Quran tops the list of the 12 most popular books of all time

Epigraph:

As often as we approach the Quran, it always proves repulsive anew; gradually, however, it attracts, it astonishes, and, in the end forces admiration. — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Cave of Hira: Where Revelation of the Holy Quran started
Cave of Hira: Where Revelation of the Holy Quran started


The Holy Quran and the 12 Most Popular Books of All Time

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The Most Widely Read Book in the World

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An Everlasting Miracle of the Holy Quran

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A British Convert to Islam: ‘I found Qur’an mother of all philosophies’

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Is There Freedom of Thought or Coercion in the Holy Quran?

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Focus on the Holy Quran

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The Holy Quran Applauded as a Landmark Contribution to ‘Words of Justice’ by the Harvard University

Epigraph: “Blessed is He (Allah) Who has sent down the Discrimination (the Quran) to His servant (Muhammad), that he may be a Warner to all the worlds.” (Al Quran 25:2)…

Explaining Misinterpretations of the Holy Text to a Christian Audience

Exegesis.png

Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times

This is modified version of a speech by me in St. Paul Church in Endicott, NY.

“No sinner is ever saved after the first twenty minutes of a sermon.” – so said Mark Twain. Did you know that the Gettysburg address was only two minutes long? Clearing the name of Islam in this day and age will, however, require more than 2 minutes, but I will be brief.

Abraham had two sons Isaac and Ishmael. Isaac’s progeny led to Jacob, Joseph, David, Solomon, John the Baptist and Jesus Christ, may peace be on all of them, and have come to represent Judaism and Christianity and Ishmael through Muhammad, may peace be on him, has come to represent the Muslims.

We are a family and brothers and sisters and in this spirit we come together today.

Muhammad did not bring a new faith, but established his mission in continuation of the Abrahamic faiths. The first several chapters of the holy Quran make a case for Islam in the context and recognition of Judaism and Christianity. The name of Jesus appears more often in the holy Quran than of Muhammad himself and a chapter out of 114 is named after mother Mary and gives a detailed account of the birth of Jesus. The Quran in chapter 67 describes mother Mary as an excellent role model for both Muslim men and women laying to rest the question whether there is gender equality in Islam or not.

Jesus was asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:28-31)

I can easily imagine and demonstrate Muhammad saying similar words as Jesus and the Quran echoing the message of compassion and love of the Gospels. In fact, I have written two articles, which have been well received in the social media, especially in Twitter, where I have 42,000 followers, including several members of parliament in Europe and professors of religion and philosophy of different universities. These articles are titled: Two Hundred Verses about Compassionate Living in the Quran and Forty Hadiths or Sayings of the Prophet Muhammad about Compassionate Living.

I have also written about the Bible: A Message of Compassion and Love from the Holy Bible.

It is said that one third of the Quran is about Monotheism.

Rev. Elwood Morris Wherry (1843- 1927) was an American Presbyterian missionary to India, who wrote a number of books and was a famous Christian apologist and Orientalist in his time. He was generally critical of Islam, but, he wrote acknowledging the beauty of Unity of God in Islam:

A few passages, like the oases in the deserts of Arabia, stand out as truly beautiful both in their setting and in their thought. Take the first chapter, the Fatihat:

‘In the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful. Praise be to God, Lord of all the worlds! The compassionate, the merciful! King on the Day of Judgment! Thee do we worship, and to thee do we cry for help! Guide then us in the right way! The path of those to whom thou art gracious! Not of those with whom thou art angered, nor of those who go astray.’

The celebrated throne verse in Chap. II., 255, is as follows: ‘God! there is no God but he; the living, the self-subsisting: neither slumber nor sleep seizeth him; to him belongeth whatsoever is in heaven and on earth. Who is he that can intercede with him, but through his good pleasure? He knoweth that which is past, and that which is to come unto them, and they shall not comprehend anything of his knowledge, but so far as he pleaseth. His throne is extended over heaven and earth, and the preservation of both is no burden unto him. He is high, the Mighty.’

The question is often asked why a book of such singular composition should hold such sway over the millions of the Moslem world. In reply two reasons may be given: first, the beautiful rhythm, and often sweet cadences of the original language, which like some enchanting song hold multitudes with rapt attention who understand scarcely a word they hear; secondly, there is a vast amount of truth contained in the book, especially the truth of the divine unity and of man’s dependence upon God, as seen in the throne verse just now quoted.[1]

The very next verse of the holy Quran calls for religious freedom saying that there should be no compulsion in the holy Quran, a short Arabic segment, which almost every well informed Muslim knows by heart, “La Ikraha feed Deen.” When the defensive war was allowed in Islam the Quranic verse revealed at that time said that defensive war is prescribed to safeguard the security of the Temples, Churches, Synagogues  and Mosques in that order. In other words religious freedom of every human being.

So, you may ask if Islam is all these good things where do all those Muslim terrorists blowing themselves up almost every other day somewhere in the world come from?

ISIS has created a terrible state of torture and oppression and even instituted sexual slavery based on their primitive and in my opinion wrong understanding of Islam.

Response often by the moderate Muslims is that they are a small gang of thugs of about 20,000 to 30,000 militants, they are not Islamic or that ISIS doesn’t represent Islam. It is a good sound bite and a partial answer, but is not a complete and a satisfying answer.

My job for the next few minutes is to rather than giving you platitudes and some positive quotes from the Quran or the Hadith about peaceful message of Islam, which you can read in the articles quoted above, to try to give you a more satisfying answer. I will be drawing parallels between the Quran, US constitution and the Bible and between the Muslims and some Christians, to demystify terrorism and fundamentalism and give you some insight into exegesis of the sacred texts.

The ending of the Gospel of Mark is used by some as a basis for handling snakes: “These signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will . . . pick up snakes with their hands.” Churches that practice snake handling have special services in which people actually handle venomous snakes, supposedly giving evidence that the church members are true believers who are empowered and protected by God.

I read secularism in the holy Quran and so do the 88% of the 80 million Turkish people, according to a recent international Pew Research Center poll, but a large majority of the people in Pakistan and Afghanistan or at least the religious scholars they hold in high esteem, seem to read Shariah law in the holy Quran.

The Quran is a book not an audio book; it does not speak. Let me repeat, it does not speak. We as readers put different meanings into it.

Sabbath: Jewish or Christian?

ten-commandments-list-where-in-the-bible-does-it-talk-about-the-ten-commandments

We are all very familiar with the Ten Commandments and these are mentioned at least twice in the Old Testament.

The fourth commandment among the Ten Commandments is: Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Many Jews strictly observe the Sabbath, especially within Orthodox Judaism. They refrain from, for example, turning electricity on or off and much more. Jesus reinterpreted the fourth Commandment with a one liner, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27)

In so doing he brought human compassion and human rights for our times, front and center and dramatically reinterpreted the Old Testament.

Amish

Some Amish and Mennonites forbid photography of their people, and their objection is based on the second commandment: “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.” Obviously a very large majority of the Christians do not read the second Commandment in that way.

US Constitution

Now, let me draw some parallels from the US constitution to demonstrate possible ways of reading and interpreting the scriptures.

There’s a vigorous debate in the United States about the nature of our constitution. Liberals tend to argue that the constitution is a living document, while conservatives, like the late Justice Scalia, claim our constitution is “dead, dead, dead.

