CHAPTER 6: What is the Religion of Islam? Part 2

Do you not see that Allah makes the clouds move gently, then joins them together, then piles them up in masses, then you see the rain coming from inside them?   He also sends down hail from the clouds that look like mountains in the sky, afflicting there with whom He wills and turning it away from whom He pleases; the flash of His lightning almost takes away sight.

(The Light, Surah 24; 43)

These verses explain clearly the stages leading to the formation and precipitation of rain, as explained by current scientists.

k)   Current knowledge suggests that the universe is expanding, another phenomenon described in the Qur’an more than 1400 years ago.

We have built the heaven with might, and We it is who make the vast extent (thereof). And the earth have We laid out, how gracious was the Spreader (thereof)!

(The Winds that Scatter, Surah 51; 47-48)

l) On the physical laws of night and day, and the respective celestial orbits of sun and moon, the Qur’an says:

He created the heavens and the earth to manifest the Truth. He causes the night to succeed the day and the day to overtake the night. He has subjected the sun and moon to His law, each one following a course for an appointed term.  Is not He the All- Mighty, the All-Forgiving?

(The Groups, Surah 39; 5)

m) Not also how God’s word speaks in the Qur’an about the function of mountains and the movement of the earth.

He created the heavens without visible pillars; He set mountains on the earth lest it convulse with you; and scattered through it all kinds of animals. We send down rain from the sky with which We grow every type of noble species in pairs.

(Luqman, Surah 31; 10)

n) And again, we read another description of the movements of sun and moon which move in predetermined orbits:

And makes the sun and the moon, constant in their courses, to be of service unto you, and has made of service unto you the night and the day.

(Abraham, Surah 14; 33)

It is not for the sun to overtake the moon, nor does the night outstrip the day.  They float each in an orbit.

(Ya Sin, Surah 36; 40)

And He it is Who created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon.  They float, each in an orbit.

(The Prophets, Surah 21; 33)

Have you not seen how Allah causes the night to pass into the day and causes the day to pass into the night, and has subdued the sun and the moon (to do their work), each running unto an appointed term; and that Allah is Informed of what you do?

(Luqman, Surah 31; 29)

o)  On the circular shape of the earth, the Qur’an says:

He has created the heavens and the earth with truth. He makes night to encircle day, and He makes day to encircle night, and He constrains the sun and the moon to give service, each running on for an appointed term. Indeed He is the Mighty, the Forgiver.

(The Troops, Surah 39; 5)

This verse clearly implies that the earth is round.

q)  Function of the planetary atmosphere.

The atmosphere surrounding our earth includes a shield that prevents loss of earth’s air into outer space and prevents harmful radiation from reaching us. Evaporated water condenses and falls again as rain.  Radioactive particles ejected by the sun and other stars are reflected back into space. These important functions were alluded to in the Qur’an:

And We have made the sky a safe canopy: yet they are heedless to these signs.

(The Prophets, Surah 21; 2)

2.         The Creation of humankind.

a)         In the following verse, the Qur’an describes how humans are conceived from both male and female fluids (sperm and eggs):  

Lo! We created man from a drop of blended fluid to test him; so We made him hearing, knowing.

(Man, Surah 76; 2)

b)        Here the Qur’an describes the developmental stages of the embryo and fetus within the womb:

O humankind! If you are in doubt concerning the Resurrection, then lo!   We have created you from dust, then from a drop of seed, then from a clot, then from a little lump of flesh shapely and shapeless, that We may make (it) clear for you.  And We cause what We will to remain in the wombs for an appointed time, and afterward We bring you forth as infants, then (give you growth) that you attain your full strength. And among you there is he who dies (young), and among you there is he who is brought back to the most abject time of life, so that, after knowledge, he knows nothing. And you (Muhammad) see the earth barren, but when We send down water thereon, it does shake and swell and put forth every lovely kind (of growth).

(The Pilgrimage, Surah 22; 5)

Although Muslim doctors would lead the world in gynecology and other medical areas centuries before the European Renaissance, it would have been impossible for the Prophet at the time of revelation to have comprehended the three layers that shield the human embryo (the abdominal wall, the uterine wall and the placenta).

