Channel: Jamal Badawi
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Welcome to another program and our Islamic focus series. This is our 53rd program in our series dealing with the sources of Islam. In our program today we're going to be starting a new segment dealing with Quranic sciences. I'm your host, Hamad Rashid for today's program and I have joining me, brother, Dr. Jamal thataway of St. Mary's University. Brother Jamal Assalamu alaykum Monica,
it's so good to be back with you setting in for a few programs.
I wonder is our fashion if I could have you quickly summarize the highlights of the last program in the series and perhaps
indicate to us how it may be connected with the new series of new live segments we're about to embark on in today's program. Okay, the last program was the third and the last portion and the topic that deals with the translation of the Quran and some of the common problems and errors in understanding and interpreting the meaning of the Quran by orientalist.
The discussion included for example, in some of the problems faced by the orientalist gelong
and his failure to understand how Prophet Noah is called in the Quran as a Muslim not understanding that Muslim is a generic term also the confusion by Rodwell minase is and what about the term Hanif in the Quran, which actually means upright which is not really a new religion or a name of religion but a person could be honey Muslim, which in applied Muslim who surrenders to God.
We talked about how threaten next some of the terms in Arabic, like the word armed with some of the Hebrew words which has totally different meanings and connotation, the confusion by God's knirsch and Levy,
concerning the verses in the Quran dealing with the direction of prayers.
And finally, we indicated that those errors are common in the writings of many orientalists. Until today, even and this seems to give a distorted picture of Islam which is not correct to the Western leaders. That's why Dr. halifa as he concludes in chapter five of his book, The sublime Quran
and he says that, how many readers have been misinformed? How many students have competitor's religion, given the wrong concepts? And how many in search of truth about the Quran has been misguided by such orientalist writings, which we see actually seem to show that there is a need not only to just have knowledge of the language or to translate, but also to have some understanding of the various sciences of the operand, which would help
understand its real meaning, indeed, perhaps justifies the new segments that we're about to embark on dealing with this whole question of chronic scientists. I think it would be appropriate in opening up the discussion to have you perhaps explain
for the benefit of our viewers, just what we mean when we use the term Quranic sciences, and how those sciences developed.
Well, in in the broadest meaning of the term Quranic sciences, as have clearly defined is that any science or discipline of study, which serves the Quran, or is based on the Quran, that is something that would help us
to understand something about the origin of the Quran, to understand it, interpreted and applied correctly.
In terms of development, we can say that first of all, in the days of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. The Quran was revealed in eloquent Arabic language. The recipients the immediate recipients around the prophet who heard the Quran first were also eloquent people. So it wasn't difficult for them to understand.
Whenever they had some question, they asked the prophet and he explained that to them, just to give an example from what historians mentioned, for example, one verse 82 and chapter six was revealed. And Latina Amano willemijn
says are talk about those who believe and do not confuse
or mix their belief with wrong.
the companions of the Prophet SAW
are understood it's a little restrictively. And they said all right, if the verse says that we must, if we do anything wrong, all of us have done something wrong. That means we are all condemned. In which case, the prophet explained to them that the words are wrong, as it appears in this verse actually means shift or to associate others with God and His divine attributes. And he referred to chapter 31, verse 13, in the Quran, which describes Schick as the greatest of all lungs. This way, of course, he collected their understanding of the meaning of the verse.
But this information or knowledge has been
more of an oral tradition really, rather than written volumes, for at least three reasons. One,
the these questions were limited in any way in the scope because they understood most of the Quran without difficulty.
Secondly, that even though writing was known, and the Quran was preserved, and writing, but writing was not that widespread also at that time, so that everything small things was written down.
And thirdly, the prophet also himself, discourage people from writing too much other than the Quran didn't mean as as some people interpret that nothing else was written because there's evidence that some early sayings of the Prophet actually were
But the idea here was to avoid any mixing between any other writing and the Quran itself.
Among the most important sources of this oral traditions were the close companions of the Prophet some of the very famous names like the first four caliphs. If not best, it must, it must obey resided in the Sabbath, Allah, Sharia, and so on.
But in the days of the second case, after the third case, that's off month after the profit.
One aspect of this Quranic sciences began to develop. When our smart for example, as we discussed in a previous program, about the simplicity of the Quran,
held the committee to copy or make various copies of the Quran from the original manuscripts to be sent to various parts of the Muslim world.
