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Saturday, February 15, 2020

Will all humanity be judged by The Quran? (39:69)

Does Verse 39:69 say that all of humanity will be judged by The Quran on the Day of Judgement? That is, will be treated as a sort of "textbook" or standard for all humanity, by which everyone's lives will be compared and judged accordingly?

It does not refer to The Quran. The book mentioned here is a the book of deeds (or the book of life) as well as a the record of everything.

Let's see... Verse 68 goes, that the "Trumpet" will be sounded, and everyone in the heavens and the earth will be stunned. Then it will be sounded another time, and everyone will rise up. And then the verse in question... 
Az-Zumar 39:69 And the earth will shine with the Light of its Lord; and the Book will be placed; and the prophets and the witnesses will be brought in; and Judgment will be passed among them equitably, and they will not be wronged.
وَأَشْرَقَتِ الْأَرْضُ بِنُورِ رَبِّهَا وَوُضِعَ الْكِتَابُ وَجِيءَ بِالنَّبِيِّينَ وَالشُّهَدَاءِ وَقُضِيَ بَيْنَهُم بِالْحَقِّ وَهُمْ لَا يُظْلَمُونَ 
And then verse 70 says that every soul will be fully compensated for it's deeds, and that God is well aware of what they do...
Az-Zumar 39:70 And every soul will be fully compensated for what it had done. He is well aware of what they do. 
وَوُفِّيَت كُلُّ نَفسٍ ما عَمِلَت وَهُوَ أَعلَمُ بِما يَفعَلونَ

There are many verses in The Quran which discuss this "book of deeds" or this "record of everything", but the most important one to understand the nature of the book mentioned in 39:69 is 18:49.

The similarities between the two verses make it abundantly clear that verse 18:49 indeed mentions the same book (compare the colored parts between this verse and 39:69-70). The verse also makes it clear that the nature of the book is not at all that of a textbook or a standard for humanity...
Al-Kahf 18:49 And the book will be placed, and you will see the sinners fearful of its contents. And they will say, “Woe to us! What is with this book that leaves nothing, small or big, but it has enumerated it?” They will find everything they had done presentYour Lord does not wrong anyone.
وَوُضِعَ الْكِتَابُ فَتَرَى الْمُجْرِمِينَ مُشْفِقِينَ مِمَّا فِيهِ وَيَقُولُونَ يَا وَيْلَتَنَا مَالِ هَٰذَا الْكِتَابِ لَا يُغَادِرُ صَغِيرَةً وَلَا كَبِيرَةً إِلَّا أَحْصَاهَا وَوَجَدُوا مَا عَمِلُوا حَاضِرًا وَلَا يَظْلِمُ رَبُّكَ أَحَدًا

We see that ...
  • it is a book that will leaves out nothing small or big but records everything
  • It is a book that the wrongdoers will be afraid of what it contains, because they will find their deeds present. 
  • and for their deeds, which they can clearly see and cry out "Woe to us!", they will be compensated accordingly, and hence they will not be wronged in the slightest. 

So instead of being a textbook or standard like The Quran that their lives will be compared with, it is a book in God's presence that tells the truth exactly as it happened...
Al-Mu'minun 23:62 We never burden any soul beyond its capacity. And with Us is a book that speaks the truthand they will not be wronged.
وَلَا نُكَلِّفُ نَفْسًا إِلَّا وُسْعَهَا وَلَدَيْنَا كِتَابٌ يَنْطِقُ بِالْحَقِّ وَهُمْ لَا يُظْلَمُونَ
Fahad Ali Khan

Monday, January 13, 2020

Did God build the Kaaba?

Is it true that God made the Kaaba structure according to The Quran verse 5:97?

The verse does not just say that God made the Kaaba. It says that God made the Kaaba ‘qiyaama lin naas’, that is, a standard or establishment for people.
5:97 God has laid down (Ja’3aLa) that the Ka'bah, the Inviolable Temple, shall be a symbol for all mankind... 
جَعَلَ اللَّهُ الْكَعْبَةَ الْبَيْتَ الْحَرَامَ قِيَامًا لِلنَّاسِ ...
That's not the same as saying that 'God built the Kaaba' or 'God made the Kaaba' (i.e it's structure). The word ja’3ala (made) is used in the sense that God assigned Kaaba the status of ‘qiyaama lin naas’, NOT that He built or constructed the Kaaba.

