04 February, 2013

The Beautiful Names of the Quran

The Beautiful Names of the Qur'an

In recent times, much has been written, discussed and debated about the beautiful names and attributes of Allah (swt), both in the form of articles and talks. However, one thing which is rarely discussed is the various names and meanings of the Glorious Qur'an itself, which Allah (swt) Himself has attributed to His Kitab.

In this blessed month of Ramadhan, when the dry fasting lips and tongues of the believing men and women are in constant engagement in the recitation of the verses of the Qur'an, it is an ideal moment to take a step back and contemplate about the unique names of the Glorious Qur'an as well as unravelling the deep meanings that these names allude to.

Indeed, there is immense reward for the believers in the contemplation of these beautiful names and meanings of the Qur'an. This is similar to the reward gained in contemplating about the universe and its existence, which leads to the inevitable revering and worshipping of the Omnipotent Creator.

It is in this light that I wish to briefly discuss some selected names and meanings of the Qur'an ul Kareem so as to make the readers think beyond the apparent meanings of these names, and focus and reflect on the essence of the terms used by Allah (swt) to describe His Kitab, and its wider implications for the Muslims in their endeavour to worship Allah (swt).

To begin with, one of the most obvious points to mentions is that Allah (swt) refers to His Qur'an asKalamullah (Word of Allah), as in the following ayah from Surah At-Taubah:

'And if anyone of the Mushrikun seeks your protection then grant him protection, so that he may hear the Word of Allah (Qur'an), and then escort him to where he can be secure, that is because they are men who know not.'

It is a sad reality that many Muslims today just give lip service to this term. Many are quick to acknowledge the Qur'an as the Word of Allah, but show little manifestation in living it. If a Muslim deeply reflects on the magnitude of this statement, he would realise that this Kitab is like no other book in history, as this is the very sacred words of Allah (swt), the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, which has been communicated to mankind via His Messenger Muhammad (saw). In it there is salvation for mankind who choose to follow and live a pious and obedient life fulfilling their duties towards their Lord.

In other parts of the Qur'an Allah (swt) describes His Kitab as Al-Huda (the guidence). In Surah Al-Imran Allah (swt) says:

'This (the Qur'an) is a plain statement for mankind, a guidance and instruction to those who are Al-Muttaqun (the pious).' (Al-Imran: 2)

In numerous ayats Allah (swt) describes this Qur'an as guidance for mankind. In it are the solutions to life's problems both in the dunya and the akhira. If this Qur'an is taken as the basis of our lives then we will see a profound and radical change in the society around us. The Qur'an will fulfil its guidance for mankind in every sphere of our lives, and it will bring about the necessary divine intervention in the political and socio-economics of the society we live in. It is only then that we will truly appreciate and witness the noor (sacred light) of the Qur'an spreading over the world with itsrahma (mercy) and huda (guidance).

In another part of the Qur'an, Allah (swt) describes His Qur'an in the most amazing manner by metaphorically referring to it as the Ruh (the Book which gives life to faith).

'And thus We have sent to you (Oh Muhammad) Ruhan of Our Command. You knew not what is the Book, not what is faith? But We have made it (this Qur'an) a light wherewith We guide whosoever of Our slaves We will. And verily, you are indeed guiding (mankind) to the straight path.'  (Ash-Shura: 52).

If one analyses and reflects on the use of this term, then he would realise the striking resemblance that has been made with the ruh of human beings i.e. secret of life. Just as mankind is nothing without the presence of the ruh (secret of life) in the body, likewise, the believers would have no purpose in life without the ruh of the Qur'an. The believers devoid of this guidance could be likened to a rock or a stone without any life or purpose. It is just present amongst the many other countless matter devoid of this spirit of life and a purpose for which to live for.

Another beautiful name by which Allah (swt) describes His Kitab is by the use of the term Shifa' (healing/cure). In Surah Yunus Allah (swt) mentions:

'Oh mankind! There has come to you a good advice from your Lord (i.e. the Qur'an), and a healing for that (disease of ignorance) in your breasts, a guidance and a mercy for the believers.' (Yunus: 57)

The prophet Muhammad (saw) said in a hadith reported by Imams Bukhari and Muslim,

'In the body, there is a piece of flesh, if it is good, the whole body is good, and if it is bad, the whole body is bad; truly it is the heart.'

Islam has placed the deeds of the heart much higher than then deeds of the limbs. The heart is the essence of the human being and is the ultimate deciding entity of man's righteousness or corruption. This is why in Islam the action of the believer would be futile without the correct intention. Those who tread the path of ignorance and transgress the limits set by Allah (swt) will have a disease in their hearts, which can potentially cause their spiritual death. It is only through the embracing of the verses of the Qur'an and its application in the hearts and limbs, would the believers find a healing and remedy for their spiritual disease, leading to the path of guidance.

If the hearts and limbs are not inclined towards Allah and His Messenger through the beautiful zikr(remembrance) of the Qur'an, then Allah (swt) reminds mankind of the stern consequences of their rejection of faith and their subsequent evil deeds. Allah (swt) uses An-Nadhir (warner) to describe the Qur'an so as to warn the kafiroon (disbelievers), munafiqoon (hypocrites) and the fasiqoon(sinners) of what awaits them for their constant indulgent of sin and kufr.

'Good tidings and a warning. But most of them turn away so that they hear not.' (Fussilat: 4)

Indeed, those who indulge in the disobedience and rejection of the Message of the Lord of the worlds will face the punishment of the hereafter by being thrown into the hellfire.

The only path of salvation for mankind is in the acceptance of the Islamic faith and the complete submission to the will of Allah (swt). It requires the believers to adopt the shariah as their code of conduct in life's affairs. Indeed, Allah (swt) refers to the Qur'an as Al-Furqan (the criterion of judgement). In Surah Al-Furqan, He (swt) says:

'Blessed be He who sent down the criterion (of right and wrong i.e. this Qur'an) to His slave (Muhammad) that he may be a warner to the 'Alamin (mankind and jinns).' (Al-Furqan: 1)

The Arabic word 'Al-Furqan' literally means 'that which distinguishes between right and wrong'. Allah's (swt) revelation and expression of His will, is certainly, the true standard of right and wrong. The Qur'an distinguishes between good and evil, between truth and falsehood, and between knowledge and ignorance. It demands that the believers follow the commands of their Lord, by following the ahkam shariah in all aspects of their lives, by abstaining from the haram (forbidden) and fulfilling the faraid (obligations), as well as enjoining the good and forbidding the evil.

Al-Furqan reminds us of the ayat in Surah Al-Zalzalah, where Allah (swt) says:

'So whoever does an atom's weight of good shall see it. And whoever does an atom's weight of evil shall see it.' (Zalzalah: 7-8)

Lastly, I would like to remind the sincere believers that by fulfilling their covenant with Allah (swt) it will result in the manifestation of goodness both in this life and the hereafter. Allah (swt) refers to His Qur'an as Bushra (glad tidings) because of the sheer volume of good news it contains. The Qur'an gives good news about forgiveness, about the achievement of salvation and about life in paradise. All it requires is for the followers to submit themselves to this Qur'an and emulate the footstep of the Prophet of Allah (saw) by becoming a living Qur'an both in speech and deed.

'Say (oh Muhammad) Ruh-ul-Qudus (jibreel) has brought it (Qur'an) down from your Lord with truth, that it may make firm and strengthen those who believe as a guidance and glad tidings to those who have submitted.' (An-Nahl: 102).

Abu Safiyyah

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