Archive for August, 2010

“So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.” (9:5)

At the infancy of Islam, Muslims encountered physical resistance from Pagans in Saudi Arabia and surrounding areas. The new religion posed a threat to the predictability and established lifestyles and ideologies found in pre-Islamic Arabia, and thus some Pagans found the need to try to wage war against Muslims in order to rid the area of their influence. Al-Tawba deals with the peace treaty signed between Muhammed and the leaders of the Pagan army. It was a period of ceased hostilities between Muslims and Pagans in order for those pagans who wished to abandon fighting Muslims to leave the area and for Pagans who wanted to switch sides in war to do so. Upon understanding the historical reference of this verse, I will now post the verses surrounding it, in order to show the context of it:

“This is a declaration of immunity by Allah and His Messenger towards those of the idolaters with whom you made an agreement.” 9:1

“Go ye, then, for four months, backwards and forwards, (as ye will), throughout the land, but know ye that ye cannot frustrate Allah (by your falsehood) but that Allah will cover with shame those who reject Him.” 9:2

“And an announcement from Allah and His Messenger to the people on the day of the greater pilgrimage that Allah and His Messenger are free from liability to the idolaters; therefore if you repent, it will be better for you, and if you turn back, then know that you will not weaken Allah; and announce painful punishment to those who disbelieve..” 9:3

Except those of the idolaters with whom you made an agreement, then they have not failed you in anything and have not backed up any one against you, so fulfill their agreement to the end of their term; surely Allah loves those who are careful (of their duty).” 9:4

“But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, an seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.” 9:5

If one amongst the Pagans ask thee for asylum, grant it to him, so that he may hear the word of Allah; and then escort him to where he can be secure. That is because they are men without knowledge.” 9:6

“How can there be a league, before Allah and His Messenger, with the Pagans, except those with whom ye made a treaty near the sacred Mosque? As long as these stand true to you, stand ye true to them: for Allah doth love the righteous.” 9:7

In a nutshell, Pagans were given four months to decide to abandon the war or to become Muslim. If they decided to merely abandon the war, they signed a contract with Muslims, and from then on, if the Pagans stuck to their word, hostility between those Pagans and Muslims ceased. Now, when the four months were up, the Pagans who did not sign a peace treaty then were attacked by Muslims because they made no effort to sign a peace treaty, and that’s what 9:5 is talking about, since they were at war! However, even after the four months are up, Pagans who did continue the battle Muslims, if they had asked Muslims for shelter from the war, Muslims would grant it to them, and then they’d draw up a peace treaty and they’d be on peaceful terms with Muslims so long as the Pagans stuck to their word.

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“Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband’s) absence what Allah would have them guard. As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them Means (of annoyance): For Allah is Most High, great (above you all).” (4:34)

This verse is quoted to support that men have the right to beat their wives.  That’s all very well if you’re reading this translation and many others, however, let us look at the Arabic word used here that supposedly means TO BEAT- idribuhunna, which derives from the word daraba.  In this context, the word beat does not imply ‘hit’ but rather ‘leave’.  If you were to look at the same word that’s used elsewhere in the Qur’an, you would see that the implication of beat if not to “hit” but ‘to leave.’

 “O ye who believe! When ye go abroad (darabtum) In the cause of Allah, Investigate carefully, And say not to anyone Who offers you a salutation: ‘Thou art none of a Believer!’ Coveting the perishable good Of this life: with Allah Are profits and spoils abundant.  Even thus were ye yourselves Before, till Allah conferred On you His favours: therefore Carefully investigate.  For Allah is well aware Of all that ye do.” (4:94)

In this context, the word daraba means to leave.   Note also that the word daraba is used twice in Chapter Four, establishing a prototype.  Thus the word daraba implies leaving, not hitting.

 Still not convinced?

The Qur’an states plenty of times that husbands have ZERO right to harm their wives in anyway imaginable:

1.        “…Do not retain your wives to harm them…( 2:231)”

2.       If a wife fears cruelty or desertion on her husband’s part, there is no blame on them if they arrange an amicable settlement between themselves; and such settlement is best; even though men’s souls are swayed by greed. But if ye do good and practise self-restraint, God is well-acquainted with all that ye do.  (4:128)”

3.      “O ye who believe! Ye are forbidden to inherit women against their will. Nor should ye treat them with harshness, that ye may take away part of the dower [money given by the husband to the wife for the marriage contract] ye have given them, except where they have been guilty of open lewdness; on the contrary live with them on a footing of kindness and equity. If ye take a dislike to them it may be that ye dislike a thing, and God brings about through it a great deal of good.  (4:19)“ 

The last resort is not to beat an unfaithful wife, but to leave her.  Note that I use the word “unfaithful” because that is the main focus of chapter four.

