Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Prophet Muhammad the Last Messenger In The Bible


The eighth edition of the book, PROPHET MUHAMMAD THE LAST MESSENGER IN THE BIBLE, written by Kais Al-Kalby has been published. The book is written in seven parts and is 736 pages.
It has references in the English, Hebrew, and Arabic Bible, Torah, and the Qur'an showing the reference side by side. Includes maps, pictures, documents, and references.
Over a thousand people have converted to Islam upon reading this book. This is an academic book and is not meant to criticize any ethnic groups or religions or political parties and is being used in different colleges and universities. Follow up the life and mission of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) prophecies.
The parts include:
1) God, (Allah) the one and only Savior
2) World History before Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)
3) Prophecies of Prophet Muhammad
4) Prophet Muhammad the last Messenger in the Bible
5) Science in the Qur'an
6) Why they have chosen Islam?
7) General Information about Islam
For more information on this book, please visit the website or call (661) 872-7856.
To order the book, e-mail
The price of the book in the US is $25 and out of the US is $29.99 and is cashier's check or money order (both are including S&H).

The inimitable Qur'an website is dedicated in educating the masses on the inimitability


The inimitable Qur'an website is dedicated in educating the masses on the inimitability and miraculousness of the Qur'anic discourse. Any argument that attempts to question the Qur'ans authorship is challenged by questioning and analysing its methodology, assumptions and 'evidences'.This site will argue that there can be no materialistic explanation for the miraculous nature of the Qur'anic discourse.The ChallengeThe Qur'an challenges humanity to attempt to match the reality of the Qur'anic text, the smallest chapter (surah) to be exact. In chapter 2 verse 23 the Qur'an states:"And if you are in doubt about which We have revealed to Our Servant then bring one chapter like it"In order to understand this challenge one must first understand the reality of the Qur'an. With regards to its language there are many features which render the Qur'an matchless, unique and miraculous. The main arguments with regards to its linguistic and literary superiority will be briefly explained below.The Main ArgumentsUnique Linguistic GenreThe Qur'an achieves a unique linguistic genre by unifying rhetorical and cohesive elements of language in every verse. Most Arabic texts simply use cohesive elements with some use of language that attempts to please or persuade (rhetoric). Any change to the Qur'anic structure ceases to sound like a Qur'an and removes its communicative effect.For a detailed discussion please click hereUnique Literary FormThe Qur'an is a literary form in its own right. It is can not fit into the forms of poetry, rhymed prose and prose. This is achieved by the unique combination of metrical and non-metrical composition, by not adhering to the rules of poetry and prose and by the use of literary devices that are unknown in Arabic prose. This is done within the scope of the classical Arabic grammar.For a detailed analysis please click hereRhetoric and EloquenceThe Qur'an can only be described as a 'sea of rhetoric'. It employs more rhetorical features than any other text.Please click here for more information on the Rhetorical devicesAlso, the Qur'an achieves an amazing accuracy of language with its choice of words and sentence structure (eloquence)Click here for more detailsHistorical ArgumentIt is a historical fact that the Arab linguists at the time of revelation (approximately 1500 years ago) were the greatest at appreciating Arabic literature. If the Arabs of the time were unable to challenge the Qur'an then what does this say about its authorship? Can it be the utterances of a human being?Please click here for examplesWhat Does this Mean?When questioning the authorship of the Qur'an in the context of the above arguments one must first understand who the Qur'an could have possible come from. There are a few options:1) An Arab2) A non-Arab3) Muhammad4) The CreatorThe Qur’an is matchless in its Arabic and beyond comparison amongst other literature. It defies sense for it to have been written by someone who could not understand Arabic. Think of a literary work in English e.g. Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein or Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. Could one without English have been the author? Do the same for literature in other languages. Dante’s Divine Comedy, Cervantes’ Don Quixote, Tolstoy’s War and Peace, Aristophanes’ Clouds and so on. It would not be serious to claim that such work could be achieved without access to the language itself therefore the first option of a non-Arab authoring the Qur’an can be safely eliminated.If the Qur’an was authored by an Arab then the test of inimitability would not pose a real challenge just as it does not in other languages. Whatever one writes another can write a little in the same style but the challenge has been attempted by leading authorities in Arabic throughout history and has left all exhausted. Whenever an Arab attempts a passage trying to imitate the Qur'an's style and literary form he/she remains utterly elusive so we can safely state that the author of the Qur’an could not have been an Arab.Muhammad, for all his greatness, was still an Arab like his brethren. It is also a matter of fact that the Prophet Muhammad was never accused of authoring the Qur’an by his contemporaries, even those who sought his death and ruin. Furthermore the hadith (recorded narrations attributed to the Prophet) are in a totally different style to the Qur'an. How can any man speak with two distinct styles over a 23 year period?The only rational answer left is the Creator.Belief in a Creator is a pre-requisite please click here for more information* To be updated *
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Brief Intro to the Inimitability ofthe Qur'an and this Website$-->
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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

How They Make You Fear Islam?

By: Maged Taman

For people who are attacking Islam and campaigning against Muslim missionaries they have to be 100% sure that Islam is not from God. There is free speech, however speaking against God is blasphemy. If Jesus is son of God and I am denying that Christians should consider it blasphemy. However, if Quran is from God and people standing against it they should consider very well their positions in the day of judgement.

No doubt if you are sincere Christian and you tried to consider Islam and you were not convinced there is no blame in you and your faith is between you and God. But if you campaigning against Islam you should be very certain that the God of Quran is not a real God. You are not leading yourself to the wrong path only but you are taking a lot of people with you. The arguments against Islam are same old same old:

1- Muhammad was deluded and the Quran is his delusions: The reality is he was not known to be deluded and was very wise man. If he was paranoid he should have been very paranoid to say God is talking to him and he has a revelation from him. There is no middle ground here if he was paranoid he would be very paranoid and most people would recognize it.

2- Muhammad had a lot of people to aid him with the creation of Quran: History would have recorded that very well to him. His biography and daily life was opened to history.

3- He was very smart man who was a deceiver or liar for good moral reasons to come up with the Quran: If he was a liar he would be known prior and after Quran. His message is about honesty.

4- He copied texts of bible: if he would do that we have to consider him as a liar and deceiver and this was not bought by most Muslims and Muslim converts. To lie against God he would be a pathological liar and most of people would recognize it.

5- Disturbed person both great and evil in same time that is was under the influence of Satan: If this is his reality you will find only small sect following him and not billions of people over centuries. You will not find them pleading to his God for peaceful life and secured eternity.

6- The Quran is partially inspired by Satan and partially by God. The people who use that against Quran are using one verse of Quran that God tell us that Muhammad was close to give in to the pagans to worship two of their God like a political solution. The verses were that of God and he was telling Muhammad and us that he was close to give in. This was never repeated again by Muhammad.

7- Quran is totally inspired by Satan: You could be right read the Quran and decide to yourself you will be answering to God in the day of Judgement.

8- Muhammad married many women: It was the will of God. As Muslims we accepted after we had all the arguments that Quran from God. We respect God will and wisdom. Muhammad lost many children I do not see them talking about his losses. Polygamy of the prophet was to take care of widows and orphans. The main purpose of polygamy in Islam is this reason and polygamy should continue to be rare.

9- Muhammad married to the wife of his daughter in law after the later divorced her: He was reluctant to do that fearing what Muslims would think as you read from the verses. He accepted and we did the same since it was God's will to change the adoption role at that time.

10- Muslims want to dominate the world: wrong we want the world to be full of justice and peace. If Christians want to do it let it be.

11- Muslims want to oppress other minorities. That is totally false. Some people want the status of the world to be the same and working for the allied Babylonian system of the world. They do not care about the poor and oppressed many of them are religious leaders who are very rich.

12- Muslims will apply the Sharia law on non Muslims: It is even against Islam to do that.

13- Muhammad wife Aisha told Muhammad that God was looking after Muhammad' s desires: She was joking and she continued to be the most sincere of believers. When they quote her in that they never mention how good and faithful Muslim she was. If you try to find out the way they attack Islam they cut and paste to build for you a convincing story. I have no problem with that, just you have to remember if the God of Quran is the same strong God of Israel they are in bad shape.

14- Muhammad life is changed after he went to Medina: It was the stage of Islamic governments with its laws and army to protect it. It is a natural evolution of Islam and not change in mood or principals. People who are not attacking or oppressing Islam are good friends of ours. Non ally with Non-Muslims or Christians and Jews were built on how they perceive and treat us. Islam is a just religion.

15- Muslims would use violence for world domination: Muslims will use politics to do that. The west used colonism and imperialism to oppress Islam. Disengagements from Muslims is very difficult to do in this global world and coexistence is the right answer.

16- Muslims aim is to exterminate Jews and Christians: Muslims can coexist well with Jews and Christians. In fact they identify well with most of them.

17- From Muslims will rise the Antichrist that will go in war with Jesus: he is the one who will prepare for Jesus for his second coming. He will be oppressed by a lot of people particularly the Arab tyrants.

Descriptions of Allah.


