Do you know what Quran is?


In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious and The Most Merciful

INTRODUCTION TO THE GLORIOUS QUR’AN

This [Qur’an] is a clear statement to [all] the people and a guidance and instruction for those conscious of Allah.” [The Qur’an-3:138]

Koran

The Miracle of Miracle – the Holy Quran

The Qur’an is the Last and the Final message of Allah (Arabic word for God) the Almighty revealed to the honorable Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) delivered by Angel Jibrael (Gabriel) in the blessed land of Makkah and Madina (Saudi Arabia). Its revelation started in the Islamic month of Ramadan in the year 610 CE and completed over a period of 23 years.

These 23 years of revelation resulted in a book which comprised of 114 chapters and over 6000 verses. The Qur’an contains a universal message of Allah to the whole mankind without any limitation to space or time. It includes all the subjects that concern human beings, such as doctrine, family, wisdom, worship, economy, etc. It is a source of guidance, healing and mercy to those who have faith. It is neither crooked not does it contain any defects.

Qur’an: Definition of the Term

The word ‘Qur’an’ a verbal noun, is equivalent in meaning to ‘qiraa’ah’ as both come from the verb ‘qara’a’ which means ‘to read’.

That is, Qur’an literally means ‘a reading or reciting’.[ Arabic-English Lexicon, vol. 2, p. 2502] However, the term ‘Qur’an’ has been historically used specifically to refer to the book which was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). The term ‘Qur’an’ is mentioned in a number of places throughout the book in reference to itself. For example: 

“Verily, this Qur’an guides (humanity) to that which is most just.”[The Qur’an- 17:9] 

The name Qur’an is used to refer to both the Qur’an as a whole, as in the previously quoted verse; as well as to each verse or group of verses, as in the following verse:

“And if the Qur’an is recited, you should listen to it and be silent, that you may receive mercy.”[The Qur’an-7:204] 

The Book has also been referred to by other names; for example,

The Furqaan (The Distinction): 

“Blessed is He who revealed the Furqaan to His slave in order that he may be a warner to all the worlds.”[The Qur’an-25:1]

 and the Dhikr, (The Reminder):  

Verily, I revealed the Dhikr and verily I will preserve it.” [The Qur’an-15:9]
  

The Qur’an is Allah’s words which were revealed in Arabic to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Its recitation is used in acts of worship and even its smallest chapter(surah) is of a miraculous nature.

 The Prophet’s divinely inspired statements which were recorded by his followers are generally referred to as Hadiths(sayings). For example, the Prophet’s companion (sahaabi), ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab, reported that he once said,

  “Verily, deeds are (judged) by their intentions.” [Collected by al-Bukhaari (Sahih Al-Bukhari, vol. 1, p. 1, no. 1) and Muslim (Sahih Muslim, vol. 3, p. 1056, no. 4692)] 

However, in some of his statements, the Prophet (peace be upon him) attributed what he said to Allah; for example, another companion, Abu Hurayrah, reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,   “Allah, Most High, says, ‘I am as My slave thinks of Me and I am with him when he remembers me. So if he remembers Me to himself, I will remember him to Myself and if he remembers Me in a group, I will remember him in a better group.’ ”[ Collected by al-Bukhaari (Sahih Al-Bukhari, vol. 9, pp. 369-70, no. 502) and Muslim (Sahih Muslim, vol. 4, p. 1408, no. 6471)]

In order to distinguish this type of hadith from the previous type, it is referred to as hadith qudsi (sacred hadith) and the former referred to as hadith nabawi (prophetic  hadith).

The Qur’an, however, is not the same as hadith Qudsi for a number of reasons.

  • First, the Qur’an is from Allah both in its wording and in its meaning, while in the case of hadith qudsi, its meaning is from Allah but its wording were of  the Prophet (peace be upon him).
  • Second, Allah challenged the Arabs and mankind in general to produce even a chapter equivalent to one of the Qur’an’s chapters, and their inability to do so proves its miraculous nature. This is not so in the case of hadith qudsi.
  • Third, the recitation of the Qur’an is used in salaah (prayer) and is itself considered a form of worship. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever reads a letter from the Book of Allah, he will have a reward. And that reward will be multiplied by ten. I am not saying that “Alif, Laam, Meem” is a letter, rather I am saying that “Alif” is a letter, “laam” is a letter, and “meem” is a letter”.[ Reported by Ibn Mas‘ood and collected by at-Tirmidhi and Ahmad]

However, the recitation of hadith qudsi carries none of these properties.[ See Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence, p. 15, and Qawaa’id at-Tahdeeth min Funoon Mustalih al-Hadith, p. 56]

Language of the Qur’an:
 “Indeed, We have sent it down as an Arabic Qur’an that you might understand.” [The Qur’an-12:2]

The Arabic language is the most eloquent, plain, deep and expressive of the meanings that might arise in one’s mind. Therefore, the most honorable Book, was revealed in the most honorable language, to the most honorable Prophet and Messenger, delivered by the most honorable angel, in the most honorable land on earth, and its revelation started during the most honorable month of the year, Ramadan. Therefore, the Qur’an is perfect in every respect. [Commentary of Qur’an from Tafsir ibn khathir]

Why the Qur’an is revealed in Arabic?

The following reasons have been given in the Qur’an for its revelation in Arabic language:

1. Arabic was the language of the people where it was revealed

“And thus: We have revealed to you a Qur’an in Arabic so that you may warn the Foremost of all towns and those who dwell around it, and may warn of the Day of Gathering, which is beyond all doubt. One group will be in the Garden, and one group will be in the Flames.” [The Qur’an-42:7]

2. To explain it without any want of clarity, distinctness or perspicuousness

“Now if We had made it a Qur’an in a non-Arabic tongue they would surely have said, “Why is it that its verses have not been made clear? Why – a foreign tongue and an Arab?” Say, “For those who accept it, this is a Guidance and medicine for a wholesome life. But as for those who will not believe (Arabs or non-Arabs), in their ears is deafness, and so it remains obscure to them. They are like people who are called to from afar.” [Al Qur’an-41:44]

3. To make it easy to understand

“Behold, We have sent it down in all clarity, in the Arabic tongue, so that you might encompass it with your reason.” [Al Qur’an-12:2]

“Behold, We have made it a Qur’an in clear Arabic language that you may fully understand.” [Al Qur’an-43:3]

Arabic was the most advanced and comprehensive language at the time when Qur’an was being revealed and it still is the most comprehensive. The terms, concepts and themes would be best clarified and explained in Arabic language and last but not the least, it was the language of the people where it was revealed.

The Style of the Quran:

What topics does the Quran discuss?  It covers various subjects.  Most importantly, it talks about the unity of God and how to live which accords to His Will.  Other topics include religious doctrine, creation, criminal and civil law, Judaism, Christianity, polytheism, social values, morality, history, stories of past prophets, and science.

The Qur’an calls the great human exemplars of the past prophets and mentions their great sacrifice in spreading the message of God, the most important of them being Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus (peace be upon them).  The Qur’an elaborates on the ways in which the followers of the prophets, specifically the Jews and the Christians, have or have not lived up to the prophetic messages. 

It also discusses the fate of past nations who rejected their Prophets, such as Noah and Lut (peace be upon them).  It issues instructions on how to live a life pleasing to God.  It commands people that they should pray, fast  and take care of the needy.  It discusses matters of human inter-relationships, sometimes in great detail – such as laws of inheritance and marriage. 

The Qur’an tells people that they should observe God’s instructions purely for God’s sake, not for any worldly aims.  It warns those who deny God’s messages that they will be thrown into the fire of Hell, and it promises those who accept the messages that they will be given the bliss of Paradise.

The Qur’an retells in their original many of the stories, especially that of Moses (mentioned by name more than any other person, followed by Pharaoh, his great enemy, who is the Qur’anic archetype of human evil).  It has much to say about the moral and legal duties of believers.

 Also, the Qur’an repeats certain verses and themes at times, shifts topics, and often relates narratives in summarized form.  We can see two reasons for this characteristic. 

 First, it serves a linguistic purpose and is one of the powerful rhetorical techniques of classical Arabic. 

Second, all themes of the Qur’an, no matter how varied, are wrapped around one common thread running through the entire book: that all types of worship rendered to others besides or alongside God is false, and that obedience to Him and His prophets, Muhammad(peace be upon him) being one of them, is a must. 

 The Qur’an, unlike the Bible, does not mention genealogies, chronological events, or minute historical details, but rather uses events from both past and present to illustrate its central message. 

So, when the Qur’an is discussing the healing properties of honey or the life of Jesus, neither topic is an end in itself, but each is related in one way or another to the central message – unity of God and unity of the prophetic message.  No matter what the topic may be, it finds occasion to refer the discussion back to this central theme.

Another important point to keep in mind is that the Qur’an was not revealed in one sitting, but was revealed in parts over a span of 23 years. Many passages were revealed in response to specific events.