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This articles briefly presents a reply to the commonly held belief in many faiths that it is God (Allah) who has pre-determined the fate of people, and what ever good or bad happens to them in life is not a result of their own actions but was pre-written for them in their fate. If people are astray, then it is God to blame for that as well, according to this widely held notion in various Religions.

 With the name of Allah, the Almighty, the Most Merciful

Some time ago we received the following question by e-mail, and it indicates that some people can arrive at this conclusion superficially reading some Quranic passages.

The questioner asked:

“It is stated in Surah 14:4: And we did not send any apostle but with the language of his people, so that he might explain to them clearly; then Allah makes whom he pleases err and he guides whom he pleases, and he is the mighty, wise.

He might be mighty, but what kind of God is it who leads us astray? He says he makes whom he pleases err. Is he making me err? Does that mean I will be held accountable for my err, or is the blame on Allah? Why would Allah make me err, and would I go to hell for being made to err? I don’t understand?”

The following is a response to the above.

Do we have a free will to choose our line of action?

Many people observe the common used expression in the Quran, ie

14.4 ….Then ALLAH leaves to go astray whom He wills and guides whom He wills. And He is the Mighty, the Wise.

And by just taking this portion they come to the conclusion that people do not have any free will of their own and rather, everything that they are doing is not a result of their own intention and choice but has been divinely ordained for them in their ‘fate’ or ‘destiny’, and no matter what they do, they can not change their ‘destiny’, and are helpless. However this is a result of a narrow minded approach towards the Quran and is a conclusion formed by just looking at a portion of the verse and not observing the other verses regarding this subject at other suras. First of all let us see what does the Quran say whether we have the free will to chose our line of action or is everything we do pre planned for us ?

The following verses inform us clearly about this matter;

18:29 Say: The truth is from your Lord : Let him who will believe and let him who will reject (it)

Above verse clearly states that, to accept or reject the truth rests on a persons free will.

76:4 We have shown him the way, whether he be grateful or ungrateful.

73:19-Verily this is an Admonition: therefore whoso will let him take a (straight) path to his Lord!

25:57 Say: No reward do I ask of you for it but this: that each one who will may take a (straight) Path to his Lord.

The above verses clearly establish that human beings do have the free will to choose either way, or any path of action according to his own discretion. Allah further informs;

29:69 And those who strive in Our (cause) – We will certainly guide them to our Paths: For verily God is with those who do right.

Had our fate already been decided or sealed, Allah would have never mentioned that man is to strive in His cause, as it would have been meaningless to strive and struggle for something which has already been decided. Hence by informing that to strive in His cause we would be guided to His ways it is confirmed that it is our struggle and action that will lead us to the path and pleasure of Allah and not what has been pre destined for us in our ‘fate’. We are further reminded:

39:7 If ye reject (Allah) Truly Allah hath no need of you; but he liketh not ingratitude from his servants: if ye are grateful He is pleased with you. No bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another. In the end to your Lord is your Return when He will tell you the truth of all that ye did (in this life). for He knoweth well all that is in (men’s) hearts.

If our fate was already decided, Allah would have never said; “…but he liketh not ingratitude from his servants..” As it would not be fitting to say that a certain action is not liked by Allah when it is Allah himself who has written that action for man in that persons fate !

Again we are reminded that to take guidance of Allah rests upon a persons free will and choice, and he is not under any compulsion, but it is entirely up to him whether he chooses Allah’s guidance or not. Allah informs us through His messenger:

80:11 By no means (should it be so)! For it is indeed a Message of instruction:

80:12 Therefore let whoso will keep it in remembrance.

Finally Allah in clear terms informs us that you have the freedom to act according to your choice, but your actions are under the supervision of Allah’s laws of requital.

40:41 …….Do what ye will: verily He seeth (clearly) all that ye do.

Allah gives you the freedom to work as you will. The above verses are proof that you have the freedom of choice when it comes to selecting the path of Allah and you are not under any pre ordained compulsion or any state of helplessness that what ever you are doing is not because of your will but was already decided in your ‘fate’. You very much have the freedom to chose the path you wish and use your free will in chalking out a line of action for yourself.

You have the free will and freedom of choice to work as you like, but every action you do produces a result.

Every action you do produces a result. An action consistent with the laws of Allah produces a good result and working against those laws produces a negative result.

