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ISLAMIC MEDICAL EDUCATION RESOURCES 04

0007-FUNDAMENTALS OF RELIGION (USUL AL DDIN) (PART I)

Lecture for 1st year medical students on July 7th 2000 by Professor Omar Hasan Kasule

OUTLINE

1.2.1 THE RELIGION OF ISLAM, al ddin al islami

A. Religions Of The World:

B. Concept Of Diin:

C. Fundamentals Of The Diin:

D. Basic Characteristics Of Islam

E. Misunderstanding Of Islam

 

1.2.2 FAITH, IMAN

A. Iman And Islam:

B. Pillars Of Iman:

C. Types And Manifestations Of Iman:

D. Characteristics Of Believers:

E. Nullification Of Iman:

 

1.2.3 REVELATION: ANGELS, MESSENGERS, and SCRIPTURES

A. Basic Elements Of The Process Of Revelation

B. Angels

C. Messengers:

D. Revealed Books

E. Companions:

 

1.2.4 THE LAST DAY & AFTER-LIFE

A. Stages Of  Human Life

B. Life In The Grave (Qabr):

C. The Last Day (Yawm Al Akhirat)

After-Life:

E. Nature Of The After-Life

 

1.2.5 PRE-DESTINATION, qadar

A. Description

B. Will, Iraadat, Knowledge, ‘Ilm, And Power, Qudrat

C. Human Action

D. Causality And Causal Relations

E. Misunderstanding Of Qadar

 

1.2.1 THE RELIGION OF ISLAM, al ddin al islami

A. RELIGIONS OF THE WORLD:

Religion and belief in something are a necessity for humans. A human must believe in something to be motivated and to realize his basic humanity. Some believe in religions (true or false) while others believe in ideology, glory, money, power, and fame. There are 3 basic types of religions: animist, polytheistic and monotheistic. Animists see a spirit in everything. Polytheists worship more than one god; some however have a concept of one powerful god with junior gods as helpers. Monotheists worship only one God. Islam is the only living religion today that is purely and strictly monotheistic. The main religions in the world today are: Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Confucianism, Judaism, Shintoism, and Taoism. Estimating the number of adherents is not very meaningful since many followers are only nominal especially for Christianity and Judaism.

 

B. CONCEPT OF DIIN:

The definition of ddiin in clear in the sunnah (KS 247). Religious thought or religious philosophy is not necessarily diin. A basic element of diin is belief in the unseen; belief and understanding that there is power and authority beyond and above humans. The concept of religion in Islam differs from that of other monotheistic and polytheistic religions. Islam is comprehensive and all-embracing way of life. All human activity and human endeavors are subsumed under the religion of Islam. It is therefore better and more accurate to use the Qur’anic term diin instead of the commonly used term ‘religion’. Diin is from Allah (p 437 2:132, 2:132, 3:19, 3:83, 5:3, 9:33, 16:52, 24:2, 30:30, 39:3, 42:21, 48:28, 49:16, 61:9) and should be exclusive unto Him (p 437 4:146, 4:161, 7:29, 10:22, 29:65, 31:32, 39:2, 39:11, 39:14, 40:14, 40:65, 98:5). No human can claim to own or to start diin. No human can have control over diin. All humans can do is follow the diin.

 

C. FUNDAMENTALS OF THE DIIN:

The three fundamentals of ddiin, usul al ddin, are: Islam, Iman, and Ihsan. These three concepts taken together constitute the creed of Islam (al aqidat al Islamiyyat). There is a gradation. Islam is the beginning. Iman is a higher level. Ihsan is the highest level. Ihsan is excellence and is the highest level of din. Ihsan was defined in the sunnah (KS 566). It represents perfection in both Islam and Iman. It is excellence in worship (ibadat),  work, and in any social action. It is worship of Allah in the full knowledge that He is seeing you even if you can not see Him. The concept of excellence extends from prescribed acts of ibadat to all human endeavors and activities. Each human activity is an act of ibadat and as such should be done with excellence. The quest for excellence is a motivation for a Muslim in whatever work he or she is engaged in. It is this quest for excellence and perfection that guarantees that believers are the only ones capable of establishing the best human civilization. Islam and iman are described below.

