So, here is my paraphrase of the above quotes from the Qur’an:
- And he teaches them the highest levels of knowledge – Al-Kitaab.
- And he shows them the operational details and procedures of how to translate those higher-level concepts and ideas into practices of everyday life – Al-Hikmah.
- And he builds their character and purifies their motives, thoughts, life and behavior and prepares them for the challenges of handling truth and being role models for humanity – Tazkiyah.
Thus, Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, showed tens of thousands of his Companions, as he called them, men as well women, in practice how they should go about doing all this in real life. He thus provided a practical demonstration – personification – of everything that he preached.
What a Miracle Indeed!
And God picks an unlettered man, as the Bible calls him, from an illiterate culture, in a desert like Arabia, at a time when books were rare, libraries rarer still, printing presses non-existing and education itself was not available and often forbidden to most but a privileged handful such as the royalty, the nobility and the clergy?
What a miracle indeed!
But isn’t that what miracles are made of? Seemingly impossible outcomes generated by an unlikely configuration of seemingly improbable events?
Let me show you in the Qur’an what a true miracle is really like.
Read the story of Moses in the Qur’an – that is right, I said “in the Qur’an” – and you will know what true miracles are made of. Read below my paraphrase of that miracle as narrated by the Qur’an.
Wa laqad mananna alaika marratan ukhraa.
Idh auhainaa ilaa ummika maa yooha.
fal-yulqihil yammu bissaahili,
Ya’khuzhu ‘aduwwul lee wa ‘aduwwul lah.
Wa alqaitu ‘alaika mahabbatam minnee,
Wa li-tusna’a ‘alaa ‘ainee!
Here now is a paraphrase of that story of Moses in the Qur’an.
“And don’t forget, Moses, that we did you a favor on another occasion.
That was when we told your mother:
‘Throw him in a casket.
Then toss the casket in the sea.
The sea shall then deposit him on the shore.
An enemy of mine and his will then recover him.
And I wrapped around you a blanket of love from me.
And we did all this so that you can be reared and perfected right before my eyes.’”
Now, ladies and gentlemen, what do you think of this as a formula for bringing up your favorite children? Hand them over as infants to your worst enemies, and keep a close eye on them as they are being reared, nurtured, educated, socialized and trained by them!
No, the Qur’an does not say: “Please do not try this at home.” But I am sure some of us would be tempted to add that.
So, you want to know what a real miracle is like, go to the Qur’an.
The miracle of God selecting an unlettered man, Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, to be an educator to humanity is no different from God selecting, earlier, one of his worst enemies, Pharaoh, to be a foster-parent, teacher, mentor and guide to one of his most beloved prophets, Moses, may God bless him.
Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam,
Personified the Qur’an in His Life and Character
So that is exactly what Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, did:
He personified the Qur’an in his life and character.
In other words, he was a walking, talking, living, breathing Qur’an in flesh and blood.
No one summarized this better than his wife, Aa’ishah:
Kaana khuluquhul Qur’an, she declared.
Paraphrase: He personified the Qur’an in his life and in his conduct.
Of course, God Almighty himself had painted the same portrait of his beloved messenger, to his beloved children, of his beloved creation, Adam, earlier, but with a much broader brush.
Wa innaka la-‘alaa khuluqin azeem, said the Qur’an.
Paraphrase: And what a marvelous character you possess!
And what could be more marvelous than to personify the whole Qur’an in his life, as Hazarat Aa’ishah had put it?
What a glorious miracle!
And Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, prepared those tens of thousands of his Companions for the rigors and blessings of it all by cleansing, purifying and elevating their minds, souls, bodies, clothes, abodes, food, drink and every thing else about them.
What a miracle!
Thus, he was not only a teacher and a mentor in an abstract or academic sense, but also a complete practical guide and model who helped humanity to cross the bridge between theory and reality; between precept and practice; and between the world of mere ideas and the challenges and ambiguities of real life.
Here, once again, is how the Qur’an summarizes these most amazing facts about the role of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, in this world:
Wa yu’allimuhumul kitaaba wal hikmah. Wa yuzakkeehim.
Allah’s Creation Comes in Pairs:
So Does the Kalimah Tayyibah
God Almighty’s creation does come in pairs. And a judicious juxtaposition of the positive and the negative is among them.
If the Kalimah, as it is generally called in many parts of the world, short of Kalimah Tayyibah, meaning blessed and beautiful expression or speech, comes wrapped in a twin pack of negative and positive, it is not unlike many other things in God’s big and beautiful creation.
For, Allah says that he arranged his creation in sets of pairs.
Here are his words in the Qur’an: Wa min kulli shai-in khalaqnaa zaujain.
Paraphrase: With regard to everything, we created pairs.
So, the Kalimah is not all that different.
First comes the cleaning of the heart and mind and body and soul of all spurious, false and rival commitments and loyalties and allegiances and walking away from them. Then, that is followed by a positive assertion of one’s new commitment to God Almighty.
And him alone.