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General beliefs of Muslims concerning the revelation of the Qur’an
More than any other revealed book, especially the Torah and the New Testament, the Qur’an describes the details of the revelation, the transmittance and even accounts of the experience of the revelation. The general belief of Muslims concerning the revelation, based on the Qur’an, is that the text of the Qur’an is the actual speech of God transmittance to the Prophet by one of His chosen angels.
The name of this angels, or heavenly being, is Gabriel or the Faithful Spirit. He transmitted the word of God over a period of twenty-three years to the Prophet. He would bring the divine instructions to the Prophet, who would relate them faithfully to the people using the same words in the from of a verse.
The Prophet thus used the meaning of the verses to call the people to an understanding of faith, of belief, of social laws and of individual duties. These instructions from God to His messenger are known as the Prophecy, or the message, the Prophet transmitted this message without making and addition to or detraction from it in any way.
The view of contemporary Non-Muslims writers concerning the revelation and Prophecy
Most contemporary writers who take an interest different religions and ideologies adopt the following view of the Qur’an: they say the Prophet was a social genius who appeared to save society from the throes of decline into savagery and to raise it up in the cradle of civilization and freedom. They claim also that he called men to his own ideas of pure and sincere behavior by giving them a comprehensive religious from and order. They affirm that he had a pure soul and tremendous ambition, that he lived in a particularly dark and ignoranat age, where only the law of force and foolish singing of verse, social chaos and selfishness, stealing marauding and savagery were to be seen.
They describe how he was troubled by witnessing such thing and, sometimes when overcome by the pain of such sights, he would withdraw from men and pass days alone in the cave in the Tihamah mountains, he would marvel at the sky and its shining stars, the earth, the mountains, the sea, the desert and all the precious means placed at the disposal of man by the Creator, he would be grieved at the bad behaviour and ignorance of those around him, who had thrown away a life of well- being and happiness for a tormented succession of bestial habits.
This feeling was always present with the Prophet, he bore this pain and vexation up to his fourtieth year when, according to these contemporary non- Muslim writers, he formed a plan to save his fellow –men from their miserable state of nomadic wandering, rebellious independence, selfish ness and lawlessness.
This plan, called the religion of Islam, was the most suitable one for the times, The Prophet being of pure and sincere character, realized that his chaste thoughts were the Word of God and Divine Revelation which were infused in him through his virtuous nature. His good will and benevolent spirit, from which his thoughts exuded and established peace in his heart, was called the Spirit of Trustworthiness and Gabriel, the angel of revelation.
Furthermore, according to this contemporary view of Muhammad, he perceived the forces of good and happiness in nature as Angels and all the forces of bad as Satan and the Jinn (invisible entities). He called his own take, which he had undertaken according to his own conscience, Prophet hood and himself, the deliverer of the divine message.
This explanation, however, comes from those writers who affirm the existence of God or at least some kind of nature force, and attach a certain importance to the religion of Islam, albeit in the name of just and unbiased assessment. Those however, who deny outright the existence of a Creator see Prophecy, revelation, divine duties, reward and punishment, the fire and the garden as mere religious politics, a lie in the name of religion to further one’s own ends.
They say that the prophets were reformers who brought about social change in the name of religion. They argued that since men of past ages were drowned in ignorance and superstitious worship the prophets contained the religious order within a framework of superstitions beliefs about the origin of Creation and day of reckoning in order to further their prospects of reform.
The Qur’anic reasons for criticizing the neologist’s view
Scholars who explain the power of revelation and prophecy using the above explanation, attach great importance to the Science of nature and the visible world, and claim that everything in the world works according to the laws of nature.They view historical events, right up to the present –day, as, the developing and constantly changing face of nature.
Likewise, they view all revealed religions as social man infestations. Thus they would agree that if one the geniuses of history, like Cyrus, Darius or Alexander, and had announced himself as having been chosen by God as an executor of divine commands, their explanation would have been no different than that given above.
