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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,
  p386
– 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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Quran was Revealed to individuals, we will be responsible to answer to our Lord individually (Quran 5:105), it would be my neck on the line hence it is logical that it should be my interpretations. You see there is no provision for “I was following orders” in front of God. One can seek advise all they want but at the end, the buck stops with the individual. God in His infinite mercy may take into consideration things like lack of education and/or other handicaps but for the majority the only logical way forward is individual interpretations.

The focus of all Revelations was and is the message, the messengers with all due respect were incidental, (Quran 5:99) there is a lot to be appreciated in their acting out the message but at the end of the day, the reference to the Prophet being the best example (Quran 33:21) demonstrate that the ultimate focus is God and to be mindful of the Day of Judgment as clearly spelled out in the same verse, not to be confused with his physical appearance or what he eat for dinner. God declared in the latest Reveled message, the Quran, this declaration of completion and perfection is fixed in time with the words”this day” in (Quran 5:03) and guaranteed its preservation for all times to come. Quran 15:9

God in His mercy even went one step further, after declaring the simplicity of the message in no uncertain terms, He, in a final twist, announced Himself as the teacher of this final chapter of Revelations ( Quran 55:02). If God is the teacher then there is no need for another, those who try and twist the meaning of Quran 16:44 to mean the prophet was given the responsibility of explaining the already explained message with another message are clearly trying to deflect the real meaning of the verse which focuses on the importance of the Quran as the truth and the reflection aspect is interestingly left to the reader in the same verse.

After this foolproof arrangement it is impossible to make a plausible case for a new messenger or a new message who/it at best will be left with reading out the perfect Quran. Similarly, it is not logical to bump up a body of literature, short on comprehensiveness and long on ambiguity, not to mention contradictory to the Quranic injunction. The unfortunate case of Rajm among others. The promotion of these secondary sources is done to such an extent that it is declared a prerequisite to understanding something for which God Himself is the teacher. If you insist on needing even more explanation to explain the Quranic message then you obviously are from the” most arguing/disputing thing”. Quran (18:54). The perfection of a message is not only in its content but also in its easy communication and understandability. (Quran 54:17)The same premise renders the end of Prophet Hood, an open and shut case. The proof of this easy understanding is that 99.99% Muslims have no issue with the oneness of God, the belief in the last day, his messengers, his books and his angles; in addition there is no issue as to praying to God, fasting during Ramadan, giving zakat and performing hajj if possible. Nobody disputes moderation and patience. So then where do you think we can go wrong to such an extent as to not qualify as Muslims?

Prophet Mohammad Pbuh was deputed to deliver the message to humanity in stages. Till such time that the final words were not in place, the messenger had a role to play. But a message cannot be perfect and complete by definition if it still require outside assistance once the perfection and completion is announced. This announcement is I repeat clearly identified with THIS DAY in Quran 5:03. Neither will minor variation in interpretation render one a Kafir or disbeliever. The Quran lays it out beautifully in the following verse and at the same time shoot down the claim that the add-ons make you more righteous;

It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces towards East or West; but it is righteousness – to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers; to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer, and practice regular charity; to fulfill the contracts which ye have made; and to be firm and patient, in pain (or suffering) and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the Allah-fearing. Quran 2:177

And for those who insist on improving the perfect message where God Himself is the teacher. These are the same people who jump at every opportunity to challenge those who has understood the deliberate room for flexability of some injunctions like the exact manner of salat for instance in line with God’s promise of no undue burden. Ironically they are totally oblivious to the contradiction of their poor logic. for example when even the detail of something like Wudu is spelled out in the Quran then why still insist on improving God’s perfection. The following verse expose their argument of “explaining” and even correcting Quran.

Literal And if (it was) said to them: “Do not corrupt in the earth/Planet Earth.” They said: “But we are correcting/repairing .” Quran 2:11

If you are speculating as to who these correcting, repairing busy bodies are, the following verse emphasis it by the word “most”, something to think about.

Literal And if you obey (follow) most of who (is) in the earth, they misguide you from God’s way/path , that they follow except the assumption/suspicion , and that they (are) except lying/speculating. Quran 6:116

Source.

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