IN THE NAME OF GOD, MOST COMPASSIONATE, MOST MERCIFUL
When someone embarks on inspecting some issue: an assassination crime, a plane crash, burglary of a home or office – any event of importance – the first thing they do is to collect observations and data, to make a record of the facts they notice, and then to make deductions concerning the truth of the matter in hand. It is the facts themselves that will convey to us the reality of the event. And that is what I propose to do in this book: I will try my best to collect all the available facts about religion, and then to let religion itself tell its own story, without any intervention on my part, and without imposing any personal assessment. An example of my approach is that I look at Verses (30-31) of Sura 27 of the Qur’an, where we find the Almighty say:
“You be not arrogant against Me, but come to Me in submission to the true religion.”
We find in this simple and direct approach the gist and basis of religion: that the human being may not take other gods beside Allah, for they return to their Creator surrendering only to Him, after their sojourn on earth.
By careful examination of religion, we find that the main thing that Allah requests the human being to abide by may be summed up in two words, justice and doing good: one is required to abide by justice when giving judgement; and doing good in dealing with people.
The big hurdle in approaching religion, however, is that the humans would often formulate
their assumption prior to having collected the data. And this is the slip I will try to avoid in this book – I will try to keep as far from imposing my personal assumption as possible. I will, at the same time, indicate how the data has been gathered and how they have been connected: this, I hope, will help in warding off the imposing of subjective views when developing a conception of religion.
This research, which really took decades in bringing to fruition, focuses on the present crisis of the Muslim society – why and how people seem to grope in intellectual and spiritual chaos.
Let me start by raising my heart-felt thanks to God, for His bountiful grace; and then I pray that peace and greeting be upon all God’s prophets and messengers, on their followers in goodness, for all time, and until the Day of Judgment. I place my trust in God, the Most Merciful God.
I follow in the present research an utterly new approach, with no precedent in the Muslim history – there have been some attempts, apparently similar to this one, but only on the surface. At a deeper level, there is no resemblance between this research and any other previous one.
My purpose in writing this research is to start a first step in bringing truth to the notice of humankind – especially after misleading notions have gone a long way in establishing deluded – and deluding – concepts about the essence of religion, the revealed Books, and about prophets. This has occurred under mottos like ‘heritage’ versus ‘modernity’, rising to the current usage, and intellectual freedom. And when I write now, I write mindful of the rampant evil: how wicked ideas have risen to occupy a dominant place – and they claim to be in harmony with science and religion, while in fact they are no more than the predator wolf in lamb hide. I write when I observe how the religion of God is in the wrong hands, with the result that morality has deteriorated, good values have receded, humans’ behavior and awareness have fallen to a very low abyss.
In view of all the above, I felt impelled to put forth what I could to refute the false doctrines, to expose the misleading ways of false ideologies, to beat their attempts. In this, my progress will be guided by Christ’s saying:
“You do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God,” (Mat, 22:29), and:
“If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed, and ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free,” (John, 8:31-32).
The right way, which I adopt in this research, is to refer to God for understanding His religion: it is in this way that a human will live a serene and contented life on earth.
I am aware of the complex and intricate mass of challenges the modern world poses for us; and I am here contending that we have no way out except through a calm and patient reflection on the situation, to develop some reasonable degree of awareness of the actual reality of humankind. That for one thing, and for the other, we need to reflect long enough on the Mushaf, the Holy Scripture. As for the present book, it will focus on the Mushaf, the Holy Scripture, with as profound reflection as I can manage to muster.
What drives me to choose this approach is that the present state of chaos and sense of loss,
prevalent among Muslims, has accumulated through centuries. After the death of the Messenger, peace be upon him, there soon arose discord, in a location known as ‘al-Saqifah’; and, not long after that there started to surface so many Muslim sects: the Sufis, the Shiites, the Mu‘tazilites, and many others. They proliferated and broke into more subsects, and some expanded – in the end we find that we are no better than what the following Tradition of the Prophet warns:
“You will follow in the steps of the peoples that preceded you: step for step, and span for span – you will follow them even if they enter a rodent’s hole.”
We certainly are far from observing the guidance of a verse of the Qur’an like:
“fear Allah, for it is Allah that teaches you. And Allah is well acquainted with all things,” (2:282).
