Types of Miracles.

A) Types of Miracles in Terms of Proving the Truthfulness of Prophethood:

It is possible to divide the evidence that show that prophets are right and loyal in their causes into two:

1) Objective and material evidence.

2) Subjective evidence.

Objective and material evidence, that is, miracles, took place based on either the demand of deniers and polytheists from prophets or due to some other necessity. Miracles are completely acts of Allah.

Subjective evidence is related to the personality of prophets that convicts and persuades real believers and intellectuals. For instance, the righteousness, reliability, intelligence, honesty and similar characteristics of prophets that are well known among the people of the community that they live are subjective evidence. Every just and merciful person has the conviction that a person with those characteristics will never tell lies, and believes in the prophet.

Some Objective evidence are momentary
Such as moon splitting while some objective evidences are permanent like Quran :

subjective evidences are permanent like the prophetic Sunnah:

Hazrat Khadija, the first Muslim, the respected and esteemed wife of the Messenger of Allah, believed by reasoning on subjective evidence without seeing any objective evidence.62

Similarly, Hazrat Abu Bakr believed without hesitation acting upon the offer and call of the Messenger of Allah without seeing any miracles because he had endless belief in the honesty and reliability of the Messenger of Allah.63

Similarly, Hazrat Harun (Aaron) and Yusha (Joshua) believed in the prophethood of Hazrat Musa without asking for any miracles. Thus, we can list the attitudes people showed toward the miracles of prophets as follows:

1) People with mind, apprehension, foresight and conscience did not want objective miracles; they found subjective evidence sufficient to believe. We saw the examples above.

2) Heedless and ignorant people who had the capacity to accept the truth did not find subjective evidence sufficient and needed objective miracles. After seeing the miracle, they were persuaded and believed. For instance, the magicians of Pharaoh. When they saw that the rod of Moses eliminated all of their magic, they said, “We believed in the Lord of Moses” and prostrated.64

The fact that the chapter of ar-Room informed beforehand that the Roman Empire would defeat idolatrous Persians and caused some Quraishis to believe due to that miracle about future when what the Quran foresaw happened.65

The group that benefited from miracles was this group.

3) Some people never believe no matter how many objective miracles they are shown. They lost their capacity to believe in the truth. For instance, Nimrod, Pharaoh Abu Jahl, etc. Their state is the state of obstinacy in unbelief.66

As a matter of fact, it is mentioned in the Quran that although the prophets showed obvious miracles, they were rejected by some people saying, “this is obvious magic.”67 When what the prophets stated about the future turned out to be true, they accused the prophets of prophecy.68Those who say so belong to the third group.

B) Types of Miracles in Terms of Affecting Unbelievers:

The miracles that prophets show to unbelievers are divided into two:

a) Miracles of Guidance: They are the miracles that prophets show in order to convince people that they are the messengers of Allah and that their words are true and right.

b) Miracles of Destruction: They are the miracles that are shown in order to destroy the people who have no capacity to believe and who make fun of the divine torture and say, “Bring that torture, we want to see it”. For instance, the destruction of the nations of Ad, Thamud, Noah, Hud and Lot.69

C) Types of Miracles in Terms of Affecting Believers:

Miracles can be divided into two in terms of affecting believers:

a) The miracles that are shown to prove the prophethood based on requests. They are called “BURHAN” (evidence). Those people with the capacity of belief believe when the miracle is shown. Those who believed before that miracle strengthened their beliefs with it.

b) Divine help that takes place without any request: For instance, God Almighty meets the needs of Muslims like water and food through miracles. They are called “NUSRAH” (assistance).

The former is related to the personality of the prophet only; the state of the believers, their taqwa, and being in a state to deserve that help play an important role in the latter.70

D) Classification of Miracles in Terms of Being Extraordinary:

Miracles can be classified as follows in terms of being extraordinary:

a) The event that is shown as miracle itself is extraordinary. That is, they take place beyond the laws and causes that are valid in the universe. For instance, the rod is transformed into a snake; water springs through the fingers, and similar miracles,..

b) The event is not contrary to the customs. However, its time is extraordinary. For instance, the flood of Noah, earthquakes, the disaster of hurricane, etc.

They are possible events. However, if they take place related to the prophet at the desired time, they are regarded as extraordinary and miracles.

c) The event and the time of its occurrence is not extraordinary. However, the way it happens is extraordinary. For instance, the clouds gathered and it rained as a result of the prayer of the Prophet although there were no clouds…

d) No aspect of the event is extraordinary but the fact that it was informed beforehand is extraordinary and a miracle. For instance, the Quran informed beforehand that the Roman Empire would defeat Persians.71

Reference:

62 Tajrid trns., IX, 283

63 See: M. Kandahlawi, Hayatu’s-Sahaba, I, 83-85

64 See: al-A’raf, 120-122; Taha, 70; ash-Shuara, 46-48.

65 See: Tirmidhi, Interpretation of the chapter ar-Rum

66 For the classification, see: Ö. R. Doğrul, Asr-ı Saadet, 11/191

67 al-Hijr, 6-15; al-Ahkaf, 7; al-Qamar, 2; Yunus, 2; al-Muddaththir, 23; al-Anbiya, 3

68 at-Tur, 29: al-Haqqa, 42

69 Ö. R. Doğrul, ibid, 11/363

70 ibid.

71 ibid, II, 359 ff.

By Mehmet Dikmen

Reasoning in the Qurᵓān.

Authored by: Rosalind Ward Gwynne

Abstract

Muslims consider the Qurᵓān to be the revealed speech of God—sublime, inimitable and containing information that only God knows. It has been analyzed in every possible way—theologically, linguistically, legally, metaphorically—and some of these analyses have presented their results as the conclusions of reasoning in the Qurᵓān itself, whether explicit or implicit. For example, nearly 500 years after the Prophet’s death, the theologian and anti-Batini mystic al-Ghazālī (d. 505/1111) presented five types of Qurᵓānic arguments as the “Just Balance” (al-Qisṭās al-Mustaqīm) by which the truth or falsehood of earthly [sc. human] reasoning on the same schemata could be ascertained. These forms of reasoning are the equivalents of the first, second and third figures of the Aristotelian categorical syllogism, and the Stoic conditional and disjunctive syllogisms. In all, I have identified ten broad categories, which, when counted along with their subcategories (not all of which appear in this article), produce some 30 identifiable forms of reasoning (Gwynne 2004). Here I treat eight major categories: commands, rules, legal arguments, comparison, contrast, categorical syllogisms, conditional syllogisms, and disjunctive syllogisms.

Categorical Syllogisms

As mentioned in the introduction, the inspiration for my study of reasoning in the Qurᵓān was a logical treatise of al-Ghazālī, al-Qisṭās al-Mustaqīm (The Just Balance), which analyzes passages in the Qurᵓān to produce categorical, conditional, and disjunctive syllogisms. Ghazālī wrote the book after his spiritual retreat, so it contains more Qurᵓānic and fewer scholarly technical terms than his earlier works on logic. For example, it uses the Qurᵓānic word mizan instead of qiyās for “syllogism” and is presented in the form of a dialogue with a Batini. The title of the book is taken from Qurᵓān 17:35: “Weigh by the Just Balance” and much of the clarification from Qurᵓān 55:1–9: “Do not cause the scale to give short weight.”

The first figure of the Aristotelian categorical syllogism (“Barbara,” in which all propositions are universal affirmatives = A) comes from Qurᵓān 2:258, where Abraham shows Nimrod that he is not a god by asking him to make the sun rise in the west.

The usual form of such a proof is as follows:

P1. [Whoever has power over the sunrise is the true God.]

P2.My god is the one who has power over the sunrise.

C.Therefore, my god is the true God.

Ghazālī clarifies the reasoning by using some examples from daily life and from Islamic law:

P1.All wine is intoxicating.

P2.All intoxicants are forbidden.

C.Therefore, all wine is forbidden.

Other first-figure syllogisms can be constructed from, for example, Qurᵓān 39:71–2,

50:3–5, 17:27, and 22:52.

Other moods of the first figure can also be found:

Darii in Qurᵓān 4:162 and

5:83–5; Celarent in Qurᵓān 9:44–5 and

43:15–18; and Ferio in Qurᵓān 26:224–7.

In the second figure, one premise must be negative and the major premise must be universal. Ghazālī uses another example from the life of Abraham, when he want to disprove the divinity of the moon, sun, and stars to celestial worshiper by pointing out that they set while God does not set .

P1. The moon, the sun and stars all sets.

P2.The Deity does not “set.”

C.Therefore, the moon , the sun and stars are not a deity.

Other modes of this figure are based upon Qurᵓān 6:76–9, 5:18, and 62:6–7.

Ghazālī takes the third figure of the categorical syllogism from Qurᵓān 6:91, when Moses’ enemies deny that he or any other human received revelation.

P1.[Moses was a human being].

P2.God sent a revelation to Moses.

C. Therefore, God sends revelation to some humans.

Of the 19 modes of the categorical syllogism, Ghazālī uses only four. Conditional and disjunctive syllogisms as analyzed in Stoic logic are treated even less analytically, largely because the language of the Qurᵓān, and Arabic as a whole, contain so many gradations of condition, consequence, and distinction. What appears to be a conditional particle may not be serving as such in its particular context, whereas a conditional argument may be indicated only by syntax and grammar.

Keep your covenant and We will keep Ours” (Qurᵓān 2:40) is a conditional; .

“Do not fear them but fear Me, if (in) you are believers!” (Qurᵓān 3:175) is a categorical despite the presence of the word “if.”

In addition, sound and fallacious forms of the arguments are easily confused, especially when parts of them are left unstated, to be grasped by the audience.

Conditional Syllogisms

There are two types of conditional syllogism. Type 1 conditionals (“constructive mood”), in which the conclusion is reached by affirming the antecedent, are rather scarce in the Qurᵓān.

Say: Do you see that if [the Revelation] is from God and you reject it, who is in greater error than one who has split off far away?” (Qurᵓān 41:52, cf. 46:10). Supplying what is missing, we complete the argument as follows:

P1.If the Revelation is from God and you reject it,

P2. [then you are in error (dalal)].

P3. [The Revelation is from God and you reject it].

C. [Therefore, you are in error].

As seen from the bracketing, only the antecedent is explicitly stated. It is up to the listener or the reader to complete the argument correctly by switching the consequent from the third person—“one who has split off”—back to the second— “you.”

The content of a longer verse, Qurᵓān 2:120, regarding the attitude of Jews and Christians to Islam, can be schematised as follows:

P1.If you do not follow their religion,

P2. the Jews and Christians will never accept you.

P3. You do not follow their religion.

C.Therefore, the Jews and Christians will never accept you.

The fallacious form of the type 1 conditional denies the antecedent. Ghazālī’s simple illustration is:

P1.If Zayd’s prayer is valid,

P2.then he is ritually pure.

P3.His prayer is not valid.

Therefore, he is not ritually pure.

. [Fallacious] Prayers, of course, are invalidated by a number of conditions. Type 2 conditionals (destructive mood) work by denial of the consequent. Ghazālī’s everyday example of the unsound form is as follows, fallacious because it does not deny the consequent:

If Zayd’s prayer is valid,

then he is ritually pure.

Zayd is ritually pure.

Therefore, his prayer is valid.

[Fallacious] Ghazālī constructs two Qurᵓānic examples from three verses: Qurᵓān 21:22, 17:42, and 21:99.

P1.If there were two gods in the world,

P2. it would be ruined.

P3. It has not been ruined.

C.Therefore there are not two gods.

Or

P1. If there were other gods than the Lord of the Throne,

P2.they would have sought a way to get to the Lord of the Throne.

P3.It is known that they did not seek such a thing.

C.Therefore, there are no gods except the Lord of the Throne.

Many Qurᵓānic conditionals of this type have the consequent in the form of a command, as in Qurᵓān 2:94–5, cf. 62:6–7.

Schematised, it is as follows:

P1.“If you (Jews) are assured of heaven,

P2. then wish for death!”

P3.They will never wish for death.

C Therefore, they are not assured of heaven.

Disjunctive Syllogisms

Just as contrast is the key rhetorical construction in the Qurᵓān, disjunction is the key distinction between true belief and error. There are three forms of the disjunctive syllogism, which we schematise below. The numbering signals that they follow the two conditional syllogisms, according to the system of the Stoics.

Type 3—Not both A and B (or Either A or B … or C or D)

This establishes that two things cannot co-exist but does not deny the possibility of intermediate positions.

The Stoic example says:

Not both: it is day and it is night.

It is day.

Therefore, it is not night.

But this does not eliminate intermediate positions such as twilight.

A Qurᵓānic example can be made from Qurᵓān 2:91: “Why did you kill God’s prophets in the past if you are believers?”

When schematised:

P1.Not both: you kill God’s prophets and you believe in God.

P2. You kill God’s prophets.

C.Therefore you do not believe in God.

Countless verses in the Qurᵓān are so concise that they can be expanded into both of the either-or disjunctions, the first affirmative, the second negative.

Ghazālī calls this pair of disjunctions “the scale of mutual opposition” (mīzān al-ta‘ānud).

“Say: Do you know best or does God?” (Qurᵓān 2:140).

Type 4—Either the first or the second.

The first.

Therefore, not the second.

Example :

P1.Either you or God knows best.

P2. [God knows best].

C. [Therefore you do not know best].

Type 5—Either the first or the second.

Not the first.

Therefore, the second.

Example :

Either you or God knows best.

[You do not know best].

[Therefore God knows best].

Clearly, type 5, which ends with the affirmation of God’s knowledge, is rhetorically and theologically more effective than the anticlimactic type 4.

The only Qurᵓānic example Ghazālī uses is Qurᵓān 34:24:

“And surely we or you are rightly guided (‘alā hudā) or in clear error (fī ḍalāl mubīn).”

P1.Either we or you are in clear error.

P2.[It is known that we are not in error].

C.[Therefore you are in error].

But often there are more than two alternatives, so one must detect when a disjunctive argument omits the only valid choice:

Conclusion

As can be seen from this brief treatment, reasoning is an integral part of the Qurᵓān and has shaped the thoughts of Qurᵓānic scholars. Muslims have remarked to me that the first appeal of the Qurᵓān is to human reason and that an unbiased reading will bear that out. God has given most human beings the capacity to understand and fulfill the commands, recommendations, and abstentions contained therein. To those who cannot do so, through mental or physical incapacity, duress or imprisonment, God has given compensation, alternatives, and forgiveness. And charity may be material or spiritual, thus proceeding equally—though not identically—from the rich to the poor and from the poor to the rich.

