THE LAST HOPE OF MANKIND
By Shamim A Siddiqi
While humanity is crying under the suffocating pressure of man-made systems and no human body o0r International Human Rights Agency could come forward to mitigate their agonising effects, let us see what alternative we have to give redress to continuous human suffering for ages? While all theman-made systems have failed, man has now no choice but to look forward his paramount Creator and Sustainer for Guidance and seek help from the System that He has been sending to human through His appointed Messengers from Adam to Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) in a continuous process in a chain.
Our Creator is fully aware of our weakness, shortcomings, needs and urges, inclination, whims, desires and caprices and their way-out to solution. He has been sending the Divine Guidance to man with clear directives as how to live, act and behave on earth; how to deal with other humans and live in peace and complete harmony with them. Whenever man followed this Divine Guidance in toto, the human abode was filled with justice, peace and security all around. The models of Prophet David, Solomon and Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be to him), are the perfect examples to follow towards the perfection of human growth.
Among all the Guidance that came from God, the Qur’ān is the final, the most updated and the latest version of the Divine Guidance from the Lord of this cosmos now available to mankind to correct our centuries old imbalanced life. It is intact and in its most original form and language. It fulfils the criterion to be the Guidance – “The Only Way of Life” for human society, both at individual and collective levels, for this time and all times to come.
It is clear – free of all ambiguity; it is perfect as it covers the entire spectrum of human life from birth to death, from cradle to grave and from individual to all collective needs of man; it is full of moderation: advocating only the middle path for all the phases of life – in worship [Ibadah], in social contacts [customs, manners and traditions], in economic pursuits, in political manoeuvrings, in dispensing human rights and international relations, in looking after the rights of minorities with no prejudice at all; it compulsorily provides equality before law for all and sundry and establishes its own guaranteed self-sustained Social Welfare System for the poor, the needy, the deprived, the unemployed, the under-employed, the incapacitated and the have-nots.
It is free from any kind of human innovation and finally; it takes care always all of its citizens both for betterment in this world and the life Hereafter, promoting and advocating towards producing the perfect man who constantly struggles for the good of humans and the society in which he lives for the Khair and Falah [success] of man and his abode.
It prepares its citizens for delivering justice to all and in every phase of life. It is the essence of the pattern of life that the Qur’ān envisions, promotes, builds and preserves for the balanced and perfect growth of humans to be in the communion with God ultimately. Will this Qur’ānic life be not a boon for man and his abode? If so, why the humans are averse to it?
This is the ultimate end of man on earth. He is to struggle for the whole of his life on earth towards the attainment of his zenith as illustrated in the Qur’ān through Verses # 27 to 30 of Chapter # 89, Al-FAJR. Man cannot achieve this highest requisite position without adopting the system of life that his Creator and Sustainer had approved for him and sent it through His Last Messenger Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) to mankind, presenting the accomplished model of his own life to be followed meticulously by every human being till he/she breathes his last.
Man, unfortunately, has lost millenniums in his pursuit to seek justice, peace, security and in attaining perfection on his own accord but, in return, only he got chaos, confusion, bloodshed, mental anarchy, war, greed, lust for wealth and power and the ever-surmounting craze to go on increasing his standard of living due to his own incompetency and delivering lopsided systems one after the other for self and the human society. In consequence, he stands today totally bewildered and dumb-founded as from where to get justice, peace and security for himself and for human abode. The desperate man has now no choice but to turn his face towards the Qur’ān, the ultimate Guidance that came from his Lord God finally 1400 ago. But he is continuously ignoring it just out of some baseless prejudices whereas it has all the potentials to give him a guarantee to live with justice, peace and security with himself in his family, his people and the human fraternity at large. That is the ultimate destiny of modern man. If he refuses the Guidance that the Qur’ān contains, just out of ignorance and prejudices, he will continue to fill the human abode with unending chain of injustices in every walk of life as we see today around us and he will be the loser in both the worlds. He will get up “blind” in the Assembly of God on the Day of Resurrection as the Qur’ān foretells that when God commanded both Adam/Eve and Shaitan [the devil] to go down to earth with this warning:
“Down with you all from this [state of innocence – (Paradise)], and be [henceforth] enemies unto one another! Nonetheless, there shall most certainly come unto you Guidance from Me: and he who follows My Guidance will not go astray, and neither will be unhappy. But as for him who shall turn away from remembering Me – he shall be a life of narrow scope; and on the Day of Resurrection We shall raise him up blind.”
[And so, on Resurrection Day, the sinner] will ask: “O my Sustainer! Why hast Thou raised me up blind, whereas [on earth] I was endowed with sight?”
God will reply: “Thus it is: there came unto thee Our Messages, but thou wert oblivious of them!” and thus shall thou be today consigned to oblivion!” [The Qur’ān - Chapter Taha: Verses # 123 -126]
These are the eye-opening verses of the Qur’ān for entire mankind, especially for the followers of the Abrahamic faith – the Muslims, the Jews and the Christians. They are its direct addressees. Compulsorily, they are to uphold the message of the Qur’ān and invite the humanity to its fold. Only then, they can save their skin from the wrath of their Creator and Sustainer on the Day of Judgment.
May God save all of us from His wrath!
MANKIND, PEACE AND THE QURAN
By Dr. Javed Jamil
Islam literally means Peace, and is defined as submission to God, which means that peace can not be obtained without total submission to the Lord of the universe. Similarly Iman means total satisfaction, which again can be obtain only through undivided devotion to God. When the Qur’ān calls, “Enter Islam wholeheartedly”, it does not merely invite its adherents to follow the institutionalised system of Islam; it also signals to them that the real, comprehensive and long lasting peace can be achieved only through total acceptance of the System of God. The Qur’ān states:
“The System for you is the (system of) Peace” (3:19)
“and I have chosen for you Islam (Peace|) as your System.” (5:3)
“Call them to the House of Peace.” (10:25)
Now let us see how trhe world today understands peace, There are numerous definitions of peace, including those given by the world forums of eminence, individual thinkers and institutions. We will however concentrate mainly on the definitions given by the United Nations, which is unquestionably the biggest and the most powerful body of the community of nations that inhabit the earth. Let me reproduce here the definitions and programmes given by the UNESCO culture of peace:
POLITICAL DEFINITION OF PEACE
“An Agenda for Peace: Definitions
Peace is dynamic. Peace is a just and non-violent solution of conflicts. It generates an equilibrium in social interactions, so that all of the members of society can live in harmonious relations with each other. Peace is good for society. Where there is violence there is no peace. Where there is injustice and absence of liberty, there is no peace. In order for there to be an equilibrium in the dynamic of social interactions, peace must be founded on justice and liberty.
Preventative diplomacy is action to prevent disputes from arising between parties, to prevent existing disputes from escalating into conflicts and to limit the spread of the latter when they occur.
“Peace-making is action to bring hostile parties to agreement, essentially through such peaceful means as those foreseen in Chapter VI of the Charter of the United Nations.
“Peace-keeping is the deployment of a United Nations presence in the field, hitherto with the consent of all the parties concerned, normally involving United Nations military and/or police personnel and frequently civilians as well. Peace-keeping is a technique that expands the possibilities for both the prevention of conflict and the making of peace.
“Peace-building is action to identify and support structures which will tend to strengthen and solidify peace in order to avoid a relapse into conflict. Only sustained, co-operative work to deal with underlying economic, social, cultural and humanitarian problems can place an achieved peace on a durable foundation.”
It can be noted that the above set of rules defining peace is primarily an agenda “to prevent disputes from arising between parties, to prevent existing disputes from escalating into conflicts and to limit the spread of the latter when they occur.... so that all of the members of society can live in harmonious relations with each other.” This is obviously a political definition of peace. This definition is not only incomplete but is highly deficient in many ways and will have dangerous implications because its very basis is erroneous. Though it speaks of peace as “dynamic”, the peace it promotes has hardly any dynamism about it: it is static rather than dynamic and negative rather than positive. Peace is regarded as essentially not a positive quality but mere absence of conflicts. In negative terms too, this indicates only an absence of armed conflicts. This definition of peace is neither all-encompassing, including all that is positive nor all-abandoning excluding all that is negative. As will be seen in the coming pages, this “peace” is primarily the brainchild of those who seek to promote a certain type of ideology and accompanied culture for their own selfish interests. What an irony! Peace based on selfishness! But this is the peace that is being promoted all over the world with utmost zeal, valour and planning. The consequences of such a strategy are what they should be: Total all-enveloping chaos at every level. The same approach is adopted in various other documents. See for example the following:
Appeal to the International Community from a Round Table of Institutions Who Have Won the Nobel Prize for Peace (excerpts)
Peace is not only the absence of armed conflict, it is also a dynamic set of relationships of coexistence and co-operation among and within peoples, characterised by the respect for the human values set forth particularly in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with the concern to provide the greatest possible well-being for all.
