Imam in Quran

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

‘Imam’ means leader, role model or ‘some one in front’. In this post we will see what Al-Quran says about the stature of ‘Imammat’ and who are the ‘Imams’ made by Allah:

17:71 يَوْمَ نَدْعُو كُلَّ أُنَاسٍ بِإِمَامِهِمْ ۖ فَمَنْ أُوتِيَ كِتَابَهُ بِيَمِينِهِ فَأُولَٰئِكَ يَقْرَءُونَ كِتَابَهُمْ وَلَا يُظْلَمُونَ فَتِيلًا

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.

2:124 وَإِذِ ابْتَلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيمَ رَبُّهُ بِكَلِمَاتٍ فَأَتَمَّهُنَّ ۖ قَالَ إِنِّي جَاعِلُكَ لِلنَّاسِ إِمَامًا ۖ قَالَ وَمِن ذُرِّيَّتِي ۖ قَالَ لَا يَنَالُ عَهْدِي الظَّالِمِينَ

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.

60:4 قَدْ كَانَتْ لَكُمْ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ فِي إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَالَّذِينَ مَعَهُ إِذْ قَالُوا لِقَوْمِهِمْ إِنَّا بُرَآءُ مِنكُمْ وَمِمَّا تَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ كَفَرْنَا بِكُمْ وَبَدَا بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَكُمُ الْعَدَاوَةُ وَالْبَغْضَاءُ أَبَدًا حَتَّىٰ تُؤْمِنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَحْدَهُ إِلَّا قَوْلَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ لِأَبِيهِ لَأَسْتَغْفِرَنَّ لَكَ وَمَا أَمْلِكُ لَكَ مِنَ اللَّهِ مِن شَيْءٍ ۖ رَّبَّنَا عَلَيْكَ تَوَكَّلْنَا وَإِلَيْكَ أَنَبْنَا وَإِلَيْكَ الْمَصِيرُ

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.

21:71-73 وَنَجَّيْنَاهُ وَلُوطًا إِلَى الْأَرْضِ الَّتِي بَارَكْنَا فِيهَا لِلْعَالَمِينَ وَوَهَبْنَا لَهُ إِسْحَاقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ نَافِلَةً ۖ وَكُلًّا جَعَلْنَا صَالِحِينَ وَجَعَلْنَاهُمْ أَئِمَّةً يَهْدُونَ بِأَمْرِنَا وَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْهِمْ فِعْلَ الْخَيْرَاتِ وَإِقَامَ الصَّلَاةِ وَإِيتَاءَ الزَّكَاةِ ۖ وَكَانُوا لَنَا عَابِدِينَ

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:

53:23 إِنْ هِيَ إِلَّا أَسْمَاءٌ سَمَّيْتُمُوهَا أَنتُمْ وَآبَاؤُكُم مَّا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ بِهَا مِن سُلْطَانٍ ۚ إِن يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلَّا الظَّنَّ وَمَا تَهْوَى الْأَنفُسُ ۖ وَلَقَدْ جَاءَهُم مِّن رَّبِّهِمُ الْهُدَىٰ

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.

28:4- 6إِنَّ فِرْعَوْنَ عَلَا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَجَعَلَ أَهْلَهَا شِيَعًا يَسْتَضْعِفُ طَائِفَةً مِّنْهُمْ يُذَبِّحُ أَبْنَاءَهُمْ وَيَسْتَحْيِي نِسَاءَهُمْ ۚ إِنَّهُ كَانَ مِنَ الْمُفْسِدِينَ وَنُرِيدُ أَن نَّمُنَّ عَلَى الَّذِينَ اسْتُضْعِفُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَنَجْعَلَهُمْ أَئِمَّةً وَنَجْعَلَهُمُ الْوَارِثِينَ وَنُمَكِّنَ لَهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَنُرِيَ فِرْعَوْنَ وَهَامَانَ وَجُنُودَهُمَا مِنْهُم مَّا كَانُوا يَحْذَرُونَ

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.

32:23-24 وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَا مُوسَى الْكِتَابَ فَلَا تَكُن فِي مِرْيَةٍ مِّن لِّقَائِهِ ۖ وَجَعَلْنَاهُ هُدًى لِّبَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ وَجَعَلْنَا مِنْهُمْ أَئِمَّةً يَهْدُونَ بِأَمْرِنَا لَمَّا صَبَرُوا ۖ وَكَانُوا بِآيَاتِنَا يُوقِنُونَ

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.

28:38-39 وَقَالَ فِرْعَوْنُ يَا أَيُّهَا الْمَلَأُ مَا عَلِمْتُ لَكُم مِّنْ إِلَٰهٍ غَيْرِي فَأَوْقِدْ لِي يَا هَامَانُ عَلَى الطِّينِ فَاجْعَل لِّي صَرْحًا لَّعَلِّي أَطَّلِعُ إِلَىٰ إِلَٰهِ مُوسَىٰ وَإِنِّي لَأَظُنُّهُ مِنَ الْكَاذِبِينَ وَاسْتَكْبَرَ هُوَ وَجُنُودُهُ فِي الْأَرْضِ بِغَيْرِ الْحَقِّ وَظَنُّوا أَنَّهُمْ إِلَيْنَا لَا يُرْجَعُونَ

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.

28:41 وَجَعَلْنَاهُمْ أَئِمَّةً يَدْعُونَ إِلَى النَّارِ ۖ وَيَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ لَا يُنصَرُونَ

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.

25:7274 وَالَّذِينَ لَا يَشْهَدُونَ الزُّورَ وَإِذَا مَرُّوا بِاللَّغْوِ مَرُّوا كِرَامًا وَالَّذِينَ إِذَا ذُكِّرُوا بِآيَاتِ رَبِّهِمْ لَمْ يَخِرُّوا عَلَيْهَا صُمًّا وَعُمْيَانًا وَالَّذِينَ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا هَبْ لَنَا مِنْ أَزْوَاجِنَا وَذُرِّيَّاتِنَا قُرَّةَ أَعْيُنٍ وَاجْعَلْنَا لِلْمُتَّقِينَ إِمَامًا

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.

46:12 وَمِن قَبْلِهِ كِتَابُ مُوسَىٰ إِمَامًا وَرَحْمَةً ۚ وَهَٰذَا كِتَابٌ مُّصَدِّقٌ لِّسَانًا عَرَبِيًّا لِّيُنذِرَ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا وَبُشْرَىٰ لِلْمُحْسِنِينَ

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.

33:21 لَّقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِّمَن كَانَ يَرْجُو اللَّهَ وَالْيَوْمَ الْآخِرَ وَذَكَرَ اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا

Without doubt for you, in the Rasool/Messenger of Allah is most beautiful pattern, who has hope in Allah and the last day and frequently remembers Allah.

And the messenger (pbuh) declares that this Al-Quran is his path on which he invites. Therefore inviting towards the Quran is the best practice of the messenger (pbuh) as a role model.

12:107 قُلْ هَٰذِهِ سَبِيلِي أَدْعُو إِلَى اللَّهِ ۚ عَلَىٰ بَصِيرَةٍ أَنَا وَمَنِ اتَّبَعَنِي ۖ وَسُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ وَمَا أَنَا مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ

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.

Notes:

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.