You have been given the free will to chose as you wish, but it is not in your hands to change the results of the actions you did , i.e. you have the freedom to eat very dangerous toxic substance or poison, and as a result you can die. You did that act of your own free will, but it is not in the scope of your will to change the result of that action, i.e. it is not possible that you consume poison and as a result get very good health, instead of dying or harming your physical condition. Whatever law Allah has framed for that poisonous substance, you will get the results of that law. The type of act you do, that type of result you will get;

53.31 And Allah’s is what is in the heavens and what is in the earth, that He may reward those who do evil according to what they do, and (that) He may reward those who do good with goodness.

Every action and deed you do will be rewarded according to its nature;

45.22 And Allah created the heavens and the earth with truth and that every soul may be rewarded for what it has earned and they shall not be wronged.

If you do an act consistent or in consistent with the laws of Allah, you will get its result on your self. You cannot transfer the results of your wrong doings to anyone else. You have to pay for what you did. You have to carry your own weight Some other person can not be held accountable for what you did.

45.15 Whoever does good, it is for his own soul, and whoever does evil, it is against himself; then you shall be brought back to your– Lord.

The type of results you get is not because Allah had already decided your fate and you had no say in it and were helpless. The results you get depend on the actions and deeds you do.

27:90 And if any do evil their faces will be thrown headlong into the Fire: “Do ye receive a reward other than that which ye have earned by your deeds?

37.38 Most surely you will taste the painful punishment.

37.39 And you shall not be rewarded except (for) what you did.

If your actions and deeds where not consistent to the laws and commandments of Allah, you will get the results for those deeds as Allah has ordained:

52:13 That Day shall they be thrust down to the Fire of Hell irresistibly.

52:14 This: it will be said: Is the Fire – which ye were wont to deny!

52:15 Is this then a fake or is it ye that do not see?

52:16 Burn ye therein: the same is it to you whether ye bear it with patience or not: Ye but receive the recompense of your (own) deeds.

If your actions were consistent and in accordance with Allah’s laws you will get their results likewise;

52:17 As to the Righteous they will be in Gardens and in Happiness

52:18 Enjoying the (Bliss) which their Lord hath bestowed on them and their Lord shall deliver them from the Penalty of the Fire.

52:19 (To them will be said:) “Eat and drink ye with profit and health because of your deeds

Each and every action will be recompensed and rewarded. Whether it is done by a man or a woman:

3:196 So their Lord answered their prayers, saying, `I will suffer not the work of any worker from among you, whether male or female, to be lost. You are from one another….

You will most certainly be held accountable for the type of actions you chose to do, and the blame is definitely not on Allah.

7:147 I shall soon turn away from My Signs those who behave proudly in the land in an unjust manner; and even if they see all the Signs, they will not believe therein; and if they see the way of righteousness, they will not adapt it as their way; but if they see the way of error, they will adopt it as their way. That is because they treated our signs as lies and were heedless of them.

7:148 And those who reject Our Signs and the meeting of the Hereafter – their works are vain. can they expect to be rewarded for anything except for what they do ?

If you chose to behave in the manner described in the above verse, then you will be turned away from the signs of Allah according to the law of Allah which is expressed as His will. You are to blame yourself for this as you chose to behave in this manner by your free will. It is you yourself who is responsible for the negative results you get for your actions and Allah is not to be blamed. He reminds in clear terms;

10:45 Certainly, Allah wrongs not men at all; it is they who wrong their own souls.

The following verses are more specific in informing that in case you do an act inconsistent with Allah’s law because of that you will be held accountable, and it is not Allah who is to blame:

16:33 Do they wait until the angels come to them or there comes the Command of thy Lord ? So did those who went before them. But Allah wronged them not :nay they wronged their own souls.

16:34 But the evil results of their deeds overtook them and that very (Wrath) at which they had scoffed hemmed them in.

You are yourself responsible for your actions, and in case you do wrong then the blame is on you, not on Allah, as the verse reminds;

41.46 Whoever does good, it is for his own soul, and whoever does evil, it is against it; and your Lord is not in the least unjust to his servants.

The will of Allah expressed as His laws:

Allah has expressed His will as His laws. His laws are ordained and in action in the physical universe, i.e. in the phenomena of nature as well as in the form of His guidance for Mankind contained in Al-Quran, which governs human affairs, and which also is unchangeable and permanent. Now the will of Allah is expressed in the Quran, but Allah has given us the free will to either accept those laws and derive the benefit from them in this world as well as the next life. Or go against those laws and suffer the consequences again in this world as well as the next. On one hand the Quran gives us the description and results of following the commandments of Allah, while on the other it also describes what would be the consequences of going against them. Both ways, if we select the path of Allah, or reject it, the results have been defined. Remember, the will of Allah is manifested by His permanent laws in the physical universe as well as human affairs.

