Channel: Jamal Badawi
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Assalamu alaikum peace beyond you. We're back for another episode of Islamic focus. Today we have our 28 program in our series dealing with the sources of Islam. We'll be having our first segment in the film with the linguistic miracle of the Quran more particularly Today we'll be looking at the flow of meaning in the Koran. I'm your host, Tamar Rashid and I have joined me on the program with Dr. Jamal betta. We have St. Mary's University, Baba Jamal Assalamu alaykum Allah comes
in so much detail in the title, I almost had my tongue,
a wonderful jamala. Before we get into the meat of today's program, if I could help you very quickly summarize the main points that we touched on last week in our program dealing with a linguistic miracle the graph shows the last program that may be with the precision in the expressions in the Quran. In such a way that there could be no way that one can improve on the selection of words, we have seen that what may appear as an extra word or an extra letters, or just a synonymous word that another word could ever replace this is not true, and that there is absolutely nothing extra, nothing less. In the Quran. We spoke also of sometimes what may appear like dropping the word here
or there that should have been in the sentence. But again, we found that there's very good reason behind the style of the Quran, concluding that there is absolutely no room to replace one word or even one letter in the Quran without using the effectiveness and the eloquence of its expression. And said that there is no human writing whatsoever that we know of, that can claim to have absolutely no room for even the slightest improvement or editing. That is all of consistent high quality from the A to Z. And that becomes even more amazing if we realize that the Quran was revealed to the Prophet spontaneously, he did not sit down to sink and dry it and collect and edit
and delete this and add that it all came despite of himself. And that shows that the Quran cannot be explained by way of human phenomena it must add divine revelation.
Have you comment on the apparent lack of cemetery and some of the passages passages of God when there have been some orientalists also and those who are not totally familiar with the Quran, who, for example, point out to the fact that in some cases, the passage in the Quran would be using a singular and out of the seven years a plural form. A very clear example of this is in Surah, two in Isaiah 257 a lot when you look in a manual.
It says Allah is the protectors of those who are believers.
He brings them from darkness. And the Arabic word he is below math is a plural. You cannot detect that in the English translation because in English, it's a trance, darkness. But there is an Arabic word neural net plural for darkness. So it says God bring them from the darkness says if you were to light.
Now, many people again would see that like you indicated as a certain lack of symmetry Why? In one case it is poor on the other one it is similar. But if you look at it carefully, you'll notice that
whenever the Quran refers to light, which is a symbol of truth, it always uses the singular. Why? Because the ultimate truth. Exactly and when you can't have two contradictory or different ultimate and final truth You must be one. So light is referred to in the singular. What as darkness which refers to falsehood could be a different variety. You know, people would have their own ways and people have different thinking. So if one deviates from the truth as of the Creator, he can follow variety of ways. So darkness actually is more appropriate to express in
plural sense. So this is something like I said again, where it's a subtle difference that only by reflecting further on the Quran, one can discover that every word is split in its
Well, let's turn now to an examination of the the flow of the meaning of the Quran. Some writers have claimed that there are there's doesn't seem to be any apparent connection between the various passages of the same source or chapter in the Quran. Would you shed some light on that issue? Sure, this is a common thing that many oriental especially people write encyclopedias and books that sounds authoritative for the western reader. But unfortunately, as I'm speaking, and the the basic complaint like you indicate is they say the Quran deals with a whole variety of diverse subject that doesn't seem to make you a consistent whole altogether.
And that leads some of them to get a number of interpretations, all of which are erroneous.
Some REITs have said that maybe the reason why the Quran deal with so many subjects is to reduce the boredom. So just talk about topics that do not fit, just so that the reader the reader cannot, does not get too bored because of constancy or monotony of one subject.
Other said that it is mainly to keep the aim of the Quran. As if the Quran sacrifices the consistency of meaning just to maintain beautiful and varying Brian, just to
make the readers enjoy reading it.
The majority of particularly orientalist has given another reason you said maybe that lack of apparent consistency or time between the topics, diverse as they may be, is because not the Prophet himself, but because of his companions after him. That is when the companions put together or compiled the various parts of the Quran. Don't just put it in a haphazard manner. No doctor does comment on all of these, quote unquote erroneous explanation. But as far as historical facts that we know, the Quran is today in the exact same orders, in the exact same precise covering of the topics, as revealed to Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him and as he directed the companions to put and as he
himself was directed by the engine of evolution to predict So in other words, the whole basis for this kind of interpretation is not to the one founded. So that leaves us with only one of the things if these excuses are not correct, historically.
That it is true that the Quran is lacking in this question of connection between the diversity of topics it deals with,
or that those who came up with this conclusion dealt with so in a haste, did not study the Quran in sufficient depth, and try to understand the Quran in its own context, rather than in the context of other conventional books, which I believe to be the case when you speak of the Koran in its own context. But what do you mean?
