In S.4:82 we are told to consider the Qur’an

This post has 466 views.

Ref no: 0193#

Date: Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Category

Quraan

Title

In S.4:82 we are told to consider the Qur’an

Question

  1. In S.4:82 we are told to consider the Qur’an. The emphasis of importance of the Q is further stated in S6:34 and S10:64. So if the words of Allah cannot be changed —then surely, to be consistent you must believe this of the Scriptures that preceded the Q? Namely the Old and New Testaments. The Q claims to follow, protect and confirm the Scriptures of Jews and Christians which preceded it – S3:81, 6:92, 35:31 and 46:12.
  2. Pharaoh was drowned with his army (S17:102—103). S10:90-92 tells us that he was rescued.

Answer

Muhtaram / Muhtaramah

In the Name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāh wa-barakātuh.

 

At the outset, we wish to explain a few important facts regarding the Holy Quran before proceeding with the answering of the questions posed in the query.

Allah Ta’ala has taken the responsibility of safeguarding the Holy Quran. Allah Ta’ala mentions in the Holy Quran:

إنا نحن نزلنا الذكر وإنا له لحافظون

Verily We have revealed the Reminder (Quran) and We shall certainly be its protectors. (Verse 15:9)

Therefore, it is amongst the fundamental requirements for being a Muslim that one believes that the exact words revealed by Allah Ta’ala unto the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) have been preserved till today; and the words mentioned in the Holy Quran present today are the words of Allah Ta’ala Himself.

Secondly, the correct meaning of the Verses of the Holy Quran can only be understood through the guidance and teachings of our Beloved Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). Merely being well versed in the Arabic language or having access to an English Translation of the Holy Quran will not suffice in achieving the correct understanding of the Holy Quran. The Arabs living in the time of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) were recognised for their expertise and eloquence in the Arabic language; yet the companions of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) were dependant on the guidance of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) to understand the correct meaning of the words of the Holy Quran. The scholars of Islam that came later have written commentaries (tafseers) of the Holy Quran, in the light of the guidance and teachings of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) that they had acquired from reliable sources, in order to facilitate the Muslims in understanding the words of the Holy Quran.

Thirdly, it has been a common practice of the disbelievers since the time of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) to raise objections in regards to the Holy Quran. During the lifetime of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), the infidels raised an objection that, had the Quran been the Word of Allah, it would not have made mention of repugnant creatures, like gnats, in its parables. Allah Ta’ala mentioned the following verses in the Holy Quran in response to these objections:

إن الله لا يستحيي أن يضرب مثلا ما بعوضة فما فوقها فأما الذين آمنوا فيعلمون أنه الحق من ربهم وأما الذين كفروا فيقولون ماذا أراد الله بهذا مثلا يضل به كثيرا ويهدي به كثيرا وما يضل به إلا الفاسقين

Indeed, Allah does not feel shy in citing any parable, be it that of a gnat or of something above it (in meanness). Now, as for those who believe, they know it is the truth from their Lord; while those who disbelieve say, ―What could Allah have meant by this parable? By this He lets many go astray, and by this He makes many find guidance. But He does not let anyone go astray thereby except those who are sinful (Verse: 2:26)

The Holy Quran points out that when the purpose is to describe something detestable, the use of a gnat or something even more repugnant neither transgresses the principles of eloquence or logic, nor does it go against the sense of dignity or modesty. Hence Allah Ta’ala does not feel shy in using such imagery. The Holy Quran also shows that doubts of this kind arise only in the minds of those whose disbelief has drained them of all power to see things in a proper perspective, while such empty misgivings never touch the minds and hearts of true believers.

(Ma’ariful Quran (English Translation) Vol.1 Pg.153 – Maktaba-e-Darul ‘Uloom Karachi)

Hereunder is a brief summary of the questions posed in the query and their answers.

1. If the words of Allah cannot be changed, and the Quran claims to follow, protect and confirm the previous Scriptures, why not believe in the Old and New Testament?

As stated above, Allah Ta’ala has taken the responsibility of safeguarding the Holy Quran. Such responsibility was not taken by Him in regards to the Divine Scriptures that preceded the Holy Quran, as the previous doctrines were temporal and there were Prophets to be sent after them to rectify the faults. On the other hand, Islam is the final creed and no more Prophets will be sent; thus, an all-encompassing and un-alterable book of guidance, like the Quran, is needed.

The first three Verses referred to in the query do not prove that the Words of Allah mentioned in the previous Scriptures cannot be changed, as claimed in the query. Let us analyse the correct meaning of each of them separately.