 

D. BASIC CHARACTERISTICS OF ISLAM

THE PILLARS:

Islam has 5 pillars (KS 83: Nisai, MB #8): (a) The shahadat, testimony that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah (b) Salat, to offer the 5 obligatory prayers (c) Zakat, mandatory charity taken from wealth (d) Saum, fasting the month of Ramadhan (e) Hajj, performing the greater pilgrimage to the house of Allah for those able to do so.  The shahadat is the most important pillar. It is followed by salat, which is a main pillar of Islam, al salat imad al ddiin. Establishing salat is establishment of religion, iqamat al ddiin. Islam is oral testament, belief, and performance of righteous acts, al islam qawl, wa iitiqad wa 'amal (KS 83). It is belief and following the straight path, al islam iman wa istiqamat (KS 83). A person becomes a Muslim by testifying that there is only one creator and that Muhammad is His messenger. Carrying out the four prescribed duties of worship mentioned above is a practical manifestation of the 2 testaments.

 

CONTINUITY:

Islam is the same religious continuity from Adam (PBUH) to Muhammad (PBUH). It is the religion of all the prophets (p. 100 2:128…42:13). All prophets came to propagate the same religion of Islam; there were differences in details but the essence was the same. Being a believer is belonging to a fellowship of believers that has extended throughout human history and will exist until the last day (p 81-82 2:178….59:10). At times it is big and at other times it is small but at no time in human history has it ever disappeared completely.

 

UNIVERSALITY:

Islam was revealed for all places and all times. It is not racially or ethnically exclusive. It is truly universal superseding all parochialities that have kept humans divided for centuries.

 

RATIONALITY:

The Islamic creed accepts all true previous religions and rejecting them nullifies belief. Islam is quite rational. Belief in the unseen is part of the rationality of Islam.  Most injunctions and regulations of Islam can be explained to and understood by a person of average intellectual competence. There are only a few matters that are accepted on faith because their rational understanding is beyond the human intellectual competence.

 

FREEDOM:

Islam guarantees freedom of religion, hurriyat al aqidat, for all (p 331-332 2:256, 2:256, 3:20, 3:32, 3:63-64, 5:92, 10:9, 11:2, 11:57, 16:82, 18:29, 24:54, 51:54-55, 60:6, 64:12, 74:54-55, 76:29, 80:11-12, 81:27-28, 109:1-6). There is no compulsion in religion (2:256). All humans are free to follow and practice the religion of their choice. Muslims are obliged to guarantee and protect freedom of conscience and worship for everybody including non-Muslims. Force can not be used to convert anyone to Islam. Force however may have to be used in an oppressive situation in which people do not have the freedom to choose and practice the religion they want. In such case force is used to destroy the oppressive system and no more force is employed once the conditions of free choice are established.

 

EQUALITY:

Islam calls for civil, religious and spiritual equality of all humans. There is no priesthood or intercession in Islam; any believer can worship the creator without the need for an intermediary. Believers can differ in knowledge; the more knowledgeable can guide the less knowledgeable but none can claim any spiritual or religious superiority over others.

 

EASE:

Islam is simple, al ddiin yusr (KS 237, MB #37). Anybody who tries to make it difficult will fail. This is because It is the natural religion, diin al fitra (KS 238)

 

MODERATION:

Islam is a religion of equilibrium (i’itidaal). All forms of excess in religion, al ghuluwwu fi al ddiin (KS 238) are shunned. Islam encourages the middle path of moderation and considers extremes of any kind to be unhealthy.

