Rabu, 11 Februari 2009

What is the Qur’an ?

1. What is the Qur’an ?

The Qur’an is an Arabic word derived from the verb iqra’a which literally means put letters as well as words together or read and the Qur’an means the words which are read very frequently and the Qur’an used practically for the words of Allah whether the last message that is this Qur’an or the previous messages which revealed to previous messengers like Jesus Moses Ibrahim (P.B.U.T)etc...However, people commonly use the word Al-Qur’an to mean this Qur’an. This Qur’an is therefore defined as words of Allah which was revealed to Muhammed (PBUH), and the recitation of which constitutes an integral part of the daily prayers.


2. If the Qur’an was used for the message revealed to Mohammed (PBUH) as well as the previous messages, what characteristics would then differentiate this Qur’an from the previous ones?

a. The fact that it is the last of the heavenly books, it is more comprehensive than the previous Qur’ans and includes what was revealed in them.
b. Like the previous Ones, this Qur’an was descended in the Holy month of Rammadan. The difference is that the previous Qur’ans were all revealed in one night to the concerned Messengers, whereas this Qur’an was revealed to bait Alaza, in first heavens, in one night and then in sections or portions over a period of twenty years to our Prophet Mohammed (P.B.U.H).
Here the Angel Jubraeel (P.B.U.H) used to come to the Prophet in order to reveal the concerned section of the Qur’an, at different intervals with no regularity. That is he used to appear at night time or during the day, while the Prophet was with his companions or at home, during travels or in the cities, and so on. The Angel also used to appear to the Prophet (P.B.U.H), revealing a specific section of the Quern which used to coincide with, or follow, a specific incident, solving a particular dispute (with the Jews for example), giving instructions, .. etc. So it is apparent the high status that the Prophet Mohammed has had and continues to have to this day and the day of Judgment.



1. What is the Qur’an ?

The Qur’an is an Arabic word derived from the verb iqra’a which literally means put letters as well as words together or read and the Qur’an means the words which are read very frequently and the Qur’an used practically for the words of Allah whether the last message that is this Qur’an or the previous messages which revealed to previous messengers like Jesus Moses Ibrahim (P.B.U.T)etc...However, people commonly use the word Al-Qur’an to mean this Qur’an. This Qur’an is therefore defined as words of Allah which was revealed to Muhammed (PBUH), and the recitation of which constitutes an integral part of the daily prayers.


2. If the Qur’an was used for the message revealed to Mohammed (PBUH) as well as the previous messages, what characteristics would then differentiate this Qur’an from the previous ones?

a. The fact that it is the last of the heavenly books, it is more comprehensive than the previous Qur’ans and includes what was revealed in them.
b. Like the previous Ones, this Qur’an was descended in the Holy month of Rammadan. The difference is that the previous Qur’ans were all revealed in one night to the concerned Messengers, whereas this Qur’an was revealed to bait Alaza, in first heavens, in one night and then in sections or portions over a period of twenty years to our Prophet Mohammed (P.B.U.H).
Here the Angel Jubraeel (P.B.U.H) used to come to the Prophet in order to reveal the concerned section of the Qur’an, at different intervals with no regularity. That is he used to appear at night time or during the day, while the Prophet was with his companions or at home, during travels or in the cities, and so on. The Angel also used to appear to the Prophet (P.B.U.H), revealing a specific section of the Quern which used to coincide with, or follow, a specific incident, solving a particular dispute (with the Jews for example), giving instructions, .. etc. So it is apparent the high status that the Prophet Mohammed has had and continues to have to this day and the day of Judgment.

c. The Qur’an is preserved in the hearts of millions of Muslims worldwide. It has a mystical power in that people throughout their lives have read it many times without getting fed-up with it. Also people are constantly discovering miracles in it, thus scientists are always conducting research on the Qur’anic information and structure.

d. The wording and the meanings of this Qur’an are challenging for human being as well as the Jinn (demon).

e. The Qur’an is the best words that have ever revealed and narrates the best stories of the prevailing nations, It contains a large number of matters on which the Israelites and the Christians have differed on.

f. ALLAH (SWT) Himself promised to preserve this Qur’an, such promise was not made for the other holy books or to the previous prophets.

g. When you start reciting this Qur’an you should say Aotho billahi min alshaitan al-rajeem (Seek refuge with ALLAH from Saitan the cursed one), and if you read certain verses you should prostrate.

h. When this Qur’an first revealed the demon were prevented from getting the heavens news.

