Fiqh Lesson by Amirah / Umm Ahmad ( 26th February,2013)

In the name of Allah
Assalamu aleikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

 Issues Concerning the Holy Qur’an

Question 127: Is the Holy Qur’an the word of God or that of Mohammad (pbuh)?

Answer 127: The Holy Qur’an is the word of God, and it was revealed to Prophet Mohammad through the Angel Gabriel. God made the Holy Qur’an Prophet Mohammad’s miracle, and He challenged people to bring about anything similar, but they couldn’t meet the challenge, and the miracle and the challenge are still valid now, and they will be until the Day of Judgment. Allah says: “Or do they say ‘He forged it’? Say: ‘Bring then a sura like unto it, and call (to your aid) anyone you can, besides Allah, if it be ye speak the truth!” (Holy Qur’an: 10: 38). This challenge to bring just onesura, no matter how short it is, similar to the ones that are in the Holy Qur’an is a testimony that this holy book was not written by Man, for had Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) fabricated it, another human would have been able to bring something similar.
It is interesting and valuable to know, in this respect, the difference between the style of the Holy Qur’an and that of the sayings of the Prophet (pbuh). We have at our disposal thousands of books containing the traditions of the Prophet (pbuh), and anyone with any knowledge of Arabic stylistics can easily recognize the great difference between the two styles. The style of the Holy Qur’an is far superior to that of the sayings of the Prophet (pbuh), and beyond the ability of any human to imitate. The Arabs at the time of the Prophet (pbuh) knew him very well, and knew his linguistic abilities before the Qur’an was revealed to him, for they were eloquent and articulate people, and they used to hold public festivities for reciting poetry. Yet, given the clear stylistic differences between the language of the Holy Qur’an and that of the Prophet (pbuh), none of them could say with fairness that the Qur’an was invented by Mohammad (pbuh). Moreover, for all his life before the Revelation, he was never known to have any oratory or poetic abilities, and he never took part in any of the cultural activities they used to hold, because, as everybody knew, he was an illiterate person. A close investigative look at the Holy Qur’an shows many facets of its miraculous nature that further proves that it was revealed by almighty God to the Prophet:
1. The language and style of the Holy Qur’an. We have already mentioned that the prophet challenged the Arabs to bring something similar, but they failed to meet that challenge. The Holy Qur’an still poses the same challenge to people all over the world: “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’.”(Holy Qur’an: 17: 88)
2. The way it was composed. The Holy Quran was not revealed all at once. Rather, it was revealed throughout more than a twenty-year period, and every time new verse(s) was/were revealed to the Prophet, he asked his companions to place it/them at a certain place in the Qur’an to form a unique sequence. Nevertheless, the Holy Qur’an was completed in its present form as a homogeneous unit, so much so the reader would think that it was revealed all at once.
3. The knowledge it contains. The Holy Qur’an contains a lot of information and knowledge that guides people to the right path. The kind of information it contains is so deep and profound that it would have been impossible for an illiterate person like Mohammad (pbuh), or for any other human, to fabricate it.
4. Its fulfillment of human needs at all times. This makes the Holy Qur’an unique, because It reformed all beliefs, worships and ethics. It also reformed society through guiding people to be united and relinquish tribalism because they are all descendants of Adam and Eve, and that no human is better than another except through piety. The Qur’an teaches people that they are all equal before God. It also preaches justice, forbids usury, allows trade, and so on and so forth.
5. What the Holy Qur’an had revealed after a long wait. The Holy Qur’an contains many verses that dealt with great issues, yet they were only revealed after a long wait. This shows that the Holy Qur’an is the word of almighty God; had it been that of Mohammad (pbuh), there would have been no need for the long wait, as was the case in the verses commenting on the hadith of calumny, and the delay in Answering the Question of the infidels about the nature of the spirit.
6. Some suras (Chapters) of the Holy Qur’an start by the command “say”, and more than 332 verses contain the same command which was addressed to the prophet (pbuh). This clearly indicates that the Holy Qur’an was not the word of Mohammad (pbuh), but that of God.
7. The scientific evidence it contains. The Holy Qur’an contains many scientific facts that were not known at the time of revelation. To save time and space only few examples can be mentioned here; those who want a more detailed account can always refer to the many many books dealing with the Scientific Inimitability in the Holy Qur’an. The Holy Qur’an states:
“Man we did create from a quintessence (of clay); then We placed him as (a drop of) sperm in a place of rest, firmly fixed; then We made the sperm into a clot of congealed blood; then of that clot We made a (fetus) lump; then We made out of that lump bones and clothed the bones with flesh; then We developed out of it another creature. So blessed be Allah, the Best to create!” (Holy Qur’an: 23: 12-14).
These verses contain a detailed description of the developmental stages of the embryo, a description that has only been verified by contemporary scientists. So who could have told Mohammad (pbuh) about these stages of embryological development? It has been only possible for modern scientists to learn about these stages through the help of modern X-ray and other technological equipments. Therefore, some scientists converted to Islam as soon as they came across verses like these in the Holy Qur’an, because they knew that no human could have known these facts 1400 years ago. These verses could have only come from the Creator.
Another example is the description of the forming of clouds and rain, something that nobody knew anything about at the time. Allah (swt) says in the Holy Qur’an says:
“Seest thou not that Allah makes the clouds move gently, then joins them together, then makes them into a heap? -then wilt thou see rain issue forth from their midst. And He sends down from the sky mountains masses (of clouds) wherein is hail: He strikes therewith whom He pleases and He turns it away from whom He pleases. The vivid flash of its lightening well-nigh blinds the sight” (Holy Qur’an: 24: 43).
Almighty God explains in this verse how small clouds get together in the sky, and when they form a big cloud rain falls. It is doubtful that anybody had known about this mechanism before modern times.
The Holy Qur’an also talks about the breathlessness caused by ascending to the sky. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an:
“Those whom Allah willeth to guide, -He openeth their breast to Islam; those whom He willeth to leave straying, -He maketh their breast close and constricted, as if they had to climb up to the skies: thus doth Allah lay abomination on those who refuse to believe (Holy Qur’an: 6: 125).
This verse describes the condition of the aberrant as that of a person ascending towards the sky where there is a lack of oxygen: the higher he gets, the more breathless he feels. So who could have told Mohammad (pbuh) about that other than the Great Master of the universe?
There are so many other verses that testify to the fact that the Holy Qur’an is the Word of God through exposing scientific evidence relating to man, the earth, the sky, the sea, the stars, and the planets.

