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Understanding the Quran - An in depth look at Words of the Divine
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    Arrow Understanding the Quran - An in depth look at Words of the Divine


    Assalam-u-Alaikum,

    Imagine there is an athiest, living in a remote location, someone who pondered all his life about a 'higher purpose', and the existence of God. Someone who always thought to himself, if only there was some way to reach out to God, or to know what He thinks. Then one day, a foreign looking man comes along, and there is something really mysterious about him. He comes up to the athiest, and says, Hi how are you doing? and briefly introduces himself. He tells the athiest, you know me not, but I am well aware of you. Naturally, the man is very intrigued and listens to every word carefully. This mysterious travellor speaks with a certain clarity, and catches every attention... and he says, listen! my time is very short here, I have come to give you something, and you must guard it with your life. It is a book, he says, but this is not any ordinary book... it is not a tale, or a thing for amusement. This book contains dark prophecies, and knowledge of the Unseen. It has a message for you, and it comes from your Lord, the Creator. Know then, that it is a blessing to you... because you have been addressed... and this is no small call on you, it is not like the Queen of England sends you a telegram when you reach a 100 years of age, no no! this is a Message from the King of kings, the One who appoints every leader on the earth, so pay attention, this is no less than a mighty message which causes the mountains to crumble beneath it! When you begin by opening it's covers, seek refuge and read in the name of your Lord. By now, the athiest's legs were trembling, and his heart in commotion. He peeked down to open the Book, and when his eyes returned to meet the travellor, he was nowhere to be seen.

    The story ends here... or has it really just begun? Is this an athiest who thinks the man to be a crackpot? Or does he follow through, believing the man to be sincere? How do you think he will look at this book? Will he skim through the text, as if it was a utility bill? or something more, Sacred?

    002.121 Those to whom We have sent the Book study it as it should be studied: They are the ones that believe therein: Those who reject faith therein,- the loss is their own.
    I know a few who think reading the Book is a sort of chore, like you would finish up your work, read a little as fast as you could, get it over with, and start playing a game on the computer or some other leisurely activity. I speak from personal experience. I don't give it the respect it deserves. I don't comprehend the awe in which it is to be held, or how magnificent the implications are. I don't approach it with the heart of a servant, and I lose out so so much. and I will probably never realize the extent of my loss, until it really gets taken away from me, and I get discharged from the duty i have been entrusted with. I keep forgetting that I will be asked about every minute of my life with these gifts, and what I did with them.

    So I ask for your help, to teach me the Book, to show me it's inner wisdom. If I read it, and think to myself that I know everything there is to know about it, I will never learn anymore. Take me out of my arrogance.. beat me with a stick to get me on my knees, if that's what it takes, but don't turn away from my ignorance, because I cannot cure it by myself. Simple belief or faith alone is not enough... it needs perfecting. If my mind or beliefs have changed by Islam, but my state of being hasn't transformed, then it was pointless, ..a corruption of the self, neither here nor there.

    Al-Qur'an, 001.001-007 (Al-Fatiha [The Opening])

    001.001 بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ
    001.001 In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

    001.002 الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
    001.002 Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds;

    001.003 الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ
    001.003 Most Gracious, Most Merciful;

    001.004 مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ
    001.004 Master of the Day of Judgment.

    001.005 إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ
    001.005 Thee do we worship, and Thine aid we seek.

    001.006 اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ
    001.006 Show us the straight way,

    001.007 صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلا الضَّالِّينَ
    001.007 The way of those on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy Grace, those whose (portion) is not wrath, and who go not astray.


    I know there are commentaries from famous scholars, but I am more interested in hearing from your own understanding of these verses. I can easily read an explanation which I find online, but I don't want to read from a paper or a computer screen, I want to read these verses from your heart, and what it means to you.

    I encourage everyone to offer their insight, even if you are a non-muslim and what impression you get. May be God wants me to know something from you, which I can't quite see.

