Explore Islam - The Qur'an --Its Message and Merits

The Qur'an -- Its Message and Merits

The Qur'an is the Book of God revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him), the Last Prophet of God. It is a confirmation and completion of the earlier Books of God revealed to other Prophets before him. It is the duty of Muslims to believe in all these Books as revealed Messages from God. But uncorrupted copies of these earlier Holy Books are unavailable. Because of the passage of time and the bad conditions of preservation, they have undergone changes.

The Qur'an's story is very different from this. Verses after verses of the Qur'an were revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him), in the course of 23 years of his life. As soon as he received these verses, he dictated them to his disciples, who not only wrote them down, but also tried to learn them by heart. There were so many people who had memorized the Qur'an among his disciples. From the first day of its revelation, as it were, the Qur'an was in the hands and hearts of the people.

Before the death of the Prophet, the whole of the Qur'an was written down, examined and verified by the Prophet. From that time onwards, it has remained safe from corruption as several copies of it were in the possession of the Muslims. So it was not possible to make any changes to its verses, even if someone wanted to do so.

It is a widely acknowledged fact that the Qur'an is the most frequently read book. Muslims read passages of the Qur'an five times daily as part of their ritual prayer. Besides, they read it early in the morning, as God has recommended its reading at that time. So pious Muslims have been reading this Holy Book everyday repeatedly from the Prophet's time to the present. This is God's own plan of keeping the Qur'an safe from corruption.: "Certainly, it was We Who revealed the Reminder (the Qur'an) and certainly, We shall preserve it." Holy Qur'an)

One of the wonderful aspects of the Qur'an is that even though it was revealed 14 centuries ago, it incorporates principles and formulations relevant for all time. This means that the Qur'an is not a book like other books. It is unique in its content, its form, its language and tone. Any outsider who has known Islam by hearsay may try to study Islam first by trying to read it, of course in translation. The first thing that he will notice is that it is no ancient book as expected. Another thing he will notice is that this book is not the book of a Desert Arab, as he might call the Prophet. It is true that there are references to desert life in it. But the book deals with life of humanity under any circumstances, anywhere, any time.

One of the miracles of the Qur'an, which was revealed 14 centuries ago is the fact that it can be read and understood by the Arabic-speaking people living today. Every language undergoes changes as time passes, and a hundred or two hundred years is long enough for a language to undergo substantial changes. The English of 600 years ago, sounds an entirely different language from the English of today; this is well-known to anyone who has tried to read Chaucer in the original. (Chaucer: an English poet who lived six centuries ago). If that is so, what about the Arabic of the Hijaz region, spoken fourteen centuries ago?

Anyone who knows the rudiments of the history of languages knows that logically it should be impossible for the Arabic-speaking peoples of today to read and understand a book fourteen centuries old. And yet, everyday, every hour, every minute, in fact every second of the 24 hours of the 365 days of every year of the past centuries has been alive with the reading and study of the Qur'anic verses. And it goes on into the future. The volume and scope of it multiplies in every imaginable way with the arrival of the multimedia.

Thus we see that the Qur'an is the ever-present miracle of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), rivaling all other miracles so far. Add to this the astounding fact that, in spite of all the hostile propaganda unleashed against Islam by some of the most powerful organizations in the world today, Islam is yet the fastest growing religion now, by all estimates, whether conservative or liberal.

Muslim or not, shouldn't one read and study the Qur'an and check whether its ideas are relevant to our information-crazy, hyper-tech world?

Here are a few verses of the Qur'an in translation, which will give us a taste of what God purports to do through the Qur'an:

The Qur'an on the Qur'an:
This is the Book; in it is Sure Guidance, without doubt, for those who are God-conscious".(2:2)

And this is a Book which We have revealed as a Blessing: so follow it and be righteous, so that you may receive Mercy. (6:155)

We have made the Qur'an easy in your own tongue( O Prophet!), so that with it you may give Glad Tidings to the righteous, and Warnings to people given to contention. (19: 97)

And say: "The Truth has arrived, and Falsehood perished; for Falsehood is bound to perish." We send down stage by stage, of the Qur'an that which is a Healing and a Mercy to those who believe; and to the unjust it causes nothing but loss after loss. (17: 81, 82)

To you We sent the Scripture in Truth, confirming the Scripture that came before it, and guarding it: so judge between them by what God has revealed, and do not follow their vain desires, diverging from the Truth that has come to you"(5:48)

Certainly this Qur'an explains to the Children of Israel most of the matters in which they disagree. And in it certainly is a Guide and a Mercy to those who believe. (27:76, 77)

When the Qur'an is read, listen to it with attention and hold your peace; so that you may receive Mercy. And (O reader!) bring your Lord in remembrance in your very soul with humility, and recite without loudness in words, in the mornings and evenings; and do not be of those who are heedless. (7:204, 205)

