?

 

"...He has chosen you arid has imposed no difficulties on you in reli­gion (din). It is the cult of your father Ibrahim..." XXII: 78

 

"On no soul doth Allah place a burden greater than it can bear. It (one's soul) gets every good that it earns and it suffers every ill that it deserves..." II:286

 

Therefore, Allah's intention is not to impose difficulties on us through His din. His recommended way of life is as uncomplicated as it was represented centuries ago by Abraham (PBUH), as we read in the first ayah. But in the second ayah we read that it is only people who make life easy or unbearable. How is it possible for us to be on the right side? Through du’a' [17] and He shows us how. Please continue for further explanation; first let us find out.

 

18. What is the difference between the Great Qur'an and books of dua'?

 

In summary, dua' (supplication) is our appeal and petition to Allah the Exalted requesting whatever we wish Him to grant us. Munajah is whisper­ing, like telling one's secrets to Allah the Exalted, or prattling. It may or may not include any petition and solicitation. There are numerous ravish­ing du’a's and enchanting munajahs and beautiful dhikrs [18] available in the Muslim world composed by the infallible Imams and prominent religious leaders. In size, they vary from a few lines all the way to a sizeable booklet which may take over an hour to recite. Each has a specific purpose with a certain recommended time of recitation. But the general and cardinal purpose is, of course, nearness to Allah the Exalted by repeated remem­brance of His attributes and His glorification.

 

With this brief introduction, it is clear that the nature of the Glorious Qur'an is totally and completely different from that of books of dua', munajah and dhikr. The former comes from the heavens to earth whereas the latter set of three goes from earth to the heavens. The former is the heavenly and pure wahy, directing people with unlimited Authority, Wisdom and Mercy as to what is good for them and what is bad for them. The latter set, however, is an earthly plea and petition from us soliciting Allah the Exalted, weakly and yearningly.

 

In the absence of a Divine Scripture, this clear distinction does not exist in some religious cults. They mix an assortment of du’a's and munajahs along with other writings of their leader and call the booklet a prayer book.

 

This entire section was included for the continuation of ayah II:286 under the previous heading. In the Glorious Qur'an, Allah the Exalted teaches us the basic ingredients for our supplications. There are a number of such ayat, one being the latter part of the last ayah of Surah al‑Baqarah (II). This is the longest surah of the Glorious Qur'an full of serious matters of law. How appropriate to end this onerous surah with this beautiful duca' for the acquittal of our sins and mistakes:

 

... Our Lord! condemn us not if we forget or fall into error. Our Lord! Lay not on us a burden like that which Thou didst lay on those before us. [19] Our Lord! Impose not on us that which we have not the strength to bear. Pardon us and grant us forgiveness and have mercy upon us. Thou art our Protector; award us with victory over the dis­believing folks." II:286

 

Allah the Exalted sows more seeds to show us the ingredients for supplica­tions in a few other ayat such as:

 

II:201 & 250, III:8, 16, 53, 147, 193 & 194, VII:23, 47, 126, 155 & 156, XIV:40 & 41, XX:25‑28, XXIII:97 & 98, XXV:65 & 74, XXVII:19, XXVHI:17, XL:7, LIX:10, LX:4, LXXI:28, etc.

 

They are captivating and penetrating when their deeper meanings are realised. Using these, and other ingredients, Islamic literature is full of rich, enchanting and powerful supplication books. Unfortunately they are not all available in English. The reader could contact the publisher of this book, The Muhammadi Trust, and enquire for "The Psalms of Islam" and other supplication books available in English.

