Dear brothers and sisters,
Today is the 29th of Shaban. Alhamdullilah, by the grace of Allah SWT, Ramadan is almost here and inshallah, by the end of today, based on whether moon is sighted today or not, we’ll know if the month of Ramadan starts today or not. Knowing that Ramadan is the month when Quran was first revealed, I thought now is a good time to talk about Quran itself and highlight its significance as the final revealed book of Allah SWT. First and foremost, it is important to highlight that the Holy Quran is neither the first nor the only book of Allah SWT... it is the final book of Allah SWT. This means it is simply a continuation of the same message that was revealed to earlier prophets before Muhammad SAW.
It is common knowledge to us all that Allah SWT brought several prophets before Muhammad SAW into this world and while their total number is disputed, 25 have been mentioned by names in the Quran. Allah SWT describes them in Quran in Surah Nahl [16:36]: “And verily We have raised in every nation a messenger, (proclaiming): Serve Allah and shun false gods.” This Ayat signifies that all prophets who came before Muhammad SAW carried the same message as him... to follow Allah SWT and to denounce the false gods. All the prophets received Vaheeh (or revelations) from Allah SWT and they were sent to all the nations of this world. So, while it is unfortunate that we no longer have records of the revelations sent to earlier prophets, Allah SWT did make it easier on us by adding context and references about past stories in the Quran that are related to earlier prophets wherever He felt it was necessary. He named 25 prophets in different parts of the Quran and has mentioned four books by name as His own, namely Zaboor (aka Book of Psalms), Torah, Injeel (aka Bible) and Quran. Hence our first point, Quran was never a message received new, it’s only a continuation of the same message from day one and is consistent with the religion of Adam AS, Noah AS & Ibrahim AS. This is the reason why Muslims have been specifically told to treat all prophets and messengers the same and not make distinctions between their status
like the nations before us did. The Quran made this clear in Surah Imraan [3:84] where Allah SWT says Say, "We have believed in Allah and in what was revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Descendants, and in what was given to Moses and Jesus and to the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we are Muslims [submitting] to Him." Second point about the Quran, we are not responsible for another individual’s actions, hence whenever we advise someone or recommend something, we should be careful to never impose our thoughts on others. We expect others to be tolerant towards us so similarly, we are to be tolerant towards other religions unless those of the other religion are are in either direct contest to us unknowingly or are willingly in conflict. Allah SWT says in Quran in Surah Anam [6:107] But if Allah had willed, they would not have associated. And We have not appointed you over them as a guardian, nor are you a manager over them.
The words and tone in this Ayat are clear... we were never appointed as guardians or managers of others hence, we should never act as one and impose our will onto others. When it comes to other religions, we must be patient and never mock or insult another religious figure. I agree that while it is important to propagate Allah SWT words to others and to be on the side of Haqq, it is also Un- Islamic to vilify another religion simply because we can and among several reasons why we are prohibited to do so, one reason is that we don’t know whether the religious figure in question is a reference to one of the unnamed prophets or not. We, of course, cannot take the stories associated with these figures for its face-value but we should avoid either glorifying them or criticizing them because the truth is, we don’t know if these people or stories are real or not. Allah SWT says in SurahAnam [6:108]
And do not insult those they invoke other than Allah, lest they insult Allah in enmity without knowledge. Thus, We have made pleasing to every community their deeds. Then to their Lord is their return, and He will inform them about what they used to do. The third and last point for today about the Quran, it is the final revealed book that Allah to us humans, so whatever it says is the final verdict or opinion on that matter. We have several stories especially in the bible and torah that Quran references about earlier prophets and what we often notice is that several times, what was prohibited for them is allowed to us and vice versa. E.g., Jews, after slaughtering an animal, cannot consume several fatty parts around few internal organs but we can. Similarly, we know it was okay for earlier prophets to perform Sajdah of respect (Sajdah-e- Tahzeemi) but we, as Muslims, have been told specifically not to do so. This difference in the shariah associated with different prophets is because Allah SWT’s message to those messengers was only limited to their nations while the guidelines in Quran, are universal and for all nations. Its validity applies across all continents and while we are to always praise and look up to the character of all prophets, we are to follow and mimic only what prophet SAW said or did. And this is true with so many instances e.g., when prophet SAW learned that Musa AS used to fast on the 10th of Moharram, he made a tradition for Muslims to fast on the tenth as well but with the added clause to do another day of fast on either the nineth or the eleventh. This was to avoid having Muslims mimicking or being mistaken as the Jewish people.
Dear Brothers and sisters,
To recap, Quran is the greatest gift given to us via Muhammad SAW. It is the noblest of all books, it is the continuation of the same message that was delivered via earlier prophets and because it is the last book, it is to be considered the most up-to-date version of Shariah that we are to follow. By nature, its message spans across all nations and is not limited to one region, unlike the message given to earlier prophets, hence its guidelines apply to all of us and as a rule, even though Quran does reference several stories that are also mentioned in other books and scriptures, we are to only refer to the Quran when it comes to matters of this life. I’ll end today’s conversation about the Quran by highlighting one miracle that resonated with me when I was young. Muhammad SAW was an orphan as a child, he lost both his parents by the age of 6 and grew up under his uncle Abu Talib as part of the Banu Hashim Clan. He was neither wealthy nor did he had received formal education as a prestigious institution. For all we know, Muhammad SAW was a man, who had no background in arts or culture yet, he was able to quote several of Allah SWT’s verses that were perfect from all angles. They were in terms of the message they contained, they were perfect because they were just and balanced and they were perfect even in minor details like those related to Arabic language. For a man with no background of arts, his absurd to suggest he is writing poetry and that he is the one making it all up. Quranic verses are so impeccable that it actually challenges those who think Muhammad SAW created these verses. In Surah Baqarah [2:23], Allah SAW says: And if you are in doubt about what We have sent down upon Our Servant [Muhammad], then produce a surah the like thereof and call upon your witnesses other than Allah, if you should be truthful. Hence, to me, this is proof enough to know that Quran is indeed Allah SWT’s words and that Muhammad SAW is indeed His last messenger.