When you say the Quran is a unique book.
It is not like any other human authored book, because it's not human.
It's not basically a book of law, even though it contains law. It is not basically a book of science, even though as we have seen in several previous programs, it includes many statements that science discovered only recently. That's not basically a book of science. This is on chemistry, this is on physics, this is on geology. It is not basically a book on geology, or political science or economics, even though all of these things are included.
If the Quran was like in other human authored books, then those writers will be correct. Because we are used to say write this book deal with that subject. And then even within that subject, there is one chapter dealing with one aspect. So you finish with that and move on to another one you don't repeat.
The Quran, above all, is a book of divine guidance to guide humanity in all aspects of their lives. And it's not only just guidance, it's a book also to be ready for worship, for moving the heart and moving or stimulating the mind. And imagine somebody reading the one chapter or surah in the Quran dealing with nothing but low was nothing but economics and use that in the matter of worship. That's not really the nature and the style of the Quran. As the hermit Rashid Rida, one of the prominent writers on the Quranic revelation say that
the Quran were altered in the way some of those academics are oriented i think is best. The Quran would have lost its measures and distinctive characteristics as a book to move the heart and to guide
The human beings, that the thing that should be remembered also is that many of those orientalists and critics,
they come normally from a Judeo Christian background. And of course, they are more accustomed to the chronology that you find in the Bible which starts all the way from the story of creation, down to the Old Testament prophets, you know, down to New testament to the disciples of Jesus and so on, and their works. And even if they were not necessarily influenced by the style of the Bible, which is basically a chronology of history.
They are raised up in an environment, which tend to divide life into compartments, separate compartments, this is politics, this is religious, this is more than
so even if they tried to be feared in the writings about the Quran, both seem to understand
the Quran, the Quran and Islam genuine, does not accept this compartmentalization of human life into these separate compartments. The Quran makes no distinction, essentially, between the nature of worshiping God in terms of basic rights or rituals, or worshiping God in the political arena, or social arena or economic aspects. So the morals, the social, economic, all of them, mesh together, they intermingle. They fail to understand that Islam is basically a complete way of life, and that is reflected in the Quran, trying to harmonize and integrate all these aspects of life in one integrated whole. And as a result, you may find that even in a small passage in the Quran, a few
verses, the word verse is not quite accurate, but usually people refer to that, in the very small part or portion you find discussion of moral teachings, social organization, the stories of the Prophet, but not uncommon stories for the sake of history, but take certain lesson out of that story. So the main point I'm seeing here, what I mean by the Crown's own context, is that one cannot impose another alien framework within which to understand the Quran, one must understand the Quran within its own framework within its own context. And keeping in mind also, both the micro and macro levels of understanding. When used the words micro or macro, most people when they hear those terms,
think of economics.
Perhaps you could explain to us what you mean, when you talk about the micro and macro approaches to the understanding of the clock, what it applies to economics and Investor Relations. Well, it sounds like a big term that basically simply refers to looking at something very specific in detail, versus something on a larger or more broader framework. But maybe to adapt a little bit, or adapt from Doctor jazz, with some
modification. Perhaps, he says that if you try to examine a beautiful painting,
if you examine it simply by looking at one specific person, a couple of square inches, you might say that that small part is beautiful. It's nicely designed. It has beautiful colors. But if you just keep focusing on the micro level on this, one small segment of the painting, wouldn't say I can't see even though it's beautiful, how does it fit with other beautiful pieces? How does it fit with other square inches.
The only way that you can appreciate how these parts of the turtle painting fit together is not to get too close. But you have the macro view to get back far enough so that you can look at it as a whole. And this way, you can appreciate the beauty of it, you can appreciate how the various parts fit together, we will take the totality of the painting, the same thing you can apply when you examine a beautifully designed piece of yarn, you can apply when you look at some kind of arabesque design mosaic. Again, taking small part doesn't make sense, but you look at it as a whole, then you can get a better perception and better appreciation. Now I'm not trying to say that we should
evaluate the Quran in the same way we evaluate a painting because these are human made the paintings or the land whereas the Quran is basically divine revelation so we can make completely correct analogy. But and just to make the meaning closer to our minds, if you also look at the Quran, in terms of one specific segment, one small part of a surah or chapters, quote unquote, a few verses, if you will,
we might say right, it makes sense. It's beautiful, like
discussed last time, it's very precise and expressions on, but how does it relate to the various topics to use diversity of the areas covered in the same shorter or the same unit of the Quran. But again, you need to do the same thing you have to go back
and examine the integrity of the surah or unit of the Quran. And only then can you see the flow of movement held in various parts that otherwise may not look connected, in fact to connect very nicely with each other. So this is your first of all, no
notion from the idea that the Quran was just conducted in in a haphazard way. Yes, it has a unique style, but it's not haphazard at all.
