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Lesson 34

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Lesson - 34


"The month of Ramadan is that in which the Quran was revealed, a guidance to men and clear proofs of the guidance and the Criterion. So whoever of you is present in the month, he shall fast therein, and whoever is sick or on a journey, (he shall fast) a (like) number of other days. Allah desires ease for you, and He desires not hard-ship for you, and (He desires) that you should complete the number and that you should exalt the greatness of Allah for having guided you and that you may give thanks." Ch. 2:185

Control of the animal within self leads to spiritual progress

In my previous lesson I had discussed the first two verses of the Holy Quran dealing with the subject of fasting. Besides other things, I had mentioned that by means of fasting man brings the animal within himself under his control, and by mounting it he can then progress through his spiritual journey, and travel to greater heights. In this context I had given reference of the following verses:

"And (He made ) horses and mules and asses that you might ride upon them and as an ornament. And He creates what you know not. And upon Allah it rests to show the right way, and there are some deviating (ways). And if He please, He would guide you all aright" (16: 8,9).
It is quite obvious that in this day and age very few people ride horses, mules and asses, and those who do, do not put the responsibility upon God of giving the correct directions for their journey. In fact, the whole of humanity is addressed in these verses. In mentioning the animals used for transportation in the physical world, inference is drawn for the provision of riding and thus controlling the animal within every man in the spiritual realm. Man cannot determine by himself how to navigate the inner darkness of his spiritual self. That is why the Holy Quran states that Allah has taken upon Himself to give guidance towards the right path in man's spiritual journey. At the same time it has warned that if man fails to make use of the Divine Guidance, and follows the wrong ways, he is liable to get lost.

Holy Quran the only complete and fully preserved guide

With this in mind, one can appreciate the beauty of the Quranic verses when in (2:183), after describing the control of animal desires by means of fasting, it mentions the revelation of the Holy Quran in (2:185). It is stated that Ramadan is the month in which the Holy Quran was revealed, that it is a guide for men, supports its guidance with arguments, and clearly differentiates between right and wrong. Glory be to Allah and all praise is His! Glory be to Allah the Most High! This verse is placed like a lustrous diamond on a ring. Allah has revealed this Quran for the spiritual journey of mankind.

Three characteristics of the Holy Quran are mentioned here. The first is that it is, "a guidance to men." Allah has always been sending His Books for the guidance of mankind. These Books were, however, completely lost. A glaring example of this is the Bible, a composite of the Old and the New Testament, the original books of which are not available. Only the translations which themselves have been translated from Latin and Greek are available. These translations have significant conflict amongst themselves, and have been interpolated. This fact is even accepted by scholars of the Bible today. Nations thus lost the Divine guidance. Allah states in this verse that He is again giving the guidance to man by means of the Holy Quran (the protection of which He has Himself guaranteed).

Take for example, the religious institution of fasting. In the words of the Holy Quran, the same rules for fasting were laid down for all nations, as I have shown in my previous lesson. Some of these nations reduced the number of days for fasting to a mere token, while others allowed the consumption of all foods except a few while fasting. Nations were given only specific guidance to meet the need of their time. For example, the rigidity of the Mosaic law was essential for the reformation of a nation corrupted by centuries of slavery. The Jurists of the Israelite nation made it even stricter. It, therefore became necessary for Jesus to come as an Israelite prophet, and introduce the necessary gentleness in its precepts. Afterwards, however his followers totally did away with the law of Mosaic dispensation, which was the other extreme. The Holy Quran, is unique in perfecting the religious law and knowledge. This is the only revealed scripture which has lays the claim:

"This day have I perfected for you your religion, and completed My favor to you" ( 5:3).
It will be instructive here to comment on the state of religious affairs before the advent of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), even though a hundred and twenty thousand prophets had preceded him for the reformation of humanity. Let us take the example of the Israelite nation which was blessed with the coming of thousands of prophets of a greater or lesser known degree, along with the revelation of the Torah and the New Testament (Injeel). Let us listen to what Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) had to say to them:

"I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. How be it when he, the Spirit of Truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth : for he shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear, he shall speak" (John 16:12-14).

