I had often wondered on below ayahs that why Allah asks the messenger (pbuh) to ask for forgiveness of a sin. Normally people when they do ‘asthaghfar’, they ask for forgiveness of all their sins. So, mention of ‘sin’ in singular form seemed a bit unusual in these ayahs:
Thus know that there is no god but Allah, and ask forgiveness for your sin (O’ messenger), and for the men and women who believe, for Allah knows of your wandering abouts and destinations.
Then the realization came that what is required of the believers is to constantly improve their characters by striving to do corrections in themselves. First step for believers is to believe in the message of Allah, leave alternative belief systems and then to recognize wrong doings they had been doing and plan to correct their past wrong doings. Through the messenger and his sunnat (practice) Allah advises the best practices to be followed by believers in correcting themselves. The reason for mentioning ‘sin’ in singular in these three ayahs with the messenger, is that Allah wants one sin to be singled out, recognized and be focused for correction at a time. Once that sin is overcome then a believer can focus on the next sin for correction. This practice is sure to be far more effective then paying lip service and saying ‘God, forgive me of all my sins’ and then doing practically nothing about corrections to be implemented in your life. Long ingrained bad attitudes are difficult to overcome all at once however, they can be targeted and corrected one by one. You are more likely to over come your sins and your weaknesses by first identifying and prioritizing the corrections and targeting your sins for correction one by one.
The realization and plan to overcome the sins and evils within oneself cannot be procrastinated. The plan should be started as soon as possible as with procrastination they may become part of one’s psyche and then almost impossible to be gotten rid of.
Say. “O my servants who have transgressed against their nafs! Do’not lose hope for the mercy of Allah, for Allah forgives all sins, indeed He is Oft-Forgiving, most Merciful, and turn ye to our Lord (in repentance) and bow to His (Will), before the penalty comes to you, after that ye shall not be helped.
In the above ayat Allah says that He will forgive all sins on the condition that people submit to them and turn in repentance to him before the penalty comes to them If they delay too much, so much so that the penalty for their sins starts then they will not be helped. So there is definitely a time limit in the world, before which, if people don’t repent for their sins and turn to Lord with corrections, they will not be helped.
Verily, the repentance/return on Allah, is only for those who do evil in ignorance and then repent/return soon afterwards; to those people Allah returns/accept repentance and Allah is knowledgeable, wise.
If people keep on procrastinating implementing corrective actions in themselves, then the evil would becomes part of their psyche and they will not be able to return to righteousness.
There is no repentance/return for those who do evil, until death faces one of them, and he says, “Now I repent/return indeed;” and nor of those who die being rejecters. For them We have prepared a most grievous punishment.
Example is the case of Pharoh. He went too deep and late in his sins and evil deeds, that the door of return was closed on him and his repentance was not accepted;
We took the Bani Israeel across the sea: Pharaoh and his group followed them in insolence and spite. At length, when overwhelmed with the flood, he said: “I believe that there is no god except Him whom the children of Israel believe in: I am of those who are muslims/submitters. (It was said to him). “Ah now!- But before, you were in rebellion!- and you were maker of violence.
For the people doing repentance and turning to their Lords, they have to make their din/judgement pure for Allah and hold fast to Allah.
Except for those who repented/returned and did right and held fast to Allah, and made their Din/judgement purely for Allah. These are the people who will be with the believers. And soon will Allah grant to the believers a mighty reward.
The people are advised in below ayat to listen and follow the best advice in Quran, i.e follow the instructions and do’s and dont’s described in Quran.
Those who listen to the Word, and follow the best in it, these are the ones whom Allah has guided, and those are the ones endued with understanding.
The believers should feel the benefits of corrections in their life. They are bound to become more tolerant and the typical sectarian hatred in their hearts should be replaced with tolerance and compassion (41:34, 3:103). They don’t blame people for any test they encounter in life and in case of being wronged leave their case to Allah for full compensation (please see previous post on Qasas’). The peace and tranquility thus achieved, in one’s heart is a great blessing indeed.
And hold fast all together to the rope of Allah and do not be divided among yourselves, and remember the favor of Allah on you when you were enemies and He joined your hearts in love; you became brethren and you were on the brink of the pit of fire and He saved you from it. Likewise Allah make His Ayats/Signs clear to you that you may be guided.
In previous posts we had learned that the first ‘House’ established for man-kind by Allah, is in ‘Bakka’ (Makkah). This House is guidance for all believers. The systems of ‘Salat’ and ‘Tawaf/Hajj’ have been established in this House for all times. The guidance which mankind is to take from this House of God, is to follow the sunnat/practice of the system of ‘Salat’ and ‘Hajj’ established at this House of the Lord. These systems are already established at the House for those who want to take guidance.
Without doubt, the first House appointed for mankind is that at Bakka (Makkah); blessed and of guidance for all worlds. In it are clear ayahs / signs, the standing position of Ibrahim; whoever enters it attains security. And for Allah is pilgrimage of the House on people, those who can afford the journey, but if anyone denies, surely Allah is not in need of any in the worlds.
It is upon mankind to do pilgrimage of the House of Allah, whoever has the capacity to perform Hajj.
The purpose of Hajj is the training of nafs, i.e self control in difficult situations. People have to exercise restraint and control their anger and impulses, while being out of their comfort zones and showing empathy towards their brethren who are in similar difficult situations.
The system of Hajj is established in Makkah for all times. The months of Hajj are known to believers. They were known to believers in the past as well. So, anyone who makes an intention of performing Hajj, should align himself to the task with no bickering, fighting and unnecessary argumentation in these months. The goal is to get closer to Allah.
The months of Hajj/Pilgrimage are known, so whosoever imposes Hajj / Pilgrimage (on himself) in them, he should not commit obscenity nor commit immoralities and no bickering in the Hajj / Pilgrimage. And what you do from goodness, Allah knows it. And take provision, so surely the best of the provisions is to take guard and take guard from Me O’ you who posses the core (of Knowledge/Spirit of the Book)
Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) is the Imam/leader for the mankind. He has been ordered to purify the House for the ‘salat’ and ‘tawaf’ around this House (2:125). People who intend for the Hajj would seek many means of transportation to plan their arrival to the sacred place.
“And proclaim the Pilgrimage to mankind. They will come to thee on foot and riding from all remote places.”
When pilgrims actually reach the starting place of Hajj known as ‘Miqat’ they attain the state of ‘ahram/hurum’. Hurum state forbids them killing any animal or even insects within the ‘Haram area’ i.e the places of Hajj. As a large number of pilgrims visit the place every year, this stipulation is necessary in order to preserve the place and its flora and fauna.
O you people who believe! Do not kill the game/hunt when you are in Ahram/pilgrim state. If any one does so intentionally, the compensation is an offering similar to the animal killed, brought to the Ka’ba, as adjudged by two just honest men among you; or the atonement is the feeding of the indigents; or its equivalent in fasts. That he may taste of the penalty of his deed. Allah forgave what was past. For the one who repeats, Allah will avenge from him and Allah is exalted, Lord of retribution.
For the pilgrims intending Hajj, keeping sanctity of this sacred place and all its symbols such as ‘Safaa’, ‘Marwa’, ‘tawaf’, etc, is important. The people of various groups and sects will come there with a common cause of getting good pleasure of Allah. At Hajj, the pilgrims are not to show acrimony with any group even if they have problems and hatred with that group before Hajj. In all matters of piety and righteousness, pilgrims are ordered to co-operate with one another and not to co-operate in any matter of rancor, hatred and sin.
O you people who believe! Do not violate the sanctity of the symbols of Allah, nor of the sacred month, nor of the gift (animals for sacrifice) nor the garlands (crowd formation of garland shape around Kaaba in Tawaf), nor the people resorting to the sacred house, seeking the bounty and good pleasure of their Lord. But when you are clear (of the sacred precincts and of pilgrim garb), you may hunt and let not the hatred of some people in preventing of the Sacred Mosque, lead you to transgression. Co-operate in righteousness and piety, but do-not co-operate in sin and rancor. Fear Allah, for Allah is strict in punishment.