2:213 كَانَ النَّاسُ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً فَبَعَثَ اللَّهُ النَّبِيِّينَ مُبَشِّرِينَ وَمُنذِرِينَ وَأَنزَلَ مَعَهُمُ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ لِيَحْكُمَ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ فِيمَا اخْتَلَفُوا فِيهِ ۚ وَمَا اخْتَلَفَ فِيهِ إِلَّا الَّذِينَ أُوتُوهُ مِن بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَتْهُمُ الْبَيِّنَاتُ بَغْيًا بَيْنَهُمْ ۖ فَهَدَى اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لِمَا اخْتَلَفُوا فِيهِ مِنَ الْحَقِّ بِإِذْنِهِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ يَهْدِي مَن يَشَاءُ إِلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ

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.

17:95 قُل لَّوْ كَانَ فِي الْأَرْضِ مَلَائِكَةٌ يَمْشُونَ مُطْمَئِنِّينَ لَنَزَّلْنَا عَلَيْهِم مِّنَ السَّمَاءِ مَلَكًا رَّسُولًا

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.

39:69 وَأَشْرَقَتِ الْأَرْضُ بِنُورِ رَبِّهَا وَوُضِعَ الْكِتَابُ وَجِيءَ بِالنَّبِيِّينَ وَالشُّهَدَاءِ وَقُضِيَ بَيْنَهُم بِالْحَقِّ وَهُمْ لَا يُظْلَمُونَ

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:

2:285 آمَنَ الرَّسُولُ بِمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْهِ مِن رَّبِّهِ وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ ۚ كُلٌّ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَمَلَائِكَتِهِ وَكُتُبِهِ وَرُسُلِهِ لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِّن رُّسُلِهِ ۚ وَقَالُوا سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا ۖ غُفْرَانَكَ رَبَّنَا وَإِلَيْكَ الْمَصِيرُ

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.

The Preservation of Al-Quran (Hafs vs Warsh/other recitations)

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

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/)

15:9 إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ

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.

3:96 إِنَّ أَوَّلَ بَيْتٍ وُضِعَ لِلنَّاسِ لَلَّذِي بِبَكَّةَ مُبَارَكًا وَهُدًى لِّلْعَالَمِينَ

The first House appointed for mankind is that at Bakka( Makkah): Full of blessings and of guidance for all worlds.

6:91 وَمَا قَدَرُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ قَدْرِهِ إِذْ قَالُوا مَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ عَلَىٰ بَشَرٍ مِّن شَيْءٍ ۗ قُلْ مَنْ أَنزَلَ الْكِتَابَ الَّذِي جَاءَ بِهِ مُوسَىٰ نُورًا وَهُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ ۖ تَجْعَلُونَهُ قَرَاطِيسَ تُبْدُونَهَا وَتُخْفُونَ كَثِيرًا ۖ وَعُلِّمْتُم مَّا لَمْ تَعْلَمُوا أَنتُمْ وَلَا آبَاؤُكُمْ ۖ قُلِ اللَّهُ ۖ ثُمَّ ذَرْهُمْ فِي خَوْضِهِمْ يَلْعَبُونَ

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.

6:7 وَلَوْ نَزَّلْنَا عَلَيْكَ كِتَابًا فِي قِرْطَاسٍ فَلَمَسُوهُ بِأَيْدِيهِمْ لَقَالَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا إِنْ هَٰذَا إِلَّا سِحْرٌ مُّبِينٌ

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.

Notes:

  1. 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)
  2. 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).
  3. Why early Islamic scholars allowed different readings of Al-Quran. The below article by Mr. Javed Ghamidi (translated by Dr. Shehzad Saleem) sheds some light:http://www.shehzadsaleem.com/variant-readings-of-quran/. Copy of an excerpt from this article is given below:

“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.[2]

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).” 

The Ant and Prophet Suleiman (a.s)

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

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.

27:16-17 وَوَرِثَ سُلَيْمَانُ دَاوُودَ ۖ وَقَالَ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ عُلِّمْنَا مَنطِقَ الطَّيْرِ وَأُوتِينَا مِن كُلِّ شَيْءٍ ۖ إِنَّ هَٰذَا لَهُوَ الْفَضْلُ الْمُبِينُ وَحُشِرَ لِسُلَيْمَانَ جُنُودُهُ مِنَ الْجِنِّ وَالْإِنسِ وَالطَّيْرِ فَهُمْ يُوزَعُونَ

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’.

27:18 حَتَّىٰ إِذَا أَتَوْا عَلَىٰ وَادِ النَّمْلِ قَالَتْ نَمْلَةٌ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّمْلُ ادْخُلُوا مَسَاكِنَكُمْ لَا يَحْطِمَنَّكُمْ سُلَيْمَانُ وَجُنُودُهُ وَهُمْ لَا يَشْعُرُونَ

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 ruler so that he may not get ideas about them and they be persecuted.

27:19 فَتَبَسَّمَ ضَاحِكًا مِّن قَوْلِهَا وَقَالَ رَبِّ أَوْزِعْنِي أَنْ أَشْكُرَ نِعْمَتَكَ الَّتِي أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيَّ وَعَلَىٰ وَالِدَيَّ وَأَنْ أَعْمَلَ صَالِحًا تَرْضَاهُ وَأَدْخِلْنِي بِرَحْمَتِكَ فِي عِبَادِكَ الصَّالِحِينَ

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.

Notes:

  1. 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:

17:89 وَلَقَدْ صَرَّفْنَا لِلنَّاسِ فِي هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنِ مِن كُلِّ مَثَلٍ فَأَبَىٰ أَكْثَرُ النَّاسِ إِلَّا كُفُورًا

And We have explained for people, in this Quran, every kind of example. yet the greater part of mankind reject them.

From above ayat 17:89 it becomes evident that it is not unusual for Allah to narrate events with the help of examples so that people can relate with them.

2:26 إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَسْتَحْيِي أَن يَضْرِبَ مَثَلًا مَّا بَعُوضَةً فَمَا فَوْقَهَا ۚ فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا فَيَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّهُ الْحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّهِمْ ۖ وَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا فَيَقُولُونَ مَاذَا أَرَادَ اللَّهُ بِهَٰذَا مَثَلًا ۘ يُضِلُّ بِهِ كَثِيرًا وَيَهْدِي بِهِ كَثِيرًا ۚ وَمَا يُضِلُّ بِهِ إِلَّا الْفَاسِقِينَ

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:

https://topicsfromquran.com/2018/08/18/prophet-suleimans-invitation-to-queen-of-saba/

https://topicsfromquran.com/2018/06/10/who-are-jinns-as-per-quran/

https://topicsfromquran.com/2018/04/16/age-of-prophet-noah-a-s/

Belief in ‘Hereafter’/Akhirat /Accountability

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

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’.

2:62 إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَالَّذِينَ هَادُوا وَالنَّصَارَىٰ وَالصَّابِئِينَ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا فَلَهُمْ أَجْرُهُمْ عِندَ رَبِّهِمْ وَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ

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.

Signs associated with Mariam (as)

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

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:

3:35  إِذْ قَالَتِ امْرَأَتُ عِمْرَانَ رَبِّ إِنِّي نَذَرْتُ لَكَ مَا فِي بَطْنِي مُحَرَّرًا فَتَقَبَّلْ مِنِّي ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ

When woman of  Imran said. “My Lord! verily I dedicate to You, freeing, what is in my belly. Thus accept from me, verily You hear and know all things.”

Mariam (a.s) belonged to a very pious family. Her father’s name was Imran. 

