Monday, August 31, 2009

Ramadan thoughts: Understanding the Quran


Source ::: The PENINSULA

The overarching importance of the noble Quran, which Muslims believe is the word of God (Allah), is underscored in Islam owing to a number of factors such as the following:

1. The Quran is, according to Islam, the last of the revealed scriptures of God. It clearly teaches that all the previous scriptures have been revealed by God Almighty to His prophets, though they were not preserved intact over time. Only the noble Quran has been protected from addition, deletion, or interpolation. That is why Muslims believe that today, only the noble Quran is authentic as the word of God.

And what is more, it is kept intact on a tablet preserved in Heaven for all times. And in fact, the essential message of all the earlier scriptures was extracted from the same tablet, called in the Quran the “Preserved Tablet”:

“Nay, this is a Glorious Quran (inscribed) in a Tablet Preserved!” (85:21-22)

Ibn Kathir, a well-known Quran interpreter and scholar, said:

“The phrase “in the Preserved Tablet” means, it is among the higher rank groups (i.e., angels), preserved and protected from anything being added or taken away, or from any alteration or changes.” (part 8, page 271)

2. God Almighty in the noble Quran clearly states that all the previous scriptures were revealed provisionally for the benefit of a particular people of a particular period. But the noble Quran is the final testament of God revealed for the whole of humanity, until the Day of Judgment. For this reason, all the teachings contained in the former scriptures which were meant to be of lasting value and importance are included in the Quran.

3. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the final messenger from Allah to mankind; and he brought the final revelation from God to man. Therefore, the scripture containing this revelation is the last of the sacred scriptures.

The basic message of the noble Quran is the same as the basic message of the previous revelations and books; and the teachings and instructions by which it provides guidance for man are of a universal nature. They apply for all times to come and to all situations.

This revelation corresponds to a critical juncture that marks a stage of cultural, intellectual, and spiritual development in human history.

4. If you make a careful study of the language and subject of the Quran and the language and subject of other scriptures, you can see the clear difference of the Quran.

It is a fact that there is no scripture of any religion existing now in the same form as it existed at the time of its revelation. In most cases, we have only translations, not the original scripture.

As for the Quran, it is the original Arabic Quran that is always called the Quran, not any translation. That is to say, the noble Quran is the only scripture that exists in the same language and form in which it was originally revealed by Allah Almighty to humankind.

5. Another important point to note about the Quran is the perfect harmony between its content and language. We may get to know the meaning of the Quran from a translation, preferably with sufficient explanations. But the beauty of the Quranic language is to a great extent lost to any one who does not know Arabic.

As a matter of fact, the verses of the Quran appeal to our heart and head at the same time; as we see in them a harmony of rhyme, rhythm and reason, a matching of powerful ideas with moving expression.

We should remember that the Quran came at a time in Arabia when poetry was reigning supreme; but the master-poets of the day could not equal the Quranic richness in diction, style, and beauty. Indeed, its haunting rhythms rocked the whole of Arabia from Sudan to Syria and from Morocco to Oman, and continues to awe those who listen to it, even if they do not understand Arabic.

It is noteworthy that while the Quran continues to occupy the pedestal as an abiding model for literary Arabic, the languages of other scriptures have, more or less, become dead languages.

6. In fact, there is no other Book in human history that has molded, and is continuing to mold, the life of generations of people as the Quran. Every verse of the Book has become the unalterable source of a code of laws that govern every aspect of the life of Muslims.

This was a Book that brought into being the renowned universities and centers of learning that awakened a new enlightenment in the world, such as no other civilization of the past could match.

It was indeed a brilliant and lasting miracle of Allah effected through the Quran, which was at the center of a unique spiritual revolution, which shines through history. The Quran helped in forging unity among tribes, races and social classes. It liberated the thought patterns and the ennobled human knowledge.

The Quran also contained the criteria for social transformation.

Consequently, even some people, such as the Mongols who conquered Islamic lands and triumphed over the Muslims owing to their military superiority, lost their dominance in the end when they were confronted with the spiritual power of Islam. In addition, it is an interesting historical fact that eventually most of them even adopted the religion of the people they had conquered.

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