Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Al-Qur’an Clarifies a Diverse Of Concepts.

The Qur’an is the word of Allah which was revealed to His Messenger Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to be the Final of the Heavenly Books, as the source for the Last Religion and guidance for mankind to bring mankind forth from darkness into light. Allah says:

“It is He Who sends down manifest Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) to His slave (Muhammad) that He may bring you out from darkness into light [Al-Hadid, 57:9]

Its revelation was a turning point for humanity; it was the power that changed the world, shifted the flow of history, saved and reformed humanity, so much so that the entire existence appeared as if it had been recreated anew.

The Qur’an is the strongest the proof of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w prophethood and trustworthiness and Allah's greatest sign. It is Allah Says:

“They (unbelievers) want to extinguish Allah’s light with their mouths. But Allah will perfect His light, even though the unbelievers may detest it. It is He who has sent His Messenger with guidance and the Religion of Truth, so that he may exalt it over all religions, much as the pagans may dislike it.” [As-Saff, 61:8-9]

The Qur’an provides guidance that mankind needs to achieve freedom, happiness and success, now and the Hereafter.

The role of shaping the Muslim personality. The treasures of the Qur’an are hidden and buried as far as many Muslims are concerned, as they have not yet discovered these precious treasures that Allah has placed in it.

Besides the fact that a Muslim is rewarded for reciting the Qur’an and applying its rulings, it is also the case that the Qur’an explains and clarifies the correct way to understand many concepts that people have misperceived or misinterpreted. For example, it expounds upon the reality of the concept of loyalty and disavowal, the concept of worship, the concept of the conflict between the truth and falsehood, and many other concepts which all Muslims must correctly understand and realise.

The great treasures in the Qur’an. Some people seek to attain the reward of reciting the Qur’an, others memorise its verses in order to attain the reward of such memorisation, while others recite it to taste the sweetness that the soul feels during this. There are others who recite it in order to search for the lofty manners it calls the people to possess, and yet others who recite the Qur’an in order to find therein solutions to their social or economic problems.

These are all important matters and one must seek to attain all the above mentioned goals and many more, but what is more important than that is for one to recite it in order to extract the great principles that mould the individual’s character and aid in correctly nurturing him. Many people recite the Qur’an hastily, or pass over its verses quickly without pondering over their meaning.

The Qur’an is of great importance due to many more reasons than those we mentioned above, and which the Muslims must realise and have clear in their minds. I will try to highlight some of these concepts that are instilled in the Qur’an, so that perhaps we may realise the importance of pondering upon the Qur’an.

The concept of worship and seeking assistance.

If one ponders over the saying of Allah: “It is You we worship and You we ask for assistance.” [Al-Fatihah, 1: 5] He will realise that it means that worship and seeking assistance are exclusively for Allah, and this is the real essence of servitude to Allah. One must wonder when he recites this verse, which we do more than seventeen times daily, why worship is designated solely to Allah, and likewise seeking assistance. This concept must be clear in our minds: that only Allah is to be worshipped; not wealth, not position, not other people, not man-made laws, or anything else. We must submit our wills solely to Allah and humble ourselves only to Him. Also, we must seek only His assistance as a sign of perfect servitude because regardless of how powerful human forces are, they remain very limited, while the power of Allah is ultimate and unlimited as He is the All-Powerful and the Irresistible.

The concept of abiding by the commands of Allah and hastening to fulfil them.

The Qur’an emphasizes on the great importance and the compulsion of adhering to the commands of Allah and not transgressing or disobeying His command. The Jews were commanded by Allah to prostrate, as Allah Says: “…And enter the gate bowing humbly…” [Al-Baqarah, 2: 58] What did they do instead of adhering to this command? They entered on their buttocks and therefore opposed the command of Allah. Therefore, anyone who tries to alter the commands of Allah and applies what his desires are dictating to him resembles these people.

Furthermore, one must hasten in fulfilling the commands of Allah and not act like the Jews did when Allah commanded them to slaughter a cow; they kept asking for finer details regarding the type of cow to slaughter while slaughtering any cow would have done. Many Muslims follow in the footsteps of these deviants by inventing obstacles that would cause them to not fulfil certain commands that do not happen to coincide with their desires and this is nothing but following the whispers of Satan.

The concept of being distinct in worship.

Muslims must be distinct and not resemble the disbelievers in any of their acts of worship or religious rites. In the early stages of Islam, the Muslims would direct themselves towards Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem in prayer, but they were later commanded to direct themselves towards the Ka’bah in Makkah in order to differ from the disbelievers.

The concept of people’s ranks.