3:36 فَلَمَّا وَضَعَتْهَا قَالَتْ رَبِّ إِنِّي وَضَعْتُهَا أُنثَىٰ وَاللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا وَضَعَتْ وَلَيْسَ الذَّكَرُ كَالْأُنثَىٰ ۖ وَإِنِّي سَمَّيْتُهَا مَرْيَمَ وَإِنِّي أُعِيذُهَا بِكَ وَذُرِّيَّتَهَا مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيمِ

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.

3:37 فَتَقَبَّلَهَا رَبُّهَا بِقَبُولٍ حَسَنٍ وَأَنبَتَهَا نَبَاتًا حَسَنًا وَكَفَّلَهَا زَكَرِيَّا ۖ كُلَّمَا دَخَلَ عَلَيْهَا زَكَرِيَّا الْمِحْرَابَ وَجَدَ عِندَهَا رِزْقًا ۖ قَالَ يَا مَرْيَمُ أَنَّىٰ لَكِ هَٰذَا ۖ قَالَتْ هُوَ مِنْ عِندِ اللَّهِ ۖ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَرْزُقُ مَن يَشَاءُ بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ

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. 

3:42 وَإِذْ قَالَتِ الْمَلَائِكَةُ يَا مَرْيَمُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ اصْطَفَاكِ وَطَهَّرَكِ وَاصْطَفَاكِ عَلَىٰ نِسَاءِ الْعَالَمِينَ

And when the angels said, “O’ Mariam, surely Allah has chosen you and purified you and He has chosen you above the women of all the worlds.”

The below ayat states the legitimacy of women doing congregational prayers.

3:43  يَا مَرْيَمُ اقْنُتِي لِرَبِّكِ وَاسْجُدِي وَارْكَعِي مَعَ الرَّاكِعِينَ

“O Mariam! Be obedient to your Lord devoutly, prostrate yourself, and bow down (in prayer) with those who bow down.”

She was given the glad tidings of a Word and a Sign from the Lord, the prophet Essa (a.s).

3:45  إِذْ قَالَتِ الْمَلَائِكَةُ يَا مَرْيَمُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُبَشِّرُكِ بِكَلِمَةٍ مِّنْهُ اسْمُهُ الْمَسِيحُ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ وَجِيهًا فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ وَمِنَ الْمُقَرَّبِينَ

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)

3:47  قَالَتْ رَبِّ أَنَّىٰ يَكُونُ لِي وَلَدٌ وَلَمْ يَمْسَسْنِي بَشَرٌ ۖ قَالَ كَذَٰلِكِ اللَّهُ يَخْلُقُ مَا يَشَاءُ ۚ إِذَا قَضَىٰ أَمْرًا فَإِنَّمَا يَقُولُ لَهُ كُن فَيَكُونُ

She said, ‘My Lord, how can there be a son for me, when no human touched me? He (Allah) said, ‘This is how Allah creates what He wills, when He has decreed an order, He says it to , ‘be’ and it is!

The birth of prophet Essa (a.s) is a miraculous birth, intended as a sign for the mankind.

19:21 قَالَ كَذَٰلِكِ قَالَ رَبُّكِ هُوَ عَلَيَّ هَيِّنٌ ۖ وَلِنَجْعَلَهُ آيَةً لِّلنَّاسِ وَرَحْمَةً مِّنَّا ۚ وَكَانَ أَمْرًا مَّقْضِيًّا

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. 

21:91  وَالَّتِي أَحْصَنَتْ فَرْجَهَا فَنَفَخْنَا فِيهَا مِن رُّوحِنَا وَجَعَلْنَاهَا وَابْنَهَا آيَةً لِّلْعَالَمِينَ

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. 

19:16-17  وَاذْكُرْ فِي الْكِتَابِ مَرْيَمَ إِذِ انتَبَذَتْ مِنْ أَهْلِهَا مَكَانًا شَرْقِيًّا  فَاتَّخَذَتْ مِن دُونِهِمْ حِجَابًا فَأَرْسَلْنَا إِلَيْهَا رُوحَنَا فَتَمَثَّلَ لَهَا بَشَرًا سَوِيًّا

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.

19:20 قَالَتْ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِالرَّحْمَٰنِ مِنكَ إِن كُنتَ تَقِيًّا

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. 

19:19-21 قَالَ إِنَّمَا أَنَا رَسُولُ رَبِّكِ لِأَهَبَ لَكِ غُلَامًا زَكِيًّا  قَالَتْ أَنَّىٰ يَكُونُ لِي غُلَامٌ وَلَمْ يَمْسَسْنِي بَشَرٌ وَلَمْ أَكُ بَغِيًّا  قَالَ كَذَٰلِكِ قَالَ رَبُّكِ هُوَ عَلَيَّ هَيِّنٌ ۖ وَلِنَجْعَلَهُ آيَةً لِّلنَّاسِ وَرَحْمَةً مِّنَّا ۚ وَكَانَ أَمْرًا مَّقْضِيًّا

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. 

19:22-23 فَحَمَلَتْهُ فَانتَبَذَتْ بِهِ مَكَانًا قَصِيًّا  فَأَجَاءَهَا الْمَخَاضُ إِلَىٰ جِذْعِ النَّخْلَةِ قَالَتْ يَا لَيْتَنِي مِتُّ قَبْلَ هَٰذَا وَكُنتُ نَسْيًا مَّنسِيًّا

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. 

19:24-25  فَنَادَاهَا مِن تَحْتِهَا أَلَّا تَحْزَنِي قَدْ جَعَلَ رَبُّكِ تَحْتَكِ سَرِيًّا  وَهُزِّي إِلَيْكِ بِجِذْعِ النَّخْلَةِ تُسَاقِطْ عَلَيْكِ رُطَبًا جَنِيًّا

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. 

23:50  وَجَعَلْنَا ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ وَأُمَّهُ آيَةً وَآوَيْنَاهُمَا إِلَىٰ رَبْوَةٍ ذَاتِ قَرَارٍ وَمَعِينٍ

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. 

19:26  فَكُلِي وَاشْرَبِي وَقَرِّي عَيْنًا ۖ فَإِمَّا تَرَيِنَّ مِنَ الْبَشَرِ أَحَدًا فَقُولِي إِنِّي نَذَرْتُ لِلرَّحْمَٰنِ صَوْمًا فَلَنْ أُكَلِّمَ الْيَوْمَ إِنسِيًّا

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.  

19:27-28 فَأَتَتْ بِهِ قَوْمَهَا تَحْمِلُهُ ۖ قَالُوا يَا مَرْيَمُ لَقَدْ جِئْتِ شَيْئًا فَرِيًّا  يَا أُخْتَ هَارُونَ مَا كَانَ أَبُوكِ امْرَأَ سَوْءٍ وَمَا كَانَتْ أُمُّكِ بَغِيًّا

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. 

19:29-30  فَأَشَارَتْ إِلَيْهِ ۖ قَالُوا كَيْفَ نُكَلِّمُ مَن كَانَ فِي الْمَهْدِ صَبِيًّا  قَالَ إِنِّي عَبْدُ اللَّهِ آتَانِيَ الْكِتَابَ وَجَعَلَنِي نَبِيًّا

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/)

66:12 وَمَرْيَمَ ابْنَتَ عِمْرَانَ الَّتِي أَحْصَنَتْ فَرْجَهَا فَنَفَخْنَا فِيهِ مِن رُّوحِنَا وَصَدَّقَتْ بِكَلِمَاتِ رَبِّهَا وَكُتُبِهِ وَكَانَتْ مِنَ الْقَانِتِينَ

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. 