 

ACTION:

Islam is a practical religion. Faith and action go together. The inside must be reflected outwardly in good and useful human action. There is no value to religion that is inside a human and does not catalyze the building of a good and God-fearing society. There is no asceticism in Islam in the sense that persecuting the body or the flesh can lead to spiritual purity. Spiritual purity is easier to achieve by employing the body and human potential in the real world to promote good and suppress evil. The prophet described what is the best Islam ahsan al Islam (KS 84)

 

SOCIETAL:

Belief in Islam leads to several tangible social advantages: brotherhood (p 173-174 2:220, 2:220, 3:103, 33:5, 49:10, 49:12, 59:10), firm commitment (p 174 2:250, 4:66, 8:12, 8:45, 14:27, 16:102, 47:7, 48:4), happiness (p 174 13:28, 47:12, 64:11), good deeds (p 174-175 2:25, 2:82, 2:277, 3:57, 4:57, 4:122, 4:173, 5:9, 7:42, 9:99, 10:11, 10:9, 11:23, 13:29, 14:23, 17:9, 18:2, 18:30, 19:60, 19:96, 20:75, 20:112, 21:94, 22:23, 22:50, 22:56, 26:227, 28:69, 29:7, 29:58, 30:15, 30:45, 31:8, 32:19, 34:4, 35:7, 41:8, 42:22-23, 42:26, 45:15, 45:30, 47:2, 47:12, 48:29, 49:6, 49:11, 64:9, 65:11, 85:11, 84:25, 90:17, 95:6, 98:7, 103:2-3), success, falah, (p 176 23:1, 24:51, 28:67, 45:30, 103:2-3), and victory (p 176 2:249, 2:249, 3:123-126, 10:103, 26:227, 48:11, 61:11-13). It is mutual advice, al diin al nasiihat (KS 237, Muslim #98).

 

REVIVALISM:

Islam is dynamic, its strength increases and decreases but never disappears. It started as strange and will return strange, bad'u al diin ghariba wa ruju'uhu ghariiba (KS 239, 84, MB #270). There is revival every 100 years, tajdiid kulla 100 sanat (KS 238).

 

FINALITY OF ISLAM:

Islam is the final revealed religion to all humanity

 

E. MISUNDERSTANDING OF ISLAM

 

1.2.2 FAITH, IMAN

A. IMAN AND ISLAM:

Iman is a higher level of spiritual progress than Islam. Islam is a pre-requisite for iman. You can not have iman without having Islam. It is however possible to be a Muslim who has not yet attained the level of a mu’umin (    ).Iman is knowledge, testament, and action (KS 112).  

 

B. PILLARS OF IMAN:

Iman has 6 pillars: (a) Belief in Allah (His existence, His oneness, His attributes, His deserving to be worshipped, and His right to legislate) (b) Belief in angels (c) Belief in the Revelations (d) Belief in the Messengers (e) Belief in the last day (f) Belief in Qadar (divine pre-ordainment). Belief in Allah (KS 112) is the most important pillar on which all the other pillars stand. Belief in Allah comprises: belief in the one ness of God, wahdaniyat al llah ('umdat p V1.2), His transcendence, al tanziih; His life, al hayat; his ability, al qudrat; His knowledge, al ilm; his will, al iradat; his hearing, al sama'u; his sight, al basar; his speech, al kalaam; and his actions, al af'aal.

 

C. TYPES AND MANIFESTATIONS OF IMAN:

Iman has many types and manifestations. There are over 72 types of iman (KS 112, Muslim 55 & 56). Modesty is part of iman (KS 112). It can be weak or strong. The weakest iman (KS 112). Even the smallest amount of iman protects from hell-fire (KS 112). Iman can increase or decrease according to whether the person is performing good or bad acts (KS 113, MB #41). Iman disappears completely for the duration of the period that a major sin like theft or adultery is being committed (KS 113). It returns as soon as the sin is stopped. Iman has 4 signs (KS 112). There are clear differences between iman and Islam (KS 84). Iman manifests through practical actions (MB #25); Islam is a practical religion that has to be lived in society. It is not in any way a metaphysical experience. Iman must manifest as outward actions and not in any esoteric manner. Good deeds, amal salih, and worship of the creator. This includes, inter alia,  living in harmony with other humans as well as with the social, and physical environment (p 551 3:173, 8:2, 9:124, 17:109, 18:13, 19:76, 33:22, 47:17, 48:4, 74:31).

