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The Quran – Sciences 54 – Reasons For Revelation
Channel: Jamal Badawi
Series: Jamal Badawi - The Quran - Sciences
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Assalamu alaikum peace beyond you. Welcome back to our program Islam and focus. We're continuing with our series dealing with the sources of Islam. Actually this is our 54th program in that series and second program on a new segment dealing with chronic scientists. Tonight we're gonna be discussing reasons for revelation. I'm your host for tonight's program, hammer Rashid Rashid letter setting in for Rashad, my niece, our brother who is away at the at the moment and I have joining me on the program as usual by the Dr. Jamal battery of St. Mary's University. Hello, Jamal Assalamu alaikum Monica said Am I getting mixed up between whether Rashid and whether Michelle, I'm glad that
were able to discover your new
I wonder if I could have you perhaps very quickly at the top of today's program, summarize and highlight the main points that we touched on in our first program in this segment dealing with chronic sciences. Okay, well, we started first by defining the term itself Quranic sciences, and indicated that these are the studies which relate to the Quran, which help us to understand its origin and meaning and how it could be applied.
Then we made a brief review of the development of the sciences of the Quran going all the way from the first century of hedger that is about the seventh century of the Common Era indicated that there have been a great deal of rich works that were produced already over the years, which the negates the erroneous notion that some orientalist have
claimed that high criticism or critical study of the Quran is in its infancy. As Jeffrey for example, stated. However, we indicated that there is a difference also an emphasis on topics with respect to Quranic sciences, as compared, for example, with Biblical Studies, mainly because of the difference of the nature of the scriptures in various aspects pertaining to the history and preservation.
We began also to examine
the basic aspect I should say of Quranic sciences, and that is the exegesis or the Tafseer interpretation, understanding of the Quran more specifically, the reasons for revelation, we simply just looked at the meaning of
reasons for revelation, how important it is. And we concluded that the lack of information about the reason for the variation of certain passages in the Quran could lead to various errors in its interpretation, and understanding.
To begin today's program, could you perhaps give us a few examples to illustrate in order to explain to us just how such misunderstandings arise?
Okay. One example of that, for example, is in the chapter three, verse 188. In the Quran, that has been the motto, basically, it says, Don't think that those who feel happy or exalt
of the things they brought about, or they did, and they like to be praised for what they didn't do, that those people are not to be immune from punishment.
Well, one person had that verse and he said, All right, all of us are like that, and all the rest should be condemned. Because, you know, most of us like to be happy with what we did, and sometimes also we like to get praised.
But that again, was a misunderstanding, because when, if not best, a companion of the Prophet, a very knowledgeable, was asked about this, he said, This is not what it means. He said that this verse was revealed
with respect to an incident, where Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him
some aspects with some of the people of the book and he asked them one question, so they did not give him the right answer, and they gave a different answer.
And as such, they were happy that they conceal the answer that he was discussing with them for the real thing. And of course, they they thought that they have already got some favor by getting the trays or thanks for, you know, answering the question.
So that actually deals with that situation, but doesn't deal with just blanket such as
Question that anyone who feel happy with what he did is condemned by you see how much erroneous interpretation can lead the person really to take the verse just out of context.
Another example which is even
In the Quran in chapter five, verse 96, there is a verse that says like Salah, Latina Amman, Mohammed, Mohammed, a solid hearted, uniform female timing is an attack a woman, that there is no blame on those who believed and did righteousness, there is no blame on them and what they eat, if they really observed piety.
Now, if one were to take this on, it's apparent meaning without getting the background, crude says you can eat anything else. They can eat anything, because it doesn't matter what your piety is the more important thing, but this is a very erroneous interpretation, because as you can see, it mentions that when
the Quran the Word of God was revealed, and prohibited drinking, that's the final verse that said, it is prohibited period, you know, finished.
Some people started to argue, and they said, All right, the Quran says that this intoxicants or wines is rich, something unclean. What happened to our brothers who died with the wine still in their stomachs? In other words, are they to be condemned, and then diverse came to respond to that, that, you know, whatever they drank before the verse was revealed, even if they were dead, they died just before the verse was revealed. There is no blame on them. So again, see how integration could be totally opposite of what the verse means, unless one is careful.
Chapter Two in the Quran. Another final example of this, in chapter two and verse 115.
It deals with the direction of prayers.
