A Book Called the Qur’an
The Qur’an is the complete, unedited and unadulterated book that he brought from God. The Qur’an exists to this day in its original form and language, every letter and dot in it exactly the same as during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.
What the world doesn’t know is that the Qur’an exists in its first draft format in our hands to this day. That means what we have in our hands today is the first draft and first edition of the book that he brought from God and left behind – unrevised and unedited.
That means the Qur’an today exists in the same form it first came out of the mouth of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, 1400 years ago. Its first draft was also its last draft.
And it exists in the same original form to this day. No one edited or revised it; no one changed or tampered with it; and no one added anything to it.
It is the same Qur’an we read today – all the 1.5 billion of us Muslims in the world (1,500,000,000) today, from Europe to Asia and from America to Africa and Australia – that Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, and his noble Companions read 1400 years ago.
Thus, anyone can see how every detail associated with the Qur’an is a miracle in its own right.
A Mother Source of All Divine Teachings
The Qur’an is thus a mother-source of all the teachings that Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, received from God Almighty. At the same time, many of them were also the same teachings that were brought by earlier prophets of God before him and were contained in their books.
But sadly many of the teachings of other prophets had by now mostly disappeared in their original and complete form, leaving behind little more than fragments, imitations, substitutions and approximations of the originals. The Qur’an came and vouched for them.
The Qur’an affirmed and authenticated those left-over teachings of earlier prophets and rejected those that were interpolations and add-ons by others after them.
This Qur’an now, as it was at all times, the greatest sourcebook of Islam – all of Islam, from beginning to end.
Qur’an: A Miraculous Blueprint for World Progress
And this Qur’an remains open, beckoning and available to all humanity in all parts of the world to come to it; to read it with a mind that is open and free from prejudice and hate of all kinds; and to make use of its teachings to build a better life for themselves, their societies and peoples and for all human beings everywhere.
However, what needs to be clearly understood today, and what needs to be openly and fearlessly acknowledged, is the fact that the Qur’an presents the world with a perfect blueprint for its progress.
That means all the progress that the world has made over the past 1400 years, since the departure of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, from this world, in any good sense of that expression “progress,” is the result of the world following the teachings of the Qur’an.
The world progress thus is the result of the various peoples, societies and individuals of the world embracing and implementing in their lives and affairs the teachings of the Qur’an. The sad part, however, is that the world has mostly tended to do so without acknowledging its debt to the Qur’an or Islam.
Or, for that matter, to the Muslims.
It Is God Who Keeps the Qur’an Going
The Qur’an continues to exist in its original form and at the same time continues to exert its inexorable influence on the world for one simple reason: because God almighty himself undertook to protect and preserve the Qur’an in all forms and aspects.
So, the Qur’an continues as God’s last, final and eternal living testament in this world. And it shall stay with humanity till the end of time.
Innaa nahnu nazzalnaz zikra wa innaa lahoo la-haafizoon, is how the Qur’an itself records this manifest and unambiguous divine undertaking to protect and preserve the Qur’an. Paraphrase: We revealed it and we shall protect and preserve it.
Among some of the most unique features of the protection and preservation of the Qur’an on earth in its pure and perfect form are the following facts, which no unbiased observer can deny or question:
The Qur’an always existed in written form.
Countless people memorized the Qur’an from cover to cover in all ages and societies and they continue to do so to this day.
Practically every Muslim everywhere recited – and continues to recite to this day – parts of the Qur’an in daily prayer or worship routine, at the bare minimum of five times a day.
Muslim communities everywhere gathered, and continue to do so to this day, in one or more area mosques every night during the month of Ramadan to do a complete recitation of the Qur’an from cover to cover.
A Miracle Called the Sunnah
When Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, died, Islam was a done deal. It was complete and perfect in every sense and in every aspect. The world had received, embraced and implemented the message of God in its life.
And a complete society consisting of several generations of young and old had come into existence that was as complete a personification of the teachings of Islam in every single aspect of its life as it is possible for any human society to be.
Thus, Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, left the world with two aspects of his Sunnah – or model or example or record and practical illustration of his ideals and teachings – fully alive and accessible to the world.
One called Hadith. The other called Ummat.