Often, Qur’anic revelation would come from Almighty Allah to Prophet Muhammad(peace be upon him) as a response to questions raised by those around him, whether believers or unbelievers. 

The Qur’an addresses the People of the Scripture (a term used by the Quran for Jews and Christians), humanity at large, believers and finally, it addresses the Prophet himself, commanding him what to do in certain situations or supporting him and giving him solace in the face of ridicule and rejection. Knowing the historical and social context clarifies the text.

Some other notable features of Qur’an’s style are the following:

(1) The use of parables to stir curiosity of the reader and explain deep truths.

(2)  More than two hundred passages begin with the Arabic word Qul – ‘Say’ – addressing Prophet Muhammad(peace be upon him) to say what follows in reply to a question, to explain a matter of faith, or to announce a legal ruling.  For example,

“Say: ‘O People of the Scripture!  Do you disapprove of us for no other reason than that we believe in God, and the revelation that has come to us and that which came before (us), and because most of you are rebellious and disobedient?’” [The Quran-5:59]

(3)  In some passages of the Qur’an, God takes oaths by His marvelous creation to strengthen an argument or to dispel doubts in the mind of the listener,

“By the sun and its brightness,

by the moon when it follows it,

by the day when it displays it,

by the night when it covers it,

by the sky and He who constructed it,

by the earth and He who spread it,

by the soul and He who proportioned it…” [The Quran -91:1-7]

Sometimes God takes an oath by Himself:

“But no, by your Lord, they will not (truly) believe until they make you, (O Muhammad), judge concerning that over which they dispute among themselves and then find within themselves no discomfort from what you have judged and submit in (full, willing) submission.” [The Quran 4:65]

(4)  Lastly, the Qur’an has what is called ‘the disjointed letters,’ composed of letters of the Arabic alphabet which taken together do not have a known meaning in the Arabic lexicon. 

Their meaning is only known to God.  They appear at the beginning of twenty nine chapters, and upon recital, each letter is pronounced and not the words they form. For example, the first verse of Surah al Baqarah appears as Alif-Lam-Mim, three letters of the Arabic alphabet pronounced individually.

A person unfamiliar with the Qur’an may find it a little difficult to read, especially at start, but if they keep these points in mind, they will become more accustomed to it, and they will indeed find that even though it is a translation, it is truly profound book incomparable to any other.

 

Quran

The preserved testament

REVELATION AND HOW IT CAME TO THE PROPHET MUHAMMAD(Peace Be Upon Him):


God guides His Creation

Allah the Creator has not only brought about the creation, but continues to sustain and direct it, in the way that He has created us and all that is around us. He has provided many forms of guidance, indeed, a system of guiding principles, of which the laws of ‘nature’ are a part.

But Allah has also granted a special form of guidance to mankind from the outset of its occupancy of the earth. He promised to Adam and his descendants:

“We said, “Go down from it, all of you. And when guidance comes to you from Me, whoever follows My guidance – there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve.” [Al Quran 2: 38].

[The word here used for guidance is hudan.] This guidance comes through the prophets, whom Allah continuously sent to mankind, until the last messenger, Muhammad (peace be upon him) received His final guidance.

Guidance through Revelation

We call a man to whom God in his own way communicates His guidance, a prophet or messenger (nabi/ rasul). Prophets receive the word of God through revelation and then communicate it to their fellow human beings:

“We have sent thee INSPIRATION, as We sent it to Noah and the messengers after him: We sent INSPIRATION to Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob and the tribes, to Jesus, Job, Jonah, Harun and Solomon, and to David We gave the Psalms. Of some apostles, We have already told the story, of others We have not and to Moses God spoke direct apostles who gave good news as well as warning, that mankind after (the coming) of the apostles should have no plea against God: for God is exalted in power and ways.” [The Qur’an-4: 163-5].

The two words capitalized in the above translation are both derived from the Arabic root ‘wahy’.

The Meaning of Wahy

The word awha, from which ‘wahy’ (revelation) is derived, occurs in a number of shades of meaning in the Qur’an, each of them indicating the main underlying idea of inspiration directing or guiding someone. In each example below, the italicized words in the translation are forms of the root word wahy in the original text of the Qur’an:

  • Guidance in natural intuition: 

“So we sent this INSPIRATION to the mother of Moses . . .” [The Qur’an-28: 7]

  • Guidance in natural instinct: 

“And thy Lord TAUGHT the bee to build its cells in hills, on trees and in (man’s) habitations.” [The Qur’an-16: 68]

  • Guidance by signs: 

“So Zakaria came out to his people from his chamber: he told them by signs to celebrate God’s praises in the morning and in the evening” [The Qur’an-19: 11]

  • Guidance from evil: 

“Likewise did we make for every messenger an enemy evil ones among men and jinns, inspiring each other with flowery discourses by way of deception …” [The Qur’an-6: 112]

  • Guidance from God: 

“Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message) …” [The Qur’an-8:12] 

Wahy in the sense of ‘revelation’ is guidance from God for His creation, brought by the Prophets, who received the word from God through one of the means mentioned in the following Qur’anic verse:

“It is not fitting for a man that God should speak to him except by inspiration, or from behind a veil, or by sending of a messenger to reveal with God’s permission what God wills: for He is Most High, Most Wise.” [The Qur’an-42: 51]

Means of revelation are:

  • Inspiration, e.g. in a dream (see 37:102, where it is related that Ibrahim receives guidance in a vision, while asleep, to sacrifice his son).
  • Speech hidden away (see 27:8, where it is related that God spoke to Musa from the fire).
  • Words (speech) sent through a special messenger from God (see 2:97,where it is related that God sent the Angel Gabriel as the messenger to Muhammad(peace be upon him)  to reveal His message).

The Qur’an revealed to Muhammad (peace be upon him)

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the last of God’s messengers, received the revelation of the Qur’an through a special messenger sent by God for this purpose: the Angel Gabriel, who recited to him God’s words exactly.

The Descent of The Qur’an

  • According to Suyuti’ [al Itqan fi ulum al Qur’an, Beirut, 1973, Vol. I pp. 39-40] on the basis of three reports from ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas, in Hakim, Baihaqi and Nasa’i, the Qur’an descended in two stages: From the ‘well-preserved tablet'(lauh al mahfooz), to the lowest of the heavens (bait al-‘izza) of the world, all together, in the lailat ul-qadr(night of the decree).
  • From the heavens to earth in stages throughout the twenty-three years of Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) prophet hood, and first in the night of decree of Ramadan, through the Angel Gabriel.

This second descent from the heaven to the heart of the Prophet is referred to in Chapter 17 and Chapter 25 of The Qur’an.

The need for revelation (Wahy): 
Every Muslim knows that Allah Almighty has sent human into this world as a matter of test, and in return for their being (for a successful life in hereafter) obligated with certain duties, the whole universe has been placed at their service.

For this reason human, once they are in the world, must do two things: 

• They should make the best use of this world, and of things created in it. 

• While using this world to their advantage, they should keep the injunctions of Allah Almighty in sight and do nothing that goes against His will and pleasure.

 For these two functions human needs knowledge. Therefore, unless they know the reality of this world, the properties of different things and the manner in which they can be put to use, they cannot use anything in this world to their advantage.

Likewise, unless and until they know the will of Allah Almighty as to what pleases Him and what displeases Him, it will be impossible for them to lead a life in line with the will of their Lord.  So Allah Almighty, along with the creation of human beings, has created three things through which they could continue receiving knowledge of the above-mentioned matters of concern. These are: 

1. Human’s senses, that is, the eyes, the ears, the nose, the mouth, the hands and the feet. 

2. The reason. 

3. The Revelation (Wahy) 

Consequently, human may find out many things through their senses, many others through reason, and the knowledge of things they cannot get through senses and reason are bestowed upon the through divine revelation (Wahy). 

The arrangement between these three sources of knowledge is such that each one has its limits, and a particular sphere of activity beyond which it does not work. In natural sequence, the knowledge of things human collect through their senses cannot be deduced through bland reason.

For instance, you know by seeing a wall with your eyes that its color is white. But, should you close your eyes and try to find out the color of that wall on the sole strength of your reason, this will then be impossible. Similarly, the knowledge of things that comes through reason cannot be discovered by senses alone.

For instance, you cannot find out as to who made that wall by simply seeing it with your eyes or touching it with your hands. Not at all, you rather need reason to arrive at that conclusion. 

In short, reason gives no guidance as far as the five senses work efficiently, and when the five senses become helpless, reason starts functioning. But, even the guidance given by this reason is not unlimited. This too stops at a certain limit. Then there are things the knowledge of which can neither be acquired through senses nor through reason.

For instance, to find out about this very wall, as to what manner of its use will please Allah Almighty and what manner of its use will displease Him, is possible neither through senses nor through reason. In order to give man the answer to such questions, the source that Allah Almighty has prescribed is what is known as Wahy.

To deliver this knowledge, Allah Almighty selects one of His servants, ordains him as His messenger through him He reveals His Word. This Word is called revelation (Wahy). 