4:156  وَبِكُفْرِهِمْ وَقَوْلِهِمْ عَلَىٰ مَرْيَمَ بُهْتَانًا عَظِيمًا

And with their Kufr/rejection: and what they uttered against Mariam/Mary a grave false charge.

19:88-92 وَقَالُوا اتَّخَذَ الرَّحْمَٰنُ وَلَدًا  لَّقَدْ جِئْتُمْ شَيْئًا إِدًّا  تَكَادُ السَّمَاوَاتُ يَتَفَطَّرْنَ مِنْهُ وَتَنشَقُّ الْأَرْضُ وَتَخِرُّ الْجِبَالُ هَدًّا  أَن دَعَوْا لِلرَّحْمَٰنِ وَلَدًا  وَمَا يَنبَغِي لِلرَّحْمَٰنِ أَن يَتَّخِذَ وَلَدًا

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.

Messenger (pbuh) asking forgiveness of a sin

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

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: 

40:55  فَاصْبِرْ إِنَّ وَعْدَ اللَّهِ حَقٌّ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لِذَنبِكَ وَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ بِالْعَشِيِّ وَالْإِبْكَارِ

Thus you (messenger) be patient for the promise of Allah is true and ask forgiveness for your sin, and celebrate the praises of your Lord in the evening and in the morning.

48:2 لِّيَغْفِرَ لَكَ اللَّهُ مَا تَقَدَّمَ مِن ذَنبِكَ وَمَا تَأَخَّرَ وَيُتِمَّ نِعْمَتَهُ عَلَيْكَ وَيَهْدِيَكَ صِرَاطًا مُّسْتَقِيمًا

So that Allah may forgive you (the messenger) of what is past of your sin and that to follow; and to fulfill His favor on you ; and guide you to a straight path

47:19  فَاعْلَمْ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لِذَنبِكَ وَلِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ مُتَقَلَّبَكُمْ وَمَثْوَاكُمْ

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. 

39:53-54  قُلْ يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِن رَّحْمَةِ اللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ  وَأَنِيبُوا إِلَىٰ رَبِّكُمْ وَأَسْلِمُوا لَهُ مِن قَبْلِ أَن يَأْتِيَكُمُ الْعَذَابُ ثُمَّ لَا تُنصَرُونَ

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.

4:17 إِنَّمَا التَّوْبَةُ عَلَى اللَّهِ لِلَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ السُّوءَ بِجَهَالَةٍ ثُمَّ يَتُوبُونَ مِن قَرِيبٍ فَأُولَٰئِكَ يَتُوبُ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ ۗ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا

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.

4:18  وَلَيْسَتِ التَّوْبَةُ لِلَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ السَّيِّئَاتِ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا حَضَرَ أَحَدَهُمُ الْمَوْتُ قَالَ إِنِّي تُبْتُ الْآنَ وَلَا الَّذِينَ يَمُوتُونَ وَهُمْ كُفَّارٌ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ أَعْتَدْنَا لَهُمْ عَذَابًا أَلِيمًا

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;

10:90-91  وَجَاوَزْنَا بِبَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ الْبَحْرَ فَأَتْبَعَهُمْ فِرْعَوْنُ وَجُنُودُهُ بَغْيًا وَعَدْوًا ۖ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا أَدْرَكَهُ الْغَرَقُ قَالَ آمَنتُ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا الَّذِي آمَنَتْ بِهِ بَنُو إِسْرَائِيلَ وَأَنَا مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ  آلْآنَ وَقَدْ عَصَيْتَ قَبْلُ وَكُنتَ مِنَ الْمُفْسِدِينَ

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.

4:146  إِلَّا الَّذِينَ تَابُوا وَأَصْلَحُوا وَاعْتَصَمُوا بِاللَّهِ وَأَخْلَصُوا دِينَهُمْ لِلَّهِ فَأُولَٰئِكَ مَعَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ۖ وَسَوْفَ يُؤْتِ اللَّهُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَجْرًا عَظِيمًا

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. 

39:18 الَّذِينَ يَسْتَمِعُونَ الْقَوْلَ فَيَتَّبِعُونَ أَحْسَنَهُ ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ هَدَاهُمُ اللَّهُ ۖ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمْ أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ

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. 

89:27:30  يَا أَيَّتُهَا النَّفْسُ الْمُطْمَئِنَّةُ  ارْجِعِي إِلَىٰ رَبِّكِ رَاضِيَةً مَّرْضِيَّةً  فَادْخُلِي فِي عِبَادِي  وَادْخُلِي جَنَّتِي

“O you the satisfied Nafs/psyche.”Come to your Lord,- well pleased (yourself), and well-pleasing unto Him! “Enter, then, in My servants! “and, enter in My Gardens! “

Notes:

3:103 وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِحَبْلِ اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا وَلَا تَفَرَّقُوا ۚ وَاذْكُرُوا نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ كُنتُمْ أَعْدَاءً فَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِكُمْ فَأَصْبَحْتُم بِنِعْمَتِهِ إِخْوَانًا وَكُنتُمْ عَلَىٰ شَفَا حُفْرَةٍ مِّنَ النَّارِ فَأَنقَذَكُم مِّنْهَا ۗ كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ آيَاتِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ

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.

41:34 وَلَا تَسْتَوِي الْحَسَنَةُ وَلَا السَّيِّئَةُ ۚ ادْفَعْ بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ فَإِذَا الَّذِي بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَهُ عَدَاوَةٌ كَأَنَّهُ وَلِيٌّ حَمِيمٌ

Nor is goodness and Evil equal. Repel (Evil) with what is better. Then will he between whom and thee was hatred become as it were your friend and intimate. 

The link to the post of ‘Qasas’

https://topicsfromquran.com/2017/06/04/qasas/

Toor-e-Sineen

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

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;

4:154  وَرَفَعْنَا فَوْقَهُمُ الطُّورَ بِمِيثَاقِهِمْ وَقُلْنَا لَهُمُ ادْخُلُوا الْبَابَ سُجَّدًا وَقُلْنَا لَهُمْ لَا تَعْدُوا فِي السَّبْتِ وَأَخَذْنَا مِنْهُم مِّيثَاقًا غَلِيظًا

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:

10:99  وَلَوْ شَاءَ رَبُّكَ لَآمَنَ مَن فِي الْأَرْضِ كُلُّهُمْ جَمِيعًا ۚ أَفَأَنتَ تُكْرِهُ النَّاسَ حَتَّىٰ يَكُونُوا مُؤْمِنِينَ

If it had been your Lord’s will, they would all have believed,- all who are on earth! Will you (the messenger) then compel mankind, against their will, to believe!

27:92  وَأَنْ أَتْلُوَ الْقُرْآنَ ۖ فَمَنِ اهْتَدَىٰ فَإِنَّمَا يَهْتَدِي لِنَفْسِهِ ۖ وَمَن ضَلَّ فَقُلْ إِنَّمَا أَنَا مِنَ الْمُنذِرِينَ

And that I recite the Quran, and if any one accepts guidance, he does it for the good of his own self, and if anyone goes astray, say “I am only a warner”.

Faith and belief cannot be forced upon any one. The messenger is ordered to convey the message only and do not use force to impose belief on anyone.