 

D. CHARACTERISTICS OF BELIEVERS:

Iman is an inner motivator of externally visible human action and behavior. True believers acquire some recognizable traits and characteristics described by the Qur’an (p 179 4:146, 8:2-4, 9:71, 23:1-9, 23:57-61, 25:63-74, 32:15-16, 49:15, 57:19, 58:22, 70:22-34, 90:17-18). These characteristics include: happiness (saadat), and certainty (thabaat). Iman is associated with happiness (sa’adat) because a believer knows himself, his position, his relation with the creator, his relation with the other humans and his relation with the physical environment. He can also situate himself in the time dimension; he knows where he came from and where he is going. This sense of certainty (thabat) removes the normal tensions of uncertainty and anxiety that humans experience and leave the believer a happy and contented person.

 

E. NULLIFICATION OF IMAN:

Any of the following nullifies iman: (a) Denial of rububiyyat (Allah created the universe and its contents) (b) Denial of uluhiyyat (Allah is the only one worthy of worship)  (c) Denial of the attributes of Allah or associating anything else with them (d) Denial of messengers and their message

 

1.2.3 REVELATION,: ANGELS, MESSENGERS, and SCRIPTURES

A. BASIC ELEMENTS OF THE PROCESS OF REVELATION

Revelation has three essential components: angels, messengers, and the scriptures. Belief in angels (p 172-173 2:177, 2:255, 4:136), belief in the Messengers (p 171-172 2:177, 2:285, 3:84, 3:179, 4:186, 4:152, 4:162, 7:156-157, 57:7, 57:19, 57:28, 61:11, 64:8) and belief in the revelations (p 172 2:4, 2:177, 2:285, 3:84, 4:136, 4:162, 29:46, 64:8) are treated here together because they are closely related. Allah sent messages to humans as revelation, wahy. These revelations were conveyed from the heavens by angels to human messengers who are prophets chosen by Allah. Belief in angels is a cardinal principle of ‘aqidat (p 172 2:177, 2:285, 4:136). Belief in the revelation necessitates belief in the existence of the angels who conveyed that message. Denying angels means denying the message. Denying the message implies denial of Allah, the sender of the message.

 

B. ANGELS

NATURE:

Angels are creations of Allah. They were created from light, nur (KS 520). They have power/energy but have no physical form. They have no divine attributes (p 1141 3:80).They worship Allah (p 1142 3:80, 4:172, 7:206, 13:13, 16:49-50, 21:19-20, 21:26-28, 34:40, 37:166, 39:75, 40:7, 41:38, 42:5, 43:19). They can not disobey (   ). They have no free will of their own they just do what they are told to do (  ). They are neither male nor female. They bowed to Adam and are thus considered inferior to humans (p 1141 2:34, 7:11, 15:28-30, 17:61, 18:50, 20:116, 38:71-73, 38:71). There are classes among angels. Those who undertake the most important functions are named and are at a higher station than the others. Most angels are not named and are not known to humans. The names of 10 angels must be known because they undertake special and important functions: Jibril, Mikail, Israfil, Izrail, Munkar, Nakiir, Ridhwan, Malik, and the 2 scribes.

