Holy night of Al-Qadr
Knowing the Holy Quran
Prof. Mohammad Najmul Ehsan Fatmi :
Let the Quran or the Words of Allah teach us what we ought to know about this Perspicuous Book :
We find several Suras where Allah Himself swears by the Quran, as the following opening phrases of the verses testify: By the Quran full of wisdom (36:2), By the Quran full of instruction (37: 1), By the Book which makes things clear (43:2), 44:2), By the Glorious Quran (50:1)
The Quran describes itself by other names as well : some selected examples : Glad tidings for those who do good deeds (46:12), Clear signs of Guidance (2: 185), Cause of Sorrow for the unbelievers (69:50), The Truth of assured Certainty (69:51), The Book and Wisdom (4:113), A Guide and a Mercy (6: 157), A Reminder for the world (6:90), A Healing and a Mercy (17:82) , The Criterion (25:1), A Weighty Word (73:5), Book fully explained (41:3), A Blessed Message (21:50) , The Book in Truth and the Balance (42: 17) , The Light (7: 157).
Allah tells us about the Power and impact of the Quran when He says : "Had We revealed this Qur'an upon a mountain, surely you (O' Muhammad) would have seen it humble itself and crumble out of the fear of Allah. Such are the parables. We put forward to mankind so that they may reflect. " (59:21)
It is a Revelation from Allah in Truth : This Quran is not such as can be produced by other than Allah; on the contrary it is a confirmation of (revelations) that went before it, and a fuller explanation of the Book-wherein there is no doubt-from the Lord of the Worlds. (10:37) The Truth (comes) from thy Lord alone; so be not of those who doubt. (3:60) Verily We have revealed the Book to thee in Truth, for (instructing) mankind. He, then, that receives guidance benefits his own soul: but he that strays injures his own soul. Nor art thou set over them to dispose of their affairs. (39:41)
The Quran as a repository of knowledge and instruction is the exposition of everything in time and space :
He it is Who hath revealed unto thee (Muhammad) the Scripture wherein are clear revelations - they are the substance of the Book- and others (which are) allegorical. But those in whose hearts is doubt pursue, forsooth, that which is allegorical seeking (to cause) dissension by seeking to explain it. None knows its explanation save Allah. And those who are of sound instruction say: We believe therein; the whole is from our Lord; but only men of understanding really heed." (3:7) ... (This is) a Book, with verses basic or fundamental (of established meaning)- further explained in detail-from One Who is Wise and Well-Acquainted (with all things): (11:1) We have explained in detail in this Qur-an, for the benefit of mankind, every kind of similitude : but man is, in most things, contentious. (18:54) Nothing have We omitted from the Book. (6:38) And We have sent down to thee the Book explaining all things. (16:89).
The Quran is a healing and Mercy to mankind and is the best of medicines : We send down (stage by stage) in the Quran that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe: to the unjust it causes nothing but loss after loss. (17:82) O mankind! There hath come to you an admonition from your Lord and a healing for the (diseases) in your hearts and for those who believe, Guidance and a Mercy. (10:57) A guide and a mercy for the Muhsinun (good-doers) (31 :3).
The preservation and the authenticity of the Quran is well guarded and protected by Allah Himself : We have, without doubt sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption). (15:9) Nay this is a Glorious Qur'an, (85:21), (Inscribed) in a Tablet Preserved! (85:22).
The Glorious Ouran is not only the most used and documented text which has stood the ravages of time but it is also the only Scripture which is inscribed in the hearts and minds of Muslims today in exactly the same way as it has been in the earliest of period. Those who commit to memory the whole of the Quran (the Hafiz) are its real human protectors in the world such that even if all copies of the Quran were to be destroyed, it can quickly be re-established with uncanny accuracy and in the minutest of details.