This is so since Muslims have clung to the teachings of humans like them, in preference to the teachings of the Lord, the All-knowing God.
And so, having chosen the dim way of other peoples, in place of the light revealed by God, we find ourselves trapped there for fourteen centuries. And in our self-imposed restriction, we keep squabbling about ‘intellect’ versus ‘revelation’, ‘tafsir’ versus ‘text’, etc. Scores of sects and denominations have been cropping up, with the concomitant seditious concepts, and unwarranted tafsirs ‘i.e. exegeses’ of revealed texts. This has not subsided, even until today: instead of the One Faith, we have hues and shades of the faith – all grossly in conflict with the superior message of revealed religion and its noble objectives.
These disputes and conflicts have reached alarming proportions – in such a way that even tafsir, fundamentals of religion, the creed, and the concept of religion have come under acrimonious dispute – even our image of God has not been excluded from sectarian discord.
For all this, my purpose in the present book is to take the Word of God as my sole source and
reference, to draw my method from the Books of God, in view of His injunction:
“but no one knows the hidden meanings except Allah. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: ‘we believe in the Book; the whole of it is from our Lord;’ and none will grasp the Message except men of understanding,” (3:7).
As the above Verse directs us, I will adopt a method of ‘grasping’, in light of God’s interpretation: not imposing interpretations on my own – I will especially keep wary of what tafsirs have stated over their long history.
It may be seen how people will be quite deflected from the truth as long as they let themselves be guided by the often-erroneous understanding of their ancestry, with which our memories have been stuffed. The alternative, as I see it, and the way to attaining sufficient objectivity, is that we embark on a new reading, free from external influences, relying on God’s teaching, rather than humans’. No one should take this to be an easy task. It is not. And, besides, people do not respond positively to this approach, for they have lived too long in the wilderness – no matter how vehemently they deny it. Now, when we embark on such a project we need, first, to do all we can to comprehend the verses and Books of God; and, besides, to keep living with these verses and Books until they are completely incorporated and internalized in our life. This is really the right approach in whatever endeavor we take upon ourselves.
So, my intention in this book is to throw a stone into this standing pool.
The basic principle here is that every single word in the Mushaf, God’ Scripture, has its definite and immutable sense – otherwise, God’s discourse will lose its significance.
What worries me is that, despite the great scientific and technological advance, and despite the exciting accumulation of information, and the information revolution, the modern Muslim thinkers have not gone beyond their predecessors: what actually happened is that we witness methods
identical with old methods, albeit in modern molds. This has only led to distorting the message of the Mushaf, despite the modern appearance.
It is then worth our while to inquire what has led to the Muslim world’s losing its way, for fourteen centuries? What is behind the Muslim’s persistent delusion? What prevents us from identifying truth, since truth will liberate us?
Who is responsible for robbing God’s Books of their essence?
We find the answer to the reason behind the world’s losing its way, and the Muslim world’s, in particular, losing its way, in Christ’s saying that humans are cut off from God’s Books, that God’s servants have lost communion with their Creator. This means that God is no longer the center of the human’s effort and attention: there are instead other man-made gods, and they have taken the place of God – though the human being is quite unaware of the disruption of their attachment to the words revealed by God.
The words of Jesus Christ are quite true of the human being: that they have gone astray through losing their hold on the Books. Our next question, then, must be: what Books are there to hold on to, to be safeguarded from delusion? And where can we find those Books? This is the crux of the matter! It is here that we must stop and do our reflection. This is so since everybody is agreed that we have a crisis, but they agree only on this. The next step is not at all agreed upon: the question of what exactly the problem is, and where the way out of it is.
Let us then start from the basic question: What Scripture is in the hands of Muslims?
In encountering this question, we find the Muslims to be deluded, to be at a loss. In trying to answer the question about their Scripture, they would now say: It is the Qur’an, now the Glorious Qur’an, now al-Furqan ‘the Criterion’, now the Sacred Qur’an, and now al-Dhikr.
It appears at the outset that the Muslims cannot be on a straight path: when they are at a loss, first
about identifying the Scripture, and then about its content.
What are al-suhaf al-mutahharah ‘i.e. the purified pages’ (see Sura 98)? How were they delivered to us? What method should we adopt in reading them? How should we comprehend them?
Is the Mushaf just one Book, or a multiple collection of Books? Who does each and any sura address?