The Qur'an, however, attributes to Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) certain descriptions like for instance:
The Beneficent is firmly established on the throne.( 20:5 )
Everything will perish except his Countenance.( 28:88 )
That you are brought up under my eye.( 20:29 )
Allah's hand is above their hands.( 48:10 )
The heavens are rolled in his right hand.( 39:67 )
One whom I created with my two hands.( 38:75 )
And the like. How can we understand these descriptions? Does Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) have organs similar to ours? These and other verses in the Qur'an are part of what is called allegorical verses in the holy book whose real meaning only Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) knows. This is referred to in the following verse:
It is He who has sent down to you the book, in it are verses of established meaning, they are the foundation of the book while others are allegorical. But those in whose hearts is perversion follow what is allegorical in it seeking discord and attempting to interpolate it. No one, however, knows its real interpretation except Allah. Those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: we believe in it; each is from our lord. No one will remember except those who have reason.( 3:7 )
Based on this verse and following the injunctions of prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h. Early scholars including leaders of the major four schools of thought took the following attitude. They said: we believe in these descriptions of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) but leave the knowledge of their reality to Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala). We should abstain from interpreting them on the lines of similar descriptions ascribed to humans; this is simply because as prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h. Warned us: think of Allah's creation and never think of Allah, for you will never appreciate him as he deserves.(6) also Muslim scholars said that whatever we think of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala), he is totally different from what we think about him. In sahih Muslim Abu Hurairah said: people will continue to argue and dispute until it is said: this is the creation of Allah who created Allah? Whoever finds anything like this let him say: i believe in Allah.(7) we glorify Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) from the imagined description that might come to our minds. This is because it is impossible for Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) to be similar to mortals. Commenting on the verse that says:
The Beneficent is firmly established on the throne.( 20:5 )
Ummu Salama wife of prophet Muhammad said: it is not possible to imagine how, but the divine establishment on the throne is not unknown; faith requires that we accept this without any questions for denying it borders on disbelief. The same attitude is adopted by early scholars like Imam Malek and many others. Prominent scholars even today have the same conviction. Another group of scholars, however, tend to interpret these divine attributes in such a manner that becomes the glory of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) although they warn against taking them to be literally equivalent to human qualities. One example of their approach is their interpretation of verse 75 chapter 38 where they took the two hands of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) to be only for confirmation and to assert Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala)'s care of his slave Adam.
In addition to the above two approaches the closer of which to Islamic creed is the former although the latter is not excluded, there were some perverted attitudes influenced by alien philosophies like the Greek and other philosophies. One claimed that all these descriptions are identical to human ones. Another group gave incarnate descriptions of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) while a third group went to the other extreme and denied all description of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala). These groups died in the bud; and the only ones that remained to exist are the first two which are very close to each other. The Qur'an gives us a conclusive answer when it says about Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala):
Nothing is like Him and He is the Hearer, the Seer. ( 42:11 )
Based on this verse we can safely confirm these descriptions but we do not compare them to any others. Rather we believe in them and accept them as they are.
Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) does not perish:
Every soul will taste of death; and you will be paid your wages on the day of judgement. Whoever is removed from the fire and is made to enter paradise, he indeed is triumphant; and the life of the world is but comfort of illusion. (3:185 )
One God in Heaven and Earth:
And He it is who is in heaven is God, and in the earth God; and he is the Wise, the Knower. And blessed be he unto whom belongs the sovereignty of heavens and earth and what is between them and with him is the knowledge of the hour; and to him you will be returned. And those unto whom they cry instead of him possess no power of intercession, save them who bear witness to the truth in a state of knowledge. If you ask them who created them, they will surely say: Allah. How then are they turned away?( 43:84-88 )
Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) is the only lord of all:
Lord of the east and the west, there is no God save him. So choose him alone for your defender. (73:9 )
A conclusive verse about Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) is the one towards the end of chapter two that says:
Unto Allah belongs whatsoever is in heavens and whatsoever is in the earth; and whether you reveal what is in yourselves or conceal it Allah will bring you to account for it. He will forgive whom he will and he will punish whom he will and Allah is capable of all things. The messenger (Muhammad) believed in that which was revealed to him from his Lord and so did believers. Each one believed in Allah, His angels, His books and His messengers; and they said: we heard and we obeyed. Your forgiveness our Lord. Unto You is the journeying. Allah tasks not a soul beyond its capacity. For it is that which it has earned and against it is that which it committed. Our Lord! Condemn us not if we forget or err. Our Lord! Lay not on us such a burden as you did lay on those before us. Our Lord! Impose not on us that which we have not the strength to bear. And pardon us, forgive us and have mercy on. You are our protector. So grant us victory over disbelieving folk. ( 2:284-286 )
The ninety nine attributes:Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h. Said: "Allah has ninety nine names one hundred minus one, whoever counts them will enter paradise".(8) the Qur'an also confirms this fact:
Unto Allah belong the most beautiful attributes, appeal to Him through them; and leave the company of those who blaspheme his names. They will be requited what they used to do.( 7:180 )
And again:
Allah: there is no God save Him. His are the most beautiful names.( 20:8 )
So according to these statements and verses of the Qur'an what are the ninety nine names of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala)? They are mentioned in the Qur'an. We already quoted the greatest verse in the Qur'an called the verse of the divine chair 2:255. Sometimes the Qur'an mentions a number of these divine names together. Sometimes a couple of them conclude some verses of the Qur'an and this happens very often in the holy book. Numerous verses are concluded with two attributes of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) that are appropriate to the context and the theme of the verses. If the context is one that extols the power and wisdom of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala), then the conclusion is thus: and he is the mighty, the wise. If the verse speaks about forgiveness and mercy, then the conclusion is thus: and he is the all-forgiving, the merciful and so on and so forth. Most of the time many verses are concluded with two attributes; and very rarely with one.
Before we review the ninety nine names or attributes of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) let us quote a few verses that mention several divine names. In chapter 59 we read:
He is Allah, than whom there is no other God; the Knower of the unseen and visible. He is the Beneficent, the Merciful. He is Allah, than whom there is no other God, the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One, the Peace, the Keeper of faith, the Guardian, the Majestic, the Compeller, the Superb. Glorified be Allah from all that they ascribe as partners (to him). He is Allah the Creator, the Evolver, the Fashioner. His are the most beautiful names; and He is the Mighty, the Wise.( 59:22-24 )
Now that we have reviewed some divine attributes, let us enumerate the ninety nine names that any one who counts them and believes in them will enter paradise.
Allah is: the Beneficent, the Merciful, the Sovereign, the Holy One, the Source of Peace, the Guardian of Faith, the Overwhelming, the Mighty, the Irresistible, the Supreme, the Creator, the Evolver, the Fashioner, the Ever Forgiving, the Subduer, the Grantor of Bounties, the Provider, the All-Knowing Judge, the All- Knower, the Withholder, the Extender, the Abaser, the Exalter, the Honourer, the Humiliator, the All-Hearer, the All-Seer, the Arbiter, the Justice, Beyond All Comprehension, the All-Aware, the Most Forebearing, the Glorious, the Oft- Forgiver, the Most Thankful, the Mot High, the Greatest, the Guardian, the Saviour, the Holder of Careful Accounts, the Majestic, the Generous, the Watcher, the Rresponder, the All-Eembracing, the Wise, the Most Loving, the Owner of Glory, the Resurrector, the Witness, the Truth, the Most Trusted One, the Powerful, the Steadfast, the Patron, the Praiseworthy, the Keeper of All Statistics, the Beginner of Creation, the Restorer of life, the Giver of life, the Causer of death, the Ever Living, the Self Subsisting, the Founder, the Deserver of all Praise and Honour, the One, the Eternal Absolute, the Capable, the Omnipotent, the Forwarder, the Giver of Respite, the First, the Last, the Manifest, the Invisible, the Protector, the Most Eminent, the Source of All Good, the Acceptor of Repentance, the Punisher, the Pardoner, the Most Kind, the Owner of the Universe, the Lord of Majesty, Bounty and Honour, the Just, the Gatherer, the Self Sufficient, the Giver of Wealth, the Preventer, the Harmer, the Giver of Profit, the Light, the Guide, the Orginator, the Everlasting, the Inheritor, the Most Upright, the Most Patient.
These are the important divine names agreed upon by many scholars based on the Qur'an. It is not enough, however, to enter paradise just to count the ninety nine divine attributes mentioned earlier, but one has to believe in them seriously and to manifest his belief in pious actions. So it is not simply a lip service to them; but rather the sincere commitment to these attributes that brings salvation and bliss.
There are also other names of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala); some scholars counted more than two hundred as Imam al-Qurtubi says in his Qur'anic interpretation volume 7 page 325. One may notice some similarities in the names, or may even claim the existence of repetition among them. This is not the case. It is only the difficulty to translate their meanings that might give this wrong impression.
I remember once an argument between a Muslim scholar and a Christian priest. The latter imagined that he caught something against Islam when he said: you blame us for saying that god is a trinity while you have ninety nine gods. The Muslim scholar laughed and then said: don't confuse between attributes or names of the one god, and the trinity which is three persons. These attributes describe the only one god in his capacities, qualities and actions. They all refer to the same god, the one divine being.
Some perverted people evolved some so-called miracles around number 19. They said that it is composed of two simple numbers, namely 1 which is the first simple number. Thus they claim that it refers to god being the first, and 9 which is the last simple number, thus, according to them it refers to god as the last. Based on these claims they said that this number refers to Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) the first and the last and they thus claim that it is the foundation of the Qur'an. They then took one more step and said that the first verse in the Qur'an which occurs at the beginning of every chapter of the holy book namely: in the name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful is composed in Arabic of 19 letters. Then they began to make baseless conclusions. They even reached the extreme and said that the day of judgement will take place after more than 250 years or so and their leader finally declared himself a messenger of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala)! The fact of the matter is that the whole theory falls to ashes when we confirm that the said verse on which they based their theory is, in fact, 21 letters and not 19. The Qur'an or god, for that matter, does not need these baseless claims. He is enough for believers and his book the Qur'an, introduces him without the need of any further theories.
God is not Muhammad:Some non-Muslim writers call Muslims Muhammadans and Islam Muhammadanism as an analogy of Christianity called after Jesus Christ, Buddhism called after buddha etc. Muslims do not worship Muhammad or any other. Their only deity is Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) the god. Muhammad was nothing but the trusted conveyer of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala)'s message. The most honourable title given to Muhammad in the holy Qur'an is that he is the slave and messenger of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) almighty. He himself warned his followers not to raise him above his human status. He said: only say i am the slave and messenger of Allah.(9)
Another important distortion that has to be clear is the claim that the Qur'an is the word of Muhammad. Time and again the Qur'an asserts that it is the revelation of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala). The Qur'an says:
And if he (Muhammad) had invented false sayings concerning Us, We would assuredly had taken him by the right hand; and We would have then severed his life artery.( 69:44-46 )
About the Qur'an we read in the same holy book:
It is the revelation of the Lord of the Worlds; the Honest Spirit descended with it unto your heart (Muhammad) so that you may be one of the warners, in a clear Arabic tongue.( 29:192-195 )
Muhammad p.b.u.h. Was not the first but the last messenger of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala). A series of prophets before him were sent by Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) to different people at various times conveying the same message of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala). The problem of some people is that they do not understand the position of prophets. On the one hand these prophets were not self appointed individuals who claimed divine descent but they were chosen by Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) based on their piety and righteous deeds. And as all previous messages were changed or lost, Muhammad, the praised one, was sent by Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) with the last message to the worlds. He is the last messenger simply because his message is the culmination and completion of all previous messages. That is why Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) preserved the Qur'an. The holy book Muslims have today is exactly the same book revealed to Muhammad p.b.u.h. Over fourteen centuries ago. Why then should we have another message or another prophet?
To conclude, this is how Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) is described in the Qur'an the word of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) to all the worlds. It is time to listen to Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) and believe in his word that shows us the way to him and to salvation. This booklet is just an attempt to guide the fair minded people to Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) the Almighty the Only Lord.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

