Whatever the Holy Quran says about itself sheds light on its singularity and various aspects of the grandeur and miracles. Which are not apparent in the ordinary course of events, become evident. When scattered verses in which the Holy Quran has been introduced are brought together new vistas are opened. The following verses are often quoted with notes:
1. The Holy Quran is conclusive and indisputable:
The miraculous and superhuman aspect of the Holy Quran is its decisiveness and infallibility.
This is the Scripture whereof there is no doubt, a guidance unto those who ward off (evil). [al-Baqarah 2: 21
. . .and an exposition of that which is decreed for mankind – therein is no doubt – from the Lord of the Worlds. [Yunus 10: 37]
…Lot It is an unassailable Scripture. Falsehood cannot come at it from before it or from behind it. (It is) a revelation from the Wise, the Owner of Praise. [Fussilat/Ha Mlm as-Sajdah 41: 41-2]
No other work can equal the Holy Quran in this uniqueness because its fountainhead is Divine (Knowledge). The source is free from any kind of defect or deficiency, doubt or suspicion, conflict or contradiction. What it contains is certain and decisive, identical and final. The knowledge of Allah is Ultimate and does not need change:
He is the First and the Last, and the Outward and the Inward; and He is Knower of all things. [al-Hadid 57: 3]
His Knowledge is circumambient and encompasses everything:
Your God is only Allah, then Whom there is no other God. He embraces the all things in His knowledge. [Ta Ha 20: 98]
.. . He surrounded all their doings, and He kept count of all things. [al-Jinn 72: 28]
Forgetfulness or inaccuracy are impossible:
He (Moses) said: The knowledge thereof is with my Lord in a Record. My Lord neither erred nor forge tteth. [Ta Ha 20: 52]
He is aware of everything – tangible and intangible – nothing escapes His knowledge:
… (He is) the Knower of the Unseen. Not an atom ‘s weight, or less than that or greater. Escaped Him in the heavens or in the earth, but it is in a clear Record. [Saba’ 34: 3]
The Book of Allah originated from the Knowledge of Allah. It is, therefore, the bearer and manifestation of His Attributes:
And if they answer not your prayer, then know that it is revealed only in the Knowledge of Allah; and that there is no God save Him. Will ye then be (of) those who surrender? |Hud 11: 14]
Verily We have brought them a Scripture. Which We expound with knowledge, a guidance and a mercy for a people who believe.
[al-A’raf 7: 52]
There is no contradiction in this Book (because its source is the Knowledge of Allah). The contradictions occur on account of ignorance or lack of knowledge, forgetfulness or inattention, lies or slander. He is Flawless and Perfect. That is why His Word (revelations) are free from contradiction:
Will they not then ponder on the Quran? If it had been from other than Allah they would have found therein much incongruity. [an-Nisa’ 4: 82]
It happens that the source of any knowledge be sound but for some persons. The medium of information may not be trustworthy. It emanated from its original source correct. And sound but it did not remain so by the time it reached the other end. The Holy Quran confirmed that the source of the Prophet Muhammad is Divine revelation and it is absolutely safe and secure. There is decidedly no chance of any interference in it:
And lo! It is a revelation of the Lord of the Worlds. Which the True Spirit hath brought down upon thy heart. That thou may set be (one) of the warner’s in plain Arabic speech, [ash- Shu’ara’ 26: 192-5]
Nor doth he speaks of (his own) desire. It is naught save an inspiration that is inspired. [an-Najm 53: 3^1]
Say: The holy Spirit (Gabriel) hath revealed it from thy Lord with truth, that it may confirm (the faith of) those who believe, and as guidance and good tidings for those who have surrendered (to Allah). [an-Nahl 16: 102]
That this is in truth the word of an honored messenger, mighty, established in the presence of the Lord of the Throne. [at-Takwir 81: 19-20]
The detailed knowledge of Allah’s pleasure and displeasure and His Commands cannot be known without His teaching through conjecture. Man himself cannot know what another man thinks or commands by intuition at all times.
In the same way, man will make a thousand and one mistakes in law-making, politics and ethics. There will be a clash between different laws and systems because their source would not be one – the different nations will fight and there will be a clash of interests. Man-made systems will pass through different stages because of a lack of foresight; the process of selection and elimination, preference and opposition will continue ad infinitum. There will be innumerable revolutions and movements for reform and man will never be at peace with himself.
The fountain of all these evils is man’s knowledge which is imperfect and he depends on it though it is doubtful and perverse:
…and of knowledge ye have been vouchsafed but little. [Banilsra’h* 17: 85]
We now compare human knowledge to divine revelation. The sources of human knowledge are neither safe nor flawless. They are often based on conjecture and supposition and these sources, besides being limited, are not as dependable as the prophets’ (peace be on all of them). The best source of knowledge for man are his five senses, but the knowledge he gets from them is superficial. The basis of his knowledge in intellectualism too are, in fact, his perceptions. He infers on the premise of knowledge and perceptions which are not known to him. But these perceptions do sometimes err and can sometimes be deficient. Then there is a wide disparity in the intellectual understanding from man to man (IQ). Then again, the knowledge of man, albeit limited in scope, is not perfect.
