Dreams, Visions and Revelation The Holy Qur'an

ESSENCE OF ISLAM – Part 20 – Holy Qur’an – the Universal Book

5The Review of Religions – June 2007 Holy Qur’an – the Universal Book The Book that would have been revealed at the beginning of creation could not, according to reason, be a perfect Book. It would be like a teacher who teaches children the alphabet. It is obvious that for such elementary instruction, no great ability is needed. When human experience increased and man fell into many errors, detailed instruction became necessary especially when the darkness of error became widespread and human souls became involved in diverse types of intellectual and practical misguidance. At that time a superior and perfect teaching was needed and that came in the Holy Qur’an. In the beginning instruction of a high grade was not needed for human souls were simple and no darkness or misguidance had settled on them. Superior teaching was needed in the book which appeared at the time of extreme misguidance and came for the reform of the people whose false doctrines had become confirmed and whose evil conduct had become a habit. [Chashma-e-Ma’rifat, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 23, p.70, footnote) This series sets out, in the words of the Promised Messiah(as), Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, a summary of his exposition of four outstanding topics: ISLAM; ALLAH, THE EXALTED; THE HOLY PROPHET(sa) and THE HOLY QUR’AN. The original compilation, in Urdu, from which these extracts have been translated into English, was collated with great care and diligence by Syed Daud Ahmad Sahib, Allah have mercy on him and reward him graciously for his great labour of love. Amin. The English rendering is by the late Sir Muhammad Zafrullah Khan, may Allah be pleased with him, and is quoted from The Essence of Islam, Volume 1. All references throughout, unless otherwise specifically mentioned, are from the Holy Qur’an. ESSENCE OF ISLAM: Part 20 – The Holy Qur’an – The Universal Book 6 The Review of Religions – June 2007 It is true that man was bestowed a revealed Book in the beginning of creation, but that Book was not the Vedas. To attribute the current Vedas to God Almighty, is to offer an insult to the Holy Being. If it is asked why was only one revealed Book given to mankind in the beginning and why was not each people given a separate book, the answer is that in the beginning mankind’s number was small and they did not amount even to a people, and one Book was sufficient for them. When mankind spread over the earth and the dwellers of each region of the earth became a people, and on account of long distances one people ceased to be in touch with another, Divine wisdom demanded that at such time there should be separate Messengers and revealed Books for different peoples, and so it came about. When mankind increased in numbers still more and communications were established, and means of communication became avail- able, and it became known that different parts of the earth were inhabited by man, and God Almighty determined that they should all be made one people, and should be gathered together after their dispersal, God sent one Book for all regions. In this Book it was commanded that as it ESSENCE OF ISLAM – THE HOLY QUR’AN – THE UNIVERSAL BOOK The founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community was Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as). The founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community was Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as). In 1891, he claimed, on the basis of Divine revelation, that he was the Promised Messiah and Mahdi whose advent had been foretold by Muhammad, the Holy Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and by the scriptures of other faiths. His claim constitutes the basis of the beliefs of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community. 7The Review of Religions – June 2007 reached different parts of the world, it should be accepted and believed in. That Book is the Holy Qur’an which has been revealed to establish a relationship between different regions. The books that were revealed before the Qur’an were confined to one people each. Books and Messengers appeared among the Syrians, Persians, Indians, Chinese, Egyptians and Romans and they were each confined to one people and were not concerned with the others. Last of all came the Holy Qur’an which is a universal Book and is not for any one people, but for all peoples. It came for a people who were henceforth to become one. Now means have become available which are bestowing a unity upon different peoples. Mutual intercourse which is at the root of converting mankind into one people has become so easy that a journey that used to take years can now be accomplished within a few days, and such facilities have become available for communication that news that took a year to travel from one far country to another can now be transmitted within an hour. So great a revolution is in progress, and the river of culture is flowing in such manner, that it appears obvious that God Almighty has determined that all the peoples who are scattered in the earth should be made into one people and that those who had been separated over thousands of years might now come together. This is intimated in the Holy Qur’an and the Holy Qur’an alone claims that it has come for all the peoples of the world, as it is said: Proclaim ‘O mankind, truly I am Allah’s Messenger to you all’… (Ch.7:V.159) Again it is said: And We have sent thee not but, as a mercy for all the peoples. (Ch.21:v.108) And it is said: Blessed is He Who has sent ESSENCE OF ISLAM – THE HOLY QUR’AN – THE UNIVERSAL BOOK 8 The Review of Religions – June 2007 thee so that thou shouldst be a Warner for all peoples. (Ch.25:V.2) I declare with all the emphasis at my command, that no revealed Book made this claim before the Holy Qur’an. Each confined its message to its own people. Even the Prophet who was deified by the Christians affirmed: ‘I have not been sent but to the lost sheep of Israel.’ (Matthew 15:24) The conditions of the world also bear testimony that the claim of the Holy Qur’an of a universal message was timely for at the time of the advent of the Holy Prophet(saw) the door of general propagation of the truth had been opened. (Chashma-e-Ma’rifat, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 23, pp. 74-77) Safeguarding of the Holy Qur’an There is a promise in the Holy Qur’an that God would safeguard Islam at the time of trials and dangers as is said: Verily We Ourself have sent down this Exhortation, and most surely We will be its Guardian (Ch.15:V.10) According to this promise, God Almighty safeguarded His Word in four ways. First, by means of those who have committed the Holy Qur’an to memory, its text and sequence were safeguarded. In each century there have been hundreds of thousands of people who had committed this Holy Word to memory and thus safeguarded it in such a way that if they were asked about one word they could recite its context. In this way, the Holy ESSENCE OF ISLAM – THE HOLY QUR’AN – THE UNIVERSAL BOOK IN EACH CENTURY THERE HAVE BEEN HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE WHO HAD COMMITTED THIS HOLY WORD TO MEMORY AND THUS SAFEGUARDED IT IN SUCH A WAY THAT IF THEY WERE ASKED ABOUT ONE WORD THEY COULD RECITE ITS CONTEXT. IN THIS WAY, THE HOLY QUR’AN WAS SAFEGUARDED AGAINST VERBAL PERVERSION IN EVERY AGE. 9The Review of Religions – June 2007 Qur’an was safeguarded against verbal perversion in every age. Secondly, through great divines who were bestowed an understanding of the Qur’an in every century, who interpreted the Qur’an with the help of the Ahadith, and thus safeguarded the Holy Word of God and its holy teaching against the perversion of its meaning in every age. Thirdly, through scholars who set forth Qur’anic teachings in the light of reason and thus safeguarded the Holy Word of God against the attacks of short-sighted philosophers. Fourthly, through those upon whom spiritual bounties were bestowed who safeguarded the Holy Word of God in every age against the attacks of those who denied miracles and spiritual insights. (Ayyam-us-Sulah, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 14, p.288) Lest it should be imagined that the Muslims believe that revelation began with Adam and came to an end with the Holy Prophet(saw) and that, therefore, after the Holy Prophet(saw) revelation ceased altogether, it should be remembered that we do not believe like the Hindus that God’s Word was confined to that which He had already disclosed. According to the Islamic doctrine God’s Word and His knowledge and His wisdom, like His Being, are unlimited. God Almighty has said: Say, ‘If the ocean became ink for the words of my Lord, surely, the ocean would be exhausted before the words of my Lord came to an end, even though We brought the like thereof as further help’. (Ch.18:v.110) … If the ocean were to be used as ink for transcribing the Words of the Lord, surely the ocean would be exhausted before the Words of my Lord come to an end, even though We augmented it with the like thereof. We understand the cessation of revelation with the Holy Prophet(saw) in the sense that though the Word of God is unlimited, yet as the corruption ESSENCE OF ISLAM – THE HOLY QUR’AN – THE UNIVERSAL BOOK 10 The Review of Religions – June 2007 for the reform of which the Word of God descended, and the needs that were fulfilled through revelation were limited, only that much of the Divine Word was revealed as was needed by mankind. The Holy Qur’an was revealed at a time when all possible needs had become apparent and all moral and doctrinal and verbal matters and human conduct had been corrupted, and all kinds of excesses and vices had reached their limit. Therefore, the teaching of the Holy Qur’an was all comprehensive. It is in this sense that the law revealed in the Qur’an is perfect and final, and previous revealed laws are incomplete, as the evils for the reform of which previous revealed Books had come, had not arrived at their climax, but at the time of the revelation of the Holy Qur’an they had reached their maximum. Now the distinction between the Holy Qur’an and other revealed Books is that even if those Books had been safeguarded in every way, their teaching being incomplete, a perfect teaching, that is to say, the Holy Qur’an would have been needed to be revealed; but no other Book is needed after the Holy Qur’an as there can be nothing beyond perfection. If it was to be supposed that the true principles of the Holy Qur’an would be perverted like the Vedas and the Bible and associates would be set up with God Almighty, and the teaching of the Unity of God would be altered and perverted, and that the millions of Muslims who are established on the Unity of God would fall into shirk and worship of creatures, then in such case another law would have to be revealed and another Messenger would arrive, but all this supposition is out of the question. The perversion of the teaching of the Holy