Channel: Jamal Badawi
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Assalamu alaikum peace beyond you. Welcome to another episode of Islam focus. We're continuing with our series dealing with the sources of Islam. Today we have our third program on Quranic sciences. We'll be continuing with our discussion of the reasons for revelation. And we'll begin with the Mexican and Indian revelations. I'm your host, Ahmed Rashid and I have joined me on the program, Dr. Jamal battery of St. Mary's University public, Jamal Assalamu alaikum Mati.
Can I have you very quickly highlight the main points that we touched on in our second program? Last week dealing on the topic of chronic scientists? Should we continue to discuss the reason for revelations of certain verses in the Quran? I will try to answer a number of questions. First of all, what is the scope of what we might call the reason for revelation like certain incidents or questions, but not including past history? And we said that it doesn't mean that each and every verse in the Quran must have had some reason for revelation, there are things that come initially on their own.
We also try to address the question as to how do we know if this is really a reason for revelation? And we said that historians Muslim historians have been very careful in trying to verify and scrutinize the various reports by examining both the narrator and by analysis, analysis of the story itself.
Another question was raised as to what happened in the there is different stories that do not seem to match
about treason or revelation. And again, on that we said that sometimes they are reconcilable. Maybe the same
verse was repeated twice or reveal twice to emphasize certain important concept. But even if the stories are not reconcilable, we said that the basic role, historical, script scrutinizing role is to take the most
trustworthy. And we said that if the story has been proven to be narrated through a companion of the prophet who have seen what happened and is quite familiar with the situation, of course, it would have
priority, or at least the second generation known as tribe, and that is the second generation who learned directly from those companions of the Prophet who were eyewitnesses. Were indicated also that sometimes the same incident may result in more than one verse being revealed. But again, there is no contradiction here, because it could be a sort of elaboration on the significance of the story or the or the incident. And finally, we
those passages for some of those passages that comment on certain events that took place in different times are not necessarily spread in the Quran, in terms of the chronological order of the revelation. But even then we find that the, the sort of the chapter is very much connected, both in terms of meaning and as well as the style. And we gave an example as to some of the points that some orientalist,
were wondering and they thought are irrelevant, as they are connected, or related in the same sort of way try to explain that it's simply that lack of understanding of the proper connection between the various section of the same chapter. Well, this last one is very interesting point. And I wonder if I could ask you, perhaps to give us a couple of examples. In order just to perhaps clarify this point, a little bit more. Okay. Dr. Salah, for example, gives a number of examples of this.
For example, in Surah two or chapter two, verse 189,
we find that the Quran speaks about the stars on you know, the firmament, and they say they asked you or Muhammad about the moon, or the variations in the moon.
And then, it says, answered them that this is the things that God has established that people can measure time. But immediately the next verse, it says, righteousness is not to enter homes, from the back, but righteous This is He who is pious.
Again, they wonder what is the connection between talking about the stars or the various stages of the moon on one hand and talking about coming to homes from the back or talking about matches? What's the connection there?
But by only by understanding the reason for revelation, can one see why they are connected?
There isn't as interpreters indicate is that those who raise the question, were not truly sincere. In other words, the question was not really for the sake of knowing something about the moon, but was just raised sorts of questions, which are mostly argumentative type of questions. And that's why after the question is answered, It addresses the prophets to turn the people that, you know, righteousness is not to get from a back door and just try to make arguments, but righteousness is to, you know, to be pious. And what is more important than asking some times theoretical and irrelevant questions, what is more important that you should devote your energies to is to practice
this stuff out to be to be have to have this quality of God consciousness.
So this is the kind of connection that might not be apparent on the surface. Another example, and the Quran, for example, in chapter 75, in verses 14 to 16.
On one hand, it addresses Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. And to assure him that at the time of Revelation, receiving the revelation, he should not move his tongue too quickly, as he used to do for fear of forgetting the Word of God.
But the following verse says, that you humans, prefer the more immediate think and forget the mod last thing called the hereafter. And again, they say, what's the connection? one speaks about revelation, and the behavior of the Prophet at the time of receiving revelation. The other speaks about people trying to get something very hastily in this ideal, I mean something hastily or immediate. What's the connection there? Well, again, if you look at it closely, you will find that the Prophet when he was hastening,
with the recitation of the Quran for fear of forgetting it, is behaving just like any typical human being who was trying to get the immediate thing or try to focus on the immediate thing. So the West simply assures him says, No, the preservation of the Quran is the responsibility of God Himself. So don't worry, don't behave like human beings who are always hastening for things relax, and the Quran will be completed without any errors without any problem.
