What is Quran?
The Constitution for Humanity
The Catalog of the Universe
The Book that God gave to His Messenger through revelation, and which his messenger passed on to the Humanity in the form in which we know it today. The internal evidence provided by the Qur'an itself, as well as historical research, proves that the original Quranic text has not been changed or is likely to be altered in the future. This is a unique attribute of the Qur'an and is not shared by any other revealed book now extant. The Qur'an embodies the deen (The System of life) revealed to the earlier Anbiya (Messengers of God) in its true and perfect form. The mode of expression of the Quran is neither poetry nor prose, but has its own style and rhythm. It has a rare beauty and grandeur, and is sublime.
Man is a moral being, capable of distinguishing between right and wrong, and free to choose either. However, he finds that it is not easy to distinguish good from evil, nor is it easy to choose the good, when it is known. In his own self there is no sure guide to the good. No moral instinct leads him unerringly to the right path. It is obvious that there are no universally accepted moral codes, for there are as many codes as cultural groups in the world. Each tribe seems to have developed a code of its own, which is unacceptable to other groups. A dispassionate survey of the several moral codes leads us to the standpoint of ethical relativism. A code of conduct cannot be judged to be good or bad in the abstract. It may be good for one cultural level and bad for another.
In the past, conscience was credited with the power to discriminate between right and wrong. Now, psychologists, as well as sociologists, maintain that a man’s conscience is shaped by the cultural environment in which he has been brought up. Conscience is only the group code which has been internalized in the individual. We are thus driven to conclude that there is no sure guide to the right and good inherent in man.
According to the view set forth in the Qur'an, man is born neither good nor bad, but with the power and freedom to become either. He is endowed with immerse potentialities. If he develops them and employs them for the moral and material advancement of mankind, his conduct is good; if he fails to utilize his immense resources or puts them to uses which are harmful to mankind, his conduct is bad. Divine Guidance points out the way to self-realization and to the promotion of knowledge and happiness. By following the path which is pointed out by Divine Guidance, man can finally achieve the status of a "mo’min". A "mo’min" is at peace with himself and with the world because he has successfully resolved his inner and outer conflicts. Divine Guidance embedded in the Quran shows the way to harmony in the individual mind as well as in human society.
This Book does not give us merely a code of ethics; it provides us with a code of life which embodies guidance, principles, values and laws relating to every sphere of human life and natural phenomenon.
Islam is a code of laws revealed by God, through his Messenger, Muhammad, for the guidance of the whole of mankind. This guidance, what we may call Permanent Values, is fully preserved in the Book of God, known as the Qur'an. Further, Islam emphatically and confidently advances the claim that if life is led in full compliance with and in complete subordination to the Permanent Values, it will be rid of all the travails and troubles in which the entire world of the present day finds itself beset condemning humanity to a hellish life despite the wonderful and awe-inspiring material and scientific advancement.
Some of the more fundamental and basic Permanent Values mentioned in the Quran are listed here:
1. Respect for humanity in general. The very fact that every human child at his birth is equally endowed with a Self or Personality, entitles every individual as a human entity to equal esteem and respect ; and no distinction whatsoever should, therefore, be allowed to the incidence of birth, family, tribe, race or community, nationality, religion or sex, for, says the Qur'an :
Verily We have honored all children of Adam (equally) (17: 70).
2. The criterion of a high position in society. The intrinsic value of every individual human being is uniformly equal, but the criterion for determining the relative position and status of every individual rests on his own personal merits and character:
And for all there are ranks according to what they do (46: 19),
and the principle underlying is this:
The noblest of you in the sight of God is the best in conduct (49: 13).
3. Unity in humanity. All human beings, according to the Qur'an, are the members of one brotherhood and branches of the same tree:
Mankind is one community (2: 213).
Racial distinction or dividing mankind into different compartments of communities and nations by drawing lines on the globe is antagonistic to the very idea of humanity as a single entity, and is against the intents and purpose of nature. There is only one criterion for a division and no other—that those who believe in the Permanent Values are members of one community and those who care not for them and lead their lives against them go to the other division of a different community, as is said in the Qur'an:
He it is Who created you (as human beings) but one of you rejects (the Permanent Values) and another believes (in them, so this is the only line of demarcation) (64: 2).
4. Human Personality implies responsibility. It means to say that every human being will be held responsible for his own actions; rewards as well as retribution, which none else will share. Says the Qur'an:
Whoever commits a crime commits it against his own self (4: III),
and no other will be held responsible for it :
No bearer of a burden bears another's burden (53: 38).
This makes it quite clear that the notions of "original sin", or "intercession", or "penance" have no room whatsoever in Islam. That one should be made responsible for one's own deeds is, therefore, a Permanent Value according to the Qur’an.
5. Freedom. According to the Qur'an, every human being is born free, and, therefore, should ever remain free; and freedom means that none, whosoever he may be, can extort obedience from another human being:
It is not right of any man that God should give him the Book and authority and (even) Messenger-hood and he should say to men "obey me instead of Allah" (3 : 78).
6. Freedom of will—no compulsion. The responsibility for the act of a human being is determined by his own volition and intent, so much so, that if one is forced to believe something or is prevailed upon with force and compulsion against his will to act in a particular manner, he would not be held responsible for such belief or action, for, Iman is the other name for full conviction. Says the Qur'an:
There is no compulsion in deen (2: 256),
and in another place :
And say : The truth is from your Rabb, so let him who pleases believe, and let him who pleases reject (18 : 29).
Physical compulsion and mental coercion apart, anything agreed to or followed traditionally or conventionally and not after due exercise of reason and intellect cannot be termed as Iman (conviction). Accepting anything traditionally is, according to Qur'an, the way of un-believers:
And when it is said to them (the un-believers), "Follow what God has revealed," they say: "Nay, we follow that wherein we found our fathers." What! Even though their fathers had no sense at all, nor did they follow the right path (2: 170).
The believers, on the other hand, are those:
Who, when (even) the messages of their Rabb are presented to them, they fall not thereat deaf and blind (25: 73).
7. Tolerance. Islam not only tolerates followers of other religions but also bestows upon them all the rights of humanity, and solemnly undertakes to protect and guard their places of worship. Says the Qur'an:
And if God did not repel some people by others, cloisters and churches and synagogues and mosques, in which God’s name is oft remembered, would have been pulled down; and surely God will help him who helps Him (in this regard) (22: 40).
8. Justice. Justice is one of the fundamental Permanent Values (16: 90), and no distinction is allowed in this respect between friend and foe, for, says the Qur’an :
And let not the hatred of a people incite you not to act equitably. Be just: that is nearer to observance of duty (5 : 8).