Qur’an is not possible as God Almighty has said: …. We Ourself have sent down this Admonition and We shall continue to be its Guardian. (Ch.15:V.10) The truth of this prophecy has been demonstrated over 1,300 ESSENCE OF ISLAM – THE HOLY QUR’AN – THE UNIVERSAL BOOK 11The Review of Religions – June 2007 years. So far, no pagan teaching has found its way into the Holy Qur’an, as it had into previous revealed Books. Nor can reason imagine any such contingency. Millions of Muslims have learned the Holy Qur’an by heart, and thousands of commentaries safeguard its meaning. Its verses are recited in prayer services five times a day, and it is read every day. It is being published in all countries in millions of copies, and its teaching being known to every people are factors on the basis of which reason decides that in future any change or perversion in the text of the Holy Qur’an is beyond the range of possibility. (Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol.1, pp.100-102, footnote 9) Critique of Brahmo Samaj Answered It is objected that all the verities of Divine knowledge cannot be comprehended in anyone Book, then how can it be expected that imperfect books can guide a person to complete under- standing? The answer is that this objection would be worthy of attention if one of the Brahmo Samajists were to put forward on the basis of his reason some new verity relating to the recognition of God or other such matter which is not mentioned in the Holy Qur’an. In such case the Brahmo Samajists could claim with pride that all the verities relating to the hereafter and to the recognition of God are not comprised in the revealed Book, and that such and such a verity has been left out which they have discovered. If they were to do so, they might succeed in misguiding some ignorant persons. The Holy Qur’an claims: We have left out nothing in the Book. (Ch.6:V.39) That is to say: no verity relating to Divine knowledge which is needed by man has been left out from the Holy Qur’an. Again it is said: A Messenger from Allah recites Scriptures purified. ESSENCE OF ISLAM – THE HOLY QUR’AN – THE UNIVERSAL BOOK 12 The Review of Religions – June 2007 Therein are the everlasting teachings (Ch.98:Vs.3-4) That is to say: the Messenger of God recites Holy Scriptures comprising all perfect verities and the knowledge granted to people of the earlier ages and those of the latter days. Again it is said: ALIF LAM RA (I am Allah Who is All-Seeing). This is a book whose verses are fortified and made flawless and then they have been expounded in detail. It is from One Wise and All-aware. (Ch.11:V.2) This means that: ‘This Book has two qualities: one is that the All- Wise One has set it out in a firm and well argued manner, that is to say, in the way of wisdom and not merely as a story; and, secondly, it sets forth all that is needed about the hereafter.’ Again it is said: It is a decisive word, And it is not a useless talk. (Ch.86:Vs.14-15) That is to say: This Book resolves all the contentions that might arise with regard to the hereafter and is not just vain talk. Again, it is said: And We have not sent down to thee the Book except that thou mayest explain to them that concerning which they differ, and as a guidance, and a mercy for a people who believe. (Ch.16:V65) That is to say: ‘This Book has been revealed so that the differences that have been created by defective reasoning, or by deliberate excess, may be removed and the straight path might be indicated for the believers.’ There is also an indication here that the mischief that has been wrought by differences in human compo- sitions can be set right only by the Word which is free from all ESSENCE OF ISLAM – THE HOLY QUR’AN – THE UNIVERSAL BOOK 13The Review of Religions – June 2007 defects. It is obvious that he who has been misled by words can be brought to the straight path only through the Divine Word. Indications contained in the law of nature cannot decide between differences of composition, nor can they convince a misguided one of his error. If a judge does not record the pleas of the plaintiff nor meets the objections of the defendant with strong arguments, then how is it possible that the parties should discover the answer to their questions, objections and pleas in the hints contained in his judgement, and how can a final judgement be propounded on the basis of confused hints which do not satisfy either side? In the same way, the commandments of God are conclusively established to the satisfaction of His servants when He informs them of their error into which they have fallen by the false statements of people, through His perfect and true speech, and makes known to them their falling into mis- guidance by a reasoned and clear statement, so that if they do not mend their ways even after being informed and do not give up their error, they might be condemned to chastisement. Would it be just on the part of God Almighty that He should seize a person as an offender and should be ready to punish him, without proving the error of his arguments in support of his innocence by a clear statement removing his doubts by His express Words? Perfect System of guidance of the Holy Qur’an Again it is said: The month of Ramadan is that in which the Qur’an was sent down as a guidance for mankind with clear proofs of guidance and discrimination. (Ch.2:V.186) This means that: The Holy Qur’an has three qualities. First, it guides people to the knowledge of the faith that had disappeared. Secondly, it sets forth the details of such knowledge as had