50:45  نَّحْنُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا يَقُولُونَ ۖ وَمَا أَنتَ عَلَيْهِم بِجَبَّارٍ ۖ فَذَكِّرْ بِالْقُرْآنِ مَن يَخَافُ وَعِيدِ

We know better what they say; and you are not the one to overawe them by force. So remind (them) with the Qur’an those who fear My warning!

The messengers only convey the message; they don’t force it on people.

64:12  وَأَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ ۚ فَإِن تَوَلَّيْتُمْ فَإِنَّمَا عَلَىٰ رَسُولِنَا الْبَلَاغُ الْمُبِينُ

And obey Allah, and obey His messenger, but if you people turn back, the duty of Our messenger is but to proclaim (the message) clearly and openly.

2:256  لَا إِكْرَاهَ فِي الدِّينِ ۖ قَد تَّبَيَّنَ الرُّشْدُ مِنَ الْغَيِّ ۚ فَمَن يَكْفُرْ بِالطَّاغُوتِ وَيُؤْمِن بِاللَّهِ فَقَدِ اسْتَمْسَكَ بِالْعُرْوَةِ الْوُثْقَىٰ لَا انفِصَامَ لَهَا ۗ وَاللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ

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’.

52:1  وَالطُّور

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.

95:2-3  وَطُورِ سِينِينَ  وَهَٰذَا الْبَلَدِ الْأَمِينِ

And the Toor e Sineen, and this 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.

28:29  فَلَمَّا قَضَىٰ مُوسَى الْأَجَلَ وَسَارَ بِأَهْلِهِ آنَسَ مِن جَانِبِ الطُّورِ نَارًا قَالَ لِأَهْلِهِ امْكُثُوا إِنِّي آنَسْتُ نَارًا لَّعَلِّي آتِيكُم مِّنْهَا بِخَبَرٍ أَوْ جَذْوَةٍ مِّنَ النَّارِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَصْطَلُونَ

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.

19:52  وَنَادَيْنَاهُ مِن جَانِبِ الطُّورِ الْأَيْمَنِ وَقَرَّبْنَاهُ نَجِيًّا

And We called him from the right side of Toor, and made him draw near to Us, for talk.

This is the place where prophet Moosa (a.s) received close communication from Allah.

20:80  يَا بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ قَدْ أَنجَيْنَاكُم مِّنْ عَدُوِّكُمْ وَوَاعَدْنَاكُمْ جَانِبَ الطُّورِ الْأَيْمَنَ وَنَزَّلْنَا عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَنَّ وَالسَّلْوَىٰ

O Children of Israel! We delivered you from your enemy, and We made a covenant with you on the right side of Toor, and We sent down to you Manna and Salwa.

Bani Israeel, got security from their enemies around this place of safety and security and they were granted many bounties and gifts from Allah.

28:46  وَمَا كُنتَ بِجَانِبِ الطُّورِ إِذْ نَادَيْنَا وَلَٰكِن رَّحْمَةً مِّن رَّبِّكَ لِتُنذِرَ قَوْمًا مَّا أَتَاهُم مِّن نَّذِيرٍ مِّن قَبْلِكَ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَذَكَّرُونَ

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. 

Image result for cave hira story

3:20  وَشَجَرَةً تَخْرُجُ مِن طُورِ سَيْنَاءَ تَنبُتُ بِالدُّهْنِ وَصِبْغٍ لِّلْآكِلِينَ

And a tree emerges from Toor e Seena  which grows with the oil and colour to the eaters.

The mention of a tree could be a reference toward the cave portion of the  mountain where longitudinal stones form an interlocking resembling the shape of a bunch of leaves of olive tree.

olives-grece-500x346

7:171 وَإِذْ نَتَقْنَا الْجَبَلَ فَوْقَهُمْ كَأَنَّهُ ظُلَّةٌ وَظَنُّوا أَنَّهُ وَاقِعٌ بِهِمْ خُذُوا مَا آتَيْنَاكُم بِقُوَّةٍ وَاذْكُرُوا مَا فِيهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

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.

Notes:

Seen PicHira pictureSeen Urdu

Khidr and prophet Moosa (a.s)

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

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.

18:65-68  فَوَجَدَا عَبْدًا مِّنْ عِبَادِنَا آتَيْنَاهُ رَحْمَةً مِّنْ عِندِنَا وَعَلَّمْنَاهُ مِن لَّدُنَّا عِلْمًا  قَالَ لَهُ مُوسَىٰ هَلْ أَتَّبِعُكَ عَلَىٰ أَن تُعَلِّمَنِ مِمَّا عُلِّمْتَ رُشْدًا   قَالَ إِنَّكَ لَن تَسْتَطِيعَ مَعِيَ صَبْرًا  وَكَيْفَ تَصْبِرُ عَلَىٰ مَا لَمْ تُحِطْ بِهِ خُبْرًا

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.

18:69-70  قَالَ سَتَجِدُنِي إِن شَاءَ اللَّهُ صَابِرًا وَلَا أَعْصِي لَكَ أَمْرًا  قَالَ فَإِنِ اتَّبَعْتَنِي فَلَا تَسْأَلْنِي عَن شَيْءٍ حَتَّىٰ أُحْدِثَ لَكَ مِنْهُ ذِكْرًا

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:

18:71-73  فَانطَلَقَا حَتَّىٰ إِذَا رَكِبَا فِي السَّفِينَةِ خَرَقَهَا ۖ قَالَ أَخَرَقْتَهَا لِتُغْرِقَ أَهْلَهَا لَقَدْ جِئْتَ شَيْئًا إِمْرًا  قَالَ أَلَمْ أَقُلْ إِنَّكَ لَن تَسْتَطِيعَ مَعِيَ صَبْرًا  قَالَ لَا تُؤَاخِذْنِي بِمَا نَسِيتُ وَلَا تُرْهِقْنِي مِنْ أَمْرِي عُسْرًا

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.”

18:74-76  فَانطَلَقَا حَتَّىٰ إِذَا لَقِيَا غُلَامًا فَقَتَلَهُ قَالَ أَقَتَلْتَ نَفْسًا زَكِيَّةً بِغَيْرِ نَفْسٍ لَّقَدْ جِئْتَ شَيْئًا نُّكْرًا  قَالَ أَلَمْ أَقُل لَّكَ إِنَّكَ لَن تَسْتَطِيعَ مَعِيَ صَبْرًا  قَالَ إِن سَأَلْتُكَ عَن شَيْءٍ بَعْدَهَا فَلَا تُصَاحِبْنِي ۖ قَدْ بَلَغْتَ مِن لَّدُنِّي عُذْرًا

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.”

18:77-78  فَانطَلَقَا حَتَّىٰ إِذَا أَتَيَا أَهْلَ قَرْيَةٍ اسْتَطْعَمَا أَهْلَهَا فَأَبَوْا أَن يُضَيِّفُوهُمَا فَوَجَدَا فِيهَا جِدَارًا يُرِيدُ أَن يَنقَضَّ فَأَقَامَهُ ۖ قَالَ لَوْ شِئْتَ لَاتَّخَذْتَ عَلَيْهِ أَجْرًا  قَالَ هَٰذَا فِرَاقُ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنِكَ ۚ سَأُنَبِّئُكَ بِتَأْوِيلِ مَا لَمْ تَسْتَطِع عَّلَيْهِ صَبْرًا

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:

18:79  أَمَّا السَّفِينَةُ فَكَانَتْ لِمَسَاكِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ فِي الْبَحْرِ فَأَرَدتُّ أَنْ أَعِيبَهَا وَكَانَ وَرَاءَهُم مَّلِكٌ يَأْخُذُ كُلَّ سَفِينَةٍ غَصْبًا

“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.

