Lesson 7: The World View of the Holy Qur’an
Before anything else, we should study the intellectual and cultural environment from which the Holy Qur’an arose.
From the point of view of all historians, the Hijaz was among the most underdeveloped and backward areas of the world at that time. During the Age of Ignorance, the people of this area are referred to as savage or half-savage.
From the point of view of ideology, they were very firm worshippers of idols and stone and wood statues had cast their disgraceful shadows upon all of their culture.
They even say that they made statues and idols out of dates and they would kneel before them but at times of famine, they would eat them.
They held great hatred for female children so that they buried them alive and they called the angels, the daughters of God! They thought that God was just like a human being.
They were very surprised by the idea that a person should only worship One God. When the Holy Prophet invited them to worship the One God, with great surprise, they said,
أَجَعَلَ الْآلِهَةَ إِلَـٰهًا وَاحِدًا إِنَّ هَـٰذَا لَشَيْءٌ عُجَابٌ
“Has he made the gods (all) into one God? Truly this is a wondrous thing.” (38:5)
Whoever spoke against their superstitions and their myths were called liars and insane.
They were ruled by a very firm tribal system and the differences and disputes among the tribes were so extensive that the wars among them never ended and time and time again, they colored each other’s environment with blood, creating blood baths. They were proud of their plunder and considered it to be part of their daily activity.
The number of people who could read and write in the area of Mecca, the center of commerce, could be counted on one hand and it was very rare to find scholars among them.
Yes, in such an environment, an individual who could not read and write and who had never had a teacher, arose and brought a book which was so full of such content and meaning that after 14 centuries, the scholars are still busy with its interpretation. Every age discovers new truths in it.
The image that the Holy Qur’an gives of the world of existence is a very accurate and exact one: monotheism is presented in the most perfect form. It expresses the secrets of the Creation of the earth, the heavens, the night and day, the sun and the moon, plants and the existence of the human being, each one as a sign of the One God in the various verses and with a varied form of expression.
Sometimes, it goes into the depths of the human being and speaks about the unity of the primordial nature:
فَإِذَا رَكِبُوا فِي الْفُلْكِ دَعَوُا اللَّـهَ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ فَلَمَّا نَجَّاهُمْ إِلَى الْبَرِّ إِذَا هُمْ يُشْرِكُونَ
"Now, if they embark on a boat, they call on God, making their devotion sincerely (and exclusively) to Him; but when He has delivered them safely to (dry) land, behold, they give a share (of their worship to others)!” (29:65)
Sometimes it speaks of the intellect.
Sometimes it reasons from the unity of the intellect and relies upon the journey through the horizons and souls: the secrets of the creation of the earth and the heavens, animals and mountains and seas, rain and breezes and of the body and spirit of the human being.
When speaking about the Qualities of God, the most interesting and the deepest form of expression is selected.
The Holy Book says:
لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ
“There is nothing whatever like unto Him...” (42:11)
هُوَ اللَّـهُ الَّذِي لَا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ عَالِمُ الْغَيْبِ وَالشَّهَادَةِ هُوَ الرَّحْمَـٰنُ الرَّحِيمُ هُوَ اللَّـهُ الَّذِي لَا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْمَلِكُ الْقُدُّوسُ السَّلَامُ الْمُؤْمِنُ الْمُهَيْمِنُ الْعَزِيزُ الْجَبَّارُ الْمُتَكَبِّرُ سُبْحَانَ اللَّـهِ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ هُوَ اللَّـهُ الْخَالِقُ الْبَارِئُ الْمُصَوِّرُ لَهُ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَىٰ يُسَبِّحُ لَهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ
“He is God. There is no god save He; the Knower of the unseen and seen; He is the Beneficent, the Most Merciful. He is God; there is no god save He; the King, the Holy, the Peace-loving, (the bestower) of conviction, the Guardian (over all), the Ever-Prevalent, the Supreme, the Great absolute!