With all the questions posed, I embark on my attempt at the answers, and I supplicate to the Exalted Allah, the Omnipotent God, to help me get to the truth concerning all these intricacies.
- What is the Mushaf?
There is a specific method according to which al-suhuf al-mutahharah, ‘i.e. the purified pages’ were revealed, to link the human beings to their Creator; and this method is characterized by having three elements:
- A sender: this is the God.
- A bearer, a courier, and this is:
The angels, the Holy Spirit, Gabriel, Michael, or the Spirit.
- The recipient, and this is:
The Messenger who receives the message, and he, in turn is sent to people who are specified by Allah; they can be specified as:
People, those who have firm faith, those who believe, those who have piety, or Muslims. God does identify His addressees, those who are addressed in the Book: if the addressees are the pious, the believers, those who have firm belief, etc. and the context is most exact in determining the addressees.
We may conclude so far that the trip of the Mushaf has gone along the following route:
The Mushaf: proceeded from God, via the messengers (the angels), via humans (through prophets and messengers, to other humans), to the pious, the Muslims, or to people in general – so
‘that mankind, after the coming of the messengers, should have no plea against Allah’.
It is necessary to realize that God, His angels, and the messengers work as a most harmonious party, that the angels and messengers never disobey their Lord. It is, at the same time, intellectually basic to recognize the distinctions within this team, in order to deal correctly with the Mushaf. When, for instance, we recite in the Mushaf the following words of the Almighty:
“When Moses came to the place appointed by us, and his Lord addressed him,” (7:143), we find two distinct parts to the verse:
The first is: “When Moses came to the place appointed by us,”: this portion is said by the angels, since they had an appointment with Moses;
And the second is: “and his Lord addressed him,”: this notifies us that Moses’ Lord talked to him.
And when the Almighty says:
“We have, without doubt, sent down the Message, and We will assuredly guard it from corruption,” (15:9): this statement is made by the angels, who were the ones to reveal the Dhikr, i.e. the Message, and preserved it, in compliance with commands from God, for they “do not flinch from executing the commands they receive from Allah,” (66:6).
This is, then, the Mushaf’s trip from heaven to earth. It will be in vain to get the message straight, or to understand it, without getting right this intact series – to know every time who is the speaker, who is the addressee, and to identify the messenger who received and conveyed the message.
The Mushaf is then messages from God to His messengers, borne by different couriers: angles, the Holy Spirit, Gabriel, Michael, or the Spirit.
THE RIGHT METHOD OF READING THE MUSHAF:
Should we read the Mushaf the same way as we read any other book? Does the Mushaf follow the rules of syntax, morphology, and rhetoric? Or does it have its own linguistic nature, unlike that of any other book?
Well, no, the Mushaf is not to be governed by the rules of Arabic grammar or its conditions. Its terminology has its own sense, and that sense may come close to, or move far from, the standard domain of the language. But, then, how can we understand the Mushaf, if it is not to be bound by the rules and restrictions of Arabic grammar.
The answer is that the Mushaf abides by the rules of or the method of ‘al-dinul-qayim, i.e. the self-sustaining religion’.
We find in the Mushaf: “Allah! There is no god save Him, the Living, the qayyum, ‘Self-subsisting’!” (2:255); we also find identifying His religion as ‘qayim’, as in the Almighty’s saying: “dhalika ddinul qayim, i.e. the self-sustaining religion” (9:36). This verse tells us that the religion of God, and His Books, are self-sustaining: that they are self-elucidating, having the exact sense of any element somewhere in them. This says that God has not left the door open, or half-open, for anyone to meddle with the utterances or the sense of His Scriptures. There is in them a most strict and decisive system which binds all the parts together, and leaves no loopholes – this system is quite unique, and unlike anything in existence. When, for instance, the Almighty says in the Mushaf:
“As of those who possess the dhikr, or message,” (21:7)
These ‘persons with the dhikr’ are defined somewhere else within the Mushaf: whoever is granted ‘dhikr’ belongs to ‘the people of dhikr’.
And when the Lord says ‘siratun mustaqim, i.e. a straight path’ (2:213), it is for God himself to define this ‘siratun mustaqim’, and He does define it in a most exact manner, that admits of no addition or elimination: you read somewhere else: “Verily, this is My Path, leading straight: follow it: do not follow other paths,” (6: 153).
