The Amazing Quran


English: Fragmentary Quran, dateable to the 4r...

English: Fragmentary Quran, dateable to the 4rd/11th century. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Dr.Gary Miller

Introduction

The Qur’an is the last revealed Word of God. It is a record of the exact words revealed by God to the Prophet Muhammad through the Angel Gabriel. It was then dictated to his Companions who memorized it, and it was written down by scribes. The Qur’an is in every detail the unique and miraculous text which was revealed to Muhammad fourteen centuries ago. Not one word of its 114 chapters has been changed over the centuries.The Qur’an deals with all subjects which concern us as human beings: wisdom, doctrine, worship, and law, but its basic theme is the relationship between God and His creatures. There are also many verses in the Qur’an concerned with natural phenomena that are astounding. It is impossible to explain their presence in humans terms, given the state of knowledge at the time the Qur’an was revealed. In the West, such statements had never before formed the subject of a scientific communication until recent times.On 9th November 1976, an unusual lecture was given at the French Academy of Medicine. Its title was ‘Physiological and Embryological data in the Qur’an’ and was delivered by the famous French physician Dr. Maurice Bucaille. His reason for doing this was that “our knowledge of these disciplines is such, that it is impossible to explain how a text produced at the time of the Qur’an could have contained ideas that have only been discovered in modern times.”The citations included in this pamphlet appeared in the Qur’an during the 7th century CE. The Prophet Muhammad was himself illiterate and was living among illiterate people. The Arabs at that time worshipped idols and believed in horoscope and magic and were superstitious. The Arabs very actively opposed the teachings advanced by the Prophet through his revelations.This short article is for you to read and to consider. Because the subject matter is so vast, we have space to mention only a few brief facts from the Amazing Qur’an.

The Creation of the Universe

“Do not the unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together, then We clove them asunder? And We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe?”(21:30) This verse is specifically addressed to non-believers, andtouches upon the creation of the universe and the origins of all life. The Qur’an mentions the existence of a gaseous mass (dukhan,41:11) which is unique and whose elements, although at first fused together (ratq) subsequently became separated (fatq). The separation process resulted in the formation of multiple worlds, a notion which crops up dozens of times in the Qur’an (1:1): “Praise be to God, Lord of the Worlds.” [1,2]

The Origins of Life

“And We made from water every living thing.Will they not then believe?” (21:30)

The building blocks of all living things are called cells. They are the basic units of life.

Protoplasm (cytoplasm nucleus) is the substance of all living things. Cytoplasm is a jelly-like material consisting of water and dissolved substances. The constitution of protoplasm is about 80-85% water. Without water life is not possible. [2]

None of the myths on the origins of life that abounded at the time of the Qur’an are present in the text. Furthermore, the fact that all life originated from water would not have been a very easy thing to convince people of 1400 years ago, especially in the desert!

The Expansion of the Universe

The expansion of the universe is the most imposing discovery of modern science. Today it is a firmly established concept and the only debate centres around the way this is taking place.

“The heaven, We have built it with power. Verily, We are expanding it.” (51:47)‘We are expanding it’ is the translation of the plural present particle musi’una of the verb ausa’a meaning “to make wider, more spacious, to extend, to expand.” Some translators were unable to grasp the meaning and provided mistaken translations. Others sense the meaning, but were afraid to commit themselves eg. Hamidullah talks of the widening of the heavens and space, but he includes a question mark. Zidan & Zidan, and The Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs refer to the expansion of the universe in totally unambiguous terms. [1,2]

The Mountains

Mountains have always been looked upon as conspicuous landforms, characterized by lofty protrusions above their surroundings, high peaks and steep sides.However, the Qur’an accurately describes mountains as stabilizers for the Earth that hold its outer surface firmly, lest it should shake with us, and as pickets (or pegs) which hold that surface downwardly as a means of fixation.”Have we not made the earth an expanse, and the mountains stakes (awtad)?” (78:6-7) and “And God cast into the ground mountains standing so that it does not shake with you.” (31:10). [1,3]

The Developing Human Embryo

Statements referring to human reproduction and development are scattered throughout the Qur’an. It is only recently that the scientific meaning of some of these verses has been fully appreciated. The Qur’an determines that human development passesthrough stages (39:6). The realization that the human embryo develops in stages was not discussed and illustrated until the 15th century. The staging of human embryos was not described until the 20th century. Streeter (1941) developed the first system of staging which has now been replaced by a more accurate system proposed by O’Rahilly (1972). However, the Qur’an was the first source to mention the (23:12-16). The Qur’an and Hadith also state that both parents share in the origins of the offspring: “O mankind! We created you from male and female.” (49:13) and “We created mankind from a mixed drop (nutfah-amshaj).” (76:2)The mixed drop refers to the mixture and convergence of a small quantity of sperms with the ovum (and its associated follicular fluid) to form the zygote. It has the form of a drop and consists of a mixture of male and female secretions.”Then we made the drop into a leech-like structure (‘alaqah).” (23:14) ‘alaqah in Arabic means (i) to cling and stick to a thing; (ii) a leech or bloodsucker; (iii) a suspended thing; and (iv) a blood clot. Amazingly, each of the meanings for ‘alaqah can be applied to human prenatal development.For example, taking ‘alaqah to mean a leech we find that the embryo is surrounded by amniotic fluid just as a leech is surrounded by water. The human embryo clings to the mothers womb, in the same way that a leech clings to the skin. A leech is a pear shaped organism and thrives on bloodsucking. The diagram above clearly indicates that the shape of the embryo does in fact resemble a leech! At this stage the cardiovascular system has started appearing and the embryo is now dependant on the maternal blood for its nutrition like a leech! As there were no microscopes or lenses available in the 7th century, people could not have known that the embryo has this leech-like appearance.”Then out of that leech-like structure We made a chewed lump (mudghah).” This statement is from Surah 23:14. The Arabic word mudghah means “chewed substance or chewed lump.” Towards the end of the 4th week, the human embryo looks somewhat like a chewed lump of flesh. The chewed appearance results from the somites which resemble teeth marks. The somites represent the beginnings of the vertebrae (backbone). (For a detailed discussion concerning the Qur’an and modern embryology see 1,2,4,5,6).

Lost Civilizations

In the 89th chapter of the Qur’an, the city of “Iram” is mentioned: “Have you not seen how your Lord dealt with Aad, of the city of Iram, with lofty pillars the like of which was never created in any land?” Iram has been unknown to history, so much so that it apparently became an embarrassment to some Muslim commentators of the Holy Qur’an. In 1975, in North-Western Syria the ancient city of Ebla was excavated.Ebla is over 4500 years old. In the ruins of the Palace Library they found the largest collection of cuneiform clay tablets ever discovered – around 15,000. Written in the oldest Semitic language yet identified, the tablets reveal that Ebla rivalled Egypt and Mesopotamia as a major power of the ancient world. They found in there a record of all the cities that Ebla used to do business with including one IRAM! [7,8,9]

What happened to the body of Pharaoh of the Exodus?

The Biblical version of Pharaoh’s story states that he was drowned in the pursuit of Prophet Moses (Exodus 14:28-29). Unknown to the world till only of late, the Holy Qur’an made a definite prediction about the preservation of the body of that same Pharaoh of Moses’ time 10:90-92:”This day We shall save you in your body so that you may be a sign for those that come after you”. The body was discovered in the tomb of Amenhotep II in 1898.[2,12]

The resting place of Noah’s Ark

The Bible states that “And the Ark rested… upon the mountains of Ararat.” Genesis 8:4. According to the Holy Qur’an (11:44): “The Ark came to rest upon Al-Judi.” According to recent evidence from an archaeological find in Eastern Turkey, experts believe they may have discovered the remains of an ancient vessel whose dimensions mirror those of Noah’s Ark as told in the Bible. However, the discovery was made on Al-Judi! [10,11]

The Holy Qur’an:- God’s final Guidance to Mankind

“How could a man, from being illiterate, become the most important author in terms of literary merits in the whole of Arabic literature? How could he the pronounce facts of a scientific nature that no other human being could have possibly known at that time, and all this, without once making the slightest error in his pronouncement on the subject?” (Dr. Maurice Bucaille).