    If God answers my prayer, and sends someone to teach me His Book, then we can move on to the other verses, in due time.

    God bless you all.
    Last edited by xp²; 22nd December 2004 at 19:41.


    "Gentleness does not enter anything except that it beautifies it and harshness does not enter anything except that it disfigures it."

    ~ Prophet Muhammad.



  2. #2
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    Default Re: Understanding the Quran - An in depth look at Words of the Divine

    Assalam Walikum,



    Oh, such beautiful passion that you have . It really pleases me. Not to mention I am deeply impressed. If you think about it, how many other muslims have that kind of passion for something? May allah grant you blessings for that. I believe that it is very sacred for a muslim to hold this much love for learning in the 1st place. Someway or another, every muslim developes a passion for islam. The story you've just shared with us, is a story that i'm already starting to cherish, and believe it or not, I've never read it before.
    Last edited by Halima; 22nd December 2004 at 20:42.

  3. #3
    Veteran Member MF's Avatar
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    Default Re: Understanding the Quran - An in depth look at Words of the Divine

    Quote Originally Posted by xp²
    but I am more interested in hearing from your own understanding of these verses. I can easily read an explanation which I find online, but I don't want to read from a paper or a computer screen, I want to read these verses from your heart, and what it means to you.
    I won't be much of help, this particulair verse does nothing to me, the writing style is not pleasant to read (ancient english) and it typically describes the enourmous faith, worship and submission religious people have for their lord, thats what I read from it.

    peace
    “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

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    Veteran Member vinod's Avatar
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    Default Re: Understanding the Quran - An in depth look at Words of the Divine

    xp2

    I suffer from the same. In need of light.

    Was-salam
    vinod

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    I may be back for a while sheik's Avatar
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    Default Re: Understanding the Quran - An in depth look at Words of the Divine

    salaam,

    dear and wise brother xp,

    though i am not a knowledgable man in the least, i have found true power in this particular surah.

    this surah is set appart from the rest. beginning with the second surah down to the 114, the quran goes from longest surah to the shortest. but why is this one surah, al-fathia, set apart from the rest.

    in my opinion it is because it starts everything of, on the right and straight path (001.006)

    We seek Allah's blessing with this surah, and he grants us the light we need. this has helped me through my life time. when ever i face distress, i turn to Allah and recite this surah, or whenever i face a frustrating decesion, only Allah can clear up the obsurites (001.005) and show us the straight path (001.006).

    Allah makes it clear to us, that above all things he is the most merciful. he knows all and expects all, for he own Judgement day. all in all, we seek Allah's blessing (001.006-001.007), becuase He is the only one that can truley help us. He has the light and power we need. to Him we will go in the end. and it is He that provides us with the will.

    therefore, this Surah makes it clear, as you start your journey, on anything, even studying the quran, that you have asked for His blessing, and that you can count on Him to help you on your journey.

    though this explanation might not mean much to some, this surah alone has helped me increase my faith and assure me that, everything will be alright.

    salaam
    Ignorance is a fire that burns a person's religion.
    And its extinguishing water is knowledge.




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    Default Re: Understanding the Quran - An in depth look at Words of the Divine

    As-salamu'alaykum Xp2,

    When I first picked up a translation of the Qur'an it was a cheap paper back addition of Yusuf Ali.
    It had no footnotes or anything to explain what I was reading. It wasnt untill I was more than half way through when I realized that al-Fatihah was like a description of what the rest of the book was about.

    Now that I have knowledge as taught by my Imam and tafseer in my head anything I say now will be influanced by this and not information from my own judgement.

    I know the meaning of this is surah is deep. We spent 3 weeks on it in tafseer class on Fraday nights.

    wassalam,

    Nabil........

  7. #7

    Default Re: Understanding the Quran - An in depth look at Words of the Divine

    Salaam,

    Thank you all for the posts, it's appreciated.

    Halima, as Vinod just put it, we are in need. Need of light. The fire inside me can only burn, but light illuminates, like you.