So that was you might say, one aspect of you know, beginning of the study of Quranic sciences, in the period of
khilafah, or rulership of Ali, the first case,
some historians say that he asked a man by the name of a sweat le to codify the Arabic grammar
to keep the accuracy of the language under such serve the Quran and then following that there was a large number of those who were not immediately companions of the Prophet, but they are known as tabula in those who come as a second generation we learned from the companions of the Prophet. And among the most important names are people like Mozart, Hinata, Akron, aka tiger, Nakata, and possibly ignatova, and so on. And then you have the third generation again, one important name is Malika bananas. And as a whole, this group of people really contributed a great deal in the preservation and development of what we know today as the sciences of the Quran, and that all still
within the first century of Hydra, which would be the equivalent roughly to the party of the seventh and eighth century in the Common Era. Right.
Welcome. If you've just mentioned you've traced
the Quranic sciences, back to the seventh or eighth century of the Common Era. This seems to negate somewhat what Orangemen orientalists a very various orientalist haven't claimed, and that the critical study of the Quran is somehow in your view lagging behind that of the of the Bible. Could you perhaps comment on that a little bit. This is a kind of common myth, also, among the most famous writers who made the statements to that effect that people like ourselves, Jeffrey,
but as Dr. Abdullah does,
you know, respond to this. He says that the strange thing that in this very same book, when I saw Jeffrey make that claim that the study of the critical cellular prion is still in its infancy.
If one looks at the bibliography that he himself gives to his study, yes. And the massive number of work done by Muslims and Arabic that suffice itself to respond to him that this is not in its infancy that there have been lots of literature.
We have already seen how this develops, you know, as early as the first century of hijra. I know it might be too much, but let me just take a few minutes to mention a few more names. That shows that the science does not did not even start
Just as the sentence or essentially that's continued throughout all the years of research, but I'll just be using the the hijiri or Muslim calendar, which means that you have to add about 623 years to that translate to equate it with the common here. But in the second history century, we find the famous names like sharp and had jazz stiff neck. So if you wanted to work you have ninja rush. And the third century has Adnan Medina, who was the teacher of Pachauri, the famous narrator of Hades, Edna Salaam, if you have not the table in the first century, among the famous names are people like ashari estiga stanny, who spent he and his
teachers about 15 years to write certain volumes about the sciences of the Quran. In the fifth century, famous names like a Danny and malware G, and a trophy, who is reputed to have been the first one to use the exact word or Roman Koran or sciences of Quranic sciences, even though of course it did exist but just use that term. In the sixth century, we have so highly admin Josie. In the seventh century of hedgerows, we have an ice of Napa Salaam. So how are we in the eighth century we have as Akashi, who wrote a great deal, and his books are quite famous.
In the ninth century, there were so many names, that is the equivalent of about the 14th 14th or 15th centuries of the Common Era. But among the most famous names, especially in ontology interest is genetic gene, as Jyoti mentioned his name before, wrote his famous book
in the sciences of Quran, and you can go on and on and mention all kinds of even when you come to recent times, you find that there are so many famous names also, in addition, like Ariel prosimy Rashid, Rita Mohamed, Salah Tantawi, Joe has gotten dressed as sacani, which is very good volume also, on the sciences of the Quran.
This book here that we refer to before, by Dr. Sophy assala, excellent volume also, from whom we are going to borrow lots of information for this programs. This are $2,000, three, four dozen names, actually, if you really go through all of them.
It's only are only part of the caravan of many well known scholars, and we're talking about the famous ones, let alone the less famous ones, some of them has written as much as 20 volumes in one subject. So it's really talking about an ominous type of work. In the previous discussion that we had on the authority of the Quran, we gave detailed information about the sources of the Quran, how do we know it is revelation and so on. And in many of the references that we cited,
were very early references and this arch sciences of the Quran because it is critical study of the Quran in terms of its origin, how it was preserved, how do we know and you must remember all the kinds of critical details that we've gone through.
So the the notion that Quranic study, or critical study of the Quran is lagging behind Biblical Studies is a myth, really, my understanding is that the critical study of the Bible began in Europe, in the 18th century,
critical study of chronic stress is more than 1000 years before the West began, or the Christian world began to study the Bible on a more objective or, you know, critical way. But I'd like to add However, a precautionary note at this point, is that
some aspects but not odd, some aspects of critical study of the Bible may not necessarily have an allergy and critical study of the Quran, they're not always identical in terms of the areas of inquiry.
Well, that's perhaps
What do you think that these, these studies are not identical? Well, what I mean by that is that there are certain aspects for example, which are more relevant to the critical study of the Bible, or the so called high criticism as theologian call it which has no parallel in the Quran because of the difference in the nature of the two scriptures.
And some basic ways I should say.