References

al-Ahram al-Tijariya (1392/1972) al-Qurᵓān al-Karim, Cairo: Maktabat.

al-Ghazālī (1392/1973) al-Qisṭās al-Mustaqīm, M. ‘Afif al-Zu’bi (ed.), Beirut: Mu’assasat al-Zu’bi.

al-Ghazālī (1406/1986) al-Qisṭās al-Mustaqīm, R. M. ‘Abd Allah (ed.), Damascus: Dar al-Hikma.

Ali, A. Y. (ed. and tr.) (1977) The Holy Qurᵓān, USA: American Trust Publications.

Aristotle (1991) Aristotle on Rhetoric: A Theory of Civic Discourse, G. A. Kennedy (ed. and tr.), New York: Oxford University Press.

Corbett, E. P. J. (1971) Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student, New York: Oxford University Press.

Gottlieb, G. (1968) The Logic of Choice: An Investigation of the Concepts of Rule and Rationality, London: Allen and Unwin.

Gwynne, R. W. (2004) Logic, Rhetoric, and Legal Reasoning in the Qurᵓān: God’s Arguments, London & New York: RoutledgeCurzon.

Ibn Hazm (1379/1960) Mulakhkhaṣ Ibṭāl al-Qiyās wa-al-Ra’y wa-al-’IstiḤsān wa-al-Taqlīd wa-al-Ta’līl, S. al-Afghani (ed.), Damascus: Damascus University Press.

Mir, M. (1987) Dictionary of Qurᵓānic Terms and Concepts, New York: Garland.

Pickthall, M. M. (trans.) (1953) The Meaning of the Glorious Koran, New York: New American Library.

Rescher, N. (1966) The Logic of Commands, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Searle, J. (1991) “How Performatives Work, ”Tennessee Law Review 58: 371–392.

WHY DOES GOD ALLOW EVIL?

By one reason

The Islamic position concerning life’s trials and tribulations is one that is extremely empowering. Calamities, disasters, and tragedies — all forms of suffering and hardship—are viewed as divinely-sent tests. This life is not meant to be one giant party, rather, we have been created with a noble purpose — to worship God. Tests are an inevitable part of this purpose. These tests serve as a reminder of our greater purpose, as a means of purification, and, ultimately, as a way to draw closer to God. Tests are actually seen as a sign of God’s love. In fact, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said,

“When God loves a servant, He tests him.”[1]

Why would God test those He loves? Trials and tribulations are an avenue to achieving Divine mercy; a means to entering the eternal bliss of paradise. God clearly states this in the Qur’an, saying,

“Do you suppose that you will enter the Garden without first having suffered like those before you? They were afflicted by misfortune and hardship, and they were so shaken that even [their] messenger and the believers with him cried, ‘When will God’s help arrive?’ Truly, God’s help is near.”[2]

The beauty of this is that God has empowered us with all the necessary means to overcome these trials. Indeed,

“God does not burden any soul with more than it can bear.”[3]

Generally speaking, any evil or suffering experienced in life is the exception and not the rule. Illness is relatively short-lived in comparison to good health, as are earthquakes in comparison to the age of the earth. Moreover, just because we may not be able to understand the wisdom behind something, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. For instance, in some cases, sickness results in the buildup of immunity; earthquakes relieve pent up pressures within the earth; and volcanoes spew out minerals resulting in rich fertile soil for agriculture. There is an ancient wisdom that states, “Out of the snake’s poison comes the antidote”. How else can one appreciate ease without having first experienced hardship? Would it be possible to appreciate good health if illness did not occur? It is said that,

“evil in the world is like the shaded spaces in a painting; if you come close to it you’ll see these as defects, but if you draw back to a distance you will discover the shaded areas are necessary in fulfilling an aesthetic function within the artwork.”[4]

Sceptics may focus on the negative aspects, claiming that evil and suffering do not serve a greater purpose. Muslims, on the other hand, believe that trials and tribulations are an inevitable part of establishing their ultimate purpose. The Qur’an emphasizes this concept, stating,

“The One who created death and life, so that He may put you to test, to find out which of you is best in deeds; He is The Almighty, The All-Forgiving.”[5]

In some religions, a person’s good status in the world is seen as an indication that God is pleased with him or her. For instance, if a person has a good job or a nice house the inference made is that God loves him or her. However, in Islam, health, wealth, poverty, sickness, etc., are not signs of success or failure: they are a means of testing the individual to determine his or her response to a particular situation.

FALSE ASSUMPTIONS

There is no denying the amount of evil and suffering that exists in the world, and we should all be concerned with how we can make the human experience more peaceful. Some argue that the existence of all of this evil and suffering undermines God’s existence. However, putting emotions aside, is this a convincing argument?

The argument can be summarised in the following way:

“It is unbelievable that a good, all-powerful God exists with all the evil and suffering in the world.”

In its logical form:

A good, all-powerful God exists

Evil and suffering exist

Therefore a good, all-powerful God doesn’t exist

A basic lesson in logic will make one realise that this argument is not deductive. The conclusion doesn’t necessarily follow from the previous two statements. Rather, the conclusion is probably true; essentially, it is a probabilistic argument. The problem of evil argument is a very weak one due to it being based on two major false assumptions.

These are:

God is only good and all-powerfulGod has not given us any reasons to why He has permitted evil and suffering

GOD IS ONLY GOOD AND ALL-POWERFUL?

The problem of evil argument misrepresents the Islamic concept of God. God is not just good and all-powerful; rather, He has many names and attributes, all of which are understood holistically. For example, one of His names is The-Wise. Since the very nature of God is wise, it follows that whatever He wills is in line with wisdom. If something has wisdom behind it, there’s a purpose for it. In response, sceptics typically reply in the following way:

“Why does he have to test us in such evil ways?”

This response misrepresents the Islamic position and commits the fallacy of arguing from ignorance. The point here is that just because the wisdom cannot be understood, doesn’t mean there isn’t one. This reasoning is typical of toddlers. Many toddlers get told off by their parents for something they want to do. For example, wanting to drink an enticing brown-gold liquid, also known as whisky. The toddlers may cry or have a tantrum because they are thinking how bad Mummy and Daddy are for not letting them drink it. They don’t yet realise the wisdom behind them not being allowed to consume it.

The Qur’an uses profound stories and narratives to instil this understanding in the reader’s mind. Take for instance the story of Moses and Al-Khidr:

“And they found a servant from among Our servants to whom we had given mercy from us and had taught him from Us a [certain] knowledge. Moses said to him, ‘May I follow you on [the condition] that you teach me from what you have been taught of sound judgement?’ He said, ‘Indeed, with me you will never be able to have patience. And how can you have patience for what you do not encompass in knowledge?’ [Moses] said, ‘You will find me, if Allah wills, patient, and I will not disobey you in [any] order.’ He said, ‘Then if you follow me, do not ask me about anything until I make to you about it mention.’ So, they set out, until when they had embarked on the ship, Al-Khidr tore it open. [Moses] said, ‘Have you torn it open to drown its people? You have certainly done a grave thing.’ [Al-Khidr] said, ‘Did I not say that with me you would never be able to have patience?’ [Moses] said, ‘Do not blame me for what I forgot and do not cover me in my matter with difficulty.’ So they set out, until when they met a boy, Al-Khidr killed him. [Moses] said, ‘Have you killed a pure soul for other than [having killed] a soul? You have certainly done a deplorable thing.’ [Al-Khidr] said, ‘Did I not tell you that with me you would never be able to have patience?’ [Moses] said, ‘If I should ask you about anything after this, then do not keep me as a companion. You have obtained from me an excuse.’ So they set out, until when they came to the people of a town, they asked its people for food, but they refused to offer them hospitality. And they found therein a wall about to collapse, so Al-Khidr restored it. [Moses] said, ‘If you wished, you could have taken for it a payment.’ [Al-Khidr] said, ‘This is parting between me and you. I will inform you of the interpretation of that about which you could not have patience. As for the ship, it belonged to poor people working at sea. So I intended to cause defect in it as there was after them a king who seized every [good] ship by force. And as for the boy, his parents were believers, and we feared that he would overburden them by transgression and disbelief. So we intended that their Lord should substitute for them one better than him in purity and nearer to mercy. And as for the wall, it belonged to two orphan boys in the city, and there was beneath it a treasure for them, and their father had been righteous. So your Lord intended that they reach maturity and extract their treasure, as a mercy from your Lord. And I did it not of my own accord. That is the interpretation of that about which you could not have patience.’”[6]

Commenting on the above verses, the classical scholar of Qur’anic exegesis, Ibn Kathir, explained that Al-Khidr was the one to whom God had given knowledge of these realities, and He had not given it to Moses. With reference to the statement:

“Indeed, with me you will never be able to have patience,”

Ibn Kathir writes that this means,

“You will not be able to accompany me when you see me doing things that go against your law, because I have knowledge from Allah that He has not taught you, and you have knowledge from Allah that He has not taught me.”[7]

In essence, God’s wisdom and knowledge are unbounded and complete, whereas we as human beings have its particulars: in other words, limited wisdom and knowledge. Hence, Ibn Kathir explains that the verse:

“And how can you have patience about a thing which you know not,”

means,

“For I know that you will denounce me justifiably, but I have knowledge of Allah’s wisdom and the hidden interests which I can see but you cannot.”[8]

The view that everything that happens is in line with a Divine wisdom is empowering and positive. This is because God’s wisdom does not contradict other aspects of His nature, such as His perfection and goodness. Therefore, all evil and suffering is ultimately part of a greater Divine plan. This evokes positive psychological responses from believers, because in the end, all evil and suffering serves a purpose that is both wise and good. The 14th century classical scholar Ibn Taymiyya summarises this point, saying,

“If God – exalted is He – is the Creator of everything, He creates good and evil on account of the wise purpose that He has; in that by virtue of which His action is good and perfect.”[9]

HAS GOD NOT GIVEN US REASONS?

A sufficient response to the second assumption is to provide a strong argument that God has justified reasons to permit suffering and evil in the world. The intellectual richness of Islamic Theology provides us with many reasons, some of which include:

The primary purpose of the human being is not to enjoy a transitory sense of happiness, but to achieve a deep internal peace through knowing and worshipping God. This fulfilment of the Divine Purpose will result in everlasting bliss and happiness. If this is our primary purpose, other aspects of the human experience are secondary. God states: “I did not create either jinn or man except to worship Me.”[10]As already mentioned, God created us for a test; an inevitable part of this is being tested with suffering and evil. The Qur’an mentions, “The One who created death and life, so that He may put you to test, to find out which of you is best in deeds: He is the Almighty, the All-Forgiving”.[11]Having hardship and suffering enables us to realise and know God’s attributes such as ‘The Victorious’ and ‘The Healer’. For example, without the pain and suffering of illness, we would not appreciate the attribute of God being ‘The Healer’. Knowing God is a greater good, and worth the experience of suffering or pain—as it will mean the fulfilment of our primary purpose.Suffering allows 2nd order good. 1st order good is physical pleasure and happiness, and 1st order evil is physical pain and sadness. 2nd order good is elevated goodness, such as courage. Courage is appreciated in the presence of cowardice.God has given us free will, and free will includes choosing evil acts. This explain personal evil, which is evil or suffering committed by a human being. One can argue the following: why doesn’t God give us the choice to do good or evil but always ensures that we choose good?

The problem here is that good and evil would lose their meanings if God were to always ensure we chose good. Take the following example into consideration: someone always points a loaded gun to your head and asks you to give charity. You obviously give the charity, but does it have any moral value? It doesn’t.

CONCLUSION

A number of responses to the perceived problem of evil have been discussed herein. Ultimately, the absence of any evil or suffering would point towards absolute perfection, but this is something that is reserved for God alone. Life on earth cannot ever be a flawless paradise: this state can only be earned by those who pass the test of this worldly existence.

REFERENCES:

[1] Narrated by Tirmidhi.
[2] Qur’an 2:214
[3] Qur’an 2:286
[4] Islamic Theology vs. the Problem of Evil, by Abdal Hakim Murad.
[5] Qur’an 67:2
[6] Qur’an 18:65-82
[7] Tafsir Ibn Kathir
[8] Ibid
[9] Minhaj As-Sunnah 3:142/2:25
[10] Qur’an 51:56-57
[11] Qur’an 67:2

Some Rational arguments from the Quran .

By Abu Aaliyah

1. One of its rational arguments confronts atheism. Here the Qur’an interrogates the belief of atheists by asking:

﴿سورة الـطور﴾

٣٥) أَمْ خُلِقُوا مِنْ غَيْرِ شَيْءٍ أَمْ هُمُ الْخَالِقُونَ

٣٦) أَمْ خَلَقُوا السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ ۚ بَلْ لَا يُوقِنُونَ

[Quran Chapter 52:35-36]

Were they created out of nothing, or were they the creators? Or did they create the heavens and the earth? No, they have no certainty

Thus, either we created ourselves: which is inconceivable; or we were created from nothing: another impossibility. Logic just leaves us a third possibility: that we were created by a creator. This simple argument doesn’t only posit a creator, but given the remarkable diversity and complexity of life and the universe, this creator must possess power, will, knowledge, wisdom and intent. That is, creation must have a wise, intelligent and purposeful Designer.

One detects the sheer eloquence and potency of the original Arabic (undoubtedly, lost in translation) in the conversion story of Jubayr b. Mut‘im. He says that he once heard the Prophet, upon whom be peace, recite the chapter containing this verse during the sunset prayer. When he reached the actual verse, Jubayr said, kada qalbi an yatir – ‘I felt as if my heart would fly out [of my chest].’ He then went on to embrace Islam.4

2. Another logical argument the Qur’an uses is:

﴿سورة البقرة ٢٥٨﴾ أَلَمْ تَرَ إِلَى الَّذِي حَاجَّ إِبْرَاهِيمَ فِي رَبِّهِ أَنْ آتَاهُ اللَّهُ الْمُلْكَ إِذْ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ رَبِّيَ الَّذِي يُحْيِي وَيُمِيتُ قَالَ أَنَا أُحْيِي وَأُمِيتُ ۖ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ يَأْتِي بِالشَّمْسِ مِنَ الْمَشْرِقِ فَأْتِ بِهَا مِنَ الْمَغْرِبِ فَبُهِتَ الَّذِي كَفَرَ ۗ وَاللَّهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ

. [ Quran 2:258] Have you not heard of he [Nimrod] who argued with Abraham about his Lord, because Allah had given him the kingdom? Abraham said: ‘My Lord is He who gives life and death.’ He replied: ‘I give life [by sparing people] and death [by executing them]!’ So Abraham replied: ‘Allah causes the sun to rise from the east, so cause it to come from the west!’ Thus was the disbeliever confounded

Nimrod initially feels smug in his response to Abraham that he too has power over the life and death of his subjects. Hence, having seen the way Nimrod is prepared to twist the issue, Abraham takes the argument to another level by challenging him to alter the movement of the sun as it courses through the sky. Nimrod is silenced and stupefied; his pretences shattered; and he is made to realise that divinity cannot be claimed merely by having sovereign power over a people in some tiny corner of Allah’s earth.