And it says find them at one professor modula. Wherever you turn your face, there is the presence of God. I think we made the mentioned two programs back to this misinterpretation by some audiences that they say, on one hand, the Quran says pray towards Mecca. On the other hand, it says you can pray anywhere, you know. But there's absolutely no problem at all with both of them. Because the reason for revelation of that verse is that one night, the prophet was with a group of people, it was dark. And they were, they started to pray. So they prayed with him. But because of the darkness, apparently they did not all face the same direction, there were some different lines of confusion on
that. And they were wondering whether their prayers is void as a result of this. So the verse came and was revealed, to show them that they tried their breasts in the darkness, but that prayer is accepted. But that doesn't mean that if I know that this is the proper direction for prayer and karma, that I can tell the other way around. So these are examples that perhaps help to amplify the issue. That
unless one studies carefully the reason for revelation, he could have erroneous understanding he could see contradiction, which is not there. Yes.
Discussions, we've dealt mainly with the meaning and the importance of this science. The next question is, I think we should be looking at this whole question of the scope. What is the scope or the limit on what one may call the reason for revelation? Okay, one way perhaps of approaching scope is to eliminate things which does not belong, that might help delimit.
For example, the scholars of the Quran say that
if the Quran said something about the previous nations, in the past past history, we cannot say that this verse was revealed that this is the reason for revelation.
In other words, it was not an incident that took place in the lifetime of the Prophet and the Quran came to comment on it, it simply tells a story about what happened in the past. An example of this, there is a one short surah in the Quran, it's called the elephant, which the basically with the story of the abraha, the king of Ethiopia, who came once with elephants, to try to destroy the Kaaba, and that God says the karma, miraculously. Now, that happened in the year when Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him was born. It's not it was before his mission as a prophet. Now, one cannot say that this surah was revealed because of that incident. It comments with something that
has already passed. So that could be outside of technical meaning of reasons for revelation.
On the other hand, to go to the other extreme, some people also
may have the wrong impression that each and every verse
The over the over 6000 verses in the Quran was revealed, commenting on a given event. That's not true either. There are so many verses Yes, that has been revealed in connection with certain events, but not necessarily everyone. But that's going to the other extreme.
just to clarify
some of the misinterpretation that sometimes people might make, it was truly narrated
that some of the companions of the Prophet like Ali, and implements
were said to have said that there is no verse in the Quran that was revealed, except that I know
in what subject or topic it was revealed,
even if this
report, excuse me, are authentic.
This is simply the style of the herbs when they talk about these things. slight exaggeration, they don't really mean each and every verse in the Quran has a reason for revelation, it means simply that we care about doctrine, we really try our best to understand it fully and chase all the reasons for revelation for those verses, but it doesn't simply mean that each and every verse has a particular
incident that it's comments on.
Is there any criteria that we might have used to verify a particular incident was in fact the reason for revelation of a given passage or, or passages of the Quran? Is there anything we should take that can be used? Yes, there are a number of yardsticks, and I just mentioned some rather quickly now because maybe when you get to the topic of Hades, and how the saying of the Prophet were preserved.
This is a subject of very meticulous and detailed study, but basically,
the scholars would have to be very strict
about the narrator of the story. Okay. Is the narrator credible, in terms of truthfulness, in terms of good memory?
Is there any good reason to believe that this is a genuine genuine story, because, for example, if a narrator say I heard so and so and we know that
he was not living at the same time when that so and so was living, then of course, it says question mark.
In addition to the narrator's they analyze also the content of the story itself analytically, there is something erroneous in it historically, or any gap. And then, of course, one would not accept that as reason for revelation.
On the other hand, if for example, a person say I heard that through a companion of the Prophet, then, again, that might be a bit more stress, because the narrator,
you know, communicates or narrate directly through someone who was an eyewitness, to the prophet or to that particular incident. So there are lots of very critical and strict criteria I should say, that the scholars of the Quran apply before they say, Yes, I think we can comfortably say that this is connected with this verse or relate historically. That's the reason of Revelation.
In this particular area, what happens if there are two different strong antidotes that are referred to which are reported to be the reason for for revelation of the same verse? Which one is to be accepted? Okay, if there are two strong stories or let's say credible stories in different degrees,
then the first criteria to apply a first criterion I should say to apply would be to look at the wording.
Does the narrator for example, say that this is the reason for the revelation of x passage in the Quran? Or does he say that this verses was were revealed with respect to Sansa? nessa let's take a look at that was revealed in respect to such and such.
Now, if the narrator say it has revealed in respect to such and such people, does not necessarily mean that this is a reason of Revelation. If you saw that this verse was revealed in respect to attitudes of people who are believers, unbelievers or whatever,
then he does not necessarily mean that this was something happened and nonetheless was limited, but he says, it deals with that topic or it deals with that particular issue. But when the narrator say that such and such incident happened, so this verse was revealed, well, that's a different story. So that would be that story, of course, would be that would have to be taken as the more acceptable.
