Wonerful Tales from the Holy Quran III/IV

Wonderful Tales from the Holy Quran

(III/IV)

The Oneness of the Holy Quran

The wonderful tales from the Holy Quran are collection of charm and wit and innumerability in lessons to the human race. Each Aayet and each word of Quran deals with philosophy and knowledge and leads to enter in epistemology. These are lessons in ethics, uncontainable in their aspects and approaches and they can never be assimilated and exhausted. Their creator is Quran and this is Holy Quran we are dealing with - not a mortal of God or the life and the work of one of the hundreds of the philosophers or poets and thinkers; this is Quran, the word of God, which claims it has ‘every wet and dry present in it.’ And each of its Surahs has a shape and a feature and a character and a personality. And the Quran reader is at a loss to sort out stories in any order of precedence from the wonderful stories in Quran. It is too difficult to select and even in simulation give more importance to one over the other. There are so many of the wonderful tales and so many can be derivedfrom the in depth reading of the Quranic Aayat, that one’s life capital will be over but the transcribe and the need to search and produce will not finish.

Khanam Tayyaba Bukhari is world renowned woman speaker on ethics, morality, modernism and Islam. She is at home in Persian, English, Arabic, Urdu and French languages and she is revered and praised for her eloquence, fluency, memory and clarity of description and running the thought continuity speedily. She says: ‘Quran is a book of ethics and not of edicts. It has a very little portion on edicts and most on ethics.’ Reference TV talk show with Hamid Mir, 8th November 2011. We will here therefore only endeavour at best to look into the ‘purpose of Quran’, weighing in its lucidity, and assess of its gravity and know of the function of God and that of His Prophets.

The first Aayet of each Surah of Quran is Bismilla-hir-Rahma-nir-Rahim, though some Faqeeh – the jurists, including Imam Abu Hanifa 80 AH (anno Hegirae) – 150 AH, the Imam-e Aazam of the Sunni world of Islam think, it is not a part of Surah, only it is an Aayet of the first Sura – the Sura Alhamdo. Which near the

Shia Muslims is not a legitimate conclusion and near them it is part of each Surah, except that it is not present in Surah Tobah. The importance of this Aayet is explained by the Ameerul Momeneen Hazrat Ali Ibn Abi Talib AS in these words:

All the secrets of all the divine books are present in Quran and all the knowledge of Quran is present in Sura Fateha and the knowledge of all the Bismillah is present in the ‘Ba’ of Bismillah and all the knowledge of the Ba of Bismillah is present in the Nuqtah – the dot of the Ba. And I am that Nuqtah which is present below the Ba of Bismillah.

And we see this Wali-ay Azam is Qadir - all powerful, on each front and on each aspect of human concern. Bravery, knowledge, descends from the purist’s lineage, spirituality of self and of his AS,’ entire house, in none of these, man has a match of him. When this Wali died he left his Will with his sons Imam Hasan and Imam Husain AS that his bier should be lifted only from the back, and he willed, ‘bury me where the bier stops’. The front of the bier was either lifted by the Jinns or by the Angels it is not known who. The bier stopped at a hillock. There was a grave ready. Hazrat Ali was handed in to the grave and it was kept secret where he was buried. This was beside the Neh Juff. Neh was a river that had gone Juff – dried. But for 150 years till to the times of Haroon ar-Rasheed’s rule and in all the period of the rule of Umayyad, who were Hazrat Ali’s foes, the grave was concealed and only the family and friends knew of his burial site.

Haroon ar-Rasheed was out on hunting spree one day, and his hounds were chasing a deer. It ran up on the hillock and stopped and now the hounds would not go further. In a semi circle they stopped at a distance from where the deer had stopped by the grave. The hounds knew they are vile and impure and should not go near to that pious grave. Haroon ar-Rasheed was surprised and called the people and asked them whose grave was that. One of them identified that it is the grave of Maula-e Muttaqiyan – the lord of the ascetics Ali ibn Abi Talib; Haroon ar-Rasheed did the initial first structuring of the shrine. And since then the place became known Najaf-e Ashraf - Najaf the high and sublime, and became the greatest centre of learning in Islam.