Question 128: How do you prove that the Qur’an Muslims read today is the same that was revealed upon Mohammad (pbuh), and that it has not been altered or that it does not contain fabrications?

Answer128: The Holy Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet (pbuh) through Angel Gabriel. The prophet’s sole and initial concern was to memorize every single piece of it. However, God Himself has promised to preserve this holy book in the prophet’s memory and to enable him to read it. In the Qur’an God says:
“Move not thy tongue concerning the (Qur’an) to make haste therewith. It is for Us to collect it and to recite it, follow though its recital (as promulgated): Nay more, it is for Us to explain it (and make it clear)” (Holy Qur’an: 75: 16-19).
Every time the prophet received revelations, he would peruse that to his companions slowly so that they could learn it well and understand its secrets. Night after night the Prophet would spend teaching his companions the Qur’an. He also used to read it during prayers, and Angel Gabriel used to read it with him once a year, and in the last year of his life the Angel read it with him twice.
The Prophet’s companions made every single effort to make sure that they memorized the Qur’an from the very beginning, and they used to pride themselves on having memorized more of the Holy Qur’an. Thus, memorizers and/or reciters of the Qur’an were so many during the prophet’s life. Moreover, the prophet himself (pbuh) had writers of the Divine Revelation, and every time something new was revealed to him he used to say “place it after God’s saying so and so and before His saying so and so.” By the time the prophet (pbuh) passed away, the Holy Qur’an had been already written and memorized. Then it was collected in one book, and later on it was collected again and copied during the era of caliph Uthman (3rd caliph) and distributed these copies all over the Islamic State. Thus, the Holy Qur’an was passed from generation to generation through its memorization and written form, and this is a unique honor to the Islamic nation. Muslims have spread all over the world since, carrying with them copies of the Holy Qur’an; nevertheless, there is no difference whatsoever in the Qur’an that Muslims read in Africa, Asia, Europe, America or Australia, and we have never heard that they have disagreed ever about the precision of the Qur’an, for all of them have agreed that the Holy Qur’an that they have today is the same Qur’an that was revealed to prophet Mohammad (pbuh) by God. Moreover, God promised to preserve the Qur’an. He says: “We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; And We will assuredly guard it (from corruption)” (Holy Qur’an: 15: 9).