3. In addressing the Christian claim of Jesus’ divinity, the Qur’an says:

﴿سورة المائدة ٧٥﴾ مَا الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ إِلَّا رَسُولٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِنْ قَبْلِهِ الرُّسُلُ وَأُمُّهُ صِدِّيقَةٌ ۖ كَانَا يَأْكُلَانِ الطَّعَامَ ۗ انْظُرْ كَيْفَ نُبَيِّنُ لَهُمُ الْآيَاتِ ثُمَّ انْظُرْ أَنَّىٰ يُؤْفَكُونَ

[Quran 5:75] .The Messiah son of Mary was no more than a Messenger, before whom other Messengers had passed away. His mother was a saintly woman. They both ate food. See how We make the signs clear for them; then see how they are deluded from the truth.

The ordinary human life which Christ lived has troubled those who wish to make him into a deity, in spite of evidences to the contrary in the Gospels. The Qur’an’s logic is clear. Food is eaten to satisfy an unquestionable physical need. Whoever needs to eat earthly food cannot, therefore, be a true deity possessing absolute perfection and thus be worthy of worship. The saintly Mary and her son, Jesus, both ate; thus they cannot be divine.

In fact, based on the likes of this verse, many theologians went on to rationally define a true deity, or ilah, as: ‘One who is independant of all needs beyond Himself, while all else is totally in need of Him (mustaghni ‘an kulli ma siwahu wa muftaqir ilayhi kulli ma ‘adahu). Now this is less a definition of ilah – which is unanimously defined as al-ma’bud, or “that which is worshipped” – as it is the least common denominator which would rationally qualify something to be worthy of being the true deity.5

4. The Qur’an employs the “logic of Lordship” to clarify to the pagan Arabs (mushriks) the folly of idolatry – of worshipping gods alongside the One true God. It says:

﴿سورة العنكبوت ٦١﴾ وَلَئِنْ سَأَلْتَهُمْ مَنْ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ وَسَخَّرَ الشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ لَيَقُولُنَّ اللَّهُ ۖ فَأَنَّىٰ يُؤْفَكُونَ

[Quran 29:61] And if you asked them, “Who created the heavens and the earth and regulated the sun and the moon?” They would say, “Allah.” Why then do they deviate?

Another verse declares:

﴿سورة يونس ٣١﴾ قُلْ مَنْ يَرْزُقُكُمْ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْضِ أَمَّنْ يَمْلِكُ السَّمْعَ وَالْأَبْصَارَ وَمَنْ يُخْرِجُ الْحَيَّ مِنَ الْمَيِّتِ وَيُخْرِجُ الْمَيِّتَ مِنَ الْحَيِّ وَمَنْ يُدَبِّرُ الْأَمْرَ ۚ فَسَيَقُولُونَ اللَّهُ ۚ فَقُلْ أَفَلَا تَتَّقُونَ

[Quran 10:31] Say: ‘Who is it that provides for you from the sky and the earth? Or who is it that has power over hearing and sight? Or who is it that brings forth the living from the dead and the dead from the living?And who is it that directs all affairs?’ They will say: ‘Allah!’ Then say: ‘Will you not then fear Him?’ [10:31]

Thus, having affirmed the role of Allah as sole Lord, Creator and Sustainer, the Qur’an demands that the pagan Arabs take the logic of this Lordship to its logical conclusion: that nothing else must be worshipped besides Allah . Ibn Kathir wrote: ‘The pagans who worshipped others along with Him affirmed that God is the sole, autonomous creator of the heavens and earth, sun and moon, alternating night and day; and that He alone is the Creator and Provider of His servants, meting out for them their livelihoods and life spans … Despite this being so, why worship others, or depend on others? For just as dominion and sovereignty is exclusively His, then likewise, He alone deserves to be worshipped.’6

5. One final example of Islam’s rational invitation:

﴿سورة يس﴾

٧٧) أَوَلَمْ يَرَ الْإِنْسَانُ أَنَّا خَلَقْنَاهُ مِنْ نُطْفَةٍ فَإِذَا هُوَ خَصِيمٌ مُبِينٌ

٧٨) وَضَرَبَ لَنَا مَثَلًا وَنَسِيَ خَلْقَهُ ۖ قَالَ مَنْ يُحْيِي الْعِظَامَ وَهِيَ رَمِيمٌ

٧٩) قُلْ يُحْيِيهَا الَّذِي أَنْشَأَهَا أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ ۖ وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ خَلْقٍ عَلِيمٌ

[Quran Chapter 36:77-79 ] Hasn’t man seen that We created him from a drop of sperm, then he becomes an open opponent? And he makes comparisons for Us, and forgets his own creation, saying: ‘Who can revive dry bones after they have rotted away?’ Say: ‘He who created them the first time will again give them life!’

The Qur’an is eager to demonstrate the plausibility of the resurrection to many of the Arab idolators who rejected the actual notion, by simply reminding them of “the first creation” of man. The fact that every individual has been brought into existence once before by the Creative Will of Allah , should be proof in itself that the same Creative Will is capable of doing so a second time:

﴿سورة العنكبوت ١٩﴾ أَوَلَمْ يَرَوْا كَيْفَ يُبْدِئُ اللَّهُ الْخَلْقَ ثُمَّ يُعِيدُهُ ۚ إِنَّ ذَٰلِكَ عَلَى اللَّهِ يَسِيرٌ

[Quran 29:19] Have they not seen how Allah originates the creation, and then reproduces it? This is easy for Allah.

The Qur’an also alludes to how the phenomenon of resurrection is prefigured in this world. “Mini-resurrections” take place all the time in the natural world: flowers and foliage die partial deaths in winter, only to be brought to life again in spring.

The Qur’an also gives the simile of a desert whose scorched dead earth springs to lush green life with each merciful drop of rain:

﴿سورة الأعراف ٥٧﴾ وَهُوَ الَّذِي يُرْسِلُ الرِّيَاحَ بُشْرًا بَيْنَ يَدَيْ رَحْمَتِهِ ۖ حَتَّىٰ إِذَا أَقَلَّتْ سَحَابًا ثِقَالًا سُقْنَاهُ لِبَلَدٍ مَيِّتٍ فَأَنْزَلْنَا بِهِ الْمَاءَ فَأَخْرَجْنَا بِهِ مِنْ كُلِّ الثَّمَرَاتِ ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ نُخْرِجُ الْمَوْتَىٰ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَكَّرُونَ

[Quran 7:57] It is He who sends the wind ahead of His mercy. Then, when they have gathered up heavy clouds, We drive them to a dead land, where We make water come down, and with it We bring out all kinds of fruits. Thus We bring out the dead—perhaps you will reflect.

The above are a few samples of how the Qur’an uses a rational discourse to vindicate its key theological truths, without having to revert to a circular argument (i.e. it is true because the Qur’an says so). So whilst the Qur’an does insist upon it being the revealed truth and the Word of Allah, and that it should be accepted as such, it permits a defence to be made of itself and its core metaphysical claims based on rational arguments and sound reasoning.

Reference :

1. Reason as Balance (CMS Paper 3), 2, at http://www.cambridgemuslimcollege.org – drawing from Anne-Sophie Roald, New Muslims in the European Context (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2004), 116-24.

2. Leaman, The Qur’an: An Encyclopedia (London: Routledge, 2008), 65.

3. ibid., 55.

4. Al-Bukhari, no.4573; Muslim, no.463.

5. Bayjuri, Tuhfat al-Murid ‘ala Jawharat al-Tawhid (Cairo: Dar al-Salam, 2006), 208. As for its agreed-upon definition of ma‘bud – “that which is deified,” it can be found in: Qurtubi, al-Jami‘ li Ahkam al-Qur’an (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 1996), 2:128; al-Suyuti, Tafsir al-Jalalayn (Riyadh: Dar al-Salam, 2002), 33; al-Raghib, Mufradat Alfaz al-Qur’an (Damascus: Dar al-Qalam, 2002), 82.

6. Tafsir Qur’an al-‘Azim (Beirut: Dar al-Ma‘rifah, 1987), 3:431.

What Changes did Prophet Muhammad make to the Society in which he Lived?

By Ali Kapar, PhD

Religious Characteristics:

1. Belief: From the time that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was charged with the duty of prophethood he tried to correct the beliefs of people and distance them from the idols. Idolatry did not consist merely of believing that Allah had partners; the idols, which had been raised to the level of deities, were involved in worship and daily life. Thus, Prophet Muhammad informed everyone who embraced Islam that by uttering the Qalima-i Tawheed that they had distanced themselves from shirk (polytheism) and they should only worship and prayer to Allah; divining the future with arrows, using magic, considering objects to be unlucky, sacrificing an animal to anyone but Allah, swearing on an idol and discussing fate were all forbidden. Prophet Muhammad also demanded reliance on Allah and that only He be turned to for help. In fact, during the migration Abu Bakr became worried when the unbelievers followed them as far as the Cave of Thawr; Prophet Muhammad told him “Do not be afraid! Allah is with us,”1 advising him to rely on Allah. In addition, as everyone who had faith was close to Allah, Prophet Muhammad announced: “If the servant approaches Allah by the span of one hand, Allah will approach him by a yard, if he approaches Allah by a yard, Allah will approach him by two yards, again if he walks to Allah, Allah will run to him.”2 In connection with the fact that no Muslim can question the belief of another (takfir) the Prophet said “If a person accuses a fellow Muslim of not being Muslim, then because of that takfir one of them will be an unbeliever.”3

2. Worship: Islam is a religion that gives importance to both worship and belief. In the Quran Allah says: “I have only created Jinns and men that they may serve me,”4 indicating the importance of worship in the life of a person. The Prophet said “Allah will not look at your body or appearance or possessions; he will examine your hearts and your actions,”5 thus emphasizing the value of worship for a believing person.

In the society which Prophet Muhammad addressed, worship was important from two aspects. The first was the jamaat (congregation). In particular, the forms of worship that must be performed together as required by the jamaat, starting with the congregational prayer, increase the trust between individuals in society and pleasure is attained from worship. In fact, the Prophet said: “In Allah’s eyes the most esteemed action is that which is continuous, even if it is little”6, focusing attention on the matter of constancy. There are different aspects for prayer, fasting, zakaat and hajj in the life of the individual and the society. All these forms of worship secure unity and togetherness, cooperation and solidarity, and altruism for others within the society.

3. Education and Instruction: One of the most important characteristics in the society of Prophet Muhammad was education, instruction and knowledge. Allah’s first command to Prophet Muhammad was “Read”. The verses from the Quran: “If ye realize this not, ask of those who possess this message,”7 “Say: “Are those equal, those who know and those who do not know?”8 make clear the importance of knowledge, education and instruction in Islam.

In the time of Prophet Muhammad education and instruction began with education in the Quran and the sunnah (practices of the Prophet). In fact, Prophet Muhammad ordered: “The most blessed of you are those who learn and teach the Quran.”9 As Prophet Muhammad gave the importance to both men and women learning how to read and write he appointed Shifa bint Abdillah to teach the women. In fact, the Prophet set the ransom for Bedir, one of the prisoners who knew how to read and write, as teaching 10 Muslim children to read and write. In addition to this, many Companions were assigned to teach and instruct in the Quran and the sunnah. Prophet Muhammad wanted for all Muslims, with no differentiation between men and women or young and old, to be occupied with all areas of learning that were concerned with human life. The Prophet, who ordered that there be specialization in knowledge, education and learning, stated that a person who had knowledge was blessed, but that they must not be conceited and must not hide their knowledge.

4. Abandoning Ignorant Traditions and Customs: One of the characteristics of the society in the time of Prophet Muhammad was the complete abandonment of the incorrect traditions, customs and behavior that belonged to the Age of Ignorance. The principles that the Prophet introduced put an end to the beliefs and concept of worship that belonged to the Era of Ignorance; while installing the Islamic principles in the place of these earlier beliefs it is only natural that some of the traditions, customs and behavior that existed in this period and which were contrary to the revelation ceased to be practiced. The Prophet tried to put an end to all behavior that was seen as superstitious from an Islamic point of view; by distancing people from belief and worship of idols and bringing them closer to Allah he endowed them with the Islamic morals.

In this matter the Prophet forbid the spilling of blood, stealing and adultery; that is, he forbid involvement in all forms of behavior that would threaten the security of property, life, honor or reputation. Involvement in slander, backstabbing and unjust earnings, like interest, black-marketeering, and bribery, was also forbidden. In fact, when Ibnu’l Lutbiye, who had collected the zakaat from the Ezd tribe, separated out some objects from the zakaat goods that had been given to him personally, the Prophet was not pleased and said “If you had been sitting in the house of your mother and father (i.e doing nothing) would you have been given these?” (that is, the presents were given to the office not to the man) and he took the objects back. Prophet Muhammad cursed black-marketeering and cheating. Again in this period, to be involved in behavior that would damage family life or incur a bad reputation, to mock, to be careless when weighing goods, to oppress, to fail to prevent evil, to be conceited, to incite disorder and sedition, or to be an instrument of the same, to disturb those around one with one’s attitude or behavior, to be malicious or vengeful were behavior considered to be part of ignorant traditions and customs and were forbidden by the Prophet.

5. Cooperation: Cooperation and solidarity were important characteristics in the society of Prophet Muhammad. During the Meccan and Medinan periods those who followed the Prophet helped one another both financially and spiritually. The Medinan Muslims met the needs of the emigrants as much as they could and for this reason they were called the Ansar (Helpers). The Prophet considered it a duty to help those who were destitute, poor, orphaned or abandoned and to relieve them of their difficulties. “Even if I were to have as much gold as Mount Uhud, I would not want to keep more beside me at night than what I owed or to have more than a dinar of that left.”10 Again, the Prophet said: “If one of you does not want for their brother in religion what they want for themselves, then they are not a true believer,”11 indicating the importance of cooperation and meeting the needs of others.

