24 Reasons To Study The Qur’an


Are you someone born and brought up in a Muslim household, who accepts by default, that the Qur’an is a Divine text? Or someone not-so-sympathetic, someone who was told a lot of negative things about the Book and now you harbour such views yourself. Or simply in search of the truth – a common voyager without any strong affiliations. In any case, you owe it to yourself to know what the Book is all about. Compare what people claim it to be to what you find it to be yourself, of your own personal study and without any external influence or coercion whatsoever.

Make up your own mind, my friend, form your own conclusions! Don’t just follow the crowd! Don’t blindly listen to those who praise it, and on the other hand don’t pay heed to its critics unquestioningly, but weigh and consider your options.

Something is not true just because our parents lovingly taught it to us, or we embraced it from our society. Truth stands on its own two feet, can fight for itself and is not dependent on anyone for its existence. So what we have been tutored to accept does not necessarily mean, is the truth. We have to labour for the truth, and arrive at it objectively.

I am sure you will agree with me that it is not honest and wise to form an opinion about something without really knowing what it is. How would you feel if someone who never met you, who never came across credible evidence about your real personality, suddenly starts your character assassination in front of other people?

Same holds true for the Qur’an. We shouldn’t form an opinion about its origin, message and features without ever bothering to check it up ourselves. But sadly, many people do that. They hold views that they have been ‘programmed’ to accept from their peers and environment, such rarely being an outcome of their personal investigation.

So for your curiosity and interest, in this blog, I would like to discuss with you some of the claims of the Book, with a desire that you will perhaps examine these claims of your own effort and then make an informed decision about their validity.

The salient feature of these claims is that they originate internally, within the Qur’anic text itself. In other words you are going to read about what the Qur’an claims to be by itself, and not what people say what it is.

Mind you these are claims, whether they are true or not, you owe it to yourself to confirm. Here are a few of them.

1. A REVELATION FROM GOD

“The revelation of this Book is from God, Exalted in Power, Full of Knowledge.” 41:2

Very clearly, in non ambiguous terms, the Book claims to be Divine Revelation.


2. THE TRUTH

“That which We have revealed to thee of the Book is the Truth…” 35:31


3. GOD’S SPEECH IN THE FIRST PERSON

“When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on Me: Let them also, with a will, Listen to My call, and believe in Me: That they may walk in the right way.” 2:186

A reflection. Who is the speaker in the above statement?


4. ADDRESSED DIRECTLY TO YOU

When reading the Book you discover that it is addressed to you, i.e. the Reader with the Speaker claiming to be God and addressing you directly at this very point in time:

O Man! What has beguiled you from your Lord, the Gracious one.”

“Who created you, then made you complete, then made you symmetrical?”

“Into whatever form He pleased He constituted you.

“Nay! But you give the lie to the judgment day.” 82:6-9

In the above, the “you” is “Al Insaan”, i.e the Human being and he is being addressed directly. God is speaking to you right at this very moment when you read the Qur’an!


5. CONTAINS ITS OWN EXEGESIS

“And no question do they bring to thee but We reveal to thee the truth and the best explanation (thereof).” 25:33

“A Book, whereof the verses are explained in detail;- a Qur’an in Arabic, for people who understand.” 41:3


6. GOD IS ITS TEACHER

“(God) Most Gracious! It is He Who has taught the Qur’an.” 55:1-2

“Nay more, it is for Us to explain it (and make it clear).” 75:16-19


7. PRESERVATION VOUCHSAFED BY GOD

We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption).” 15:9

“Those who reject the Message when it comes to them (are not hidden from Us). And indeed it is a Book of exalted power. No falsehood can approach it from before or behind it: It is sent down by One Full of Wisdom, Worthy of all Praise.” 41:41-42


8. INIMITABLE

Say: “If the whole of mankind and Jinns were to gather together to produce the like of this Qur’an, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they backed up each other with help and support. 17:88

“This Qur’an is not such as can be produced by other than God…” 10:37


9. CLEAR AND PLAIN

“By the Book that makes things clear.” 43:2

“…We have made plain to you the Signs, if ye have wisdom.” 3:118

The Book claims to be clear and plain and not confusing.