This makes it clear that Wahy is the highest source of knowledge for man which offers to the answer to questions about their life which cannot be solved by means of reason and senses, but, they still has to have that knowledge.

This further explains that reason and perception alone are not enough to show man the way. It is rather all the more necessary, almost inevitable, that the Divine revelation be there for their guidance.

 Since, Wahy is basically needed where reason does not work, it is, therefore, not necessary that everything communicated through Wahy be compulsively comprehended through reason.

 On the contrary, as reason is no help in finding out the color of some object since that is the job of the senses, so is the knowledge of many religious beliefs, the gracious giving of which is the sole prerogative of Wahy and not of reason.

 Furthermore, trusting reason alone for their comprehension is not sound and correct. To begin with, it is totally senseless to discuss the issue of Wahy with a person who, God forbid, does not accept the very existence of God.

But, for a person who believes in the existence of Allah Almighty and has faith in His perfect power, it is not at all difficult to understand that Wahy is a rational need, that it is possible and that it is there for real.

If you have faith in the fact that this universe has been created by an absolutely powerful entity, He is the One Who has sent man down here to accomplish some particular mission, how then is it possible to imagine that He, after once having created man, would leave them off in total darkness, 

“Alif-Laam-Ra‚ a Book which We have revealed unto you (O Muhammad peace be upon him) in order that you might lead mankind out of darkness (of disbelief and polytheism) into light (of belief in the Oneness of Allah and Islamic Monotheism) by their Lord’s Leave to the Path of the All-Mighty, the Owner of all Praise.”[The Qur’an-14:1]

Without ever telling them why did they come into this world, what their duties were, where were they destined to go and how could they realize the purpose of their life?

How could a person, whose sanity is still there, send one of their servant on a certain trip under a designated mission without ever telling him the purpose of the trip while he is leaving, nor explaining it to him later on through some message as to why he has been sent out there and what duties he is supposed to carry out during the trip?

When a man of ordinary reason cannot do something like this, how can something like this be imagined with respect to the most Holy Lord of the Universe under Whose ultimate wisdom this whole system of the universe is functioning? After all, how is it possible that the Being, that did create such a mind-boggling system composed of the moon, the sun, the sky, the earth, the stars and the planets, would remain unable to institute some arrangement of communication with His servants, through which human beings could be given guidance about the purpose of their lives?

If there is faith(iman) in the ultimate wisdom of Allah Almighty, then admitting that He did not forsake His servants in the dark, will become all the more necessary; rather on the contrary, He has surely instituted some regular system for their guidance And so, this very regular system of guidance is known as Wahy (Revelation) and Risalah (Prophet hood). 

This makes it crystal clear that Wahy is not only a religious belief but also a rational need – the rejection of which amounts to a rejection of the ultimate wisdom of Allah Almighty.  The Holy Qur’an contains a universal message for the whole of mankind without any limitation of time and space. It seeks to guide man in all walks of life ñ spiritual or worldly, individual or collective. It contains directions and code of conduct for rich or poor, educated or uneducated alike.

 The Qur’an is an ocean of knowledge which deals with thousands of subjects, many of which have not yet been explored by men. It speaks of the best rules relating to laws of culture, civilization, morals , social justice, administration, leadership, mutual dealings, distribution of wealth, economics, spiritualism, Divine recognition, purification of souls, enlightenment of hearts, unions with Allah’s organization and welfare of humanity, purpose of this creation and so on. 

 The Qur’an seeks primarily to develop a personality of an individual – every being will be personally responsible to His Creator. With this purpose, the Qur’an not only gives commands, but also tries to convince. It appeals to man’s reason as it relates stories, parables and metaphors. It describes the attributes of Allah, Who is One, Creator of All, Knower, Powerful, capable of resuscitating us after death and taking account of our worldly behavior, Just, Merciful, etc.

It contains also the mode of praising Allah, of pointing out which are the best prayers, what the duties of man are with regard to Allah, to his fellow-beings and to his own self. It reminds them everything belongs to Allah and He expects us to utilize it according to His wish in exchange for everlasting life in hereafter in Paradise. 

The Qur’an speaks of the best rules relating to social life, commerce, marriage, inheritance, penal law, international law, and so on. But the Qur’an is not a book in the ordinary sense – it is a collection of the Words of Allah, were revealed, during the course of twenty-three years, to His messenger sent among human beings.

The Qur’an employs graphically the word “king” for Allah, and “slave” for man. When a king desires to communicate a message to His slave, He sends a messenger, and gives His instructions to his envoy. Therefore, there are certain things understood and implied; there are repetitions, and even changes of the forms of expression.

Thus Allah speaks sometimes in the first person and sometimes in the third. He says “I” as well as “We” (royal pronoun) and “He”, but never “They”. It is a collection of revelations sent occasion by occasion (and this fact must be recalled to the beginner) and one should therefore read it again and again in order to be able to grasp the meaning better.

 It has directions for every person, every place and for all time. 

Qur’an has many miraculous attributes proving that it is a revelation from Allah. Every Prophet of Allah is given a miracle ór a sign. The miracle of Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the Qur’an. Today no other miracle of any prophet exists except the Qur’an, a living miracle until the Day of Judgment.

Beginning of Wahy

The revelation of the Qur’an began in the night of decree of Ramadan (the 27th night or one of the odd nights after the 21st) after the Prophet Muhammad(peace be upon him) had passed the fortieth year of his life (that is around the year 610), during his seclusion in the cave of Hira’ on a mountain near Makkah. 

As reported in the Sahih of Bukhari:

Narrated ‘Aisha the mother of the faithful believers: The commencement of the divine inspiration to Allah’s apostle was in the form of good dreams which came like bright daylight (i.e. true) and then the love of seclusion was bestowed upon him.

He used to go in seclusion in the Cave of Hira’, where he used to worship (Allah alone) continuously for many days before his desire to see his family. He used to take with him food for the stay and then come back to (his wife) Khadija to take his food likewise again, till suddenly the truth descended upon him while he was in the Cave of Hira’. 

The angel came to him and asked him to read. The Prophet replied ‘I do not know how to read’. The Prophet added, ‘The angel caught me (forcibly) and pressed me so hard that I could not bear it any more. He then released me and again asked me to read and I replied, “I do not know how to read”. Thereupon he caught me again and pressed me a second time till I could not bear it any more. He then released me and again asked me to read, but again I replied, “I do not know how to read” (or what shall I read?). Thereupon he caught me for the third time and pressed me, and then released me and said:

“Read, in the name of Your Lord, who created, created man from a clot. Read! And Your Lord is the most bountiful”

[Bukhari, I, No. 3; VI, No. 478; Muslim I, No. 301.]

The narration goes on to tell us that the Prophet(peace be upon him) went back to his wife Khadija and recounted to her his dreadful experience. She comforted him and both of them consulted Waraqa, Khadlja’s relative and a learned Christian, about it. Waraqa told Muhammad(pbuh) that he had encountered the one ‘whom Allah had sent to Moses’ and that he would be driven out by his people.

How Revelation came

Narrated Aisha, the mother of the faithful believers: Al-Harith bin Hisham asked Allah’s apostle: ‘O Allah’s apostle. How is the divine inspiration revealed to you?’ Allah’s apostle replied, ‘Sometimes it is “revealed” like the ringing of a bell, this form of inspiration is the hardest of all and then this state passes off after I have grasped what is inspired. Sometimes the Angel comes in the form of a man and talks to me and I grasp whatever he says’. [Bukhari, I, No. 2]

The First Revelation’ [See Suyuti, Itqan, I, pp.23-4.]

The first revelation that the Prophet Muhammad(peace be upon him) received are:

“Read in the name of your Lord, who created, created man from a clot. Read! And your Lord is most bountiful. (He who taught) the use of the pen taught man which he knew not.” [The Qur’an 96:1-3]

The remainder of chapter 96, which now has 19 verses, was revealed on some later occasion.

The Pause (fatra)

After the first message thus received, revelation ceased for a certain period (called fatra) and then resumed:

Narrated Jabir bin ‘Abdullah Al-Ansari while talking about the period of pause in revelation reporting the speech of the Prophet(peace be upon him), ‘While I was walking, all of a sudden I heard a voice from the heaven. I looked up and saw the same angel who had visited me at the Cave of Hira’ sitting on a chair between the sky and the earth. I got afraid of him and came back home and said “Wrap me (in blankets)” and then Allah revealed the following holy verses (of the Qur’an): O you covered in your cloak, arise and warn (the people against Allah’s punishment) … up to “and all pollution shun”.’

After this revelation came strongly and regularly. [Bukhari, I, end of No. 3.]

The Second Revelation

The second portion of the Qur’an revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was:

“O you, covered in your cloak, arise and warn, thy Lord magnify, thy raiment purify, pollution shun …” [The Qur’an- 74: 15]

 It now consists of 56 verses, the rest revealed later.

