Mothers of Quranic Objectives
By: Mr. Ahmad Muhammad Ali
Book Title: Mothers of Quranic Objectives = “أمهات مقاصد القرآن”.
Author: Ezz A-deen bin Saed Kashneet Al-Jaza’ery.
Supervision: Abdel-Sattar Hamed A-Dabagh.
Edition: 1st ed.
Country: Amman (Jordan).
Publisher: Majdalawi House for Publication and distribution.
Date of Publication: 2012.
Physical Description: 560 p., 24cms.
The author demonstrates that he chose this specific topic for two reasons:
First, he aims to summarize books and researches written in this regard. He also wants to simplify, collect and precisely tackle complex issues. In fact, he intends to change the perspective of Islamic researches and studies, focusing on comprehensive studies, aiming to tackle and crystalize all partial aspects through a full comprehensive study, instead of partial studies, discussing, explaining or interpreting one aspect of Quran.
Second, he notices that while the science of the objectives of Islamic Shari’ah (Maqasid Al-Shariah), which represents the main source of Islamic jurisprudence, has attracted many of the scholars, efforts in this course regarding Qura’nic Studies were lessened since a long time except for some simple easy applied attempts with no references in the modern age. Thus, the author wanted to collect, organize and study all those attempts throughout his book, as possible.
The importance of the topic: The author determines the importance of the topic of his book through two main aspects:
- The first one: the nature of its theme. It is a research about the purpose of Allah the Almighty in revealing his Holy Scripture and an endeavor to deduce the significance of the Quranic teachings and highlight its whole objectives. It focuses also on issues mentioned in the Holy Quran such as existence and human eagerness towards various kinds of guidance. In addition, this book highlights the remarkable structure of the Maqasidic system of the Holy Quran, being the highest ranks of Tafsir (Quranic exegesis)[i].
- The Second one: this book highly benefits public readers as it collects all comprehensive Quranic objectives and classifying them by order of priority. Thus, any person who is devoted to Quran can start his study with the most important till reaching a high level of knowledge.[ii]
This book, according to the author, aims to achieve five main goals as follows:
- Highlighting the importance of Quranic studies and trying to record its development stages.
- Investigating all applied methods to determine the comprehensive Quranic objectives.
- Extracting the most significant Quranic objectives.
- Setting the classification standards of those objectives, arranging them in an order that emphasizes their significance and classifying them according to the level of their integrity and importance.
- Focusing on the mothers of Quranic objectives.
To achieve these goals, the author tackles this theme through a plan consisting of an introduction, three parts divided into various chapters, sections and subsections, a conclusion and recommendations.
The first Part:
Consists of an introductory study, three chapters as well as several sections and subsections.
The First Chapter shows the definition of Quran, linguistically and technically, and its characteristics.
The Author defines the Holy Quran linguistically by reviewing specialists’ opinion. He, then, adds the preponderant opinion and the most correct one which proves that the word Qur’an is derived from the (Arabic) verb ‘Qara’a “”قرأ, which means recitation and reading, according to many scholars exegesis; on the top of them Ibn Abbas then al-Tabari.[iii]
Then, the author defines the Holy Quran technically by presenting a comprehensive definition, summarizing several and partial definitions shown throughout the chapter.
[The Holy Quran is a revelation from Allah the Almighty and His eternal integral words sent to the seal of all the Prophets and Messengers, Muhammad -peace and blessing be upon him- by the Archangel Gabriel -peace be upon him- in Arabic language in its composition, meaning and style. A Divine scripture aims to challenge others to write down any similar chapter, invites others to contemplate its verses. Its recitation is regarded as worshipping action. This scripture was transferred to us through sound narration chains from the prophet- peace be upon him- by the known style of recitation with no doubts, recorded in one approved book and similar copies, begins with Surat Al-Fatiha (The Opening ) and ends with Surat An-Nas (The People)].
Furthermore, Allah the Almighty describes His glorious Scripture through various verses. The Quranic composition does not follow argumentative technical rules, instead, it puts into consideration the context, statue of the audiences and the adequate words for a certain context. As Allah the Almighty says in various themes:
- “Alif-Lam-Ra (This is) a Book which we have revealed to you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) in order that you might lead mankind out of darkness (of disbelief in the oneness of Allah and Islamic Monotheism) by their Lord’s leave to the Path of the All-Mighty, the Owner of all Praise” (Surat Ibrahim (Abraham), 1).
- “This (Quran) is a Message for mankind (and a clear proof against them), in order that they may be warned thereby, and that they may know that He is the only One Ilah (God-Allah) –(none has the right to be worshipped but Allah) – and that men of understanding may take heed.” (Surat Ibrahim (Abraham), 52)
- “…Indeed, there has come to you from Allah a light (Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) and a plain Book (this Quran). (Surat Al-Ma’idah (The Table Spread With Food), 15).
Moreover, the prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, defines the holy Quran by saying:
“Allah’s book, we find in it news about what happened before you, and informations about what comes after you, and judgement for what happens between you.[iv] It is the Criterion (between right and wrong) without jest. Whoever among the oppressive abandons it, Allah crushes him, and whoever seeks guidance from other than it, then Allah leaves him to stray. It is the firm rope of Allah, it is the wise remembrance, it is the straight path, and it is the one that the desires cannot distort, nor can the tongues twist it, nor can the scholars ever have enough of it, and it shall not become dull from reciting it much, and the amazement of it does not diminish. It is the one that when the Jinns hear it, they did not hesitate to say about it: ‘…Verily, we have heard a wonderful Recitation (this Qur’an)! It guides to the Right Path, and we have believed therein..‘ (Surat Al-Jinn (The Jinn),1-2) Whoever speaks according to it then he has said the truth, and whoever acts according to it he is rewarded, and whoever judges by it he has judged justly, and whoever invites to it then he guides to the straight path.”[v]
A similar meaning is mentioned in Sahih Muslim as the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him said, “The Book of Allah contains right guidance, the light, and whoever adheres to it and holds it fast, he is upon right guidance and whosoever deviates from it goes astray.”[vi]
Then, the author tackles the status of the Quran according to the scholars, by saying: The Quran is the most appealing book in history that attracts the attention of the researchers; whether supporters or opponents of this Book. Then the author states the views of Muslims and Non-Muslims about the Holy Quran. For Muslim Scholars, he presented the contribution of many of them, such as Al-Shatibi, Ibn Mas’oud, Ibn ‘Abbas, ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Al-‘As.. etc.