10. EASY TO UNDERSTAND

“And We have indeed made the Qur’an easy to understand and remember: then is there any that will receive admonition?” 54:17, 22, 32 & 40

The Speaker claims that He has made the Qur’an easy.


11. FOR ALL HUMANKIND

“Ramadhan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur’an, as a guide to mankind,…” 2:185

Not sent as a guide to Arabs or Pakistanis but to humankind. It is for everyone who falls within humanity.


12. THE CRITERION TO DETERMINE RIGHT FROM WRONG

We all have our own standards and judgments for accepting or rejecting things. On the other hand the Qur’an also has standards. In its pages, we find that while identifying the right conduct, the wrong behavior is also highlighted so people can amend themselves. Continuing the same verse cited above, another of the Qur’an’s attributes occurs i.e. Al Furqan which means The criterion or judgment between right and wrong:

“Ramadhan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur’an, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (Between right and wrong)…” 2:185


13. FREE FROM DISCREPANCY

“Do they not consider the Qur’an (with care)? Had it been from other Than God, they would surely have found therein much discrepancy.” 4:82

A very clear cut statement. That the Book has no internal conflict and is consistent with itself. And also states the nature of what is not coming from God.


14. FOR ALL TIMES AND GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATIONS

“Verily this is no less than a Message to (all) the Worlds!” 81:27

“Zikr un Lil Alameen” – a remembrance to the Worlds. Notice that the literal meaning of Alameen is “Worlds” (in plural). Does it mean that the Qur’an is a guide to mankind beyond the boundaries of this world as well? Strange, is it not? We are just dwelling on planet earth at present, the moment we conquer outer space and make habitations on other planets, it is then that this claim will really be put to the test.


15. HAS ALL THINGS NECESSARY FOR GUIDANCE

“..and We have revealed the Book to you explaining clearly everything, and a guidance and mercy and good news for those who submit.” 16:89

“Is it not enough for them that We have revealed to you the Book which is recited to them? Most surely there is mercy in this and a reminder for a people who believe.” 29:51

“Say: ‘Shall I seek for judge other than God? – when He it is Who hath sent unto you the Book, explained in detail?” 6:114

“…Nothing have we omitted from the Book…” 6:38


16. PROMOTES PEACE

“…There hath come to you from God a (new) light and a perspicuous Book, Wherewith God guideth all who seek His good pleasure to ways of peace and safety…” 5:15-16 17.


17. A SOLACE TO THE SUFFERING

“We send down (stage by stage) in the Qur’an that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe…” 17:82


18. REMOVES YOUR ILLS AND IMPROVES YOUR CONDITION

“But those who believe and work deeds of righteousness, and believe in the (Revelation) sent down to Muhammad – for it is the Truth from their Lord,- He will remove from them their ills and improve their condition.” 47:2


19. CONSISTENT WITH NATURAL PHENOMENA

“Behold! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of night and day,- there are indeed Signs for people of understanding, Those who remember God, standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and contemplate the creation in the heavens and the earth, (With the thought): “Our Lord! Not for naught Hast Thou created (all) this! Glory to Thee! Give us salvation from the penalty of the Fire.” 3:190-191

The Qur’an is calling to study the natural world. Would it do so if it were not consistent with it?

20. PROPHECY ABOUT CONQUEST OF SPACE BY MAN

“And He has subjected to you, as from Him, all that is in the heavens and on earth: Behold, in that are Signs indeed for those who reflect.” 45:13


21. PROPHECY ABOUT LIFE IN OUTER SPACE AND ITS CONTACT WITH HUMANITY

“And one of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and what He has spread forth in both of them of living beings; and when He pleases He is all-powerful to gather them together.” 42:29

Here it foretells us that there are living beings in both – heavens as well as earth and one day they can join together! Time will tell.