Peace is increasingly threatened each day by the accumulation of weapons of mass destruction, by the great economic and social inequalities, which divide mankind, and by contempt for basic human rights and the dignity of the individual.
Peace requires ever greater efforts to overcome these threats. It is only possible in a world in which the observance of international law replaces violence, fear and injustice, in which states voluntarily agree to limit their national sovereignty in the general interest, and in which states employ existing procedures for the peaceful settlement of disputes between nations. To build such a peace, everyone must feel a responsibility and should be educated in that sense from childhood Finally, the round table asks the mass media to employ to a greater extent their skills and immense resources towards building and maintaining peace, to foster a spirit of equity and solidarity among peoples and to draw attention to the personal and collective sacrifice inherent in the pursuit of those ideals.
Source: Issued by representatives of the following: Institute of International Law, International Peace Bureau,
Suggestions for Moving towards a Culture of Peace
Revisit history to discover how people contributed to their cultures.
Research non-military actors and make them models to be emulated.
Research women’s roles in the development of their societies, and the causes and consequences of violence against women.
Promote peace goals as the dominant factor in all forms of art.
Teach the need to be aware of, and take responsibility for, the consequences scientific discovery can have for society as a whole.
Promote responsibility for the well-being of the local and global community, including protection of the natural environment. `
Promote gender-specific analysis in all areas of human activity, encouraging women to organise themselves to make an impact on decisions that affect society.
Teach co-operation rather than competition, solidarity for mutual support, and appreciation for the rich diversity of multicultural societies.
Combat racism and discrimination, teach respect for human rights, for human life and the dignity of the person.
Promote economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights to create conditions for peace, disarmament and the peaceful resolution of conflicts.
Source: International Peace Update, April 1995, newsletter of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (excerpted from “UNESCO and a Culture of Peace: Promoting a Global Movement”)
The above-quoted documents fail to mention peace at individual and family levels, and only concentrate on national and international violence.
SPIRITUAL AND SOCIAL DEFINITIONS OF PEACE
There are others, mainly the spiritual masters belonging to different religions including mystics, who stress on individualistic notion of peace. (Spiritual definition) For them, tranquillity of mind and soul represent true peace, which is attained through belief in God or gods, through meditation, devotion, self sacrifice and other spiritual exercises ranging from self-appeasing to self-sacrificing. They tend to ignore family and social dimensions of peace, their argument resting on the premise that if individuals are peaceful society will be peaceful as well. They tend to bury in the cemetery of their ideology the fact that hundred per cent of members of society can never be truly peaceful, and that a very minuscule percentage is enough to cause disastrous consequences on society. There is another definition, the social one, of peace that is promoted by sociologists for whom the equality of the distribution of wealth is the chief motive. They argue that if the distribution of wealth and opportunities in society is not equitable there is no way peace can be ensured.
The truth however is that no definition of peace can be complete unless it takes into account the following:
First, human existence has three essential constituents: individual, family and society. For peace to carry any real
meaning, it has to be at all these three levels. Peace at individual level means physical, mental, social and spiritual health, to which must be added what we understand as Satisfaction. Peace at family level means cordial relationship between spouses, between parents and children and among children themselves, and absence of all irritants in a peaceful family life. Peace at social level means peaceful co-existence of all human beings that inhabit the earth anywhere, individually or as communities and nations, and absence of all forms of exploitation, oppression and conflicts. Thus individual heath, family peace and social order may be regarded as the three essential constituents of Grand Peace.
Second, peace must involve all stages of life: foetal, paediatric, adult, geriatric, and post-death life. This alone can lead to eternal peace.
Islam literally means Peace, and is defined as submission to God, which means that peace cannot be obtained without total submission to the Lord of the universe. Similarly Iman means total satisfaction, which again can be obtained only through undivided devotion to God. When the Qur’ān calls, “Enter Islam wholeheartedly”, it does not merely invite its adherents to follow the institutionalised system of Islam; it also signals to them that the real, comprehensive and long lasting peace can be achieved only through total acceptance of the System of God. The Qur’ān states:
“The System for you is the (system of) Peace” (3: 19)
“and I have chosen for you Islam (Peace) as your System. (5: 3)
“Call them to the House of Peace.”(10: 25)
In Islam, peace is not just a state of absence of war or chaos in society; it has the broadest and the most comprehensive meaning, in terms of extent, depth and longevity, including all the components of peace described above. It has to be not just personal, not just family and not just social; it has to be at all the three levels and in the widest discernible sense. At individual level, it does not merely mean peace of mind; it encompasses physical, mental and social health. At family level, it comprises peaceful relationship between husband and wife, between parents and children, and among children themselves. At social level, it does not only indicate absence of war or chaos, it also means absence of all forms of crimes and social tensions, and prevalence of mutual brotherhood and justice. Peace is also not something bound by time or space; it is as much for this world as for Hereafter; peace is eternal. This is to be ensured that Islam’s message of Grand peace has to percolate down the lowest strata of society. And this to be done in a way that the world does not feel threatened by the emergence of an institutionalised and political Islam, but learns to apply moral and socio-economic principles of Islam for the benefit of the whole mankind.
THREE-DIMENSIONAL SYSTEM OF ISLAM
Islam uses all possible means to achieve its goal of Grand Peace. In the modern world, dominated by what I call economic fundamentalism, Fundamental Rights are given paramount importance, Fundamental Duties are largely ignored and Fundamental Prohibitions are virtually prohibited. Islam, on the other hand, espouses a three-dimensional system giving equal emphasis to Fundamental Rights, Fundamental Duties and Fundamental Prohibitions. If we want to achieve true peace, this three-dimensional approach is indispensable.
LET’S ESTABLISH QUR’ANIC
ORDER OF PEACE!
By DR JAVED JAMIL
The Qur’ān states:
“He Who created
The Seven Heavens
One above another:
No want of proportion
Wilt thou see
In the Creation
Of The Most Gracious
So Turn Thy Vision again:
Seest thou any flaw?
Again turn thy vision
A second time: (thy) vision
Will come back to thee
Dull and discomfited,
In a state worn out.” (67:3-4)
These beautiful verses invite man to have a look at the cosmos, its beauty, its harmony and the unfailing nature of its system. The universe is huge with more than 10 galaxies and 10 stars in it. The size of the universe is so big that there are areas from which the light travelling at the speed of about 300,000 kilometres a second has not yet reached the earth. This is despite the fact that the universe is assumed to have come into existence more than 15 billion years ago. In spite of the massive size of the universe and innumerable bodies that form it, the universe has an unfailing harmony. Satellites revolve around planets, planets around stars; numerous stars form numerous galaxies, numerous
galaxies form numerous clusters, clusters form superclusters, which form one or few megagalaxies. All the systems act with impeccable precision; all follow the same sets of laws, wherever they are.
Peace and harmony are there in the universe because everywhere the same system is being strictly adhered to. If the laws decreed by the Creator at the time of the creation of the universe had not been followed in totality it would have been dead by now. But it exists because it follows the laws of God. If inhabitants of the earth had followed the same set of laws everywhere and in all spheres of life, and had stuck to the restrictions instructed to them by the messengers of God, the earth too would have become a garden of unparalleled beauty. It would the have become an abode of peace, which would have been available to all.
But inhabitants of this planet chose to follow different sets of laws, which were decreed by the powerful among them for the sake of the perpetuation of their own supremacy over the rest. The result is that this tiny part of the gigantic universe has become the abyss of anarchy where the devil rules. In short, Islam is well established in the universe, but man could not establish Islam on the earth. The day mankind decides to follow the system of laws enjoined by their Creator, the Devil will be on the run and peace and harmony will immediately begin to return.
HUMAN STRENGTHS RECOGNISED, WEAKNESSES SUPPRESSED
Man is the reservoir of strengths as well as weaknesses. Peace is the result of the realisation of human strengths. If human strengths are ignored and weaknesses are promoted and glorified immanent
chaos is the inevitable consequence. Man is a child and society its guardian. A child tends to err; the guardian has to keep a watch and use corrective measures whenever required. The more perfect the guardianship the better are the prospects of children developing into sensible adults. If children are left to themselves doing whatever they like in the name of freedom, many of them will groom into ruffians. If guardians start promoting an environment conducive for the adoption of dangerous practices, all but few of the children would grow into perverts of one or the other kind.
Human weaknesses are born out of the human desire to get rich as quickly as possible, to have an unceasing fun, at the earliest, and their willingness to copy what others do, especially their nears and dears and the elite of society. When man feels hungry, he wants to enjoy delicious foods of all variety, when thirsty, he wants to have all kinds of drinks, and when one feels like having physical fun, one wants to have as many partners as one can afford to have.