Moreover, the author mentions a comprehensive definition presented by these Muslim scholars about the holy Quran:
The eternal interpretation for the entire human beings and their description. It is the revealer of the treasuries of the Divine Names hidden in the heavens and on the earth; the pillar, geometry and the sun of the Moral World; The sacred map of the world of the Hereafter; The explanation, the obvious exegesis, the evident proof and the clear interpretation for the Attributes, Names and Affairs of Allah. The Quran is like water and light for the great Islamic human civilization; the true wisdom for mankind; the guide for the main purpose of creation; It is a book of wisdom, supplication and servitude as well as being a book of command, preach and enlightenment. This book has remedy for all human moral illnesses and is also a path for every adherent and every researcher…
Then, talking about non-muslim scholars, the author says that the Quran has been, and is still, a compass for various oriental and western studies and the core of attention. He demonstrates opinions of different orientalists about the Quran such as Alex Louazon, a French philosopher, Ann Williams, an English Historian, John Jacob Rice, a German orientalist, Charles Watson, Presbyterian missionary activist in Islamic countries, and William Ewart Gladstone, the British prime minister.
- Collection of the Noble Qur’an
In this part of the book, The author demonstrates the history of the collection of the Qur’an and the arrangement of Its verses, in this regard. The Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, via the Archangel Gabriel during 23 years. Verses and Chapters (Ayat and Surahs) in the present Mushaf (a written copy of the Quran) are not arranged in a chronological order. During the era of Revelation, the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, determines a special order of each Verse and Chapter. For instance, ‘Uthman bin ‘Affan, says that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, used to order his scribes, after receiving some Verses, saying: “Put these Ayat in the Surah which mentions this and that in it.”
The author, then adds that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, assigned some of his companions as scribes to write down and record the Quran revealed to him. Among the scribes of the Revelation are “the four rightly-guided Caliphs, Zayd ibn Thābit, Ubayy ibn Ka’b, Iban ibn Sa’id, Thabit ibn Qays, Hanthala ibn al-Rabi’ and others.” They recorded the Quran on some existing old means of writing like coming from palm leaves or stones or scapula or saddles….
The Quran was kept written separately even after the death of the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him. Then, it was noticed that many of those who had memorized the Quran perished while fighting in battles (of Riddah). Therefore, Omar ibn Al-Khattab advices Abi Bakr Al-Sedik, to collect the Quran; assigning Zayd ibn Thābit for this mission. During the era of ‘Uthman bin ‘Affan, the Quran was collected in one Mushaf. While ruling Iraq, Ziyad ibn Abi Sufyan, assigned Abu al-Aswad al-Du’ali to add diacritical marks in the form of dots to avoid wrong recitation of the Quran. During the reign of Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf, dots were added to letters to differentiate them from each other.
About Its transmission to the generations, Allah the Almighty distinguishes his Scripture with the most reliable strongest method of transmission by a number of devoted individuals. Many groups, since the era of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, till nowadays, have participated in the process of the Quran transmission through generations. Thus, it is considered to be the most well-preserved Book in history.
Regarding Its structure, the Quran contains one hundred fourteen (114) Chapters, Six thousand two hundred and thirty (6230) Verses, seventy-seven thousand and four hundred thirty-seven (77437) Words and Three hundred thousand and twenty-one thousand (321000) Letters. It is divided into sixty Ḥizb (sub-parts) and thirty Juz’ (equal section).
The second chapter demonstrates the definition of the Quranic objectives (Maqasid Al-Quran) and differentiates them from the objectives of Islamic law (Maqasid Al-Sharia’h). The author, then, proves the mission of the Quran in achieving Its objectives which are classified into different kinds and levels.
Technically, Maqasid means the intents and purposes which the Quran was revealed to achieve, or the intent of Allah the Almighty from revealing His scripture to the liable for this world and the Hereafter.
The author emphasizes that the aim of this thesis is to know the ultimate purposes of the Quranic Revelation, and how to identify, extract and arrange them.
Furthermore, he differentiates between the objectives of the Quran and Islamic Law (Shari’ah). Shari’ah is defined as the religious way which refers to the Divine Rulings, mentioned in Allah’s revealed Scripture to his servants and his assigned Messenger.
He adds that the objectives of Al-Sharia’h is a part of the Quranic objectives.
Speaking about objectives of the Noble Quran and Sharia’h, are they concerned with the same theme? Do they discuss the same topics? To answer this question, he mentions the most famous writings in this regard and concludes that both sciences discuss different topics and use different methods.
Moreover, he tries to prove that the Noble Quran has goals and objectives. He mentions that Allah the Almighty has revealed this Quran to people for their guidance and righteousness in this world and the Hereafter. The Quran also answers all their questions and emphasizes all the duties that they should fulfill.
Then, the author demonstrates opinions of scholars regarding the types of objectives and their levels in the Quran. It was narrated from Abi Hurairah: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Faith (Iman) has over seventy branches – or over sixty branches – the uppermost of which is the declaration: ‘None has the right to be worshipped but Allah’; and the least of which is the removal of harmful object from the road, and modesty is a branch of faith.” [vii]The prophet, peace be upon him, divides faith (Iman) into various levels and degrees; higher and lower. The Quran commands to achieve all those levels as possible. Yet, each level has its own significance as the one who denies the uppermost level of faith, “the declaration: None has the right to be worshipped but Allah”, could not be similar to the one who ignores the least level of Iman, “the removal of harmful object from the road.” This can be applied on all other topics mentioned in the Quran.
In addition, scholars of Quranic sciences are largely influenced by Jurisprudence of Priorities regarding the superiority of some Quranic Verses and Sourates over others. For example, some sourates are superior and more valuable like Surat Al-Ikhlas (The Purity) and Surat Al-Fatiha (The Opening). While some Verses are superior over others like Ayat ul-Kursi (The Chair), according to the majority of Muslim scholars. Any statement differs according to its perfection and level as Allah the Exalted says: “Those who listen to the word [good advice La Ilaha Ila Allah-(none has the right to be worshipped but Allah) and Islamic Monotheism] and follow the best thereof (i.e. worship Allah Alone, repent to Him and avoid Taghut) those are (the ones) whom Allah has guided and those are men of understanding.” (Az-Zumar (The Groups), 18). By following this approach, scholars started classifying the mothers of the Quranic Objectives.
In the third chapter, the author tackles the history of the development of the objective aspect of the Quranic studies and its significance. These studies adopted one of the following patterns:
- Rhetorical Objectives
- Theory of Composition: composing each sentence according to its syntax and arranging it with other sentences.
- Verses Objectives
- Science of Connectivity (Munasabah): the connection among verses according to connectivity and harmony; apart from inconsistency
- Sourates Objectives: To know the connectivity among the sourates that determines the sequence of their arrangement. This branch helps in developing and boosting the perspective of Quranic objective. This also greatly influences the modern exegeses.