Question 129: What are the similarities and differences between the Qur’an and the other earlier Holy Books?

Answer 129: Islam is Allah’s sole and true religion, all prophets preached Islam. Islam means full submission to God through unqualified obedience and relinquishing polytheism, because all religions preach monotheism. Almighty God says:“Not a messenger did we send before thee without this inspiration sent by Us to him: that there is no God but I; therefore worship and serve Me” (Holy Qur’an: 21: 25)
As far as basic beliefs and worship practices are concerned all religions are also similar. In the Qur’an God says:
“The same religion has He established for you as that which He enjoined On Noah-the which We have sent by inspiration to thee- and that which We enjoined on Abraham, Moses, and Jesus: Namely, that ye should Remain steadfast in Religion, and make no divisions therein: to those who worship other things than Allah, hard is the (way) to which thou callest them. Allah chooses to Himself those whom He pleases, and guides to Himself those who turn (to Him)” (Holy Qur’an: 42: 13).
Thus, all prophets preached monotheism, informed people about God and the hereafter, and advocated the basic belief in the same messages of divine Books.
The main differences, however, lie in the legislative and commandment laws, because the divine laws are based on looking after the interests of those required to worship. However, what might be feasible for one nation might not necessarily be the same for another. Therefore, the details kept changing without touching the basics, until human societies developed and matured. It was then that God sent His final and eternal religion, Islam. God points to the differences in religious legislations when He says: “To each among you have We prescribed a Law and an Open Way.” (Holy Qur’an: 5: 48).

Question 130: How has it been possible to preserve the Holy Qur’an until the present time? And what is the methodology that was followed to preserve it without change?