It must be clear to any reader of the Books of God that each and any word used by Him is to be defined by referring to His books; for their definition is not to be drawn from people’s minds or the books of language.
The Mushaf defies any rules of style that one comes across in the rhetoricians’ treatises. One can ascertain, by carrying out a simple comparison between the Mushaf’s definition of its terms, and their definition in the various exegeses, that most terms used by the Mushaf have been grossly twisted out of context by the commentators, in a way that something like a different religion emanates from their pens, a religion that has almost no relation to God’s religion, as revealed in His Books.
The word ‘al-muttaqin’, i.e. the pious, the devout’ for instance, is accurately defined in the Mushaf, a particular and unique definition; while, if one refers to the exegeses, they will only find distorted definitions that are incompatible with anything stated by God himself.
The Mushaf has its own quality, in a way that two persons read a portion of the Mushaf, and while one is well-guided by it, the other is deluded by it: this same source can guide or mislead. You may read in the Mushaf how this happens:
“By it He causes many to stray, and many He leads into the straight path: but He does not cause to stray except those who forsake the path – those who break Allah’s Covenant after it is ratified, and who sunder what Allah has ordered to be joined, and do mischief on earth: these cause loss only to themselves,” (2:26-27).
As stated above, the current book will abide by seeking the meanings by following the method of ‘aldinul-qayim, i.e. the self-sustaining religion’, the self-elucidating Mushaf, and by adopting this method, we find the following in the above verses (2:26-27):
- By it … many He leads into the straight path.
- By it He causes many to stray.
- ‘those who break Allah’s Covenant after it is ratified,’‘who sunder what Allah has ordered to be joined,’‘do mischief on earth.’ Therefore:‘These cause loss to themselves.’One would be guided, in adopting the above method, by the following verse:“This is a Book, with verses of established meaning, further explained in detail – from One Who is Wise and Well-Acquainted,” (11:1).In this way, we can extract the definition of al-fasiqin, from the Mushaf itself, for it is, as we have seen, ‘of established meaning’ and ‘explained in detail’.You may see the merit of the approach adopted in this book for interpreting the Mushaf, according to the method of ‘aldinul-qayim’, for it definitely puts a stop to the clerics’ monopolizing the comment and elucidation of the discourse of God, and refers it where it really belongs: to the pure and unadulterated spring, the one reliable source.Indeed, not a word, nor a pause, nor a punctuation mark, nor a letter of the Mushaf but is explicit, decisive, being the revelation of the Wise, the Well-Acquainted.The sense one learns from the Mushaf (if it is handled according to the method of aldinul-qayim) is not subject to change with the changes in time, place, or readers. This is how we should understand the notion about God’s religion that it fits all times and all places. It is so since it is the words of the Self-Subsisting, Who is not subject to change, and since this religion is aldinul-qayim, the self-sustaining religion.When we refer to the Verse: “Allah! There is no god but He – the Living, the Qayyum, i.e. Self-subsisting,” (2:255) we find the word qayyum stating that God is Self-subsisting, in need of nothing of His creation; He is also the ‘Sustainer’ He causes the fasiqin, i.e. those who forsake the path, to stray. And these fasiqin are defined as:
of all that is in existence; His life is self-sufficient, not drawing from any external source.
We find in our approach that we may not find the truth of religion by referring to the tafsirs, or exegeses, whose interpretation is in utter disharmony with the sense of religion that we draw from direct reference to the Books of God. It is not in vain, then, that God conferred on His religion the designation ‘al-qayyim’ a derivative that shares the same root with ‘al-qayyum’, which is used in reference to God Himself.
But how can God’s religion reveal its meaning without reference to any other source? How is it ‘qayyim’?
Two mechanisms are operative in connection with the meaning in the Mushaf; the meaning might be:
- Explicit and declared,
- Hidden and mysterious.
- When the meaning is explicit and spelled out, it will be:
- At the very beginning of a sura, right after the word that needs to be interpreted.
Here are some examples:
- “Alif-lam-ra; a Book which We have revealed to you, in order that you might lead mankind out of the depths of darkness into light,” (14:1)
Therefore: alif-lam-ra’ is a Book that has not yet been defined, but the definition will be given later.
