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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Do You Know Holy Quran


Do You Know Holy Quran

Taken from: Invitation to Islam, Issue 2, July 1997 with slight modifications


Of all the acclaimed masterpieces that the world has seen, nothing can be compared to the book known as the holy Quran. Millions have become Muslims upon simply hearing a verse from this amazing book, yet still the majority knows nothing of it. The Qur'an is the Final Revelation from the Creator to humanity. It was revealed in the year 610 CE to the Prophet Muhammed (saws), and completed over a period of 23 years. These 23 years of revelation resulted in a book which comprised of 114 chapters and over 6000 verses. All of this was to become the primary source of law for the whole of mankind to live and die by.

The impact of this book is such that Allah says :

"Had We[1] revealed this Qur'an upon a mountain, surely you would have seen it humble itself and crumble out of the fear of Allah. Such are the parables We put forward to mankind so that they may reflect"
(Surah Al-Hashr 59:21)

However, it seems as if the hearts of the people have become harder then the mountains which tower above us. When the Qur'an is recited or even mentioned, people turn away with disgust. In the West, this is primarily due to the negative exposure from the media. It has resulted in many non-Muslims not even wanting to hear the name of this amazing book. Muslims too, have become hardhearted because of the cultural influences of the West. Many young Muslims perceive the Qur'an to be nothing more then an old wrapped up book, which comes off the highest shelf once a year during Ramadan!

If people were to truly reflect upon this book, they would realise that nothing in this world is quite the same. So why should this claim be accepted over others? Why should the Qur'an be given precedence over the likes of the Bible, the Gita[2] or the Granth Sahib[3] ? The following reasons will inshallah give an indication as to why this book deserves the attention of all humanity.


"There is probably in the world no other book which has remained twelve centuries with so pure a text". Writing 200 years ago, these are the words of the famous English critic of Islam, Sir William Muir. But as Muslims we do not need Williarn Muir to tell us this. 1400 years ago, the Muslims accepted this reality when Allah revealed to them:

"Indeed it is We who have sent down the reminder (the Qur'an), and indeed it is Us who shall preserve it"
(Surah Al-Hijr 15:9)

These words have proved true to this very day. From the moment the first words were revealed to Muhammed (saws), to this very day, every single letter and word of the Qur'an has remained unchanged.

Before Islam, all the revelations sent were not given this divine assurance. This is why we find that books like the Bible are riddled with corruption and inaccuracies. It is well known that man has tampered with the Bible to the extent that annually different versions are produced to suit trends and desires[4]. In fact this has been going on for so long that it is almost impossible to see what of the words of the Creator are left, if any!

With the holy Quran online it is the exact opposite. The contents of this amazing book are stored in the hearts of millions of Muslims worldwide. Children as young as 12 have memorised the entire book in its original language, Arabic. There is no other religious scripture on earth which is orally preserved in its original language by so many and over such a period of time, without having been tampered somewhere along the line. The Bible is a prime example of this. Many Christians believe that English is the divine language of the Bible. However Jesus (as) spoke Aramaic. From Aramaic, his life-story was translated into Hebrew. From Hebrew it was translated into Greek. From Greek to Latin, and then finally from Latin to English! There has not been a single vicar, priest or layman in recorded history who has even memorised the Bible in English, let alone the Aramaic! As Muslims we believe the Qur'an can only be in the language it was revealed in, i.e. Arabic. Anything else is a translation and not the divine words of the Creator. A true test of this divine preservation would be to burn all the books and manuscripts in existence, to see which can return as it was. The Qur'an would be the only book which would return in its original form, letter for letter, word for word.

Many Christians say that the Qur'anic claim of preservation needs to be backed-up by manuscript evidence. For us this is not a necessary criteria, but in order to quell the doubts, the Muslims have ample proof. Two copies of the Qur'an are in existence which date back to the Third Caliph Uthmaan (ra), 20 years after the death of the Prophet (saws). These two copies are to be found in the Topkapi museum, Istanbul, Turkey and in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The Tashkent copy is thought to have been the personal copy of the Caliph as it still contains stains of his blood, which was shed when he was murdered whilst reading it. Any copy of the Qur'an which is compared to these copies, will show that there is not a single difference between what we have today and what was in existence 1400 years ago. Thus Allah's promise holds true.