 

FUNCTIONS:

Angels undertake the following functions: carrying the throne of Allah (arsh) (KS 520, p 1145 40:7…69:17), conveying messages (p 90 6:61, 11:70, 15:58, 19:17, 51:31-32 & p 1146 16:2..97:4, 16:2, 35:1), taking away the souls of the dying (p 1145 4:97, 6:61, 6:93, 7:37, 8:50, 16:28, 16:32, 32:11, 47:27, 79:1-2, KS 520), recording human actions and behavior (p 1145 10:21, 43:80, 50:18, 50:21, 80:13-16, 82:10-12, 50:17-18), intervention in some human actions at Allah’s command such as when they joined the fighting at Badr (8:9, 50:17-18, 82:10-12), executing Allah’s orders on punishing humans, working in paradise (jannat) (p 1145 13:23-24, 16:32, 21:103, 39:73-75, 41:30), putting disbelievers into hell (p 1144 39:71, 25:25), guarding hell (p 1144-1145 43:74-75, 66:6, 67:6-9, 74:30-31, 96:18), protecting humans (p 1145 6:61, 13:11, 82:10, 86:4, 80:5, 82:10), protecting believers (p 1146 3:124-125, 8:9, 66:4), and seeking forgiveness, istighfar, for people (p 1140 40:7, 42:5).

 

INTERACTION WITH HUMANS:

Angels are intimately involved in human life on a daily basis; they have day and night shifts (KS 520). This involvement is one-way. The angels have the initiative. Humans can not interact with angels on human initiative. They can not communicate with or work with angels. The only exception is prophets (PBUH) and that on special occasions and in special circumstances only.

 

C. MESSENGERS:

PROPHETS AND MESSENGERS:

A prophet was raised in every nation (35:24, 16:36, 10:47, KS 535). Some prophets are known but many are not. Prophets are of two types: those with messages, nabi rusul, and those without messages, nabi. Thus all messengers were prophets but not all prophets were messengers. Messengers were prophets who were sent to call people to the religion. The number of prophets is not known (KS 534). The number of messengers is 315 (KS 248); 25 of them are special being called ulu al azm and their names are listed as: Adam, Idris, Nuh, Hud, Salih, Lut, Ibrahim, Ismail, Ishaq, Yaqub, Shuaib, Harun, Musa, Daud, Sulaiman, Ayub, Dhu al Kifli, Yunus, Ilyas, al Yas'a, Zakariyah, Yahya, Isa, and Muhammad. Each messenger spoke the language of the people to whom he was sent (14:4). There are degrees among messengers (p 503 17:559, 2:253, KS 535). The religion of all the messengers is the same in essence and is Islam (42:13). Messengers are brothers (KS 535) and have common characteristics, sunan al mursalin (KS 238). Muhammad is the last and only universal messenger (KS 535). A Muslim must believe in all messengers without any distinctions (4:150-152).

 

HUMAN NATURE AND MIRACLES:

All messengers were human (p 504 3:79…21:7, 6:50, 7:188, 11:31, 13:38, 21:7-8, 21:20). They were humans who lived like other humans (KS 536). As a sign of their humility they all reared sheep (KS 535). Allah could have conveyed His message to humans in several ways. He however chose to send human messengers because they would convey the message in addition to living exemplary lives that would be a model for others (17:94-95). It is against the Islamic creed to attribute any divine attribute to any prophet. Messengers, being human, needed concrete proof to the people that they were indeed genuine and were sent by Allah. Each had a sign that proved his credibility (KS 534). Some messengers had physical miracles that defied human ability, knowledge, and technology as proof that they were from Allah. Muhammad (PBUH)’s sole miracle is the Qur’an. Being the last messenger he had to come with a miracle that could last forever. The Qur’an,  unlike the physical miracles that ended with the passing away of their messengers, is an intellectual miracle that will challenge humans for all ages to come.