Its objective is: to bring people out, from darkness to light: hence it is addressed to ‘people’.
- “alif-lam-mim; That is the Book: in it is guidance sure, without doubt, to those wo fear Allah,” (2:1-2).
Alif-lam-mim: dhalika … We have here the demonstrative pronoun ‘dhalika, i.e. that’, denoting a Book at some distance, not close, with the definite
article ‘al’; it is just one book. We deduce that the denoted book is at some distance.
The addressees are: al-muttaqin: Those who fear Allah.
- “Alif-lam-mim-sad. A Book revealed unto you – so let your heart be oppressed no more by any difficulty on that account – that with it you might warn the erring and teach the believers, (7:1-2).
Alif-lam-mim-sad: ‘A Book’, one book, not yet defined, but will be defined elsewhere.
The addresses are the believers and there are in it guidance and mercy.
Now, by referring to the method of aldinul-qayim, or the self-sustaining religion, we find three different Books, and not just one: We find a Book for ‘people’, another for ‘almuttaqin, i.e., the God-fearing’ and a third for ‘almu’minin, i.e. the believers’.
- In the middle of the Sura; here is an example.
Looking at “Ya-sin. By the Qur’an, full of wisdom” (35-1-2),
We find that the definition of ‘Ya-sin’ is not given at the beginning of the Sura, as is the case in the previous examples, alif-lam-ra, alif-lam-mim, and alif-lam-mim-saad; it is in this case in Verse 69 of this Sura, 35:
“This is no less than a ‘Dhikr, i.e. Message’ and a Qur’an making things clear.” (35:69).
We find in this verse that:
It is = ya-sin = dhikr, i.e. Message’ and a Qur’an making things clear; which continues its designation early in the Sura: “In order that you may admonish a people, whose fathers had received no admonition,” (35:6).
Or the elaboration may occur at the end of the sura, as in this example from Sura 12:
We have “Alif-lam-ra. These are the verses of the prosperous Book,” (12:1) at the opening of the Sura.
And then we find that the Almighty defines the Sura at the end of it: So we have ‘alif-lam-mim, as a sign of the prosperous Book, and it is elaborated at the end of it in this verse:
“There is, in their stories, instructions for men endued with understanding. It is not a tale invented, but a confirmation of what went before it – a detailed exposition of all things, and a Guide and a Mercy to any such as believe,” (12:111).
This is then the definition of Sura 12, which is ‘alif lam ra’: It is ‘a confirmation of what went before it – a detailed exposition of all things, and a Guide and a Mercy to any such as believe.’
From this we go on to find that when the Lord says in Sura 7, Verse 52:
“We had certainly sent to them a Book, based on knowledge, which We explained in detail – a guide and a mercy to all who believe,”, He is referring to Sura 12, Yusuf.
Then He adds another sense in the clause: “It is no less than a Message for all creatures,” 12:104.
- When the sense is concealed:
In this case, the sense can be implied in another Book, or we find a reference to it. Here is an example:
“Already He has sent you Word in the Book, that when you hear the Signs and Verses of Allah held in defiance and ridicule, you are not to sit with them unless they turn to a different theme,” (4:140).
Bearing this in mind, if we now go to Verse 68 of Sura 6, we read:
“When you see men engaged in vain discourse about Our Signs and Verses, turn away from them unless they turn to a different theme. If Satan ever makes you forget, then after recollection, do not sit in the company of those who do wrong,” (6:68),
we deduce that the Book mentioned in Sura 4 is Sura 6.
Here is Verse 44 of Sura 16:
“And We have sent to you the Dhikr, i.e. the Message, that you may explain clearly to men what is sent for them, and that they may give thought.”
We need a definition of al-Dhikr, and for that we refer to Verses 41-42 of Sura 41:
“Those who reject al-Dhikr, when it comes to them, are not hidden from Us. And indeed it is a Book of exalted power. No falsehood can approach it from before it or behind it. It is sent down by One full of wisdom, Worthy of all praise;”
which reveals the concealed sense in Sura 16, Verse 44, defining al-Dhikr as: ‘a Book of exalted in power; no falsehood can approach it from before it or behind it,’ and that ‘it has been sent down by One full of wisdom, Worthy of all praise.’ By maintaining this same inductive method, we learn when al-Dhikr was revealed, to whom it was revealed, and which of the suras of the Mushaf is the Book of al-Dhikr.