For People Who Think


By A. Abd-Allah

Some people reject God because they can find no evidence for Him which satisfies both their hearts and minds simultaneously. Then there are others who accept God on the basis of emotional or irrational reasons which satisfy their hearts, but leave their minds unsure. These two groups of people have never found a satisfying answer to the question of their relationship with God. Then there are yet others who have found the correct path which God intended for us: to accept Him and His message to us using our minds first and foremost, and the heart follows easily and naturally as a consequence.
Instead of searching for the answer, there are also some people who chose to simply brush the question aside and ignore it unfortunately. This is the easy way out of what appears to be a very difficult, mysterious question which may seem to have no final solution. Most of these people are unaware of a very powerful message which completely and unequivocally establishes the correct path to God. This message squares with both the mind and the heart, and it has no equal since it comes to us straight from God Himself.
The message comes in the form of a book. In fact, God has given us several Books of guidance through the years, but each one was ultimately corrupted and changed by dishonest people. Each Book essentially contained the same fundamental message as the previous Books. Mankind was expected to guard these Books from harm, but unfortunately failed to live up to this expectation. Slowly but surely, each Book was edited and tampered with, destroying its authenticity. This is partly why God kept sending us more revelations.
However, almost 1400 years ago, God sent us another Book with the same basic message as the earlier ones, but with a small but very important difference. This time, God decreed that this Book would be the last Book sent down to us because God would protect it Himself. Regarding this Final Book, God said,
"Behold, it is We Ourselves who have bestowed from on high this reminder: and behold, it is We who shall truly guard it" [Chapter 15, verse 9] Today, if we compare the 114 chapters in every copy of this Final Book with each other, we will find they match perfectly word for word - from the oldest copies made 1300-plus years ago to the ones printed just a few hours ago. No human hand has changed it.
The rational person has every right to be doubtful, of course, if he or she has never read this book. For such people, here is a small sample of what the Final Book contains. Suppose we wanted to ask God several questions about Him and about ourselves. Short of Him speaking to us directly (such a privilege has been granted to only one person out of all humanity), the Book has the best answers one can find. It is on the strength of these answers that an honest person may be struck with the conviction that the Final Book is from none other than God Almighty. Again, here is only a small part of the information one might find.
1. On The Nature of GodWho is God? God explains in His Final Book that it is quite simply impossible for us to completely understand Him. We cannot pinpoint a definition of the Creator,
"Glory to the Sustainer of the heavens and the earth - the Sustainer, in almightiness enthroned - from all that they may attribute to Him by way of definition" [43:82]Our inability to completely understand God does not mean that He is completely remote from us. In spite of our limited understanding, we are all quite capable of turning to God, and He is not unaware of our efforts,
"...and unto thy Sustainer turn with love." [94:8]
"Behold, for those who stand in awe of God although He is beyond the reach of their perception, there is forgiveness in store and a great reward" [67:12]God has not left mankind entirely in the dark regarding His Nature. He refers to Himself by approximately 100 names in various places throughout the Final Book. Each name is a descriptive attribute of God, and they are all meant to help us understand the Creator. To gain this understanding involves simply thinking about God and reflecting on His names, and this type of awareness is a central pillar of faith (i.e. when one actively remembers God and is conscious of Him). A second benefit of these names is that some of them provide mankind with ideals to try to attain. For example, since God is the Most Forgiving, Most Patient, and Most Knowledgeable, we should each strive to be forgiving, patient, and knowledgeable (educated in our case).
Of all His attributes, God emphasizes a single one above all others in His Final Book: that HE IS ONE. God is not two, three, four, or more beings. There is only one deity, and He is God,
"Say: `He is God, Unique God the Eternal, the Independent. He begets not, and neither is He begotten. And there is nothing that could be compared to Him.'" [112:1-4]In other places of the Final Book, God emphasizes His Greatness and the impossibility of fully grasping Him by using the plural sense of pronouns for Himself - but He is strictly One and Unique with no other partners or deities.
After this aspect of Unity, God chose to emphasize two of His other names more often than the rest in the Final Book: "the Most Merciful, the One who acts Mercifully." In fact, each chapter but one in the whole Book starts with, "In the Name of God, the Most Merciful, the One who Acts Mercifully." These two names cannot be emphasized enough. They are meant to stress we should not let our sins keep us from coming back to God and calling to Him at all times, in joy or sadness. The Creator is more aware of our imperfections than we are, and so when we stumble and feel bad, God is far more likely to be kind than angry.
The Last Messenger and Prophet of God (i.e. the person whom God chose to deliver the Final Book to the rest of mankind) commented on God's mercy by informing us that,
"When God decreed the Creation He pledged Himself by writing in His book which is laid down with Him: `My mercy prevails over my wrath.'" - the Last Messenger
"God says: I am as My servant thinks I am. I am with Him when He makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assembly better than it. And if he draws near to Me a hand's span, I draw near to him an arm's length; and if he draws near to Me an arm's length, I draw near to him a fathom's length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him with speed." - the Last Messenger
2. The Nature of ManWho are we, and what makes us different from all other things? We are creations of God, along with the rest of the universe. We are human beings, all descendants of a common ancestry well known to most of us: Adam and Eve. Humanity, however, is distinct from the rest of the universe in a very fundamental way according to the Final Book,
"Verily, We did offer the trust to the heavens and the earth, and the mountains: but they refused to bear it because they were afraid of it. Yet man took it up - for verily he has always been prone to be most wicked, most foolish." [33:72]Over the years, many scholars of the Book have tried to understand exactly what God meant by "the trust". The most convincing argument (based on other parts of the Book, and on certain statements of the Last Messenger) is that it refers to our ability to make decisions both freely and intelligently. In other words, our uniqueness as human beings stems from two gifts given to us by God:
our ability to freely choose between actions (good and evil)
our ability to intelligently weigh and make those choices The price of these gifts is a tremendous amount of responsibility on our part; the responsibility not to abuse our gifts by rejecting God or by hurting each other unnecessarily.
The blessings of these two gifts are immeasurable, especially when God reminds us that He could have decided things otherwise by depriving us of either gift,
"Now had it been Our will [that men should not be able to discern between right and wrong], We could surely have deprived them of their sight, so that they would stray forever from the [right] way: for how could they have had insight [into what is true]? And had it been Our will [that they should not be free to choose between right and wrong], We could surely have transformed them [rooted] in their places, so that they would not be able to move forward, and could not turn back." [36:66-67]However, God did NOT will this, and as a result we are blessed with will and reason. The Final Book clearly warns against abusing these blessings, either by neglecting ourselves when we don't think wisely, or by hurting others when we deny them the right to choose,
"Verily, the vilest of all creatures in the sight of God are those deaf, those dumb ones who do not use their reason." [8:22]
"There shall be no coercion in matters of faith. Distinct has now become the right way from error: hence he who rejects evil and believes in God has indeed taken hold of a support most unfailing, which shall never give way: for God is All-Hearing, All-Knowing." [2:256]In spite of mankind's free will and reason, God warns us in His Book always to remember that these gifts are limited after all. The Final Word lies with Him in all matters. However, this is not to say that men's destinies are arbitrary - not at all. We are able to make decisions that affect our lives, but at the same time, God is also making decisions about us and for us,
"And had thy Sustainer so willed, all those who live on earth would surely have attained to faith, all of them: do you then think that you could compel people to believe, notwithstanding that no human being can ever attain to faith otherwise than by God's leave, and [that] it is He who lays the loathsome evil [of disbelief] upon those who will not use their reason." [10:99-100]
"...Verily, God does not change men's condition unless they change their inner selves..." [13:11]
3. Free Will and Reason AppliedHas God given mankind a clear path to Him? In essence, every rational reader would like to know if they can trust the authenticity of the Final Book. It is perfectly natural to feel that way; after all, this is the outcome of our God-given gift of reason. However, our own skeptical minds are the keys here: the Final Book, according to God, is addressed to people who think, pure and simple,
"...In this, behold, there are messages indeed for people who think." [39:42]
"Thus clearly do We spell out these messages unto people who use their reason." [30:28]No one but God can make a human being believe in the Truth of the Final Book, but that human being has to read it with an open mind, applying his or her powers of reason. The price of limited free will is that we must choose to be guided. Those people who do search for the Truth with an open mind and heart may find that the Final Book, while vast, is surprisingly clear,
"Nay, but this [divine writ] consists of messages self-evident in the breasts of those who have been given knowledge - and none could knowingly reject Our messages unless it be such as would do wrong [to themselves]." [29:49]
"This divine writ - let there be no doubt about it - is a guidance for all the God-conscious..." [2:2]The guidance of the Final Book is available to anyone who goes in search of it,
"[O men!] We have now bestowed upon you from on high a divine writ containing all that you ought to bear in mind: will you not, then, use your reason?" [21:10]One of the most interesting aspects of the authenticity of the Final Book is the quantity of scientifically accurate statements in it - on subjects not even dreamed of 1300 years ago. A sample of these includes the following:
a large explosion marking the start of creation (Big Bang) [21:30]
the initial smokey (nebulous) nature of the skies [41:11]
the expansion of the universe [51:41]
the presence of a huge amount of time before mankind appeared [76:1]
the existence of sun and moon orbits [21;33]
the finite sun and moon lifetimes [13:2]
the final destination of the sun (Solar Apex) [36:38]
the origin of all life based in water [21:30] In fact, God states that the amazing beauty and intricacy of the natural world around us, as well as our own complex biological makeup, will ultimately lead us to Him as we grow in understanding,
"In time, We shall make them fully understand Our messages [through what they perceive] in the utmost horizons [of the universe] and within themselves, so that it will become clear unto them this [revelation] is indeed the truth. Is it not enough that thy Sustainer is witness unto everything?" [41:53]
4. The Presence of EvilWhy does God allow men and women to be hurt? There are some people who use the presence of suffering and evil in this world as grounds to lose hope and perhaps even to reject God. However, according to the Final Book, the limited free will and reason of human beings destroys that argument. We are responsible for what we do, and must bear the consequences - that is the liability or price of freedom. The evil that we do and suffer from is chosen by us and not by God,
"...God wills no wrong to His creation." [3:108]However, God also guarantees us that aside from our own evil actions and their effects, God Himself will put us through some trials and tribulations here on earth - but the key is they will never be more than we can handle, and they may even be good for us,
"If misfortune touches you [know that] similar misfortune has touched [other] people as well; for it is by turns that We apportion unto men such days [of fortune and misfortune]: and [this] to the end that God might mark out those who have attained to faith, and choose from among you such as [with their lives] bear witness to the truth - since God does not love evildoers - and that God might render pure of all dross those who have attained to faith, and bring to nought those who deny the truth. Do you think that you could enter Paradise unless God takes cognizance of your having striven hard [in His cause], and takes cognizance of your being patient in adversity?" [3:140-142]
"God does not burden any human being with more than he is well able to bear: in his favour shall be whatever good he does, and against him whatever evil he does..." [2:286]An integral part of our being aware of God is hope and patience in times of hardship. In fact, the loss of hope is actually one of the symptoms of rejection of God,
"[Prophet Abraham] exclaimed, `And who - other than those who have utterly lost their way - could ever abandon the hope of his Sustainer's grace?'" [15:56]The greatest source of hope is that God shall allow those people who accept Him to enter Paradise and, more importantly, to be close to Him. The Final Book contains many references on Paradise, and also on Hell, the destination of those people who knowingly reject God. Paradise is quite literally a place of indescribable joy, whereas Hell is its indescribable opposite (both places are given only partial descriptions in the Book). While the inhabitants of Paradise are permanent dwellers, the inmates of Hell are not necessarily imprisoned there forever; there are some who shall ultimately be freed,
"[But] verily, as for those who attain to faith and do righteous deeds - the gardens of Paradise will be there to welcome them; therein will they abide, [and] never will they desire any change therefrom." [18:107-108]
"And whoever rebels against God and His Apostle and transgresses His bounds, him will He commit unto fire, therein to abide; and shameful suffering awaits him." [4:14]
"There shall come out of Hell-fire he who has said `There is no deity except God' and who has in his heart goodness weighing a barley-corn; then there shall come out of Hell-fire he who has said `There is no deity except God' and who has in his heart goodness weighing a grain of wheat; then there shall come out of Hell-fire he who has said `There is no deity except God' and who has in his heart goodness weighing an atom." - the Last Messenger
5. This Life and the NextWhat is the end to men's lives? There are two parts to men's lives: the part here on earth, and the part in the Hereafter. The dividing line between the two is known as death, followed by the Day of Judgement or Resurrection. As far as death is concerned, everyone must go through it, but on Judgement Day people will be sorted out from each other into different categories,
"Every human being is bound to taste death: but only on the Day of Resurrection will you be requited in full [for what you have done]..." [3:185]Resurrection Day will actually be a huge period of time (not a regular 24-hour day) in which every single human will be resurrected and judged by God on his or her beliefs and deeds. No human being - not even any Prophet - knows when this Day will come, for this is knowledge known only to God. The Final Book does describe it in several passages as a giant disaster on many scales (physical and ecological among others), and the Last Messenger was told of some of its foreshadowing signs which he communicated to us.
6. Messengers and ProphetsWho delivered God's Message to mankind? God has sent us many `reminders' of Him and of our obligations to Him over the centuries, culminating in the Final Book almost 1400 years ago. Every one of those `reminders' was delivered to us via a selected human being, one who was strong enough to deliver God's message to his people. These human beings are called the Prophets. They were not supernatural or immortal or different in any way from other human beings except that they were entrusted by God to speak in His Name,
"For [even] before thy time, [O Prophet], we never sent [as Our messengers] any but [mortal] men, whom We inspired - hence [tell the deniers of the truth] `If you do not know this, ask the followers of earlier revelation' - and neither did We endow them with bodies that ate no food, nor were they immortal." [21:7-8]Some of the Prophets were allowed to perform supernatural miracles but only with God's permission (i.e. if He willed it). However, the Final Book stresses that every Prophet is no more than a servant of God - they do not have a share in His Divinity.
There is also a small group of Prophets who were also Messengers. Every Prophet has called his people to the Truth, but Messengers were additionally given a rejuvenated Message from God to convey. Every Messenger is a Prophet, but not every Prophet is a Messenger. There have been many Prophets, of which here are the names of a few mentioned in the Book: Adam, Noah, Abraham, Lot, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, Elijah, Elias, David, Solomon, Jonah, Job, Zacharias, John, Jesus, and, of course, the Last Messenger.
7. Eternal SalvationAre certain people arbitrarily guaranteed the Favor of God, while others are excluded? The Mercy of God is not restricted arbitrarily to any one peoples. Everyone and anyone is free to accept the path to God using their own free will and reason,
"And they claim, `None shall ever enter Paradise unless he be a Jew' - or `a Christian'. Such are their wishful beliefs! Say [to them, O Prophet]: `Produce an evidence for what you are claiming, if what you say is true!' Yea, indeed: everyone who surrenders his whole being unto God, and is a doer of good, shall have his reward with his Sustainer, and all such need have no fear, and neither shall they grieve." [2:111-112]The consequence of this is responsibility - everyone will be held accountable on the Day of Judgement. Some of us may be uncomfortable with this, but it is simply the price of freedom,
"It may not accord with your wishful thinking - nor with the wishful thinking of the followers of earlier revelation - [that] he who does evil shall be requited for it, and shall find none to protect him from God, and none to bring him succor, whereas anyone - be it man or woman - who does good deeds and is a believer, shall enter paradise, and shall not be wronged by as much as [would fill] the groove of a date-stone." [4:123-124]
8. Forgiveness of GodIf we sin, what should we expect from God? If we subsequently feel guilty and repent after doing something evil, God wants us to expect Him to be forgiving, forgiving, and more forgiving. However, there is one sin which God will not forgive: worshipping anything besides Him (unless the person realizes his or her error and returns to worshipping the One God),
"Verily God does not forgive the ascribing of divinity to anything beside Him, although He forgives any lesser sin to whomever He wills: for he who ascribes divinity to anything beside God has indeed contrived an awesome sin." [4:48]
"Say, `O you servants of Mine who have transgressed against your own selves! Despair not of God's Mercy: behold, God forgives all sins - for verily, He alone is much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace.'" [39:53]Again, the most common phrase in the Final Book is "In the Name of God, the Most Merciful, the One who Acts Mercifully."
The Last Messenger commented on God's forgiveness on many occasions as in the following case,
"God has said, `O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as it [i.e. the earth]'". - the Last Messenger
9. The Straight WayWhat is the name for the way of life described in the Final Book? It is Islam, and it means "self-surrender [to God]". Any man or woman who accepts Islam is a Muslim. The Final Book is called the Qur'an (meaning "the Recitation"), and it is addressed to all of mankind in spite of being revealed in Arabic, the language of its Messenger and his people: Muhammad bin Abd-Allah. Muhammad is the Last Prophet and Messenger of God as the Qur'an says,
"[And know, O believers, that] Muhammad is not the father of any one of your men, but is God's Apostle and the Seal of all the Prophets..." [33:40]And God has revealed to us His proper name, and it is ALLAH.
The Qur'an contains a great deal of guidance and information for anyone looking for final answers. The information given in this small essay is only the tip of the tip of the iceberg. There is no substitute for reading the Qur'an itself in its entirety - it is the closest we can come to having God speak to us directly and personally here on Earth. The Qur'an answers many questions which are commonly asked by today's men and women. Its scope is wide: from fundamental issues such as the nature of the Creator and mankind's limited free will and reason, to the more mundane such as marriage laws and whom to give charity to. Islam as described in the Qur'an is vastly and almost completely different than Islam as understood by most non-Muslims and even a few Muslims. The negative image of Islam today is an incredibly misleading deception. It is based on the moral weakness of some people who claim to be Muslims, and also on the unawareness of non-Muslims. Behind this image is the presence of a Truth which answers the fundamental questions we have, and which can reunite us with God. It is there for us to listen to, or to ignore.
And Allah Knows Best.
"And [know that] We have not created the heavens and the earth and all that is between them in mere idle play..." [21:16]
"Will they not, then, try to understand this Qur'an? Had it issued from any but God, they would surely have found in it many an inner contradiction!" [4:82]
"We did not bestow the Qur'an on thee from on high to make thee unhappy." [20:2]
"[O men!] We have now bestowed upon you from on high a divine writ containing all that you ought to bear in mind: will you not, then, use your reason?" [21:10]
" remember Me, and I shall remember you; and be grateful to Me, and deny Me not." [2:152]
"Verily, those who attain to faith and do righteous deeds will the Most Gracious endow with love." [19:96]
"Say [O Prophet]: `If you love God, follow me, [and] God will love you and forgive you your sins; for God is much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace.'" [3:31]
"Say: `If all the sea were ink for my Sustainer's words, the sea would indeed be exhausted ere my Sustainer's words are exhausted! And [thus it would be] if we were to add to it sea upon sea.'" [18:109]

