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: firstly the word of Allah, secondly the Prophets who were chosen by Allah to communicate His will to human beings. These two things have always been going together and attempts to know the will of Allah by neglecting either of these two have always been misleading. The Hindus neglected their prophets and paid all attention to their books that proved only word puzzles which they ultimately lost. Similarly, the Christians, in total disregard to the Book of Allah, attached all importance to Christ and thus not only elevated him to Divinity, but also lost the very essence of TAWHEED (monotheism) contained in the Bible. As a matter of fact the main scriptures revealed before the Qur'an, i.e., the Old Testament and the Gospel, came into book-form long after the days of the Prophets and that too in translation. This was because the followers of Moses and Jesus made no considerable effort to preserve these Revelations during the life of their Prophets. Rather they were written long after their death. Thus what we now have in the form of the Bible (The Old as well as the New Testament) is translations of individuals' accounts of the original revelations which contain additions and deletions made by the followers of the said Prophets. On the contrary, the last revealed Book, the Qur'an, is extant in its original form. Allah Himself guaranteed its preservation and that is why the whole of the Qur'an was written during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) himself though on separate pieces of palm leaves, parchments, bones, etc... Moreover, there were tens of thousands of companions of the Prophet who memorized the whole Qur'an and the Prophet himself used to recite to the Angel Gabriel once a year and twice in the year he died. The first Caliph Abu Bakr entrusted the collection of the whole Qur'an in one volume to the Prophet's scribe, Zaid Ibn Thabit. This volume was with Abu Bakr till his death. Then it was with the second Caliph Umar and after him it came to Hafsa, the Prophet's wife. It was from this original copy that the third Caliph Uthman prepared several other copies and sent them to different Muslim territories. The Qur'an was so meticulously preserved because it was to be the Book of guidance for humanity for all times to come. That is why it does not address the Arabs alone in whose language it was revealed. It speaks to man as a human being: "O Man! What has seduced you from your Lord." The practicability of the Qur'anic teachings is established by the examples of Muhammad (PBUH) and the good Muslims throughout the ages. The distinctive approach of the Qur'an is that its instructions are aimed at the general welfare of man and are based on the possibilities within his reach. In all its dimensions the Qur'anic wisdom is conclusive. It neither condemns nor tortures the flesh nor does it neglect the soul. It does not humanize God nor does it deify man. Everything is carefully placed where it belongs in the total scheme of creation. Actually the scholars who allege that Muhammad (PBUH) was the author of the Qur'an claim something which is humanly impossible. Could any person of the sixth century C.E. utter such scientific truths as the Qur'an contains? Could he describe the evolution of the embryo inside the uterus so accurately as we find it in modern science? Secondly, is it logical to believe that Muhammad (PBUH), who up to the age of forty was marked
only for his honesty and integrity, began all of a sudden the authorship of a book matchless in literary merit and the equivalent of which the whole legion of the Arab poets and orators of highest calibre could not produce? And lastly, is it justified to say that Muhammad (PBUH) who was known as AL-AMEEN (The Trustworthy) in his society and who is still admired by the nonMuslim scholars for his honesty and integrity, came forth with a false claim and on that falsehood could train thousands of men of character, integrity and honesty, who were able to establish the best human society on the surface of the earth? Surely, any sincere and unbiased searcher of truth will come to believe that the Qur'an is the revealed Book of Allah. Without necessarily agreeing with all that they said, we furnish here some opinions of important non-Muslim scholars about the Qur'an. Readers can easily see how the modern world is coming closer to reality regarding the Qur'an. We appeal to all open-minded scholars to study the Qur'an in the light of the aforementioned points. We are sure that any such attempt will convince the reader that the Qur'an could never be written by any human being. "However often we turn to it [the Qur'an] at first disgusting us each time afresh, it soon attracts, astounds, and in the end enforces our reverence... Its style, in accordance with its contents and aim is stern, grand, terrible - ever and anon truly sublime -- Thus this book will go on exercising through all ages a most potent influence." --Goethe, quoted in T.P. Hughes' DICTIONARY OF ISLAM, p. 526. "The Koran admittedly occupies an important position among the great religious books of the world. Though the youngest of the epoch-making works belonging to this class of literature, it yields to hardly any in the wonderful effect which it has produced on large masses of men. It has created an all but new phase of human thought and a fresh type of character. It first transformed a number of heterogeneous desert tribes of the Arabian peninsula into a nation of heroes, and then proceeded to create the vast politico-religious organizations of the Muhammadan world which are one of the