Just as in 2:125, ‘ja’3alna’ (we made) is not referring to the construction of the House but the fact that God assigned the House the status ‘focal point’ and a ‘sanctuary’...
2:125 And (recall) when We made (Ja’3aLna) the House a focal point for the people, and a sanctuary. ...
... وَإِذْ جَعَلْنَا الْبَيْتَ مَثَابَةً لِّلنَّاسِ وَأَمْنًا
More examples of the use of the word ja’3ala in its different forms: Moses and Aaron were inspired to treat their homes as ‘places of worship’, NOT to construct houses …
10:87 … Settle your people in Egypt, and make (waJ’3aLu) your homes places of worship….
... أَن تَبَوَّآ لِقَوْمِكُمَا بِمِصْرَ بُيُوتًا وَاجْعَلُوا بُيُوتَكُمْ قِبْلَةً
The following verse mentions those who turned the Quran into ‘portions’, NOT those who made/created the Quran ...
15:91 Those who have made (Ja’3aLu) the Qur'an into portions.
الَّذِينَ جَعَلُوا الْقُرْآنَ عِضِينَ
The actual word used to convey the meaning of building / construction comes from the root Ba-Nun-Ya/Waw: Let’s see some examples: The wife of Pharaoh asked God to build/construct a house for her in the Garden:
66:11 My Lord! build for me a house with Thee in the garden...
رَبِّ ابْنِ لِي عِنْدَكَ بَيْتًا فِي الْجَنَّةِ ...
The following verse mentions mosques built/constructed by wrong-doers:
9:110 Their buildings (BuNYaan) which they have built (BaNaW) will not cease to be a point of doubt within their hearts... 
لَا يَزَالُ بُنْيَانُهُمُ الَّذِي بَنَوْا رِيبَةً فِي قُلُوبِهِمْ ...
Another example comes from when Firawn ordered Hamaan to build a tower for him:
40:36 And Pharaoh said: O Haman! build (BNi) for me a tower that I may attain the means of access (to the heavens)
وَقَالَ فِرْعَوْنُ يَا هَامَانُ ابْنِ لِي صَرْحًا لَّعَلِّي أَبْلُغُ الْأَسْبَابَ
More examples from The Quran:

What we can say for sure, in light of the above references, is that 5:97 does not say that construction / building of the House was carried out by God. The only thing that can be said is that the location of the House was assigned by God according to the Quran...

22:26 And (recall) when We allotted / settled (BaWWaA'na) for Abraham the location of the House ...
...وَإِذْ بَوَّأْنَا لِإِبْرَاهِيمَ مَكَانَ الْبَيْتِ

Now, those who claim that God built the Kaaba also interpret 22:26 to give the meaning that God 'showed' (or pointed out to) Abraham the House (which was already built by God according to them), but that's not what the verse says. It also does not refer to the House itself, but says instead that God 'allotted/settled' the 'location/placement' (makaan) of the house for Abraham.
See the usage of the BaWWaA'na / 'We allotted/settled' ( bā wāw hamza ب و أ ) in the following verse:
10:93 And We settled/allotted (BaWWaA'na) the Children of Israel a sure settlement/allotment (muBaWWaA'), and provided them with good things...
وَلَقَدْ بَوَّأْنَا بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ مُبَوَّأَ صِدْقٍ وَرَزَقْنَاهُم مِّنَ الطَّيِّبَاتِ...
This is the only other occurrence of the form BaWWaA'na, and we can see how it gives the meaning 'We allotted/settled'. More examples at the following link:
Fahad Ali Khan

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Time and Place of Death are Predestined

A question was asked whether the place of one’s death is predetermined and/or predestined.

The time of death is predetermined, The Quran tells us:
Aal-e-Imraan 3:145 
It is not for any soul to die, save by the permission of God, at an appointed time.
وَما كانَ لِنَفسٍ أَن تَموتَ إِلّا بِإِذنِ اللَّهِ كِتابًا مُؤَجَّلًا
Al-Munafiqoon 63:10-11 
And spend out of what We have given you before death comes to one of you, so that he should say: My Lord! why did You not respite me for a short while, so that I should have given charity and been of the doers of good deeds?
And God does not respite a soul when its appointed term has come, and God is Aware of what you do.
وَأَنفِقوا مِن ما رَزَقناكُم مِن قَبلِ أَن يَأتِيَ أَحَدَكُمُ المَوتُ فَيَقولَ رَبِّ لَولا أَخَّرتَني إِلىٰ أَجَلٍ قَريبٍ فَأَصَّدَّقَ وَأَكُن مِنَ الصّالِحينَ
وَلَن يُؤَخِّرَ اللَّهُ نَفسًا إِذا جاءَ أَجَلُها ۚ وَاللَّهُ خَبيرٌ بِما تَعمَلونَ
But is the place and country of one’s death is also predetermined as asked?