Allah has bound everyone’s hands in the valley of Makkah from fighting in the sacred valley. So whoever succeeds in reaching the valley, then he should not fight and argue with those present there.
Surely! Safa and Marwah are among the symbols of Allah, so if any who goes for Hajj or Umra of the House, It is no sin on him, that he goes round them and whoever voluntarily does good, so surely Allah is He, who is thankful and knowing
After ‘tawaf’ of ‘Kaaba’, the pilgrims perform ‘tawaf’ of ‘Safa’ and ‘Marwa’ the two raised symbols near Kaaba.
After completing Tawaf, pilgrims move to their camps and from there they present them selves in the plains of ‘Arafat’ on the day of Hajj. This is the second and most important step of ‘Hajj’ called ‘Hajj e Akbar’. During that long day of ‘Hajje Akbar’ pilgrims are advised to get rid of any idols/associates in their psychology by identifying them and symbolically stoning them in coming days of Hajj.
There is no blame on you if you seek of the bounty of your Lord (during pilgrimage). Then when you spread from ‘Arafat’, you all remember Allah at the ‘Mash’aril Haram’, and remember Him as He has directed you, even though, before this, you were the strayers.
Then you shall disperse from where the people dispersed, and seek God’s forgiveness; God is surely Forgiving, Merciful.
From ‘Arafat’ people will move in large numbers towards a place called ‘Muzdalfa’. ‘Muzdalfa’ and ‘Mina’ are two small temporary dwellings close together. In Quran they are referenced as ‘Mash-aril Haram’, i.e sacred place for getting consciousness of Allah by remembering Him. In ‘Muzdalfa’, people spend the night under the open sky remembering Allah and also collect pebbles in preparation of ‘Jamrat/ceremonial stoning of so called ‘Satan’. The staying in Muzdalfa is the 3rd step of Hajj.
It is advisable to do self introspection within oneself for any psychological idols in one’s self and then imagine these idols being broken while stoning them in coming days at ‘Jamrat’. The ‘idols’ residing deep in one’s psyche are mainly emotional attachments named in Quran as ‘Desires’, ‘Longings’, ‘Pride’, ‘Love’ etc. It is only Allah who can kill the idols in your psychology by His will. The idols mentioned in Quran are detailed in previous post ( https://topicsfromquran.com/2017/08/07/ilahs-false-gods-mentioned-in-al-kitab/)
It is not you who killed them; but it was Allah who killed them. And you did not throw pebbles when you threw them but Allah did threw the pebbles in order that He might test the believers by a gracious trial. Verily Allah hears and knows (all things).
After spending night in Muzdalfa the pilgrims move to Mina and stone the Jamrat from the pebbles they collected the night before to perform 4th step of Hajj. The symbolic stoning of the three ‘Jamrat’ (commonly known as Satan) is the psychological killing of idols in one’s psyche. The ‘illahs’ and false gods reside in one’s psychology. During Hajj, when one is away from his business activities, there is an opportunity to do self retrospection and identity the idols within oneself. Only by the leave of Allah, the false gods in one’s psyche can be killed. The false gods lives in our psyche and Satan instigates them by playing with our emotions. Pilgrims throw pebbles at Satan as a symbol of casting him away and the false gods he wants us to associate with.
They are the ones who rejected and prevented you from the Sacred Mosque and the gifts/sacrificial animals, detained from reaching their place. Had there not been believing men and believing women whom you did not know that you were trampling down and on whose account a crime would have accrued to you without (your) knowledge, that He may admit to His Mercy whom He will. If they had been apart, We should certainly have punished the Unbelievers among them with a grievous Punishment.
The group who dissuades from Hajj as being a ritualistic practice of going to Makkah; they also cut off the connection of the gift of sacrificial animals with the practice of Hajj. Allah would have punished this group, if it were not that some believing men and women are mixed up with this group. Ayas 2:196 and 22:33 establish the connection of gift of sacrificial animals with the practice of Hajj.
And complete the Hajj and Umra for Allah and if you are prevented, then give it what is easy from the hadiya / gift, and do not shave your heads until the offering reaches its place. And if any of you is ill, or has an ailment in his head, (He should) in compensation either fast, or give sadaqa, or correcting act; and when you are in peaceful conditions (again), if any one wishes to continue the ‘umra on to the hajj, He must make an offering, such as he can afford, but if he cannot afford it, He should fast three days during the hajj and seven days on his return, Making ten days in all. This is for those whose household is not in (the precincts of) the Sacred Mosque. And fear Allah, and know that Allah Is strict in punishment.
After presenting the gift of sacrificial animal, the pilgrims shave their heads. After that the pilgrims go to Makkah and circulate the Kaaba seven times and perform Saa’y between hills of Safa and Marwa which is the fifth step of Hajj. They then drink from Zam-zam well and return to Mina.
Those who can not afford to offer a gift of sacrificial animal, they would compensate by fasting 3 days in Hajj and 7 more when they return home. Those who are unable to shave their heads due to some ailment they have to compensate with Sadaqa or with fasting as described above i.e three plus seven fasts.
Allah has indeed fulfil the vision of His messenger with truth, If Allah wills, definitely you shall enter the Sacred/Forbidden Mosque in security without fear, your heads shaved and (Salah/Prayer) curtailed/shortened. For He knows what you know not, and He made besides that, an opening nearby.
Pilgrims then carry on from Makkah to stay in Mina for two to three days and they again stone the ‘Jamrat’ to each of the three pillars on 11th and 12th of Dhul-Hijjah, which is the sixth step of Hajj.
And remember Allah in the appointed days. Thus if any one hastens in two days, there is no blame on him, and if any one delays, there is no blame on him, if he does it for Taqwa. And take guard of Allah, and know that you will surely be gathered towards Him.
After completing this ritual, pilgrims return to Makkah and perform the final Tawaaf of Kaaba as a ‘Farewell Tawaaf’ in Masjid al-Haram. This marks the end of Hajj.
So when you have completed your rites, remember Allah, as you remember your ancestors,- even more than their remembrance. There are people who say. “Our Lord! Give us (your bounties) in this world!” but they will have no portion in the Hereafter.
After completing the Hajj rites pilgrim should engage in remembrance of Allah. Allah’s remembrance should not be some repetitive chants, but more like intelligent discourse as some one who takes pride in talking about good deeds of his ancestor.
It is the usual practice of pilgrims to visit the mosque known as prophet’s (pbuh) mosque in Madinah which is about 400 km from Makkah and people witness the same blessings and atmosphere there as well. The atmosphere and blessings surrounding these two mosques are unique in the world. No other mosque in the world can boast of similar blessings which is divinely bestowed on these two mosques.
Glory to He who took His servant for a Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the ‘far-off Mosque’, whose surroundings We blessed,- to show him some of Our Ayats/Signs. for He is the One Who hears and sees (all things).
The day, We shall call together all human beings with their Imam, thus those who are given their book in their right, will read it, and they will not be dealt with unjustly.
As Imam is a role model who people follow, therefore on the day of judgement, people will be called with whom they were following in the world. So, whoever you will follow in the world will be called in the hereafter with you to testify.
Allah also has appointed some Imams/role models for people. There are also role models for rejecters of Allah who are called the Imams of fire. The description of both these type of Imams is provided in the book of Allah.
And when his Lord put Ibrahim to trial with (Allah’s) words, thus he completed them. He said. “Surely I have made you the Imam for mankind”, he said “and from my offspring?” He said “My covenant shall not reach the oppressors.”