If the authors of the constitution were alive today – having lived through 239+ years of U.S. history – do we really think they would ask their 1787 selves how to interpret the constitution?

In the liberal understanding, under this view, for example, constitutional requirements of “equal rights” should be read with regard to current standards of equality, and not those of decades or centuries ago, because the alternative would be unacceptable, to the African Americans, Hispanics, Asians and most Caucasians.

One application of the living Constitution framework is seen in the Supreme Court’s reference to “evolving standards of decency” under the Eighth Amendment. This was seen in the 1958 Supreme Court case of Trop v. Dulles. The decision read:

The words of the Eighth Amendment are not precise, and that their scope is not static. The Amendment must draw its meaning from the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society.[2]

While the Court was referring to cruel and unusual punishment, the underlying conception – namely, that the Constitution is written in broad terms, and that the Court’s interpretation of those terms should reflect current societal conditions – is the heart of the “living Constitution” doctrine.[3]

If we read the scriptures like a ‘living document’ we are saved from so many misinterpretations that lead to extremism, terrorism, formation of cults and insistence on Shariah Law among the Muslims or teaching of creationism in science classes, among the Evangelical Christians.

Evangelical Christians

A large majority of the Evangelical Christians do not believe in the biological evolution because of the literal reading of Genesis. It is self evident to the majority well versed in biological sciences that we have to reinterpret Genesis and see it in new light given to us by Charles Darwin and 150 years of research into biology and other sciences since his time.

No wonder Genesis will need to be reinterpreted in the context of scientific developments.

Demons

Jesus had taken seven demons out of Mary Magdalene according to the Bible and you all know it. This is how they spoke of psychiatric and neurological diseases in that era.

I have been the Director of the Sleep Lab at Our Lady of Lourdes hospital, in Binghamton NY, for the last 17 years. I know something about the workings of our brains and minds, if I start believing in demons, the whole understanding of psychology and neurology will fall flat on its back.

Jehovah witnesses

On the basis of various biblical texts, including Genesis 9:4, Leviticus 17:10, and Acts 15:28,29, Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse to take any blood transfusions or blood products even in life threatening situations. All the other Christians obviously read those same verses with a different meaning.

The holy Quran revealed in the seventh century

In the seventh century when the Quran was revealed, there was no Geneva Convention, no Universal Declaration of Human Rights and no prisons. After warfare, often men of the defeated armies were taken as slaves and women as concubines. The Quran gave a teaching of defensive and just war in this context, which would have a new and dramatic understanding of human rights in the context of the 21st century. The moderate Muslims see the seeds of Geneva Convention and other human rights in these writings and unfortunately, ISIS by treating the Quran as a dead document, “dead, dead and dead,” have created the horrors of their so called caliphate, totalitarian state and sexual slavery.

But, it is not the fault of the Quran, like the snake handlers, the exorcists and people dying because of lack of transfusions, are not the fault of the Bible.

Enlightened reading of the scriptures gives us wisdom and insight, but myopic reading by the extremists gives them their extremism.

Epilogue

Muslim youth, everywhere in the world, are constantly learning from the Western media.  Take the example of Pokémon cards, fashion and Hollywood films, to name a few.

If the media teaches them that Islam is violent, they either learn that indeed it is or they decide that Islam is not violent and the media is biased or at worst “Fake News,” both are not desirable ends.

One would hope that the Western media will strengthen the hands of the moderate Muslims, like me and our community the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, to teach the whole world that Islam stands for peace, universal brotherhood, women rights, human rights, racial equality and secularism.

Thank you for listening so patiently and attentively.

Suggested Reading

Defensive War in the Holy Quran in 600 Words

Reference

1. Islam and Christianity in India and the Far East By Elwood Morris Wherry. Fleming H Revell Company, 1907. Page 25-26.

2. Trop v. Dulles, 356 U.S. 86 (1958).

3. Balkin, Jack. Alive and Kicking: Why no one truly believes in a dead Constitution. August 29, 2005 http://www.slate.com/id/2125226/ Retrieved 4/20/07 (“Original meaning does not mean original expected application. For example, the Constitution bans cruel and unusual punishments. But the application of the concepts of “cruel and unusual” must be that of our own day, not 1791.”)

Surah Hujarat: The Private Chambers

Introduction

According to Seyyed Hossein Nasr and colleagues in their recent commentary, in the introduction to this surah:

The surah was most likely revealed in the year 9/630 after the Muslims had captured Makkah and most of Arabia had come under the Prophet’s rule. As such, it addresses the complexities of ruling over this larger and more diverse community and instructs more recent members in proper conduct toward the Prophet. This is most evident in the first part of the surah (vv. 1-5), which instructs the Muslim community in the proper etiquette for their encounters with the Prophet.

The second section (vv. 6-12) focuses upon the ties of brotherhood within the Muslim community and the forms of behavior that should be avoided in order to facilitate it. This unifying theme can be seen as following directly upon the description of those who are with the Prophet at the end of the previous surah (see 48:29). As Ibn ‘Ajibah states, “After giving them the good news of forgiveness [in 48:29], God instructed the companions in proper conduct (adab) because it is among the greatest means for obtaining forgiveness and proximity [to God].” The last part of this surah (vv. 13-18) clarifies the true nature of faith and belief, providing one of the most famous lines of the Quran: Surely the most noble of you before God are the most reverent of you (v. 13).

But, what happens after the prophet dies? For this please read this article: Demystifying Prophethood, Theocracy, Democracy and Dictatorship.

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

49:1. O ye who believe, do not push yourselves forward in the presence of Allah and His Messenger, and be mindful of your duty to Allah. Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.

 يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تُقَدِّمُوا بَيْنَ يَدَيِ اللَّـهِ وَرَسُولِهِ ۖ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ

49:2. O ye who believe, do not raise your voices above the voice of the Prophet, and speak not aloud to him, as you speak aloud to one another, lest your works become cancelled out without you knowing it.

 ا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا تَرْفَعُوا أَصْوَاتَكُمْ فَوْقَ صَوْتِ النَّبِيِّ وَلَا تَجْهَرُوا لَهُ بِالْقَوْلِ كَجَهْرِ بَعْضِكُمْ لِبَعْضٍ أَن تَحْبَطَ أَعْمَالُكُمْ وَأَنتُمْ لَا تَشْعُرُونَ

49:3. Those who lower their voices in the presence of the Messenger of Allah are the ones whose hearts Allah has disposed towards righteousness. For them is forgiveness and a great reward.

  إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَغُضُّونَ أَصْوَاتَهُمْ عِندَ رَسُولِ اللَّـهِ أُولَـٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ امْتَحَنَ اللَّـهُ قُلُوبَهُمْ لِلتَّقْوَىٰ ۚ لَهُم مَّغْفِرَةٌ وَأَجْرٌ عَظِيمٌ

49:4. Most of those who shout to you from without your apartments are lacking in understanding.

  إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُنَادُونَكَ مِن وَرَاءِ الْحُجُرَاتِ أَكْثَرُهُمْ لَا يَعْقِلُونَ

49:5. Were they to wait patiently until you came out to them, it would be the better for them. But Allah is Most Forgiving, Ever Merciful.

