When the Quran talks of past events it often speaks of them as if these events exist within our own memories or in a collective human memory as an integral part of our own selves and of our human heritage and nature. It has a unique methodology in that it asks us to recall some past historical occurrences in the same manner with which we remember events from our own lives, as if they exist in our own individual, personal storehouse of experiences. "And remember We gave Moses the Scripture and the Criterion (between right and wrong) Quran 2:53 .... And remember Abraham and Isma'il raised the foundations of the House Quran 2:127 ....And remember We divided the sea for you Quran 2:50 ....And remember We took your covenant Quran 2:63 .... Remember Your Lord inspired the angels Quran 8:12 ....This is a word of remembrance to those who remember Quran 11:114 ....And remember Jesus, the Son of Mary, said.... Quran 61:6 ." It uses a language and a direct mode of expression that encourages us to erase the distance between ourselves and these past events, these historical events, by pulling them to the forefront with a compelling immediacy of attention. It seems to be telling us, through its technique of expression, that this historical distance does not exist in any real, metaphysical, essential sense.
The Quran asks us to be present, in our own era, wherever truth requires us to be present and it requires that presence to be a deeply rooted presence, not a superficial, ineffective, fleeting presence. It asks us not to regard humanity's past as merely "tales of the ancients" Quran 83:13, or as quaint historical footnotes that are irrelevant to our times and our own modern notions about the nature of things, about the nature of society, of humanity, of morality. It presents the world as more than just matter, as more than a chronological string of occurrences. Rather, it posits an essence and reality to certain events that lifts those events out of time, giving them a presence in a higher reality, in a deeper, more substantial layer of existence, and thereby makes their essential truths accessible to all times and places. So when the Quran speaks of Moses and Aaron, of Zachariaha and Maryam, of the various prophets and men of knowledge that have walked the earth it raises their stories out of historical time and into a universal time. It presents them almost as universal memories and then it asks us to remember, to recall.
This is A Revelation From The Most Merciful, The Most Compassionate;
A Book Whose Verses Have Been Well-Expounded;
An Arabic Qur'an For Those Who Have Knowledge;
A Herald Of Good News And A Warner,
But Most Of Them Turn As ide So They Hear Not."
What Qur'an Says About Qur'an ?
Who Sent Qur'an ?
10. Surah Yunus: Ayah 37
"And This Qur'an is Such That it Could Not Be Composed By Any Unless it Be Revealed From Allah.
It is A Confirmation Of The Revelation Made Before it And A Detailed Exposition Of The Book.
Beyond Doubt it is From The Lord Of The Universe."
4. Surah Nisaa: Ayah 82
" Do They Not Ponder About The Qur'an ?
Had it Been From Any Other Than Allah,
They Would Surely Have Found in it Much inconsistency."
On Whom Qur'an is Descended ?
76. Surah Dahr : Ayah 23
" (O Prophet Sall'Allahu Alaihi Wasallam), indeed We Have Revealed The Qur'an To You in Portions. "
42. Surah Ash-Shura : Ayah 7
" And Thus Did We Reveal This Arabic Qur'an To You That You May Warn The People Of The Mother Of Cities (to wit, Makkah) And Those Who Dwell Around it; And Warn Them Of The Day Of Gathering concerning Which There is No Doubt: Whereon Some Will Be in Paradise,
And Some in The Blazing Fire."
6. Surah Al-An'am : Ayah 19
" Ask Them : ' Whose Testimony is The Greatest ?
' Say : 'Allah is The Witness Between Me And You;
And This Qur'an Was Revealed To Me That I Should Warn You Thereby And Also Whomsoever it May reach.
' Do You indeed Testify That There Are Other Gods With Allah ?
Say : 'I Shall Never Testify Such A Thing.
' Say : 'He is The One God And I Am Altogether Averse To All That You Associate With Him in His Divinity."
For Whom Qur'an is Descended?
41. Surah Fussilat : Ayah 1-4
" Ha'. Mim.
