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Newsletter for January 2016
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THE GLORIOUS QUR'AN
It is human instinct to praise and submit to a superior power. In ancient times, men worshipped the sun, the stars etc. As time progressed, man wanted to explore and understand as to who was his Creator and Sustainer. The Commander of the Faithful Imam Ali (a.s.) said: “Whoever understand himself understand his Creator.”
Hence it is important to have “Self-Knowledge”. When a faithful Muslim probes about himself, he realizes that he is a precious creation of Allah and not only yet another creation having some basic needs only. He has not only a material body but also a soul and spirit. If we truly understand what a precious being we are, our indescribable potentials, and the heights to which we can rise, then we will not allow ourselves to be shackled by sins.
Imam Ali (a.s.) said in Nahjul Balagha: “Whoever views himself with respect, views his desires with disdain. Keep yourself above every low thing even though it may take you to your desires, because what you will receive in return is nowhere near the worth that which you have to give of yourself. Do not let anything enslave you, for Allah created you free.”
The tragedy of modern times is that we pay very little attention to our souls and spirits, which acts develop our soul and which one rusts our souls. Every action and every word spoken has consequences for our spiritual well-being. Hence, a sinful act has the roots in the spirit and adversely affects the soul.
The Glorious Qur’an is the word of Allah, revealed to the Noble Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.) during 23 years for the benefit and guidance of humanity. It is a unique book which gives principles and guidelines for individual as well as social needs and development of the society.
The Glorious Qur’an is the authentic Divine word of Allah; its teachings are genuinely original and are exactly the same as revealed to the Noble Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.). For the understanding of the Glorious Qur’an, it is necessary to have the knowledge of the Arabic language, history of Islam, and the Traditions of the Noble Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.). It is important to remember that we should try to understand the Glorious Qur’an by Qur’an itself; its Ayahs explain and corroborate themselves. The specific mode and style of the Glorious Qur’an may be noticed from the distinction noted between “Ayat-ul-Muhkamat” (the firm verses) and “Ayat-ul-Mutashabihat” (the ambiguous verses). The Ambiguous verses are to be studied and pondered with the help of the firm verses.
A question arises whether the Glorious Qur’an can be studied and understood?
There were some scholars who asserted that only the Prophets and Imams can understand the Glorious Qur’an. The ordinary human beings can only read and recite it.This group was called “Akhbaris”. They regarded Hadees as the only permissible source of fiqh or Islamic Jurisprudence. Besides the Akhbaris, there were other groups who also thought that the Glorious Qur’an is inaccessible to the ordinary human intellect. They thought the real meaning of the verses is the same as the literal meaning. Ash’arites are among them. This approach leads to the personification of God and His physical characteristics like human beings. Opposing this group, another group came into existence that used the Glorious Qur’an to fulfill their selfish ends. The champions of this movement in the history of Islam consist of two groups; the first group is the Isma’ilis (also known as Batinis-secret sect) and the other is the Sufis. As an example, the famous event in the Glorious Qur’an when Prophet Ibrahim sacrificed his son Prophet Isma’il and he was saved by a sheep, the Sufis interpret this incident as : Ibrahim represents here as intellect and reason (Aql), and Isma’il represents the self (nafs).
In numerous verses, the Glorious Qur’an challenges and encourages mankind to think and ponder over its contents like “What, do they not ponder the Qur’an? Or is it that there are locks upon their hearts?” (47:24). What is required is a just, honest, unbiased, truthful and balanced interpretation free of all traces of selfish interests.
Man and Universe by Ayatullah Murtaza Mutahhari
Understanding the Uniqueness of Qur’an by Ayatullah Murtaza Mutahhari
Self Knowledge by Mohammad Ali Shomali
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