Quranic Wisdom – New.indd
Quran Pocket Guide
QURAN POCKET GUIDE
So, surely with every hardship there is ease. AL-SHARH, 94:5
The Quran is the Book of God. It has been preserved in its entirety for all time to come. Although written originally in Arabic, it has been made accessible, thanks to translations, to those who have no knowledge of Arabic.
While no substitute for the original, translations serve the signal purpose of spreading the word of God far beyond the Arabic-speaking peoples to a far broader spectrum of humanity.
The Quran is apparently in the Arabic language, but in reality, it is in the language of nature, that is, the language in which God directly addressed all human beings at the time of Creation.
This divine invocation of humanity is ever-present in the consciousness of all human beings, that is why the Quran is universally understandable—to some on a conscious plane, and to others at the subconscious level.
This reality has been described in the Quran as ‘clear revelations in the hearts of those who have been given knowledge.’ This verse goes on to say that ‘none deny Our revelations save the wrongdoers’ (29:49).
This means that the Divine Reality, explained by the Quran on a conscious plane, pre-exists in man at the level of the subconscious.
The message of the Quran is not, therefore, something which is alien to man. It is in fact a verbal expression of that same Divine Reality which is in consonance with man’s own nature and with which he is already familiar.
Surely, man is ungrateful to his Lord. He himself bears witness to that. AL-‘ADIYAT, 100:6-7
The Quran explains this by saying that those born in later times were all initially born at the time of the creation of Adam and, at that time, God had directly addressed all these human souls.
This event is thus alluded to in the Quran: ‘[Prophet], when your Lord brought forth the
offspring from the loins of the Children of Adam and made them bear witness about themselves, He said, ‘Am I not your Lord?’ and they replied, ‘Yes, we bear witness that You are.’ So you cannot say on the Day of Resurrection, ‘We were not aware of this’ (7:172).
In the following verse, the Quran makes further mention of the dialogue between God and man:
‘Surely We offered Our trust to the heavens and the earth, and the hills, but they shrank from bearing it and were afraid of it. And man undertook it. But he has proved a tyrant and a fool’ (33:72).
The Quran, for man, is in essence already known to him, rather than an entirely unknown entity. In reality, the Quran is the unfolding of the human mind.
When one whose nature is alive—having saved himself from later conditioning—reads the Quran, those brain cells will be activated wherein God’s first address lies preserved. If we keep this in mind, it will not be difficult to appreciate that the translation of the Quran is a valid means of understanding it.
If God’s address was the First Covenant, the Quran is the Second Covenant. Each testifies to the veracity of the other.
If one has little, or even no grasp of the Arabic language, and can read the scriptures only in translation, he should not anticipate that he will be frustrated in his understanding of the Quran, for the Quranic concept of man as the natural recipient of God’s word has become a reality in modern times.
The science of the genetic code and the findings of anthropology both fully support this viewpoint.
THE CREATION PLAN OF GOD
Every book has its objective and the objective of the Quran is to make man aware of the Creation plan of God. That is, to tell man why God created this world; what the purpose is of settling man on earth; what is required from man in his pre-death life span, and what he is going to confront after death.
Man is born as an eternal creature. When God created man as such, He divided his life span into two periods, the pre-death period, which is a time of trial, and the post-death period, which is the time for receiving the rewards or punishment merited by one’s actions during one’s lifetime. These take the form of eternal paradise or eternal hell.
The purpose of the Quran is to make man aware of this reality. This is the theme of this divine Book, which serves to guide man through his entire journey through life into the after-life.
It would be correct to say that man is a seeker by birth. These questions lurk in everyone’s mind: Who am I? What is the purpose of my life? What is the reality of life and death? What is the secret of man’s success and failure? etc.
According to the Quran, the answer to these questions is that the present world is the testing ground and whatever man has been endowed with in his pre-death period is all a part of the test.
The Hereafter is the place where the result of the test will be taken into account by the Almighty and whatever man receives in the life after death, by way of reward or punishment, will be commensurate with his deeds in this world.
The secret of man’s success in this life is to understand God’s creation plan and map out his life accordingly.
Whoever is patient and forgiving, acts with great courage and resolution. AL-SHURA, 42:43
A BOOK OF DIVINE WARNING
The Quran is a book of divine warning.
A combination of lessons and admonitions, it would be even more appropriately called a book of wisdom. The Quran does not follow the pattern of the traditional didactic book.
In fact, when the average reader picks up the Quran, it appears to him to be a collection of fragmentary statements. Apparently this feeling is not unreal.
But this arrangement of the Quran is not due to any shortcoming, but is rather in conformance with the Quranic plan of retaining its original form in order to fulfill its purpose of conveying the message of truth to the reader who may, in his forays into the scriptures, read only one page, one verse or one line at a time.
One vital aspect of the Quran is that it is a reminder of the blessings granted by the Supreme Benefactor.
The most important of these are the exceptional qualities with which God endowed man when He created him.
Another great blessing is that He settled him on the earth, a planet where all kinds of support systems existed for his benefit.
The purpose of the Quran is to ensure that, while enjoying these blessings of nature, man will keep his Benefactor in mind: he must acknowledge the munificence of his Creator.
It is in so doing that man will gain entry into eternal paradise; ignoring his Benefactor, on the other hand, will lead man straight to hell. The Quran is indeed a reminder of this inescapable reality.
THE INNER SPIRIT AND GOD REALIZATION
One important quality of the Quran is that it gives us only basic, but essential principles, often resorting to reiteration to emphasize them. On the contrary, non-basics, or matters relating only to form, constitute only a negligible part of the scriptures.
This is in consonance with the Quranic scheme, the importance of form being entirely secondary. To the Quran, only those precepts are important which figure as fundamental guidelines.
It is He who gives life and death, and when He ordains a thing, He says only, ‘Be!’ and it is. GHAFIR, 40:68
This aspect of the Quran is so clear that its reader cannot but appreciate it.
The truth is that the inner spirit is of the utmost importance in the building of the Islamic personality. Once the inner spirit is developed, correct form will naturally ensue. But form on its own can never produce the inner spirit.
That is why the aim of the Quran is to initiate and bring to fruition an intellectual revolution within man. The expression used by the Quran for this intellectual revolution is ma‘rifah (realization of truth) (5:83).
The Quran stresses the importance of man’s discovery of truth at the level of realization. True faith in God is what one achieves at such a level. Where there is no realization, there is no faith