Challenge of the Qur’an Shareef
In previous chapters we have seen that the prophethood of prophet Muhammad (SAW) was based on the Qur’an Shareef-an everlasting miracle.
At the age of 40 years, when Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was meditating in seclusion in the cave of Hira in Makka-Al-Mukarramah the first revelation from Allah Ta'ala came starting with the word ‘Iqra’ meaning ‘read’. Then the revelation of Qur’an Shareef was completed in twenty three years. As the revelation would come to Rasulullah (SAW), he used to recite them to his companions (RA) who would memorise them by heart and also write them. They used to recite it daily and convey the same to others then the Qur’an Shareef was secured in written form and now it was available from two sources viz., those thousands of learners who had memorized it by heart and the other one was in the written form. There was never any chance of any mistake as the Huffaz or learners were remembering it in such a way that not a single word not even a single sign or dot would go here and there. Any writ-ten form was scrupulously checked and cross checked by many many Huffaz and then only released for recitation. The Qur’an Shareef reached us from these two sources by the method of ‘Tawatur’ (continuity), i.e., one generation passed it on to the next generation not only in written form but also from heart to heart. In all ages in Islamic history from the time of the Prophet (SAW) there were thousands of students who were learning The Qur’an Shareef from their teachers by heart. This practice continues to date. The Qur’an Shareef is unparalleled in this case and this is a great miracle of it. No other book, even of one tenth the size of the Qur’an Shareef, can be memorized like this and there is no example in world history of any other book being memorized like this. As Allah Ta’ala has promised to protect this Qur’an Shareef upto the day of Judgement, we are seeing that the Qur’an Shareef in our hands is exactly same without any addition or alteration, not even equal to a dot, as it was revealed to Rasulullah (SAW) one thousand four hundred years ago.
As the number of Muslims increased and Islam spread to other countries like Rome, Abyssinia, Egypt and Syria etc, the enemies of Islam got more and more worried. The Qur’an Shareef was cutting the roots of idolatory and all false ideologies. The Qur’an Shareef challenged them openly:
“And if ye are in doubt as to what we have revealed from time to time to our servant, then produce a Surah like there unto; And call your witnesses or helpers (if there are any) besides Allah, if ye are truthful. And if ye cannot and of a surety ye cannot, then fear the fire, whose fuel is men and stones which is pre-pared for those who reject faith.
The unbelievers and infidels were trying to prove that the Qur’an Shareef was not the word of Allah Ta'ala but was just poetry, had it been the word of Allah Ta'ala then whole of it would have been sent down once only and not in parts. As poets say their poetry in parts so they thought the Qur’an Shareef also like that. Allah Ta’ala reveals the reason for this gradual part wise revelation of the Qur’an Shareef at other place:
“Those who reject faith say “Why is not the Qur’an revealed to him all at once? Thus (is it revealed), that we may strengthen thy heart thereby, we have rehearsed to thee in slow, well arranged stages, gradually.”
The second thing which these unbelievers and infidels would say was that this Qur’an Shareef was not word of Allah Ta'ala but was a creation of Muhammad (SAW) and that he was not the true prophet of Allah Ta'ala. The Qur’an Shareef first, in the preceding verses stunned the opponents of Muhammad (SAW) by putting forward unrefutable argument whereby proving that Allah Ta'ala, being the only Creator and Sustainer of the universe and mankind, was alone worth worshipping. It was He who has made the earth a couch and the heavens the canopy. It was He who sends rain and brings forth therewith fruits for the sustenance of man. There-fore, the Qur’an Shareef asked people not to set rivals unto Him as anyone even with a little intelligence understands these axiomatic facts. People who listened to those arguments had no answer to them and sensible, unbiased ones would at once embrace Islam, but the preju-diced ones would still try to create doubts in the truth of Muham-mad’s (SAW) prophethood.
In order to prove the truthfulness of Muhammad’s (SAW) prophethood, the Qur’an Shareef asked its opponents, “Well, if you have doubt in what we have revealed in a gradual, slow and well arranged manner to our servant (Muhammad (SAW)), then you call all your supporters (you have great poets, eloquent speakers, you are masters of the Arabic language (as the Qur’an Shareef is in Arabic), just try to produce, if not the whole the Qur’an Shareef, just a small Surah like it.”
Now here is a great honour for our Prophet Muhammad (SAW) as Allah Ta'ala calls him by the name of (His servant) thereby owning him directly. Indeed it is a great honour for him. Secondly, it again shows that the greatness of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is proclaimed in the Qur’an Shareef.