been briefly stated. Thirdly, it sets forth the decisive word con- cerning matters over which differences had arisen and thus ESSENCE OF ISLAM – THE HOLY QUR’AN – THE UNIVERSAL BOOK distinguishes between truth and falsehood. Concerning the compre- hensiveness of the Qur’an it is said: And We have made the night and the day two Signs and We erased the Sign of night replacing it with day and the Sign of day We have made a light, that you may seek bounty from your Lord and that you may know the computation of years and the science of reckoning… (Ch.17:V.13) …. meaning that: All knowledge of faith has been set out in detail in this Book and it points out those means and teaches that perfect knowledge which should lead man not only to partial progress but to full development. …And We have sent down to thee the Book to explain everything, and a guidance and a mercy, and glad tidings to those who submit to God. (Ch.16:V.90) ..meaning that: This Book has been revealed so that every religious verity might be plainly stated and this perfect statement might prove the means of guidance and mercy for those who submit wholly to God. Then it is said: ALIF RAM RA. This is a Book which We have revealed to thee that thou mayest bring mankind out of every kind of darkness into light by the command of their Lord, to the path of the Mighty, the Praiseworthy… (Ch.14:V.2) This means that: We have revealed this magnificent Book to you, so that you may move people out of darkness into light. This is an indication that the Holy Qur’an removes every kind of doubt that passes through a man’s mind and puts down false notions, and bestows the light of perfect understanding: that is to say, it bestows all the insights and verities that are needed for turning to God Almighty and 14 ESSENCE OF ISLAM – THE HOLY QUR’AN – THE UNIVERSAL BOOK The Review of Religions – June 2007 believing in Him. Again it is said: … It is not a thing that has been forged, but a fulfilment of that which is before it and a detailed exposition of all things, and guidance and a mercy to a people who believe. (Ch.12:V.112) This means that: The Qur’an is not a Book which could be composed by man. The signs of its truth are patent for it establishes the truth of previous Books, meaning that the prophecies contained in the previous Books concerning the Holy Qur’an have been fulfilled by its being revealed. Also the Qur’an has supplied the arguments in support of true doctrines which had not been set forth in previous books and thus carried their teaching to perfection. In this manner the Qur’an proved the truth of the previous books, which also establishes its own truth. It is a sign of its truth that it sets forth every religious verity and states all those matters which are necessary for perfect guidance. This is a sign of its truth inasmuch as it is beyond the power of man that his knowledge should be so comprehensive that no religious verity and fine truth should be left out of it. In these verses God Almighty has clearly stated that the Holy Qur’an is comprehensive of all verities and this is a very strong argument in support of its truth. Centuries have passed after this claim of the Holy Qur’an, but no Brahmo or any other has come out to contest it. It is obvious that, without setting forth any new verity that might have been left out of the Holy Qur’an, to put forward false notions which have no reality like the insane, is strong proof that such people do not desire to seek the truth like the righteous, but to please their evil-directing selves they are seeking ways whereby they should be freed from God’s holy commandments and from God Himself. For procuring such freedom they tum away from the 15 ESSENCE OF ISLAM – THE HOLY QUR’AN – THE UNIVERSAL BOOK The Review of Religions – June 2007 true Book of God, the truth of which is brighter than the sun, and they neither discuss any matter in the spirit of scholarship, nor listen to anything said by the other side. They should be asked when did anyone present a religious verity in opposition to the Qur’an and found no answer from the Qur’an? For 1,300 years the Holy Qur’an has claimed that all religious verities are comprised in it. Then how vile it is that without a test such a grand Book should be held to be defective, and what kind of arrogance is it neither to admit the claim of the Holy Qur’an nor to refute it? The truth is that though their lips sometimes utter the name of God, their hearts are filled with the filth of the world. If they start a religious discussion they do not continue it till the end and cut it short lest a truth should be manifested. Then they describe this perfect Book as defective which proclaims: … This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favour upon you and have chosen for you Islam as religion… (Ch.5:V.4) This day, by revealing this Book, I have perfected your religion for your benefit, and have completed all My favours for the believers. Have you no fear of God? Will you go on living like this? Will your false mouths not be cursed one day by God? If you think that you have discovered a high verity after great labour, and research and you falsely assume that the Holy Qur’an has failed to mention it, we call upon you to put aside everything else and present that verity to us so that we might exhibit it to you from the Qur’an. (Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Ruhani Khaza’in, Vol. 1, pp. 223-227, footnote 11) 16 MESSAGE FROM HEAVENESSENCE OF ISLAM – THE HOLY QUR’AN – THE UNIVERSAL BOOK The Review of Religions – June 2007