You owe it to yourself to find out the TRUTH about : ISLAM, the Holy Qur’an and the Life and teachings of God’s final Messenger, Muhammad.

The message of ISLAM is simple:

There is nothing worthy of worship except GOD alone, and Muhammad is his messenger and servant.There are today, over one-thousand million followers of ISLAM. Find out the truth!

NOTES:

[1] VIDEO TAPE: This is the TRUTH

[2] The Bible, the Qur’an & Science, by Dr. Maurice Bucaille, American Trust Publications.

[3] The Geological concept of Mountains in the Qur’an, by Prof. Z. R. El-Nagger, IIIE, USA.

[4] “A scientist’s interpretation of references to embryology in the Qur’an.”, Keith L. Moore, Journal of the Islamic Medical Association of North America (18:15) 1986.

[5] The Developing Human: Clinically oriented embryology with ISLAMIC ADDITIONS, Keith L. Moore and A. A. Azzindani, 3rd Ed., Dar Al-Qiblah and WB Saunders, 1983.

[6] Human Development as Described in the Qur’an and Sunnah, Various contributors, Islamic Academy for Scientific Research, ISBN 0-9627234-1-4, 1992.

[7] The Amazing Qur’an, Gary Miller.

[8] National Geographic, December, 1978.

[9] Ebla – A revelation in archaeology, Chaim Bermant and Michael Weitzman, Time Books, 1979.

[10] VIDEO TAPE: Quest for the Ark, Channel 4 documentary.

[11] The Discovery of Noah’s Ark, D. Fasold, Wynwood Press, 1988.

[12] Moses and Pharaoh: The Hebrews in Egypt, Dr. Maurice Bucaille, NTT Mediascope Inc., Japan, 1994

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Intellectual Reflections on Islam and the Qur’an


Intellectual  Reflections on Islam and the Qur’an

by Dr. Gary Miller

CONTENTS

  • Dilemma of Applying Reason
  • Setting Standards
  • Sign of God
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • Taking a Stand
  • The Expanding Heavens
  • The City of Iram
  • The Smallest Matter
  • Forgiveness
  • Predictions
  • Evidence of Divine Origin
  • The Two Phenomena
  • Use and Mention of Words
  • Jesus and Adam
  • Good and Evil
  • Occurrence of Words
  • Perfect Balance of Words
  • Best Explanation
  • Origin of the Qur’an
  • Challenge
  • Attributing it to the Devil
  • A Different Story
  • House Cleaning
  • A Prophet like Moses
  • Paraclete
  • Followers of Jesus

 

Dilemma of Applying Reason

Almost all of us have been faced with the questioning of a child by repeating one word over and over. He can be very frustrating to us as he asks Why? If you put a h1ife beyond his reach, he wants to know, Why? When you explain it is sharp, he asks “Why?” And so you explain, in order to cut fruit, and he asks, Why? And so it goes

It illustrates the dilemma of applying reason. What we have to do when we apply reason is first to set standards of proof. We decide for ourselves, “What will I be satisfied with if I find such and such and so and so that constitutes for me a final proof?” We have to decide on that first.

What happens though, is that on the really important issues, the philosophical matters, thinkers set standards and eventually they may arrive at their standards. They may arrive at the point which they say would constitute a proof. But then they ask for a proof of the proof.

Setting Standards

The key to avoiding this endless dissatisfaction is to satisfy ourselves about standards first; to satisfy ourselves that such and such are a list of criteria that constitute proof, satisfying proof, and then we test the subjects that we examine. In particular I will apply this to the Qur’an.

Ask a thoughtful Christian why he is Christian, and he will usually reply, “The miracle of Resurrection.” The basis for his belief being that about two thousand years ago a man died and he was raised from the dead. That is his miracle, his ‘touchstone’, because all else depends on that.

Ask a Muslim, “Well, what is your miracle? Why are you a Muslim? Where is your miracle?” and the Muslim can go over and take his miracle off the shelf and hand it over to you because his miracle is still with us today. It is the Qur’an; it is his ‘touchstone’.

 

Sign of God

While all the prophets have their signs, Moses had the competition with the magicians and the Pharaoh, Jesus healed the sick and raised the dead and so on, one sign was given to the last of the prophets. According to the Muslims, this is the Qur’an. And this one Sign is still with us. Does not that after all seem fair, that if prophethood is to end that the last prophet should bring something that stays with us so that, in fact, a Muslim who takes his religion seriously suffers no disadvantage to Muslims who lived fourteen centuries ago?

Those people who kept company with the Prophet had access to no more of the necessary information than we have today. They had the Qur’an. That was the sign for them. It is still a sign to us today, the same miracle.

Well, let us test the Qur’an. Suppose that if I say to a man, “I know your father.” Probably he is going to examine the situation and see if it seems likely that I have met his father. If he is not convinced he will start asking me questions like: “You know my father, you say, is he a tall man? Does he have curly hair? Does he wear glasses?” and so on. If I keep giving him the right answers to all these questions, pretty soon he is going to be convinced. “Well I guess this man did meet my father like he said.” You see the method

 

The Big Bang Theory

Here in the Qur’an we have a book which claims that is author is one who was present at the beginning of the universe, at the beginning of life. So, we have a right to address that author and say, “Well, tell me something prove to me that you were there when the world began, when life began.” The Qur’an gives us an interesting statement. It reads:

” Have not the disbelievers seen that the Heavens and the Earth were one piece and we parted them and we made from water every living thing? Will they not believe? ” (21:30)

There are three key points here. First of all, it is the disbelievers who are mentioned as being those who would see that the heavens and the earth were one piece and then parted and would see that all life came to be made from water.

As it happens the universally accepted theory of the origin of the universe is now the Big Bang theory. It maintains that at one time all of the heavens and the earth were one piece, the ‘monoblock’ as it is called. At a particular point in time, this ‘monoblock’ burst and it continues to expand. This gives us the universe we have today. This was a recent discovery, a recent confirmation.

The Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded only a few years ago to those who confirmed the Big Bang origin of the universe. It was only about two hundred years ago that Leeuwnhoek and others perfected the microscope and discovered for the first time that living cells are composed of about eighty percent water.

Those Nobel Prize winners and the Dutchman who invented the microscope were not Muslims. And yet they confirmed the vital statement that at one time the universe was one piece, that life was made from water, just as this verse says:

” Have not the disbelievers seen that the Heavens and the Earth were one piece and we parted them and we made from water every living thing? Will they not believe? ” (21:30)

Well, this sounds like an answer to the question we stated with when we ask the author: “Tell me something that shows me you were present when the universe began when life began?”

 

Taking a Stand

Everyone must be committed to something. You have to put your foot down some place. It is impossible to be neutral all time. There has to be a point of reference in the life of any thinking individual. You have to take a stand somewhere. The question, of course, is to put your foot down in the right place. Since there is no such thing as a proof of a proof and so on, in order to find the right place to put one’s foot down, to take a stand, we have to search and find that place and it is by a method that I hope to illustrate here.

It is a question of finding a point of convergence. You see, we search for truth in many places and we begin to know that we are succeeding in finding the truth if all our different paths start to converge; they start to come together at the same point.

If we are examining a book, looking for evidence of divine origin, and we are led to Islam, this is one path. If at the same time we are examining the words of all those who were called prophets and we find ourselves led to Islam, we have a firmly grounded basis for belief. We started looking for truth in two different places and ground ourselves going down the path headed for the same destination.