Political Characteristics:

1. Feeling of Security: The state that was established as a result of the policies followed by Prophet Muhammad in Medina had the power to solve any potential problems. The construction of the first masjid was an important component of the foundation of brotherhood (Muahat), and was an important step in providing closeness, affection, love, cooperation and security among Muslims. In addition, the political structure that came about in Medina provided mutual security in the relationship between the state and the people; the Jewish, polytheist and münafik(hypocrite) elements in society were not able to destroy the closeness, unity and togetherness of the Muslims. Again, the Prophet’s constitution (agreement – Medina Contract), which considered both Muslims and the other people in Medina, strengthened the feeling of security between the Muslims and non-Muslims. The Prophet, who was the head of state in Medina, treated both Muslim and non-Muslim according to the principle of rights, justice and equality that was involved in this constitution. However, taking into account developing events, despite the peace that had been established in Medina, the Jewish and hypocrite elements had adopted an attitude opposed to the Muslims and to the state and spread seeds of disunion and instigation among society.

This much is a fact; the Prophet included people loop in the decisions he was to make as leader of the society; he brought istishare (consultation) to the fore, and took into consideration not the benefits to his person, family or relations, but rather thought of the good of the society and state. When there was hardship he would be the first to step up, and when there was a reward he would put himself last, always placing the benefit of society to the fore. In fact, this behavior of the Prophet, as a leader of a society, provided for the establishment of an atmosphere of peace and security in society.

2. Disapproval of Tribalism: From the first day of Prophet Muhammad’s revelation, the feeling of tribalism which existed in the Age of Ignorance was replaced by the concept of “brother/sister in religion”, and in the Medina Contract the formula of “living together”, disregardless of race, language or religion, was put into practice. When the Prophet removed the concept of tribalism from society he did not completely ignore the problem of the tribes, but established a balance between the Ansar and the Muhajir, trying to replace the tribal feelings that existed between these two groups with the concept of religious brotherhood.

3. Care in Appointing Administrators: The administrators who were appointed during the Prophet’s time were people who were humble, gentle and merciful; they were people who expended all their energy for the community, people who were capable and competent, who complied with the principles of the Quran and sunnah, who worked to securing the unity and togetherness of society and the state and peace of mind of the individual and who did not allow themselves to be used as instruments for instigation or sedition. The Prophet said “You are all shepherds; you are all accountable for your herds”12, expressing the fact that all should act with a feeling of responsibility in society, in particular the administrators of that society. When Prophet Muhammad said: “My Lord! If one who has taken on a duty for the sake of the ummah makes things difficult, make things difficult for them, if they act well, then treat them well,”13 he made it clear that rights and the people are the support of administrators who treat society well.

C. Economic Characteristics

1. The Economic Situation in Medina: With the emigration of the Muslims to Medina great changes took place. In Medina, the arrival of Muslims like Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman b. Affan, Talha b. Ubeydullah, Abdurrahman b. Avf, Zubeyr b. Avam, sped up the commercial life of the city.

During the early days of the emigration to Medina it was the Ansar who saved the Meccan Muslims from financial strife; later the Meccan Muslims worked in such a way that the Ansar did not find themselves in a difficult position, and the economic situation righted itself. The economic problems of the Muslims continued until the Battle of the Trench. In this period thezakaat that the Muslims gave balanced the economy in favor of the poorer members of society. After the Hudaybiya Agreement and the conquest of Haybar the economy improved. In fact, the result of this relaxation in the economy was that some Companions became wealthy enough to leave inheritances.

The economy of Medina was agriculturally based. Dates, grapes, barley and wheat were among the main crops. At the end of the migration, to prevent the agriculture suffering from the jihad, members of family joined in the battles in turn. Thus, Sad b. Ubade went on jihad one year and he sent his son the following year. The Prophet did not let the land lay unattended; he ordered “Whoever has land, let them plant it, if they cannot plant it themselves then their brother should plant it”14 and the Companions acted according to this.

3. Measures Taken to Develop Trade: Immediately after the emigration Prophet Muhammad established a new market to where the market place had been during the Age of Ignorance to speed up the vitality of trade. The Prophet, encouraging the Companions to be involved in trade, said: “Honest and reliable merchants are with prophets, saints and martyrs.”15 There was no obstacle to women participating in trade.

Prophet Muhammad encouraged halal earnings and forbid the purchase of those things that were haram. The Prophet frowned on deception and when he discovered that some wheat, which appeared dry on top, was actually wet, he said “Those who deceive are not of us.”16

Again the Prophet warned against empty promises when trading and ordered that purchases made on installments should be organized according to written documents that were witnessed. The Prophet stated that any purchase concluded should be on approval, and the responsibility for anyone who was wronged lay with the administration; he ordered that the property of others should not be abused, and strictly forbid earnings that were not honestly gained, but rather came through bribery, interest or black marketeering. He ordered that great care be shown to the property of orphans and ordered conformity with the law to protect the balance established between the inheritance rights of men and women. The Prophet appointed muhtesip(inspectors) to ensure honesty in trade; these officials knew the religion well, acted according to what they knew, were gentle, pleasant and honest and were also respected in society.

The Prophet announced the variety of needs of craftsmen to ensure the development of commercial life, and was pleased with those who carried out trades like brokers, tailors, blacksmiths, carpenters, plasterers, butchers, leatherworkers, barbers, midwives, nurses, doctors, bakers, etc… No trade that existed in the Age of Ignorance that was important for human life was forbidden, however people were warned against fraudulent practices in these trades. In the era of the Prophet there was no obstruction to trade or other career practices for women in the market place.

references :

1.Al-Tauba, 9/40.

2.Bukhari, Tawhid, 50; Tawba 1; Muslim, Zikr, 2-3.

3.Muslim, Faith, 111; Ibn Hanbal II/23, 60, 142.

4.Zariyat, 51/56.

5.Muslim, Birr, 33, 34; Ibn Hanbal II, 23, 60, 142.

6.Bukhari, Teheccud, 7.

7.An-Nahl, 16/43.

8.Az-Zumar, 39/9.

9.Bukhari, Fedailu´ul Quran, 21; Abu Davud, Vitr, 4 10.Bukhari, Riqaq 14; Muslim, Alms 31.

11.Bukhari, Faith, 7; Muslim, Faith 7; Tirmidhi, Kiyamah, 59.

12.Bukhari, Jum´a, 11; Cenaiz, 32; Muslim, Imarat, 19; Abu Davud, Imarat, 1.

13.Bukhari, Salat 33; Muslim, Imarat; Tirmidhi, Fiten, 25.

14.Muslim, Buyu, 88.

15.Tirmidhi, Buyu, 4.

16.Muslim, Faith, 99; Abu Davud, Buyu, 1.

The Argument of Contingency for the existence of Allah.

In Islamic theology, the argument of contingency (ḥudūth) is of special importance in that it is called the “special way” of the theologians. The argument of contingency has been described in various ways in the books of scholastic theology,1and explicitly discussed in traditions (aḥādīth).2

This argument consists of two premises and a conclusion:

Premise 1: The universe is contingent (ḥādith).

Premise 2: Anything contingent is in need of a Maker.

Conclusion: The universe is in need of a Maker.

The second premise of this argument is rational and axiomatic, and those who deny the existence of God also accept it as it is a corollary of the principle of causation. And the proof of its first premise is as follows:

1. The universe is changeable and alterable.

2. Anything which is changeable and alterable is contingent.

Therefore, the universe is contingent.

The second premise of this reasoning is also axiomatic and its being so can be known by reflecting upon the reality of change, for ‘contingency’ (ḥudūth) means coming into existence after being non-existent; furthermore, anything which is changeable and alterable has no permanence and stability, and any state of it is preceded by non-existence, and since this peculiarity is universal, contingency is also universal and all-encompassing.

The first premise of this argument can be attained through sensory observation, because both outward observation and scientific discovery testify to the motion (ḥarikah) and evolution in the universe, as also confirmed by philosophical argument.3

In asserting the argument of contingency, ‘Allāmah al-Ṭabāṭabā’ī has said:

“Basic observation proves, as can also be found out through scientific curiosity, that the components of the universe have existential connection to one another, and this connection or interrelatedness is not only true to a particular set of components of the universe; in fact, wherever we focus our attention and examine thoroughly, we will discover better the root of this relationship.”4

In its own existence, the universe is changeable and alterable; that is, it comes into existence after being non-existent, for once we assess the happenings in the universe in whatever way, we will finally arrive at the universal motion (positional-spatial motion or substantial motion). Motion is existence after non-existence and being mixed with non-being, and as the law of cause and effect demands, any contingent being needs a cause in order to exist.

Objection

It is true that matter (māddah) is in constant motion and change, and motion and change, in turn, necessitate renewal (tajaddud) and contingency, but the same concomitance makes renewal and contingency perpetual and permanent for matter. That is, matter’s nature of being alterable and in constant motion shall be perpetual and permanent and anything which is perpetual and permanent is not in need of any cause.

Reply

Motion and change are characteristics of matter, and matter is qualified (mawṣūf) as ‘object in motion’. As such, in relation to motion matter serves as recipient or object. For this reason, it makes no difference whether motion can be distinguished from matter or not, and as reason dictates and experience testifies to the emergence of a phenomenon, the existence of the recipient is not sufficient because the existence of the agent is also necessary. It is thus impossible for the mover (muḥarrak) to be identical with the moved (mutaḥarrik) object. As the law of causation dictates, therefore, motion is in need of a cause other than than its recipient matter, whether the motion is essentially inseparable to the matter or separable to it.5

This discourse does not also contradict the law of inertia in physics because the substance of the said law is that in preserving the motion it has, a physical body is in need of an external factor and it is in need of the external factor only in terms of changing the position or speed of the motion. And the substance of the rational principle is that the contingency of the motion necessitates an external cause although it is possible that the said cause considers the motion essential and inseparable to the body such that for the continuity of the motion, it may not be in need of an external cause.

Given this, the incorrectness of the assumption of the perpetual and moving matter in interpreting the emergence of the phenomena in the world of nature becomes clear, because the sole perpetuity of their existence is not sufficient to explain their motion. Motion needs not only a recipient (mutaḥarrik or the moving object) but also an agent (mutaḥarrak or mover). In this regard, ‘Allāmah al-Ṭabāṭabā’ī has said:

“Matter which can only possibly have components, forms and properties and nothing else cannot create their activity, just like cotton which has the capacity to become clothes. This capability alone cannot make it become clothes and the cotton cannot be worn; rather, other factors such as spinning, weaving and sewing machines must get involved… Regarding influence (ta’thīr), the effector (mu’aththar) must create the effect (athar) and regarding the state of being impressed (ta’aththur), the impressed one (muta’aththar) must be devoid of effect, and of course, lackness (wijdān) cannot be created, and for this reason, matter which is the bearer of possibility and potentiality of a thing cannot by itself have the capability of the said thing which it does not have.

“It is true that the actualities which matter bring into existence come into existence through analysis and synthesis and the emergence of suitable conditions, but it must be seen whether or not only the possibility of analysis and synthesis in matter can bring the actuality of analysis and synthesis into existence, and whether or not the possibility of conditions is identical with the actuality of the conditions.”6

The Second Principle of Thermodynamics and the Universe’s Contingency

The second principle of thermodynamics which is a law in physics states the fact that if two bodies – warm and cold – are beside each other, the heat of the first body will transfer to the second body and this transfer of heat will continue until an equilibrium of heat between the two bodies is attained and it is not possible for the contrary to spontaneously happen. This process is also called “entropy or tendency to equilibrium”; that is, if we leave the bodies by themselves, they will incline to equilibrium. Mechanical and heat equilibrium is the natural state of bodies.

Sometimes this law is also called “tendency to disorder” and the reason for this is that the state of disorder of the energy molecules is their most improbable state, and their state of disorder is their most probable state. For example, for all the air molecules of a room where we are situated to be located in a particular corner is rationally possible but it is so improbable. On the other hand, their being dispersed in the different parts of the room is so probable and possible.

Therefore, the dispersion of energy and its synthesis is more probable and more natural than its concentration in one location. For this reason, the tendency to attain equilibrium (natural state) is equal to the tendency to end up with disorder in the abovementioned meaning.7

Of course, it must be noted that the state of equilibrium does not mean internal stability. Inside every system, there is a strong heat motion. Every physical body at every moment, therefore, is subject to transformation. That is, the mutual formation of its molecules differs from moment to moment.8

Frank Allen,9 a biological physics professor, says:

“The second law of thermodynamics has proved that the universe is constantly moving toward the state in which all bodies reach an equally low degree of heat and there will be no more consumable energy. In that state, life will no longer be possible. If the universe had no beginning and has always existed ever since, it must have come into existence from such state of inactivity and stagnation.”10

Bertrand Russell’s Objection

Although Bertrand Russell11 accepts the argument of the said law of physics on the contingency of the universe, he regards as incorrect to cite it as proof of the existence of God. [He says:]

“Can we draw a conclusion here that the universe has been created by a creator – whereas by resorting to the laws derived from the method of drawing acceptable scientific conclusion, the answer is definitely negative? There is no existing proof that the universe has not come into existence spontaneously, except that this matter seems strange. In nature, however, there is no existing law which shows that the things which seem strange to us must not come into being.

Drawing a conclusion on the existence of God is synonymous with drawing a conclusion on the existence of a cause, and causative conclusions are only permissible in the realm of science when they begin with causal laws. Creating [something] out of nothing is something which is impossible in practice. As such, to suppose that the universe has been created by a creator is in no way more logical than the premise that the universe has come into being without any cause, because both the two violate the causal laws which we can observe with a single power (uniformly).”12

Reply

Russell’s objection is derived from his positivist foundation of epistemology. That is based on the principle of sensory acceptance of reality in the sense that any idea which cannot be tested through sensory experiment has no scientific value and is unacceptable. Yet, this foundation is also rejected by contemporary philosophers of science and its most manifest flaw is that this very claim of the positivists is also a piece of information which is not also a product of the senses and cannot be tested and experienced by the senses.

In principle, as stated in the fifth lesson, without relying on a series of rational principles, no empirical law – including the principle of non-contradiction, the law of causation and the principle of uniformity of nature – can be proven [to be true].