- Unity of the theme in the Sourates: Linking between the parts of each Sourate, so that each part serves as complementary to the other parts to achieve the ultimate message which the Sourate aims to deliver. Although every Sourate contains a diversity of issues, each Sourate aims for one purpose.
- General Quranic Objectives: The title of each Sourate refers to its purpose.
Regarding Quranic exegesis, the prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, is the first exegetist of Quran. He, peace be upon him, used to explain to his companions the revealed Verses; known as the Synoptic Exegesis (Al-Tafsir Al-‘Ijmali). Then, the research went through a phase of development leading to the appearance of the Analytical Exegesis which evolued later to the Comparative Exegesis.
The Juristic studies approach follows two significant ways in identifying the general Quranic objectives.
- Quranic rulings and their analysis in order to reach the principle of Jurisprudence, Fundamentals of Islamic jurisprudence (Usul- Al-Fiqh) and Fundamentalism that help in deducing objectives of Shari’ah and their principles. Thus, we can deduce the general Quranic objectives.
- Through adequate analogy and analysis, Quran, Sunnah (Prophetic tradition) and Ijma’ (Consensus) are among the significant approaches in deducing Shari’ah objectives and then the general Quranic objectives.
Next, the author tackles objective perspective of the Quran in modern age. Unfortunately, scholars’ efforts, in this regard, were declined in concurrently with the weakness and collapse of the Islamic world. Yet, it revivals at the beginning of its modern renaissance. Many scholars were devoted to this issue such as Shah Waliullah ibn Abdu-R-Raḥeem Al-Dehlawi, Shaykh ul-Islām and Leader of Hadith scholars (Muhaddithin) at India, Sheikh Muhammad Abduh (1950 AD) and Sheikh Muhammad Al-Tahir ibn Ashur (1940 AD). For example, Sheikh Muhammad Al-Tahir ibn Ashur wrote a book entitled “Maqāṣid Al-sharī‘ah Al-Islāmīyah” (Translated: Treatise on the Objectives of Islamic Law) to propose this science independently; not within the frame of Fundamentals of Islamic jurisprudence. Then, Allal al-Fasi introduces this science in his book “Maqasid Al-Shari’ah Al-Islamiyah wa-Makarimuha”. In addition, Yusuf Hamid al ‘Alim wrote “Al-Maqasid Al Ammah Lil Shari’ah Al Islāmīyah” (1971 AD).
In addition, some prominent scholars tackle Quranic objectives through their writings such as Muhammad Rashid Rida (1865-1935 AD), the disciple of Muhammad Abduh. Throughout his book “Tafsir al-Manar”, he inserted a lot of Verses objectives by annotating the exegesis of every Verse; mentioning its significant themes and issues. Sheikh Ahmad Mustafa Al-Maraghi (1881-1945 AD) also commented on the exegesis of every Chapter; mentioning a summary of their themes, rulings (Ahkam), objectives and purposes. In his own exegesis entitled “Al-Tafsir Al- Hadith” (Modern Exegesis), Muhammad ‘Izzat Darwaza (1888- 1984 AD) started with an introduction or a brief definition of the Sourate before interpretation; including their description, content and significance. Professor Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi also adopted this approach in his book “Kayfa Nata’amal Ma’a Al-Quran Al-‘Adheem” (How to deal/interact with the Quran) beside many other scholars.
The Importance of Understanding the Mothers of the Quranic Objectives
Allah the Exalted revealed His Scripture to encourage its recitation, contemplation, understanding and then application; protecting human from being a “donkey carrying volumes of books” which means neither understanding the Quran nor gathering any advantage form Its Teachings.
On the other hand, beeing absorbed in minor details leads scholars to fail in understanding the higher objectives and general messages of the Quran. Due to this disturbance and imbalances, people failed to distinguish priorities levels regarding the religious matters. Consequently, Muslim world suffered from many breakdowns on various levels.
Meanwhile, the world also witnessed the outbreak of doctrinal intolerance and Muslims’ division into different fractions and dogmas; extracting from the Quran what is compatible with their desire. As a result, Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali was motivated to rebuild Jurisprudence in his book entitled “Ihya’ Ulum al-Din” (The Revival of Religious Sciences).
In addition, Division and hostility lead to the development of research on rulings (Ahkam) objectives based on partial causes. But we can found researches made by Abu Ishaq al-Shatibi[viii], focusing on the ultimate collective level.
Therefore, the Author tried to discuss the negligence of the holistic approach in studying different Islamic studies particularly in dealing with the Quranic texts which leads to a huge disturbance, ambiguity in the levels of Quranic objectives and ignorance of the Quranic priorities. Thus, the Quranic objectives witnessed a shifting arrangement, exaggeration and underestimation over years.
Thus, Ummah nowadays is in dire need to rearrange its priorities and system of scales and values according to their real significance. It also should preserve ratios and levels articulated by the Islamic law for both beliefs and deeds and replace each matter according to its true significance; keeping every deed in its prescribed legal level with no exaggeration or underestimation.
This can be achieved only by focusing on the comprehensive Quranic objectives. By increasing the awareness of its importance and characteristics as methodological indicators, the comprehensive Quranic objectives will be an Islamic reasonable system that helps in controlling and protecting the entire Islamic thought against defects or deviation. This step is necessary to reform Muslim’s mentality and rearrange his balance and priorities. Focusing on the general instead of minor details is the best way to connect knowledge seekers with the Noble Quran. The one who follows this way will achieve Allah’s objective.
Methods of knowing and Extracting Quranic Objectives
Throughout this part, the author mentions that one of the most important methods of studying the Quranic Objectives is:
A-Tracking the Divine Will Revelations words in the Quran.
B-Then studying the explanation of the Quran and Sunnah.
C-Then observing the Names and Attributes of Allah the Sender and the message (the Quran).
D-Then tackling the general characteristics of the Quran.
E-Then studying the thematic classification of its content.
G-And finally understanding people’s need for the revelation.
A-Regarding the methods of extracting the Quranic objectives from the Divine Will Revelations, the author says that the term “Will” is mentioned in the Quran one hundred and thirty-nine times (139) in various forms; thirteen (13) of them refers to the “Divine Objective”.
B- Then, the author extracts the Quranic objectives through the explanations of the Qur’an and Sunnah. He adds that Muslim scholars deduce their religious rulings and teachings from the Quran then Sunnah (prophetic tradition), in case not found in the Quran. If there is an ambiguous case, they rely on Consensus of the senior scholars. Failing to reach a result from all those texts, they seek analogical deduction depending mainly on studying the rulings causes embodied in those previous texts beside observing their meanings, ruling and objectives.