 

19. What was the first revelation to Mubammad (SA)?

 

In the night of Mab’ath [20](Commissioning, Appointment, Assignment, Mission, Resurrection) when Muhammad (SA), had gone to pray alone in a cave on Mount Hira' (later called Mount Nur), Gabriel (PBUH), the same angel of Almighty Allah, who had appeared to The Prophet Abraham (PBUH), and to Mary, the honourable mother of The Prophet Jesus Christ (PBUH), appeared to Muhammad (SA) who was then about forty years old. Angel Gabriel (PBUH) instructed him, in his mother tongue, with a mighty voice, surging like the waves of the ocean, "Recite aloud!" In fear and un­easiness, Muhammad (SA) cried out: "I am not learned!" The angel repeated the command, and elicited an identical response from Muhammad (SA). Angel Gabriel (PBUH) embraced him hard, and commanded him the third time:

 

"I ‑ Recite! in the name of thy Lord (and Cherisher), Who created. 2 ‑ Created humankind, out of a (mere) clot of congealed blood. 3 ‑ Proclaim! And thy Lord is the Bountiful, 4 ‑ He Who taught (the use of) Pen, 5 ‑ Taught man that which he knew not... " XCVL:1‑5

 

After this Divine revelation, a great trembling came upon Muhammad (SA). Shattered and feeling tired, he hastened home to his wife, Khadijah, hoping to recuperate from this great shock. She wrapped him in the thick cloak he used to use as a blanket, and helped him sleep.

 

These first five ayat of surah 96, al‑‘Alaq, (the very first wahy to Muhammad (SA) carry considerable significance which cannot be dis­cussed in this introductory account. Volumes of commentaries have been written about this revelation, which cannot be covered in this book. However, the referral to the Pen as a symbol of the eternal plan of Allah the Omnipotent should be mentioned briefly. Many Divine words through numerous messengers have been lost, forgotten or tampered with because they were not recorded early enough. Islam, as the Perfect and Final stage of Almighty Allah's din, had to be provided with a well‑documented record so that the purity and the integrity of Exalted Allah's words should be safeguarded for ever as a Book of human guidance. This is why in the very first revelation the use of Pen is mentioned.

 

Only three years later, one complete Surah, called al‑Qalam (meaning The Pen) was revealed to Muhammad (SA), to strengthen the symbol of permanence of His Final Testament (the Great Qur'an). This Sarah starts:

 

"Nun! By the Pen and by the (Record) which (humankind) writes." LXVlll:1

 

Knowing Muhammad (SA), so well, and seeing the unequivocal trans­formation that had come over him, Khadijah became his first follower. The second follower was °Ali, (A.S.), who was only ten years old, and the next was Zayd (a slave boy who was adopted by Muhammad (SA), after setting him free). Soon Muhammad's (SA) friend Abu Bakr was also convinced. At this stage, Muhammad (SA), had not talked about his experience openly.

 

Some months later, he had another heavenly experience. Suddenly he heard the voice again, and this time saw a huge pair of eyes staring at him, which became a gigantic figure whose wings (or feet) straddled the hori­zon. He shut his eyes and turned away, but no matter what he did he could still see the angel. There was no escape.

 

Once again he rushed home in shock. Kha&jah noticed this time that when she wrapped him up, he began to breathe deeply, and sweated pro­fusely. He was seeing the angel again, who said:

 

"O thou wrapped up (in thy cloak), arise and deliver thy warning! And thy Lord do thou magnify! And thy raiment keep free from stain! And all abomination (idolatry) shun! Nor expect any compensation (in return of what you give). But for thy Lord's (cause) be patient." LXXIV:1‑7

 

20. What were the last words revealed to Muhammad (SA)?

 

The fifth surah of the Precious Qur'an, al‑Ma'idah, deals with the back­sliding of the Jews and Christians from their pure religions. As a logical corollary to the deterioration of the earlier religions of Allah, the practical precepts of Islam about food, cleanliness, justice, and fidelity are recapitu­lated in this surah. The third ayah of this surah is an extremely interesting one and is known to be among the last few words from Almighty Allah. This ayah consists of three parts. Similar to a precious pearl which is hidden within a pair of shells to protect the valuable jewel, the cardinal issue in this ayah is enveloped in a pair of "shells" to ennoble the focal point in this ayah. The first part is:

 