أفلا يتدبرون القرآن ولو كان من عند غير الله لوجدوا فيه اختلافا كثيرا

Do they not, then, ponder about the Qur‘ān? Had it been from someone other than Allah, they would have found in it a great deal of discrepancy. (Verse: 4:82)

Allah Ta’ala revealed the abovementioned Verse of the Holy Quran to prove the Prophethood of Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), as the disbelievers and hypocrites did not believe in the Prophethood of Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and accused him of forging the Quran in his own words. Allah Ta’ala explains that if the Quran was not the Word of Allah, it would have contained a great deal of discrepancies. The fact that there are no discrepancies in the Quran proves that the Quran is the Word of Allah Ta’ala and Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is a true Messenger of Allah Ta’ala.

(Tafseer al-Fakhr al-Razi Vol.5 Part 2 Pg.202/3 – Dar al-Fikr)

The abovementioned Verse only proves that the Words of Allah Ta’ala cannot have any discrepancies. They do not prove that the words of Allah mentioned in the previous Divine Scriptures cannot be changed.

ولقد كذبت رسل من قبلك فصبروا على ما كذبوا وأوذوا حتى أتاهم نصرنا ولا مبدل لكلمات الله ولقد جاءك من نبإ المرسلين

Indeed, many messengers have been rejected before you, but they stood patient against their rejection, and they were persecuted until Our help came to them. No one can change the words of Allah, and of course, some accounts of the messengers have already come to you. (Verse: 6:216)

لهم البشرى في الحياة الدنيا وفي الآخرة لا تبديل لكلمات الله ذلك هو الفوز العظيم

For them there is the good news in the worldly life and in the Hereafter: there is no change in the words of Allah. That is the great achievement. (Verse: 10:64)

The phrase “words of Allah” mentioned in these two Verses neither refers to the Quran, nor to the scriptures that preceded the Quran; but refers to all decrees made by Allah Ta’ala and all oaths taken by Him. The Verses state that once Allah Ta’ala makes a declaration or promises to do something, there is no power that can force him to do otherwise. In Verse 6:216, after consoling the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) that the help of Allah will come to him and his followers as it came to the Messengers (‘Alaihimussalam) that preceded him, Allah Ta’ala mentions, “no one can change the words of Allah”, to clarify the fact that the assurance of the help of Allah Ta’ala is a promise taken by Allah Ta’ala, thus, no power can prevent the help from coming. Similarly, in Verse 10:64, after giving glad tidings to his righteous servants, Allah Ta’ala mentions, “there is no change in the words of Allah”, to give further assurance that these glad tidings are a declaration made by Allah, and there is no power that can change this decision.

(Tafseer al-Fakhr al-Razi Vol.6 Part 2 Pg.216 & Vol.9 Part 1 Pg.135 – Dar al-Fikr)

The two Verses mentioned above only prove that the declarations made by Allah Ta’ala and the oaths taken by Him cannot be changed. They do not prove that the words of Allah mentioned in the previous Scriptures cannot be changed, as premised in the query.

The following verses are then referred to in the query:

وإذ أخذ الله ميثاق النبيين لما آتيتكم من كتاب وحكمة ثم جاءكم رسول مصدق لما معكم لتؤمنن به ولتنصرنه قال أأقررتم وأخذتم على ذلكم إصري قالوا أقررنا قال فاشهدوا وأنا معكم من الشاهدين

When Allah made The Holy Prophets enter into a covenant: (saying) ―If I give you a book and wisdom, then comes to you a messenger verifying what is with you, you shall have to believe in him, and you shall have to support him. He said, ―Do you affirm and accept my covenant in this respect? They said, ―We affirm. He said, ―Then, bear witness, and I am with you among the witnesses. (Verse: 3:81)

The word ma’akum mentioned in this Verse, translated as “what is with you”, only refers to those words that were present in the Devine Scriptures at the time of their respective Messengers (‘Alaihimussalam), and not to the alterations made later by their followers. The abovementioned Verse suggests that the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) will verify the fundamental beliefs that were present in the aforementioned Scriptures. It also means that this Messenger (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) will be in conformity to the features and characteristics of the Last Prophet, mentioned in the previous Scriptures.

(Tafseer al-Fakhr al-Razi Vol.4 Part 2 Pg.133 – Dar al-Fikr)

There is no mention made of the Quran following and protecting the previous scriptures, as claimed in the query. On the contrary, the abovementioned Verse proves that if the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) had to be sent during the time of any of the previous Messengers (‘Alaihimussalam) of Allah, they would have been obliged to follow the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and assist Him in fulfilling His mission.

