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Tuesday 24th of May 2022
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THE WORLD VIEW OF THE HOLY QUR’ªN

THE WORLD VIEW OF THE HOLY QUR’ªN

Seventh Lecture
The world view of the Holy Qur’
ªn

As a prelude to our discussion, we should discuss the environment in which the Holy Qur’¡n was nurtured.

In the opinion of all historians, the land of °ij¡z was one of the most retarded and backward sections of the world of antiquity. For this reason, the pre-Islamic Arabs were considered as savage or semi-savage.

Ideologically, they enthusiastically worshipped idols and these stone and wooden idols had a dark domination over their lives. It is also narrated that they used to make idols out of dates and bowed before them. However, at the time of famine, they would eat them.

Despite their hatred towards girls and in spite of the fact that they buried them alive, they considered the angels as the daughters of God. In this way, they lowered God’s position to the status of a man.

They were baffled by the notions of monotheism and when the Prophet of Islam invited them to monotheism, they remarked in astonishment:

أَجَعَلَ الآلِهَةَ إِلَهاً وَاحِداً إِنَّ هَذَا لَشَيْءٌ عُجَابٌ.

Has he managed to substitute one God for various gods? Really, this is a strange thing! [Qur’¡n 38:5]

Anybody who said anything against their superstitions, false myths or illusory thoughts was considered a lunatic.

A tribal system dominated their community and the differences among the tribes were so acute that the fire of war was never extinguished among them. They easily shed each other’s blood; and plunder was considered as a point of honor and their daily routine.

The number of literate men who could barely read and write in the city of Mecca was very few and scientists and learned men were scarce among them.

Out of such an environment, an unlettered man arose and brought forth a book whose content was so rich that after fourteen centuries scholars are still busy interpreting it and new truths are still being discovered in it.

The way the Holy Qur’¡n depicts the world of being is very accurate and precise. It presents the idea of monotheism in the most complete manner and introduces, in an elegant way, the mysteries of the creation of the universe, day and night, the sun and the moon, and of the plants and man, as signs of a unique God.

Sometimes, the Holy Qur’¡n penetrates into man’s soul and speaks of innate monotheism saying:

فَإِذَا رَكِبُوا فِي الْفُلْكِ دَعَوْا اللَّهَ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ فَلَمَّا نَجَّاهُمْ إِلَى الْبَرِّ إِذَا هُمْ يُشْرِكُونَ.

When they embark on a ship (as soon as they feel some danger is approaching them on the sea) they invoke Allah sincerely, but when they are landed safely, they forget their Savior and again they consider partners for Allah. [Qur’¡n 29:65]

At other times, the Holy Qur’¡n, based on wisdom and rational thinking, discusses rational Monotheism, describing the outside world and the inner soul, and explaining the mysteries of the earth and the universe, the animals, the mountains, the seas, the rain, storms, and the subtle realities of man’s spirit and body.

When discussing God’s attributes, the Holy Qur’¡n uses the most profound and attractive methods: On one occasion it says:

لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ.

There is none like Him. [Qur’¡n 42:11]

In other places, the Holy Qur’¡n says:

هُوَ اللَّهُ الَّذِي لا إِلَهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ عَالِمُ الْغَيْبِ وَالشَّهَادَةِ هُوَ الرَّحْمَانُ الرَّحِيمُ. هُوَ اللَّهُ الَّذِي لا إِلَهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ الْمَلِكُ الْقُدُّوسُ السَّلامُ الْمُؤْمِنُ الْمُهَيْمِنُ الْعَزِيزُ الْجَبَّارُ الْمُتَكَبِّرُ سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ. هُوَ اللَّهُ الْخَالِقُ الْبَارِئُ الْمُصَوِّرُ لَهُ الأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَى يُسَبِّحُ لَهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ.