No Mistakes

Man as a creature is fallible. For this reason anything which is produced by him will naturally have faults. With the Qur'an, such a notion cannot even be considered as it is from the one who is Infallible. In fact Allah clarifies this matter beautifully when he says:

"Do they not consider the Qur'an? Had it been from other then Allah surely they would have found much discrepancies within it"
(Surah An-Nisa 4:82)

Throughout history many have tried to scrutinise and search the Qur'an for mistakes and errors. To this day no one has been able to bring a shred of proof showing that this book is not from Allah. Some Christians have even called it the work of the Devil because the book affected them so much when they read it! With other scriptures, contradictions, mistakes and absurdities are constantly present. When people contrast these ambiguities with the Qur'an, it often results in the acceptance of this faultless book.

The Arabic Language

Upon hearing Quranic recitation, you may be rather startled. Besides hearing the reciter of the prayer, you often hear people in the background sobbing and wailing heavily. So what is it that makes these people cry so much? It is nothing more then the beauty and eloquence of this book which moves millions to tears. This beauty is expressed in the language of Arabic. Allah says :

"Indeed We have revealed this as an Arabic Qur'an so that you may understand"
(Surah Yusuf 12:2)

At the time of the Prophet (saws) three modes of expression were used. There was normal speech, the speech of the soothsayer and poetry. The Arabs were the masters of their language, and poetry was their cultural highlight. Arabic poetry is split into 16 categories, each separate from the other. When the Qur'an was proclaimed to the Arabs it amazed them beyond all limits. It was like nothing they had ever heard before. It did not fit into the 16 categories of poetry, nor was it the speech of a soothsayer, and it certainly was not normal speech. If it was not all these, then it could only be the word of Allah.

The eloquence and majesty of the early chapters of the Qur'an moved many to tears, and the beautiful Qur'anic Arabic converted millions of Arabs in the Middle-East. Not only did the Qur'an effect the lives of these Arabs, but it also transformed their culture. Even today, no serious study of the Arabic language is possible without reference to this book.

The reaction of some pagans was that they accused Muhammed (saws) of being a soothsayer and a madman. In order to silence them, Allah issued a challenge. At first he asked them to produce a book like the Qur'an. When it could not be done, Allah asked them to produce ten chapters like it. When this too could not be done Allah finally stated:

"And if you are in doubt as to what We have revealed to Our slave, then produce a chapter like it"
(Surah Al-Baqarah 2:23)

The smallest chapter in the Qur'an is only 3 verses long (Chapter 108). The pagans at the time of the Prophet (saws) could not even produce something as small as this, and since then no one else has completed this impossible task. All of this is in light of the fact that the Prophet Muhammed (saws) could not read or write, thus refuting those who say that the Qur'an was his own handiwork.

The Qur'an is the Final book of revelation. After it there will be no more. However, many have tried to deny this by producing their own new versions of the Qur'an. Among them have been the two false prophets, Musailama[5] and Ghulam Ahmed[6]. Many Chapters in the Qur'an are named after animals, such as the Ant, Spider etc. Musailama tried to copy this, and went about creating a chapter in his book called the Weasel! In Arabic it is called Al-Wabl and it hardly causes people to be struck in awe! On the other hand Ghulam Ahmed, the 'British stooge', claimed to receive revelation in cockney English!! Such foolishness could never compare to the beauty of the Qur'an with its clear and beautiful Arabic language.


Over the past few decades much interest has been shown in the scientific content of the Qur'an. Scientific data which has been discovered in recent times, has been existent in this book for 1400 years. In fact the very common origin of this universe is stated clearly by Allah, the Most High:

"Do not the disbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together, then We parted them. And We made from water every living thing. Will they then not believe?"
(Surah Al-Anbiya 21:30)

This parting of the heavens and the earth is more commonly known to scientists as the 'big bang'. It is also a fact that life originated from water and that every living cell is composed of 85% water. Without water life is impossible.

The mountains of the earth, like icebergs, have roots going deep into the ground. This ensures that they will not topple with their extreme heights - this is known as 'isostasy'. In this way the mountains are like the stakes which are used to anchor a tent. But this fact is already known to us when Allah says:

"Have We not made the earth an expanse and the mountains stakes?"
(Surah An-Naba 78:6-7)


"Allah has cast into the ground mountains standing firm so that it does not shake with you"
(Surah Luqman 31:10)

The embryological data which is found in the holy Quran is astounding. Allah describes the formation of a baby inside the womb from the very moment the sperm reaches the ovum, to its formation into a human. This data, which was only discovered about 30 years ago, has amazed many westem scientists. Amongst them is Dr Keith Moore from the University of Toronto, Canada. Dr Moore[7] is a recognised authority in embryological circles, with his university text book being set as a standard text in many universities throughout the world. When Dr Moore was asked as to how this information in the Qur'an could be explained, he replied: "It could only have been divinely revealed".