No one ever proves all things. We have to stop at some point being satisfied with our standards as I have mentioned earlier. The point is, in order to take a stand and to be sure it is in the right place we want to examine all the evidence around us and see where does it lead us and anticipate this point of convergence; to say it looks like all things are pointing to this place. We go to that place and then look at the data around us to see if it fits into place. Dos it now make sense? Are we standing in the right place?

 

The Expanding Heavens

Let me first show more of our examination of the Qur’an, and then an examination of some words of prophets to find this point of convergence. In chapter fifty-one, verse forty seven, it is mentioned that the heavens are expanding. As I mentioned earlier, this is in connection with the ‘Big Bang’ origin of the universe, as it is usually called, and it was in 1973 that the Nobel Prize was awarded to three men who were confirming that, after all, the universe is expanding.

The comments of Muslims over the centuries on this verse which speaks of the heavens doing exactly that are very interesting. The wisest among them had stated that the words are very clear, that the heavens are expanding, but they could not imagine how that could be so. But they were content to leave the words as they were, to say: “Allah knows best”

 

The City of Iram

The Qur’an mentions a city by the name of Iram (89:7). The city of Iram has been unknown to history, so unknown that even some Muslim commentators, out of embarrassment for feeling apologetic for their religion, have commented on this mention of the city in the Qur’an as being perhaps figurative, that Iram was possibly a man and not a city.

In 1973 the excavation in Syria at the site of the ancient city of Eblus uncovered the largest collection of cuneiform writings on clay tablets ever assembles. In fact, the library discovered in Eblus contains more clay tablets that are more that four thousand years old than all other tablets combined from all the other sites.

Interestingly enough, you will find the details in the National Geographic of 1978 which confirms that in those tablets the city of Iram is mentioned. The people of Eblus used to do business with the people of Iram. So here in these comes confirmation of the fact that, after all, there really was an ancient city by that name, wherever it was. How did it find its way into the Qur’an, we might ask?

Those Muslims who may have offered their commentary trying to explain away this reference that they were uncomfortable with, were outsmarted by the author of the Qur’an. They would attempt it. Primarily their actions would involve trying to produce evidence that the author of this book had a primitive understanding of the world around us.

The Smallest Matter

For example, there is a word which is translated to usually in Arabic as zarrah. This is usually translated ‘atom’ and it is usually thought of in Arabic as being smallest item available at one time. Perhaps the Arab thought it was an ant or a grain of dust. Today the word usually translated as ‘atom’.

Those who would outsmart the author of the Qur’an have insisted that, well, the atom is not after all the smallest piece of matter because in this century it has been discovered that even the atom is made of still smaller of matter. Is it then possible to outsmart the author who chose to use this word? Well, in chapter ten, there is an interesting verse sixty one, which speaks of items the size of a zarrah, (atom) or smaller. There is no possibility in this subject someone is going to say a new discovery has outdated the words of the Qur’an on the issue of the size of matter or the ultimate particles. The verse talks about items the size of a zarrah (atom) or smaller.

 

Forgiveness

Speaking of outsmarting the author of the Qur’an, the Islamic point of view is that when a man embraces Islam, his past is forgiven from the very beginning. This has been the invitation to Islam: come to Islam and all is forgiven from the past.

But consider this. There is only one enemy of Muhammad, peace be upon him, who is mentioned by name in the Qur’an: one Abu Lahab. In a short chapter of this book, he is condemned to punishment for his sins.

As it happens, the man himself was alive for many years after this revelation. He could therefore have finished Islam very easily. He needed only to go to the Muslims to announce his conversion. They had in their hands the revelation which said that this man is doomed to punishment. He could have gone to Muslims and say: “I accept Islam, am I forgiven or not?”

He could have confused them so much as to finish this small movement because he would have been pointing out to them that they were now in confusion. The policy was instant forgiveness of the past, but their own revealed scripture announced that he was not forgiven. As it was, Abu Lahab died without accepting Islam.

 

Predictions

In fact, the Qur’an confidently predicted a number of things only a few years before they came to pass. The fall of the Persian Empire, for example, was predicted in spite of the fact that it had just suffered a serious military victory. The evidence was all to the contrary. But in the chapter entitled Rom, the fall of the Persian Empire, who were recently victors over the Romans, was predicted.

When all the Muslims in the world could meet in one room (meaning, Muslims initially were very few in number), the revelations were already discussing their future successes. In confidence, they were planning for the day when they would be in charge of the city (Mecca) where they were forced at that time to hide for their very lives.

 

Evidence of Divine Origin

Some people may like to find any number of things in the Qur’an. But an honest method in examining this book, looking for evidence of the Divine origin, is to take things at their value, to look for things that are clear and to look in those places where we are invited to look. Remember the passage that I quoted earlier: “Have not the disbelievers seen…” This a common phrase of the Qur’an: “O Man, Have you not seen.” The invitation is to examine the evidence in these places. We are doing the sensible thing if we examine the words used to look for the doubted meaning and to find evidence of the Divine origin.

Each one of us is an expert on something. One does not have to have a degree in a particular subject to decide that now, “I can take my expertise to the Qur’an and see what I can find.” We all know something from our own experience and life.

I heard a story, several years ago in Toronto, of man who was given the Qur’an to read. The man was a member of the merchant marines who spent his life on the sea. When he read a verse in the Qur’an describing the wave on the ocean, “waves within waves and the darkness between,” he was surprised because the description was just what he knew the situation to be. When he returned the Qur’an to the man who gave it to him to read, he asked him (because he was completely ignorant of the origins of Islam): “This Muhammad, was he a sailor?” Well, of course, he was quite surprised to know that the man spent his life in the desert. So he had to ask himself: “From where did he get this knowledge of what looks like on a stormy sea?”

We all know something that we can be confident of and if we can turn to the Qur’an to read what it says about that subject, we are asking for confirmation of our belief in the Divine origin of the book.

 

The Two Phenomena

A friend of mine from the University of Toronto, had experience of dealing with a man who was doing his doctorate in psychology. He chose as his subject: “The Efficiency of Group Discussion.”

He suggested a number of criteria as to what constituted an efficient discussion. He graphed the process; that is achieved a measure of the efficiency of all groups in the discussions according to an index by his system., On his graph he indicated the progress made by the discussion groups of various sizes.

The interesting thing that happened which he did not expect to find when he began his project was that, while there were some difference between the size of an given group and how well they did in discussions, he was surprised to find that groups of two were completely off his scale. In other words, when two people sit down to discuss something, they were so much more efficient than any other size of group that it went completely off his scale of measurement.

When my friend heard about this, something went on at the back of his mind. My friend, being a Muslim, thought there was something familiar here about this idea. The psychology researcher was not a Muslim. He was debating with himself on changing the topic of his thesis. Should he call it ‘The Phenomenon of Two’ or ‘The Two Phenomena’? He was so surprised at his discovery.

Meanwhile, my friend found that there is a verse in the Qur’an, and he found it for himself on the same night, which speaks on discussions and the size of groups and how efficient they are. And maybe we should not be surprised to find that it is the groups that are two in numbers that do the best in achieving results. The verse in the Qur’an reads, concerning discussion groups, that when discussing the Qur’an, one should sit alone and reflect on its meaning or discuss it in groups of two. =

 

Use and Mention of Words

For myself, as I said everyone knows something for sure or has an interest and experience in life; my interest is in mathematics and logic.There is a verse in the Qur’an which says:

“This a scripture whose verses are perfected and then expounded.”(11:1)

Which tells me that there are no wasted words in the Qur’an; that each verse is perfected and then it is explained. It could not be in a better form. One could not use fewer words to say the same thing or if one uses more words one would only be adding superfluous information.

