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Article appeared Friday, January 20th, 2017 in The News Today, Bangladesh

The Revelation (460)

yousuf mahbubul Islam, PhD

Complex products we buy come with a user manual. What would be the purpose of such
manuals? Is it to derive the best and efficient use of the product? Do manuals help to prevent
misuse and problems?
Ignoring this purpose of manuals could there be users who feel that they know better than the
manufacturer and avoid using the manual even when needed? At the same time, could there be
users who would want to change the contents or pages of a manual? Would it be logical and
sensible to do so? Users could of course have questions on the use, can provide feedback, but
could the users presume to know more than the manufacturer? Or could the purpose of wanting
to change manuals be to deceive other users?
Could Holy Scriptures be manuals for human beings? They generally contain guidance and
consequences. Who is that can guide mankind? Can any being other than the Creator be in a
position to guide mankind? And what could the guidance be about? Browsing the Holy Quran,
we find that the second Verse in Chapter 2 not only tells us its origin and purpose, but also for
whom it is meant.
This is (from) that Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those conscious
of Allah. [2.2]
As pointed out {1} Book refers to the source from which the Verses are revealed. The Verses
were revealed in Arabic [43.2 43.4] for the convenience of the local people and the Prophet at
that time, who was an Arab [41.44].
Nay this is a Glorious Qur'an (inscribed) in a Tablet Preserved! [85.21 85.22]
Revelations to previous prophets were also from the preserved Book,
If you are in doubt as to what We have revealed to you then ask those who have been
reading the Book (revealed earlier) before you: the Truth has indeed come to you from
your Lord: so be not of those in doubt. [10.94]
The Book contains guidance for those who are conscious of the Creator, Allah i.e., those who
have worked out His existence and seek guidance or those who have questions regarding their
blessed existence and purpose. During the time of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), Revelation
came in response to situations prevailing at the time. During the time of Revelation, a certain
group of people wished to modify or replace the Verses.
And their purpose was to tempt you (O, Prophet) away from that which We had
Revealed to you; to substitute in Our name something quite different: (in that case)
behold! They would certainly have made you (their) friend! [17.73]
An analysis of the Verse would reveal that it deals with the situation at hand, guiding the
Prophet (pbuh) with an insight as to the motives behind the invitations of the unbelievers. It talks
about the intentions of the unbelievers and what may have transpired. The Verse could only
have been Revealed by a Being who can See everything that was going on and has knowledge
of what was going on in the hearts. The reason for tempting the Prophet is given. What did the
unbelievers want to do?

17.76 Their purpose was to scare you off from the land in order to expel you; but
in that case they would not have stayed after you except for a little while.
By substituting verses, they wished to discredit the Prophet (pbuh) and drive him off the land.
Had they expelled or killed the Prophet, what would the Creator have done? The same as He
had done with the disbelieving people of previous prophets (such as Noah, Hud, Salih,
Shuayeb, Lot and Moses), i.e., He visited the opposing people with complete annihilation.

17.77 (This was Our) way with the apostles We sent before you: you will find no
change in Our ways.
The purpose of Revelation is to guide mankind. Guide to what? Can it be guiding to the purpose
of creation, how to get the best out of the life created/given? Again, looking through the Holy
Quran we find the purpose.
Have you not seen (i.e., considered) that Allah created the Heavens and the earth in
Truth? If He so wills He can remove you and put (in your place) a new Creation?
[14.19]
Just as the existence of a painting establishes the quality of the painter, the existence of the
heavens and the earth and everything in it establishes the Quality of the Creator, Allah. The job
of intelligent humans is to observe and witness this truth of the Creator, just as one would
witness the quality of a painting while viewing it. Each and every day that we live through is a
series of created miracles by the Creator. As we observe and establish the reality of the Creator
in our hearts, what would be the rightful thing to do?

17.78 Establish regular prayers at the sun's decline till the darkness of the night
and the morning prayer and reading: for the prayer and reading in the morning
carry their testimony.
We should address our Creator in the manner shown by the Prophet while standing in prayer
as well as being conscious of the Creators support throughout. Using the movement of the sun,
our Prophet (pbuh) demonstrated four distinct prayers {p.718, 1} as the sun starts to decline at
mid-day. The first is Zohr prayer just as the sun starts to decline. This is followed by Asr (midafternoon), Magrib (after the sun has set) and Isha when the night is at its darkest. The fifth is
the morning prayer, Fajr. These official connecting times are also confirmed by Verse 20.130.
An additional prayer is the Tahajjud prayer at night mentioned in the subsequent Verse.

17.79 And pray in the small watches of the morning: (it would be) an additional
prayer (or spiritual profit) for you: soon will your Lord raise you to a station of
Praise and Glory!
The instruction to address the Creator in prayer is the same as given to previous prophets.
We inspired Moses and his brother with this message: "Provide dwellings for your
People in Egypt make your dwellings into places of worship and establish regular
prayers: and give Glad Tidings to those who believe!" [10.87]
Those conscious of Allah find reassurance in the Guidance provided in the Quran.
We send down (stage by stage) the Qur'an in that which is a healing and a mercy to
those who believe: to the unjust it causes nothing but loss after loss. [17.82]
-----------{Notes}:
{1} Nasr, S. H., Editor-in-Chief. (2015). The Study Quran: A new translation and commentary.
Harper One.