I. This Qur’an is revealed in Arabic language and as such it is the only true and authenticwords of Allah. It is challenging, both in structure and meaning. Translations of the Qur’an cannot be considered as a substitute to the Qur’an in its authentic Arabic language, this is a direct result of its authenticity and preservation. A clear example of the other holy books that were translated and being read in different languages; such books over the years have lost their originality and authenticity. In effect the translations do not carry the same holiness as the original Arabic words. Consequently, it is not necessary to have wadu’a before you can hold or touch the English translation of the meaning of the Qur’an provided that such translation has no Arabic original verses.

3. Some people say that this Qur’an is written by Mohammed. What should be the most appropriate answer for such claims?
The Qur’an occupies an important position among the great religious books of the world. However it is the most preserved one, not just in hardback copies and audio and video tapes but also in the hearts of millions of Muslims all over the world. It is, therefore, natural that allegations would be that the author of this book is Mohammed (P.B.U.H) in order to reduce its religious status and value. Such claims are strongly denied by every Muslim due to not just faith, but the logical explanations against such claims. From the scientific point of view, no person in the sixth century AD (that is, fourteen hundred years ago) can utter such precise scientific evidence. For instance, the precise description of evolution of the embryo inside the uterus; the description is so accurate that it was only recently with the development of advanced scopes and image processings that such phenomenon was verified by human beings. Also from the literature point of view, the Qur’an contained a literature merit that the whole region of the Arab peninsula with its high calibre poets could not even produce a single chapter (surah) of the same calibre. There are numerous other logical explanations that would take us very long time to list, such explanations prove that it is not just unlikely for a human being to produce such a book but it is impossible even with the aid of the most powerful computers nowadays, a person would need to be a doctor, a ,chemist, zoologist, botanist, astronomist, poet, geneticist, mathematician, philosopher, historian, and so on, and still can not produce a single equivalent chapter (Surah). If you pick any book for a particular author you see the prevailing style throughout the book, in the Qur’an there is not just one prevailing standard throughout.


4. The Qur’an was revealed over a period of twenty years, could you tell us exactly how many verses (ayats) does the Qur’an contain, also can you give an example of the length of a typical revelation at one time to the Prophet (P.B.U.H) for the purpose of illustration.

There are six thousand and eighty six verses (Ayats) grouped in one hundred and fourteen surah. The shortest Surah is of three Ayats like surat-ul-Kauthur, the longest one is surat-ul - Baqarah with 286 Ayats. An Ayat can consist of only one word like ãÏåÇãÊÇä, it can even be only two letters like (t’h’)Øå. On the other hand, some Ayats can be quite long like Ayat-ul-Kursey, the longest Ayat in the Qur’an is that which deals with loan legislations in surat-ul-Baqara which is more than a full page.
Some of the Surats were revealed on one occasion like Al-Ikhlas. Another example here is Surat Al-Anaam which was revealed in one go, this Surah consists of more than one Juzu (30 pages), it is in fact the fifth longest Surah in the Qur’an. Sometimes part of a verse was revealed on one occasion and the other part would follow on another.

5. The Qur’an is the most read single book in the world, it has been recited for the past fourteen hundred years and the indication is that people will continue not just to recite this book but also memorize It for the coming years until the day of Judgment. Could you tell us why people recite the Qur’an and also why do they go to the extent of even memorizing It.