great forces with which Europe and the East have to reckon today." --G. Margoliouth, Introduction to J.M. Rodwell's, THE KORAN, New York: Everyman's Library, 1977, p. vii. "A work, then, which calls forth so powerful and seemingly incompatible emotions even in the distant reader - distant as to time, and still more so as a mental development - a work which not only conquers the repugnance which he may begin its perusal, but changes this adverse feeling into astonishment and admiration, such a work must be a wonderful production of the human mind indeed and a problem of the highest interest to every thoughtful observer of the destinies of mankind." --Dr. Steingass, quoted in T.P. Hughes' DICTIONARY OF ISLAM, pp. 526-527. "The above observation makes the hypothesis advanced by those who see Muhammad as the author of the Qur'an untenable. How could a man, from being illiterate, become the most important author, in terms of literary merits, in the whole of Arabic literature? How could he then pronounce truths of a scientific nature that no other human being could possibly have developed at that time, and all this without once making the slightest error in his pronouncement on the subject?" --Maurice Bucaille, THE BIBLE, THE QUR'AN AND SCIENCE, 1978, p. 125. "Here, therefore, its merits as a literary production should perhaps not be measured by some preconceived maxims of subjective and aesthetic taste, but by the effects which it produced in Muhammad's contemporaries and fellow countrymen. If it spoke so powerfully and convincingly
to the hearts of his hearers as to weld hitherto centrifugal and antagonistic elements into one compact and well-organized body, animated by ideas far beyond those which had until now ruled the Arabian mind, then its eloquence was perfect, simply because it created a civilized nation out of savage tribes, and shot a fresh woof into the old warp of history." --Dr. Steingass, quoted in T.P. Hughes' DICTIONARY OF ISLAM, p. 528. "In making the present attempt to improve on the performance of my predecessors, and to produce something which might be accepted as echoing however faintly the sublime rhetoric of the Arabic Koran, I have been at pains to study the intricate and richly varied rhythms which apart from the message itself - constitute the Koran's undeniable claim to rank amongst the greatest literary masterpieces of mankind... This very characteristic feature - 'that inimitable symphony,' as the believing Pickthall described his Holy Book, 'the very sounds of which move men to tears and ecstasy' - has been almost totally ignored by previous translators; it is therefore not surprising that what they have wrought sounds dull and flat indeed in comparison with the splendidly decorated original." --Arthur J. Arberry, THE KORAN INTERPRETED, London: Oxford University Press, 1964, p. x. "A totally objective examination of it [the Qur'an] in the light of modern knowledge, leads us to recognize the agreement between the two, as has been already noted on repeated occasions. It makes us deem it quite unthinkable for a man of Muhammad's time to have been the author of such statements on account of the state of knowledge in his day. Such considerations are part of what gives the Qur'anic Revelation its unique place, and forces the impartial scientist to admit his inability to provide an explanation which calls solely upon materialistic reasoning." --Maurice Bucaille, THE QUR'AN AND MODERN SCIENCE, 1981, p. 18. QUR'AN ON QUR'AN "Hence, indeed, We made this Qur'an easy to bear in mind: who, then is willing to take it to heart?" --Chapter 54: Verses 17, 22, 32, 40 (self-repeating) "Will they then not meditate on the Qur'an, or are there locks on their hearts?" --Chapter 47: Verse 24 "Surely this Qur'an guides to that which is most upright and gives good news to the believers who do good works that they shall have a great reward." --Chapter 17: Verse 9 "Surely We have revealed the reminder (Qur'an) and We will most certainly guard it (from corruption)." --Chapter 15: Verse 9 "Praise be to Allah Who has revealed the Book (Qur'an) to His slave (Muhammad) and has not placed therein any crookedness." --Chapter 18: Verse 1 "Will they not then ponder on the Qur'an? If it had been from other than Allah they would have found therein much discrepancy." Chapter 4: Verse 82 "And certainly We have explained in this Qur'an every kind of example; and man is most of all given to contention. And nothing prevents men from believing when the guidance comes to them, and asking forgiveness of their Lord, except that what happened to the ancients should overtake
them, or that the chastisement should come face to face with them." --Chapter 18: Verses 54-55 "And We reveal (stage by stage) of the Qur'an that which is a healing and a mercy for believers, and to the unjust it causes nothing but loss after loss." --Chapter 17: Verse 82 "And if you are in doubt concerning that which We reveal unto Our slave (Muhammad) then produce a surah (chapter) of the like thereof, and call your witnesses besides Allah if you are truthful." --Chapter 2: Verse 23 "And this Qur'an is not such as could be forged by those besides Allah, but it is a verification (of revelations) that went before it and a fuller explanation of the Book - there is no doubt - from the Lord of the Worlds." --Chapter 10: Verse 37 "So when you recite the Qur'an, seek refuge in Allah from Satan the outcast." --Chapter 16: Verse 98. World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), P.O. Box 10845, Riyadh 11443, Saudi Arabia
THE QUR'AN AND MODERN SCIENCE
Taken from "The Origin of Man", by Dr. Maurice Bucaille.