The Quran and Cosmology


T the time the Holy Quran was revealed, the human understanding of the nature of the cosmos and the movement or the stillness of the heavenly bodies was extremely primitive and obscure. This is no longer the case, as our knowledge of the universe has considerably advanced and expanded by the present age.
Some of the theories relating to the creation of the universe have been verified as facts, whereas some others are still being explored. The concept of the expanding universe belongs to the former category, and has been universally accepted by the scientific community as 'fact'. This discovery was first made by Edwin Hubble in the 1920s. Yet some thirteen centuries before this, it was clearly mentioned in the Quran:

And the heaven We built with Our own powers (aydin) and indeed We go on expanding it (musi'un).1
It should be remembered that the concept of the continuous expansion of the universe is exclusive to the Quran. No other Divine scriptures even remotely hint at it. The discovery that the universe is constantly expanding is of prime significance to scientists, because it helps create a better understanding of how the universe was initially created. It clearly explains the stage by stage process of creation, in a manner which perfectly falls into step with the theory of the Big Bang. The Quran goes further and describes the entire cycle of the beginning, the end and the return again to a similar beginning. The first step of creation as related in the Quran accurately describes the event of the Big Bang in the following words:

Do not the unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were a closed-up mass (ratqan), then We clove them asunder (fataqna)? And We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe?2
It is significant that this verse is specifically addressed to non-believers, implying perhaps, that the unveiling of the secret mentioned in this verse would be made by the non-believers, a sign for them of the truth of the Quran.
In this verse the words ratqan (closed-up mass), and fataqna (We clove them asunder), carry the basic message of the whole verse. Authentic Arabic lexicons3 give two meanings of ratqan, that have great relevance to the topic under discussion. One meaning is 'the coming together of something and the consequent infusion into a single entity' and the second meaning is 'total darkness'. Both these meanings are significantly applicable. Taken together, they offer an apt description of the singularity of a black hole.
BLACK HOLE is a gravitationally collapsed mass of colossal size. It begins with the collapse of such massive stars as are 15 or more times the size of the sun. The immensity of their inward gravitational pull causes the stars to collapse into a much smaller size. The gravitational pull is further concentrated and results in the further collapse of the entire mass into a supernova. At this stage the basic bricks of matter such as molecules, atoms etc. begin to be crushed into a nondescript mass of energy. Thus that moment in space-time is created which is called event horizon. The inward gravitational pull of that something becomes so powerful that all forms of radiation are pulled back so that even light cannot escape. A resultant total darkness ensues which earns it the name black hole, reminding one of the word ratqan used by the Quran indicating total darkness. This is called singularity which lies beyond the event horizon.
A black hole once created grows rapidly because even distant stars begin to be pulled in with the progressive concentration of gravitational energy. It is estimated that the mass of a black hole could grow as large as a hundred million times the mass of the sun. As its gravitational field widens, more material from space is drawn in at a speed close to that of light. In 1997 there was observational evidence suggesting that in our galaxy a black hole of 2,000,000 solar masses existed. But other calculations show that in our universe there could be many black holes as big as 3,000,000,000 solar masses.4 At that concentration of gravitational pull even distant stars would stagger and lose their mooring to be devoured by a glutton of such magnitude. Thus the process of ratqan is completed resulting into that singularity which is both completely closed as well as comprising total darkness. In answer to the question as to how the universe was initially created, the two most recent theories are both Big Bang theories. They claim that it was initiated from a singularity which suddenly erupted releasing the trapped mass leading yet again into the creation of a new universe through the event horizon. This dawn of light sprouting from the event horizon is called the white hole5,6. One of the two theories relating to the expansion predicts that the universe thus created will carry on expanding forever. The other claims that the expansion of the universe will, at some time, be reversed because the inward gravitational pull will ultimately prevail. Eventually, all matter will be pulled back again to form perhaps another gigantic black hole. This latter view appears to be supported by the Quran.
Whilst speaking of the first creation of the universe, the Quran clearly describes its ending into yet another black hole, connecting the end to the beginning, thus completing the full circle of the story of cosmos. The Quran declares:

Remember the day when We shall roll up the heavens like the rolling up of written scrolls ...7

Plate 1: The Ultimate Black Hole(click to enlarge)
The clear message of this verse is that the universe is not eternal. It speaks of a future when the heavens will be rolled up, in a manner similar to the rolling up of a scroll. Scientific descriptions illustrating the making of a black hole, very closely resemble what the Quran describes in the above verse. (See plate 1).
A mass of accretion from space falling into a black hole, as described above, would be pressed into a sheet under the enormous pressure created by the gravitational and electromagnetic forces. As the centre of the black hole is constantly revolving around itself, this sheet—as it approaches—will begin to be wrapped around it, before disappearing into the realm of the unknown at last.
The verse continues:

... As We began the first creation, so shall We repeat it; a promise binding on Us; that We shall certainly fulfil.7

Plate 2: The Emergent Universe(click to enlarge)
Following the eventual collapse of the universe into a black hole, here we have the promise of a new beginning. God will recreate the universe, as He had done before. The collapsed universe will re-emerge from its darkness and the whole process of creation will start yet again (see plate 2). This wrapping up and unfolding of the universe appears to be an ongoing phenomenon, according to the Holy Quran.
This Quranic concept of the beginning and the end of the creation is undoubtedly extraordinary. It would not have been less amazing if it had been revealed to a highly educated person of our contemporary age, but one is wonder-struck by the fact that this most advanced knowledge, regarding the perpetually repeating phenomenon of creation, was revealed more than fourteen hundred years ago to an unlettered dweller of the Arabian desert.
he Quran and the Heavenly BodiesNow we turn to another aspect of the description of the cosmos which relates to the motion of the heavenly bodies. The most striking feature of this description relates to the way the motion of the earth is described without glaringly contradicting the popular view prevailing in that age. All the scholars and sages of that time were unanimous in their belief that the earth is stationary while other heavenly bodies like the sun and the moon are constantly revolving around it. In view of this, the motion of the earth as described by the Quran may not be apparent to the casual reader, but to a careful student the message is loud and clear. If the Quran had described the earth as stationary and the heavenly bodies as revolving around it, then although the people of that time might have been satisfied with this description, the people of the later ages would have treated that statement as a proof of the ignorance of the Quran's author. Such a statement, they would emphasize, could not have been made by an All-Knowing, Supreme Being.
Rather than literally comparing the motion of the earth to that of other heavenly bodies, the Quran makes the following statement:

The mountains that you see, you think they are stationary while they are constantly floating like the floating of clouds. Such is the work of Allah Who made everything firm and strong...8
If the mountains are declared to be in constant motion, then the only logical inference to be drawn from this would be that the earth is also rotating along with them. But thanks to the masterly language of the Quran this observation went unnoticed. They had the impression, shared with the rest of mankind, that the earth was stationary and it was this false impression that was not obtrusively challenged. If they had read with care the end of the same verse they would have been left with no room for any misunderstanding. It ends with a lasting tribute to the creative faculty of God, Who has created all things with such firmness that they cannot be dislodged. Anything which cannot be dislodged can never be catapulted out of the earth, to fly alone, leaving the earth behind.
Again, in many other verses the Quran refers to the mountains as ravasiya which means 'firmly rooted in the earth':

He has created the heavens without any pillars that you can see, and He has placed in the earth firm mountains that it may not quake with you, and He has scattered therein all kinds of creatures; and We have sent down water from the clouds, and caused to grow therein every noble species.9

And We have made in the earth firm mountains, that they may provide them the living food, and We have made therein wide pathways that they may be rightly guided.10

And He has placed in the earth firm mountains that they may provide you food, and rivers and routes that you may be guided.11
Thus, the Holy Quran exquisitely succeeds in making this revelation in a manner that the prevalent knowledge of that time is not too loudly challenged. It is likely that the people may have believed verse 89 of Surah Al-Naml, referred to a future event associated with Doomsday. But as has been demonstrated, this misinterpretation would be absolutely unacceptable for the following reasons:
The verse clearly speaks in the present tense and not in the future tense. The letter ( ) vaow used here can literally be translated as 'while' instead of 'and', so the meaning could be, 'you think the mountains are stationary, while they are moving'. To refer this part of the statement to the future is impermissible.
If they, the mountains, were to fly in the future then how could man, even if he were perched at a safe distance on another planet, believe them to be stationary despite watching them flying in space? Hence such a translation is out of the question. Also, to translate this verse to indicate that though humans today consider the mountains to be stationary, they are not so because in future they will fly, would be evidently wrong. If the mountains are stationary today the humans would certainly see them to be stationary. It is not a question of their thinking them to be stationary. The Quran would have said 'You know them to be stationary and so they are but in future they will no longer be so'. This is not what the Quran says at all.
At the end of the same verse, a tribute to the firmness of God's creation is the last clinching proof that the mountains, despite flying, are firmly entrenched.
It is noteworthy that the early commentaries maintain silence on the true meaning of this verse which suggests that it was too difficult for them to interpret.
The Holy Quran also pronounces that all heavenly bodies are in a constant state of motion; none of them is stationary:

... everything is gliding along smoothly in its orbit.12
This all-embracing statement covers the entire universe, our solar system being no exception. In addition to this, there are many other verses which mention the elliptical movement of all the heavenly bodies. But they also speak of their movement towards their destined time of death. Following are some of the verses which cover both subjects:

Allah is He Who raised up the heavens without any pillars that you can see. Then He settled Himself on the Throne. And He pressed the sun and the moon into service. All pursue their course until an appointed time. He regulates it all. He clearly explains the Signs, that you may have a firm belief in the meeting with your Lord.13

Hast thou not seen that Allah makes the night pass into the day, and makes the day pass into the night, and He has pressed the sun and the moon into service; all pursuing their course till an appointed term, and Allah is well aware of what you do?14

He merges the night into the day, and He merges the day into the night. And He has pressed into service the sun and the moon; each one runs its course to an appointed term. Such is Allah, your Lord; His is the kingdom, and those whom you call upon beside Allah own not even a whit.15

He created the heavens and earth in accordance with the requirements of wisdom. He makes the night to cover the day, and He makes the day to cover the night; and He has pressed the sun and the moon into service; each pursues its course until an appointed time. Hearken, it is He alone Who is the Mighty, the Great Forgiver.16
OW we turn to another amazing revelation of the Quran regarding a specific motion of the sun which is mentioned nowhere else. This verse 36:39, pronounces,

And the sun is constantly moving in the direction of its ultimate abode of rest. This is the decree of the Almighty, the All-Knowing.17
It clearly speaks of a point in space to be the sun's final resting place. Despite the fact that it is only the sun which is mentioned, the verses which immediately follow bind the entire universe to the movement of the sun in the same specific direction:

And the sun is constantly moving in the direction of its ultimate abode of rest. This is the decree of the Almighty, the All-Knowing.
And for the moon We have regulated stages until it looks like a thin branch of an old palm tree.
Nor does it behove for the sun to overtake the moon nor for the night to overtake the day ...18
If it were only the sun which was moving in a fixed direction, the verse which follows this statement would not have proclaimed that the sun and the moon strictly maintain their mutual distance; they will never be able to gain or move away from each other, an unchangeable destiny till their appointed time. This clearly shows that in whatever direction the sun is moving, the moon is also moving.
But it is not only the question of the sun and the moon. All the heavenly bodies are described in the Quran as soundlessly floating. Again there are numerous verses in the Quran which describe the heavenly bodies bound together with invisible links. Hence if one of them moves in a direction other than its orbital and elliptical motion, all the other heavenly bodies must also move along to maintain their mutual balance.