Now if you have,
excuse me two stories,
which are both credible,
and both say that this is the reason for revelation,
Many times they are also reconcilable, and give you a practical example of this that Dr. Salah mentioned also in his book.
And when narration for example, it says that a companion of the Prophet by the name of arson
asked him another companion to go and ask the Prophet, what would be the verdict? If a person for example, is the only witness to his wife committing adultery and there is not the required for witnesses, for example, this is what will happen. Now, if he kills one or both, he will be, you know, capital punished capital punishment if he kept quiet man What, what can he do now? And there is no way that he can produce witnesses.
some, when one story it says, in respect to that particular incident, or as a result of this question, a verse was revealed in Surah number 24, which deals with the topic, so called emiliana. What procedure to be followed in a case like that, and, you know, denial, then the witnesses of the wife can also negate Aspen's accusation. I mean, it's an involved law. But anyway, they say the verse was revealed in respect to that.
But in the meantime, we find that in a very credible source in the same credible source, Bahari is the most important source of prophetic same
It talks about another Companion of the Prophet actually was sitting with the Prophet, and he mentioned that about his wife. And the Prophet threatened him and said, Unless you produce witnesses, you will punish you for giving an unsubstantiated witness.
And again, it says As a result, the verse was revealed. Now the reconciliation of both, but it is quite evident, or quite possible that both
stories took place, and across time. In other words, somebody came and asked the Prophet, what should be the role in that situation? And the Prophet was waiting for revelation.
And before the revelation came, another person came and says, what should be done in that case, and the Prophet would have to apply the rule until a new rule is revealed.
So both of them could have happened, but the verse came simply after the second incident. So again, you can easily reconcile both stories. I hope it's clear, yes. Okay. Another aspect also Another possibility is that the stories need not necessarily be in conflict. Because a verse as some scholars say, could have been revealed twice to remind Muslims example.
In the Battle of
when the uncle of the Prophet Hamza, a very courageous Muslim was mustered.
Muslims were warned that even if they have victory over the unbeliever, they should not punish, excessively, they should not, you know, mutilate the body as they mutilated the body of Hamza, the uncle of the Prophet.
in another narration, also it says that, when Muslims conquered or went back victoriously to Mecca,
this verse was revealed.
Well, there is no reason according to some scholars why it was not worth twice to remain Muslim. It reminded them in the Battle of no don't exceed the limits, even if the enemy is cruel. And when they went to Mecca victorious and became powerful, it reminded them again, the same verse revealed to remind them don't exceed the limits and don't just take revenge. So this is another way again, where the stories can be easily
reconciled. But in any case, as some scholars also say that if there are two credible
narrators or stories, you can also take the more credible one. It is accurate, for example, that the story that comes in Buhari
must have gone through much, much more meticulous and careful gratification in this country than, than others. So there's, there's no problem really of trying to reconcile and understand this. Okay, well, how about the other side of the coin, now the reverse situation where you have more than one verse in the Quran is reported, but it's related to a single given incident.
That happened also, but that again, does not mean at all that the two stories are in conflict because an incident could happen. And then one verse would come to reveal how to direct Muslims with respect to one aspect. A short time later, another verse, maybe in another chapter also could be revealed and
also deal with another angle of the problem is not difficult at all. Let me give an example where there are even three verses dealing with the same subject.
It was narrated, for example, that almost Helena, the wife of the Prophet, peace be upon him.
once asked me, she said, O Messenger of Allah.
Why don't we hear much about, you know, praise of women in the Quran. Everything is mentioned in the near term why nothing is mentioned about women.
Now, there are three
related stories about verses that were revealed in response to that question in different sources, but all of them are relevant example,
in chapter three, verse 195.
So 145 I believe festa De La Habra home and Nila or the army, the army, Mimi coming back around says it talks about delivers, and it says that God,
listen to this application or prayers, that I will not cause to be lost the good deeds of any of you, male or female, you proceed one from the other, which is again that there is no difference in the sight of God between male and female, you all proceeds from each other's male case proceeds from a female and the male proceeds from the middle of the process of the production. So the reward is the same for both.