Dr. Maurice Bucaille is an eminent French surgeon, scientist, scholar and author of "THE BIBLE, THE QUR'AN AND SCIENCE" which contains the result of his research into the Judeo-Christian Revelation and the Qur'an. It is a unique contribution in the field of religion and science. Being an outstanding Scientist, he was selected to treat the mummy of Merneptah (Pharaoh) which he did. During his visit to Saudi Arabia he was shown the verses of the Holy Qur'an in which Allah says that the dead body of the Pharaoh will be preserved as a "Sign" for posterity. An impartial scientist like Dr. Bucaille, who (being also a Christian) was conversant with the Biblical version of Pharaoh's story as being drowned in pursuit of Prophet Moses. He was pleasantly surprised to learn that unknown to the world till only of late, the Holy Qur'an made definite prediction about the preservation of the body of that same Pharaoh of Moses' time. This led Dr. Bucaille to study the Holy Qur'an thoroughly after learning the Arabic language. The final conclusion of his comparative study of Qur'an and the Bible is that the statements about scientific phenomena in the Holy Qur'an are perfectly in conformity with the modern sciences whereas the Biblical narration's on the same subjects are scientifically entirely unacceptable.
FROM THE ORIGIN OF MAN
As most people in the West have been brought up on misconceptions concerning Islam and the Qur'an; for a large part of my life, I myself was one such person. Let me cite one or two specific examples to indicate the kind of inaccurate ideas generally current.
As I grew up, I was always taught that 'Mahomet' was the author of the Qur'an; I remember seeing French translations bearing this information. I was invariably told that the 'author' of the Qur'an simply compiled, in a slightly different form, stories of sacred history taken from the Bible; the 'author' was said to have added or removed certain passages, while setting forth the principles and rules of the religion he himself had founded. There are moreover Islamic scholars today in France whose duties include teaching and who express exactly these views, although perhaps in a more subtle form. This description of the origins of the Qur'anic text, which is so out of touch with reality, might lead one immediately to assume that if there are scientific errors in the Bible, there must also be errors of this kind in the Qur'an! This is the natural conclusion to be drawn in such circumstances, but it is based on a misconception. We are well aware that at the time of Muhammad - the Qur'anic Revelation took place between 610 and 632 A.D scientific obscurantism prevailed, both in the Orient as well as in the West. In France, for example, this period corresponded roughly to the reign of King Dagobert, the last of the Mrovingians. This approach to what was supposedly the Qur'anic text may on first sight seem logical, but when one examines the text with an informed and impartial eye, it becomes clear that this approach is not at all in keeping with reality. We shall see in a moment the truth of this statement, which is obvious from the texts. Whenever there is textual proof of the existence in the Qur'an of statements that are in agreement with modern knowledge, but which in the Bible are related in a manner that is scientifically unacceptable, the stock response is that, during the period separating the two Scriptures, Arab scientists made discoveries in various disciplines which enabled them to arrive at these supposed adaptations. This approach takes no account whatsoever of the history of the sciences. The latter indicates that the great period of Islamic civilisations, during which, as we know, science made considerable progress, came several centuries after the communication of the Qur'an to the communication of the Qur'an to man. Furthermore, scientific history informs us that, as far as the subjects dealt with in this present book are concerned, no discoveries were made during, the period separating the Bible from the Qur'an. When this aspect of the Qur'an is mentioned in the West, however, we are likely to hear it said that while this may indeed be so, nowhere is this fact referred to in the translations of the Qur'an which we possess today, or in the prefaces and commentaries that accompany them.
