“Do they not ponder the Quran?. Or do they have locks on their hearts?” (47:24)
The opponents of Islam will normally quote one or two verses out of context such as “and kill them wherever you find them” (2:191) to prove their conviction that Islam is a religion of hate and terror, and that its followers are akin to satanic worshippers for no true GOD would have sanctioned such teachings…
The problem is that the ignorant amongst the Muslims, as well as their self-appointed leaders, will fall into these sort of traps and even agree that they are ‘commanded’ to kill all Jews and Christians or that they are ‘commanded’ to beat women who are disobedient, or that they are ‘commanded’ to amputate the hands of thieves, etc..
All these problems come from the inability of Muslims and their self-appointed leaders to study the Quran as it was intended to be studied, and thus they risk turning the book of guidance and light into a book of horror and crime!
This article, unless GOD wills otherwise, will seek to point out what may be already obvious to some in studying the book of GOD and how to avoid making incorrect conclusions and then blaming them on GOD.
Stating the Obvious
To the average reader of the Quran, the first glaring observation that he/she will make is that the ‘subject matters’ are scattered about in the book with no logical reference. For example, the history of the Children of Israel is heavily recorded in Chapter 2, but then different snap-shots from the same story are found in Chapter 7, Chapter 20, and elsewhere in the Book.
In fact, the only single subject that has not been scattered throughout the Book is that of Joseph in Chapter 12 where his story is given sequentially and in one take…
The structure of the Book is one of the main reasons that people turn away from studying the Quran for themselves and they opt to have others ‘explain it’ to them, while they simply become content with ‘reciting’ the book to gain favor with GOD and extra credit…This lazy approach is what opened the door to various leaderships to exploit the masses through the myriad of self-appointed scholars who emerged over the past 14 centuries to be GOD’s ‘spokesmen’ and to tell the people what GOD wants them to know or do (where ‘god’ in most cases is the leader and his ideology).
In fact, the situation has become so comical that various dictatorship regimes who have glaring human rights abuse records, continue to print and distribute copies of the Quran to their people and even to the world!
Origins of the current Quran order
In the game of disinformation and confusion, Muslims have been taught by their self-appointed scholars that the prophet died without having completed the compilation of the Quran…
The story then goes that a ‘committee’ was organized by Abu Bakr (the 1st leader after the prophet) to gather the Quran into one book…The story then places doubt in the authenticity of the Quran claiming that the scribes had debates as to what belonged where, and after having some doubt over the sequence of certain chapters (is chapter 9 a continuation of chapter 8, or is it a separate chapter?, are the last 2 verses of chapter 9 authentic or not?, etc..).
The end result of this disinformation is twofold:
- It creates ‘doubt’ in the authenticity and structure of the Quran.
- It gives ‘special authority’ to the scribes and people of that age (if they complied the Quran and you accept it wholeheartedly, then why would you reject the other writings of Hadith and tradition that they made?).
Of course, all these lies are denied and eradicated by the Quran itself, where it states that the order of the verses/chapters were given to the prophet under ‘divine instructions’ from GOD:
“And if We place a verse in place of another verse, and GOD is more aware of what He is revealing, they say: 'you are making this up!'. Alas, most of them do not know. Say: 'the holy spirit has sent it down from your Lord with truth, so that those who have faith will be strengthened, and as a guidance and good news for the Submitters'." (16:101-102)
Why this ‘Jigsaw’ Puzzle?
