Article on the Book, "The Essestial Message of the Qur'an"
The Qur'an and the way of The Prophet Muhammad and his teachings are the foundation of Islamic religion, jurisprudence, scholarship and theology. The Qur'an was revealed to the prophet Muhammad over a period of nearly 23 years, both in Mecca and Medina. The recordings of the Qur'an and the prophetic teachings began at this time. Decades later, these were assimilated, compiled and taught. During the period in Mecca (nearly 10 years) most of the chapters and verses related to the purpose and meaning of life on earth and the hereafter. The issues of creation and the supremacy of God were central to many of these chapters. The Medina chapters (generally longer) addressed both spiritual and material matters with considerable emphasis on ways to regulate human life with justice, reason and fair play.
Most traditional commentaries on the Qur'an follow the chapters and verses by expounding upon them. In this book I have chosen topics which are important to everyday life and extracted the relevant verses for those issues with the verses appended at the end of the book. I have found this subject oriented approach helpful for anyone who is interested in exploring the Qur'anic perspective on numerous issues of human concern.
I grew up in the ancient city of Karbala in Iraq where Islamic culture and practices were fully integrated into everyday life, and I took this way of life for granted.
I found that because of the special language of the Qur'an, a mixture of prose and verse which related to the old Arabic culture, it is not easily understandable to the modern reader – even in Arabic. Thus, most classical Islamic scholars discouraged the translation of Qur'an due to these linguistic and cultural complexities. However, I believe that the content of this sacred book of wisdom, signs and metaphors, is exceedingly relevant to human life at all times and in every age. The powerful central theme of the Qur'an is its emphasis on Allah - God as the one source and essence that permeates the entire universe. The Qur'an describes countless dualities emanating from unity and returning back. The success of modern science and technology makes full use of subtle and obvious connections between the tangible material world and that of energies and radiations from beyond.
The Qur'an prescribes the grooming of the ego self and adherence to all the laws and regulations of Islam with specific emphasis on transformational worship so that at all times the human being is aware of divine presence. The Sufi master emphasized the practice of personal and communal dhikr (sacred chanting) which included Qur'an recitations to enhance divine remembrance and awareness of awareness.
Amongst the wonders of the Qur'an are its references to the relativity of time and space. A group of young men remained in a cave for up to 309 years whilst thinking it only a day or two had passed. Also, we are told that one day (a period of time) as far as God is concerned is like a thousand years of human reckoning. We are also told of the Prophet's night journey between Mecca and Jerusalem in a flash of time. Regarding the hereafter, the Qur'an gives graphic descriptions of how human beings will relive all their intentions and actions on earth and find whatever secrets, mischief or good deeds they had committed right there with them. The hereafter reveals that hell and paradise are experienced according to the individual's states.
The Qur'an's essential message can benefit any reader who aspires towards higher levels of consciousness in life without denying any aspect of the material and sensory creation. The Qur'an calls for human compassion, rationality, reason and reflection upon all unknown aspects of creation and the glorification of the creator.
I tried to show in this book that although the outer world will continue challenging us with its paradoxes, uncertainties and complexities, through reason, meditation and prayer we gain access to our soul or spirit within the purified heart. By this integrated wholesomeness human beings will live well in this life whilst fully prepared for what might come in the hereafter.
The Qur'an is a book that one needs to hear, reflect upon and enjoy – unified in head and heart. It is a comprehensive and complete book in covering all what matters in human life, at all times. I hope to have shared with the reader what I myself enjoy and treasure.