HOLY QURAN

 
 

 

 

Our Belief in Qur’an (1)

 

Assalamun alaikum netters

 

All praise is for Allah Who sent down the Qur’an to His servant so that he may be a warner to the worlds; and blessings be on him whom He sent as a witness, and a bearer of good news and a warner, and as one inviting to Allah by His permission, and as a light-giving torch; and on his progeny from whom Allah kept away the uncleanliness and whom He purified a thorough purifying.

 

 

 

QUR’AN: PRELIMINARY DETAILS

 

By Qur’an we mean the rhythmic and recitative verses, sentences and the chapters uttered by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) of Islam, not as his own wording, but as verbatim Book of God, revealed to him, and which he proclaimed as his Everlasting Miracle bearing testimony of Prophethood and with which he challenged not only the Arab individuals of his time, who doubted the divine origin of the Qur’an, but also the individuals, Arab or non-Arab, whom may doubt in future its origin. He even challenged Ins and Jinns as a whole ever since its utterance upto the Resurrection Day to join hands and bring a ‘like’ of it, or ten chapters of it, even a single chapter if possible. This challenge he threw to the people not only of a particulars age but all times.

 

The purpose of the revelation of the book is to lead mankind out of the depths of darkness (ignorance and false beliefs) into the light of truth, knowledge and virtue. The divine guidance is for all mankind, not for a particular community or nation. Also see Araf: 158 and Saba: 28

 

The Qur’an is, accordingly, guidance, and evidence, discrimination between right and wrong and a manifest light for the people to guide them aright and help them in all their needs.

 

 

The Qur’an was revealed to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) from the start of his mission to the end of his life, i.e. from 27th Rajab in the 40th year of his life upto 28th Safar (or 12th Rabi-ul- Awwal) 11 A.H. — a total span of 22 year 5 months 1 day (or 15 days).

 

Sometimes one complete Sura, sometimes one more ayats were revealed, according to the occasion. The occasion or event connected with the revelation of a certain ayat has bearing on the understanding of its meaning and implications

 

The first ayats revealed were the first 5 ayats of Sura Iqra; and the last ayat connected with the sheriat was: -

 

“This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed my favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” (Sura 5, Ayat 4), which was revealed in Khum.

 

There are 114 Sura in the Qur’an, longest of them is Al-Baqara, having 286 ayats and covering about 1/12 of the volume; the shortest is Al-Kawther, having 4 ayats which may be writeen in one line.

 

According to the Shias (and some Sunnis also) the 93rd and 94th suras together are one sura; as are 105th and 106th suras•

 

Suras and Ayats are called Makki. (Revealed at Me­cca) or Madani (Revealed at Madina), according to the place of revelation.

 

The following 20 suras are accepted as ‘Madani’:­- 2,3,4,5,8,9,24,32,47,48,49, 58, 59, 60, 62, 63, 65, 66, 76 and 110.

 

There is difference in the Traditions about the following 22 suras as whether they were revealed at Mecca or Medina:

 

1, 10, 13, 22, 25, 36, 57, 6i, 64, 83, 89, 90, 92,97, 98, 99, 100, 102, 107, 112, 113 and 114.

 

The remaining 72 suras are ‘Makki’.

 

There is a marked difference between the Makki and Madani Suras. For example:­

 

1.   Makki suras, mostly, describe the matters of basic faith — Refutation of paganistic beliefs, evidence of the oneness of Allah, His Attributes, proof of the re­surrection on the Day of Judgment, prophethood of the Holy Prophet and that of previous prophets, building good character, removal of the rust of evil from the hearts of people etc.etc.

 

Madani suras deal, mostly, with the code of life, rules of sheriat like prayers, fast, zakat, khums, etc.

 

2. Makki ayats and suras are, mostly, short; Ma­dani ayats and suras are, mostly, long. For exanple, 28th chapter (para) is mostlyMadani and it has 137 ayats, while 29th and 30th chapter (mostly Makki). have 431 and 570 ayats respectively.

 

3.         In Makki suras, whenever the audience has been addressed, mostly the words (O People) or (O children of Adam) have been used; in Madani suras on such occasions, mostly, the words (O ye who believe) have been used.

 

      4.        All the Suras in which one is ordered to (or re­commended to) do Sajda were revealed at Makka  --  thus emphasizing the worship of One and Only Allah.

 

The Suras are divided in ayats. In all, there are 6285 ayats.

 

The Qur’an is divided in 30 equal sections, to ena­ble the readers to finish the whole Book once in a month.

 

The Suras are also divided in groups of ayats -- these groups are called ‘Ruku’, one Ruku containing 7 to 12 ayats. For example, Sura Fateha (the 1st Sura) has 7 ayats, all grouped in one Ruku; the 2nd Sura has 286 ayats divided into 40 Rukus.

 

How much care has been devoted by the Muslims to safeguard the Qur’an from any possible alteration may seen from the fact that they have counted not only Ayats and Ruku, but every single letter of alphabet; and every single sign of vowel has been meticulously counted and recorded. For example, we know that there are 48872 ALIPH and 11428 BA and so on. Also we know that the Qur’an has 53243 Fatha and 1258 Tashdid.

 

 

Wassalam

 

Mohammed Yusuf

28/04/2001

 

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Our Belief in Qur’an (2)

 

Assalamun alaikum wananeti

 

 

Several stages of Qur’an existence

 

1) A pre-revealed existence with God in the Lahue Mahfooz (protected table) and in Kitab-e-Maknoon (hidden book)

 

Verily it is Qur’an honourable, In a Book hidden, Toucheth it not save the purified ones. 56:77-79

 

 

2) A revealed from taught to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) when he was created by gifting him the power of expression.

 

(God), The Beneficent, Taught He the Qur’an. He created man, He taught Him Expression. 55:1-3

 

 

3) A well arranged (Chapter-wise) form revealed to the heart of Holy Prophet (s.a.w) in its totality at once time on the esteemed night in the month of Ramazan.

 

Ha. Mim (H.M)

By the Manifesting Book (Qur’an), Verily We sent it down on a Blessed Night – verily We have ever been warning Therein are made distinct all wise affairs, (Becoming) a command from unto Us; Verily, We are the senders (of mercy and peace) A mercy from thy Lord; Verily, He is the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing. 54:1-6

 

 

Verily, We sent it (The Qur’an) down in the Night of Qadr! What can make thee know what the Night of Qadr is? The Night of Qadr is better than a thousand month! The Angels and the Spirit descend therein by the permission of their Lord, with (decree) of all affairs. Peace is (the whole Night) till the breaking of the dawn! Chapter 97

 

 

These three stages should be taken as referring to the stages of God teaching the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) and acquainting him with the Qur’an.

 

 

4) Fourth is the stage of gradual revelation of the Qur’an with which the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) was already well acquainted; in this stage the revelation of the Qur’an part by part was meant for recitation to the people.

 

And it is Qur’an which We have apportioned it so that thou mayest recite it unto the people with deliberation (by degree), and We have sent it down, gradually in portions. 17:106

 

It was in this stage of recitation that the first five verses of Chapter 96 known as ‘Alaq’ or ‘Iqra’ were revealed. The first chapter of the Qur’an named Fatehatul Kitab (the opening Chapter of the Holy Book, the Qur’an) was revealed for recitation later. In this stage of revelation the circumstances would necessitate quotation and recitation of some chapters or verses (from chapters) not in accordance with the order of the previous arrangement. A portion of one chapter would be recited earlier and the other portion would remain to be recited later. In this interval few other chapters or portions of these were revealed for recitation.

 

 

5) Fifth is the stage of post-gradual revelation wherein the Qur’an was taught to be placed with the reach of ‘Jin’ and ‘Ins’ as an everlasting guidance and challenging miracle. Post gradual revelation begins in the last year of Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w) ministry. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w) said that Gabriel used to place the Qur’an before him every year but this year he places twice before him as it was.

 

 

Wassalam

 

Mohammed Yusuf

29/04/2001

 

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Our Belief in Qur’an (3)

 

Assalamun alaikum wananeti

 

 

WRITING AND COLLECTION OF THE QUR’AN

 

The Holy Qur’an declares that the teaching of the Book and the act of writing are among the main objects of the advent of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) and it considers the pen as the means of educating man even when God is the teacher.

 

(He) who taught (to write) with the Pen. (He) taught man what he knew not! 96:4-5

 

‘Nun’ (N) by the Pen and by what they write. 68:1

 

The Holy Qur’an commands people to write down in the business and other transactions their agreements and keep witness to avoid doubts and disputes later on. With all these facts established above, is it possible that the of the Qur’an (Allah), who attaches so much importance to other writing down even the affairs of their business, did not care for having His own work written down to which HE attached so much importance and which HE revealed as the Book containing the fundamental principles of truth and justice, the final and the universal Divine Message, not for any section of humanity or for ay limited time but for the human race as a whole and for all time in all parts of the earth?  In 6:92, the Qur’an blames the Jews for having put the book revealed to Moses in fragmentary form exhibiting some parts of it and suppressing the others.

 

‘They esteem not God with the estimation due to the Him when they said: “Nothing did God send down unto man!” Say (O’ Our Apostle Muhammad!) “Who (then) did it send down the book which Moses brought? A light and a guidance to mankind, ye make (transcribe) it into papers (whereof) ye publish (a part) and conceal ye much (of it)! And ye were taught what ye knew not, neither you nor your fathers; Say thou! “God!” then leave them sporting in their vain discourse.’

 

It is unthinkable that God left His Book, in the fragmentary and un-arranged form when He blames the Jews for doing so in respect of the book of Moses.

 

The Qur’an was committed to writing from the very beginning. There are scores of Qur’anic ayats in which the Qur’an is called “Al-Kitab” (the written thing; the book). In the beginning, at the time of revelations, the Holy Prophet used to repeat the wordings recited by Ga­briel, lest he forgot something. Allah assured him that there was no need to worry:-

 

­“Move not thy tongue concerning the Qur’an to make haste therewith. It is for us to collect it and to promul­gate it.” (Qur’an, 75:16-17)

 

Thus, Allah Himself was responsible to collect and promulgate this Book. In another Ayat Allah says: -

 

“And it is a Book of exalted power. No falsehood can approach it from before or behind it.” (Qur’an, 41:42).

 

Writers: Some companions were specially entru­sted to write down the Suras and Ayats revealed to the Holy Prophet. Some of them were Ali bin Abi Talib, Ubayy bin Ka’b, Abdullah bin Rawaha, Khalid bin Said bin Al-Aas, and in later period Zaid bin Thabit among others.

 

As soon as a revelation was revealed, the Holy Prophet dictated it to anyone of the above-mentioned scribes, from the very beginning.

 

Position of Ayats: At the time of dictation the Holy Prophet himself used to fix the position of that Ayat or Ayats in the Suras. The Qur’an even before its revela­tion was arranged as a Book in the “Protected Tablet”; but the events during the ministry of the Holy Prophet necessitated revelation of Ayats in a different order, But the Holy Prophet knew the original arrangement of “Preserved Tablet” and directed the re­vealed Ayats to be written accordingly. It is for this rea­son that we find Madani Ayats in Makki Suras and vice versa.

 

 

Memorizing the Qur’an: No tradition was considered so important to make every Muslim child learn, recite and memorise it word by word with the utmost grammatical correctness and phonetic perfection as in the case of the Holy Qur’an.

 

The Muslims were attracted to the Holy Qur’an, as the word of God from the time of its revelation to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) and his recitation to people

 

The Holy Prophet used to stress the importance and reward of committing the Qur’­an to memory. And hundreds of people responded to this prophetic enjoinment. The Holy Qur’an itself from the time of its revelation encouraged the people in various ways to learn, read, recite, and memorise it and to ponder over every word and mindfully listen. As the eagerness of the people for memorizing the Holy Book increased, the Holy Prophet selected four principal instructors who learnt the Qur’an under the personal guidance of the Holy Prophet and then trained others who, in their turn, used to teach it to still others. These four were:

 

1.   Abdullah bin Mas’ud

2.    Salim Maula Abi Hudhaifa

3.   Ma’adh bin Jabal

4.     Ubayy bin Kaab.

 

The number of people who had memorized the whole Qur’an during the life-time of the Holy Prophet was so great that in the battle of Yamama, fought just six months after the death of the Holy Prophet, 700 (or 500) Huffadh (those who had committed the Qur’an to memory) were killed in one day only.

 

A set arrangement: All this memorizing presuppo­ses a set arrangement of the Ayats, if not of the Suras. Also, the Holy Prophet said that Gabriel used to recite before him the whole Qur’an in the month of Ramadhan. Many companions used to recite the whole Qur’an once in a month and specially in the month of Ramadhan.

 

The following are among those who had the whole Qur’an in writing with them during the life- time of the Holy Prophet:

 

Ali bin Abi Talib, Saad bin Ubaid bin Numan, Abu­ Darda, Ma’adh bin Jabal, Ubayy bin Kaab, Ubaid bin Mo­avia bin Zaid, Abdlulla bin Mas’ud, Zaid bin Thabit and Abu Musa Ash’ari.

 

There are numerous traditions of the Holy Prophet which prove that the Qur’an was already a written Book. For example: “I am leaving behind among you two preci­ous things ... the Book of Allah... and my Descendants who are my family members..”

 

Also, when the Holy Prophet, a few days before his death, wanted to write something for the continued gui­dance of the Muslims, Umar opposed it. His words “The man, i.e. the Holy Prophet, is in delirium; the Book of Allah is enough for us” at least prove that the Book of Allah was readily available at the time of the Holy Prophet.

 

 

Wassalam

 

Mohammed Yusuf

30/04/2001

 

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Our Belief in Qur’an (4)

 

Assalamun alaikum wananeti

 

 

COLLECTION OF THE QUR’AN

 

The previous mentioned facts prove that at least the Suras had their definite form, as they are today, during the life time of the Holy Prophet. But what was the arra­ngement of the Suras in those days?

 

It appears from various narratives that the various reciters and teachers of Qur’an had arranged the Suras in their own ways. While the arrangement of the Ayats in the Book was not so.