The Qur’an is the last Book of ALLAH, hence the words contained within It are those uttered by ALLAH. By actually reciting the Qur’an, we are indeed performing ‘Ibada’(an act of worship). With every letter in our recitation we get a reward and ALLAH multiplies such rewards as HE Pleases us. Secondly, we as Muslims believe that on the day of Judgment, those who enter Paradise will be told to climb up the ranks in Paradise as they recite, thus the Muslims thrive to memorise the Qur’an.
The Qur’an contains blessings and reassurance for every situation in our lives, for example in times of fear, difficulty, pain, anxiety, we recite this book for tranquillity from the ALMIGHTY ALLAH. The house in which Qur’an is read frequently can be viewed from the heavens as a shining star.

6. People have different memorising capabilities, what advice can you give them to help in this task.?

1. Sincerity and good intention are the most important steps when memorising the Qur’an. At the time, one of the companions of the Prophet(P.B.U.P) complained about his difficulties in memorising the Qur’an. The prophet (P.B.U.P) said: “you have been building up your Iman and Iman is given before the Qur’an”. Obviously, Iman means belief in the heart and practice according to the Islamic rules. So that, the purification of one’s intention and correcting one’s desire according to the Islamic rule is obligatory. in other word sincerity is the first and the most important rule of memorising the Qur’an.

2. Correcting your pronunciation, this does not occur except by listening to a good recitor or learning under-supervision of a competent hafidh. Certainly new technology is helpful such as audio tape, video tape and CD ROM.
3. Setting a daily limit for memorising, a number of verses for example a page or two.
4. To repeat what you have memorised melodiously and for many times.
5. Not to move to a new portion (a new limit of verses) of the Qur’an until you have perfected the previous limit, that is, by frequent rehearsals of what has been memorised.
6. When completing one Surah,, don’t move to another till you have memorised the current one precisely.
7. Always use the same print copy of the Qur’an because one uses the sight in the memorising just as using the hearing. The script, the form of the verses and their places in the Mushaf (hard copy of the Qur’an) leave an imprint in the mind when they are recited and looked at frequently. Conversely, if you change your print copy of the Mushaf to another print which differs in shape and the places of the verses you will find more difficulties in memorising.
8. It is important to recite the Qur’an to others in order to correct and test your memorising.
9. Constantly returning to what has been memorised is very important to maintain the stability of the memorisation.
10. Take advantage of the golden years of memorisation between ages of 5y and 23 years, certainly, memorising in youth is like engraving on stone and memorising when old is like engraving on water, the younger you are the more likely to memorise and the less likely to forget.
11. Understanding Qur’anic verses by reading the “tafseer” is also helpful in memorising the Qur’an.
12. Mastering the resembling parts of the Qur’an by making relation between the words and letters can be helpful in this matter.
13. Using the Qur’an in our daily speeches makes it more easy to memorise and remember.
14. Running competitions in memorising and recitation can be helpful in encouraging the people to participate and the youth to memorise.
15. Reciting ten verses from surat Al-Baqura every night can be helpful, these are first 4 verses, Alkursi verse and two verses after it (Number 255, 256, 257) and the last 3 verses of the same surah.
16. “dua’a”.

7. The Muslims follow in their lives the Qur’an and the Sunnah which has been revealed to us as “Hadeath”. The latter is the saying and doings of the Prophet Mohammed (P.B.U.H). However, we hear of what is termed as “Hadith Qudsi”. Could you tell us what is the link between such kind of Hadeeth and the revealed Qur’an.

Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet through the Angel Jubraeel (P.B.U.H). The Arabs were challenged to come up with something like it, or even a small portion of it. We read the Qur’an in special rhythmic methods we call “Tarteel”, in our daily prayers we recite the Qur’an in every Rukaa. Finally the content of the Qur’an is certain and authentic, that is we believe that every part of this book is true and there is not one section that is more true than another. Hadeeth or Sunnah on the other hand is a record of what was said or done by the Prophet (P.B.U.H). The Sunnah is the character of the Prophet, what did he do in particular situations, how he performed his prayers, and so on. Among the Hadeeth, there is Hadeeth Qudsi, this is what the Prophet reported that has been said by the ALMIGHTY ALLAH, it is, however, not Qur’an. Unlike the Qur’an, the Hadeeth Qudsi can have various levels of authenticity (strong, week, or fair). We cannot recite the Hadeeth instead of the Qur’an in our daily prayers, nor do we recite it in rhythmic tones.