Other Early Revelations

Many hold that chapter 73 was the next revelation.

According to others, chapter 1 was the third surah to be revealed. [Suyuti, Itqan, I, p.24.]

Among other early revelations, which the Prophet declared in Makkah, are, according to some reports, chapter 111, chapter 81, chapter 87, chapter 92, chapter 89, etc. Then revelation continued, ‘mentioning Paradise and Hell, and until mankind turned to Islam, then came revelation about halal and haram … ‘ [Suyuti, Itqan, I, p.24.]

Revelation came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) throughout his lifetime, both in Makkah and Madina, i.e. over a period of approximately 23 years, until shortly before his death in the year 10 after Hijra (632).

The Last Revelation

Many Muslim scholars agree that the last revelation was:

“And fear the day when ye shall be brought back to God. Then shall every soul be paid what it earned and none shall be dealt with unjustly.” [The Qur’an-2:281]

Some also say that it was 2:282 or 2:278. [Kamal, Ahmad ‘Adil: ‘ulum al-Qur’an, Cairo, 1974, p.18.]

It has also been suggested that all three verses were revealed on one occasion. The Prophet(peace be upon him) died nine nights after the last revelation.

Others hold the following was the last to be revealed:

“This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” [The Qur’an-5:4]

The opinion that this verse was the last revelation is not sound according to many scholars, since it was revealed during the last pilgrimage of the Prophet(peace be upon him). This information is based upon a hadith from ‘Umar. Suyuti explains concerning the verse in chapter 5 that after it nothing concerning ahkam and hal’al and haram was revealed, and in this sense it is the ‘completion’ of religion. However, revelation reminding man of the coming day of judgement continued and the last such revelation is the above verse. [Sabuni, tibyan pp. 18-9]

Reasons why the Qur’an was sent down in Stages

The Qur’an was revealed in stages over a period of 23 years, and not as a complete book in one single act of revelation.

There are a number of reasons for this; most important are the following:

  • To strengthen the heart of the Prophet (peace be upon him) by addressing him continuously and whenever the need for guidance arose.
  • Out of consideration for the Prophet (peace be upon him) since revelation was a very difficult experience for him.
  • To gradually implement the laws of God.
  • To make understanding, application and memorization of the revelation easier for the believers.

 

Asbab al-nuzul (reasons of the revelations):

 The Qur’an has been revealed for guidance, for all times and situations to come. However, various verses were revealed at a particular time in history and in particular circumstances. So we have to know the knowledge about the reasons of the revelations (Asbab al-nuzul). i.e. the knowledge about the events and circumstances in history that are related to the revelation of certain passages from the Qur’an. With the knowledge of the reasons of revelations, it is also to be decided whether the revelation has a specific implication or whether it is of a general nature, and needs to be applied by all Muslims at all times.

Authenticity of Qur’an:

One of the most common myths about the Qur’an, is that Usman, the third Caliph of Islam authenticated and compiled one Qur’an, from a large set of mutually contradicting copies. The Qur’an, revered as the Word of Allah by Muslims the world over, is the same Qur’an as the one revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). It was authenticated and written under his personal supervision. We will examine the roots of the myth which says that Usman had the Qur’an authenticated.

1. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) himself supervised and authenticated the written texts of the Qur’an

Whenever the Prophet received a revelation, he would first memorize it himself and later declare the revelation and instruct to his companions, May Allah be pleased with them all, who would also memorize it. The Prophet(peace be upon him) would immediately ask the scribes to write down the revelation he had received, and he would reconfirm and recheck it himself.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was an Ummi(one who could not read and write). Therefore, after receiving each revelation, he would repeat it to his Companions. They would write down the revelation, and he would recheck by asking them to read what they had written. If there was any mistake, the Prophet would immediately point it out and have it corrected and rechecked.

Similarly he would even recheck and authenticate the portions of the Qur’an memorized by the Companions. In this way, the complete Qur’an was written down under the personal supervision of the prophet (peace be upon him).

2. Order and sequence of Qur’an divinely inspired

The complete Qur’an was revealed over a period of 22½ years portion by portion, as and when it was required. The Qur’an was not compiled by the Prophet in the chronological order of revelation.

The order and sequence of the Qur’an too was divinely inspired and was instructed to the Prophet by Allah through Angel Gabriel. Whenever a revelation was conveyed to his companions, the Prophet would also mention in which chapter and after which verse this new revelation should fit.

Every Ramadan all the portions of the Qur’an that had been revealed, including the order of the verses, were revised and reconfirmed by the Prophet with archangel Gabriel. During the last Ramadan, before the demise of the Prophet, the Qur’an was rechecked and reconfirmed twice.

It is therefore clearly evident that the Qur’an was compiled and authenticated by the Prophet himself during his lifetime, both in the written form as well as in the memory of several of his companions.

3. Qur’an copied on one common material

The complete Qur’an, along with the correct sequence of the verses, was present during the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him). The verses however, were written on separate pieces, scrapes of leather, thin flat stones, leaflets, palm branches, shoulder blades, etc.

After the demise of the prophet, Abu Bakr(may Allah be pleased with him), the first caliph of Islam ordered that the Qur’an be copied from the various different materials on to a common material and place, which was in the shape of sheets. These were tied with strings so that nothing of the compilation was lost.

4. Usman (may Allah be pleased with him) made copies of the Qur’an from the original manuscript

Many Companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to write down the revelation of the Qur’an on their own whenever they heard it from the lips of the Prophet. However what they wrote was not personally verified by the Prophet and thus could contain mistakes.

All the verses revealed to the Prophet may not have been heard personally by all the Companions. There were high possibilities of different portions of the Qur’an being missed by different Companions. This gave rise to disputes among Muslims regarding the different contents of the Qur’an during the period of the third Caliph Usman(may Allah be pleased with him).

Usman(may Allah be pleased with him) borrowed the original manuscript of the Qur’an, which was authorized by the beloved Prophet (peace be upon him), from Hafsha (may Allah be pleased with her), the Prophet’s wife.

Usman(may Allah be pleased with him) ordered four Companions who were among the scribes who wrote the Qur’an when the Prophet dictated it, led by Zaid bin Thabit (may Allah be pleased with him) to rewrite the script in several perfect copies. These were sent by Usman(may Allah be pleased with him) to the main centers of Muslims.

There were other personal collections of the portions of the Qur’an that people had with them. These might have been incomplete and with mistakes. Usman(may Allah be pleased with him) only appealed to the people to destroy all these copies which did not match the original manuscript of the Qur’an in order to preserve the original text of the Qur’an.

Two such copies of the copied text of the original Qur’an authenticated by the Prophet are present to this day, one at the museum in Tashkent in erstwhile Soviet Union and the other at the Topkapi Museum in Istanbul, Turkey.

manuscipt

Manuscript of the Holy Quran

5. Diacritical marks were added for non-Arabs

The original manuscript of the Qur’an does not have the signs indicating the vowels in Arabic script. These vowels are known as tashkil, zabar, zair, paish in Urdu and as fatah, damma and qasra in Arabic. The Arabs did not require the vowel signs and diacritical marks for correct pronunciation of the Qur’an since it was their mother tongue.

For Muslims of non-Arab origin, however, it was difficult to recite the Qur’an correctly without the vowels. These marks were introduced into the Qur’anic script during the time of the fifth ‘Umayyad’ Caliph, Malik-ar-Marwan (66-86 Hijri/685-705 C.E.) and during the governorship of Al-Hajaj in Iraq.

Some people argue that the present copy of the Qur’an that we have along with the vowels and the diacritical marks is not the same original Qur’an that was present at the Prophet’s time. But they fail to realize that the word Qur’an’ means a recitation.

Therefore, the preservation of the recitation of the Qur’an is important, irrespective of whether the script is different or whether it contains vowels. If the pronunciation and the Arabic is the same, naturally, the meaning remains the same too.

6. Allah Himself has promised to guard the Qur’an

Allah has promised in the Qur’an :

“We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly Guard it (from corruption).” [Al-Qur’an 15:9]

7. Preservation

Allah says in Glorious Qur’an: 

“Verily We: It is We Who have sent down the Dhikr  (i.e. the Qur’‚n) and surely, We will guard it (from corruption)” [The Qur’an-15:9]

 “It is for Us to collect it and to give you (O Muhammad SAW) the ability to recite it (the Qur’an)…” [The Qur’an-75:17]

Allah guarantees that He will preserve and protect this Book. Some of the remarkable features of the Qur’an are:

Firstly, The Qur’an has been continued to be preserved in Memory by large number of individuals in every age and their number is ever growing.

Secondly its pronunciation or in the manner it was recited had been also preserved and this knowledge is passed on to from person to person thirdly its text is preserved in the original text and it was arranged under the auspices of the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself.

Fourthly, along with its text the meaning of Glorious Qur’an have been preserved , the entire exegesis of the Qur’an is intact today as it was explained to the companions by the Prophet(peace be upon him) and to their successors.

