Quran

The Last Testament – Quran

Qur’an is the word of God, directly revealed to the last Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him) during 23 years of his Apostolic mission [610-632 C.E]. It was instantly preserved by putting in to writing and memorization by his companions. God says:

“Surely this is a Glorious Qur’an, inscribed on an Imperishable Tablet.”(Qur’an;85:21-22). 

God has taken responsibility to guard it against corruption:

“Surely We have revealed the reminder (Qur’an) and We will most certainly guard it (from corruption).”(Qur’an;15:9).

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Quran Introduces Quran

A summary of extracts (meanings) from holy verses, sheds light, as to how Quran :

  1. Revealed by God   (Quran;3:60)
  2. God revealed Quran and will protect it (Quran;15:9)
  3. Free from any ambiguity (Quran;18:1-2)
  4. Neglected nothing in the Book” (Quran; 6:38)
  5. Falsehood cannot approach it (Quran;41:42)
  6. Book in truth and [also] the balance.(Quran;42:17)
  7. Nobody, not even Prophet can change Quran (Quran;10:15)
  8. Messenger conveyed all what was revealed of this Book from Lord. There is nothing that could alter His words(Quran;18;27, 6:19)
  9. Allah’s Words never change.(10:64) [And changeless are His Laws (33:62), (35:43), (48:23) (17:77)]
  10. Delivered the messages of the Lord (72:28, 5:67)
  11. He encompasses in His knowledge their surroundings and keeps a count of all things.”
  12. Book with the truth, verifying old Scriptures and a guardian over it (Quran;5:48)
  13. Verses of established meaning, further explained in detail (Quran;11:1)
  14. The most beautiful Message in a consistent Book wherein is reiteration.(Quran;39:23)
  15. Healing and a mercy to the believers, and it adds only to the perdition of the unjust. (Quran;17:82)

Guidance

  1. Book of God, without any doubt, guidance for those who fear God(Quran;2:2)
  2. Bring mankind out of darknesses into the light (Quran;14:1)
  3. “This book to provide explanations for everything, and guidance, and mercy, and good news for the Muslims”(Quran;16:89)

Judge in Differences

  1. The Criterion to judge right and wrong (Quran;25:1)
  2. Book with truth, to judge between people in that in which they differed (Quran;2:213)

Read, Ponder

  1. In clear Arabic, easy to understand (Quran;12:2)
  2. Study the Quran, as it should be studied (Quran;2:121)
  3. Ponder over its verses, and that those endowed with understanding may be mindful.(Quran;38:29)
  4. Do they not then think deeply in the Quran, or are their hearts locked up?(Quran;47:24)

Concealing

  1. Those concealing revelations of Quran are cursed by Allah (Quran;2:159)
  2. Who conceal in the scripture, for a cheap material gain, incur painful retribution.(Quran;2:174)

Deniers and Rejectors:

  1. Woe unto every fabricating impostor, the one who hears GOD’s revelations but  ignores arrogantly, Grievous punishment awaits (Quran;45:7-8)
  2. Those who dispute Ayas have turned away from the right path (Quran;40:69)
  3. Those who deny the revelations, will suffer a dreadful doom.(Quran;45:11)
  4. Who disbelieved in Quran, are doomed (Quran;90:19)
  5. And none but the Zalimun (polytheists, wrongdoers) deny Ayat (Quran;29:49)
  6. And be not like those who said, We hear, and they did not obey (Quran;8:21)

Quran is Called Hadith (discourse, statements, word):

In which Hadith other than the Quran will they believe? (Quran;77:50)

  1. In what Hadith (discourse) after this  (Quran) will they then believe?(Quran;7:185)
  2. These are the revelations of God which We recite to you for a genuine purpose. In what Hadith (statements) other than God’s and His revelations will they then believe? (Quran;45;6)
  3. Let them produce a Hadith (discourse) like it if they are true in their claim.(Quran;52:34)

Great Jihad with Quran:

Great Jihad against disbelievers with this Quran (Quran;25:52).

