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UNIVERSALITY OF THE QUR'ANIC DISCOURSE

MIT
3/1/2015
475 views

All the praises and thanks belongs to Allah ;the Creator of the universe and all that exist. May Allah's salutations and benedictions be upon the final Prophet who was sent with the revelation for the complete guidance of manking.to proceed:

The glorious Qur'an is the final divine book that was revealed by Allah. The Qur'an unlike the Tauraat(the Gospel) and the Injeel(the Bible) is universal in its message to humanity. This is so because, all the Prophets and Messengers before Prophet Muhammad(peace be upon all of them) were sent only to their respective communities. But for the Prophet Muhammad(may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), he was sent to the entire world, so his message which is exemplified in the Qur'an was a universal message.  This is borne out by the following saying of Allah in the Qur'an.

وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا كَافَّةً لِّلنَّاسِ بَشِيرًا وَنَذِيرًا وَلَٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ))

"We have not sent thee but as a universal (Messenger) to men, giving them glad tidings, and warning them (against sin), but most men understand not"

 

The Qur'an is not directed towards any one particular nation, such as the Arabs, or to a particular sect of Muslims, but to non-Islamic societies as well as the Muslim nation as a whole.

 There are numerous references to non-believers and idol worshipers, to the People of the Book (namely, the Jews, or the Tribe of Israel, and the Christians), exhorting each one to strive towards a true understanding of the Qur'an and of Islam.

The Qur'an calls each group to Islam by providing proofs and never stipulates that they be of Arab stock. Referring to idol worshipers, God says,

 فَإِن تَابُوا وَأَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَوُا الزَّكَاةَ فَإِخْوَانُكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ ۗ وَنُفَصِّلُ الْآيَاتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ

"But (even so), if they repent, establish regular prayers, and practise regular charity,- they are your brethren in Faith: (thus) do We explain the Signs in detail, for those who understand.” [9:11].

Likewise, God talks about the People of the Book, (Jews, Christians and we include here the Zoroastrians), without referring to them as Arabs:

قُلْ يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ تَعَالَوْا إِلَىٰ كَلِمَةٍ سَوَاءٍ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَكُمْ أَلَّا نَعْبُدَ إِلَّا اللَّهَ وَلَا نُشْرِكَ بِهِ شَيْئًا وَلَا يَتَّخِذَ بَعْضُنَا بَعْضًا أَرْبَابًا مِّن دُونِ اللَّهِ ۚ فَإِن تَوَلَّوْا فَقُولُوا اشْهَدُوا بِأَنَّا مُسْلِمُونَ

Say: "O People of the Book! come to common terms as between us and you: That we worship none but Allah; that we associate no partners with him; that we erect not, from among ourselves, Lords and patrons other than Allah." If then they turn back, say ye: "Bear witness that we (at least) are Muslims (bowing to Allah´s Will). [III:64].

It is true that before Islam spread beyond the Arabian Peninsula, certain Qur'anic injunctions were obviously directed towards the Arab nation. From the sixth year after the Hijrah (the migration of the Prophet from Mecca to Medina), when the message of Islam was being propagated beyond the peninsula, there were references which demonstrate that the Qur'an is addressing itself to mankind in general; nor example, in 6:19,

وَأُوحِيَ إِلَيَّ هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنُ لِأُنذِرَكُم بِهِ وَمَن بَلَغَ ۚ أَئِنَّكُمْ لَتَشْهَدُونَ أَنَّ مَعَ اللَّهِ آلِهَةً أُخْرَىٰ ۚ قُل لَّا أَشْهَدُ ۚ قُلْ إِنَّمَا هُوَ إِلَٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ وَإِنَّنِي بَرِيءٌ مِّمَّا تُشْرِكُونَ

 "This Qur´an hath been revealed to me by inspiration, that I may warn you and all whom it reaches. Can ye possibly bear witness that besides Allah there is another Allah?" Say: "Nay! I cannot bear witness!" Say: "But in truth He is the one Allah, and I truly am innocent of (your blasphemy of) joining others with Him."."

 

History has amply demonstrated that Islam has been embraced by a number of leading members of other religions, including the idol worshipers of Mecca, Jews, Christians and by people from diverse communities, such as outstanding companions as Salman of Persia, Suhayb from the Roman people, and Bilal of Ethiopia(may Allah be please with all of them).

The Qur'an shows man the way to a realization of his goal on earth; it describes this path in the most complete terms. It is a way of correctly viewing the reality of things; a vision - personal, social and cosmic- based on a correct manner of behavior and a precise method of interaction between men.

In XLVI:30 we read that the Qur'an to the straight path. Allah says:

يَهْدِي إِلَى الْحَقِّ وَإِلَىٰ طَرِيقٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ

"it guides (men) to the Truth and to a Straight Path." meaning the road of right belief and correct action.

On another occasion, mentioning the Torah and the New Testament, God says,

وَأَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَمُهَيْمِنًا عَلَيْهِ ۖ فَاحْكُم بَيْنَهُم بِمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ ۖ وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَهُمْ عَمَّا جَاءَكَ مِنَ الْحَقِّ

 " To thee We sent the Scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety: so judge between them by what Allah hath revealed, and follow not their vain desires, diverging from the Truth that hath come to thee [5:48].