 Fifthly, its teachings or commandments have been preserved in action by the Muslim community. 

References:

1. quranicteachings.

2. islamicbulletin.

3. islam101.

4. Photo credit: Nida Abdul Wasey

The Creation of an Environmental Conscience (part 4 of 4): God’s Green Earth


“With Him are the keys (to the treasures) of the Unseen that no one knows but He.  He knows whatever there is on the earth and in the sea.  Not a leaf falls but with His knowledge: there is not a grain in the earth’s shadows, not a thing, freshly green or withered, but it is (inscribed) in a clear record.” (Quran 6:59)
The Prophet Muhammad(pbuh), may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, once said:
“The world is green and beautiful, and God has appointed you his guardian over it.”(Saheeh Muslim)
guardian of earth
Keeping the earth green, productive and of benefit to man and beast is a most noble concern according to Islam.  We learn from the Prophet(pbuh) that:
“There is none amongst the believers who plants a tree, or sows a seed, and then a bird, or a person, or an animal eats from it, except that it is regarded as having given a charitable gift (for which he can expect God’s Pleasure and Reward).” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)
The planting of vegetation is such a virtuous endeavour in the Sight of God that it is encouraged even if it be a person’s final act on Earth.  The Prophet(pbuh) said:
“Even when the Day of Judgement comes (upon you), if any one has a palm-shoot in hand, he should plant it.” (Ahmad)
plant tree

Plant a tree – its charity.

As for the question of who has rights over herbage and the other resources that are vital to the survival and well-being of humankind, the Prophet (pbuh) explicitly stated:
“The people are partners in three things: water, herbage and (fuel for) fire.” (ibn Maajah)
green earth
It is a given in Islam that if the vital resources of the earth are not shared equitably, societies will be polarized between the haves and the have-nots.  Hence, those Muslims who find themselves in control of provisions beyond their means are encouraged to be charitable and compassionate towards the less fortunate one on the one hand, and censured for hoarding and wastefulness on the other.  In any event, the obligatory Islamic institution of zakah (alms-giving to the poor), the prohibition of riba (usury in all its wicked forms), and the ethical economic system of Islam in general, all ensure that the gap between rich and poor does not remain insurmountable or, in any case, is highly porous.
“It is He Who produced gardens with and without trellises; and date-palms and crops with produce of all kinds; and olives and pomegranates of similar and different variety: eat of their fruit in their season but render the dues (i.e. pay the zakah) that are proper on the day that the harvest is gathered.  And waste not by excess: for God does not love the wasteful.” (Quran 6:141)
The cause of sustainable development – the ability of current generations to develop without compromising the needs of future generations – is itself in complete harmony with the teachings of Islam.  Today, less than 25 percent of the world’s population are consuming over 75 percent of the world’s resources.  It is this misappropriation, misuse, abuse and overuse of the world’s resources that makes for unsustainable resource consumption.  As for those guilty of such abuse, for them will be a severe comeuppance in the Hereafter, as was alluded to by the Prophet(pbuh) when he said:
“(Among the)… three types of people with whom God, on the Day of Resurrection, will neither exchange words, nor look at … is the one who possesses an excess of water but withholds it from others.  God will say to him: ‘Today I shall withhold from you my grace as you withheld from others the excess of what you had not yourself created.’” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)
“And it is He Who has made you successive (generations) in the earth.  And He has raised you in ranks, some above others, so that He may try you in that which He has bestowed on you.  Surely your Lord is Swift in retribution, and certainly He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Quran 6:165)
In reality, the accelerated loss of biodiversity, the destruction of natural habitats, the pollution of and damage to eco-systems, and the general environmental erosion, damage and degradation, not to speak of the wide scale oppression suffered by many of the world’s inhabitants, are all from the manifest signs of corruption and villainy in the earth.
“If only there had been among the generations before you, persons having wisdom, prohibiting (others) from corruption and villainy in the earth, except a few of those whom We saved from among them.” (Quran 11:116)
If man fails in his duty and responsibility towards the One (God) greater than he, how can he be expected to be dutiful and responsible to that which he deems lesser than himself?  If there is ingratitude to the Creator, how can man show gratitude towards his fellow man – let alone for the dumb beasts of the earth?  If man cares little for the balance of his good deeds before His Lord, why should he be expected to care for the balance of the world around him?
“Truly, he (the wrong-doer, will have) thought that he would never return (to His lord for reckoning)!  By no means!  His Lord has been ever watchful over him!” (Quran 84:14-5)
Therefore let all humanity take heed!  For it is certainly true that we reap what we sow.  Everything we do in life will revisit us after our death; we, the human beings who have had the whole earth and its creatures subdued for a just cause.  That fact alone should make us responsible in our preparation for that one fateful day, the Day of Judgement.
“When the Earth is shaken with a violent shaking, and the Earth throws out her burdens, and man says: ‘What has befallen her?’ – on that Day she shall tell her story!” (Quran 99:1-4)

You should know him!


You may be an atheist or an agnostic or you may belong to any of the religious denominations that exist in the world today. No matter what you are, and no matter what your religious and political beliefs, personal and social habits happen to be— YOU STILL MUST KNOW THIS MAN!

He was by far the most remarkable man that ever set foot on this earth. He preached a religion, founded a state, laid down a moral code, initiated numberless social and political reforms, established a dynamic and powerful society to practice and represent his teachings, and he revolutionized the worlds of human thought and human action for all time. His name was Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) – and he accomplished all these wonders in the unbelievably short span of twenty-three years.

Muhammad (peace be upon him) was born in Arabia in 570 CE, and when he died at the age of 63, the whole of the Arabian Peninsula had changed from paganism and idol worship to the worship of One God; from tribal quarrels and wars to national solidarity and cohesion; from drunkenness and debauchery to sobriety and piety; from lawlessness and anarchy to disciplined living; from utter moral bankruptcy to the highest standards of moral excellence. Human history has never known such a complete transformation of a people or a place before or since.

The Encyclopedia Britannica calls him “the most successful of all religious personalities of the world.”

Bernard Shaw said, “if Muhammad (peace be upon him) were alive today, he would succeed in solving all those problems which threaten to destroy human civilization in our times.”

Thomas Carlyle was amazed as to how one man, single-handedly, could weld warring tribes and wandering Bedouins into a most powerful and civilized nation in less than two decades.

Indeed no other human being ever accomplished so much, in such diverse fields of human thought and behavior, in so limited a space of time, as did Muhammad (peace be upon him). He was a religious teacher, a social reformer, a moral guide, a political thinker, a military genius, an administrative colossus, a faithful friend, a wonderful companion, a devoted husband, a loving father—all in one. No other man in history ever excelled or equaled him in any of these difficult departments of life.

The world has had its share of great personalities. But these were one-sided figures who distinguished themselves in but one or two fields, such as religious thought or military leadership. None of the other great leaders of the world ever possessed so many different qualities to such an amazing level of perfection as did Muhammad (peace be upon him).

You should know this Man!!!

The lives and teachings of other great personalities of the world are shrouded in the mist of time. There is so much speculation about the time and the place of their birth, the mode and style of their life, the nature and detail of their teachings and the degree and measure of their success or failure that it is impossible for humanity today to reconstruct accurately and precisely the lives and teachings of those men. Not so with this man Muhammad (peace be upon him). Not only was he born in the fullest blaze of recorded history, but every detail of his private and public life, of his actions and utterances, has been accurately documented and faithfully preserved to our day. The authenticity of the information so preserved is vouched for not only by faithful followers but also by unbiased critics and open-minded scholars.

At the time of his death his teachings were not mere precepts and ideas straining for fulfillment. They had become the very core of the life of tens of thousands of perfectly trained individuals. At what other time or place and in relation to what other political, social, religious system, philosophy or ideology—did the world ever witness such a perfectly amazing phenomenon? Except, of course, Islam, which was established as a complete way of life by Muhammad (peace be upon him) himself. History bears testimony to this fact and the greatest skeptics have no option but to concede this point.

In spite of the phenomenal success which crowned his efforts, he did not for a moment claim to be God or God’s incarnation or Son —but only a human being who was chosen and ordained by the Creator to be a teacher of truth to mankind and a complete model and pattern for their actions. He was a man with a noble and exalted mission —and his unique mission was to unite humanity in the worship of the One and only God and to teach them the way to honest and upright living in accordance with the laws and commands of God. He always described himself as a Messenger and servant of God, as indeed every single action and movement of his proclaimed him to be.

Today, after the lapse of some 1400 years, the life and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) have survived without the slightest loss, alteration or distortion. Today they offer the same undying hope for treating mankind’s many ills which they did when the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was alive.