Added to this, man tends to get addicted too soon to analyse and give up a habit after he has been exposed to it. If there are forces that are looking to exploit these tendencies, which are too powerful to be sidetracked, chaos, anarchy and violence are sure to vanquish peace, calm and tranquillity.
Islam does not merely promote Peace; Islam is peace itself. One who has entered Islam wholeheartedly has entered peace in its entirety. One who has accepted any part of its moral, social and legal principles is on the way to enjoy at least some of the fruits of peace. One who has left some parts of it has lost at least some dimensions of peace. Finally, one, who has disproved everything that Islam preaches, has put oneself away from the path of peace and on the course of chaos. Islam does not rule the current world with the result that chaos prevails, as is evident from the figures cited in the preceding chapters. Muslims of the current world have adopted Islam partially. This partial application has deprived them of the peace in its entirety. Still they are in a much better state of peace than the people living in the so-called developed world are. This is evident from the fact that they have
one of the lowest rates of murders
almost negligible incidence of suicides
very low rates of rapes
negligible consumption of alcohol and alcohol-related deaths and other problems
very low rate of gambling related problems
extremely low level of family break-ups
extremely low number of prostitutes and pornographic actors among them
negligible level of sexual abuse of children
very low incidence of sex-related, alcohol related and gambling related diseases
relatively low incidence of drug addiction
relatively low incidence of psychiatric illnesses
relatively very low level of the consumption of sedatives and tranquillisers
very low incidence of single parents, negligible number of children born out of wedlock
relatively much lower level of promiscuity and other sexual perversions
very low level of abortions including teenage pregnancies, etc relatively low incidence of several diseases including Cancers of Penis and Cervix (due to circumcision), sex transmitted diseases, Urinary Tract Infections, other cancers due to alcohol, etc.
The world must know that if Islamic principles are allowed to function properly, every year more than 80 million lives can be saved. These include
2 million murders
2.2 million suicides
5 million deaths from AIDS
5 million deaths from smoking
2 million deaths associated with alcohol
2 million deaths associated with smoking, gambling and drugs
70 million cases of feticide
Even if feticide is excluded, more than 10 million people should have been saved every year from falling prey to the unwanted kinds of death had Islamic legal and socio-economic system been in force. These are no ordinary figures. These are staggering statistics from all accounts. And adding the figures of feticide, more than 80 million lives are lost just because the laws of God are not followed. For a few thousands dead in terrorist attacks, the world is made hostage, billions of dollars are put to the fire, cities devastated and tens of thousands of innocents killed. For millions of death as the result of the pursuance of socio-economic policies dictated by the forces of globalisation, virtually nothing is done except a few cosmetic measures. In the US alone, for example,
More than 200,000 people are assaulted with murderous intents every year (more than 18,000 are killed)
More than 30, 000 die of AIDS
More than 100, 000 die of alcohol, smoking and drugs
Half a million of foetuses are aborted
Despite these horrible figures, nothing substantial is done to save America from these deaths. But for a few thousands killed in terrorist attacks in over 10 years, the whole world is threatened with death and destruction. No punishment is there in store for the killers who are involved in the merchandise of devastation, selling death in the bottles of whisky and in the bodies of glamour. But “terrorists” must not only die themselves; hundreds of thousands of others must face death for their “sins”.
QUR’ĀN THE ULTIMATE SOLUTION
TO HUMAN PROBLEMS
By ABDULLAH MATEEN
In today’s increasingly globalising world, man has set foot on the moon, sent satellites far and beyond Pluto, invented faster and easiermeans of communication. However, we have also seen that the rise in mistrust between people, corruption, theft, immorality, terrorism, poverty, cheating, and financial instability has crossed all limits. All man-made laws such as communism, capitalism and many other “isms” have finally failed to solve these problems.
Naturally this means mankind needs a way of life, a way of living which is regulated by such laws as are free from all human defects, which solve their problems and bring real peace and prosperity in their lives.
Such laws can only be designed and provided by the Creator and Sustainer of mankind as He knows His creation well and He is devoid of all defects and weaknesses associated with human beings.
Allah the Exalted has not only created us and provided sustenance to live on this planet but also provided us with the guidance needed to lead our life successfully both in this world and in the Hereafter. This guidance was sent to mankind through His messengers and books in every nation on this planet but with the passage of time that guidance was either lost or corrupted.
The Holy Qur’ān, which is the last book of Allah revealed to the last Messenger Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be to him), is now the only authentic book of His guidance available to human beings as it is still intact in its original form in which it was revealed 1400 years ago. The Holy Qur’ān says that Al-Deen (the way of life) in the eyes of Allah is “Islam” which means submission to the Will of Allah, and also means peace, i.e. peace can be established only through submitting to the laws of Allah. The core foundation of Islam is based on the belief in the Oneness of God, belief in His Prophets (and books revealed to them) and the accountability in the life after death.
This book not only offers solution to all the problems ranging from corruption to cheating, from theft to poverty, etc. but also reforms the entire life of man and makes him a responsible, pious man.
Laws alone, howsoever good, cannot solve the problems if a man does not want to change himself from within and abide by the laws and has the fear that a Day will come when he will be held responsible and accountable for all his deeds in front of the Almighty Allah, who has the complete record of his covert and overt deeds, and will be rewarded or punished according to his good or bad deeds on the Day of Judgment in the Hereafter.
When the Islamic laws (Shari’ah) were implemented in true spirit during the rule of the four Rightly Guided Caliphs (Khulfa-e-Rashideen), they completely reformed the most barbaric Arabs into the most civilized society. For example, corruption is one of the biggest problems facing mankind today; politicians, in their lust for money, generally siphon off the public exchequer to fulfil their own personal needs. However public exchequer used to be trust of God during the times of Khulfa-e-Rashideen. The caliphs of Islam Abu Bakr and Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) went hungry, without donning good clothes, without the lap of luxury. But they did not take even a single pie from the public treasury without any justification.
At the time of his death Caliph Umar was in debt and he willed that his house should be sold to settle the debt. This is another example that shows the simple life led by the Khulfa-e-Rashideen. In spite of being rulers of a vast empire they had to settle their own debts.
All the Khulfa-e-Rashideen strictly followed the Qur’ānic teachings (2:188): “And eat up not one another’s property unjustly (in any illegal way e.g. stealing, robbing, deceiving, etc.), nor give bribery to the rulers (judges before presenting your cases) that you may knowingly eat up a part of the property of others sinfully.”
Another problem facing mankind today is terrorism. We often see that governments try to stop it by force or power. And again Allah the Exalted has offered solution to this problem. In Surah Maidah verse 8 Allah says: “O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah and be just witnesses and let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just: that is nearer to piety, and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is Well-Acquainted with what you do.” Here Allah offers the solution to terrorism. He asks in this ayah to go to the root cause of it viz. Injustice. Most of the time we see that people rebel because their country or community is facing gross injustices. This results in fighting against those who do injustice against them. This happens to be with their rulers. But this verse means to say that people will not rebel if you show equality and justice to all.
Another problem which needs to be addressed is financial instability and poverty in today’s world. We find that the rich are becoming richer while the poor becoming poorer and are increasing in number. The reason is that the rich are not giving enough money and support to the poor out of what Allah has given them.
Yet again Allah offers solution in making Zakat compulsory for each and every Muslim who has the rich enough to pay it. If each and every rich person gives his/her charity to the poor then the world will be free from hunger and poverty. Its importance can be gauged with the fact that it is mentioned no less than 50 times in the Qur’ān and is one of the five pillars of Islam.
To further eradicate poverty Islam also shows another interest-free living for the poor, giving small amounts of loans to the poor to lead a better life. This system is known as micro financing. For example, Mohammad Yusuf won the Nobel Prize in 2008 for his role in introducing micro financing. This is also one of the many things that the Qur’ān has shown to eradicate poverty.
Islam also prohibits interest-based banking because it also results in rising number of people having debts and their inability to pay it back.
Allah says in the Qur’ān in Surah Nisa Verse 161: “And [for] their taking of usury while they had been forbidden from it, and their consuming of the people’s wealth unjustly. And we have prepared for the disbelievers among them a painful punishment.” In Islamic banking system interest-free loan is the most important aspect.In this modern world we see that interest has led many companies to bankruptcy which has sent many individuals to jail or rendered companies closed down.
The Qur’ān has also succeeded in changing the hearts of many people. One example can be given is that of Abu Zar Ghafari about whom it is said that mothers used to scare their children by telling stories of his robberies. He was one of the most lethal robbers of his time but when he heard the verses of the Holy Qur’ān he became such a sincere and devout Muslim that Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) said if one wants to see a pious person among my Ummah then he has to see Abu Zar Ghafari. What do you think made a highway robber change into a devout Muslim? It was of course the heart-changing verses of the Qur’ān!