 وَلَوْ أَنَّهُمْ صَبَرُوا حَتَّىٰ تَخْرُجَ إِلَيْهِمْ لَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَّهُمْ ۚ وَاللَّـهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

49:6. O ye who believe, when an untrustworthy person comes to you with serious intelligence, do check up on it, lest you harm a people in ignorance, and then be remorseful over that which you have done.

  يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِن جَاءَكُمْ فَاسِقٌ بِنَبَإٍ فَتَبَيَّنُوا أَن تُصِيبُوا قَوْمًا بِجَهَالَةٍ فَتُصْبِحُوا عَلَىٰ مَا فَعَلْتُمْ نَادِمِينَ 

49:7. Remember, you have the Messenger of Allah among you. Were he to follow your wishes in most matters, you would be involved in trouble. But Allah has endeared faith to you and has made it look fair to your hearts and He has made you averse to disbelief, wickedness and disobedience. Such are those who follow the right course,

  وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ فِيكُمْ رَسُولَ اللَّـهِ ۚ لَوْ يُطِيعُكُمْ فِي كَثِيرٍ مِّنَ الْأَمْرِ لَعَنِتُّمْ وَلَـٰكِنَّ اللَّـهَ حَبَّبَ إِلَيْكُمُ الْإِيمَانَ وَزَيَّنَهُ فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ وَكَرَّهَ إِلَيْكُمُ الْكُفْرَ وَالْفُسُوقَ وَالْعِصْيَانَ ۚ أُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الرَّاشِدُونَ

49:8. through the grace and favor of Allah. Allah is All-Knowing, Wise.

 فَضْلًا مِّنَ اللَّـهِ وَنِعْمَةً ۚ وَاللَّـهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ

49:9. If two parties of believers should fall out with each other and start fighting, make peace between them. If one of them should transgress against the other, fight the one that transgresses until it submits to the command of Allah. Then make a just and even-handed reconciliation between the two of them, and act justly. Indeed, Allah loves the just.

 وَإِن طَائِفَتَانِ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ اقْتَتَلُوا فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَهُمَا ۖ فَإِن بَغَتْ إِحْدَاهُمَا عَلَى الْأُخْرَىٰ فَقَاتِلُوا الَّتِي تَبْغِي حَتَّىٰ تَفِيءَ إِلَىٰ أَمْرِ اللَّـهِ ۚفَإِن فَاءَتْ فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَهُمَا بِالْعَدْلِ وَأَقْسِطُوا ۖ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ

49:10. All believers are brothers; so make peace between your brothers, and be mindful of your duty to Allah that you may be shown mercy.

 إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِخْوَةٌ فَأَصْلِحُوا بَيْنَ أَخَوَيْكُمْ ۚوَاتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ

49:11. O ye who believe, let no people deride another people, it may be that they may be better than the ones ridiculing; nor let one group of women deride another, it may be that the last may be better than the first. Defame not your people, nor call them offensive nicknames. How bad it is to be called a mischief-maker after having believed! Those who do not repent are the wrongdoers.

 يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا يَسْخَرْ قَوْمٌ مِّن قَوْمٍ عَسَىٰ أَن يَكُونُوا خَيْرًا مِّنْهُمْ وَلَا نِسَاءٌ مِّن نِّسَاءٍ عَسَىٰ أَن يَكُنَّ خَيْرًا مِّنْهُنَّ ۖ وَلَا تَلْمِزُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ وَلَا تَنَابَزُوا بِالْأَلْقَابِ ۖ بِئْسَ الِاسْمُ الْفُسُوقُ بَعْدَ الْإِيمَانِ ۚ وَمَن لَّمْ يَتُبْ فَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ

49:12. O ye who believe, avoid making too many assumptions; for some assumptions may be harmful. Also spy not, nor backbite one another. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Surely you would loathe such an action. Be mindful of your duty to Allah. Surely, Allah is Oft Returning with Compassion, and is Ever Merciful.

 يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اجْتَنِبُوا كَثِيرًا مِّنَ الظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعْضَ الظَّنِّ إِثْمٌ ۖوَلَا تَجَسَّسُوا وَلَا يَغْتَب بَّعْضُكُم بَعْضًا ۚ أَيُحِبُّ أَحَدُكُمْ أَن يَأْكُلَ لَحْمَ أَخِيهِ مَيْتًا فَكَرِهْتُمُوهُ ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ تَوَّابٌ رَّحِيمٌ

49:13. O mankind, We have created you from a male and a female; and We have divided you into tribes and sub-tribes for greater facility of interaction.

Indeed, the most honored among you in the sight of Allah is he who is the most righteous among you. Surely, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.

 يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَىٰ وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا ۚ إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ اللَّـهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ

49:14. The Arabs of the desert say: We have believed. Say to them: You have not believed yet, but say rather: We have submitted; for faith has not yet entered into your hearts. But if you will obey Allah and His Messenger, He will not detract anything from your good deeds. Allah is Most Forgiving. Ever Merciful.

 قَالَتِ الْأَعْرَابُ آمَنَّا ۖ قُل لَّمْ تُؤْمِنُوا وَلَـٰكِن قُولُوا أَسْلَمْنَا وَلَمَّا يَدْخُلِ الْإِيمَانُ فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ ۖوَإِن تُطِيعُوا اللَّـهَ وَرَسُولَهُ لَا يَلِتْكُم مِّنْ أَعْمَالِكُمْ شَيْئًا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

49:15. The believers are only those who have faith in Allah and His Messenger and leave all doubt behind, and strive with their belongings and their persons in the cause of Allah. It is they who are truthful.

 إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِاللَّـهِ وَرَسُولِهِ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَرْتَابُوا وَجَاهَدُوا بِأَمْوَالِهِمْ وَأَنفُسِهِمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ ۚ أُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الصَّادِقُونَ

49:16. Say to them: Will you teach Allah about your faith, while Allah knows whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth, and Allah knows all things well.

 قُلْ أَتُعَلِّمُونَ اللَّـهَ بِدِينِكُمْ وَاللَّـهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ ۚ وَاللَّـهُ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ

49:17. They behave as if they have done you a favor by embracing Islam. Say to them: Deem not your embracing Islam a favor to me. On the contrary, Allah has done you a favor in that He has guided you to the faith, if you are truthful.

 يَمُنُّونَ عَلَيْكَ أَنْ أَسْلَمُوا ۖ قُل لَّا تَمُنُّوا عَلَيَّ إِسْلَامَكُم ۖ بَلِ اللَّـهُ يَمُنُّ عَلَيْكُمْ أَنْ هَدَاكُمْ لِلْإِيمَانِ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ

49:18. Allah knows the secrets of the heavens and the earth. Allah sees all that you do.

 إِنَّ اللَّـهَ يَعْلَمُ غَيْبَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۚ وَاللَّـهُ بَصِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ

Commentary

49:10

“All believers are brothers; so make peace between your brothers, and be mindful of your duty to Allah that you may be shown mercy.”