For example, if you might recall in the series on the authority of the Quran,
it was indicated that when you the Bible itself is really a book of books. So many books dozens of books written by so many different people in different points of history,
and has been subjected to many translations many times the original language in which it was revealed
is not available in what we have on the art, you know, translate translations and so on. And then you have problems with different versions, you don't have the uniform thing you have different versions even in some of this, the oldest manuscripts if you have more than one virgin,
we find that many biblical scholars focus on the study of how the four gospels evolved through time and how much change in terminology and the
concepts have changed.
In the case of the Quran, we don't find any analogous difficulty or areas of inquiry like this, the Quran is one book, reveal two through one prophet all completed and written down and memorized during his lifetime. We have indicated again in the series on authority of the Quran, how
to problems just dealing with whether the Quran could have been written
by a human being based on internal and external evidence. For that reason find it is quite normal, for example, in biblical studies, that many questions of inquiry and research by scholars have to be explored, who wrote this book where and how, who translated, the study and analysis of the style, style, sometimes in the same book. That sounds crazy, right? The book seems to have two styles apparently one part of it or later part or the last few verses have been written by someone else, analysis of the content as compared to what was common in a given time or place.
The question of translations
and some areas of inquiry and Biblical Studies deal with the church councils. The decisions that were taken to accept certain books as canonical books, others as apocryphal, later decisions that you know, accepted books that were refused before refuse book that has been accepted before, and various decisions and canonization amendments and all these changes.
In the case of the Quran, we find the situation is quite different, because the preservation of the Quran has not been left to religious conferences to decide upon, it has already been done under the immediate supervision of the prophet in his lifetime, and in full. So I feel that this distinction is very important. Because I remember being in a recent dialogue and
the Christian friends participating in that made a statement which is quite common. I don't blame him because it's quite common in many writings
that he says that? Well, there are some Christians, however, who believe in the Bible the same way Muslims believe in the Quran.
ie there are some fundamentalist Christian who believed that the Bible is literally word for word, the word of God, not the writings of any humans on to Spider Man on, you know, literal Word of God. And so this is basically the belief of Muslims as as far as the Quran is concerned.
importance of this kind of statement. First of all,
when we make this comparisons, we are comparing, at least as far as the present time
is concerned, we're comparing the fringes of Christianity because the, my humble understanding, the majority of Christians now do not necessarily accept this traditional view that the Bible word is the word of God. There are many biblical scholars, church, people who say it's human documents written by human beings try to express what they could understand from the teaching of the prophets.
But you're comparing the fringes now of Christianity, you might say, or, of course, even though they consider that it's a realtor standard, I'm not going to dispute that terms of numerical at least, with something which has been quite unanimous among Muslims, you're comparing that with the mainstream of Islam for 1400 years. And, in fact, there's hardly any Muslim that I know of who can still remain a Muslim. Why, let's say that the Quran is a human document that somebody wrote, there is no single Muslim can still remain a Muslim and say that, and that's not really a major problem at all in our problem at all, I should say, in the case of Islam.
Secondly, when one examined both books, we can find, for example, evidence in the Bible that the writer himself did not claim that this was verbatim revelation of God.
For example, in the beginning of the Gospel of Luke,
he says that he is his gospel is actually addressed to you fellas. And you know, he says, I know people wrote it, but I saw it was befitting also for nutrilite. It's good for me too, right? So it's just simply as a human I thought I should like also, but never claimed so that deals even with the internet evidence
You don't find any parallels. For example, in the Quran that any Companion of the Prophet says, Oh, I met with the prophet and I lived with him and I saw it was fit to like this person. And there's nothing like that the opposite is true, the consistent internal evidence that it is fully the Word of God. The claim is made repeatedly in the Quran. But one cannot find this analogy. For example, in the in the Bible.
There is no problem in the case of the Quran of any inconsistency of any statement with the proven facts of science as we have discussed in the authority of the Quran, there is absolutely no way that one can show any contradiction between any of its passages contents. And as such, this kind of comparisons
is quite erroneous, because there are some writers themselves in the Bible who claim that this is their own thoughts or their own understanding. There's no such an elegant as one should not really
compelling this kind of light. You're really talking about the apples and oranges. Well, you told us, very helpfully, what isn't included, perhaps now we should go back to this question of chronic scientists scientists and ask you what are the areas of research that are included in critical analysis of the Quran? Okay, well, since we have adopted the definition by a zucchini, which is a way that way that deals with all sciences, rotating around or serving the Quran, we find that it is really quite voluminous really to try and even name the various topics.
For example, as Akashi
from the Hijri century.
In his multivolume, excellent work, he divided the sciences of the Quran into 47 disciplines.
But that's even small as compared with a CLT.
The very famous
scholars of the Quran in the 15th century and the Common Era, we divided that into at its zero type of science.
