The Qur’an for Youthful Minds
Surah No.2, Al-Baqarah
Syed Iqbal Zaheer
 O People. Serve your Lord who created you and those who went before you, haply so that you may save yourselves.
 (Serve Him) who assigned to you the earth as a resting‑place, and the heaven as a canopy, and sent down water out of heaven, wherewith He brought forth fruits for your sustenance. Assign not, therefore, compeers to Allah, while you know.
After the division of the people into three kinds (verses 1‑20), and description of these kinds as believers, unbelievers and hypocrites, the Qur’an now unfolds its guidance and speaks of the most important elements of Islamic beliefs: Allah (swt) and His oneness, verses (21, 22), and, His Messenger and the authenticity of the Message that he brought to mankind, in the verses that follow (23, 24).
The earlier description and division of the people was necessary, primarily for the student of the Qur’an to check about himself as to what category did he himself belong to. It is people of the first category alone who are going to profit from this revelation. Those of the other two categories, the outright unbelievers, and those only pretending, will be barred from obtaining any understanding of the Qur’an beyond the word‑meaning, which is not the same thing as guidance. The reader ought to, therefore, check himself and work upon himself if he finds himself belonging to any one of the other two groups. He or she may also check whether they are carrying some of the traits and characteristics of the two groups. One should attempt this in all seriousness before proceeding with further studies, lest efforts go waste, bearing no fruit but bitter ones.
These verses on the one hand construct an argument in favor of a Being who is the Final Cause of all events in the universe, and, on the other, construct proof of the Oneness of that Being. They speak of the presence of three things which cannot be explained without accepting the existence of God:
1) presence of in‑organic matter: “the heaven and earth”, verse 21,
2) presence of organic matter and life: “man”, verse 21, and
3) presence of order in the created world: verse 22.
None of these can be explained without accepting the existence of God. For, as we know, matter can neither create itself nor destroy itself. What has been created in the universe in the form of matter is there in its sum and totality. It cannot add upon itself. Nor can matter destroy itself. It can change form, as for instance, if a nuclear bomb is dropped on a town all matter will change form. But nothing will be destroyed. Therefore, if matter cannot create itself, nor destroy itself, how could it be there in existence without someone who brought it into existence? Recently, an Oxford Professor was publicly laughed at by an elite audience when he said that something could come out of nothing.
Again, even if someone has the mind to accept that matter came into existence all by itself, how can he explain the existence of life? Life can be destroyed, it cannot be created. All life is an extension of previously existing life, and never a new creation. No one can, for instance, take those elements that life‑forms use, stir them up in a test tube, heat the mixture or cool it, increase or decrease the pressure, and lo! here is a living cell which has begun to multiply itself! That’s not going to happen. No one can, or will ever be able to do that. For, a huge industrial plant, sprawling over a few square miles of land, complete with machinery, man‑power, communication system, transport vehicles, various controlling, planning, inspecting, security, departments, all working in perfect harmony, receiving raw material, manufacturing a product, defending themselves from outside interference, exporting waste etc. etc. and all that automatically, without a single supervising authority, is but a mean comparison with a single living cell which is not visible to the naked eye. Where did this life come from?
The atheists answer that life appeared millions of years ago, as a result of a fortuitous mix‑up of elements, under certain (usually undefined) conditions. But why it doesn’t happen again? Why did it happen once and only once? How did life come into being all by itself, and has been only able to multiply itself since then? Why does the process not repeat itself after the first successful attempt? The atheists of course have no answer. The Qur’an gives us the answer. It says here in the verse 21: “O people serve your Lord who created you and those who went before you.”
Again, even if somebody is capable of believing that both living and non‑living matter created themselves, how can he explain the existence of order in them? Surely the prevalence of order, maintained through the operation of physical laws, is a proof of the existence of someone who is responsible for the creation and maintenance of the laws and the order. Surely, without someone doing that, the billion upon billions of moving bodies in the heavens would have crashed into each other, the billions of cells that act harmoniously in the living bodies would never have come together, the absence of the system by which they nourish themselves would have disintegrated them, and the whole living and non‑living world would have fallen apart.
Further, if there were more than one God, surely, each god would have created a world of his own with its own laws, and life forms, where he would have reigned supreme. And if such was the case, surely they would have clashed among themselves, as it happens in the mythology of the polytheists. That would have created anarchy in the universe, against the perfect harmony now prevailing. There wouldn’t have been the unity in the universe that is to be observed now, to the extent that it is scientifically established that the matter that is in existence at the farthest corner of the known universe, presently at a distance of 15 billion light years, is governed by the same laws as those governing chemical substances deep in the earth’s mines. Surely this indicates that there is a single Lord of the worlds. And man is invited in these verses to worship none but Him.