    MF you described what I would feel, when I look at religion and see only a burden.

    This Surah is indeed deep, Nabil, and it shows through in Sheik's beautiful post and explanation. I have a few questions, but I will save them for later. For now, I wonder what the first verse means. "In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful". Why in the name of God? and why say most merciful and gracious after it, why not just 'in the name of Allah' ? What is the connection? We say it so often, so it must hold some significance.




    "Gentleness does not enter anything except that it beautifies it and harshness does not enter anything except that it disfigures it."

    ~ Prophet Muhammad.



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    Default Re: Understanding the Quran - An in depth look at Words of the Divine

    xp why have you got 5 red bars on your profile and it says 'infamous around these parts'?

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    Ansar Al-Haq
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    Default Re: Understanding the Quran - An in depth look at Words of the Divine

    He's the administrator, so he can change his reputation to whatever he wants. He chose to make it the worst possible.

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    Default Re: Understanding the Quran - An in depth look at Words of the Divine

    Surah fatihah is indeed the heart of the quran, the very essence of emaan for a muslim. Recited at least 17 times daily it sets down the very foundations of islam and fundamentals of the deen.
    Al fatihah, the opening, or fatihatu 'i kitab, the opening of the scripture, or ummu 'l-quran, the essence of the quran, has been called the lords prayer of the muslims. It is essential part of all muslim worship, public and private and no solemn contract or transaction is complete unless it is recited.
    To begin with, 'in the name of allah most gracious most merciful'. When one says this he is filled with spritual enlightement as he humbles himself before his creater, praising his lord allah allmighty with the attributs most gracious most merciful. Prophet muhammad (peace be upon him) narfrated in a hadith ' Every deed or act of worship is devoid of blessing unless 'bismillah hir rah mah nirra heem' (in the name of allah most graciuos most merciful) is recited'.
    Then the first three verses are recited, all praising allah clearly proclaiming from the deepest corners of his heart that verily, i testify, i stand before you preaching that indeed allah is rabb of all the worlds, he is indeed the master of judgment day and he is the most merciful, truly the most gracuos.
    Then the next two verses are directed towards stating that o allah, truly you alone do we worship and you alone do we ask for help. Not any prophet, nor no saint or pious predeccesser, nor no jinn or angel. Verily they are all the creation, we seek help and we direct worship onlu to allah allmighty.
    And the next and last three verses we are asking or requesting, or rather pleading with our lord to guide us the right and straight path, the glimming light of deen ul islam, and make us like those that thou hast favoured, not those that have earnt your anger!

  11. #11

    Default Re: Understanding the Quran - An in depth look at Words of the Divine

    Thanks for the nice explanation Hash, it is good.

    Technically I may be, but really I am not administrator. The red bars are in my profile, I think because Ansar hates me, he's evil like that. lol


    "Gentleness does not enter anything except that it beautifies it and harshness does not enter anything except that it disfigures it."

    ~ Prophet Muhammad.



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    Default Re: Understanding the Quran - An in depth look at Words of the Divine

    Asslaaam Walikum dear Brother,

    Quote Originally Posted by xp²
    I have a few questions, but I will save them for later. For now, I wonder what the first verse means. "In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful". Why in the name of God? and why say most merciful and gracious after it, why not just 'in the name of Allah' ? What is the connection? We say it so often, so it must hold some significance.

    To answer your previous question, this verse is to show respect to Allah. It is to show that he is the only God we worship, and nobody else. He has no partner. He is the only one that we muslims should ever worship. Hence, which is why it is essential for Allah muslims to recite this verse during prayer. I don't think there is any other verse in prayer that is more important than this one. If you please take a look at the following verse, it will help you understand even better. This verse is incredibly essential for all muslims to recite.