One in every five persons on this earth firmly believes Muhammad (peace be upon him) to be God’s last Prophet and Messenger. Not only individuals, but entire countries, take pride in declaring allegiance to his way of life. There are 54 such Muslim states today, ranging from those as large as Indonesia and Bangladesh, with populations of 200 and 125 million respectively, to those as tiny as the Brunei and Maldives with populations of 260,000 and 230,000. Even in non-Muslim countries, large Muslim populations constitute significant minorities, as much as the 120 million in India and the 20 million in China. Indeed, within the last half century, Islam has become the second largest religion in most European countries, as also in America and Canada.

Black and white, red and yellow, followers of the Prophet Muhammad come from all human races. Whether in Asia or Europe, Africa or America, in every nook and cranny of the globe, you are sure to find Muslims. They live in the most advanced metropolitan areas, in primitive nomadic tents, and everywhere in between.

In this century, just as in the each of the fourteen centuries following his death, countless men, women, and children have lived their lives following the footsteps of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and loving him as no one else in history has been followed or loved. They have eaten and dressed, walked and slept, married and raised families, believed and acted, worshipped and ruled, made war and peace, lived and died, just as he did or taught them to do.

Indeed, never in history has a man influenced mankind, even beyond his death, so deeply and pervasively as the Prophet Muhammad has. He brought light and peace to countless hearts and lives. His followers love him more dearly than their own selves. In him they find their greatest source of inspiration and guidance. He is the ultimate norm and the perfect example for them. It is in his example that they find their chief source of support and comfort in personal vicissitudes and tribulations and it is to his teachings that they look to lead them through social and political turmoil. His teachings inspired them to greater and greater heights of spiritual and moral upliftment and achievement in civilization, and still do.

In short, Muslims believe that through the Prophet Muhammad, a human like themselves, God has spoken to them and given them an example and a model for all times to come and in all aspects of life, both private and public.

You Exist is a Proof in itself that the Creator Exits!


The Fact that You Exist is a Proof in itself that the Creator Exits!

A Debate with a Man who did not believe in God

Long ago in the city of Baghdad, there was a Muslim empire. On one side of the River Tigris were the royal palaces and on the other side was the city. The Muslims were gathered in the Royal Palace when an atheist approached them. He said to them, ‘I don’t believe in God, there cannot be a God, you cannot hear Him or see Him, you’re wasting your time! Bring me your best debater and I will debate this issue with him.’

Abbasid Palace of Baghdad

The best debater at the time was Imam Abu Hanifah Rahimullah. A messenger from among the Muslims was sent over the River Tigris to the city, where Abu Hanifah Rahimullah was, in order to tell him about the atheist who was awaiting him. On crossing the River Tigris, the messenger conveyed the message to Abu Hanifah Rahimullah saying, ‘Oh Abu Hanifah, an atheist is waiting for you, to debate you, please come!’ Abu Hanifah Rahimullah told the messenger that he would be on his way.

Tigris river.

The messenger went over the River Tigris once again and to the Royal Palaces, where everyone including the atheist awaited the arrival of Abu Hanifah Rahimullah. It was sunset at the time and one hour had passed, but Abu Hanifah Rahimullah still hadn’t arrived. Another hour had passed, but still there was no sign of him.

The Muslims started to become tense and worried about his late arrival. They did not want the atheist to think that they were too scared to debate him, yet they did not want to take up the challenge themselves as Abu Hanifah Rahimullah was the best of Debaters from among the Muslims. Another hour passed, and suddenly the atheist started laughing and said, ‘ Your best debater is too scared! He knows he’s wrong, he is too frightened to come and debate with me. I guarantee he will not turn up today.’

The Muslims increased in apprehension and eventually it had passed midnight, and the atheist had a smile on his face. The clock ticked on, and finally Abu Hanifah Rahimullah had arrived. The Muslims inquired about his lateness and remarked, ‘Oh Abu Hanifah, a messenger sent for you hours ago, and you arrive now, explain your lateness to us.’

Abu Hanifah Rahimullah apologizes for his lateness and begins to explain, while the people  listens to his story.

‘Once the messenger delivered the message to me, I began to make my way to the River Tigris, and on reaching the river bank I realized there was no boat, in order to cross the river. It was getting dark, and I looked around, there was no boat anywhere nor was there a navigator or a sailor in order for me to cross the river to get to the Royal Palaces. I continued to look around for a boat, as I did not want the atheist to think I was running away and did not want to debate with him.

I was standing on the river bank looking for a navigator or a boat when something caught my attention in the middle of the river. I looked forward, and to my amazement I saw planks of wood rising to the surface from the sea bed. I was shocked, amazed, I couldn’t believe what I saw seeing. Ready made planks of wood were rising up to the surface and joining together. They were all the same width and length, I was astounded at what I saw.

I continued to look into the middle of the river, and then I saw nails coming up from the sea floor. They positioned themselves onto the boat and held the planks together, without them being banged. I stood in amazement and thought to myself, ‘Oh Allah, how can this happen, planks of wood rising to the surface by itself, and then nails positioning themselves onto the boat without being banged?’ I could not understand what was happening before my eyes.’

The atheist meanwhile was listening with a smile on his face. Abu Hanifah Rahimullah continued, ‘I was still standing on the river bank watching these planks of wood join together with nails. I could see water seeping through the gaps in the wood, and suddenly I saw a sealant appear from the river and it began sealing the gaps without someone having poured it, again I thought, ‘Ya Allah, how is this possible, how can sealant appear and seal the gaps without someone having poured it, and nails appear without someone having banged them.’ I looked closer and I could see a boat forming before my eyes, I stood in amazement and was filled with shock. All of a sudden a sail appeared and I thought to myself, ‘How is this happening, a boat has appeared before my eyes by itself, planks of wood, nails, sealant and now a sail, but how can I use this boat in order to cross the river to the Royal Palaces?’ I stood staring in wonderment and suddenly the boat began to move.

It came towards me against the current. It stood floating beside me while I was on the river bank, as if telling me to embark onto it. I went on the boat and yet again it began to move. There was no navigator or sailor on the boat, and the boat began to travel towards the direction of the royal palaces, without anyone having programmed it as to where to go. I could not understand what was happening, and how this boat had formed and was taking me to my destination against the flow of water.

The boat eventually reached the other side of the River Tigris and I disembarked. I turned around and the boat had disappeared, and that is why I am late.’

At this moment, the atheist burst out laughing and remarked, ‘Oh Abu Hanifah, I heard that you were the best debater from among the Muslims, I heard that you were the wisest, the most knowledgeable from among your people. From seeing you today, I can say that you show none of these qualities. You speak of a boat appearing from nowhere, without someone having built it. Nails positioning themselves without someone having banged them, sealant being poured without someone having poured it, and the boat taking you to your destination without a navigator against the tide, your taking childish, you’re talking ridiculous, I swear I do not believe a word of it!’

Abu Hanifah Rahimullah turned to the atheist and replied, ‘You don’t believe a word of it? You don’t believe that nails can appear by themselves? You don’t believe sealant can be poured by itself? You don’t believe that a boat can move without a navigator, hence you don’t believe that a boat can appear without a boat maker?’

The atheist remarked defiantly, ‘Yes I don’t believe a word of it!’

Abu Hanifah Rahimullah replied, ‘If you cannot believe that a boat came into being without a boat maker, than this is only a boat, how can you believe that the whole world, the universe, the stars, the oceans, and the planets came into being without a creator?

“How can you believe that the whole world, the universe, the stars, the oceans, and the planets came into being without a creator?”

The atheist astonished at his reply got up and fled.

Transcribed from a lecture delivered by Shaykh Ahmad Ali.

From head to toe – The many benefits of Vinegar.


The Blessings of Vinegar, (the Seasoning of Prophets) and health benefits

By Muhammad Sajad Ali

“A household which has vinegar will never suffer from poverty”.
(Narrated by Umm, Tirmidhi, Baihaqi)

“Vinegar is a comfort for man” Narrated by Muslim.

“Allah has put blessing in vinegar, for truly it was used by the Prophets before me.”
Narrated by Ayesha, Muslim and Ibn Maja.

‘The best of condiments or condiment is vinegar’. hadith
condiment is any seasonings used to enhance the flavour of food; salt or pepper, spices for example.

Vinegar has many benefits

The Prophet (s.a.w.s.) was reported to have once remarked that vinegar was the seasoning of all the prophets who came before him.

Prophet Muhammad (saws) liked vinegar.

Jabir narrated, “The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, took me one day with him to his house. He was served some bread. He asked: ‘Is there any dip?’ They replied ‘No, only some vinegar.’ He said, ‘Vinegar is a good dip.’

Jabir used to say, “I have loved vinegar since I heard it from Allah’s Prophet”.

Naf’a said, “I have loved vinegar since I heard it from Jabir.”
[Muslim, Abu Dawud, Nasa’i]

‘Vinegar is a good dip.’ – Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

Benefits

Just in case your thinking Vinegar is a Halal and a loved Sunnah and was used by many prophets before.

As soon as you take vinegar (or citric acid, as a powder), it starts to eliminate fatigue. You can notice this in only two hours.