According to Seyyed Hossein Nasr:

This is among the most important verses in the  Quran for understanding the structure of the Muslim community (ummah), regarding the unity of which the Prophet said, ‘The believers are like a single structure, each part supporting the other.’ The centrality of brotherly love in Islam may be best expressed in this famous Hadith: ‘None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.’ This Hadith goes to the heart of this surah, which emphasizes a bond of faith that transcends those of kinship and suggests that one should no longer make alliances based merely upon tribal bonds (see 9:23; 58:22). As another Hadith states, ‘God helps His servant as long as the servant helps his brother.’ Bonds of faith are esteemed so highly in Islam that among the seven types of people whom the Prophet said will be granted Paradise, he lists ‘two men who love each other for the sake of God, meeting for that reason, and parting with this love.’ In another Hadith, the love of another for God’s sake is combined with the love of the Prophet and the fear of disbelief to make up the three qualities needed for entrance into Paradise: ‘Whosoever possesses these three qualities will have the sweetness of faith: the one to whom God and His Messenger become dearer than anything else; one who loves a person and loves him only for God’s sake; and one who hates to revert to disbelief as he would hate to be thrown into the Fire.’ And a famous Hadith qudsi states, ‘God will ask on the Day of Judgment, ‘Where are those who loved each other for the sake of My Glory? Today, on a day wherein there is no shade but Mine, I shall shade them with My shade.’

49:13

“O mankind, We have created you from a male and a female; and We have divided you into tribes and sub-tribes for greater facility of interaction.

Indeed, the most honored among you in the sight of Allah is he who is the most righteous among you. Surely, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.”

No where is the holy Quran Allah mentions that all the humans are from Adam and Eve as that will be clearly against the theory of evolution. The holy Quran does say in this verse that all of us came from a a male and a female. This should be taken as the first primate couple where the ancestry of all humans and all the chimpanzees converge. Allow us to invite all readers to the humility needed to acknowledge that the family tree of each one of us, our ancestors, our prophets ultimately leads to primates.

If we cannot accept this well established fact than I am afraid we may have a part of arrogance or stubbornness to stick with old ideas, whether true or not.

Now a wonderful video about the human family and how we are all related to each other. Please watch Journey of Man: A Genetic Odessy by Spencer Wells:

According to Seyyed Hossein Nasr:

This is among the most famous verses of the Quran.  From a male and a female can be understood as a reference to Adam and Eve (Q), but also to the creation of each human being from the fluid of a man and a woman (T). That people have been divided into diverse peoples and tribes that they may come to know one another indicates the manner in which differences in tribe, race, ethnicity, language, nationality, and religion can be sources through which human beings gain a deeper appreciation for the reality of the human condition. In this regard, the Prophet has said, “God does not look at your bodies, nor at your forms. He looks at your hearts.” In another hadith, the heart is presented as the reality that determines all other dimensions of one’s being: “There is in man a clump of flesh. If it is pure, the whole body is pure. If it is polluted, the whole body is polluted. It is the heart.” The outward diversity that divides human beings is thus one of the greatest tests that human beings confront in the life of this world, as in 5:48: And had God willed, He would have made you one community, but [He willed otherwise], that He might try you in that which He has given you. So vie with one another in good deeds. Unto God shall be your return all together, and He will inform you of that wherein you differ.  The combination of nobility and reverence marks a remarkable transition from the attitudes of pre-Islamic Arabia, in which reverence (taqwa, which also has the sense of ‘God-fearing,’ or just ‘fearing’ in pre-Islamic Arabia) and nobility were considered polar opposites. This late Madinan verse thus signals a revamping of the moral order of Arabia to one in which true worth is no longer determined by lineage and grandiose displays of valor and generosity, but by the depth of faith and piety. In this vein, the Prophet is reported to have said, ‘Truly God has ennobled those who were lowly during the Age of Ignorance. Through Islam, God removed the zealotry of the Age of Ignorance and its custom of vainglorious boasting regarding kinsfolk and noble descent. Today, all the people, be they white, black, Qurayshi, Arab or non- Arab, are seen to be descendants of Adam. And, assuredly, God created Adam from clay, and the people most beloved by God on the Day of Resurrection will be the most obedient and the most reverent among them.’

In the English commentary written under the auspices of Mirza Tahir Ahmad and available online, it is stated in the commentary of this verse:

From the subject of Islamic brotherhood to which the reference has been made in the preceding two verses, the surah proceeds to lay down, in the verse under comment, the basis of an all-comprehensive, all pervading brotherhood of man. The verse, in fact, constitutes the Magna Carta of human fraternity and equality. It has firmly laid the axe at the false and foolish notions of superiority, born of racial arrogance and national conceit. All men having been created ‘from a male and a female’ as human beings have been declared equal in the sight of God. The worth of a man is not to be judged by the pigment of his skin, the amount of wealth he possess or by his rank or social status, descent or pedigree, but by his moral greatness and the way in which he discharges his obligations to God and man. The whole human race is but one family. Divisions into tribes, nations and races is meant to give them a better knowledge of one another, in order that they might benefit from one another’s national characteristics and good qualities.

From here if we can take a leap of faith to the complete human equality, universal brotherhood and sisterhood and Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Read further to grasp the biological significance of this verse: What Does the Quran Mean: O Mankind We Created You From a Male and a Female?

Surah Al Dukhan: The Smoke

Introduction

This is the only surah that mentions meteors and interstellar gas twice, in the verse 7: “The Lord of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them, if you would only have faith,” and the verse 38: “We did not create the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, in sport.” These verses have a language about ‘what is between the heavens and the earth,’ a 20th century physics and astronomy concept in a text that is from the seventh century Arabia. We truly appreciate these verses only if we read them with the assumptions or biases of modern day astronomy and that the Quran was revealed by the All Knowing God. People who do not know astronomy or did not have the possibility of knowing it in the previous centuries would not appreciate the profundity of these verses.  For further understanding of these two verses please glance or review the following two articles: Meteors: Establish the truth of the Holy Quran and Cataloging 750 verses of the Holy Quran inspiring believers to study nature. When we read these verses with a sympathetic mindset and the assumptions mentioned above we come to the safe conclusion that the Quran is the word of all knowing God and not of Muhammad, may peace be on him.

At this point we want to stress that we begin to see and appreciate or detest the Quran in light of our assumptions or biases. Someone who reads the Quran with the enlightenment that the Quran is about justice and compassion and only allows defensive war, will come to find certain verses as primary and interpret other verses in light of those. See the article: Defensive War in the Holy Quran in 600 Words. On the other hand someone bitten by the bug of Islamophobia or an Islamist who wants to establish a theocracy, by hook or crook, will stress some other verses and will reduce the verses mentioned in the above article in this paragraph to a secondary status.  This phenomenon is not our original discovery but is mentioned by the Quran itself several times, for example: 3:7, 7:45 and 17:82. So, here is a suggested article to start reading the holy Quran on the right foot, with the correct perspective: The Purpose And Context Of The Qur’an.

According to Seyyed Hossein Nasr and colleagues in their recent commentary:

This is a well-known and often recited surah regarding which the Prophet is reported to have said, ‘Whosoever recites al-Dukhan during the night will greet the morning with seventy thousand angels asking forgiveness for him’ (Aj, Al, Ts, Z)

We suggest that we should take this hadith as a blessing and inspiration and not take the angel count literally.

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

44:1. The Praise worthy, the Lord of Honor.

 حم

44:2-16. We call to witness this clear Book. We revealed it in a blessed Night, We have ever been warning. In it are all matters of wisdom expounded with discrimination by Our command. We have ever sent Messengers, as a mercy from your Lord. He indeed is the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing, the Lord of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them, if you would only have faith. There is no god but He. He bestows life and He causes death. He is your Lord and the Lord of your forefathers. Yet they play about in doubt.

