The miracle of the Qur'an sent to the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) differs from those of other Messengers and Prophets in many respects. In the Qur'an there are many miraculous aspects which demand a considerable degree of contemplation before their secrets are unlocked. When this happens it becomes apparent that within the Qur'an there are layers of meaning which throw new light on the superficial significance of its verses. This miraculous feature may be in one single letter which alone may denote immeasurable meanings. For each successive generation, the Qur'an offers new and relevant meanings, proportionate to the development of knowledge and the growth of that generation's intellectual aptitude. In other words, they are applicable to the constantly changing perceptions of the human race, expanding in meaning as man's exploration of the universe and his search for knowledge about his life and existence increases. From this we see that the Qur'an was not intended solely for one people or nation, but came for the benefit and guidance of all, as a complete and comprehensive religion, providing knowledge for all generations.
To clarity this feature of the Qur'an, it is essential that we distinguish the precepts of worship, on the one hand, and on the other the laws that govern this universe and its phenomena.
By precepts of worship we mean the discipline which Allah decreed and defined for the human race to follow and observe. Specific commands such as 'do this and not that', 'this is lawful and that is not', are not liable to alteration or misinterpretation. They should be practiced and followed exactly as they have been elucidated by the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) at the advent of Islam and the revelations of the Qur'an. These laws are commands to be observed on which man's deliverance or damnation depends. There can be no speculation.
When the Qur'an was first revealed to Muhammad (PBUH), the human race lacked the basic knowledge necessary for understanding and perceiving the complex facts it contained. Because of this paucity of knowledge, many phenomena such as the sphericality of the earth and its movements in the solar system, or the notion of relativity embryology, were simply touched in the Qur'an, leaving their profound exploration and identification to the inquisitive minds of future generations.
The miracle of the Qur'an is that it yields its knowledge to each mind within its capacity and degree of intellect. It gives to the mind that which satisfies it. Thus we find the illiterate quite content to listen to the Qur'an being read or recited. The literate obtain a great deal of contentment and satisfaction from reading it or listening to its meaningful elucidation. The highly-educated person finds its miraculous features challenging and stimulating to their mind and thought. This is because within the Qur'an the basis for all knowledge a man may attain by Allah's will, at any period of time, can be found. When such knowledge is attained and the relevant verses for enlightenment cited, one is overwhelmed by their consistency and authenticity. For example, we know that during a single solar rotation every place on earth has its particular sunrise and sunset, in an ever-changing pattern, as the earth moves along its orbital path around the sun. In other words, the sun never rises or sets at the same angle as that of the previous rising or setting, even though the direction remains unchanged.
During the holy month of Ramadan, the times of prayer for Muslims continually vary according to the earth's revolution around the sun. It is this movement that causes variation in time and in the angle of sunrise and sunset which led to the conclusions about the earth's sphericity and its movement. If it were flat as was once believed there would have been only one unchanging position for the sun's setting and rising, with no seasons. The term "Lord of east and west" must not be thought contradictory to the two descriptions mentioned. Even scientific progress which has unfolded many of the secrets of the universe and its phenomena, does not find discrepancy between their meanings about confirms their veracity.
When we contemplate the relativity of time and the divine organization of the universe we are able to grasp the fundamental purpose and wisdom underlying the immaculate harmony and uniformity which ensure that around the world prayer is continuously taking place.
It is evident that the meanings of the above mentioned were planned by Allah, The Source of all knowledge, to expand with human knowledge and scientific exploration. While offering appropriate meaning at the onset of Islam, they yield a more elaborate meaning today, and it is likely that future generations may discover an even deeper meaning in them.
Therefore we see that one miraculous feature of the Qur'an is its ability to offer knowledge to each generation according to its capacity without contradicting existing facts, in harmony with the realities of the universe, yielding new and more profound meaning to successive generations.
For each of Allah's Messengers there was an exclusive miracle and that of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was the Qur'an itself. With the very nature of the Qur'an standing as a miraculous proof of the Prophet's divine mission, Allah ensured that both the code of injunctions and its eternal message would be forever safeguarded from falsification.
To protect the Qur'an integrity, Allah made it clear in His divine verse: "Lo! We, even We, reveal the Reminder and lo! We verily are its Guardian." (Surah Al-Hijr 15:9) that He had undertaken the task of its preservation. Moreover, as the Qur'an itself is a miracle, it was essential that its textual authenticity be preserved, as corruption of the text would diminish the miracle.
One can discern from the reverence in which Muslims hold the Qur'an another of the divine safeguards that guarantee its authenticity. Despite that lack of spiritual concern that generally characterizes present day living, there has, nevertheless, been a resolute effort to preserve and propagate the text of the Qur'an. Throughout the Islamic world it is common for a Muslim to possess one or more copies of the text. It is carried in cars, while at home one or more copies can be found.
This determination and zest by mankind to honor, preserve and propagate the Qur'an has no other explanation than it being an act of Allah and the fulfillment the promise made by Him. It is not a human endeavor per se.
Oddly enough, many of those who keep a copy of the Qur'an in their cars, homes, pockets or on their library shelf are not always so eager to implement its divine injunctions, and frequently fail to give any convincing justification for this paradoxical behavior. It appears, therefore, that despite our reluctance to carry out and adhere to the norms of behavior prescribed in the Qur'an, our concern and care to preserve it has not diminished.
In the past, Allah's Messengers were sent to different societies and communities to remedy their ills and guide them to salvation. As each of these communities had its own particular afflictions, messengers were sent with the predetermined task of remedying those ills alone. In some instances, more than one messenger was sent. Sometimes these communities were widely scattered and knew nothing of the other's existence. Each messenger's task was, therefore, designed to treat the ills of a particular community or society. These afflictions were not always the same. Some communities were pagans and worshipped man-made idols, while others wallowed in sinful living or festered in corruption and dishonesty. As transport and communications have developed, the whole of mankind has become one large community. As a result of this development, people of all nations have come closer to each other and as they have, at the same time the ills and afflictions of one nation eventually affects other nations in similar ways.
As a result, Allah sent the Qur'an as a means of deliverance for the whole of mankind.
The Islamic Bulletin
P.O. Box 410186, San Francisco, CA 94141-0186
|Note from the Editors|
|Appeal to the Readers|
|Islam in Prison|
|Libraries Receive Qu'rans|
|Ohio, "Islamic Day"|
|Why I Embraced Islam|
|Islamic Dietary Laws|
|Women in Islam|
|The Kid's Corner|
|The Prophet Ya'qub (Jacob)|
|Stories of the Sahabah|
|Sayings of the Prophet|