Understanding the Qur'aan and the Prophet's Role -- A response to an objection.
- B i s m i l l a a h i r R a h m a a n i r R a h e e mAssalaamu`Alaykum wa Rahmatullaahi wa BarakaatuhuDear Brothers and Sisters,
There is an increasing trend among some people who call themselves Muslims who interpret the Qur-aan according to their opinions disregarding the basic rules of tafseer. This is a very serious sin against which the Prophet, Ŝall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam has given severe warnings. There are many such groups on the internet who pose themselves as the people of the Qur-aan but they abuse the verses of the Qur-aan to interpret according to their personal opinions. They reject all Ahaadeeth and any interpretation of the verses and Islamic teachings given by our Prophet, Ŝall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam. They keep circulating some very misleading articles in that regard as well. To help those who sincerely want to understand the true message of the Qur-aan while avoiding such charlatans, I have posted a series on the guidelines for understanding the Qur-aan over past few months.
These guidelines were posted in series for sincere Muslims so that they can learn how to understand the proper and accurate message of the Qur-aan instead of committing grave sin by misconstruing its Message. The series contained very simple straightforward rules that any reasonable person with common sense will use to interpret any text. Although everyone should be following those rules of common sense without any reminder, many people think that because they call themselves Muslim, they can take the text of the Qur-aan to mean anything they like without any consideration for any rules of textual interpretation used universally for any other book in the world.
One such person, claiming to be a well-wisher, who is allergic to the teachings of the Prophet, Ŝall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam has raised an objection to my following statement:
"There are certain words that the Qur-aan has used as special terms. Those special terms were given new meanings by the Qur-aan. Those meanings were clearly communicated, demonstrated and established by the Messenger, Sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam, himself."
Anyone with some common sense and even very basic knowledge of Qur-aan will understand this point and will be able to quickly count some terms that were given some special specific meanings by the Qur-aan, as taught by the Prophet, Ŝall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam and practically demonstrated by him.
The fact is that people see it happening everyday around themselves that new books and new branches of knowledge prescribe special meaning to certain words. What does a mouse, a click, a cursor, a monitor, a visit to a site, etc, mean in a computer book? Do they have the same meaning in a book of biology, civil engineering or medicine? No one has any difficulty understanding this simple point except those who are severely allergic to the role of the Prophet, Ŝall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam in interpreting and teaching the Book and wisdom, which role was mandated by Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala Himself in the Qur-aan itself. But in their hatred for the noble role of the Prophet, Ŝall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam, they break every rule in the world and deny every proof shining like a sun in front of them.
I challenge all those who deny the role of the Prophet, Ŝall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam in defining, teaching and demonstrating certain special Islamic terms to bring their proofs from literature of the Arabs at the time of the Prophet, Ŝall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam as to how Islam, Eeman, Salaah, Zakaah, Taaghoot, Towheed, Shirk, Mushrik, Kufr, Kaafir, Ahlul Kitaab, etc. were used before the revelation of the Qur-aan and prove that the Qur-aan is using them in exactly the same sense. The fact is that they cannot bring any proof because there is none. All these terms have special Islamic meanings as taught by the Prophet, Ŝall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam and those meanings were not known to the Arabs before our Prophet Ŝall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam. Even the Prophet, Ŝall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam himself did not know them before Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala had taught these things to him:
You did not know what is the Book and what is Eeman (42:52)
He, the so-called well-wisher, has quoted two verses in his email and attached an article with some very misleading conclusions. I have attached his article above.
The verse 19:97 he has quoted talks about the Qur-aan being easy and in Prophet Ŝall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallams language. Its message is that Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala has made the Qur-aan very appropriate (Yassara) in two ways for its purposes of giving good news to those who have Taqwa and warn those who are argumentative:
- It is in Prophet Ŝall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallams language, no translation is needed to understand or to convey its message;
- It has all the necessary tools and components that are required for giving the good news or delivering the warning. Just as in Arabic Yassaral farsu lirrukoob, means the horse has been prepared and dressed up with appropriate equipment such as the saddle, rein, etc. for riding.
Although the basic message of the Qur-aan is easy to understand, and clear to anyone who pays attention, it does in no way imply that the Qur-aan does not have any special Islamic terminology, nor does it mean that it can be practised and implemented without any reflection and pondering or without being taught and explained. Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala Himself has mentioned that even the Prophet, Ŝall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam needed explanations to understand the terminology to be able to implement it into practice and to explain to people. When initially the Prophet, Ŝall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallams was worried about it, Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala told him:
When we are revealing it, just follow its recitation, then its explanation is our responsibility. (75:18-19)
The so-called well-wishers conclusions from this verse such as - quote: Basic easy level of language, Easy than the normal language, there was no need to explain further - unquote, are his personal opinions that cannot be derived from the verse he has quoted. The fact is that the Qur-aanic language was such a splendid, literary language that the literary giants of that time marvelled at its beauty and style. Also, the fact is that all commands of Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala to the believers needed to be explained and practically demonstrated to them. That is why the Prophet, Ŝall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam was sent. Otherwise, an angel could have just brought the Qur-aan and given to people to follow it.