Thus, we see that in two short verses the Qur’an constructs logical proofs of God’s existence as well as of His Oneness. Yet, strange it is that although man has no proof of anyone sharing Allah’s power in creation and sustenance, and although even those scientists who do not believe in the existence of God, normally admit that there is but one moving force in the universe, people still assign partners to God. How little they give heed to:
“Assign not, therefore, compeers to Allah while you know (and understand that He cannot possibly have compeers).” (Verse 22)
Did You Know That…?
- The white part of an egg is the albumen.
- The white potato originated in the Andes Mountains and was probably brought to Britain by Sir Francis Drake about 1586.
- The world’s first chocolate candy was produced in 1828 by Dutch chocolate-maker Conrad J. Van Houten. He pressed the fat from roasted cacao beans to produce cocoa butter, to which he added cocoa powder and sugar.
- The world’s costliest coffee, at $130 a pound, is called Kopi Luwak. It is in the droppings of a type of marsupial that eats only the very best coffee beans. Plantation workers track them and scoop their precious poop.
- The world’s deadliest mushroom is the Amanita Phalloides, the death cap. The five different poisons contained by the mushroom cause diarrhea and vomiting within 6-12 hours of ingestion. This is followed by damage to the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system – and, in the majority of cases, coma and death.
- Truffles, or mushrooms that grow below the ground, are one of the world’s most expensive foods. One variety, Tuber Melanosporum, can cost between $800 and $1,500 a pound.
- Vanilla is the extract of fermented and dried pods of several species of orchids.
- Watermelon is grown in over 96 countries worldwide. Over 1,200 varieties of watermelon are grown worldwide. There are about 200 varieties of watermelon throughout the US alone.
- Watermelon, considered one of the world’s favorite fruits, is really a vegetable (Citrullus Lanatus). Cousin to the cucumber and kin to the gourd, watermelons can range in size from 7 to 100 pounds.
- When honey is swallowed, it enters the blood stream within a period of 20 minutes.
- When potatoes first appeared in Europe in the seventeenth century, it was thought that they were disgusting, and they were blamed for starting outbreaks of leprosy and syphilis. As late as 1720, in America, eating potatoes was believed to shorten a person’s life.
- About one-tenth of the earth’s surface is permanently covered with ice.
- According to National Geographic, Mt. Everest grows about four millimeters a year: the two tectonic plates of Asia and India, which collided millions of years ago to form the Himalayas, continue to press against each other, causing the Himalyan peaks to grow slightly each year.
- All gondolas in Venice, Italy, must be painted black, unless they belong to a high official.
- As of 31st December 2000, the number of climbers summiting Mt. Everest reached 1314, and the number of deaths on the mountain reached 167.
- At 840,000 square miles, Greenland is the largest island in the world. It is three times the size of Texas. By comparison, Iceland is only 39,800 square miles.
- Australia is the only country that is also a continent.
- Canada is an Indian word meaning ‘Big Village’.
- Damascus, Syria, was flourishing a couple of thousand years before Rome was founded in 753 BC, making it the oldest continuously inhabited city in existence.
- Dueling (sword fighting) is legal in Paraguay as long as both parties are registered blood donors.
- El Azizia in Libya recorded a temperature of 136 degrees Fahrenheit (57.8 Celsius) on 13th September 1922 – the hottest ever measured.
- Europe has no deserts – it is the only continent without one.
- For every ten successful attempts to climb Mount Everest there is one fatality.
- Forty-six percent of the world’s water is in the Pacific Ocean; that’s around 6 sextillion gallons of water. The Atlantic has 23.9 percent; the Indian, 20.3; the Arctic, 3.7 percent.
- French was the official language of England for over 600 years.
- Hawaii is the only US state that grows coffee.
Quiz Time: What or Who Am I?
- What Am I…?
- I am strong and have great endurance.
- I can survive in extreme climates including deserts.
- I have wide spreading feet.
- The Prophet Muhammad (saws) used me a lot.
- Who Am I…?
- I became blind when I was an old man.
- I was 117 years old when I died. I am buried in Shem.
- My father was a prophet and one of my sons was also a prophet.
- My sons treated each other very badly.
- I moved to Egypt in my old age and died there.
- Who Am I…?
– I grew up in a palace.
– I could communicate with many creatures and even had control of the wind.
– The hoopoe was my scout and messenger.
– I rebuilt Jerusalem.
– My guests were fooled by the glass of my palace floor.
Answers: (Pls print on another page)
- Prophet Yaqub (asws)
- Prophet Sulaiman (asws)
Why We Do Dua?
One of the most important things to do during Ramadhan is to make dua to Allah (swt). We can do dua for many reasons. Unscramble the following words to find the reason we make duas:
- To_ _ _ _ _ _ Allah (IEARSP)
- To seek _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ (OERGEFSISVN)
- To ask for our _ _ _ _ _ (SENDE)
- To be _ _ _ _ _ to Allah (LOSCE)
- To _ _ _ _ _ Allah (HKATN)
- To get _ _ _ _ _ _ _ in both the worlds (UCECSSS)