The Noble Quran – a Book for humanity
The Noble Quran is the last and everlasting Book of Guidance for humanity from Allah, the Exalted. Allah, the Exalted, Himself is the surety for its original state: اِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَ اِنَّا لَہٗ لَحٰفِظُوۡنَ ﴿۹﴾ [Verily We: It is We Who have sent down the Dhikr (i.e the Quran) and surely, We will guard it (from corruption). (Al-Hijr 15:9).] Since its revelation, this book is the Fountain of guidance for all times to come for all of human beings individually and for all people of the world collectively. Superior principles and ideologies for humanity's prestige, freedom, welfare and peace introduced by the Quran proved to be guarantee of deliverance, prosperity and uplift of the entire humanity and all the people of the world. It is quite proven that so far the humanity and the people of the world could not be provided with any fundamental principles developed more than the principles provided by the Quran for the said purpose. Humanity kept covering the stages of its prestige, freedom and welfare by applying the guidelines and framework just in the light of those principles and fundamental values introduced by the Quran in every walk of life. The more attachment to values in those guidelines was retained, the more development and achievements were made.
The Quranic teachings produced a revolution in the lives of the people who heard them, first of all, from the Apostle of Allah. They transformed themselves, they transformed the people around them, they transformed the society, and again they benefited the entire humanity and all the nations of the world from this revolution and change. This was such a great change that a new thought, a new system and a new society soon became the greatest overwhelming power in the world. What were the stimulants of obeying and following the Quran behind it, by which a short group of people in a short span of time brought about this extraordinary revolution and change in the human history; and the will of Allah perfected the religion (of Islam).
At that time the Quran was not meant a book for some particular group of people by then Muslims but it was being considered to be a book for humanity. ھُدًی للِنَّاسِ And those Muslims themselves did not belong to any group or faction but they were fully conscious and aware of their position اُخۡرِجَتۡ لِلنَّاسِ. That is why, they made efforts to benefit the whole humanity instead of any particular group from this book. All the things pertinent to calling (to Quran), all of the research works of information and knowledge and the full spirit for struggle were just for this very purpose. Therefore, those Muslims during their entire life of calling to Quran, kept the doors of beneficence and kindness open in taking steps of all kinds for economic prosperity and social welfare for the whole humanity. Resultantly wherever they went they left behind them their stories.
But when this book was made factional, neglecting its laws, its wisdom and its guidance, it was divided into factions, the Muslim's initiative, intellectual and revolutionary capability continued disappearing, by dint of which they were going on subduing deserts, rivers, oceans and plains. Then Muslim factions made it such a guide for their own factional life, which could be a means of guidance in their some rites or a vehicle of the fulfillment of their own ambitions or a means of reasoning for their own faction's dominance.
Today, in this fourteen-century, journey of history, it is observed that hundreds of thousands copies of this very Quran are published, and it is being recited in houses, mosques and at pulpits day and night continually. There is a good stock of its commentaries available to figure out its meaning and sense. An unending series of speeches to explain its teachings and to live accordingly is available. Despite that, no light and zeal of theoretical knowledge and practical application could be noticed in individual or collective life of Muslims and no change comes to pass in their lives. It has been so since long and it appears that disgrace and backwardness have become the destiny of Muslims.
It is so because the Quran, of course, flows from our tongues but what it says does not get to our minds. We know the meaning of words but are too far from the objects and wisdom of the Quran's invitation. We take it as a spiritual authority in need of our personal life but avoid any relation to its social understanding. With regard to it, we do have this much understanding that the Quran tells us the stories of peoples and communities of the past: about Kafirs (disbelievers), about Muslims, about Christians and Jews and about the faithful and hypocrites in the days of the Apostle of Allah and that's all.
Our greatest tragedy is that in relation to Quran's being the Word of Allah and the constitution from the Creator of humanity to His Creature, we remain deprived of Quran's greatness and that is why our attitude and behaviour to the Quran is of that kind. Other thing is that the more the Quran accounts for a book of thoughtfulness and reflection, the more our attitude to its understanding is non-progressive and standing up for the beaten track. In whatever way we are made to memorize the connotations of the Quran by our parents, our faction and our sects, it becomes our daily routine and custom for our entire life. If we are somewhat inclined to thinking like that, it is then too within the limit of time and space; we are in the habit of liking it by casting it in the mould of our civilization and culture.
To understand the teachings of the Quran, our behaviour is not in accordance with the overall needs of the creative will of the Creator of the Universe. In the Quran, the details of the system and objective of the creation of the universe and the man is available everywhere. The creative will of Allah for the responsibilities of viceroy-like character and the status and freedom of man in the earth is not the focus of our thinking and deliberations. Our behaviour towards Islam is not of considering it a perfect religion but something spiritual just as Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity. We consider Islam, too, to be simply the similar thing of worship in life. The guidelines for the dominance of religion taught to us by the Quran, we, at times, fall prey to cowardice even to think about them, because it's a way of great trial and sacrifice. When it appears to us that we may succeed to claim being a follower of an easy religion, we become accustomed to getting our purpose served by it. At that time, we do not try to understand the requirements of the spirit and wisdom of the religion; we, committing some words to our memory, perform some rites and then suppose ourselves to be pious followers of the faith. In these mere worship rites we are always devoid of the requirements of religion and the consciousness of worship demanded by Allah.