It is the law of Allah which is permanent and fixed, not the fate of mankind. If man follows the commands of Allah he will get the results as ordained in law, if he goes against them he will again get the results as in Allah’s law. Man has been given the free will to select either way. Follow the commandments or go against them. In both ways the results will be produced accordingly, and those results cannot be changed. Now I’ll give examples of this from general science as well as Quranic verses

Allah has ordained the law for fire that if we put our hand in it, our hand will get burned. The burning properties of fire are ordained as a law by Allah. It isn’t possible that we put our hand in fire and get the result as if we had placed it in a cool place. Our burned hand will not get healed unless we treat it with medicine, and apply another law of Allah in the form of healing properties of the medicine. Putting our hand in the fire was an act which we committed by ourselves. It was our job to know and be aware that fire can burn, and in case we didn’t, then it is our own fault, and not the consequences of our fate.

Coming to the portion of the verse which is causing confusion:

14.4 ….Then ALLAH leaves to go astray whom He wills and guides whom He wills. And He is the Mighty, the Wise.

Now who are the people who are astray and what are their characteristics, this is abundantly clarified in the Quran at many places. Some verses that define those who are astray according to the law (will) of Allah are given below. Do note, if you have the qualities as mentioned in those verses then you are also astray according to Allah’s laws.

Who are the people who are led astray according to the law of Allah? 

1- Those who are transgressors (fasiqoon):

2.26 Surely Allah is not ashamed to set forth any parable– (that of) a gnat or any thing above that; then as for those who believe, they know that it is the truth from their Lord, and as for those who disbelieve, they say: What is it that Allah means by this parable: He causes many to err by it and many He leads aright by it! but He does not cause to err by it (any) except the transgressors”

2-Those who are take shayateen (satans) as friends and protectors:

7:30 Some He hath guided: Others have (by their choice) deserved the loss of their way; in that they took the devils in preference to God for their friends and protectors and think that they receive guidance.

22:4 About the (Evil One) it is decreed that whoever turns to him for friendship him will he lead astray and he will guide him to the Penalty of the Fire.

3- Those who disobey Allah and His messenger:

33:36 …. and whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he surely STRAYS off a manifest straying.

4- Those who are oppressors and are unjust (zalimun):

14.27 Allah confirms those who believe with the sure word in this world’s life and in the hereafter, and Allah causes the unjust to go astray, and Allah does what He pleases.

5- Those who do not use their faculties of reasoning and listening to analyze the message of Allah:

25.44 Or do you think that most of them do hear or use their reasoning? They are nothing but as cattle; nay, they are straying farther off from the path.

6- Those who follow the opinions of their chiefs and great men instead of the message of Allah

33.67 And they shall say: O our Lord! surely we obeyed our leaders and our great men, so they led us astray from the path;

7- Those who are blind and heedless to the message of Allah:

17:72 But those who were blind in this world will be blind in the hereafter and most astray from the Path.

8- Those who follow the opinions of the people who are in a majority:

6.116 And if you obey most of those in the earth, they will lead you astray from Allah’s way; they follow but conjecture and they only lie.

9- Those who follow their desires:

6.56 Say: I am forbidden to serve those whom you call upon besides Allah. Say: I do not follow your desires. for then indeed I should have gone astray and I should not be of those who go aright.

The above verses describe who are those people who are led astray. Anyone who has above mentioned qualities manifested in him (or her) is astray according to the law of Allah. Compare above with what Quran says about who are the people who will get Allah’s guidance? See these verses 39:18 , 13:27 , 6:125 etc.

Above verses are clear in establishing that man has the freedom of choice to select right or wrong in his life. He will be rewarded according to the type of actions he does. Allah is not to be blamed for his wrong doings but he is to blame himself. People are led astray not because Allah wants them to go astray but by choosing those qualities for themselves which Allah has termed to be of those who are astray from his path. Their free selection of those qualities e.g. transgression, disobedience, following desires, not using reasoning and intellect in ascertaining the truth etc is what is making them astray and not Allah.