Answer 130: The Holy Qur’an has been preserved with great care, and no other book has ever received such attention. During the period of revelation, the prophet (pbuh) did his utmost best to memorize the Holy Qur’an, so much so that God promised His prophet to preserve it:
“Move not thy tongue concerning the (Qur’an) to make haste therewith. It is for us to collect it and to recite it: But when we have recited it, follow thou its recital (as promulgated).” (Holy Qur’an: 75: 16-18).
Every time new verse(s) was/were revealed to him, the prophet (pbuh) used to memorize it/them himself, teach them to his companions and request some of his companions to write and arrange it/them in a special place before or after specific previously revealed verses. The companions of the prophet (pbuh), and the Arabs in general, were (and still) great memorizers. Ibn Masoud said: “I memorized from the mouth of the prophet seventy suras of the Holy Qur’an while Zaid ibn Thabit (another memorizer) was still a young boy playing with the kids.”
[1] Ibn Masoud also said: ”I know where and why every verse of the Holy Qur’an was revealed, and had I known someone who knew more about the Holy Qur’an than me I would have ridden my camel and gone to him”. The prophet’s companions were truly hard workers, and many of them memorized the entire Holy Qur’an such as Zaid ibn Thabet, Ibn Masoud, and Ubai ibn Ka’b, to name but a few.
The complete Holy Qur’an was written during the time of the prophet, but it was written on separate sheets of paper that were not unified in one volume. After the death of the prophet, the first caliph Abu Bakr (may God be pleased with him) decided to collect the Holy Qur’an in one volume. Therefore, he commissioned a group of the memorizers of the Holy Qur’an, headed by Zaid ibn Thabet, to do the Job. The chosen committee followed a great methodology in collecting the written sheets of the Holy Qur’an and comparing what was written with what was memorized. One of the main stipulations of that committee was the presence of at least two written copies of the same verses. They did not accept the written version unless it corresponded to the memorized one, and vice versa. Zaid and his colleagues did their utmost best to insure the authenticity of their work. It was related that Zaid asked to be exonerated from this task when he was first selected, but upon the insistence of both Omar and Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with them), he agreed reluctantly. He described his great sense of responsibility towards the great task by saying: “I swear by Allah that had they asked me to move a mountain from one place to another I’d would have felt more at ease.”
The Holy Qur’an was first written in one volume during the era of Abu Bakr, and it was kept in his safekeeping until he died. Then Omar took it into his safekeeping, and when Omar died, Hafsa (his daughter and the prophet’s widow) took over the task of taking care of the –till then- only complete volume of the Holy Qur’an.
When Uthman became caliph after Omar, he instructed another committee headed, again, by Zaid ibn Thabet, to write many copies of the Holy Qur’an in order to distribute them in all parts of the Islamic Empire that was growing bigger and bigger.
From what has been said so far, we may conclude the following:
1. Muslims took a great care in writing and memorizing the Holy Qur’an.
2. The Holy Qur’an was written at a very early stage during the life of the Prophet (pbuh). Shortly after his death (within two years), the Holy Qur’an was collected in one volume, and in the era of Uthman, copies of it were distributed in all parts of the Islamic Empire.
3. This great care continues until our modern time. Generations after generations of Muslims have memorized the Holy Qur’an and kept written records of it until now, and every effort has been directed towards keeping the Holy Qur’an safe from any deduction or addition in all parts of the Islamic world. Therefore, it can be said, with absolute accuracy, that the Holy Qur’an that Muslims read in the East and West, South and North is the same one that God revealed to His messenger hundreds of years ago.
It is worth mentioning that the style of the Holy Qur’an is so unique that if someone makes a mistake while reciting it, it is usually possible for the person listening to the recitation to recognize the mistake even if the listener does not memorize the Holy Qur’an.
Above all, God took upon Himself to keep His Book safe. He says: “We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption)” (Holy Qur’an: 15: 9). One of the indications of this divine preservation is materialistic means that God has facilitated in order to preserve this Qur’an, such as making its memorization easy. Hod says:“And We have indeed made the Qur’an easy to understand and remember: then is there any that will receive admonition?” (Holy Qur’an: 54: 32).
Nowadays, the methods of preserving the Holy Qur’an have become more advanced, especially after employing modern audiovisual equipments to serve this purpose. Some excellent reciters have recorded the complete Qur’an, adding to the Islamic audio library hundreds of different beautiful voices reciting the Holy Qur’an, and many of these recitations have been recorded on audiovisual tapes, compact disks, and it has been made available for access on the Internet as well. Thus, almighty God has inspired Muslims to write the Holy Qur’an and take care of it since it was first revealed to the prophet (pbuh) until now, and this will continue to be true till the Day of Judgment.

Question 131: Is the convert’s reward for reading a translation of the meanings of the Holy Qur’an the same as that he/she can get for reading the actual Arabic text of the Holy Qur’an?

Answer 131: The actual Arabic text of the Holy Qur’an is the word of almighty God that He revealed to His prophet Mohammad (pbuh). Therefore, reading the actual text is not the same as reading the translation. Muslims are supposed to get one hasanah (merit) for each letter they read from the Qur’an, and each merit is doubled ten times. The translations of the meanings of the Holy Qur’an are the words of humans, and the reward for reading them is similar to that which we get for reading Islamic books and commentary interpretations of the Holy Qur’an.

Question 132: How can a non-Muslim learn about the Holy Qur’an if he/she is not allowed to touch it?

Answer 132: Non-Muslims can learn about the Holy Qur’an through listening to it or reading it over the Internet for example. He may also read books that talk about Islam and explain the meanings of the Qur’an. Otherwise, he could be taught about Islam and invited to be a Muslim, and if he/she reverts to Islam he/she will be able to handle the Holy Qur’an and read it.

Question 133: The Holy Qur’an includes precise and similar verses, as well as abrogating and abrogated verses. What is the wisdom behind such divisions?