Human knowledge, therefore, can be classified into two, viz. rational and non-rational. Some components of the rational knowledge are so crucial and fundamental that denial of them necessitates denial of the human knowledge as a whole. On this basis, we maintain that the need of the phenomenon for a phenomenon-maker and of the originated for an originator is one of the rational axioms, and confirming it does not change anything but the correct conception of its components (originated, originator, need).

In this way, it is true that none of the two assumptions – the spontaneous coming into existence of the universe and the creation of the universe by an Intelligent Creator – can be tested and experimented by the senses and for this reason, they have equal position, but it is not so from the rational perspective. Reason regards the first assumption as unacceptable and the second assumption as acceptable. Likewise, this judgment of reason actually follows its judgment regarding the principle of causation.

Reference:

1. In this regard, see Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī, Al-Maṭālib al-‘Āliyah, vol. 1, pp. 200-232; Muḥaqqiq al-Ṭūsī, Qawā’id al-‘Aqā’id, pp. 39-45; Sayyid Sharīf Gurgānī, Sharḥ al-Mawāqif, vol. 8, pp. 3-4.

2. In this regard, see Al-Ilāhiyyāt fī Madrasat Ahl al-Bayt (‘a).

3. It refers to the trans-substantial motion argument initiated and proved by Ṣadr al-Muta’allihīn.
See Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Ṣadr al-Dīn Shīrāzī and His Transcendent Theosophy: Background, Life and Works (Tehran: Institute of Humanities and Cultural Studies, 1997), pp. 85-97. [Trans.]

4. Uṣūl-e Falsafeh wa Rawish-e Realism, vol. 5, pp. 91-93.

5. For further information in this regard, see the essay about cause and effect in volume 3 of Uṣūl-e Falsafeh wa Rawish-e Realism.

6. Uṣūl-e Falsafeh wa Rawish-e Realism, vol. 5, pp. 17-18.

7. A. Kitaikarudiski and L. Landau (?), Fīzīk Barāye Hameh (Physics for All), trans. Muḥammad Yāsīn, pp. 404-409.

8. Ibid., p. 433.

9. John “Jack” Frank Allen (1908-2001): a Canadian-born physicist who discovered, along with Pyotr Leonidovich Kapitsa and Don Misener, the superfluid phase of matter in 1937 using liquid helium in the Royal Society Mond Laboratory in Cambridge, England. [Trans.]

10. Ithbāt-e Wujūd-e Khudā (Proving the Existence of God) written by 40 scholars, trans. Aḥmad Ārām, pp. 18-19.

11. Bertrand Russell (1872 – 1970): a British philosopher, mathematician and man of letters. Initially a subscriber of idealism, he broke away in 1898 and eventually became an empiricist. His works include The Principles of Mathematics (1903), Principia Mathematica (3 vols., 1910-1913) in collaboration with A.N. Whitehead, Marriage and Morals (1929), Education and the Social Order (1932), An Inquiry into Meaning and Truth (1940), History of Western Philosophy (1945), and popularizations such as The ABC of Relativity (1925), as well as his Autobiography (3 vols., 1967-69). [Trans.]

12. Bertrand Russell, Scientific Worldview, pp. 114-115.

Another Rational Approach To The Prophethood of Muhammad part 2.

By Mohd Elfie Nieshaem

So is it possible for the Most Wise to enable a liar to be victorious, assist him, aid him against his opponents and make the end result in his favour and his followers, although this liar continuously invent lies and forgeries against God claiming that He sent him.

This is a continuation of our earlier discussion where we have talked about a rational approach to the prophethood of Muhammad. It is well known that the Prophet Muhammad(P) was victorious over all his opponents, to him and to his followers subdued many states and kingdoms, people entered Islam in large numbers and his call resulted in Islamic Caliphate and civilization for so many centuries. We also agree that God is Omniscient, Omnipotent and Wise.

So is it possible for the Most Wise to enable a liar to be victorious, assist him, aid him against his opponents and make the end result in his favour and his followers, although this liar continuously invent lies and forgeries against God claiming that He sent him, attributing to Him false religion and false laws and making all this God’s Words and inspiration, then this liar stays victorious and overpowering during his lifetime and after his death, while people are fooled by him accepting his lies and forgeries against God? Or does God’s Wisdom require that he is beaten in every battle and every field, and overpowered and defeated by everyone in every war and that he builds no state but God destroys it, so he dies conquered and overpowered as God does with all those who falsely claim prophethood, divinity or inspiration?

If we apply this to Muhammad’s claim of prophethood, we notice that he(P)made it clear that he is a prophet of God, inspired by Him and reciting His Words.

Moreover, Muhammad(P) made it clear that God aids him against his opponents and He was going to make him victorious over all, the Holy Qur’an says:

If any thinks that Allah will not help him (His Messenger) in this world and the Hereafter, let him stretch out a rope to the ceiling and cut (himself) off: then let him see whether his plan will remove that which enrages (him).1

The meaning is that if anyone thinks that Allah would not make Muhammad(P) victorious in this life and in the Hereafter, then let him do his best in fighting and opposing him (peace be upon him), and if he failed, let him stretch a rope to the ceiling of his house and hang himself on for Allah will inevitably aid His prophet.

Just imagine it. A man claiming prophethood and inspiration recites verses affirming that God helps him and will make him victorious over his enemies, and then he actually defeats all these enemies and becomes victorious over them in the end.

And imagine again. This man recites the following verse:

And if the messenger were to invent any sayings in Our name, We should certainly seize him by his right hand, and We should certainly then cut off the artery of his heart: nor could any of you withhold him (from Our wrath).2

Please read the verses again and ponder upon their meaning.

Here we have a man claiming he is inspired and sent by God and challenging that if he does not tell the truth, God will certainly destroy him. However, we see that God never destroyed this man, on the contrary, he supported and assisted him and made him victorious and glorious before all his opponents.

This means one of the following:

1) God does not exist in the first place.
2) God exists but He is ignorant for He is unaware of all these challenges spoken by this impostor.
3) God exists and is Omniscient, but He is impotent for He can do nothing about the challenges spoken by this impostor. So He sits and watches the promises and challenges of the impostor come true.
4) God exists and is Omniscient and Omnipotent, but He is unwise for He misleads people to the utmost, by swallowing the challenges of impostors while He can actually stop them. Not only that, He also executes all their promises with victory and glory for them.
5) God exists and is Omniscient, Omnipotent and Wise, and Muhammad is truly His Prophet whom He aided and supported.

So, choose for yourself!

So, we conclude that it is impossible of Muhammad(P) to lie regarding prophethood because we believe that God’s Wisdom necessitates that if he was an impostor, God would humiliate him. But this did not happen. On the contrary, God aided and supported him during his lifetime and after his death which is a decisive indication that he was a true prophet of Allah.

This decisive argument is irrefutable; for we believe that Allah’s Wisdom necessitates aid of true prophet and humiliation of false prophet, and we know that Allah supported Muhammad(P) and did not let him down, so he must be a true prophet.

In the light of this argument, we cannot accept the claim that Muhammad’s victory was due to worldly reasons for this would be a complete rejection of God’s Wisdom and Omnipotence. Moreover, it is well known that Muslims were markedly fewer in number than their opponents in all the wars they fought beginning with the battle of Badr till their wars with Persian and Roman armies, except for the battle of Hunayn.

Before the advent of Islam, it was very usual of a small number of Persian or Roman soldiers to attack a large populated Arab tribe, capture their men and enslave their women. During wars, large numbers of Arab fighters were often defeated by small numbers of Roman or Persian soldiers.

After the advent of Islam, the opposite was true; small numbers of Prophet’s Companions used to defeat large numbers of Roman or Persian soldiers, even though Muslim soldiers were poorly equipped. Roman and Persian kings were always amazed how their huge well-equipped armies were defeated at hands of Muslims despite their small number, weakness and lack of equipment.

Rev. George Bush (1796-1859) says about Muhammad(P):

He laid the foundation of an empire, which, in the short space of eighty years, extended its sway over more kingdoms and countries than Rome had mastered in eight hundred. And when we pass from the political to the religious ascendancy which he gained and consider the rapid growth, the wide diffusion, and the enduring permanence of the Mohammedan imposture, we are still more astonished. Indeed, in this, as in every other instance where the fortunes of an individual are entirely disproportioned to the means employed and surpass all reasonable calculation …

And confesses:

…we are forced to resolve the problem into the special providence of God. Nothing short of this could have secured the achievement of such mighty results; and we must doubtless look upon Mohammedanism in the present day as a standing monument of the mysterious wisdom of Jehovah, designed to compass ends which are beyond the grasp of human minds, at least till they are accomplished.3

This is in fulfilment of God’s Promise in the Holy Qur’an:

Already has Our Word been passed before (this) to Our Servants sent (by Us), that they would certainly be assisted, and that Our forces, they surely must conquer.4

And:

We will, without doubt, help Our messengers and those who believe, (both) in this world’s life and on the Day when the Witnesses will stand fort.5

And:

Allah will certainly aid those who aid His (cause); for verily Allah is Full of Strength, Exalted in Might, (Able to enforce His Will).6

And God’s ultimate promise:

Allah has promised, to those among you who believe and work righteous deeds, that He will, of a surety, grant them in the land, inheritance (of power), as He granted it to those before them; that He will establish in authority their religion- the one which He has chosen for them; and that He will change (their state), after the fear in which they (lived), to one of security and peace: They will worship Me (alone) and not associate aught with Me.’ If any do reject Faith after this, they are rebellious and wicked.7

This is markedly different from disbelievers who are made victorious and established in authority for their establishment and victory is not due to divine aid, rather it is due to frank material causes like wealth and power. None of them ever claimed prophethood, nor that Allah ordered them to worship Him alone. None claimed that whoever obeyed him would go to Heaven and whoever disobeyed would go to Hell. On the contrary of the one who claims inspiration from Allah, he is either a truthful prophet of Allah, so Allah aids him and makes him victorious, or he is an impostor, so Allah humiliates him and cuts him off.

This is the answer to those who may argue that Allah had established in the land many disbelievers and followers of false religions and made them prevail and succeed like Buddhists and Confucius.

Others may argue that Muslims nowadays are weak in comparison to other nations of disbelief, so how come Allah assists them?

The answer is that Allah made Muslims victorious over other nations when they adhered to it, so He humiliated people of disbelief like Jews and Christians. This is the case with the true religion of God, if its people adhere to it, follow its commandments and abstain from its prohibitions, God will aid them and make them victorious. But if they do not, He will not till they return back.

If a doctor prescribes a certain medication for a certain disease, then the patient does not follow the prescription and his illness does not improve, no one can blame the doctor in this case, nor claim that he is not a real doctor.

This is the case with our nation, if they do not follow the commandments and teachings of Islam, Allah does not aid or help them, as the Caliph ‘Umar said: “Allah has honoured us with Islam. So if we are to seek honour in other than Islam, Allah will dishonour us.”

In brief, it is the habit of Allah to aid and support His true apostle to the degree that no one can ever oppose this apostle. It is well known that He incredibly aided Muhammad (peace be upon him) like no other apostle, it is also well known that none falsely alleged prophethood but Allah exposed him, humiliated him and cut him off, and all those aided by Allah were true prophets like Noah, Ibrahim, Moses, Jesus, David and Sulaiman, for it is the habit of Allah to aid His Messengers and their followers.

In addition, teachings of all prophets of God are the same, for all of them command with worship of God alone with no partner, belief in the Hereafter and the Judgement Day, and with praise of Allah, chastity, honesty, truthfulness in speech and deeds, and they forbid idol worship, lewdness, lying, cheating, dishonesty, etc So, if someone claims prophethood and preaches the same teachings of all previous prophets for the sake of guiding people, we know he is one of them, i.e., a true prophet, the same way we recognize the doctor if he prescribes the same medications prescribed by all other doctors and his treatment leads to cure of diseases.

This is evident in the speech of Ja’far ibn Abi Talib to the king of Abyssinia:

“O king! We were plunged into the depths of ignorance, and we were idolaters. We used to eat corpses, to commit abominations, to severe blood ties, to neglect our duties of hospitality and neighbourliness, and to use only the law of the strong. That was our life until Allah raised among us a man, whose lineage, truthfulness, honesty, and purity we knew. He called us to the Oneness of Allah and taught us not to associate anything with Him. He forbade us the worship of idols and enjoined us to speak the truth, to be faithful to our trusts, to be merciful and to regard the rights of the neighbours as well as kith and kin, and to refrain from crimes and bloodshed. He prohibited us from committing abominations, speaking lies, devouring the property of orphans, and vilifying chaste women. He commanded us to offer prayers, to render alms, and to observe fasts. We have allowed what he has allowed, and have prohibited what he has prohibited. For this reason, our people attacked us and persecuted us in order to force us to abandon the worship of Allah and return to the worship of idols and to regard as lawful the evil deeds we once committed. When they had tortured and encircled our lives, until finding no safety among them, we have come to your country, and hope you will protect us from oppression while we are with you, O king!”8

This speech summarizes the teachings of Islam and shows that they agree with the teachings of all previous prophets and messengers of God. This is a very important issue, for it is inadequate to merely know that Allah sent prophets and messengers to people, it is more important to know why Allah sent these prophets and messengers. In other words, what did prophets and messengers of Allah preach and teach? It is nonsense to believe that Allah sent messengers without knowing the reason why they were raised among their peoples in the first place, and understanding the purpose of their prophethood. So, belief in prophets and messengers of God requires knowing the purpose of prophethood and Messengership.

We see that all prophets of God commanded their people with all that is good, and forbade all that is evil. When we compare Muhammad(P) with other prophets who preceded him, we notice that he preached the same they preached and forbade the same they forbade.

He(P) ordered to glorify God, exalt Him above having partners or rivals, establish His authority and worth of worship, attribute to Him all qualities of perfection and negate all qualities of imperfection from Him.He(P) denounced the notion that angels are daughters of God and explained their real deeds and missions in both earth and heavens.He(P) commanded with belief in all previous divine scriptures revealed on previous prophets and showed that they contained guidance as long as they preach monotheism and purity of faith, but once they got corrupted, they are no longer suitable for guidance.He(P) brought evident and decisive proofs of coming of the Last Day and Resurrection.He(P) commanded with pleasing God with best acts like offering prayers, giving alms, fasting and pilgrimage.He(P) preached good deeds and manners like truthfulness, honesty, fulfillment of trust, kindness to relations, helping the poor and the needy, etc.He(P) warned of association of partners with Allah, idol worship and disbelief.He(P) prohibited blood shedding, adultery, alcohol drinking and usury.