However, we can say that basically speaking, if we were to focus on the most important ones, I mean, this is not a program really intended for the, you know, specialists in Islamic Studies. But if we take the more visual fields, First there are questions and studies which deal with the origin of the Quran, with the phenomenon of Revelation,
critical studies about the authenticity of the Quran, its preservation and writing, in memorization, the various time zones, you know, the things that in dialects that we talked about before
studies, sometimes even about the script
of the Quran, how was the script and the day of the Prophet and how did it develop over time and so on.
Even the script even in the same words, but just different types of scripts use, about the karate or recitations with this topic we haven't touched upon, perhaps I would say, the most important
fields, discipline or a discipline actually has has sub disciplines, whether it is the tafsir sometimes use the term exegesis or interpretation or understanding of the Quran. But even then you find sub areas like the reasons for revelation, the study of the Maquis and madonie, the Quran, or the portions revealed in Makkah, and those revealed in Medina, the question of NASA, and we'll come to that later. We don't want to give an English term that might give an erroneous meaning.
explanation of the broken letters and subcritical letters that appear in the beginning of the Quran, the terms or words used in the Quran, but I'd say yeah, the interpretation
and its related sciences, perhaps would be one of the major areas of general interest, I should say. But let's begin number one of the one aspect of interpretation of a bond and that is the the reasons for revelation. What does that refer to win as Dr. Sophia solution, the book.
The book I refer to,
explains it very nicely says that, aside from the Quran, even if one reflects on creation, you will notice that Allah or God, capital G has or had already made some kind of relationship, positive relationship, something between the cause and effect.
And in order to understand history, also to study history,
we find that historians go back and try to analyze the reasons for this events that took place the motives behind them, and so on. The same thing applies also to the writings of other humans. For example,
When we study literature, for example, we study the writer is the psychological state, his economic and social political milieu in which he wrote, so that you can understand best what he's saying. We're not comparing that to the Quran, of course, because the Quran is not written by any human. But I'm just beginning from that point in terms of finding reasons in order to properly understand a particular text, the context of the text.
And in the case of the Quran,
we also need to find out some of the reasons why certain passages were revealed, the circumstances surrounding them. This way we can guard against some of the errors
that we might fall into when we read the Quran. Even though of course, lies as indicated earlier will not make nearly a perfect analogy, because there's still a big difference between the Quran and other writings, sciences of the Quran is a little bit
different and involvement acquires more cash.
Would you perhaps explain to us why and you're building the special care the special care is needed in the case of a crime. What as Dr. Sophy also illustrates, he said that, in the case of the study of the Quran, we find that we are in a situation where we should go beyond mere language, the grammar of the language, the ruins of the language.
Even though we need the language, we need to study history, but the Quran even is just beyond history. Because as we know, history again, includes many errors and many gaps also when you study it.
So the study of the Quran is not just a dry academic type of exercise. When we study the Quran, we immediately notice that there's some sort of unique impact impression that it leaves the reader with something that comes not just because of the certain grammatical aspects or syntax of the language, but something really derived from the spirit of how the words and the passages are put together.
As many have observed, that when you read the Quran,
even though it might be talking about something in the past, or in the future, for that matter,
you don't just talk about academic things, but you see living pictures, you see individuals and scenes as if they are alive and moving in front of you. And this is something which is quite unique in the Quran, which makes it constantly and permanently fresh in the minds of anyone who tried to read it with an open mind and an open heart. Now, on the basis of that, we can say then that the reason of revelation with respect to certain passages or verses in the Quran, is simply a reference to the story, which is derived from reality, from the lives of the people, showing people how to solve this problem. You see in the study of management and other disciplines, we hear about the so
called case study. And many people say that this is very effective. Why? Because you don't just teach theory, but you take a particular problem, you open discussion, try to find out what is the best solution for that problem This Way, THINGS stick in the mind. And then information and knowledge is no longer academic knowledge, it becomes a more realistic, more applies. And practically, By the same token, this is a unique style of the Quran, God could have revealed the Quran to the Prophet just in one book and says go and read that to people. But that was not the case. Over 23 years, events take place. And the Quran come to provide guidance to people so that it
gives a model as to how to establish an Islamic Society, a model as to how to deal with the variety of problems that may arise from time to time. And I'd like to just to conclude this point by saying that any person who does not have any notion in your interest no matter how famous he might be,
who lacked the information lack the knowledge of this reason, so revelation can make serious mistakes, commit serious mistakes, and interpreting and understanding
are very interesting.
This whole question of chronic scientists brother Jamal, unfortunate we don't have any more time left in today's program. We want to thank you all for watching and we invite you back next week. Assalamu alaikum peace beyond you.