And He it is Who created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon; everything gliding along in orbit.19

It is not for the sun to overtake the moon, nor can the night outstrip the day. All float in an orbit.20
This is a unique style of the Quran also employed for indicating the movement of the earth upon its axis. The people of the time of both these revelations could not clearly grasp the underlying idea. If the mountains are moving the earth must also move along, but this is not what the people of that age inferred. Nor could they grasp the idea that if the sun is moving in the direction of a specific space, the entire universe must also be moving along with it to the same destination. This vision of the entire universe drifting away in space is an idea which perhaps has not as yet been conceived by contemporary scientists. Yet it can be implied from an in-depth study of the Quran that the entire cosmos is moving towards some point in space. If that implication is true then one is left with no choice but to visualize all 180 billion or more galaxies, of which our planetary system is but a tiny dot, to be moving along with the sun in a set direction.
LSEWHERE IN THE CHAPTER we have suggested the possibility of an all-consuming gigantic black hole which may pull back the entire universal mass into its singularity.
As such, we have concluded that according to the Quran the case of the universe is an open and shut case. At the moment of the Big Bang it began to expand almost at the speed of light. At the end it will once again be drawn back into the abyss which we refer to as a black hole.
As far as the concept of a single universal black hole is concerned, it is based on the Big Bang theory which is fully supported by the Quran. Some scientists however, propose the case of an open universe. They believe that the universe will continue to expand forever and ever until the spacial matter becomes too thin and sparse, and extends beyond the gravitational pull of the centre of the universe. This scenario leaves no room for the universe to be reassembled and recreated. The Quran categorically rejects this open concept. It is loud, clear and specific that from a singularity the universe erupted, and back into another singularity it will sink again. The Unity of God and its creative outburst and the return of the creation again to the Unity of God could not have been better expressed than:

... to God we belong and to Him shall we return.21
Translation of 51:48 by the author.
Translation of 21:31 by the author.
LANE, E.W. (1984) Arabic—English Lexicon. Islamic Text Society, William & Norgate, Cambridge.
Space Telescope Science Institute. (1997) Press release no. STScI-PR97-01, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
RONAN, C. A. (1991) The Natural History of the Universe. Transworld Publishers Ltd., London.
Reader's Digest Universal Dictionary. (1987) The Reader's Digest Association Limited. London.
Translation of 21:105 by the author.
Translation of 27:89 by the author.
Translation of 31:11 by Maulawi Sher Ali.
Translation of 21:32 by the author.
Translation of 16:16 by the author.
Translation of 21:34 by the author.
Translation of 13:3 by the author.
Translation of 31:30 by Maulawi Sher Ali.
Translation of 35:14 by Maulawi Sher Ali.
Translation of 39:6 by Maulawi Sher Ali.
Translation of 36:39 by the author.
Translation of 36:39–41 by the author.
Translation of 21:34 by the author.
Translation of 36:41 by the author.
Translation of 2:157 by the author.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Principles of Qur’anic Hermeneutics


By Dr. Yamine Mermer, Indiana University

(The Journal of Scriptural Reasoning, Number 5.1, April 2005)