There are viewers and others to follow it more fully appreciate your point. But how about an example to illustrate this a little bit further? What examples are numerous In fact, there are volumes on that, that I just chose one, summarized one. And I'm summarizing that also, in the book by Dr. Oz, for example, and about lobbying or the omnious views, which deal with the authority of the Quran, he spent about 50 pages, just commenting in a very summarized way about the second Surah in the Quran, the crowd called her Bukhara, number two,
the main thing to notice here is that this is a big challenge that he took upon himself, because he did not take a small chapter, or soda, which is composed of a few
verses where he can say, Alright, you know, we can see, this is the the way it connects, we actually took the longest surah in the Quran 286 passages are included in the same unit. And it deals with a whole variety of topics. But
one way of understanding its connectedness, is that he says basically, it has an introduction for basic objectives that the surah conveys, and a conclusion, just like, you know, nice and perfect sort of flow from beginning to end,
the entire introduction, which is covered mainly in the first 20 passages in the Quran, or that sir, it's basically an introduction of the Quran, indicating that there is no doubt that in this current there is guidance for mankind. But since it talks about the guidance of the Quran, it started dealing with the attitude and response of people towards the Quran.
And it starts by giving the profile of those who accept it, or who accept or believe in this guidance. And this has good reason also, why did start with the believers, because the last part of the verse says with a limited guidance for those who are a lack conscious or those who are righteous. So beginning to talk about the believers is actually describing those slices paper. So it's almost like, like he calls it a golden bridge, so that you move from one building to the other without the leaders are here, listening to the Quran, noticing that there's any
change in the middle.
And then it deals with the other side. How about those who reject the guidance of the Quran deliberately. So it deals again with a description in that profile, and then a bridge with a third group, who are neither believers nor rejecters, knowing that the Quran is the truth, those who are confused, who are hesitant, and give again, in the profile of those people. Now, having dealt with the nature of the guidance of the Quran, the responses of the three categories of people, it moves on, beyond that introduction to the first objective of the surah. And the first objective is simply to invite the rest of mankind or mankind, to follow the guidance of Allah, the guidance of God as
narrated in the Quran. And this is again, a very nice connection, because you have talked about categories of people in the response to the Quran. And then you ended by inviting everybody to the process through all categories.
Now, in this particular coverage, you find that it talks about believing in Allah,
worshiping Him obeying Him to remember his bounties on us to challenge those who say that the Quran is from human source to produce something like it to discuss the creation of Adam, initially and the purpose of creation. So it's basically connected with the invitation to capacitors. And then it moves to the second main objective of the surah, which is very much related to the first because in the first objective, you're inviting all mankind. The second part of question, deals with the invitation specifically of the so called People of the Book.
Mainly Jews and Christians because they share a lot with Muslims believe in God believe in prophets and evolution and so on. And that is a major part of the surah. And it explains lots of things about the attitudes of the people of the group, the history of the Israelites being a history where we can take lots of lessons from what happened, relating back to the contemporary history during the lifetime of the Prophet,
relating that to the relationship with Prophet Abraham, as a source, or patriarch that is highly respected by the followers of these three major religions, indicating that his religion basically was Islam or submission to God talking about the blessing of his descendants, Isaac, and Ishmael. And that relates also to the peddler or the direction of prayer and why it was changed to the original house, in the garden. In the third objective, we find that there is a nice flow also, you invite people to specify the People of the Book with the invitation to face and then the third part of the sutra, describe what it is that you're inviting people to. And that's a very major part of
the surah Indonesia part of it, in fact, trans, perhaps all the way from 163 to 283,
indicating the nature of Islam that they are invited to believe in Allah as the ultimate authority and sovereignty of the universe. Certain aspects of lawful and unlawful include during economic activities,
things pertaining to criminal law, inheritance, fasting, pilgrimage,
a whole lot of gamut of topics, marriage, marital life, but even when it deals with this, it does not deal with it one topic, it finishes with fasting and never come back to it or pilgrimage. Many times you find the mission so that the nature of complementarity and cohesiveness and interrelatedness of various aspects of life are emphasized when it comes to the first objective of the surah. To indicate again, what is the real motive for people to follow that face. So that's again, connection, which is the fear of God and the love of him and the individual responsibility, and then end with a conclusion, indicating the belief in all the prophets and messengers, ending
with a very nice prayers for God to guide us and to help us to you know, fulfill our duties and so on. And by the way,
this is not the only way that Dr. Dance, for example, is offering to understand that particular
surah in the Quran,
because throughout history, people come up with complimentary but not necessarily contradictory, complimentary ways of looking at things and everyone discovers again, how beautifully those meanings connect with each other, that the meaning authorities who wrote on that subject, including people, like a nicer body, are rising up in an RV and a sharpie, they have written volumes and volumes, trying to show this flow of meaning in the Quran. So to be rather unfair for many orientalist, just to ignore all that literature and just say haphazardly we know that the Quran is this particular without any other, the American in the Quran, really. And in that particular surah. Number two in