He created you from one being, then from that (being) He made its mate; and He has provided for you of cattle eight kinds. He created you in the wombs of your mothers, creation after creation, in a threefold gloom.   Such is Allah, your Lord. His is the Sovereignty. There is no God save Him. How then are you turned away?

(The Troops, Surah 39; 6)

c)         It is equally impossible for Muhammad (PBUH) to have realized that animals and humans were created from water.

Allah has created every animal of water. Of them is (a kind) that goes upon its belly and (a kind) that goes upon two legs and (a kind) that goes upon four. Allah creates what He will. Lo!  Allah is able to do all things.

(The Light, Surah 24; 45)

d)      Similarly, the Prophet could not have known about the unique personal identity patterns to be found in human fingerprints.

We are able to put together in perfect order, the very tips of his fingers.

(The Rising of the Dead, Surah 75; 4)

e)         The scientifically accurate choice of words used in the Qur’an 1,400 years ago is splendidly evident today in passages describing many natural phenomena.

For example, female bees are described as making their dwellings in hills, on trees, and in containers that humans build. The classical Arabic of the Qur’an is very specific in using the female pronoun, since male bees have been scientifically observed as not participating in the construction of hives.

Behold! Your Lord inspired the bees to build their hives in the mountains, in the trees, and in anything which men may build for beekeeping, and to feed on every kind of fruit and follow the smooth ways of your Lord. From its belly comes forth syrup (honey) of different colors, which contains a healing for humankind. Certainly in this there is a sign for those who think.

(The Bee, Surah 16; 68)

Given the many examples available and those cited here, one can conclude that scientific understanding and foresight illustrated in the Qur’an confirms that its content is God’s message.

Parables in the Qur’an

Apart from its evidence of scientific accuracy, the Qur’an is filled with wisdom and instruction for all facets of life. Its text contains varied methods of instruction, including commands, examples, stories with clear moral messages, analogies, and especially parables. Allah sets forth parables to give us a clearer understanding of issues that would otherwise be beyond our comprehension. Parables are drawn from nature or from ordinary daily life. The Qur’an does not merely narrate stories or lay down vague abstract compositions; instead, it gives all of the necessary guidance we need:

In this Qur’an We have used different methods to make the people understand the Message, yet the majority of them persist in unbelief.

(The Children of Israel, Surah 17; 89)

The following is the Qur’anic response to a person who questions God regarding who can give new life to dead bones.

He starts making comparison for Us and forgets his own creation. He says: ‘Who will give life to bones that have been decomposed?’ Tell them: ‘He Who has created them for the first time, will give them life again; He is well-versed in every kind of creation. It is He Who produces for you the spark from the green tree to kindle therewith your own fires.’   Does He Who has created the heavens and the earth have no power to create the like thereof?  Of course He does!  He is the skillful Creator.  Whenever He intends a thing, He needs only to say: ‘Be,’ and it is.  Glory be to Him in Whose hands is the Kingdom of all things; and to Whom you shall all be brought back.

(Ya Sin, Surah 36; 78-83)

Another beautiful metaphor is about the essence of life.

O Prophet! Give them the similitude of the life of this world. It is like the vegetation of the earth that flourishes with the rain from the sky, but afterwards the same vegetation turns into dry stubble which is blown away by the winds. Allah is the One Who has power over everything.

Likewise, wealth and children are an attraction of this worldly life; yet honorable deeds that last forever are better rewarded by your Lord and hold for you a better hope of salvation.

(The Cave, Surah 18; 45-46)

Water makes up 60% of our body and can pass through our cell membranes easily. Rainwater is a good thing in itself, but it does not last, and no solid foundation can be built on it. It produces the flourishing appearance of grass and vegetation for a time, but is then absorbed into the earth. Soon the growing things decay and become dry stubble that shreds and is blown away by the wind. Such is the life of this world, in contrasted with our real Life, that of the Hereafter.