In Islam ‘testimony’ (shahaada) to the truth of the unity of divinity (tawhid) is central to faith. The one who surrenders (muslim) himself to the truth is supposed to actually observe[1] how every thing in the observable world (‘alam al-shahaada) indicate that truth of tawhid and consequently testify to the truthfulness of the Qur’anic message. The Qur’an refers to the universe and to the things and events in it very often and describes them as symbols or signs (ayat). It invites the addressee to ponder over the meaning of those signs in order to testify to the teachings of the Qur’an.[2] It also mentions stories of prophets and of their miracles, which are obviously not observable. What is their significance? How is it possible to “testify” to the truth of something that cannot possibly be observed? In order to answer these questions we need some indispensable knowledge of the principles of Qur’anic hermeneutics. After setting up some basic rules, I will briefly apply them to a few examples. It turns out that those stories of the prophets and their miracles are particular events but they are signs that point to universally observed principles. They are like the tips to general laws that can be observed and experienced here and now. Hence, although those events themselves cannot possibly be observed, their truth can nevertheless be confirmed.
According to the Qur’an, the verses of the Qur’an as well as things and events are signs (ayat). God speaks through Qur’anic signs as well as cosmic signs. The cosmos with all its activities is a kind of speech. Each being, each event, each change is like a word and their being in constant motion is like speech. It is as though the universe has been made to speak with constant change and renewal. [3] In the words of the Qur’an, “They will reply: God, Who gives speech to all things, has given speech to us (as well).” (41:21) That is just like the Qur’an is God’s speech with words, the cosmos is God’s speech with act. This situation led the Muslim scholar Said Nursi to define the Qur’an as “the eternal translator of the mighty book of the universe and the interpreter of the various tongues reciting the verses of creations."[4] He explains that from one point view the Qur’anic signs translates the cosmic signs according to our understanding and as though make them speak; i.e. the meaning of the Qur’an enfolds in the cosmic signs. The Qur'an actually explains how every being or event is a sign pointing to the existence of God and making Him known with all His names and attributes of perfection. Nursi asserts that each verse sees through all the other verses and contains all of the aims of the Qur’an because it is the word of One Who encompasses all. God, in His infinite mercy has included the whole in the parts like a hologram so that man with his limited capacity may grasp the meaning of the whole Qur’an in each of its parts. The same is true for the cosmic signs: each being, each thing or event is related to all the others and has meaning only within that web of relationship. For instance, an eye is an ‘eye’ and sees only when it is in the head, which is part of the body, which is ultimately part of the cosmos. Hence the maker of the eye can only be the maker of the head, the body, and the whole cosmos because the eye can only exist together with all of them. [5] The crucial point is that the Qur’anic ayat and the cosmic ayat are accessible to human understanding precisely because of their aforementioned characteristic. Accordingly, although man cannot comprehend the whole, he can reach universal understanding by focusing on universal particulars.
From another perspective, it can be said that the cosmic signs disclose the reality of Qur’anic signs. That is, God creates as he speaks. For instance, He creates food and at the same time, He says in the Qur’an that He is the merciful and generous sustainer. He describes His acts of creation to both ‘eye and ear’; He describes His act while performing it, and explains his gifts of mercy as He bestows them.[6] Thus, with the Qur’an, word and act are combined: the creation is made to speak through the Qur’an. That is, just as God makes His existence and presence known and perceptible through deeds, He also communicates His presence through speech.[7] Accordingly, in order to understand and confirm the truth of Qur’anic signs we need to ‘keep an eye’ on the cosmic signs i.e. on things and events and if we want to comprehend the cosmic signs we should ‘keep an ear’ on the Qur’an. In other words, we are supposed to observe the universe while listening to the Qur’an and vice versa, for just as the universe is the Creator’s speech through deed; the Qur’an is His speech through word.
Another rule of usul al-tafsir (methodology of Qur'anic exegesis) is that speech derives its power from four sources: the speaker, the form of the speech, the addressee, and the purpose of the speech. If for instance, speech is in the form of command or prohibition, it looks to the speaker’s will and authority, in accordance to his position. Consider a commander who utters the words “forward, march.” These words represent a command and are binding if the addressees are subject to the authority of the speaker. If the same words are uttered by a soldier for example, we may conjure that he is joking; in any case, no one would take his words as a command. So although the two statements are the same in form, they are different in meaning. That is both the speaker and the addressee are crucial in determining the meaning of speech. For instance the Qur’an says, “Indeed, His command when he wills a thing is “Be!” and it is.” (36:82) In order for this sentence to make sense it is important to know who the speaker is and who he is addressing. If it is the Creator of all things speaking to created human beings then it is reasonable. But if it is the word of the messenger who brought it, i.e. Muhammad, a mortal man, then that verse is gibberish and ridiculous.
Methodologically, we are supposed to read a document as it claims to be unless proved otherwise. Now the messenger who brought the Qur'an never claimed to be its author; he asserted that it was revealed to him by God. The Qur’an itself professes to be an address of the Creator of the heavens and the Earth. [8] Consequently, we will regard each verse of the Qur'an as the word of God. But if after that it does not make sense; if it is inconsistent in itself or in relation to the universe to which it often refers, then we will have the right to suspect its claim. If however from the beginning we reject the claim that the Qur'an is God's word, then what we will read will not be the Qur'an anymore, but some text allegedly written by Muhammad. And Muhammad won't be any longer the messenger of God but an impostor who lied in the name of God.[9] In addition, it should be noted that the Qur'an condemns blind imitation. It repeatedly condemns the blind following of the tradition of forefathers, But when they are told, “Follow what God has bestowed from on high,” some answer, “Nay, we shall follow that which we found our forefathers believing in and doing.” Why, even if their forefathers did not use their reason at all, and were devoid of guidance? ….Deaf are they, and dumb, and blind: for they do not use their reason (2: 170-171) The Qur’an persistently says, “So will not think?” and refers what it says to reason. It invites those who refuse to consider its proposition as reasonable on its merits to ‘produce an evidence for what they claim.’[10] The believer is over and over invited to think and ponder over the evidences in the universe in order to confirm his iman [11] (belief) in the truth of the Qur'anic message. It is also important to realize that the messenger Muhammad who was also the first teacher of the Qur'an taught that, God speaks to everybody, at all times through the Qur’an.[12] It addresses the most common people and the elite; all may listen and benefit from its teachings. Nursi likens it to “a repast at which thousands of different levels of minds, intellects, and spirits find their nourishment. Their desires are fulfilled and their appetites are satisfied.”[13] Surely, if the Qur'an is God’s universal address to all humanity as it claims to be, it should transcend time and space and it should make sense to everyone, at all time. It should speak to its addressee here and now. As to the main goal of the Qur’an, it is according to the consensus of the scholars of Qur’anic exegesis, the major pillar of faith i.e. tawhid (divine unity). In other words, the Qur’an’s most important aim is to teach its addressee how to ‘translate’ the language of the cosmic signs in order to testify to the truthfulness of divine unity. The latter does not simply refer to belief in one God as opposed to two or three. The Qur'an asserts that human beings have been created in a way they innately recognize the existence of one Creator.[14] It narrates the Prophet[15] Abraham's search for his Lord in celestial bodies (stars, moon, and sun), his recognition that transient created things could not be gods and eventually his seeking for God's guidance; Then when he beheld the moon rising, he (i.e. Abraham) said, "This is my sustainer!"- But when it went down, he said, "Indeed, if my Sustainer does not guide me, I will most certainly become one of the people who go astray!" (6:77) As he understood and admitted his limitations, he was made to realize the transcendental and comprehensive existence of God.. By doing so he became the locus of God's love, and "a good paradigm" (60:4) for the believers as the Qur'an states, And who could be of better faith than he who surrenders his whole being unto God and is doer of good withal, and follows the creed of Abraham, who turned away from all that is false - seeing that God exalted Abraham with His love[16]? (4: 125) Because Abraham surrendered himself wholeheartedly, he attained a state of receptivity to revelation and hence revelation was bestowed unto him.
According to the Qur'an, man knows intuitively that there must be a Creator and he understands what the Creator is not but in order to know Him, he needs revelation. The Muslim scholar Ibn 'Arabi (1165-1240) explains that the only knowledge about God that we can acquire through rational means is the knowledge of the existence of God and of what God is not. That is we can grasp God's incomparability as illustrated in the story of Abraham but we cannot gain affirmative knowledge of God. Only revelation can inform us about what God is rather than what he is not. [17] Furthermore since the Qur'an instructs man to strive to know God when he already knows His existence, it must be referring to another kind of knowledge that exceeds man's acquired knowledge.[18] That is, revelation does not just state the obvious; it teaches what cannot be learned without having recourse to its teachings. If, for instance we understand divine unity as meaning no more than 'there is only one God,' then we can rightly conclude that Divine revelation is superfluous and unnecessary. The point however, is that the Qur'an teaches who that God is and what his purposes in creation are; it teaches how to know God with all his names and attributes of perfection and hence to love and worship nothing beside Him.[19] In other words the purpose of the Qur'an is to teach that all that is lovable and valued in things and beings proceed from the Divine attributes of perfection;[20] they all belong to their Enduring Creator alone and not to the transient created things themselves.