He is Allah besides Whom there is no god; the Knower of the unseen and the seen; He is the Beneficent, the Merciful. He is Allah, besides Whom there is no god; the King, the Holy, the Giver of peace, the Granter of security, Guardian over all, the Mighty, the Supreme, the Possessor of every greatness Glory be to Allah from what they set up (with Him). He is Allah the Creator, the Maker, the Fashioner; His are the most excellent names; whatever is in the heavens and the earth declares His glory; and He is the Mighty, the Wise. [Qur’¡n 59: 21-24]

In describing God’s Knowledge and in explaining His Infinite Nature, the Holy Qur’¡n makes use of the most elaborate expressions:

وَلَوْ أَنَّمَا فِي الأَرْضِ مِنْ شَجَرَةٍ أَقَْامٌ وَالْبَحْرُ يَمُدُّهُ مِنْ بَعْدِهِ سَبْعَةُ أَبْحُرٍ مَا نَفِدَتْ كَلِمَاتُ اللَّهِ.

And if all the trees on the earth were pens and the seas were ink with seven more seas, yet the words of Allah would not be exhausted. [Qur’¡n 31:27]

Concerning God’s dominance over everything and His presence everywhere, the Holy Qur’¡n employs elegant expressions such as the following:

وَلِلَّهِ الْمَشْرِقُ وَالْمَغْرِبُ فَأَيْنَمَا تُوَلُّوا فَثَمَّ وَجْهُ اللَّهِ.

And Allah’s is the East and the West, therefore, wheresoever you turn, there is Allah’s face. [Qur’¡n 2:115]

وَهُوَ مَعَكُمْ أَيْنَمَا كُنْتُمْ وَاللهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ.

And He is with you wherever you are; and Allah sees what you do. [Qur’¡n 57:4]

And when the Holy Qur’¡n deals with the issue of Resurrection and the Day of Judgment, it astounds the unbelievers and neutralizes their argument by saying:

وَضَرَبَ لَنَا مَثَلاً وَنَسِيَ خَلْقَهُ قَالَ مَنْ يُحْيِ الْعِظَامَ وَهِيَ رَمِيمٌ. قُلْ يُحْيِيهَا الَّذِي أَنشَأَهَا أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ خَلْقٍ عَلِيمٌ. الَّذِي جَعَلَ لَكُمْ مِنْ الشَّجَرِ الأَخْضَرِ نَاراً فَإِذَا أَنْتُمْ مِنْهُ تُوقِدُونَ. أَوَلَيْسَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضَ بِقَادِرٍ عَلَى أَنْ يَخْلُقَ مِثْلَهُمْ بَلَى وَهُوَ الْخَلاَّقُ الْعَلِيمُ. إِنَّمَا أَمْرُهُ إِذَا أَرَادَ شَيْئاً أَنْ يَقُولَ لَهُ كُنْ فَيَكُونُ.

And he strikes out a likeness for Us and forgets his own creation. Says he: Who will give life to the bones when they are rotten. Say: He will give life to them Who brought them into existence at first, and He is cognizant of all creation. He Who has made for you the fire (to burn) from the green tree, so that with it you kindle (fire). Is not He Who created the heavens and the earth able to create the like of them? Yea! And He is the Creator (of all), the Knower. His command, when He intends anything, is only to say to it: Be, so it is. [Qur’¡n 36: 78-82]

In those days when photography and sound recording did not yet exist the Holy Qur’¡n says in relation to man’s deeds:

يَوْمَئِذٍ تُحَدِّثُ أَخْبَارَهَا بِأَنَّ رَبَّكَ أَوْحَى لَهَا.

On that day, she shall tell her news because your Lord had inspired her. [Qur’¡n 99:4-5]

The Holy Qur’¡n also talks about the witness that our hands, feet and skins would offer on that day:

الْيَوْمَ نَخْتِمُ عَلَى أَفْوَاهِهِمْ وَتُكَلِّمُنَا أَيْدِيهِمْ وَتَشْهَدُ أَرْجُلُهُمْ بِمَا كَانُوا يَكْسِبُونَ.