This open challenge is enough proof of the fact that the Qur’an Shareef is the word of Allah Ta'ala and that mankind has till now to date failed to produce even a small Surah despite the fact that the opponents of Islam have been in the majority in all ages and have always tried their best to extinguish the candle of Islam.The miraculous nature of the Qur’an Shareef is established by the truthlessness of its predictions which it made fourteen centuries ago in which the Qur’an Shareef clearly predicted:
"But if ye cannot and of a surety ye cannot, then fear the fire, whose fuel is men and stones which is pre-pared for those who reject faith.
This challenge was repeated by the Qur’an Shareef on quite a few occa-sions:
“Say, if the whole of mankind and jinns were to gather together to produce the like of the Qur’an, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they backed up each other with help and support”.
“Or do they say: ‘He forged it?’. Say, Bring then a Surah like unto it, and call (to your aid) anyone you can besides Allah, if it be you speak the truth.”
The Pagan Arabs sacrificed their lives for the sake of their idols whom they worshipped. They spent their wealth and whatever means they had at their command in opposition of the Qur’an Shareef. When the Qur’an Shareef asked them to get a small Surah like this, that it was a much easier way for them to achieve their goal than losing their lives and wealth. So it is obvious that they must have left no stone unturned in trying to produce a Surah like that of the Qur’an Shareef. On the other hand the Qur’an Shareef was repeatedly challenging them to bring forth even a small Surah and was asking them to get the support from anybody whosoever they would like. Inspite of these repeated challenges, failure of mankind to produce any such Surah has proved beyond any doubt truthfulness of the Qur’an Shareef and that it is a miracle for all times to come. Allah Ta’ala says that these were the people who were otherwise quarrelsome, to take up the cudgels for trivial things was their habit,
“And warnings to people given to contention”
Allah Ta’ala further says:
“Doth not man see that it is We Who created him from sperm, yet behold he (stands forth) as an open adversary.”
To stand forth as an adversary is the habit of man and these Pagan Arabs were all the more quarrelsome and they used to say that this Qur’an Shareef was nothing but tales of earlier men and if they wished they could also make such statements:
“When our signs are rehearsed to them, they say, we heard this (before),if we wished we could say (words) like these, these are nothing but tales of the ancient”.
They said "This is nothing but sorcery, faked up: never did we hear the like among our fathers of old.”
“They say, ‘Oh thou to whom the message is being revealed: true thou art mad (or possessed)!” (15:6)
“Will ye go to witchcraft with your eyes open?.”
“And say, ‘what! Shall we give up our gods for the sake of a poet possessed.?’
“Behold the wicked say, Ye, follow none other than a man be-witched.’
There are numerous such verses which indicate that they were quite perplexed by the revelations of the Qur’an Shareef and were at a loss as to how to counter this. They were trying all methods but nothing worked for them, as the days were passing, the true miraculous nature of the Qur’an Shareef and the fact that it was the word of Allah Ta'ala was (more and more) getting established.
Allah Ta’ala often revealed the greatness of the Qur’an Shareef viz.,
“And We have bestowed upon the seven oft-repeated (verses) and the Grand Qur’an.
“We have without doubt sent down the message and We will assured-ly guard it (from corruption).”
“Allah has revealed (from time to time) the most beautiful message in the form of a book, consistent with itself, (yet) repeating (its teaching in various aspects), the skins of those who fear their Lord tremble threat: then their skins and their hearts do soften to remembrance of Allah.”
“Ha Mim, By the book that makes things clear, We have made it a Qur’an in Arabic, that ye may be able to understand. And verily it is in the Mother of the Book with Us, high (in dignity), full of wisdom.”
Arabs before the advent of Islam were very much backward in many spheres of life but one thing was with them that they were fond of poe-try. To recite the poetry and then boast over it over others was a common habit of these Arabs. They had great poets and were having great hold over the Arabic language. They had eloquent speakers of Arabic. In such circumstances, to accept the challenge of the Qur’an Shareef was quite natural for them - when the Qur’an Shareef challenged them, they became enthusiastic, as we have seen them, in one of the verses above, saying that they could also say similar thing. But very soon they realised that the Qur’an Shareef was neither poetry nor magic nor sto-ries of ancients. Its eloquence, sequence, arrangement of words, the topics it touched, expression with great authority, perfect coherence among varied topics, truthfulness of predictions and above all its effects on the hearts was simply marvellous. Their poetry was based on falsehood, wild imaginations and mundane love stories. They realised that the Qur’an Shareef was speaking hard historical facts but it did not resemble any history book, its verses had rhythmical and poetical balance but it was not poetry at all, it was predicting things but it did not have anything common with astrology and it revealed such facts about universe which were hitherto unknown to mankind.
