The Holy Quran
“God: there is no true God but Him. The Ever-Living, the Eternal Master of all. Neither drowsiness nor sleep overtakes Him. His is all that is in the heavens and all that is on earth. Who is there that can intercede with Him, except by His permission? He knows all that lies open before them and all that lies hidden from them; whereas they cannot attain to anything of His knowledge save as He wills. His throne extends over the heavens and the earth, and the preservation of both does not tire Him. He is the Most High, the Most Great.” (Quran 2:255)
Introduction: What is Verse of Kursi?
The second chapter of the Muslim scripture, the Quran, is called Surah al-Baqarah, or ‘The Cow.’ It contains a beautiful and important verse that is believed by Muslims to be the ‘greatest’ verse of their book. Known as “the Verse of the Throne,” or in Arabic, Ayah al-Kursi, the verse speaks beautifully in powerful words about the Most Beautiful Being, God. This verse is known for its profound meaning, rhythmic and sublime language, its inspiring and comforting message, and magnificent description of God’s powers and attributes. The verse summarizes, in powerful words, the basic principles of the Islamic faith, citing those attributes of God that most aptly assert the meaning and significance of the basic Islamic principle of Tawhid: the oneness of God. Continue reading
1. By Al-‘Asr (the time).
2. Verily, man is in loss,
3. Except those who believe (in Islâmic Monotheism) and do righteous good deeds, and recommend one another to the truth [i.e. order one another to perform all kinds of good deeds (Al-Ma‘ruf) which Allâh has ordained, and abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds (Al-Munkar which Allâh has forbidden], and recommend one another to patience (for the sufferings, harms, and injuries which one may encounter in Allâh’s Cause during preaching His religion of Islâmic Monotheism or Jihâd).
“God is the light of the heavens and the earth. The similitude of His light is a niche in which there is a lamp. The lamp is in a Glass, the Glass, like a glistening star, kindled from a blessed olive tree, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil well nigh glows though no fire has touched it: light upon light. God guides to His light whom He wills, and God strikes parables for human beings, and God knows all things.”
Ubayy ibn Ka’ab said, “The similitude of His light [takes place in] the Muslim’s heart.” [Ibn Kathir, 3:464] This light, which He has placed in the heart, comes from gnosis, love, faith and the remembrance of God. It is the light that He has sent down to His servants, by which He gives them life, and by which they walk among people. Its origin is in their hearts, but then He strengthens and increases it until it appears upon their faces, limbs, bodies, even their clothes and dwellings. People of this nature perceive it, while others deny it. On the Day of Judgement, however, it will come forth by their faith, and hasten before them in the darkness of the Bridge, that they might cross it. They will proceed in proportion to either its strength or its weakness in their hearts during their life in the world. Continue reading
Does the story about the cave, and the pious young men sleeping for hundreds of years sound familiar to you? It forms part of a chapter of the Quran known as ‘The Cave’ and it is also an unauthenticated Christian tradition known well in the more Orthodox areas of Christendom. It takes up a little over 20 verses in the Quran yet it is filled with lessons for those who seek to find them.
Chapter names were not revealed with the Quran, thus some chapters are known by more than one name. In the very early days of Islam, chapter 18 ‘The Cave’ was known by the longer title of ‘The Companions of the Cave’. Verses 9 – 26, believed to have been revealed in Mecca in the 4th or 5th year of Prophethood, narrate the account of the Companions of the Cave. Continue reading
the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
1. When the hypocrites come to you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم), they say: “We bear witness that you are indeed the Messenger of Allâh.” Allâh knows that you are indeed His Messenger, and Allâh bears witness that the hypocrites are liars indeed.
2. They have made their oaths a screen (for their hypocrisy). Thus they hinder (men) from the Path of Allâh. Verily, evil is what they used to do.
3. That is because they believed, and then disbelieved; therefore their hearts are sealed, so they understand not.
4. And when you look at them, their bodies please you; and when they speak, you listen to their words. They are as blocks of wood propped up. They think that every cry is against them. They are the enemies, so beware of them. May Allâh curse them! How are they denying (or deviating from) the Right Path? Continue reading
One thing which surprises non-Muslims who are examining the book very closely is that the Quran does not appear to them to be what they expected. What they assume is that they have an old book which came fourteen centuries ago from the Arabian desert; and they expect that the book should look something like that – an old book from the desert. And then they find out that it does not resemble what they expected at all. Additionally, one of the first things that some people assume is that because it is an old book which comes from the desert, it should talk about the desert. Well the Quran does talk about the desert – some of its imagery describes the desert; but it also talks about the sea – what it’s like to be in a storm on the sea.
The first audiences of the Quran were the desert-dwellers of Arabia, who were proud of their language skills. Their material possessions were meager, but their language was far in advance of their culture. They earned their livelihood by trading and took many trips abroad to buy and sell goods. Their long journeys across the desert provided them the time to ponder about nature, and the order of the nature of things. They were very meticulous in their choice of words, and very specific in their speech. They adored oratory and diction, and effective communication. They were skillful in the articulation of finer thoughts, and quite adroit in their expression of ideas. Words were their wares, and eloquence was their fetish and forte. Communicating finer thoughts in the finest form was their obsession. Composing poetry and prose was their passion. They vied each other in their ability to be fluent and eloquent. They produced elegant literature of high quality, even though the subjects they chose were mostly petty and profane. They Continue reading
Although it is proven that the text of the Quran has remained intact till today, how are we sure that the words actually originated from God and not some other source? This takes us to look at the authenticity, authority, or source of the Quran.
Concerning the authorship of the Quran, Muslims believe that it was revealed verbatim (i.e. word for word) by God, to Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him. Non-Muslims, however, who do not support this view, can have no differences with Muslims concerning the fact that the Quran was at least first witnessed to be uttered by Muhammad, a Meccan Arab in the 7thcentury CE and, as proved above, there have been no changes to the records of his utterances since then.
Muslims’ claim of “internal evidence” for the divine authorship of the Quran, i.e. from statements to that effect in the Quran itself (e.g. Quran 4:82; 6:19; 6:92; 27:6; 45:2, etc.), is understandably looked upon with skepticism, as nearly anyone can quote passages from his or her scripture that claim the scripture in question is revelation from God. We are therefore forced by reason and objectivity to look elsewhere for “external evidence” of the Quran’s divine source or authority. Continue reading