Do they not ponder on the Qur'an? If it had been from anyone other than Allah, they would surely have found therein many a discrepancy. (4: 82)

Do they say "He forged it"? Say: "Bring then a chapter like it and call (for help) anyone you can, other than God, if you are honest?" (10:38)

The Qur'an on God:
The main purpose of the Qur'an is to awaken in man a constant and unfailing awareness of God's Presence; for in the words of the Qur'an, God is closer to man than his jugular vein. A God-conscious person knows that even if he doesn't see God, God is always watching him:

Allah is the Light of the Universe; and the similitude of His Light is as a Niche in which is a Lamp enclosed in a Glass like a brilliant star; (the Lamp is) lit from a blessed Tree, an Olive, neither of The East nor of the West, whose oil is very luminous, though fire has not touched it. Light upon Light! God does guide whom He wills to His Light: And God sets forth parables for men; and He knows all things. (24: 35)

Allah there is no god but He, the Living, the Self-Subsisting Supporter of all; no slumber can overtake him, nor sleep; His are all things in the heavens and on earth. Who can intercede with Him except with His permission? He knows what is before them or behind them. Nor can they compass anything of His knowledge except as He wills. His Throne extends over the heavens and the earth. He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them. For He is the Highest, the Supreme (in glory). (2:255)

Allah is the Protector of those who have faith: From the depths of Darkness, He leads them forth into Light. As for those who reject faith, their patrons are the Evil Ones, and they lead them from Light into the depths of Darkness. They are the companions of the Fire; and they will dwell therein for ever. (2: 257)

He is Allah in the Heavens and on earth. He knows what you hide and what you reveal, and He knows what you earn (by your deeds). (6:3)

To Allah belong the East and the West; and wherever you turn, there is the Face of Allah. For Allah is All- Embracing, All- Knowing. (2:115)

Your Guardian Lord is Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth in six stages, then He settled Himself on the Throne: He draws the night as a veil over the day, each in rapid succession: And the sun, the moon, and the stars, all are subservient to Him by His command; certainly, His are the Creation and the Command; Glorious is Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the Worlds. (7: 54)

How can you reject faith in Allah?-- Seeing that you were without life and Allah gave you life; then will He cause you to die, and again He will bring you to life; and then again to Him will be your return. It is He Who has created for you all things that are on earth; then He turned to the heaven and made it into seven firmaments; and of all things He has perfect knowledge. (2: 28, 29)

(Allah) the Most Merciful! It is He Who taught the Qur'an. He created man: He taught him the power of speech. The sun and the moon follow (precise)courses pre-ordained. And the plants and the trees both bow in His worship. And the Firmament has He raised high, and He has set up the Balance of Justice, in order that you may not transgress due proportion. (55: 1-8)

Qur'an on Man and His Life in This World:
Behold! Your Lord said to the angels: "I am about to create Man from sounding clay, from mud molded into shape; when I have fashioned him(in due proportion) and breathed into him My spirit, you fall down in obeisance to him". So the angels prostrated themselves, all of them together; not so Iblis (Satan); he refused to be among those who prostrated themselves. (15: 28-31)

We have honored the sons of Adam; provided them with transport on land and sea; Given them for sustenance things good and pure; and conferred on them special favors, above a great part of our creation. (17: 70)

Then did Iblis (Satan) make them slip from the (Garden) and get them out of the state ( of felicity) in which they had been. And We said: "Get you down all, with enmity between yourselves; on earth will be your dwelling place and your means of livelihood for a time." Then Adam learnt from his Lord words (of repentance), and his Lord turned towards him (in forgiveness); for He is Oft-Returning, Most Merciful. We said: "Get you down all from here; and if as is sure, there comes to you Guidance from Me, whoever follows My Guidance, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. But those who reject Faith and belie Our Signs, they shall be Companions of the Fire; and they shall abide therein." (2:36-39)

Mankind was one single nation, and Allah sent Messengers with glad tidings and warnings; and with them He sent the Book in truth, to judge between people in matters wherein they differed; but the People of the Book, even after clear signs came to them, differed among themselves through selfish obstinacy. But to the Truth, whereof they had differed, Allah guided the believers by His Grace. For Allah guides whom He wills to the Straight Path. (2: 213)

O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female; and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other (not that you may despise each other). Certainly the most honored of you in the sight of Allah, is the most Righteous of you. And Allah has full Knowledge, and is well acquainted (with all things). (49: 13)

Say (O Prophet!): "O people! The Truth has come to you now from your Lord. Those who receive Guidance, do so for the good of their own souls; those who stray, do so to their own loss: And I am not (set) over you to arrange your affairs." (10: 108)

Verily We have created man into toil and struggle. (90: 4)

O man! Verily you are ever toiling on towards your Lord, painfully toiling and you shall meet Him. (84: 6)

Truly man was created very impatient; upset when evil touches him; and selfish when good reaches him; not so those devoted to prayer, those who remain steadfast to their prayer. (70: 19-23)