There are many problems in the physical world which have not been solved. There are differences of opinion on all subjects. If, however, limits are set, it is detrimental to knowledge and, if no limits are set, it is an indication that acquired knowledge is doubtful and imperfect and both of them are not free from uncertainty or defect:
Most of them follow naught but conjecture. Assuredly conjecture can by no means take the place of truth. Lot Allah is Aware of what they do. [Yunus 10: 36]
.. . They follow but a guess, and lo! a guess can never take the place of truth. [an-Najm 53: 28]
2. The Holy Quran is Distinct and Irrefutable:
This is in respect of the principles of religion and that which is necessary for salvation in the Next World and success in this world. They are clear and plain:
Shall I seek other than Allah for Judge, when He it is Who hath revealed unto you (this) Scripture, fully explained? [al-An’am6: 114]
Verily We have brought them a Scripture Which We expound with knowledge, a guidance and a mercy for a people who believe. [al-A’raf 7: 52]
Alif Lam. Ra. (This is) a Scripture the revelations whereof are perfected and then expounded. (It cometh) from One Wise, Informed. [Hud 11: 1]
And this Quran is not such as could ever be invented in despite of Allah; but it is a confirmation of that which was before it and an exposition of that which is decreed for mankind – therein is no doubt – from the Lord of the Worlds. [Yunus 10: 37]
But in Islam the concept of religion is not as narrow as some people of other religions have presumed. The basic concept of man is that he is the “bondman” of Allah and he is not free to do “what he will” in any sphere of life. Every act, including governance (rule), which appears to be opposed to “bondman ship”, is a manifestation of his “bondman ship”. The question about the division between religion and politics does not arise according to the accepted principle. The “bondman” has been given a complete and perfect “code of laws” from his Master (the Creator) in the form of the Holy Quran. The “bondman” can live his life with all-round success according to this Book. The Book does not need any additions on politics.
3. The Holy Quran distinguishes between true and false and it is such a quality which has been mentioned as one of its many nomenclatures:
Blessed is He Who hath revealed unto His slave the Criterion (of right and wrong), that he may be a warner to the peoples. [al-Furqan 25: 1 1
The distinction and division which the Holy Quran has made between righteousness and unrighteousness, belief (Iman) and unbelief (Kufr). (divine) pleasure and displeasure, conviction and conjecture, lawful (having religious sanction) and unlawful until Doomsday is not found in other revelations.
For example, the Holy Quran has made a superb distinction between Unitarianism (tawhld) and polytheism (shirk) and has removed all ambiguities and uncertainties – this is its miracle.
…The right direction is henceforth distinct from error… [al-Baqarah 2: 256]
That Allah may separate the wicked from the good… [al-Anfal 8: 37]
…that he who perished (on that day) might perish by a clear proof (of His Sovereignty) and he who survived might survive by a clear proof (of His Sovereignty) … [al-Anfal 8: 42]
4. The Holy Quran confirms the previous revelations: We must bear the following points in mind:
(i) All the revealed religions, Books and teachings are identical and in complete accord with one another which is proved by many verses of the Holy Quran;
(ii) The revelations prior to the Holy Quran were meant for a particular time and none of them were eternal;
(iii) The Holy Quran is the last of the revealed Books – it is eternal, embraces all principles of earlier religions and will remain current until Doomsday:
Lo! We, even We, reveal the Reminder, and lol We verily are its guardian. [al-Hijr 15:9]
When we accept these facts it becomes easier to sustain the claim that the Holy Quran confirms the previous revealed Books and it serves as an authentic proof and criterion of their real teachings. The sections of these Books which are identical with the Holy Quran are true and protected and those which differ in principle have been tampered with and are not valid.
There are many verses in which it has been asserted that it confirms the truths of previous revealed Books and both these qualities are mentioned in the following verses:
And unto thee have We revealed the Scripture with the truth, confirming whatever Scripture was before it, and a watcher over it… [al-Ma’idah 5: 48]
5. The Holy Quran directs man towards the path of peace and well-being and brings him out from darkness into light:
…Now hath come unto you light from Allah and a plain Scripture whereby Allah guided him who seeketh His good pleasure unto paths of peace. He bringeth them out of darkness unto light by His decree, and guided them unto a straight path. [al-Ma’idah 5: 15-16]
Alif. Lam. Ra. (This is) a Scripture Which We have revealed unto thee (Muhammad) that thereby thou mays bring forth mankind from darkness unto light, by the permission of their Lord, unto the path of the Mighty, the Owner of Praise. Allah, unto Whom helongeth whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth… [Ibrahim 14: 1-2]
He it is Who sendeth down clear revelations unto His slave, that He may bring you forth from darkness unto light; and lo! For you Allah is Full of Pity, Merciful. [al-HadM 57: 9]
Allah is the Protecting Friend of those who believe. He bringeth them out of darkness into light. As for those who disbelieve, their patrons are false deities. They bring The Holy Quran Introduces Itself
them out of light into darkness. Such are rightful owners of the Fire. They will abide therein. [al-Baqarah 2: 257]
The Holy Quran directs man towards a way of life which is equally good in all spheres of human activity and which is free from aberrations and dangers. That is why there can be no better interpretation than “paths of peace”. It is one of those rare expressions of which no explanation can be given. In fact, all these are the paths of one single highway towards which the Holy Quran points and says:
And (He commanded you, saying): This is My straight path, so follow it. Follow no other ways, lest ye be parted from His way… [al-An’am 6: 153]
The excellence of the Holy Quran deserves special attention in that it has always used plural for “darkness” against “light” because if there is no “light” of revelation, there would be no end to darkness in life. There would be darkness at every turn. If the light of religion is removed, there is nothing except “darkness” in the world – and they are many, not one. If a survey were taken it would be found that all other avenues God wards are confounded. The religious practices are limited to conventions and emulation; beliefs mostly on imprudence and ignorance; thinking based on hypothesis and supposition; most of the knowledge founded on conjecture and guesswork; social conduct founded on inequality and iniquity; law and politics built on experimentation and trials and government run on coercion and tyranny.