Muslims Abandoned Quran:

On D of J the Messengers will say, “Lord, my people had abandoned this Quran.”(Quran;25:30)

Literal & Allegorical Verses;  Explanation – Quran;3:7

There is test/trial of the believers, with clear warning

“He it is Who has revealed to you (O Prophet) the Scripture. In it some verses are Literal (Muhkam), while some verses are Allegorical (Ambiguous). The verses that pertain to Permanent Values have been presented literally. These verses, MUHKAMAT, are the Essence of the Divine Law. On the other hand are MUTASHABIHAT (abstract phenomena, historical events, and the World of the Unseen are described in similes, metaphors and allegories for your understanding). But those who are given to crookedness in their hearts pursue the allegories and try to give them literal meanings, thus creating dissension. No one knows their final meaning (of such as the Essence of God, His Throne, His Book of Decree, the Eternity) but Allah. Those who are well founded in knowledge understand why the allegories have been used and they keep drawing lessons from them (74:31). They proclaim the belief that the entire Book is from their Lord. [As the human knowledge evolves, many of the other allegories will unfold their literal meaning (41:53)]. But only the men and women of understanding will bear this fact in mind. [Each of the verses in the Qur’an is MUHKAM, Absolute Truth and you can understand which ones are to be taken literally and which ones are to be taken allegorically, by the context (11:1), (47:20). And each verse in the Book complements the other (39:23)].

Muhkam means that which has been made firmly and perfectly. The muhkam verses mentioned here are those Quranic verses which are embodied in clear and lucid language and whose meaning is not liable to any ambiguity and equivocation. The words of these verses are clear pointers to their true meaning and, therefore, it is difficult to subject them to arbitrary interpretation. Such verses form the core of the Holy Book; they are the verses which fulfil the true purpose for which the Qur’an was revealed, and they invite the whole world to Islam. They embody admonition and instruction as well as the refutation of erroneous doctrines and the elucidation of the Right Way. They also contain the fundamentals of the true faith; teachings relating to belief, worship and morality, and mandatory duties and prohibitions. These are the verses which will guide the genuine seeker after Truth who turns to the Qur’an in order to find out what he ought and ought not to do.

‘Ambiguous’ verses are those whose meaning may have some degree of equivocation. It is obvious that no way of life can be prescribed for man unless a certain amount of knowledge explaining the truth about the universe, about its origin and end, about man’s position in it and other matters of similar importance, is intimated to him. It is also evident that the truths which lie beyond the range of human perception have always eluded and will continue to elude man; no words exist in the human vocabulary which either express or portray them. In speaking about such things, we necessarily resort to words and expressions generally employed in connection with tangible objects. In the Qur’an, too, this kind of language is employed in relation to supernatural matters; the verses which have been characterized as ‘ambiguous’ refer to such matters.

At best, such expressions may serve to either bring man close to or enable him to formulate some view of reality, even if it is a faint one. The more one tries to determine the precise meaning of such verses, the more their ambiguities proliferate, and the more one is confronted with choosing between several plausible interpretations. All this is likely to alienate one progressively further away’ from the Truth instead of bringing one closer to it. Those who seek the Truth and do not hanker after the satisfaction of their egocentric quest for exotic superfluities, will be satisfied with the dim vision of reality derived from these verses. They will concentrate their attention instead on the clear and lucid ‘core’ verses of the Qur’an. It will be left to those who are either out to make mischief and mislead people or who have an abnormal passion for superfluities to devote their attention to hair-splitting discussions about the contents of the ‘ambiguous” verses. This might give rise to an unnecessary problem: How can people believe in ‘ambiguous’ verses when the contents of these cannot be grasped?

The fact is that a reasonable person will believe that the Qur’an is the Book of God through his reading of its clear and lucid verses, rather than by learning fanciful interpretations of the ambiguous verses. Once so convinced, he is not likely to be worried by doubts and anxieties caused by the ambiguities of the verses concerned. One who seeks the Truth is satisfied with the obvious meaning of these verses, and wherever he encounters complications and ambiguities he abstains from pursuing their solution too far. Instead of wasting his time splitting hairs, he is content to believe in the things laid down in the Book of God, without seeking to know them precisely and in detail. He turns his attention, in the main, to questions of a practical nature.

Preservation:

During all ages, millions of Muslim of all age groups memorize Qur’an comprising over 6000 verses; a unique distinction which makes Qur’an, the only book in human history to have been continuously preserved through this method along with the written form. No other scripture or book can rival this claim. Hence, since its revelation the Qur’an is being transferred in its original revealed form, continuously (twatar) from generation to generation.