Then watch for the Day when the sky brings forth clouds of smoke that envelops the people. That will be a painful torment. The cry will go up: Lord, remove from us the torment; we do believe. How will they be admonished, seeing that there came to them a Messenger, expounding matters clearly, and they turned away from him declaring: He is tutored, a man possessed! Yet, We shall remove the torment for a while, but you will certainly revert to your misdeeds.

Keep in mind, however, that on the day when We afflict you with the Great Affliction, We will certainly exact retribution.

 وَالْكِتَابِ الْمُبِينِ

 إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةٍ مُّبَارَكَةٍ ۚ إِنَّا كُنَّا مُنذِرِينَ

 فِيهَا يُفْرَقُ كُلُّ أَمْرٍ حَكِيمٍ

 أَمْرًا مِّنْ عِندِنَا ۚ إِنَّا كُنَّا مُرْسِلِينَ

 رَحْمَةً مِّن رَّبِّكَ ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ

 رَبِّ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا ۖ إِن كُنتُم مُّوقِنِينَ

  لَا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ يُحْيِي وَيُمِيتُ ۖ رَبُّكُمْ وَرَبُّ آبَائِكُمُ الْأَوَّلِينَ

 بَلْ هُمْ فِي شَكٍّ يَلْعَبُونَ

 فَارْتَقِبْ يَوْمَ تَأْتِي السَّمَاءُ بِدُخَانٍ مُّبِينٍ

 يَغْشَى النَّاسَ ۖ هَـٰذَا عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ

 رَّبَّنَا اكْشِفْ عَنَّا الْعَذَابَ إِنَّا مُؤْمِنُونَ

  أَنَّىٰ لَهُمُ الذِّكْرَىٰ وَقَدْ جَاءَهُمْ رَسُولٌ مُّبِينٌ

 ثُمَّ تَوَلَّوْا عَنْهُ وَقَالُوا مُعَلَّمٌ مَّجْنُونٌ

 إِنَّا كَاشِفُو الْعَذَابِ قَلِيلًا ۚإِنَّكُمْ عَائِدُونَ

 يَوْمَ نَبْطِشُ الْبَطْشَةَ الْكُبْرَىٰ إِنَّا مُنتَقِمُونَ

44:17-29. We tried the people of Pharaoh before them. There came to them a noble Messenger, who said to them: Restore to me the servants of Allah; I am a faithful Messenger sent to you, to warn you not to exalt yourselves in defiance of Allah. I come to you with a clear authority. I seek the protection of my Lord and yours against your insults. If you believe not in me, then leave me alone.

Then he called on his Lord: This is indeed a sinful people; and his Lord directed him: Set forth with My servants by night; you will surely be pursued. Then leave the sea behind, treading along the furrows of the dunes. Surely, Pharaoh’s host are doomed to be drowned. They left behind many a garden and spring, and cornfield, and comfortable dwelling, and luxury in which they delighted. Thus it was; and We made another people inherit all that. The heaven and the earth mourned them not, nor were they granted respite.

 وَلَقَدْ فَتَنَّا قَبْلَهُمْ قَوْمَ فِرْعَوْنَ وَجَاءَهُمْ رَسُولٌ كَرِيمٌ

 أَنْ أَدُّوا إِلَيَّ عِبَادَ اللَّـهِ ۖ إِنِّي لَكُمْ رَسُولٌ أَمِينٌ

 وَأَن لَّا تَعْلُوا عَلَى اللَّـهِ ۖ إِنِّي آتِيكُم بِسُلْطَانٍ مُّبِينٍ

 وَإِنِّي عُذْتُ بِرَبِّي وَرَبِّكُمْ أَن تَرْجُمُونِ

 وَإِن لَّمْ تُؤْمِنُوا لِي فَاعْتَزِلُونِ

 فَدَعَا رَبَّهُ أَنَّ هَـٰؤُلَاءِ قَوْمٌ مُّجْرِمُونَ

 فَأَسْرِ بِعِبَادِي لَيْلًا إِنَّكُم مُّتَّبَعُونَ

 وَاتْرُكِ الْبَحْرَ رَهْوًا ۖ إِنَّهُمْ جُندٌ مُّغْرَقُونَ

 كَمْ تَرَكُوا مِن جَنَّاتٍ وَعُيُونٍ

  وَزُرُوعٍ وَمَقَامٍ كَرِيمٍ

 وَنَعْمَةٍ كَانُوا فِيهَا فَاكِهِينَ

 كَذَٰلِكَ ۖ وَأَوْرَثْنَاهَا قَوْمًا آخَرِينَ

 فَمَا بَكَتْ عَلَيْهِمُ السَّمَاءُ وَالْأَرْضُ وَمَا كَانُوا مُنظَرِينَ

44:30-33. We delivered the children of Israel from the humiliating torment inflicted on them by Pharaoh. He was surely haughty and of the extravagant. We chose them deliberately above the peoples of their time. We gave them revelations in which there was a clear test.

 وَلَقَدْ نَجَّيْنَا بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ مِنَ الْعَذَابِ الْمُهِينِ

 مِن فِرْعَوْنَ ۚ إِنَّهُ كَانَ عَالِيًا مِّنَ الْمُسْرِفِينَ

  وَلَقَدِ اخْتَرْنَاهُمْ عَلَىٰ عِلْمٍ عَلَى الْعَالَمِينَ

 وَآتَيْنَاهُم مِّنَ الْآيَاتِ مَا فِيهِ بَلَاءٌ مُّبِينٌ

44:34-42. The disbelievers of Makkah say: There is only one death for us and we shall not be raised up again. Bring back our fathers if you speak the truth.
Are they better than the people of Tubba and those before them? We destroyed them because they were sinful.We did not create the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, in sport. We created them for an enduring purpose, but most of them know not. The Day of Judgment is the appointed time for all of them; the Day when a friend shall not avail a friend at all, nor shall they be helped, save those to whom Allah shows mercy. Surely, He is the Mighty, the Ever Merciful.

 إِنَّ هَـٰؤُلَاءِ لَيَقُولُونَ

 إِنْ هِيَ إِلَّا مَوْتَتُنَا الْأُولَىٰ وَمَا نَحْنُ بِمُنشَرِينَ

 فَأْتُوا بِآبَائِنَا إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ

 أَهُمْ خَيْرٌ أَمْ قَوْمُ تُبَّعٍ وَالَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ ۚ أَهْلَكْنَاهُمْ ۖ إِنَّهُمْ كَانُوا مُجْرِمِينَ

  وَمَا خَلَقْنَا السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ وَمَا بَيْنَهُمَا لَاعِبِينَ

 مَا خَلَقْنَاهُمَا إِلَّا بِالْحَقِّ وَلَـٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ

 إِنَّ يَوْمَ الْفَصْلِ مِيقَاتُهُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ

 يَوْمَ لَا يُغْنِي مَوْلًى عَن مَّوْلًى شَيْئًا وَلَا هُمْ يُنصَرُونَ

 إِلَّا مَن رَّحِمَ اللَّـهُ ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الرَّحِيمُ

44:43-50. The tree of Zaqqum is the food of the sinful; like hot molten metal, it will boil in their bellies, like the boiling of scalding water. The angels will be commanded: Seize this sinful one, and drag him into the midst of the blazing Fire; then pour upon his head the torment of boiling water. He will be told: Now suffer this, you who did hold yourself mighty and noble. This is that which you doubted.