This directed my attention to a particular mathematical subject, a logical subject, and I examined the Qur’an to see if I could find something of what I knew to be the case.

A revolution in logic has occurred in the last one hundred years, primarily over the difference between use and mention of words. A structure of logic seemed to be in danger of collapsing about a hundred years ago because it came to the attention of the people who studied these matters that the structure was not quite sound. The issue involved ‘self-reference’ and the use and the mention of words which I will explain briefly.

Aristotle’s law of the ‘excluded middle’ was the statement that every statement is either true false. About a hundred years ago, somebody pointed out that the law of the excluded middle is a statement and is therefore not a law after all. It could just as well be false as well as true.

This was a tangled knot for the logicians to untie until they came to understand the difference between the use and the mention of a word.

When we use a word, we consider its meaning. When we mention a word, we are discussing the word itself. If I said Toronto is a large city, I mean Toronto, that place, is a large city. If I say Toronto has seven letters, I am talking about the word ‘Toronto’. In the first case I used the word and in the second I mentioned the word. You see distinction.

 

Jesus and Adam

Connecting these ideas and the idea that the Qur’an is composed of verses that are perfected and then expounded for us, consider the verse which says:

“The likeness of Jesus before Allah is as the likeness of Adam.” (3:59)

It is very clear that what we have in the statement is an equation. This verse goes on to explain how that is true because they both came under unusual circumstances rather than having a mother and a father in the usual human reproductive way. But more than that, I got to consider the use of the mention of words.

The words are used clearly enough. Jesus is like Adam and by Jesus and Adam, we mean those two men. But what about the mention of the words? Was the author aware of the fact that if we were considering the words as words themselves, this sentence also read that ‘Jesus’ is something like ‘Adam’. Well, they are not spelt with the same letters, how can they be alike in this revelation? The only answer came to me fairly quickly and I took a look at the index of the Qur’an.

The index of the Qur’an has been made available only since 1945. This book was the result of years of work by a man and his students who assembled a book which lists every word in the Qur’an and where it can be found.

So, when we look up the word Isa (Jesus), we find it in the Qur’an twenty-five times. When we look up Adam, we find it in the Qur’an twenty-five times. The point is that they are very much alike in this book. They are equated. So, following up on this idea, I continued to examine the index looking for every case where something was set up as an equation, where the likeness of something was said to be the likeness of some other thing. And in every case, it works. You have to example a verse which reads:

“The likeness of those who reject our signs is as the likeness of the dog.” (7:176)

Well, the phrase is Arabic for ‘the people who reject our signs’ could be found in the Qur’an exactly five times. And so is the Arabic word for ‘the dog’ (al-kalb). And there are several instances of exactly the same occurrence.

It was some months after I found this for myself that a friend of mine, who is continuing this investigation with me, made a suggestion that there are also some places in the Qur’an where one thing is said to be not like another thing.

As soon as he mentioned this up to me, we both went for the index and had a quick look at several places where on thing is said to be not like another thing and counted their occurrence in the Qur’an. We were surprise, and maybe should not have been, to find that, after all, they do not match up. But an interesting thing does happen. For example, the Qur’an makes it very clear in the verse that “trade” is not like “interest (or usury)”. The two words will be found six times for one and seven for the other. And so it is in every other case.

When one thing is said to be not like another, they are over for a difference of one time. It would be five of one and four of the other, or seven of one and eight of another.

 

Good and Evil

There is one interesting verse which, I felt, spoke directly to me from right off the page. It mentions two words in Arabic, al-khabeeth (the evil), and al-taib (the good). The verse reads:

“Say, the evil and the good are not comparable, even though the abundance of evil will surprise you. So be mindful of your duty to Allah, O Man of understanding that you may succeed.”(5:100)

Well, I had a look at those two words in Arabic, the evil and the good, and found in the Qur’an that they both occur seven times. Yet the verse here is saying that they are not comparable. I should not expect to find that they occur the same number of times. But what does the rest of this verse say?

“The evil and the good are not comparable. The abundance of the evil will surprise you” and it did for there were too many of them. But it continues:

“So be mindful of your duty to Allah, O Man of understanding, that you may succeed.”

So press on. Use your understanding and you will succeed. That is what the verse said to me. Well, I found the answer in one verse further on where it reads:

“Allah separates the evil from the good. The evil HE piles one on top of the other, heaping them all together.”

Here is the solution to the difficulty. While we have several occurrences of al-taib (the good), according to the principle of this verse, evil is separated from good and is piled one on top of the other and heaped all together. We can not count them as seven separate instances.

 

Occurrences of Words

A favorite difficulty, or supposed difficulty, which critics like to cite or have cited in the past years concerning the Qur’an is that, apparently to their thinking, the author of this book was ignorant because he advised the Muslims to follow the lunar instead of the solar year. The critics say the author was unaware of the difference in the length of years, that if one follows twelve lunar months, one loses eleven days every year.

The author of the Qur’an was well aware of the distinction between the length of the solar year and the lunar year. In chapter eighteen, verse nine, it mentions three-hundred years and gives their equivalent as three-hundred and nine years. As it happens, three hundred solar years is equal to three -hundred and nine lunar years.

Let us go back to my original scheme of the occurrence of words in the Qur’an. The Arabic word for ‘month’, “shahr”, will be found twelve times in the Qur’an. There are twelve months in a year. If we find twelve months, how many days should we expect to find? The word in Arabic is “yawm”, and as it happens you will find that the word occurs three-hundred and sixty five times in the Qur’an.

As a matter of fact, the original issue which had me interested in looking up the occurrence of months and days was this distinction between the solar year and the lunar year. Well, for twenty-five centuries, it has been known that the relative positions of the sun, moon and earth coincide every nineteen years. This was discovered by a Greek by the name of Meton, and it is called the ‘Metonic’ cycle. Knowing this, I looked again to the index for the word ‘year’, sanah and found, sure enough, that it occurs in the Qur’an nineteen times.

 

Perfect balance of Words

Now, what is the point of this perfect balance of words? For myself, it shows the author was well aware of the distinction between using words and mentioning words, a fine logical point. But more than that, it indicates the preservation of this book.

After giving a lecture on the subject of the Qur’an , I touched on some of these subjects and a questionnaire from the audience afterwards said: “How do we know we still have the original Qur’an. Maybe pieces of it have been lost or extra parts been added?” I pointed out to him that we had pretty well covered that point because since these items, the perfect balance of words in the Qur’an, have come to light only in this generation, anybody who would have lost the portion of this book, hidden some of it, or added some of their own would have been unaware of this carefully hidden code in the book. They would have destroyed this perfect balance.

It is interesting to note too that, well, such a thing might be possible to organize today by the use of a computer to coordinate all words so that whatever thought you might have as to a meaning of a sentence or however you might construe an equation out of a sentence, you could check for yourself and the book will always have the balance of words.

If that were possible today, if it were possible fourteen centuries ago, why would it be done and then left hidden and never drawn to the attention of those who first saw this book? Why it would be left with the hope of the author who contrived this, that maybe, in many centuries, someone will discover it and have a nice surprise? It is a scheme that does not make sense.

 

Best Explanation

We are told in the Qur’an that no questionnaire will come to the Muslims with the question for which a good answer has not been provided, and the best explanation for whatever his question. This verse says:

“For everything they say, say we are given something to go back to them and reply.” (25:33)

We looked again to the index of the Qur’an and we found the word, qalu (they say), is found three hundred and thirty-two times. Now, what would be the natural counterpart? The Arabic word, qul, which is the command ‘say’ and you will find at the index it also occurs three hundred and thirty-two times.

 

Origin of the Qur’an

An interesting feature of the Qur’an is that it replies to critics as to its origin. That is, no one has yet come up with suggestion as to where this book came from which is not commented on within the book itself.