This is A Revelation From The Most Merciful,
The Most Compassionate,
A Book Whose Verses Have Been Well-Expounded;
An Arabic Qur'an For Those Who Have Knowledge,
A Herald Of Good News And A Warner,
But Most Of Them Turn Aside So They Hear Not. "
50. Surah Qaaf : Ayah 45
" ... So Exhort With The Qur'an All Those Who Fear My Warning."
When Qur'an is Descended ?
2. Surah Al-Baqarah : Ayah 185
" The Month Of Ramazan is That in Which The Qur'an Was Revealed,
A Guidance To Men And Clear Proofs Of The Guidance And The Distinction;
Therefore Whoever Of You is Present in The Month,
He Shall Fast Therein,
And Whoever is Sick Or Upon A Journey, Then (He Shall Fast) A (Like) Number Of Other Days. ..."
Why Qur'an is Descended ?
12. Surah Yusuf : Ayah 2
" We Have Sent it Down As An Arabic Qur'an, in Order That Ye May Learn Wisdom. "
20. Surah Ta-ha : Ayah 1-5
" Ta Ha.
We Have Not Sent Down The Qur'an To You To Put You in Distress.
This is An Admonition For Every Such Person Who Fears (Allah).
This Has Been Sent Down By That Being, Who Has Created The Earth And The High Heavens.
The Merciful is Sitting On The Throne Of The Kingdom*
(Of The Universe)."
(*That is, "After creating the universe, He is ruling over it and conducting all the affairs of its management.)
17. Surah Bani Israel : Ayah 106, 9-10
" And We Have Sent Down This Qur'an Piecemeal So That You May Recite it To The People Gradually Piece By Piece,
And We Have Sent it Down By Gradual Revelations *
(to suit particular occasions)."
(*This is an answer to this objection: "Why has not Allah sent down His Message as a whole? Why is He sending it piecemeal?)
" Indeed The Qur'an Shows That Way Which is Perfectly Straight :
To Those Who Believe in it And Do Good Deeds, it Gives The Good News That There is A Great Reward For Them."
" And To Those Tho To Not Believe in The Hereafter, it Tives The Warning That A Painful Torment Has Been Made Ready For Them
Stressed? Depressed? Thinking what to do but not getting any way out?”Bear with patience whatever befalls you”- (Quran 31:17). “Never lose hope in the Mercy of Allah”- (Quran 39:53). “Verily, along every hardship comes relief”- (Quran 94:6).
The Miracle and Challenge of the Quran
"We shall show them Our signs on the horizons and within themselves until it will become clear to them that it is the Truth. Does it not suffice that your Lord is Witness over all things?" Qur'an:41:53.
Muslims are taught that throughout the ages, Allah Almighty has sent a prophet to every nation as a warner and a bearer of glad tidings.
"Verily! We have sent you (O Muhammad) with the Truth, a bearer of glad tidings and a warner; and there is not a nation but a warner has passed among them."Qur'an 35:24.
Each Prophet was wisely selected by Allah in order to be the best person for the job. He was then provided by Allah with miracles as proof of his truthfulness and his message. These miracles were wisely selected by Allah in order to be in the same field as that which these people excelled in so that they could fully comprehend the magnitude of these miracles.
For instance, the people during the time of Moses excelled at magical trickery. Their rulers used to surround themselves with the most powerful of these wizards as a sign of power. This is why Allah made the miracles of Moses (as) similar to their magical trickery (changing a stick into a snake, parting of the sea... etc.) but of a much greater magnitude than anything they could ever hope to accomplish. For they were not tricks, but actual physical miracles.
The people at the time of the Prophet Jesus (as) excelled in matters of medicine. For this reason, his miracles were of a medical nature (raising of the dead, healing of the blind...etc.), but of a degree that they could never hope to imitate. Similarly, one of the major miracles of Islam was a new and unheard-of type of literature similar to the Bedouin's poetry but far beyond anything they could ever hope to match. Although they did indeed try. This new literature was called "The Qur'an."