Regardless of how much they hate it, they cannot deny that role of the Prophet, Ŝall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam in explaining, demonstrating and implementing the teachings of the Qur-aan.
The second verse he (the well-wisher) has quoted is also quoted totally without relevance to the subject-matter of this discussion.
The Prophet, Ŝall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam was very much concerned about people not responding to his preaching. He used to over-exert himself to save people from misguidance and Fire. Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala used to tell him that his responsibility is only to convey the message, if he conveyed the messaged properly, then it was not his responsibility if they did not become Muslim. That is why he was told:
Then maybe you will kill yourself with grief, sorrowing after them, if they do not believe in this message. (18:6)
We have not revealed the Qur-aan to you to distress you, but as a reminder to him who fears. (20:2-3)
This does not at all mean that he, Ŝall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam was not required to teach, explain and demonstrate the teachings of the Qur-aan to those who believed. In fact, his job was not only to invite people to Islam, but also to teach and purify those who did accept Islam:
"Allaah did confer a great favour on the believers when He sent them a messenger from among themselves, informing them of His signs, purifying them, and teaching them the Book and the wisdom, whereas before that they were living in sheer misguidance." (3:164)
Informing of Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala's Signs completed his duty to the non-believers, but to the believers, his duty extended to purification as well as teaching of the Book and wisdom. This means explaining the teaching of the Qur-aan, demonstrating them in action and coaching them to improve their morals and behaviours.
So the well-wisher is once again wrong in suggesting that the Prophet Ŝall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallams job was only giving good news and warning. Allaah Subhaaahu wa Ta`aala had assigned him the mission of teaching of the practical aspects of the teachings of the Qur-aan as well as purifying believers thoughts, actions and attitudes through constant coaching.
That is why it is important that while drawing conclusions from any verse, one must use the Arabic language as it was used at the time of the Prophet, Ŝall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam instead of merely relying on the English translations, must consider the context of the verse, must keep all relevant teachings of the Qur-aan on that subject matter in view, and must take it to mean only as it was taken to mean by the Prophet, Ŝall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam and his companions. If these rules are broken, the person will end up with misguidance, rather than the guidance. Translations are just approximations of the meanings of the Qur-aan. Those who want to draw conclusions from the verses of the Qur-aan, as this person is attempting to do, must not just see a word such as Easy and jump to conclusions. It is not going to do anyone any good.
I have taken the time to write this as a sincere well-wishing gesture to the writer, if he has an open mind to accept the guidance. If he has already decided to become quarrelsome or argumentative in this respect, my salaam to him. I hope other readers will be on their guard against the misguidance these people are preaching, inshaa Allaah.
As this response has already become too long, I have not written anything about the third verse (3:7) the well-wisher used. I will post the correct meaning of this verse next Thursday, inshaa Allaah.
May the peace and blessings of Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala be upon His last messenger, Prophet Muhammad, Sall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam, his family, companions, and those following true guidance. Aameen.
Wa`Assalaamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullaahi wa Barakaatuhu
Ayub A. HamidNote: The quotations of the Qur-aan provided in the above is not a literal translation. Instead of literal translation, it gives interpretive meanings of the verses, along with their contextual details. Please remember that any translation of the Holy Qur-aan is in fact only an expression of the translator's understanding of the Word of AllaahSubhaanahu wa Ta`aala, and hence cannot be equated with the Qur-aan itself. Only the original Arabic text can be called the Holy Qur`aan.Karima-DDN
----- Original Message -----From: "Al Quran" <al-qurankareem@...>Sent: Saturday, May 27, 2006 6:57 PMSubject: Please read my commentsDear Br. Ayub,
Assalam o Alaikum
Inshallah you will be fine by the Grace of Allah swt. I have examined your
article Guidelines and understanding of the Quran. If you don't mind I
would like present my comments:
Allah swt's directives:
1. So Allah swt has made this Quran EASY in your OWN LANGUAGE (O
Mohammad), ONLY that you may give GLAD TIDINGS to the Muttaquen andWARN with the Ludd (QUARRELSOME) people (19:97).
2. Allah swt has not revealed this Quran on you (O Mohammad) to CAUSE
you DISTRESS (20:2).
As per your preaching:
"here are certain words that the Qur-aan has used as special terms. Those
special terms were given new meanings by the Qur-aan. Those meanings were
clearly communicated, demonstrated and established by the Messenger,
Ŝall Allaahu`alayhi wa sallam, himself"
Please take a special care because your preaching totally against the Quran.
Though I have transmitted my article but once again attached herewith.