 

Thus, Abdullah bin Mas’u’d and Ubayy bin Kaab both are recorded to have arranged the Suras in the ways quite different from the arrangement of Zaid bin Thabit.

 

Hadhrat Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s) had arranged the Qur’an, just after the death of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w), in the order in which it had been revealed. This, in itself, proves that the arrangement of the Suras and Ayats at that time was different from the order of revelation and Ali bin Abi Talib wanted to record the sequence of revelation for the benefit of the Muslims.

 

Anyhow, the arrangement of the Suras, as it is to­day, dates back at least from the seventh month after the death of the Holy Prophet, if not from the day of the Holy Prophet himself.

 

This arrangement was done by Zaid bin Thabit and others on the order of Abu Bakr, after the battle of Yamama. But other companions used to follow their own arrangements. Uthman, the third Khalifa, forbade the use of other arrangements, and only one arrangement remained in use, which we have today.

 

But difference in arrangement did not mean difference in Suras or Ayats. Thus the authenticity of the Holy Qur’an is unparalleled in the history of Divine re­velations.

 

This authenticity is universally accepted’ and admired even by those who do not follow the religion of the Qur’an.

 

Basanta Coomar Bose writes in “Mahomedanism” (Calcutta, 1931):-

 

“So there has been no opportunity for any forgery or pious fraud in the Koran, which distinguishes it from almost all ‘other important religious works of ancient ti­mes ... It is’ exceedingly strange that this illiterate per­son should have composed the best book in the language.”

 

Laura Veccia Vaglieri, writes in “Apologie de 1 Islamisme” ‘(pp.57-59): -

 

“On the whole we find in it a collection of wisdom which can be adopted by the most intelligent of men, the greatest of philosophers and the most skilful of politicians... But there is another proof of the Divinity of the Qur’an; it is the fact that it has been preserved intact through the ages since the time of its Revelation till the present day ... Read and reread by the Muslim world this book does not rouse in the faithful any weariness; it rather, through repetition, is more loved every day. It gives rise to a profound feeling of awe and respect in the one who reads it or listens to it…. It was, therefore, ‘neither by means of violence of arms, nor through the pressure of obtrusive missionaries, that caused the great and rapid diffusion of Islam, but, above all, through the fact that this Book presented by the Muslims to the vanquished with the liberty to accept it or reject it, was the Book of God, the Word of Truth, the greatest Mira­cle Muhammad could show to those in doubt and to those who remained stubborn.”

 

 

Wassalam

 

Mohammed Yusuf

01/05/2001

 

 

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Our Belief in Qur’an (5)

Assalamun alaikum wananeti

 

Unique Method—”Tasreefi”

 

Although there is no problem of any theological value, theoretical or practical, which the Qur’an has not dealt with, and it surpasses all scriptural records of pre or post Islamic ages in the abundant variety of its contents, yet its method of approach, presentation and solution is exclusively unique in itself. It never deals with any topic in the com­mon systematic way used by any author of theology or even by any apostolic writer. On the contrary it expressly says that it has adopted a special manifold method of its own which may be termed as “Tasreefi” i.e. display of varieties or changing the topics and shifting from one subject to another or reverting to the previous one and repeating deliberately and purposefully one and the same subject in unique and peculiar rhythmic and recitative forms to facilitate the understanding, learning and remembering of it:

 

 “And certainly we have used various arguments for men In the Qur’an, every kind of description, but most men consent not to aught but denying.” (Ch. XVII. v. 89.)

 

 

…See thou, how we display (explaining) the signs yet they turn aside. (Ch. VI. V. 46)

 

 

Behold! how repeatedly do We display the signs, that they may understand.

 

And thus do We display the signs and that they may say “Thou hast been taught and that We may make it clear to people who know.” (Ch. VI. vs. 65 & 106.)

 

 

The display of varieties linked together with a Rhythm of peculiar pitch is to show forth the signs of the Unity of God. From its above verses it is evident that the Holy Qur’an was already alive to the fact that this changing attitude will make some opponents of it and accuse its Author of getting its subject matter from here and there, so, the Qur’an gives the reason for this, as to stir up the depth of human Intellect to reflect on the unity in variety and harmony in diversity.

 

However, it is a fact that the Holy Qur’an deals in each chapter of particular rhythm with various topics in various ways and this variety adds only to its unique beauty and matchless eloquence. An attentive reciter or an intelligent audience of the Holy Qur’an while passing through these varieties of rhythmical pitch, enjoys to the extent which the Holy Qur’an itself declares:

 

 “God hath the best announcement, a book consi­stent in its various parts, at the recitation of which do shudder the skins of those who fear their Lord, then their skins and their hearts become plaint to the remembrance of God, this is God’s guidance. He guid­eth with it whomsoever He willeth; and (as for) Him whom God alloweth to err, there shall be no guide for him.” (Ch. XXXIX. v. 23.

 

 

“And certainly we have set forth for men in this Qur’an similitudes of every sort that they may mind.” (V. 27.)

               

 

Even those who doubted the genuineness of the arrangement of the present version did not complain that the whole arrangement of the verses in all the chapters had been affected. There are chapters which were un­doubtedly revealed in complete form such as Chapter 54, 55, 56 and the chapters immediately preceding and succeeding them and Chapter 39. The sixth chapter which is a lengthy chapter, according to Ahlul Bait, was also revealed at one time in its complete present form. One finds the same variation of subject manifested in those chapters also. This variety of expression in rhythmical way, is found not only in the chapters but even in the verses of the Holy Book. These facts are comprehensible by an intelligent and a sincere student of the Holy Qur’an as he goes on reciting It over and over again.

 

Therefore to consider (a) the mere absence of chro­nological arrangement of the verses in some chapters and the chapters together, or (b) the mere variance of topics in the verses of a chapter, or of topics of chapters, close to each other, as proving that the disarrangement of the Qur’an took place after the Holy Prophet is not right, unless there be some authentic report of historical value or any other internal or external evidence to bear testimony to that effect regarding some specific word, verse or chapter.

 

On the other hand, we have internal evidence of utmost certitude that certain verses of some ‘surahs’ for example Chapter Alaq (Iqra) contains eleven verses of which the first five verses are first in chronological order but the last six verses were revealed long afterwards when many other parts of other chapters were revealed for recitation. The last six were revealed when the Holy Prophet started saying and leading prayer openly, and met with opposition from the infidels in the third year of his mission. Similarly, the last lengthy verse 20 of surah ‘Al Muzzammel’ Ch. LXXlll, according to its contents, supported by authentic reports must have been revealed then, eleven years after the first nineteen short verses. The revelation of the last portion belonged to the early revelations next to ‘Eqra and Almuddasser.’ Were not the ordinal position of the verses in question divine and in complete accord with the Holy Prophet’s declara­tions and were the present position of these verses the result of any disarrangement, it would have been pointed out and reported by the Ahlul Bait and their followers, such as Ammar, Aboozar, Meqdad or such other bold and outspoken men, and also by some other companions of the Holy Prophet who were held as authorities on the Qur’an. The lmams of the of the Holy House pointed out that Surah Ad-Duha (xciii), and Al-lnshira (xciv) though separated from each other by ‘Bismillah” yet due to the close relevancy of the context should be considered as one and recited together if they are recited in the first two “Rakaats’ of the daily compulsory prayers. And the same is the case with chapter 105 (Al Feel) and Chapter 106 (Al-Quraish). They should be recited together in the prayer. This directive of the Ahlul Bait about these chapters shows how Ahlul Bait were keen to see that the Qur’an was recited in prayers in the proper order. If there was any disarrangement and misplacement in any part of any chapter they would have pointed it out to the people so that they might be careful in the recita­tion of the Qur’an in prayer. If last six verses of Eqra and last forty six verses of ‘Al Muddassir and the last 20 verses of ‘Al Muzzamil’ were not in their proper places the Holy Ahlul Bait would have pointed it out and directed people to place them properly. Absence of any direction from Ahlul Bait regarding the verses in question is a sufficient proof that their present arrangement is in order, though the time of their revelations was long after the revelation of the other portions of their respective chapters. This is the best internal evidence which discards the chronological arrangement of verses and chapters as divine. Besides these, all the authentic traditions and reports to the effect that the Holy Prophet used to direct the scribes to insert the verses revealed into different chap­ters, already revealed in parts, whether at Mecca or Madina prove beyond doubt that the divine or the original arrange­ment of the verses in the chapters and the chapters together need not be in accordance with the date of revelation. Hence any report pointing out that some companions have collected the Qur’an in chronological order should be dis­carded as spurious, or as indicating that such a collection was made as a commentary for their personal use and not for general recitation by the public.

 

 

Wassalam

 

Mohammed Yusuf

03/05/2001

 

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Our Belief in Qur’an (6)

Assalamun alaikum wananeti

 

 

ABOUT AUTHENTICITY OF THE HOLY QUR’AN (I)

 

Of the religious records of historical value whether pre-Islamic or post-Islamic, in our hands, on document can ever compete with the Holy Qur’an in authenticity and genuiness.

 

None of the historical records and reports which the Muslims claim to be the most authentic and genuine, be it of any school of thought viz. the “Seeha-Sita” of Sunnis or the Kutbe Arba’a of Shias can claim continuous popularity in the sense of being with the reach of every Muslim form his earliest age to his death in any degree as was the Holy Qur’an.

 

Falsehood comes not to it from before it nor from behind it; a sending down from One All-wise, All-laudable. (41:42)

 

This verse states that no kind of falsehood can find way into the Qur’an; tahrif, being clearly a form of falsehood (batil), cannot find way into the sacred text of the Qur’an. ‘Allämah Tabataba’i, while discussing this verse in his tafsir of the Qur’an, says: “The meaning of the ‘coming of falsehood’ to it, is the entry of falsehood into it, to invalidate some parts or all of it, by changing its truthful teachings, in part or in entirety, into untruths or by annulling its laws and commands, wholly or partly, so that it is no longer legitimate to act according to them.”

 

Evidence of the Absence of Tahrif from Tradition:

1.  There are a great number of traditions, both in Sunni and Shi’i sources, from the Prophet (s.a.w) and the Imams of Ahlul Bait (a.s), that prescribe that one should judge the veracity of traditions by collating them with the Qur’an. A tradition should be accepted when confirmed by the Qur’an and rejected if it goes against it. Following are some of these traditions:

 

The Prophet (s.a.w) said: “You will be confronted with a multiplying number of traditions after me. Therefore, when a hadith is narrated to you, compare it with the Book of God; accept that which agrees with it and reject that which contradicts it.”

 

 

The Prophet (s.a.w) said: “There is a truthful sign that accompanies every truth, and there is a light which goes with every correct notion. So, take that which agrees with the Book of God and leave that which contradicts it.”

 

 

Al-’Imâm a1-Sadiq (a.s) said: “Every hadith that does not agree with the Book of God is a falsehood.”

 

 

The Qur’an is a criterion of the veracity of hadith in the light of these traditions. This criterion also holds in the case of those reports which imply the occurrence of tahrif in the Qur’an. Accordingly, it is necessary that we regard the Qur’an as being free from alteration and corruption. There are two points which are mentionable as arguments in support of ~ purity of the Qur’anic text on the basis of these traditions:

 

Firstly, the Qur’an has priority over hadith and it is a criterion of its veracity. This shows that the Qur’an is secure from tahrif, otherwise it would have been illogical to make it such a criterion if it is not secure from tahrif.

 

Secondly, those who argue in favour of the occurrence of tahrif in the Qur’an, their argument contradicts these traditions which agree with the above-mentioned Qur’anic verses in refuting the possibility of tahrif in the Qur’an. Moreover, in accordance with the traditions quoted above, the Prophet (s.a.w) and the Imams have ordered us to give no credence to those traditions which imply the occurrence of tahrif in the Qur’an, for they contradict the explicit declaration of the Qur’an itself that it is secure from tahrif and corruption. Writing in this connection, al-Fayd al-Kãshani says:

 

<<There are an abundant number of traditions of the Prophet (S) and the Imams (A) which require the comparison of a hadith with the Book of God, in order that its veracity should be known by its agreement with the Book or its falsity be confirmed by its contradiction with it. Now, if the Qur’án that is in our hands today be regarded as having undergone tahrif, what would be the use of comparing any tradition with it? Therefore, it must be said, the tradi­tions which imply the occurrence of tahrif are contrary to the Book of God, and hence it is necessary either to reject them as inauthentic or to reinterpret their meaning. >>

 

 

An objection that may be raised against this argument is that it is possible that such minor interpolations and omissions might have occurred in some parts of the Qur’an as have no significance in that they do not affect its meanings, doctrines and laws (and it will be possible to refute this objection after we have expounded the meaning of the tradition). But, indeed, this extent of tahrif in the Qur'an was of no use to the deviate and the hypocrites who might have caused such tahrif. On the other hand, there has been a great effort on the part of Muslims and their scholars to preserve the Qur’an, and they have exercised meticulous care in guarding its contents, being scrupulous even in regard to a single wáw, as will be seen presently.

 

 

 

2.  Of the traditions which support the security of the Qur’an from tahrif is the so-called Hadith  al-Thaqalayn, which has been widely nar­rated by various Islamic sects. Following is one of its versions as given by al-Dãrimi in his Sunan:

 

The Prophet (s.a.w) said: “Veri1y, I leave behind among you two weighty things:  The Book of God and in it is guidance and light, so hold on to the Book of God (he encourage and urged them to follow the Book of God) -- and my Ahlul Bait. I call upon you to bear God in mind regarding my Ahlul Bait’ -  

(and the Prophet [s.a.w] said this thrice).

 

 

“Holding fast to the Qur’an”, as clarified by Amir al-Mu’minin ‘Ali (a.s) in the following tradition, means, deriving guidance and light from it:

 

It is Your duty to follow the Book of God, for it is the strong rope, the manifest light, the beneficial cure, and the thirst quenching spring. It is the protection (against sin) for one who holds on to it and the (means of) deliver­ance for one who attaches himself to it. It does not become crooked, so as to need straightening and it does not deviate, so as to need corrective action. Frequent recitation and listening do not make it Worn out. Whoever speaks in accordance with it speaks the truth, and whoever acts in accordance with its teaching overtakes others.