In addition, the Scripture of Allah aims to benefit people. Therefore, the Divine Rulings are deemed as the “Efficient Cause”, while the Quranic texts and Sunnah are considered as the “Material Cause”. The state resulted from their application and implementation is the “Formal cause”, while the fruitful benefit is the “Final Cause”.
For example, we can say that the carpenter is the “Efficient Cause” in the process of making a chair, while the used wood is the “Material Cause”. The shape resulted from the whole process is the “Formal cause”, while the act of sitting on that chair is the “Final Cause”.
Regarding the Objective of the Quranic Revelation, Allah the Almighty says: “(This is a revelation) sent down by the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful. in order that you may warn a people whose forefathers were not warned, so they are heedless.” (Surat Ya-sin, 5-6). Warning people, in this verse, is a general objective.
Regarding Sunnah (Prophetic Tradition), the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “I was sent to perfect high morals.”[ix] The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, also said: “Allah did not send me to be harsh, or cause harm, but He has sent me to teach and make things easy.”[x] The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, also, in another Hadith ,said: “There is no injury nor return of injury.”[xi] These Prophetic sayings demonstrate three comprehensive objectives: First to establish ethics in the Ummah, second to facilitate its living, third to protect its individuals against hardship and harm.
The Quranic objectives are sometimes introduced explicitly, as Allah the Almighty says: “…Messengers as bearers of good news as well as of warning in order that mankind should have no plea against Allah after the (coming of) Messengers. And Allah is Ever All-Powerfull, All-Wise.” (An-Nisa (The Women), 165).
On the other hand, some Verses implicitly introduce the Quranic objectives, as Allah the Almighty says: “O who you believe! Take not My enemies and your enemies (i.e. disbelievers and polytheists) as friends, showing affection towards them, while they have while they have disbelieved in what has come to you of the truth (Islamic Monotheism, this Quran and Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم), and have driven out the Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) and yourselves (from your homeland) because you believe in Allah , your Lord! If you have come out forth to strive in My cause and to seek My Good Pleasure, (then take not these disbelievers and polytheists as your friends). You show friendship to them in secret, while I am All-Aware of what you conceal and what you reveal. And whoever of you (Muslims) does that, then indeed he has gone (far) astray from the Straight Path.”(Al-Mumtahanah (The Woman to be examined), 1).
Quranic objectives may be cited in an obvious way, as Allah the Almighty says: “With clear signs and Books (We sent the Messengers). And We have (also) sent down to you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) the Dhikr [reminder and the advice (i.e. the Quran)], that you may explain clearly to men what is sent down to them, and that they may give thought.“(Surat An-Nahl (The Bees), 44).
Allah the Almighty also says: “And We have indeed make the Quran easy to understand and remember; then is there any that will remember (or receive admonition)?” (Surat Al-Qamar (The Moon), 22). Allah the Almighty also says: “Verily, We have made it a Quran in Arabic that you may be able to understand (its meaning and its admonitions).” (Surat Az-Zukhruf (The Gold Adornments, 3).
In addition, the Quranic objectives is mentioned in the Quran by using allusions and warning, as Allah The Almighty says: “The fornicatress and fornicator, flog each of them with a hundred stripes. let not pity withhold you in their case in a punishment prescribed by Allah, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day. and let a party of the believers witness their punishment. (This punishment is for unmarried persons guilty of the above crime, but of married persons commit it (illegal sex), the punishment is to stone them to death, according to Allah’s Law).” (Surat An-Nur (The Light), 2). “And (as for) the male thief and the female thief cut of (from the wrist joint) their righty hands as a recompense for that which they committed, punishment by way of example from Allah. And Allah is Alli-Mighty, All-Wise.” (Surat Al-Ma’idah (The Table Spread With Food), 38).
C-Furthermore, the author demonstrates the methods of extracting the Quranic objectives by using names and attributes. He explains that an attribute or a name greatly refers to the conveyed meaning and the objective of a word. Thus, studying names and attributes related to the Quran is a way to know some of its comprehensive objectives. Allah the Almighty distinguishes His Divine Essence by Names and Attributes that exalt Allah the Almighty above all imperfections and confirm that none resembles Him in the Attributes of perfection. For instance, Allah the Almighty says: “And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allah, so call on him by them, and leave the company of those who belie or deny (or utter impious speech against) His Names. they will be requited for what they used to do.” (Surat Al-A’raf (The Heights or The Wall of Elevations),180). In addition, the prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “Verily! Allah has ninety-nine Names concerning which he who retains them in his memory will enter Paradise.”[xii]
Allah has many Attributes as He the Almighty is: The Forgiver of Sin, The Acceptor of Repentance, The Gracious (Al-Kareem), The Enricher (Al-moghni), The Propitious(An-Nafe’), The Guider (Al-Hadi), The Extremely Loving (Al-Wadood), The Responder to Prayer (Al-Mujib), The Exalter (Ar-Raafi’), The Honorer (Al-Mu’iz), The Oft-Forgiving (Al-Ghaffar) and other Beautiful Perfect Names.
Furthermore, the author adds some Quranic objectives by mentioning that the Quran is:
A protector against Fitnah (affliction), a speech that distinguishes right from wrong. It is the criterion (between right and wrong) without jest; “Falsehood cannot come to it from before it or behind it“. The Quran is also the only path towards Allah and the clearest way by which human can know his Creator. It is a wise message by which human can remember his Creator and the purpose of creation. The Quran is preserved and guarded from any change as Allah the Almighty says: “Verily, We, it is We Who have sent down Dhikr (i.e. the Quran) and surely, We will guard it (from corruption).” (Al-Hijr (The Rocky Tract), 9). It is easy to recite and understand the Quran; its Words are distinguished by their easy pronunciation and understanding. The Quran has the spirit of youth; strong and decisive, as scholars never get bored by its repetition. It is known for the lasting charm of its beauty, the sweetness and delight of its recitation; resulted from its thorough contemplation. Ears listen to Its Verses with no boredom. The Quran is a spring of absolute truths; whoever quotes or follows its rulings, laws and regulations is the one who delivers honesty and absolute knowledge.
D-In addition, the author tackles the methods of extracting Quranic objectives by its general characteristics set by scholars as follows.
1-Divine Authorship: The Quranic Words and Verses highlight the Attributes of their Creator, as Allah the Almighty says: “Alif Lam Ra. (This is) a Book, the Verses whereof are perfected (in every sphere of knowledge), and then explained in detail from One (Allah) Who is All-Wise, Well-acquainted (with all things).”(Surat Hud ([prophet] Hud),1) “And Verily, you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) are being taught the Quran from One, All-Wise, All Knower.”(Surant An-Naml (The Ants), 6). This speech is delivered by the Most Superior to the lowest, from the Master to the slaves. Thus, the addressed must believe in all His Revelations and follow His Commands and avoid His Prohibitions.