"Forbidden to you (for food) are: dead meat, blood, the flesh of swine, and that on which hath been invoked the name of other than Allah. That which hath been killed by strangling or by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or by being gored to death. That which hath been (partly) eaten by a wild animal, unless you are able to slaughter it (in due form). That which is sacrificed on stone (altars). (Forbidden) is also the division (of meat) by raffling (gambling practised by pagans) with arrows. That is impiety..." V:3

 

The jewel of this ayah follows the important and memorable declaration which was announced during the farewell pilgrimage of Muhammad (SA), to Makkah in the tenth year of the Hijri calendar. Soon after the pilgrimage, he started for Madinah. On his way to Madinah, at Ghadir Khumm, three important events took place [21] one of which is the very last revelation, as follows:

 

"...This day have those who reject Faith given up all hope of your religion. Yet fear them not, but fear Me. This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion..." V:3

 

The holy prophet departed to the eternal world in less than 3 months after this revelation (on 28th Safar, 11 A.H.): [22]

 

The "shell" is then completed as follows:

 

"...But if any is forced by hunger, with no inclination to transgression, Allah is indeed Oft‑Forgiving, the Merciful." V:3

 

With this long ayah, Allah the Almighty perfects His religion (din) and calls it Islam.

 

21. Why is the very first revelation in the 96th surah, and the last words in the 5th surah? Who decided to re‑arrange the order of this Miraculous Book?

 

This is a long subject but I shall try to make it short. From time to time, Angel Gabriel (PBUH) visited Muhammad (SA), by Exalted Allah's leave, to reveal His words. Angel Gabriel (PBUH) would ask The Prophet (PBUT) to rehearse the Words carefully in the presence of his disciples. Each disciple was supposed to go over them at least one thousand times, and this went down to imams of mosques and others, each practising at least one thousand times. At the same time it was being recorded too. If there were any mistakes, misunderstandings or questions, they could go back in reverse order to check and correct. Once one group of revelations were well drilled throughout the community, or when there was a need for certain revelations, Angel Gabriel (PBUH) visited again, and the process was repeated.

 

Each year, Angel Gabriel (PBUH) reviewed all the revelations which had been revealed during the year for accuracy and correctness. In the last year, Angel Gabriel (PBUH) visited twice, [23] to make sure that everything was in perfect order. Incidentally, this gave Muhammad (SA), the clue that his life in this world was about to cease. But to answer the question, it was Allah the Exalted, Who, through Angel Gabriel (PBUH), placed the order of each single ayah to compile the Book. He clarified exactly where each ayah was supposed to be located in the Holy Qur'an. Therefore, not all ayat in a surah are in the sequence of revelation. Two sequential ayat might in the end be located in two separate surahs far from one another. This is the way Allah the Omnipotent wanted His Book to be, and this is the way It is. Recorded documents substantiate that the disciples of the rasul recorded everything according to the order given by the prophet without moving anything backward or forward. [24]

 

22. More on the process of revelation to Mu4ammad (SA)

 

It should be clear that the Miraculous Qur'an is not the teachings of Muhammad (SA); rather, It is a collection of words of Allah the Exalted as they were revealed. The following are some important features about most revelations to Muhammad (SA):

 

a.  Muhammad (SA), always knew when revelations were about to come down, and normally he lay down covered in his cloak, if possible.

 

b. The special revelations were always attended by extraordinary phenom­ ena such as shaking or trances.

 

c. Sometimes he seemed to lose consciousness.

 

d. Sometimes he was found soaked in sweat, even in cold weather.

 

e. Sometimes the message came instantaneously when he was being questioned by people, confronted with a major problem (or decision), or when a message, deemed necessary by Almighty Allah, was to be delivered in a specific location, at a specific moment, for a specific group of persons (or even an individual).

 

f. Sometimes the voice did not come through clearly. But most often the revelation was quite clear, and he heard the words explicitly. It has been reported that people could hear some vibrating sound similar to the sound of honeybees when revelations were being transmitted.

 

g. On some occasions Allah the Exalted spoke to him through Angel Gabriel (PBUH) who stayed with the prophet and absorbed much of the shock. But on other occasions, Allah the Omnipotent revealed to Muhammad (SA), directly. The latter form reflected a heavier impact on The Prophet, and resulted in extraordinary phenomena, as mentioned above.