This is a very judicious remark. Muslim - and indeed non-Muslim translators who have produced a French version of the Qur'an are basically men of letters. More often than not, they mistranslate a passage because they do not possess the scientific knowledge required to understand its true meaning. The fact is, however, that in order to translate correctly, one must first understand what one is reading. A further point is that translators - especially those mentioned above - - may have been influenced by notes provided by ancient commentators often came to be regarded as highly authoritative, even though they had no scientific knowledge - nor indeed had anybody else at that time. They were incapable of imagining that the texts might contain allusions to secular knowledge, and thus they could not devote attention to a specific passage by comparing it to other verses in the Qur'an dealing with the same subject - a process that often provides the key to the meaning of a word or expression. From this results the fact that any passage in the Qur'an that gives rise to a comparison with modern secular knowledge is likely to be unreliably translated. Very often, the translations are peppered with inaccurate - if not totally nonsensical statements. The only way to avoid such errors is to possess a scientific background and to study the Qur'anic text in the original language.
On the subject of man, as well as the other topics mentioned earlier, it is not possible to find any corresponding data in the Bible. Furthermore the scientific errors contained in the Bible - such as those describing man's first appearance on earth, which, as we have seen, may be deduced from the Genealogies that figure in Genesis are not to be found in the Qur'an. It is crucial to understand that such errors could not have been 'edited out' of the Qur'an since the time they first became apparent: well over a thousand years have elapsed since the most ancient manuscripts and today's texts of the Qur'an, but these texts are still absolutely identical. Thus, if Muhammad were the author of the Qur'an (a theory upheld by some people), it is difficult to see how he could have spotted the scientific errors in the Bible dealing with such a wide variety of subjects and have proceeded to eliminate every single one of them when he came to compose his own text on the same themes. Let us state once again, that no new scientific facts had been discovered since the time the Bible was written that might have helped eliminate such errors. In view of the above, it is imperative to know the history of the texts, just as it is essential to our understanding of certain aspects of the Bible for us to be aware, of the conditions in which it was written. As we have noted earlier, experts in Biblical exegesis consider the books of Old and New Testaments to be divinely inspired works. Let us now examine, however, the teachings of Muslim exegetes, who present the Qur'an in quite a different fashion. When Muhammad was roughly forty years old, it was his custom to retire to a retreat just outside Mecca in order to meditate. It was here that he received a first message from God
via the Angel Gabriel, at a date that corresponds to 610 A.D. After a long period of silence, this first message was followed by successive revelations spread over some twenty years. During the Prophet's lifetime, they were both written down and recited by heart among his first followers. Similarly, the revelations were divided into suras(chapters) and collected together after the Prophet' death (in 632 A.D.) in a book: the Qur'an. The Book contains the Word of God, to the exclusion of any human additions. Manuscripts dating from the first century of Islam authenticate today's text, the other form of authentication being the recitation by heart of the Qur'an, a practice that has continued unbroken from the time of the Prophet down to the present day.