The Qur'an thus affirms the truth of the ways of guidance taught by the earlier prophets. In chapter XLII:13, "He has ordained for you that religion which He commended to Noah and that which We reveal to you (Muhammad) and that We commended to Abraham, Moses and Jesus, " and in chapter XVI:89, "And We revealed the book to you as an exposition of all things."

Thus we understand from these verses that the Qur'an not only encompasses the teachings of all divine books revealed before it but it also adds to and completes them. Everything which a man needs, both in terms of his spiritual and his social life, is contained and explained in the Qur'an.

 

The perfection and completeness of the Qur'an prove that its validity is not restricted to a particular time or place, since anything perfect is in need of nothing to complete it.

In chapter LXXXVI:13-14 God confirms that the Qur'an is "a conclusive word" and not a mere "pleasantry." It contains the purest of teachings concerning belief in life-after-death, together with an exposition of the realities of existence, while, at the same time, encompassing the fundamentals of correct human behavior.

Since laws governing transactions between men are directly linked to their beliefs, such a book can obviously not be annulled or changed with the passage of time. As He says in XVII:105, "We have revealed the Qur'an with Truth and it has descended with the Truth," meaning that the revelations and their ongoing validity are inseparable from the Truth.

   Thus in X:32, "After the Truth what is there except error, " and in XLI:41-42, "In truth it is an impenetrable book, error may not enter in it from before it or behind it. "

In other words the Qur'an repulses, by its own perfection and completeness, any attempt to neither alter it now nor later can it be annulled or superseded. Many studies have been made of the permanence of the validity of the laws given in the Qur'an.

The reader is advised to consult them if he requires additional knowledge of the subject; to pursue the matter here, (namely, the position of the Qur'an in the lives of Muslims and the manner in which it demonstrates this), would be outside the scope of this book.

 

The Qur'an, being composed of words and meanings like any other book, explains itself. It does not remain silent when the situation of the text demands proof. Moreover, there is no reason to believe that Qur'anic terms mean anything other than the actual words being used. This means that every man, possessing a certain knowledge of the Arabic language, may clearly understand the meaning of the Qur'an just as he understands any other words written in Arabic.

 

There are many verses which are directed towards a specific group, such as the Tribe of Israel, or the Believers, or the non-believers and, sometimes, man in general; (they are addressed in phrases such as "O you who disbelieve" or "O people of the Book" or "O tribe of Israel " or "O Mankind ") The Qur'an discourses with them, offering them proof of its validity or challenging them to produce a book similar to it if they doubt it to be the Word of God.

Obviously it makes no sense to address people in terms which they do not understand or to demand that they produce something similar to that which has no meaning for them. In chapter XLVII-24 we read, "Why do they not reflect upon the Qur'an ", implying that if it was from other than God, people would have found in it many inconsistencies.

 It is clearly indicated in the Qur'an that verses which have a subtlety or particularity of meaning demand that the reader reflect upon them to remove any seeming differences of interpretation or incongruities that may appear at first inspection.

It also follows that if the verses themselves contained no apparent meaning, there would be no point in reflecting upon them in order to clarify the apparent problem of their interpretation. There are no indications from other sources, (such as the traditions of the Prophet), that demand a rejection of the outwardly manifest meaning of the Qur'an.

Some have argued that one should only refer to the commentaries of the Prophet in elucidating the meanings of the Qur'an. This argument is unacceptable, however, since the basis of the Prophet's commentary and of the Imams of his family must be sought for in the Qur'an.

It is difficult to imagine that the validity of the Qur'an is dependent on the commentaries of the Prophet or the Imams of his family. Rather, affirmation of prophecy and imamate must be contained in the Qur'an, which itself is the authentic proof and document of prophecy. This does not, however, contradict the fact that the Prophet and the Imams of his family were responsible for clarifying those details of the shari'ah law (Divinely revealed law) which were not apparent from the actual text of the Qur'an.

 

They were, likewise, entrusted with teaching the knowledge contained in the Book, as seen in the following verse: And We have revealed to you the Remembrance so that you may explain to mankind that which has been revealed for them [XVI:44].

A similar reflection occurs in chapter LIX:7 where, in reference to the code of practice and law brought by the Prophet to mankind, it states, "And take whatever the messenger gives you. And abstain from whatever he forbids."

In chapter IV:64 it says, " We sent not a messenger, but to be obeyed, in accordance with the will of Allah" and, again, in chapter LXII:2, "He it is who has sent among the unlettered ones a messenger of their own, to recite to them His revelations and to make them grow and to teach them the Book and Wisdom. " According to these verses, the Prophet is the appointed explainer of the details of the Shari'ah law as well as the teacher of the Qur'an.

Moreover, according to the tradition known as Thaqalayn, which was authenticated by an uninterrupted chain of narrators, the Prophet has appointed the Imams of his own family as his successors. This is not to deny that others also, by correctly applying the teachings of sincere teachers, may understand the meaning of the Qur'an.   






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