Islam: The Qur'nic Overview

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Section 1

The Foundation

(A) The Authoritative Sources of Islam

1 The Qur'n:
 

Al-Qur'n is an Arabic word which literally means 'the reading' and 'the collection.' It is the collection of the essence of revealed scriptures of the past.
 
It is the Word of Allah and a universal message containing final guidance to mankind for all times.
 
It was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad ( - peace be upon him) during some 23 years of his prophetic mission in the Arabian peninsula. It has been preserved in original Arabic both in writing and in memory throughout the fourteen hundred years.
 
The Qur'n contains 114 srahs (chapters), 6,616 yt (verses), 77,934 words and 323,671 letters. All schools of thought are unanimous on the text of the Qur'n and regard it as an undisputed authority wherefrom springs the law and ethics and other Islamic concepts.
 
It has successfully created a new phase of human thought and greatly affected the life of millions of Muslims the world over.
 
Hardly a generation has passed which has not witnessed a comprehensive commentary on the Qur'n highlighting contemporary issues.
 
Faith and the performance of righteous deeds are the springboard of the Qur'n.
 
The Qur'n categorically lays down that all human beings are born innocent and are accountable for their deeds.
 
The Qur'n prohibits the roots of evils such as intoxicants, interest, gambling, adultery, oppression, corruption and many more.
 
The Divine mercy encompasses everything: fear, grief, despair, cannot be associated with the Divine mercy.
 
The Qur'n commands that the followers of other faiths must be tolerated and treated with kindness.
 
Oneness of Allah, life Hereafter, peace, tranquility, and prosperity of mankind are the ultimate aims of the Qur'n.

Over six hundred references have been provided in this work for all themes from the Qur'n for further elaboration.

2 The Sunnah:
 

The conduct of the last Prophet and Messenger of Allah, Muhammad ( - peace be upon him), his example, his actions and his sayings are considered as his Sunnah.
 

The Qur'n assigns to the Prophet four distinct roles:

  1. Expounder of the Qur'n (16:44). [The Qur'n, chapter 16, verse 44.]
  2. Legislator (7:157).
  3. One to be obeyed (3:32,132; 4:59,64,80).
  4. The model for Muslim behavior (33:2; 59:7; 4:65).

 

 The Qur'n regards obedience to the Prophet as obedience to and love for Allah (3:31). Whatever the Prophet regards lawful and whatever he prohibits must be followed (59:7; 24:51). He is extremely concerned for the welfare of all mankind. He is full of compassion, the bringer of good tidings, warner and merciful (9:128; 33:45; 34:28). The Prophet does not conceal any revelation of his Lord and he is the first to surrender to the Divine will (5:67; 6:14).
 
The Qur'n is also a book of principles. There is hardly any principle of the Qur'n which is left untranslated in the Sunnah. It serves as the commentary on the Qur'n. It is the perfect record of the implementation of Qur'nic teachings. Hadith literature is the mirror which reflects the method which the Prophet adopted in order to change the course of the lives of his Companions for the upliftment of human rights, values and virtue on the foundation of equality, justice, truth and Divine law.
 

The ceaseless and dedicated efforts of thousands of Muslims account for its recording and collection.

 

(B) The Fundamental Concepts:

3 al-Tawhd, Oneness of Allah:

Allah, the One true God, occupies a pivotal place in a Muslim's life from the cradle to the grave.
 
Islam is summed up in the Shahdah.
 
Shahdah: l ilha illallh, There is no god but Allah, affirming Allah to be the One, the Absolute Transcendent Creator, the Lord and Master of all.
 
The most prominent manifestations of Tawhd are:
  • (a) Sovereignty belongs only to Allah (2:107; 25:2; 18:26; 57:5; 59:23; 3:26; 7:128).
  • (b) Unity of Divine Law.
  • (c) Unity of mankind.

 

It is al-Tawhd which breaks the shackles of particularism, ethnocentrism and racism and opens up the horizons of universalism.
 
The identity of Islamic Culture and Civilization lies in Tawhd.
 
The purpose for the creation of mankind - the viceroy of Allah - is to serve Allah alone (51:56; 11:61).
 
The Ka'bah, the center from where the knowledge of the oneness of Allah originated, is the heart of the Muslim Ummah and is situated in the center, enabling Muslims to face it not only in their five daily obligatory Prayers but for all Prayers the world over.
 
All past Prophets invited people towards Tawhd (7:62; 11:25-26,50,54,61,84; 26:69-76; 6:77-79; 26:23-24,82,126; 37:123-125; 12:37-40; 27:23-26; 43:63-64; 5:17; 3:64; 39:64-67; 57:25; 16:36).
 