The Quranic challenge
When the first of the Revelations from Angel Jibra'il began to come down on the last of Allah's Prophet and Messenger, Muhammad (Sa), the Arabian Peninsula was already famed for the eloquence of the Arabic language in terms of its brilliance in prose and poetry. Men of letters reveled with each other for honour and recognition. So here was this 'unlettered' person claiming to be the Prophet of God, uttering verses or 'ayah's' of the Quran that Sounded distinctly different and much too eloquent for a human being to compose. To the Jews this development was not only possible but unacceptable since Prophet Muhammad's (Sa) lineage was not amongst the 'chosen' people. For the none-Jews Arabs, these 'utterances' could only have come from a person 'possessed'.
The following revelations quickly sought to allay the Prophet's predicament: Had We sent this as a Qur'an (in a language) other than Arabic, they would have said : "Why are not its verses explained in detail? What.' (a Book) not in Arabic and (a Messenger) an Arab?... "(41:44) Thou art not, by the grace.o/thy Lord, mad or POssessed. (68:2).
Furthermore, the inimitability of its style and the beauty, power, language and eloquence of the Divine Message contained within itself a measure of safeguards and protection not available with other Scriptures much less humanly inspired writings. The Quran therefore comes up with a three-tier challenge to humans and jinns, namely, to produce the like of this Quran, or to produce 10 Suras (Chapters) of it, or even to produce just one Sura (Chapter) : "Say, if the whole of mankind and jinns were to gather together to produce the like of this Qur'an, they could not produce the like thereof; even if they backed-up each other with help and support" (17:88) Let them then produce a recital like unto it (the Qur'an) if they are truthful. (52:34) Or they may say: "He forged it." Say: "Bring you then ten chapters forged, like unto it and call (to your aid) whomsoever ye can other than Allah, if you speak the truth" (11: 13) Or do they say: "He forged it"? Say: "Bring then a chapter like unto it and call (to your aid) anyone you can besides Allah, if it be you speak the truth ". (10:38) And if you are in doubt as to what We have revealed to Our slave, then produce a chapter like it. " (2:23)
(note that the smallest Sura (Chapter) 108 (Al-Kauthar : Abundance) contains only 3 verses while the longest Sura (Chapter 2: (Baqarah - The Heifer) has 286 verses)
O' Muslims - are you still unfazed and unmoved ?
How is then when the mountains feared and shied away from carrying the burden of the Quranic Revelation, and the weak shoulder of Prophet Muhammad (Sa) dared to proclaim and establish what Allah has Commanded him to do, and when the precious few 'faithful' amongst the Prophet's companions 'lived and died' like their role model did, the Muslims of today with millions of copies of the same Quran within their easy reach - are as cold and good as dead when it comes to their relationship with this unparalleled masterpiece from Heaven? Or have they been steeled into becoming 'deaf, dumb and blind'? Those who, when they are admonished with the Signs of their Lord, droop not down at them as if they were deaf or blind: (25:73) Among them are some who (pretend to) listen to thee: but canst thou make the deaf to hear even though they are without understanding ? (10:42) And among them are some who look at thee: but can you guide the blind-Even though they will not see? (10:43) Say (O Muhammad): "I warn you only by the revelation. But the deaf will not hear the call, (even) when they are warned. (21:45) Can you (0' Muhammad) then make the deaf to hear, or give direction to the blind or to such as (wander) in manifest error? (43:40) Have they not travelled through the land, and have they hearts wherewith to understand and ears wherewith to hear? Verily, it is not the eyes that grow blind, but it is the hearts which are in the breasts that grow blind. (22:46) And whoever is blind in this world (i.e., does not see Allah's Signs and believes not in Him), will be blind in the Hereafter, and more astray from the Path. (17:72)
Indeed, the Muslims of today are no different from the hardened hearts of the unbelievers and the hypocrites, and must therefore incur the wrath of Allah more severely perhaps since the Faith had come to them (the Muslims) and they failed to uphold it. But Allah also reminds the believers through Prophet Muhammad (Sa) to beware of such men: Those who reject Faith and keep off (men) from the way of Allah, have verily strayed far, far away from the path. (4:167)