18:80-81  وَأَمَّا الْغُلَامُ فَكَانَ أَبَوَاهُ مُؤْمِنَيْنِ فَخَشِينَا أَن يُرْهِقَهُمَا طُغْيَانًا وَكُفْرًا  فَأَرَدْنَا أَن يُبْدِلَهُمَا رَبُّهُمَا خَيْرًا مِّنْهُ زَكَاةً وَأَقْرَبَ رُحْمًا

“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.

18:82  وَأَمَّا الْجِدَارُ فَكَانَ لِغُلَامَيْنِ يَتِيمَيْنِ فِي الْمَدِينَةِ وَكَانَ تَحْتَهُ كَنزٌ لَّهُمَا وَكَانَ أَبُوهُمَا صَالِحًا فَأَرَادَ رَبُّكَ أَن يَبْلُغَا أَشُدَّهُمَا وَيَسْتَخْرِجَا كَنزَهُمَا رَحْمَةً مِّن رَّبِّكَ ۚ وَمَا فَعَلْتُهُ عَنْ أَمْرِي ۚ ذَٰلِكَ تَأْوِيلُ مَا لَمْ تَسْطِع عَّلَيْهِ صَبْرًا

“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.

Notes:
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.

 

 

 

 

The story of Talut and Jalut

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

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’.

2:246-247 أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الْمَلَإِ مِن بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ مِن بَعْدِ مُوسَىٰ إِذْ قَالُوا لِنَبِيٍّ لَّهُمُ ابْعَثْ لَنَا مَلِكًا نُّقَاتِلْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ ۖ قَالَ هَلْ عَسَيْتُمْ إِن كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْقِتَالُ أَلَّا تُقَاتِلُوا ۖ قَالُوا وَمَا لَنَا أَلَّا نُقَاتِلَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَقَدْ أُخْرِجْنَا مِن دِيَارِنَا وَأَبْنَائِنَا ۖ فَلَمَّا كُتِبَ عَلَيْهِمُ الْقِتَالُ تَوَلَّوْا إِلَّا قَلِيلًا مِّنْهُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ بِالظَّالِمِينَ وَقَالَ لَهُمْ نَبِيُّهُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ قَدْ بَعَثَ لَكُمْ طَالُوتَ مَلِكًا ۚ قَالُوا أَنَّىٰ يَكُونُ لَهُ الْمُلْكُ عَلَيْنَا وَنَحْنُ أَحَقُّ بِالْمُلْكِ مِنْهُ وَلَمْ يُؤْتَ سَعَةً مِّنَ الْمَالِ ۚ قَالَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ اصْطَفَاهُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَزَادَهُ بَسْطَةً فِي الْعِلْمِ وَالْجِسْمِ ۖ وَاللَّهُ يُؤْتِي مُلْكَهُ مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَاللَّهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ

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.

2:248 وَقَالَ لَهُمْ نَبِيُّهُمْ إِنَّ آيَةَ مُلْكِهِ أَن يَأْتِيَكُمُ التَّابُوتُ فِيهِ سَكِينَةٌ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَبَقِيَّةٌ مِّمَّا تَرَكَ آلُ مُوسَىٰ وَآلُ هَارُونَ تَحْمِلُهُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَةً لَّكُمْ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ

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.

2:249 فَلَمَّا فَصَلَ طَالُوتُ بِالْجُنُودِ قَالَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ مُبْتَلِيكُم بِنَهَرٍ فَمَن شَرِبَ مِنْهُ فَلَيْسَ مِنِّي وَمَن لَّمْ يَطْعَمْهُ فَإِنَّهُ مِنِّي إِلَّا مَنِ اغْتَرَفَ غُرْفَةً بِيَدِهِ ۚ فَشَرِبُوا مِنْهُ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا مِّنْهُمْ ۚ فَلَمَّا جَاوَزَهُ هُوَ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مَعَهُ قَالُوا لَا طَاقَةَ لَنَا الْيَوْمَ بِجَالُوتَ وَجُنُودِهِ ۚ قَالَ الَّذِينَ يَظُنُّونَ أَنَّهُم مُّلَاقُو اللَّهِ كَم مِّن فِئَةٍ قَلِيلَةٍ غَلَبَتْ فِئَةً كَثِيرَةً بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ مَعَ الصَّابِرِينَ

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.

14:46  وَقَدْ مَكَرُوا مَكْرَهُمْ وَعِندَ اللَّهِ مَكْرُهُمْ وَإِن كَانَ مَكْرُهُمْ لِتَزُولَ مِنْهُ الْجِبَالُ

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.

2:250-251 وَلَمَّا بَرَزُوا لِجَالُوتَ وَجُنُودِهِ قَالُوا رَبَّنَا أَفْرِغْ عَلَيْنَا صَبْرًا وَثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَنَا وَانصُرْنَا عَلَى الْقَوْمِ الْكَافِرِينَ فَهَزَمُوهُم بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ وَقَتَلَ دَاوُودُ جَالُوتَ وَآتَاهُ اللَّهُ الْمُلْكَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَعَلَّمَهُ مِمَّا يَشَاءُ ۗ وَلَوْلَا دَفْعُ اللَّهِ النَّاسَ بَعْضَهُم بِبَعْضٍ لَّفَسَدَتِ الْأَرْضُ وَلَٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ ذُو فَضْلٍ عَلَى الْعَالَمِينَ

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.

2:30 وَإِذْ قَالَ رَبُّكَ لِلْمَلَائِكَةِ إِنِّي جَاعِلٌ فِي الْأَرْضِ خَلِيفَةً ۖ قَالُوا أَتَجْعَلُ فِيهَا مَن يُفْسِدُ فِيهَا وَيَسْفِكُ الدِّمَاءَ وَنَحْنُ نُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِكَ وَنُقَدِّسُ لَكَ ۖ قَالَ إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ مَا لَا تَعْلَمُونَ

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.

2:31-33  وَعَلَّمَ آدَمَ الْأَسْمَاءَ كُلَّهَا ثُمَّ عَرَضَهُمْ عَلَى الْمَلَائِكَةِ فَقَالَ أَنبِئُونِي بِأَسْمَاءِ هَٰؤُلَاءِ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ  قَالُوا سُبْحَانَكَ لَا عِلْمَ لَنَا إِلَّا مَا عَلَّمْتَنَا ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْعَلِيمُ الْحَكِيمُ  قَالَ يَا آدَمُ أَنبِئْهُم بِأَسْمَائِهِمْ ۖ فَلَمَّا أَنبَأَهُم بِأَسْمَائِهِمْ قَالَ أَلَمْ أَقُل لَّكُمْ إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ غَيْبَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَأَعْلَمُ مَا تُبْدُونَ وَمَا كُنتُمْ تَكْتُمُونَ

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.

38:26 يَا دَاوُودُ إِنَّا جَعَلْنَاكَ خَلِيفَةً فِي الْأَرْضِ فَاحْكُم بَيْنَ النَّاسِ بِالْحَقِّ وَلَا تَتَّبِعِ الْهَوَىٰ فَيُضِلَّكَ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَضِلُّونَ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ شَدِيدٌ بِمَا نَسُوا يَوْمَ الْحِسَابِ

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.

