The Message of the Quran
Al-Azhar Magazine – November 1972
The Quranic assertion is that salvation is the result of devotion to Almighty God and righteous living. It does not rest on any racial or group affiliation or on the observance of any custom or ceremonial. The acceptance of this principle opened the door of alvation to every human being.
The Quran declared that the primary aim of the true religion is to direct mankind to Oneness of God and universal brotherhood. At the time of the advent of the Quran the religious concept of the different people of the world had not over stepped the group stage. The mankind was divided on the religious basis into races, tribes and families, it was divided on the economic and social basis. Each religious group claiming that its own religious concept was the true one. The salvation was only for the followers of it. Since the outer form of living with each religious group was thus different from that of every other. The natural result of such an attitude was hater of others and bloodshed.
The Quran came forward with the view that as the laws of nature regulated and sustained themachinery of the universe there is a spiritual law of life which regulated and governed the life of man. This law is one and the same for everyone. The Quran asserted that the Din (religion) prescribed by God is but one. It styles it Al-Islam, which means complete and unqualified submission to the will of God. It observed that the religion of God was not meant to divide man from man but that, on the other hand, it was there to inspire the feeling of fellowship between one and another and let them all live bound together by the common tie of devotion to Him.
The Quran says the divine truth is a universal gift from God. It is not exclusive to any race or any people or religious group. Truth bears no national boundary, nor professes any racial or geographical loyalties like the sun created of God it shines in every corner of Globe, and shines equally well on every one. The Quran has repeatedly pronounced that discrimination between prophets is a denial of religion of God. There are only but two ways open for man. One is the way of recognition of all the prophets without distinction; the other is that of rejection. The rejection of the even one Prophet Muhammad amounts to rejection of every other Prophet as well. The Holy Quran says:
ءَامَنَ ٱلرَّسُولُ بِمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيۡهِ مِن رَّبِّهِ ۦوَٱلۡمُؤۡمِنُونَ ۚ كُلٌّ ءَامَنَ بِٱللَّهِ وَمَلَـٰٓٮِٕكَتِهِ ۦوَكُتُبِهِۦ وَرُسُلِهِ ۦلَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيۡنَ أَحَدٍ مِّن رُّسُلِهِۦۚ وَقَالُواْ سَمِعۡنَا وَأَطَعۡنَا ۖ غُفۡرَانَكَ رَبَّنَا وَإِلَيۡكَ ٱلۡمَصِيرُ
“The messenger believeth in that which hath been revealed unto him from his Lord and (so do) believers. Each one believeth in Allah and His angels and His scriptures and His messengers – We make no distinction between any of His messengers – and they say: We hear, and we obey. (Grant us) Thy forgiveness, our Lord. Unto Thee is the journeying” (Al- Baqarah 285)
The Quran points to the way of the true believers:
وَٱلَّذِينَ يُؤۡمِنُونَ بِمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيۡكَ وَمَآ أُنزِلَ مِن قَبۡلِكَ وَبِٱلۡأَخِرَةِ هُمۡ يُوقِنُونَ (٤) أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ عَلَىٰ هُدً۬ى مِّن رَّبِّهِمۡۖ وَأُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ هُمُ ٱلۡمُفۡلِحُونَ (٥)
“And who believe in that which is revealed unto thee (Muhammad) and that which was revealed before thee, and are certain of the Hereafter. These depend on guidance from their Lord. These are the successful. ” ( Albaqarah 4-5)
The Quran calls upon the people to consider carefully that if they do not deny that the creation of the universe is the creation of the one supreme Being, and that it is He who sustains it, then, why do they deny that the spiritual way of life prescribed by Him is but one. That is why the Quran repeatedly calls upon all those who have responded to its message not to divide themselves into sects or return to the darkness from which Quran had taken them out. It points out that it has brought those who were fighting each other to the path of devotion to God and has welded them into a brotherhood.
Why then was there opposition to the Quran in the time of the Prophet? Those who set themselves in opposition to it were the followers of religions which prevailed at the time. Some of them possessed revealed scriptures andsome not. What was the basis of their opposition? The Quraish of Mecca did not like it, because it expressed itself against idolatry. But the opposition of Jews, Christians of Arabia was not because the Quran condemned either Judaism or Christianity, but it was because it refused to condemn Judaism as against Christianity vice versa. The followers of each faith desired that the Quran should declare the faith of their rivals as false. And since the Quran would not do that no one was pleased with it. The Quran was opposed to groupism or sectarianism, but the Quran came forward to represent to the world at large the universal truth sponsored by all religions; Devotion to god and righteous living. That is the only way to restore the sense of Humanity to mankind and revive the idea that for all mankind there is but One providence, and that we should all in unity bow our heads at His threshold only, and develop a feeling of unity and solidarity. Such is the picture of the Straight Path which the Quran furnishes and advices every man to ask of God to show it to Him.
The Quran affirms that the call of all prophets was an invitation to the straight path. This path is clearly distinguishable from other paths. The distinction is emphasized when the Quransays: the Path of those to whom God has been gracious and not of those who have incurred His displeasure nor of those who have gone astray. Such is the picture of the straight path which the Quran advices every man to ask of God to show it to Him. That is the path of those to whom the Quran refers:
وَمَن يُطِعِ ٱللَّهَ وَٱلرَّسُولَ فَأُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ مَعَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَنۡعَمَ ٱللَّهُ عَلَيۡہِم مِّنَ ٱلنَّبِيِّـۧنَ وَٱلصِّدِّيقِينَ وَٱلشُّہَدَآءِ وَٱلصَّـٰلِحِينَۚ وَحَسُنَ أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ رَفِيقً۬ا
“Whoso obeyeth Allah and the messenger, they are with those unto whom Allah hath shown favour, of the prophets and the saints and the martyrs and the righteous. The best of company are they!” (Al Nissa 69)
The reference in the Verse is to all bearers of truth and the righteous and is not confined to individuals and is not confined to individuals belonging to any particular race or community, nor to the followers of any particular religion.
With a view to understanding the significance of the message of the Holy Quran we should remember the following points.
- The original text of the holy Quran is still preserved in all its original language word by word, Records of revelation and order of revelation of that Holy Quran were so faithfully made that even today one can say with precision that actual time and place of revelation of each verse.
- The Quran was received by its followers through authentic and successive transfer from generation to another in writing and by heart.
- The language of the Quran is in living Arabic so that it can be safely presumed that no interpolation or change is possible. The case is not so with regard to old and extinct languages.
- The text of the Quran is not mixed with the traditions of the Prophet or with commentaries of the interpreters. So there is no fear of mixing the words of God with human interpretations. The Quran is a living miracle of Islam and the Prophet, has retained its purity without the least changes, for the last one thousand and four hundred years:
إِنَّا نَحۡنُ نَزَّلۡنَا ٱلذِّكۡرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ ۥ لَحَـٰفِظُونَ
“Lo! We, even We, reveal the Reminder, and lo! We verily are its Guardian.” ( 15: 9 )
The Holy Quran is the first source of Islam and the fountain head of its laws. It contains the fundamentals of the law of nature which governs man. The Quran and original nature are in perfect harmony because the true religion is defined in the clear verses of Quran as the ‘Fitrat’ or nature of God, in which He has created man.