To enjoy peace and justice and to eradicate corruption and poverty the world should turn towards the Qur’ān which is the ultimate solution to mankind.
SCIENTIFIC MIRACLES OF THE QUR’ĀN
A Guidance from the Almighty
By AISHA ALI
All praises to Allah the Unique, the Bountiful, The Merciful and the Omniscient who sent down the Qur’ān on his Prophet and Apostle Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) and made it the bearer of all knowledge as He said:
We have omitted nothing in this book (6/38)
Every Prophet had a miracle which he showed to his people and challenged them with. Some of the Prophets even had more than one sign as a definite proof that they were sent by Allah; challenging their nations to bring anything similar to it if they denied it. Every sign given to any of the Prophets was exclusively meant for his people and when he died, his signs ceased to exist.
However one such miraculous sign shall remain complete and preserved with the command of Allah, until the Day of Resurrection. This miracle is the inimitable Qur’ān, the everlasting Book of Allah given to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be to him). Anyone who lives after the death of this Prophet of Mercy will be able to see it, read it, and realise for themselves the truth that it contains.
Many miraculous features of the Qur’ān prove it is the Word of Allah. Facts are revealed in the verses through scientific facts, descriptions of the past and mathematical codes, which could never have been known to anyone at the time of revelation. In addition, developments that could never have been learned with the level of knowledge and technology of the time were also indicated in the verses of the Qur’ān before the actual events. The fact that some scientific facts we only attained with the 20th and 21st-century technology were revealed in the Qur’ān 1400 years ago is clear evidence that the Qur’ān cannot be the work of any human being. Science has never been separate from Islam. Let us take a look at just a few scientific miracles of the Qur’ān, the ultimate guidance for all mankind.
THE EXPANDING UNIVERSE
Surah 51, Verse 47, states, “And it is We Who have constructed the heaven with might, and verily, it is We Who are steadily expanding it.”
Is the universe infinite? Or is it finite in a steady state? This had once been the subject of philosophical speculations before it yielded its place to the science of physics. The Qur’ān describes it as a continuously expanding and dynamic universe. According to this description, the universe has a new aspect every instant that deviates from the concept of an infinite space; its perpetual expansion defies the concept of a confined and steady state universe. The greatest minds in history, basing their arguments on observations and formulas they had ingeniously devised, claimed either that the universe had its confines or that it was an endless space, but it occurred to none of them to think of a dynamic expanding universe, until the 20th century when Edwin Hubble, by means of a telescope, demonstrated that the universe was expanding. The theory of expansion of the universe was first advanced in the 1920s. Until the descent of the Qur’ān no other source had made such an assertion!
CREATION IN PAIRS
“Glory to Allah Who created in pairs all things that the earth produces as well as their own (human) kind and (other) things of which they have no knowledge.” (36/36)
The mystery of sex runs through all creation – in man, in animal life, in vegetable life, and possibly in other things of which we have no knowledge. Then there are pairs of opposite forces in nature, e.g., positive and negative electricity, etc. The atom itself consists of a positively charged nucleus or proton, surrounded by negatively charged electrons. The constitution of matter itself is thus referred to pairs of opposite energies.
THE CREATION OF MOUNTAINS
The Qur’ān draws attention to a very important geological function of mountains:
We placed firmly embedded mountains on the earth, so it would not move under them… (Qur’ān, 21:31)
The verse states that mountains perform the function of preventing shocks in the earth. This fact was not known by anyone at the time the Qur’ān was revealed. It was, in fact, brought to light only recently, as a result of the findings of modern geological research. Formerly, it was thought that mountains were merely protrusions rising above the surface of the earth. However, scientists realised that this was not actually the case, and that those parts known as the mountain root extended down as far as 10-15 times their own height. With these features, mountains play a similar role to a nail or peg firmly holding down a tent. For example, the Mount Everest, the summit of which stands approximately 9 km above the surface of the earth, has a root deeper than 125 km.
In other verses, this role of mountains is pointed out by a comparison with “pegs”:
Have We not made the earth as a bed and the mountains its pegs? (Qur’ān, 78:6-7)
BIRTH OF A HUMAN BEING
In many verses, people are called upon to consider their own creation. They are often reminded how man came into the world, which stages he has passed through:
It is We Who have created you. Why, then, do you not accept the truth? Have you ever considered that [seed] which you emit? Is it you who create it? Or are We the Creator? (Qur’ān, 56:57-59)
The miracle of man’s creation is emphasised in many verses. Some of the information within these verses is so detailed that it was impossible for anyone living in the 7th century to have known it. Examples of these are as follows:
1. Man is not created from the entire semen, but only a very small portion of it (sperm).
2. It is the male that determines the sex of the baby.
3. The human embryo adheres to the mother’s uterus like a leech.
4. The embryo develops in three dark regions in the uterus.
The iXZZZZtems of information just quoted were far above the level of learning of the people living at that time. The discovery of these facts could only become possible by the technology attained in the 20th century.
SEQUENCE IN DEVELOPMENT OF ORGANS
“It is He Who has created hearing, sight and minds for you. What little thanks you show!” (Qur’ān, 23:78)
“Allah brought you out of your mothers’ wombs knowing nothing at all, and gave you hearing, sight and minds so that perhaps you would show thanks.” (Qur’ān, 16:78)
The above verses refer to a number of senses given to human beings by Allah. These are always referred in a specific order in the Qur’ān: hearing, sight, feeling and understanding. In a paper in the Journal of the Islamic Medical Association, Dr. Keith Moore states that during the development of the foetus, the eye begins to form after the inner ear has assumed its first form. He says the brain, the centre of feeling and understanding, begins its development after the ear and the eye.
The foetus’ ears begin to develop as early as the twenty-second day of pregnancy and become fully functional in the fourth month. After that, the foetus can hear sounds in its mother’s womb. For that reason, the sense of hearing forms before the other vital functions for a new-born baby. The order set out in the Qur’ān is striking from that point of view.
FORMATION OF MILK
“There is instruction for you in cattle. From the contents of their bellies, from between the dung and blood, We give you pure milk to drink, easy for drinkers to swallow.” (Qur’ān, 16:66)
The basic material which allows nourishment of the body comes about as a result of chemical changes in the digestive system. These digested substances then pass through the wall of the intestine into the blood stream. Due to the circulation of the blood, the nutriments reach the relevant organs. Like other bodily tissues, milk glands are nourished by nutriments brought to them by the blood. The blood therefore plays the most important role in the collection of nutriments from foodstuffs. Milk is secreted by milk glands after all these stages and its nutritional values are particularly high.
High-nutrition milk is thus produced from blood, which cannot be consumed directly, and semi-digested food. The formation of milk is by itself an enormous creation miracle. And it is another miracle altogether that such detailed information about that formation should be contained in the Qur’ān. It is quite clear that such information, requiring detailed knowledge of mammals’ digestive systems, could not have been known at the time when the Qur’ān was revealed.
MIRACLE OF HONEY
“From inside them comes a drink of varying colours, containing healing for mankind. There is certainly a Sign in that for people who reflect.” (Qur’ān, 16:69) Honey is a “healing for men” as stated in the verses above. Nowadays, apiculture and bee products have opened a new branch of research in scientifically advanced parts of the world. Other benefits of honey may be listed as below:
Rapidly diffuses through the blood
Supports blood formation
It can easily be seen from this information that honey has great “healing” properties. This is undoubtedly one of the miracles of the Qur’ān Allah, Who is Exalted in Power, has revealed.
BARRIERS BETWEEN SEAS
One of the properties of seas that has only recently been discovered is related in a verse of the Qur’ān as follows:
“He has let loose the two seas, converging together, with a barrier between them they do not break through.” (Qur’ān, 55:19-20)
This property of the seas, that is, that they meet and yet do not intermix, has only very recently been discovered by oceanographers. Because of the physical force called “surface tension,” the waters of neighbouring seas do not mix. Caused by the difference in the density of their waters, surface tension prevents them from mingling with one another, just as if a thin wall were between them. It is interesting that, during a period when there was little knowledge of physics, and of surface tension, or oceanography, this truth was revealed in the Qur’ān.
IDENTITY IN THE FINGERPRINT
“Yes, We are able to put together in perfect order the very tips of his fingers.” (Qur’ān, 75:4)
The emphasis on fingerprints has a very special significance. This is because shapes and details on everyone’s fingerprint are unique to each individual. Even identical twins having the very same DNA sequence have their own set of fingerprints. That is why fingerprints are accepted as a very important proof of identity, exclusive to their owner. The science of fingerprints has been used as a non-erring identity determination method. Nonetheless, what is important is that this feature of fingerprints was only discovered in the late 19th century. Before that, people regarded fingerprints as ordinary curves without any specific importance or meaning. However in the Qur’ān, Allah points to the fingertips, which did not attract anyone’s attention at that time, and calls our attention to their importance. This importance has only been fully understood in our day.