When we come to Sura Ibrahim, we shall elaborate about al-Dhikr: to whom it was revealed, when it was revealed, to which of God’s prophets was al-Dhikr first revealed, and how to locate it now?
What is al-Mushaf? What message does it bear? And what religion does it bear to humankind?
This is a most vital and fundamental question, and one may encounter in their attempt to comprehend this a bewildering flood of replies, but this is only the product of the many exegeses. While, if one turns to God’s Scripture, or the Mushaf, itself, the answer encountered there is simple enough and evident enough.
We shall have to inquire further, is the Mushaf one Book and no more, or is it a composite of a multiplicity of Books?
And for our answer, who or what do we draw our answer from? Is it Allah? Or is one of the commentators? But our answer to this must be clear by now from our previous discussion: It is the method of ‘aldinul-qayim’ that we follow, seeking
the meanings of the Mushaf from the Mushaf itself: that is, we believe it to be a self-explaining source.
Now, over fourteen centuries, a quite long history, and up to the present day, a myth has been inculcated into the Muslim mind – that the Mushaf is synonymous with the Qur’an, that the Mushaf is a Book that was revealed to Muhammad, peace be upon him, that he was the addressee of this source – but we discover that the Almighty says exactly the opposite of this, as in the Verse:
“A Messenger from Allah, rehearsing scriptures kept pure and holy: wherein are laws, ‘qayim, i.e. self-sustaining, right and straight’,” (98:2-3).
These verses are saying that the Mushaf, that we have now, contains ‘scriptures kept pure and holy”, ‘scriptures’ and not ‘scripture’: it is in the plural. So, why should anybody meddle with this and say: ‘it is one Book’. We go on to inquire: if the Mushaf is a composite of Books, which has been plainly stated by the Lord, so where are those Books, which are included in the Mushaf? Who were they revealed to? Is Muhammad, peace be upon him, invariably the recipient and addressee in all those Books, or is it rather that we have qayim Books, revealed to Allah’s various prophets, so that the addressed messenger varies from Book to Book? And in this latter case, it is Allah’s will that this chain of prophets and Books should not be broken.
To identify those Books is a Divine matter, a vital matter. The Almighty Allah commands us to believe in these Books. It is our arduous task to identify those Books, to believe in them, and act upon their teachings. Does not the Almighty say:
“The Messenger believes in what has been revealed to him from his Lord, as do the men of faith. Each one of them believes in Allah, His angels, His books, and His Messengers, ‘We make no distinction,’ the say, ‘between one and another of His Messengers.’ And they say: ‘We hear, and we obey: We seek your forgiveness, Our Lord, and to You is the end of all journeys,’” (2:285)?
This verse says that a believer must believe in the Sender of the Books ‘i.e. Allah’, the conveyor, ‘i.e. the angels’, and the messengers to whom these
Books were revealed: it is an integral chain to believe in, and no constituent of it is to be ignored. It is a vital element, a fundamental tenet of faith.
We concluded that the Mushaf is a composite of a number of Books, that it represents the collective voyage of the messengers, all of them, in their missions to humankind, each for his particular age and people. This is what we may learn from the following verse:
“For each period is a Book revealed,” (13:38)
Any Book revealed for a particular age, as in the above verse, is preserved in this same volume, al-Mushaf: it is so because all the discourse revealed by God to any and each of His prophets and messengers is precious and sacred, qayyim, not to be lost in the hidden scrolls of history; it must remain alive, to be a luminary for humanity.
What we find in the Mushaf, including all the Books it composes, gives expression to an identical message, one religion. This message has been collated and preserved within the binding of this single Mushaf. It is a mistake to believe that the prophets professed different religions: it is not that a new religion comes to abrogate a previous one; no, it is just a constant religion, unbroken from beginning to end. No one, indeed, is authorized to sever that which the Lord commanded that it remain unbroken: it is not for anyone to say that for each epoch a new religion is needed.
The Almighty God does not alter His doctrine, destined to guide people; nor do His sunan, or laws, undergo change with the change in time and place; nor is His religion to be abrogated by any other religion. We get this from the words of the Almighty when He says:
“If anyone desires a religion other Islam, i.e. submission to God, never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter, he will be in the ranks of those who have lost,” (3:85).