It will be apparent from engaging into a deep study of the Quran and by cross referencing its verses that it does not require belief in fatalism nor in predestination, but only in pre-measurement; that is to say the fixity of the laws and the intelligence to follow them. Human beings have the free will to follow whatever course of action that have decided to choose for themselves, however the results of their actions will be in accordance with the laws that have been measured for such actions. If they suffer, then it is because of their own choices, and they should not put the blame for their misgivings on Allah.


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“O ye who believe! take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends/awliya: They are but friends to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them is of them. Verily Allah guideth not a people unjust.” (5:51)The Arabic word used here is awliya which is mistakenly translated to mean friends. The singular form of awliya is wali and the concept is walaah. As we see in the following verses, the word “wali” is used plenty of times in various verses, all that demonstrate that the word “wali” does not mean friendship, but protector/guardian.

“Allah is the Protector/Wali of those who believe. He takes them out from the depths of darkness to light…” (2: 257)

“And whosoever is killed unjustly, We have granted his next kin “wali” the authority to seek judgment or punishment in this case…” (17:33)

Therefore, a more accurate translation of 5:51 would be the following:

“O ye who believe! take not the Jews and the Christians for your protectors: They are but protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them is of them. Verily Allah guideth not a people unjust.”

In fact, the whole idea of Muslims being instructed to not befriend Christians and Judaists is incongruous with the various verses of the Qur’an that instruct Muslims to not discriminate against people on any basis, to be kind to them all, and just:

“O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah as witnesses to fair dealings and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just, that is next to piety. Fear Allah, indeed Allah is well-acquainted with all that you do.” (5:8)


“Allah forbids you not with regard to those who fight you not for your faith, nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them. For Allah loves those who are just. Allah only forbids you with regard to those who fight you for your faith, and drive you out of your homes and support others in driving you out, from turning to them for protection (or taking them as wali). Those who seek their protection they are indeed wrong- doers.” (60:8-9)


“O mankind! We created you from a single pair of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other not that ye may despise each other. Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is he who is the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted with all things.” (49:13)

Additionally, 5:51 does not make a reference to ALL Christians and Jews, just those who were at war with Muslims, such as the Roman Christians and some of the Jews of Medina, which is supported here:

“O ye who believe! Take not my enemies and yours as protectors/awliya,- offering them your love, even though they have rejected the Truth that has come to you, and have on the contrary driven out the Prophet and yourselves from your homes, simply because ye believe in Allah your Lord! If ye have come out to strive in My Way and to seek My Good Pleasure, take them not as friends/almaratha, holding secret converse of love and friendship/almaratha with them: for I know full well all that ye conceal and all that ye reveal. And any of you that does this has strayed from the Straight Path.” (60:1)

So this chapter forbids taking those as protectors who have driven the Prophet or Muslims out of their homes and who betray and attack Muslims as soon as opportunity presents itself.

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“They ask you about menstruation: Say, it is a discomfort; you shall avoid sexual intercourse with the women during menstruation; do not approach them until they are rid of it. Once they are rid of it, you may have intercourse with them in the manner designed by God. God loves those who are clean. Your women are the bearers of your seed. Thus, you may enjoy this privilege however you like, so long as you maintain righteousness. You shall observe God, and know that you will meet Him. Give good news to the believers.” (2:222-223)

This verse is continuously quoted by “Islamic scholars” in order to lead Muslims down the road of believing menstruating women are contaminated, and thus they are not to perform prayer or fast, given their state of impurity.  They ignore context, content, and audience, intentionally or not, I’m not here to argue that matter.

1)  The audience for this verse are males, as demonstrated by the following phrase:  “Your women are the bearers of your seed.”  This clearly cannot be directed at women (lesbians/bisexuals) but possessors of penises.

-Going by the audience, we are to understand that this verse deals with addressing men about having sex with their wives.  They are to stay away from their wives during menses to maintain good hygiene. 

2)  These verses make no point towards women not being allowed to fulfill their religious obligations given the fact that they are directed at males and sexual activity, and only males and sexual activity.  God would have made the statement directed at an audience of women had it dealt with their impure state to pray or fast, given menstruation is a feminine issue.