The above mentioned miracles of the Qur’ān are just a few. There are umpteen more waiting to be discovered. The Qur’ān is not for us to keep safely on our shelves. It is to be read with understanding so as to get the proper guidance in all walks of our lives. May Allah the Exalted help us attain the ultimate guidance from the best of all books!
THE QURANIC BASES OF SOCIALOGY
By PROF. JAMIL FAROOQUI
The Qur’ān is the book of guidance revealed by Allah the Exalted, the Lord of the universe, to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) in the best interests and for the out-and-out wellbeing of humankind (hudan lil’-nas). It is full of wisdom (hikmah), gives meaning to human life and makes it splendour. It is the direct communication and a heart-to-heart talk between God and humans. It is, in fact, the message of Allah in His own words and style and with His own eloquence and emphasis to human beings so that they may lead a peaceful, comfortable, meaningful and dignified life on earth.
The Qur’ān addresses human beings and impresses upon them to comprehend reality, differentiate between good and bad, right and wrong, virtue and sin and choose those things that are most beneficial for them and society at large. This is wisdom and prudence. If one lives in this world, and acts according to it, one will get its fruits. Otherwise, one has to face destruction. Humans are the most significant creations of Allah and are dear and near to Him. As such, He has allocated certain responsibilities to them which they have to discharge efficiently with all sincerity and devotion. For this purpose, Allah from time to time reminded humans of their duties, showed them the right path along which they have to proceed and guided them how to operate in this world.
The Qur’ān is the last, final, clear and comprehensible, impressive and awe-inspiring guidance and message of Allah to humankind, His most astonishing and superior creation so that they may think over it and communicate it to their fellow beings. The Qur’ān says: “And We have sent down unto thee (also) the Message; that thou mayest explain clearly to men what is sent for them and that they may give thought” (Qur’ān, 16:44).
The Qur’ān presents an exposition of certain universal truths that play a determinant role in human life, bringing to light the fundamental bases on which humans can form groups, develop collectivities and create social life. It lays down the cardinal principles according to which humans interact with each other, build the structure of social relationships, make social arrangements, determine the nature of social action and ultimately shape their operation for the attainment of the highest good. These issues and matters are the subjects of sociological investigation and have been dealt with from different perspectives.
The study of these issues in the light of the Qur’ānic exposition helps us to understand the nature of human relations and the collectivity which they form for their possible survival. It, furthermore, gives us insight to reconstruct society in such a way that, on one hand, it develops human potentialities and enables them to attain perfection and, on the other, it makes the earth a place worth living in with peace, harmony, happiness and contentment. Besides, it provides a theoretical framework, a solid conceptual ground, and a research impetus to further sociological studies on a new premise.
The Qur’ān points out certain doctrinal principles that provide the bases of human action in this world. These universal truths determine the meaning of human survival and the nature of their struggle for it. It serves as the infrastructure on which the premises of human life come into being. These are the concepts of the ‘Reality’ of the world, humans, the relations among them and, as a result, the nature of social interaction and social life as well. These constitute the foundation on which sociological imagination can develop and sociological studies can be conducted.
VIEW OF REALITY
The foremost principle that the Qur’ān enunciates is the view of the ‘Ultimate Reality’ which is the force behind the existence and working of the whole universe and every object in it, both animate and inanimate. The Absolute Reality, characterised as ‘al-Haqq’, is none other than God identified in the most comprehensive term as Allah by the Qur’ān. He, according to the Qur’ānic description, is ‘the sole self-subsisting, all-pervading, eternal and Absolute Reality’ (Qur’ān, 2:115; 20:111; 31:31). He is omnipresent and omnipotent and ‘immanent both in the souls (anfus) and the spatio-temporal order (afaq)’. He has innumerable attributes, unlimited power that cannot be described in words, and as such, is beyond human comprehension. He is transcendent because He is beyond the limitations of time and space and sense-content.
As a matter of fact, He cannot be seen and experienced by finite human beings. In a nutshell, He can do anything which He wants, He is the Lord of all the worlds and of all mysteries and has power over all things (Qur’ān, 1:2; 16:77; 48: 4, 7). He is the Creative Reality which gives meaning and life to everything and makes them exist. He provides them with all the requirements necessary for their existence, sustenance and maintenance. This is the attribute of ‘Rabubiyah’, Divine Prudence which He alone possesses and discharges in the most adequate way and with great acumen. He, in this aspect, furnishes everything with all that its nature demands for its existence in every situation. This is the reason that the Qur’ān characterises Him as ‘Rabb’ or Nourisher not of a particular community but of all humankind and of everything that exists in this world.
Related with this, the other discernable attribute is that He, with all His glory, is the all-merciful as He bestows bounties upon His creatures, provides their necessities and helps them to exist. The two aspects of the providence and mercifulness of God give rise to the third important aspect of divinity, that is, the relation between God and humans. This relationship is one of served and servant, creator and creation and serves as the cornerstone of human life, a human’s relations with his fellow beings as well as with other objects of the world. This indicates the centrality of God in the entire system of existence.
The universe and things that lie between the heavens and the earth are created by God, controlled and guided by Him. He initiated the process of creation and adds to the creation according to His will. When He decides to create anything, it comes into being by His sheer command (Qur’ān, 2:117; 3:47). The uniqueness of His creation is that He does not require any cause or material to create but only His command is sufficient to create anything because He is the cause of all causes. He is all and all possessor and commander of the universe. He does not leave His creatures alone but sustains and maintains them so that they may work as He wishes and serve the purpose of their creation. He has ordained certain principles and established a pattern according to which all objects work and contribute to the smooth functioning of the larger system which we call the universe.
The whole universe and all of its objects are created with a purpose and not for ‘an idle sport’. Every object serves a certain purpose and thus plays its role in the maintenance and continuation of the universe. All objects are the parts of the grand system and can best be understood in the context of the purpose and function of that system. The universe and all of its objects work according to His plan and command and are under His full control and subservience. They completely surrender to His will, obey His commands and are thus characterised as Muslims by the Qur’ān. Only human beings have been given freedom of choice. They have been endowed with an advanced faculty of understanding to comprehend reality.
Furthermore, they have been given guidance, and shown the right path to follow. If they pay heed to and comply with the guidance given to them, they will benefit. Otherwise, they have to face the consequences. Now they have to decide what way and what path they have to choose to live in this world. The universe is a well-integrated and well-knitted system where all parts are related and dependent on each other. The working of one affects the working of the others. Everything is contingent upon God, gets strength from Him and works according to the laws engrained by Him. Thus, the world and its parts cannot be understood in the correct way without that upon which they are contingent.
Humans are the best creation of Allah, created in the best form and in ‘due proportion’ endowed with superior qualities so that they may carry the torch of the Divine mission to every nook and cranny, establish them on earth and lead life according to them. Allah, further, has exalted the position of humans by appointing them as His vicegerents on earth. As such, the duty of human beings is to implement His commands and establish the Divine system characterised as Dīn on earth.
Dīn is a system of life based on devotion to God and virtuous living. It is ‘the way of conformity or surrender to the laws of life fixed by God’. It is a way of life which enables humans to live together in mutual love and affection, binding them into a fraternity and inspiring them to collectively submit to the will of the Lord. It is genuinely true guidance, one and the same which has been conveyed to every people and community and enjoined on previous prophets Noah, Abraham and Moses [peace be to them, [Quran, 42:13].
The important position of humans in the Islamic doctrine is of ubudiyah. This connotes that they are the servants of Allah, the Nourisher and Sustainer of all the worlds. It is the pride for human beings that they enter into servitude to Allah the Supreme Power, the Lord of the universe. This is, in fact, the true identity of human beings which they have to demonstrate by their complete surrender to His will and order and manifest it in their every action and in all aspects of their lives.
Humans have a special task to perform in this world. They have been given knowledge, ability and all impetus to understand the truth, strive to follow and embrace goodness and perform the task which has been assigned to them. If they proceed in that direction, soon the result will appear, but in case they neglect the signs given by God, pay heed to their own desires and follow them, they will face the wrath of God. Following one’s own desires in comparison to God’s will and dictates is, in Qur’ānic terms, to ‘gravitate down to the earth’ which is subject to condemnation. However, it is the domain of humans to choose the right or wrong path for leading their lives on earth but they will be accountable for their choice and acts before God.