2-Preservability: the Quran is preserved against any amendments, addition or corruption. Allah the Preserver protects Quran from any corrupt hands as mentioned, “Verily, We, it is We Who have sent down Dhikr (i.e. the Quran) and surely, We will guard it (from corruption).” (Al-Hijr (The Rocky Tract), 9). This characteristic is as an assurance from Allah the Almighty that the Quran and its embedded knowledge will last.
3-Inimitability: Allah the Almighty, “Say: ‘if the mankind and the jinn were together to produce the like of this Quran they could not produce the like thereof, even if they helped one another.’“(Al-Isra’ (The Journey of Night), 88). This proves that It is a Scripture revealed by Allah the Almighty and all what is mentioned therein is the Truth.
4-Feasibility and Clarity: Allah the Almighty says: “And We have indeed made the Quran easy to understand and remember; then is there any who will remember (or receive admonition).” (Al-Qamar (The Moon), 22). This characteristic shows that Quran is facilitated to be an enlightening guidance to all the liable although their mental and physical differences.
5-Perfection, Integrity and Comprehensiveness: Allah the Almighty says: “…This day, those who disbelieved have given up all hope of your religion; so fear them not, but fear Me. This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion…” (Surat Al-Ma’idah (The Table Spread With Food), 3). The Quran covers all life affairs; from human individual needs till his social needs and from his physical and mental needs till the spiritual needs.
6- Universalism: the Quran does not address a specific gender or revealed for Arabs only. Allah the Almighty says: “Verily, this (the Quran) is no less than a Reminder to (all) the A’lamin (mankind and jinn). To whomsoever among you who wills to walk straight.” (Surat At-Takwir (Winding Round an losing its Light), 27-28). The Quran is a guidance for all societies regardless their different traditions, manners and cultures. It aims to unite all humanity under one umbrella, one Word and one Legal Ruling.
7-The Seal of all Scriptures: the Quran is the Lasting Scripture for the rest period of humanity on this worldly life. It includes also a testimony of the validity of Its Teachings in our existing modern life.
8-Moderated and Harmonized Quranic Rulings: Allah the Almighty says: “Thus, We have made you [True Muslims- real believers of Islamic Monotheism, true followers of the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم and his Sunnah (legal ways)], a just (and the best) nation, that you be witness over mankind and the Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) be a witness over you..” (Al-Baqarah (The Cow), 143). The Quran balances between the rights of human soul, body and mind. It stands at the middle of Spiritualism and Monasticism of Christians, and Jewish materialism and intolerance.
9-Balanced Adequate Firmness and Flexibility of Quranic Ruling: Firmness is related to the permissible and prohibited, while flexibility is related to issues like the choice of the liable between Azeemah (original ruling) and Rukhsah (concession) as well as the change of Legal Ruling according to the era, places, situations and customs.
10-Great Rewards for Its Mere Recitation: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said: “Whoever recites a letter from the Book of Allah, he will be credited with a good deed, and a good deed gets a ten-fold reward. I do not say that Alif-Lam-Mim is one letter, but Alif is a letter, Lam is a letter and Mim is a letter.”
11-Consistency with no contradiction: This is due to Its Divine Authorship, as Allah the Almighty says: “Do they not then consider the Quran carefully? Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely have found therein many a contradiction.” (Surat An-Nisa’ (The Women),82). All Quranic Teachings aims to achieve the goal of guidance with no contradiction and encourage for contemplating the Quran from a comprehensive perspective.
Then, the author discusses in detail the scholars writings in this regard. He mentions their opinions regarding the characteristics of Makki and Madani Sourates, Fiqh of Priorities and Sourates arrangements. Thus, we can summarize the main Quranic objectives in eight points:
- Reform the religious doctrine; being the most significant cause in reforming mankind.
- Moral refinement.
- Legislation: Specific and General Rulings.
- Policy of the Ummah: For the Reformation of the Ummah and the maintenance of its order.
- Stories and history of previous nations as a learning lesson or a warning.
- Suitable teaching approach that suits the era of the addresses and their qualifications that allow them to learn and convey Shariah. This is known as the Science of Religious Rulings and Events.
- Sermons, warnings and glad tidings.
- Quranic miracles which stand as a proof of the Authenticity of the Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him.
In addition, the author discusses the methods of extracting Quranic objectives by understanding people’s need for Revelation. He explains that Allah the Almighty reveals His Scripture as a dominant and comprehensive Revelation compared to the previous Scriptures beside being their Last and the Seal.
If we noticed human deteriorating situation and tried to find a solution, we can see that the Holy Quran is revealed for this purpose. The Quran also is interested in the most crucial dilemma and problems facing human mind.
He, then, discusses the most important cognitive problems facing human mentality. For example, human asks about his destiny after death, to where? When he could not achieve forward time travel to find an answer for this question, he thoroughly studied his past as an attempt that may help in disclosing the reasons of his existence as well as his destiny. Then, the problem of the first causes aroused (from where?). The author says that human turned to study the ancient past due to his strong belief in the theory of causation which proves that every effect is preceded by its cause. This means that any happened or happening event is an inevitable result for a cause. In another words, any future event is an inevitable result for causes preceded. Thus, human travelled to the ancient past to understand the story of universe existence; leading him to be eager to know more about the origins and sources of objects.
Later, the author discusses human’s questions about the purpose of his existence (why?). The more human knowledge, sciences and perceptions increase, the more the theory of causation and order is unveiled; regarding all what he regarded as purposeless or falsely neglected. This pushes human to explore the major purposes and its aspects instead of minor particles of universal phenomena.
By answering those questions, human existence and statue in universe are determined.
The Holy Quran clearly answers all those questions, Allah the Exalted says: “Our Lord is He who gave to each thing its form and nature, them guided it aright.” (Surat-Ta-Ha, 50). “He knows what is in the heavens and on earth, and He knows what you conceal and what you reveal. And Allah is All-Knower of what is in the breasts (of men).” (Surat At-Taghabun (Mutual Loss and Gain), 4).
The Quran is the only answer to philosophical questions; What is your origin? Who creates you? Who is your Lord, Guide and Advocator? What is your purpose? What is your destiny?
Therefore, the Quran is revealed to honour human and bring him forth from the shadows of stray into the light of Divine guidance; leading him to have a tranquil mind and strong heart.
Chapter Two: Extracting the Highest Quranic Objectives
Throughout this chapter, the author shows the Quranic objectives mentioned at the beginning and at the end of some Sourates. He, then, mentions the Quranic verses that shows the main reasons of Its Revelation:
-To believe in the Quran and to contemplate, understand and follow its teachings (because contemplating the Quran increases one’s knowledge and its memorization helps in maintaining this knowledge).