…Layer upon layer of darkness. When he holdeth out his hand he scarce can see it. [an-NOr 24: 40]
In this “sea of darkness” the only light is Allah’s “light” which illuminates the sky and the earth:
Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth… fan-Nur 24: 35]
That is why, in comparison to “darkness”, singular (light) has been used. When “light” emanates from this fountainhead, then from where does it shine?
And he for whom Allah hath not appointed light, for him there is no light. [an-Nur 24: 40]
Those who come out of darkness and the maze of the world through the light of the Holy Quran and the Prophet (peace be on him) get a new life. What pleasure has a blind man in life? They feel that they have got seeing eyes. All the avenues of life and the “coming life” open before them and they see the paths of peace and the “straight path” laid out before them. They tread the path illuminated by Allah and, so long as they are guided by Allah, they do not err.
The difference between these two conditions and the times cannot be described in a better way than that which is stated in the Holy Quran:
Is he who was dead and We have raised him unto life, and set for him a light wherein he walked among men, as him whose similitude is in utter darkness whence he cannot emerge?… [al-An’am 6: 122]
Allah promises “light” for those living according to the Holy Quran:
O ye who believe! Be mindful of your duty to Allah and put faith in His messenger. He will give you twofold of His mercy and will appoint for you a light wherein ye shall walk, and will forgive you… [al-HadTd 57: 28]
This light is not specific for the Hereafter but the believer gains a particular insight and power of differentiation; guidance of the Prophet (peace be on him) and the “criterion” which is bestowed on him from Allah. Their way of life is distinct from that of others. The reason for this difference is that their basis is not conjecture and experiment, but revelation and prophetic guidance. There is reference to this distinguishing feature in another verse:
O ye who believe! If ye keep your duty to Allah, He will give you discrimination (between right and wrong) and will rid you of your evil thoughts and deeds and will forgive you… [al-Anfal 8: 29]
6. That is why the Holy Quran is a mirror in which men of different faiths, thoughts, morals and deeds can see their countenance. It has been mentioned in some places directly and in others indirectly:
Now We have revealed unto you a Scripture wherein is your Reminder. Have ye then no sense? [al-Anbiya’ 21: 10]
The above verse tells us that the Holy Quran is a clear, faithful and honest mirror in which everyone can see his image and know his position in the sight of Allah and in society because it describes the morals and manners, character, conduct and attributes which are desirable for all men. It contains the characteristic traits of all types of men – high and low, rich and poor, good and bad.
The Holy Quran gives an account of the qualities and position of man as understood by a majority of ‘ulamd’ (exegetists). Our forebears considered the Holy Quran as a “living” book.
They did not consider it to be a book of history or archaeology which deals with past events and peoples of former times, and that it has nothing to do with living peoples and changing times, innumerable and unaccountable types of men who inhabit the world.
Everything was clear and well-defined for them. They used to seek guidance from the Scripture and looked for their morals and manners in this unique and wonderful book and found their true “self in it. If it was what it should be they used to thank Allah for that. If, on the contrary, it was other than what it should be, they used to ask forgiveness of Allah and try to mend their ways.
This verse reminds me of Ahnaf ibn Qays (may Allah have mercy on him), who was an eminent disciple of the Companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) – a “TabiT and one among the close associates of ‘AIT ibn AbT Talib (may Allah be pleased with him). His gentleness was proverbial and even when he became angry his sense of honor and zeal knew no bounds. It was said that when Ahnaf gets angry, a thousand swords are unsheathed.
Once he heard somebody reciting the above verse and he was startled to hear it. He asked to be brought the Holy Quran, adding that he wanted to know his position, where he stood and with which people he bore resemblance or affinity.
He turned the pages of the Holy Quran and came across the following verses:
They used to sleep but little of the night, and ere the dawning of each day would seek forgiveness. And in their wealth the beggar and the outcast had due share, [adh- Dhariyat51: 17-19]
Who forsake their beds to cry unto their Lord in fear and hope, and spend of what We have bestowed on them. [as-Sajdah 32: 16]