 

23. What is the most emphasised subject in the Glorious Qur'an? [25]

 

If the most emphasised subject is to be taken as the subject most often referred to, then the following are the six subjects most emphasised by Allah the Exalted for the guidance of His people, in the order of His emphasis:

 

1. Disbelievers (kafirin, kafirun, and kuffar) and disbelief (kufr). Literally, kufr means "to cover". In general, this subject has to do with covering up the ayat of Allah the Exalted, i.e. His wahy, His words, His Books, His Messengers and their message, partly or entirely, openly or silently. It means disobeying His Guidance, and disbelieving His Message. It means following our own beliefs and the belief of other mortal human beings, who are, themselves, created by Allah the Exalted. It means con­fining various matters to only what we can envisage in our limited mind, and denying or disbelieving the Divine Order.

 

2. People of Hell (ashab un‑nar). This subject is self‑explanatory but it is important to realise that these two most‑emphasised matters constitute the most important message Allah the Exalted wishes to implant into the minds and the hearts of His men and women. I beseech readers, respect­fully and humbly, to pay particular attention to the emphasis Allah the Exalted has placed on these important issues, and not to pass them by indifferently. Would you please consider taking a few minutes to think of why Almighty Allah emphasises these matters so much, giving historical examples, naming the persons and communities who disbelieved, repeat­edly warning the readers of the Glorious Qur'an about satan and his influences on the hearts, minds and actions of humankind. This is because He loves us, and He warns us about the heavy impact and the doomed ending of kufr. These matters are more emphasised than the glad tidings for the men and women who believe and their blissful fate. This emphasis is for our guidance by the Great and Only Creator Who knows best what is good for us, and what is to our detriment.

 

3. The Truth of the Glorious Qur'an, and its recognition of the previous Books. This emphasis, once more, proves the deserving attention that Allah the Exalted gives to the Legitimacy and the Truth of a Divine Book. Again, this should be of interest to followers of certain religious cults, who lack a Divine Book or mistake a human's writing for Divine.

 

4. Promises and agreements that Allah the Exalted has granted to the men and women who believe. Once Allah the High has emphatically warned people against kufr, and about the miserable outcome of such dis­believing ideologies and actions, and after He emphatically asserts the Divine position of the Glorious Qur'an, He stresses the promises He is willing to grant, and agreements He is willing to make with His believing people of the right deeds so that they will be successful in this world and the next. These agreements constitute the duties of the men and women believers towards the Compassionate, the Merciful and the Knowing Creator. One cannot neglect these duties and still expect ultimate prosperity in both worlds.

 

5. Piety, Virtue and Righteousness (taqwa) is His next matter of empha­sis. Taqwa can be construed as the essence of Islamic practice, as tawhid might be considered as the paramount hinge of Islamic belief. It certainly deserves the emphasis of the Glorious Qur'an, after the above‑mentioned important matters have been repeatedly stressed and clarified in the minds of its readers.

 

Taqwa is difficult to define. It is easier to grasp its meaning by knowing that it is the opposite of being the slave of one's selfish desires. Taqwa is the most difficult aim in one's earthly life because satan is constantly sow­ing flamboyant ideas in our hearts and is continually tempting us with exciting actions which have no purpose except satisfaction of the self. It takes great willpower to let the intellect be in control, not the heart, and to distinguish vice from virtue. As one acquires more strength in this area, and gradually discovers that one's decisions and actions can be governed by certain Divine principles instead of being guided purely by self‑satisfaction, then satan will shy away and will gradually have less and less influence on him/her.

 

One feels at peace only when his heart and mind act hand in hand. Before that, the heart longs for a satanic feature and the intellect tries to defy it; the person feels insecure and unsure as he has to sort things out between his conflicting heart and mind. Once he practises taqwa, ultimately the heart and mind shall come together, and there will be no internal conflict to upset the person, and he will be in peace and harmony with everything around him. But how does one get there?