-In addition, Quran aims to set admonition and learning lessons and explain and convey Its Teaching to people.
– It also aims to clarify many truths hidden by Christians and Jewish.
– Legislate Rulings and apply justice (clarifying the straight path).
-It advocates the Liable to follow Its Teachings and apply Its Rules; awakening them from their ignorance. It gives good tidings to the believers and admonish the disbelievers. The Quran clarifies the Truth and settles the conflict.
-It aims also to update the Religious legislation to be suitable for the last Ummah. The Quran stands as a guidance for people towards the right path; bringing them from the shadow to the light. It strengthens the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and the believers in following the Truth.
– The Quran also informs mankind about the Oneness of Allah the Almighty and gathers them to worship Him alone with no associate. The Quran is a testimony that proves the Authenticity of the Seal Message and challenges the polytheists other that Christians and Jewish. It explains the Resurrection, Accountability and Reward and Punishment. The Quran helps people to be pious.
After declaring those Quranic objectives, the author mentions Prophetic Sayings to deduce and prove more objectives. He focusses on Prophetic Traditions (Hadith) which declares the virtue of some Surates and Verses of the Quran such as:
Surate Al-Ikhlas (The Purity): There is a successive chain of narration (of Sound Hadiths) regarding the virtue of this Surate. The author views some opinions revolving around the interpretation of these Hadiths and deduces its meanings and fruitful advices.
Surate Al-Fatihah (The Opening): The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, declares the virtue of this Surate to his companions by saying, “The Um (substance) of the Qur’an is the seven oft-repeated verses (Al- Mathaini) and is the Great Qur’an (i.e. Surat-al-Fatiha).”[xiii] In another narration, he, peace and blessings be upon him, says: ” Al-Hamdulillah (All praise be to Allah) is the epitome or basis of the Qur’an, the epitome or basis of the Book, and the seven oft-repeated verses.”[xiv]
The author explains the opinions of exegetists and scholars of Hadith regarding the interpretation of Surat-Al-Fatihah and the reason behind its designation with (Ummul-Quran). By observing the exegeses of Surat-Al-Fatihah and its division according to its objectives; to single, double, triple, quadruple and other kinds of divisions, He says: “It (Al-Fatihah) includes symbols summarizing all themes mentioned in the Quran. It discusses the theme of Oneness, praises Allah, shows Worshiping and seeking His Help, mentions the Last Day and various nations whether the believers or the astray one. It refers to His Kingdom and Its Worlds as well as other themes. They, therefore, see that Al- Fatihah is a prowess introduction for the Quran and a strong title for its themes. They observed, from this, the reason behind placing Al-Fatihah as the Opening of the Quran and the First Recitation on Prayers with a repetition in each Rak’ah (Prayer units).”
Then, the author explains some Quranic objectives mentioned in other Surates, such as Surate Az-Zalzalah (The Earthquake), Surate Al-Kaferun (The Disbelievers), Surate An-Nasr (The Help) and Ayat-Al-Kursi (The Verse of the Chair).
Then, the author collects the opinions of the scholars regarding the Mothers of Its objectives. He says that the Quran, according to the scholars, aims to collect scattered Rulings and different Fundamentals. The Quran is the seal of all Divine Heavenly Scriptures and the Greatest Law for the perfection of both worldly life and the Hereafter. It also balances between physical and spiritual human nature. The Quran is revealed to the mankind for their own interests.
In addition, the Quran aims to show the invalidity of perceptions and theories developed by man about his nature, life, the universe system, and Allah’s essence.
The Quran also guides man to the right approach by showing the Divine Guidance. Some scholars said that the basic message of the Quran is to achieve guidance in the relationship between the individual with himself, his fellows, his society, the entire humanity and the whole life.
The author allocates this part for the classification and arrangements of the ultimate Quranic objectives
The authors says that the Quranic objectives classification is as follows: to believe in the Quran- contemplate, understand and reflect on the Quran- following Its admonitions and learning lessons- explain and convey Its Teachings to people- clarify many truths hidden by Christians and Jewish- legislate Rulings and apply justice- to be followed by the Liable – apply Its Rules- awaken the liable- gives good tidings to the believers and admonish the disbelievers- believe in all Messengers’ and prophets’ Teachings – clarify the Truth and settle the conflict- update the Religious legislation to be suitable for the last Ummah (Nation)- guide people towards the right path- bring people from the shadow to the light- strengthen the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and the believers in following the Truth- inform mankind about the Oneness of Allah the Almighty and gather them to worship Him alone with no associate- prove the Authenticity of the Seal Message and challenge the disbelievers- Believe in the Resurrection, Accountability and Reward or Punishment- purification of believers’ souls.
The impacts of all those objectives are as follows: Devoted Worship – achieve, clarify and follow the True knowledge- or achieve good deed – Faith- Self-Purification- restraint – reminder – Admonition – strengthen.
Throughout this chapter, the author summarizes the titles of Quranic themes and the Mothers of their objectives in nine points as follows:
Faiths (Dogmas): Islamic Dogmas mentioned in many Verses as the belief in Allah and the Last Day.
Rulings of Deeds: Mentioned in many Verses as the Five pillar of Islam.
Theoretical sciences (Clarifying the True Knowledge): the Quran encourages seeking knowledge. the very first Verses of the Quran to be revealed is a command to read and write, as Allah the Almighty says: “Read! In the Name of your Lord Who has created (all that exists). He has created man from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood). Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous. Who has taught (the writing) by the pen. He has taught man that which he knew not.” (Surate Al-A’laq (The Clot), 1-5). Knowledge is the milestone of faith, deed and all comprehensive and partial objectives.
Restraint (motivating straightness): The author named this type of Quranic sciences (the Restraint) to include both motives and stimulus. The Quran contains both promise and menacing, invitation and intimidation and glad tidings and warning. All those are motives that encourage us towards knowledge, faith and good deeds.
Ihsan or Spiritual Excellence (Self-Purification): by turning one’s self from disobedience towards obedience by purification of one’s soul and behavior, improving morals and manners and promoting the soul.
The Reminder (Preserve the Acquired Knowledge): This objective is significant because it helps in combating forgetting and inattention which are the most dangerous diseases faced by man in his life; being the main reason of the first human disobedience in history, as Allah the Almighty says: “And indeed We made a covenant with Adam before, but he forgot, and We found on his part no firm will-power.” (Surate Ta-Ha, 115).