 

 

There are frequent references of this kind in Imam Ali’s sermons regard­ing the Qur’an, all of which clearly emphasize that the extant Qur’an guides its follower to the straight path, for there is no doubt that the Qur’an that we possess today is the same as the one possessed by the Muslims in Imam ‘Ali’s times. Following are some more of his state­ments regarding the Qur’an:

 

Know that this Qur’an is an adviser that does not deceive, a leader that does not mislead, and a speaker who never lies. No one sits in its company without achieving an addition and a diminishment on rising up — an addition in guidance and a diminishment in blindness And know that there is no (spiri­tual) Poverty for one after association with the Qur’an and there is no plenti­tude for anyone before that. Therefore, seek from it the remedy for your ailments and seek its help in your distress, for, indeed, it contains the cure for the greatest of diseases, which are unbelief, hypocrisy, rebelliousness, and misguidance.

 

  

Verily, the Qur’an is outwardly beautiful and inwardly profound. Its wonders are imperishable and its marvels are immortal. The darknesses (of human life) cannot be penetrated without it.

 

 

In the Qur’an are the reports of those who lived before you and the tidings of those who will come after you, and in it is the judgment regarding you.

 

 

The Prophet (s.a.w) said: You will not go astray if you hold fast to the Book of God.

 

 

Wassalam

 

Mohammed Yusuf

04/05/2001

 

 

 

____________


Our Belief in Qur’an (7)

Assalamun alaikum wananeti

 

 

ABOUT AUTHENTICITY OF THE HOLY QUR’AN (II)

 

Tradition Related to Variance of Reading.

 

 

Al-Shaykh al-Tusi states: “It should be noted that the common view of our scholars and their position, well known from their accounts and narrations, is that the Qur’an was sent down on one harf and on one prophet.”

 

The idea of sab’at ahruf implying seven permissible readings, is also negated by the Imami tradition that the meaning of sab’at ahruf is seven rhetorical forms, which are amr (positive command), zajr (pro­hibitory command), targhib (inducement), tarhib (warning), jadal (polemics, argument), mathal (allegory, parable), and qasas (story telling).

 

It has been narrated by the Ahl al-Sunnah from Ibn Mas’üd that the Qur’an has been revealed on khamsat ahruf: halal, haram, muhkam, mutashabih, and amthal.  It has also been narrated from ‘Ali (a.s) that the Qur’an has been revealed in four parts: a quarter concerning halal, a quarter concerning haram, a quarter concerning ethical dis­courses (mawa’iz) and parables (mathal), and a quarter dealing with historical narratives and accounts (qasas wa athar). Many similar traditions have been narrated by the Ahl al-Sunnah.

 

Those among the Imamiyyah who have narrated that the Qur’an has been revealed on seven ahruf are either those whose identity is unknown (majhül), or those who are accused of ghuluww and doctrinal deviation, or those who have meant by it something apart from the validity of the different readings.

 

We also find traditions which negate the existence of different readings, such as the tradition recorded by Ahmad in his Musnad from Zirr ibn Hubaysh, from Ibn Mas’üd:

 

The Prophet (s.a.w) taught the reading of the Sürat aI-’Ahqaf to me. When I went to the mosque there I found a person reciting this sürah differently. I asked him, “Who taught you this reading?” He replied, “The Prophet (s.a.w).” Then I asked another person to recite it and he recited it in a manner which differed from that of me and that of my companion. Then I went with both of them to the Prophet (s.a.w) and said, “Both of them differ from me in their reading.” The Prophet’s (s.a.w) face became red with anger and he said, “Surely it was this difference which caused those who have gone before you to perish.”

 

Zirr ibn Hubaysh says, “Ibn Mas’ud proclaimed in the presence of the prophet (s.a.w), ‘The Prophet (s.a.w) orders that each one of you should recite the Qur’an as it has been recited to him. For, surely, it is such difference which has caused those before you to perish.’”

 

This tradition expressly shows that the Prophet (s.a.w) prohibited differences in reading and would be dismayed on coming across such variance. It also highlights that the differences did not originate from the Prophet (s.a.w); rather, it shows the Prophet (s.a.w) as emphasizing that such variance caused the earlier nations to perish and that it should not be present among Muslims.

 

The differences of reading between some Sahabah during the Prophet’s (s.a.w) time were due to the differences between their dialect and that of the Prophet’s (s.a.w) and his tribe, or these differences came into being after the Prophet (5), especially after the spreading of the Companions to different places and their reciting the Qur’an to the people, each with his own peculiar rendering of certain verses of the Qur’an. The presence of this variance was a cause of anxiety for some Compan­ions and they urged ‘Uthmãn to gather the people on the single reading which was received in a mutawatir fashion from the Prophet (s.a.w). This is apparent from the following traditions about ‘Uthman’s step:

 

Anas says: “Hudhayfah ibn al-Yamãni came to ‘Uthman at a time when the people of Syria and Iraq were fighting together in the conquest of Armenia and Azerbaijan. Hudhayfah was worried about their differences of reading, and he said to ‘Uthman “o Commander of the Faithful, save this ummah before it starts differing about the Qur’an, like the Jews and the Christians.. ‘Uthman consequently ordered the collection of the masahif (which were in the hands of the people).

 

Hudhayfah says: “I was fighting in the conquest of Armenia in which both the people of Iraq and Syria took part. The Syrians would recite in accordance with the reading of Ubayy ibn Ka’b. They would recite in a way which the Iraqis had not heard, and the Iraqis would accuse them of apostasy. The Iraqis would recite in accordance with the reading of Ibn Mas’üd. When they recited in a fashion which the Syrians had not heard, they would accuse the Iraqis of apostasy.” Zayd said: “‘Uthman ordered me to collect the Qur’ãn.”

 

This is also supported by the following episode reported by al­ Balädhuri:

They said to ‘Utbman, “You have burnt the Book of God.” ‘Uthman replied “‘The people differed in their readings of the Qur’an, and one would say to another, ‘My Qur’àn is better than your Qur’an,’ and the other one claim, ‘My Qur’an is better than yours. Hudhayfah was the first to disapprove of it and he brought up the matter before me. I gathered the people on the reading which was written in the Prophet’s presence.” They said, “But why did you burn the rnasahif? Weren’t their contents in accordance with the wading on which you have brought together the people? Why didn’t you allow them to remain as they were?” He replied, “1 wanted that nothing should remain except that which had been written in the Prophet’s presence and recorded in a mus-haf that was with Hafsah, the Prophet’s wife. 1 pray to God to forgive me.”

 

 

Wassalam

 

Mohammed Yusuf

30/04/2001

 

to be continued….

 

 

____________

 

 

Our Belief in Qur’an (8)

 

Assalamun alaikum wananeti

 

Hii mada ya leo nimetoleya kwenye kitabu cha Tafsir Al-Mizan ya Al-Allamah as-Sayyed Muhammad Husayn at-Tabatabi. Itakuwa inayo sehemu nne.

 

 

 

 

THE  MIRACLE OF THE QUR’AN (I)

 

 

<<And if you are in doubt as to that which We have revealed to Our servant, then produce a chapter like it and call on your witness besides Allah.>> 2:22

 

Qur'an: And if you are in doubt . . . then produce a chapter like it . . .: It is a challenge which human beings and jinn can never meet. This challenge has been offered to demonstrate the miracle of the Qur'an, to show that it is a book sent down by Allah, there is no doubt in it; that it has been revealed as an everlasting miracle that will remain alive till the end of the world. This challenge has repeatedly been given in the Qur'an :

 

Say: "If men and jinn should combine together to bring the like of this Qur'an, they could not bring the like of it, even then some of them were aiders of the others" (17:88). Or do they say he has forged it? Say: Then bring ten chapters like it forged and call upon whom you can besides Allah, if you are truthful" (11:13). This context shows that the pronoun "it" in "like it" refers to that which we have receive We have revealed to Our servant", that is the Qur'an. It is a challenge to them to bring a like of the Qur'an in its imitable style and meaning.

 

The word "min mithlihi" ( = translated here as "like it") may also be rendered as "from like him". In that case it will be a challenge to bring a like of the Qur'an as written by someone like the Holy Prophet. This Qur'an has been by a person who was never taught by any teacher, who had not learned these valuable and marvelous truths from any human being, nor had he taken this most eloquent style from any mortal. If the disbeliever thought that such a man can write such a book then let them bring its like from such illiterate man. In this light the verse would have the same import as the following one:-

 

Say: "If Allah had desired (otherwise) I would not have recited it to you, nor would He have taught it to you; indeed I have lived a lifetime among you before it; do you not then understand?" (10:16)

 

Obviously, this and the other challenging verses dare the antagonists to bring, if they can, like of even the shortest chapter of the Qur'an - say, the chapter of al-Kawthar or al-'Asr.

 

 

MIRACLE AND ITS QUIDDITY

 

The claim of the Qur'an that it is a miraculous sign, and the challenge to the doubters offered by this verse, contains in reality two claims: First, the miracles, super-natural events, do occur; second, the Qur'an is one of such miracles. If the second claim is proved, the first will automatically be proved. That is why the Qur'an has challenged the men to bring its like, as it would prove both aspects of the claim.

 

How does a miracle happen? After all, it is a against the deep rooted system of the cause-and-effect which is never negated. The Qur'an explains this subject in the following two stages:-

 

First: The miracle is a reality; the Qur'an is one of the miracles, which in itself proved the existence of miracles in general; it offers a challenge to its adversaries, and in this way proves its truth.

 

Second: What is the reality of miracle? How can a thing happen in this world of nature against the universal law of the cause-and-effect?

 

 

Undoubtedly, the Qur'an has offered a continuing challenge, by which it proves itself to be a miracle. This challenge has been given in many verses of Meccan as well as Medinite period. All of them show that this Book is a divine miracle, a super-natural sign. The verse under discussion, "And if you are in doubt as to that which we have revealed to Our servant, then produce a chapter like it . . . ", is one of those challenges: Produce a chapter like one of the Qur'an from someone like the Prophet. It should be noted it does not purport to prove the prophethood of Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) directly; it does not say, 'If you are in doubt as the prophethood of Our servant'; instead it says, 'if you are in doubt as to that which We have revealed to Our servant'. Likewise, all the challenges given in the Quran aim to prove that this Book is a super-natural sign from Allah. And when this fact is established, the prophethood of the Prophet will automatically be proved.

 

The verses of challenge vary in their scope and generality. The most general is the verse: Say: "If men and jinn should combine together to bring the like of this Qur'an, they could not bring the like of it, even though some of them were aiders of the others" (17:88) The verse is a Meccan period, and it is easy to see that it contains an all-encompassing challenge.

 

This challenge is not confined to its unsurpassed eloquence and purest style. Otherwise, the challenge would not cover non-Arabs; it could be addressed to only those who spoke pure Arabic before it was debased by foreign influence - in other words, only to the Arabs of the days of paganism or to those whose life-span bridged the time of paganism and that of Islam. But the verse challenges not only the whole mankind but confronts the jinn also.

 

As for other special qualities of the Qur'an (like the exposition of spiritual realities, the high morals, the most comprehensive and the fairest legal code, the information of the things unseen as well as other subjects which the man had not even thought of when the Qur'an was revealed), they are of such a nature that only a selected group and not the whole mankind - may appreciate them. But the challenge is general and covers elites and common men and jinn. It is clear in this light that it is not confined to any one quality; it defies them to bring a like of this Book in all its qualities together.

 

The Qur'an is a miracle: For a man of eloquence, in its spellbinding sublimity and style; for a sage, in its sagacity; for a scholar, in its knowledge; for a sociologist, in its social system; for a legislator, in its legislation; for a politician, in its politics; for a ruler in its rule of justice; and for the whole world, in such things which none of them can grasp like the information of the unseen, prophesies of future events, freedom from discrepancy in in its laws, knowledge and expression.

 

The Qur'an claims to be a comprehensive miracle, covering all its aspects. It is a miracle of every individual man and jinn - an average person or a select one, learned or ignorant, man or woman, of a very high rank of excellence or of a lower level - in short, anyone who has enough intelligence to understand the Qur'anic speech. Man, by nature, comprehends a virtue and understands its various grades. Every person should look into an excellence which he or someone else has got; then he should compare that excellence or virtue with what the Qur'an contains of the same; and then he should decide - in all honesty and justice - whether it is in human power to bring a like of the Qur'an. Is it possible for a man to bring such divine knowledge, so well reasoned, as the Qur'an has done? Is it within human power to build such character, based on foundation of reality, which may honestly be compared with the Qur'anic teaching in purity and excellence? Can human beings legislate perfect laws covering all human activities without blundering into discrepancies, with the spirit of monotheism and the word of piety permeating every order and its every implication, with purity and cleanliness and all-inclusiveness come from an untaught man? A man who was born and brought up among a people whose only share in human virtues was a life sustained with raids, plunders and wars; they buried their daughters alive, and killed their children for fear of poverty; they boasted of their fathers and married their mothers; debauchery was their pride; they condemned knowledge and showed off their ignorance; in spite of their haughtiness and chauvinism, they were preyed upon by every hunter and were easy targets for anyone who wished to conquer them - one day they were under the Yemenite rule, the next day were ruled over by the Ethiopians; someday Byzantine emperors lorded over them, the other day it was Persia's turn to humiliate them. This is the picture, in miniature, of the Arabs before Islam. And in such environment, the Qur'an was brought by the Prophet of Islam.

 

Again, suppose a man brings a book, claiming that it is a guidance for the worlds. Will he dare to include in it the news and information of the unseen - both past and future- not in one or two places but spread over a lot of topics - in stories, in prophecies, and about the events that are to happen in future? And what will be your judgment if not a single detail proves wrong?

 

Once again, man is a part of this natural world; this world is constantly changing and developing from perfection to perfection. Is it possible for a man to talk about each and every affair of human life; to give the world knowledge, laws, wisdom, admonition, parables, stories - concerning every matter, big or small - without committing any discrepancy, without showing any trace of gradual development? And specially so, if his talks are not delivered all at one time, are delivered piecemeal in a long period of twenty three years? And even more so when some topics are repeated again and again, when there are shoots sprouting from a previously planted root? Undoubtedly it is not possible, because no man can remain unchanged in his knowledge and outlook throughout his life.