Additionally, God troubles Himself to explain what conditions make a person impure for prayer in the following verses:

“O you who believe, do not observe the Contact Prayers while intoxicated, so that you know what you are saying. Nor after sexual contact without bathing, unless you are on the road, traveling; if you are ill or traveling, or you had urinary or fecal-related excretion, or contacted the women sexually, and you cannot find water, you shall observe Tayammum (dry ablution) by touching clean dry soil, then wiping your faces and hands therewith. GOD is Pardoner, Forgiver.”  (4:43)


“O you who believe, when you observe the Contact Prayers, you shall: (1) wash your faces, (2) wash your arms to the elbows, (3) wipe your heads, and (4) wash your feet to the ankles. If you were unclean due to sexual activity, you shall bathe. If you are ill, or traveling, or had any digestive excretion , or had sexual contact with the women, and you cannot find water, you shall observe the dry  ablution by touching clean dry soil, then rubbing your faces and hands. GOD does not wish to make the religion difficult for you; He wishes to cleanse you and to perfect His blessing upon you, that you may be appreciative.”  (5:6)

Verse 4:43 makes it evident that a person may not pray if he’s intoxicated.

Both 4:43 and 5:6 list the conditions that would nullify abolution, which is required for Muslims before performing prayer.  The conditions that nullify abolution are sexual activity and fecal related/digestive excretion.  Given the fact that menstruation does not fall under these conditions, it is exempt.

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Ali (AS), possessed a special transcript of the text of Quran which he had collected himself, and he was THE FIRST who compiled Quran. There are a great number of traditions from Sunni and Shia which states that after the death of the Holy Prophet (PBUH&HF), Imam Ali sat down in his house and said that he had sworn an oath that he would not put on his outdoor clothes or leave his house until he collects together the Quran.

Sunni references:
– Fat’hul Bari fi Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari, by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, v10,
– al-fihrist, by (Ibn) an-Nadim, p30
– al-Itqan, by al-Suyuti, v1, p165
– al-Masahif, by Ibn Abi Dawud, p10
– Hilyatul awliya’, by Abu Nu’aym, v1, p67
– al-Sahibi, by Ibn Faris, p79
– ‘Umdatul Qari, by al-Ayni, v20, p16
– Kanzul Ummal, by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, v15, pp 112-113
– al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 9, Section 4, p197
– Ma’rifat al-Qurra’ al-kibar, by al-Dhahabi, v1, p31

There are also traditions from the Imams of Ahlul Bayt which tell us that
this was done by Imam Ali by order of the Holy Prophet (See al-Bihar, v92,
pp 40-41,48,51-52).

This transcript of Quran which compiled by Imam Ali (AS) had the following
unique specifications:

a) It was collected according to its revelation, i.e., in the order in
which it had been sent down. This is the reason that Muhammad Ibn Sireen
(33/653 – 110/729), the famous scholar and Tabi’i (disciples of the
companions of the Holy Prophet), regretted that this transcript had not
passed into the hands of the Muslims, and said: “If that transcript were in
our hands, we would found a great knowledge in it.”

Sunni References:
– at-Tabaqat, by Ibn Sa’d, v2, part 2, p101
– Ansab al-ashraf, by al-Baladhuri, v1, p587
– al-Istiab, by Ibn Abd al-Barr, v3, pp 973-974
– Sharh Ibn Abi al-Hadid, v6, pp 40-41
– al-Tas’hil, by Ibn Juzzi al-Kalbi, v1, p4
– al-Itqan, by al-Suyuti, v1, p166
– al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 9, Section 4, p197
– Ma’rifat al-Qurra’ al-kibar, by al-Dhahabi, v1, p32

It is according to this transcript that Sunni scholars relate that the
first Chapter of Quran which was sent down to the Prophet (PBUH&HF) was
Chapter al-Iqra (al-Alaq, Ch. 96).

Sunni References:
– al-Burhan, by al-Zarkashi, v1, p259
– al-Itqan, by al-Suyuti, v1, p202
– Fathul Bari, by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, v10, p417
– Irshad al-sari, by al-Qastalani, v7, p454

As you know the Chapter al-Alaq is not at the beginning of the present
Quran. Also Muslims agree that the verse (5:3) was among one of the
last revealed verses of Quran (but not the very last one), yet it is not
toward the end of the present Quran. This clearly proves that although
the Quran that we have available is complete, it is not in the order
that has been revealed. These few misplacements were done by some
companions on purpose at worst, or out of ignorance at least.

It was for this reason that the Commander of Believers, Ali (AS) frequently
stated in his sermons: “Ask me before you lose me. By Allah, if you ask me
about anything that could happen up to the Day of Judgment, I will tell you
about it. Ask me, for, by Allah, you will not be able to ask me a question
about anything without my informing you. Ask me about the Book of Allah,
for by Allah, there is no verse about which I do not know whether it was
sent down at night or during the day, or whether it was revealed on a plain
or in a mountain.”