The Quran tells us that a person does not have advance knowledge of the place where he or she is going to die or be buried:
Luqman 31:34
Surely God is He with Whom is the knowledge of the Hour, and He sends down the rain and He knows what is in the wombs; and no one knows what he shall earn tomorrow; and no one knows in what land he shall die; surely God is Knowing, Aware.
إِنَّ اللَّهَ عِندَهُ عِلمُ السّاعَةِ وَيُنَزِّلُ الغَيثَ وَيَعلَمُ ما فِي الأَرحامِ ۖ وَما تَدري نَفسٌ ماذا تَكسِبُ غَدًا ۖ وَما تَدري نَفسٌ بِأَيِّ أَرضٍ تَموتُ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَليمٌ خَبيرٌ

While the knowledge of one’s final resting place is hidden, it is indeed predetermined. In fact The Quran tells us that if people had remained in their houses for fear of being killed, and if killing was indeed decreed for them, they would have gone out to place of their death and/or burial.
Aal-e-Imran 3:154
...They say: Had we any hand in the affair, we would not have been slain here. Say: Had you remained in your houses, those for whom slaughter was ordained would certainly have gone forth to their (final) resting places, and that God might test what was in your breasts and that He might purge what was in your hearts; and God knows what is in the breasts.
يَقولونَ لَو كانَ لَنا مِنَ الأَمرِ شَيءٌ ما قُتِلنا هاهُنا ۗ قُل لَو كُنتُم في بُيوتِكُم لَبَرَزَ الَّذينَ كُتِبَ عَلَيهِمُ القَتلُ إِلىٰ مَضاجِعِهِم ۖ وَلِيَبتَلِيَ اللَّهُ ما في صُدورِكُم وَلِيُمَحِّصَ ما في قُلوبِكُم ۗ وَاللَّهُ عَليمٌ بِذاتِ الصُّدورِ
The word used for the places of death or burial or final resting places is madaji’ (مَضَاجِع) [ ḍād jīm ʿayn (ض ج ع) ] which has been used to mean ‘bed’ or ‘sleeping place’ in The Quran (4:34, 32:16). Therefore in 3:154 it has been used to indicate a ‘final resting place’.

The use of ‘sleeping place’ / ‘bed’ is also appropriate to indicate ‘place of death’ as The Quran has compared sleep (nawm) with death:
Az-Zumur 39:42 
God takes the souls at the time of their death, and those that die not during their sleep; then He withholds those on whom He has passed the decree of death and sends the others back till an appointed term; most surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect. 
اللَّهُ يَتَوَفَّى الأَنفُسَ حينَ مَوتِها وَالَّتي لَم تَمُت في مَنامِها ۖ فَيُمسِكُ الَّتي قَضىٰ عَلَيهَا المَوتَ وَيُرسِلُ الأُخرىٰ إِلىٰ أَجَلٍ مُسَمًّى ۚ إِنَّ في ذٰلِكَ لَآياتٍ لِقَومٍ يَتَفَكَّرونَ

Fahad Ali Khan

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Critique of Pervezi-Quranist Methodology

Following are a few critiques and criticisms of Ghulam Ahmed Pervaiz's methodology for interpreting The Quran, also serving as critiques of similar methodologies adopted by many Quranist groups and individuals, with whom I am more familiar than with Mr Pervaiz, which is the true purpose of this post.

Javed Ahmed Ghamidi's critique of Ghulam Ahmed Pervez's method of interpreting the Quran:

Refutation of Ghulam Ahmed Pervaiz's views about Salat by Dr Israr Ahmed:

Dr Khalid Zaheer on Mr. Ghulam Ahmed Pervaiz's understanding of Qur'an:

"...while interpreting Qur an he (Pervez) seems to be employing a way of understanding Qur anic words which is unique to him: Instead of giving meanings to Qur anic vocabulary the way Arabs of those times understood, he developed a new science for understanding meanings of Qur anic words. The end result was that he understood from Qur an a message which, at least in some cases, was completely unique, unknown to anyone before him."