 

When a man ponders over these facts about the Qur'an - containing the above mentioned distinctions besides many more - he can entertain no doubt whatsoever about its divine origin; he will feel sure that it beyond human power, over and above the natural and material causes. If someone is not in a position to understand this clear fact, he should follow the dictate of his nature - in other words, he should ask those who are knowledgeable about this subject.

 

Question: Why did not the Qur'an confine its challenge to the elite only? What is the use of including general public in this call? After all, a common man is easily influenced by such claims and it takes him no time to accept pretensions of every pretender. Don't you see that it was this group that surrendered to al-Bab, al-Baha, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiyani and al-Musaylamah, even though what those deceivers brought as their proof was more like a senseless jabber and raving delirium than a sensible talk?

 

Reply: It is the only way to keep the miracle all-inclusive; the only possible method for discerning the perfection and excellence in a quality that has various ranks and grades. People have different grades of understanding; likewise, the virtues differ in their perfection. Those who have high level of understanding and correct perception will easily appreciate the high quality of an excellent work. Those who have a lower understanding should refer to the former for their judgment. It is the dictate of nature and demand of human psyche.

 

A miracle that can be universal and comprehensive, that can be addressed to every individual, in every place and at all times, that can be conveyed to all and can remain alive to the last day of the world, must necessarily be a set of divine knowledge and spiritual realities. All other miracles were either material objects or a tangible even that were governed by the laws of nature in as much as they were confined to a certain time and space. They were seen by only a limited number of people; even supposing for the sake of argument, that it was observed by all people of that particular place, it could not be witnessed by    people of other localities; and suppose that an impossible happened, that is, it was seen by the whole world, it could not continue eternally for the future generations to observe.

 

It is for this reason that Allah chose the academic and spiritual miracle, that is, the Qur'an, for the Prophet of Islam, so that it may continue its challenge to the whole mankind - in all places and in all generations. And thus the miracle continues in its generality, defying every person, in every area and every era.

 

 

Wassalam

 

Mohammed Yusuf

30/04/2001

 

to be continued….

 

____________

 

Our Belief in Qur’an (9)

 

Assalamun alaikum wananeti

 

 

THE  MIRACLE OF THE QUR’AN (II)

 

 

 

THE FIRST SPECIFIC CHALLENGE: THE KNOWLEDGE IT CONTAINS

 

Now we come to its specific challenges. It has offered particular challenge concerning the knowledge it imparts and cognition it contains. Allah says: . . . and we have revealed the Book to you explaining clearly everything (16:89); . . . nor anything greener dry but (it is all) in a clear book (6:59). There are many other verses of the same theme. Look at the fundamental teachings given in the text of the Qur'an; then see its details for which it has referred the people to the Prophet - as Allah says: . . . and whatever the Apostle gives you, take it, and from whatever he forbids you, keep back . . . (59:7); that you may judge between people by means of that which Allah has taught you (4:105). Then you will know that Islam has put its attention to all big and small topics relevant to divine knowledge, moral virtues and religious laws – covering worship, mutual worship, mutual dealings, social regulations, penal code, and, in short, everything that affects life and character. All this is based on the foundation of human nature and monotheism. Analyze the details and you will find monotheism as their basis; combine the basis with relevant principles and you will get the details.

 

Then it has declared that all the knowledge will remain valid to the end of the world; will continue to guide mankind and will always be relevant to human needs and environment. Allah says: . . . and most surely it is a Mighty Book: Falsehood shall not come to it from before it nor from behind it; a revelation from the Wise, the Praised One (41:41-42). Surely We have revealed the Reminder and We will most surely be its guardian (15:9). In other words, it is a book which is beyond the reach of the law of change and development; it will never by disturbed by abrogation.

 

A question may be asked here: The sociologists are of the opinion that the laws and regulations controlling the society must change according to the changes occurring in the structure of society. As the time passes and civilization marches ahead, it becomes necessary to change the laws to cope with the changed situation. Then how can the shari'ah of Islam continue without any change or abrogation all these centuries? We shall explain this matter, God willing, under the verse: Mankind was but one people . . . (2:213). Here it is enough to point out that the Qur'an has built its laws on the foundation of monotheism and excellent ethics that spring from healthy human nature; it declares that legislation must grow up from the seed of creation and existence. The scholars of sociology, on the other hand, have fixed their eyes on changes of society, totally ignoring the spiritual side of monotheism and morality. As a result, their word concentrates on material development of the society - and society is not a living organism, it does not have a soul, and the word of Allah is the highest.

 

THE SECOND SPECIFIC CHALLENGE: THE RECIPIENT OF THE REVELATION

 

Another aspect of this challenge is the personality of the untaught Prophet who brought this Qur'an as a miracle in its words and in its meanings. He had not learned from any teacher, was not trained by any instructor. This challenge is contained in the following words of Allah: Say:" If Allah had desired (otherwise) I would not have recited it to you, nor would he have taught it to you; Indeed I have lived a lifetime among you before it; do you not then understand?" (10:16). The Prophet lived among them as one of them. In all those years he had not risen above them in scholarship, nor was he renowned for any knowledge. He did not deliver any lecture, nor did he compose a single line of poetry, up to his fortieth year - that is to say, for about two thirds of his total lifespan; he did not get any distinction in literature or scholarship all these years. Then all of a sudden, he brought what he said was the revelation from God, before which giants of literature felt like pigmies, and eloquent speakers became tongue-tied. He published that revelation to the furthest limits of the world, but no one dared to bring its like in all these centuries.

 

The outmost that his adversaries could say was that he must have learned those stories from Christian monks during his trade-journeys to Syria. But he had gone to Syria only twice: First, in his early childhood with his uncle, Abu Talib and then, at the age of twenty five, with Maysarah, the slave of Khadijah. In both these journeys he was never alone day or night, and nobody ever reported any such meeting with any supposed teacher. Even if we accept for the sake of argument that such training session did not take place, many questions will arise from it: Who taught him this divine knowledge of monotheism? Where did he get these wise rules and these realities? And lastly, who gave him this unsurpassed elocution which has kept the silver-tongued elocutionists dumbfounded all these years?

 

Another suggestion was that he learned these sublime truths from a blacksmith, of Roman origin, who made and sold swords. Allah replied to this allegation in this verse: And certainly we know that they say: "Only a mortal teaches him". The tongue of him whom they are inclined to blame for it is barbarous, and this is clear Arabic language (16:103).

 

A third accusation was that he gained this knowledge from Salman, the Persian, who allegedly knew all about various religions and sects. But Salman met the Prophet in Medina and thereafter accepted Islam, while the major portion of the Qur'an was revealed at Mecca, and that part contained all the principles, knowledge and stories that were later repeated at Medina - we may say that the Meccan revelation had more of these things, than the verses revealed at Medina. The question is: What knowledge did Salman add after his conversion to Islam? Nothing.

 

Moreover, read the Old and the New Testaments, and compare the stories of the previous prophets and their people written in them with those revealed in the Qur'an. You will the see that the latter's history and stories are different from the former's. The Bible attributes such sins and evils to the prophets of Allah which one would be loth to ascribe to an average man of good character. But the Qur'an absolves them from such blames. Then you will find in the bible many topics that have no bearing on, and relevance to, the spiritual knowledge or moral excellence. The Qur'an never talks except about that which is truly beneficial to people in their spiritual upliftment and character-building.

 

 

THE THIRD SPECIFIC CHALLENGE: ITS PROPHECIES AND KNOWLEDGE OF UNSEEN

 

The Qur’an’s third specific challenge is concerning its prophecies and the information it gives of the unseen. Such verses may be divided in four categories:

 

1.   The information about previous prophets and their nations: Allah says about some of these stories: These are of the tidings of the unseen which We revealed to you; you did not know them - neither you nor your people - before this . . . (11:49) and he says after the story of Yusuf: This is one of the tidings of the unseen (which) We revealed to you, and you were not with them when they resolved upon their affair, and they were devising plans (12:102); also, about the story of Maryam: This is one of the tidings of the unseen which We revealed to you; and you were not with them when they cast their pens (to decide) which of them should have Maryam in his charge, and you were not with them when they contended one with another (3:44); and about ‘Isa: Such is ‘Isa, son of Maryam; (this is) the saying of truth about which they dispute (19:34). There are many verses of the same import.

 

2.   Prophecies of the future events: For example: The Romans would avenge their defeat: The Romans are vanquished, in a near land; and they, after being vanquished, shall overcome within a few years (30:2-4); the Prophet would return to Mecca after his hijrah: Most surely He who has made the Qur’an binding on you will bring you back to the destination (28:85); the vision of the Prophet would certainly come true: Certainly Allah had shown to His Apostle the vision with truth: You shall most certainly enter the Sacred Mosque, if Allah pleases, in security, (some) having their heads shaves and (others) having their hair cut, you shall not fear (48:27); the behavior, in future, of a group of Muslims: Those who are left behind will say when you set forth for the gaining of acquisition: Allow us (that) we may follow you. They desire to change the words of Allah (48:15); nobody would be able to harm the Prophet: . . . and Allah will protect you from the men (5:70); the Qur’an will remain under the protection of Allah: Surely We have revealed the reminder and we will most surely be its guardian (5:19). We may include in this category other numerous verses giving good tidings to the believers and threatening the disbelievers and pagans of Mecca of various retributions.

 

In this category come the prophecies of the signs and disturbances appearing before the Day of Judgment. For example: And it is forbidden to a town which We destroyed that they shall not return, until when Gog and Magog are let loose and they shall hasten forth from every elevated place. And the true promise shall draw nigh, then lo!  the eyes of those who disbelieved shall be fixedly open: O woe to us! Surely we were in heedlessness as to this; nay, we were unjust ones (21:95 - 7). Allah has promised to those of you who believe and do good that He will most certainly make them successors in the earth as He made successors those before them . . . (24:55). Say:

“He has the power that He should send on you a chastisement from above you or from beneath your feet, or that He should throw you into confusion, (making you) of different parties; and make some of you taste the fighting of to others . . . (6:65).

 

3.   The verses based on such scientific realities which were unknown, and even unthought of, when the Qur’an was revealed, and which have just now been discovered after long researches: And We send the winds fertilizing (15:22); And the earth - We have spread it forth and put in it anchors (ie mountains) and caused to grow in it of everything, weighed (15:19); Have we not made the earth a resting place, and the mountains as pegs (therein)? (78:6-7).

 

4.   The verses that allude to many great events and disorders that were to happen in the Islamic community, or the world in general, after the lifetime of the Prophet. For example: O you who believe! whoever of you turns back from his religion then soon Allah will bring a people that He shall love them and they shall love Him, humbled before the believers, mighty against the unbelievers, they shall strive hard in Allah’s way and shall not fear the censure of any censurer: this is Allah’s grace, He gives it to whom He pleases (5:54); And every nation had an apostle; so when their apostle came the matter was decided between them with justice and they shall not be dealt with unjustly. And they say: “When will this threat come about, if you are truthful?” Say; I do not control for myself any harm, or nay benefit, except what Allah pleases; every nation has a term; when their term comes, they shall not then remain behind for an hour, nor can they go before (their time). Say: “Tell me if their punishment overtakes you by night or by day! what then if there of it that the guilty would hasten on?” (10:47-50); Then set your face uprightly for the (right) religion in natural devotion (to the truth), the nature made by Allah in which he has made men; . . . and be not of the polytheists, of those who divided their religion and became sects; every set rejoicing in what they had with them (30:30-32). There are many verses that come into this category, and we shall describe some of them when explaining the seventeenth chapter (The Night-journey). It should be noted here that this category is one of the specialists of this book of ours.

 

Wassalam

 

Mohammed Yusuf

06/05/2001

 

to be continued….

 

 

____________


 

Our Belief in Qur’an (10)

 

Assalamun alaikum wananeti

 

 

THE  MIRACLE OF THE QUR’AN (III)

 

 

THE FOURTH SPECIFIC CHALLENGE: NO DISCREPANCIES IN THE QUR'AN

 

It is one of the challenges of the Qur'an that there is no discrepancy in it. Allah says: Do they not then meditate on the Qur'an? And if were from any other than Allah, they would have found in it many a discrepancy (4:82).

 

This is a material world, governed by the law of change and development. Every item in this world changes day after day from weakness to strength, from deficiency to perfection - in its own self as well as in all its concomitants and attachments. Man is no exception to this rule. He also undergoes constant change and development in his existence as well as in effects of his actions and reactions. And this law applies also to what he gets through his perception and intellect. Every man finds that his today is a bit more perfect than his yesterday. Every passing hour makes him realize what mistakes he had committed in the past hour, what erroneous views he had held a few hours back. It is a fact that no sane person can deny.

 

In this background, look at the Qur'an. Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) brought this book piece by piece, one small chapter or a few verses at a time. It continued for twenty three years in different places, various conditions and divergent situations: In Mecca and Medina, by day and by night, during journeys and at home, in thick of battle and in time of peace, during hard up days and in easy times, when Muslims suffered defeat and when they were victorious, in safety and in danger. It contained all types of subjects - it unveiled spiritual knowledge, taught excellent ethics and ordained laws for every conceivable aspect of life. In spite of all these factors, there is not a whiff of discrepancy in its matter or meaning - it is oft-repeated book whose parts resemble one with the other. There is not a least difference, contradiction or contrariety in the realities it has explained, in the principles it has laid down. One verse explains the rest, one sentence clarifies the other, as 'Ali (a.s.) said: "It's one part speaks with the other, and one portion testifies about the others."

 

No doubt, if such a book would have been from other than Allah, there would have been a lot of ups and downs in its style: the speech would have bounced between elegance and clumsiness; the themes would have ranged from correct to erroneous. In short, the book would have been uneven, unbalanced and full of discrepancies.