A third example,
mentioned by as a machete, one of the greatest writers on the commentaries of the Quran in the past, in his reference also to chapter six, and the Quran, especially verse 26.
On one hand, it speaks about the blessing of Allah, how he provided the human beings with coverage, to cover their bodies or to conceal, you know, that part that private parts.
But again, the verse immediately before that, it says, all mankind, don't let Satan
you know, mislead you, as he misled your parents in Paradise, that's Adam and Eve, that he caused them to realize their lack of glory, or to reveal their, their, the things that they should cover or they wanted to cover. And again, the connection here might not be obvious. But again, was filler thoughts. You notice here that the lack of cover the lack of clothes, itself,
I'm talking about lack of any clause definitely is something shameful that
people try to avoid they consider it degrading, at least I'm talking about a price. average person who thinks that this is not the proper thing really to, to go out with.
Whereas the other verse that deals with the,
with proper Adam and Eve, it talks also about what causes the person really to fall into this shame. That is disobedience of God, just as Adam and Eve disobeyed God, so that reveal the worst and then are revealed there, the thing that they should have been concealed. Now, you too, as humans behave in a similar way, and don't let Satan you know, mislead you. In other words, what you're seeing here is that the Quran as we have seen in several programs before either make analogy of things that are similar contrast are things that are different and unless the person is aware of the reason for revelation of the circumstances, the connection might not be as obvious
when are lost
The program we discussed and you explain for us the circumstances related to the revelation of certain verses.
I wonder if, if that affects the applicability of these verses in their relevance and other circumstances? Well, not necessarily, unless the there is any specification that the verse applies only in that particular situation, which is very rare.
Even though diverse might comment on a certain event, it does not necessarily mean that it's only limited to this kind of event. Just to give you an example, in Surah, 24, known as unknown, the light
and diverse force, for example, it speaks about the punishment of those who accuse chaste women in terms of their honor. And it talks about the punishment and this life and in the Hereafter. Well, you can say that the reason for revelation as known historically, about that verse is that it was revealed into in conjunction with the kind of rumors, the false rumors that some of the hypocrites tried to spread about the owner of the wife of the Prophet, they failed to attack the Prophet, so they tried to attack him and his family.
Now, this is there is a revelation, but it does not mean that other than that case, it's okay to accuse chest women, you know, in terms of their honor, it just gives this as an example, practical, historical example. But it's applicable at all times. The Quran, for example, may be commenting on or containing some of the behaviors of the unbelievers are hypocrites, but again, and describes them and their behavior. But it doesn't mean that this will only those who live at the time of the Prophet, but just describe some kind of, you might say, model,
this kind of behavior of this kind of people. And that is why the Muslim jurist usually use a very interesting statement for that. And they say an eyebrow, the a woman loves lederhosen. That is to say, the more important thing is the generality of the term rather than the specificity of the reason for liberation, that inapplicability should be extended to any seminar.
I want to perhaps that's a very interesting concept for prep. So I can get you to give us an example. To illustrate that a little bit. That point? Okay, well, there are cases, for example,
where the reverse even might be true. In other words, we're talking here, for example, or we have been talking about a specific incident that takes place and then following that incident,
you know, the reverse come into court and to comment on or correct certain aspects of things or answer certain questions. Sometimes the reverse take place that is,
and a verse would be revealed, but the reason could be known at a future time. And this is mainly the verses that deal with some kind of prophecy, if there is any element of prophecy, an example, for example, and this is in chapter 54, in verse 45,
where, and they met compared with where Muslims did not have any encounter, in terms of
physical conflict with the unbeliever, they were persecuted, they were very weak.
And that verse simply says that the multitudes will be defeated, and they will turn their backs.
And as noted in one of the previous programs on the authority of the Quran,
one of the closest companions of the Prophet was himself wondering what kind of multitudes there was no talk about warfare or, you know, multitudes fighting Muslims at that time at all. But later on, in the Battle of budge, when the pagans were defeated, and they started to show their backs, especially running away, and that time the Prophet decided that verse, it is only at this point, that armor understood what that verse reveal previously actually meant. So it could also be the opposite. But again, like I said before is the many times the emphasis in the Quran is not just on the specific incident. But the incident is taken only as an illustration of the basic principles
enshrined in the Quran.
