Thus, no one can be Muslim, or a believer in the Qur’an, without at the same time believing in all the other divine books, just as no one can be a Muslim or a believer in Prophet Muhammad without believing equally in all the other prophets of God – May God Almighty bless them all.
God Almighty is one, says the Qur’an. He has neither a parent nor an offspring, says the Qur’an. There is nothing and no one like him, says the Qur’an.
God is truth, says the Qur’an.
According to the Qur’an, God is love, beauty and grace, just as he is also a God of wrath, power and vengeance. He confers upon humans all they need. But he also holds them accountable for what they do or don’t do – both here in this world up to a point, certainly after death in full measure.
Sin, says the Qur’an, is individually earned by everyone, throughout one’s life, and not automatically inherited at birth by the entire human race. Therefore, says the Qur’an, the only way to God’s forgiveness is for individuals to turn to God directly in repentance, and not through the intermediacy or advocacy of other individuals like themselves, whether they are lay people or part of a priestly hierarchy.
God chose to communicate with human beings through the prophets – May God’s blessings be upon them! Abraham, Noah, Jesus, Moses, David, Solomon and Joseph, and many others in every land and culture and among every people of the world, were all prophets of God on earth. May God Almighty bless them all!
When they lived, they were the guides, teachers, role models and law-givers to their people. They were the way to God, the gateway to heaven. And no one could go to God except through them.
Prophet Muhammad (may God bless him!) was the last prophet of God and his audience was the whole world, for all times to come. His teachings, therefore, combine the timely and relevant teachings of all other prophets of God – May God bless them.
Therefore, to believe in Prophet Muhammad (may God bless him!) is to believe in all the prophets of God everywhere and in every age. Just like to believe in the Qur’an is to believe in every divine book that God ever sent down in this world at any time and in any place.
Not History or Science, yet a Sourcebook for Both
The Qur’an is not a history book, but it provides some of the best insights humanity has about the past. Nor is the Qur’an a science book in the ordinary sense, even though it gave us some of the most advanced laws of modern science as early as the 7th Century.
The Qur’an is not a legal treatise, but it provides the foundation for some of the most important laws by which humanity runs its life today. The Qur’an is not a political, military or economic manual or textbook. But based on all the important principles it lays out in all three of those subject areas, it might have been.
Based on what the Qur’an teaches and where the world was when the Qur’an first made its appearance into this world – over 1400 years ago – it is fair to say that the story of the world, ever since, has been pretty much a story of the world trying to catch up with the Qur’an, albeit reluctantly, grudgingly, at a snail pace and, sadly, without giving the Qur’an any credit or recognition.
Some Salient Teachings of the Qur’an
The Qur’an tells human beings to love God and at the same time also to fear and obey him. And it asks them to treat their parents with respect and their neighbors – even chance encounters – with kindness.
“Fulfill your obligations and contracts!” the Qur’an tells the believers.
The Qur’an commands people to tell the truth and be just and fair to all people under all condition.
The Qur’an says people must work together with others based on what may be common ground among them.
The Qur’an tells the people to cooperate with others in all good things, but refuse to give anyone any cooperation in all things that may be bad. “Do not give anyone your cooperation,” says the Qur’an, “in anything that may be sinful.”
Similarly, says the Qur’an, “Refuse to cooperate with anyone if it is about committing a sin or an act of aggression against others.”
“Read!” is how the Qur’an began its message to the world. Today, after the passage of 14 centuries, the world is living a reading and knowledge dream, if not in the quality at least in the quantity of what it reads.
“How can those who know and those who don’t know be equal?” asks the Qur’an.
“If you don’t know something, go ask those who do,” it says.
Qur’an Literacy: An Urgent Imperative of the Times
Therefore, in the present turbulent times when everyone is saying one thing or another about Islam and Muslims, and about the Qur’an itself, it makes perfect sense for people to pick up a copy of the Qur’an today and read it for themselves.
Since Islam and Muslims have become a world phenomenon in recent past – more than ever before – it is time for the world to become Qur’an literate.
And do so, as the Qur’an says, in the pursuit of truth, fair treatment and justice for all and not for the promotion of personal agendas or for committing verbal, mental, economic, financial, physical or military aggression on others.
© 2007 Syed Husain Pasha
Dr. Pasha is an educator and scholar of exceptional
talent, training and experience. He can be reached at DrSyedPasha [at]
AOL [dot] com or www.IslamicSolutions.com.