 

Question: This is a claim without any proof. Non-Muslim scholars have written many books showing that the Qur'an suffers from many discrepancies and mistakes – in construction of sentences (which fall short of the standard of eloquence) as well as in themes and meanings (which contain errors in its views and teachings). The replies given by the Muslims are just piteous attempts to explain away those contradictions and shortcomings. Those are defects that a correct and good speech should not have had in the first place.

 

Reply: The so-called discrepancies and defects have not been discovered by our adversaries; they have been mentioned (together with their replies) by Muslims in their books of exegesis and other subjects related to the Qur'an (not excepting this book of ours); the Muslim authors have used this method to show that what looks at the first glance an unusual style or expression is in fact a gem of highest eloquence. The non-Muslim writers have just picked out those supposed defects and discrepancies and collected them in their books, ignoring the replies that showed the real beauty of those expressions. If eye of love is blind, the eye of enmity is not any brighter.

 

Question: Well, how can you explain away the difficulty that arises out of abrogation? Many Qur'anic verses have been abrogated, as the Qur'an itself says: Whatever signs We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring one better than it or like it (2:106); and when We change (one) communication for (another) communication, and Allah knows best what He reveals . . . (16:101). Abrogation is at least a change of opinion, an inconsistency of thought, if not an outright contradiction in speech.

 

Reply: Abrogation is neither a contradiction in speech nor a change of opinion or thought. A rule is abrogated when the society, the environment, changes in such a way that the underlying wisdom of that rule remains no longer valid. The difference, if any, is not in the opinion; it is rather in the subject matter. A clear evidence of it may by seen in the abrogated verses themselves - they invariably always contained some phrases or clauses to show that the given order was a temporary one, that it would soon be abrogated. For example: and as for those who are guilty of lewdness from among your women, call to witness against them four (witnesses) from among you; then if they bear witness confine them to the houses until death takes them away or Allah makes some way for them (4:15). Note the last sentence and the hint it gives. Another example: Many of the people of the Book wish that they could turn you back into unbelievers after your faith . . . But pardon and forgive (them) until Allah should bring about His command (2:109). Here too the concluding phrase shows that the rule ordained was not for ever.

 

 

Wassalam

 

Mohammed Yusuf

08/05/2001

 

to be continued….

 

____________


 

Our Belief in Qur’an (11)

 

Assalamun alaikum wananeti

 

 

 

THE  MIRACLE OF THE QUR’AN (IV)

 

THE FIFTH SPECIFIC CHALLENGE: ITS ELOQUENCE

 

The Qur'an has also challenged its adversaries to bring its like in its eloquence. Allah says: Or, do they say: "He has forged it?" Say: "Then bring ten chapters like it forged and call upon whom you can besides Allah, if you are truthful." But if they do not answer you, then know that it is revealed by Allah's knowledge and that there is no god but He; will you then submit? (11:13-14) These verses were revealed in Mecca. Again Allah says: Or, do they say: "He has forged it?" Say: "Then bring a chapter like this and call whom you can besides Allah, if you are truthful." Nay, they have rejected that of which they have no comprehensive knowledge, and its final interpretation has not come to them (10:38-39). These are Meccan verses too. All these verses challenge the doubters and disbelievers to bring the like of ten or even one chapter of the Qur'an in its style and eloquence, as eloquence was the most accomplished art of the Arabs of those days. Undoubtedly, they had reached the highest peak of eloquence. No preceding, contemporary or following nation ever reached even near them in their mastery of literature. Their expression was elegant, their style enchanting; their words perfectly fitted their themes and meanings; their talks were always in harmony with the occasions; their words were plain and their sentences beautiful; and their speech had an easy flow and inimitable grace. It was a way of which they were the pioneers and the only walkers. The Qur'an challenged such a nation in every possible way, so as to excite their rage, rouse their fury and fire them with determination to meet the challenge. It should not be forgotten that they were extremely proud of their art of eloquence and -never acknowledged the least elocutionary skill to anyone else. In spite of that arrogance of theirs, the Prophet dared them to bring just one chapter like the Qur'an. It is a challenge that even now is ringing in the ears of disbeliever, defying them to forge, if they can, just one chapter like it. But the Arabs' only answer was to avoid it; the more forcefully they were challenged, the more evident their helplessness was. Ultimately, they used to hide themselves to avoid hearing its sound. Allah says: Now surely they fold up their breasts that they may conceal from Him; now surely, when they put their garments as a covering, He knows what they conceal and what they make known (11:5).

 

Even after fourteen centuries, no one has been able to bring its like. Those who tried it put themselves to shame and made themselves targets of ridicule. History has preserved some samples of those pathetic attempts. Musaylamah (who posed as a prophet) wrote these words in reply to the Qur'an ch. 105 (The Elephant): "The elephant, what is the elephant! And what will make you understand what the elephant is? It has an unwholesome tail, and a long trunk." In another "verse", which he recited before al-Sajah (who also claimed to be a prophetess), he said: ". . . then we penetrate it into you women a hard penetration, and take it out from you forcefully. . ." Look at this rigmarole and decide its worth. A Christian in latter days wrote this "chapter" in reply to the Chapter of The Opening: "All praise is due to the Beneficent, the Lord of the beings, the King, the Subduer. For Thee is the worship, and from Thee is the help. Guide us to the path of faith."

 

All attempts to meet this challenge suffered the same fate.

 

Two Questions:

 

First: It is unreasonable to say that a speech can reach a level where it would become a miracle, a super-natural work. Language has been made by human ingenuity. How can a product of nature be above the reach of nature? A maker is more powerful than the thing he makes; a cause always encompasses its effect. It is the man who invented the words to meet his social needs, to convey to others' minds what one thinks or feels. Man creates the relationship of a word with its meaning. It is a subjective quality given to the word by man. This quality cannot reach beyond the ability of the maker himself. In other words, it is impossible for a speech to rise above the human ability.

 

Second: Let us accept for the time being that a particular composition of a speech may reach super-natural level, may become a miracle. Every intended theme may be clothed in various sentences, each differing from the others in grades of perfection; and out of those numerous sentences one would reach a standard which would be beyond human ability and power - and that composition would be a miracle. It means that for every intended meaning there would be one miraculous sentence; and other structures would be below that standard. But we see that the Qur'an, more often than not, repeats many themes - and especially the stories - using different compositions and dissimilar styles. Whichever sentence-structure and style is accepted as a miracle, the other ones would fall short of that standard.

 

Reply: Before replying to these objections one matter should be clarified here.

 

It were such questions which led some Muslim scholars to believe in the theory of as-sarf (to turn away) They believed like other Muslims that it was impossible for men to bring a like of the whole Qur'an, or its ten chapters, or even one chapter. But, according to them, this inability of men was not based on the fact that the Qur'anic speech in itself was beyond the human power. The real reason was that Allah, by His predominant will and decree, has turned away and dissuaded would-be adversaries from bringing its like. Allah has done so to preserve and protect the sanctity of the prophethood.

 

This theory was totally wrong. This explanation is not in conformity with the clear import of the challenging verses. Allah says for example: Or, do they say: "He has forged it?" Say: "Then bring ten chapters like it forged and call upon whom you can besides Allah, if you are truthful. "But if they do not answer you, then know that it is revealed by Allah’s knowledge and that there is no god but He; will you then submit? (11:13 - 14). Ponder on the sentences, "then know that it is revealed by Allah’s knowledge". The challenge was meant to prove that the Qur'an was a revelation; that it was not a speech forged by the Apostle; and that it was revealed by Allah's knowledge and not by the Satans. The same theme is found in the following verses:

 

Or, do they say: "He has forged it. " Nay! they do not believe. Then let them bring a talk like it if they are truthful. (52:33 - 34). And the Satans have not come down with it; and it behooves them not, and they have not the power to do (it). Most surely they are far removed from the hearing (of it) (26:210-212). On the other hand, this theory of "turning away" implies that the reality of the Qur'an's miracle was not in its being a revelation from Allah; the miracle was that Allah prevented the people from bringing a like of it. Again look at the verse: Or, do they say: "He has forged it?" Say: "Then bring a chapter like this and call whom you can besides Allah, if you are truthful." Nay, they have rejected that of which they have no comprehensive knowledge, and its final interpretation has not yet come to them . . . (10:38-39). This verse clearly says that what made them helpless before the Qur'an, what made it impossible for them to bring a like of even one of its chapters, was the fact that it has a final interpretation whose knowledge is reserved for Allah - a knowledge which they lacked. It is this inherent quality of the Qur'an which vanquished the adversaries. It was not that they had ability to bring its like but Allah prevented them from doing so. Then, there is the verse: Do they not then meditate on the Qur'an? And if it were from any other than Allah, they would have found in it many a discrepancy (4: 82). It shows that the miracle is in the inherent quality of the Qur'an that it was free from discrepancy in its words and meanings - because it is a quality which is not within the power of any creature – not that there was some discrepancy in this Book, but Allah prevented people from finding it out.

 

All these Qur'anic declarations prove that the theory of as-sarf has no leg to stand, and one should not take it seriously.

 

Now we come to the objections mentioned earlier:

 

It is a fallacious argument that as the language is a product of human ingenuity, it can never reach a level which would be beyond the grasp or ability of human beings; language, being a product, cannot be more powerful than its producer. The fallacy lies in the fact that what man has invented are simple words for particular meanings. But this congruity of the words with their meanings does not teach the man how to arrange those words, how to plan, draft and deliver a talk in the best possible way - in a way that the talk reflects the beauty of the meaning as it is in the mind, and the meaning in its turn becomes a mirror of the reality, remains in complete agreement with the fact. It requires dexterity in the art of eloquence, adroitness in elocution; also it depends on -sharp intelligence and comprehensive knowledge so that the speaker may be fully cognizant of all aspects of the subject matter. It is this skill and knowledge that differs from man to man, and creates difference between talk and talk in their respective perfection and beauty.

 

So, there are three aspects of a human talk; Knowledge of language - a man may be having the most comprehensive knowledge of the words of a language, without being able to speak it; elocutionary skill - a man may be the most accomplished orator, without being cognizant of material and spiritual realities; Knowledge of realities – a man may be the most learned scientist or theologian without having the ability to

express his views and meanings intelligibly. These three factors may be found separately (as mentioned above) and may also combine together in some people. And on them depend the beauty and the eloquence of a speech.

 

The fist factor - single words for their meanings - has been invented by social instinct of man. But the remaining two depend on intellectual refinement and delicate discernment.

 

Human perception, intelligence and discernment is limited and restricted. We cannot comprehend all the details of an event, all concomitants of a fact. As a result, we cannot be sure of being right at any time. Furthermore, we are gradually moving from deficiency to perfection, and so is our perception and discernment. Look at any spellbinding orator or enchanting poet; compare his earlier work with his latest and you will see the difference.

 

In this background, let us look at human speech - any human speech. First, we cannot be sure that it is free from errors of fact and judgment, because, as mentioned above, no speaker can have comprehensive knowledge of all the details and concomitants of an event. Second, it will not be on the same level with speaker's former or later speech. Not only that: Even in the same speech the beginning will surely be on a level different from that of the end, although we, probably, will not be able to discern it because of the minuteness of difference.

 

Now, when we find a decisive speech, based on comprehensive knowledge, and free from all types of discrepancy, we will have to admit that it is not the work of a mortal man. This reality has been described in the following verses: Do they not then meditate on the Qur’an? And if it were from any other than Allah, they would have found in it many a discrepancy (4:82); (I swear) by the heaven endued with rotation, and by the earth splitting (with plants etc.), most surely it is a decisive word, and it is not a jest (86:11 -14). Note the adjectives used for the heaven and the earth - they point to the constant changes occurring therein, because the oath is about a Book which is free from change and difference, inasmuch as it is based on an unchangeable and lasting reality, that is, its "interpretation". (It is a Qur'anic terminology that will be explained in ch. 3.) Also, Allah says: Nay! it is a glorious Qur'an, in a guarded tablet (85:21-22); (I

swear) by the Book that makes manifest (the truth); surely We have made it an Arabic Qur'an so that you may understand. And surely it is in the original of the Book with Us, truly elevated, full of wisdom (43:2 -4); But nay! (I swear) by the falling of stars; and most certainly it is a great oath if you only knew; most surely it is an honored Qur’an, in a book that is hidden; none do touch it save the purified ones. A revelation by the Lord of the worlds (56:75-80).These and other similar verses show that the Qur'an is based on established realities that do not change, that are never altered. And, therefore, the Qur'an itself is safe from change, alteration and discrepancy.

 

To come back to the main objection: Accepted that language has been made by men. But it does not mean that there cannot be found a piece of literature that is beyond the reach of the very men who made the language. Otherwise, we would have to say that a sword-maker must be the bravest of all the swordsman, the inventor of chess or lute must be the most accomplished chess-master or lutanist!

 

The perfect eloquence demands that, first, the word should be in complete harmony with the intended meaning, and, second, the conveyed meaning must be in accordance with the established fact. How the words fit the meanings? The structural sequence of the words and their parts should perfectly agree with the natural order of the intended meaning and its parts - bringing the man-made language and sentences in total agreement with the nature. (See for details Dala'ilu 'l- i'jaz of ash-Shaykh 'Abdu 'l-Qahir al-Jurjani.) As for the meaning, it must be correct and true, based on a real fact existing outside our imagination - and that fact should be of permanent value, unchangeable and unalterable. The first quality (the agreement of the word with meaning) depends on this basic quality of the meaning. A very eloquent sweet sounding jocular speech cannot stand before a serious talk; nor can an eloquent, serious speech - if it is based on wrong premises - be equal to a talk that reflects true facts and comprehensive wisdom.

 

A speech attains the highest standard of eloquence when its words are sweet, its style free flowing, its meaning fitting the occasion and its conveyed proposition based on true facts.

 

Such a talk, based as it is on reality, can never differ with other realities, can never disagree with other truths. Truth and reality is a non-divisible entity. Truth cannot refute another truth; reality cannot oppose another reality. Lie, on the other hand, may be in opposition to another lie as it surely is against the truth. Ponder on the verse: . . . and what is there after the truth but error (10: 32). Note that truth is singular, there is no division in it. Again Allah says: . . . and follow not (other) ways, for they will scatter you away from His ways . . . (6:153). Lie has many ways, it is not only disunited but also disuniting.