the Quran is not necessarily or not only in the way the various parts and the diverse topics include would connect very nicely with each other, the greater miracle even can be understood in lieu of the timing, and the circumstances under which the surah was revealed. Could you tell us something about the the the timing and the circumstances of the revelation? And why you consider it to be miraculous? I consider it to be even more miraculous than the consistency of meaning for the simple reason is that when you look at that surah when you read it, if somebody doesn't have any background historical about it, you can never tell whether that's what
from the surface was revealed all at once, or how long did it take to be multiplied feel that we're just at one time, because doodle flows very nicely. Whereas It is interesting to notice that this surah was reviewed in small parts over a period of nine months, nine years, and not necessarily in chronological order. In other words, one party is revealing the property that he has and put that here and put that there over nine years. But what's even more fascinating is that many of the parts of that surah were revealed actually in response to certain problems, questions raised by Muslims or non Muslims certain events that took place over nine years, and scholars estimated to come to almost
at zero at different
circumstances. The main question here is, which is really fascinating, I would say comfortably miraculous, really,
is that how could a human being over a period of years, also
a part of the Quran, so that by chance, the 80 incidents that took place over this 18 years would fit very nicely to that, at the end of eight years, nine years, the surah comes as an integrated whole.
It's not impossible in case you don't, even if you say that that's human being had a computer up in his head, it's very difficult to interpret it in that particular precision.
What is even more fascinating is that, how could even
know that the unseen, know what exactly going to happen over nine years,
at different incidents, and then the various revelation come to collect and comment on each of those incidents. And then after nine years, it comes as a perfect integrated one, unless the author knows or knew in advance, everything that's going to happen in the future, and that could be known, but the creator's himself
to the characteristics that we've been discussing today applies well to the sayings of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon. Not really, and this is another interesting thing, because if you recollect from the very early programs, and that is awesome several months ago, one basic distinction that was made between the Quran and prophetic scenes, is that even though both of them are basically revelation, in other words, the Quran was revealed to the Prophet and the saying, that the Prophet uttered, the meaning of which at least was inspired into him. So both of them are based on revelation, that there is something really distinctive and different between Quran and prophetic
same, because the Quran was revealed to the Prophet, as it is not only meaning, but in the exact words even that you have to do in the Quran. Whereas the same was just meaning and he used his own words, and the strange thing again, and that could respond to those who may have any question in mind as to whether the Quran could have had any human authorship. Or if the Prophet was the author of the Quran has some mistakenly assume that the strings of the Quran and Hadees linguistically are quite different, quite apart, even though both of them are uttered by the prophet.
So by the same token, as Dr. Dre suggests, he said that if you apply the same thing that we're talking about in the Quran, on the prophetic things, we find that it does not have that characteristic at all. In other words, if you connect the saying of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.
With a variety of topics, like the Quran, it deals with, with a variety of circumstances
in which these songs were made, just like the Quran, and just put it together in any order you like. It is impossible to come up with something which is as cohesive, as consistent and as connected, as we find in the Quran, which is an actual testimony that the Quran
can never be, could have never been a product of any human being can be no human explanation of the phenomenon of
Kony don't know the spread last year, but on the minute or so that we have remaining on today's program. Could you give us another example of the style of Quranic expression, or one of those interesting ones, for example, our parents would like to, particularly in passages nine to one to 94, we wouldn't have enough time doing to go through the details. But you notice here that there are three basic
objectives or elements in that expression, to advise the Jews who are particularly the subject of the verse, to believe in the Quran,
to narrate the response to that invitation, and then to respond to their reply. And as Dr. Dress analyzes Like I said, I wish we had more time to go through, you find that it's quite different from any human writing because in human writing, when we're not we're blaming someone or criticizing someone you could say all the way if you're pregnant, because although it sometimes you have difficulty in shifting and being very fair and impartial. But you find that they are advised to believe in what Allah has revealed. The word even what Allah has revealed, did not say for example, what has been revealed to Prophet Muhammad, because the essence here is that it is divine
revelation. It brings to the attention that as you believed in the Torah, which was revealed from God, you should also believe in the Quran because it also was revealed
from God, it gives a very logical reason because it confirms what remained intact in your turn, and could go on and on analyzing words, the expression, how it splits, how no other words could have expressed the same meaning. It shows again that both the precision of expression as well as the flow of meaning something that's really unique on the close is a fish. And in depth analysis, before you come to conclusions like underwriters, that was conducted haphazardly, only haphazardly demonstrate others in understanding the date or perhaps with some time and labor program can go into more detail than we've had time for in today's program. We want to thank you for watching.
Peace BMT. You