On that day, We will set a seal upon their mouths, and their hands shall speak to Us, and their feet shall bear witness of what they earned. [Qur’¡n 36:65]

وَقَالُوا لِجُلُودِهِمْ لِمَ شَهِدْتُمْ عَلَيْنَا قَالُوا أَنطَقَنَا اللَّهُ الَّذِي أَنطَقَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ.

And they shall say to their skins: why have you borne witness against us? They shall say: Allah Who makes everything speak has made us speak. [Qur’¡n 41:21]

The true value of Qur’¡nic knowledge and its freedom from any superstition becomes evident only when we compare it with “the distorted Old Testament and the New Testament of today.” For instance, when we compare what the Holy Qur’¡n and the Bible have to say concerning man’s creation, what they have to say concerning the prophets, and how they describe God, then we can vividly see the differences.([1])


THINK AND ANSWER

What are the main features of the social environment from which the Holy Qur’¡n arose?

How did idolatry influence their thought at this time?

What is the difference between natural and rational monotheism?

What is the logic of the Holy Qur’¡n in describing God and His Attributes?

How could we better comprehend the contents of the Holy Qur’¡n?


Eighth Lecture
The Holy Qur’An with Respect to the Scientific Discoveries of our Time

The Holy Qur’¡n is not a book on natural science, medicine, psychology or mathematics; it deals instead with man’s guidance and his development and says what is necessary concerning these issues.

We should not expect to find an encyclopedia in the Holy Qur’¡n. Rather, we should look for spiritual guidance, piety, virtues, humanity, ethics, order and law and the Holy Qur’¡n has them all.

To achieve such an aim, the Holy Qur’¡n sometimes refers to some subjects related to the natural sciences, the mysteries of creation and the wonders of the universe. This is especially true regarding those topics which are related to monotheism. Depending on the course of the argument the Holy Qur’¡n, always, reveals some of the mysteries of creation and unveils some facts that were not known to the scientists and scholars of those days.

We shall refer to this group of Qur’¡nic expressions as “the scientific miracles of the Holy Qur’¡n” and we shall talk about some of these miracles here:

The Holy Qur’ªn on Gravity

Nobody had discovered the law Gravity before Newton. It is said that one day when Newton was sitting beneath an apple tree an apple fell upon his head and this incident occupied his mind for a number of years afterwards. He would ask himself “what was the force that attracted the apple?” “Why did it not rise toward the sky?” And only after years of hard work did he find out about gravity. His law ran something like this: “Every material body exerts a mutual attraction each other directly proportional to their masses and inversely proportional with the square of their distance apart.”

The discovery of this law led man to discover the source of the solar system. It was found out why these gigantic heavenly bodies rotate around the sun on their orbits and why they could not escape from their orbits. It was discovered why they did not collapse over one another and what kind of power kept all the bodies rotating in this endless space.

Yes, Newton discovered the fact that the rotational movement of a body tends to let it escape from the center and the law of attraction pulls it toward the center and when these two powers are in equilibrium, their centripetal and centrifugal forces let them stay on their orbit and move in the correct direction.

However, the Holy Qur’¡n, more than one thousand years ago, explained the same notion in the second verse of S£rah Ra`d [Thunder]:

اللَّهُ الَّذِي رَفَعَ السَّمَاوَاتِ بِغَيْرِ عَمَدٍ تَرَوْنَهَا ثُمَّ اسْتَوَى عَلَى الْعَرْشِ وَسَخَّرَ الشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ كُلٌّ يَجْرِي لِأَجَلٍ مُسَمًّى يُدَبِّرُ الْأَمْرَ يُفَصِّلُ الآيَاتِ لَعَلَّكُمْ بِلِقَاءِ رَبِّكُمْ تُوقِنُونَ.