While most Muslims live and die without ever confronting the above question, the students of GOD Alone know not to leave a stone unturned in their pursuit for knowledge and in their use of the faculties of sight, hearing, mind, and heart that GOD Has bestowed them…
The answer comes directly from GOD’s Book regarding the nature of the Quran, and that it has been ‘designed’ the way it has to ‘identify peoples inner intentions’, and to reveal those who do not believe in the hereafter from those who do believe:
“He is the One who sent down to you the book, from which there are firm verses; they are the mother of the book; and others which are of a similarity. As for those who have disease in their hearts, they will follow what is of a similarity from it seeking to make an ordeal, and seeking to derive its interpretation. But none know its interpretation except GOD and those who are well founded in knowledge. They say: 'we have faith in it, all is from our Lord'. And none will remember except the people of understanding.” (3:7)
The ‘firm’ verses are the ones where the message needs NO extra work and where the verse carries no ambiguity or loss of information on its own (e.g. GOD is One, honor your parents, do not commit adultery, do not lie, do not steal, do not be a tyrant, do not oppress, etc..)…While the ‘similarity’ verses are mixed into the Book like a jigsaw puzzle, and where people who follow them without taking them into proper context risk committing crimes under the guise that ‘GOD Had ordered this’ (this is where the majority are today in fulfillment of the prophecy that there is a ‘disease’ in their hearts).
Do all people need to Study the Quran?
Most people will not have the time or effort to study the Quran as it deserves to be studied…Therefore, it is important to mention from the outset of this article that simply sticking to the ‘firm’ verses as mentioned in 3:7 is ENOUGH for the people to be able to walk the Straight Path.
"Those who have faith, and those who are Jewish, and the Converts, and the Nazarenes, whosoever has faith in GOD and the last day and does good works, then they will have nothing to fear nor will they grieve." (5:69)
If these people believe in GOD Alone and lead a good and righteous life, then they will have nothing to fear nor will they grieve.
The Phases of Quran Study
Now that we have given a background, it is time to move into the subject of ‘how to study the Quran’:
The first point of contention in the study of the Quran must be 'language'...Many of the 1 billion people who state to be Muslims have been informed that the Quran can only be recited or read in 'Arabic' and that any translation will not give the proper meaning...The flip-side is that these same self-appointed scholars will then tell Arabic speakers that the Quran is 'too complex' for them to understand and that they should leave its understanding to the experts!
Of course, the Quran itself says that language is NOT a barrier to its understanding as its is GOD who is making it understood to people who open their hearts (and not the language).
"If we made it a non-Arabic Quran they would have said, 'If only its verses were made clear! Can it be Arabic and non-Arabic?'. Say, "For those who believe, it is a guide and healing. As for those who disbelieve, they will be deaf and blind to it, as if they are being addressed from faraway." (41:44)
GOD's Book is unlike any other book on earth as it is subject to His system and His laws which state that only HE can make it understood if HE desires to do so (not the language or qualifications or expertise of the reader).
"This is an honorable Quran. In a protected book. None can grasp it except the sincere. A revelation from the Lord of the universe." (56:77-80)
2. Arranging the Quran in Order
This is the core element which has been lacking from Muslims for many centuries…The ability to ‘arrange’ the Quranic verses by order of subject/topic to seek its meaning. The Quran itself speaks to us about making such an arrangement under the command of ‘Ratil’.
“Meditate during the night, except rarely. Half of it, or a little less. Or a little more. And arrange (Ratil) the Quran in its arrangement (Tarteel).” (73:2-4)
‘Ratil’ is an Arabic word which means: ‘to arrange things of similarity together’.
For example: a series of tanks lined together is called ‘Ratil Dababat’ (an arrangement of tanks)….We do not say ‘Ratil’ in Arabic if the things together are not similar (i.e. if the series included cars and planes and tanks, the word ‘Ratil’ cannot be used).
Therefore, if you wanted to know what GOD Has said about the subject of ‘divorce’, you would begin by taking all the verses which speak about this subject and are scattered throughout the Book and ‘arrange them together’ (Tarteel).
3. Derive a meaning from the verses
Now that you have placed all the verses that deal with a topic side-by-side, it is time to move on to the next step which is ‘to derive a meaning’.
“Your Lord knows that you meditate during two-thirds of the night, or half of it, or one-third of it, and so do some of those who believed with you. GOD has designed the night and the day, and He knows that you cannot always do this. He has pardoned you. So, understand (Iqr’a) what you can of the Quran. He knows that some of you may be ill, others may be traveling in pursuit of GOD's provisions, and others may be striving in the cause of GOD. So, understand (Iqr’a) what you can of it, and establish the Bond, and bring forth the Purification), and lend GOD a loan of righteousness. Whatever good you send ahead on behalf of your souls, you will find it at GOD far better and generously rewarded. And implore GOD for forgiveness. GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.” (73:20)
The word ‘Iqra’ means: ‘to relate/understand a meaning’. Unfortunately, as with the word ‘Ratil’, this word has been lost in its usage to simply mean ‘recite’. ‘Iqra’ is derived from ‘qarana’ which is to ‘put things together’.