22. IT WILL AMAZE YOU

“Say: It has been revealed to me that a party of the jinn listened, and they said: Surely we have heard an amazing Quran!” 72:1

Aren’t you amazed by what you have read so far?


23. IT WILL BRING YOU OUT FROM DARKNESS INTO LIGHT

“A. L. R. A Book which We have revealed unto thee, in order that thou mightest lead mankind out of the depths of darkness into light – by the leave of their Lord – to the Way of (Him) the Exalted in power, worthy of all praise!” 14:1


24. IT WILL TOUCH YOUR HEART

“And when they listen to the revelation… thou wilt see their eyes overflowing with tears, for they recognise the truth…” 5:82

“…Whenever the Signs of (God) Most Gracious were rehearsed to them, they would fall down in prostrate adoration and in tears.” 19:58


A REFLECTION

So here you are. Two dozen claims. Quite a long list. You hold in your hand a Book that claims to be from the Almighty Creator, claims to be perfect, free from discrepancy, incorruptible and perfectly preserved, claims to provide Divine guidance for your day to day living, wherever you may be, and in whatever time frame you may exist, is easy and comprehensible, but will be revealed on you according to situation and spiritual development.

These are some really unique claims worth investigating, don’t you think. Ever come across any other religious Scripture that has within its pages such direct claims?

To the Muslim reader. As I said earlier, you need to take up the Book by yourself. You have tarried long enough with your ignorance. It is your own job to know the reality, not the job of your local Imam or your mother or father or brother or your in-laws to do it for you for that matter. You don’t know the Book and your non Muslim friend doesn’t know it either. What makes you special then?

So have you got your copy of the Qur’an ready? Have you started to read the meanings and make notes and pointers? 

Now to the skeptic. It is very easy to attempt to disprove the Qur’an. All you have to do is come forward with the proof to nullify these claims.

E.g. in 2:23-24 it states that no one will be able to produce a Surah similar to the Qur’an. All you have to do to prove that the Qur’an is wrong is to meet this challenge.

Or in 4:82 it states that there is no discrepancy in the Book – you just need to come forward with one contradiction to prove your case.

The Qur’an not only offers claims, but also provides numerous tests for its authentication. Above are a few claims – why not work at them, because if they are indeed true, and you are in the habit of falsifying them without credible reason then it is your neck on the day of account.

I have presented to you an alternate view, then one which perhaps is known to you. But I won’t ask you to believe everything just like that. It is not within my domain to make you believe or accept a certain viewpoint.

Nobody can convince anyone. We need to arrive at the truth about things at our own pace, and as a result of our own labour and reflection. Therefore what will be stated is for your personal investigation and analytical study. So the ball is in your court. Go to your Qur’an and start studying. 

Newcomers To The Qur’an


This series of Blogs that I intend to write during the ongoing month of Ramadhan are meant for newcomers to the Qur’an. This   does not necessarily mean non Muslims, but also includes those who may be born into Islamic households.

Widespread ignorance

Non Muslims aside, many of those who style themselves as Muslims are unaware of the nature, purpose and application of the Qur’an – sadly due to the prevailing tendency in a vast majority of Muslim societies to recite the Qur’an in Arabic without understanding, and considering the mere chanting of words to be a blissful act – without any engagement with the meaning behind the words. There is also widespread ignorance about the message of the Qur’an because of a general lack of literacy and education within the Muslim community.

If you happen to take a walk in the crowded street in a Muslim country and stop someone in his tracks and ask; “…excuse me sir, do you know what does the Qur’an say about..?” or “Could you please quote me chapter or verse?”, and chances are that you will receive a blank stare, a nodding of the head, or you could very well be signposted to ‘an expert’ for such matters.