The Arabic language, as can be attested to by any of it's scholars, is a very rich and powerful language. The Bedouin people of the Arabian desert were, in general, illiterate people of very little scientific knowledge. The thing that set them apart, however, was their mastery of poetry. Spending their days as they did in the desert watching their sheep graze got quite boring. They alleviated their boredom by continually composing and refining poetry. They would spend entire years composing and refining their poetry in anticipation of a yearly face-down of the poetic compositions of their peers from all over the country. The fact that they were illiterate forced them to also train themselves in the memorisation of works of literature to such an extent that they were able to memorise complete works from a single recitation. Even in matters of leadership, one of the major criteria for selecting the leaders of the various Bedouin tribes was the individual's prowess in literary composition and memorisation. The Arabian Bedouins took great pains to make their poetry as compact and picturesque as humanly possible, constantly expanding the language along the way. A single word could convey complete pictures. The Qur'an, however, has put even these great efforts to shame. You will notice that when a Muslim translates a verse of the Qur'an he usually does not say "the Qur'an says so and so" but rather "An approximation of the meaning of what the Qur'an says is so and so." You really need to know the language to comprehend this.
In the English language, we find that the words: "mustang," "colt," "mare," "pony," "stallion," "bronco"... etc. all refer to the same thing; a horse. Each one of these words conveys a slightly different mental picture. The mental picture we get when we hear the word "colt" is slightly different than the picture we get if we hear the word "mare." In a similar manner, the Arabic language progressed in such a fashion as to make it possible to convey such mental pictures in as concise and picturesque a format as possible. It is not at all uncommon to find over three hundred words that refer to the same thing in the Arabic language. Each one of these words gives a slightly different picture than the others.
Many centuries of this constant refinement eventually lead to a very complex and rich vocabulary. It was for this very reason that Allah Almighty placed the primary miracle of Muhammad (saws) in the Qur'an. You see, if you want someone to believe in your miracle, you should present your miracle in the same field as that which that person excels in. If I am a computer programmer, and I go to a Chemist and challenge him to write a better computer program than myself, then this will not be much of a competition. But if I challenge a computer programmer to the same test then this will be a true test of my abilities. It will also be possible for my opponent to truly comprehend the magnitude of what I have accomplished.
When Muhammad (saws))first became the prophet of Islam, he presented his people with a challenge: "compose a literary work on a par with this Qur'an that I have brought you and you will prove that I am a liar." They could not. The Qur'an continued to reduce it's challenge until the challenge finally became: "compose only a single verse comparable to this Qur'an and you will have won." They still could not. This in addition to the fairness, justice, and logic of the Qur'an eventually won them over and slowly more and more people became Muslims.
"Well then, if the Koran were his own [Muhammad's] composition other men could rival it. Let them produce ten verses like it. If they could not (and it is obvious that they could not), then let them accept the Koran as an outstanding evidential miracle" (Mohammedanism, H. A. R. Gibb, Oxford University Press, p. 42)
"From the literary point of view, the Koran is regarded as a specimen of purest Arabic, written in half poetry, half prose. It has been said that in some cases grammarians have adopted their rules to agree with certain expressions used in it, and though several attempts have been made to produce a work equal to it as far as elegant writing is concerned, none yet has succeeded". (Glimpses of the Holy Qur'an, Muhammad Azizullah, Crescent Publications, pp. 104-105)
Many claims have been made against Muhammad (saws) in that day and this. Among them are the claims that he was a lunatic, a liar, or deceived by the devil. If Muhammad (saws) was a lunatic or a liar then we have to wonder how all of his prophesies came true?. Further, if he was a deceived by Satan then we are faced with another problem. For we know that all Muslims are taught that when reading the Qur'an to first begin with the words "I seek refuge in Allah from Satan the accursed one." and then follow this up with the words "In the name of Allah, Most Beneficent, Most Merciful" So, we have to wonder if Satan would "inspire" a man to teach mankind to seek refuge in God from Satan? Indeed this is the exact same accusation which was made against Jesus (as). Let us read how Jesus responded to this claim:
"But some of them (the Jews) said, He casteth out devils through Beelzebub (Satan) the chief of the devils. And others, tempting [him], sought of him a sign from heaven. But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house [divided] against a house falleth. If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub." The Bible: Luke 11:15-18
It has been the case throughout the ages that with all previous Prophets, their miracle was separate from their book. Although we may claim that we have the "Torah" of Moses, still, it is not possible now to bring Moses' (as) staff and see it perform miracles as it did in his time. Similarly it is not possible today to see Jesus (as) raise the dead as he did so many centuries ago. However, since the message of Islam was the final message of God to mankind, therefore, the book of Islam itself was made the main miracle of Islam. It was also promised to renew it's challenge to mankind throughout the ages.