We do not intend here to establish the existence of the unseen, of the would beyond the visible world of nature, we are not saying to other scholars or scientists that any science may only be discussed by remaining within the strict limits of that particular science. We are not suggesting that the modern sciences which investigate the properties and effects of the material world.( whether or not they be positively or negatively disposed to the creation), do not have the right to enter into an investigation of the metaphysical.
what we are saying is that any explanation they propose must be in accordance with the explanation of society existence, nature and the cosmos given by the Qur’an. The Qur’an is an authentic document of prophecy and is the basis of all social, metaphysical and scientific discussion, the explanation of the Qur’an contain proofs against their arguments which we can enumerate and reflect upon. These proof are connected to different Qur’anic verses discussed blow.
According to the explanation of modern non- Muslims and atheists, the Prophet’s nature was pure through which came to him
According to the explanation of modern non- Muslims and atheists, the Prophet’s nature was pure through which came to him the word of God, meaning that the divine system of thought was alive in his own thoughts, the ides of divinity manifested itself in his thoughts because he was pure and holy, it was natural (in the minds of these Scholars) for prophets to attribute these thoughts to God for, in this way, they ennobled and exalted their own task.
The Qur’an, however, strongly and convincingly denies that is the speech or the ideas of the prophet or, indeed, of any other man. In chapter X:38 and XI:13 the Qur’an declares that if it is the world of man then detractors of Islam should produce similar words about every subject treated in the Qur’an, namely, belief in the after-life, morals, laws, stories of past generations and other prophets, wisdom and advice. The Qur’an urges them to seek help anywhere if they do not realize that it is the word of God and of man, but adds that even if jinn and man joined forces together they would not be able to produce a Qur’an like it.
In chapter II:23 the Qur’an challenges those who consider it merely the speech of Muhammad to produce a book similar to it or even just one chapter like it, The force of this challenge becomes clear when we realize that it is issued for someone whose life should resemble that of Muhammad, namely, the life of an orphan, uneducated in any formal sense, not being able to read or write and grew up in the unenlightened age of the jahiliyah period ( the age of ignorance ) before Islam.
In IV:82 the Qur’an asks why no inconsistencies or changes appeared in the verses considering that neither the wording nor the meaning of the verses has altered despite being revealed over a period of twenty- three years. If it was the word of man and not the word of God, then it would have certainly been affected by change like all other things in the temporal world of nature and matter.
It is clear that this challenge and these explanations are not mere empty words of exultation, rather they present the Qur’an for what it is, namely, the word of God.
The Qur’an establishes its own miraculous nature in hundreds of verses, This miracle is still unexplained by normal literacy standards used to “grasp” a text. Indeed successive prophets established their prophet hood through similar verses revealed by God. If prophecy was merely the call of an individual conscience or the inspiration of a pure and sincere soul, then would be would be no sense in claiming it as divine proof or seeking, help in its miraculous nature as the Prophet, in the fact, did.
Some writers interpret the many miracles of the Qur’an in terms of undisguised mockery. When we investigate the subject of their mockery we inevitably discover that the Qur’an means something other than that which they have understood.
It is not our intention to try and prove the miraculous nature of the Qur’an nor to demonstrate the soundness and authenticity of its narration, rather, we would point out that the Qur’an clearly describes the miracles of the past prophets, like Salih, Abraham, Moses and Jesus. The stories related in the Qur’an can only be understood and interpreted in the light of miraculous guidance.
Why, we may ask, if the prophets were mere men, inspired by the purity of their character, was it necessary to establish the existence of this miraculous guidance?
The Qur’anic reason for refuting the neologist’s view about the deliverer of revelation
According to the explanation of the above –mentioned writers the prophet referred to this own pure soul as the “Faithful Spirit” or the giver of revelation. The Qur’an, however, does not support this and names Gabriel as the of the verses.
