The month of Ramadhan is devoted for all religious activities for us Muslims. It is also the best time to read the Holy Quran. Some of my friends even finished reading the entire book during this month. I am still striving hard to finish reading it, not in the arabic text, but in its English translation prepared by Yusuf Ali.
Few nights ago, I finished reading and rereading Surat Al Baqarah (The story of the Cow). I find it amazing how current events of mankind’s challenges in life were explicitly discussed in this second Chapter of the Holy Book. From histories of the prophets, Adam (peace be upon him) life in heaven, Ibliss’ arrogance and defiant to the will of Allah, the people of Israel, leadership, Jihad/struggle, 5 Pillars of Islam, marriage and divorce, good governance, and others are all indeed revelations that Allah (SWT) loves us and He knows what are inside our hearts and minds.
This Chapter sums up in 286 verses the whole teaching of Islam. It is organised with proper presentation with corresponding logic. The first 1 – 29 Ayats (verses) classified men into three broad categories, depending on how they receive God’s message. Then this leads to the story of the creation of man, the high destiny intended for him, his fall, and the hope held out to him. Ayat 40 – 120, points out invitation to the Guidance has particularly been extended to the children of Israel and their past and present attitude has been criticized to show that the cause of their degradation was their deviation from the Guidance.
Ayat 121 – 141, discussed how the Jews were strongly advised to follow Prophet Muhammad (SAW) who had come with the same Guidance and who was a descendant and follower of Prophet Abraham whom they highly honored as their ancestor, and professed to follow as a prophet. The story of the building of the Ka`abah by him has been mentioned because it was going to be made the qiblah of the Muslim Community. It was then further discussed in Ayat 142 – 152, the declaration of the change of Qiblah from the Temple (Jerusalem) to the Ka`abah (Makkah) has been made as a symbol of the change of leadership from the children of Israel to the Muslim Community, which has also been fore-warned to guard against those transgressions against the Guidance that had led to the deposition of the Jews.
The Islamic Ummah (community) having thus been established with its definite centre and symbol, ordinances are laid out for the social life of the community, with the proviso (Ayat 177) that righteousness does not consist in formalities, but in faith, kindness, prayer, charity, probity, and patience under suffering.
Ayat 153 – 251, reminds us the practical measures to enable the Muslims to discharge the heavy responsibilities of the leadership (Khilafatul Ard) that had been entrusted to them for the broadcast of Guidance. Furthermore, the Pillars of Islam were discussed, Salat (prayers), Fast, Zakat (charity), Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) and Jihad have been prescribed for the moral training of the Ummah. The subject of jihad should not be misunderstood, it is taken up again in the story of Saul, Goliath and David. The Believers have been reminded to obey authority, to be just, to fulfil pledges, to observe treaties, to spend wealth in the way of Allah. In between these verses, the basic articles of the Faith have been reiterated at suitable places, for these alone can enable and support a Muslim to become pious believer.
A brief description of God’s nature is called to mind in the sublime Ayah al-Kursi, the Verse of the Throne (Ayat 255).
Then the Surah ends with a prayer which the Muslim Community needed very much at that time when they were encountering untold hardships in their day to day life:
“Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity. It will have [the consequence of] what [good] it has gained, and it will bear [the consequence of] what [evil] it has earned. “Our Lord, do not impose blame upon us if we have forgotten or erred. Our Lord, and lay not upon us a burden like that which You laid upon those before us. Our Lord, and burden us not with that which we have no ability to bear. And pardon us; and forgive us; and have mercy upon us. You are our protector, so give us victory over the disbelieving people.” (2-286)
Insha Allah (God willing), I will be able to learn to read and speak in Arabic. I would loved to experience reading the Holy Quran in its actual text.
The Holy Qur’an is sent as guidance to all mankind. The language of Scriptures (from Abraham, Moses, and to Jesus), are all sent down to different generations and regions, is in the language of the messenger and the people who are immediately around them:”We have not sent any Messenger except with the language of his people so he can make things clear to them. Allah misguides anyone He wills and guides anyone He wills. He is the Almighty, the All-Wise. (Qur’an 14:4)
On another note, when we look at the history of the Middle East, particularly in Saudi Arabia, prior to the prophethood of Muhammad (SAW) the people were in a state of darkness and disbelief. It was a great blessing that Allah sent a messenger with a magnificent Scripture in their language, which they could understand and use their reasoning over. We Muslims believe that Muhammad (SAW) is the last prophet. He was sent to us as mercy from Allah. Arabic became the language of the Holy Quran has a universal significance in mankind’s history.