Man prays for evil as fervently as he prays for good; for man is given to haste. (17: 11)

Allah has made for you, mates of your own nature, and made for you out of them sons and daughters and grandchildren, and provided for you sustenance of the best: will they then believe in vain things, and be ungrateful for Allah's favors? (16: 72)

Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honor. And out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility and say: "My Lord! Bestow on them your Mercy even as they cherished me in childhood." (17: 23, 24)

Do not follow that, of which you have no knowledge; for surely, the hearing, the sight, the heart; all of those shall be questioned of. Do not walk on the earth with arrogance: for you cannot rend the earth asunder, nor reach the mountain in height. (17: 36, 37)

It is We Who have placed you with authority on earth, and provided you therein with means for the fulfillment of your life; but you give little thanks. (7: 10)

Allah wishes to lighten your (burdens); for man was created weak. (4: 28)

Fair in the eyes of men is the love of things they covet: women and sons; heaped-up hoards of gold and silver; horses branded (for blood and excellence); and wealth of cattle and well-tilled land. Such are the possessions of this world's life; but with Allah is the best of the goals (to return to). (3:14)

Whatever misfortune happens to you, is because of the things your hands have wrought , and for many (a sin) He grants forgiveness. (42:30)

Mischief has appeared on land and sea because of what the hands of men have earned, and Allah wants to give them a taste of some of their deeds, so that they may turn back (from evil) (30:41)

Every soul shall have a taste of death; and on the day of judgment you will be paid your full reward. Only he who is saved far from the Fire and admitted to the Garden will have succeeded: For the life of this world is but goods and chattels of deception. (3: 185)

Nothing is the life of this world but play and amusement; but best is the Home in the hereafter for those who are righteous; will you not then understand? (6: 32)

The Qur'an: Some Commands and Warnings from Allah:
O People! Worship your Guardian Lord, Who created you and those before you, so that you become Righteous. (2: 21)

Guard yourself against a day when no soul shall avail another, no intercession shall be accepted for her, no compensation shall be taken from her, and no one shall be there to help. (2: 48)

Be steadfast in prayer and give Zakat ( Specified Charity); and whatever good you send forth for your souls before you, you shall find it with Allah: for Allah sees well all that you do. (2: 110)

O you who believe! Seek help with patient perseverance and prayer: for God is with those who patiently persevere. (2: 153)

Be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods, lives, and the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere. (2: 155)

O you who believe! Enter into Islam whole-heartedly; and do not follow the footsteps of Satan, for he is to you an avowed enemy. (2: 208)

O you who believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared; and die not except in a state of Islam. And hold fast all together, by the Rope Allah stretches out for you, and be not divided among yourselves. (3: 102, 103)

Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong; they are the ones to attain felicity. (3: 104)

Do not lose heart; nor fall into despair: For you must gain mastery if you are true in Faith. (3: 139)

O you who believe! Persevere in patience and constancy; vie in such perseverance; strengthen each other; and fear Allah; that you may prosper. (3: 200)

O you who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger and those charged with authority among you. If you differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger, if you do believe in Allah and the Last Day: That is the best, and the most suitable course for final determination. (4: 59)

Those who believe and do deeds of righteousness,-- we shall soon admit them to Gardens, with rivers flowing beneath,-- to dwell therein for ever. Allah's promise is true, and whose word can be truer than Allah's? (4: 122)

If any do deeds of righteousness,--be they male or female--and have faith, they will enter heaven and not the least injustice will be done to them. Who can be better in religion than one who submits his whole self to Allah, does good, and follows the way of Abraham the true in faith? For Allah did take Abraham for a friend. (4: 124, 125)

O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, or whether it be (against) rich or poor: For Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest you swerve. And if you distort justice, verily Allah is well- acquainted with all that you do. (4: 135)

Certainly they disbelieve who say: "Allah is Christ the son of Mary" But Christ said: "O Children of Israel! Worship Allah, my Lord and your Lord." Whoever joins other gods with Allah, Allah will forbid him the Garden, and the Fire will be his abode. For the wrong-doers, there will no one to help. They disbelieve who say: "Allah is one of the Trinity": for there is no god except the One God. If they do not refrain from their word (of blasphemy), verily a grievous punishment will befall the disbelievers among them. (5: 73, 74).

O you who believe! Do not betray the Trust of Allah and the Messenger, nor misappropriate knowingly things entrusted to you. And know that your possessions and your children are but a trial: and that it is Allah with Whom lies your highest reward. (8: 27, 28)

Say: if it be that your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your mates, or your kindred, the wealth that you have gained, the commerce in which you fear a decline, or the dwellings in which you delight, are dearer to you than Allah or His Messenger, or the striving in His cause; then wait until Allah brings about His decision: and Allah does not guide the rebellious. (9: 24)

Say: "O my Servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (39: 53).