Answer 133: The Holy Qur’an is precise and perfect book because God formed it in such a meticulous way that no stylistic or semantic corruption can ever affect it. It is also all-similar because the rules mentioned in it are similar and do not contribute to ambiguity in its verses and vocabulary. The wisdom of having precise verses is clear from its definition. As for the similar, Islamic scholars divided it into three types:
1. A type that cannot be known like the time of the Day of Judgment and so on.
2. Another type that man can know like foreign expressions and some rules.
3. A third type that has features of both types (1) and (2), and this type is only understood by well-educated scholars like Ibn Abbas for whom the prophet made the following du’aa, prayer: “May Allah make him well-versed in the religion (of Islam) and teach him interpretation (of the Holy Qur’an)”.
The wisdom of having similar verses can be summarized in the following:
1. God’s mercy upon the weak human being who cannot bear learning everything. If the mountain collapsed and Moses fell unconscious when God revealed Himself, what would it have been like if He had revealed Himself to ordinary humans? It is partly for this reason that God kept the time of the Day of Judgment as a secret.
2. Putting man to affliction and trial: would people believe in the unseen simply because the truthful Prophet told us about it or not? Those who are guided to the right path say we believe! And those who have doubts in their hearts deny it and follow the similar verses as a way of getting around religion.
3. To give an evidence of the weakness and ignorance of man regardless of how technologically advanced people become, and to show the superior powers of God the All-Knowing, so that man would obey and say what the angels said in the Holly Qur’an: “They said: “Glory to Thee: of knowledge we have none, save What Thou hast taught us: in truth it is Thou Who art perfect in knowledge and wisdom” (Holy Qur’an: 2: 32).
4. To accomplish the miraculous quality of the Holy Qur’an.
As for abrogation, we say that it occurred in Islamic law in the sense that God abrogated all previous religions by Islam, and abrogated some Islamic principles by other Islamic ones. The wisdom behind abrogating all other religions by Islam is due to the fact that the latter has the most perfect laws that satisfy the needs of human beings at all times. The teachings of different religions came to satisfy the specific needs of human beings at certain times of historical developments. Islam, however, came only when man was developed enough to receive this perfect religion as the last divine set of laws that combines the benefit of humans with the flexibility of rules, and the needs of both body and soul. It also compromised religion with science and regulated the relationship between God and humans on the one hand, and humans with the world around them until the Day of Judgment.
On the other hand, we can say that God’s wisdom behind abrogating some Islamic rules by other Islamic rules is due to the policy of the Islamic nation, where rules are stipulated step by step to make them easier to follow until they reach perfection. This was possible by guiding Muslims from easy rules to more difficult ones, until success was achieved. The wisdom of abrogating difficult rules by easier ones was to make things easier for Muslims and to show the bounty of God. The wisdom of abrogating a rule with an equally difficult or easy one was to put Muslims to the test so that hypocrites would be known and punished, and believers would be known and rewarded. The wisdom of abrogating easy rules by more difficult ones was to train Muslims and get them ready for what was to come, such as the attitude of Islam towards alcoholic drinks where Muslims were prepared step by step for the acceptance of its final prohibition. This principle of gradual prohibition is unique to Islam.

Question 134: How were the suras (Chapters) of the Holy Qur’an arranged? And who gave the suras their present names?

Answer 134: The majority of the Islamic scholars are of the opinion that the arrangement of the suras in the Holy Qur’an came about through revelation. There are some who believe that only part of the arrangement was done through revelation and that the other part was done through the jurisprudence of the prophet’s companions. However, ever since caliph Uthman compiled the Holy Qur’an and arranged it in its present form, the whole Islamic nation accepted it without any alteration or reservation. Therefore, it is a duty upon all Muslims to respect this arrangement and abide by it to preserve the sacredness of the Word of God. As for naming the suras of the Holy Qur’an, there are different opinions: some scholars, such as Al-Suyti, believe that the names were revealed to the prophet; others believe that it was the prophet’s companions who gave these names. However, the existence of more than one name for some surasis evidence that these names were given to suras by the companions. Dr. Subhi Al-Saleh argues that we do not have strong evidence that the names of suras were revealed.
-------[1] Ibn Masoud and Zaid Bin Thabet are companions of the Prophet (pbuh).[2] Dr. Subhi Al-Saleh, Mabahith fi Ulum Al-Qur’an, p.97.

And Allah knows best


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