The above ayat informs that Allah has made messenger Ibrahim (a.s) as the Imam/role model for the mankind. Allah made Ibrahim (a.s) the Imam/leader/role model after testing him with His Words and when Ibrahim (a.s) was true to the test, then he was made the Imam. The words of Allah are in His book. So humanity, if they are to follow Ibrahim (a.s) as their Imam, they should follow Words of Allah and be true to them.
The personality of Ibrahim (a.s) to be followed is from Allah’s book to ensure that we are following the Imam made by Allah. If we follow the personality of Ibrahim from other man made books and historical stories, then we will be following the Ibrahim of history.
The sunnat/practice of prophet Ibrahim (a.s) is called the best sunnat practice in below ayat.
Indeed there is for you, the most beautiful practice (Uswatun Hasana) in Ibrahim and those with him, when they said to their people: surely , We are clear of you and of whatever you serve besides Allah: We have rejected you, and there has begun, between us and you, enmity and rancor forever, unless you believe in Allah and Him alone, except saying of Ibraheem for his father, Certainly I will ask forgiveness for you and I have no authority from Allah in anything for you, Our Lord! On you is our trust, and towards you we depute/represent, and towards you is our determination.
The sunnat of Ibrahim (a.s) to be followed as best practice is summarized in above ayat, which is to leave and not to serve any one which your nation serves beside Allah, i.e be primarily focused on Allah alone and don’t befriend those who associate others with Allah. Put your trust and expectations on Allah and always be returning to Him for all matters.
We delivered him (Ibrahim) and Lut to the land which We have blessed for all worlds. And We bestowed him with Ishaq and additionally Yaqub, and We made all of them righteous. And We made them the Imams that they guide with Our order and We inspired towards them, the doing of good deeds and establishment of As-salat/the prayer and giving of zakat/justification and to Us they served.
The above ayahs state that, Ibrahim (a.s), Lut (a.s), Ishaq (a.s) and Yaqub (a.s) were made Imams by Allah. They guided with the ‘Order’ of Allah. So, what we learned is that when Allah make Imams he tests with His Words and those who prove to be true to the ‘Words’ of Allah, they bocome Imams. The Imams guide with the ‘order’ of Allah. The Imams which are made by Allah, their message and their deeds are recorded in Allah’s book to become role model for believers. The Imams are always true to the Words/Kalam of Allah and guide with it. The Imamat is on merit and not based on progeny as prophet Lut (a.s) was not direct descendent of prophet Ibrahim (a.s).
For the believers, these prophets are the Imams/leaders and role models as per their deeds and sayings which are recorded in Allah’s book. If some one has a list of different Imams/leaders assumed to be divinely appointed Imams, which they are adhering to, without an authority in the book of Allah, then the below ayat will apply:
They are but names you have named them, you and your fore-fathers, Allah has sent down with it, no authority. These people follow nothing but conjecture and what their nafs desire; and surely the guidance has come to them from their Lord.
For many people their Imam is just a name on the list of names. They don’t have any guidance or information from Imam to make the Imam their role model in their life. Often times, Imam is a small deity for them. They love and serve the personality of the Imam and not his guidance. While the characteristics of Imams of Allah as described in ayahs are that they guide with Allah’s Words and that their guidance is to be followed not their personality (6:83-90)
Also, Allah has made the Imams of rejecters and described their characteristics traits which should be avoided.
Truly Pharaoh elated himself in the land and broke up its people into sections, depressing a group among them, their sons he slew, but he kept alive their women, for he was indeed from the corrupted. And We intended to be Gracious to those who were being depressed in the land, to make them Imams/leaders and make them inheritors. To establish a firm place for them in the land, and to show Pharaoh, Haman, and their hosts, the very things against which they were taking precautions.
Allah intended to make the Moosa (a.s) and his followers in bani-Israeel who followed prophets Moosa (a.s) despite extreme hardship and opposition from a powerful political and religious enemy, the Imams/role models and inheritors of the wealth left by Pharoah and his associates.
And without doubt, We gave Moosa the book, so you (the messenger), do not be in doubt from receiving it and We made it a guidance for the children of Israeel. And We appointed, from among them, Imams/leaders, giving guidance under Our command, when they persevered with patience and had belief in Our ayahs/signs.
When they persevered in patience and continued to believe in Allah’s ayahs and the book of Allah, Allah made Imams in Bani Israeel.
Pharaoh said. “O Chiefs! no god do I know for you but myself, therefore, O Haman! light me a (kiln to bake bricks) out of clay, and build me a palace, that I may get information about god of Moosa, although I think he (Moosa) is a liar!”. And he was arrogant in the land, beyond justification,- He and his hosts. they thought that they would not have to return to Us!
Allah has made, the Pharaoh and his cheifs, the Imams inviting to fire. They represent the characteristics of extreme arrogance, combined political and religious leadership, not submitting to Allah’s sovereignty and continued disobedience to Allah’s orders. They are unjust to their subjects, favoring one section of society over others. Any one following these Imams will lead himself to fire.
And we made them (but)Imams/leaders inviting to the Fire; and on the day of judgment no help shall they find.
The imams are made on merit based on the deeds and character. People are not born imams based on birth right. If Allah has made pharoah Imam of fire, it is based on his bad deeds in the world. That does not make him a lieutenant of Allah in anyway. Similar is the case of good Imams made by Allah.
Those who witness no falsehood, and, if they pass by vain and frivolous talk, they pass by it with dignity. And when they are reminded with the ayas / signs of their Lord they do not fall over them, deaf and blind. And those who say, “O’ our Lord, grant for us the cooling of eyes from our pairs and our offspring and make us an Imam / Leader for those who guard.“
Those people who don’t witness in vain and unfounded information and don’t fall on Allah’s ayahs like deaf and dumb without pondering with intellect over them, they are the ones who can hope to become Imams/ leaders of the muttaqin/guarded ones.
And before him, book of Moosa, an Imam/leader and mercy and this book is confirming the Arabic Language, so as to warn those who are oppressors and a good news for those who are good doers.
The book of Allah is also an Imam. It give guidance, the orders of Allah, description and sayings of messengers as role models for mankind. The book of Moosa from before and this (same) book, are Imam/leaders/guides for mankind as well.
The messenger’s (pbuh) practice is a role model for mankind. The messenger as described in Quran not in history books.
Say . “This is my way, on which I do invite towards Allah,- with perception,- I and whoever follows me. Glory to Allah! and I am not of the associaters.
There is another popular argument for divinity of ‘Imammat’ which is that Allah sent His book and with the book has sent prophets to explain the book to people. Allah never left the book alone, without a guardian and explainer of the book. Therefore a divinely appointed Imam always has to be present in all times with the book in an era in which prophets are not coming.
Mankind was one single nation, and Allah sent prophets with glad tidings and warnings; and with them He sent the book in truth, to judge between mankind in matters wherein they differed; but the people who were given it (the book) did not differ in it except after the clear signs came to them, to wrong one another (mutual animosity). Allah by His will; guided the believers to the Truth, in matters wherein they differed; For Allah guides whom He wills to a straight path.
The above ayat 2:213 states that Allah sent His book and along with the book he sent prophets to explain the book to people. The prophets that Allah sent were men. Why Allah sent men as prophets, as men interact with people of their kind and can explain the Book to people. The preservation of the Book and its Spirit is the responsibility of Allah.
Say, “If there were on earth, angels walking about in security, We should certainly have sent them down from the heavens an angel for a messenger.”