What does this mean? Nowadays, the number of people who can appreciate the literary content of the Qur'an has dwindled and this challenge no longer has the same impact it did fourteen hundred years ago. However, as we have seen in the verse quoted at the beginning of this chapter, Allah Almighty has promised to continually renew the challenge of the Qur'an throughout the ages. So how will it be renewed?
Recently, a new field of study has opened up to scholars. People nowadays are fascinated with science. This is the age of technology and scientific discovery. For this reason, mankind has begun to study the religious scriptures of humanity from a scientific point of view in order to challenge the scientific claims made in these scriptures. Many works have been published on this topic.
As mentioned previously, Muhammad (saws) lived among tribes of illiterate Bedouins. He himself was also illiterate. These people used to live extremely simple lives. Most of them were Nomads who travelled from place to place depending on where they could find grass for their sheep to graze. When Muhammad (saws) brought them the Qur'an, the believers found in the Qur'an the command to go out, seek knowledge, and to learn, learn, learn. A few centuries later, once the Islamic nation became firmly established, Muslims began to fulfil this command of the Qur'an and this resulted in one of the greatest explosions of scientific advancement mankind has ever seen. All of this was going on during a period that the West calls "The Dark Ages," wherein the scientists of the West were being persecuted and killed as sorcerers wizards and witches. During this period, Muslim scholars introduced into the world such things as:
* Mathematical evolution of spherical mirrors * Rectilinear motion of light and use of lenses * Refraction angle variations * Magnifying effects of the plano convex lens * Introduced the concept of elliptical shape of cosmological bodies * Study of the Centre of Gravity as applied to balance * Measurement of specific weights of bodies * Rule of algebraic equations * Solutions to quadratic and Cubic equations * Work on square roots, squares, theory of numbers, solution of the fractional numbers * Solutions of equations of cubic order * Wrote on conic geometry elaborating the solution of algebraic equations * Determined the Trinomial Equation * Avicenna's "Canon of Medicine." He is know as the Prince of Physicians to the West * Wrote the first description of several drugs and diseases as meningitis. * Treatment of Physiological shocks * Expertise in psychosomatic medicine and psychology * Al Biruni mentions 56 ( fifty six ) manuscripts on pharmacology * Credited for identifying Small Pox and its treatment * Use of alcohol as an antiseptic * Use of mercury as a purgative for the first time * First to describe the circulation of blood. * "Holy Abbas" was, after Rhazes, the most outstanding Physician. His works were authoritative till the works of ibn Sina appeared * Writings on Cosmology, Astrology, Music, Science of numbers and letters * Proved that the earth is smaller than the sun but larger than the moon. * Final authorities on Chemistry for many Centuries * Classified metals into three classifications * Laid the basis of the Acid Base theory * Distillation, calcination, crystallisation, the discovery of many acids * Cultivation of Gold - is a continuation of Jabir's work * Theory of Oscillatory motion of equinoxes * Addition of ninth sphere to the eight Ptolematic astronomy * Discovered the increase of the suns apogee * Gravitational force * Responsible for the discovery motion of the solar apsides * wrote ' On the Science of Stars ' * Determination of latitudes and longitudes * Determination of geodetic measurements * Described the motion of the planets * Solved the problems of spherical trigonometry * First to study the isometric oscillatory motion of a pendulum * Invented the instrument ' Sahifah " * Responsible for the proof of the motion of the apogee of the sun with respect to the fixed stars. * authorities on the theory of the system of homocentric spheres * Prepared a calendar that was more accurate than the Gregorian one in use today. and much, much more.
All of this began with a single illiterate Bedouin Arab from the desert fourteen hundred years ago. The book that was brought into the world by such a man, cries out to be studied from a scientific aspect.
