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al-Ahqaf

30. And the Messenger said, “My Rabb, indeed my folk have taken this Qur’an disregarded.”


Fussilat

26. And those who covered the truth said, “Do not listen to this Qur’an, and talk idly of it, so that you may prevail.”


al-Ma’ida

32. They want to extinguish Allah’s light by their mouths, but Allah refuses except to complete Its light, even though the truth-coverers disliked it.


33. It is It who sent Its Messenger with the guidance and the system of truth, in order to make it appear over all systems, even though those who make partners disliked it.


al-Hadid

25. Truly, We certainly sent Our messengers with the clear proofs, and We descended with them the Book and the Balance, that people may establish equitability.


Since Muhammad began bringing the message of the Qur’an to his community, there have been those who dismissed or argued against it. Verse 30 of Chapter 46 (al-Ahqaf) shares Muhammad’s remarks that his folk disregarded the calling of the Qur’an, and Chapter 41 (Fussilat) verse 26 further states that the people who denied the Qur’an came up with a new strategy: not just not listen to it, but also talk deceptively about it. While no one could change the original words of the Qur’an, dissenters interpreted verses through hadith (sayings about or attributed to Muhammad, whether true or false) and other hearsay, allowing them to reflect any meaning they chose without integrity with the original text.


Even so, no matter how these contrary folk who cover the truth and those who partner with them have tried to dim or extinguish the light of the Qur’an, its universal call to peace and justice has resisted all attempts. This is because the message of the Qur’an does not differ from those of all other messengers sent to earth throughout history: through establishing a comprehensive social justice system, equitability and peace will prevail, as shown in Chapter 57 (al-Hadid) verse 25 and Chapter 5 (al-Ma’ida) 32-33.


The number of challenges the Qur’an has faced over the centuries does not take away from the power of its content. On the contrary, the measure of fear and ego driving such resistance to a message of peace and balance only highlights our human need for a clear system of justice that allows us all to live in a fair and loving world.


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al-Nahl

123. Then We inspired you to follow the sect of Ibrahim, deviating [from other things]. And he was not of those who associate.”


al-Anbiya’

51. And We certainly approached Ibrahim his reasoning from before, and We were knowers about him.

52. When he said to his father and his folk, “What are these likenesses to which you are devoted?”

53. They said, “We found our forefathers being agents for them.” 

54. He said, “Truly, you and your forefathers certainly are in clear straying.


al-Baqara

170. And when it is said to them, “Follow what Allah has descended,” they say, “We follow what we found our forefathers following.” Even if their forefathers do not process a thing, and do not guide themselves?


Ibrahim, or Abraham as he is known in English, is revered as a founder of monotheism in the Judeo-Christian and Islamic traditions. In fact, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are referred to as the “Abrahamic” faiths owing to the prominence of this figure. In the Qur’an, Ibrahim has a special position as a role-model for Prophet Muhammad. He sets a beautiful example of combining intellect and intuition with courage to confront ancestral traditions.


In Chapter 16 (al-Nahl) verse 123, Muhammad was told to follow the path of Ibrahim. When I saw this verse my question was, “If Muhammad had the Qur’an as a guidebook, why was he asked to follow Ibrahim?” We find a simple answer in verses 51-54 of Chapter 21 (al-Anbiya’): Ibrahim was given reasoning as well as intuition, so he did not just follow the teachings of his forefathers before him.


Chapter 2 (al-Baqara) verse 170 explains that whenever people are asked to follow the download from Source (Allah), they tend to profess their comfort in following their forefathers, even if they do not process the information. As people have received guidance from many scriptures throughout the history of humanity, human nature has come into play and allowed beliefs and traditions to develop that deviated from the intents of the original guiding messages. Therefore, if we are to be guided by truth, we must use reason to question both inherited and new perspectives, and not blindly believe what our ancestors or others believe, even if they are of our own people. 


These verses emphasize the importance of engaging critically with knowledge to develop well-reasoned faith in the pursuit of true understanding. As Ibrahim was said to undertake this mission, so was Muhammad recommended to follow his example. This connection between intellect and intuition, and the call to use both heart and mind to independently evaluate and process information, remains an essential theme in the messages of the Qur’an.

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15. O People of the Book! Certainly Our Messenger has come to you; he clarifies for you much of what you kept hidden from the Book, and he absolves much. Indeed a light from Allah has come to you, and a clarifying Book.


16. Allah guides with it whoever follows Its contentment to the ways of peace, and It causes them to come out of the darknesses into the light, by Its consent, and It guides them to a straight path.


Every time I see a verse beginning with “O People of the Book,” the first person that comes to mind is my Catholic mother-in-law, and then all the various professors who taught me at Syracuse University. I have always felt like despite differences in our religious backgrounds, our approaches to faith and inner peace were similar, and we had a deep kinship in our spirits. Verse 15 speaks to the “People of the Book,” those who understand the Book of Life, regardless of personal origin. The Qur’an appeals to all people, as we all share the experience of humanity.


As human nature is, however, it is normal that over time, people in power have hidden important truths from the public. This is as true in earthly politics as it is with regards to our sacred inheritance as human beings; history is written by the winners, and scriptures have been manipulated by those with various intentions. Surat al-Ma’ida verse 15 calls people out on this tendency and announces that “Allah” (Source, God) claims and confirms the purpose of the Messenger bearing the Qur’an as one who helps make sacred truths (co-creating, manifesting, living the abundance which the Divine has made fundamentally available to all, etc.) accessible once again to humanity. 


Importantly, while verse 15 points out that the light and clarifying message comes from the Book of Life, its direction is open. The message is not restricted to only men or women, Arabs or non-Arabs, or earthly followers of the Messenger Muhammad. It is a broad statement offered to anyone listening who wants to follow a path of peace and harmony, and it causes people to come out of darkness and into light.


Thankfully we still have the original text of Qur’an available today. Although its meaning has not escaped misrepresentation through shallow translation and interpretation, we can still return to the original Arabic text and dig deeper to better understand the universality of its message. Let’s explore the light of the Qur’an as it guides us on our human journey.

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