The above ayat explains why a human messenger is sent on earth, because humans dwell on earth. Had the earth been inhabited by angels, then definitely an angel would have been sent to live among them and convey the message of God. So, going back to the above argument on Imamat, the Imam has to be a bashar/human being, with all the qualities of a human/bashar. A human/bashar cannot be invisible to humans, cannot be living for hundred of years in hiding, does not have supernatural powers to communicate with people in some mysterious ways. This kind of super-natural belief of an Imam would make him not a human but a small deity. The purpose of human prophets was to explain the Book to people. An assumed personality of ‘Imam’ which in hiding and with no evidence of interaction with people, is not a belief which Quran teaches. Inspiration of the Spirit of Allah’s Word on humans in a divine manner is the work of Allah beyond the power of a bashar/human. The burden of proof of a belief which cannot be justified from Quran will be on he who harbors such belief. They will have to bring evidence on the day of judgement, from the book of Allah which will be placed with the prophets giving witness from what they conveyed from the book to people.
And the Earth will shine with the Light/Glory of its Lord: The book will be placed; the prophets and the witnesses will be brought forward and a just decision pronounced between them; and they will not be wronged.
For the believers, a few points are given below to ponder in order to check if their belief in ‘Imamat’ is as per Quran and sayings of the messenger (Al-Haqqa 69:40):
-The Imams for which Quran has provided authority, are they in their list of their Imams?
-The Imams that they include in their list of Imams, has any authority revealed by Allah in His Book?
–Do they believe in superhuman Imam, i.e unable to err, having knowledge of the unseen etc. Quran informs that the messengers of Allah do not have superhuman qualities they are like normal bashar/humans, they can err and they don’t have knowledge of the unseen. (18:110, 6:50, 48:2). Then how a bashar/human Imam who is not mentioned in Quran be able to hear supplications, grant wishes to people who would write requests on pieces of paper and throw them in rivers and take guarantee for the safety of travelers. This sort of belief is definitely not of a ‘bashar’ Imam but more like of a ‘deity’ Imam.
–Is the belief on divine appointment of Imams, emphasized in ayat 2:285, which summarizes important pillars of belief i.e belief in Allah, His angels, His books and His messengers:
The messenger believes in what has been revealed to him from his Lord, as do the believers. All of them believe in Allah, His angels, His books, and His messengers. “We make no distinction (they say) between any of His messengers.” And they say. “We hear, and we obey. (We seek) your forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the destiny.”
–Similar to the appointment of prophet Ibrahim (a.s) as Imam for mankind in ayat 2:124, Al-Quran mentions appointment of prophet Dawood (a.s) as His Khalifa (vicegerent) on earth (38:26). Is the divine appointment of ‘Khalifa’ also part of their belief system?
–For those who believe that the book named ‘Nahjal Balagha’ contains sayings and writings of Hazrat Ali (KAW), states in the letter no. 6, that a person who is pronounced ‘Imam’ by the joint consultation of people will have Allah’s good pleasures on his stature.
This post is about the preservation of the message of Allah to mankind. We will review few frequently asked question such as; how and where, is the message of Allah preserved? In which form is this message sent to mankind? Can there be different versions of this message?
A popular notion is that the message of Allah is in ‘book’ form and the book is preserved by Allah, letter by letter and dot by dot in all versions of this book existing in the world. Another prevalent concept is that Al-Quran was revealed in seven different ‘ahruf’ and 10 different recitations. The 2nd statement is based on a hadith with not much details about what ‘ahruf’ means and not all scholars agreeing on the extent of differences in ‘ahruf’ and recitations.
Before we delve deeper into this topic, please understand that the word ‘Al-Quran’ means ‘The Reading’. When the message of Allah is read, it is ‘Al-Quran’. When it is written, it is ‘Al-Kitab’. Generally a copy of Quran in paper form is called a ‘Mus-haf’ while Al-Quran does not use the word ‘Mushaf’ itself. General public sometimes use the word ‘Quran’ interchangeably for the written book form, which is technically not correct. Another attribute in Arabic of Al-Quran is ‘Az-Zikr’ which means ‘The Remembrance’ or ‘The Admonition’. (List of attributes of the message of Allah is given in previous post of Al-Kitab on this site : https://topicsfromquran.com/2017/03/26/who-are-ahlal-kitab/)
Indeed, We have sent down the Remembrance; and indeed we are the guardians for it.
Al-Quran confirms that ‘Az-Zikr’ (The remembrance/admonition) is revealed by Allah and He is the one who protects it. This means that the message of Allah which He has sent to mankind is preserved by divine means. Therefore for those who seek this message, it will be accessible to them. This statement in Quran lead some people to believe that the Quran in written form whether in book form or digital format, cannot have any dissimilarity with other written copies. However, Allah has clarified in Quran that the paper form is made by people not by Him. So, Allah will preserve the remembrance/admonition, that He has revealed, and not the paper forms which people have copied. In fact the written individual copies of Al-Quran, or individual recitations, may contain dissimilarities with other copies.
Hafs, Warsh and other versions:
We find that there are different recitations of Al-Quran in exitance today, although the differences in them are minor in nature. The two most popularly known versions are called ‘Hafs’ and ‘Warsh’. They have minor differences with each other which varies from changes in words, harakas and numbering of ayahs, although no difference in the spirt of the message conveyed. ‘Hafs’ recitation is the most widely adopted recitation in the Muslim world with about 95% of Muslims adhering to it. The Warsh recitation is adopted by 3% of the Muslim world (mostly in North Africa) and then remaining 2% subscribing to lesser known recitations.
However only one reading/recitation of Al-Quran is the intended one by God which is persevered in the world for those who seek it. In order to know which one is it, we need guidance from Al-Quran. We know from Al-Quran, that Allah has placed His signs’ at Masid Ul Haram and ordered believers to align themselves towards of Masjid ul Haram (2:150). The place of ‘Ibrahim’ is fixed at Masjid ul Haram (22:26). The believers are ordered to take their ‘Mussala’ from the place of Ibrahim in Masjid Ul Haram (2:125). In this Mosque, the system of salat is preserved. In salat, the recitation from Al-Quran is made and then believers bow and prostate to what they have recited. Allah declared that His house is guidance for all words (3:96). So believers who seek guidance, if they are in doubt about which recitation is the true recitation of Al-Quran, they should seek the recitation which is preserved at Masjid ul Haram and recited in the system of salat established there. The reading of Al-Quran at Masjid ul Haram at the place of Ibrahim (a.s) is the preserved one for guidance of man kind, and is what is popularly known as the ‘Hafz’ version.
They did not value Allah as He should be valued, when they said, “Allah did not reveal from anything to a bashar/human.” Say, “Who then sent down the Book which Moosa brought, with light and guidance for the people?” You made it to pieces of paper, you show something while concealing a lot of it. You were taught what you never knew- you nor your fore-fathers. Say, “Allah (revealed it),” then leave them in their heedlessness, playing.
Allah did not reveal the Book in paper form. It is people who transferred ‘the Book’ on papers. There exists no master copy of Quran in printed form against which a new printed copy can be compared. However still the revelation is preserved for those seeking it. Az-Zikr/the remembrance of the message of Allah is preserved by collective remembrance of protectors/huffaz.
Had we sent to you a book in papers, even so that they could touch it with their hands, the unbelievers would have been sure to say. “This is nothing but obvious magic!”
The responsibility of collection of Al-Quran and its recitations is on Allah.
75:17 إِنَّ عَلَيْنَا جَمْعَهُ وَقُرْآنَهُ
It is for Us (Allah) for its (Al-Quran’s) collection and recitation.
The changes in different recitations in existence today, are not in accent only, they have difference in some words too. However, even with the difference in words, the spirit of the message conveyed is the same. For example in Hafs version, last word of ayat 2:85 is تَعْمَلُونَ meaning ‘you (people) do’. While in Warsh version this word is يَعْمَلُونَ meaning ‘they do’. Although both words are different, the spirit of the message does not change i.e Allah is aware of what people do. (details of the differences are available on internet (one such site is http://muslimprophets.com/article.php?aid=64)
Easy to distinguish sign in recitation comes early in Al-Quran, i.e in ayat 4 of Sura Fatiha, where Hafs version is ‘مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ’ (Owner of the day of judgment) and Warsh version is مَلِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ (King of the day of Judgement).