The Qur'an is a book of historical accuracy. One accuracy which has corrected the mistakes of many Christians and historians, is the fate of the pharaoh who drowned in the Red Sea whilst pursuing Moses. The Biblical story would have us believe that the matter ended when the pharaoh drowned. But the Qur'an explains further. When he was drowning the pharaoh confessed his faith in Allah. But it was too late, and Allah promised him:

"This day We shall preserve you in your body, so that you may be a sign for those who come after you. But indeed many of mankind are heedless of Our signs"
(Surah Yunus 10:92)

In 1898 the tombs of various pharaohs were discovered in the Valley of the Kings, in Egypt. In 1975 Dr Maurice Bucaille, an eminent French surgeon was allowed to examine the mummified bodies of Rameses II and the pharaoh who had pursued Moses - Merneptah. Dr Bucaille discovered that Merneptah had received very violent blows to several parts of his body and had suffered a massive heart attack. Amazingly, these are the results which occur when someone dies from drowning! Thus Allah had saved the body of the transgressing pharaoh as a sign for all humanity.

For those who say that Muhammed (saws) knew his history and wrote it in the holy Quran, the following shall prove otherwise. In the year 615 CE the Roman army was defeated by the Persians. About this event Allah revealed:

"The Romans have been defeated in the lowest land, but in a few years they shall be victorious again, within three to nine years. The decision of the matter, before and after, is only with Allah"
(Surah Ar-Rum 30:2-4)

The words of Allah proved true as the Persians were defeated at the battle of Issus, 7 years later in 622 CE. There is no possible way that Muhammed (saws) could have known (if he wrote the Qur'an) that the Romans would be victorious. In fact he also did not know that the 'lowest land' at which the battle was fought was literally that. The battle in 615 CE was fought on the shores of the Dead Sea, the lowest point below sea level on earth, at 1300 ft.

A book with these credentials could only be from the Creator of the heavens and the earth. A book which we need to acquaint ourselves with. A book . . .

". . . which has been revealed to you (O' Muhammed) so that you may lead mankind out of the darkness and into the light"
(Surah lbrahim 14:1)



1 The word 'WE' does not mean that there is more then one God. Rather it is a plural of respect which gives Allah grandeur over his creation.
2 The Baghyad Gita is one of the Hindu scriptures.
3 The Guru Granth Sahib is the Sikh scripture
4 The most recent version of the Bible is the 'Politically Correct Version'!!
5 Musailama claimed prophethood just before the death of the Prophet Muhammed (saws). He was from the region of Yamaamah in Arabia and from the tribe of Haneefah.
6 Besides Dr Moore, there have been many other famous Western scientists who have accepted Islam. One of the most prominent was the famous French oceanographer, Jacques Yves Cousteau who has recently passed away. Cousteau was amazed at the accuracy of the Qur'anic statements regarding underwater activity and thus embraced Islam. As a result of his death, Cousteau's life achievements have been highlighted in the Western media. However his acceptance of Islam was conveniently absent from the news-reports.


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Reading the Quran Right on Gender « Mellow Creativity


Reading the Quran Right on Gender

08 Mar

So I’ve been making it a point to attend the extra lectures and talks with guest speakers that are always going on in AKU.  Today, in light of it being International Women’s day, the Aga Khan Working Group for Women invited guest speaker Mr Abbas Husain to give a discussion on the Quran and how to interpret it correctly in terms of gender.  It was a thought provoking talk to say the least, and I wanted tto go over some of the points he mentioned here in my post.

So he started off with the idea that reading, especially of a book such as the Quran, has to be done with four dimensions in mind – reading the text, reading between the lines, reading the writing on the wall, and reading for interpretation.  He went on to mention that the Quran itself mentions itself in many terms, but some of the most important to remember were that it is Kitab, that is, a book.  Furqan, as in, the criterion, and Hakeem, that is, it is Wise.

The translation of Surah Nisa and its highly controversial verse, however, is what he mostly focused on and what I really wanted to go through here.