UNCORRUPTED NATURE OF THE QUR'AN
In contrast to the Bible, therefore, we are presented with a text that is none other than the transcript of the Revelation itself; the only way it can be received and interpreted is literally. The purity of the revealed text has been greatly emphasized, and the uncorrupted nature of the Qur'an stems from the following factors: First, as stated above, fragments of the text were written down during the Prophet's lifetime; inscribed on tablets, parchments and other materials current at the time. The Qur'an itself refers to the fact that the text was set down in writing. We find this in several suras dating from before and after the Hejira (Muhammad's departure from Mecca to Medina in 622 A.D.) In addition to the transcription of the text, however, there was also the fact that it was learned by heart. The text of the Qur'an is much shorter than the Old Testament and slightly longer than the New Testament. Since it took twenty years for the Qur'an to be revealed, however, it was easy for the Prophet's followers to recite it by heart, sura by sura. This process of recitation afforded a considerable advantage as far as an uncorrupted text was concerned, for it provided a system of double-checking at the time the definitive text was written down. This took place several years after the Prophet's death; first under the caliphate of Abu Bakr, his first successor, and later under the caliphate of Omar and in particular that of Uthman (644 to 655 A.D.) The latter ordered an extremely strict recension of the text, which involved checking it against the recited versions.
TEXT OF QUR'AN UNCORRUPTED
After Muhammad's death, Islam rapidly expanded far beyond the limits of the area in which it was born. Soon, it included many peoples whose native language was not Arabic. Very strict steps were taken to ensure that the text of the Qur'an did not suffer from this expansion of Islam: Uthman sent copies of his entire recension to the principal centers of the vast Islamic empire. Some copies still exist today, in more or less complete form, in such places as Tashkent (U.S.S.R) and Istanbul. Copies have also been discovered that date from the very first centuries after the Hejira; they are all identical, and all of them correspond to the earliest manuscripts. Today's editions of the Qur'an are all faithful reproductions of the original copies. In the case of the Qur'an, there are no instances of rewriting or corruption of the text over the
course of time. If the origin of the Qur'an had been similar to those of the Bible, it would not be unreasonable to suppose that the subjects it raised would be presented in the light of the ideas influenced by certain opinions of the time, often derived from myth and superstition. If this were the case, one might argue that there were untold opportunities for inaccurate assertions, based on such sources, to find their way into the many and varied subjects briefly summarised above. In actual fact, however, we find nothing of the kind in the Qur'an. But having said this, we should note that the Qur'an is a religious book par excellence. We should not use statements that have a bearing on secular knowledge as a pretext to go hunting after any expression of scientific laws. As stated earlier, all we should seek are reflections on natural phenomena, phrases occasioned by references to divine omnipotence and designed to emphasise that omnipotence in the eyes of mankind throughout the ages. The presence of such reflections in the Qur'an has become particularly significant in modern times, for their meaning is clearly explained by the data of contemporary knowledge. This characteristic is specific to the Qur'an.
It was not until I had learnt Arabic and read the Qur'an in the original that I realised the precise meaning of certain verses. Only then did I make certain discoveries that were astounding. With my basic ideas on the Qur'an - which to begin with were inaccurate, just as those of most people in the West - I certainly did not expect to find in the text the statements that I in fact uncovered. With each new discovery, I was beset with doubt lest I might be mistaken in my translation or perhaps have provided an interpretation rather than a true rendering of the Arabic text. Only after consultations with several specialists in linguistics and exegesis, both Muslim and non-Muslim, was I convinced that a new concept might be formed from such a study: the compatibility between the statements in the Qur'an and firmly established data of modern science with regard to subjects on which nobody at the time of Muhammad - not even the Prophet himself - could have had access to the knowledge we possess today. Since then, I have not found in the Qur'an any support given to the myths or superstitions present at the time the text was communicated to man. This is not the case for the Bible, whose authors expressed themselves in the language of their period. In 'La Bible le Coran et la Science' (The Bible, the Qur'an and Science), which first appeared in the original French in 1976 and which subsequently appeared in English in 1978, I set forth the main points of these findings. On November 9, 1976, I gave a lecture to the Academia de Medecine (French academy of Medicine) in which I explored the statements of the origins of man contained in the Qur'an; the title of the lecture was 'Donnees physiologiques et embryologiques de Coran'(Physiological and Embryological Data in the Qur'an). I emphasised the fact that these data - which I shall summarise below
