Arab-Islamic Culture and Civilization
Assess the significance and status of the Qur’an and Hadith in the Islamic tradition. What is Islam? How important is the Qur’an and Hadith? How did it inspire learning among people after the revelations?
The word Islam has been derived from the Arabic verb Aslama, which means “to accept or surrender.” Thus Islam means the acceptance of God or surrender to the will of one God, Allah. It is based on the concept of Tawhid or monotheism declaring that “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His prophet.” The four main rituals compulsory on the faithful Muslims are offering salah five times a day, fasting in the month of Ramadan, performing the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime, paying the Zakat, and believing in the notion of shahadah came to be known as the five pillars of Islam. Alongwith following these rituals, a Muslim is also expected to read the Qur’an everyday and follow it (Islam, 2010). What is Qur’an?
The Quran is written in a beautiful writing style that continues to be wondered over by the experts of the Arabic language. But it is not just Arabic literature par excellence. It consists of scientific details that fascinate scientists of all fields. But it is not a book of science. It also mentions people and places of the past and with vivid details. But it is not just a book of history. So then what is Qur’an? The Qur’an is a revelation (wahy) from the Creator of this world to all human beings. Almost 1400 years ago, a man named Muhammad, the trustworthy, received the Word of God and such was the power of this Word that he felt as though his ribs were crushed in the Angel Gabriel’s embrace. The command “Read!” shook him and he felt his inability and responded, “But I cannot.” Gabriel repeated the command of His Lord: “Read!” In the name of Your Sustainer Who creates,
creates man from a clot:
“Read!” And your Sustainer is the Most Generous,
He Who teaches by the use of the pen,
teaches man that which he knew not!
The Word burst with such a forceful light within the heart of Muhammad that it had to be shared as guidance and mercy to all mankind. The Prophet continued to receive revelations throughout his life, which after his death were compiled into the holy book, Qur’an by his companions. After these revelations ended, Allah said that “On this day I have perfected your religion for you.” The Qur’an was revealed in Arabic, and over the years, it has been translated in many languages, but they are considered only interpretations. Muslims learn Arabic to recite the Qur’an precisely as the Angel Gabriel had recited it to the Prophet. The Qur’an, in its absolute form, consists of 114 surahs which are divided into a number of ayats—more than 6,200 in all (Helminski, 1998). Importance of the Qur’an
The Qur’an holds a significant position for numerous reasons. To begin with, it is one of the most high-ranking books in human history; it has been read, memorized and accepted as a moral and practical guide to life by billions of people. The Qur’an introduces itself as a guide for entire humanity: “It is the month of Ramadan in which the Qur’an was revealed, which is the Guidance for humankind, and has all clear signs for guidance and is a criterion to judge between right and wrong.” It enforces upon people the notion of only one God (Tawhid). It also offers facts of the structure of reality and the purpose of human life. Moreover, the Qur’an is considered the foremost miracle of Islam. ‘Ali, a close companion of the Prophet and one of the first believers in the message of the Qur’an, said:
Learn the Qur’an, for it is the fairest of discourses, and
Understand it thoroughly for it is the best blossoming of hearts.
Seek remedy within its light, for it is the cure for hearts.
And recite beautifully, for it is the most beautiful narration
Furthermore, the Qur’an is inimitable in the sense that nobody can produce...