Hazrat Abdullah ibn Abbas was an Aalam of Islam. An Aalim was a learned being and an Aalam was the righteous learned authority to who the learned turned to consult. Hazrat Abdullah ibn Abbas states:

‘One moon lit night after the Isha prayer – the first watch night prayer, Hazrat Ali caught my hand and took me towards Baqeeh (the graveyard) and asked me, ‘O Abdullah recite.’ I recited Tasmiah – the Bismilla hir Rahma nir Rahim (custom is, it is made the first recital of the child at the age of four years, four months and four days). Hazrat Ali started describing Shara – point of law about straight path to God, starting from the ‘Bay’ of Bismilla. The morning appeared but the Shara – the elaboration was not over and did not exhaust. Hazrat Abdullah Ibn Abbas says my soul in front of his vast ocean of knowledge, seemed (at best) a stream sprouting,’ (Reference; page 155, 158, Eeman Bil Quran, by Allama Talib Husain Kirpalwi Shaheed).

Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall was born on 7 April 1876, in Harrow, London. He died on 19 May 1936 and he was buried in Brook wood Woking, Muslim graveyard. Another prominent translator of Quran, Abdullah Yusuf Ali born in 1872, died in 1953 is also buried ten feet away from Pickthall Marhoom – on whom mercy has reached. Marmaduke Pickthall went to the Harrow School and studied up to six terms. This distinctive school has produced icons like Sir Winston Churchill; he was Pickthall’s contemporary at Harrow. Marmduke Pickthall, after he had become Muslim, translated the Holy Quran and named it ‘The Glorious Quran’. He was at that time in the service of Nizam of Hyderabad in India. And Pickthall says in his foreword; ‘Quran cannot be translated.’ But he also says, ‘While he had great difficulty in remembering a passage in his native English, he could easily memorise page after page of the Holy Quran in Arabic with perfect accuracy.’

Another outstanding translator and interpreter of Quran is Muhammad Asad, formerly Sylvius Leopold Weiss, 1900-1992. He embraced Islam leaving the Jewish religion in 1926. This learned born in Austria went to British India of 1932 and went to Pakistan after it came in existence and held various diplomatic posts in Pakistan and helped in the drafting of the first constitution of the country in 1949. He is buried in Granada, Spain. His quote about Islam is:

“Islam appears to me like a perfect work of architecture. All its parts are harmoniously conceived to compliment and support each other, nothing is superfluous and nothing lacking, and the result is a structure of absolute balance and solid composure.”

What Muhammad Asad says is interpretive of higher thinking, and it is for the growth of the insight into the faith of Islam. And my face was lit with optimism when in this strand of talk on Law and Ethics, and Science and Religion at the Pinner Philosophy Group, Dr Piers Benn in his talk here two weeks back says, ‘Take Islam seriously’. He was discussing Pascal’s Wager, in which this outstanding French mathematician, physicist and inventor proposes; ‘a rational person should wager as if God existed’. All this epistemology and plain speaking is the march of time to discover truth lost and buried in the dust of times. It ought to be opened to allow reassess the self, the ethics and the morality. And it is imperative in the today’s world of hegemony. The major religions of theodidact – that taught by God, of the world are tampered. Islam though is a social religion and stresses on close knit relations, but there is a remorseful dismay that is dominating it, Islam has been split into 73 sects, and Christianity is negotiating with the same hurdles and has entered into 72 sects and Judaism into 71 sects and there is not one of them that designedly and willingly as their imperative duty are not trespassing into other’s faith to correct it and align it with their standard and conception, and the hard reality is that out of all these sects there is only one that is right.

And the heresy and the heretical hold of the sects in Islam is in their wrong inferences and deductions and that to such an extent that prejudice, enmity and the bankruptcy of intellect is breeding and growing everyday and creating a crape of general distrust and this creed is not new; it is old and is leaving no opportunity amiss not to create doubt about even such concrete information as the date of birth of the Prophet SAWW. His family says his date of birth is 17th of Rabiul Auwwal on Friday and the larger world of the Muslims says it is the 12th of Rabiul Auwwal on Monday. And there are more Ahadees created and alluded to his holy name than the total number of the moments he breathed in this world.

