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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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