“The answer to this question is that long before all these scholars, the earliest Muslim authorities had formed the opinion that though it is not essential for the common man to acquire knowledge through the akhbar-i ahad, it is essential for the scholars and the select to accept them and after being satisfied about their isnad, there is no difference in acquiring and adducing the knowledge gained through them and the knowledge that pervades among the common Muslims and which is being transferred from their generations to generations. Imam Shafi’i writes in his celebrated treatise Al-Risalah:
وعلم الخاصة سنة من خبر الخاصة يعرفها العلماء ولم يكلفها غيرهم وهي موجودة فيهم أو في بعضهم بصدق الخاص المخبر عن رَسُوْلَ اللّٰہِ بها وهذا اللازم لأهل العلم أن يصيروا إليه
And the knowledge of the select is the sunnah which is acquired through their reports, which the scholars know and which is not essential for the common man to know. This sunnah is present with all the scholars or with some of them from God’s Messenger (sws) through the information provided by a reliable informant and this is the knowledge which scholars must necessarily turn to.
Thus after the demise of the Prophet (sws), when trustworthy narrators started to state, for example, that while a companion had read the word مَالِك (owner) as مَلِك (king) in verse 2 of Surah Fatihah, and يَكْذِبُوْن in its intensive form as يُكَذِّبُوْن in verse 10 of Surah Baqarah and يُوْصي in its passive form in verse 12 of Surah Nisa’, then this was accepted in scholarly circles in the same way that the reports of his other sayings and deeds were being accepted. The reason for this was evident: if they did not accept these reports regarding the Qur’an, they would also not have any basis to accept reports which depicted the Prophet’s deductions, verdicts, explanations and exemplary character except if they were deemed to be against a Qur’anic verse. The proliferation of variant readings took place because of this opinion of the tabi’un (followers of the companions).”
Prophet Suleiman (a.s) was granted a kingdom, the likes of which had not been seen in the world before. His kingdom is characterized by peace, control, innovations and developments. Quran mentions that he was taught the logic of flyers (مَنطِقَ الطَّيْرِ/language of the birds or logic of flyers as used in air travel). This ayat lead some to assume that he would also know the language of animals. There is an event mentioned in Al-Quran about ‘ants’ in sura ‘Namal/Ant’. In this post we will review the implication of these ayahs.
In many languages, ‘ant’ is used in allegorical and idiomatic terms to describe an insignificant person vs a powerful person. In every society there exists quite a substantial population of people comprising the lower middle and lower classes which historically had little or no say in matters of the state. Their voice was seldom heard by the upper echelons and ruling class of the society. The general perception of the people in this class is that the ruling/elite class exploits and crushes them under their feet.
And Suleiman inherited from Dawood. He said. “O people! We have been taught the logic/language of flyers, and we have been given from all things (blessings). This is indeed a manifest grace. And presented to Suleiman were armies of Jinns and Ins/people and fliers, and they were all kept in order.
The kingdom and control of prophet Suleiman (a.s) was blessed and extended over Jinns (the developed nations), all other people and on the flyers (air force). Then they turned their attention towards the dwellings of the lower class of the society referred as the ‘valley of ants’.
Until, when they reached the valley of ants, one of the ants said. “O you ants, get into your habitations, lest Suleiman and his armies crush you without (even) knowing it.”
A representative of the lower class of the society referred as an ‘ant’, assumed that being insignificant people as they are, they may not have any value in the eyes of the ruler . They (their welfare, rights, freedom) may be crushed by the ruler as historically rulers used to be concerned more with their own plans for grandeur and didn’t care much for the lower classes. Therefore the ‘ant’ advised the fellow ants to get out of sight of the rulerso that he may not get ideas about them and they be persecuted.
So he smiled, amused at her speech; and he said. “O my Lord! Direct me that I should be grateful for Your favors, which You bestowed on me and on my parents, and that I may work righteousness that will please You, and admit me, by Your Grace, to the ranks of your righteous servants.”
Prophet Suleiman (a.s) thanked his Lord, for bestowing the blessings on him and to enable him to hear to the lower classes of the society to be able to do good for them as well. In his Government, there were means established to hear and get opinions from the lower classes of the masses.
Animals use different methods of communication however their communication is not by language or ‘words’ as the ‘Nouns’ and words are taught to ‘Adam’ only, by God. Therefore in ayat 27:18, the utterance of ‘Sulieman’ by an actual ant is not possible, indicating that ‘ant’ in the ayat is a reference for some human.
2. A couple of questions may arise such as why in this narration Allah used the example of ants for people and if example of ants is appropriate to use for people. So we see the below ayahs:
Allah does not shy away from citing the example of a mosquito, or anything above it. As for those who believe, they know that it is the truth from their Lord. As for the rejecters, they Say: ‘What does Allah intend with this example?’ He lets many stray by it, and He guides many, but He only lets stray the fasiqeen/evil-doers.
Ants are wonderful creatures. They built complex structures which can be compared to sky scrappers in an ant scaled city, size wise. The workers ants spend their whole lives doing real hard manual work. Citing of the examples of these wonderous creatures for the hard working low earning classes of humans is not an insult but rather a relatable example.
Other relevant previous posts to this topic are given below:
A fundamental concept in Al-Quran is the emphasis on the belief in ‘akhirat’ i.e hereafter. This belief is fundamental in character building of the believers. A gold test to check whether we actually believe in this concept or not will be, in a situation in which we are absolutely certain that we will get away from doing a certain evil thing without any fear of repercussion whatsoever, however, we still refrain from doing that evil thing, with the certainty that we will definitely be held accountable for our deed in the hereafter. If we pass this test, then we do actually have belief in ‘akhirat’.
General observation is that many people when they know that they are not seen by anybody and don’t have fear of being caught, they go ahead in carrying out an evil act, even though they do lip service to their belief in ‘akhirat’.
A very useful tool for the believers in character building is to always be conscious of Allah as if a video of all their actions is being made all the time with the added dimension of what is in their hearts and this video record of their deeds will be on display on the day of hereafter and they will be held accountable for all their deeds. So, if you are able to refrain yourself from doing a bad thing primarily due to absolute belief of your accountability by Allah then you have true belief in ‘akhirat’.
Verily, Those people who believe, and those who are Hood (Yahood), and the Nasara and the Sabians,- any who believe with Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.
For people belonging to different groups of characteristics, the fundamental requirement of them is to be conscious to the concept of accountability for all their actions they do in the world, and be conscious of an all powerful and cognizant God, who will make them accountable for their deeds.
A society with majority of people believing in accountability will definitely show signs of goodness, well being and people taking care of others. If a society shows signs of depravity, elevated crimes and degradation of humanity then definitely they don’t have belief in ‘akhirat’, no matter what religious label they put on themselves.
Mariam (a.s) the mother of prophet Essa (a.s) has a unique and elevated status in Quran as the only woman mentioned by name in Quran. No other woman is mentioned by personal name in Quran. Allah declares her to be the one chosen over all the women of the world. We will see what Quran says about Mariam (a.s) in this post:
So when she gave birth to her, she said: “My Lord, I gave birth to a female and Allah knows better with what she gave birth to. “And the male is not like the female and I named her Mariam, and I seek protection from you for her and her descendants, from the Satan the cursed/expelled.
Prophet Zakariaya (a.s) was her guardian. She grew up in purity and blessings endowed from Allah.
Thus graciously did her Lord accept her. He made her grow in purity and beautiful way. To the care of Zakariya, was she assigned. Every time that Zakarya entered her chamber, he found her supplied with sustenance (food). He asked. “O Mariam! from where this comes to you?” She said. ” this is from Allah, for Allah provides sustenance to whom He pleases without measure.”