 

ATTRIBUTES OF MESSENGERS:

The messengers had many attributes (KS 534) some of which are explained below: commitment, ikhlas,  (p 503 6:90, 23:92, 25:57, 26:109, 26:127, 26:145, 26:164, 26:180, 34:47, 36:21, 38:86, 42:23, 52:40), trust-worthiness, amanat,  (p 503-504 7:68, 26:107, 26:125, 26:143, 26:162, 26:178, 44:18), truthfulness, sidq, (p 505 2:89, 2:41, 2:89, 2:91, 2:101, 3:3, 3:89, 3:50, 3:81, 4:47, 5:46, 5:48, 5:113, 6:92, 7:70, 7:106, 11:32, 12:46, 12:51, 12:111, 15:7, 19:41, 19:49-50, 19:54, 19:56, 21:9, 26:31, 26:84, 26:154, 26:187, 28:34, 29:29, 33:22, 35:31, 38:52, 39:37, 39:32-33, 40:28, 44:36, 45:25, 46:12, 46:22, 46:30, 48:29, 61:6, 69:44-46), protection from sins and major mistakes, isma, and the best of character and conduct, ahsan al khulq. Prophets were not treacherous, ghadr (KS 535). Prophets underwent trials (KS 536).  They were patient and emerged victorious.

 

FUNCTIONS OF MESSENGERS:

The main function of messengers was to convey messages (p 506-507 4:80, 5:67, 5:42, 5:49,  6:19, 6:48, 6:51, 6:66, 6:92, 6:107, 7:68, 10;2, 11:2, 11:12, 13:7, 13:40, 15:89, 15:94, 16:82, 17:105, 18:56, 19:97, 21:45, 22:49, 23:73, 24:54, 25:1, 25:56, 26:214, 27:92,  28:86-87, 29:18, 29:45, 34:28, 35:23-24, 36:6, 38:65, 38:70, 110:77, 42:6-7, 42:48, 46:9, 50:45, 64:12, 72:23, 74:1-2, 88:21-22). Some messengers were ordered to establish political entities and be leaders of societies like Muhammad and Sulaiman. Others were involved in basic upbringing of people and their spiritual advancement, tarbiyat. Some were intimately involved in the social and economic affairs of their communities. Messengers will bear witness against people on the last day that they conveyed the message but the people disobeyed (16:89).

 

FINALITY OF PROPHETHOOD:

Complete belief includes the concept of finality of prophethood, khatm al nubuwat. Muhammad is the last of the messengers; no messenger is expected after him. This implies among other things that Islam is the final religion and that the Qur’an is the final revelation.

 

D. REVEALED BOOKS

PREVIOUS BOOKS:

Revealed books are an authority. The books tell the truth (p 982-983 2:174, 2;176, 2:213, 3:3, 5:48, 6:114, 35:31, 42:17). Some books have been distorted (p 983 2:78, …6:91). Some alleged revelations were human fabrications (2:79). Some books disappeared altogether. Among the known books are the gospels, injil, revealed to Isa (PBUH), the torat, taurat, revealed to Musa (PBUH), the scrolls, suhf, of Ibrahim (PBUH), the psalms, zabuur, revealed to Daud (PBUH), and the Qur’an revealed to Muhammad (PBUH) (5:44-48). The Qur'an contains all the previous books (p. 920 2:213 … 87:18-19). The previous books corroborate the Qur’an (p 983 2:89..7:157) and pre-announced it (26:192-199). A Muslim must believe in the past revelations even if they do not exist in their pure form today because they are part of the same series of revelations that extended from Adam to Muhammad (PBUH) and because they are all embraced within the Qur’an.