In fact, the new Catholic Encyclopedia, under the heading Qur’an, mentions that over the centuries, there has been many theories as to where this book came from. Their conclusion: today, no sensible person believes any of these theories. This leaves the Christians in some difficulty. You see, all the theories suggested so far , according to this encyclopedia, are not really acceptable to anyone sensible today.

Where did the book come from? Those who have not really examined the Qur’an usually dismissed it as being, they say, a collection of proverbs or aphorisms, saying that one man used to announce from time to time. They imagined that there was a man who, from time to time during the day, will think of some witty little saying and spit it out and those around him will quickly write it down, and eventually these were all collected and became the Qur’an.

Those who read the Qur’an will find that it is not anything like that at all. The collection of things said by the Prophet is the subject and the content of the Hadith. But the subjects and contents of the Qur’an are all in a form of a composition and explanation. I site as an example the chapter, Yusuf, which is an entire story in great detail about one particular episode of one portion of the life of one man. It is a composition.

It is for this reason that virtually all those who have actually examined the Qur’an usually refer to it as being the product of the authorship as attributed to Muhammad and his ‘co-adjudicators’. These were supposed to be people who would sit with him and composed the Qur’an. You see, they imagined that the Qur’an was composed by a committee.

They acknowledged that there was too much information and it was too well composed for one man to have assembled. So, they imagined that a committee of men used to meet regularly, brought their various sources of information, composed something and then handed to this man and told him, “Go to the people tomorrow, this is your revelation.” In other words, it was a fraud concocted by a group of people. But what do we know about fraud? The Qur’an reminds us as it says:

“Saw, now the truth has come, and falsehood neither invents anything nor restores anything.” (34:49).

It is hard to translate it into English precisely, but what this verse is telling us is that falsehood is not the source of a new thing. A new and truthful thing cannot come from falsehood and falsehood does not restore, to our minds, the facts. Truth is in agreement with facts. Falsehood is something else. So falsehood is empty. If something is born fraud, it will never bring us new information. It will never endure; it will only collapse over a period of time.

 

Challenge

Another interesting verse is a challenge which is addressed to those non-believers. It reads:

“Have they not considered the Qur’an, if it came, from other than Allah, surely they will find in it many inconsistencies.”(4:82)

Here is a challenge to the reader. If you think you have an explanation where this book came from, have another look at the book. Surely, you will be able to uncover some inconsistencies to support your case.

Imagine a student submitting a term paper or a final exam and then writing at the bottom of the page a not to his teacher: “You will find no mistakes in this paper. There are no mistakes on this exam.” Can you imagine the teacher letting that rest? The teacher would probably not sleep until uncovering some inconsistency after a challenge like that. It is not the way human beings speak. They do not offer challenges like that. But here we have it in the Qur’an, a direct challenge saying: “If you have a better idea as to where this book came from, here’s all you need to do. Find some inconsistencies.”

There are critics who make the attempt, critics who try to say the Qur’an contains inconsistencies. A publication that came to my attention recently suggested that the Qur’an was contradictory on the subject of marriage, because in one place, it says: “don’t marry more than one wife unless you can provide for them all,” and in another place it says: “Don’t marry more than four.” They see this as a contradiction. What they have is a counter-distinction. In one case, the qualification for marrying more than one has been given. In the other case, a limitation on how many may be married is given. There is no contradiction.

Critics are too quick to grab hold of something, give it an interpretation, and then offer it as an excuse to escape the reality of this document.

For critics who would attack the Qur’an and insist it contains mistakes, we can use the same method as in our reply to Christians who claim that Jesus is on record as claiming to be equal to God. Remember the three categories of evidence offered. The evidence offered was insufficient, ambiguous or impossible.

You see, if someone cites a verse from the Qur’an, trying to show that it is a mistake, we only need to show that the verse cited is insufficient to establish that there is a mistake or we need to show that the verse cited cannot possibly have the interpretation which the critic is giving it. It will always fall into one of these three categories.

Attributing it to the Devil

I had experience, on one occasion, describing some of the contents in the Qur’an to a man who did not know the book I was talking about. He sat next to me with the cover turned over. I just told him about the book, what it contained and told him it was not the Bible. His conclusion was, the book was miraculous. This man was a minister in a Christian Church. He said, “Yes, that book could not possible have originated with the man and therefore it must come from the devil, because it’s not the Bible.”

The Qur’an comments on this suggestion in chapter twenty-six, verse two-hundred and eleven, as to those who would suggest that the book came from the devil. It points out that it does not quite suit him, does it? Is this how the devil misleads people? He tells them, worship none but God, he insists that they fast, that they practice charity. Is this how the devil misleads people?

Compare the attitude of someone like this, to the attitude of the Jews who knew Jesus and opposed him until the very end. There is an episode reported in the Bible where Jesus raised a man from the dead, one Lazarus, who had been dead for four days. When Lazarus came out of the tomb, alive again those Jews who were watching, what did they do? Did they suddenly say that this man is a true prophet and become believers? No, the Bible says they immediately discussed among themselves that “since this man is working on his signs soon everyone will believe in him. We’ve got to find a way to kill him,” and they attributed his miraculous powers to the devil. He raised that man by the power of the devil.

Now, the Christians who read that episode will feel very sorry for those Jews who had clear evidence right before their very eyes and attribute the miracles to the devil. Does it not appear that they may be doing the same thing when we illustrate what we have in the Qur’an and their final excuse is only: “It originated with the devil.”

A Different Story

There are those who insist that the Qur’an was copied, that it originated in Christian and Jewish sources. As a matter of fact, a book published in recent years called Worshipping the Wrong God has stated, as though it were a fact, that after the first revelation of the Qur’an came to Muhammad, peace be upon him, that his wife died and so he quickly married a Jew and a Christian, and this is where he drew the rest of his sources for his book.

It was ten years after the first revelation of the Qur’an that his wife died, and it was another ten years after that when the Qur’an was virtually completed that he married a Jew and a Christian.

Did he copy from Jewish and Christian sources? In the Qur’an, the ruler of Egypt who opposed Moses is known as Fir’aun, not Pharaoh. The Jews and Christians have always said ‘Pharaoh’. It is easy for an Arab to say ‘Pharaoh’. But in the Qur’an, it is Fir’aun, with an ‘n’. Why? Surely the Jews must have teased the Arabs about that and said: “You’ve got the word wrong. It’s ‘Pharaoh’ and not Fir’aun.” But they insisted on it and it continues that way in the Qur’an, Fir’aun.

As it happens, this historical writings of Herodotus, the Greek historian, exist to this day, and Herodotus comments on the ruler of Egypt, being in his day and in the centuries before him, one man who went by the title of Fir’aun.

Did the book copy from the Christians sources? The Qur’an insists that Jesus was not crucified, that this was only an illusion, but that the Jews who thought they crucified Jesus were mistaken because it was not really so. Christians would have no part of that. As it happens, the idea that Jesus was not really crucified is really very ancient and can be traced back to the first century. But Christians who believed that were eliminated as heretics within the first two-hundred years after the time of Jesus and they were not teaching this doctrine anywhere around the Arabian Peninsula fourteen centuries ago.

Could the author of the Qur’an have been copying from Christian sources when he says that Jesus spoke to man as a baby (3:46) and in later life? The Arabic word used indicates that he was still speaking to man and teaching to them in his forties. The Christians have always maintained that Jesus was gone by the time he was thirty-three. It indicates that there could have been no copying. In fact, a man would have to be stubborn and insists on the points as explained in the Qur’an in the face of Christian opposition who would have said: “No! No! I wasn’t like that. We tell the story differently.”