The Mushaf, which is a composite of the purified suhuf, or pages, contains Scriptures from God to His prophets and messengers, all from Noah, peace be upon him, and up to Muhammad,
peace be upon him. These Books were revealed to Jesus Christ. This is what he himself declared:
“All things are delivered to me of God,” (Mat, 11:27).
From our discussion so far, it must be clear that Islam is the religion of all the prophets, not that of solely Muhammad, peace be upon him: it is a chain, unbroken chain, whose expression varies, but the essence is identical, with each successive link integrating with the previous one, with each constituent part supporting the rest, in the same way that the bricks of a building support each other to compose one solid structure. Islam is then the religion of all the prophets.
The vehicle of the whole unified religion of the Lord is the Books, recorded in the Mushaf, revealed to the prophets through revelation, by the angels, or the Holy Spirit, or whatever (as was explained early on in this book): and then, after Jesus Christ had inherited all those Books, Muhammad, peace be upon him, inherited them again. Hence Christ’s saying:
“he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you,” John, 16:15.
Prophet Muhammad is the final link in this whole Divine chain: God’s one religion was brought to an end with this last and seal of prophets.
The addressee in the Mushaf is not Prophet Muhammad all the time. Hence, when we come across: “O you Prophet!” in the Lord’s words, we must make sure who is the prophet addressed by it, for, otherwise, we shall have the Mushaf testifying to and affirming our ignorance and our falsehood.
Recognizing the importance of this issue, I shall focus my attention in the present book on identifying those Books. I will define the Zabur i.e. the Psalms, enfolded in this Mushaf; the Torah, i.e. the Law; al-Qur’an, Ummul-Kitab, al-Qur’an al-Karim, al-Qur’an al-Mubin, al-Sultan al-Mubin, Kitab al-Hikmah, al-Huda, al-Sab‘al-Mathani, al-Qur’an al-‘Athim, and many more Books of Allah, enfolded in the Mushaf. We shall have to identify who are the prophets chosen who receive each one
or more of the Books: in all this endeavor, I will be adhering to the method of al-dinul-qayim – in disregard of any other source. It will be adequate for me to refer to the signs included by God in His Books.
We will get at those qayim Books recorded in the pure and holy suhuf of the Mushaf.
It will be heartening to feel that this is the first human enterprise done to link each prophet with his Book, or Books, which were revealed to him; and I will state what evidence I find in the Mushaf to prove this link.
When, for instance, we say that the Zabur, or Psalms, was revealed to David, we will search through the Mushaf for the Zabur preserved in it – this is because it is a specific Book, identified by God. It is not a Book that was buried forever in the vaults of ancient history. It is a surviving Book, still accessible to us. and it is enjoined on us that we abide by its commands and whatever is in that Book: in this we shall have preserved the Divine doctrine sent by God to this earth. And this is true of every Book of God’s.
What do the ‘isolated letters’ used in the Mushaf mean?
The issue of the ‘isolated letters’ has raised more dispute, and has been more at the root of discord in the Muslim world, than almost any other issue. Some try to search for their Aramaic or Assyrian origins; some claim that they are initials of ‘the Beautiful Attributes of Allah’; some say that they are designations of the suras at whose start these appear; some that they are there to prove the Divine attribution of the Qur’an; some that it is a Divine mystery that God has not willed to disclose to His creatures; and some have gone so far as to say that these letters have their own unique energy and philosophical, intellectual, and Sufi indications.
How is one, then, to get the truth about this issue? It cannot be that this truth has so many diverse, and even contradictory, aspects. Truth is
single and coherent. So, what is the truth about the ‘isolated letters’ that one encounters at the opening of several suras of the Mushaf?
I propose to give a detailed answer, about the meaning of those letters, their number, and indications: that they are signs pointing to specific Books; and that the ‘isolated letters’ have been, and still are, among the signs that are designated by the Lord as ‘by it He causes many to stray, and many He leads into the right path; but He does not cause to stray, except those who forsake the Path,’ (2:26).
The Mushaf is indeed quite explicit in connection with the ‘isolated letters’, in a way that it is hard to perceive what led the Muslim world astray from the intended meaning. They have lost their way, indeed, when they sought the answers outside the Scripture – when the Lord Himself commands us to seek meaning in His own Mushaf. Instead, the Muslim has been content with the passive acceptance of the interpretations of commentators.