Men are qawwamun of women, because Allah has given the one more faddala than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are qanitat, and guard in (the husband’s) absence what Allah would have them guard. As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their, beds (and last) wadariboohunna; but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance): for Allah is Most High, Great (above you all).

An-Nisa 4:34

I am probably butchering the arabic in the process, but what I really wanted to do was what he did, that is, highlight the words that have caused the most contention in this verse that, to use Mr. Abbas’ words “has caused so much heartbreak over the centuries, and some say would have been better left out altogether.”

So to go through the conventional translation and the meanings recently derived.

As far as Qawwamun is concerned, the translation normally given is that of protector, maintainer.  Which is the correct translation and can be counted as so.  But the idea here is that the word can also be taken to mean supporter, and here it refers only to financial support, and not in terms of being supported in everything i.e. stronger.  If you take the translation as ‘supporter’ it can also put an entirely different spin on the thing – the idea being that that which supports isn’t superior in any way to the that which is supported.  Also, he went on to say that the verse speaks of Men and Women, not Husband and wife, as commentators sometimes take it to mean, and that in societal terms what this would mean would be that all men are protectors of all women – and in such a society that is envisioned by the quran, no woman need fear any man, for all would be safe.  It is an empowering of women rather than a caging or degrading of them.

Then the word Faddala (bounty, favours) came into question.  According to several translations this whole part has come to be translated as “because Allah has given men more bounty than the women.” This, in the light of the arabic, according to Mr Abbas, is a gross misinterpretation, as the verse speaks of ‘one’, and that can be referring to men or women, and thus the real meaning is that “we have bestowed some of you (male and female) with more blessings and some with less”. It is Not to be taken as an admission on the part of Allah that he prefers men to women and has blessed them more.

Then also he spoke of Qanitat (obedient), which is taken to mean obedient and in some translations has given rise to the idea that women have to be as obedient to their ‘protectors’ (see the chavinism building up there?) as they are to their God.  But in the places in the Quran that the word qanitat and derivatives have been used, it is always in the sense of devoutly obedient, or obedient to God.  So that the misconception that has down the line given rise to such nauseous ideas as husbands being ‘majazi khuda’ should really have been that “Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient (to God)” and not devoutly obedient to their overprotecting men.

Finally, he dealt with darraba, wa-adhriboohunna, or the term taken as the permission to beat women lightly in cases of disobedience.  Since this was done very briefly in the question answer session and not part of the main lecture, he basically said that if you look at the Sunnah, and consider that the prophet never laid a finger on his wives or children, this translation of ‘beating lightly’ while may be correct, is seemingly highly contradicted by the actions of the holy prophet.  That being said, translators and commentators recently have come to consider another meaning of the word, and that it should be taken as ‘interrupt’ or cease relationship with, and not as the translation of beating as is commonly thought.

In other words, the verse got blown to heaven :P

There were many other topics mentioned, and several issues lightly touched upon.  For instance the idea that since believers consider the Quran as God’s book and consider God as just, when they come across a verse that is grossly, obviously unjust, they must either abandon the idea that the Quran is God’s book or they must cease to think God is Just.  Since neither of those are possible for a believer, they must always consider the only remaining option – that the meaning they have derived is in error.

He also touched upon how literalism is destroying thought these days (he called it ‘intellectual arthritis’, which everyone loved, of course) and how the quran can be taken to have multiple meanings, but it is up to us to pick the best meaning. Also of how metaphorical the quran’s text can often be, and how it should not be taken literally all the time, even when it seems to be saying something very plain and simple.

The question-answer session at the end was done very well, and some of the issues such as inheritance and witness cases, and the re-evaluation of concepts such as mehram and all, were talked about. I asked the last question of the day (after promising to blog about the lecture :D – i fulfulled my promise yay!) which was – considering 1400 years of unequal thinking, how long do you think it’s going to take for all the viewpoints to change to one of more equality?

Mr. Abbas was optimistic.  He said that since recent times, many revolutions in thought and ideas took place in barely a lifetime.  That it was more than possible that this would come about, and soon.  And that concluded the session :)


SO yeah.  Apologies for the long post, but I thought the issue deserved it :D   See you guys soon.


P.S. for those of you scratching your head at my professed irreligiousness and yet lengthy discourse on this topic, I would like to say that this isn’t a representation of my views but a slightly hodgepodged and highly abbrievated review of a lecture that I happened to attend and find interesting.  So yeah, go find other things to worry about.


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