 

House Cleaning

Now, we go to the words of the prophets themselves, which represent another path that leads to Islam. In the Persian scriptures, which have been around for thousands of years, we read:

“When the Persians should sink so low in mortality, a man will be born in Arabia whose followers will upset their throne, religion and everything. The mighty stiff-necked ones will be overpowered. The house which was built and in which many idols have been placed will purged of idols and people will say their prayers facing towards it. His followers will capture the towns of the Farsi, Entaus and Balkh, and other big places round about. People will embroil with one another. The wise men of Persia and others will join his followers.” (Desature no.14)

The Muslims recognize this very quickly because the Ka’bah, the building which all Muslims face in prayers everyday, was at one time filled with idols and it was part of the mission of Muhammad , peace be upon him, to purge the house of idols till today. It was in the next generation, after the time of the Prophet that the wise men of Persia and others did join his followers.

A Prophet Like Moses

In the Bible, in Deuteronomy chapter eighteen, we have the words of Moses who reports that God told him that there would raise up a prophet,from among the brothers of the Israelites, like Moses.

Christians wish to apply this to Jesus, to say he was the prophet like Moses. It is uncomfortable for them to recognize, however that Jesus was not very much like Moses and Jesus had no father, no wife, no children; he did not die of old age, and he did not lead a nation; all these things Moses had or did. But they say, well, Jesus will return; he will return as a victorious person, and so he will be more like Moses. Do they really expect he will return to also acquire a father and a wife and children and then die of old age? Moreover, Jesus was an Israelite. The passage of scripture says that this prophet that was foretold would be raised up among the brothers of the Israelites, not from the Israelites.

In the third chapter of Acts, the disciple Peter speaks to a crowd of people and explains that Jesus has been taken up and he is in heaven. He will remain in Heaven and he cannot return until all the things that were promised by God come to pass. So what are we still waiting for, does he tell the crowd? He quotes this very saying of Moses saying:

“For God will raise up a prophet from among the brothers of the Israelites like Moses…”

The point is very clear. Christians like to see this prophet as being Jesus. But read carefully Acts chapter three, what it says is that Jesus awaits a return. He cannot return until the fulfillment of this prophecy, that another prophet has to come.

Jesus spoke of it himself and the words survived, just barely, but they survived in the bible. Jesus spoke of God sending another ‘Paraclete’.

Paraclete

There is a lot of argument over the meaning of this word ‘Paraclete’. For now we can leave that aside. What is a ‘Paraclete’? It does not matter. The first letter of John shows that Jesus was a ‘Paraclete’. He is called a ‘Paraclete’ and we have Jesus promising another ‘Paraclete’ is going to be sent. We lose a lot by this word ‘another’ in English because it is ambiguous. If someone’s car breaks down, and it is a Toyota, and I say, ‘” I’ll go get you another car,” maybe I mean, “I’ll go and get you another Toyota because this one you have is broken,” or maybe I mean, “Forget Toyota, they’re no good; I’ll go and get you a Datsun.” It is an ambiguous word. But the Greeks had a word for it. When they meant ‘another’ of the same kind, they said “aloes”. When they meant another of a different kind, they said “heteroes”. The important thing there is that when Jesus, who was himself a Paraclete, said “God will send you another Paraclete” he used the word aloes, not heteroes.

Christians want to say that this other ‘Paraclete’ that has been sent was different from Jesus. It was not a man, it was a spirit. What Jesus said was: God will send you another one like me, another man.” Muslims believe that Muhammad is the fulfillment of this prophecy by Jesus. The Qur’an says that this man is mentioned in the scriptures of the Jews and the Christians (see7:157).

Christians came to expect that the return of Jesus because of a Jewish misunderstanding. ‘Messiah’ and ‘Son of Man’ have been given special significance by the Jews, even though many people were called by this same name as in the Bible. The Jews came to expect a victorious leader. When Jesus did not turn out to be quite what many expected, they hatched the idea that he would return some day and fulfill all these prophecies.

 

Follower of Jesus

Suppose that someone observed Jesus two-thousand years ago, and he left this planet, or he went to sleep for two-thousand years and returned today to look for the followers of Jesus, who would he find? Who would he recognize? Christians?

I conclude with just this food for thought: the Bible says very clearly that Jesus used to fast. Do Christians fast? Muslims fast; it is obligatory on month every year.

The Bible says that Jesus prayed by touching his forehead to the ground. Do Christians pray in this manner? Muslims do. It is characteristic of their prayer and no one on earth is probably ignorant of that fact.

According to Jesus, he told his disciples to greet one another with the expression, “Peace be with you.” Do the Christians do that? Muslims do, universally, whether they speak Arabic of not. The greeting for one to another is Assalamu’ alaikum (peace be with you).

The brother of Jesus in the Book of James, stated that no man should suggest what he is about to do of highlight his plans for the next few days in anyway without adding the phrase “if God wills.” Do not say “I will go here and there do this and that” without adding the phrase “if God wills.” Do Christians do that? Muslims do, whether they speak Arabic or not. If they so much as suggest they are going downtown to pick up some groceries, they will add Insha-Allah, which in Arabic means, “If God wills.”

These conclude my thoughts on this subject. May Allah guide us always closer to the truth.

Seven Ways You Can Save the Planet


Seven Ways You Can Save the Planet

Shehnaz Toorawa

Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said, “The world is green and beautiful and God has appointed you as His stewards over it. He sees how you acquit yourselves…” (Muslim).

Allah tells us in numerous verses of the Quran, that He has
created everything on Earth—animals, rain, plants, oceans, stars, the
sun, the moon—for the benefit of humans. With these favours comes the
role of Khalifah, or guardianship. The Quran tells us,

He it is Who has placed you as viceroys of the earth and has exalted
some of you in rank above others, that He may try you by (the test of) that
which He has given you
” (6:165).

Today the planet is in a mess. Deforestation, desertification,
water pollution, air pollution, soil erosion, extinction of species and the
dwindling of resources indicate that humans are not fulfilling their role of
Khalifah adequately.

What can we do to fulfill our responsibility to protect the Earth? Here are seven small, but effective steps each of us can take to begin the process:

1. Buy less, consume less, waste less.

On average, an individual in a developed nation consumes twice
as much grain, twice as much fish, three times as much meat, nine times as much paper, and eleven times as much gasoline as an individual in a developing nation.(1)

Yet, shopping malls, TV commercials, flyers, billboards, and
the fashion industry continually tell us we don’t have enough and we need
to buy more. The 12 percent of the world’s population that lives in North
America and Western Europe accounts for 60 percent of the world’s private
consumption spending.(2)

The Quran correctly describes our materialistic society in the verse,

The mutual rivalry for piling up (the good things of this world) diverts you (from the more serious things) until you visit the graves” (102:1-2).

While North Americans squander wealth and waste it in luxuries, 825 million people in the world are undernourished (3), 2.4 billion live without basic sanitation, and one billion lack adequate shelter.(4) Destruction of forests, desertification of grasslands, water pollution, depletion of fossil fuels, and the collapse of fisheries around the world warn us that the world’s resources are limited—certainly not enough to support the lifestyle habits of an average North American.

In the Quran, God warns us not to take more than our share of the world’s resources:
“…Do not squander (your wealth) wastefully. Surely the squanderers
are the fellows of the Devils
” (17:26).

In a world of limited resources, we have an obligation to resist consumer culture and squelch the urge to buy, consume, and eventually waste.

The words of the Prophet (pbuh) are a beautiful example of how to live:
Be in the world as if you were a stranger or a traveller along a path” (Bukhari).
The best livelihood is the bare minimum” (Ahmad).

The Quran reminds us that we will be accountable for every item we own and resource we use:
Then (on the day of judgement) you will certainly be questioned about
all the favours you enjoyed
” (102:8).

Next time you’re in line at the cash register, ask yourself if you really need what you’re buying or if you can live without it.

2. Reduce your shower time to five minutes.

The Prophet (pbuh) said, “Excess in the use of water is forbidden, even if you have the resources of a whole river” (Tirmidhi).