 

THE QUR'AN:

Names of the Qur'an: The Qur’an is referred to by any of its 10 names: Qur’an (p. 923  2:185, 4:82, 5:101, 6:19, 7:204, 9:111, 10:15, 10:37, 10:61, 12:2-3, 13:31, 15:1, 15:87, 15:91, 16:98, 17:9, 17:41, 17:45-46,  17:60, 17:87, 17:82, 17:88, 17:89, 17:106, 18:54, 20:2, 20:113, 20:114, 25:30, 25:32, 27:1, 27:6, 27:76, 27:92, 28:85, 30:58, 34:31, 36:2, 36:29, 38:1, 39:27-28, 41:3, 41:26, 41:44, 42:7, 43:3, 43:31, 46:29, 47:24, 50:1, 50:45, 54:67, 54:22, 54:32, 54:40, 55:2, 36:77, 59:21, 72:1, 73:1, 73:4, 73:20, 76:23, 84:21, 85:21); tanzil (p. 922 26:192, 41:42, 56:80, 69:43,; dhikr (p. 922 2:185, 3:4, 12:104, 15:6, 15:9, 16:44, 20:99, 21:2, 21:24, 21:50, 26:5, 36:39, 38:8, 38:87, 41:41, 65:1, 68:52, 81:27; zabuur (p. 922 21:105),; sab'u al mathani (p. 922 15:87); suhf (p. 922 80:13);  furqan (p. 922 2:185, 3:4, 25:1); kitaab (p. 924 2:2, 2:121, 2:176, 3:3, 3:7, 4:105, 4:113, 5:15, 5:84, 6:92, 6:114, 6:155-156, 7:2, 7:52, 10:1, 10:27, 11:1, 12:1, 13:1, 14:1, 15:1, 16:64, 16:89, 18:1, 18:27, 21:10, 26:2, 27:1, 28:2, 28:86, 29:45, 29:47, 29:51, 31:2, 32:2, 35:29, 35:31-32, 38:29, 39:1-2, 39:41, 40:2, 41:3, 41:41, 42:17, 42:52, 44:2, 45:2, 46:2, 46:12, 46:30); and nur (p. 925 4:174, 5:15, 42:52, 66:8).

 

Attributes of the Qur'an: The Qur'an has been described by several attributes all of which convey its majesty and functions: miracle (p. p 925 2:23-24 … 25:33-74), burhan (p. 925-926 4:174; bushra (p. 926 16:89, 16:102, 17:9, 27:2, 46:12); basiirat (p. 926 7:203); balagh (p. 926 14:52); haqq (p. 926 10:108, 11:17, 13:1, 32:3, 34:6, 35:31),  hakiim (p. 926 3:58, 4:113, 10:1, 13:37, 31:2, 36:2, 43:4); dhikrah (p. p 926 7:2,), rahmat (p. 926 6:157, 7:52, 10:57, 12:111, 16:64, 16:89, 17:82, 27:77, 31:3);  shafa (p. 929 10:57, 17:82, 41:44); aziz (p. 927 41:41); adhim (p 927 15:87), aliyyu (p. 927 43:4), karim (p. 927 56:77), mubarak (p. 927 6:92, 6:155, 21:50, 38:29); mubiin (p. 927 2:99, 2:185, 3:138, 4:174, 5:15, 6:157, 11:17, 12:1, 15:1, 16:89, 16:103, 22:16, 24:11, 26:2, 27:1, 38:2, 44:2); majiid (p. 927 50:1, 85:21); mufassal (p. 927 6:114, 7:52, 10:37, 11:1, 12:111); maw'idhat (p. 927 3:138, 10:57); and huda (p. 928 2:2, 2:185, 3:4, 3:138, 5:16, 6:157, 7:52, 10:57, 12:111, 16:64, 16:89, 16:102, 17:9, 27:2, 27:77, 31:3, 41:44).  The Qur'an is also described as universalist (p. 930 25:1, 38:87, 68:52, 81:27); a source of human happiness (p. 931 20:2, 65:11) and human dignity (p. 931 21:10, 43:44). It is sufficient for everything, kifayat (p. 931 29:51). It is comprehensive (p 930 6:114 … 4:44).