Human operations are the endeavour which humans undertake to exist in this world in a distinct way and for a distinct purpose. They are the process and series of actions which humans perform during their stay in the material world for the attainment of the highest good as well as for leading a comfortable, meaningful and dignified life. It is to work in a particular way and for a particular purpose. The purpose and the method of work give a new dimension, a new form and pattern to humans’ actions and affect their position in the social setting.
The Quranic expositions of universal truths and the Divine guidance determine the nature of human operations in this world, mould human actions as well as their interaction with animate and inanimate objects and develop a social arrangement based on ideology rather than ethnic or other considerations that are subordinate to the former one. This provides a new incentive for sociologists to study society anew. Human operations in the Qur’ānic framework take place and work under certain broad principles:
1. An individual’s life is based on the ‘Faith’ that is the bedrock of all their activities. They should live on and die in the state of faith that is self-surrender to God. They should be steadfast in their faith and profess it with full vigour. The epitome of unwavering faith in Allah and His attributes is the ‘People of the Cave’. Individuals’ days and nights should be spent in acting on faith and their lives should be moulded accordingly. All the Prophets conveyed the same message and impressed upon their people that it is the only true way of life which brings peace and contentment. All other than this are false and those who seek it will be losers. The Prophets Abraham and Jacob (peace and blessings be upon them) said to their heirs: O my sons! Allah has chosen for you the true religion, then die not except in the faith of Islam (Quran, 2:132).
2. Individuals must accept and confirm the hallmarks of ‘Rububiyah’, the providence, by their thoughts and actions. Their personalities, behaviour and all aspects of their lives must show the greatness of Allah. They should manifest the sovereignty and suzerainty of Allah in their way of living and show some of His basic attributes by their actions. Allah is the lone supreme power and alone should be worshipped. Humans are His servants and must completely submit to His will and order. Since He is alone the Nourisher and the Provider of the means of sustenance to every living being, small or big, grand or trivial, humans must depend upon Him, seek His help and mercy and obtain subsistence according to the way prescribed by Him.
3. An individual’s entire life is an act of worship. Worship, according to the Qur’ān, is not only limited to prayer, rituals and rites but it is a comprehensive concept and encompasses the whole life of believers. It refers to the acts done to seek the pleasure of Allah and obtain His favour. It is, thus, the obedience to Allah, to His commands, laws and system as well as the precepts of the Prophet. The Qur’ān explains worship in clear terms: Say (O Prophet): Verily, my prayer, my sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the worlds. He has no partner. And of this I have been commanded, and I am the first of Muslims (Qur’ān, 6: 162-163). This indicates that human actions are initiated, planned and performed to please Allah and not to please one’s ego and satisfy one’s desires.
4. Humans should satisfy their urges and needs in a proper and dignified way. Too much involvement in the gratification of human urges is not at all encouraged because it leads humans astray from their basic role and indulges them in undesirable acts. Moreover, the satisfaction of needs in the Islamic theoretical framework is considered to be means and not an end. They should be performed in such a way and to such an extent that can facilitate the attainment of the final purpose of life.
5. All humans are equal. They are the progeny of the same father and mother. They should be treated on an equal footing. They should be respected, their rights should be protected and their dignity should be maintained. No one is allowed to humiliate them, call them bad names, usurp their property, exploit and suppress them. They should be treated with sympathy and love.
6. Every human being should do justice to himself/herself, his/ her fellow beings and society at large. Justice is the attribute of God and He commands that justice and good be done. Justice should not be done only to one community but should be extended to everyone because He is the cherisher of everyone and makes His bounties available to everyone. The Qur’ān directs human beings to practise justice, do good and forbid evil, obscenity and oppression.
7. Individuals should negate polytheism, racism, superstition, ritualism and injustice by their thoughts and actions. As far as possible, they should create resistance against these forces because they are injurious and degrade humanity.
Human beings, in order to operate in the world, come into contact with their fellow beings. They sometimes seek the cooperation of others and sometimes extend their cooperation to others. The process of acting amidst the plurality of individuals and impacting each other is social interaction. Generally, it takes place in the expectation of getting some benefit from the acting individuals or the situation. Sometimes people interact with others and participate in the situation to fulfil their own interests and ambitions. It is shaped by the principle of ‘give and take’. In Islamic doctrine, interaction does not take place along the lines of material gain or satisfaction of one’s ego or fulfilment of one’s interests. It is based on the accomplishment of human obligation to God.
The foremost position of humans is that of a servant of God and in this capacity they have to harmonise their relations with the Lord by giving complete obedience to His commands and by following the path which He prescribed for them. The cardinal principle is that a human’s relations with his fellow beings depend on his relations with his creator. As such, social interaction is not based on material gain or loss but on rights and duties prescribed by God as well as on humans’ role as the vicegerents of God on earth. Humans have to operate not just to meet the condition of survival but to seek the pleasure of God. Meeting the conditions of survival is a means to a certain end and it should be directed to the final purpose of life. So, that being so, social interaction, the actions and operations of the servants of God in this world are aimed solely at pleasing God and all their activities in all spheres of life are directed towards that goal.
Social life is the arena where individuals carry out their mission, translate it into action and accomplish their obligation to God, their fellow beings and to society. It is a social arrangement which provides conditions conducive to bringing to fruition human obligations. It creates a distinct setting, an order that reflects the suzerainty and ascendency of God and gives priority and preferences to His command. It sets up a state of servitude to Allah and a collectivity of His servants who struggle to accomplish the Divine mission and establish Divine order on earth. It determines the nature of human interaction and the structure of human relationships. It lays down the fundamental bases on which humans are organized into a well-integrated whole and developed into an ideological community to carry the message of God to every corner of the world.
QURAN: THE ULTIMATE
GUIDANCE FOR MANKIND
By ABU BAKER
The Holy Qur’ān, the last in the line of Sacred Books revealed from Almighty God to mankind, made the greatest influence on mankind, according to world famous scholars. “This is what We recite to you (O! Muhammad) of the Verses and the Wise Reminder.”, says the Qur’ān. (3:58).
David Waines remarks: “Throughout, the Qur’ān portrays the moral dualism of human characters; this in turn gives rise to moral struggle creating the tension necessary for creative action by mankind.” (Introduction to Islam, p.29, OUP, London,1995).
The Holy Qur’ān is the Word of God; the legislation; code of conduct; way of life – all embodied in the form of Shari’ah. The Holy Qur’ān is introduced to mankind in these words: “A Revelation from Him (Allah) who has created the earth and the high heavens” (20:4). The Holy Qur’ān is divine as well as Eternal, which we can understand by careful reading of it. The Holy Qur’ān says: “It is Our task to give guidance. The present life (the beginning) and the next life (end belong to Us (Almighty God). (92:12-13).
The Holy Qur’ān is revealed to Prophet Mohammad (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) through Arch Angel Gabriel (Jibril). Almighty God has done so during all times to all nations, and some of them are (1) Zabur to Prophet Dawood (David), (2) Theocrats (Torah) to Prophet Musa (Moses), (3) Injil (Bible) to Prophet Isa (Jesus) (peace and blessings of Allah be to them). The final and complete Message of God revealed to mankind is the Holy Qur’ān and a believer has to believe in all the revealed Messages of God in its genuine and unpolluted forms. All messages of God in their genuine form contain messages similar to what is in the Holy Qur’ān except certain additional messages revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be to him).
In addition to these four revealed texts God has revealed messages in the form of uncodified sheets (Suhuf) like what was The Holy Qur’ān, the last in the line of Sacred Books revealed from Almighty God to mankind, made the greatest influence on mankind, according to world famous scholars. “This is what We recite to you (O! Muhammad) of the Verses and the Wise Reminder.”, says the Qur’ān. (3:58).
David Waines remarks: “Throughout, the Qur’ān portrays the moral dualism of human characters; this in turn gives rise to moral struggle creating the tension necessary for creative action by mankind.” (Introduction to Islam, p.29, OUP, London,1995).
The Holy Quran is the Word of God; the legislation; code of conduct; way of life – all embodied in the form of Shari’ah. The Holy Qur’ān is introduced to mankind in these words: “A Revelation from Him (Allah) who has created the earth and the high heavens” (20:4). The Holy Qur’ān is divine as well as Eternal, which we can understand by careful reading of it. The Holy Qur’ān says: “It is Our task to give guidance. The present life (the beginning) and the next life (end belong to Us (Almighty God). (92:12-13).
The Holy Quran is revealed to Prophet Mohammad (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) through Arch Angel Gabriel (Jibril). Almighty God has done so during all times to all nations, and some of them are (1) Zabur to Prophet Dawood (David), (2) Theocrats (Torah) to Prophet Musa (Moses), (3) Injil (Bible) to Prophet Isa (Jesus) (peace and blessings of Allah be to them). The final and complete Message of God revealed to mankind is the Holy Qur’ān and a believer has to believe in all the revealed Messages of God in its genuine and unpolluted forms. All messages of God in their genuine form contain messages similar to what is in the Holy Qur’ān except certain additional messages revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be to him).