When we reflect upon this reality of the created world and testify to its truth in our life (as the Qur'an bids us do), then our love for the world and the things in it is transformed into love for their creator,[21] and that is the core of tawhid (divine unity) as it is expressed in the Qur’anic verse, God, there is no deity (i.e. there is nothing worth worshipping and loving) save Him, indeed to Him alone belong the attributes of perfection. (20:8) The Muslim scholar Said Nursi (1886-1960) compares beings in the universe to a huge orchestra celebrating the Divine names. With their very mode of existence, they act as mirrors to the Divine attributes of perfection in many respects: they declare their maker’s power though their intrinsic weakness, His riches and grace through their inherent neediness and poverty, and His everlastingness through their ephemerality. Each being, each event proclaims that nothing possesses deity but He, and attest that the Qur’anic truths are not mere metaphysical ideals but cosmic realities. [22] Every thing is like a mirror reflecting the divine attributes of perfection and thus making its Maker known and glorifying Him.[23] In order to participate in this glorifying, one needs to acknowledge that his existence is dependent on a ‘wholly other’ and that the continuance of his existence is due solely to the creativity of that other. Then he realizes that everything else also owes its existence to that same creator. That is, he sees the weakness of all things to the extent he admits his own weakness; and as a result he becomes aware that all grace and mercy, all attributes of perfection- reflected on himself or on beings- belongs to that creator alone. This awareness is the beginning of ‘glorifying’ God and concurrently the beginning of ‘understanding’ the reality of existence, for they are related in accordance with the Prophet Muhammad’s saying, act upon what you know and God will teach you what you do not know. That is as he purifies his ego following the teachings of the Qur’an, the meaning of revelation starts unfolding itself to him as it is alluded in the following verses, Behold, it is a truly noble discourse (Lit. qur’an) (conveyed unto man) in a well-guarded writ (kitab) which none but the pure can touch. [24] (56:77-79) That is to say, to testify to the truth of tawhid, the foremost aim of the Qur’an, entails the authentication of its reality in the universe, [25] a task that can be accomplished to the extent one participates in that cosmic reality and experiences it in his own life.
Let us consider the following Qur’anic verse, He taught Adam the Names, all of them. (2:31) According to the above rules of exegesis, this verse addresses us here and now and teaches us how to testify to the cosmic reality of tawhid and as a result to the truth of the Qur’anic message. It is not just narrating the story of a prophet called Adam for the Qur’an does not claim to be a book of history and the Prophet Muhammad did not read it as such. In fact the Qur’an reduces the stories of the prophets to their essential features precisely because it does not want the addressee to get drowned into unnecessary information and deviate from the aim of the message taught in those verses. But how is the teaching of the names to Adam mentioned in this verse relevant to my situation here and now? Moreover, given that the Qur’an instructs the readers to use their reason, how is it possible to understand this incident rationally? And lastly, what is the wisdom in the Qur’an’s [26] mentioning particular events like this? The answer is in the Qur’an itself in accordance to a very fundamental principle that I have applied so far but without spelling it explicitly. This is that all of the Qur’anic “statements and ordinances are mutually complementary and cannot therefore be correctly understood unless they are considered as parts of one integral whole.” In order to understand what ‘Adam’ and ‘names’ refer to, we need to consider them within the Qur’anic context.[27]
In verses 2:31, “Adam” refers to the whole human race as is clear from the preceding verse 2:30 where Adam is referred to as “one who shall inherit the earth” and as one “who will spread corruption on earth and will shed blood.” More important however, is verse 7:11. In the verses following 2:30, the Qur’an mentions how all the angels prostrated before Adam except Iblis[28]. In 7:11, it recounts the same event but with definite reference to all mankind as the preceding verses clearly demonstrate, O men We have created you, and then formed you, and then we said unto the angels, “prostrate yourselves before Adam!”- Whereupon they prostrated themselves, except Iblis. From this sura, it is obvious that the name Adam symbolizes the whole human race as all commentators on the Qur’an have agreed unanimously. So when the Qur’an says that He taught Adam the Names (al-asma’), all of them, it is actually telling us that all human beings were taught all the Names. But what are these names? The Arabic for ‘names’ is asma’, and its singular form is ism. The term ism primarily denotes the intrinsic attributes of a thing under consideration. In other verses (7:180; 17:110; 20:8 and 59:24), the Names are also referred to as al-asma’ al-husna and they attributed to God. The expression al-asma’ al-husna has been rendered as the ‘attributes of perfection’, e.g. And God’s (alone) are the attributes of perfection (al-asma’ al-husna); invoke Him, then, by these, and stand aloof from those who distort the meaning of His attributes (asma’). (7:180)
Thus the names refer to the divine attributes of perfection that constitutes the reality of all things as indicated above. The ‘teaching of the names’ alludes to man’s comprehensive disposition in learning countless sciences and acquiring knowledge about the Creator’s attributes and qualities through those sciences, all of which are signs to the divine Names. Nursi writes, “All attainments and perfections, all learning, all progress, and all sciences, each have an elevated reality which is based on one of the divine Names. On being based on the Name…the sciences and the arts find their perfection and become reality. Otherwise they remain incomplete and deficient.” [29] Accordingly, medicine for instance, finds its perfection and becomes reality when it relies on the divine Healer and sees ‘its compassionate manifestation in the vast pharmacy of the earth.’
So in fact, the minor event of the teaching of the names to Adam is actually the tip of a universal observed principle namely the teaching of all the attainments with which mankind has been inspired. This verse teaches that this ability and the resulting attainments are to be consciously used to ascend to the divine Names, which are the realities and sources of those attainments. In Nursi’s words, the verse says, Come on, step forward, adhere to each of the names, and rise! But your forefather was deceived one time by Satan, and temporarily fell to the earth from a position like Paradise, Beware! In your progress, do not follow Satan and make it the means of falling into the misguidance of ‘Nature’ from the heavens of the divine wisdom. Continuously raising your head and studying carefully my attributes of perfection (or My divine Names), make your sciences and your progress steps by which to ascend to those heavens. Then you may rise to my Names, which are the realities and sources of your science and attainments, and you may look to your sustainer with your hearts through the telescope of the names. [30]
Therefore although verse 2:31 mentions the miracle of Adam, an event that I have not seen, it is
possible for me to testify to its truthfulness and confirm it because it refers to a universal truth that I can observe in the universe and experience in my life. This is how the cosmic signs help me witness to the truthfulness of the Qur’anic verses (signs), which interpret and expound the cosmic signs.
The same analysis may be applied to different verses of the Qur’an. R.W.J. Austin states that “the Koran places the prophets outside history, within the framework of the Unitarian message of Islam; it speaks in both general and universal terms, as it were.”[31] The central theme in the Qur’anic reference to the stories of the prophets is the teaching of the reality of tawhid. In accordance with the Prophetic tradition, the different prophets correspond to various spiritual types and consequently, to different ways to reach knowledge and love of God. [32] For instance, the miracle of the staff of Moses, is referred to in the verse 2:60, And We said, strike the rock with your staff. Nursi reminds us that the roots of plants and trees spread through hard rock and earth just as easily as branches spread in the air. He says, “Like the Staff of Moses, each of those silken rootless conform to the command of, And We said, strike the rock with your staff, and split the rock. This way Nursi plays off the fact that revelation and creation witness to each other: the observed facts show that the miracle of the Staff of Moses points to a universal law, and the verse tells us that those observed facts are not ‘natural’ events that happen haphazardly but rather ‘miracles’[33] of Divine mercy. Nursi also mentions how delicate and fine green leaves retain their moisture for months even when it is extremely hot, as in the summer. It is as though those leaves recite the verse, O fire be coolness and peace. (21:69) against the heat of the sun, like the limbs of Abraham did against fire. Again the cosmic signs are juxtaposed to the Qur’anic signs/ verse.[34] From the above principles of Qur'anic exegesis, it is clear that understanding the Qur'an entails that the interpreter engages the Qur'anic signs as well as the cosmic ones. Understanding is given to him to the extent he succeeds in internalizing the meaning those signs convey. This process however is not arbitrary. It has been taught by the messenger Muhammad to whom the Qur'an was first revealed and as a matter of fact by all the prophets as the Qur'an teaches. [35] In the Qur'anic context, the messenger Muhammad epitomizes the excellent Man (al-insan al-kamil) in the sense that he realized his createdness at the highest level and admitted his inherent weakness and neediness before His Creator and consequently became receptive to Divine revelation. He evinced a tawhid journey that reaches its apogee through purification of the ego from its false claims of existing by itself and from itself and of conceiving of itself as a source of perfection including true understanding of the world. As one purifies his ego and surrenders himself to his createdness, he can share in the cosmic reality of tawhid and therefore testify to its reality in his own life.
Subsequently, he may say like the prophet of islam (surrendering), “I only follow whatever is being revealed to me by my Sustainer: this (revelation) is a means of insight from your Sustainer, and a guidance and grace unto people who believe. Hence, when the Qur’an is read, hearken unto it, and listen in silence, so that you might be graced with (God’s) mercy.” (7:203-204). ‘Silence’ has been traditionally understood to refer to the fact that none other than the creator knows the reality of creation, hence when God speaks in the Qur’an, the wisest stand is to give up prejudices and preconceptions as much as possible and listen so that ‘true understanding,’ –which is also mercy- may be bestowed upon one. The Sustainer’s favor and mercy dwells in the purification of the ego that yields listening and relying on the dynamic of gift of everything including understanding of the true meaning of the divine speech. The same law of ihsan or munificence and gift is at work in the domain of divine creativity i.e. in nature and in that of revelation; divine mercy as well as all other attributes of perfection manifest themselves in the form of a beautiful fruit or a drop of water and in meaningful words: all are divine speech; all are signs and symbols whose meanings are disclosed to us when we listen rather than merely project our ‘understanding’ onto them. It seems therefore that listening is an important rule of Qur’anic reasoning (QR). In order to practice QR one needs to trust the text, listen to it, and allow it to disclose its reasoning to him. Otherwise if he simply ‘plays’ with the text he may end up reading himself rather than the scripture? QR is certainly not merely cogitation but a living interaction with the scripture for it has a fundamental ontological element that makes it more than just experiential or historical in the sense that it can at least be generalized if not universalized.