Or some people raised the question and wonder why divine revelation is tied instance, in any event, rather than coming down and as more general teachings. There are a number of benefits for that, because it shows the interplay between the divine and the human. So that Islam is not just presented as a list of beliefs or list of dogmas that you don't think about. It has no relevance to you know, to your situation or your life as a human being. It is not just mere abstract.
Philosophy, but it makes of Islam a living reality and makes the teaching of Islam very closely related to the lives and difficulties and concerns of the people.
Many times also,
this incidents or reasons for revelation
makes it easier and more systematic to understand the meaning of the verse, how can it be applied, it just like indicated in a previous blog and becomes almost like a mini case study that things would be understood correctly.
Another point that schiffman knocked on
sites, for example is that many times in educational techniques, yes, before you give the subject, you try to attract the attention of the listener or the student. So a good teacher, for example, might start asking people about certain backgrounds information, give an anecdote or anything of that nature. And once he starts explaining the theory, it becomes very easy because people can relate it to that example or to that kind of introduction, if you will.
That is why we find
an Austrian who became Muslim. Dr. Muhammad Asad says in his little booklets, he says, Can the Quran be translated. And on page 12, he says, that there is there is no point
of view in the Quran only, or purely in historical context or historical point of view. And He further indicates that the events that relate to the revelation of certain verses in the Quran are only illustrations of the human conditions are not in, in themselves. So the the incident is just an illustration that would help in properly understanding what the verse really means.
But to turn to another related aspect of the reasons for revelation, and that has to do with the distinction between the American and Indian revelations.
Can you explain first of all, the significance and relevance of the distinction between the two? Okay, what to start with
the most trusted, authentic historical references shows that Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, received the commission or the command to carry his mission or the God's revelation at the age of 14.
Now, the Quran was not revealed all at once it was revealed over a period of 23 years.
broadly speaking, we can say that the mission of the Prophet that's after the age of 40, from 40, to about 63,
excuse me was best was basically divided into two major areas, or two major periods.
The first period is known as the meccan period. That is, when the Prophet was preaching in Makkah, that is his place of birth. That continued for about 13 years. And then, after he and other Muslims went through all kinds of persecution and pressures.
And on the night when he was supposed to be assassinated, by a group of pagans. God revealed that to him, and he was commanded to migrate to Medina, which is north east of what is now Saudi Arabia.
Now, once you get there, of course, the situation was different. The atmosphere was more fertile and more conducive and encouraging for his mission. They were already Muslims there among the residents, and among others, migrants went from makhanda persecution. So they the second period has a different kind of
situation, you might say, that is the establishment of a Muslim community, in Medina. So that's basically what's meant by the Mexican in Midian divinations.
Now, while there may be certain reasons,
or certain merit of examining some of the personal or social circumstances about versus that has been revealed, here or there, but on the whole, the science, which is one of the sciences of the craft, the science of distinction between which chapters, or which verse or passages were revealed in the first page or second period,
are very important because it helps us to understand the gradualness
of how the divine revelation came down and the approach the divine approach in trying to help us you know, move and establish
a community of believers.
Well, what criteria or you actually
can use to distinguish between the mechanism and any revelations?
Well, we can say that
it isn't possible to say that there's only one single criterion or yardstick to make a distinction between the two periods. Because again,
this periods were not that distinct as it may appear.
the first 13 years the Quran was revealed in Makkah, fine, however, after Muslims already went to Medina, as we know that towards the end of the mission of the Prophet, they went back to Mecca, victorious. Now, how are you going to classify the verses revealed in Makkah, after Muslim became victorious, that's after some came from Medina for some time, yes. And that's why we find that basically, there are at least three measures, possible ways of classifying this revelation.
One classification, take the place of revelation as the absolute criteria. For example, it says, any verse, or chapter that was revealed in Mecca, would be regarded as Mexican revelation, even if it happens after the Prophet migrates to Medina.
Meanwhile, they say any passage that was revealed in Medina would be considered Medina, or midnight, type of revelation again, regardless of the time frame, because they said, basically, you're really distinguishing between where the specific verse was revealed.