    In the name of God, most Gracious, most merciful:
    All praise is due to God alone, the sustainer of all the Worlds.
    Most Gracious, Most merciful,
    Lord of the Day Of Judgement.
    You alone do we worship, and to You alone
    do we turn for help.
    Guide us along the staright path-
    The path of those whom you have blessed, not to those
    who have been condemned (by you), not those
    who go astray(1:1-7)



    Hence, which is why Prophet Muhammed (saw) has always said to followers:


    "Pray as if God were standing before you,
    for although you do not see God, God always sees you"



    I believe that if you were to follow this advice, you'll never go wrong. Any advice from the Prophet for that matter.
    Last edited by Halima; 23rd December 2004 at 21:20.

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    Default Re: Understanding the Quran - An in depth look at Words of the Divine

    Quote Originally Posted by xp²
    I wonder what the first verse means. "In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful". Why in the name of God? and why say most merciful and gracious after it, why not just 'in the name of Allah' ? What is the connection? We say it so often, so it must hold some significance.


    Salaam XP

    I believe it relates to the two most encomapssing attributes of God. What comes next in a surah is an act of mercy and this first verse is a reminder of this mercy shown to mankind. Also relates to a corresponding acceptance by man of God being the source of all mercy and all good.

    I have tried to keep the tafseer explanations at bay....though some of them explain the verse in the most beautiful of manners

    Regards

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    Senior Member hamid_al-murid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Understanding the Quran - An in depth look at Words of the Divine

    as-salaamu `alaykum wa rahmatu-llah

    about the bismi-llah

    in arabic Allah is a masculine word, while ar-Rahman and ar-Raheem are feminine. the two last Names are related to the arabic word for "womb":
    The word 'womb' or 'uterus' in the Arabic language is 'rahim' (plural is 'arham'). In Arabic, 'rahim' refers to the anatomical organ inside the pelvis, but it also refers to a 'value' based on blood relatives and the tie of compassion that binds them. Of the same derivation is 'rahma' which means compassion, and amongst the names of God are "Rahman" and "Raheem" meaning "The Compassionate: The Merciful".
    ar-Raheem is an intensified form of rahim, and ar-Rahman is even more intensified than that. somewhere in al-Qur'an it says you can refer to Allah as ar-Rahman, that it's an equivalent name.


    Allah is the womb of all the universes, the tie of compassion that binds them and all the "individual" parts of them down to the smaller than the small--the Infinite Womb of Mercy from which they come and to which they all go back..."and there is nothing like unto Him"

    now: this is an outer answer with other people's words in it. for my part, i struggle with the Qur'an, but i find that difficult to talk about here. i lack the courage for that...but i think it's really important that we bring it out here because it is so central. i want to see clearly the veils i put between me and the Qur'an, that i try to read it through. hopefully Allah will help me find the courage to look inside at that directly, and speak what i see.

    thank you xp and everyone for every sincere answer.

    gratefully,
    wassalaam
    hamid
    Last edited by hamid_al-murid; 24th December 2004 at 17:30.
    "Beloved, in the name of God,
    look with the eye of the heart,
    and don't look back."
    ................................................
    "Toward the latter days of indiscriminate violence,
    be like the first and better of the two sons of Adam who said,
    "If you raise your hand to kill me, I will not raise mine to kill you;
    surely I fear God, the Lord of all the worlds."
    - Prophet Muhammad صل الله عليه و سلام

    لا إله إلا الله محمدٌ رسول الله

  15. #15

    Default Re: Understanding the Quran - An in depth look at Words of the Divine

    Salaam,

    Thank you for the posts, Halima, Ayesha, Hamid.

    I like the description about the 'womb' aspect, very informative. Sends a very powerful image. So we say, "in the name of God", and not "outside/below the name of God", so I assume this means, we begin and acknowledge as being inside the mercy, compassion and grace of God. That we exist inside this quality, and without that mercy or grace, we could never exist. I believe there may be an element of closeness expressed here, as in, the baby's connection to it's mother, and our closeness to God's mercy and compassion.


    "Gentleness does not enter anything except that it beautifies it and harshness does not enter anything except that it disfigures it."

    ~ Prophet Muhammad.



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