In addition to these four revealed texts God has revealed messages in the form of uncodified sheets (Suhuf) like what was revealed to Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) (Peace of Allah be to him). “This is the Book confirming the Already given revelations.” (2:2,97). “And, this is in the Books of the earliest – the Books of Ibrahim (Abraham) and Musa (Moses) (87:18-19).
The Holy Quran is guidance to mankind, and contains complete instructions for human life in this world and the life hereafter. “This is the Book; in it is guidance sure, without doubt, to those who fear God” (2:2). “This Qur’ān is a Scripture which We revealed to you (Muhammad) that you may bring men out of darkness of ignorance to the light of certain knowledge” (14:1).
Commenting on the divinity of the Qur’ān, Zeo Oldenburg writes; “Qur’ān is supposed to have been dictated by God directly to His Prophet. Each Verse of the Holy Book is a miracle in itself; it is the Voice of God...” (The Crusades, P.495, Pantheon Books). Thomas Carlyle wrote: “In it (Qur’ān) there is a merit…If a book comes from the heart, it will contrive to reach other hearts….” (On Heroes and Hero Worship, London, 1904).
J.W. Draper wrote: “The Qur’ān abounds in excellent moral suggestions and precepts. This fragmentary construction yields texts and mottos and rules complete in themselves, suitable for common men in any of the incidents of life.” (A history of the intellectual development in Europe, Vol.1, London, 1975)
Maulana Syed Abul Ala Maududi, in his Fundamentals of Islam has stated the reason for Qur’ān reading and the motives behind it. He advises believers to read it with meaning and not to hang it like a treasure as certain Muslims do. Maududi asks, “Tell me if anyone being ill takes up the study of a book on medicine thinking that by reading it he will get rid of his disease, what will you say about such a man?” (P.19).
He continues and writes: “Please understand the fact thoroughly that Allah’s Word is not sent to man to embroil him into ill fortune, misery and suffering. The Holy Qur’ān says; “We have not revealed this Qur’ān that you should fall into distress”. (20:2).
The Holy Qur’ān plays a major role in shaping the character and habits not only of Muslims but also indirectly of non-Muslims in the field of knowledge, customs, food, dressing and so on. The Holy Qur’ān introduces itself as guidance to mankind. It is a relief to so many human problems, especially, present problems like tension, stress, sexual problems, strained human relations and so on. Allah reveals through the Holy Qur’ān that: “We have revealed to you the Book explaining clearly everything: it is Guidance and Mercy and good news for those who submit” (16:89).
Paul Casanova (France) agrees to this point when he writes: “Whenever Muhammad was asked a miracle, as a proof of authenticity of his mission, he quoted the composition of the Qur’ān and its incomparable Excellence as a proof of its Divine origin”. The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions says; “The Qur’ān is the main source book of Islamic legislation, and matters ranging from divorce, times of worship, fasting and inheritance, to warfare and division of booty.” (Edited by John Bowker, p.786, OUP, Oxford,1997)
The Holy Qur’ān has saved the lives of millions of people from superstitions and misunderstandings. It is the only religious scripture in the world which maintains its originality and purity. No word of it has been altered. Nothing has been added to the original revealed message as other scriptures were done by its followers. The laws and rules it deals are divine, and not the creation of any human being. It has revealed the natural law regarding family and social life. Individuality and women’s rights are upheld. Respect and love are instituted in the parent-child relationship. It benefited not only Muslims but also the non-Muslims all over the world, as Stanley Lane pool says: “The Qur’ān is undeniably a book of great importance even to the non-Muslims, perhaps more today than ever, if that is possible”. (The Essential Qur’ān, P.8).
David Waines is also of the same opinion when he writes: “On universal level, the Qur’ān addresses not merely Muhammad’s audience but all mankind, or from other viewpoint, the wider audience is implied throughout. Throughout, the Qur’ān portrays the moral dualism of the human characters; this in turn gives rise to moral struggle creating tensions necessary for creative action by humankind”. (An Introduction to Islam, P.29).
It was the Holy Qur’ān which saved mankind from the sin of female infanticide. It helped to distinguish acts of behaviour, deeds and manners on a moral ground. It separated good from bad, and clearly established a limit on moral law for human relations and mutual help.
No impurities have touched the Holy Qur’ān. All previous revealed Scriptures (Texts) were polluted by its adherents adding their own law or omitting the original law. The Holy Qur’ān deals with all subjects from personal to social and from civil to government administration. Unfortunately, enemies of the Qur’ān misinterpret it quoting a part of it or twisting the meaning of it.
Since the Holy Qur’ān contains universal knowledge and all solutions required for human salvation, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) said; “Memorise the Qur’ān, for Allah will not punish the heart which contains the Qur’ān.” The Qur’ān is not only for reading, but for memorising it, and more so for acting upon its teachings.
Through this act the habit of memorising and developing memory power is instituted. The Holy Qur’ān starts with the instruction: “Read! Read in the Name of the Lord who created from blood clot.” Laura Veccia Vaglieri supports the Qur’ānic advice to mankind in these words: “On the whole we find in it a collection of wisdom which can be adopted by most of the intelligent men, the greatest of the philosophers and most skill of politicians… There is another Divinity of the Qur’ān; it is the fact that it has been preserved intact through the ages since the time of its revelation till the present day….Read and read by the Muslim world, this book does not rouse faithful any weariness, it rather through repetition, is more loved every day.”
In fact, apart from a religious text, the Holy Quran is a code of conduct for mankind. The set of rules regarding all aspects of human life are embodied in the Text. “Thus, God clearly showeth you His Signs that perchance ye may be guided”.
Prophet Muhammad has been sent to mankind to interpret the Holy Qur’ān, and explain the rules contained in it. The Holy Qur’ān says: “And We have not sent you forth but as a herald of good news and a warner for all mankind” (34:28).
Ira M Lapidus writes; “Apart from family laws and morals, the Qur’ān deals with many other kinds of communal problems. Norms for business transactions were set down – injections to deal justly, honour contracts, give true witness, and not take usurious interests.” (A History of Old Islamic Societies, P.31, 1988).
“(Muhammad), Your Lord never forsakes you; nor does He ever turn away from you. The life to come holds a far richer price than this present life; you will be delighted at what your Lord will give you.” (93: 3-5)
The Holy Qur’ān has made a secular approach to mankind in all matters. The belief of any group is not to be suppressed. The Holy Qur’ān says; “(Tell) Those who refuse to believe, listen to me. I do not serve what you worship. I shall never serve what you worship, and you will never serve what I worship. (Therefore) You have your religion, and I have mine. (109:1-6).
“Let there be no compulsion in religion” (2:257)
Howard Turner writes; “The Qur’ān provides a broad range of rules covering not only religious practices but also most other phases of daily life, from family relationships and personal matters of social and sexual behaviour, to proper dress, eating habits, hygiene and the conduct of business and community affairs.” (Science in Medieval Islam, p.11).
Al- QURAN, THE CURE
FOR GLOBAL TERRORISM
This topic is the most hotly debated in the press and international circles alike. Just cast a cursory glance through major newspapers and every major news channel and you will know for sure.
Moreover, despite its presence in the world since ancient times, it has been given utmost attention at the world level since the relatively recent September 11, 2001 bombings of the twin towers. The press has largely portrayed Islam as the major factor behind terrorist activities specifically the twin tower bombings.
Let us analyse terrorism, its effects and how the Qur’ān tries to offer mankind the best solution to this lurking menace.
Terrorism is defined as an act of violence with an aim to draw attraction towards its cause. As is known, for centuries, various acts of terrorism have been carried out in different parts of the world by different groups for a variety of purposes.The European countries have been at the centre stage for violent acts carried out by terrorist groups. RAF (Red Army Faction) and Neo-Nazis in Germany, ETA in Spain, Red Brigades in Italy and many other organisations seek to make their voices heard through terror and violence by killing innocent and defenceless people. Several Israeli terrorist organisations such as ones led by the then prime minister Menachim Begin (Irgun) were also known as the bloodiest terrorist cells in Britain before the World War I. In fact, he was responsible for the King David hotel bombing in Jerusalem which killed several British soldiers (ironically, he received the Nobel Prize for Peace).
Back to the present, the organisation that is the most famous (or infamous) is the Al Qaeda. However, a check on the C.I.A website would show you just how many other organisations are active around the world, and mind you, these are not Muslim ones, but led by those who claim to be Christians or followers of other religions. The F.A.R.C. in Columbia is just one example that has killed people many times more than Al Qaeda. The ULFA (operating in Assam and hereabouts), the Maoists (in 16 States around India) are active in India. Yet, ironically, the Indian media, the government and the anti-terror cells feel more afraid of non-existent ‘Muslim’ terrorist organisations.
