Chapter Two: The Cow (Al Baqara)
Chapter 2, verse 2
This is the Book in which there is no doubt, containing guidance for those who are mindful of God.
In the second verse of this chapter God describes the noble Quran as ‘the book’. The word ‘Quran’ (derived from the Arabic verb ‘read’) implies that it is read and memorized; the word ‘book’ implies that it is transcribed and preserved on pages.
The Quran is distinguished from all prior heavenly books because it is an inclusive scripture which contains all God’s commandments from the beginning of revelations until the day of resurrection. Since the dawn of time, scriptures were revealed carrying the curriculum of the heavens. However, each of these messages was sent to a specific nation, and limited in its time and place. The scripture of Prophet Noah, for example, was specific for his nation. Likewise the revelations to Prophets Abraham, Lot, and Moses (peace be upon them) were limited to their people for an appointed time. It is for this reason that all the previous books gave good tidings of the coming of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as a messenger who will bring the final message to the entire world. His revelation will be universal in its reach and comprehensive in its message. Thus, the previous scriptures have stipulated that whoever truly believes in their message must follow Prophet Muhammad and his book, the Quran. God Almighty says:
Those who follow the messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write, whom they will find described in the Torah and the Gospel with them. He will enjoin on them that which is right and forbid them that which is wrong. He will make lawful for them all good things and prohibit for them only the foul; and he will relieve them of their burden and the fetters that they used to wear. Then those who believe in him, and honor him, and help him, and follow the light which is sent down with him: they are the successful. (7:157)
God had entrusted the previous books to their respective nations. Sadly, they forgot parts of them, and distorted others. More importantly, some unjustly added their own words to the scriptures and attributed them to God. This, in effect, invalidates the divine mission of these books and necessitates a revelation that can never be altered or distorted until the last day. The Quran is this true book which cannot be changed because God has promised to protect it himself as He states in the following verse:
Indeed it is We who have sent down the Reminder, and indeed it is We who will preserve it. (15:9)
So one should have no doubt in the credibility of this book because God is protecting whatever it contains at all time. He says:
This is the Book in which there is no doubt, containing guidance for those who are mindful of God. (2:2)
The miracle of the Quran can be seen in its style, facts and verses. It narrates the stories of former Prophets, and makes corrections to what had been altered in the Torah and the Gospel. Furthermore, the Quran contains knowledge that was not known to us, and continually reveals treasures in every era. It highlights God’s signs and miracles in the universe, and explains God’s curriculum. In all these areas, the Quran transcends the capabilities of humans. In fact, God has challenged all mankind and Jinn to bring forth a chapter or even a single verse like the verses of the Quran.
More importantly, however, is the guidance that the Quran brings to us. God says:
All praise belongs to Allah, who has sent down the Book to His servant and did not let any crookedness be in it, upright, to warn of a severe punishment from Him, and to give good news to the faithful who do righteous deeds, that there shall be for them a good reward(18:1-2)
So the revelation of the Quran in-by-itself warrants praise, not only upon the believers, but upon entire humanity because it gives us glad tidings of paradise and shows us the path towards it. It warns against hellfire and that which leads towards it. There is immense mercy from God for mapping for us the right path towards salvation. Here again, we can draw great comfort from the fact that God is preserving this book, so the path he showed us to paradise is protected from any change or alteration. God Almighty says:
Recite what has been revealed to you of the Book of your Lord. There is no one who can change the word of God; and you will not find refuge except in Him. (18:27)
Furthermore, God Almighty affirms through vows, that every word in the Quran is, and always will be, as it was revealed from him to Prophet Muhammad by the angle Gabriel.
I swear by the positions of the stars, a mighty oath, if you only knew, that this is truly a noble Quran,in a protected Record, that only the purified can touch,sent down from the Lord of all being. (56:75-80)
Now that you have in your own hands a revelation from God that can never be altered, that was specifically sent to guide you to an eternal bliss, God Almighty wants to direct your attention to the core message of the Quran……the fundamental pillar of faith which states: “there is no deity except God” as it is mentioned in the following verse:
Alif Lam Mim, Allah: there is no god but Him, the Ever Living, the Ever Watchful, He has verily revealed to you this Book, in truth and confirmation of the Books revealed before, as indeed He had revealed the Torah and the Gospel. (3:1-3)
God is one, He has no partner. The Quran was descended to affirm this truth which the previous scriptures have brought, and differentiate it from the falsehood added by those who were entrusted with these books.
With this great privilege, however, comes a great responsibility. God Almighty defines our mission towards the Quran: We are entrusted to convey its message and teachings to entire mankind. He says:
A Scripture that has been sent down to you, so let there not be any burden in your chest from it, that you may warn with it; and a reminder to the believers.(7:2)
In this verse, God addresses the Prophet (peace be upon him); and wherever the Prophet is addressed, it automatically extends to his entire nation. We should follow his example and convey the message of the Quran to everyone, so that they may enjoy God’s bounties equally. Let’s be mindful, however, that many in previous nations conveyed the message of God to others; and then discarded it or disbelieved in it themselves. Our true responsibility as Muslims is not only to spread the message of the Quran, but to also live it and practice its teachings.
God does not leave us alone with this task, he provides us with the tools to answer those who may criticize the Quran. For example, some contend that this book cannot be a revelation from God because it was delivered by a man. Allah answers:
The only thing that kept these people from believing, when guidance came to them, was that they said, ‘How could God have sent a human being as a messenger?’ Say, ‘Had there been angels in the earth, walking around and residing, We would have sent down to them from the heaven an angel as apostle.’ (17:94-95)
And in another verse:
Alif Lam Ra. Those are the Signs of the Wise Book.Is it so surprising to people that We have revealed to a man from among them that he should warn people, and give glad news to those who believe, that they are on a sure footing with their Lord? Yet those who disbelieve say, ‘This man is clearly a sorcerer.’ (s10:a1-2)
Furthermore, God challenged whoever doubts the origin of this book to bring forth a single verse from the likes of the Quran. If critics allege that it was possible for a man like Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to write the Quran, then surly they can do the same. God says:
Should you have any doubt about what We have revealed to Our servant, present one chapter comparable to it and call all your supporters, besides God, if your claim is true. If you do not produce such a chapter and you never will then guard yourselves against the fire whose fuel will be people and stones and is prepared for those who hide the Truth. (2,23-24)
The holy Quran is truly the book that brings the ultimate truth to all humanity.