Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Reading the Holy Qur’an

The Holy Qur’an is the central text of Islam and it has a cherished position in the lives of the Muslims. By learning and reciting the verses of the holy text in its classical Arabic on a regular basis since childhood, devout Muslims develop a poignant and intimate relation with it. Yet, the fact remains that the Qur’an is a complex text: the verses are inter-related and interconnected and were revealed in a specific context. What it actually says is shrouded in veils of assumptions and opinions as the Sacred Text is often quoted to derive or invoked in support of directly contradictory meanings.

In his Friday Sermon of May 17, 2013 the Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Sahib (atba) of Mauritius gave a profound discourse on the underlying norms and principles applicable for both believers and truth seekers in developing an interpretative relationship with the Qur’an. Purity of heart, an open mind capable of perceiving the larger truth, an understanding of the Divine scheme of things for the world, sincere striving in pursuit of the sublime meaning of the Divine verses-all these are essential starting points, indicates the Messenger of Allah of our times.

Read the Extracts from the Friday Sermon:

This is an honourable Quran; in a protected record. None can grasp it except those pure; a revelation from the Lord of the worlds.” (56: 78-81)

The Holy Quran is the last law-bearing book which has been revealed by Allah the Almighty for the entire human race. It guides man at each step of the way, of his life, and at all levels, be it his physical, corporal, moral and spiritual life. Despite the fact that the Holy Quran has been revealed in Arabic, but it addresses all people without exception, but Allah has mentioned in the same sacred Book, like a clause, an exception that only the purified can touch and understand it, the truly intelligent, those who open their minds to the truth and who ask of Allah His help to perceive this truth.

Someone who really wants to understand the Quran, despite the religion to which he (or she) belongs, to be able to do that he has to clear his mind, as far as possible all forms of negative thoughts and notions or biases he may already have, so that these prejudices do not restrict him from conducting his study (of the Quran) with an open, impartial mind.

The one who starts studying the Quran with his already established prejudices, he shall have the tendency to find his own notions in his Quran lectures (and analysis). Besides, someone can never study any book when he has such attitude, and if he applies it to the Quran (then the result shall not be a true one) as the Quran is such a sacred book which refuses to open itself to such kind of person.

For those who only want to obtain a superficial (not profound) knowledge of the teachings of the Quran, a sole reading suffices for them, but for those who want to enrich themselves with those teachings, then a sole reading is not sufficient. For those kinds of people, they have the need to study the Quran many times, and they take note of each point which may be important. Those who study the Quran in this way, they need to do this exercise at least twice at the beginning so that they may master the precision on the world of beliefs and the obligations which the Quran has prescribed for us.

In an initial study, people must try to have a global perspective of the Quran and seize the fundamental ideas which is exposed therein and they must try to understand the system of life which the Quran wants to put in motion, such a system which is based on those ideas. If it happens that a first-time reader of the Quran finds a point therein which he does not understand, then it is best for him if he perseveres in his study, despite the numerous studies of the Quran that he has to make, this shall verily open his mind more and he shall find the solutions to his questions.

When this person has obtained a first overall apercu of the Quran, he can afterwards undertake further detailed researches of the sacred Book on the different subjects which concerns man in general. For example, his way of living and how the Quran teaches good morality which enables man, if he follows these commandments like they should be, to succeed in finding the means to live in a good way in society, in peace and harmony. At the same time, this enables him to approach Allah the Almighty little by little.

And when he begins to open his mind to the reality of these teachings, he starts to perceive the power of these teachings to transform his life completely. For example, if at the beginning he was an avaricious person, then he becomes more generous and he becomes conscious that money does not bring happiness and when he looks around him, he realises that life is very short and that the day shall soon come when he has to return back to his Lord (Rab) to account for his deeds.

When he realises that the material riches are only temporary and when he sees (and understands) the poor people, those who do not even have food to eat or those who cannot eat their fill, then he takes something out of his wealth and he gives this to the poor people for the pleasure of Allah. This is because with each step taken in studying the Quran, he has realised that Allah is found in all people and when he gives something in the path of Allah, for the cause of Allah, he is indeed contributing to his own happiness for he knows that Allah shall be pleased with him.

When he studies the Quran, he analyses himself and he perfects himself according to the noble teachings which the Quran preaches. He thus inculcates in himself humility, politeness, courtesy, softness, brotherhood and a duty to please Allah in all circumstances, with a pure and sincere heart. The deed of someone according to the Quran depends on the heart of that person, with what intention he has done it. If he has a good intention and a pure and sincere heart to do the noble works for the cause of Allah and not for the eyes of people, then this kind of person is more valued in eyes of Allah than a person who only profess good words on the lips but whose intention is impure and his heart is empty of these (divine) teachings – in other words, Allah prefers him, loves him more than the one who does not practice what he says (the good teachings).