And so judge (you 0 Muhammad) among them by what Allah has revealed and follow not their vain desires, but beware of them lest they turn you (0 Muhammad) far away from some of that which Allah has sent down to you. And if they turn away, then know that Allah's Will is to punish them for some sins of theirs. And truly, most of men are Fasiqun (rebellious and disobedient to Allah). (5:49) There are among men some who serve Allah, as it were, on the verge : if good befalls them, they are, therewith well content; but if a trial comes to them, they turn on their faces: they lose both this world and the Hereafter: that is loss for all to see! (22:11)
Now have come to you from your Lord, proofs (to open your eyes): if any will see, it, will be fore (the good of) his own soul; if any will be blind it will be to his own (harm): I am not (here) to watch over your doings" (6: 104)
So wake up dear brothers-in-faith, wake up and face the grim realities awaiting us. Look around us. What do you see? Muslims in general are now collectively caricatured in ways that are increasingly becoming incredulous. They are, almost a billion of them around the world, a favourite punching bag of those whose economic, political and religious interests are at odds with the resurgence of one of the most viable and down to earth system of living and thinking based on the noblest of all human virtues. It sounds almost irrational, perhaps bordering on the bizarre, why would anybody in his 'right' mind be up against such men (the Muslims) with such of their values that they live and die by.
It's a sin to tamper with this sacred issue no matter what damage and disaster the so-called freedom of expression do or appear to do to those individuals or communities targeted by such expression. It would be a greater sin if charges of double standard crop up from those who are victimized in the process.
So the Muslims, no matter where they choose to live, are virtually on the defensive, much too apologetic of their faith, and by default suspect (or alternatively guilty unless proven innocent) of whatever they have purported to have done or not done!
Are we still unmoved? Or is it that enough is never enough for us! And we unashamedly endure and take anything and everything in our stride. But wait, are we sleeping with our eyes wide open? What would it take us to wake up in the real sense? A super jolt to our system of thought and action? Or a cataclysmic event of unimaginable proportion? Or a Divine intervention? The answer, surprisingly, is none of the above, as the following section explains.
Recall what we outlined on ways to get out of the rut that Muslims in general face find themselves trapped in today. The first of these 'acts of initiation' - the critical first resolve should set the motion and tempo of getting us into where we like us to be. It is as easy as saying yes to the things we want to do. If you had taken the 'Shahadah' before (of course you did. why else wquld you call yourself a Muslim anyway!), Activate it: "There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the Bandah and Messenger of Allah". So there you are testifying to the Truth of Allah and His Messenger which will logically lead you to accept what Allah tells you about His Last and Final Testament - The Quran. Recall also how the Quran present its credentials to you. You are almost there now.
So you are now one-on-one with the Quran: open your heart and mind and soul to it - touch it -feel its vibes- read it - recite it- ponder over its verses - reflect on their meanings- dream it - sleep on it -wake up on it - hear it speak to you words of wisdom _ mark on it _ highlight the verses appealing to you - refer to it - work on it - learn from it-teach others what you leam - share your experience of the Quran with others - live for it - die for it - in short: Let The Quran mesmerize uou.
And why not? These are the reasons why :
Because Allah Commands you so, because the Quran, enlightens you and teaches you what you know not', elevates you to heights of eminence, teaches you piety and make you do deeds of righteousness, shields and protects you from everyday vices and satanic temptations, is a healing for your heart and mind, for it brings peace and tranquility, empowers you to set high moral standards, teaches you to be conscientious ever ready to speak out against injustices, is Guidance for mankind in the ordinary course of life, is an exemplar of the theoretical and practical foundations of Islam ,serves as a suggestive reference and fountain head of all branches of knowledge, provides antidotes for all conflicting ideologies and schisms in the world.
Because we as Muslims owe the Quran our obligation to know it and live by its precepts.
-Rediscovering the Quran