وهذا كتاب أنزلناه مبارك مصدق الذي بين يديه ولتنذر أم القرى ومن حولها والذين يؤمنون بالآخرة يؤمنون به وهم على صلاتهم يحافظون

This is indeed a Blessed Book We have sent down, confirming what was (revealed) before it, so that you may warn the town which is the Mother of All Towns, (i.e. Makkah) and those around it. Those who believe in the Hereafter believe in it, and they take due care of their prayers. (Verse: 6:92)

والذي أوحينا إليك من الكتاب هو الحق مصدقا لما بين يديه إن الله بعباده لخبير بصير

The Book We have revealed to you is the Truth, confirming what was (revealed) before it. Surely Allah, in respect of His slaves, is All-Aware, All-Seeing. (Verse: 35:31)

ومن قبله كتاب موسى إماما ورحمة وهذا كتاب مصدق لسانا عربيا لينذر الذين ظلموا وبشرى للمحسنين

And before this there was the Book of Mūsā, a guide and a mercy. And this is a Book confirming (it) in Arabic tongue, so that it may warn the wrongdoers and give good news to those who are good in their deeds. (Verse: 46:12)

The three Verses mentioned above prove that the Holy Quran confirms what has been mentioned in the previous Divine Scriptures, referring to those Devine Scriptures that were present at the time of their respective Messengers (‘Alaihimussalam), and not to the alterations made later by their followers. The previous Divine Scriptures proclaimed the Oneness of Allah and that He alone is worthy of worship; belief in the existence of Angels, Prophets and Books of Allah; belief in resurrection and the Hereafter; and all other fundamental beliefs. These beliefs are confirmed in the Holy Quran in many places. As far as secondary and subsidiary Laws mentioned in the previous Divine Scriptures are concerned, they differed from what is present in the Quran. However, it had been mentioned in the previous Divine scriptures that the subsidiary Laws mentioned therein are valid only till the time of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and that everyone will have to follow the religion of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) thereafter. This has been confirmed in the Holy Quran. In this manner, Quran confirms the previous Divine scriptures in the aspect of fundamental and subsidiary Laws.

(Tafseer al-Fakhr al-Razi Vol.7 Part 1 Pg.85 – Dar al-Fikr)

Another meaning that has been mentioned for the Quran being a confirmation for what had been revealed in the previous Divine Scriptures is that the Quran acts as a Guide to confirm what had been mentioned in the previous Divine Scriptures; i.e. if the Quran confirms anything mentioned in the Previous Divine scriptures, it will be regarded as the Word of Allah; and if the Quran denies anything mentioned in the previous scriptures, it will be regarded as the part that was later added on by other people (e.g. belief in the crucifixion of Esa (‘Alaihissalam), belief in trinity, etc.).

(Tafseer al-Fakhr al-Razi Vol.13 Part 2 Pg.24 – Dar al-Fikr)

Attestation can take place by merely confirming that such a book was revealed and not that it will remain till the Day of Judgment, as was the case of the Previous Divine Scriptures.

Overall, the verses referred to in the query at most prove that the Holy Quran attests the existence of the previous Divine Scriptures or confirms what has been mentioned in them, which has been justified above. It is incorrect to state that the Quran claims to protect and follow what had been mentioned in the previous Divine Scriptures.

Moreover, the following Verse of the Holy Quran clearly states that the Divine Scriptures revealed unto the previous Messengers (‘Alaihimussalam) have been altered and modified, and no longer remain the Words of Allah:

فويل للذين يكتبون الكتاب بأيديهم ثم يقولون هذا من عند الله ليشتروا به ثمنا قليلا فويل لهم مما كتبت أيديهم وويل لهم مما يكسبون

So, woe to those who write the Book with their hands and then say ―This is from Allah, so that they may gain thereby a trifling price. Then, woe to them for what their hands have written, and woe to them for what they earn. (Verse: 2:79)

Thus, the fact that Allah states that the Christians and Jews will change their books, shows that preserving the previous scripts is not meant in the Verses referred to in the query.