Strengthening and Learning Lessons: the liable can achieve knowledge then faith followed by good deeds. Yet, the continuation of knowledge and faith needs devotion in learning lessons and studying. Whereas good deed needs more patience and strength to be maintained or increased in quantity and quality. Thus, Allah the Almighty emphasizes the reason behind narrating stories of other prophets with their nations as mentioned, “And all that We relate to you (O Muhammadصلى الله عليه وسلم )of the news of the Messengers is in order that We may make strong and firm your heart thereby. And in this (chapter of the Quran) has come to you the truth, as well as an admonition and a reminder for the believers.” (Surate Hud, 120).
Learning lessons and following Advices (Admonitions): concerns with human emotional aspect which drives the heart.
Devoted Servitude: this objective includes all the above-mentioned objectives; as they are like streams pouring into the main objective. Allah the Almighty creates the Liable for this purpose as mentioned, “And I (Allah) created not the Jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me (Alone).” (Surate Adh-Dhariyat (The Winds that Scatter), 56).
Furthermore, the author talks about the standard of arrangement of the objectives and their levels. He adds that arranging the levels of objectives comes before the last step according to the ladder of priorities and the degree of significance.
He emphasizes that the virtue of some Surates and objectives does not mean the negligence of the others. The Quranic classification, according to the significance, does not aim to underestimate other objectives. They are just arranged according to the Quran and the Sunnah.
Then, he tackles the arrangement standards of the Mothers of the Quranic objectives depending on two standards, as follows:
First, the level of its priority and significance according to the Message of the Glorious Quran. In another words, it depends on the priorities of the Quran; mentioned before other main themes, by studying the order of the Quranic Revelation. The easiest way to study that is to collect the Articles, written by the scholars of the Quran and Its Sciences, about the thematic characteristics of both Makki (what is revealed before Hijrah) and Madani (what is revealed after Hijrah) Sourates.
Second, the standard of its priority and significance according to the Prophets’ Messages presented in the Quran.
He then divided the first point into two categories:
- The Most significant Thematic characteristics of Makki Surates: Makki Surates present main issues. It includes the fundamentals of Faith; through the belief in the Oneness of Allah, Revelation, Prophetic Message, Resurrection and Punishment and Reward, and the Stories of the Messengers with their people. It also shows the fundamentals of general legislation and fixed morals and virtues as well as arguing the polytheists, advising them to believe in those fundamentals, refuting their doubts, invalidating their misguidance and forbidding their superstitions.
The Makki Surates also explain to man the secret of his existence and the surrounding universe by answering the following questions: who are you? from where do you come? What is the purpose of your existence? What is your destiny after death? Who created you out of nothing? Who will take your soul? What is your destiny in the other world?
The Quran does not switch to another issue, such as legislation regarding life system, till this principle issue is precisely discussed and firmly rooted in the hearts of the nominated group who was chosen to serve this religion. The Makki era witnessed a lack of detailed legislation because Muslims were vulnerable at the time. It is unsuitable for the nature of the conflict with disbelievers to reveal detailed legislations.
- The most significant Thematic characteristics of Madani Surates: the Madani revelation focuses on building the pillars of a believer society, organizing and uniting its groups and preparing the society to be the role model for a human society; applying all the Teachings of the Last Message. It aims also to reinforce this build by setting political and economic legislations and laws and determining the relationship of the Islamic country with other countries.
Practical rulings are revealed in the Madani stage due to the change in Muslims’ state. Muslims, after Hijra (immigration from Mecca to Madinah), established a society and a country. Thus, Muslims needed to apply legislations on their new society to help them build the character of the individual, protect family, regulate relationships etc. they also needed to invite Jewish and Christians to enter Islam beside arguing their dogmas and sending preach envoys to kings and presidents to invite them too, showing but this dawa the universalism of this Religion.
Knowing Makki and Madani helps the preacher to understand the Quranic Pedagogical Methodology in Ruling Gradualism by putting into consideration the priorities, from a theoretical perspective, and the real lifestyle of the Liable beside their potentials and capacities, from a practical perspective. For example, ‘A’ishah, the mother of the faithful believers, (May Allah be pleased with her) said, “…that the first thing that was revealed thereof was a Sura from Al-Mufassal, and in it was mentioned Paradise and the Fire. When the people embraced Islam, the Verses regarding legal and illegal things were revealed. If the first thing to be revealed was: ‘Do not drink alcoholic drinks.’ people would have said, ‘We will never leave alcoholic drinks,’ and if there had been revealed, ‘Do not commit illegal sexual intercourse….“[xv]
Then, the author mentions the priority in the Prophetic Messages. This is because Prophets and Messengers were assigned to help those nations who are at the edge of doom. Thus, Theology was the first to be spread as the best way for their salvation.
For instance, Allah the Almighty says: “And We did not send any Messenger before you (O Muhammad )but We revealed to him (saying): La ilaha ila Ana [Alone has the right to be worshiped but I (Allah)], so worship Me (Alone and none else).” (Surate Al-Anbiya’ (The Prophets), 25); calling for worshiping Allah alone, with no associate. Allah the Almighty also says: “And We made them leaders, guiding (mankind) by Our Command, and We revealed to them the doing of good deeds, performing Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat), and the giving of Zakat and of Us (Alone) they were worshippers.” (Surate Al-Anbiya’ (The Prophets), 73); as an order to do good deeds, perform Salah (prayer) and Zakah (almsgiving) and devotion in worshiping Allah the Almighty Alone.
Allah the Almighty says: “And (remember) when Ibrahim (Abraham) said to his father and his people: ‘Verily, I am innocent of what you worship. Except Him (i.e. I worship none but Allah Alone) Who did create me; and verily, He will guide me.'” (Surate Az-Zukhruf (The Gold Adornments), 26-27); denying all worshiped deities but Allah the Almighty. Allah the Almighty says: “And (Remember) Lut (lot), when he said to his people: ‘do you commit the worst sin such as none preceding you has committed in the ‘Alamin (mankind and jinn)? Verily, you practice your lust on men instead of women. Nay, but you are a people transgressing beyond bounds (by committing great sins.'” (Surate Al-A’raf (Th Heights or The Wall of Elevations), 80-81); inviting us to return to the innate morals.
In Addition, Ismael, peace and blessings be upon him, orders his people to perform prayer and Zakah as mentioned, “And he used to enjoin on his family and his people As-Salat (the prayers) and Az-Zakat, and his Lord was pleased with him.” (Surate Maryam (Mary), 55).