Mariam (a.s) is the chosen women by Allah over all the women in all the worlds.
When the angels said ‘O Mariam!Allah gives you the good news of a Word from Him, named the Maseeh, Essa, the son of Mariam, honorable/conspicuous in this world and in the hereafter and he shall be of close associates (of Allah)
He said. “So (it will be)’. Your Lord said, ‘that is easy for Me, and to appoint him as a sign for mankind and a mercy from Us. It is a matter decreed.’
Allah said ‘Kada’lik’, which means ‘like this’ or ‘in this manner’, in response to Mariam (a.s) stating that ‘no man touched her’. Which means, she was going to have a son, without any man touching her. Prophet Essa (a.s) is also called the spirit of Allah, is a sign of the Lord born of a virgin birth.
And her who guarded her private parts. We breathed into her of Our spirit, and We made her and her son a sign for all the worlds.
There are two main cultures in the wold known as ‘Eastern’ and ‘Western’ culture. In terms of feminism, Western culture is more liberal and open, while the Eastern culture is more demure and virtues conservative values. Mariam (a.s) segregated herself from her society adopting eastern values and she made a barrier from the societal influences on her.
Remember in the book, Mariam, when she withdrew from her people to an eastern place. Then she took a hijab/veil apart from them, then We sent to her Our Rooh/Spirit. So he was an even example of a human for her.
After she segregated herself from the societal influences and teachings, Allah sent His Spirit i.e the essence/understanding of His Words. The Spirit and essence of the Words of Allah do not come with the worldly teachings, in fact the prevalent teachings only cause distortion in the understanding of Allah’s Book with their association of anecdotes and historical background to Allah’s Book. The spirit of Allah came to her through a bashar/human.
She said. “I seek refuge from you to (Allah) Most Gracious, if you fear Allah.”
The above is the normal reaction by a person on first encounter with the spirit of Allah. The understanding and spirit of the Words of Allah is so much apart from previous beliefs and societal teachings that it is hard to believe on them and people ask Allah’s refuge.
He said. “Without doubt, I am a messenger from your Lord, (to announce) to you a holy son. She said. “How shall I have a son, while no man has touched me, and I am not unchaste?” He said. “So (it will be)’. Your Lord said, ‘that is easy for Me, and to appoint him as a sign for mankind and a mercy from Us. It is a matter decreed.’
The virgin birth of prophet Essa (a.s) was explained to her as prophet Essa (a.s) is decreed to be a sign for mankind.
So she conceived him, and she retired with him to a remote place. And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm-tree. She cried (in her anguish). “Ah! would that I had died before this! would that I had been a thing forgotten and out of sight!”
Mariam (a.s) went to a remote place from her home for the childbirth. The place she went is characterized by date palm trees so should be a desert/semi desert type of place.
Thus it was cried to her from beneath the (palm-tree). “Grieve not! for your Lord has provided a rivulet beneath you; “And shake towards yourself the trunk of the palm-tree. It will let fresh ripe dates fall upon you.”
Allah a created a miraculous spring under her feet in that desert/semi desert land. She was able to eat ripe dates in that land.
And We made the son of Mary and his mother, a Sign. We gave them shelter on raised ground of tranquility and springs.
The raised place and miraculous underground spring of water in desert land of dates are associated with Mariam (a.s) and prophet Essa (a.s) in Quran as per above ayahs. However in history books they are associated with a story of prophet Ibraheem (a.s) leaving his wife and son in the desert.
So eat and drink and cool (your) eye. And if you see any person, say, ‘I have vowed a fast to (Allah) Most Gracious, and this day I will not enter into talk with any human.
When the spirit of Allah first comes to a person a new journey of understanding starts which is sometimes 180 degrees apart from the previous beliefs of the person. There could be lot of unanswered questions and confusions at that time. At that time, a saum/roza of speaking is desirable, that one should not communicate the understanding of the signs of Allah in public until the right time i.e when sufficient understanding and strength of belief is achieved.
Then she came with him (Essa) carrying him to her people, they said O’Maryam, without doubt you have come with a fabricated thing. O’sister of Haroon, your father was not a wicked man and nor your mother a wrongdoer/rebellious.
Her people blamed her for bringing a fabrication to them, while they acknowledged the piety and goodness of her family. When she was accused of making fabrication, instead of responding herself, she referred them to the messenger of her times.
Another thing to note is the relationship of Mariam (a.s) with Haroon (a.s) as brother and sister. While history books keep them about six hundered years apart in time line, Quran informs they were in about the same era.
Outside of biblical scripture and related books derived from these scriptures, there is next to nothing in evidence in the historical record for Moses’s existence. There is no exact time line which confirms in which era prophet Moosa (a.s) lived – with scholarly conjectures spanning more than half a millennium. The only book which gives chronological data is bible. The chronological history that is in most people minds comes from Bible. Quran does not give a chronological timeline however informs the relationship of Mariam (a.s) and prophet Haroon (a.s) emphasizing that general understanding of history mainly coming from Bible is flawed.
Thus she pointed towards him (baby Essa). They said. “How can we talk to one who is a child in the cradle?” (Essa) said, ‘I am indeed a servant of Allah: He has given me Al-kitab (the book) and made me a prophet’
Prophet Essa (a.s) was a sign of Allah to mankind. He declared his prophet-hood from childhood and told them that he has been given Al-Kitab by Allah, so they better not call her mother a fabricator. Prophet Essa (a.s) is also a prophet by birth (please see earlier post about Nabi Ummi- topicsfromquran.com/2019/01/05/ummi-prophet-and-ummi-nation/)
And Mariam the daughter of Imran, who guarded her private parts; and We breathed in it (private part) from Our spirit; and she testified to the truth of the words of her Lord and of His books, and she was of the devout/obedient ones.
Mariam (a.s) testified with the Words of the Lord and His Books. She was devout and she protected her private parts. Prophet Essa’s birth was a miraculous birth, who was born of a single parent i.e his mother only.
Later people continued to doubt in prophet Essa’s miraculous birth from a single parent. Any suggestion of birth of prophet Essa (a.s) by coupling, is termed as a grave insinuation (bohtan-e-Azeem) on Mariam. it is not taken lightly by Allah and he warns against such dis-beliefs in very stern language in the book.
They said, Most Gracious has taken a son! Indeed you have put forth a thing most monstrous! The skies would burst and the earth be split asunder, and the mountains are torn to pieces. As they called a son for the Most Gracious. For it is not for the most Gracious that He should take a son.
We know that this world is a place for test of mankind and Allah will recompense fully peoples’ deeds in the hereafter. Satan has been given respite till the day of judgment to destroy people’s beliefs and deeds. To counter Satan’s deceit, people are provided with Allah’s Word, the messengers and an intelligence to distinguish between truth and falsehood. Allah does not force belief on anyone. In view of above, how do we visualize and interpret the below ayat;
And We raised over them At-Toor with their covenant ; and We said to them: “Enter the door/entrance bowing down”; and We said to them: “Do not over exceed in the matter of the Sabbath/Rest.” and We took from them a solemn covenant.
If the above ayat is visualized in a way that Allah forced Bani Israeel to believe in Him by raising a mountain over them and threatening to crush them under it if they didn’t believe. If this is the case then this understanding is not consistent with the message of Quran especially when we consider below ayahs:
There is no compulsion in din/judgment. The right way stands out clear from error. Thus whoever rejects taghoot (violent rebellion) and believes in Allah, has grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah hears and knows all things.
In view of the above ayah’s we can see that it is not Allah’s practice to threaten and force belief on anyone. Therefore when the ayat 4:154 states that the mountain was raised above them and in 7:171 people thought that the mountain may fall on them, it would mean that people’s attention is drawn towards a certain mountain. This mountain has a unique status in Quran as Allah has mentioned it several times and it has certain association with messengers. From the description in Quran it seems that it is a fairly high mountain and it may seem to people that some part of it is not stable therefore may fall down over them. lets review ayahs in Quran about this mountain:
We read in Al-Quran the oath of ‘At-Toor’.