Its second story, very relevant. And chapter four, verse 31. Well, that's a commando ma Ba ba ba ba, ba ba says, Don't always try to be like jealous or aspire to what Allah or God has given some of you more than others. In other words, God has distributed talents and qualities between people, he might have given you something more than he gives me. Another aspect, he might have given me a little bit more than you do, but we supplement and complement each other, and we should not be always trying to change our nature. And actually, he got to the context of the verse, because it deals also with male and female, it means that if God has given females, certain qualities, different from men, sometimes
even more advantageous in some areas, like more love and affection, which is very needed for the children, he might have given many
different qualities, it doesn't mean that each one of them should be jealous of the other or try to be like the others, and then try to change his nature to be like a woman or the reverse, that one should be proud and try to develop the best that God has given him. And that again, is very relevant to the question of die from the Prophet. A third one, very relevant. In chapter 33, verse 35,
very important verse in the Quran, about again, the nature of possession of male and female, and in the sight of God,
which begins in meaning I will not be natural and Muslim enormously chooses male and female gender, the believing men and believing women, these are the men who submit to God and the women who submit to that men who first and women who have asked them keep repeating men and women, men and women. Again, that's very relevant, because it addresses the question that some people might have had in mind that, since the address is largely in the male gender, it means that women are excluded that says it doesn't, that they weren't in the position before God is the same for male and female. Now, all these three stories are very much related to the same question and there is no reason why not
To answer the question in different ways in different times different security, why not?
Well, how do I relate to various incidents affecting the continuity of topic within the within the Koran, this itself actually one aspect of the miracle of the Quran, because as we have covered in some detail in some previous programs,
in terms of the analysis of the Quran, the way it was revealed 114. So it has chapters being revealed, not necessarily
in order so that you finish one chapter and move to two and move to three and so on. But many times you have more than one chapter at the same time incomplete. And then a certain passage is read and the Prophet says, All right, according to the direction of the angel of Revelation, put that passage in this chapter, between this verse and that verse, and continue over 23 years and at the end, you find the complete harmony within the chapter of the topic and deal with between one chapter and other. That itself is a sign for us that this book could have never been written by him. Not only in terms of connection of meaning, but as mentioned before, also even the style in the flow and the
of the Quran. Actually, this is one of the luckiest than simply having all three verses dealing with one question being revealed in the same sort of case. On the other hand, a humble personal reflection on that also is that the Quran is not like a book of science again, just saying are they for that topic? Or that question here is the answer that you find in that part is the Quran is to be recited frequently and remind us constantly. So by having some of these angles or some of these aspects, dealing with the same question, distributed also in different sources. It keeps reminding us and whenever
Exactly whenever we study the Quran always find something to understand. And
the reason why I asked that question is because many orientalist claim that some parts of the Quran do not seem to be connected. And I wondered if perhaps I could get you to comment a bit on on the grounds for their claim. That claim actually is related to the topic, in fact, of this
reasons for revelation. Let me give you a couple of examples of what they normally say. And sure, again, it is their lack of understanding of the connection really, rather than any inherent difficulty with the Quran itself.
For example, it was narrated by historian that's one of the people of the book by the name of Cabot Masha visited Mecca.
And that visit took place after the historic Battle of Badr, in which the pagans had a very sounding defeat, even though they were much more powerful than Muslims.
And he actually came because he wanted to add I was people to fight Muslims. I was done the pagans of Mecca.
So they sat down to discuss with him and he said, you know, you, you're a person, a paper of the book and you received scripture. What do you think, is on guidance? We are the Muslims, that is we the pagans, or the Muslims?
And he's just like to please them said, No, no, you are more guided than those Muslims. In other words, paganism is better than monotheism. That's basically what we're saying, even though he's himself, a person who belongs to the people who received the Scripture,
as a result of this verse was revealed in chapter three, verse 51,
which, you know, condemned this kind of attitude and it says, How could people who have been receivers of the scriptures of monotheism in the past, tell the pagans that they are better than monotheism that's better than Muslims even.
And then after the that section that deal with this kind of condemnation, all of a sudden,
you find that a verse says, in that sin 58 in the La Jolla motor command, tribal and energy law, Allah commands you that you should give trust today, there are people, you should give the trust back and be honest about it.
And of course, many oriental she would say, what's the connection between a story like that, and their moral teaching about giving trust?
While the connection might not be apparent, but when you really think about trust in Arabic language,
does not mean that you deposit something with me and they give it back to you. It means also that I should be honest, if I'm entrusted with knowledge also, I should not conceal this knowledge or disperse it, which means also, that this person who gave this erroneous answer, he knew the truth. He had the trust, because he knew that monotheism definitely is far superior to paganism, but for his own personal purposes, he realizes he did not fulfill his trust.
So this is one example of the the what some orientalist mistake and he says, Well, what is the connection here between the verses but again, that is because of the lack of knowledge of the reasons for revelation which ties these various topics? It's interesting to notice that these stories are separated by six years. In other words, from the moment that person lays that question, yes, to the time when Muslims went back
and other verse was revealed. You notice there are six years and still the continuity of the topic, and the style is perfect.
Jamal would have to stop at that point. Perhaps we'll come back next week and then examine further examples of this aspect. We want to thank you all for being our guests and watching the program and invite you back next week. Assalamu alaikum peace Biondi.