8. Islam is the largest growing religion in the world, a great proportion of such converts are non-Arabic speaking. However, such people are still expected to perform their daily Salah (prayers). Can they say the appropriate Qur’anic verses in English or any other languages other than Arabic while performing their Salah.?

Most of the Muslim authorities say that Salah has to be in the Arabic language. However, few authorities may allow the saying in a language other than Arabic in the case when the person is unable to learn. It is advisable, however, that such people who are unable to learn the Qur’an can say “thiker” instead, that is remembrance of Allah, such as Alhamdulillah subhanallah Allahu Akbur....

9. During the years of the new message, the Prophet (P.B.U.H) spent the first period in Mekkah and the rest in Meddinah. There were a certain number of Surahs described as Makki, others were called Meddani. What is the distinction if any between these two types of Surahs?

Simply, what ever was revealed before the Prophet’s migration from Mekkah was called Makki, the rest were all called Meddani with reference to the city of Maddinah. However the style of the Makki Surah had coincided with the onset of the new religion, thus it contained mainly aspects of faith building for the new Muslims which included Tawheed or Oneness and unity of ALLAH, affirming the new Message, and affirming the aspects of the Resurrection and the Day of Judgment. Also in them one can see the general guidelines of legislative concepts and moral excellence. The Maddeni, on the other hand, concentrated mainly on further and detailed elaboration of the legislative matters, it gave a clear guideline to aspects of faith like fasting, paying of Zakat, forbidding intoxicants, prescribing Jihad, .. etc. These Surahs also concentrated on exposing of the hypocritical behavior as well as challenging the people of the Book on aspects of faith when they were invited to embrace Islam.


10. Learning the Qur’an is part of the Islamic faith, at what stage in our lives ought we to start learning this book of ALLAH.

One must take advantage of the early years or more appropriately the golden years in one’s life to harness the strong capability of the brain in memorising. These years are between the age of 5 up to 23. Imam Al-Seeuty had reported in Al-Jame’a Al-SageerÇáÌÇãÚ ÇáÕÛíÑ that the Prophet (P.B.U.H) had said: (Memorising in youth is like engraving on stone whereas memorising when old is like engraving on water). Therefore, the younger you are the easier it is to memorise and less likely to forget, and the older you are the more difficult it would be to memorise and more likely to forget. However, this does not mean that if you pass the age of 23 years you should give up, this is absolutely not the case. A large number of new converts embrace Islam well above this age, they start not just memorising but even learning to read and write a new language. At this relatively late stage in their lives, they develop an excellent command of this new language and also memorise a great deal of the Qur’an. One must also remember that most of the Sahaba embraced Islam in time later years of their lives, still they managed to memorise if not all of the Qur’an but certainly a large proportion of it. A good example here is the Sahabi Salman Al-Farisi who at an age older than that of the Prophet (P.B.U.H) himself embraced Islam.


11. You stated that it is crucial that we teach the Qur’an to our children, what advice can you give parents and even the educational establishments with this aspect.

Praise be to ALLAH, there are a large number of mosques and Qur’anic schools available in Glasgow and other major cities. These are doing a great job in teaching the Qur’an and as a result young children are memorising great portions if not all of the Qur’an. It is crucial that a child is enrolled in such a place for this purpose. However, some parents say that they would rather teach their children at home, unfortunately this does not always work due to other commitments on the part of the parents and also to discipline as far as the children are concerned. Having said that, parents must take an active role in their children’s Qur’anic education, this can be achieved by constantly praising the children on their excellent achievements, and also in taking a positive and active role in it. Always ask them to recite what they have learnt, reward them and encourage them constantly, a child’s proudest moment is the moment when his or her parents are praising them for their good achievements. It is also helpful to have audio tapes playing Qur’anic tapes in the background when your children are at home, especially the parts that they have already memorised, this will engrave it more in their memory. Additionally children like to compete, so encourage your children to compete in their Qur’anic knowledge and memorisation, in the past two years there were two such competitions held on a large scale in the Central Mosque in Glasgow. Every young competitor received a prize and all the competitors received a certificate to commemorate the occasion. This is a golden opportunity for parents to actively participate in such occasions by making it a special day for the whole family. Make sure you praise your children on their accomplishments, by hanging their certificates in a well viewed place in your house and inform your visitors in the presence of your child about their achievement and how proud you are of them. Finally, if you live in an area where it is not possible to enroll your child in the mosque due to various difficulties, then you must teach your children at home, (it is important to make regular times of it) preferably daily, say one hour each day, start with the small surahs of the last Juzu (30th part in Qur’an) and progress onward to the bigger ones, INSHA’ALLAH it will be made easy for you.