The Holy Quran’s translation and commentary: ‘The Message of the Quran’, by Muhammad Asad is simply excellent, it is a piece of work to be envied at by other translators for the English and the routes and the means for the basis of the interpretations, but there are domains in it to vary with. When this learned says the last verse that descended marking the end of the twenty three years of the revelation of Quran was the verse 2:281[1], it is evidently doubtful. It is an Aayet of warning and the nature and the Moqam-e Mehmood – the highest degree of the merits of the Prophet was such that this verse did not vouch to keep to his that status and was not any consequential necessity that it be the last verse when all messages had ended with the declaration that Islam has been accepted by God as ‘the Religion’ confirmed by Aayet: Al-Yaum Akmalto Lakum Deenakum – today I have completed your religion for you two months back at Ghadeer-e Khum.

The verse which descended last was to address the historic event of the Mubahila[2], and if it was to be in step with the gravity of the matter at hand, and it was, then it had to be Aayet-e Mubahila 3:61. Scholar Muhammad Asad also rejects Taqleed – putting one’s soul to be guided by a higher soul or following one who knows. This rejection of Taqleed through inference and deduction does not suit every one if he is not a Mujtahid – a PhD, and that of a very high degree; it may be permissible for him with his that capacity but not for the layman who must go in Taqleed. And his translation has all the textual goodness but has to be looked at with reservation. The earliest translation of Quran in English was by Alexander Ross, Chaplain to King Charles I, in 1649 from the French work Alkoran de Mohamet by Sieur du Ryer and the first Quran translation in English by born Muslim was by Abdul Hakim Khan in 1905. But unless comprehensive knowledge of Arabic and extensive unlimited vocabulary of English is at the fingertips it will deprive anyone put across what is Quran. Even Pickthall refrained calling his rendering – a translation, and called it ‘The Meaning of Glorious Quran’ and Arberry titled it ‘The Quran Interpreted’, though both the scholars have made translation direct from Arabic.

Marmaduke Pickthall says Quran cannot be translated and the same thing is said by Molvi Farman Ali Alallah Moqamahoo – may God further raise his station. This translator translates Quran with elucidations, explaining of co-relation between reason, time and basis for a particular revelation of Quran. He says the following couplet in the Persian language:

Aai Bartar Uz Khyal Wa Qyas Wa Guman Wa Waham

Wo’z Her Cheh Guftah Und Wa Shunedeme Wa Khwanda-eme

O better than thought and assumptions and perception and whim

And better than everything spoken, we have heard and read.

Molvi Farman Ali through this couplet says; God and His spoken words are beyond the grasp of the faculties of man. Maulana Rumi about the authenticity of Quran says:

Gar-che Quran Uz Lab-e Paaighamber Ast

Her Kay Go-ed Na Guft ‘Oo’ Kafir Ast

Although the Holy Quran has come through the blessed lips of the Messenger

Whoever says, not said by Him (God) is disbeliever

Aayet 3:124 of the Holy Quran reads: Iz Taqoolu Lil Momeneena Alain-Yak-Fi-Yakum Aain Yumiddakum Rabbukum Bi-Salaasati Aalaafim - Minal –Malaa-Ikati Munzaleen.

(O Prophet) You were saying (at that time) to the believers, is it not enough that the Sustainer helps you by sending three thousand angels (from the sky).

In this Aayet the Quran puts the minimum of words to convey an exploded message, but its conciseness does not stop the full meaning conveyed; only the translator has to put in the missing words, and that’s where the difficulty arises. Some will accept the missing words put in and some will not and say it is a false input and an imagination. And that’s where the search starts to find a translator of choice and convictions and faith fundamentals are formed. And that’s how arises the need for a PhD – the Mujtahid, and the Faqeeh – the jurists, who will be explaining laws and codes of ethics and who will be expert at translating Quran and deriving guide lines from the Hadees for the Ummah – the general masses.