Another type of really alarming terrorism is the so-called state terrorism that several governments employ to further its own gains in other regions. For example, the C.I.A. funded the Taliban during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan thus bringing about the downfall of the Soviets and breaking up their rivals. The facts revealed by a former national security adviser are chilling. The C.I.A. uses several terrorist organisations (on its payroll) to commit terrorist activities and, using the pretext of its ‘war on terror’, occupies or controls that place to further its own interests. The C.I.A does not even deny it on its website. A small quote from its own website says: “CIA officers may now establish a relationship with such individuals without seeking prior CIA Headquarters approval, where there is a reasonable likelihood that those individuals have access to threaten information of importance to the United States or its allies.”
How does Islam offer a solution to this kind of malaise?
The Qur’ān says: “If someone kills another person – unless it is in retaliation for someone else or for causing corruption in the earth – it is as if he had murdered all mankind. And if anyone gives life to another person, it is as if he had given life to all mankind..”. (Surat al-Ma'ida, 32)
As the verse suggests, a person who kills even a single man, “unless it is in retaliation for someone else or for causing corruption in the earth”, commits a crime as if he had murdered all mankind.
This being the case, it is obvious what great sins are the murders, massacres and attacks, popularly known as “suicide attacks”, committed by terrorists. Allah informs us how this cruel face of terrorism will be punished in the hereafter in the following verse:
“There are only grounds against those who wrong people and act as tyrants in the earth without any right to do so. Such people will have a painful punishment. (Surah ash-Shura, 42)
The Qur’ān gives this severe warning to all those who have such mentality and threatens them with heavy punishments in case they commit these evil acts. Thus the Qur’ān gives a practical solution to cure terrorism. Moreover, analysing the Ayah from Surat al-Ma’ida we know that terrorists are the ‘ones who cause corruption on earth’ whether they claim to be Jew, Christian or Muslim. These people are Godless. They have no fear of God, hereafter or of the anything that all religions teach in common. Therefore talking of Muslim terrorism is baseless as no Muslim can be a terrorist in its common meaning.
At the same point, we Muslims must know what our duties are. We must do our very best to prevent the name of Islam from getting the smear and clear up all types of misunderstandings about our religion while at the same time understand and make them understand what the Qur’ān’s actual stand is on terrorism.
QURAN: SAFE FROM ADULTERATIONS
By MAULANA NAEEMUDDIN ISLAHI
The most important teaching of the Qur'ān is that only one God controls the whole universe. It is called Tauheed (belief in the oneness of God). The teaching of Tauheed is spread all over the Qur'ān. The second dominant teaching of the Qur'ān is the concept of Akhirah (belief in the day of judgement). According to this concept, this world is not eternal; one day it will come to an end like the death of human beings. After death, reawakening will take place. Then every human being will brought to God for the final judgement of his or her actions of worldly life. Then will be reward for the right doers, and wrong doers will be punished on the day of judgement. The third important teaching of the Qur'ān is Risalah (belief in prophethood). It is the chain of messengers, who came fron time to timeto the people for their guidance. Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings of Allah be to him) was the last messenger of God to all mankind and the Qur'ān is the lst revealed book. All these three teachings are very nuch dominant in the Quran.
The modern world is full of atrocities, injustice and exploitation. The Qur'ān is the panacea. If in today’s world human being follow the Qur'ānic teachings, peace and justice is possible. The relationship of the Qur'ān to the modern world is very dear. The Qur'ān is the last revealed book to the world. Its message is universal without limitation of time and space. All mankind has been addressed by the Qur'ān without ethnic, culture and gender discrimination and national differences. It is for black and white, backward and forward, male and female and for Arabs and non-Arabs. This book is the guidance for all mankind. In the first chapter of the Qur'ān it has been said that. He is the Lord of the Universe (Alhamdolillahi- rabbil- a’alamin).
The most important characteristic of the Qur'ānis that it recognises other revealed books such as the Bible, torah and Zaboor, etc. Several messengers have been sent to every community. The Qur'ān said that God revealed so many books from time to time for the guidance of people. The Bible is the book of God, Torah is the bok of God and Zaboor is the book of God. But nothing has been said in these books that they are for all mankind. It is only with Qur'ān that it is for all humanity and now for all times to come.
The second important characteristic of the Qur'ān is that of all the revealed books only the Qur'ān is safe from adulterations. The Qur'ān is in its original form. Enemies of Islam also agree to this point of view of that Qur'ān is as it was at the time of Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings of Allah be to him). They deny only its revelation by God and maintain that the Qur'ān is written by Muhammad (Peace and blessings of Allah be to him).
The third important characteristic is that it is for all times. The Bible, Torah, Zaboor and all other previous books were limited to their respective periods. But this is not the case with the Qur'ān. The Qur’ān claims that it is for all times; no other book will be revealed after the Qur’ān and no messenger will come after Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be to him). The Qur’ān was revealed at a time when human mind was fully developed and is now in its last stage of development. There is no need of other books to be revealed for the guidance of human beings. The Qur’ān is enough.
One more important characteristic of Qur’ān is that it is propitious. The Qur’ān is the most virtuous and most auspicious of the revealed books and total goodness is related to it. The ‘light’ the ‘guidance’ and ‘blessed’ are the words used in the Qur’ān for the Bible, Torah and Zaboor. But the word ‘Mubarak’ is used only for the Qur’ān. The Bible, Torah and Zaboor all have been adulterated but the Qur’ān is protected from any adulteration. That is why Mubarak is not featured of those books.
As regards Bible, Torah and Zaboor, nowhere it has been mentioned that these books were all human beings and they are for times. That is why it was for a particular locality. Generally these books have interacted only with Bani Israil (sons of Israil). But it is a fact that some prophets also interacted with nearby communities and localities, such as Moosa (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) interacted with the Qibti community. After all with all these realities all messengers gave the sign of the Last Messenger. Every Semetic religious community was waiting was this particular messenger.
The Qur’ān doesn’t talk about a particular nation or country. It has a generalised the term and talked about the essentials. The Qur’ān has said that God has sent messengers to every nation and every community (likulle qaumin haad). India is an ancien country and there is every possibility that some messengers might also have come for the Indian subcontinent. But the Quran has not declared the name the books and messengers who come to India. There is no sign of it in the Qur’ān.
It is necessary for every age-group either old or young, men and women, to read and teach the Qur’ān. After all, young generation is the important part of our community, that is why Qur’ānic education is essential for them. Mother tongue is the easy way to impart the teaching of the Qur’ānto every individual. It is worth whileto mention here that Jamaat-e-Islami has tried to translate the Qur’ān into every living language. It is the big achievement of Jamaat that translations and interpretations of the Qur’ān are available in 14 languages of India. There is no excuse and language bar for younger generation to understand the Qur’ān. The Qur’ān should be taught in the mother tongue. It will be enough for guidance.
The Qur’ān guides people to people to live a complete life. Every aspect of lif ehas been discussed in the Qur’ān, whether it is political, economical and social issue, individual and collective , of war or peace. In every sphere of life the Qur’ān guides people clearly.
Yes, the Qur’ān is miracle and it has been challenging people for about 15 hundred years. It is a fact that no precedence of such kind of literature has appeared till now, nor will come in the future.
The Qur’ān revealed to the world extremely high class of literature. It challenged the community that was proud of its literature and its contribution to it. They were fond of a very literary society. At that time the Arab community denied that the Qur’ān is a revealed book and said it is written by Prophet Muhammed (peace and blessings of Allah be to him). Then the holy Qur’ān challenged the entire community and the whole world that if ypu don’t believe that the Qur’ān is a revealed book of God then produce such sentences and even a single sentence of that of the Qur’ān. But they were not able to produce even a single sentence of that sublimity.
At the time of revelation of the Qur’ān, the people of every civilized nation such as Greece, Iran and India were intelligent. They were argumentative and fond of logical reasoning. They strayed from the right path because of philosphical thinking. The Arab people were simple and and were living in pure natural environment. They were pious in nature, very brave and having command on language. Some of the distinctive qualities also exist only in this society such as benevolence, charities and fulfillment of their promises. That is why I think God revealed the Qur’ān in Arabic. They were the only able persons of their time for this noble cause.
The Quran invites all human beings towards God and says that God sent His messengers to every community. He also revealed books for their guidance. But the Quran is tha last book and Prophet Muhammed (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) is the last messenger. All previous teachings have been adulterated by their followers. So, it is necessary for everyone to follow the Quran only to get success in this life and in the hereafter. All previous education of different messengers has been replaced by the last message of Muhammed (peace and blessings of Allah be to him).
(as told to Zillur Rahman Haider)