We offer prayers five times a day; we recite the first chapter (Surah) Al-Fatihah (The Opener) in our prayers more than fifty times everyday. It is our prayer, our covenant with Allah and our choice of the way of our deeds. But how many of us are there, who while reciting (اَلۡحَمْدُ لِلہِ رَبِّ الْعٰلَمِیۡنَ) "Praise be to Allah, Lord of the worlds", grasp the concept and imagination that what Allah is, what Lordship is and what our practical way is in this world to adopt Lordship. What do 'Worlds' mean? When Lordship is cause and effect for Worlds, what things is 'Worlds' a collection of. How many people while reading (اَلرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِیۡمِ) "The Beneficent, the Merciful", having obtained the consciousness of Allah's these attributes make the practical manifestation of them a guide for their life, and then submit to Allah the report of their mercy and love for His creatures. While reciting (مٰلِکِ یَوْمِ الدِّیۡنِ) "Owner of the Day of Judgment", how many people are there, who account to Allah for their deeds repeatedly. The one who claims only worshipping Him; to prove his claim for what purpose and for what great objective he seeks help from that Entity. When one seeks straight way, who are one's ideals? If Abu Bakr (R.A) and Umar (R.A) are his ideals, to what extent his life reflects their manners. To be saved from (غَیۡرِ الۡمَغۡضُوۡبِ) and (الضَّآ لِّیۡنَ)(who earned Your Anger and who went astray), to what extent he has the perception and practical application to be saved from his contemporary "غَیۡرِ الۡمَغۡضُوۡبِ" and "ضَّآ لِّیۡنَ"!? (who earned Your anger and who went astray).
When the Holy Quran, after being a distinguisher book between Truth and Falsehood, is the book of Truth's dominance and the end of Falsehood, the believer of the Quran should be seriously conscious of facing with his contemporary 'those who earned Allah's anger' and 'those who went astray' under the guidance of the Quran. If the believers of Quran don't have the understanding and practice of the Quran, how will they be able to discharge their duties?
From the very beginning of the man's creation, in about twenty-thousand-year human journey, how the Prophets and their followers struggled continuously against the contemporary Pharaohs and Korahs (Firon and Qaroon), arrogant and rude people for the freedom and economic rights of masses. They fought against every form of slavery, made struggles against it, rebelled against it, and passing through the severest trials exalted humanity with the gift of freedom. For the uplift of humanity and for providing masses in majority with the right, justice, prosperity and success, how the bearers of the Quranic teachings founded a great Caliphate on the basis of its principles and elevated it to the status of an ideal and Welfare Empire in the world.
In the Holy Quran the social life of human beings and the guidelines for their economic and cultural institutions' balance and success are mentioned with clarity. On the basis of these very principles, the great Empire was found but afterwards we, confining ourselves to our self-carved meaning of terms, went on providing material for our deprivations.
If we want to restore the lost prestige of Muslims and come out of the last one-thousand-year failures, we will have to understand the very formula.......of Quran's social consciousness and change, upon which the earlier Muslims acted. While acquiring the education of the Quran, we will have to regard the Quran as a source of revolution and change in the present age, as it was the source of revolution and change fourteen centuries ago. Because, firstly, its guidance is universal and everlasting; secondly, no change has taken place in the disposition of humans. Good and evil, oppressor and oppressed, arrogant and meek, helpless and high-handed, ungrateful and grateful could be found even today like before. Only their countenances and methods are changed. Mushriks of Mekka, Jews of Madina, Christians of Najran and the faithful and the unfaithful of Madina may not be found there today, but these characters could be found around us. If we adopt the practical life demanded by Allah, we would realize the presence of those characters around us.
The Holy Quran has just come to distinguish the difference between good and evil, draw a line between oppressor and oppressed, bring the arrogant to their end and the feeble to their honour, favour the helpless with freedom and bring the high-handed under wrath, it becomes the vehicle of grasping disbelievers and for the faithful as good news of thankfulness and gratefulness in their life. This is why a man can not get the acquaintance fully with the spirit of the Quran unless he complies with what the Quran has come for. When you practically take initiative for calling people to Allah, the Quranic guidance and teachings will keep leading you, and as you go ahead you will encounter those experiences that came to surface at the time the Quran was being revealed. You will come in contact with the mentality of Mushrikeen of Mekka and Ta'if and with the cunningness of the Jews of Madina as well. You will also find an intricate web of conspiracies created by intemperate and capitalists like Abu Jahl and Abu Lahb, and the net of hindrances spread by disbelievers and high-handed ones. You will confront with the problems and find the obstacles in your way. At that time, the practical guidance of the Quran will go on paving ways of struggle by removing obstacles and many opportunities of change will continue coming into your sight. Thus, if you in your everyday life have undertaken any task of human beings and the society, and you have chosen for it the way of struggle, this Quran will keep on facilitating you.
If you don't live an applied life and you haven't taken any responsibility of human beings and society; you haven't become a part of those efforts which are being made for the freedom, dignity, and welfare of human beings, then you cannot set up your practical relation to the Quran. You are only seeking guidance through studying it by sitting in the chair before the table. By this you are surely increasing your knowledge but you are not getting the shape of a responsible individual required by Allah. In this way you think you are acting upon the Quran by performing some rites within the four walls, by this you are also being deprived of a great part of Quran's teachings.
A man cannot comprehend Quran's commands, its moral teachings, its economic and cultural instructions and its principles and rules relating to the divergent aspects of life until he gains experience of them himself. Neither that individual can comprehend this Book, who has lived without following it in any walk of life whether individual or collective; nor can that nation be acquainted with it, whose collective institutions are being regulated against the Quranic teachings concerning human elevation.
Abul Fazl Noor Ahmed