God says in chapter II:97, “Say (O Muhammad, to mankind ) Who is an enemy to Gabriel! for it is he who revealed (this book) to your heart by God’s permission .” This verse refers to Jews who wanted to know who had revealed the Qur’an to the Prophet. He replied that it was Gabriel. They said, “We are enemies of Gabriel as he it was who gave us ( the tribe of Israel) the laws and legal punishments and as we are enemies to him, we do not believe in the book which he has brought.” Thus God replies to them in the verse that Gabriel revealed the Qur’an to the Prophet by God’s permission. God further says that the Qur’an is to be believe in, and that it is not speech of Gabriel. It is important to note that the Qur’an, in the words of the above verse was revealed “to the heart” of the Prophet Muhammad by Gabriel.
In another verse[ XXVI:193-4] we read that it was transmitted by the “Faithful Spirit”, “ which the Faithful Spirit has brought upon your heart,” By comparison of these two verse it becomes evident that it is the angel Gabriel who is meant here by words, “Faithful Spirit”.
In chapter LXXXI:19-23 God describes the transmittance of revelation: "That this is in truth the word of anhonoured messenger (Gabriel), mighty established in the presence of the Lord of the Throne, one to be obeyed and trustworthy and your comrade ( the Prophet) is not mad. Surely he saw him on the clear horizon".
These verses show that Gabriel was one the intimates of God, possessing great power and trust. Again in chapter XI:7 we read, “Those who bear the power, and all who are around Him, praise their Lord and believe in Him and ask, forgiveness for those who believe”. Such characteristics as belief in God and seeking forgiveness from him are only to be expected from independent, sentient creatures.
In chapter IV:173-173 we read: "The Messiah will never disdain to be servant of God, nor will the favoured angels. Whoever disdains His service and is proud, He will gather them all to Himself, then as for those who believe and do good, He will pay them fully their rewards and give them more out of His grace, and as for those who disdain and are proud He will punish them will a painful doom. And they will not find for themselves besides Allah a guardian or a helper".
It is clear that although the Messiah, Jesus, and the favoured angels do not disobey the commands of God they are, nevertheless, warned of a painful punishment on the day or reckoning if they were to commit a wrong. The possibility of neglect of their duties or committing wrong action is necessarily dependent on their being sentient beings, possessed of free will and entrusted with the task of transmitting the revelation of God.
Thus we learn from the Qur’an that Gabriel is the Faithful Soul: he is trustworthy and to be obeyed because he is obeyed by angels in his task. An indication of these obedient angels comes in the verse: "But truly it is a warning –so let whoever will pay heed to it, on honoured leaves exalted, purified ( set down by scribes) noble and righteous [LXXX:11-16].
Criticizing the contemporary writer’s view by the Qur’an about the Angels and the Denis as the forces in nature
According to the explanation of contemporary non-Muslim writers, angels is the name given to forces in nature which represent goodness, and happiness and devils are forces in nature representing evil and un happiness. what are understand from the Qur’an, however, is that they are beings existing beyond our sense-range, who possess feelings and an independent free-will .To the verses above ,(indicating that angels possess independence and free will) may be added many other verses which confirm these same qualities.
The refusal of Satan to prostrate himself before Adam and the dialogue between Satan and God occurs several times in the Qur’an, Satan, after having been expelled from intimacy with God, say in chapter XXXVIII:82-83, “I surely will lead every one of them astray except your sincere among them.” And God replies “I shall fill hell with you and with those who follow you, together” [XXVIII:85].
It is clear that punishment can only take place if the punished understand the reason for the punishment. God in chapter XXXIV:20, says in confirmation of Satan ‘s warning to man, “ And Satan indeed found his calculation true concerning them for they follow them, all except a group of true believers”.Likewise, we read in chapter XIV:22, “ And Satan said when the matter had been decided :Indeed! Allah promised you a promise of truth, and I promised you failed you failed you. And I had no power over you except that I called to you obeyed me. So do not blame me but blame yourselves.”