"So ask the People of Knowledge if you do not know" Qur'an:21:7
There are two other verses in the Qur'an where the Sabians are mentioned:
[Surely, those who believe, and those who are the Jews and the Sabians and the Christians, whosoever believed in Allah and the Last Day, and worked righteousness, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.](Al-Ma'idah 5:69)
[Those who believe, those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Sabians, Christians, Magians, and Polytheists,- Allah will judge between them on the Day of Judgment: For Allah is witness of all things.](Al-Hajj 22:17)
For a proper understanding, these verses must be read in conjunction with another verse:
[And whoever seeks a religion other than Islam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the hereafter he will be one of the losers.](Aal `Imran 3:85)
Brides await baptism. Sabians describe themselves as pacifists -- which leaves them especially vulnerable in today's climate of sectarian warfare.
By Zaid Sabah, USA TODAY
BAGHDAD — Dressed in gleaming white robes, a small group of Sabians gathered on a Sunday afternoon to wash away their sins — and to forget about the problems facing Iraq and the followers of their ancient religion.
The Sabians belong to a centuries-old sect that follows the teachings of John the Baptist but is neither Muslim nor Christian. Flowing water plays a symbolic role in their faith, and several people were baptized at the recent ceremony, including three couples who were getting married.
Long famed in Iraq as jewelers and gold merchants, the Sabians describe themselves as pacifists — which leaves them especially vulnerable in today's climate of sectarian warfare. Even the white color of their robes is meant to symbolize peace.
"Our religion has no tribal background that protects us from violence, so when the government becomes weak, we can't protect ourselves," says Uday Asa'ad Khamas, a spokesman for Sabians in Iraq, a local group.
The Sabians are one of the oldest groups in the Mesopotamia region, but their numbers in Iraq have dwindled from about 40,000 before the U.S. invasion to fewer than 10,000 now, Khamas says. About 57 Sabians have been killed since February of last year, he says, many by sectarian militias who seek to occupy their homes.
There is only one Sabian sheik left in Baghdad who conducts baptisms on Sundays. The ceremonies used to take place in the Tigris River but have been moved to a pool inside the church for security reasons, Khamas says.
The group was persecuted under Saddam Hussein's regime, which forced many Sabian women to be wives for Muslim men, says Raed Hassoun, a Sabian journalist for Iraqi television. He says the group became even more of a target after Saddam was deposed, forcing many of his friends and relatives to flee the country.
"The extremists consider us infidels, despite the fact our religion is very close to Islam and we even use Muslim names," says Ghassan Kareem, 27, who runs a computer shop in Baghdad.
Other Iraqis tend to believe Sabians are wealthy, which has posed added problems, Kareem says. "My father was a goldsmith," he says, "but he died a long time ago, and I paid the price for that. These militias kidnapped me in the middle of the day and I got treated like an animal."
The militias asked for a $100,000 ransom — unusually high for Iraq — believing, incorrectly, that Kareem's family was still wealthy. With great difficulty, his relatives were able to gather $30,000, and Kareem was released.
"The good thing is I am still alive, because in most cases even when you pay, you get killed," Kareem says.
Many in the group have started going by names that are both Sunni and Shiite in origin, hoping to avoid being targeted at illegal checkpoints erected by sectarian militias around Baghdad.
Some Sabians have moved to the northern Kurdistan region, where security is much better. Those who remain in Baghdad seek comfort in their faith and try to find companionship when they gather on Sundays.
"Like any other sect in Iraq, the Sabians live the good times and the bad times together," Hassoun says.
THERE have been numerous claims to prophethood throughout time. Some of the claims were rightful, and others were motivated by want for power, wealth or status. How were the people of those times to know the difference? How can we tell?
There are at least two characteristics which distinguish the true prophets. When Allah raised a Prophet among a people, he would equip them with miracles by which the people could identify them. At times, false prophets would arise and resist them. The false prophets would produce feats of magic designed to sway the people to their way. But Allah would strengthen His prophets with His miracles which would defeat the magic. An example of this is the story of Prophet Moses, in which the magical ‘snakes’ of Pharaoh’s magicians were devoured by the true miracle of Moses’ staff. A further testimony to the distinction between magic and miracle was the conversion of the magicians themselves to the religion of Moses upon seeing the miracle of his staff.