For example: When a person is reading the news from a piece of paper or teleprompter, that person is ‘Yatlu’ the news (not qar’a or iqr’a)…However, when a teacher is relating to his students the concepts of relativity in physics, he is ‘Yaqra’ the lesson (relating its meaning) to them.
4. Be Aware of Pitfalls
The phase of deriving a meaning from the Quran’s study is the most difficult since there are many factors that can alter the true meaning of the text, some of which are:
Not having all the verses on the subject (the missing of one verse can give a different conclusion to the reader).
Using a mistranslated or misused word in the verses (the example of how Ratil/Utlu/Iqra have been misused and misunderstood is a good example of this and gives the wrong meaning).
Not having sufficient awareness of the subject being studied (if a man who has never seen a river or sea, nor studied them, tries to piece together the verses which speak of the water cycle and the mixing of the salt and fresh water, then he may not get an accurate understanding).
It is also during this ‘understanding’ phase that Satan will exert the MAXIMUM effort to interfere with the derived meaning:
“So when you understand (qara’at) the Quran, you shall seek refuge with GOD from Satan the outcast. He has no authority over those who have faith, and who put their trust in their Lord. His authority is over those who follow him, and set him up as a partner. “ (16:98-100)
This is where people need to have ‘maximum faith’ in GOD Alone and not be scared or confused if what they are reading or understanding does not conform to what others have said or taught for years or centuries…This is why we need to seek GOD’s help in helping us understanding the correct meaning…for without Him we would be truly lost.
5. Relate the meaning to ‘examples’ in the Quran
When you are deriving a meaning, you should be fully aware of the ‘stories’ given in the Quran which most times give a live account of the usage of a law or how to act in a specific situation…
“We relate to you the best stories through what We have inspired to you this Quran; and before it you were of those who were unaware.” (12:3)
The stories of the Quran are NOT meant to be there for entrainment, but have been selected by the Almighty to drive home many lessons for those who pay attention…
“And We have cited for mankind in this Quran of every example, but most of mankind refuse to be anything but a rejecter!” (17:89)
Pay Attention to other’s explanation / Follow the ‘Best’ meaning.
Now that you have derived a meaning from the Quran on a subject, you need to listen and pay attention to what others may have similarly derived and analyze any mistakes you may have done…
“And when the Quran is being related, then listen to it and pay attention, that you may receive mercy.” (7:204)
The benefits of comparing understandings is very clear to people who have followed this approach before… you may have missed a verse out, or misunderstood a word, or not noticed the live example given in the Quran, etc..
Once the various understandings/interpretations are being related, the people of GOD Alone will follow the BEST meaning derived and not let their ego stand in the way of truth:
“Those who listen to what is said, and they follow the best of it. These are the ones whom GOD has guided; these are the ones who possess intelligence." (39:18)
Be patient, and remember who the ‘true’ teacher is.
Before you walk away thinking that you can change the world with this new found knowledge of the Quran, you must REMEMBER who is in charge and who it is that is doing the teachings…
“Then High above all is GOD, the King, the True. And do not be hasty with the Quran before its inspiration is completed to you, and say: 'my Lord, increase me in knowledge'.” (20:114)
We are here on this planet to serve GOD Alone and walk in His path…not to serve our own agendas and our own egos:
“You Alone we serve, You Alone we seek” (1:5)
You now should have the necessary tools to educate yourself on the Quran’s system and method for deriving meanings…Try to make this a habit of seeking the answers for yourself through the guidance of GOD Alone…Do not be quick to ask ‘others’ what GOD says regarding this or that matter, but try to establish the Bond with GOD directly yourself…It is only through this self-awareness that people can have a defense mechanism against the ignorance and lies and hate that are continually being spewed out by falsely attributing them to GOD’s name (be He Glorified!).