Hallowed is God from what they associate (with Him). He is God, the Creator, the Maker, the Fashioner; His are the Excellent Names; praises Him whatsoever is in the heavens and the earth; and He is the Ever-Prevalent, the All-Wise.”(59:22-24)
In expressing the Knowledge of God and explaining His Unlimitedness:
وَلَوْ أَنَّمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ مِن شَجَرَةٍ أَقْلَامٌ وَالْبَحْرُ يَمُدُّهُ مِن بَعْدِهِ سَبْعَةُ أَبْحُرٍ مَّا نَفِدَتْ كَلِمَاتُ اللَّـهِ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ
And if all the trees on earth were pens and the ocean (were ink), with seven oceans behind it to add to its (supply), yet would not the Words of God be exhausted.” (31:27)
وَلِلَّـهِ الْمَشْرِقُ وَالْمَغْرِبُ فَأَيْنَمَا تُوَلُّوا فَثَمَّ وَجْهُ اللَّـهِ
“To God belongs the Face of East and the West: whichever way you turn, there is the Face of God …” (2:115)
When words are spoken about the resurrection and it denies the polytheists:
قَالَ مَن يُحْيِي الْعِظَامَ وَهِيَ رَمِيمٌ قُلْ يُحْيِيهَا الَّذِي أَنشَأَهَا أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ خَلْقٍ عَلِيمٌ الَّذِي جَعَلَ لَكُم مِّنَ الشَّجَرِ الْأَخْضَرِ نَارًا فَإِذَا أَنتُم مِّنْهُ تُوقِدُونَ أَوَلَيْسَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ بِقَادِرٍ عَلَىٰ أَن يَخْلُقَ مِثْلَهُم بَلَىٰ وَهُوَ الْخَلَّاقُ الْعَلِيمُ إِنَّمَا أَمْرُهُ إِذَا أَرَادَ شَيْئًا أَن يَقُولَ لَهُ كُن فَيَكُونُ
“He says, ‘Who can give life to (dry) bones and decomposed ones (at that’)? Say, ‘He will give them life Who created them for the first time! For He is well-versed in every kind of creation! The same who produces for you fire out of the green tree when behold! You kindle therewith (your own fires)!
Is not He who created the heavens and earth able to create the like thereof? Yea indeed! For He is the Creator supreme of skill and knowledge! Verily when He intends a thing, His Command is, be and it is!” (36:78-82)
يَوْمَئِذٍ تُحَدِّثُ أَخْبَارَهَا
“On that Day will (the earth) declare her tidings. “(99:4)
الْيَوْمَ نَخْتِمُ عَلَىٰ أَفْوَاهِهِمْ وَتُكَلِّمُنَا أَيْدِيهِمْ وَتَشْهَدُ أَرْجُلُهُم بِمَا كَانُوا يَكْسِبُونَ
“That Day shall We set a seal on their mouths. But their hands will speak to us and their feet bear witness to all that they did.” (36:65)
وَقَالُوا لِجُلُودِهِمْ لِمَ شَهِدتُّمْ عَلَيْنَا قَالُوا أَنطَقَنَا اللَّـهُ الَّذِي أَنطَقَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ وَهُوَ خَلَقَكُمْ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ وَإِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ
“They will say to their skins: ‘Why bear you witness against us?’ They will say. ‘God has given us speech, (He) Who gives speech to everything: He created you for the first time, and unto Him were you to return.” (41:21)
The value of the knowledge of the Holy Qur’an and the greatness of its content and the greatness of its content and the fact that this knowledge is free from any kind of superstition will become clear when it is compared with the altered Bible and Pentateuch.
When we compare these two with each other, for instance, we see what the Pentateuch says about the creation of the human being and then what the Holy Qur’an says.
What does the Pentateuch say about the prophets and what does the Holy Qur’an says?
How does the Bible and the Pentateuch describe God? How does the Qur’an do so?
Here the difference between these two will be made clear.
1. What were the particularities of the environment from which the Qur’an arose?
2. What effect did idol worship have in their thoughts?
3. What is the difference between primordial nature and reason?
4. What is the logic used by the Qur’an in describing the Qualities of the Creator? Give examples.
5. How can one better understand the content of the Holy Qur’an?