Chapter Two: The Cow (Al Baqara)
Verse Two.......Part 2
Chapter 2, Verse 2, a continuation
This is the Scripture in which there is no doubt, containing guidance for those who are mindful of God (2:2)
God described the Quran in this verse as Guidance. The word ‘Guidance’ refers to instructions that one can follow to reach a goal. First, however, you will need a clear goal, and then you need a guide to show you the way. The key question here is: what is the best way to set a goal and to choose the best guide?
People set goals and draw plans for themselves every day. Let’s see if this is a good model to follow. If you want to build the house of your dreams, you would start by calling an architect; explain to him your vision and goal, and then he sets to drawthe plans to your house. Initially, the design the architect lays out for you may not be in line with your vision. This is why, in any project, there is a first draft, a second, and many revisions until the desired design is reached. You may even call a more skilled architect to fine tune the project. In fact, as you consider different ideas, your own vision of your dream house may change along the way.
Once the design is perfected and the construction scheduled, you may find that some of the required materials are not available. Once again, you go back and modify your plan. The city may not approve…..so more delays and yet another change is made.
Do you see how your own goal, your own dream house has changed and evolved many times through the process?..........Why?
Because at the beginning you lacked some key knowledge, you lacked some experience, and then circumstances outside your control forced you to make changes.
How about your path to paradise? Do you want to run into similar problems as you map your way to the ultimate goal of life? Of course not! We are all in need of someone who has complete knowledge, who sees the entire picture, who has ultimate wisdom to determine for us the best and shortest path to heaven. He who is competent over all things, the owner of all things, and by whose will the universe functions.
Even in the best run governments, the laws set by humans are often deficient. These laws are in constant need for amendments and changes. This is because whoever initially set the laws, had either an incomplete knowledge of the present, a limited vision of the future, or was self-serving. God on the other hand is all knowing and free from inclinations. He has selected the ultimate goal for you, and has shown you the best way towards it… Following God’s guidance is the only way to insure that your goal of being in His Company in paradise will be achieved, and the path you follow will have no detours. God Almighty says:
Say, ‘Indeed it is the guidance of Allah which is the true guidance.’ (2:120)
If you want sure success, then follow God’s path to the goal that He set for you. If you desire what is firm and ever-lasting, then take it from Him who is eternal and absolute. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to make your goal and actions in line with God’s guidance.
In many instances, we find that guidance in the Quran comes by way of narrating the stories of former Prophets and events past.
Alif Lam Ra Those are the Signs of the Clear Book. We send it down as a Qur’an in Arabic so that you may reflect and understand. We tell you the best of stories in revealing this Quran to you. Before this you were one of those who knew nothing about them. (12:1-3)
These stories are not for entertainment and pastime; rather they are a sermon and reminder for the believers. As you well know, history tends to repeat itself, thus, the story of Pharaoh applies to every ruler who transgresses and abuses. Similarly, the story of Qaroon (Nathan for narration قارون) applies to every ungrateful person who abuses their material wealth to belittle people and act in arrogance and impunity. If you experience animosity and conspiracy from your siblings, then you will find solace and wisdom in Prophet Joseph’s story. And the events of the people of the cave show us how the Lord showers with mercy those who hold steadfast on his path in the face of overwhelming odds.
Perhaps it is worth noting that most of these stories have either anonymous un-named characters, or characters that are only identified by their first name. Since these events are common, and many of us may experience them at some level, God wants you to identify with the characters and apply these lessons to life. The exception to this rule is in the story of Mary daughter of Imran, and Jesus son of Mary (peace be upon them). Both are identified by their full names, because their story is a miracle that will not be repeated again.
In other instances, the Quran highlight God’s signs in the universe as guidance for people towards the creator as the following verse illustrates:
Alif Lam Mim Ra These are the signs of the Scripture. What your Lord has sent down to you is the truth, yet most people do not believe. It is God who raised up the heavens with no visible supports and then established Himself on the throne; He has subjected the sun and the moon each to pursue its course for an appointed time; He regulates all things, and makes the revelations clear so that you may be certain of meeting your Lord; (13:1-2)
In fact, the mission of the Quran is to take people out of the darkness of ignorance, disbelief and polytheism into the light of faith. The sun, the moon, and the earth are here for the service of mankind. Yet, no one can claim that he or she has created them. If anyone takes the time to contemplate the meticulous built and precise movement of these signs, it will surely lead him or her to the creator. Sadly, many people get caught up in the day to day problems, lure and enjoyment of worldly life. These distractions often eat up our time and blind us from God’s signs. Allah revealed the Quran to shine its light through life’s distractions and guide us towards Him, and the hereafter. God Almighty states:
Alif Lam Ra This is a Book We have sent down to you so that you can bring mankind from the darkness to the light, by the permission of their Lord, to the Path of the Almighty, the Praiseworthy. God, to whom everything in the heavens and earth belongs, How terrible will be the torment of those who ignore (14:1-2)
If a person lives his or her life immersed in the moment…..occupied by eating, drinking and short-sighted material goals…..How is he or she different from livestock who live to eat and drink? Life can be alluring in its false hopes, and the constant illusion that happiness is around the corner…..if only you had a little bit more money, a little bit more power, and so on. God Almighty says:
Alif Lam Ra These are the verses of the Scripture, a Quran that makes things clear. The disbelievers may well come to wish they had submitted to God, so leave them to eat and enjoy themselves. Let hopes distract them: soon they will come to know. (s15:a1-3)
Thus, we should use the knowledge, insight and guidance God gave us in the Quran to work towards the hereafter before it is too late. This cannot be attained by wishful thinking, or even by reciting the Quran, work and action are required.