Also, do not be surprised if others cannot understand what you are explaining to them using the Quran…it is a book unlike any other on this planet…and it is a book where not all people who can read are allowed access to its information:
“And when explain the Quran, We place between you and those who do not believe in the hereafter an invisible barrier. And we place shields over their hearts, that they should not understand it, and a deafness in their ears. And if you mention your Lord in the Quran Alone, they run away giving their backs in aversion.” (17:45-46)
Finally, remember that your enemies wish to keep you as FAR AWAY as possible from the power of knowledge and liberation contained within the Quran…Will you let them win!
“And those who rejected said: ‘Do not listen to this Quran and make noise in it, that you may win.” (41:26)
AN EXAMPLE OF UNDERSTANDING THE QURAN
Now that you have read all the above steps, we will take an actual example of how this is put into use…We will deal with the issue of ‘theft’ in the Quran.
The first and most obvious verse that deals with this subject is5:38...below are some literal translations:
YUSUFALI: As to the thief, Male or female, cut off his or her hands: a punishment by way of example, from Allah, for their crime: and Allah is Exalted in power.
PICKTHAL: As for the thief, both male and female, cut off their hands. It is the reward of their own deeds, an exemplary punishment from Allah. Allah is Mighty, Wise.
SHAKIR: And (as for) the man who steals and the woman who steals, cut off their hands as a punishment for what they have earned, an exemplary punishment from Allah; and Allah is Mighty, Wise.
The above seems as clear as day...just 'cut off their hands' and the matter is done!
In-fact, this is the law carried out by the Sunni and Shia in their respective countries under the guise that 'GOD told them to do so!'
Let us put the study of the Quran in practice and bring together the verses which use the word 'theft', 'cut', and 'hand':
Theft: 12:70, 12:73, 12:77, 12:81, 60:12, 5:38.
Cut: 7:72, 69:46, 29:29, 8:7, 22:15, 13:25, 5:38, 12:31, 12:50, 7:160, 7:1245:33, 2:166...
Hand: 3:73, 5:64, 17:29, 27:12, 2:237, 24:40, 5:28, 2:97, 38:45, 7:124, 43:30, 12:31, 60:112...
The first observation when looking at these verses is that the word (qat'a) which is translated as 'cut' can also mean 'stop' (29:29, 13:25). The second observation is that (yad) which is translated as 'hand' can also mean 'resource' (38:45). The third observation is that the words 'cut & hand' also occur together elsewhere in the Quran to give the meaning of 'marking the hand' (12:31).
If we were to simply stop here with gathering the verses 'Tartil' and then attempting to derive the best meaning 'Iqra', then we would conclude that 'marking the hand of the thief' is the proper context for 5:38 and it still retains the meaning of the words used.
However, if we complete the process and move on to step # 4 above, then we find a 'live example' of theft being given in Chapter 12...The story of Joseph (12:70-79).
12:74, "They said: 'what shall be his punishment if you are not truthful??"'
12:75, "They said: 'the punishment is that whomever it is found in his bags, then he shall remain as punishment. It is such that we punish the wicked'."'
Here we are given new light on the matter...Joseph's brothers state that 'detention' of the person is the punishment...not the 'marking of the hand'.
Now we can see which words to use in the translation/ understanding of the verse on theft:
"The male thief, and the female thief, you shall cut from their resources as a punishment for their crime, and to serve as a deterrent from God. God is Almighty, Wise." (5:38)
As such, you are detaining the thief from his/her job of theft, and making them remain in prison or as a worker until the person 'repents and reforms':
"Whosoever repents after his wrongdoing and makes reparations, then GOD will accept his repentance. GOD is Forgiving, Merciful." (5:39)
This is how a proper meaning is derived, and how the law of GOD shines through in its pure form...Had we not gone through the required steps of study as prescribed by GOD, then we would have committed an irreversible crime of amputating people’s hands as the Sunnis and Shia have done due to their blatant disregard for the structure of the Book of GOD pointed out in 3:7.
Written for www.free-minds.org