We are going to act here neither a Mujtahid nor a Faqeeh, but only humbly to be going through the verses of the Holy Quran and derive lessons from them. We shall go through the wonderful tales from Quran of which each of these have many, many folds of piety and piousness and the secrets of wisdom to be learnt from and each of these have a vast scope and douse the flame of evil and set the precedents of God virtue. And each and every one’s capability is at test to absorb as much as he wants to and derive lessons in virtue from them. And at best we enter only through a corridor of it and have a peep into it. And it will mean, there will be many references to the Prophets of God and the Walis of God and here is the definition and the introduction to their pious selves to gauge and assimilate of their piety and know of the station of a Prophet, of a Wali and of God:

Prophet Dawood - David AS was King of Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Jordan and many parts of Hijaz but he would never eat out of the treasury wealth of the state i.e. take expenses from state, and will eat only from the earnings of his manual work.

And the austereness of the Wali of God Hazrat Ali AS has to be the guide and the calibre of probity: Hazrat Ali AS was working in the Baitul Maal – the treasury. The lamp was burning. A questioner entered in and said to him, ‘Ya Ali I want to discuss something with you.’ Hazrat Ali asked him, ‘Is it a state matter or is it a private matter.’ He said, ‘Ya Ali it is a private matter.’ Hazrat Ali put out the lamp, and said: ‘Now talk. We cannot burn the lamp of the state and talk on a private matter.’

The extreme virtues of the generosity of the greatest of the Walis of God Hazrat Ali AS are mentioned in Quran when he gives his ring as alms to the beggar while in Ruku in the Namaz. Here is another example taken from the pages of his Godly life, which is setting exemplariness for lessons to be drawn by the large hearted in generosity:

This Wali of God in exemplariness of generosity an example beyond reach, and in virtuousness as high as to be nearing and touching past the fringes of the qualities of God and entering in its vastness to reach to His domains of particularities, was returning from a campaign. He had with him booty. There was a trail of seventy camels loaded with valuable booty with him. On the way he met a beggar lying on the ground. He begged to him for something to eat. Hazrat Ali asked his slave Qamber to supply food to the beggar. Qamber just to avoid the trouble of taking out food from the package said that the food-box was on the camel with other luggage. On this reply his master ordered, ‘Let the beggar have the camel itself with the box of food.’ Now Qamber made another pretext and said that the camel was tied to other camels in a row. On hearing these replies Hazrat Ali ordered, ‘Let the beggar have the whole row of the camels with the entire luggage on them.’ Hearing this Qamber jumped down from the camel, lest he too was given away to the beggar with other goods.

The Surah Maryam is the 19th Surah of Quran and it graciously mentions of Zakarya, Yahya, Haroon and Bibi Maryam and in earlier Surah the Quran mentions of the mother of Bibi Maryam - Bibi Hanna. Quran mentions of the entire family of Hazrat Eesa AS and places them in high esteem. The Quran is so fond of the Nabis and mentions of them so lovingly and it sets gridlock of standard to remember them and of the learned and the pious. Quran mentions by name 29 Paaighambers or the Prophets and says God has sent 124000 Paaighambers for the mankind and says there is no race among which a Haadee or a guide is not sent.

The Sustainer of the Universe is God. He is also called Allah, Jehovah or Eeshwar, Tao-Toe or Ahuramazda and by so many other names. In the Arabic literature His name is treasured in 99 qualities taught by the Holy Quran and He is known by the qualities of these names and each name sounds and rings and infuses virtue in His creation. His function is to give law to the universe for its smooth running and because He is ‘Innocence’ and ‘Unique’, the words coming out from Him are unique, virtuous and in depth suited to convince His creation to turn to heed to His message.