24:55 وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنكُمْ وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَيَسْتَخْلِفَنَّهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ كَمَا اسْتَخْلَفَ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ وَلَيُمَكِّنَنَّ لَهُمْ دِينَهُمُ الَّذِي ارْتَضَىٰ لَهُمْ وَلَيُبَدِّلَنَّهُم مِّن بَعْدِ خَوْفِهِمْ أَمْنًا ۚ يَعْبُدُونَنِي لَا يُشْرِكُونَ بِي شَيْئًا ۚ وَمَن كَفَرَ بَعْدَ ذَٰلِكَ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ

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.’

Prophet Essa (A.S)- Jesus in Quran- 1

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Prophet and messenger Essa ibne Mariam (Jesus son of Mary) holds an elevated status in Al-Quran. He is a messenger and prophet of God, ayat/sign, word of Allah, spirit/essence and mercy for mankind as mentioned in Al-Quran. Prophet Essa’s birth was a sign for mankind as it was an unusual birth. Prophet Essa is also unique among prophets in that he was a prophet since birth and was able to convey the message of God in his infancy. There are many intriguing facts mentioned about prophet Essa (a.s) in Al-Quran, however in the current post we will mainly discuss common beliefs around prophet’s death and the knowledge about the hour that is conveyed to us in the words of prophet Essa (a.s).

The unbelievers of the Book, always come up with plots of assassination of Prophet Essa’s personality. The true personality of prophet Essa (a.s) is distorted by them and different types of statuses ranging from an impostor to a deity have been associated with him. The rejecters were not able to kill prophet Essa (a.s) physically. Near the time of his natural death, Allah informed the prophet about His intention of giving him death and raising (in status) towards Him and purifying him of the falsehoods which unbeliever’s would associate with him. Allah specifically mentioned giving death to prophet Essa (a.s) in Quran, as the prophet had specials signs associated with him including the one of giving life to the dead.

3:54-55  وَمَكَرُوا وَمَكَرَ اللَّهُ ۖ وَاللَّهُ خَيْرُ الْمَاكِرِينَ  إِذْ قَالَ اللَّهُ يَا عِيسَىٰ إِنِّي مُتَوَفِّيكَ وَرَافِعُكَ إِلَيَّ وَمُطَهِّرُكَ مِنَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا وَجَاعِلُ الَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُوكَ فَوْقَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ الْقِيَامَةِ ۖ ثُمَّ إِلَيَّ مَرْجِعُكُمْ فَأَحْكُمُ بَيْنَكُمْ فِيمَا كُنتُمْ فِيهِ تَخْتَلِفُونَ

And they plotted/planned and Allah too planned; and the best of planners is Allah. And when Allah said O Essa! Verily, I will cause you to die and raise you to Myself and clear you from those who reject; I will make those who follow you, superior to those who reject; towards the day of judgement. Then you shall all return to Me, and I will judge between you in matters in which you dispute.

A common belief among most people is that, prophet Essa (a.s), was raised towards Allah alive. He is not dead and will be sent again in the world near the end times. To support this belief they assert that the word (مُتَوَفِّيك) in the above ayat means ‘completing’ instead of ‘causing to die’. Therefore they say that the above ayat means that prophet Essa (his nafs) was completed and does not mean that he actually died.  However, please note the ayat 39:42, which states that Allah completes the nafs at the time of death. Therefore, it is the time of the death when a person (his nafs) is completed:

39:42  اللَّهُ يَتَوَفَّى الْأَنفُسَ حِينَ مَوْتِهَا وَالَّتِي لَمْ تَمُتْ فِي مَنَامِهَا ۖ فَيُمْسِكُ الَّتِي قَضَىٰ عَلَيْهَا الْمَوْتَ وَيُرْسِلُ الْأُخْرَىٰ إِلَىٰ أَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّى ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ

It is Allah who causes to die/complete the Nafs at the time of death; and those whose time of death has not come (He causes them to die) during their sleep. Then those on whom He has passed the decree of death, He prevents (from returning to life), but the rest He sends until a term appointed; Verily in this are signs for those who ponder.

We come to know that nafs/psyche of a person is completed at the time of death and the same happened to prophet Essa (a.s).

Also, please ponder over below two ayahs which mention life cycles of prophet Essa (a.s) and prophet Yahya (a.s)  which both are the same and the norm for all human beings as well.

19:33  وَالسَّلَامُ عَلَيَّ يَوْمَ وُلِدتُّ وَيَوْمَ أَمُوتُ وَيَوْمَ أُبْعَثُ حَيًّا

(Essa said)  And salam/peace is on me the day I was born , and the day when I die and the day when I shall be raised to life.

The below Ayat is for prophet Yahya (a.s) son of Zakarya (a.s). The same cycle of life and death which has been mentioned for Essa Ibne Mariam is mentioned for him also which is the same for all people as well.

19:15  وَسَلَامٌ عَلَيْهِ يَوْمَ وُلِدَ وَيَوْمَ يَمُوتُ وَيَوْمَ يُبْعَثُ حَيًّا

So Peace on him the day he was born, and the day that he dies, and the day that he will be raised up to life (again)!

The below ayat provides knowledge about the Hour of an impending dialogue which is going to happen on the day of judgement between Allah and the prophet Essa (a.s):

5:116  وَإِذْ قَالَ اللَّهُ يَا عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ أَأَنتَ قُلْتَ لِلنَّاسِ اتَّخِذُونِي وَأُمِّيَ إِلَٰهَيْنِ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ ۖ قَالَ سُبْحَانَكَ مَا يَكُونُ لِي أَنْ أَقُولَ مَا لَيْسَ لِي بِحَقٍّ ۚ إِن كُنتُ قُلْتُهُ فَقَدْ عَلِمْتَهُ ۚ تَعْلَمُ مَا فِي نَفْسِي وَلَا أَعْلَمُ مَا فِي نَفْسِكَ ۚ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ عَلَّامُ الْغُيُوبِ

And when Allah said: O Essa (Jesus) the son of Maryam (Mary), did you say to mankind  ‘take me and my mother as gods instead of Allah?’ , he said, ‘Glory to You! Never could I say what I had no right. Had I said such a thing, You would have known it. You know what is in my nafs, though I don’t know what is in Your nafs. Verily, You know all that is hidden.’

In below ayat prophet Essa (a.s) confirmed that when Allah granted him death, he did not know after that, what people said about him.

5:117 مَا قُلْتُ لَهُمْ إِلَّا مَا أَمَرْتَنِي بِهِ أَنِ اعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ رَبِّي وَرَبَّكُمْ ۚ وَكُنتُ عَلَيْهِمْ شَهِيدًا مَّا دُمْتُ فِيهِمْ ۖ فَلَمَّا تَوَفَّيْتَنِي كُنتَ أَنتَ الرَّقِيبَ عَلَيْهِمْ ۚ وَأَنتَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ شَهِيدٌ

Never said I to them except what You commanded me to say, i.e serve Allah, my Lord and your Lord; and I was a witness over them while I lived among them; and when You caused me to die, You were the watcher over them, and You are a witness to all things.

Allah has named Essa ibne Mariam as mercy for the mankind (19:21), and he is asking for forgiveness for the people on the day of judgement in below ayat.