 

Obviously, there can be no difference whatsoever between one truth and the other; instead, there shall be total union and unison between them - one truth will lead to the other, one reality will guide to the other; thus, one part of the Qur'an confirms the others, one sentence testifies for the others.

 

It is a wonderful quality of the Qur'an. Take any verse; it is clear in its meaning; add to it another relevant verse equally clear; and you will find them together pointing to a new reality that was not shown by either verse separately: then put them side by side with a third relevant verse, and you will gain fresh insight into new sublime realities. It is a unique quality of the Qur'an, and you will see many examples of this special characteristic in this book. Unfortunately the exegetes had so far neglected this method. Had they followed this way since the early days, they would have discovered by now so much of its hidden treasures.

 

This lengthy discourse was necessary to show that the two objections laid down against the Qur'anic miracle of eloquence were baseless. Miraculous eloquence is not based on words alone. Therefore, it is out of place to say that as it is man who had made the language, how can any speech be above the reach of the man himself? Also, there is no room for the question that as only one out of many possible compositions can be the highest, how is it possible to express one idea in different ways, and then to claim that all were of miraculous standard? Our foregoing explanation has made it clear that the miracle of eloquence depends on meaning - on its agreement with sublime unchangeable reality and on its conformity with the words.

 

 

 

Wassalam

 

Mohammed Yusuf

10/05/2001

 

to be continued….

 

____________

 

 

THE INTERPRETATION OF THE QURAN (I)

 

Our Belief in Quran (12)

 

Assalamun alaikum wananeti

 

 

The Quran contains two kinds of verses, the decisive and the ambiguous. If a verse, seen alone, is capable of more than one meaning, it is ambiguous; otherwise, it is decisive. At-tashaabuh" (conformity of one thing with other, ambiguity) are commonly used words with clear meanings.  The decisive verses are the basis of the Book, to which the ambiguous ones are returned, that is, the latter are explained with the help of the former.

 

Moreover, the ambiguous is given this name because it is capable of more than one meaning; and not because it has an "interpretation" - interpretation is found in decisive verses also; the Quranic verses explain each other, and it is only decisive verses that can clarify the ambiguous ones. Let us take the example of the verse: Looking to their Lord (75:23); it is ambiguous; but when it is returned to the words of Allah: nothing is like a likeness of Him (42:11), and: Visions comprehend Him not (6:103), it becomes clear that "looking at" in this phrase means something different from the optical vision connected with the eyes.

 

Obviously, the apparent meaning of an ambiguous verse should be familiar to the common people and the simple minds would readily accept it and believe in it. Or if both meanings require some explanation, then the explanation leading to unintended meaning would be easier to understand for an uninitiated and unlearned man. Look at the innovations and wrong sectarian beliefs; study the never-ending schisms that have been shattering the Muslim community since the moment the Prophet left this world; try to find out the basic cause of their differences in matters of belief and law - and you will see that most of them have resulted from following the ambiguous verses and from interpreting them in a way not approved by Allah.

 

Every sect proves its beliefs from the Quranic verses: A party finds in it evidence that Allah is a body; a group proves from it that man has no free will concerning his actions, while another faction tries to show that man is totally independent of Allah in this respect; some people argue that the prophets committed mistakes and sins, and they quote the verses in their support; a circle says and proves it from the Quran, that Allah is so sublime that even "Divine Attributes" should not be attributed to Him, while another faction says, and proves it too from the Quran, that Allah is just like His creatures and His attributes are separate from His Person. And so on and so forth. All this is a result of following the ambiguous verses without "returning" them to the relevant decisive ones.

 

Then look at a group saying that the laws of the shari'ah were ordained to serve as a path to reach the goal; if one finds a shorter route that leads to the same destination, it would be obligatory to walk on this new route, because the main thing is to reach there, through any easy way. Another one says that the rules of the shari`ah were promulgated to lead the man to perfection; there is no justification of burdening a man with them after he has reached that goal - therefore, one who has attained perfection is not obliged to observe the rules of the shari'ah. All the rules of the shari'ah, all the religious obligations, the complete penal code and all Islamic policies were established and enforced in the days of the Prophet, not a single item was neglected or kept in

abeyance. Then, after his departure, the Muslim governments began suspending law after law. It was a continual process. Whenever a law or a penalty was discarded, those who were responsible for it argued: The religion was sent down for the good of the world and the good of the man; what we have adopted now, in place of the old outmoded law, is far more better for the people. Now, we have reached a stage where it is said: The only purpose of the shari’ah was to make the world a good place to live in; the world, nowadays, is not in a mood to accept the policies and punishments prescribed by Islam - it cannot digest it; the advanced civilization demands advanced and civilized` laws - the laws of Islam are not good for this stage. Also, it is said: The

religious rites were established so, that they might purify the hearts and lead the minds to correct perception; those hearts that have been well-trained by the society and those spirits that are solely devoted to the service of mankind, do not need such purifications as ablution, obligatory bath, prayer and fast etc.

 

Ponder over such views - and their number is beyond counting - and then study the words of Allah, "then as for those in whose hearts there is perversity, they follow the part of it which is ambiguous, seeking to mislead, and seeking to give it (their own) interpretation", and you will have to admit that all those disorders and calamities that befell Islam and the Muslims, have emanated from only one source - following the ambiguous verses seeking to give them one's own interpretation.

 

That is the reason - and Allah knows better - why the Quran has used such a tough language in this respect, most strictly forbidding the Muslims to follow the ambiguous verses seeking to mislead the people, and to interpret them according to one's own liking; and why it has condemned the tendency of distorting the signs and words of Allah, explaining them without true knowledge, and following the footsteps of Satan. It is the usual practice of the Quran to put greatest emphasis on condemning those matters that were likely to destroy any fundamental part of the religion, which, in its turn, could lead to ruination of the whole structure. Look, for example, at the severest admonitions against befriending the unbelievers; about the love of the near relatives of the Prophet; for staying of the wives of the Prophet inside their houses; against the interest; and concerning the unity in the word of religion etc.

 

What is the basic source of perversity of heart and of the tendency to mislead the people? It happens when one is inclined towards this material world, loves to remain on the earth for ever and succumbs to desires. How can the rust of perversity be removed? How can the door of misdirection be closed shut? The only way is to remember the Day of Reckoning, as Allah says: (as for) those who go astray from the path of Allah, for them surely is a severe punishment because they forgot the Day of Reckoning (38:26). That is why those who are firmly rooted in knowledge and who do not wish to interpret the Quran in a way their Lord does not approve, point to this fact at the end of their prayer: "Our Lord! Surely Thou art the Gatherer of - surely Allah fails

men on a day about which there is no doubt, not (His) promise."

 

The whole Quran, with all its decisive and ambiguous verses, has its interpretation. That interpretation is not the connotation of its words; it is an actually existing reality; a reality that has the same relation with the knowledge, facts and ideas mentioned in the Quran, as the significance of a proverb has with that proverb. All the Quranic knowledge is like a similitude for the Quranic interpretation that is with Allah.

 

Does anyone, other than Allah, know the interpretation of the Quran? The answer is: Yes, the Quran proves the possibility of the knowledge of its interpretation to someone other than Allah.

 

Nevertheless, there may be other proofs to show that someone, other than Allah, may be knowing this interpretation. There are in the Quran instances in which an absolute restriction of one verse has been qualified by another. Take the example of the knowledge of the unseen. The Quran has declared in many verses that it is confined to Allah:

 

Say: "No one in the heavens and the earth knows the unseen but Allah" (27:65).

 

Say: "The unseen is only for Allah" (10: 20).

 

And with Him are the keys of the unseen - none knows them but He (6:59).

 

And after all these restricting statements, comes the following verse:

The Knower of the unseen! so He does not reveal His secrets to any, except to him whom He chooses of an apostle" (72:26-27).

 

This verse clearly says that some persons other than Allah, that is, the chosen apostles, are given the knowledge of the unseen.

 

(This is) a Book, whose verses were confirmed (or, made decisive), then they were divided, from one Wise, All-aware (11:1). The confirmation and decisiveness refers to its condition when it was with Allah without any fragmentation or break, and the division refers to that state when it was made into chapters and verses and was revealed to the Prophet. This last condition (division), which is based on the first (confirmation), is mentioned in the verse: And a Quran which We revealed in portions so that you may read it to the people by slow degrees, and We sent it down (i.e., revealed it) in portions (17:106). It is clear that the Quran, in its original, was undivided, then it was made into portions and sent down piecemeal and revealed gradually.

 

What one understands from the above verses, is that there is something, beyond this Quran which is read and understood by us. And that "something" has the same relation with this Quran as the spirit has with the body, or as the significance of a proverb has with that proverb. It is that spirit of this Quran which is called by Allah as: the confirmed (or wise) Book (10:1). The Quranic teachings and meanings depend upon it. That spirit of the Quran is not made of words or words' meanings.

 

The above-mentioned characteristics of the spirit of the Quran are the same as those of the "interpretation" of the Quran. The above discourse makes it even clearer; and makes us realize why it is said that the interpretation of the Quran cannot be even touched by common minds and unclean spirits.

 

Then Allah says: Most surely it is an honored Quran, in a Book that is hidden; none do touch it save the purified ones (56:77-79). These verses clearly say that the purified servants of Allah do touch the honored Book which is hidden and protected from any change; minds cannot reach it, because that also would be a sort of a change. Anyhow, the purified ones do touch it - the only meaning of the words - "touch" in this context is that they know it and understand it. Also, it is known that this hidden Book is the same "basis of the Book" and "original of the Book" mentioned in the verses: Allah effaces what He pleases and establishes (likewise), and with Him is the basis of the Book (13:39); and surely it is in the original of the Book with Us, truly elevated, full of wisdom (43:4).

 

Those are the people whose heart are purified; and this purification emanates from none other than Allah, because He has attributed this purifying to Himself: Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O People of the House! and to purify you a (thorough) purifying (33:33); . . . but He intends to purify you (5:6). Wherever in the Quran, the spiritual purification is mentioned Allah has attributed it to Himself or to His permission. What is this purity? It is removal of impurity and uncleanness from the heart. What is meant by "heart" in this context? It is the means of perception, understanding and will. The purity of heart, then, is the purity of the soul in  knowledge and belief as well as in will. Thus, the heart remains firm in its true beliefs, without any doubt or confusion; and this firmness makes it steadfast in following and acting upon that true belief and knowledge, obeying the commandments of Allah, without deviating to the path of desire, without breaking the covenant of knowledge. Such a man is said to be firmly rooted in knowledge. Because the same are the  characteristics, described by Allah, of those who are firmly rooted in knowledge. Allah has praised them that they are rightly guided and steadfastly firm on what they know; that there is no perversity in their hearts and they do not seek to mislead the people. These are the same characteristics as of the purified ones. It means that the purified ones are firmly rooted in knowledge.

 

But there is a fine distinction that should not be overlooked. What has been proved above is this: The purified ones know the interpretation of the Quran; and it is a concomitant of their purity that they are also firmly rooted in knowledge - because that purification is attributed to Allah Who cannot fail in what He intends.

 

Wassalam

 

Mohammed Yusuf

11/05/2001

 

to be continued….

 

____________


Our Belief in Quran (13)

Assalamun alaikum wananeti

 

 

THE INTERPRETATION OF THE QURAN (II)

 

 

Who Are Those Purified Ones Who Know The Interpretation Of The Holy Quran?

 

From our last discussion we found chapter 33:33 identify the purified ones, the ones who know the interpretation of the Holy Quran as the People of the House (Ahlul Bait). They are the same progeny of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) who appointed them to carry his work after him. It is clear from his unanimously accepted tradition :

 

"I have left among you certain things and if you will love them you will never go astray. They are the Book of Allah, which is like a rope extending from the heaven to the earth, and my children, that is my Ahl el-Bait. These two shall never part from each other until they come to me at the Pool of Kawthar (in Paradise). So, take care how you treat them.

 

In the Holy Prophet's saying: "I leave among you two things; if you will adhere to both of them you will never go astray; and they are, the Book of Allah and my descendants," the requirement of adherence to both of them should be particularly noted. It plainly shows that whoever adheres to or adopts both of them, as his guides will be saved from going astray. Therefore, if a person takes only one of them without taking the other for a guide he may go astray. This point becomes still clearer by considering Tabrani's version, which contains the further injunction:

 

"Look out! And do not either go ahead of them or lag behind them, for in either case you will be destroyed; and do not (try to) teach them for they know more than you."

 

 

The Tradition of Two Weighty Things (al-Thaqalain) which prove conclusively that it is compulsory to follow the Quran and the Ahlul-Bait, are not ordinary traditions. Thus the prophetic instructions were clear in urging Muslims to follow the interpretation of Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet transmitted through the channel of Ahlul-Bait whose sinlessness, purity, and righteousness is confirmed by the Holy Quran (the last sentence of verse 33:33).

 

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w) told Ali, O’ Ali! I had to fight for Tanzil and you will have to fight for Ta’awil that is I had to fight so that people may believe the words of Allah and you will have to fight for that time continuous fight is on in the field of the establishment of the true interpretation of Holy Quran.

 

 

Imam ‘Ali’s Mus-haf:

 

It has been reported in books on history and tradition that ‘Ali (a.s) had compiled and memorized the whole Quran, and it is an estab­lished fact that he was one of the scribes of the Revelation and the most eminent of them.

 

Ibn Abi al-Hadid observes, “All have concurred that ‘Ali (a.s) used to memorize the Quran during the Prophet’s era and at a time when no one else had yet started doing so. Then, he was the first to compile it.

 

Sulaym ibn Qays reports that after the death of the Prophet (s.a.w) ‘Ali (a.s) confined himself to his home to devote to the task of collecting and compiling the Quran. He did not leave home until he had compiled it.

 

Al-Kalbi reports, “On the death of the Prophet (s.a.w) ‘Ali (a.s) sat at home and compiled the Quran.’

 

Al-Kattani reports, ”‘Ali (a.s) compiled the Quran in the order of its revelation after the death of the Prophet (s.aw).”