Allah Says: “And it is not your wealth or your children that bring you nearer to Us in position, but it is [by being] one who has believed and done righteousness…” [Saba’, 34: 37]

Allah also Says: “…Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you…” [Al-Hujurat, 49: 13]

It is very important for us to know this rule of how people are measured according to the scale of Allah. How do people become loftier than others? How does one possess a higher rank than others? What are the criteria used to judge this issue? The Qur’an establishes that no worldly matter is of any effect in this regard and that it is solely based on matters related to the religion of Allah. When Allah favoured Thalut and chose him to rule over the children of Israel, they objected and judged the matter with a worldly scale: they protested that he was not rich, as Allah informs us when He Says: “…They said: 'How can he have kingship over us while we are more worthy of kingship than him and he has not been given any measure of wealth?'...” [Al-Baqarah, 2: 247] But Allah immediately highlights the correct criteria of judging in the very same verse, saying: “He said: 'Indeed, Allah has chosen him over you and has increased him abundantly in knowledge and stature…'” [Al-Baqarah, 2: 247] Therefore, knowledge and a strong body that enabled him to fight the enemies of Allah are what made him deserving of this rank, and both these qualities are matters that are connected to the religion: one is knowledge regarding it, while the other is the ability to defend and proliferate it.

The concept of the conflict between the followers of truth and those of falsehood.

This conflict can only be to the advantage of the Muslims if their ranks are cleared of hypocrites and those of weak faith. If any believing group wishes to attain victory from Allah, then it must fulfil the requirements of victory as Allah explains to us in the following story: “…'Indeed, Allah will be testing you with a river. So whoever drinks from it is not of me, and whoever does not taste it is indeed of me, except one who takes [from it] in the hollow of his hand'…” [Al-Baqarah, 2: 249] What happened? Many people failed the test and the ranks were therefore cleared of those who were weak in faith. Only the true believers, who had strong faith, remained with him as told in the remainder of the verse; Allah Says: “…But they drank from it, except a [very] few of them. Then when he had crossed it along with those who believed with him, they said: 'There is no power for us today against Jalut [Goliath] and his soldiers.' But those who were certain that they would meet Allah said: 'How many a small company has overcome a large company by permission of Allah…'" [Al-Baqarah, 2: 249] Note that the words of those who did not drink, not even a handful, were firm and that it was to these people that victory came. Allah Says after this: “So they defeated them by permission of Allah…” [Al-Baqarah, 2: 251]

The conflict between the followers of the truth and those of falsehood is what causes the victory from Allah to descend as well as strengthening the Muslims and initiating Jihad. Additionally, the ranks of the believers could never be distinguished without such a conflict, and nor would the Muslims receive any practical cultivation without it.

It is the way of Allah that the disbelievers temporarily overcome the Muslims, so that the Muslims can rearrange their ranks, purify themselves and work on building and strengthening their faith. It is after this that Allah chooses those who are worthy for martyrdom and grants the believers victory over the disbelievers, as they then become worthy of such victory.

The concept of debate.

The Qur’an teaches us how to debate with our enemies and how to present evidences. Many enemies of Islam use debating in order to cast doubts and spread false information about Islam. Allah presents to us the following debate: “Have you not considered the one who argued with Ibrahim about his Lord [merely] because Allah had given him kingship? When Ibrahim said: 'My Lord is The One Who gives life and causes death,' he said: 'I give life and cause death'…” [Al-Baqarah, 2: 258] This man then brought forth a person and killed him, and then commanded that a man who was sentenced to death be freed, demonstrating by this ridiculous example that he had therefore granted life and caused death. Thereupon, Prophet Ibrahim a.s threw him another challenge which stunned him; Allah Says in continuation of the same verse: “…Ibrahim said: 'Allah brings up the sun from the east, so bring it up from the west.' So the disbeliever was overwhelmed [by astonishment], and Allah does not guide the wrongdoing people.” [Al-Baqarah, 2: 258]

The concept of the reality of the worldly life and its value.

The Qur’an confirms the real value of this life and its reality and essence in many verses; Allah Says: “Whatever you have will end, but what Allah has is lasting…” [Al-“Imran, 16: 96] When one reads this, which of the two would he naturally choose?

The concept of loyalty and disavowal.

Loyalty to the believers is manifested in the saying of Allah: “Let not believers take disbelievers as allies [i.e. supporters or protectors] rather than believers. And whoever [of you] does that has nothing [i.e. no association] with Allah…” [Al-Imran, 3: 28] Would one befriend the disbelievers after this? Would he support them? Would he feel compassion towards them? Would he socialize with them? Would he join forces with them against his Muslim brothers?
The concept of loving the Prophet.

Loving the Prophet s.a.w is not a mere claim; Allah Says: “Say, [O Muhammad]: 'If you should love Allah, then follow me, [so] Allah will love you…” [Al-‘Imran, 3: 31]

The claim of loving the Prophet s.a.w is therefore not to be accepted from one who acts in contradiction to his Sunnah. This concept is not clear in the minds of many, who seem to believe that this love is merely a claim while their conduct with their families, business partners and so on, as well as their outward appearance opposes that of the Prophet s.a.w , which is a clear contradiction and misconception.

The concept of the comprehensiveness of Islam.

Many people erroneously believe that adhering to the religion is satisfied by the limited performance of certain acts of worship, and that as soon as they step out of the mosque for example, they can deal with others in any wicked way they choose. These people thereby rid themselves of their religion, but Allah refutes this attitude by saying : “Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west, but [true] righteousness is [in] one who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the prophets and gives wealth, in spite of love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveller, those who ask [for help], and for freeing slaves; and [who] establishes prayer and gives Zakah; [those who] fulfil their promise when they promise; and [those who] are patient in poverty and hardship and during battle. Those are the ones who have been true, and it is those who are the righteous.” [Al-Baqarah, 2: 177]

The concept of exposing the plans of the disbelievers.