5:118 إِن تُعَذِّبْهُمْ فَإِنَّهُمْ عِبَادُكَ ۖ وَإِن تَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ فَإِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ

If You punish them, they are Your servants. If You forgive them, You are the exalted in power, the wise.

However intercession is not going to help if one does not deserve on merit basis. Only those will be able to profit who are truthful to the Words of Allah and also truthful to themselves i.e when they see the truth in Allah’s ayahs they cannot stay on a divergent belief system. Anyone who does not change his beliefs on the basis of Allah’s ayahs when they become clear to him, will not be able to profit on the day of Judgment.

5:119  قَالَ اللَّهُ هَٰذَا يَوْمُ يَنفَعُ الصَّادِقِينَ صِدْقُهُمْ ۚ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٌ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدًا ۚ رَّضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ وَرَضُوا عَنْهُ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ

Allah said, This is a day in which the truthful will profit from their truth; for them are gardens, with streams flowing beneath, – their eternal home. Allah is pleased with them, and they are pleased with Allah, that is the great success.

4:159  وَإِن مِّنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ إِلَّا لَيُؤْمِنَنَّ بِهِ قَبْلَ مَوْتِهِ ۖ وَيَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ يَكُونُ عَلَيْهِمْ شَهِيدًا

And if there is any one from the People of the book, he must believe in it before his own death and on the Day of Judgement he (Essa) will be a witness over them.

The account of prophet Essa (a.s) being a witness on people is given in ayahs 5:116-119. So, every one of those who have Al-Kitab and can witness the account of the prophet Essa (a.s) in Al-Kitab, should never base his/her belief about prophet Essa (a.s) in any deviant way (other than what is stated in Al-Kitab), otherwise he can clearly see from these ayahs that prophet Essa’s testimony will go against him. 

Prophet Essa is also called the ‘knowledge of the Hour’ in Quran, because above ayahs inform us about the dialogue which will happen in the Hereafter between Allah and prophet Essa (a.s).

43:61  وَإِنَّهُ لَعِلْمٌ لِّلسَّاعَةِ فَلَا تَمْتَرُنَّ بِهَا وَاتَّبِعُونِ ۚ هَٰذَا صِرَاطٌ مُّسْتَقِيمٌ

Surely (Essa/Jesus) is definitely the knowledge for the Hour. So do not doubt in it and follow Me, this is the straight path.

For a surety Prophet Essa (a.s) was not killed by rejecters, but Allah made him die peacefully a normal death. For the people who say that they killed him, his natural death was made to resemble killing for them.

4:157  وَقَوْلِهِمْ إِنَّا قَتَلْنَا الْمَسِيحَ عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَمَا قَتَلُوهُ وَمَا صَلَبُوهُ وَلَٰكِن شُبِّهَ لَهُمْ ۚ وَإِنَّ الَّذِينَ اخْتَلَفُوا فِيهِ لَفِي شَكٍّ مِّنْهُ ۚ مَا لَهُم بِهِ مِنْ عِلْمٍ إِلَّا اتِّبَاعَ الظَّنِّ ۚ وَمَا قَتَلُوهُ يَقِينًا

And their saying that; “Indeed we killed Maseeh Essa, the son of Maryam, the messenger of Allah”, but they did not kill him , nor crucified him. But it was made (something) similar for them, and verily those who differ in this matter are full of doubt, with no real knowledge, but they only follow conjecture, and for of a surety they did not kill him.

When Allah told prophet Essa (a.s) of is approaching death (3:54), Prophet Essa (a.s) gave his last sermon:

61:6  وَإِذْ قَالَ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ يَا بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ إِنِّي رَسُولُ اللَّهِ إِلَيْكُم مُّصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيَّ مِنَ التَّوْرَاةِ وَمُبَشِّرًا بِرَسُولٍ يَأْتِي مِن بَعْدِي اسْمُهُ أَحْمَدُ ۖ فَلَمَّا جَاءَهُم بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ قَالُوا هَٰذَا سِحْرٌ مُّبِينٌ

And when Essa, son of Mary, said, “O Children of Israeel, I am Allah’s messenger to you, confirming the Taurat/law which is between my hands and bringing good news of a messenger to come after me whose name is ‘Ahmad’. ”  Then, when he (Ahmed) came to them (children of Israeel) with clarity (of Ayahs), they said, “This is profound magic.”

In the above ayat prophet Essa addressed Bani Israeel and gave them the glad tidings of coming of the messenger ‘Ahmed’. The glad tiding was given to Bani-Israeel and the messenger ‘Ahmed’ also came to Bani Israeel with clarifications. (see post related to Bani Israeel).

Discussion about Prophet Issa with families:

3:61-62 فَمَنْ حَاجَّكَ فِيهِ مِن بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَكَ مِنَ الْعِلْمِ فَقُلْ تَعَالَوْا نَدْعُ أَبْنَاءَنَا وَأَبْنَاءَكُمْ وَنِسَاءَنَا وَنِسَاءَكُمْ وَأَنفُسَنَا وَأَنفُسَكُمْ ثُمَّ نَبْتَهِلْ فَنَجْعَل لَّعْنَتَ اللَّهِ عَلَى الْكَاذِبِينَ  إِنَّ هَٰذَا لَهُوَ الْقَصَصُ الْحَقُّ ۚ وَمَا مِنْ إِلَٰهٍ إِلَّا اللَّهُ ۚ وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ

If any one disputes in this matter (of Essa) with you, after knowledge has come to you, say; come! Let us invite,– our sons and your sons, our women and your women, ourselves and yourselves, then let us earnestly pray, and call the curse of Allah on those who lie! This is the true account/story. There is no god except Allah; and Allah-He is indeed the Exalted in Power, the Wise

In case of some groups engage you in discussion regarding Prophet Issa A.S, then in that discussion bring the families along to ensure, that discussion goes on in a decent atmosphere. Otherwise we have seen many of discussions regarding prophet Essa A.S gets very heated and indecent.

4:171  يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ لَا تَغْلُوا فِي دِينِكُمْ وَلَا تَقُولُوا عَلَى اللَّهِ إِلَّا الْحَقَّ ۚ إِنَّمَا الْمَسِيحُ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ وَكَلِمَتُهُ أَلْقَاهَا إِلَىٰ مَرْيَمَ وَرُوحٌ مِّنْهُ ۖ فَآمِنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرُسُلِهِ ۖ وَلَا تَقُولُوا ثَلَاثَةٌ ۚ انتَهُوا خَيْرًا لَّكُمْ ۚ إِنَّمَا اللَّهُ إِلَٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ ۖ سُبْحَانَهُ أَن يَكُونَ لَهُ وَلَدٌ ۘ لَّهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ ۗ وَكَفَىٰ بِاللَّهِ وَكِيلًا

O People of the Book! commit no excesses in your judgement. Nor say about Allah but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary is a messenger of Allah, and His word, which He bestowed on Mary, and (Essa is) a spirit proceeding from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. Say not “Three/Trinity” . Desist. It will be better for you for Allah is one God. Glory be to Him. (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth and enough is Allah as a disposer of affairs.

The Ahlal-Kitab are the people who have Allah’s book with them. As long as the people of Prophet Essa (a.s) adhered to Allah’s Book they were Ahle Kitab. So, Allah warned them against saying ‘Trinity’. When they put Allah’s Book on their backs and instead adopted another book which they wrote with their own hands, they no longer are Ahle Kitab.