The Qur'n lays down certain conditions for the belief in Tawhd such as: knowledge, conviction, sincerity, truthfulness, acceptance, submission and love (39:11; 3:167; 24:51; 4:59; 2:165; 19:96).
 
The Qur'n mentions many attributes of Allah. Prominent among them are: Life, Knowledge, Power, Will, Hearing, Seeing and Speech.
 
The following verses manifest a few of Allah's attributes:

  "He is Allah, than whom there is no other God, the Knower of the invisible and the visible.
  He is the Beneficent, the Merciful. He is Allah, than whom there is no other God, the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One, Peace, the Keeper of Faith, the Guardian, the Majestic, the Compeller, the Superb. Glorified be Allah from all that they ascribe as partner (to Him)!
  He is Allah, the Creator, the Shaper out of nothing, the Fashioner, His are the most beautiful names. All that is in the heavens and the earth glorifies Him, and He is the Mighty, the Wise" (59: 22 -24).
 
(For the other attributes of Allah, see the Qur'n: 1:2; 2:117,129,143,158,244,247,255,257,263; 3:2,8,9,15,38,51; 4:6, 79, 81, 85, 149; 5:109; 6:18, 65, 103; 8:40; 9:104; 11:57, 61, 73, 90; 12:21, 64; 13:9, 16; 15:23, 86; 16:70, 91; 17:44; 19:47; 21:112; 22:6, 64, 74; 24:25, 35; 25:31; 30:50; 33:52; 34:1, 23, 26; 35:34; 39:36; 40:15, 43; 41:54; 42:11, 23; 51:58; 52:28; 54:42,55; 55:27; 57:3; 71:10; 82:6; 85:13; 96:3; 112:2.)
 
And on the closeness of Allah to mankind:
   "We verily created man and We know what his soul whispers to him, and We are nearer to him than his jugular vein" (50:16).
   "...and He is with you wheresoever you may be..." (57:4).
   "He knows the treachery of the eyes, and that which the bosoms hide" (40:19).
   (See also: 2:33, 77, 235, 284; 3:29, 119, 154; 5:7, 99, 154; 6:3; 8:43; 9:78; 11:5; 16:19, 23; 17:25; 20:7; 21:110; 24:29, 39; 27:25, 74; 28:69; 31:23; 33:5, 51, 54; 35:8, 38; 36:76; 39:7; 42:24; 57:6; 64:4; 67:13.)

 

4 al-Rislah, Prophethood:
 
For the sake of human guidance, Allah sent hundreds of Prophets in the past who promulgated Divine guidance.
 
The fundamental aim of the Prophets was to establish a proper relationship between man and Allah (16: 36).
 
Allah blessed all people in the past with Prophets (10: 47; 38: 4; 40: 78) who communicated Allah's message in the language of their people (14: 4). They were human beings (25: 20; 21: 7-8; 14: 11-12) chosen by Allah for human guidance (6: 124; 22: 75; 72: 26, 27; 3: 179). They were blessed with wisdom and knowledge (12: 21). They were the best of creatures and were granted the best of human capabilities and strength. They were righteous models, guides, and leaders of humanity (19: 12-14, 30-32, 49-51, 54-58; 21: 72-73, 85, 90; 38: 45-47; 7: 68; 26: 107). They were the well-wishers of their people (7: 61-63).
 
Obedience to the Prophets is obligatory (7: 35-36; 8: 20, 24, 46; 9: 71; 24: 51; 47: 33; 48: 17).
 
Faith is incomplete without obedience to the Prophets (24: 47).
 
The Prophet Muhammad ( - peace be upon him) was the last Universal Prophet (33: 40, 45; 22: 49; 7: 158; 34: 28; 21: 107).

 

5 al-khirah, Life Hereafter:
 
The Qur'n emphasizes the paramount importance of life Hereafter for mankind. It creates in a person the awareness of his/her duty to Allah and fellow creatures in the temporary worldly life and unfolds the realities of the eternal life, the Hereafter, which includes the Day of resurrection, the Day of Judgment, Paradise and Hell. It inculcates the concept of accountability both in the private and public life of a person (3: 25; 7: 18; 11: 18; 15: 92; 17: 13; 18: 49; 21: 1; 29: 13; 30: 78; 34: 3; 37: 24; 39: 69; 45: 27; 58: 6; 69: 18; 75: 13; 81: 7; 82: 5; 88: 26; 99: 6; 100: 10; 102: 8).

 

Death:
 
Death closes the file on this temporary worldly life and from this point begins the journey to life Hereafter ( 3: 144, 145, 154, 185; 4: 78; 21: 34-35; 23: 15; 39: 30; 50: 19; 55: 26; 56: 60; 62: 8; 10: 49; 15: 13; 16: 61; 17: 58; 35: 45; 36: 44).

 

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