Ever noticed how long you spend in the shower? A five-minute shower consumes 100 litres of water. (5)
That may not sound like much, but consider that less than one half of one percent of all water on Earth is fresh water for human use. The rest is sea water or frozen in polar ice caps.(6) Every person on Earth has a share in this water, yet 20% of the world’s population already lacks access to an adequate supply of clean drinking water.(7)
While the average Canadian uses 335 litres of water per day, the average sub-Saharan African survives on 10-20 litres per day.(8) 

The Prophet (pbuh) would perform ghusl, a complete bath, with one Sa’
of water—that’s just 1.6 litres. In a world where water scarcity
and pollution are increasing, every drop counts.

3. Buy locally grown food, without the packaging

Where does the food you eat come from? The local farm or a land far away? In the United States, the average food item travels 2,500–4,000 kilometers.(9) The farther food travels before it reaches your plate, the less money the rural farmer retains.

Multinational corporations that haul, package, and process the food collect a larger portion of the profit.

The farther food travels, the more energy it consumes for pesticides, preservatives, ripening, packaging, processing, transportation and sales. Eating local food results in a healthier diet, more equitable profit distribution,
less energy consumption and less environmental pollution.

4. Take the transit or walk more often

Cars not only guzzle the world’s dwindling supply of fossil
fuels, but the burning of those fuels contributes to urban smog, acid rain,
and other air quality problems. Cars produce large volumes of carbon dioxide
and other greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. The average car
produces about 2.4 kilograms of CO2 for every litre of gasoline‚ or three
to four times its own weight in CO2 every year. (10)

This means more air pollution, more extreme weather and storms, more water contamination and more diseases.

Public transit, cycling or walking are simple ways to reduce energy consumption, improve air quality and lead a healthier lifestyle. If you
normally drive to work, take the transit once a week for a refreshing change.

5. Install energy-saving bulbs and appliances in your home

North Americans consume 30% of the world’s energy—an amount similar to that consumed collectively by all developing countries, holding
more than 80% of the world’s population. While we may flick the light
switch without a second thought, 2 billion people in the world lack access to
electricity or other modern energy supplies.(11)

While it may be impossible for North Americans to forego the luxuries of electricity, heat, stoves, dishwashers and microwaves, we can reduce
our energy consumption through efficiency. Europeans have done it—although
they lead a similar lifestyle, people in the United States and Canada consume
2.4 times as much energy at home as those in Western Europe. (12)

Home appliances are the world’s fastest-growing energy consumers after
automobiles, accounting for 30 percent of industrial countries’ electricity
consumption.(13) The good news is that energy-efficient lighting and appliances have become common in the North American market. Making your home energy efficient is an easy and effective way to reduce energy consumption without sacrificing convenience.

6. Eat more vegetables

Vegetables capture energy for growth directly from a renewable source—the sun, while meat production in industrial countries requires a high input of non-renewable fossil fuel energy. When farmers raise animals on pasture, they require little grain, consume little energy and their manure becomes valuable agricultural fertilizer.

Today, in most industrial nations, rather than being pasture-fed, corporations raise animals in factory farms that consume huge quantities of grain, water, hormones, and electricity and produce tonnes of toxic wastes. Producing one calorie of beef or poultry requires 11–17 calories of feed.(14) Producing 8 ounces of beef requires 25,000 litres of water.(15)

This means that a diet high in grain-fed meat requires two to four times more
land than a vegetarian diet. Health is another consideration—the crowded
conditions of factory farms along with an absence of waste recycling make livestock easy targets for disease.

The Prophet (pbuh) allowed us to eat meat and, like all other foods, meat is one of Allah’s favours that He permits us to enjoy.

However, we need to apply the principle of moderation, a key aspect of the Prophet’s (pbuh) lifestyle, in our diet. Eating more vegetables, without abandoning meat, can make a significant difference in the amount of natural resources each of us consumes.

Next time you bite into that steak, think of the energy that went into producing it.

7. Recycle and compost

Canadians generate approximately 1.7 kg of waste per person per day.(16) When we use recycled materials along with recycling and composting our household waste, we significantly reduce our energy consumption and waste production.

Producing aluminium from recycled material, for example, requires 95 percent less energy than manufacturing it from raw materials.(17) Keep in mind that having a recycling box or a compost bin doesn’t justify consuming more and wasting more.

Reducing consumption is still the best way to reduce our impact on the environment.

Where do you Stand? Calculate Your Ecological Footprint

The ecological footprint is a tool that assesses the environmental
impact of an individual, a region or an activity. Your ecological footprint
indicates the amount of biologically productive land area required to support
your lifestyle based on the amount of resources you use and the amount of wastes you produce.

Calculations show that the planet has available 1.9 hectares of
biologically productive land per person to supply resources and absorb wastes—yet the average person on Earth already uses 2.3 hectares worth.

These “ecological footprints” range from 9.7 hectares claimed by the average American to 0.47 hectares used by the average Mozambican.(18)

Calculate your ecological footprint and discover your impact on the planet at
http://www.redefiningprogress.org/.
The results may shock you!

Peace Within


Peace Within

Alia Ahmed 

Peace in heart makes life beautiful.

There once was a king who offered a prize to the artist who would paint the best picture of peace. Many artists tried their luck. The king looked at all the representations, but there were only two that fascinated him. Ultimately, he had to choose between them.

The first depiction was of a calm and quiet lake. The lake was a perfect mirror of placid, pacific mountains all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. It seemed a perfect picture of peace.

The other image had mountains too, but these were rugged and bare. Above was an enraged sky, from which rain fell and in which lightening played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a furious, foaming waterfall. Apparently, this was not at all, the required piece of art. But when the king looked closely, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush, growing in a crack in the rock. In that bush a mother bird had built her peewee nest. There, in the midst of the rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest – in perfect peace!

Any idea, which one turned out to be the award-winning illustration? The king chose the second one. Why? “Because,” explained the king, “peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be cool, calm and collected in your heart. That is the real meaning of peace.”

The narration above, compels one to ponder and cogitate. We may state that man’s basal needs can be totted up as the need for preservation, the need for knowledge and the need for peace and harmony. Since the basic unit of humanity
is an individual human, it is evident that in order to achieve peace in the outer world it must first be attained within the hearts of all the individuals.
Consequently outer peace, or world peace as you may put it, is a by-product of personal tranquility and mental satisfaction of individuals that inhabit it.

Thomas Kempis had said, First keep the peace within yourself, then you can bring peace to others. Some people have a view that peace will come to them when they control every single element in their lives. Maybe they are just oblivion to the fact that this is not within our reach. We cannot control everything in our lives. One must understand the difference between things that are within our control and things that are beyond that.

The concept of Predestination (‘Qadr’) is central to this understanding. On the other hand, religious scholars and intellectuals are of the view that the tribulation and distress in today’s world may have a perspicuous cause – we have lost the path that lead to salvation by missing out on God’s cardinal instructions.

Inner peace is a feeling of calmness and satisfaction within ones heart. But the delicate question is, how can that be attained? ?Imaan? ? the true faith in Allah subhanhu wa ta’ala and the collective term for all those beliefs on which the Islamic faith is based – is the sole positive and real ground for a person’s inner calmness and rapture.

This Arabic word is derived from the root word a-m-n, pointing towards peace and tranquility that a believer enjoys in his heart as a result of practicing and bolstering these beliefs. There must be a total submission to God‘s commands; no
half-hearted consents. Real happiness and peace can be found by submitting to the commands of the Sustainer of this world and by remaining content and satisfied with His Decree.

It is said in the Quran,

Truly in remembering God do
hearts find rest. (13:28).

Dhikr‘ or ‘the remembrance of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala’ leads to God consciousness, which persuasively brings forth total submission to His commands. Thereupon, it is imperative that in order to bring tranquility into our lives we must live according to His Commandments.