By the Toor
The ‘Toor e Sineen’ has close relation with the city of security (Mecca). The below ayat mentions ‘toor’ with the city of security.
Sineen in dictionary means ‘supported stones’. The stones which support each other to form interlocking. Toor means ‘stage’ and is also a mountain. ‘Toor e Sineen’ is a mountain with stones support structure. Ayahs 95:2-3 point out that this Toor-sineen i.e a mountain with supported stones is in the proximity of the Holy city of Mecca.
If you observe the pictures above, you will observe this mountain in which the famous cave of Hira is located. This cave is characterized by stones which support each other. The shape of this stone structure look like a canopy. This structure in picture is supported by interlocking of stones one over the other and to a casual observer may appear that some jostling may bring the structure down.
Thus when Moosa had fulfilled the term, and was travelling with his family, he perceived a fire at the side of the ‘Toor’.’He said to his family. “Stay here; I perceive a fire; I hope to bring you from there some information, or a burning firebrand, that ye may warm yourselves.”
This mountain is associated with prophet Moosa (a.s) as well, in addition to its association with messenger Mohammad (pbuh). Many pilgrims visit this mountain in view of its sanctity and association with the messengers.
You were not at the side of Toor when We called. Yet a mercy from your Lord, so that you give warning to a people to whom no warner had come before you so that they may remember.
The above Ayat states that the messenger was not at the side of the ‘Toor’ when he was called by the Lord to forewarn his nation. It was with Allah’s mercy that the messenger was chosen and called by the Lord to be the messenger to his nation, however, the first revelation event did not happen at At-Toor, as is popularly believed. This stresses the fact that our belief on the messenger should be according to how Allah describes him in His book and not according to man written history books. The incidence of first revelation on prophet (pbuh) is given in detail in Sura Najam 53. Thats why in this ayat 28:46, Allah denied that the incident as popularized in history book of first revelation occurring in the cave of Hira is false.
When We hung the mount over them, as if it had been a canopy, and they thought it was going to fall on them (We said). “Hold firmly to what We have given you, and remember what is therein; perchance ye may fear Allah.”
In summary the traditional rendering of above ayat is that Allah forced people to accept what revelation was given to them otherwise, they would be crushed under the mountain. However, this does not make sense as Allah very categorically states in Quran that there is no compulsion in Din/judgment. Also, Allah has allowed the people to believe freely in this world so that they can be judged accordingly in the hereafter. Therefore it is evident that Allah would never force people to believe by threatening them to crush under the mountain if they did not do so. So, we saw in this post what actually is meant with the mention of At-Toor in Quran is to make people conscious of a mountain which is associated with messengers. The mountain is in the sacred valley of peace and security i.e Mecca. A portion of it has a support structure of interlocking of stones resembling a bunch of olive tree leaves.
Human beings do not have full picture of the implications of things happening around them. With no knowledge of future, we can not be sure of what happens to us, is actually good or bad for us in the long term. For example, a young man who desires so much for his first fancy sports car, when he gets it believes it to be the best thing that could ever have happened to him. Then shortly afterwards gets into an unfortunate car accident and looses his limbs. Looking back retrospectively, the guy would think that getting this car after all, was not the best thing that happened to him, and he would be better off without his dearest wish fulfilled.
People, without full picture of working of the universe and the future which is in store for them, cannot comprehend implications of things happening around them. There is a story mentioned in Al-Quran about prophet Moosa (a.s) and a servant of God, which can be related to answer questions like ‘Why God allows terrible things to happen to innocent people in the world’. These ayahs indicate that there could be truly worse things (from the perspective of having future knowledge from God) that could have happened, but were prevented from happening by divine intervention, however, people don’t realize that. We can not comprehend these happenings because we have a very limited view of the complete picture of the grand scheme of the universe.
So they both (Moosa and his companion) found one of Our servants, on whom We had bestowed mercy from Ourselves and whom We had taught knowledge from Our nearness. Moosa said to him. “May I follow you, in that you teach me something of the wisdom which has been taught to you?”. He said. “Verily you will not be able to bear with me”. “And how can you have patience about which your understanding is not complete?”
People cannot comprehend the logic of things whose understanding they haven’t grasped. So in order for them not to despair in adverse situations, they can take solace from the fact that God will help them in the long term if they persevere and keep faith. If they are prevented from a dear thing and put in difficult circumstances at some time in life, this situation could actually be beneficial for them in the long run.
Moosa said. “You will find me, if Allah so wills, patient, and I shall not disobey you in orders. He said. “If then you would follow me, then don’t ask me about anything until I myself speak to you about it.”
The below ayahs have certain interpretations. They should be related in terms of the message they convey:
So they both proceeded, until, when they boarded in the boat, he made a hole in it. (Moosa) said, “Have you made a hole in it in order to drown those in it? Truly you did a strange thing!” He answered. “Did I not (already) tell you that you can’t have patience with me?”. (Moosa) said. “Please don’t hold me for forgetting, nor overwhelm me with difficulty in my case.”
Then they both proceeded, until, when they met a boy, he slew him. (Moosa) said. “Did you slay an innocent nafs without a nafs? Truly you came up with a repugnant thing”. He answered. “Did I not tell you that you can not have patience with me?”. (Moosa) said. “If I ask you about anything after this, don’t keep company with me. Verily, you have received (full) excuse from my side.”
Then they both proceeded, until when they came to the inhabitants of a town, they asked them for food, but they refused them hospitality. They found there a wall on the point of falling down, but he set it up straight. (Moosa) said. “If you had wished, surely you could have got some compensation for it!” He answered. “This is the parting between me and you. Now, I will tell you the interpretation of (those things) over which you were unable to hold patience.
The incidences mentioned above have interpretations attached to them which are explained below:
“As for the boat, it belonged to some poor people who worked in the sea. Thus I planned to put some blemish on it, for there was after them a king who seized on every boat by force.”
The interpretation of him making a hole in the boat was to protect the interests of the poor people whose boat if found unblemished would have been seized by the king. Earlier without knowing, it had appeared to Moosa (a.s) that his action was intended to harm the people riding in the boat.
“As for the boy, his parents were believers, and We feared that he should make disobedience and ingratitude to come upon them, So We desired that their Lord would give them in exchange better in purity and closer in grace”.
Some people are born with limited and less than normal mental capability. Their parents some times question God, why they are burdened with this life time task of taking care of them. The interpretation of the above ayahs point out that it is possible that if God had not changed the original nafs/psychology of the child with that of an innocent and pure psychology, there was a possibility that this offspring would have caused them to transgress and rebel.
“As for the wall, it belonged to two orphan youths, in the town; there was, beneath it, a buried treasure, to which they were entitled. Their father had been a righteous man. So your Lord desired that they should attain their age of full strength and get out their treasure – a mercy (and favour) from your Lord. I did it not of my own accord. This is the interpretation of (those things) over which you were unable to hold patience.”
God keeps on helping righteous people in divine ways, who keep their patience and their trust in God.
The name khidr is not mentioned in Quran. Quran mentions him as ‘servant of God’. Quran does not give further details about him to be a bashar/human or an angel.
Al-Quran gives an account of a group in Bani-Israeel. There was a prophet of Allah in this group. They asked the prophet to appoint a king/leader for them so that they fight in the cause of Allah. In previous posts we have seen that when Al-Quran mentions ‘fight in the cause of Allah’, it is never physical war or fighting. This fighting is always ideological fighting (please see posts ‘non-physical fighting 1-3). We can state in this case with confidence that the account of fighting in this story is ideological fight, on the basis of negation by Allah of speculation of angels that the khalifa of Allah promotes bloodshed on earth (2:30). These people who believed with the prophet, as usual, had been thrown out of their circles and even their families may have abandoned them, which is evident from their statement in below ayahs. This is a usual scenario, when people revert to the true teachings of the prophet and Allah’s book they are thrown out of their circles of faith and labeled ‘ infidels’.