The second characteristic is the righteous content of the prophets’ message, and their unwavering personal adherence to its guidance.
We will focus on the first distinction, and discuss how Allah has preserved and sent forward a miracle which is with us today.
The miracles of the true Messengers of Allah were primarily for the people immediately exposed to them. Jesus’ raising of the dead, by the permission of Allah, was undoubtedly a convincing spectacle to those who witnessed it. The staff of Moses, truly made into a snake by the Permission of Allah, caused the magicians to fall prostrate in awe of Allah’s power.
The prophets have died or been raised up by Allah, and with them went their miracles. But if Allah calls us to believe in Him, we who live centuries after the prophets, do we suppose that He would leave us without a similar opportunity to witness the proofs and signs of His Might and Mercy? Allah is Most Just, and He has indeed sent forward a single blazing miracle, perfectly preserved.
What is this miracle?
Allah revealed Books containing His Guiding Speech to some of His prophets. After the passing of some of the prophets, people changed some of the texts by adding or deleting things according to their whims. But, how are we to know which if these Books have remained intact as they were revealed?
Allah himself answers this question in the Qur’an: “Had the Qur’an been from other than Allah, they would have found in it many contradictions.”
Part of our criterion for determining authenticity is that the Book should not contain contradictions and it should not conflict with established scientific fact.
We have today those Books which people claim are from Allah. (i.e., the Torah, Bible, Qur’an, etc.) Our focus here is not to test each book and discover its mistakes (see Islamic Selections, Deedat, Ahmed: The Islamic Propagation Center, Durban, South Africa). We will only put to test the Qur’an, as we believe it to be the last miracle.
What is the Qur’an?
Precisely, it is the Words of Allah revealed to the Prophet Muhammad through the Angel Gabriel. It was memorized, over a period of 23 years, by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), who taught it to his companions. In turn, his companions committed it to memory until there were hundreds of his followers reciting the self-same text. Today, there are perhaps millions of Muslims, men and women, who have memorized the Qur’an. Each one eventually able to trace his teacher back to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
By this massive corroboration, in Arabic ‘mutawaatir,’ we can verify that not one word of the Qur’an has been altered since it was revealed to Muhammad over fourteen centuries ago. We believe the Torah and the Bible are also books originally from Allah, but they have both been changed (ibid. Deedat) by man over the ages. The Qur’an is the only book of Allah which remains unchanged, and was the final revelation of Allah to mankind.
The Qur’an is the first source of belief and practice for Muslims. It provides guidance for living all aspects of life, and deals with all subjects that concern mankind.
Closer examination of the evidence for the Qur’an Both the Torah and the Bible were of equal merit to the Qur’an in the sense that they were all from Allah. However, Allah, in His wisdom, took it upon Himself to preserve His final revelation from alteration.
“Behold! It is We who revealed the Reminder (Qur’an), and behold! Surely We are its Guardian.” (15:19)
One of the usages of ‘we’ in Arabic is for glorifying and indicating the greatness of a person. Here it indicates greatness and not plurality.
Further, Allah issued a challenge to any who doubt the truthfulness of the Qur’an.
“And if you are in doubt concerning that which We send down to Our servant, then produce a chapter of its like and call your witnesses, besides Allah, if you are truthful. And if you cannot, and surely you cannot, then fear the fire whose fuel is men and stones prepared for the disbelievers.” (2:23-24)
More than 1400 years have passed and not a single fulfillment to this challenge has been produced. Although the Arabs were among the most advanced in poetry and speech, they failed miserably in their efforts.
The second part of our criterion was that a Book from Allah should agree with established scientific facts. This obviously must hold because the One Who revealed the Message and the Creator are the same. Over 1400 years ago, predating the advent of most modern tools of scientific observation, the Qur’an spoke in detail about natural phenomena not discovered until recent centuries.
“We shall show them Our Signs on the horizons and within themselves, until it becomes manifest unto them that it (the Qur’an) is the Truth. Is it not sufficient that the Lord is witness over all things? (41:53)