The Holy Quran is the word by excellence of Allah because it combines or includes all the teachings preached by all the prophets of the past, those who came before the advent of the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh). Such teachings are found for example, in the Torah, Psalms, Gospels, Bhagavad Gita etc. The message of Allah is universal. That is why the Quran came as a universal Book.

The important essence of the teachings of the Quran is that people must rid themselves of all their negative thoughts and concentrate themselves in their reading of the Quran so that, like a truth seeker who is thirsty of truth, he may open his mind to the truth and concentrate himself in his task till he get access to truth. There are a lot of noble and wise teachings which exist throughout the world, but the beauty of the Holy Quran resides in that which it encompasses all the spiritually rich teachings and morality, taking them all in it (the Quran) as a promise for today and tomorrow, like it was an accomplished promise for the past eras.

Hadith: Narrated Uthman bin Affan (ra): The Prophet (pbuh) said, “The most superior among you (Muslims) are those who learn the Quran and teach it.”  (Bukhari)

This means that a believer or a truth seeker must establish himself on the Quran, whereby he knows his subject really well, and he understands the essence of the Quran, be it Arabic, and its translation also. This is because, someone who is not an Arab and does not know Arabic, if there is no translation, then, it shall be difficult for him to understand the Quran. Then someone must come from Allah with the task to explain the philosophy of the Quran and its commandments to him. And this is a fact that the Quran is such a spiritual treasure which we cannot give just a specific explanation, it rather has different explanations.

Someone who comes from Allah can explain the Quran in a way, according to divine revelation and inspiration, and according to the abilities of understanding of the people of his time. Each era is not completely alike. For example, in the times of Hazrat Musa (as), the situation of his era and people required that he needed to act with severity with them and the divine laws which were revealed were when required harsh (example, the laws of retaliation). On the other hand, after him, when Hazrat Isa (as) came, his people, situation and epoch demanded that the divine laws which were revealed were somewhat very lenient, in a laissez-faire attitude, whereby when someone gives you a slap on the cheek, then instead of fighting with him, you give him your other cheek for him to slap.

Then when the Quran came in the time it was initially revealed, and this till the Day of Judgement, then its teachings are neither too harsh, nor too lenient. Its law are just and its application depends on the prevailing situation. Then, certainly when Allah wants to makes His messengers, in each era in which He sends one to explains the Quran to make the people aware of the great value of the Quran, then He reveals to him, or inspires him such interpretations of the Quran which are apt and correct for the era in which he is living and which are right for the people with whom he is dealing with.

In 2009, Allah inspired me (in English) these wordings on the Holy Quran: “The Quran may be open, but if the heart is close, nothing can be derived from it. The Quran is such a Scripture which must pervade heart and soul so that the beauty of it may be felt in every of our deed: in our whole life. To reach that state of union with the words of Allah, one has to reflect upon them, comprehend them and act upon them as Almighty Allah wants. The Quran is a fountain of Divine Knowledge and that of His Mercy to mankind.”

Therefore, may Allah guide the people to purify themselves to such a point that they perceive the verities of the Holy Quran, and that they act as the people endowed with knowledge, with intelligence to understand the Quran as the Book of Allah which is to pervade their life, if only they let the Quran regulate their lives, whereby they act upon its divine commandments in the proper way, Insha-Allah, Ameen.

Another matter which I wish to bring to your attention is the demise on Tuesday 14 May 2013 of the demise of the Catholic Church’s Father Roger Cerveaux at the age of 65. For the Catholic Church, he was not an ordinary priest because his struggle for the rights of the creoles has made him popular, and he was a good orator and singer in the church’s choral. Thus, we see how little by little, each of the prophecies which I made at the end of December 2012 are being fulfilled. The Church in Mauritius lost one of its top priest. The latter was also very active within his religious community, acting at a certain point in his life as the Editor in Chief of the Church’s magazine “La Vie Catholique” (Catholic Life), and he was in favour of interreligious talks. He was in good health and was in a meeting with other priest when suddenly he felt unwell, and it is on the way to the hospital that he died. He was buried at the Poudre d’Or cemetery and on Wednesday 15 May 2013, all Catholics and the Church observed a day of mourning.

May Allah help all people in the world to see with clarity His manifestations and the realisations of the prophecies which Allah makes this humble servant who is present before you say. May Allah open the hearts of people so that they may recognise the veracity of Islam, and its superiority on all other religions, and may Allah continue to show His manifestation of power in favour of His chosen servants in this era, in the Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam, and help us to guide the people to Him, in submission, Insha-Allah, Ameen.