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Islamic Voice Logo
MONTHLY    *    Vol 11-01 No:121    *  JANUARY 1997/ RAMADAN 1417H
email: editor@islamicvoice.com

Quran- A Divine Guidance to All

By Tabassum Ameenuddin
When people plan to drive to another city in another state, they look up a map to get directions to begin their journey and reach their destination. Similarly, Muslims view life as a road. Everyone of us is somewhere between birth and death. We are all on the road between Creation and Judgement. And we need a roadmap to guide on this road to reach our destination safely. It is only Divine Guidance that points out the right path.

Why do we need Divine Guidance?
Why should we follow Divine Guidance?
What is Qur'an?
How important is the Qur'an to Muslims?
What is the size of the Qur'an?
Why is the Qur'an called a living, permanent miracle?
What is the subject matter of the Qur'an?
What was the impact of the Qur'an?
Conclusion:

Why do we need Divine Guidance?

As someone once said, "Life is a tough proposition, the first 100 years are the hardest." To get through life on earth we need help. Our ultimate goal in our life is to fulfil our destiny on earth and return safely to God, our destination in the Hereafter.

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Why should we follow Divine Guidance?

When Daniel Webster was asked what was the greatest thought that crossed his mind he replied, "My accountability to God." We are accountable to God about our conduct in this life. Our lives may be anything from just 5 minutes to a few years to several decades. But throughout our life we must remember our accountability to God. In His infinite wisdom and mercy, God has communicated His guidance to man through Prophets (Pbuh) at different times. His guidance is to protect man in this temporary life and return safely to God in the Hereafter. God gave guidance to Abraham, the Torah to Moses, the Psalms to David, the Gospel to Jesus and the Quran to Muhammad- Peace be upon them all.

So the Qur'an is a road-map to guide us on our journey in life. The Qur'an guides us to fulfil our destiny on earth and achieve the deserved station in the Hereafter.

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What is Qur'an?

The Qur'an is the last, final word from God sent down to Muhammad (Pbuh), the last Prophet, through Angel Gabriel. This final revelation has directives and instructions that are universal and apply at all times. This Qur'an is the summation of earlier revelations. It is the only complete and accurate record of God's Word. It still exists today in pristine purity. This copy I have here is the same, word for word, as it was revealed by God to Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) 14 centuries ago. It has not been edited. There are no additions, alterations, omissions or distortions in it.

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How important is the Qur'an to Muslims?

Since every word of the Qur'an is from God, every word of the Qur'an has the force of Divine Law. Therefore, the Qur'an has a special status for Muslims, and it is central to Islam. It is a constant reminder of our true destiny, our duties, our rewards and our punishments. It is therefore also called a mercy, A Blessing, An Announcer and a warner. Muslims spend their whole lives studying it, memorising it, reflecting on it and implementing its teachings. Muslims recite and read the Qur'an because there is a desire to be close to God through His words. Muslims seek to gain God's pleasure by following His commands in the Qur'an. No other book has ever been memorised completely like the Qur'an. In many countries, thousands and thousands of Muslim know the entire Qur'an by heart.

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What is the size of the Qur'an?

In Arabic, the Qur'an is not a very long book. It is about the same length as the New Testament. It has been translated into English and many other languages. There are 114 Surahs. The shortest surah has only 3 verses in it and the longest surah has 286 verses. In these 114 surahs, is contained the Supreme Divine wisdom. This wisdom is meant for all seekers of Truth. The Qur'an, thus, is universal. It is for anyone to read ordinary people, Scholars, specialists, simple people, sophisticated people, young people, old people, Muslims and non-Muslims. It addresses all mankind. God says "O Mankind!" (49:13) The Qur'an satisfies all people with its symphony of words, its science, its narrations, and intellectual discourse. The Qur'an fascinates with its richness, its heights and its depths.
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Why is the Qur'an called a living, permanent miracle?

