Wednesday, August 8

"O you who believe, respond to Allah and His messenger as they call you to that which gives you life" Chapter 8: Verse 24 (Partial)

The Quran came to change the beliefs, behavior and outlook of all who are astray. It came to guide them to the true happiness and the way of life that one should follow in this life. Al-Suddi, an early commentator on the Quran, stated that this verse means that Islam gave the Companions true life after they were truly dead in disbelief.

The difference between faith and disbelief is truly comparable to the difference between life and death. Knowing the Quran, that source of life to which Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) is calling every human, as opposed to not knowing it is also comparable to the difference between life and death.

The effect of the Quran can clearly be seen in the first generation of Muslims. These were the people who were given life by the Quran. They were taken from darkness into light. The example they set is the example that all later generations who believe in the Quran must aspire to.

The Change in the Arabs Brought about Through the Quran

Perhaps one of the best descriptions of the change that took place among the Muslims can be seen in the famous statement of the Companion Jafar ibn Abu Taalib who was asked by the Negus of Abyssinia about the mission of the Messenger. He told him:

“O king, we were an ignorant people, worshiping idols, eating carrion and indulging in sexual pleasures. We teased our neighbors, a brother oppressed his brother, and the strong devoured the weak. At this time a man rose among us, who had already been known to be truthful, noble and honest. This man called us to Islam. And he taught us to give up worshiping stones, to speak the truth, to refrain from bloodshed, and not to defraud the orphans of their property. He taught us to provide comfort to our neighbors and not to bring a slander against chaste women. He enjoined upon us to offer prayers, observe fasts and give alms. We followed him, gave up polytheism and idolatry and refrained from all evil deeds.”

That generation, in turn, took the message to the rest of the world. They were clearly a people who were taken from darkness into light and to the straight path of Allah. When asked by the Emperor of Persia what brought the Muslims to their lands, two different Companions answered in similar terms: "Allah has sent us to take whoever wishes from the servitude of mankind to the servitude of Allah and from the tightness of this world to its expanse and from the injustice of the ways of life [in this world] to the justice of Islam."

Why Doesn't the Quran Have the Same Effect Today?

The reason why the Quran does not have the same effect today has nothing to do with the essential nature of the Quran— as it will always be the true guidance that is ever available to take mankind from darkness into light. The source of the problem is in the way that many of today's believers approach the Quran. The possible reasons for this kind of situation could be many. In general, though, four, which were mentioned in the introductory chapter, stand out glaringly:

(1) Some Muslims emphasize secondary aspects of the Quran while ignoring its more important primary aspects;
(2) Too many Muslims do not recognize and understand the primary goals of the Quran; therefore they read it but do not get out of it what it desires
(3) In addition, some Muslims do not approach the Quran in the proper manner, missing the essential link between what it teaches and how it is to affect mankind; and
(4) Even when the above obstacles or problems are overcome, still some Muslims do not interpret the Quran in the proper manner and, hence, although they read it they do not get its correct teachings from it.

Source: “How to Approach and Understand the Quran” - Jamal ad din Zarabozo

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