Walid Bin Mugaira who was among the leading staunch opponents of Islam and a nephew of the leader of the Pagans Abu Jahal. He once happened to listen to the Qur’an Shareef and he at once said:
“By God, the words which he (i.e., Muhammad (SAW)) says, have a high degree of sweetness and brightness. This (Qur’an) will always dominate and will never be domi-nated.”
In the same way, Abdullah bin Muqaffah was an eloquent writer. He decided to write an answer to the Qur’an Shareef, soon after that he heard some child reciting this verse of the Qur’an Shareef:
“Then the word went forth: O earth! Swallow up thy water, and O sky! Withhold (thy rain)! And the water abated, and the matter was ended. The Ark rested on Mount Judi, and the word went forth: Away with those who do wrong”
He involuntarily cried, “By God, I stand witness to the fact that confrontation with the Qur’an Shareef was impossible and that it was never a word of man.”
Listening of the Quran Shareef by the worst enemies of Islam
Abu Jahal, Abu Sufiyan and Akhnas bin Shuraiq were the leaders of the Pagans. They were bitter opponents of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and were opposing him in every nook and corner of Makkah. But these people were also in the bottom of their hearts craving to listen the Qur’an Shareef. Once it so happened that all three left separately from their homes in the darkness of night to listen the Qur’an Shareef from Prophet Muhammad (SAW) in such a way that each of them thought that he was alone. On their return they by chance met one another and felt ashamed. Then they promised not to repeat the same, but they could not resist the temptation and left the second night again. They again met one another and promised not to repeat, but the third night they again left their homes and again met each other after listening the Qur’an Shareef. Then they asked one another as to how they found the Qur’an Shareef. Each one of them confessed that this was neither poetry, nor magic, nor astrology nor does it seem the word of any man. Then Abu Jahal confessed that he also believed the same but as their family was having an old rivalry with the clan of Abdul Munaf, so he would never accept it.
Jubair bin Muta’m narrates that once he went to see Rasulul-lah (SAW), who was at that time reciting Surah ‘Al-Tur’, and he recited the Aayat:
“Verily, the chastisement of thy lord will indeed come to pass: There is none who can avert it”
Jubair says that on hearing this Aayat he felt so much horrified as if he was about to get the chastisement of Allah Ta'ala and he immediately embraced Islam.
In the early days of Islam, going to wife was forbidden even during night in the month of Ramadhan. Once Hadhrat Umar (RAA) went to his wife during night in the month of Ramadhan while forgetting the ban. After the act he soon realised the sin and started melting due to fear of Allah Ta'ala. He had done so in private but knowing that Allah Ta'ala is always seeing, he, in the early morning, ran to Prophet (SAW) and himself voluntarily confessed his sin and requested the Prophet (SAW) to save him from Allah Ta'ala’s chastisement. It is only because of the firm conviction of a Muslim that Allah Ta'ala is always seeing, he does not dare to transgress Islamic Laws even in privacy.
Thre is a famous incident in Islamic history which speaks volumes about how much true Muslims fear Allah Ta'ala which forces them to confess voluntarily even the grave sins which they could have easily hid, thus avoiding punishment.
A lady came to Rasulullah (SAW) and confessed that she had committed adultery and that she wanted punishment. Rasulullah (SAW) felt sorry for that lady but the lady repeatedly insisted for punishment as she did not want to return to Allah Ta'ala sinful. As she was pregnant, Rasulullah (SAW) told her to come after giving birth to the child she was carrying. After some months she again comes herself with the child in her lap and again asks for the punishment. No warrants were issued for her arrest, no police was sent to arrest her. She is coming herself as she wants to cleanse her deed book from the black stains of that grave offence. Rasulullah (SAW) asks her to come after the period of breast feeding of the child is over which usually lasts upto two and half years. She again comes voluntarily with the child accompanying her with a piece of bread in his hand meaning that he no longer now needed breast feeding. You know what was the punishment to be given to this lady for her crime, which she knew very well! She was to be stoned to death. Rasulullah (SAW) felt pity on that lady but he had to order to stone her to death as per Divine Law and finally that lady was stoned to death. She got herself cleansed in this world, only and she never wanted chastisement in the Hereafter.