The beauty of the Qur'an is in its brevity. The words and phrases in Arabic expresses the richest and strongest meanings in the briefest form. Word by word and phrase by phrase, the recited Qur'an, like a loom, weaves together its magic on the human mind.

Recitation of the Qur'an has a miraculous power and beauty of sound. It is the most beneficial audition to the mind and the most delightful to the ear.

A Muslim scholar said that "The style of the Qur'an is strong and emphatic, as well as smooth and delicate. The reader can feel it fall down like rocks or with infinite tenderness and finesse. Whether the Qur'anic recitation murmurs like a serene brook or pounds like a torrent, its beauty is always perfect. Its similes and metaphors hit the imagination with a mighty power that leaves one breathless with fascination."

Because it is unique and cannot be matched or equalled in beauty and perfection, it cannot be composed by the human mind. It has beauty, grandeur, grace and a unique style. It has no parallel and is of unsurpassed excellence.

The Qur'an itself poses the challenge in many ways: the challenge for anyone or the whole of humanity to compose even 10 Surahs, or even one surah. It cannot be done.

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What is the subject matter of the Qur'an?

The magnitude and variety of the Qur'anic theme is unique. According to the Qur'an itself: "Nothing is omitted here."

There are 4 main subject divisions of the contents of

(1) Passages commanding worship of God, the Creator and Bestower, and His marvellous creation.
(2) Eschatology - Resurrection, Judgement, rewards and punishment in the Hereafter.
(3) Narratives of earlier Prophets - The Qur'an speaks very lovingly about Jesus (Pbuh) and his mother, Mary - A whole surah is named after Jesus's mother, thus honouring Mary, who was chosen out of all women.
(4) Commandments and regulations for conducting all earthly affairs. So the Qur'an contains the general code of the Muslim world - social, civil, commercial, military, judicial, criminal and religious. Everything is regulated from ceremonies of religion to those of daily life, from salvation of soul to the health of body, from morality to crime, from punishment here to that of life to come.

God tells us in the Qur'an about human nature, and that the ideal attitude of the human mind is common sense and reasonableness. The Qur'an teaches freedom from contradiction and paradox and myth. It invites people to accept its message rationally, critically and without compulsion. It stresses using personal judgement.

The Qur'an gives us the Criterion to distinguish between good and evil. It guides us to seek balance in life, to follow the path midway between the two extremes of leading an ascetic life and a wasteful hedonistic', pleasure loving life. It teaches us to live a life according to the laws of Nature. On the spiritual side, it purifies the soul from evil desires and prepares it for its entry into Heaven.
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What was the impact of the Qur'an?

For those who heard the Qur'an recited by Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh), the Qur'an was a living reality, and a relevant force. It exercised a shattering, fascinating, stirring and moving power over them. The Qur'an took possession of their souls, minds, hearts and wills. They succumbed to its impact. The very recitation overwhelmed them and they acknowledged its divine origin and submitted themselves to God' is conditions. The Qur'an brought about individual and collective transformation in the Believers. It created a new phase of human thought and fresh type of character. "Those who followed the counsels of this Great Book became the Creators of a civilization which is astounding to this day. They became the leaders of mankind. The Qur'an continues to be an enduring part of that success.

The Qur'an invited mankind to cultivation, Science, because it is only through the proper understanding of God's creation that we can strengthen our belief in His Supreme Power and Knowledge. So Muslims can be both Believers and Scientists. There is no conflict between Science and Islam.

Conclusion:

So the Qur'an is indeed a unique phenomenon in the history of human culture. The Qur'an is no ordinary book. Being God's word it can hardly be placed on the same footing as human productions. It is a priceless treasure, and it is treasured with reverence by Muslims. It is a Book for all seasons, A book for All Reasons. On reading it, there is a recognition in the heart, and we say "O Allah, your Word is the Truth - Thou Alone art True God Almighty, does tell the Truth.

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