 

Ibn al-Munadi reports from al-Hasan ibn al-’Abbas, from ‘Abd al-­Rahman ibn Abi Hammad, from al-Hakam ibn Zahir al-Sadüsi, from ‘Abd Khayr that “when ‘Ali (a.s) saw ominous signs among the people on the demise of the Prophet (s.a.w), he vowed not to wear his rida’ until he had compiled the Quran. He then sat at home for three days compiling the Quran. It was the first mus-haf in which the Quran had been compiled from his memory. Considering ‘Ali’s closeness to the Proph­et (s.a.w) and his constantly keeping his company, it was natural that his com­pilation should have been done in the best manner. ‘Ali (a.s) himself says:

           

‘...I used to follow him like a young camel following in the footprints of its mother. Every day he would raise for me the banner of his morality and command me to follow it. Every year he would go into seclusion to the mountain of Hira, where no one else except me saw him. In those days, Islam did not exist in any house except that of the Messenger of Allah — peace and blessing of Allah be upon him and his Descendants — and Khadijah, while I was the third after these two. I used to see and watch the effulgence of divine revelation and message, and breathed the scent of prophethood.

 

When the revelation descended on the Messenger of Allah — peace and blessing of Allah be upon him and his Descendants — I heard the scream of Satan. I said, “O Messenger of Allah, what is this scream?” And he replied, “This is Satan who has lost all hope of being worshipped. O ‘Ali, you see all that I see and you hear all that I hear, except that you are not a prophet, but you are a vicegerent and you are surely on (the path of) virtue.”’

 

 

It has also been narrated from Sulayman al-’A’mash that ‘Ali (a.s) said:

 

“No verse has been revealed without my knowing about its subject, place of revelation, and against whom it has been revealed. Certainly, God has granted me a perceptive heart and a fluent tongue.”

 

 

He has been reported to have said:

 

“Question me regarding the Book of God, for surely there is no verse except that I know whether it was revealed at night or during daytime, in a plain or on hilly ground (Al-Tabaqat al-kubra, ii, 338).”

 

 

Sulaym ibn Qays reports ‘Ali (a.s) to have said:

 

“Not a verse of the Quran was revealed to the Messenger of God (s.a.w) without his reciting and dictating it to me, and without my writing it in my own hand. He taught me its (the Quran’s) interpretation and exposition, its nasikh and mansukh, and its muhkam and mutashabih. He prayed to God Almighty to teach me to comprehend and memorize it. Hence I neither forgot a verse from the Book of God Almighty nor any knowledge that he dictated to me and which I wrote.”

 

Now when the Imam (a.s) had a complete knowledge of all the verses and the contexts of their revelation (sha’n al-nuzul) as per the fore­going tradition, he must have written his mus-haf in accordance with the revelation and what the Prophet (s.a.w) had ordered him (a.s). He also wrote in his mus-haf the interpretation of verses as taught to him by the Prophet (s.a.w). Therefore, his mus-haf was the most complete among the masahif in respect of exposition and sha‘n al-nuzül of the verses. Simi­larly, his compilation of the mus-haf was in the order of the revelation at different times.

 

Muhammad ibn Sirin reports from ‘Ikrimah that at the beginning of Abu Bakr’s caliphate ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s) stayed home to compile the Quran. Ibn Sirin says that he asked ‘Ikrimah whether anyone else had compiled the Quran in the order of its revelation. He replied: “Had all men and jinn joined hands to compile it in this manner, they would not have been able to do so.” (Al-Itqan, I, 57, 58)

 

Al-Mufid observes regarding ‘Ali’s (a.s) mus-haf, “He mentioned the Makki verses before the Madani, and the mansükh before the nasikh, and placed every part of it in its rightful place.” He also says: “That regarding which there is no difference of opinion among Muslim exe­getes is that deletion of the parts of Amir al-Mu’minin’s mus-haf con­sisted of interpretations (ta‘wil) and the exposition of its meanings in accordance with the intent of the revelation.”

 

This observation clearly shows that the claim that the Imam’s mus-haf contained certain texts that established his right to the khilafah pertains to ta’wil of the revealed text of the Quran.

 

Ibn Jazzi al-Kalbi is reported to have said, “Had ‘Ali’s (a.s) mus-haf been accessible, it would have been a source of much knowledge.” (Al-Tashil fi ulum al-tanzil, I, 4)

 

Regarding the difference present among the initial compilers con­cerning the order of the surah, al-Suyuti says, “Among them was ‘Ali’s mus-haf, which arranged the sürahs in the order of their revelation. It began with Iqra’, followed by al-Muddaththir, Nun, al-Muzzammil, al-Takwir, and so on till the end of the Makki and Madani (surah).”  (Al-Itqan I, 62).

 

Also, Ibn Sirin, on the basis of Ibn Ashtah’s report, said: “Ali (a.s) had recorded in his mus-haf the nasikh and the mansükh (verses).” Ibn Sirin is also reported to have said, “I sought that book and wrote to Madinah concerning it, but was unable to find it.” He is also reported to have said, “Had I been able to find that book, it would have been a source of knowledge”’

 

Now, did Ibn Sirin believe that ‘Ali’s mus-haf contained some verses which were not present in other masahaf? It wasn’t so; rather, that additional material consisted of interpretations and facts revealed to the Prophet (s.a.w) concerning the verses. This is exactly what the Imam (a.s) has himself expressly affirmed:

 

“I surely brought them the Book comprising the revelation and the inter­pretation.”

 

 

This explanation is affirmed by the traditions which explicitly mention the presence of names of some hypocrites of Quraysh in the Imam’s mus-haf, that these were part of the ta‘wilat and sha‘n al-nuzül of the verses.

 

As this kind of compilation of the Quran was not done by anyone except ‘Ali (a.s), al-’Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq remarked:

 

“No one among the people, except a liar, can claim having compiled the whole Quran as it was revealed, and no one except ‘Ali (a.s) and the Imams succeed­ing him have compiled and preserved it as it was revealed.”

 

As to the interpretation that ‘Ali’s compilation of the Quran meant his compilation of it in his memory, it is contrary to what the traditions clearly mention concerning its compilation in a codex (mus-haf). Hence it is clear that in the traditions there is nothing about ‘Ali’s (a.s) mus-haf that hints at the presence in it of some verses not present in other masahif; rather it only contained the interpretations and sha‘n al-nuzül of some verses.

 

 

Wassalam

 

Mohammed Yusuf

11/05/2001

 

to be continued….

 

____________


Our Belief in Quran (14)

Assalamun alaikum wananeti

 

 

THE INTERPRETATION OF THE QURAN (III)

 

As-Sadiq (a.s.) said: "(The Straight path) is the path to the knowledge of Allah. And there are two paths, one in this world and the other in the next. As for the path in this world, it is the Imam whose obedience is obligatory; whosoever knows him in this world and follows his guidance, he shall proceed on the path which is the bridge over the hell in the next world; and whosoever does not know him in this world, his foot shall slip (over that bridge) in the next world, and he shall fall down into the fire of the hell." (Ma'ani 'l-akhbar)

 

The same book quotes as-Sajad (a.s-) as saying: "They’re no curtain between Allah and His proof, nor is there any screen for Allah against His proof. We are the gates of Allah, and we are the straight path, and we are the (treasure) chest of His Knowledge, and we are, the interpreters of His revelation, and we are the pillars of His Oneness, and we are the place of His secret."

 

Ibn Shahrashub has quoted from at-Tafsir of Waki' Ibn al-Jarrah from ath-Thawri from as-Suddi from Asbat and Mujahid from ibn 'Abbas that he said about the verse: Guide us to the straight path: "Say O group of the servants (of Allah): Lead us to the love of Muhammad (s.a.w) and his family members."

 

al-Fudayl ibn Yasar said: "I asked Abu Ja'far (a.s.) about the tradition, 'There is no verse in the Quran but it has an exterior and an interior, and there is no word in it but it has a boundary, and every boundary has a watching place.' (I asked him) what was the meaning of exterior and interior. The Imam said: 'Its exterior is its revelation and its interior is its interpretation; some of it has already passed (i.e. happened) and some of it has not come about yet; it runs along (or flows) as run the sun and the moon; when a thing of it comes (to its appointed place and time) it happens . . . (at-Tafsir, of al-'Ayyashi)

 

 

EXAMPLES OF THE INTERPREATATION OF QURAN BY AHLUL BAIT

 

 

IMAM ALI (A.S)

 

A soldier in the army returned home. When he had stayed with his wife for only six months, his wife gave birth to a male child and claimed that it was his child. The soldier refused to accept her claim and brought her to Omar, who ordered the woman to be stoned to death. By chance Ali (a.s) also happened to be there and he pointed out to Omar that the Holy Quran had fixed the of pregnancy and the time of nursing of a child as thirty months (46:15), and at another place the time of nursing as a complete two years (2:233). These two years if deducted from the time of nursing the time of pregnancy remained only six months, i.e. the minimum.

 

Omar freed the woman and confirmed the decision concerning that.

 

 

IMAM JAFAR SADIQ (A.S)

 

Hazrat Imam Jafar (a.s) was disposed to forbid Abu Haneefa from taking to self mentioned Interpretation. He used to say that self-motivated interpretation was an invention of the Satan, and that it should be avoided.

 

Hazrat Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s) asked Abu Haneefa’s views of the following questions:

 

Imam Jafar (a.s) : “Which is greater sin, murder or fornication?”

 

Abu Haneefa pointed out that murder was the more serious sin.

 

Imam Jafar (a.s) : Why are then four witness required in the case of fornication while only two are regarded as sufficient in the case of murder?”

 

“O’ Noman! Tell me which is more important, prayer or fasting?”

 

Abu Haneefa replied : “Prayers are more important.”

 

Imam Jafar (a.s) : Why is then compensation (Qaza) for fasting obligatory on a woman in menses, while so such compensation in her case for the prayers missed?”

 

Abu Haneefa could make no reply, at which Imam (a.s) said to him, “Of what use is yourself motivated interpretation, which serves no purpose?”

 

 

IMAM MUSA AL-KAZIM (A.S)

 

(1) Ali ibn Yaqtin said: “al-Mahdi asked Abul Hassan Musa al-Kazim (a.s) about whether intoxicants were prohibited in the Book of Allah, because the people know that it is not allowed but do not know that it is prohibited.

 

The Imam said: ‘But it is prohibited.’

He asked: ‘Where in the Book of Allah is it forbidden? O Abul Hassan!’ He replied: ‘The word of Allah: <<Say: My Lord has only PROHIBITED indecencies, those of them that are apparent as well as those that are concealed, and SIN and rebellion without justice… >> (7:33) Then the Imam explained: ‘And as for SIN, IT IS INTOXICANTS themselves, because Allah said somewhere else, <<They ask you about INTOXICANTS and games of chance. Say: in both of them there is a GREAT SIN and (some) profits.>> So the SIN according to the Book of Allah is INTOXICANTS and game of chance, and their SIN is greater than their profit, as Allah said.’

 

“al-Mahdi said: ‘O Ali bin Yaqtin! This is the legal decree of the house of Hashim.’  I said: ‘You spoke the truth, O leader of the faithful! Praise be to Allah who did not take this knowledge out from you, O people of the house!.’”

 

 

(2) Abu Ja’far Muhammad Bin Ali, entitled Sheikh Saduq, in the fourth century A.H. in his Uyun-e-Akbar ar-Riza (Major Sources for Riza), and Abu Mansur Bin Ali Tabarsi, in his Ehtijajj (Supports) give a detailed account of the conversation that took place between Harun ar-Rashid and Imam Musa Ja’far in the caliph’s court. The caliph asked the Imam, “How can you claim that you are a descendant of the Holy Prophet? The Prophet Muhammad had no descendant. It is acknowledged that descendants are from the male side and not from the female side. You belong to the generation of his daughter.” The Imam recited verses 84-85 from Chapter VI of the Holy Qur’an: “And We gave to him Isaac and Jacob; each did We guide, and Noah did We guide before, and of his descendants David and Solomon and Job and Joseph and Aaron; and thus do We reward those who do good. And Zakariyya and John and Jesus and Elias; every one was of the good.” (6:84-85)

The Imam asked the caliph: “Who was Jesus’s father?” Harun replied that Jesus had no father. The Imam said: “There was no one, and yet Allah included Jesus in the progeny of the prophets through Mary. Similarly, He has included us in the progeny of the holy Prophet through our ancestor Bibi Fatima.”

 

Imam Musa Kazim asked Harun if he wanted further proof. The caliph asked the Imam to continue. The Imam read verse 60 from Chapter III, “Al-e-Imran,” of the Holy Qur’an: “But whoever disputes with you in this matter after what has come to you of knowledge, then say: come, let us call our sons and your sons and our women and your women and our selves and your selves, then let us be earnest in prayer and pray for the curse of Allah on the liars.” (3:61)

 

He continued, saying that no one has ever claimed that on the occasion of the spiritual contest (Mubahila) against the Christians of Najran that the Prophet took with him anyone except Ali Bin Abu Talib, Fatima, Hasan, and Husain. It follows, therefore that “selves” (anfusana) means Ali Bin Abi Talib. “Women” (nisa’ana) means Fatima and “sons” (abna’ana) means Hasan and Husain whom Allah has identified as the Prophet’s own sons. Upon hearing this argument, Harun exclaimed, “Bravo, O Abu’l-Hasan.” Clearly, this reasoning proves that Hasan and Husain are the sons of the Prophet and that the Sa’dat Fatima (descendants of Bibi Fatima) are of the progeny of the holy Prophet.

 

 

IMAM ALI BIN MUHAMMAD (A.S)

 

Allamah Muhammad Baqar Najafi has written that once the Roman emperor sent a letter to the Abbaside Caliph in which he wrote : “I read in Bible that if a person reads the chapter which does not contain the following seven letters will go to Paradise :

(i) The

(ii) Jeem

(iii) Khe

(iv) Ze

(v) Sheen

(vi) Zoy

(vii) Fe.

 

To find out the verse I consulted the Torah, the Evangel and the Psalms but I couldn’t find out such a verse in these books. Perhaps this might be found in your Quran.”