  إِنَّ شَجَرَتَ الزَّقُّومِ

 طَعَامُ الْأَثِيمِ

 كَالْمُهْلِ يَغْلِي فِي الْبُطُونِ

 كَغَلْيِ الْحَمِيمِ

 خُذُوهُ فَاعْتِلُوهُ إِلَىٰ سَوَاءِ الْجَحِيمِ

 ثُمَّ صُبُّوا فَوْقَ رَأْسِهِ مِنْ عَذَابِ الْحَمِيمِ

 ذُقْ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْعَزِيزُ الْكَرِيمُ

 إِنَّ هَـٰذَا مَا كُنتُم بِهِ تَمْتَرُونَ

44:51-59. Indeed, the righteous will be in a place of security, amid gardens and springs, attired in fine silk and heavy brocade, facing one another. Thus will it be. We shall give them as companions fair maidens, having wide lustrous eyes. They will call therein for every kind of fruit, dwelling in security. They will not suffer any death therein after the first death, and Allah will safeguard them against the torment of the Fire, as an act of grace from your Lord. That is the supreme triumph.

We have made the Quran easy to understand, in your own language (Muhammad) that they may take heed. So wait; the disbelievers too are waiting.

 إِنَّ الْمُتَّقِينَ فِي مَقَامٍ أَمِينٍ

  فِي جَنَّاتٍ وَعُيُونٍ

 يَلْبَسُونَ مِن سُندُسٍ وَإِسْتَبْرَقٍ مُّتَقَابِلِينَ

 كَذَٰلِكَ وَزَوَّجْنَاهُم بِحُورٍ عِينٍ

  يَدْعُونَ فِيهَا بِكُلِّ فَاكِهَةٍ آمِنِينَ

 لَا يَذُوقُونَ فِيهَا الْمَوْتَ إِلَّا الْمَوْتَةَ الْأُولَىٰ ۖ وَوَقَاهُمْ عَذَابَ الْجَحِيمِ

  فَضْلًا مِّن رَّبِّكَ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ

 فَإِنَّمَا يَسَّرْنَاهُ بِلِسَانِكَ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَذَكَّرُونَ

 فَارْتَقِبْ إِنَّهُم مُّرْتَقِبُونَ

Commentary

We believe the two fundamental beliefs in Islam, which it shares with Judaism and Christianity are belief in the Transcendent God and accountability in the life after death. (87:16-19) The former is discussed at some length in the commentary of Surah Al Fatihah and the latter in the commentary of Surah Al Waqi’ah.

These are the two common themes that are discussed in almost every surah, and are the fundamental teachings for which all the 124,000 prophets were sent by God, with prophet Muhammad, may peace be on him, with the final message the holy Quran. With this paradigm the commentary of most of the verses becomes very clear just in the light of the introduction and the translation.

44:34-36

“The disbelievers of Makkah say: There is only one death for us and we shall not be raised up again. Bring back our fathers if you speak the truth.”

According to Seyyed Hossein Nasr and colleagues in their recent commentary about these verses:

These verses present a way of denying the Resurrection also employed by the Makkan idolaters in 45:25 and 56:47-48.

44:38-39

“We did not create the heavens and the earth, and all that is between them, in sport. We created them for an enduring purpose, but most of them know not.”

There are several verses in the Quran that state that God created our universe and our solar system with بِالْحَقِّ, which means truth, wisdom and with a purpose. For example, in Surah Yunus we read:

هُوَ الَّذِي جَعَلَ الشَّمْسَ ضِيَاءً وَالْقَمَرَ نُورًا وَقَدَّرَهُ مَنَازِلَ لِتَعْلَمُوا عَدَدَ السِّنِينَ وَالْحِسَابَ ۚ مَا خَلَقَ اللَّـهُ ذَٰلِكَ إِلَّا بِالْحَقِّ ۚ يُفَصِّلُ الْآيَاتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ

“He it is Who made the sun radiate a brilliant light and the moon reflect a luster, and ordained for it stages, that you might know the number of years and the reckoning of time. Allah has not created this but in truth. He details the Signs for a people who have knowledge.” (10:5)

The modern scientific translation of creating the universe with or ‘in truth’ would also mean that Allah created the universe with laws of mathematics and physics: 2016 Nobel in Physics Shows Again: The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences and The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences.

The best commentary of the verses under discussion is a debate between well known theists and atheists. Three well known atheists, Prof. Richard Dawkins, Michael Shermer and Matt Ridley debated two Christian and a Jewish apologist, including William Lane Craig, in 2010 in Mexico, regarding the purpose of our universe and the human life, mainly in English:

For a Muslim perspective on this debate please click here.

According to Seyyed Hossein Nasr and colleagues in their recent commentary about these verses:

Cf. 21:16; 38:27. Similar to v. 38, in 23:115, the denizens of Hell are asked, Did you suppose, then, that We created you frivolously, and that you would not be returned unto Us? Similar to v. 39, other verses say, And We did not create the heavens and the earth and whatsoever is between them, save in truth (15:85: 46:3). All such verses indicate that, contrary to the pre-Islamic understanding of creation in Arabia, creation has a definite purpose. With regard to human beings, this means that they are created for faith and obedience (Aj), as in 51:56, I did not create jinn and mankind, save to worship Me, and to be resurrected and requited in accord with the degree to which they fulfilled their purpose.

44:40

“The Day of Judgment is the appointed time for all of them.”

According to Seyyed Hossein Nasr and colleagues in their recent commentary about this verse:

That creation is not made frivolously or in play (v.  38) alludes to the consequences of its being created for a purpose and thus to Resurrection and the Day of Judgment (R), which is here called the Day of Division (37:21; 77:13-14, 38; 78:17; see also 10:28; 30:14, 43), indicating the manner in which people will be divided from relatives and loved ones (Aj) and the manner in which the Judgment will divide believers and disbelievers from one another for eternity.

Surah Al Abasaa: He Frowned

Introduction

This Surah is about the egalitarian message of the holy Quran and the human equality.

According to Seyyed Hossein Nasr in the introduction to this surah about the first ten verses:

Some maintain that it is related to the previous surah by the manner in which the first ten verses reinforce the message of 79:45, Thou art but a warmer for whosoever fears it (Al), counseling the Prophet not to spend his time seeking to guide those who are indifferent, when there are those waiting who wish to be guided. These first ten Verses refer to a famous incident in the early history of Islam. ‘A’ishah, the wife of the Prophet, reported that this surah was revealed about ‘Abd Allah ibn Umm Maktum, a blind man, who went to the Prophet and kept saying, ‘O Messenger of God, guide me,’ while the Prophet was speaking to the leaders of the idolaters. The Prophet frowned and kept avoiding him, turning to the others (IK, Q). The verses are then said to have been revealed as a rebuke to the Prophet for preaching to those who had no interest in God’s message, while turning away from one who sought guidance.