[1] In Arabic the words ‘observe’ or shaahada and ‘testimony’ or shahaada are semantically related.
[2] Verses about thinking
[3] (Nursi, 24th Letter)
[4] Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, The Words (Istanbul: Sozler, 2002), 376- 377.
[5] Nursi, The Words, 577.
[6] Nursi, The Words, 444.
[7] Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, The Supreme Sign ( ) Trans. H. Algar, 49-50.
[8] The Qur'an says, "Or do they say: He himself has composed this (message)"? Nay, but they are not willing to believe! But then,(if they deem it the work of a mere mortal,) let them produce another discourse like if- if what they say is true! (52:33-34).
[9] Verse on lying in the name of God
[10] See 21:23 for example.
[11] The Arabic word ‘iman’ is usually translated as ‘faith’ or ‘belief’ but in fact it conveys a sense of certainty. For ‘iman’ occurs in one who is ‘amin’ i.e. sure, certain.
[12] Hundreds of verses of the Qur’an point to this fact; they start with ‘o you people’ or end with ‘these are examples for people who think.’
[13] Nursi, The Words, 402.
[14] Verse 30:30 says, And so, surrender your whole being steadfastly to the ever-true faith, turning away from all that is false, in accordance with the disposition (fitra) which God has instilled into people: for not to allow any change to corrupt what god has thus created –this is the (purpose of the) ever-true faith; but most people know it not. “The term fitra rendered here as ‘disposition’, connotes in this context man’s inborn, intuitive ability to discern between right and wrong, true and false, and thus, to sense God’s existence and oneness… (it) consists in man’s instinctive cognition of God and self-surrender (islam) to Him.” M.Asad, The Message of the Qur’an (Gibraltar:Dar al-Andalus, 1980), 621.
[15] "We should point here that the words 'prophet' and 'Prophecy' may not convey precisely the same ideas in the three monotheistic religions. …According to the Koran, each prophet, including Christ, is a messenger sent by god to a particular people. This view …presumes that the prophet has reached the spiritual heights of human nature and that he is, like Adam, "God's representative on earth.” The Koran places the prophets outside history, within the framework of the Unitarian message of Islam; it speaks in both general and universal terms, as it were. Its prophets run the gamut from Adam to Mohammad and include not only the prophets and patriarchs of the Old Testament, but also an indefinite number of messengers sent by God to ancient Arabic and non-Arabic nations. The Bible stories linked to various prophets reappear in part in the Koran, but reduced to their essential features and, as it were, crystallized into symbolic accounts." R.W.J.Austin in the introduction to his translation of Ibn'Arabi's The Bezels of Wisdom (NJ: Paulist Press, 1980), xii.
[16] Literally, "God chose Abraham to be His beloved friend (khalil)."
[17] W.C. Chittick, The Sufi Path of Knowledge: Ibn al='Arabi's Metaphysics of Imagination (Albany: SUNY Press, 1989), 159.
The Qur’an points to this fact, How could it be that He who has created all should not know all when He alone is unfathomable in His wisdom, all-aware! 67:14. The Qur’an also says, Hence, place your trust in the Living One who dies not, and extol His limitless glory and praise: for none is aware of His creatures’s sins as He- He who has created the heavens and the arth and all that is between them in six aeons, and is established on the throne of His almightiness: the Most Gracious! Ask, then, about Him, the One who is truly aware. (25:59) that is ask God Himself since He alone is ware of the mysteries of the universe. This is usually understood that “it is onlyby observing His creation and listening to His revealed messages that man can obtain a glimpse, however distant, of god’s Own reality.” Asad, The Message of The Qur’an, 557.
[18] S.Hakim, "Knowledge of God in Ibn 'Arabi" Ed. S. Hirtenstein and M. Tierman, Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi: A Commemorative Volume (USA: Elements, Inc, 1993), 270.
[19] S.Nursi, The Words, 299-300.
Nursi explains that only revelation can teach true unity of God (tawhid), "which is to see the stamp of His power, the seal of His Lordship (rububiya); it is to open a window directly onto His light from everything and to confirm and believe with the certainty of seeing it that every thing emerges from the hand of His power and in no way has He any partner or assistant in His Godhead or in His Lordship or in His sovereignty, and thus to attain a sort of perpetual awareness of the divine presence." Nursi, The Words, 300.
[20] Asma see asad p. 231, note 145.
[21] Heart loves whatever the source of loveliness is.
[22] Nursi, The Words, 342-343.
[23] The Qur’an says, He is God, the Creator, The Maker who shapes all forms and appearances! His alone are the attributes of perfection; all that is in the heavens and on earth extols His limitless glory: for He alone is almighty, truly wise! (59:24) There are many other verses that teach that all beings glorify their Maker. See for instance, 17:44; 58:1; 59:1 etc.
[24] The commentators understood that from one perspective, this verse means that ‘only the pure of heart can truly understand and derive benefit from the Qur’anic revelation.’ Note also that the word ‘Qur’an’ refers to God’s address to humanity and cannot be confined between the folds of a scroll or the covers of a codex. As Daniel Madigan explains in his work, The Qur’an Self-Image, from the Qur’an’s refutation of the proof value of written texts, as well as from the absence of a significant role for written material in the early history of the Qur’an and in Islamic ritual, it can be inferred that scrolls and codices were not perceived as evidently important, and certainly not as constitutive of the authority of scripture. Madigan construes that the notion of kitab (scripture or writ) as evidenced in the Qur’anic discourse exhibits an extraordinary elusiveness, which makes it impossible to understand scripture as a fixed, closed corpus. For once a book is produced, it exist independently of its author. The Muslim community however, has always had a lively sense that the Qur’an’s author remains engaged with his audience. The appeal of tradition to kalam Allah (speech of God) as the key to understanding revelation is probably a means to avoid the term scripture, which is often associated with the mushaf (codex). It is significant to note that although scripture occupies a central position in the faith and practice of Muslims, their approach to scripture is almost totally oral. Furthermore, the evidence indicates that they coalesced around the Qur’an while it was still oral, still in process as the pledge of God’s relationship of guidance to them rather than as a clearly defined and already closed text. The Qur’an refuses resolutely to behave as an already closed and codified text since its role is to address people and situations as they arise. It insists on remaining open and responsive and makes it clear in its form and statements that it prefers to function as the voice of God’s continuing address to humanity. Madigan presents a compelling semantic analysis of the Qur’an’s self-awareness. He argues that the Qur’an views itself not as a completed book, but as an ongoing process of divine writing and re-writing; as God’s active engagement with humanity. In fact the Qur’an does not identify itself with the kitab (scripture or book), to which it refers in the third person when proclaiming, defending, and defining it. Yet it does not speak of the kitab as something already fixed and separate but primarily as a symbol, for the Qur’an (discourse) is the very mode by which the kitab is made manifest and engages with humanity. The Qur’an presents itself and is conscious of itself in a distinctive manner: it is not so much interested in writing as a mere description of the form of the divine word as in the source of its composition, authority and veracity. The Qur’an’s claim to being a kitab is a symbol for God’s knowledge and authority rather than a simple statement about its eventual mode of storage. As kitab, it intended to be the locus of continued guidance. The Qur’an’s kitab cannot be mistaken for a book since it has no fixed boundaries: it is not made completely clear whether this text, i.e. the Qur’an, is the whole kitab or part of it, one of several kutub (plural form of kitab) or the only one. As a matter of fact, the implicit claim to totality and completeness contained in the word ‘book’ may lead to the identification of the limits of the God’s kitab with the boundaries of the text. Such understanding may become perilous for it opens the possibility of ‘possessing’ the kitab and claiming hegemony over understanding it rather than listening to it and relying on the givenness of understanding.

[25] The antithesis of tawhid is shirk or ascribing partners to God not only in His godhead but in all His attributes. Shirk is defined in another verse as ascribing the attributes of perfections to things and beings themselves, And God’s alone are the attributes of perfection; invoke Him, then, by these and stand all of those who distort the meaning of His attributes (by applying them to others); they shall be requited for all that they were wont to do! (7:180). Hence to ascribe power and creativity to causes, to Nature, etc is, by the Qur’anic criterion of tawhid, shirk and idolatry.
[26] Asad, 261.
[27] Nursi says, “Seek the meanings of the Qur’an in its luminous words, rather than those gimmicks and artifices you sneak in the back-pocket of your mind.” Nursi, Risale-i Nur Kulliyati, 1989.
[28] And When We told the angels, “Prostrate yourselves before Adam!”- they prostrated themselves except Iblis. 2:34.
[29] 20th Word)
[30] Nursi, The Words, 270
[31] R.W.J. Austin, Introduction to Ibn ‘Arabi’s Bezels of Wisdom (NJ: Paulist Press, 1980), xii.
[32] Ibid.
[33] The Arabic word for ‘miracle’ is ‘mu’jiza’. It does not refer to a ‘marvelous event that is attributed to a supernatural cause. Mu’jiza is derived from the root ‘a-j-z, which means ‘to be incapable.’ Something is a mu’jiza in the sense that all causes, all things are incapable (‘ajiz) of making it. Thus it is not used only for the miracles of the prophets. Since, the Qur’an holds that for one single thing to be, the whole universe must be there, i.e. it exist only within the universe and therefore to make one thing is equivalent to making everything. The creator of one thing can only be the creator of all the universe. Causes themselves are being made and they cannot create. As far as creatorship is concerned, they are all ‘ajiz, , but as far being made is concerned they are all mu’jiza or miracle.
[34] Nursi, The Words, 17.
[35] The Quran refers to all prophets as paradigms to be followed in reaching knowledge of God. Each one of them represents a different aspect of divine wisdom and as such their paths are relevant to man in different situations of his life. He can identify with their ways at various moments of his life. See also note 11.