 

The Caliph gathered the Muslim erudites and produced the matter before them. The savants pondered over the point for a long time but they could not reach a solution. When the Caliph was disappointed from the savants he summoned Imam Ali bin Muhammad (a.s) famous as al-Naqi, to the court. Imam (a.s) arrived and the problem was posed before him. Without any hesitation Imam (a.s) said : “It is Sura-e- Hamd.”

 

The Caliph read the Surah with a critical eye to verify the answer of Imam (a.s) and found it correct so he hinted : “O’ the progeny of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) it would be much better if you tell us why these letters are absent in this chapter of the Holy Quran.?”

 

The heir of the knowledge of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) replied : “This is the surah of divine mercy and auspiciousness and these letters are not given in it because Thuboor (destruction) begins with the letter The; Jahannum (hell) begins with the letter Jeem; Khubat (loss) begins with the letter Khe; Zaqqom begins with the letter Ze and it means the throny tree; Sheen alludes to Shaqawat that is lucklessness; Zoy indicates Zulmat that is darkness; Fe refers to Furqat that is separation; disunion of (beloved persons etc.). All these words are negative and anti to mercy and auspiciousness and therefore they are not included in the Sura-e-Hamd.”

 

 

Wassalam

 

Mohammed Yusuf

11/05/2001

 

to be continued….

 

____________

 

 

Our Belief in Quran (15)

 

Assalamun alaikum wananeti

 

 

HOW TO INTERPRET QURAN

 

There is nothing totally secret or mysterious abuot the Quran. It is on the whole a very understandable Book. The basic Islamic concepts enunciated in the Quran have simple meaning and straight forward indications for everyone’s easy understanding.

 

It is true that the Quran certainly contains the knowledge of the past and the future, and comprehending it from the Qur’ãn is doubt­lessly restricted to the Ahlul Bait (a.s). However, this does not disregard the fact that the Quran has literal meanings understandable by anyone acquainted with the Arabic language and its rules, which one may act upon once they become clear after due research for supporting indications.

 

Some Quranic verses are explicit and not intrinsically susceptible to any implicit interpretaion and some others evidence clear prespectives . All people can understand these provided they know the Arabic language – that, too, of the Quran. They should be familiar also with the historical circumstances of the revelations of the Quran verses. Above all, they should either refrain from going beyond it by observing the procedural constraints mentioned earlier.

 

However, an above average understanding of the Quran  requires special efforts. At some higher levels of comprehension it is facilitated by revelation which constitutes its source. The Prophet had the utmost understanding through revelation, whch constitutes its source. Higher understanding of the Quran was possible for the Imams too. Other could have access to their superior understanding through Traditions.

 

The above mentioned superior understanding concerns either the mysterious and symbolic meaning explained or a broader meaning than that literally signified by the Quranic terms. In the later case, it is quite possible that the explanation in depth may still be unclear to many. Only the Prophet (s.a.w) and the Imams could have explained them further.

 

Many Ayats of the Quran invite mankind to ponder upon its meaning.  “Afa La Yata-dabbaroon fil Quran am ala Quloobin akfaloha.” Do they not reflect on the Quran? Nay on the heart there are locks. (47:24) This mode of Quran invites eternal pondering and thinking

 

First, learn all those subjects which are necessary to understand the Quran.

 

Secondly, mould your thinking according to the tea­chings of the Holy Prophet and his rightful successors.

 

Thirdly, remove all your personal prejudice and preferences from your thought.

 

Lastly, ponder upon the Ayats of the Quran and follow them wherever, they may lead you. Do not try to lead the Ayats to your goal. When you will ponder upon the Quran in this way, with full knowledge and mature mind, without trying to mould the Quran according to your preconceived ideas, but with a desire to mould your thinking in the light of the Quran, you will find the right answer.

 

 

Wassalam

 

Mohammed Yusuf

14/05/2001

 

to be continued….

 

____________

 


Our Belief in Quran (16)

Assalamun alaikum wananeti

 

 

SAYINGS OF AHLUL BAIT REGARDING QURAN (I)

 

 

THE HOLY QURAN IN THE OPINION

OF HOLY AHLUL-BAIT

 

The Holy Quran is the word of God. It is the eternal jurisprudence. Its commandments are unchangeable and not liable to any metamorphosis. Any­body  who wants to bring about changes in Quran to suit need of time will be considered a criminal before God. While he who strives to shape the circumstances to suit the Quranic commandments will be counted among the faithful servants of God. These holy words of Holy (Quran) were addressed to the Holy Prophet (s.aw) and rightful for him (s.a.w) only to understand the extensiveness of the Holy Quran and after him (s.a.w) the divine right belonged to the true successors of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) the Holy Ahlul-Bait. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w) had rightly said:-”LANYYAF TAREQA” --- They (the Quran and the Ahlul-Bait) won’t ever be apart. It means that there is no word in the Holy Quran, the meaning and interpretation of which is hidden from the AhIul Bait. Therefore the true magnificence of the Holy Quran can either be learned from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) himself or his Ahlul-Bait.

 

 

 

THE HOLY PROPHET (S.A.W)

 

The Prophet has said in a sermon: "Therefore, when mischief come to confuse you like the segments of darkened night, then hold fast to the Quran; as it is the intercessor whose intercession shall be granted; and a credible advocate; and whoever keeps it before him, it will lead him to the Garden; and whoever keeps it behind, it will drive him to the Fire; and it is the guide that guides to the best path; and it is a book in which there is explanation, particularization and recapitulation; and it is a decisive (world), and not a joke; and there is for it a manifest (meaning) and an esoteric (one); thus its apparent (meaning) is firm, and its esoteric (one) is knowledge; its exterior is elegant and its interior deep; it has (many) boundaries, and its boundaries have (many) boundaries; its wonders shall not cease, and its (unexpected marvels shall not be old. There are in it the lamps of guidance and the beacon of wisdom, and guide to knowledge for him who knows the attributes. Therefore, one should extend his sight; and should let his eyes reach the attribute; so that one who is in perdition may get deliverance, and one who is entangled may get free; because meditation is the life of the heart of the one who sees, as the one having a light (easily) walks in darkness; therefore, you must seek good deliverance and (that) with little waiting.

 

Haris Hamadani reports it on the authority Ali (a.s) that the latter heard the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) saying “In near future there will arise descords”. So he Hazrat Ali (a.s) asked: “0’Apostle of God, is there any way to be saved from these? “Yes,” said the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) : “It is the Book of Allah—it contains the history of the tribes who existed before you and prophesied about the tribes to come after you. It also contains the solutions for the discords, that will continue to rise among you. It is the finite truth and it doesn’t contain a single word of falsehood. Those who uprise against it will be suppressed by God and those who seek guidance from the sources other than Quran will be left by God to wonder in darkness.

 

It is the Hablul Mateen—the strang rope “of Allah It is “ZIKRE HAKEEM—the gospel of wisdom. It is SERATAL MUSTAQEEM—the straight forward path. It is the book that prevents desires from being misdirected and tangles from doubtful utterances. Seekers of knowledge now never hesitated from it. Frequent recitations do not lead to loss of interest from it. The marvels of its words will never cease. Those who quate it in their talks are considered truthful, and those who act upon its commandments will be rewarded by God. Those who issue verdicts on the authority of Holy Quran are just. Those who exhort servants of God with the aid of Holy Quran are considered guides.  (Tirrnizi Sharif and Daremi)

 

 

When the Prophet  (s.a.w) was requested to narrate some traditions that could be beneficial to the people, he said: “ If you are anxious for the life of the lucky ones and if you are desirous of the death of Martyrs and if you desire salvation on the day of judgement and if you desire shelter from the day of heat and if you want guidance at the occasion of going astray them start the tuition of the Holy Quran. Indeed the Quran is the word of Allah and is instrumental in saving you from the Satan and it will be a reason to help you increase the weight when scales will be drawn on the day of judgement.”

 

“Appoint a share for the Quran in your homes. Indeed more good wil prevail in that home in which Quran is recited and for he people of the house there will be greateer peace and tranquillity and if it be not so then adversity come for the house hold and they come in loss.”

 

“Brighten your homes through the recitation of the Quran.”

 

“The heart gathers rust just like Iron; remove this rust by recitation of the Quran.”

 

“The best and the most excellent among you is he who learns the Quran and teach the same.”

 

 

 

 

THE LADY OF THE LIGHT FATMA (A.S)

 

(0’, Companions of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) You have before you the covenant of Allah sent by Him for you. It is a perpetual commandment for you to follow. Its gospels are crystal clear. The secrets of its verses are clear-cut. Its arguments are straight forward and self-evident listening to this holy gospel is an eterrnal commandment (that is no heavenly book will follow it). This book leads its followers to Divine Pleasure and its discuples to salvation. This book contains the lucid discription of the signs of God. Its moral teachings carry stabilized value. It contains discription of forbidden items and exhorts human beings to keep away from them. Its every commandment is perfect and its every argument is solid. Its sentences are remedial and curative. Its orders are obligatory and exceptions are allowed in some cases where action or inaction is not compulsory.

 

The Book of God is before you, the commandments of which are stable and arguments clear and laws self evident. Its clear warning is set before the eyes. No curtain is set upon its commandments. Do you turn aside from such a book? To adopt any other metbodology exent Quran’s is very bad for the outrageous path; who do it.

 

 

Wassalam

 

Mohammed Yusuf

15/05/2001

 

to be continued….

 

____________

 


Our Belief in Quran (17)

Assalamun alaikum wananeti

 

 

SAYINGS OF AHLUL BAIT REGARDING QURAN (II)

 

 

HAZRAT AMIR-UL-MOMINEEN ALI (A.S.)

 

After narrating the merits of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) Ali (a.s) said: “God sent a book to the Holy Prophet (S A.) that is light the lamp of which cannot be turned off. It itself is a lamp the light of which will never be dim.”

 

“It is an ocean of immeasureable vastness. It is a straight forward path that does not change its direction. It is the infinite ray the light of which will never go dull. It is the line of demarkation that distinguishes truth from falsehood. Its arguments will never be defeated.”

 

“It is a mansion the pillars of which won’t fall down. It is sirefire remedy for every ills. It is an awe that those who stick to it will never be defeated. It is that truth that its helpers are never insulted this book. Therefore it is accumulation of faith and the fort of belief, it is the fountain and the ocean of knowledge. It is the garden of jurisprudence and the lake of justice. It is the foundation and support of Islam. It is the valley of veracity and the thicket of truth. It is the inexhaustible sea will never dry. It is fountain, the flow of which will never cease.”

 

“It is a Quay that utilization won’t recede it. This book contains such modes of guidance that its travellers are never misdirected. This book contains such heights that passers by are not blinded by them. It comprises such lofty places that those who attain them never deviate. God has made this book a form of satisfaction for the erudites and the pleasure of the hearts of the wise.”

 

“This book is the high-way of good conduct. It is such unique one that it won’t be followed by any other book. This is all light where no darkness exists. Its vastness fortified and its castle is re-forced. It is respect for him who adheres to it. It protects him who enters its circle and it guides him who follows it. It is an argument for him who reasons with it. It is a prop for him who talks on its support. It is a witness for him who debates by the support of its arguments. It begets -success for its user and bears the load of its supporter. It is a conveyance for him who acts upon it and a direction finder for those who want to know something from it. It is for him who retains it and a tradition for him who reports it and a verdict for him who issue judgement by its help.”

 

“Know that this Quran is an adviser that does not deceive, a leader that does not mislead, and a speaker who never lies. No one sits in its company without achieving an addition and a diminishment on rising up — an addition in guidance and a diminishment in blindness And know that there is no (spiri­tual) Poverty for one after association with the Quran and there is no plenti­tude for anyone before that. Therefore, seek from it the remedy for your ailments and seek its help in your distress, for, indeed, it contains the cure for the greatest of disea.ses, which are unbelief, hypocrisy, rebelliousness and misguidance.”

 

 

 

“Verily, the Quran is outwardly beautiful and inwardly profound. Its wonders are imperishable and its marvels are immortal. The darknesses (of human life) cannot be penetrated without it.”

 

 

“In the Qur’ãn are the reports of those who lived before you and the tidings of those who will come after you, and in it is the judgement regarding you.”

 

 

 

HAZRAT IMAM HUSAIN (A.S)

 

“We are ordained by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) as equal to the Book of Allah. This book contains lucid description of everything. Falsehood can never dare to come near it. Only we can be relied in respect of the interpretation of Holy Quran and its hidden meanings are concealed, from us and only we can comply with commandments in full.”

 

“The exterior of Holy Quran is extremely and the interior is very deep.”

 

  

HAZRAT IMAM JAFAR SADIQ (A.S)

 

“He who takes ayats of the Quran from here and there and thus (haphazardly) tries to create a meaning is a Kafir.”

 

 

 

WORKS AND AUTHORS REFERRED IN MY ARTICLES

 

1. Al-Mizan, An Exegesis of the Quran – al-Allamah as-Sayyid Muhammad Husayn at-Tabatabai

2. A Study of Sunni and Shi’I Traditions Concerning Tahrif – Rasul Ja’fariyan

3. Quran and Hadith – Sayyid Saed Akhtar Rizvi

4. Genuineness of the Holy Quran – Haji Mirza Mehid Pooya

5. Philosophy of Furqan – Jafer Ali Aseer

6. Understanding the Quran – Ayatullah Sayyid Muhammad Hussain Beheshti

7. Status of Imam Sadiq (a.s) – al-Sayyed Zeeshan Hayder Jawwadi (Peermahomed Ebrahim Trust)

8. Bigraphy of Imam – Peermahomed Ebrahim Trust

9. The causes & Consequences of Debauchery – Peermahomed Ebrahim Trust

 

 

 

Wassalam

 

Mohammed Yusuf

16/05/2001


 

 

 

 


 


وَنَجَّيْنَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَكَانُوا يَتَّقُونَ {41:18}

But We delivered those who believed and practised righteousness

 

   Our Belief in Quran
   
 

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وَنَجَّيْنَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَكَانُوا يَتَّقُونَ     اللهم صلى على محد و ال محد.. و عجل فرجهم