"Our intellect is a God-given source of guidance. Divine revelation is a guide for our intellect. The Qur anic description of the unseen realities is metaphorical. Since, we can t see those realities and there aren t any words in our vocabulary to describe their truth literally, the Qur an has used allegorical expressions (mutashabihaat; see Qur an 3:7) to do so.

We have belief in the unseen; but it s not blind. We have accepted, or we ought to ideally accept, Qur an and the prophet, alaihissalaam, on the merit of the arguments that have been presented to believe in them. Once we begin to believe in them, we start accepting whatever we learn through them from reliable sources. That process is based on our faith that we have acquired through our intellectual reasoning and spiritual experiences. Even when we don t understand intellectually some of the contents of the message we have received from the Qur an and the prophet, we accept those contents on the one hand and struggle to find the truth about their reality through intellectual reasoning on the other.

All along this journey of faith, our intellect is our guide, which does two things: It helps us in knowing the true meanings of the text of Qur an on the one hand and in reconciling it with the common sense and undeniable worldly, scientific information we already have on the other. While going through the task of reconciliation, we should never forget the fact that the text of Qur an is the final authority and all else has to adjust in the light of it. While going through this process, which is at times a difficult task, we cannot ignore the fact that our understanding of Qur an could be faulty on some occasions while on others our perception of common sense or facts of life could be incorrect. That is why reflecting upon the verses of the Qur an has to be an ongoing process for all believers.

In the process mentioned above, I have a feeling, and may Allah guide me if I am wrong, that both traditional Muslims and modernists like Pervaiz Sahib have faltered. While the traditionalists have decided that the text of the Qur an must be understood in the manner the earlier Muslims have understood it, the modernists believe that the text must conform to the understanding of the modern knowledge. We, too, may have erred in our understanding of the text, and I am sure we have erred at least on some occasions, but we are firmly committed to our stance that the Qur an is the ultimate criterion of deciding what is correct religious understanding from what is not. It is on the basis of this commitment that we are always prepared to review and revise our opinions.

The Qur an itself has to be understood on the basis of its own language, which was the language of the Arabs who spoke and wrote it immediately before and at the time when the book was being revealed. It has also got to be interpreted in the context of its own verses. ..."

"...The Qur an is a guidance for everyone and therefore its meanings should be accessible to everyone. That doesn t mean that all ordinary people can understand Qur an like scholars can do. What it means is that the method of learning the true message of Qur an is clear; anyone who wants to achieve a higher level of understanding of Qur an can do so by following that methodology." 

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Sunday, July 7, 2013

Al-Maseeh - The Meaning and Significance

The complete name of Isa("Jesus") is “AL-MASEEH Isa son of Maryam”: 
Aal-e-Imran 3/45: When the angels said, 'O Maryam! Allah gives you glad tidings of a word from Him; his name shall be AL-MASEEH ISA IBNE MARYAM honoured in this world and in the next, and of those nearest to Allah  
إِذْ قَالَتِ الْمَلَائِكَةُ يَا مَرْيَمُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُبَشِّرُكِ بِكَلِمَةٍ مِنْهُ اسْمُهُ الْمَسِيحُ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ وَجِيهًا فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ وَمِنَ الْمُقَرَّبِينَ
Now, the meaning of Al-Maseeh is commonly understood as Christ / Anointed / Baptised.

But, there already is a word for “anointment” in The Quran, which is 'sibghata':
Al-Baqarah 2/138: The Sibghata / Anointment / Baptism of God: And who is better than God’s sibghatan / anointment / baptism? And for Him we are serving. 
صِبْغَةَ اللَّهِ وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ مِنَ اللَّهِ صِبْغَةً وَنَحْنُ لَهُ عَابِدُونَ
Secondly, even if it were to carry the meaning of Anointed, the name would have been ‘Mamsooh’, meaning ‘the one upon whom Masah is performed’.

But Maseeh means ‘the one who performs Masah’.

