Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Quran Study: Signs of God in the Qur'an

In this lecture we will study what kinds of evidences are mentioned in the Quran for God’s existence and oneness. These verses are all talking about ‘signs of God’ that are found in the creation. Let us begin by a brief introduction to what the Quran is.
There are 114 chapters in the Quran. The Quran explains reality, yet refers us to the creation for the evidences. The one speaking in the Quran is the one who has created the universe. So if there is any discrepancy between the Quran and what we observe in the creation, either Quran’s claim is wrong, or our understanding of the creation is wrong. Most of the books that we read say that: although Muslims claim that Quran is God’s word, in fact it is Muhammad’s word. So they read the Quran as Muhammad’s word. Muslims keep emphasizing that Prophet Muhammad was an illiterate man, and also if you look at the language of the Quran, it is very evident that the style of language is completely different than Prophet Muhammad’s words. In 23 years time, the Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad. He has not changed even the punctuation of the letters, nor place of any words. And at the end of the 23 years, there was a complete book. This revelation has never been revised, as one would revise the first draft of a poem. Prophet Muhammad rejected the traditions of his society, as Jesus rejected the practices and ideas of the Rabbis and the money collectors…etc. When Prophet Muhammad was receiving revelation he was almost in an extraordinary state, not using his reason and free will to correct things. So can a person keep consistency throughout 23 years when he was in such a state? Thus, the Quran, from the very beginning, is extraordinary. It is not manmade, but God’s revelation. It is not poem, nor prose. It is very rhythmic, beautiful. It has been memorized by believers for 14 centuries. All people who have studied the Quran, from Spain to China, found it extraordinary, and wrote commentaries on it, not finding any discrepancies in it.
All the news that the Quran brings related to the creation is to let us know about the World of Unseen (alemu ghayb). The Quran brings the news about God, God is describing Himself, letting the people know who their Creator is. Whatever news the Quran brings about the Artist of the creation, or before and after the creation of this universe, it shows the evidences from the art/creation itself. Muslims might sound as if they are materialistic, because even when they talk about spiritual life, they still talk about the universe, descriptions of beauty in the creation, earth and the heavens. It seems like they are not religious or they are not in fact talking about God. Especially when reading the Sufi writings, it is as if they are talking about the love between creatures. But they are in fact talking about the love of the Creator towards the creatures and vice versa. They are looking at the art yet describing the Artist. People expect them to talk about do’s and don’ts, yet they talk about love. It is because Quran brings the evidence for its message from the creation. If you present a bunch of flowers to a Muslim, he/she would say ma’shallah (What God willed). S/he sees the flower but talks about God, this is the teaching of the Quran.
“74. Lo! Abraham said to his father Azar: "Takest thou idols for gods? For I see thee and thy people in manifest error." 75. So also did We show Abraham the power and the laws of the heavens and the earth, that he might (with understanding) have certitude. 76. When the night covered him over, He saw a star: He said: "This is my Lord." But when it set, He said: "I love not those that set." 77. When he saw the moon rising in splendour, he said: "This is my Lord." But when the moon set, He said: "unless my Lord guide me, I shall surely be among those who go astray." 78. When he saw the sun rising in splendour, he said: "This is my Lord; this is the greatest (of all)." But when the sun set, he said: "O my people! I am indeed free from your (guilt) of giving partners to God. 79. "For me, I have set my face, firmly and truly, towards Him Who created the heavens and the earth, and never shall I give partners to God" (Quran, Al-Anam (Cattle), 6:74-79).”
When we are reading this verse, God, in the Quran is talking to us/to me. Abraham here is me. So I am supposed to read all these words, as if God is talking to me directly.

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