An example would be in order here, and it will show how far Muslims can be deluded. Let us look at the following words of the Almighty:
“Ta-sin. These are verses of the Qur’an – a Book that makes things clear,” (27:1).
This says that the sign distinguishing the Qur’an and the ‘Book that makes things clear’ is the letters: ta-sin; one needs simply to notice that the Sura beginning with ta-sin is the Qur’an. It is also a ‘Book that makes things clear’. Does one need to hold a doctorate to see this much? Does one have to be a great scholar from al-Azhar?
So, with the sign ‘ta-sin’ we find the Qur’an, and we find the ‘Book that makes thing clear’. We go to the next step and inquire to whom this al-Qur’an and the ‘Book that makes thing clear’ was revealed? And what is the essence of al-Qur’an and the ‘Book that makes things clear’? We need to remember here another verse:
“Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely have found therein much discrepancy,” (4:82).
So where does this hot disagreement come from? Definitely not from God; it is rather from any mind that was not receptive to the discourse of God.
Where is the world moving? Is it going down the abyss? Or towards light? How highly has the human paid for not responding to the commandments of the Almighty, and how highly they are still paying and will be paying! How can we bring the slumbering multitudes to their senses? It has indeed been too long a night; so is it not time for the light of day?
What we find in the Mushaf are specific utterances, referring to specific referents. It has Books, and each Book testifies for the other Books. A good example is Al-Zabur, the Psalms, which is Sura 7 of the Mushaf, and which will be discussed later. Now this book is testified for by two other suras: Sura 4 and Sura 17. Similarly, Sura 45 is testified for by Sura 28. It is like this throughout. This Mushaf is well-knit, perfectly knit: in a way that the ill-intended will never find a loophole or gap from which they may attack. It is as the Lord described it: ‘a Scripture the revelations thereof are perfected’ (11:1): most tightly and perfectly knit together, and its parts testify for each other. No discord is to be met with anywhere in the Mushaf. It defies all hostile parties, as for example when it says:
“Or do they say, ‘He forged it,’? Say: ‘Bring then a sura like it and call to your aid anyone you can, besides Allah, if it be you speak the truth,’” (10:38).
The Books of God are designed in such a perfect way that to just drop one letter of the Mushaf will crumble the whole Mushaf. This is the meaning of ‘perfected’: it means that the Mushaf is a closed-up system, perfected totally and finally.
Now, the Mushaf consists of 114 suras.
See Figure 1
These suras are arranged in a specific way: there is absolutely no random placing of any sura. Later, we shall have the chance to study them profoundly, pointing out what Book was revealed to what messenger.
Every letter and every word in the Mushaf testifies for something else. Ta-sin for instance testifies for alif-lam-mim ; alif-lam-ra testifies for something else; ‘That is the book’ (2:2) testifies for something else. It is a standing challenge that Allah has posed before humans right to the Day of Resurrection.
Islam and religion are God’s message to all humankind; and the Glorious Mushaf is the major record of religion, and it composes a number of Books: all designed with the utmost exactitude. It cannot be otherwise when we reflect on this verse:
“It is Allah who teaches you. And Allah is well acquainted with all things,” (2:282).
The essence of religion is summed up in one principle, that ruling belongs to God and to nobody else. This implies that definition belongs to God, legislation belongs to God, commands belong to God, and that the virtual reference is God; Allah is the Instructor. This is the Almighty God, far more Exalted is He above all the associates humans may take.
When we say that ruling belongs to God, it means that there are two parties: a worshipper and a Worshipped. This duality is the basis of the whole of religion.
The worshipper and the Worshipped are the two sides of this equation: in a way that should a human take any other worshipped one, then they have changed religion. As for change in the worshipper, it can be that one rises from being a Muslim to a believer to a pious person, and up – or it can be that they deteriorate from being a Muslim to a wrong-doer, to an unbeliever, to a faseq ‘i.e. miscreant, deserter of the right path’, and down.
We have the essence of religion put into one short verse of Sura 27, when God says: “You be not arrogant against Me, but come to me in submission,” (27:31);
and the Muslim is defined in Sura 72, where God says: “those who submit their wills to God – they have sought out the path of right conduct,” (72:14).