You can confirm this. If you look at your urine two hours after you take vinegar, and you will find it to be more clear. Or, if you are unwilling to look at it closely, examine it with a piece of pH test paper (litmus paper). Before you take vinegar, the pH test paper will show that your urine is acidic, due to fatigue-creating substances in your body.

Two hours after you take vinegar, the test paper will show more alkaline. These results mean that the previous fatigue substances were decreased or removed by taking the vinegar.

The liver dissolves the poisonous matters which were made in our body, so we must always keep it working well. Meat, fish, eggs, coconut oil, greens, and other nourishing foods as well as vinegar act like medicines for the liver.

Meat, fish, eggs, coconut oil, greens, and other nourishing foods as well as vinegar act like medicines for the liver.

Some Eastern medicines do believe that depression is the symptom of a “stagnant” or tired liver. If you believe in this philosophy, then apple cider vinegar would help to fight depression, since it is a great medium to help detoxify and clean the liver.

Over the centuries, oxymel– a combination of apple cider vinegar and honey – has been widely used to dissolve painful calcium deposits in the body, for arthritis-like pains and for other health problems such as hay fever.

“Vinegar performs the role of disinfectant for the intestines”.

Here is one recipe to make a detox tea with apple cider vinegar just add hot water to 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and sweeten it with maple syrup or organic honey. Making this simple apple cider vinegar liver detox recipe will take only a few minutes with results lasting three to seven days.

A variation of the above apple cider vinegar liver detox recipe calls for a teaspoon each of apple cider vinegar and blackstrap molasses added to a glass of water or lemon water. Drink this mixture upon getting up in the morning.

To soothe pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis by applying a pad soaked with vinegar and water to painful joints.

Some people advise it to be used for gargle for the mouth and throat. It disinfects the inside of the mouth from germs. The usual dosage for gargle is to mix one to three tea spoons of cider vinegar in a glass of water, in morning and at night.”

Note: The term ACV = Apple Cider Vinegar

Arthritic pains:

Many suffer from this disease in the west and it is caused by the gathering of metabolic toxic waste in the tissues. In this context, ACV speeds up metabolism and excretes the toxic wastes from the tissues.

Blood pressure:
The potassium in ACV along with other substances makes the blood thinner and is helpful in controlling blood pressure.

Cholesterol control:
Many heart attacks are caused by high fats and cholesterol in your blood. The fiber in ACV helps to absorb fats and cholesterol by expelling them from the body as waste materials.

Diabetes:
The dietary fibre in ACV is also helpful in controlling glucose levels in the blood.

Strong Bones:
Minerals like manganese, calcium, magnesium, silicon and iron develop bone mass and make them stronger.

Yeast Infections:
ACV is also useful for yeast infections like Candida caused by the unbalance of acid levels in the body. Making a solution of ACV in warm water and douching can help with the symptoms.

Chest congestion:
Apple cider vinegar is also useful in flu or chest congestion. Applying ACV with pepper on the chest can help relieve some of the congestion.

Sore Throat:
If you have a sore throat, gargle with ACV mixed with water.

Digestion:
In your digestive system hydrochloric acid and pepsin are two essential components that break down the food to be digested properly. The lack of these components can cause food poisoning. ACV has ability to enhance their functionality and help prevent food poisoning.

Nasal Congestions:
Apple cider vinegar is sometimes helpful in nasal congestion.

Vinegar is Useful in well functioning metabolism; Reducing cholesterol (the dangerous LDL cholesterol type); Regulating the water content in the cells and body; Reducing water retention in the body; Reducing excess sodium from the body; Helps with regulating blood pressure; Assists in preventing circulatory problems; Helps with diminishing premature calcification of the arteries; Helps increase concentration and memory; Assists in blood circulation, body temperature as well as vitality and energy.

Vinegar is both cold and hot, nearly balancing between the two. Mixed it with rose water, it is an excellent remedy for toothache and headache. Vinegar dissolves phlegm. Modern medicine also acknowledge its anti-cough, anti-inflammation and digestive properties.

We always have to remember that cider vinegar will not have the same effect on everyone. Some may benefit from it and some may not. Very few people may be allergic to vinegar. Nevertheless vinegar is beneficial for the majority of people.

As we sort through the wisdoms of Prophetic nutrition in our attempt to reconcile them with modern “science,” we must always remember what the Qur’an says, “Eat of the good things We have provided for your sustenance, but commit no excess therein.” (20:81)

Apple cider vinegar contains ninety different substances.

It also contains important minerals, trace elements and vitamins (as listed underneath) as well acetic acid, propionic acid, lactic acid, enzymes, amino acids as well as roughage in the form of potash and apple pectin.

Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Chlorine, Sodium, Sulphur, Copper, Iron, Silicon, Fluorine. Such as thirteen types of carbolic acids, four aldehyde, twenty ketone, eight ethyl acetates etc.  Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, Pro-vitamin beta-carotene, Vitamin P.

Some other uses of Vinegar

Unclog and deodorize drains

The combination of vinegar and baking soda is one of the most effective ways to unclog and deodorize drains. It’s also far gentler on your pipes (and your wallet) than commercial drain cleaners.
To clear clogs in sink and tub drains, use a funnel to pour in 1/2 cup baking soda followed by 1 cup vinegar. When the foaming subsides, flush with hot tap water. Wait five minutes, and then flush again with cold water. Besides clearing blockages, this technique also washes away odour-causing bacteria.
To speed up a slow drain, pour in 1/2 cup salt followed by 2 cups boiling vinegar, then flush with hot and cold tap water.

A Cup of Vinegar can work wonders!

Clean your window blinds

You can make the job of cleaning mini-blinds or Venetians considerably less torturous by giving them “the white glove treatment.” Just put on a white cotton glove — the kind sold for gardening is perfect — and moisten the fingers in a solution made of equal parts white vinegar and hot tap water.
Now simply slide your fingers across both sides of each slat and prepare to be amazed. Use a container of clean water to periodically wash off the glove Polish brass and copper items Put the shimmer back in your brass, bronze, and copper objects by making a paste of equal parts white vinegar and salt, or vinegar and baking soda (wait for the fizzing to stop before using). Use a clean, soft cloth or paper towel to rub the paste into the item until the tarnish is gone. Then rinse with cool water and polish with a soft towel until dry.

Equal parts white vinegar and hot tap water can work wonders.

Erase ballpoint-pen marks, deodorize lunch boxes, footlockers, and car trunks.

Does your old footlocker smell like, well, an old footlocker? Or perhaps your child’s lunch box has taken on the bouquet of week-old tuna? What about that musty old car trunk? Quit holding your breath every time you open it. Instead, soak a slice of white bread in white vinegar and leave it in the malodorous space overnight. The smell should be gone by morning. Restore your rugs If your rugs or carpets are looking worn and dingy from too much foot traffic or an excess of kids’ building blocks, toy trucks, and such, bring them back to life by brushing them with a clean push broom dipped in a solution of 1 cup white vinegar in 1 gallon (3.7 liters) water. Your faded threads will perk up, and you don’t even need to rinse off the solution.

Remove odour from lunch boxes.

Remove carpet stains

You can lift out many stains from your carpet with vinegar:
• Rub light carpet stains with a mixture of 2 tablespoons salt dissolved in 1/2 cup white vinegar. Let the solution dry, and then vacuum.
• For larger or darker stains, add 2 tablespoons borax to the mixture and use in the same way.
• For tough, ground-in dirt and other stains, make a paste of 1 tablespoon vinegar with 1 tablespoon cornstarch, and rub it into the stain using a dry cloth. Let it set for two days, then vacuum.
• To make spray-on spot and stain remover, fill a spray bottle with 5 parts water and 1 part vinegar. Fill a second spray bottle with 1 part no sudsy ammonia and 5 parts water. Saturate a stain with the vinegar solution. Let it settle for a few minutes, then blot thoroughly with a clean, dry cloth. Then spray and blot using the ammonia solution.

Repeat until the stain is gone.

Remove carpet stains.

Revitalize leather furniture

Has your leather sofa or easy chair lost its lustre  To restore it to its former glory, mix equal parts white vinegar and boiled linseed oil in a recycled spray bottle, shake it up well, and spray it on.
Spread it evenly over your furniture using a soft cloth, give it a couple of minutes to settle in, and then rub it off with a clean cloth.

Soften fabrics, kill bacteria, eliminate static, and more.

There are so many benefits to be reaped by adding 1 cup white vinegar to your washer’s rinse cycle that it’s surprising that you don’t find it prominently mentioned inside the owner’s manual of every washing machine sold. Here are the main ones:

• A single cup of vinegar will kill off any bacteria that may be present in your wash load, especially if it includes cloth diapers and the like.
• A cup of vinegar will keep your clothes coming out of the wash soft and smelling fresh — so you can kiss your fabric-softening liquids and sheets good-bye (unless, of course, you happen to like your clothes smelling of heavy perfumes).
• A cup of vinegar will brighten small loads of white clothes.
• Added to the last rinse, a cup of vinegar will keep your clothes lint- and static-free.
• Adding a cupful of vinegar to the last rinse will set the color of your newly dyed fabrics.