Sunni References:
– al-Riyadh al-Nadhirah, by al-Muhib al-Tabari, v2, p198
– at-Tabaqat, by Ibn Sa’d, v2, part 2, p101
– al-Isabah, by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, v4, p568
– Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, v7, pp 337-338
– Fathul Bari, by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, v8, p485
– al-Istiab, by Ibn Abd al-Barr, v3, p1107
– Tarikh al-Khulafa, by al-Suyuti, p124
– al-Itqan, by al-Suyuti, v2, p319

b) This transcript contained commentary and hermeneutic interpretation
(Tafsir and Ta’wil) from the Holy Prophet some of which had been sent down
as revelation but NOT as a part of the text of Quran. A small amount of
such texts can be found in some traditions in Usul al-Kafi. These pieces of
information were the Divine commentary of the text of Quran which were
revealed along with Quranic verses. Thus the commentary verses and Quranic
verses could sum up to 17000 verses. As Sunnis know, Hadith al-Qudsi (the
Hadith in which the speaker is Allah) is also direct revelation, but they
are not a part of Quran. In fact Quran testifies that anything that Prophet
said was (either direct or indirect) revelation (See Quran 53:3-4). The
direct revelation includes the interpretation/commentary of the Quran.

In addition, this unique transcript contained the information from the Holy
Prophet about which verse was abrogated and which was abrogating, which
verse was clear (Muhkam) and which was ambiguous (Mutashabih), which verse
was general and which was specific.

c) This unique transcript also contained references to the persons, places
etc., about which the verses were revealed, what is called “Asbab al-
Nuzul”. Since the Commander of Believers was aware of these facts, he
frequently said: “By Allah, no verse has been sent down without my knowing
about whom or what it was revealed and where it was revealed. My Lord has
gifted me with a mind which has a quick and retaining understanding, and a
tongue which speaks eloquently.”

Sunni References:
– Hilyatul Awliyaa, by Abu Nu’aym, v1, pp 67-68
– at-Tabaqat, by Ibn Sa’d, v2, part 2, p101
– Kanzul Ummal, by al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, v15, p113
– al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqah, by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami, Ch. 9, Section 4, p197

After he compiled this transcript, Imam Ali (AS) took it and presented it
to the rulers who came after the Holy Prophet, and said: “Here is the book
of Allah, your Lord, in the order that was revealed to your Prophet.”
but they did not accept it and replied: “We have no need of this. We have
with us what you possess.” Thereupon, Imam Ali (AS) took the transcript
back and informed them that they will never see it again. It is reported
that Imam Ali recited the latter part of the following verse of Quran:

     “And when Allah took a Covenant from the People of the Book to
     clarify it to mankind and not to hide its (clarification); but
     they threw it away behind their backs and purchased with it some
     miserable gain! and what an evil was the bargain they made!”
     (Quran 3:187)

By “its clarification”, Imam Ali meant the unique divine commentaries.
The Commander of Believers then concealed that transcript, and after him it
was passed to the Imams who also kept it concealed. It remained concealed
with the Imams, one after the other to this day, because they wished to be
only one sequence of Quran among the Muslims. Because otherwise if people
have had two different sequences, it might later result to some alteration
in Quran by some sick-minded people. They wished people have strictly one
sequence of Quran. The Quran and its commentary which were collected by
Imam Ali (AS) is not available for any Shia in the world except to the Imam
Mahdi (AS). If the transcript of the Commander of Believers had been
accepted, that would have been the Quran with unique commentary in the hand
of people, but it turned out to be otherwise.

This gives the meaning of the traditions in Usul al-Kafi which say that no
one but the Commander of Believers and the later Imams had the Quran in the
order it was revealed, and that the Quran which they had contains “what can
be understood of the heaven, etc.” and “the Knowledge of the Book, all of
it,” because they were the commentaries and interpretations noted in the
transcript of Imam Ali directly from the Holy Prophet (PBUH&HF).  Allah, to
whom belong Might and Majesty, said:

     “And We have sent down on you a Book in which is the clarification of
     ALL the things.” (Quran 16:89)

Sometimes the word “tahrif” is used in some traditions, and it must be made
clear that the meaning of this word is changing of something from its
proper place to another place, like changing the right position of
sentence, or giving it a meaning other than its true or intended meaning.
Therefore, it has absolutely nothing to do with addition or subtraction
from the text. It is thus with this meaning that the Quran states:

     “Some of the Jews distort (yuharrifuna) words from their meaning”
     (Quran 4:46).