‘Abd Allah ibn Umm Maktum was among the first to embrace Islam. He is known for his devotion to the Prophet and the Quran. After the revelation of this surah, it is said that the Prophet would greet him by saying, ‘Welcome to him on whose account my Lord rebuked me’ (Q).

This Surah is a poignant reminder that the Quran is word of All knowing God and not Muhammad, may peace be on him. It is also a reminder that not even the best of the prophets, Muhammad, even though sinless, is not infallible. When we raise some leaders to the status of infallibility, it inevitably leads to making an idol out of them and a sort of polytheism.

The next couple of verses talk about the eminence of the holy Quran, then the surah talks about some aspects of Providence of God Almighty and then the subject matter goes to the often repeated theme in the holy Quran of human accountability in the hereafter.

We believe the two fundamental beliefs in Islam, which it shares with Judaism and Christianity are belief in the Transcendent God and accountability in the life after death. (87:16-19) The former is discussed at some length in the commentary of Surah Al Fatihah and the latter in the commentary of Surah Al Waqi’ah.

بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

80:1. He frowned and turned away

 عَبَسَ وَتَوَلَّىٰ 

80:2. that the blind man came to him

 أَن جَاءَهُ الْأَعْمَىٰ 

80:3. for all you know, he might have grown in spirit,

 وَمَا يُدْرِيكَ لَعَلَّهُ يَزَّكَّىٰ 

80:4. or taken note of something beneficial to him.

 أَوْ يَذَّكَّرُ فَتَنفَعَهُ الذِّكْرَىٰ 

80:5. For the self-satisfied one

 أَمَّا مَنِ اسْتَغْنَىٰ 

80:6. you go out of your way

فَأَنتَ لَهُ تَصَدَّىٰ

80:7. though it is not your responsibility if he does not attain purity

 وَمَا عَلَيْكَ أَلَّا يَزَّكَّىٰ 

80:8. but from the one who has come to you full of eagerness

 وَأَمَّا مَن جَاءَكَ يَسْعَىٰ 

80:9. and awe

 وَهُوَ يَخْشَىٰ 

80:10. you are distracted.

 فَأَنتَ عَنْهُ تَلَهَّىٰ 

80:11. No indeed. This is a reminder

كَلَّا إِنَّهَا تَذْكِرَةٌ 

80:12. for whoever wishes will remember it,

 فَمَن شَاءَ ذَكَرَهُ 

80:13. inscribed in honored scrolls,

 فِي صُحُفٍ مُّكَرَّمَةٍ 

80:14. exalted, pure,

 مَّرْفُوعَةٍ مُّطَهَّرَةٍ 

80:15. by the hands of

 بِأَيْدِي سَفَرَةٍ 

80:16. noble and virtuous scribes.

 كِرَامٍ بَرَرَةٍ 

80:17. Woe to man! How ungrateful is he!

 قُتِلَ الْإِنسَانُ مَا أَكْفَرَهُ 

80:18. From what thing does God create him?

 مِنْ أَيِّ شَيْءٍ خَلَقَهُ 

80:19. He creates him from a droplet, He proportions him,

 مِن نُّطْفَةٍ خَلَقَهُ فَقَدَّرَهُ 

80:20. He makes the way easy for him,

 ثُمَّ السَّبِيلَ يَسَّرَهُ 

80:21. then He causes him to die and be buried.

 ثُمَّ أَمَاتَهُ فَأَقْبَرَهُ 

80:22. When He wills, He will raise him  again.

 ثُمَّ إِذَا شَاءَ أَنشَرَهُ

80:23. Yet man does not fulfill, what He has enjoined on him.

 كَلَّا لَمَّا يَقْضِ مَا أَمَرَهُ 

80:24. Let man consider the food he eats!

 فَلْيَنظُرِ الْإِنسَانُ إِلَىٰ طَعَامِهِ 

80:25. We pour down abundant water

 أَنَّا صَبَبْنَا الْمَاءَ صَبًّا

80:26. and cause the earth to fissure.

 ثُمَّ شَقَقْنَا الْأَرْضَ شَقًّا 

80:27. We make grain grow,

 فَأَنبَتْنَا فِيهَا حَبًّا

80:28. and vines, fresh vegetation,

وَعِنَبًا وَقَضْبًا 

80:29. olive trees, date palms,

 وَزَيْتُونًا وَنَخْلًا 

80:30. luscious gardens,

 وَحَدَائِقَ غُلْبًا 

80:31. fruits, and fodder

 وَفَاكِهَةً وَأَبًّا

80:32. for all for you and your live stock to enjoy.

 مَّتَاعًا لَّكُمْ وَلِأَنْعَامِكُمْ 

80:33. When the Deafening Blast comes

 فَإِذَا جَاءَتِ الصَّاخَّةُ

80:34. the Day man will flee from his own brother,

 يَوْمَ يَفِرُّ الْمَرْءُ مِنْ أَخِيهِ 

80:35. his mother, his father,

 وَأُمِّهِ وَأَبِيهِ 

80:36. his wife and his children,

 وَصَاحِبَتِهِ وَبَنِيهِ 

80:37. each of them will be absorbed in concerns of their own on that Day.

 لِكُلِّ امْرِئٍ مِّنْهُمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ شَأْنٌ يُغْنِيهِ 

80:38. On that Day some faces will be beaming

 وُجُوهٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ مُّسْفِرَةٌ 

80:39. laughing, and rejoicing,

 ضَاحِكَةٌ مُّسْتَبْشِرَةٌ 

80:40. but some faces will be dust-stained

 وَوُجُوهٌ يَوْمَئِذٍ عَلَيْهَا غَبَرَةٌ

80:41. and covered in darkness:

 تَرْهَقُهَا قَتَرَةٌ 

80:42. those are the disbelievers, who exceeded all bounds.

 أُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْكَفَرَةُ الْفَجَرَةُ

Commentary

80:1-10

Introduction and the translation should suffice.

80:11-16

According to Muhammad Ali:

The six verses from 11 to 16 are really a comfort to the Holy Prophet for the hint contained in the first ten is that the leaders would not mind his warning or accept his message, and that therefore he must apply himself to the poor, who would be raised to eminence by the Qur’an. These verses tell him that the Qur’an is a tadhkirah, a reminder, a source of eminence (7:2b). Vv. 15 and 16 clearly state that the scribes of the Qur’an will be virtuous men, who will be honored in the world. Not only was this true of men like Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman and ‘Ali, who were among the first scribes of the Holy Qur’an, but even in its later history great rulers of empires earned their livelihood by writing copies of the Holy Qur’an. Hence the prophecy was given as a comfort to the Holy Prophet that he should not be grieved because the rich and the leaders did not accept him, for the poor who accepted him would be raised to eminence through the Holy Qur’an.

80:24

There are countless blessings for humanity from the All Merciful and the Most Gracious God; if we begin to ponder and meditate over them we are first led to the Creator God and eventually to the Personal God of the Abrahamic faiths. Surah Al Rahman: The Lord of Mercy and Compassion makes a longer catalog of the various blessings.

We need to be thankful for not only the outside blessings but also for the very faculties that God has granted us to enjoy our worldly life and blessings. For example, Allah says: “He it is Who has made for you ears, and eyes and hearts; but little thanks do you give. He it is Who has multiplied you in the earth, and unto Him shall you be gathered.” (23:78-79)

80:25

Water is mentioned as a symbol of God’s Mercy in several verses and can also be taken as an allusion to all  living things, for God made every living thing from water (21:30; see also 24:45; 25:54).