Hadith was a comprehensive compilation of as complete a record of his life – sayings, teachings and doings – as humanity has ever been able to assemble of anyone, anywhere at any time.
And the other called Ummat was the human embodiment of his teachings and sayings – and of the Qur’an. It was a vibrant, powerful and dominant human society and state that was as complete a personification of all that he taught, preached and practiced as it is possible for any society or state in the world to be.
Simply stated the Ummat was Qur’an and Sunnah come alive in human life: in the life of Muslims as individuals as well as in the form a full-fledged society and state with all their social, political, economic and so-called “religious” institutions, models and practices.
The Miracle of Hadith
Hadith is what the world can neither contemplate nor fully comprehend. For, it is a miracle in its own right.
For, the Hadith is nothing short of a complete, word by word, record of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam’s, life and teachings.
Hadith is all primary, eyewitness account of everything – repeat everything – that Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, ever said or did. Nothing like Hadith exists about anyone or anything in this world.
What the world doesn’t know about Hadith is that it is all primary data. It is not a set of interpretations or conclusions by historians or scholars. All of human history on the other hand is mostly analysis, interpretation, conclusions and findings by one or more historians at one time or another.
That is why and how Hadith is completely and fundamentally different from any and all historical documents and their sourcebooks.
That is why I maintain that the only true history in existence anywhere in the world is the Hadith. Just like the only true, error-free, book in existence in the world is the Qur’an.
Everything else is guesswork or patchwork or reconstruction or approximation. And subject to error.
That is what Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, left behind. He left behind the Qur’an and the Sunnah.
The Sunnah in turn consisted of the Hadith as well as a composite Ummat of multiple generations of Muslims that embodied the Qur’an and Hadith in their individual and family lives as well as in their society and state as a whole.
That was the miraculous legacy of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, that lives to this day.
A People Called the Ummat
The Ummat is the body of Muslims who, generation after generation, personify the Qur’an and Hadith in their individual and collective lives – in their families; in their society; and in their state and its institutions.
The Ummat is thus the human side of Islam and it acts and behaves very much like human beings on earth generally do.
As a result, the Muslim society and the Islamic state that Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, founded right here on earth have, on the one hand, scaled great and unimaginable heights of success, achievement and glory. On the other hand, they have also gone through all the inevitable vicissitudes, decay and degeneration that human society is heir to over a period of time.
Rendered fragile by internal weaknesses and subjected to never-ending assault and aggression by external forces, the Islamic society and state that Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, created, nurtured and bequeathed, fell prey to physical fragmentation, moral decay and intellectual shallowness and rigidity.
Today, even though the Ummat continues and the world is full of Muslim communities and societies, they are at best a pale and, in many instances, formless shadow of their original self.
They all live what they perceive or claim to be a Muslim or Islamic life, of one kind or another, to one degree or another. They are all happy and proud of who they are and what they do. Each of them represents a shade of Islam they say they are and of the fragment of Islam they claim they own.
But these are at best partial and anemic imitations of the original model left behind by Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam. And they are removed, by different degrees, from the true and comprehensive teachings of the Qur’an and Hadith.
Islam Lives On
And yet, in and through these fragments of the Muslim Ummat, as individuals and societies, such as they are, that Islam lives on. For, in spite of all their imperfections and ineptitude, they all aspire and work to implement the teachings of Islam in their lives.
At the same time, Islam also lives on through the Qur’an and the Hadith of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, in our midst, free from all imperfections as they are. They continue to shed their blessings on the world.
And they continue to flash a steady and unblinking divine light along and at the end of the tunnel of misery and despair in which humanity finds itself.
Islam is thus alive and well.
And it continues to be vibrant and thriving, even as it awaits a better day for humanity to dawn – a day when Islam will be embraced not just by some but by all, and not just in shards and shreds but in its glorious totality and fullness.
The world awaits a day when Islam will be implemented not just in some selected parts of the world but all over the globe. A day when Islam – and God of Islam – will make life on earth better for all human beings regardless of race or religion, gender or nationality.
So, Islam lives because the Qur’an lives. And Islam lives because the Hadith lives. And Islam lives because the Muslim Ummat is around.
And the world of God is continually blessed by their existence, whether anyone knows this or not and whether anyone acknowledges it or not.
© 2010 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.