Are these not the teachings of all previous prophets which were decreed by Allah since the Prophet Noah (peace be upon him)?

All this indicates that he(P) walked in the footsteps of previous prophets of Allah. Actually, his Message preserved and guarded previous messages that had been corrupted and altered, Allah says:

Thus have We made of you an Ummah justly balanced, that ye might be witnesses over the nations, and the Messenger a witness over yourselves.9

This is due to the fact that all prophets came to preach the same religion.

Sending Muhammad(P) after the corruption of the religion of the previous prophets is a mercy from Allah to mankind, for indeed He says:

We sent thee not, but as a Mercy for all creatures.10

The teachings which the prophets preached commanded all that is good and forbade all that is evil. Muhammad (peace be upon him) came as a preserver, a guardian and a witness to these teachings. The Holy Qur’an says:

Thy Lord hath decreed that ye worship none but him, and that ye be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in thy life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honour.

And, out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility, and say: my Lord bestow on them thy mercy even as they cherished me in childhood.

Your Lord knoweth best what is in your hearts: if ye do deeds of righteousness, verily he is most forgiving to those who turn to him again and again (in true penitence).

And render to the kindred their due rights, as (also) to those in want, and to the wayfarer: but squander not (your wealth) in the manner of a spendthrift.

Verily spendthrifts are brothers of the evil ones; and the evil one is to his Lord (himself) ungrateful.

And even if thou hast to turn away from them pursuit of the mercy from thy Lord which thou dost expect, yet speak to them a word of easy kindness.

Make not thy hand tied (like a niggard’s) to thy neck, nor stretch it forth to its utmost reach, so that thou become blameworthy and destitute.

Verily thy Lord doth provide sustenance in abundance for whom he pleaseth, and he provideth in a just measure. For he doth know and regard all his servants.

Kill not your children for fear of want: we shall provide sustenance for them as well as for you. Verily the killing of them is a great sin.

Nor come nigh to adultery: for it is a shameful (deed) and an evil, opening the road (to other evils).

Nor take life which Allah has made sacred except for just cause. And if anyone is slain wrongfully, we have given his heir authority (to demand Visas or to forgive): but let him not exceed bounds in the matter of taking life; for he is helped (by the Law).

Come not nigh to the orphan’s property except to improve it, until he attains the age of full strength; and fulfil (every) engagement, for (every) engagement, will be enquired into (on the day of reckoning).

Give full measure when ye measure and weigh with a balance that is straight: that is the most fitting and the most advantageous in the final determination.
And pursue not that of which thou hast no knowledge; for every act of hearing, or of seeing or of (feeling in) the heart will be enquired into (on the day of reckoning).

Nor walk on the earth with insolence: for thou canasta not rend the earth asunder, nor reach the mountains in height.

Of all such things, the evil is hateful in the sight of thy Lord.

There are among the (precepts of) wisdom, which thy Lord has revealed to thee. Take not with Allah another object of worship. Lest thou shouldst be thrown into Hell, blameworthy and rejected.11

And says:

Say: come, I will rehearse what Allah hath (really) prohibited you from: join not anything as equal with him; be good to your parents; kill not your children on a plea of want; we provide sustenance for you and for them; come not nigh to shameful deeds, whether open or secret; take not life, which Allah hath made sacred, except by way of justice and law: thus doth He command you, that ye may learn wisdom.

And come not nigh to the orphan’s property, except to improve it, until he attains the age of full strength; give measure and weight with (full) justice; no burden do we place on any soul, but that which it can bear; whenever ye speak, speak justly, even if a near relative is concerned; and fulfill the Covenant of Allah: thus doth He command you, that ye may remember.

Verily, this is my way, leading straight: follow it: follow not (other) paths: they will scatter you about from his (great) path: thus doth He command you, that ye may be righteous.12

And says:

Say: “My Lord hath commanded Justice; and that ye set your whole selves (to Him) at every time and place of prayer, and call upon Him, making your devotion sincere as in His sight: Such as He created you in the beginning, so shall ye return.”

Some He hath guided: others have (by their choice) deserved the loss of their way; in that they took the Evil once, in preference to Allah, for their friends and protectors, and think that they receive guidance.

O Children of Adam Wear your beautiful apparel at every time and place of prayer: eat and drink: but wast not be excess, for Allah loveth not the wasters.

Say: who hath forbidden the beautiful (gifts) of Allah, which He hath produced for his servants, and the things, clean and pure, (which He hath provided) for sustenance? Say they are, in the life of this world, for those who believe, (and) purely for them on the day of judgment thus do we explain the Signs in detail for those who understand.13

These great teachings were preached by all the Prophets, and Muhammad(P)affirmed and displayed them in the best way. It is adequate when hearing these great teachings to believe in Muhammad(P) and know that he came to mankind with guidance and favour, commanding with good and forbidding evil, whether it is in words or deeds.

And Allah knows best.

Footnotes:

1.Sura Al-Hajj, verse 15

2.Sura Al-Haqqah, verses 44-47.

3.Rev. George Bush, The Life of Mohammed; Founder of The Religion of Islam, and of The Empire of The Saracens, published by Harper & Brothers, 1844, pp. 156-157.

4.Sura Al-Saffat, verses 171-173 .

5.Sura Ghafir, verse 51.

6.Sura Al-Hajj, verse 40.

7.Sura Al-Nour, verse 55 .

8.Sirat Ibn Hisham, Biography of the Prophet, abridged by Abdus-Salam M. Harun. Translated and Published by Al-Falah Foundation, page 58.

9.Sura Al-Baqarah, verse 143 .

10.Sura Al-Anbiyaa, verse 107.

11.Sura Al-Israa, verses 23-39 .

12.Sura Al-An’am, verses 151-153 .

13.Sura Al-A’raf, verses 29-32 .

 

A Rational Approach to the Prophethood of Muhammad part 1.

By Mohd Elfie Nieshaem

It is generally well-known that a person who claims Prophethood is either someone of the best or the worst of mankind, and these two extremes can never be confused. This is true indeed, due to the fact that he is either a truthful Prophet of God, thus it is accepted that he should be one of the best and most perfect person, an example par excellence. Or, if he is a liar against God — and this is the most terrible of lies — there he is one of the worst and most wicked person to ever walk the earth. This big difference is too great to be missed by any lay person, let alone smart and intelligent individuals. It is truly a very huge difference, indeed!!

How could someone confuse a prophet who has reached the highest level of truthfulness, honesty and morality — as opposed to a liar against God who has reached the lowest level of wickedness and immorality? How could someone not be able to distinguish between these two extremes?

The behavior and mannerisms of a person tells someone whether he is a truthful person or a habitual liar. This can be known from his habitual life and daily manners especially with long companionship and experiencing interaction with the individual in question. If someone is truthful all the time, this is clearly recognized. And if he sometimes tells lies, this is also quickly recognized. This is something we frequently experience in our daily life; if anyone lived amongst a certain society for a long time, the members of this society can easily tell whether this one is truthful or not. People who are close to a certain person for a long time are able to tell whether this person habitually lies or not, especially in major issues.

Those who were close to Prophet Muhammad(P) had a solid belief that he is a truthful person that had never lied in his entire life. Even those who disbelieved in his Prophethood did not deny this fact. This is evident in the following report in Sahih Muslim:

It is reported on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas that when this verse was revealed:” And warn thy nearest kindred” (and thy group of selected people among them) the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) set off till he climbed Safa’ and called loudly: Be on your guard! They said: Who is it calling aloud? They said: Muhammad. They gathered round him, and he said: O sons of so and so, O sons of so and so, O sons of ‘Abd Manaf, O sons of ‘Abd al-Muttalib, and they gathered around him. He (the Apostle) said: If I were to inform you that there were horsemen emerging out of the foot of this mountain, would you believe me? They said: We have not experienced any lie from you. He said: Well, I am a warner to you before a severe torment. He (the narrator) said that Abu Lahab then said: Destruction to you! Is it for this you have gathered us? He (the Holy Prophet) then stood up, and this verse was revealed:” Perish the hands of Abu Lahab, and he indeed perished” (cxi. 1). A’mash recited this to the end of the Sura.1

Our witness in this report is the statement by the Prophet’s own kin: “We have not experienced any lie from you”, this means that his truthfulness was something very apparent and well known to them. Also, it does demonstrate that his truthfulness was agreed upon amongst them, for no one objected to this statement despite the fact that it was said in the open where all people were present. In fact, they refused his call and disbelieved in his Prophethood, but they did not belie his truthfulness, preferring instead to abuse him.

In their response to his call, they actually preferred abusing him to belying him!

One should put in consideration that Muhammad(P) was born, grew up, lived and married before the Message in the midst of his people, so they should be the best judge on his manners especially truthfulness. Despite the fact that many of them did not follow him — and rather, opposed him — they have all agreed that they never heard a single lie from him.

Another proof of this fact is given in the long report of Abu Sufyan and Heraclius when the latter asked the former: “Have you ever accused him of telling lies before his claim (to be a prophet)?” Abu Sufyan answered: “No.”2 This event took place before Abu Sufyan embraced Islam. The comment of Heraclius regarding Abu Sufyan’s reply is interesting, he further said: “I further asked whether he was ever accused of telling lies before he said what he said, and your reply was in the negative. So I wonder how a person who never told a lie about others could ever tell a lie about Allah?”3

This brings us to a discussion on Argument of Priority.

Argument of Priority is one form of logical arguments formulated by Muslim scholars. An example of this type of argument is that if Sam is able to carry five kilograms of any material, then it is assumed that prior to that he is able to carry only one kilogram of the same material. Yes, it is not mentioned in the first statement that Sam can carry one kilogram — it is only stated that he could carry five — but this logical argument leads us to conclude that as long as he could carry five kilograms, then he is able to carry one kilogram as well.

This logical argument was employed by Sheikh-ul-Islam Ibn Taimiyyah in his argument that if man has the attributes of seeing, hearing and speaking, then it is prior of God who created man to attain these attributes.4

In fact, this logical argument is derived from the Noble Qur’an; the Qur’an employs it to answer those who deny the belief in Resurrection and the Hereafter, it answers them that it is God who was able to create man from nothing is thus also able to revive man again in the Last Day, for if God is able to create man from nothing, it is of course logical to accept that prior to that He would be able to revive him again from death.5

More of such examples are available in the Qur’an, but we will not be referring to those examples in this article.

Back to our discussion on the truthfulness of Prophet Muhammad(P), we find that Heraclius employed the Argument of Priority as proof of Muhammad’s prophethood; he said: “how could a person who never told a lie about others ever tell a lie about Allah?”

This is a true argument indeed; for if someone refrains from telling lies to others in worldly matters, it is of course acceptable to admit that prior to that he would not to tell lies against God. If telling lies was never one of his attributes — in fact, to the contrary, people had never heard of any lie coming from him — and he abstains from lying to people, then his abstaining from telling lies against God is prior. In fact, when one examines the biography of Prophet Muhammad(P), he will find that his contemporaries had never accused him of being a liar in his claim to be a Prophet of God. Yes, they had accused him of being a sorcerer, a poet, a madman or someone possessed, but they had never accused him of lying. The Qur’an also tells that they do not really belie him, they rather deny and reject Signs of Allah.6

This contradictory attitude of the disbelievers was the reason why they deserved God’s punishment in the end; they knew that Muhammad(P) was a truthful person and that he never told a lie. However, they disbelieved in him and vigorously rejected his Message. On the contrary, the Believers sincerely believed in him because they knew that he was not a liar — especially those who were intimate with his life, people in the likes of his wife Khadijah (R) and his Companions Abu Bakr (R), Uthman (R) and Umar (R).

Which position will you choose for yourself? Will you choose the position of that of the believers or the position of the disbelievers, who were destroyed in the end?

And glory be to Allah and His Apostle, and to the Believers.

Cite this article https://www.bismikaallahuma.org/muhammad/rational-approach-prophethood-muhammad/

Footnotes

1.Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Chapter 87, Number 406

2.Sahih al-Bukhari, Book 1, Number 6

3.ibid

4.Refer to Ibn Taimiyyah, Ar-Rad ‘Ala Al-Mantiqyeen, pp. 130-131

5.Qur’an, Sura Ya-Sin: 78-79 and Sura Ar-Rum: 27.

6.Refer to Qur’an, Sura Al-An’am: 33 .

the miraculous aspect of the Quran in terms of linguistics

One of the most important indicators showing the miraculous eloquence of the Quran is the theory of “the Semantic Order of the Quran”.

This theory can be defined as “arranging the words of a phrase or a sentence based on the rules of the science of semantics and literary arts by establishing fine connections among the words that are used” (see Muhâkemat, 86-88)

– Each of the Quran’s words may be like a heart or seed. (It may function as a heart contained in an immaterial body formed of mysteries, or the seed of an immaterial tree around it.)

Thus, words like those of the Quran, and even phrases or verses, may occur in man’s speech, but an all-encompassing knowledge is necessary to situate them exactly as they are in the Qur’an, taking into account the many relationships. (Mektubat, 187)

– It is possible to see the miracle of the Quran from the linguistic viewpoint in this theory. Along with a wonderful “nazm al-maani (semantics/meaning order)”, a miraculous “nazm al-mabani (syntax/word order)” is in question in this theory.

The level of the eloquence of the statement is strengthened when these two orders support each other harmoniously.

– From this viewpoint, it can be said that eloquence is semantics that includes syntax. That is, it is a way of expression that includes preeminent meanings in distinguished words.

The most miraculous aspect of the Quran is its eloquence. Eloquence is conformity with the necessities of the current state. This becomes possible through choosing appropriate words in the style of expression. Choosing appropriate words becomes possible when the writer or speaker has enough vocabulary in his memory – where he can find the words that are suitable for his expressions.

From this point of view, the secret behind the Quran’s being at the peak of eloquence is understood better. For, Allah has all kinds of vocabulary that expresses what He wants to say with his endless knowledge, wisdom and power. The existence of different styles like itnab (wordiness) and ijaz (conciseness) in the Quran is an indication of this reality.

The following determinations of Badiuzzaman Said Nursi expresses this reality:

“Yes, there should be artistry in wording (the words that are used should be stylish and attractive)
but only in a manner that serves the meaning (but the nature of the meaning should not be away from these artistic words).

The meaning of the form should be majestic (the words used to embellish the meaning should reflect the majesty of that meaning through literary arts like simile, metaphor and allegory),
but it is necessary to get permission from the meaning (but the words should not be away from the identity of the meanings that the words need to indicate).