Blame is matter which can only be associated with those who possess the power of reason and free-will. We quote these verses to show that Satan, like the rest of the angels, is a thinking independent being rather than a force in nature.
Just as verses occur in Qur’an concerning the angels and the devils, there also verses which clearly and vividly describe the jinn (elemental spirits or invisible beings, either harmful or helpful). In chapter XLVI:18 reference is made to those who, invited to be believed in Islam, spurn it as just another ancient fable or superstition: Such are those in whom the word concerning nations of the jinn and mankind which have passed away before them has effect, Indeed they are the losers.
We may understand from this verse that the jinn, the invisible entities, like mankind, live in nations, pass a period of time in their different societies and finally die.
In the same chapter, verses, 29-32 we read: "And when we inclined toward you ( Muhammad) certain of the jinn who wished to hear the Qur’an and when they were in its presence said, Listen! and, when it was finished turned back to their people warning. They said: O our people! Truly we have heard a book which has been revealed after Moses, confirming that which was before it, guiding to the truth and a right road. O my people! respond to God’s Summoner and believe in Him. He will forgive you some of your wrong actions and guard you from a painful doom. And whoever does not respond to God’s Summoner he can in no way escape in the earth, and you ( can find) no protecting friends instead of Him. Such are in clear error".
These verse clearly confirm that the jinn, like men, live in groups, are thinking individuals possessing free will and charged with duties, Moreover, there are other verses dealing with the day of rising which affirms these same qualities in the jinn.
Criticizing the modern writer’s view about Prophethood as the call of conscience
According to the explanation of certain modern writers, prophet hood is the rising up of a man from amongst his people in order to undertake social reform in accordance with the call of his conscience, The Qur’an, however, gives a different meaning to the prophet hood. In XCI:7-8 we read “And a soul and Him who perfected it, and inspired it ( with conscience of) what is wrong for it and ( what is ) right for it.”
In this verse God demonstrates that each individual perceives from his own conscience and God- given nature the difference between good and bad action, and that the potential for reform and the bettering of one’s selfis contained within each person, some listen to their conscience and act correctly while others pay no heed and so act wrongly.
Thus in the following verses of the same chapter God says: “He is indeed successful who causes it grow and he is indeed a failure who stunts it.” If propheth hood manifests itself as a result of the conscience, which every one possesses, then in theory may become a prophet. God, however, has reserved this duty for certain men only.
Thus He says in chapter VI:124, “And when a sign comes to them, they say: We do not believe until we given that which God’s messengers are given. God knows best with whom to place His message.
The Reality of the Prophet’s Mission
We should repeat at this point that we do not intend to prove or disprove here the truth of Islam or the validity of the Prophet’s invitation of the people to Islam. Rather, we simply want to state that the second of the modern non- Islamic explanations is also not in accordance with the explanation given in the Qur’an.
Criticizing the modern writer’s view about issues related to beliefs as the religious and governmental policies
According to it, the Prophet succeeded in convincing people to believe in a set of superstitions framed in a politico- religious framework, he was aided in this they say by the fact that his own people were tribesmen, having no advanced culture of their own. In the name of public good and the well –being of society harsh punishments were promised to those who did not obey the religious laws, the Prophet instilled a fear of the Day of Reckoning and rewards for those who obeyed.
Thus fervour for promised paradise and fear of the Day of Reckoning created a society based on a religious foundation.
The history of the lives of other prophets has, for the most part, been lost in time but the life of the Prophet Muhammad is well documented. Anyone who researches into it will not be left in the least doubt that he had total faith and inner certainty in his mission. If religious beliefs were mere superstitions or a means to unify and subdue a society, then all the proofs expounded in the Qur’an concerning the hereafter, the existence of a Creator of the World, Divine Unity, His attributes, belief in a prophecy and the reckoning of a man’s actions after death would have absolutely no meaning.
The quran in islam- pages: 62to71
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