 

Like everything else, to achieve a certain goal, one needs certain tools and training. The more we discharge our duties toward Allah the Exalted, the more we shall acquire His Mercy, Light, Guidance and Blessing:

 

"...Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is the one among you who oractises taqwa the most..." XLIX:13

 

We need the tools that train us to be willing to let go of things that we relish, such as certain foods, excessive sleep, illicit sex, immoderate money and luxury. A hungry person who has all sorts of food around him, but resists eating them because of fasting, can be better prepared to fight against his selfish desires than one who does not have this training. A person who rises for the regular prayers, five times a day, must sacrifice many hours of sleep, including getting up at the crack of dawn. He is well equipped with willpower to combat his selfish desires, let alone the fact that he will be closer to Allah's Blessing because of the obedience and dis­charge of his duties toward Allah the Exalted.

 

Therefore, it appears that the necessary primary training for the realisation of taqwa begins with the salat (regular prayers), the sawm (fasting), pay­ment of the khums, the zakah and charities, and the recitation of the Glorious Qur'an, not only for guidance toward taqwa, but also for the blessing that Its recitation brings about. This is only the beginning. For further refinement, one should understand and practise the Islamic Principles (religious tenets) and the Pillars of Islam (the necessary duties to be discharged by a Muslim).

 

6. Matters relating to the legitimacy of Muhammad's (SA) message and the wahy from Allah the Exalted. This is complementary to item 3 above. These two items together consolidate the validity, legitimacy and Divinity of the Message and of the Messenger of Islam with great emphasis. Once more, this is another flag to alert people who follow certain religious groups or certain individuals depending on a slim evidence of legitimacy or a complete lack of it. Beware of the first two items of Allah's emphasis for your own sake.

 

24. Is the Glorious Qur'an a book of science, law, history, or art?

 

The Noble Qur'an is basically a book of human guidance. Allah the Omnipotent shows us in this practical book how He wants us to live. After all, He, as the Creator of the entire universe including mankind, knows best what is ultimately good, and what is ultimately bad for us. Today's plight of mankind is the very heart of this issue. For a few centuries, mankind had been deceived into believing that it knew better what was good and what was bad for it, and it lived a life of its own with very little regard for the wishes of Allah the Exalted. Then it found out all sorts of miseries such as AIDS, drugs, high rates of crime, divorce, and violence, in a world where economic, racial, and political slavery prevail. An important part of the Great Qur'an forms a comprehensive foundation on which sound systems of social justice, politics, economics, legislation, jurisprudence, world order, global responsibilities towards Nature, and so forth, can be constructed.

 


Notes:

[1] Will be defined shortly.

 

[2] Ibid.

 

[3] Refer to the Glossary for detailed definition.

 

[4] Ibid.

 

[5] Refer to the Glossary.

 

[6] Please refer to the following references: 1) Al‑Burhan fi `Ulum ul‑Qur'an, by 'Imam Badr ud‑Din Muhammad ibn 'Abdullah Zarkish. Vol 1, p 228, Beirut, 1391 L.H.C. (1972), in Arabic. 2) "Al‑Mizan, Exegesis of the Qur'an", by al‑Allamah as‑Sayyid M.H. Tabataba'i. Vol 3, pp 15‑22, Translated into English by World Organisation for Islamic Studies (WOFIS), P.O. Box 11365‑1545, Tehran, Iran, 1402 L.H.C. (1982).

 

[7] Refer to the Glossary.

 

[8] Refer to the Glossary.

 

[9] Refer to the Glossary.

 

[10] See the Glossary.

 

[11] A Qur'anic expression referring to the Jews and Christians, followers of the Old and the New Testaments.

 

[12] Some people believe that this concept of Islam existed from the beginning of creation.

 

[13] The root of the original Arabic word used in the Glorious Qur'an is N‑S‑KH (naskh).

 

[14] Ibid.

 

[15] The root of the original Arabic word used in the Glorious Qur'an is M‑H‑W (mahw).

 

[16] Ibid.