The style should be bright (the style of expression that is used should be bright),
but the purpose should be suitable for it (but the purpose of this style of expression should be harmonious with the purpose of the expression).

The similes should be attractive (The style of expression should be made attractive by using similes and similar literary arts),
but the appropriateness of the purpose should be considered and consent should be taken from it (but the real point that needs to be stated should not be overlooked).

It should activate the imagination and cause luster (The style of expression that is used should enliven the imagination of the addressee and activate it in a lustrous way)
but it should not damage and overwhelm the truth, and it should be an example of the truth and should receive help from the truth (but while activating the imagination, the truth should not be hurt and imagination should not be a burden on the truth. On the contrary, this style of expression should be an example showing the truth and should be supported by the truth.” (Muhakemat, 88).

After this short introduction, we can explain the issue of linguistics, which is a miraculous gleam of the Quran, with a few examples:

a) Eachof the words in the verse that we will quote includes some realities that are not mentioned in the content of the verse within the linguistic theme.

“وممارزقناهمينفقون and spend out of what We have provided for them.” (al-Baqara, 2/3)

The words in this sentence and the order of the sentence itself are arranged in a way that indicates the conditions for “infaq (giving away in the way of Allah)” to be accepted:

It is necessary to give away so that the person himself who gives away will not be needy. The preposition “من” (from)in the phrase “مما” (from what) expresses this condition. An acceptable sadaqah (something given away) should not be something taken from Peter and given to Paul; it should be from a person’s own wealth.The phrase “رزقناهم” (We have providedfor them) expresses this condition.

The third condition for sadaqah is not to rub it in. The pronoun “نا” (we) used for first person plural in the phrase “رزقناهم” (We have providedfor them) shows that Allah is the real owner of all wealth. With the indication of this verse, Allah spiritually states the following: “I give you sustenance. When you give something to My slaves from what I have given to you, you have no right to rub it in.”

Anothercondition for sadaqah is to give it to good places and needy people, not to bad places and people.

It is not acceptable to give sadaqah to people who spend it on debauchery. The phrase “ينفقون “(spend out) indicates this condition. The fifth condition is to give sadaqah on behalf of Allah. The phrase “رزقناهم” (We have providedfor them) indicates this condition. With tongue of this sign, Allah says, “Wealth belongs to me; you should give on behalf of me.”

It means this verse reminds the rich people that they are not the real owner of the wealth but only cashiers.

In addition, the word “ما” (what) indicates that sadaqah can be given from knowledge, intellect, mind, power and advice along with wealth (money and goods). (Sözler, 387-388)

b) The compliance of the words with the reality in beings informs about a real miracle.

For instance,

“It is He Who made the sun to be a shining glory and the moon to be a light (of beauty), and measured out stages for it.” (Yunus, 10/5),

“Blessed is He Who made Constellations in the skies, and placed therein a Lamp and a Moon giving light.” (al-Furqan, 25/61) As it is seen in the verses above, it is remarkable that the word “ziya” (light) and words like “siraj” (candle/cresset) are used for sunlight in the Quran, and that the word “nur” (light) and the word “munir” (illuminating/bright) of the same root are used for the noon.

These words give different clues to people and increase the opportunities of the people with different levels of education and culture to benefit from the verses of the Quran. In fact, different meanings were understood from the same verse, all of which are true. For instance,

an ordinary person understands from this verse that both the sun and the moon send light to the earth.

With the indications of the words “ziya” and “siraj”, an Arab philologist deduces the meaning that the sun gives heat in addition to light.

The clue that an astronomer gets from the same words is the fact that the sun is the source of the light and that the moon receives the light from outside. For, the word “ziya/muzi” is used for the things that are the source of light and the word “nur/munir” is used for the things that receive light from outside in Arabic.

For instance, the phrase “ghurfatun muziatun”is not used for a bright room; on the contrary, the word “munira­tun” is used because the light of the room comes from an outside source. However, the phrase “qabasun munir” is not used for cinder/ember but the word “muzi” is used because the light belongs to the cinder/ember itself.

The reason why the Quran uses “nur-munir,” for the moonand “ziya-siraj” for the sun is to express this difference. (see Niyazi Beki, interpretation of verse 5 of ar-Rahman)

c) Each of the words in a verse serving the purpose that the verse aims is a miraculous gleam in terms of linguistics.

The following verse can be an example for it:

“If but a breath of the Wrath of thy Lord do touch them they will then say “Woe to us! We did wrong indeed.” (al-Anbiya, 21/46)

In this statement, the Quran expresses the effect of the least wrath in a very severe way in order to show the wrath horrible:

“ولئنمستهمنفحةمنعذابربك If but a breath of the Wrath of thy Lord do touch them” Each of the six words in the clause above expresses “littleness”, serving the aim of the Quran “frightening a lot with a little wrath”.

The first word “if” expresses doubt. It indicates “littleness” by expressing doubt.

The second word is the verb “مس” (touch). The meaning of this word is “to touch slightly”. It also expresses littleness.

The third word is “نفحة” (breath). This word expresses “littleness” in three aspects.

a. It expresses littleness since its meaning is a small smell.

b. In terms of the science of morphology, the structure of the word is”ism al-marra (noun of instance)”. It means “only once” and indicates “littleness”.

c. The “tanwin” at the end of the word is for indefiniteness and reduction.It also expresses littleness.

The fourth word “من” (from) expresses “tab’iz”, that is, part of something, a small part.

The fifth word is “عذاب” (punishment). It is a small penalty compared to “nakal” and “iqab”. It indicates littleness.

The sixth word is “ربك” (your Lord). The use of this word instead of Allah’s names like al-Jabbar (the Compeller), al-Qahhar (the Subduer) and al-Muntaqim (the Avenger) aims to express “littleness”. Based on those indications, the verse can be translated as follows:

“O Messenger!If but a small part of the breath of the wrath of your Lord happens to touch them only once, they will then say “Woe to us! We did wrong indeed.”

As Badiuzzaman Said Nursi puts it, “Each of the words used in the verse strengthens the real purpose of the verse.” (see Muhâkemat, 93-94; Sözler, 386-87)

d) A single word supporting the purpose of the verse linguistically is a miraculous gleam.

It is possible to see this fineness in the meaning of the following verse:

“Do not the Unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together (as one unit of Creation), before We clove them asunder? We made from water every intelligent thing. Will they not then believe?” (al-Anbiya, 21/30)

The Arabic word meaning “joined” in the phrase “the heavens and the earth were joined together” in the verse is “ratq”.

In a normal Arabic statement, “matruqatayn”, which is a noun used for two things would be used instead of “ratq”, which is an infinitive in the form of object. For, the word “ratq=joined” here is used for two things: the heavens and the earth.

However, in the verse, the word meaning “joined”, is preferred not the word “matruqatayn”, which means “two joined things”. For, what is meant to emphasize by the verse is that the heavens and the earth were a single substance, a cosmic soup, a creational dough at first.

The word “ratq”, which eliminates duality and expresses a homogenous structure in the best way, has a miraculous state regarding the issue.

e) As for the analysis of the chapter of al-Kafirun, which is especially asked in the question,

since the analysis is made in terms of linguistics, it will be useful to write the original Arabic text of the chapter.

قُلْياأَيُّهَاالْكافِرُونَ(1) لاأَعْبُدُماتَعْبُدُونَ(2)وَلاأَنْتُمْعابِدُونَماأَعْبُدُ(3) وَلاأَناعابِدٌماعَبَدْتُّمْ (4)

وَلاأَنْتُمْعابِدُونَماأَعْبُدُ(5) لَكُمْدِينُكُمْوَلِيَدِينِ (6)

The translation of the chapter:

1. Say: O ye that reject Faith!

2. I worship not that which ye worship,

3. Nor will ye worship that which I worship.

4. And I will not worship that which ye have been wont to worship,

5. Nor will ye worship that which I worship.

6. To you be your Way, and to me mine.

1) The first verse of the chapter starts with “Qul= Say”. We can state a few fineness of eloquence about it as follows:

a) The addressees of the chapter are unbelievers. The order Qul=Say indicates that Hz. Muhammad is a prophet receiving commands from Allah.

It is a nice compliment, merciful guidance and eloquence that conforms to thenecessities of the current state to teach unbelievers Hz. Muhammad is a prophet.

b) The addressees of the chapter are certain unbelievers. According to the narration, the polytheists called Walid b. Mughira, As b. Wail, Aswad b. Abdulmuttalib and Umayya b. Khalaf made the following offer to the Prophet: “If you worship our idols, we will worship your Lord. If your religion is better, we will receive our share from this goodness. If our religion is better, you will receive your share from it.”Thereupon, this verse was sent down. (see Qurtubi, relevant place)

That Allah did not address these insolent unbelievers directly and that He addressed them through His prophet in the form of “Qul=Say” indicate the value of the Prophet in the eye of Allah and their valuelessness. This indicates the place of Allah’s respectable friends and the despicable place of His enemies.

The phrase “Ya ayyuhal-kafirun” (O unbelievers) in the verse is wonderful in terms of linguistics:

a) The phrase “Ya ayyuhal-kafirun” meaning “O unbelievers” is an exclamation. The letter hamza (a) is used to address people who are near, the words “aya-haya” people who are away and the word “ya” people who are both near and away.

The use of the word “ya” for unbelievers is wonderful here. For, those unbelievers were near the Prophet physically since they were in the same place but they were away from him in terms of the spiritual friendship attained by belief. The use of “ya” here indicates both states of the unbelievers who were the addressees of this verse.

b) There is another point in indicating that the unbelievers are both distant and near. The unbelievers are away from Allah due to their spiritual values, or rather, their valuelessness. However, Allah is close to them with His knowledge and power to punish them.

c) As we have just mentioned, the unbelievers who are the addressees of this chapter are certain people. The prefix “al” (the) at the beginning of the word “al-kafirun” indicates certain, known people.For, it is indicated in the verse that these “unbelievers” will not believe after that.

It is not possible for all unbelievers to be included in this news about the future in terms of the test of the religion, justice or reality.

The prefix “al” (the) mentioned here aims to eliminate such a wrong thought.

d) The reason why the word “al-Kafirun” (the unbelievers), which is a noun, is preferred to “alladhina kafaru” (those who unbelieved), which is a relative clause is to indicate that the unbelievers who are addressed by the chapter continued their unbelief in the past and that they will continue their unbelief in the future too.  (see Alusi, relevant place)

This word is like a projector shedding light on the truthfulness of the decree that “they will not believe” in the verses to come.

2) The analysis of verse 2 “La A’budu Ma Ta’budun” can be made as follows:

a) The word “La” (not) at the beginning of the verse shows negativity for the future. It makes the verb “A’budu” indicating present/future time negative.

b) The word “Ma” is a relative pronoun. It is used for mindless things more commonly. The reason why this word is used is to indicate that what the polytheists worship are inanimate and mindless.

c) The word “Ta’budun” (worship) has a form that includes the present and the future. Accordingly, the explained meaning of those two verses are as follows:

“O Messenger! Say: O unbelievers who persist in their denial! (Do you offer me to accept each other’s religion and worship the deities of each other?) Know it very well that I will not worship the deities that you worship and you will worship.”

3) The analysis ofthe sentence “Wa la Antum Abiduna Ma A’budu”:

a) Waw (and) is a conjunction. La is a negative word at the beginning of a noun clause. Abidun (worshippers) is a plural noun. This word is a noun; therefore, it indicates that the unbelievers mentioned above will not believe in Allah and worship Him now or in the future.

b) Ma A’budu: It means what I worship. The reason why the pronoun “Ma (which/what)”, which is generally used for mindless things, is preferred to “Man (who)”, which is used for intelligent beings has a few eloquent purposes:

Firstly: That the pronoun “Ma”, which is used for wrong deities, is used for the real Deity is an art of mushakala (reiterating a word of another person other than its intended meaning). Although they mean the same thing, they are related to different things. For instance, when “ma” is used for Allah here, it means “man”, which is used for intelligent beings.

Secondly: It indicates a spiritual mushakala. In Arabic, the word deity (mabud) is also used for temples though it is wrong. Since the word deity is used for both Allah and idols, the use of “ma” for this common term shows a nice fineness.

Thirdly: The relative pronoun “Ma” (which/what) has two aspects of usage: it is used for both mindless beings and intelligent beings. The reason why ma, which is used for both mindless beings and intelligent beings, is used instead of “man” (who), which is used only for intelligent beings, aims to indicate that idols and polytheism are irrational. For, the polytheists also know that the relative pronoun “man”, which is used only for intelligent beings, cannot be used for idols. Then, they understand that what they worship are mindless.

4) In this verse, the word “abid” (worshipper), which is a noun showing the doer of an action, for the Prophet (pbuh). The reason why a noun is preferred to a verb is to indicate that Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) is not hesitant in his religion and that he will continue in his religion in the future as he did in the past.

Although a present verb was used for the unbelievers before, a past verb is used in this verse. The following message is virtually given in the verse: The Prophet knows what kind of religion you have since he has seen it so far. He will never accept your religion as he has not accepted it so far.

5) In the verse “Nor will ye worship that which I worship”, the word “Abiduna”, which is a plural noun showing the doer of an action,is preferred, indicating that the deniers mentioned above will never abandon unbelief throughout their lives.

6) It is possible to understand the following messages from the verse “To you be your Way (Religion), and to me mine”:

a) O the unbelievers who are known! I inform you that you will not believe from now on and you will not accept Islam. Your religion will go to grave with you. And I will never accept your religion.

In fact, it is a challenge. For, if only one of those unbelievers had pretended to believe, Islam would have ended before it spread.

b) Everybody will receive what their religion offers. You will receive what your religion offers and I will receive what my religion offers. This is a serious warning for unbelievers.

 

Structural coherence of the Quran.

The Qur’an is a very unique book in terms of its composition. Its 114 chapters are not arranged chronologically. Even within the individual chapters, numerous topics can be covered with sudden switches from one topic to another and then back again.

