The Qur’an for Youthful Minds
Summary of Interpretations
Surah 2, Al-Baqarah Verses 1‑5
Believer! In Surah al‑Fatiha, you asked for ‘guidance.’ Well then, listen! Be aware firstly, that Allah Most High has closed down all sources and annuls of guidance and has opened this – and the only one. That is, this Book. Let you be in no doubt about this. And, let there also be no doubt in your mind that this Book never fails to guide, no matter what your own intellectual level, your status in life, or your background. Come to this Book with an open mind and you will be guided to the path of those that were favored by Allah with guidance, in accordance and in proportion to the efforts you put in. A minimum condition is attached however. It is Taqwa: the state of hope and fear, of God‑consciousness, of watchfulness – as opposed to the state of pride, arrogance, and heedlessness, lest you say or do what will displease Allah. You must necessarily possess some amount of this Taqwa in order to be qualified to receive guidance from Allah. (Verse 2)
But there are things to do beyond fearing Allah, or being aware of Him, in order to profit from this Book. Of the many essential things, some are of utmost importance. They are:
(1) To believe that there are things beyond our perception, such as God Himself, the forces through which He operates, such as angels; and in other worlds that He has created, such as the Heaven and the Hell.
(2) To give God what is His due, i.e. to worship Him in the Islamic manner (Salah), regularly, on time, and with attention,
(3) To spend, regularly, of whatever that Allah has given you. Spend on those in need (Verse 3, 4),
(4) Lend credence to what has been revealed to the Prophet (saws), as well as to believe that the revelation of guidance is nothing new. Allah did not leave the people of the past unguided. He sent them guidance through other prophets, and,
(5) To believe with utmost certainty that a Day will come when everyone will stand before his Lord, to give an account of what he did with the guidance shown to him (Verse 4).
Such are on a guidance shown by their Lord, and such are those who will prosper in every sense of the word, both in this world, as well as, and the more important, in the world to come (Verse 5).
This, then, is the guidance that you sought from your Lord when you recited Surah al-Fatiha: some beliefs and some actions approved by God; and not merely some concepts that you think is guidance.
Again, you are used to dividing people in different ways. The Qur’an divides them on the basis of their acceptance or rejection of the guidance shown. It is on this basis that the people will be divided on the Day of Judgment, and it is on this basis that you should divide yourselves during this earthly life.
Now, it is on this basis, i.e., on the basis of response to ‘guidance,’ there are two categories of people.
- One, of those who accepted the guidance, and the other,
- Those who rejected it.
Of the first, there can be no more divisions. And all your divisions, sub‑groupings, and polarizations are unacceptable. Tear down the fences, rub out the geographical divisions, and pull down the mental barriers. You are one group, one community, one Ummah, wherever you may be.
Of the latter kind, there are again two categories:
- Those who disbelieve and say they disbelieve, and
- Those who disbelieve but say they believe.
The verses that follow (6-7) are speaking about the first kind of unbelievers.
(To be continued)
Don’t Be Shocked – The Following Are About You..!
- The human body is an incredible thing. Some of these facts may be hard to believe, but they are happening, inside of you, right now.
- Human fingers are so sensitive, that if your fingers were the size of Earth, you could feel the difference between a house and a car.
- With the 60,000 miles of blood vessels inside the average human body, you could circumnavigate Earth two and a half times.
- The human eye is so sensitive that if the Earth were flat, you could spot a candle flickering at night from up to 30 miles away.
- Nerve impulses travel to, and from, the brain at speeds of up to 250 miles per hour, faster than a Formula One race-car.
- When you blush, the lining of your stomach blushes too.
- The human brain can read up to 1,000 words per minute.
- Inside your belly button are thousands of bacteria that form an ecosystem the size of an entire rainforest.
- An adult is made up of 7,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (7 octillion) atoms. For perspective, there’s a measly 300,000,000,000 (300 billion) stars in our galaxy.
- A full head of human hair is strong enough to support 12 tonnes.
- In 30 minutes, the human body gives off enough heat to bring a gallon of water to the boil.
Are We Missing the Point in Islam?
To some, a Monet is only a collection of dots. To others, it is a perfect masterpiece. To some, Islam is nothing but a code of rules and regulations. But, to those who understand, it is a perfect vision of life.
As Muslims, we often focus so much on Islam’s dos and don’ts that we miss the bigger picture. Islam came to perfect our manners, and yet we are willing to scream and shout to win an argument about Zabiha meat. Islam came to build our bond with our Creator, and while we wear our Hijabs and Kufis, we delay our prayers.
Islam came to establish a community of believers, but while we decorate our Masjids with gold and silver, our prayer rows remain empty. Islam came to teach us about God, and despite wearing His words on our necklaces and decorating our houses with them, when those verses are recited to us, our hearts remain unmoved and our lives unchanged.
And Islam came to make us one brotherhood, yet we divide ourselves and alienate one another over issues like moon-sighting and voting.
This is not to say, of course, that the dos and don’ts in Islam are not important. They are crucial. The problem is that we have forgotten what they stand for. For example, the wearing of Islamic dress should never be minimized. But we have forgotten that that Hijab and that beard are only symbols of our greater devotion to God. For us to wear that Hijab and that beard while it has no bearing on our character means we have missed the point.
If we spend an extensive amount of recourses in decorating our Masjids but then use that Masjid only to display status and win arguments, we have lost its intended purpose. And if we have memorized every Haraam and Halaal ingredient of facial soap, but we own businesses that are based on interest and sell alcohol, have we not made a mockery of Allah’s Deen?
That Deen is what transforms humanity from the lowest of the low to the representatives of God on earth. The Qur’an tells us: “Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: ‘I will create a vicegerent on earth…'” (Qur’an, 2: 30)
As a representative of God on earth, we are given a very great responsibility. It is a trust so heavy that even the mountains rejected it. Allah (swt) tells us in the Qur’an: “We did indeed offer the trust to the Heavens and the Earth and the mountains; but they refused to undertake it, being afraid thereof: but man undertook it; he was indeed unjust and foolish.” (Qur’an, 33: 72)
As believers, we should never lose sight of this responsibility. It is the fulfillment of that mission that transforms us from ‘asfala saafileen‘ – the lowest of the low (Qur’an, 95: 5), into ‘khaira ummatin ukhrijat linnaas‘ – the best of people raised up for humankind. (Qur’an, 3: 110)
But how can we be that “best of people”? Allah (swt) describes how in His book: “Ye are the best of peoples, risen up for mankind, commanding what is right, forbidding what is evil, and believing in Allah…” (Qur’an, 3: 110)
The essence of that struggle is to believe, to fight for Truth and to strive against evil. And as soon as we give up that noble struggle, we will become among those people who Allah (swt) describes in Surat al-Asr as being in an utter state of loss. Allah (swt) also describes the ones who will be saved from that state: “Except such as have faith, and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of truth, and of patience and constancy.” (Qur’an, 103: 3)
And, so, if we continue to abandon this greater mission and purpose, we will have transformed the perfect vision of existence into nothing more than a collection of dots.