Secret Knowledge of the Qur‘an
By S.M. Zakir Hussain (Bangladesh)
of the Qur‘an
7. Hidden Unity
To many people – believers and non-believers included – the verses of the Qur‘an appear to be disconnected, ill-woven, artificial, discrete and jumbled sentences. Non-believers say that the verses were crudely arranged.
The verses of the Qur‘an are waves of an infinite ocean. If one wave is looked at from the background of another wave, what is seen is another wave, and not the totality of the sea. The best way to see the sea is to experience it. And the best way to experience it is to drown is it.
The apparent discreteness and unrelatedness of the verses led the first translator of the Qur‘an into Bengali, Girish Chandra Sen, to make the following comments, which are not his own, but to which he seems to agree:
The Qur’an was revealed over 23 years. The first five verses of the Surah No. 96 were revealed first. Whenever a new verse was revealed, the Prophet articulated it and his disciples instantly took it down. Each writer of the verses kept them with himself. Many people memorized it. When all the scripts were put together, they were kept in a box in such a way that it could not be ascertained which verse was revealed when.
[from the introduction, translated by the author]
We have seen that the fact that the verses of the Qur‘an appear to be disconnected has a number of mysterious causes. Therefore, comments of the type stated above are misled and wrong. Here is another very strong proof. Just look over the following verses:
53:33. Did you (O Muhammad) observe him who turned away,
53:34. And gave away but little, then was grudging?
53:35. Does he have knowledge of the Unseen so that he sees?
53:36. Or has he not had news of what is in the books of Moses
53:37. And Abraham who paid his debt:
53:38. That no laden one shall bear another's load,
53:39. And that man has only that for which he makes effort,
53:40. And that his effort will be seen.
53:41. And afterward he will be repaid for it with fullest payment;
53:42. And that your Lord, He is the goal;
53:43. And that He it is who makes laugh, and makes weep,
53:44. And that He it is Who gives death and gives life;
53:45. And that He creates the two spouses, the male and the female,
53:46. From a drop (of seed) when it is poured forth;
53:47. And that He has ordained the second bringing forth;
53:48. And that He it is Who enriches and contents;
53:49. And that He it is Who is the Lord of Sirius;
53:50. And that He destroyed the former (tribe of) A'ad,
53:51. And (the tribe of) Thamud He spared not;
53:52. And the folk of Noah aforetime, Lo! they were more unjust and more rebellious;
53:53. And Al-Mu'tafikah He destroyed
53:54. So that there covered them that which did cover.
53:55. Concerning which, then, of the bounties of your Lord, can you dispute?
53:56. This is a warner of the warners of old.
53:57. The threatened Hour is nigh.
53:58. None beside Allah can disclose it.
53:59. Marvel you then at this statement,
53:60. And laugh and not weep,
53:61. While you amuse yourselves?
Explanation: Here God says something which may seem to be contradictory.
God blames by saying – they gave away but little.
This means that He instructs us to give away as much as possible.
He says again – Do they know the unseen?
What should they know? How much they should give away.
It was said in Moses’ Book - Nobody will bear the burden of another person.
That is good. Then why should we bear the burden of others by giving them part of what we have earned? At least, what is the use of donating too much?
Just after it, God says – Humans get what they earn (as reward for their activities).
Then our argument becomes stronger:
Why should we give our earnings to those who have not earned anything?
Then again God says – It is He who makes laugh and Who makes cry.
Now also the question arises – why is it necessary for us to play a role in giving when He it is that is doing everything? Is it, then, not His own responsibility to remove the poverty of those who are poor?
What God says next does not seem to have any consistency with what we have considered so far. More surprisingly, what He says in the verse No. 55 implies that all these poverty and destruction are a blessing! How?
In the end, in the verse No. 60, God chastises those who are not crying now, and are only laughing as they are enjoying this life and mocking at the believers.
In this way, many people consider the Qur’an to be a haphazard collection of senseless utterances. In fact, if this view is to be considered appropriate, then it must be said that the Qur’an is full of such ‘disconnected’ and ‘unplanned’ utterances. Now, from that point of view, the question arises: If these are instances of inconsistency, then, frankly, can a human being compose something with so many instances of logical consistencies, leaving them grammatically correct? Can you, dear reader, produce incorrect or inappropriate sentences keeping the fluency level intact and the content rich?
And this fact also proves that the Qur’an is not a composition of any human being.
Thus is seen that what Girish Chandra and persons like Benjamin Walker said was on the basis of a misunderstanding.
The real explanation:
God instructs us to give away liberally from our surplus wealth. If we had the knowledge of the unseen, we would see that nobody is bearing the burden of ‘others’ by sharing his or her wealth with others. Rather, from the spiritual point of view, that is, from the point of view of life as seen from the hereafter, there is no ‘other’. In fact, ther entire humankind is but one family:
42:45. And you will see them exposed to (the Fire), made humble by disgrace, and looking with veiled eyes. And those who believe will say: Lo! the (eternal) losers are they who lose themselves and their housefolk on the Day of Resurrection. Lo! are not the wrong-doers in perpetual torment?
The above verse makes it clear that those who disbelieved actually disbelieved in the fact that the entire humankind is a single family. Everybody will know this fact at the time of death and in the hereafter. Thus, doing harm to others is the same thing as doing harm to one’s own self. One harms others only when one does not have know ledge about oneself.
The inner mystery of this fact is a matter of the knowledge of towheed (oneness of God). In the external word, the existence of ‘I’, ‘he’ ‘she’, ‘they’ etc. has to be honored and is true. Thus we must follow the rules of life to establish and maintain relationships with others in the world. In this external world, our liability in all spheres of life is limited by our ability, just as the liability of a public limited company is limited. But we do have some duties to do to others. A part of such duty is mandatory. However, in a certain dimension, everybody is compulsorily bound by her or his fate.
It is He who gives sorrows and grants pleasure, only to see who accepts them and then avails the opportunity of transforming them into personal as well as social well-being and success. Those who share others’ sorrows, God will satisfy them by giving them the opportunity to laugh. Whereas, those who have chosen only to laugh in this life, are given the bad news that they will have to cry soon. And when this world happens to be crammed with people who are selfish and have chosen only the pleasure part of life, then God chooses to clear it of them to maintain its natural heath. This is a blessing for mankind.