 

[17] Please refer to the Glossary.

 

[18] In general, it means remembrance of Allah the Exalted and mentioning of His name and attributes, in any possible form, either silently or audibly. Specifically, among the Sufi brothers and sisters, it is a pleasant religious gathering in which certain du’a's and munajahs are chanted in a spiritually uplifting atmosphere.

 

[19] The Glorious Qur'an is full of educational stories about the punishments that arrogant people and societies received, as well as the blessing and peace that were bestowed upon humble believers who do good.

 

[20] Several dates are suggested by various historians and scholars for this historic Divine Assignment. The most factual one seems to be the 27th of the blessed month of Rajab, in the L.H.C., a well‑celebrated holy day called the Mab’ath or the Mi’raj un‑nabiy.

 

[21] First event: The Voice from Heaven cried:

 

"O Rasul of Allah! deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord. And if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message. And Allah will protect you from the people. Surely Allah will not guide the unbelieving people." V:67

 

The prophet stopped at once and ordered all the people to come around. After making all possible preparations, he delivered a long sermon under Divine Command (known as the declaration of Ghadir Khumm or Hadith thaqalayn) in which the second important issue was raised:

 

Second event: Hadrat ‘Ali (A.S.) was selected as the leader or Imam of the Muslim community (ummah). This event and hadith is well recorded within both Shi’iy and Sunni hadith writers and commentators. For more information please refer to Imamate, the Vicegerency of the Prophet, by Sayyid Saeed Akhtar Rizvi, pp 62‑84, 4th edition, 1985 (1405 L.H.C.). Publisher: World Organisation for Islamic Services (WOFIS), P.O. Box 11365‑1545, Tehran, Iran.

 

Third event: Once again the Voice from Heaven proclaimed:

 

"This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. " V:3

 

This event, being toward the end of the Prophet's life, has especial significance. Even though there are records indicating the possibility of further revelations after this event (possibly ayat IV:176, II:278‑79, II:281‑82, IX:127, etc.), they are non‑preceptive revelations and are not related to the definition of rules and the perfection of Allah's din. It might also be that Almighty Allah calls His din perfect once Hadrat ‘Ali (A.S.) is selected to commence Imamah. For more information please refer to The history of the Precious Qur'an by Sayyid Muhammad Baqir Hujjati, 5th edition, 1368 S.H.C. (1989), pp 55‑62 (in Farsi). Publisher: Daftar‑e Nashr‑e Farhangui‑ye Islami, Ferdowsi Avenue, Tehran, Iran.

 

[22] For more information please refer to A brief history of the fourteen infallibles, second edition, pp 20‑23, 1992 (1413 L.H.C.), World Organisation for Islamic Services (WOFIS), P.O. Box 11365‑1545, Tehran, Iran.

 

[23] The history of the collection of the Glorious Qur'an, Sayyid Muhammad Rida Jalali Na'ini (Farsi), 1365 S.H.C. (1986), p 156.

 

[24] Sharh us‑Sunnah by Husayn ibn Masu’d (entitled Muhiyy as‑Sunnah), 436‑510 L.H.C. (in Arabic). Also available in the reference cited in the above note.

 

[25] The emphasis is based on detailed appendices in these two references:

 

1) an appendix to al‑Qur'an ul‑Karim, donated by the Union of the European Students Islamic Societies and the Student Islamic Societies of Canada and America, with compliments from Kayhan Inc., P.O. Box 638, Oakland Gardens, NY 11364, U.S.A. Translated by Muhammad Kazim Mu’izzi (into Farsi), including various appendices produced by Mahmud Ramyar, and distributed by Book Distribution Center, P.O. Box 22933, Houston, TX 77027, U.S.A.

 

2) Tafsil‑i ayat il‑Qur’an ul‑Hakim by Jules La Beaume, including al‑mustadrak, by Edouard Montet, translated into Farsi by Haj Sheykh Mahdi Ilahi Qumshih, of the University of Tehran, published by Islamiyah Booksellers, Tehran, 1345 S.H.C. (1966).

 

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