Suggested reading: Provident God of the Abrahamic Faiths: Plain Water will Tell you the Story.

80:26

Vegetation comes through the fissures, splitting the  earth. For other verses describing the manner in which God brings forth vegetation and revives the earth with  water, see,  6:99; 29:63; 30:24; 31:10; 35:27; 39:21; 41:39. In several places the holy Quran uses the metaphor: just like dead earth comes to life after a rain, similarly would be the Afterlife.

80:27-32

According to Seyyed Hossein Nasr:

These verses reflect the continuous Quranic emphasis on the benefits that God has provided through the natural world and the fact that reflecting upon them leads to a deeper understanding of God’s wisdom, since God created the heavens and the earth in truth (14:19; see also 6:73), and whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is on the earth glorifies God (59:1; 61:1; 62:1; 64:1; cf. 57:1; 59:24.); for the importance of the natural environment and the connection between creation and revelation, see 3:191c; 4.5:3c. As sustenance for you and for your flocks also appears  in 79:33.

80:33:42

We believe the two fundamental beliefs in Islam, which it shares with Judaism and Christianity are belief in the Transcendent God and accountability in the life after death. (87:16-19) The former is discussed at some length in the commentary of Surah Al Fatihah and the latter in the commentary of Surah Al Waqi’ah.

We believe the translation should suffice for these verses for now, at least.

Reconciling Muslim Fragmentation with Universal Message of Islam

kaaba-x1
Kaaba: The very first house of God in Mecca. It should be a source and symbol of universal brotherhood for all of humanity and at least for all the Muslims regardless of sect

By Akbar Ahmed, who is an author, poet, filmmaker, playwright, and is the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies, American University in Washington, DC. He formerly served as the Pakistani High Commissioner to the UK and Ireland. He tweets @AskAkbar

“The problem I see with Muslims is that they are fragmenting, breaking apart, and the universal message of Islam. This is the essence of Islam, help people and spread peace. We need to work hard to build understanding, trust between peoples.” The Grand Mufti of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Dr. Husein Kavazovic

In Sarajevo, while conducting fieldwork for my book and film project Journey into Europe about Islam in Europe, I was privileged to interview both the present Grand Mufti of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Dr. Husein Kavazovic, and his predecessor, Dr. Mustafa Ceric. Their words of wisdom, including their vision of Islam as perfectly compatible with modernity as well as being perfectly compatible with European identity, are very important for both Muslims and non-Muslims to consider and learn from today.

Dr. Husein Kavazovic
Dr. Husein Kavazovic, present Mufti of Bosnia-Herzegovina

I met Dr. Husein Kavazovic, the current Grand Mufti, who was educated locally and at Al-Azhar in Egypt, at the Grand Mufti’s office in Sarajevo. He defined Bosnian identity as “multilayered”: “We are of Islamic origin, settled in Southeast of Europe…Bosnians carry both identities, both values, Islamic and European. Bosnians are people that are open for accepting universal values.”

When I asked the Grand Mufti what he would say to the rightwing Europeans who say that Islam is not European, he replied that Muslims have to show Europe that they are ready to find their “equal space” in Europe. “Of course,” Kavazovic continued, “we do have challenges. The politicians are poisoning things, making it difficult for people to reconnect. We see it on a daily basis that it’s drawing back, that that seed is growing back.” The Grand Mufti spoke of his concern at what he described as “trends” currently that we are “seeing again” as in the time of “pre-aggression” in the 1990s prior to the genocide perpetuated against the Bosnians.

Kavazovic said that he believed that there were lessons that Bosnia could give the world in how it handled the aftermath of the genocide: “We are people that suffered genocide, but in spite of that, there was not a single incident of revenge from Bosnian Muslims to their Christian neighbors, to Serbs and Croats who did the genocide on Muslims. Why is that? Bosnian Muslims acted according to the universal message of Islam.”“We as Bosnian Muslims,” the Grand Mufti continued, “want what happened to us, the genocide, the massacres, to serve as a warning for everyone, for Muslims and non-Muslims. And we believe that from the genocide on Muslims in Europe, that Europe will take lessons for themselves.”

Dr Mustafa Ceric.png
Dr Mustafa Ceric, previous Mufti of Bosnia-Herzegovina until 2012

“I don’t feel inferior to anyone. I feel equal and decent and happy, because I am Muslim. The problem is that somehow we accept what others are teaching us that we are a problem. No, we are not a problem, we are a solution of this world.” Dr Mustafa Ceric

The Grand Mufti summed up the Muslim predicament today: “The problem I see with Muslimsis that they are fragmenting, breaking apart, the universal message of Islam. This is the essence of Islam, help people and spread peace. We need to work hard to build understanding, trust between peoples.”

Grand Mufti Kavazovic’s predecessor, Mustafa Ceric, who I met in Ceric’s office, was also educated in Bosnia before attending Al-Azhar. He went on to obtain a PhD at the University of Chicago. Ceric served as Grand Mufti until 2012, and is a highly respected figure in the Muslim world. Ceric compared the approaches of both famous universities he attended. “When I was at Al-Azhar I was told everything has been solved. Islam has solved all the problems. So I was very sad. I didn’t know what to do, because everything has been solved. When I came to the University of Chicago, they told me nothing has been solved. Everything is waiting for you to research and to study and to give solutions.”

Ceric was seeking, he explained, to reconcile religion and politics. He believed this will be a “major theme of the twenty-first century. I think that Muslims are the only people today who are caring about what is right and what is wrong. It is another thing whether they do it in a right way…they are doing it very aggressively and so on.”

Ceric discussed the importance of the Balkans as the European region with the most diversity, and also the importance of the indigenous Muslims of Europe. “The history of the Balkans and Europe cannot be separated…The Balkans was always a boiling pot, if you like. But my point is this: the Balkans remained the most dense in its multicultural, multilingual, multinational character, more than any other region in Europe.” In this, Ceric said, the Balkans is unlike the rest of Europe, which was, in places such as Spain, “ethnically cleansed a long time ago.”

Ceric traced the development of the philosophy of liberal democracy and international cooperation. “I as a Muslim in Bosnia now can say that despite what happened to my people, in the genocide and so on, I can say, thanks to the German philosopher Kant and to President Roosevelt, that the International Court of Justice and the International Tribunal for the Crimes Against Humanity in the Hague were established for the first time in history as a single court because of the genocide against my people.”

Discussing the challenges Muslims were confronting, Ceric said. “I think our teachers are not up to the challenge of the time. Too much religion in a wrong way is very dangerous.” “Unfortunately,” he said, the “so-called modernists,” who obtained an education in the West before returning to Muslim countries “are lost, they don’t know what to do.”

But he was upbeat about his identity: “I don’t feel inferior to anyone. I feel equal and decent and happy, because I am Muslim. The problem is that somehow we accept what others are teaching us that we are a problem. No, we are not a problem, we are a solution of this world.”

Reference:

The Muslim Times has the best collection of articles to overcome inter-sectarian divide

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

At the present time we have commentary of only portion of the holy Quran and new segments are being added periodically.  Below is a listing in the numerical order of the surahs availableafter the two introductory sections:

Collection of our articles about the holy Quran