 

Recitation of the Qur'an: The Qur’an was revealed in the Arabic language (p. 926-927 12:2, 13:37, 16:103, 20:113, 39:28, 41:3, 42:7, 43:3)  using the dialect of the Quraish (KS 437) and can be read in 7 different recitations, sab'at ahruf, all of which are valid (KS 438). It was made easy for understanding (19:97, 54:17). Muslims are obliged to read it (p. 929-30 13:30 … 96:3) observing all the etiquettes of recitation (p. 929 4:82.  .. 98:2). There are great rewards for recitation of the Qur'an (p. 929 35:29-30). It should be recited in a pleasant voice (MB #1823)

 

Functions of the Qur'an: The Qur'an has multiple functions. It clarifies aqidat that is the basis of righteous human life. It is a spiritual guide. It is a source of law. It is also a source of information about past and future events. It is a basis for ummatic unity and helps resolve differences, al Qur'am makhraj min ikhtilaf al ummat (KS 436, KS 437). The Qur’an is an everlasting intellectual miracle that is more powerful that the concrete material miracles of the previous messengers. The Qur'an has an impact on humans and even on inanimate objects (p. 928 13:31, 59:21). It is a challenge (p. 928 92:23-24, 10:38, 11:13-14, 17:88) for all times, places, and situations.

 

Revelation and collection: The Qur'an was first revealed on the night of power, laylat al qadr (p. 932 2:185, 44:3, 97:1). It was revealed in bits and pieces over a period of 23 years (p. 932 17:106, 25:32, 25:32).  There is grand wisdom in this piece-meal revelation, hikmat inzaal al Qur'an munajaman (KS 436). The first verses revealed were in surat al 'alaq (KS 436). The last verse to be revealed was .. (KS 436).  The last surah to be revealed in its entirety was … (KS 436).  We learn from authentic historical records how the prophet used to dictate the Qur'an to his companions who were the scribes (KS 436) and how he ordered them to put each verse in the right surah (KS 436). The Qur’an, being the last revelation, was scrupulously protected from any distortions (p. 930 15:9, 26:210-212, 41:42, 69:42, 81:25). It was written down during the era of the prophet (p. 439). Jibril used to visit the prophet to revise the Qur'an with him (KS 439, MB # 1809). The prophet and his companions used to recite the Qur'an to one another in public. The Qur'an was collected by Abubakr (KS 439) and was disseminated in one standard text, mushaf,  by Othman Ibn Affan (KS 439) to all provinces so that from that day on there has been only one unique text of the Qur’an, al mushaf al uthmani.  Learning and teaching the Qur'an are among the best of activities (MB #1817). Thousands of Muslims learn the Qur’an by heart in so many countries that it is impossible for it to be distorted or to disappear.

 

Belief in the Qur'an: Belief in the Qur'an in its entirety is part of iman (P. 928 2:121 … 72:1-2). Rejection of any part of the Qur'an is apostasy, kufr (p. 931-932 2:23-24… 46:10). It is enough to believe in the Qur'an; it must be out into practice (p. 933-934 2:213… 76:23-24). Muslims are obliged to remember the Qur'an (MB #1819, 1820, 1821). Muslims must deliberate the meanings of the Qur'an (p. 929 4:82 … 47:24). Muslims must convey the Qur'an to others (p. 932-933 5:67 … 50:45).

 

E. COMPANIONS:

Closely related to the belief in the messengers and the revelation is the belief that the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) were just and truthful, ‘adl al sahabat.  The Qur'an testifies to the excellence of the companions (48:29, 9:100, 59:8, 48:18). The message of the Qur’an was transmitted to us through the companions. Any doubt about their integrity casts doubt about the message they transmitted. The belief in integrity covers all the companions. Doubting anyone of them casts doubt on all of them. The integrity of the companions does not mean that as humans they did not have normal human weaknesses or that they did not make mistakes. They lived as humans with all the strengths and weaknesses of normal humans. They however could not commit major mistakes that extend to the field of aqidat and the transmission of the correct message.

 

Go to Part II

Professor Omar Hasan Kasule July 2000