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THE QURAN ADDRESSES EACH LEVEL OF MANKIND IN EVERY AGE

The wise Quran addresses each level of mankind in every age. It is essential for the Quran-which calls all mankind of varying intellectual and spiritual capacities to faith, and instructs them in faith, the highest and most subtle science, and in knowledge of God, the broadest and most enlightening branch of learning, and which calls them to the laws of Islam, the most important and elaborate of sciences-it is essential that the Quran should teach every group and level appropriately. Whereas mankind are many and diverse, the Quran is one and teaches the same teaching. Therefore, there must be different levels within the same instruction, in which each person will be able to find his share. You may refer to the examples given earlier. However, in order to point out the share of understanding of a few classes, I will point out a few minor points briefly.

Examples:

He begets not, nor was begotten. And there is none comparable to Him. (112:3-4)

The share of understanding of the common people, who form the majority of mankind, in these verses, is this: ‘Almighty God is absolutely free from having a father, children, wives and equals.’ Those of relatively higher (more informed) levels of understanding will infer that the verses categorically reject the Divine sonship and divinity of Jesus and the divinity of angels and all other beings who beget and are begotten. Now, since the rejection of a negation or of an impossibility is evidently useless, the science of eloquence demands the existence of a conclusion from the words which is useful. It is unquestionable that God does not beget nor was begotten, therefore there must be another purpose in rejecting the attribution of sonship and fatherhood to God, which is this: Whoever has a father, children and equals cannot be God and does not deserve worship. It is for this reason (among many others) that sura al-Ikhlas, from which the verses above are quoted, is of such great use for all persons at all times.

Another group of a higher degree of understanding derive this meaning: Almighty God is absolutely free of all relationships with the creation which will suggest begetting and being begotten, and exempt from having partners, helpers and fellow-deities. His relationship with the creation is that He is the Creator and everything and everyone in existence is the created. God creates with the command ‘Be! and it is’ and through His eternal Will; He is absolutely free of every quality which, suggesting compulsion, obligation and unwilled, unintended action, is therefore contrary to His absolute perfection.

Still another group of considerably higher levels of understanding infer the meaning that Almighty God is eternal, with no beginning and end, and He is the First and the Last. Neither in His Being, nor Attributes, nor acts, has He in any way equals, peers, likes, or anything similar or analogous to Him. However, in order to make His acts understandable, the Quran (which also says, God’s is the highest comparison) allows us to have recourse to proper comparisons.

You may compare to these the share of understanding of the verses quoted of those who have perfect knowledge and love of God, and most truthful, painstaking scholars.

Muhammad is not the father of anyone from among your men. (33:40)

The share of the first group in this verse is this: Zayd, the servant of God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, whom he called ‘son’, divorced his wife Zaynab, because he found her superior to him in virtues, and by God’s command, God’s Messenger married her. Therefore the verse explains: If the Prophet calls you ‘son’, this is because of his mission as the Messenger of God. Biologically, he is not the father of any man among you so that he may not marry a widow of one among you.’

A second group derives this meaning: A superior treats his subjects with fatherly care and compassion. If that superior is both a worldly ruler and spiritual guide, then his compassion will be a hundred times greater than a father’s. The subjects of that superior consider him as if a real father. Since this may cause people to have difficulty in seeing the Prophet, whom they consider more fatherly than a father, as the husband of their womenfolk, the Quran corrects the public view, meaning: ‘The Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, considers you with the view of Divine compassion and treats you as if a father. You are like his children from the viewpoint of his mission. However, biologically, he is not your father so that it would be improper for him to marry a woman from among you.’

A third group understands from the verse that because of their connection with the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, and reliance on his perfections and his fatherly compassion for them, the believers can not think that they will be saved even if they commit sins and errors. (There are many people like certain of the Alawis, for example, who do not perform the prescribed prayers and say ‘Our prayers have already been performed’, and Christians who delude themselves with the false belief that Jesus sacrificed himself for their salvation, who rely on the perfections of their leader or guide and show laziness in performing the religious commandments.

A fourth group deduces a prediction from the verse, which is this: The Prophet will not, for some reason, have a son through whom his line will be continued. His male children will die at an early age, and as expressed by the word ‘men’, he will be the father of female, not male, children, and therefore his line will continue through his daughter.

All praise be to God, the blessed children of the Prophet’s daughter Fatima, his two grandsons Hasan and Husayn, the ‘light-giving moons’ of the two illustrious lines, continue the line of the Sun of Prophethood both biologically and spiritually. O God, bestow blessings on him and his family.


Recommended Reading:
In the whole of the Quran there is a perfect fluency, a superb clarity and soundness, a firm coherence, 
and a well-established harmony and proportion, and a strong mutual support and interrelation amongst its sentences and their parts, and an elevated correspondence amongst its verses and their purposes

Last Updated on September 30, 2000

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