- formed part of a much wider study. The following are some of the points which arise from a reading of the Qur'an: * a concept of the creation of the world which, while different from the ideas contained in the Bible, is fully in keeping with today's general theories on the formations of the universe; * statements that are in perfect agreement with today's ideas concerning the movements and evolution of the heavenly bodies; * a prediction of the conquest of space; * notions concerning the water cycle in nature and the earth's relief, which were not proven correct until many centuries later. All of these data are bound to amaze anyone who approaches them in an objective spirit. They add a much wider dimension to the problem studied in the present work. The basic point remains the same , however: we must surely be in the presence of facts which place a heavy strain on our natural propensity for explaining everything in materialistic terms, for the existence in the Qur'an of these scientific statements appears as a challenge to human explanations. That does not mean to say, however, that the statements in the Qur'an - especially those concerning man - may all of them be examined in the light of the findings of modern science. The creation of man as described in both the Bible and the Qu'ran totally eludes scientific investigation of the event per se. Similarly, when the New Testament or the Qur'an informs us that Jesus was not born of a father, in the biological sense of the term, we cannot counter this Scriptural statement by saying that there is no example in the human species of an individual having been formed without receiving the paternal chromosomes that make up one half of its genetic inheritance. Science does not explain miracles, for by definition miracles are inexplicable, thus, when we read in both the Qur'an and the Bible that man was moulded from the ground, we are in fact learning a fundamental religious principle: Man returns from where he came, for from the place he is buried, he will rise again on the judgment. Side by side with the main religious aspect of such reflections on man, we find in the Qur'an statements on man that refer to strictly material facts. They are quite amazing when one approaches them for the first time. For example, the Qur'an describes the origins of life in general and devotes a great deal of space to the morphological transformation undergone by man, repeatedly emphasizing the fact that God fashioned him as He willed. We likewise discover statements on human reproduction that are expressed in precise terms that lend themselves to comparison with the secular
knowledge we today possess on the subject.
INTEREST TO MEN OF SCIENCE
The many statements in the Qur'an that may thus be compared with modern knowledge are by no means easy to find. In preparing the study published in 1976, I was unable to draw on any previous works known in the West, for there were none. All I could refer to were a few works in Arabic dealing with themes treated in the Qur'an that were of interest to men of science - there was, however, no overall study. Over and above this, research of this kind requires scientific knowledge covering many different disciplines. It is not easy, however, for Islamologists to acquire such knowledge, for they possess a mainly literary background. Indeed, such questions hardly seem to occupy a place in their field of classic Islamology, at least as far as the West is concerned. Only a scientist, thoroughly acquainted with Arabic literature, can draw comparisons between the Qur'anic text - for which he must be able to read Arabic - and the data supplied by modern knowledge. There is another reason why such statements are not immediately apparent: Verses bearing on a single theme are scattered throughout the Qur'an. The book is indeed a juxtaposition of reflections on a wide variety of subjects referred to one after the other and taken up again later on, often several times over. The data on a precise theme must therefore be collected from all over the Book and brought together under a single heading. This requires many hours' work tracking down verses, in spite of the existence of thematic indexes provided by various translators, for such lists may perhaps be incomplete and indeed, in many cases, they often are.
WAY TO THE QURAN
by Khurram Murad
The New World that Awaits You
As you come to the Qur'an, you come to a new world. No other venture in your life can be so momentous and crucial, so blissful and rewarding, as your journey to and through the Qur'an. It is a journey that will take you through the endless joys and riches of the words that your Creator and Lord has sent to you and all mankind. Here you will find a world of untold treasures of knowledge and wisdom to guide you on the pathways of life, to mould your thoughts and actions. In it you will find deep insights to enrich you and steer you along the right course. From it you will receive a radiant light to illumine the deeper reaches of your soul. Here you will encounter profound emotions, a warmth to melt your heart and bring tears running down your cheeks. It is crucial for you because, as you travel through the Qur'an, at every step you will summoned to choose, and to commit to Allah. To read the Qur'an is nothing less than to live the Qur'an willingly, sincerely, devotedly, and totally. The outcome of your entire life depends on how you
heed the call given by Allah. The journey is therefore decisive for your existence, for mankind, for the future of human civilization. A hundred new worlds lie in its verses. Whole centuries are involved in its moments. Know, then, that it is the Qur'an, and only the Qur'an, which can lead you on and on to success and glory in this world and in the world to come.
What is the Qur'an?