The God of universe has sent two categories of Haadees[3]or guides; the Nabi or Prophets and the Messengers and each is equipped with the essentials of purity and knowledge and each is excelling in virtues and knowledge and is endowed with miracle surpassing the prevailing technologies of the times. And the Haadees’ function is ‘to purify the souls and teach wisdom’ – Aayet 3:164. And among the categories of the Prophets, the function of the Nabi is to remind of the message of God that God sent to the mankind. And the function of the Messengers – the Rasoolan is to convey His message sent to them to the man kind and the Messengers are given books of revelations, conveyed to them by the via media of Angel Gibrael or revealed direct to them. And the Quran to establish the written proof of their virtuosity repeatedly takes the names of Prophet Moosa AS, Prophet Eesa AS and the last of them, Prophet Mohammad SAWW, and it gives great importance to their ancestor, Hazrat Ibrahim AS to whom God gives the title of Khalil-Allah – intimate friend of God. And God in His functions provides to the human race equal opportunities in all spheres of life and puts them to serve justice. He therefore formulates law in the equal treatment of His rational beings and in Surah Rad, verse 13:7 of the Holy Quran, says that all mankind are destined to receive equal guidance:

“Those who disbelieve say why some sign was not sent down upon him from his Lord! (O Messenger) you are only a warner and for every race there is a Haadee.”

The Holy Quran has no parallel in the style of the expressions, and in the virtues of innocence in driving a point home it wants to make, and in convincing the reader of the factuality through verses like 2.416 of the Surah Al-Baqra – the cow. It says they have to recognise the Haadees like they recognise their sons (to interact with them).

Of those whom we gave books (here He SWT refers to Torah), the way they recognise their sons they recognise the Prophet ASo and among them some are so knowingly hiding the truth.

This is the style and the admirable simplicity of Quran. The simile drawn here is to drive the point home that Prophets and their virtues are known to all as they know of their sons but they still deny of them and of the truth they convey.

One can enjoy the Quranic verses to the extent he wants to, deriving contextual meanings in its text and its style, its simplicity and the abruptness of the injunctions and he may look at the innocence and the compositions of the verses and the struggle-less way of the conveyances of the thought, only he has to have a pure irreproachable heart, clean of prejudices. I was in Florida in August 2011 to see my daughter and grandchildren. Pastor Terry Jones belongs to this land. He declared he was judge of Quran and found it guilty of deception and rape - Mazallah – God may not be displeased. He burnt a copy of Quran on 20th of March 2011. How he could do that is not clear? He says he held a trial of Quran and found it guilty and that only shows he is unable to see beauty and throws beauty in fire. He says Quran teaches deception, but Quran in Aayet 2.148 says:

...........Take over (others) in good deeds swiftly (with urge and eager)............

The prose changes to poetry when it reaches to the extremes of eloquence and the words flow studded in rhythm. And Quran is so intense in literariness that it changes its form from prose to poetry in the heat of the exuberance of eloquence. It changes the style of its deliverance when it is emphasising, and driving man’s intellect to grasp the subtlety of its conveying. The words then rhyme and they are bouncing and singing. Listen to the rhythm of Surah 91 wherein God emphasises to keep the self pure and shows His fury and displeasure with the tribe of Samud who disobeyed their Paaighamber Hazrat Saleh and then earthquake came, and they were taken by it. The Simile of the sun and the moon in the Aayet is for Mohammad and Ali. Then God takes oath of sun (Wal Shams) by dint of which all daily work is completed and takes oath of Moon (Wal Qamar) by dint of which life’s prayer is done by their appearances. There are fifteen Aayat in this Surah. Here we recite eight of them:

Bismilla-hir-Rahma-nir-Rahim.

1. Wash Shmasi wa zuhaahaa. 2. Wal Qamari izaa talahaa. 3. Wan Nahaari izaa Jallaahaa. 4. Wal Layli izaa yagshaahaa. 5. Was Sammaaa-i wa maa banaahaa. 6. Wal Arzi wa maa tahaahaa. 7. Wa Nafsinw-wa maa saw-waahaa. ..............................15. Wa laa yakhaafu uqbaahaa.

Wassalam,

Afkar-e Shia (Shia Thought)

London.

1.12.2011


[1] See its translation elsewhere.

[2]Mubahila is mutual imprecation to prove the truth of one’s point.

[3] The Haadees are the Imams, the torchbearers to show the path, instil discipline and infuse uniformity of behaviour to be according to one’s status and teach that the quality of human race is hidden in their dealing with justness.

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