Therefore, I am not differentiating between Muslim and non Muslim readers, but simply categorizing my audience as newcomers to the Qur’an – those who have never come across the Qur’an before or might have in a rudimentary manner, be they of any background, any faith and I assume no prior experience or expertise.

As long as they can communicate in English, these blogs are for their benefit.

To the newbie

So to the newbie, I’d like to address you directly, for it is for you that I endeavor and labour during this blessed month. But my intention is not to preach or proselytize. And also please don’t feel patronized by being labeled as a newcomer; because I think in the process, I too will be learning something new, so this exercise is for my own benefit as well as yours. We are all learners, and learners we shall remain, for it is God who is the ultimate teacher:

 “(God) Most Gracious!” 

 “It is He Who has taught the Qur’an.” 55:1-2

I take a strong exception to those who proudly label themselves as experts of the Qur’an. No body can be an expert of God’s Book. They could master the books that they have written, but if God’s Book is the fountainhead of divine and perfect knowledge, then it follows from this basic premise that the imperfect human mind cannot logically be a master of infinite divine knowledge. The finite cannot master the infinite. That’s illogical. We all receive according to our situation and capacity.

Obtain a copy of the Qur’an for personal study

If you don’t posses one already, then I would request you to obtain a translation of the Qur’an when you read these blogs, because I will be quoting extensively from the Book, and as this exercise is meant to stimulate discussion for Qur’anic understanding, it would be practical and convenient to have your own copy nearby. There are many translations available. Abdullah Yusuf Ali, that I carry on my person, Pickthall which is old English, but literally close to the Arabic, Arberry which is also close to the original Arabic, Asad’s voluminous version with commentary, and many more. Go to any good bookstore, and under the Religion section, choose the one which is an easy read. Alternatively you can browse the web for translated versions, but I prefer the real book in hand.

How is the Qur’an structured?

Once you have your own copy handy, have a look at the contents. After the translator’s forward or any other opening remarks, you will come across the contents. Chapters will be labeled as Suras. There are a total of 114 Suras in the Qur’an. The first one is Sura Al Fatiha (The Opener), and the last (No. 114) is Surah-An-Naas (The People).

The longest Sura is Sura No. 2, Al Baqara (The Cow), containing 286 verses, while the shortest is Sura No. 108, Al Kawthar (The Abundance) with only three verses.

Division of the Qur’an is initially in Suras or Chapters, and the Suras are then further divided into Ayaat or Signs, (verses to some). This division is not man-made, but claimed by the divine author in the Book internally. We find internal references to Suras and Ayaat within the text itself. E.g.

A Surah which We have revealed…” 24:1

 “These are the Ayaat of the Qur’an..” 27:1

So Suras are chapters and statements or verses within them are the Ayaat, and this arrangement is claimed by the Author of the text itself, and not done by the publishers.

Checking References

If you open up the first Sura or Al Fatiha, you will note that it has seven Ayaat or seven verses. Each ayah is usually numbered in a translation. For brevity, I won’t be quoting the full name of the chapter, but simply cite the chapter number, followed by a colon and then the verse number. Therefore If I quote to you 2:185, then this means chapter number 2, which is Al Baqara, and verse number 185. Usually, most translations have chapter number on the top of every page, so just open up the page and look up where it says what number it is. Just look up Al Baqara, or Sura 2, and then look for verse number 185. Also have a pencil at hand to scribble notes and references on the pages of your personal copy itself. They act as useful signposts when revisiting a topic.

Getting used to it

Why don’t you do an exercise right now? Check up these references in your own Qur’an and see what they say: 54:17, 22, 32, and 40. You’ll be amazed with the discovery.

This exercise will help you browse the Qur’an and enable you to look up easily what is written where. So please have your Qur’an ready, for I’m sure, that a profound revelation awaits you in the coming days.

 

WOULD YOU LIKE TO DISCUSS THE ABOVE OR ANY OTHER TOPIC WITH THE AUTHOR THROUGH LIVE CHAT? SCHEDULE A MEETING USING THIS FORM.