The disbelievers endeavour to divert the Muslims from their religion and use extremely evil methods in order to cause us to have doubts or misgivings towards it; Allah Says: “And a fraction of the People of the Scripture say [to each other]: 'Believe in that which was revealed to the believers at the beginning of the day and reject it at its end that perhaps they will return [i.e. abandon their religion].'” [Al-‘Imran, 3: 72] Just look at how evil their plan is! They would even pretend to embrace Islam and then leave it so that people, including some simpleminded Muslims, would think that there is a problem or defect with the religion and therefore shun it, or at least develop misgivings regarding it. The Qur’an exposes these people's plans so that we can counter them.

The concept that the future belongs to the Muslims.

Allah will certainly make this religion prevail and grant the Muslims victory over the disbelievers, even if after a while. Allah Says: “They want to extinguish the light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah will perfect his light, although the disbelievers dislike it. It is He who sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth to manifest it over all religion, although those who associate others with Allah dislike it.” [As-Saff, 61: 8-9]

Muslims nowadays are in dire need of understanding this concept. We must firmly believe that despite our current weakness, Islam will prevail and be victorious. This concept gives hope to the hearts of the believers, especially when one reads the saying of the Prophet s.a.w: “A group from (among) my nation will continue to be upon the truth supported by Allah; they will continue to fight Jihad until the advent of the Hour.” We ask Allah to make us from them.

The concept of Unity.

This is a concept that The Qur’an emphasizes upon; it commands the Muslims not to disunite and become scattered groups; Allah Says: “And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided…” [Al-‘Imran, 3: 103]

Where do the Muslims of our era stand in terms of this divine command? They have disunited and become scattered groups, to the point that the common Muslims cannot recognise where the truth is anymore. How can the Muslims unite? What will unite them? The only thing that will unite them is their collectively holding on to the Bond of Allah, His Book (i.e. the Qur’an), His commands, and His religion. Any attempt to unite on any basis other than the religion of Allah will be fruitless and people will not attain the sought victory, because Allah only aids those who unite on the basis of His religion.

The concept of superiority.

Allah Says: “You are the best nation produced [as an example] for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah…” [Al-‘Imran, 3: 110] How did our nation become the finest and most superior? It was through it enjoining good and forbidding evil. If we fail to do this then we can no longer count ourselves as a part of this superior nation as this superiority is not granted simply for being a member of this nation. Rather, we must fulfil the conditions of being superior.

This superiority is mentioned in different verses to reflect another concept; Allah Says: “So do not weaken and do not grieve, and you will be superior if you are [true] believers.” [Al-‘Imran, 3: 139] Meaning that we are superior when we adhere to our religion and its teachings; we are superior with the faith that Allah blessed us with; we are superior due to our adhering to the Sunnah of our Prophet s.a.w; we are superior by persevering in our adherence to the Qur’an and the Sunnah.

The concept of not being attached to individuals.

One must not be attached to individuals, regardless who they are. Instead one must attach himself to the religion only, because those attached to individuals usually give up their convictions with the death of the ones to whom they are attached, while those attached to the religion remain steadfast even with the deaths of those who introduced the religion to them and whom they love dearly; Allah Says: “Muhammad is not but a messenger. [Other] messengers have passed on before him. So if he was to die or be killed, would you turn back on your heels [to unbelief]?” [Al-‘Imran, 3: 144] If this is regarding the Prophet s.a.w then it is certainly more applicable with respect to anyone else.

The concept of having to face harm from the disbelievers.

We must realise that the disbelievers will afflict us with numerous and varied types of harm; Allah Says: “You will certainly be tested in your possessions and in yourselves. And you will surely hear from those who were given the Scripture before you and from those who associate others with Allaah much abuse. But if you are patient and fear Allah – indeed, that is of the matters [worthy] of determination.” [Al-‘Imran, 3: 186] Therefore, the harm that they afflict us with is physical, financial and psychological, but what is the cure and way out? Allah gives us the cure at the conclusion of the verse, namely, perseverance and piety. If we do not have these then we will not be able to stand their afflictions, nor will we be able to confront them.

The concept of referring to the Qur’an and the Sunnah for judgement.

This must be applied to all our affairs and disputes; Allah Says “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.” [An-Nisaa’, 4: 65]

Disputes and disagreements amongst the Muslims have increased, and thus the need for applying this concept is needed more than ever. Even in matters of jurisprudence, the common people have become very confused due to hearing different opinions regarding the same issue.

What is the solution to this confusion and disputation? It is in the saying of Allah: “…And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day…” [An-Nisaa’, 4: 59]

Finally, the solution for all our problems is found in the Qur’an and all we need to do is to adhere to it, correctly understand the concepts in it, and apply them and inculcate them in practical life.
Excerpted from Islam Web published 20/11/2007

©Islam Web

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