Revitalise your leather furniture.

Clean your washing machine

An easy way to periodically clean out soap scum and disinfect your clothes washer is to pour in 2 cups vinegar, then run the machine through a full cycle without any clothes or detergent. If your washer is particularly dirty, fill it with very hot water, add 2 gallons (7.5
litres) vinegar, and let the agitator run for 8-10 minutes. Turn off the washer and let the solution stand overnight. In the morning, empty the basin and run your washer through a complete cycle.

Soothe a sore throat

Here are three ways that you can make a sore throat feel better:
• If your throat is left raw by a bad cough, or even a speaking  engagement, you’ll find fast relief by gargling with 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon salt dissolved in a glass of warm water; use several times a day if needed.
• For sore throats associated with a cold or flu, combine 1/4 cup cider vinegar and 1/4 cup honey and take 1 tablespoon every four hours.
• To soothe both a cough and a sore throat, mix 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/2 cup water, 4 teaspoons honey, and 1 teaspoon hot sauce. Swallow 1 tablespoon four or five times daily, including one before bedtime.

Honey and Vinegar is good for throat

Make a poultice for corns and calluses

• Here’s an old-fashioned, time-proven method to treat corns and calluses: Saturate a piece of white or stale bread with 1/4 cup white vinegar. Let the bread soak in the vinegar for 30 minutes, then break off a piece big enough to completely cover the corn. Keep the poultice in place with gauze or adhesive tape, and leave it on overnight. The next morning, the hard, callused skin will be dissolved, and the corn should be easy to remove. Older, thicker calluses may require several treatments.

• Get the jump on athlete’s foot.
• A bad case of athlete’s foot can drive you hopping mad. But you can often quell the infection, and quickly ease the itching, by rinsing your feet three or four times a day for a few days with undiluted apple cider vinegar. As an added precaution, soak your socks or stockings in a mixture of 1 part vinegar and 4 parts water for 30 minutes before laundering them.

Make way easy for others.


Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Belief has over sixty branches. The best of them is the words, ‘There is no god but Allah’ and the least of them is to remove an obstacle from the road.” (Riyad as-Salihin)

Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, also said, “The actions of my community, both good and bad, were displayed before me and I found among their good actions removing obstacles from the road and I found among their bad actions spittle in the mosque which is not buried.” (Sahih Muslim)

Abu Hurayra said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, ‘Sadaqa(charity) is owed by every limb people have. Every day on which the sun rises in which someone establishes justice between two people is sadaqa. To help a man with his animal and help him onto it is sadaqa. Or to lift his goods onto it is sadaqa. A good word is sadaqa. Every step you take to the prayer is sadaqa. Removing an obstacle from the road is sadaqa.” (Riyad as-Salihin)

How to remove an obstacle?

Obstacle on paths are a cause of inconvenience.

1. Identify obstacle to be removed. The ability to identify obstacles and understand why they are causing problems is only the first step in removing obstacles.

2. DIY (Do it yourself) — Deal with the obstacle directly. This can be as simple as getting up and moving an the obstacle from the road. e.g

picking up a brick or stone from the road,

picking up litter as you pass walking,

Cleaning up home , masjid etc

picking up a small branch that is obstructing traffic. (Be careful and assess if it is safe to do it yourself)

3. Delegate — Identify the obstacle and give precise instructions for its removal to a person who will directly perform the removal. This can sometimes work if removing an obstacle takes a great deal of time, effort or specialized skills that you yourself do not possess. E.g.

Calling the water company when there is a burst pipe,

Call the fire station if there is a huge tree in the middle of the road.

Call the traffic department if there is something on the highway/freeway.

Remove obstacles from the path for easy movement of people.

Who is Allah?


Allah

Allah the personal name of God

Concept of God 

It is a known fact that every language has one or more terms that are used in reference to God and sometimes to lesser deities. This is not the case with Allah. Allah is the personal name of the One true God. Nothing else can be called Allah. The term has no plural or gender. This shows its uniqueness when compared with the word “god,” which can be made plural, as in “gods,” or made feminine, as in “goddess.” It is interesting to notice that Allah is the personal name of God in Aramaic, the language of Jesus and a sister language of Arabic.

The One true God is a reflection of the unique concept that Islam associates with God. To a Muslim, Allah is the Almighty Creator and Sustainer of the universe, Who is similar to nothing, and nothing is comparable to Him. The Prophet Muhammad was asked by his contemporaries about Allah; the answer came directly from God Himself in the form of a short chapter of the Qur’an, which is considered to be the essence of the unity or the motto of monotheism. This is chapter 112, which reads:“ In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate. Say (O Muhammad), He is God, the One God, the Everlasting Refuge, who has not begotten, nor has been begotten, and equal to Him is not anyone”.

Some non-Muslims allege that God in Islam is a stern and cruel God who demands to be obeyed fully and is not loving and kind. Nothing could be farther from the truth than this allegation. It is enough to know that, with the exception of one, each of the 114 chapters of the Qur’an begins with the verse ” In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate”. In one of the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), we are told that “ God is more loving and kind than a mother to her dear child”.

On the other hand, God is also Just. Hence, evildoers and sinners must have their share of punishment, and the virtuous must have God’s bounties and favors. Actually, God’s attribute of Mercy has full manifestation in His attribute of Justice. People suffering throughout their lives for His sake should not receive similar treatment from their Lord as people who oppress and exploit others their whole lives. Expecting similar treatment for them would amount to negating the very belief in the accountability of man in the Hereafter and thereby negate all the incentives for a moral and virtuous life in this world. The following Qur’anic verses are very clear and straightforward in this respect.

Verily, for the Righteous are gardens of Delight, in the Presence of their Lord. Shall We then treat the people of Faith like the people of Sin? What is the matter with you? How judge you?

Islam rejects characterizing God in any human form or depicting Him as favoring certain individuals or nations on the basis of wealth, power or race. He created the human-beings as equals. They may distinguish themselves and get His favor through virtue and piety only.

The concepts that God rested on the seventh day of creation, that God wrestled with one of His soldiers, that God is an envious plotter against mankind, and that God is incarnate in any human being are considered blasphemy from the Islamic point of view.

The unique usage of Allah as a personal name of God is a reflection of Islam’s emphasis on the purity of the belief in God that is the essence of the message of all God’s messengers. Because of this, Islam considers associating any deity or personality with God as a deadly sin that God will never forgive, despite the fact that He may forgive all other sins.

The Creator must be of a different nature from the things created because if He is of the same nature as they are, He will be temporal and will therefore need a maker. It follows that nothing is like Him. If the maker is not temporal, then he must be eternal. But if he is eternal, he cannot be caused, and if nothing caused Him to come into existence, nothing outside Him causes Him to continue to exist, which means that he must be self-sufficient. And if He does not depend on anything for the continuance of His own existence, then this existence can have no end. The Creator is therefore eternal and everlasting: “He is the First and the Last”.

He is Self-sufficient or Self-subsistent, or, to use a Qur’anic term, Al-Qayyum The Creator does not create only in the sense of bringing things into being, He. also preserves them and takes them out of existence and is the ultimate cause of whatever happens to them.

“ God is the Creator of everything. He is the guardian over everything. Unto Him belong the keys of the heavens and the earth” (39:62-63).

“ No creature is there crawling on the earth, but its provision rests on God. He knows its lodging place and its repository” (11:16).

God’s Attributes

            If the Creator is Eternal and Everlasting, then His attributes must also be eternal and everlasting. He should not lose any of His attributes nor acquire new ones. If this is so, then his attributes are absolute. Can there be more than one Creator with such absolute attributes? Can there be, for example, two absolutely powerful Creators? A moment’s thought shows that this is not feasible.

The Qur’an summarizes this argument in the following verses:“ God has not taken to Himself any son, nor is there any god with Him: for then each god would have taken of that which he created and some of them would have risen up over others” (23:91).

“ And why, were there gods in earth and heaven other than God, they (heaven and earth) would surely go to ruin” (21:22).


The Oneness of God

            The Qur’an reminds us of the falsity of all alleged gods. To the worshippers of man-made objects it asks:“ Do you worship what you have carved yourself” (37:95). “ Or have you taken unto yourself others beside Him to be your protectors, even such as have no power either for good or for harm to themselves” (13:16).

To the worshippers of heavenly bodies it cites the story of Abraham:“ When night outspread over him, he saw a star and said: This is my Lord. But when it set, he said: I love not the setters. When he saw the moon rising, he said: This is my Lord. But when it set, he said: If my Lord does not guide me, I shall surely be of the people gone astray. When he saw the sun rising, he said: This is my Lord; this is greater. But when it set, he said: O my people, surely I quit that which you associate, I have turned my face to Him who originated the heavens and the earth; a man of pure faith, I am not one of the idolators” (6:76-79).

Source: WAMY