2. Contradiction between the Verses, Fir’awn being drowned and Fir’awn being saved.

In Verse 17:103 of the Holy Quran Allah Ta’ala states that He drowned Fir’awn (pharaoh) and his army:

فأراد أن يستفزهم من الأرض فأغرقناه ومن معه جميعا

Then he (Pharaoh) tried to harass them to drive them out of the land, so We drowned him and those with him altogether. (Verse: 17:103)

This incident is explained in detail in the following Verses of the Holy Quran:

وأوحينا إلى موسى أن أسر بعبادي إنكم متبعون . فأرسل فرعون في المدائن حاشرين . إن هؤلاء لشرذمة قليلون . وإنهم لنا لغائظون . وإنا لجميع حاذرون . فأخرجناهم من جنات وعيون . وكنوز ومقام كريم . كذلك وأورثناها بني إسرائيل . فأتبعوهم مشرقين . فلما تراءى الجمعان قال أصحاب موسى إنا لمدركون . قال كلا إن معي ربي سيهدين . فأوحينا إلى موسى أن اضرب بعصاك البحر فانفلق فكان كل فرق كالطود العظيم . وأزلفنا ثم الآخرين . وأنجينا موسى ومن معه أجمعين . ثم أغرقنا الآخرين . إن في ذلك لآية وما كان أكثرهم مؤمنين . وإن ربك لهو العزيز الرحيم .

And We revealed to Mūsā saying, ―Make My servants travel at night. You will be pursued. So Pharaoh sent into the cities (his) men to muster (people) saying, ―These are a small band, and indeed they are enraging us, and we are a host, well-armed. Thus We expelled them (i.e. the people of Pharaoh) from gardens and springs, and from treasures and a noble abode. Thus it was. And We made the children of Isrā‘īl inherit all such things. So they (the people of Pharaoh) pursued them (the people of Mūsā) at the time of sunrise. And when the two hosts saw each other, the companions of Mūsā said, ―Surely we are overtaken. He said, ―Never! Indeed with me is my Lord. He will guide me. So We revealed to Mūsā saying, ―Strike the sea with your staff. So it was severed apart, and each part became like a big mountain. Then We brought others close to that place. And We saved Mūsā and all those with him. Then we drowned the others. Surely, in this there is a sign, but most of them are not believers, and indeed your Lord is the Mighty, the Merciful. (Verse: 26:52-68)

We understand from the abovementioned that Fir’awn and his army pursued Musa (‘Alaihissalam) and his followers. Allah Ta’ala then split the sea to make way for Musa (‘Alaihissalam) and his followers to cross over to the other side and drowned Fir’awn and his army in the same sea, when they tried to cross over.

Verses 10:90-92 also portrays the same meaning, but mention is also made that the body of Fir’awn was preserved as a sign for those who came after him.

وجاوزنا ببني إسرائيل البحر فأتبعهم فرعون وجنوده بغيا وعدوا حتى إذا أدركه الغرق قال آمنت أنه لا إله إلا الذي آمنت به بنو إسرائيل وأنا من المسلمين . آلآن وقد عصيت قبل وكنت من المفسدين . فاليوم ننجيك ببدنك لتكون لمن خلفك آية وإن كثيرا من الناس عن آياتنا لغافلون .

And We let the children of Isrā‘īl cross the sea. So, Pharaoh and his troops chased them in transgression and hostility, until when he was about to drown, he said, ―I believe that there is no god but the One in whom the children of Isrā‘īl believe, and I am among those who submit to Allah. (Allah said,) ―Is it now (that you have come to believe) while you were rebellious all along, and you were among the mischief-makers? So, today, We shall save (preserve) your body, so that you may become a sign for those after you. And many of the people are heedless of Our signs. (Verse: 10:90-92)

Under the commentary of the abovementioned verses, it is mentioned that the word badan, translated as body, generally refers to a carcass without the sole. Therefore, the words translated as ‘we shall save your body’, do not refer to saving Fir’awn’s life; but refer to saving his body from decomposing in the sea, as was the fate of  bodies of others in Fir’awn’s army.

Fir’awn transgressed the commandments of Allah Ta’ala in his lifetime, and went on to call himself God. Most of his followers also believed in him and regarded him to be God. Allah Ta’ala preserved the body of Fir’awn to prove to the followers of Fir’awn, who did not witness the drowning, that Fir’awn did not possess the qualities of God (i.e. if he were God, he would not die and would be everlasting), that are found only in Allah Ta’ala. Similarly, Allah Ta’ala preserved the body of Fir’awn to teach a lesson to those that would come later, that this would be the fate of all such individuals, besides Allah Ta’ala, who regard themselves to be God. The body of Fir’awn is preserved till today and can be viewed in one of the museums of Cairo, Egypt.

(Tafseer al-Fakhr al-Razi Vol.9 Part 1 Pg.164 – Dar al-Fikr)

And Allah knows best
Darul Iftaa

Madrasah Inaa’miyyah

 

 

· The Sharée ruling herein given is specifically based on the question posed and should be read in conjunction with the question.

· The Darul Ifta bears no responsibility to any party who may or may not act on this answer. The Darul Ifta being hereby exempted from loss or damage howsoever caused.

· This answer may not be used as evidence in any Court of Law without prior written consent of the Darul Ifta.