So what does Masah mean then? Let’s look at verse 5/6 which commands Believers to perform  masah i.e rubbing / massaging / wiping, using water or sand/dust:
Al-Maida 5/6: O ye who believe! when you stand up for Prayer, wash your faces, and your hands up to the elbows, and Perform MASAH ( RUBBING / MASSAGING / WIPING ) of your heads (with water); and wash your feet to the ankles. And if you be unclean, purify yourselves by bathing. And if you are ill or you are on a journey while unclean, or one of you comes from the privy or you have touched women, and find not WATER, betake yourselves to pure DUST and perform MASAHAH ( RUB / MASSAGE /WIPE ) therewith of your faces and your hands. God desires not that He should place you in a difficulty but He desires to purify you and to complete His favour upon you, so that you may be grateful.  
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا قُمْتُمْ إِلَى الصَّلَاةِ فَاغْسِلُوا وُجُوهَكُمْ وَأَيْدِيَكُمْ إِلَى الْمَرَافِقِ وَامْسَحُوا بِرُءُوسِكُمْ وَأَرْجُلَكُمْ إِلَى الْكَعْبَيْنِ وَإِنْ كُنْتُمْ جُنُبًا فَاطَّهَّرُوا وَإِنْ كُنْتُمْ مَرْضَىٰ أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ أَوْ جَاءَ أَحَدٌ مِنْكُمْ مِنَ الْغَائِطِ أَوْ لَامَسْتُمُ النِّسَاءَ فَلَمْ تَجِدُوا مَاءً فَتَيَمَّمُوا صَعِيدًا طَيِّبًا فَامْسَحُوا بِوُجُوهِكُمْ وَأَيْدِيكُمْ مِنْهُ مَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيَجْعَلَ عَلَيْكُمْ مِنْ حَرَجٍ وَلَٰكِنْ يُرِيدُ لِيُطَهِّرَكُمْ وَلِيُتِمَّ نِعْمَتَهُ عَلَيْكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ
But the meaning of masah is only “rubbing / massaging / wiping”. Using water or sand or anything else is not necessary. Look at 38/33, where MAS-HAN is used to mean simply massaging / rubbing; no water or sand involved, i.e NO ANOINTMENT / BAPTISM / CHRISTENING:
Saad 38/33: "Bring them(the horses) back to me." then he(Sulaiman) began to RUB / MAS-HAN (their) legs and their necks.
رُدُّوهَا عَلَيَّ فَطَفِقَ مَسْحًا بِالسُّوقِ وَالأَعْنَاقِ
This further proves that masah cannot mean “anointment/baptism/christening”. It only gives the meaning of Massaging / Rubbing / Wiping. 

Al-Maseeh therefore means ‘The One who Massages / Rubs / Wipes’.

But what is the SIGNIFICANCE of Isa being Al-Maseeh? WHY is he called The One who Massages / Rubs / Wipes? What could he have performed Masah for?

We know from The Quran that Isa used to heal the blind and the leprous by Allah’s command:
Aal-e-Imran 3/49: And (Isa will be) a Messenger towards the Children of Israeel (saying), 'I come to you with a Sign from your Lord, which is, that I will fashion out for you a creation out of clay after the manner of a bird; then I will breath into it a new spirit and it will become a soaring being by the command of God; and I will HEAL THE BLIND AND THE LEPROUS, and I will quicken the dead by the command of God; and I will announce to you what you will eat and what you will store up in your houses. Surely therein is a Sign for you, if you are believers.
وَرَسُولًا إِلَىٰ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ أَنِّي قَدْ جِئْتُكُمْ بِآيَةٍ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ أَنِّي أَخْلُقُ لَكُمْ مِنَ الطِّينِ كَهَيْئَةِ الطَّيْرِ فَأَنْفُخُ فِيهِ فَيَكُونُ طَيْرًا بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ وَأُبْرِئُ الْأَكْمَهَ وَالْأَبْرَصَ وَأُحْيِي الْمَوْتَىٰ بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ وَأُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِمَا تَأْكُلُونَ وَمَا تَدَّخِرُونَ فِي بُيُوتِكُمْ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَةً لَكُمْ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ مُؤْمِنِينَ

So it is very likely that Isa used masah / rubbing / massaging to heal the blind and the leprous, hence Al-Maseeh (The one who gives masah / massage), and not the mistranslation “Christ/Anointed”.

Fahad Ali Khan
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