Have you not turned your vision to the chiefs of the children of Israeel after Moosa? they said to a prophet of them. “Appoint for us a king, so that we may fight in the cause of Allah.” He said. “Is it not possible, if it is written for you to fight, that you will not fight?” They said. “How could we not fight in the cause of Allah, seeing that we were casted out of our circles and our sons?” thus when it was written on them to fight, they turned back, except a few of them and Allah has full knowledge of those who do wrong.
Their prophet said to them, “Allah has appointed Talut as king for you.” They said. “How can he has authority over us when we are better fitted than he to exercise authority, and he is not gifted abundance in wealth?” He said. “Allah has chosen him over you, and has gifted him abundantly with knowledge and bodily prowess. Allah grants His kingdom to whom He pleases. Allah is encompassing in knowledge.” This group of Bani-Israeel who were believers, they asked their prophet to appoint a leader for them in order to be organized in their ideological fight with their nation who had casted them out of their circles of faith. They were surprised when their prophet informed them of the appointment of ‘Talut’ as their King as Talut was not endowed with wealth. In the eyes of Allah, knowledge and good health are more important criteria for the leader who can lead the believers in their ideological fighting.
And their prophet said to them. “A sign of his kingdom is that there shall come to you the box, therein security from your Lord, and the relics left by the people of Moosa and the people of Haroon, carried by angels. In this is an ayat/sign for you if you indeed are the believers.” The ayat/sign for these people was a box within which was safety and security from the Lord and the relics from the people of Moosa (a.s) and Haroon (a.s). A probable manifestation of this sign of a box could be the cover of Hajre Aswad which is affixed at Kaaba, the house of Allah. This box contains some pieces of stone which could be relics of the stone from Moosa’s (a.s) time. (2:60 وَإِذِ اسْتَسْقَىٰ مُوسَىٰ لِقَوْمِهِ فَقُلْنَا اضْرِب بِّعَصَاكَ الْحَجَرَ ۖ فَانفَجَرَتْ مِنْهُ اثْنَتَا عَشْرَةَ عَيْنًا ۖ قَدْ عَلِمَ كُلُّ أُنَاسٍ مَّشْرَبَهُمْ ۖ كُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا مِن رِّزْقِ اللَّهِ وَلَا تَعْثَوْا فِي الْأَرْضِ مُفْسِدِينَ). This box is affixed at a most blessed place on Earth. If the fixing details of this box with the Kaaba walls become known and it is found that this box is affixed with Kaaba wall without the need of any screws or nails, then the above hypothesis will become much more certain supported by the statement in above ayat that the box is carried by angels.
When Talut set forth with the armies, he said. “Allah will test you with a stream, if anyone drinks from it, he does not belongs to me. Only the one who does not feed on it belongs to me except that he takes a handful with his hand.” Then they all drank of it, except a few. When they crossed it,- he and the faithful ones with him,- they said. “This day we don’t have the strength for us (to face) Jalut and his forces.” Those who were convinced that they would meet Allah, said. “How often, by Allah’s will, has a small force vanquished a big one? Allah is with those who are with patience.” The stream mentioned in above ayat seems to be a symbolical one. It is unlikely to be a supernatural stream of water, which saps out strength from people. Those who would indulge deeply in this symbolical stream will find themselves to be overwhelmed and not be able to fight. This stream most probably is the stream of false logic and deviant religious system that Jalut and his followers have mastered and they are very well versed in it. The believers when they set out to fight ideologically with the unbeliever leaders, they were advised to just indulge superficially in their knowledge base (symbolically the stream) and not delve deep into it.
Indeed they made their plots/trickeries , but their trickeries were (well) in the sight of Allah, even though they were such (mighty ones) as to shake the mountains
The trickeries which the leaders of those who reject and cover the truth have devised, are of such huge magnitude, that if one indulges in them to get mastery of it, he may get overwhelmed. The false logic system of unbelievers should responded by the logic and ayahs of Allah which engulfs the falsehood. This is symbolically akin to Moosa’s (a.s) encounter with the magicians. Moosa (a.s) did not confront the magicians with the likes of their magic. He instead countered them with what was given by Allah.
When they advanced to meet Jalut and his forces, they said “Our Lord! Pour out patience on us and make our steps firm and help us against the nation of rejecters.” By Allah’s will they routed them; and Dawood (a.s) slew Jalut; and Allah gave him authority and wisdom and taught him whatever He willed. And had Allah not checked one set of people by means of another, there would be violence on earth but Allah is full of bounty to all the worlds. Dawood (a.s) destroyed Jalut in this fight. Allah made Dawood the Khalifa/successor on earth. A question arise in some people’s mind that when in Quran, Allah told the angles about His intention of making khalifa on earth they objected that the khalifa would do bloodshed and violence but Allah told them that their concern was false. The rejection of the concern of violence and bloodshed by Allah strongly suggests that the fight between Dawood (a.s) and Jalut was not a physical fight, but rather an ideological fight. Also, the same ayat suggests that actually Jalut was the violence monger and since Dawood (a.s) destroyed him and his false system of belief, in this way Allah checked violence on earth.
And when your Lord said to the angels. “I will create a khalifa on earth.” They said. “Will You place therein one who will make violence therein and shed blood?- while we do celebrate Your praises and glorify Your holy (name)?” He said. “I know what you know not.”
A question comes to mind that how could angels say that the Khalifa would do bloodshed and violence on earth, while they did not have knowledge of the future. This actually replicates the assumption of many people, who say that religion causes wars and blood shed while mankind does not need divine guidance to know what is goodness. Then there is another group who justifies physical fighting and violence in the cause of Allah in the name of ‘Holy war’. Allah dismisses the notion that the khalifa does physical killing. Khalifa of Allah destroys the false hood in ideological fight with the leaders of falsehood.
And He (Allah) taught Adam the names of all things; then He placed them before the angels, and said. “Tell me the names of these if you are truthful.” They said. “Glory to You, We don’t have any knowledge except what you have taught us. Verily, it is You who have perfect knowledge and wisdom.” He said. “O Adam! Tell them their names.” When he had told them, Allah said. “Did I not tell you that I know the secrets of heavens and earth, and I know what you reveal and what you conceal?”
Adam is representative of mankind. The names and nouns in Quran also have attributes associated with them which represent their properties. Allah created Adam and mankind with the capability of learning about all the names in the universe and properties of the same. This knowledge is constantly granted by Allah to man and due to which man progresses in knowledge as much as God wishes. This capability of progressing in knowledge is not with the angels. Allah exposes those who hide in the garb of angels expressing outwardly that we keep on glorifying God’s praises while the ‘Adam’ does violence and blood-shed on earth. While they themselves are the violence mongers and are jealous of ‘Adam’ progressing in knowledge. Allah exposes these evil beings and grants his vicegerency/khilaft to his ‘khalifa’ who does not promote violence and blood-shed and progresses in knowledge with the help of Allah.
O Dawood! We did indeed make you a khalifa/vicegerent on earth, thus judge between people in truth and don’t follow the desire, for it will mislead you from the path of Allah. For those who wander astray from the path of Allah, for them is a grievous penalty as they forget the day of account.
Allah has promised, to those among you who believe and work righteous deeds, that He will, of a surety, make them vicegerents in earth, as He granted it to those before them; that He will establish in authority their judgement – that which He likes for them; and that He will change (their state), after the fear in which they were to one of security and peace. ‘They will worship Me (alone) and not associate any with Me and If any do reject after this, they are rebellious ones.’