12. It is a common misconception that Islam as a religion is associated only with the Arabs or the Arabic speaking nations. However we know, for example, that the largest Muslim countries in the world are in fact non Arabic speaking nations. Therefore such people rely on translations and explanation of the Qur’an. What are the rules and regulations that must be followed in delivering such translations.

Translating any document can be achieved in one of three ways.
First is the Literal Translation, this means word for word, sentence for sentence and phrase for phrase. This type of translation cannot be achieved if one wants to maintain the originality of the document and keeping the meaning intact. As a result this type of translation is not allowed as far as the Qur’an is concerned.
Second is the Meaning Translation, the Qur’an’s language is very eloquent, it has essential meanings as well as secondary ones. What is meant by essential meanings, are those that can be literally transferred or translated to any other language. However, this type of Qur’anic information may consist of more than one meaning, thus the literal translation may not be accurate of the meaning itself. The secondary meanings, on the other hand, is the type of words structure that gave the Qur’an it’s challenging characteristics to all creatures. Thus the deduction here is that the secondary translation is not just disallowed but in fact impossible, consequently this makes the Meaning Translation not practical.
Third is the Explanatory Translation (translation of the Tafseer): in this translation, the translator or the Mufasir translates what he understands from the explanation (tafseer) of the Qur’an to the other languages. This stresses the point that the translation is based on the understanding of the particular authority be it Islamic Institutes or certain Alim or Ulama. This is why we see a different number of Tafseers with slightly different opinions based on the particular authority which reflects the ability of understanding of those in charge. Obviously, the translation of the Qur’an is not the Qur’an, and with translation the challenging character of wording structure of the Qur’an will be lost . Therefore one can see the importance in learning the language of the Qur’an, that is the Arabic language.


13. The Qur’an, as the words of ALLAH, contains as well the legislation of the Muslims, their ways of life and their conduct. It has been revealed in the richest textual format and in occasions that vary from one to another. The Muslims rely on the Tafseer of this book to understand the concepts contained within. Can you elaborate on this and how many different tafseers are available and also how do they rank to each other.

As far as the number of Tafseers available, there are certainly many. Some of the Tafseers concentrate on the Scientific phenomenon, other would concentrate on the linguistic features, ... etc. Some of the Tafseers are very large and contained in a number of volumes (up to 30), other four or six volumes, some Tafseers are contained in only one volume. The Tafseer of Ibn Abbas (kinned as the interpreter of the Qur’an) is one of the most famous, others like Ibn Katheer is the most recommanded, and among the relatively recent ones is Tafheem Al-Quraan and also In the Shade of the Qur’an.


14. We have established that the Qur’an is, in fact, the words of ALLAH, therefore, the status that such a book has, is well above any other book. Reading the Qur’an is most definitely done in such a way that distinguishes it from other books, we call such method of reading “Reciting”. Could you tell us about this?

The way we read the Qur’an is certainly different from the way we read any other book. What distinguishes the Qur’an from other books is that every word in it had been descended from the ALMIGHTY ALLAH. Thus reading the Qur’an is done in an eloquent way to reflect its excellence. This is called “Tarteel” or “Tajweed” which means the art of reciting in accordance with the established rules of pronunciation and intonation. Therefore it is advisable that every Muslim should learn these rules.
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