God gives us the metaphor of this life being like water. Water, like mortal life, does not stay in one place or condition indefinitely.

No one can be exposed to water without getting wet, just as everyone who lives amid the enticements and afflictions of life is affected by them. Also, we know that water is beneficial to a certain point, but excess water can lead to serious damage.  Similarly, this life can be sufficiently good for humans if they are not greedy. As the Prophet of Islam (PBUH) said: “Take of this life as if you are taking from stagnant water, because the very little of this life is sufficient and too much of this life may spoil you.”  He also taught that a successful person is one who submits to God, receives enough to maintain his family, and is blessed by God to accept the little obtained from this life.

These examples illustrate well the beauty and wisdom presented in the Qur’an. Philosophers have spent centuries trying to understand the significance of life, yet here in a few words, God simplifies the truths of this life for ordinary and sophisticated people alike.  The beauty of this metaphor is that every person, even a child, knows what water is and that it is all around us and circulates in different states. Using such a common but essential substance, the Qur’an one of the most difficult issues relating to the significance of life.

Here is a parable about spending in the way of God.

The parable of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is that of a grain that sprouts into seven ears, each bearing one hundred grains.    Allah gives manifold increase to whom He wishes.  Allah has boundless knowledge.

Those who spend their wealth in the cause of Allah and do not follow their charity with reminders of their generosity, or injure the feelings of the recipient, shall get their reward from their Lord; they shall have nothing to fear or to regret. Kind words and forgiveness are better than charity followed by injury. Allah is Self-sufficient, Forbearing. O believers! Do not make your charity worthless by reminders of your generosity or by injury to the recipients’ feelings, like those who spend their wealth to be seen by people and believe neither in Allah nor in the Last Day. Their parable is like a hard barren rock covered with a thin layer of soil; a heavy rain falls, leaving it just a bare stone. Such people will not gain any reward that they thought they had earned.  Allah does not guide the unbelievers. The example of those who spend their wealth to seek the pleasure of Allah and to strengthen their souls is like a garden on a high and fertile ground: when heavy rain falls on it, it yields up twice its normal produce; and if no rain falls, a light moisture is sufficient.  Whatever you do is in the sight of Allah.

(The Cow, Surah 2; 261-265)

From all of the above, it is clear then that the Prophet (PBUH) received the Qur’an from God and then presented it through his followers exactly as it was, the form in which it has come down to us today.

Why did God reveal the Qur’an?

The purpose of sending the Qur’an has been made clear:

We have revealed to you the Book (The Qur’an) so that you may clearly explain to them the reality of those things in which they differ – it is guidance and blessing for those people who believe.

(The Bee, Surah 16; 64)

Muhammad, Allah’s Messenger, was sent the revelation of the Qur’an for three explicit purposes:

1.   That he should bring about peace among the jarring sects of that time by preaching the One True God and the Gospel of Unity to bring humankind together. Peace and unity are becoming increasingly relevant in our interdependent world.

2.   That the revelation of God’s teaching should be a guide to right conduct.

3.   That the teachings of the Qur’an should show the path of repentance and salvation, and thus be the greatest mercy to erring sinners.

God  the Almighty  is compassionate towards all creatures, but is also stern in retribution. Therefore, the words of the Qur’an emphasize the importance for all believers to return to the right path preached earlier by Abraham, the father of the Prophets.

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The Mosque of Amr ibn al-As ,also called the Mosque of Amr, was originally built in 641–642 AD, as the center of the newly founded capital of Egypt, Fustat. The original structure was the first mosque ever built in Egypt. The location for the mosque was the site of the tent of the commander of the conquering army, general Amr ibn al-As. One corner of the mosque contains the tomb of his son, 'Abd Allah ibn 'Amr ibn al-'As. Due to extensive reconstruction over the centuries, nothing of the original building remains, but the rebuilt Mosque is a prominent landmark, and can be seen in what today is known as "Old Cairo". It is an active mosque with a devout congregation, and when prayers are not taking place, it is also open to visitors and tourists.


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