Qur’an: The Unique Book that Speaks for Itself

Dr. Norlain Dindang Mababaya

(This is an excerpt from the Author’s booklet, “The Qur’an: The Divine Revelation”, copyright and published by the Darusalam Publishers and Distributors, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 1998.)

The Qur’an is the Divine Message from Allah I, the Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer) of the Worlds (10:37). It is the most honorable Book that speaks for itself. If you are among those who are in doubt of the Divine Revelation, you can compare its verses from any book that claims to be divinely inspired. You will find that the Qur’an is absolutely unique in many ways, proving that it is the Book of our Only Creator, Allah I. I invite you to ponder and reflect upon the veracity of the following concrete proofs from the Qur’an itself:

1. Magnificent style of speech

The Qur’an, especially its Arabic text, shows a distinct form of extreme beauty with rhythmic verses that strike the mind and heart of every sensible reader. Every Surah (chapter) and Âyah (verse) of the Qur’an expresses eloquence and magnificence. The One Who sent it down, Allah the Almighty speaks in the most polished and forceful style of speech. His word never appears weak even where it expresses a sense of mercy. The reason is simple: the Qur’an reflects the supreme divine nature of Allah. He is Most High (4:34), Exalted in Power, Full of Wisdom (48:7) and Free of all wants, Worthy of all praise (4:131). Allah’s word is unique, as it is exalted. Our Creator says:

“...And the word of Allah is exalted, for Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.” (9:40)

2. Cleanliness before touching and reading

The Qur’an is the only book that requires its reader to be clean. Allah the Almighty says:

“That this is indeed a Qur’an most honorable, in a Book well guarded, which none shall touch but those who are clean: a Revelation from the Rabb of the Worlds.” (56:77-80)

Before reading Allah’s Book, it is preferable to perform wudu (ablution) and one must perform ghusl (full bath) if in a state of junub (impurity) before touching it. If you want to grasp its full meaning and benefit, you have to be clean not only physically but also mentally, and spiritually. Before reading it, you have to set in your mind, heart and soul that your intention is really to search for the truth and seek the guidance of the One and only true God (Allah) in order to please Him. In other words, you have to be objective and open-minded so that you may receive admonition. Allah tells us:

“(This is a) Book (the Qur’an) which We have sent down to you (O Muhammad), full of blessings that they may meditate on its verses, and that men of understanding may receive admonition.” (38:29)

3. Refuge from Satan

The Qur’an is the only book in which Allah enjoins us to seek His refuge from the influence of Satan before reading it. Allah commands:

“When you read the Qur’an, seek Allah’s protection from Satan the rejected one. No authority has he over those who believe and put their trust in their Rabb. His authority is over those only, who take him as patron and who join partners with Allah.” (16:98-100)

Allah reminds us that Satan is (dreadful) evil (4:38). He makes it clear that Satan is our enemy, an enemy avowed (57:60) who deceives (8:48) and suggests vanity (22:52-53). Satan descends on every lying, wicked person (26:221-222). He commands us to do what is evil and shameful (2:168-169). He only invites his adherents, that they may become companions of the Blazing Fire. Therefore, we have to treat him as our enemy (35: 6).

For our guidance, Allah tells us to seek His protection from any influence of the Evil or of Satan that may come from the Jinn (invisible evil spirits) and among human beings. Allah says in the last two chapters of the Qur’an:

Say: ‘I seek refuge with the Rabb of the Dawn from the mischief of created things; from the mischief of Darkness as it over spreads, from the mischief of those who blow on knots; and from the mischief of the envious one as he practices envy.’ (113:1-5)

Say: ‘I seek refuge with the Rabb and Cherisher of mankind, the King (or Ruler) of Mankind, the God (or Judge) of Mankind ¾ from the mischief of the Whisperer (of Evil), who withdraws (after his whisper) (the same) who whispers into the hearts of Mankind ¾ among Jinn and among Men.’ (114:1-6)

4. Full of praises to Allah

The Qur’an is filled with praises of Allah ¾ the Only One worthy of all praise (31:26). The most beautiful names belong to Him (7:180). All the 114 chapters of the Qur’an except Surah At-Tawbah (Repentance) or Bara’ah (Immunity), the 9th chapter starts with the words: “In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.” This praise to Allah occurs twice in Chapter 27, Surah An-Naml (Ants): one in the beginning and the other is within its text (i.e., 27:30), making a total of 114 occurrences. Even the chapter 9, which does not carry the usual opening praise, contains glorification to Allah in many places (e.g., 9:16, 27, 28, 31, 39, 40, 60, 71, 91). It even ends with the following glorious praises to Him:

“But if they turn away, Say (O Muhammad) ‘Allah suffices me. There is no god but He: in Him I put my trust’ and He is the Rabb of Mighty Throne!” (9:129)

The Qur’an, as the final divine revelation, enlightens you as to the godly attributes of Allah. Our Creator is Supreme, Almighty. No one is like Him. The following is an example of the many Qur’anic verses that glorify Allah:

“Allah! There is no god but He, the Ever-Living, the Self-subsisting, Supporter of all. No drowsiness can seize Him nor sleep. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and on earth. Who is he that can intercede in His presence except with His permission? He knows what happens to them (His creatures) in this world and what will happen to them in the Hereafter. And they will never compass anything of His Knowledge except that which He wills. His Throne extends over the heavens and the earth. And He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them, for He is the Most High, the Supreme (in glory).” (2:255)

5. Comprehensive book of guidance to humanity

The Qur’an is the only comprehensive book available to mankind for guidance. It guides us to believe and obey Muhammad r (3:31-32, 4:170 and 47:33). For our complete guidance, it is necessary for us to follow Muhammad’s Sunnah (teachings and traditions). Muhammad r (is Allah’s universal Messenger to the whole mankind (34:28) and the Seal of the Prophets (33:40) whom our Creator sent with Guidance and the Religion of Truth to make it prevail over all religions (61:9).

You will be overwhelmed to read that Allah’s Book covers all subjects affecting mankind, be it physical, material or economic, social and cultural, political, legal, religious and spiritual, and the like. It talks not only about us and our environment, but also the events and circumstances affecting us. Allah says that nothing has been omitted from it (6:38). It is further explained in detail (11:1, 6:114, 7:52 and 16:89). In other Âyât (verses) of the Qur’an we read:

“Shall I seek a judge other than Allah while it is He Who has sent unto you the Book, explained in detail? They know full well, to whom We have given the Book that it has been sent down from your Rabb in truth. Never be then of those who doubt.” (6:114)

“We have explained in detail in this Qur’an, for the benefit of mankind, every kind of similitude: but man is, in most things, contentious.” (18:54)

Any rational man or scientist who had become atheist because of the misconception that, “the Word of Allah disagrees with science” will discover the truth. He will be enlightened to know that Allah’s Book contains information about the scientific facts of life because it is the Truth of assured certainty. Allah the Almighty says:

“But verily, it (this Qur’an) is an absolute Truth with certainty. So glorify the Name of your Rabb, the Most High.” (69:5152)

Furthermore, the Qur’an contains varied subjects as shown in the titles of its 114 chapters. Some of the examples of the various titles of the Qur’an are as follows: The Cow, The Family of Imran, The Women, Cattle, The Heights, The Spoils of War, Repentance, Jonah, The Prophet Hud, Thunder, The Bee, The Children of Israel, The Cave, Maryam, The Prophets, The Pilgrimage, The Believers, Light, The Criterion, The Poets, The Ants, The Narration, The Wise, Adoration, Gold Adornments, Consultation, Smoke, Bowing the Knee, Victory, The Inner Apartments, The Winds that Scatter, The Mount, The Star, The Inevitable Event, Iron, The Gathering, The Assembly (Friday), Mutual Loss and Gain, The Pen, The Time, Purity of Faith, and Mankind.

The different subjects of the Qur’an not only reflect the very nature of Allah as the Creator of all (2:29, 117 and 6:73) that exist in the heavens and the earth (3:180, 15:23 and 31:10) and the Master of the Day of Judgement (1:4); but, also proves the Glorious Book to be very comprehensive. The most varied and complete subjects of the Qur’an, beyond man’s ability to produce, makes it miraculously unique and inimitable. There is no other and no better guidance than Allah’s Book. The incomparable comprehensive teachings of the Qur’an guide mankind at all ages. They are simple, yet very practical offering the best solutions to our perplexing problems. The Qur’an serves as Allah’s guide and mercy to us:

“These are verses of the Wise Book (the Qur’an), a Guide and a Mercy to the good-doers (they are) those who offer regular prayer, and give Zakât and have sure faith in the Hereafter. These are on (true) guidance from their Rabb; and these are the ones who will succeed.” (31:2-5)

6. Special prostrations

The Qur’an is the only book that contains verses (i.e. 19:58, 17:109, 16:49-50, 13:15, 7:206, 38:24-25, 32:15, 25:26-27, 25:60, 22:77, 22:18, 96:19, 84:20-21, 53:62 and 41:38) which command us to prostrate and glorify Allah. This is called Sajdah At-Tilawa (prostration for recitation). When we are reading the Qur’an, it is recommended to prostrate to Allah and glorify Him every time we come across any of the specified Âyât. Sajdah At-Tilawa signifies that Allah, the Most High (4:34 and 87:1), the Creator of the Throne Glory Supreme (9:129, 23:86 and 40:15) and the God in heaven and God on earth (43:84) is the Only One worthy of our worship (13:14). The following are examples of the Âyât where we have to prostrate to our Creator in adoration to Him:

“O you who believe! Bow down, prostrate yourselves and adore your Rabb (Only Cherisher and Sustainer), and do good that you may prosper.” (22:77)

“So fall you down in prostration to Allah and adore (Him)! (53:62)

7. Supplications

The Qur’an, unlike any other books that claim to be the Word of God, contains many verses that pertain to supplication (e.g., 3:35, 3:38, 3:191-194, 4:75, 7:151, 7:155-156, 10:85-86, 11:47, 12:101, 14:35, 14:40-41, 17:80, 20:25-28, 21:89, 21:112, 23:83, 23:118, 23:106, 25:74, 26:83, 27:19, 28:16, 37:100, 38:35, 44:12, 60:4-5, 66:11 and 71:28). In fact, it even begins with praises and prayer to our Creator as shown in its opening chapter, Surah Al-Fâtihah. Compare the verses of its first chapter to any verses of any book that claims to be the Word of God and see the great difference. At the very start of the Qur’an, we gain knowledge of Allah and His divine attributes and His relationship to us and His other creations. We learn also the best and succinct prayer to Him ¾ to guide us to the right path and save us from being those who go astray. The following verses of Surah Al-Fâtihah should enlighten you of the unique qualities of Allah’s Book:

“In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, the Rabb (Cherisher and Sustainer) of the Worlds, Most Gracious, Most Merciful, Master of the Day of Judgement. You (Alone) do we worship, and You (Allah) do we ask for help. Show us the straight way, the way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, those whose (portion) is not wrath. And who go not astray.” (1:1-7)

The various prayers guide us to ask Allah the Almighty for His forgiveness, help and guidance. The Qur’an teaches us also the prayer for a balanced way of life ¾ to be happy both in this world and in the Hereafter as shown in the following verse:

“...Our Rabb (Sustainer)! Give us good in this world and good in the Hereafter. And save us from the torment of the Fire!” (2:201)

8. Proper Recitation

The Qur’an is the only book which enjoins us to read it in the Name of our Creator and recite it properly. When we read Allah’s Book in its original Arabic, we have to observe some rules of Tajwid. Tajwid is derived from the root Jawwada’ meaning, “to make well” or “improve”. This means, we have to read the Qur’an with correct and good pronunciation in recitation and a proper mode of recitation of medium speed. In other words, we have to read the Qur’an beautifully with a pleasant tone and style. This is in obedience to Allah for He commands us to read His Book beautifully. Our Creator commands:

“Read! In the name of your Rabb and Cherisher, Who created ¾ created man, out of a leech-like clot Read! And your Rabb is Most Bountiful. He Who taught (the use of) the Pen, taught man that which he knew not.” (96:1-5)

“Or a little more; and recite the Qur’an in slow, measured rhythmic tones.” (73:4)

It is strikingly unique that when we read Allah’s Book with the right Tajwîd and melodious tone we (including other Believers who listen to us, especially those who understand it) can not help but have misty eyes or have tears overflowing from our eyes. The inimitable words and symphony of the Qur’an in Arabic when read properly move us to tears and ecstasy. Allah the Most High says:

“Allah has revealed (from time to time) the most beautiful Message in the form of a Book, consistent with itself, (yet) repeating (its teaching in various aspects). The skins of those who fear their Rabb tremble thereat; then their skins and their hearts do soften to the remembrance of Allah.” (39:23)

Even among the Christians, who are devoted to learning and men who have renounced the world and are not arrogant, shed tears when they listen to the Qur’an. You will see their eyes overflowing with tears because they recognize the truth. Allah the Most Powerful tells us:

Verily, you will find the strongest among men in enmity to the believers the Jews and the polytheists; and you will find the nearest among them in love to the believers those who say, “We are Christians”; because, amongst these are priests and monks (who have renounced the world); and they are not arrogant. And when they listen to the revelation sent down to the Messenger (Muhammadr) you will see their eyes overflowing with tears, for they recognize the truth. They pray: “Our God! We believe, so write us down among the witnesses.” (5:82-83)

Once you open your mind and heart to the Divine Message, you will experience the same emotional feeling. You will have tears of happiness that Allah has, indeed, sent us the Qur’an in Arabic for us to learn wisdom (12:1-2).