A second classification is to consider the timeframe. And that, in fact, is the one that we're going to adopt the which many scholars actually adopt.
Because they say the basic reason why we have the distinction between the two periods, is that you're really talking about the periods of persecution versus the periods of Muslims settling down in a more conducive atmosphere and beginning to establish their community. So according to that, they say, All right, any verse that was revealed, prior to the migration, of the Prophet from Mecca to Medina, would be regarded as Mexican revelation. Any verse revealed after his migration, even though it might have been revealed partly in Makkah, with regarded as a median type of Revelation, that's a second.
Some people even suggest a third related criterion. And they say that it depends also as to whether they address that verse, the style, seem to be addressing the unbelievers or the pagans in Makkah, or addressing the believers, and people who have the book, let's say, in Medina.
But like I said, it seems that the distinction on the basis of time
prior to migration and after migration seems to make more sense. Now,
Dr. Asana also indicate that sometimes you can even
consider other areas of classification besides these three. In other words, there were other criteria also, to consider the classification of
the two types of Revelation, which perhaps clarify what some of these other criteria might be. Well, very briefly, because just to give you an idea about the magnitude of some of the areas that Muslim researchers have really paid attention to
a great scholar of the Quran by the name of a nicer body Abacus in a nice every
from the 10th century, and the Common Era,
including as many as 25,
areas where you could still classify verses, but this goes into very minor details example.
They say for example,
what was revealed at night, versus what was revealed during the day. These are not necessarily contradictory. It's just additional details. What has been revealed in winter versus what has been revealed in summer,
what was revealed in Medina and carried
by companions, to the Mecca and the reverse.
So in that you can go almost an endless way of even finding details and amazingly enough, you find that Muslim scholars in the past have not even neglected to report what might appear to be even insignificant type of details which are very helpful for us today to really have a more comprehensive study on the Quran.
Allah sounds like a very unique aspect of the Quran, when you can perhaps just a few specific examples that in the remaining time that we have available today's program to illustrate this type of research, certainly, for example, in terms of day and night, most of the Quran was revealed yesterday.
The day, however we find, for example, a report in October, Ronnie,
that Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him once indicated that the surah called Mary, that's from Mary, the mother of Jesus peace be upon him. That's number 19. And the Quran was revealed at night and the occasion is that one of his companions came to him and he said my wife gave birth tonight, he said, All right, tonight also, the surah was a chapter was revealed to me by the name of Mary. So you should call your daughter Mary.
Yeah. So that again, goes into this minute things, again, that this particular service at night.
Similarly, also it was reported in Buhari
that the beginning of surah dispatch, which is what I think 47 and also and had known as pilgrimage, both were revealed at night
and facts fact, almost Anima, the wife of the Prophet indicated as narrated and Muslim, that at times, even they were able to specify the art of the night when a particular passage was given. That's amazing, you know, detailed, historical information. Yes. For example, in chapter nine, verse 118, according to almost selama,
it was revealed, when only one third of the night was left, that's after two thirds of the night, specified time even. In another narration, it was stated that in the very, very late night,
verse 67, of chapter five was revealed to the prophet
in one occasion, even blends the margin are the one who used to call the prayer for the Prophet came to wake the profit for the early morning prayer at dawn. And he found the profit kind. And he said, what make you cry or profit? And he said, Why should I not cry? And tonight, one verse was revealed unto me, and he mentioned the verse, verse 190, in chapter three, which talks about the people who contemplate or reflect on the creation of heavens and earth. And then the Prophet added, Woe to he or she who read that verse and does not really reflect
we find also other classifications pertaining to the time of the year. For example, in Surah 33, or chapter 33, verse nine, we find there is reference that it was revealed that in a very, very cold night
981 was revealed in very hot summer, most of the Quran was revealed why the Prophet was in residence, that's in Mecca, Medina, what we find against specific reports about certain verses revealed in travels or during, you know, various trips that he made. one verse was revealed in Jerusalem in the night of of ascension. So it's amazing. I'm not familiar with any scriptures in world history, where we find such detailed historical information about its preservation and the circumstances even of the revelation.
Very interesting, but, but we've exhausted our time for today, we want to thank you for watching and I invite you back next week and we'll continue our discussion of the Quranic sciences. Thank you for watching. Assalamu alaikum peace be unto you