Quran states:

Ya Seen. By the Qur’an, full of wisdom. [Surah Ya Seen verses 1 and 2]

Hakeem means, Al-Muhkam (perfect), best for judgement and well structured. [Tafsir Ibn Kathir]

The relationship of the ending of a surah with the beginning of the next surah is of great importance when it comes to the coherence of the Quran. The ending of surah al-Fatihah is a request to Allah to guide us to the straight path and the beginning of surah al-Baqarah describes the Quran as the guidance as an answer to the prayer. Likewise the ending of surah Ale-Imran exhorts the believers to be patient and fear Allah, and the beginning of surah an-Nisa commands humankind to fear Allah and fulfil the ties of kinship. The ending of surah an-Nisa contains the laws of being just amongst the relatives with regards to inheritance and the beginning of surah al-Maidah reaffirms these commands by commanding the believers to fulfil their trusts.

Surah Ali-Imran is the sequel to Surah Al-Baqarah and the invitation therein is continued to the people of the Book. In Al-Baqarah the Jews were pointedly invited to accept the Guidance and in Surah Ali-Imran the Christians have particularly been admonished to give up their erroneous beliefs and accept the Guidance of the Quran.

In Surah As-Saf there is a prophecy of a messenger called Ahmad وسلم عليه اللهصلى to come:

“And [mention] when Jesus, the son of Mary, said, “O children of Israel, indeed I am the messenger of Allah to you confirming what came before me of the Torah and bringing good tidings of a messenger to come after me, whose name is Ahmad.” But when he came to them with clear evidences, they said, “This is obvious magic.” [Quran 61:6]

The next chapter called Surah Jumu’ahmentions that the prophesised messenger has come:

“It is He who has sent among the unlettered a Messenger from themselves reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the Book and wisdom – although they were before in clear error.” [Quran 62:2]

Effective endings of some Surahs

The ending of the surahs have a certain unique style and are typically comprehensive and powerful and therefore leaving a strong impact on the reader. An example is the ending of Surah Ibrahim:

“This [Qur’an] is notification for the people that they may be warned thereby and that they may know that He is but one God and that those of understanding will be reminded.” [Quran 14:52]

Another example is the comprehensive dua that forms the last two verses of Surah Al-Baqarah. Surah Al-Maida and Al-Hashr end with the praise and glorification of Allah (SWT). Surah At-Tawbah ends with a beautiful description of the Prophet (SAW):

“There has certainly come to you a Messenger from among yourselves. Grievous to him is what you suffer; [he is] concerned over you and to the believers is kind and merciful.” [Quran 9:128]

Coherency between Surah Isra and Surah Kahf

Surah Isra and Surah Kahf are the 17th and 18th Surahs in the Qur’an. Isra has 111 ayaat, and Kahf has 110 ayaat.

Surah Isra begins with:

بعبده سرى أالذي سبحان

And Surah Kahf begins with:

عبده    على أنزل الذي لله الحمد

Notice the similarities and differences here. Both are glorifying and praising Allah, and both are discussing revelation. In Surah Isra, the Prophet (sal-Allahu alayhi was-Sallam) is ascending up to receive the revelation, and in Surah Kahf the revelation is being sent down. Both of them have the word ‘abdihi.

In the middle of both surah’s is also an ayah talking about the story of Iblis refusing to prostrate to Adam (alayhis Salam).

In Surah Isra the ayah is as follows:

And (remember) when We said to the angels: “Prostrate unto Adam.” They prostrated except Iblis (Satan). He said: “Shall I prostrate to one whom You created from clay?”

In Surah Kahf it reads:

And (remember) when We said to the angels; “Prostrate to Adam.” So they prostrated except Iblis (Satan). He was one of the jinns; he disobeyed the Command of his Lord.

Surah Isra is also sometimes called Surah Bani Israa’eel. It also contains a series of ayat that Ibn Abbas (ra) mentioned were similar to the 10 commandments given to Musa (alayhis Salam). So this surah is primarily addressing Bani Isra’eel, who had knowledge but became arrogant. [Tafsir Tabari]

Surah Kahf is addressing the Christians. We can see this from ayah 4, “And to warn those who say, ‘Allah has begotten a son (or offspring or children).’” The Christians disobeyed their Lord.

So when the surah is addressing those who were afflicted with arrogance, the part of the story mentioned is the one pertaining to them because Iblis disobeyed due to his arrogance. When the surah is addressing a different audience, it uses the part of the story most pertinent to them because the Christians alleged that Iblis was an angel, but the Quran refutes their dogma.

Surah Isra and Surah Kahf are beatifically connected by the mention of Prophet Musa alayhi salaam. One surah mentions his public life and the other mentions his private life. The Jews appreciated the public life of Musa alayhi salaam: when he rescued them from Firawn is mentioned in Israa. The Christians are a private people; they appreciate spirituality so which journey of Musa is mentioned in Kahf? The private journey of Musa alayhi salaam with Khidr, a journey of knowledge, discovery and wisdom which was appropriate to what the Christians needed to hear.

Another connection between Surah Isra and Surah Kahf is through the dhikr of Allah. Surah Al Israa begins: الَّذِي سُبْحَانَ SubhanAllah. Surah Al Kahf begins: لِلَّهِ الْحَمْدُ Alhamdulillah. One begins with Allah’s Perfection and one begins with Allah’s Hamd.

In Surah Al Israa, Allah begins: Glorified and Exalted be He, Who took His slave for a journey by night from Al-Masjid-al-Haram to the farthest mosque, the neighbourhood whereof We have blessed, in order that We might show him of Our Ayat. On the other hand, in Surah Al Kahf, Allah begins: Allpraise and thanks are only for the One who sent down upon His slave the Book.

In surah 17, the slave has been taken in the middle of the night up to receive revelation from Allah, and in surah 18, the book has been sent down upon His slave. In one the slave goes up, and in the other, the book comes down.

The Connection between Surah Al-Mursalat and An-Naba

The surah before An-Naba it is surah Mursalaat (number 77). In Mursalaat, we found two groups of people. One group is the people of taqwa, the mutaqeena fi dhalim ‘oyoon (ayah 41). Also, the people who are mentioned over and over are the mukadhibeen. The oft repeated ayah of the surah is way lil yowmaidhil lil mukhadhibeen: they are those who deliberately lie against truth and accuse those who do tell truth of wrong and try to invalidate their character. They are those who propagate falsehood.

 

The Connection between Surah An-Naba and An-Naaziat

The conclusion of surah Naba’ related to the beginning of Surah An-Naaziat; Allah says;

“The Day the Rooh [Angel Jibreel] and the angels will stand in rows. None will speak except who the Most Merciful (Allah) gives permission to, and he will (only) speak what is right. (Surah Naba’ 78:38)

So Allah ends the previous surah with the mention of the angels and the Judgment Day, and starts Surah An-Naaziat with the mention of the angels and Last (Judgment) Day.

Also Surah An-Naba ends with the disbelievers being regretful;

“Indeed, We have warned you of a near punishment on the Day when a man will observe what his hands have put forth and the disbeliever will say, “Oh, I wish that I were dust!” [Quran 78:40]

Surah An-Naaziat begins with the punishment of the disbelievers:

“By those [angels] who extract with violence.” [Quran 79:1]

al Baghawi mentions: Ibn Abbas had the view that; Nazi’at and Nashitaat, Sabihaat,Sabiqaat and Mudabiraat – Are the Angels.

In surah Naba’ – Allah describes the sceptic first (ayah 1 – 3: what are they asking each other, about the Great news, about that which they are in dispute).Then later describes the hereafter (inna yawm al fassli kaana meeqaata – surely the Day of Decision will be established – ayah 17).

In surah Nazi’at – Allah describes the Resurrection first (ayah 6 onwards), and then the sceptic later. (ayah 10)

This in Arabic is a mechanism called; Al Laf wan-Nash ‘alal Aks. (i.e. You fold something up, and then unfold it in its reflective/symmetrical form).

Surah An-Naaziat will be a symmetrical (similar yet opposite) ordering of the previous surah Naba’.
Connection of Surah Nazi’at to Surah Abasa

In the previous surah of Nazi’aat – we found 2 types of contrasting people near the end.

As for him who was rebellious, [who] disbelieved, and preferred the life of this world, Then indeed, Hellfire will be [his] refuge. [Nazi’at 79: 37-39]

But as for he who feared the position of his Lord and prevented the soul from [unlawful] inclination, Then indeed, Paradise will be [his] refuge.[Nazi’at 79: 40-41]

In Surah Abasa there are also 2 types of people;

1 –The one who doesn’t care[Istaghnaa]. (Surah Abasa verse 5)

2 – The one who fears and comes to the Messenger of Allah running. (Surah Abasa verse 8 and 9)

In Surah an Nazi’at -Moses showed Pharaoh the ayat al kubra/the greatest sign [Nazi’at 79:20]. He saw the great signs but still did kufr/rejection (disbelief and ungratefulness).

In Surah Abasa -Prophet Muhammad (sal Allah alaihi wasalam) showed the greatest of signs (the honoured, raised and purified Book) yet the ungrateful still rejected it.

Surah At-Takwir connects with Surah Abasa

At-taamah (the calamity which surrounds from all sides) [Surah Nazi’at]

And as-saakhah (deafening noise of the 2nd trumpet to initiate the resurrection). [Surah Abasa]

Surah At-Takwir begins with the effect the trumpets, mentioned above, causes on the last day:

“When the sun is wrapped up [in darkness].” [Quran 81:1]

In Surah (Infitar) – the slave has distanced from his Lord [Allah].

In surah Takweer- the person was distancing from Allah’s Messenger.

In the surah before Takweer (surah Abasa) – they are distancing from the Book of Allah.

Chain of the surahs previously in Juzz ‘Amma are;

Naba’, Nazi’at, Abasa, Takweer and now Infitar. All these surahs’ mention angels:

Naba’ – the day on which the angels will be standing in rows. [Naba 78:38]

Nazi’at – the ones who pull out [i.e. the souls]. [Nazi’at 79:1-5]

Abasa – the angels that record the revelation. [Abasa 80:15-16]

Takweer – Ar-Rooh [Jibreel] who reveals the revelation. [Takweer 81:19]

Infitar – the angels record your deeds – good and bad. Qadamat wa akharat. [Infitar 82:10]

The connection between Surah Al-Mutaffifeen and Al-Inshiqaq is the following main message:

You’re going to meet your own labour. The fruits of your efforts of this life (whether good or bad), you will meet them with your Lord.

No! Indeed, the record of the righteous is in ‘illiyyun (exalted place). [Surah Al-Mutaffifeen 83:18]

Then, as for him who will be given his Record in his right hand

He surely will receive an easy reckoning

[Surah Al-Inshiqaq 84:7-8]

In Surah Al-Mutaffifeen – the books contained the people’s records – the Sijjin [book of the evil] and Illiyeen [book of the righteous].

The surah before that [Infitar] – the angels write the peoples deeds.

In Surah Al-Inshiqaq – even the thoughts and emotions, Allah was constantly watching them; the joys and dhan (thoughts).

 

Connection between the beginning and ending of a same Surah

Also the relationship of the beginning and the end of the same surah is also interesting.

Allah says at the beginning of Surah Al-Kahf:

“All the praises and thanks be to Allah, Who has sent down to His slave the Book, and has not placed therein any crookedness. Straight to give warning of a severe punishment from Him, and to give glad tidings to the believers, who work righteous deeds, that they shall have a fair reward.” [Surah Al-Kahf, 18:1-2]

Within the first verse Allah praises Himself, an act which increases the believer in faith, and then mentions the Messenger and the Book.

Likewise, Allah concludes the chapter by saying:

“Say, ‘If the sea were ink for writing the Words of my Lord, surely, the sea would be exhausted before the Words of my Lord would be finished, even if we brought another sea like it for its aid. Say: ‘I am only a man like you. It has been inspired to me that your God is One God. So whoever hopes for the Meeting with his Lord, let him work righteousness and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord.” [Surah Al-Kahf, 18: 109-110]

Once again, Allah mentions His Words, the Prophet and worshipping Him alone which is the essence of faith.
Structural coherence of the same Surahs in Juz Amma

My intention for picking this section of the Qur’an is because this is the most commonly memorized and most commonly recited portion of the Qur’an, so it is probably the most beneficial to the majority of Muslims.

One of the fundamental purposes of these surahs is to demonstrate how every surah in the Qur’an has a cohesive argument; it is unified and its subject matter is presented in a cohesive fashion. This is an aspect often overlooked in tafsir. When you go so far in depth to each little thing, such as a grammatical nuance – which is great – you sometimes lose sight of the main theme. You must understand that this was originally recited without any tafsir.

How the beginning of surah An-Nabacorrelates to the beginning: in the beginning, the disbelievers were adamant and arrogant, in total disregard of the hereafter. In the end, their state will be that they will not be able to speak freely. Now, let them run their mouth, but a time will come when their mouth will be silent.

In the beginning they had disagreement over what would happen in the hereafter. That Day, there will be only one true opinion. Finally, Allah warned them that they will know the consequences of their speech. In the end, they will say, “Oh, I wish that I were dust!”

In the beginning of the surah An-Naaziat – Allah spoke about Judgment Day. (ayah 6 onwards).In the end – the Judgment Day is again mentioned. (ayah 34 onwards)

In the beginning of Surah Abasa we found the one in istighnaa [carefree] –looking down at the believers in this life. We found the one in need for the truth -fearing and wanting to purify himself.

At the end of Surah Abasa it is mentioned that the istighna [carefree] character is now – on this Day – in fear, dread and worried about what he did.

While the one who feared this Day- now – he is content. His purification has paid off. He has achieved the great success of Paradise.

Beginning of Surah Takwir Relation to its End:

The surah begins with some of the most enormous manifestations of Allah’s will.so what intents are you going to make except by the will of Allah? You can’t, so do your bit and ask Him to help you in that guidance. He will help you – the One who even has the power to change the way the universe runs; the beginning explains what is going to happen in the near future. After telling us all of this, He says; where are you heading (fa ayna tadhhaboon)? So Allah’s message leads humans from thoughts and understandings to actions and implementation of Allah’s guidance.

Beginning of Surah Infitar’s Relation to its End: At the beginning of the Surah, there is a description of the big stars in the sky which we take for granted. They will break out of control and fall in chaos. Then at the end – we see how man will be left powerless on that Day – without any authority or power whatsoever.

Surah Al-Inshiqaq began with – when the sky is completely cracked open out of obedience to Allah. (ayah 1)

Consequence: So the disbelievers’ bodies [on Judgment Day] will also throw themselves into destruction, out of obedience of Allah.

Central ayah [ayah 6] –kadhan fa mulaqeeh– you are struggling towards your Lord, and you will meet your Lord and the fruits of your deeds. Consequence: The surah concludes; you will then either have painful punishment or noble reward