9. Protected from any change or alteration

The Qur’an is the only book which Allah promised to guard against all sorts of change or perversion. Our Rabb says:

“We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption).” (15:9)

Allah’s Book serves as the authentic proof of the divine mission of Prophet Muhammad r, the unlettered Prophet (7:158). Our Creator tells us that He sent down the Qur’an to His Servant, Prophet Muhammad r, (18:1) by inspiration (42:7) ¾ through the Angel Gabriel (16: 102). He revealed it in stages (17:106) and arranged it gradually to strengthen our hearts (25:32). He took charge of its collection and promulgation (75:16-17).

10. Contains letters which only Allah knows their hidden meanings

There are chapters (e.g. Chapters 2, 3, 7, 10-20, 26- 28, 30-32, 36, 38, 40-46, 68) in the Qur’an that have certain initials prefixed to them. These are called Muqatta‘at (‘abbreviated letters’). No one even the most intelligent among the Arabs knows the meanings of such letters. Only Allah knows their hidden meanings. Allah the Exalted says:

“It is He Who has sent down to you (O Muhammad) the Book (Qur’an). In it, are verses basic or fundamental clear (in meaning); they are the foundation of the Book, others are not entirely clear. But those, in whose hearts is perversity, follow the part thereof that is not entirely clear, seeking discord, and searching for its interpretation. But no one knows its true meanings except Allah. And those, who are gifted with sound knowledge, say: ‘We believe in it, the whole of it is from our Rabb.’ And none receivers admonition except the men of understanding. (3:7)

The Muqatta‘at or abbreviated letters (e.g. A.L.M., A.L.M.S., A.L.R., A.L.M.R., T.H.) which are beyond any man’s comprehension show that verily Allah is the All Knowing, All Wise (4:26). They also serve as concrete proofs that, indeed, Allah has protected His Book from any sort of change. Otherwise, the most intelligent among the Muslim Arabs and scholars would have deleted the said abbreviated letters for the simple reason that mankind can not understand them. The Muqatta‘at are among the signs of Allah that should enlighten you to the fact that the Qur’an is really unique and a divine revelation from our One and Only Rabb.

11. Full of wisdom

When you read Allah’s Book you will find it full of wisdom. It is the only Book wherein Allah instructs mankind to read (73:20), understand (21:10; 47: 24; 54:17, 22, 32, 40), study (2:121), recite (29:45; 73:4), listen (7:204), remember (80:11-14) and follow it for guidance (6:155; 39:18). You should ponder upon the following verses and see the wisdom behind the Glorious Qur’an:

“ . . . Read therefore, of the Qur’an as much as may be easy (for you) . . .” (73:20)

“We have revealed for you (O mankind!) a book which will give you eminence. Will you not then understand?” (21:10)

“And We have indeed made the Qur’an easy to understand and remember: then is there any that will receive admonition?” (54:17, 22, 32, 40)

“Those to whom We have given the Book study it as it should be studied: they are the ones that believe therein: those who reject faith therein ¾ the loss is their own.” (2:121)

“Recite what is sent of the Book by inspiration to you, and establish regular Prayer: for Prayer restrains from shameful and evil deeds; and remembrance of Allah is the greatest (thing in life) without doubt. And Allah knows the (deeds) that you do.” (29:45)

“When the Qur’an is read, listen to it with attention, and hold your peace: that you may receive Mercy.” (7:204)

The Qur’an should be read and understood for guidance. If you are among those who have not yet read it, then do so. Compare it to any book that claims to be the Word of God. If you seek nothing but the truth, if you seek solely for divine guidance then, you will find that the Qur’an is the ultimate answer. You must follow it to be truly righteous and receive Allah’s mercy. Indeed, those who follow it receive divine guidance. Allah the Most High tells us:

“And this is a Book which We have revealed as a blessing: so follow it and be righteous, that you may receive mercy.” (6:155)

“Those who listen to the Word, and follow the best of it: those are the ones who Allah has guided, and those are the ones endowed with understanding.” (39:18)

12. The Book to be understood as a divine revelation from Allah

Finally, but not the least, the Qur’an is the Book where Allah guides us to understand (47:24), to ponder (23:68), and to contemplate (38:29). The following words of Allah, so full of wisdom and truth, should further enlighten you to believe in His Divine Revelation:

“Do they not ponder on the Qur’an? Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely have found therein much discrepancy.” (4: 82)

“We have revealed for you (O people!) a Book which will give you eminence. Will you not then understand?” (21:10)

All these and many other verses in the Qur’an prove that Allah’s Book is holy and unique. It is, indeed, the Divine Revelation from the Only God (Allah I) that speaks for itself.

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