Another significant factor that massively contributes towards acquiring a complacent soul is ‘Shukr‘ or ‘thankfulness’  to God.

‘Shukr’ is derived from the root word, sh-k-r, and its literal meaning is when a cow feeds on less fodder but gives more milk.

Conspicuously, it indicates how a believer should be. He should be grateful to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala under all  circumstances. To attain inner peace we must look for abundance in our lives while minimizing the negatives.

We must learn to develop a sense of gratitude within ourselves for all that we have been so lucky to be blessed with. Come to think of it, most of us have a great deal in our lives to make us blissfully content but unfortunately we
lack the ability to acknowledge and appreciate it.

A lot is taken for granted and many blithe, simple moments in daily life are disregarded and forgotten. Ungratefulness takes away tranquility from within our hearts. As Melody Beattie had so rightly said, Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.

It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace
for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. So true!

The station of gratitude (shukr) is considered the best and the highest of all the stations of faith (imaan). Gratitude also includes in itself the virtue of Patience (sabr). When we look at the life of Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihi wassalum) we find that there is nothing greater then his patience and gratitude.

He was ‘Saboor’ (patient) and ‘Shakoor’ (thankful). The reality is that a servant of Allah subhanahu wa ta?ala can be in one of the two states during his life time. Either he is enjoying a bounty for which he should be thankful for, or he may be suffering a calamity that he should meet with patience and forbearance.

Muslim states the Hadith:

“Amazing is the believer,
for whatever Allah decrees for him! If he is tested with a bounty, he is grateful for it and this is better for him; and if he is afflicted with a hardship, he is patient with it and this is better for him.”

Patience mainly has three forms:
(a) Patience for avoiding the prohibitions and sins,
(b) Patience for acts of worship and obedience,
(c) Patience required in the face of afflictions and hardships.

The Quraan explicitly mentions the finest tools that may be applied to help ease the effects of sufferings and hardships and those are Patience (Sabr) andPrayer (Dhikr).

It is stated in Surah-e-Bakarah, verse 152-153:

“Therefore remember Me (by praying, glorifying (dhikr)). I will remember you, and be grateful to Me (for my countless favors on you) and never be ungrateful to Me. O you who believe! Seek help in patience and As-Salah (the prayer). Truly, Allah is with the As-Sabireen (the patient).

Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has pointed-out the virtues of Dhikr, Shukr and Sabr in this surah and their stately significance in our lives. One may conclude that ‘Sakina’ (peace and tranquility) within the heart is a gift from Allah subhanahu
wa ta’ala, and the most essential ingredients that contribute toward a serene and placid heart are Remembrance of Allah subhanahu wa ta?ala, Gratitude and Patience. Consequently, a heart that remains thankful and patient, while in constant remembrance of its Creator, can never lose peace within.

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 amazing miracle of splitting of moon.


Moon split- Miracle of the prophet Mohammed (PBUH)

 

Miracles in Quran

The wonders of the Qur’an never finishes.

Allah(swt) said in the Holy Qur’an [41:53] ‘We will show them Our Signs in the universe, and in their own selves, until it becomes manifest to them that this (the Qur’an) is the truth. Is it not sufficient in regard to your Lord that He is a Witness over all things?’ [54:1] ‘The Hour has drawn near, and the moon has been cleft asunder (the people of Makkah requested Prophet Muhammad to show them a miracle, so he showed them the splitting of the moon)’. The challenge was to split the moon in to two pieces when it is full.

The incident of the splitting of the moon that has been mentioned determines its period of revelation precisely.
The amazing and wonderful phenomenon of the splitting of the Moon when it was full was a manifest sign of the truth that the Resurrection, of which the Prophet was giving them the news, could take place and that it had approached near at hand.
The great sphere of the Moon had split into two distinct parts in front of their very eyes.

This incident took place at Mina in Makkah about five years before the Holy Prophet’s Hijra (migration) to Madinah.

The Moon had split into two distinct parts in front of their very eyes. The two parts had separated and receded so much apart from each other that to the on-lookers (in Makkah) one part had appeared on one side of the mountain and the other on the other side of it. Then, in an instant the two had rejoined. This was a manifest proof of the truth that the system of the universe was neither eternal nor immortal, it could be disrupted.

This incident indicated that huge stars and planets could split asunder, disintegrate, collide with each other, and everything that had been described in the Qur’an on the Resurrection could happen. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) invited the people’s attention to this event only with this object in view and asked them to mark it and be a witness to it. But the disbelievers described it as a magical illusion and persisted in their denial. They were reproached in Surah Al-Qamar (The Moon) for their stubbornness.

Moon Splitting in The Quran

The splitting of the moon is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-Qamar (54), Verses 1-3:

The Hour has come near, and the moon has split [in two].

And if they see a miracle, they turn away and say, “Passing magic.”

And they denied and followed their inclinations. But for every matter is a [time of] settlement.


Moon Splitting in Hadith

Narrated Abdullah bin Masud: “During the lifetime of the Prophet (pbuh) the moon was split into two parts and on that the Prophet (pbuh) said, ‘Bear witness (to thus).’ (Translation of Sahih Bukhari, Virtues and Merits of the Prophet (pbuh) and his Companions, Volume 4, Book 56, Number 830)”

Narrated Anas: “That the Meccan people requested Allah’s Apostle to show them a miracle, and so he showed them the splitting of the moon. (Translation of Sahih Bukhari, Virtues and Merits of the Prophet (pbuh) and his Companions, Volume 4, Book 56, Number 831)”

Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas: “The moon was split into two parts during the lifetime of the Prophet. (Translation of Sahih Bukhari, Virtues and Merits of the Prophet (pbuh) and his Companions, Volume 4, Book 56, Number 832)”

A picture of moon taken by Apollo-10.

This oblique view of the Moon’s surface was photographed by the Apollo 10 astronauts in May of 1969. Center point coordinates are located at 13 degrees, 3 minutes east longitude and 7 degrees, 1 minute north latitude. One of the Apollo 10 astronauts attached a 250mm lens and aimed a handheld 70mm camera at the surface from lunar orbit for a series of pictures in this area.

David Mosa Pidcook (leader on British Muslim Party) said: It was shown in BBC a program where there was a debate between three experts. The discussion was about if the amount of money paid by NASA to send a human to land on the surface of the moon to study the inner structure of the moon was worth it or not?? The American government authorized a budget of $100, 000, 000, 000 (one hundred thousand million dollar) for this project. One of the discoveries of that project was that there is a layer of material that splits the moon into two halves and the only explanation to this discovery that the moon was split at some times in its history and rejoined !!
A pic of moon taken by Apollo-10.

Ten things that bring about the love of Allah.


 Ten things that bring about the love of Allah.

Ibn Qayyim said that there are ten things that bring about the love of Allah.

1) Recitation of the Qur’ an with reflection and with understanding of its meanings.

2) Seeking closeness to Allah by performing voluntary deeds after having performed obligatory ones, for that leads one to the highest levels of love.

3) Remembering Allah during every situation – with one’s time, heart and deeds, one’s share of that love is to the degree of one’s share in that remembrance.

4) Preferring what He loves to what you love when your desires are strong.

5) Allowing your heart to reflect on His Names and Attributes.

6) Reflecting on His many favors and blessings, both the apparent ones and hidden ones, for that leads to His love.

7) Having your heart softened as it is worshiping Allah.

8) Being alone with Him in worship when He descends during the last third of the night. And this means to invoke Him, to recite His Speech, to stand with all sincerity and with good manners and with good submission, and then to end that with repentance and with seeking His forgiveness.

9) Sitting with those who are truthful in their love of Allah.

10) Staying away from all that creates barriers between the heart and Allah.