Revealed in Arabic Language and Translations:

The Qur’an was revealed in Arabic, the language of Prophet, peace be upon him (and his clan Quraish of Makka). The translation (Tarjama) of the Qur’an means the expression of the meaning of its text in a language different from the language of the Qur’an, for understanding by those not familiar with Qur’anic Arabic. It is customary to quote the original Arabic Qur’anic text (ayah, verses) along with the translation, however this require special handling due to reverence of the sacred text, hence in this book for the convenience of handling by all categories of the readers, only the translation is given, which should also be handled with due respect. It is more appropriate for the reader to also consult the original Arabic Qur’an. The English translations by Abdullah Yousaf Ali, M.Pickthall, Muhammad Asad and F.Malik are popular. There is agreement among Muslim scholars that it is humanly impossible to transfer the meanings of original Qur’an word by word in an identical mode into another language. This is due to several reasons: firstly the Qur’an itself is a miracle and cannot be imitated by man. As a consequence of this, the translation of Qur’an is not considered as Qur’an. The translations of the Qur’an; e.g. into English, French, German and Urdu, etc, in principle are regarded as paraphrases. These translations can not be used in place of original Arabic Qur’an for ritual purposes. Secondly the words of different languages do not express all the shades of meanings of their original Arabic word, though they may express specific concepts. Hence narrowing down the meaning of the Qur’an to specific concepts in a foreign language would mean missing out other important dimensions. While reading the translations of Qur’an these aspects must always be kept in view.

The example of verse: “wa- huwa ‘alladhe khalaqa as- samaawaat wa- al- ‘ard. fe sittah ayyaam..” (Qur’an;11:7) is considered here.

The word ayyaam in Arabic means; ‘days’ or ‘long periods’ or ‘eons’ or ‘epoch’. The four translations being given here differ in their understanding:

“And it is He who has created the heavens and the earth in six eons” (M.Asad); “He is the One Who created the heavens and the earth in six periods” (F.Malik)

“And He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days” (Pickthall); “He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days” (Yousaf Ali).

The translation of ayyaam as ‘eons’ appears more scientific and accurate. Hence if some contradictions appear, it is due to the limitations of translation, not of Qur’an.

Reference Method:

The Qur’an comprises 114 chapters, called Surahs, of very unequal length and each Surah comprises number of verses. The translation of references from Qur’an are mostly given within brackets   “xyz” followed by reference of Surah and Ayah in bracket i.e: “Praise be to Allah the Cherisher and Sustainer of the Worlds.”(Qura’n;1:2). It implies that the translation is from Surah (chapter) Number 1 and verse number 2 of the same Surah.

Names of Chapters:

The names of Chapters (Surahs) can be found from the index. In this case the name of Surah Number 1 as given in Surah Index is Al-Fatiha meaning ‘The Opening’. The names of Chapters (Surahs) in Qur’an, in most of the cases have no special relation to the subject of the Surah but has been used merely as a symbol to distinguish it from other Surahs. The  name comprise of a word used some where in the Surah. Taking example of 2nd Surah AL-BAQARAH (the Cow), which has been so named from the story of the Cow occurring in this Surah (verse number 67-73). Although this Surah is an invitation to the Divine Guidance and all the stories, incidents etc. revolve round this central theme. As this Surah has particularly been addressed to the Jews, many historical events have been cited from their own traditions to admonish and advise them that their own good lies in accepting the Guidance revealed to the Holy Prophet. It has not, however, been used as a title to indicate the subject of the Surah. It will, therefore, be as wrong to translate the name Al-Baqarah into “The Cow” or “The Heifer” as to translate any English name, say Baker, Rice, Wolf etc., into their equivalents in other languages or vice versa, because this would imply that the Surah dealt with the subject of “The Cow”. Many more chapters (Surahs) of the Qur’an have been named in the same way because no comprehensive words exist in Arabic (in spite of its richness) to denote the wide scope of the subject discussed in them. As a matter of fact all human languages suffer from the same limitation. However in some cases the name of Chapters (Surahs) indicate the subject matter i.e. the first Surah Al-Fatihah, which means ‘that which opens a subject or a book or any other thing’ or in other words, Al-Fatihah is a sort of ‘Preface’. Similarly SurahAl Yousaf’ (Joseph) Surah number 12, is related with the story of Prophet Joseph (PBHH).

This is an endeavour to assist the reader in learning and understanding of the message of Quran.

Index

Quran Video Playlist :http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL1D4658B86D15B88C

Quran, Science & Bible: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL634D73F5946FA810

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