Allah is He Who raised the heavens without any pillars that you see, and He is firm in power. He made the sun and the moon subservient to you; each one pursues its course to an appointed time; He regulates the affair, making clear the signs that you may be certain of meeting You Lord. [Qur’¡n 13:2]

We read in a narration under this verse from Imam `Al¢ Ibn Moses Al-Reza (s):

أَلَيْسَ اللهُ يَقُولُ بِغَيْرِ عَمَدٍ تَرَوْنَهَا؟ قُلْتُ: بَلَى. قَالَ: ثَمَّ عَمَدٌ وَلَكِنْ لاَ تَرَوْنَهَا.

Doesn’t God say that He erected the skies without a pillar? The narrator says: I replied to the Imam (s): yes. He then replied: there is a pillar, but you cannot see it.

Is there a clearer and easier expression than this in the Arab literature to explain gravity? In another narration from Imam `Al¢(s) we read:

هَذِهِ النُّجُومُ فِي السَّمَاءِ مَدَائِنٌ مِثْلَ الْمَدَائِنِ الَّتِي فِي الأَرْضِ، مَرْبُوطَةٌ كُلُّ مَدِينَةٍ إلَى عَمُودٍ مِنْ نُورٍ.

These stars which lie in the sky are like the cities on the earth. Every city of this series is connected to the other city through a beam of light.

Scientists now agree that there can be millions of inhabitable stars with intelligent beings on them; the details are not clear yet, however.

The Discovery of the Rotation of the Earth around Itself and its Orbit around the Sun

It is said that the first scientist who discovered the rotation of the earth itself was the Italian Galileo who lived in Italy four centuries ago. Prior to him, scientists believed in the astronomy of the Egyptian scientist called Ptolemy who said that the earth was the center of the world and the heavenly bodies rotate around it.

Of course, Galileo was ostracized by the church due to this discovery. But when he expressed his repentance, he was rescued from an inevitable punishment of death. Later, however, other scientists followed up his theory and today the orbit of the earth around the sun has become an established fact, which could be perceived even through normal observation. Space flight has proven even more than this.

To Sum up: The assumption that the earth was the center of the universe was rejected and it was found out that this error only occurred because of our perception.

The Ptolemaic theory dominated scientific thought for nearly fifteen centuries and up to the appearance of the Holy Qur’¡n nobody dared to oppose this theory.

However, when we refer to the verses of the Holy Qur’¡n, we find out that in verse 88 of S£rah Naml [27], the orbit of the earth is explicitly expressed:

وَتَرَى الْجِبَالَ تَحْسَبُهَا جَامِدَةً وَهِيَ تَمُرُّ مَرَّ السَّحَابِ صُنْعَ اللَّهِ الَّذِي أَتْقَنَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ إِنَّهُ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَفْعَلُونَ.

And you see the mountains, you think them to be solid, and they shall pass away as the passing away of the cloud-the handiwork of Allah Who has made everything thoroughly; surely, He is Aware of what you do.

The above verse explicitly talks about the movement of the mountains despite the fact that we see them as stationary. Similarly, the movement of the earth and the clouds implies both speed and the quiet nature of this movement.

The above sacred verse employs the expression to mean the movement of the mountains for the movement of the earth for emphasis. This is because mountains cannot move unless the earth on which they lie moves as well.

Now, is it not a scientific miracle to talk about the movement of the earth at a time when everybody believed in the stationary nature of the earth?

And it is amazing that such a great assertion has been made by an illiterate person who lived in the most backward, parts of the world.

Now, isn’t this statement of the Holy Qur’¡n a sign of its validity?


THINK AND ANSWER

What is meant by the scientific miracles of the Holy Qur’¡n?

Who discovered the law of gravity for the first time and when did he live?

In which verse did the Holy Qur’¡n refer to the law of gravity and in what interpretation does it employ this law?

Who believed in the central status of the earth and who discovered its rotation?

In which verse did the Holy Qur’¡n refer to the rotation of the earth and in what interpretation does it use this term?



([1]) For further information concerning this issue, refer to the book called “The Great Leaders.”

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