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The universal import of the Qur’an
The Qur’an is not directed towards any one particular nation, such the Arabs or to a particular sect of Muslims, but to non- Islamic societies as well as Muslims nation as a whole. There are numerous reference to non –believers and idol- worshippers, to the People of the Book (namely, the Jews, or the Tribe of Israel, and the Christians), exhorting each one to strive towards a true understanding of the Qur’an and of Islam.
The Qur’an calls each group to Islam by providing proofs and never stipulates that they be of Arab stock. Referring to idol- worshippers, God says “if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor –due, then they are your brothers in religion” [ IX:11].
Likewise, God talks about the People of the Book, (Jews, Christians and we include here the Zoroastrians), without referring to them as Arabs: Say O People the Book come to an agreement between us and you: that shall worship none but God and that we ascribe no partners to Him and that none of us shall take others for lords beside God [III:64].
It is true that before Islam spread beyond the Arabian peninsula, Qur’anic were obviously directed to- wards the Arab nation. From the sixth year after the hijrah ( the migration of the Prophet from Mecca toMedina), when the din of Islam was being propagated beyond the peninsula, there are references which demonstrate that the Qur’an is addressing itself to mankind in general, for example , in VI:19 “this Qur’an has been revealed to me that I may warn you and whomever it may reach,” and in LXVIII:52 God says, “it is nothing else but a reminder to the worlds.”
We read too in LXXIV:35-36,”In truth this is of the greatest signs, being a warning unto men.
History has amply demonstrated that Islam has been embraced by a number of leading members of other religions, including the idol- worshippers of Mecca, Jews, Christians and by people from diverse communities , such a Salman of Persia, Suhayb from the Roman people, and Bilal of Ethiopia.
The perfection of the Qur’an
The Qur’an shows man the way to a realization of his goal on earth, it describes this path in the most complete terms. It is a way of correctly viewing the reality of things, a vision- personal, social and cosmic – based on correct manner of behaviour and precise method of interaction between men.
InXLVI:30 read that the Qur’an “ guides to the truth and a right road,” meaning the road of right belief and correct action. On anther occasion, mentioning the Torah and the New Testament, God says, “ We have revealed this Book to you with the Truth, confirming whatever Book was before it , and We keep watch over it”. [ V: 48].
The Qur’an thus affirms the truth of the ways of guidance taught by the earlier prophets. In chapter XLII:13, “He has ordained for you that religion which He commended to Noah and that which We reveal to you ( Muhammad) and that We commended to Abraham, Moses and Jesus, and in chapter XVI:89, “ And We revealed the book to you as an exposition of all things.”
Thus we understand from these verses that the Qur’an not only encompasses the meaning and teachings of all divine books revealed before it, but also adds to and completes them Every thing which a man needs, both in terms his spiritual and his social life, is contained and explained in the Qur’an.
The eternal quality of the Qur’an
The perfection and completeness of the Qur’an prove that its validity is not restricted to particular time or place, since any thing perfect is in need of nothing to complete it.
In chapter LXXXVI: 13-14 God confirms that the Qur’an is “a conclusive word” and not a mere “ pleasantry “ It contains the purest of teachings concerning belief in life-after - death together with an exposition of the realities of existence, while, at the same time, encompassing the fundamentals of correct human behaviour.
since laws governing transactions between men are directly liked to their beliefs, such a book can obviously not be annulled or changed with the passage of time. As He says in XVII:105 “We have revealed the Qur’an with Truth and it has descended with Truth “ meaning that the revelation and their ongoing validity are inseparable from the Truth.
Truth in X:32, “After the Truth what is there except error,” and in XLI:41-42 ,”In truth it is an unpenetrable book , error may not enter in it from it or behind it.”
In other words the Qur’an repulses, by its own perfection and completeness, any attempt to alter it, and neither now nor later can it be annulled or superseded. Many studied have been made of the permanence of the validity of the laws given in the Qur’an.
The reader is advised to consult them if he requires additional knowledge of the subject, to pursue the matter here, ( namely, the position of the Qur’an in the lives of Muslims and the manner in which it demonstrates this), would be outside the scope of the this book.
Applicability and validity of the Qur’an
Bearing in mind that the Qur’an. is Valid for all times, the verses revealed in special circumstances informing Muslims of their specific duties are also Valid for those who in future, experience the same circumstances. Similarly , those verses which praise or reproach certain qualities, and promise reward or threaten punishment accordingly, are applicable to all age and place. Thus the meaning of a verses is not limited to the circumstances or the times of its revelation.
Similar circumstances occurring subsequent to the reveal – tion of a verses are to be followed, this is known in Qur’anic Science as jary, or applicability. The fifth Imam said , “were a verses after its revelation to pass away the passing away of the people, then nothing would have remained of the Qur’an,” As long as people , wherever they be, which they may read and act upon for the benefit or reject at their loss.
The existence of abrogating and abrogated verses in the Qur’an
Among the verses in the Qur’an containing orders or laws, there are verses that abrogate verses previously revealed and acted upon. These abrogating verses are called nasikh and those whose validity they terminate are called mansukh.
For example, at the beginning of the Prophet’s mission, Muslims were ordered to cultivate peace and friendship with the people of the Book, “ forgive and be indulgent ( toward them) until God gives command,” [II:109]. Some time later, fighting was allowed and the order to establish peace was abrogated: Fight against such as those who have been given the Book but who believe not in God nor the last day , and do not forbid that which God has forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the religion of truth….. [ XI:29].
The common notion of abrogation, that is a canceling of one law or code by another, is based on the ides that a new law is needed because of mistake or shortcoming in the previous one. It clearly inappropriate to ascribe a mistake in law- making to God, Who is perfect, and whose creation admits of no flaws.
However, in the Qur’an, the abrogating verses mark the end of the validity of the abrogating verses because their heed and effect was of a temporary or limited nature. In time the new law appears and announces the end of the validity of the earlier law. Considering that the Qur’an was revealed over a period of twenty- three years in ever changing circumstances , it is not difficult to imagine the necessity of such laws.
It is in this light that we should regard the wisdom of abrogation within the Qur’an: And when we put a revelation in place of ( another) revelation and God knows best what He reveals- they say: you are just inventing it. Most of them do not know. Say: The Holy Spirit ( Gabriel) has revealed it from your hand with truth and as a guidance and good news for those who have surrendered (to God) [ XVI:101-102].
The quran in islam- pages: 25to27 and 45to46
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