It is beyond man's power to comprehend, or to describe, the greatness and importance of what the Qur'an holds for him. Yet, to begin with, you must have some idea of what it is and what it means to you , and such that you are inspired to immerse the whole of yourself in the Qur'an, in total commitment, complete dedication and ceaseless pursuit, as it demands. The Qur'an is Allah's greatest blessing or you . It is the fulfillment of His promise to Adam and his descendants: 'there shall come to you guidance from Me, and whatsoever follows My Guidance no fear shall e on them, neither shall they sorrow'(al Baqarah 2:38). It is the only weapon your frail existence as you struggle against the forces of evil and temptation in this world. It is the only means to overpower your fear and anxiety. It is the only 'light' (nur) , as you grope in the darkness, with which to find your way to success and salvation. It is the only healing (shifa) for your inner sickness, as well as the social ills that may surround you. It is the constant reminder (dhikr) of your true nature and destiny, of your station, your duties, your rew. It was brought down by one who is powerful and trustworthy in the heavens the heart of the Prophet Muhammad, blessings and peace be on him. to your Creator. It tells you of Him, of His attributes, of how He rules o to you, and how you should relate to Him, to yourself, to your fellow meny other existence. The rewards that await you here are surely many, incrng manifold and the hereafter, but what awaits you at the end of the road promises allah in the Hadith qudsi, the eye has seen not, nor the ear heard, nor the heart of man ever conceived and, adds Abu Hurayra'no human being can imagine what joys are being kept hidden for them in d or all that they did'(Bukhari, Muslim)
Qur'an As Living Constitution
Can the Qur'an again, be living, relevant force, as powerful for us now 1400 years away, as it was then? This is the most crucial question that we must answer if we wish to shape our destiny afresh under the guidance of the Qur'an. There appear, however, to be some difficulties. Not least of which has to do with the fact that Qur'an was revealed at a certain point in time. Since then we have traveled a long way, made gigantic leaps in technological know-how, and seen considerable social changes take place in human society. Moreover, most of the followers of the Qur'an today do not know Arabic, and many who do have little idea of the 'living' language of the Qur'an. They cannot be expected to absorbs its idioms and metaphor, so essential to exploring and absorbing the depths of the Qur'anic meaning. Yet its guidance, by its own claim, has an eternal relevance for all people, being the word of the Eternal God. For the truth of its claim, it seems to me, it must be possible for us to receive, experience, and understand
the Qur'an as it's first recipients did, at least in some measure and to some degree. We seem to almost have a right to this possibility of receiving God's guidance in its fullness and with all its riches and joys. In other words despite historical incidence of the revelation in a particular language at that particular time and place, we should be capable of receiving the Qur'an now (because its message is eternal), capable of making its message as much a real part of our lives as it was for the first believers and with the same urgent and profound relevance for all our present concerns and experiences. But how do we do this? To put it very forthrightly, only by entering the world of the Qur'an as if Allah were speaking to us through it now and today, and by fulfilling the necessary conditions for such an encounter. Firstly, then, we must realize what Qur'an as the word of God is and means to us, and bring all the reverence, love, longing and will to act that this realization demands. Secondly, we must read it as it asks to be read, as Allah's Messenger instructed us, as his Companions read it. Thirdly, we must bring each word of the Qur'an to bear upon our own realities and concerns by transcending the barriers of time, culture and change. For the first addressees, the Qur'an was a contemporary event. Its language and style, its eloquence and a rationale, its idiom and metaphor, its symbols and parables, its moments and events were all rooted in their own setting. These people were both witnesses to and in a sense, participants in the whole act of revelation as it unfolded over a period of their own time. We do not have the same privilege; yet, in some measures, the same ought to be true for us. By understanding and obeying the Qur'an in our own setting, we will find it, as far as possible, as much a contemporary event for ourselves as it was then. For the essence of man has not changed; it is immutable. Only man's externalities- the forms, the modes, the technologies - have changed. The pagans of Makka may be no more, nor the Jews of Yathrib, nor the Christians of Najran, nor even the 'faithful' and the 'unfaithful' of the community of Madina; but the same characters exist all around us. We are humans being exactly as the first recipients were, even though may find it extremely difficult to grapple with the deep implications of this very simple truth. Once you realize the truths and follow them, once you come to the Qur'an as first believers did, it may reveal to you as it did to them, make partners of you as it did of them. And only then, instead of being a mere revered book, a sacred fossil, or a source of magic-like blessing, it will change into a mighty force, impinging, stirring, moving and guiding us deeper and higher achievements, just as it did before.