This is the true Muslim character, a true Muslim will not do any illegal thing even if he knows that he can escape punishment. This is the clear distinction of Islamic Laws over the secular laws.
Readers are advised to read the incident of Ka’b Ibne Maalik (RAA) which is mentioned in detail in the Qur’an Shareef in Surah Toubah and also mentioned in detail in Hadith books. That is a marvellous incident which demonstrates how Islamic Laws are executed by Muslims not superficially but by the core of the heart.
Social and Spiritual Benefits of Islamic Laws
Mundane secular Laws do not touch the moral and social values of its citizens whereas Islamic Laws not only take care of social and moral values of its citizens but also aims at spiritual upliftment of the individual as we have already discussed that following of Islamic Laws is not only legal but is religious obligation as well.
There are numerous Qur’anic verses and Ahadith on the subject but it is not possible to quote all of them here, few are quoted as under:-
The Qur’an Shareef says:
"O ye who believe! let not some men among you laugh at others, it may be that the (later) are better than the (former), nor let some women laugh at others, it may be that the (later) are better than the (former). Nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other. Nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames. Ill-seeming is a name connoting wickedness, (to be used of one) after he has believed. And those who do not desist are doing (indeed) wrong. O ye who believe avoid suspicion as much (as possible), for suspicion in some cases is a sin. And spy not on each other, nor speak ill of each other behind their backs. Would any of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Nay, ye would abhor it... But fear Allah, for Allah is Oft-Returning Most Merciful. (49:11)"
"Verily spendthrifts are brothers of the satans. And the satan is to his Lord (Himself) ungreatful. (17:27)
"Kill not your children for fear of want, We shall provide, sustenance for them as well as for you. Verily the killing of them is a great sin." (17:31)
"Come not nigh to the orphan's property except to improve it, until he attains the age of full strength; and fulfil (every) engagement, for (every) engagement." (17:34)
"And do not eat up your property among yourselves for vanities, nor use it as bait for the judges, with intent that ye may eat up wrongfully and knowingly a little of (other) people's property." (2:188)
"Serve Allah, and join not any partners with Him. And do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbours who are of kin neighbours who are strangers the companion by your side, the way-farer *ye meet), and what your right hands possess, for Allah loveth not the arrogant, the vainglorious. (4:36)
"O ye who believe! Ye are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should ye treat them with harshness, that ye may take away part of the dower ye have given them, except where they have been guilty of open lewdness. On the contrary live with them it may be that ye dislike a thing, and Allah brings about through it a great deal of good." (4:19)
"Those who, when they spend, are not extravagant and not niggardly, but hold a just (balance) between those (extremes)." (25:67)
"Those who witness no falsehood and, if they pass by futility, they pass by it with honourable (avoidance)" (25:72)
There are numerous Ahadith also on this topic in the treasure of Ahadith, I will be quoting few of them here:
“A true believer is one from whose tongue and hands other believers remain safe”
“One who deceives is not from us”
“One who does not love our youngsters and does not respect our elders, is not from us”
“One who does not show mercy, is not shown mercy”
"Salaam is before the speech"
"Don't curse the dead"
"Don't ask (beg) people for anything"
"To abuse a muslim is impiety and to fight against him is infidelity"
"Abstain from sitting on the roadside"
"(Perfect) Muslim is one, from whose tongue and hands other muslims remain secure"
"The one who doesn't keep his promise, has no Deen (Islam)"
"None of you should urinate in a hole"
"When anyone of you has to take a bath, he should ensure veil"
"Man must not look at the private parts of other man and woman must not look at the private parts of other woman."
"Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) forbade slapping or beating on anyone's face"
"One who has Imaan on Allah Ta'ala and on the day of Qiyamah must honour his guest"
"One who has Imaan on Allah Ta'ala and on the day of Qiyamah must speak a good word or keep silent"
" One who has Imaan on Allah Ta'ala and on the day of Qiyamah must behave properly with his relatives."
Man is Most Honoured in an Islamic State:
Islam has given great honour to man. If somebody asks me to describe Islam is one sentence, I will describe it as “Service to Humanity”. If you study whole the Qur’an Shareef, Ahadith Sharef, everywhere you will see that this all is aiming at this pivotal idea.
DARUL ULOOM ILAHIYAH
INSTITUTE OF ISLAMIC RESEARCH
ILAHI BAGH, BUCHPORA, SRINAGAR, 190011, KASHMIR, INDIA