This meaning of “tahrif”, i.e., changing of meaning or changing the
context, as it appears in the Quran, has not only been applied in the
Muslim community to the verses of the Quran but also to the ahadith of the
Holy Prophet, even by rulers who have been prepared to use Islam to their
own personal advantage. It is this “tahrif”, with this meaning, that the
Imams of Ahlul-Bayt have constantly sought to oppose. As one example, Imam
al-Baqir (AS) complained about the situation of the Muslims and their
corrupt rulers, and said:

     “One of the manifestations of their rejecting the Book (of Allah
     behind their backs) (see Quran 2:101) is that they have fixed its
     words. but they have altered the limits (of its command) (harrafu
     hududah). They have (correctly) narrated it, but they do not observe
     (what) it (says). Ignorant people delight in their preservation of its
     narration, but the knowledgeable people deplore their ignoring to
     observe (what) it (says).”

Shi’i references:
– al-Kafi, v8, p53
– al-Wafi, v5, p274 and v14, p214

Personal commentary

There are hadiths that state that the Qur’an was compiled 25 years after the death of the Prophet and as the above argument makes it known, there are hadiths that state that the Qur’an has been compiled during the time of the Prophet.  Which hadiths are more credible?  Yeah, that’s the question to ask, at all times.  I’ll deviate from hadiths for the time being and focus on which scenerio makes most sense.  As Muhammed was responsible for informing people of Islam, a friend of reason would conclude that Muhammed would make sure that before his passing, a firm compilation of God’s words are tangibly established for the following reasons:

1)  As prophet, his sole responsibility was to make sure people had access to God’s words, exact words.  He’d then logically make sure a written and compiled Qur’an was available before his death, in order for him to make sure what’s written in the Qur’an are the exact words of God and no one else’s, be it accidental slips, replacement of phrases, etc. during verbal recital.  Memorizing 600+ pages of words is an ordeal quite difficult after all.

2)  Upon a compilation of the Qur’an, that’s been approved by Muhammed himself, people would be less skeptical of whether they’re been recited words revealed to Muhammed or not.  Without harboring doubt, God’s words are quicker to accept. 

There wouldn’t be developed doubts about the authenticity of the Qur’an, as we’re hearing and reading now from both Muslims and non-Muslims who find it ridiculous that the Prophet who recieved the revelations would die, without making sure a compiled Qur’an existed, and reading through it, to confirm its message.

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The Qur’an never states that music is haram.  You will find that prohibition only in hadiths, namely Sahih Bukhari.

There is one verse in the Qur’an that “Muslims” try to distort to make it look like God prohibits music, you will see the distortion with the words inserted within parenthesis:

“And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks (i.e. music, singing, etc.) to mislead men from the Path of Allah without knowledge, and takes it (the Path of Allah, the Verses of the Quran) by way of mockery. For such there will be a humiliating torment (in the Hell-Fire)”. (31:6)

The word used for idle talks in Arabic is لَهْوَ   / lahwa.  This word means distraction/diversion.  In context, God warns Muslims against any form of distraction that may cause him to deviate from the way of God.  Notice how the word is general!  Had God intended to state musical instruments, He would have done so.  God does not run out of words:

“Say: Even if the sea became ink for the Words of my Lord, the sea would be used up before the words of my Lord were exhausted, even if we added another ocean like it, for its aid.“ (18:109)

Moreover, it is essential to note that the Qur’an is one book, created to suit the conditions and uniqueness found in every single human being for all times on earth.  Had God proclaimed music as haram under the pretense that all of man who listens to music would be led astray from God, would be treating humans as all sharing equal quantities of self-control, faith, and will power.  An honest man knows that this is false.  Humans’ religious devotion varies from one man to the next, there’s no such thing as equality in this context.  To work off of this, God uses a general statement: distraction.  He allows individuals to determine what distracts them from worshipping their God and not only that but what causes them to deviate away from their Lord from a long exposure to this distraction. 

I gave up music for an entire year because I undermined the Qur’an, I thought that hadiths somehow completed the Qur’an, so I followed the instruction of the hadith that forbad musical instruments.  You know what?  There was no change in religious devotion.  If anything I drifted away from God, because I realized that it was never music that distracted me from God, but school work, studying, that mess.  I’m back to listening to music, and ever since, I’ve grown gradually closer to God. 

Music is a beautiful expression of human emotions and ideas.  It is art, it is creativity.  It’s a beautiful tool for unity and for cognitive transformation.  To erase that from the lives of humans would be highly unjust; given music is not a tool of diversion for every man, just a handful.

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