The Holy Quran has another unique distinction. It claims that inclusive of all Divine guidance that needed to be preserved from previous scriptures and had been lost. This is stated in the verse:

"Wherein are (all) right books" ( 98:3).
The Holy Quran thus confirms the collection, and preservation of necessary facts from the previous scriptures. Another unique feature of the Holy Quran is:

"And We have revealed to thee the Book with the truth, verifying that which is before it of the Book and a guardian over it."
The Holy Quran, therefore frequently mentions previous prophets, and discusses their teachings. The world was thus not only restored the lost heavenly guidance by means of the Holy Quran, its completion was also accomplished, and the blessing of Allah was manifested completely.

Guidance for all nations

This Book is, "a guidance to men," as stated in the Quranic verse under discussion. Instead of being a book of guidance suited only to the needs of a particular tribe or nation, the Holy Quran suffices for the needs of all humanity till the Day of Judgment, which is another unique feature of this Book. Let us see how facts have confirmed this. Other nations today have either totally neglected their Holy scriptures, or they do not use them to seek guidance for their daily lives. In contrast to this, the Muslims are now turning back to the Holy Quran, and are using it to formulate their laws. Today, the western nations are adopting Quranic teachings to which they most strongly objected eighty or ninety years ago. For example, the need for defensive warfare, divorce etc. The Holy Quran is, therefore becoming, "a guidance to men," although the Non-Muslims have yet to acknowledge this verbally.

Supports guidance with clear and concise arguments:

Another point raised in the lesson today is that the Holy Quran is:

"a guidance to men and clear proofs of the guidance,"
i.e., its guidance is not through compulsion, but through convincing arguments. This is another distinction of the Holy Quran which is not possessed by any other revealed scripture. Other religious books either do not describe the basic tenets of their religion, or if they do, they expect its acceptance purely on the basis of faith, even though the idea may be irrational. Let us consider for example, association with the Divine Being, which has permeated into all faiths except Islam, one cannot find arguments to support it in any scripture. The Holy Quran, on the other hand gives all kinds of arguments in support of monotheism. It draws attention towards the universality of Divine law, the evidence of human nature about the Oneness of God, in the sayings of prophets, and revealed books, which have still survived to this time.

Distinguishes between truth and falsehood:

Another distinguishing feature of the Holy Quran which is mentioned in these verses, is described by the words, "and the Criterion," i.e., this book differentiates clearly between truth and falsehood. This is to prevent man from falling erroneously into the evil course, and losing the right path. Holy Quran, is thus the only revealed scripture which contains complete guidance within it. It gives arguments in support of this guidance, and clearly identifies the things which are liable to mislead mankind and exposes their falsehood. Not only does it show the error in previous beliefs, but it also contains arguments against false beliefs which were to arise in the future. This is yet another unique distinction of the Holy Quran. It furnishes proof of the perfection of Divine knowledge about the unseen as expressed in the verse:

"Falsehood cannot come at it from before or behind it: a revelation from the Wise, the Praised One" (41:42).
The Holy Quran completely exposes all the old and new falsehoods.

A practical demonstration of the truth of the Quranic claim

Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the reformer of the 14th. Century Hijra, in his debates with the non-Muslims used to say, "any statements and arguments I will give in support of Islam will be from the Holy Quran, and also all my rebuttals to your erroneous assertions will be from the Holy Quran, the Book of Wisdom. Can you do similarly from your scriptures? If you are unable to do so, then what kind of a holy book is that which does not even contain the basic tenets of its faith, or if it does to some degree, it does not have arguments to support them, and expects its followers to create such arguments? It is unable to provide the answers to my objections, and depends upon its followers for such answers."

None of the parties who debated with the Reformer of the 14th Century Hijra accepted his challenge. Despite this he maintained his position, and relied on the Holy Quran to support his arguments. Besides debates, whenever he got ready to write a book on any religious topic, he would read the Holy Quran from the beginning to the end with the subject matter of his book in mind. This was a practical demonstration of the claim of the Holy Quran we studied today, that it is not only a complete guide, but also supports its guidance with arguments. It clearly exposes all the errors of false beliefs brought before it, and thus saves mankind from their influence. Praise be to Allah for this!

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