Key Aspects of the Holy Quran
Quran has been revealed for the guidance of mankind and invites the people of wisdom to read into its pages to enhance human knowledge about the universe and Creator, and to create environments where man could live in peace and harmony with the fellow human
beings and with the Nature. Quran is a part of the Knowledge - which is limitless, and therefore it encapsules the stages of human development. It also contains the solutions of issues and problems which mankind faces and specifies a complete Islamic system ie the system which facilitates living in peace - where there is no oppression, insecurity, fear and inequality. Quran commands authority and leadership and thus declares that if anyone has any doubts about the truth of the Book which has been revealed to Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w), then they should try to make even one passage which could match the Book, and poses the challenge that despite the knowledge and resources that man has , he will not be able to do so (re: Al-Baqra 2:23-24). This challenge has not been met to-date. I think perhaps it would help to outline a few basic but key aspects of the Quran: Literary aspect: The language, the poetic element and the continuity of the Quran can only be fully appreciated by those who have the knowledge and command of Arabic language, though people of RAemanS who have no or little knowledge of the language get a wealth of satisfaction by reciting Quran or listening to its recitation. Translation of Quran in other languages can not reproduce the true meanings or the appropriate sense, therefore those who know no or little Arabic and would really like to understand Quran, should learn the language first. Perhaps it would be interesting to point out that enemies of Islam attack Quran mostly by using its translation or analysing its passages which are taken out of context. Al-Zikir: Where the reader can easily extract the lessons from what he reads. In this respect the Quran is very easy to understand for those who have some language skills. Allah says that the Quran was made easy in order to benefit and guide human (re: Murryam 19:97; Qamar 17:54; Dukhan 44:58). Al-Taddabur: Where the reader has to think through, analyse the concepts and deduce conclusions. It is this aspect of Quran which is most difficult since it goes right into the philosophy, knowledge and higher level of understanding. To highlight this point let me give a few examples. Abdulllah ibni Omar (son of Omar ibni Khattab) was a sahabi (companion of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w) and therefore was in the era in which the Quran was revealed, he was a thinker and researcher who had a total command of the Arabic language, and yet it took him approximately 8 years to interpret and document one surah ie Al-Baqra (this work was done well after the Prophet). Imam Razi was a philosopher and researcher, had a command of Islamic thoughts and interpreted Quran in 36 volumes. But when it came to interpret and explain Aya 2 and 3 of Al-Huded (57) which says that He is the first and He is the last and that He is most overt and most covert, Imam Razi wrote R this is very deep, very difficult. It is
impossible to explain in words. I hope the serious readers, believers or otherwise, would find this article helpful and would be able to appreciate that the Quran represents social, economic and political code for improving the quality of life. If people, Muslim or non-Muslim, do not practice the code, it is they who are the losers and not the Islam or the Quran. Note : Husain Akhtar, the writer of this article, can be contacted on email@example.com
Translating the Qur'an
Please keep in mind all ANY translation (interpretation) of the Qur'an will most definitely contain errors In its natural language (Arabic), the Qur'an is the direct Word of Allah (God) to mankind through the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Any translation of the Qur'an no longer retains that 'official' and perfect status, however it can be tremendously helpful to beginning students wanting to learn more about Islam. We would strongly encourage those want to learn about Islam to purchase a hardcopy of the Qur'an but with the following conditions:
get one with commentary (tafseer) make sure the tafseer is scholarly (e.g. references to reasons behind a verse, references to hadith and sunnah, etc.)
Unfortunately, this interpretation presented here does NOT meet this simple conditions. To the best of our knowledge, an excellent English translation and commentary of the Qur'an is Maududi's recently published work "The Meaning of the Qur'an". This work took more than forty years to complete, and was published beginning in the mid to late 1980's. Maududi's introduction to each chapter of the Qur'an is included at the moment, but the complete commentary is not online (yet!). This article was taken from : USC Muslim Students Association Islamic Server http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/
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