Introduction to the Quran

Introduction to the Quran A

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All thanks are due to God lord of creation, and his blessings may be on the prophet Mohammed and his family.  I have been known among my peers regarding my reflections upon the Quran.  These reflections are not meant to explain the Quran.  Rather they are a collection of moments of clarity that a believer might have regarding a verse or few verses of the Quran. 

            If the Quran were to be fully explained, then the Prophet Mohammad would have been the foremost authority to explain it because it was revealed to him.  However, the Prophet explained to his companions what was appropriate for their time.  He clarified all the responsibilities, duties, and rights of a Muslim that result in reward if properly carried out or punishment if mishandled.  So all the believers, since the time of the prophet, had equal and clear access to this knowledge.  However, when it came to all the other matters regarding the creation, and the secrets and treasures of the Quran, the prophet shared from his knowledge as much as the minds of his time could comprehend and value. 

            The purpose of the revelation of the Quran was not to reveal scientific explorations or to explain the secrets of creation.  These matters remain hidden in its verses and are revealed in their proper time.  It is when the scientific minds are active in search and study of such areas that God makes these verses shine with their true meaning.  This makes each scientific revelation in the Quran more appropriate for its time and more impactful as it is delivered when the scientific minds are ready for it.  The prophet left the explanation of the Quran, which is not related to matters of duties and religious law, to be revealed by time. 

            The Quran is God's words, and God calls its verses which -in the Arabic language- mean "signs".  It is the same word "" that God uses to describe his creation in the universe (such as the sun, stars, life in all its forms and so on).  God Almighty Says:

“In the creation of heavens and Earth, and the alternation of the night and day, and the ships which sail the seas to people's benefit, and the water which God sends down from the sky-by which He brings the Earth to life when it was dead and scatters about in it creatures of every kind-and the varying direction of the winds, and the clouds subservient between heaven and Earth, there are Signs for people who use their intellect. (Chapter 2: Verse 164)

So these signs are present both in God's creation and in his book - the Quran- and with time one will explain and compliment the other.  

            Now, let's look into the meaning of the word Quran.  In the Arabic language "Quran" is derived from the verb "read".  It means "the read" or "the recited".  The use of the word "Quran" is restricted to God's revelation to his Prophet Mohammad for the purpose of guidance and proof.  God also refers to the Quran as “the book”.  The Quran is always preserved in the minds of those who memorize it, and on the pages of the holy text.  So when relating to the revelation in its read form it is called the "Quran", and when relating to it in its written form it's called "the book".

            Historically, as the Quran was being collected and written down in its book form, two rules were implemented for writing down each verse: the first rule required that two people who have memorized the verse be present, and the second rule required that the verse was also found written down by one of the prophet's companions.  These two conditions were met for each and every verse in the Quran except for one.  This one verse was found written down, however it was only memorized by one companion.  So according to the rules, this verse should have been excluded from the book.

            But here comes an incident that shows the wisdom and mercy of God Almighty.  This particular verse was memorized by a man named Khuzaima (), and no one else.  The scribe who was writing down the Quran remembered that the prophet peace be upon him said "Whomever Khuzaima testified for, it should suffice".  The prophet had given Khuzaima's testimony the weight of two testimonies.  This was based on an event that happened while the prophet peace be upon him was alive.  The prophet had borrowed money from a man, and then repaid him the debt.  After some time the man came back to the prophet asking for his money back.  The prophet told the man that he had already repaid him the debt in full.  So this man asked the prophet to bring forward a witness that saw the transaction.  However, no one was with a prophet at the time he repaid the debt.  This is when Khuzayma came forward and said "I was present when the prophet repaid you the money".   After the man left, the prophet turned to Khuzayma and said “I know you were not present when I repaid my debt, no one was there. how could you say that you were with me?”. Khuzayma looked at the prophet and said "How can I believe you in all the Revelations you brought from the heavens, and then disbelieve you about a few coins".   Khuzayma, through his wisdom, saw that the prophet who is the most honest and truthful man he knew, could not be dishonest about a small worldly matter when he was honest in delivering God's message.  When the prophet saw Khuzayma's deep understanding and belief, he was very pleased and said "whomever Khuzaima testified for, it should suffice".

            Now that we know how the Quran came to be written.  Let's take some time to define the Quran.  If one was to give the most complete and accurate definition of the Quran, one would say "The Quran is" and then would recite the Quran from the very first verse until the very last one.  Here is the short definition of the Quran given by the scholars: the Quran is the words of God that were revealed to the prophet Muhammad for the purpose of guidance and as a proof of his message.

            In some sense, the Quran resembles all the holy books that were revealed previously, such as the Torah and the bible.  These books were revealed for the purpose of guidance and to clarify God's message. The Quran on the other hand, carries two purposes: the first is to offer guidance and to clarify God's message, and the second is to be a lasting Miracle and proof of the prophet's message.  The Torah delivered God's message and set of laws, while Moses' staff was his miracle. The bible was the book of guidance of prophet Jesus.  Jesus' healing of the blind and the sick was his miracle.  The Quran combined both the message of God and the miracle of prophet Muhammad.

            You may ask: why does this difference exist in the revelations?  It is because God's previous messages were meant for a certain period of time, and meant for a specific people; the message of the Quran, on the other hand, is meant for all humanity and all time until the day of judgment.  Therefore, its miracle should be ever present.  Any of the prophet's followers should be able to say -at any point in time- that Mohammed was the messenger of God and this here is his miracle.  One might say that Jesus is the prophet of God, however, he or she cannot point and say this here is his miracle. The miracles of the previous prophets were like a flame that lit brightly.  Whoever saw that flame, witnessed the miracle. Once the flame extinguished, its power and light could only be transferred by storytelling.  We believe in all these miracles because they're mentioned the Quran, however, none of us and none of the prophet's companions saw these miracles firsthand.  Since the miracle of the Quran is to last through the end of time, then it's revelations should continue till the end of time. It is the gift that keeps on giving and continues to shine through the ages.  This requires that not all parts of the Quran be explained at the time of the prophet.  God says in the Quran:

“We will show them our signs on the horizon and within themselves until it becomes clear to them that it is the truth” (41:53)

The word “It” in this verse eludes to the Quran. So scientific discoveries will come and continue to come to prove that the Quran is the truth.