Regarding the message of Ya’qub (Jacob), peace be upon him, Allah the Almighty says: “And this (submission to Allah, Islam) was enjoined by Ibrahim (Abraham) upon his sons and by Ya’qub (Jacob) (saying), ‘O my sons! Allah has chosen for you the (true) religion, then die not except in the Fith of Islam (as Muslims- Islamic Monotheism). Or were you witnesses when eath approached Ya’cob (Jacob)? When he said to his sons, ‘what you worship after me?’ They said: ‘we worship Your Ilah (God- Allah) the Ilah (God) of your fathers, Ibrahim (Abraham), Isma’il (Ishmaeal), Ishaq (Issac), One Ilah (God), and to Him we submit (in Islam).‘” Surate Al-Baqarah (The Cow), 132-133); as a recommendation to Worship Allah the Almighty alone.
Regarding the message of Yusuf (Joseph), peace be upon him,, Allah the Almighty says: “He said: ‘no food will come to you (in wakefulness or in dream) as your provision, but will inform (in wakefulness) its interpretation before it (the food) comes. This is pf that which my Lord has taught me Verily, I have abandoned the religion of a people that believe not in Allah and are disbelievers in the Hereafter (i.e. the Kan’anyyun of Egypt who were polytheists and used to worship the sun and other false deities).‘” (Surate Yusuf ([prophet] Joseph), 37); criticizing those who do not believe in Allah, Last Day and falsely worship Allah with an associate. This Verse is a call for worshiping Allah Alone.
Regarding the message of Shuaib, peace be upon him, Allah the Almighty says: “And to the Madyan (Midian) people (We sent) their brother Shu’iaib. He said: ‘O my people! Worship Allah, you have no other ilah (God) but Him and give not short measure or weight. I see you in prosperity and verily I fear for you the torment of a Day encompassing.'” (Surate Hud (Prophet Hud), 84); an order to worship Allah the Almighty Alone, give measure and weight with (full) justice and fear Allah’s Punishment and Revenge.
Regarding the message of Ayob (Job), peace be upon him, Allah the Almighty says: “And We gave him (back) his family and along with them the like thereof, as Mercy from Us, and a Reminder for those who understand.” (Surate Sad, 43); emphasizing the great reward of the virtue of patience.
Regarding the message of Musa (Moses), peace be upon him, Allah the Almighty says: “Verily, I am Allah! La ilaha illa Ana (none has the right to be worshipped but I), so worship Me, and perform As-Salat for My Remembrance.” (Surate Taha, 14); calling for worshiping Allah the Almighty Alone and performing prayer for His Remembrance besides emphasizing Punishment and Reward in the Hereafter.
Regarding the message of Ilyas (Elias), peace be upon him, Allah the Almighty says: “when he said to his people:’ Will you not fear Allah? Will you call upon Ba’l (a well-known idol of his nation whom they used to worship) and forsake the Best Of Creators.'” (Surate As-Saffat (those Ranged in Ranks), 124-125); warning from the consequences of their actions and prohibiting the worship of anyone except Allah the Almighty.
Regarding the message of I’sa (Jesus), peace be upon him, Allah the Almighty says: “Never did I say to them aught except what You (Allah) did command me to say: ‘to worship Allah my Lord and your Lord.’ And I was a witness over them while I dwelt amongst them, but when You took me up, You were the Watcher over them; and You are a Witness to all things. (This is a great admonition and warning to the Christians of the whole world)”. (Surate Al-Ma’idah (The Table Spread With Food), 117); ordering them to worship Allah the Almighty Alone.
Regarding the message of Muhammad, the master of all creation, peace and blessings be upon him, Allah the Almighty says: “O mankind! Worship your Lord (Allah), who created you and those who were before you so that you may become Al-Muttaqun (the pious). Who has made the earth a resting place for you and the sky as a canopy and sent down water (rain) from the sky and brought forth therewith fruits as a provision for you. Then do not set up rivals to Allah (in worship) while you know (that He Alone has the right to be worshipped).” (Surate Al-Baqarah (The Cow), 21-22); a call for worshiping The Creator of all creatures with no other associate.
Throughout the previous elements of the Prophetic Messages, the author sums up the common objectives in this regard, as follows:
- The Affirmation of Prophecy (a call to believe) “I am to you a Messenger worthy of all trust.”; as the First call of all the Messengers
- The intimidation to fear Allah the Almighty by mentioning the Last Day and the consequences of our actions.
- Call for Obedience (good deed). All Messengers also were assigned to call for obedience; obedience to Allah and the Prophet according to Divine Revelation
- Prayer and Almsgiving (Zakat).
- Call for a devoted worship for Allah Alone: “Worship Allah you have no other deity except Him.” This is because the prophecy, admonition or message stands usually as a cure for unawareness, inattention or indulging in the worldly pleasures and the swamp of sins. Thus, this issue is the focus of most Messages and Prophecies if not being their pillar.
In fact, it is obvious that the previous five objectives are the general ones which were conveyed by all Messengers and Prophets. However, there are other objectives that are distinctive features for some Messages. For instance, the Message of Shuaib, peace be upon him, aims to apply ethics in commercial transactions, while the Message of Lot, peace be upon him, aims to invite people to return to their innate nature. The Message of Moses, peace be upon him, aims to stop the tyranny of the ruler and reform the souls of the citizens. In addition, the Prophecy of David and Solomon, peace be upon them, is a living example of a just ruler, while the Message of Job, peace be upon him, manifests the virtue of patience and its reward. There are other distinctive features for Message or Prophecy; as Allah the Almighty sets reasonable lessons for this nation, to be followed.
The author mentions the Quranic style in clarifying the levels agreed upon among all Messages. The Holy Quran follows its special way in arranging the Mothers of its objectives and Divine Messages. The Quranic style divides them into two stages:
The first stage: Devoted worship: the clearest and well-established objectives of Messages.
Second stage: Faith and good deed, as they are the most frequently mentioned terms in the Quranic verses.
Prophets and Messengers, after proving the authenticity of their prophecy, set two targets to deliver their Messages:
External Target: inviting the infidels to embrace Faith and Monotheism; by focusing on faith with its two pillars (to believe in Allah and the Last Day).
Internal Target: inviting the believers to do good deeds; by focusing on Salat (prayer) and Zakat (Almsgiving); being among the pillars of Islam.
Throughout the second chapter, the author defines the Mothers of Quranic objectives.
- The Highest Objective (Devoted Servitude to Allah the Almighty)
Allah The Almighty says: “And I (Allah) created not the Jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me (Alone).” (Surate Adh-Dhariyat (The Winds that Scatter), 56). The author explains in this regard how to be a sincere devoted servant to Allah. Worshiping Allah helps man in living his entire life following Allah’s Commands to be a continuous cycle of good deeds not limited to rituals only. Allah the Almighty says: “Say, O Muhammad, ‘Verily, my Salat (prayer), sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of ‘Alamin (mankind, jinn and all that exits).'”(Al-An’am (The Cattle), 162)
Servitude to Allah means to be obliged to follow Allah’s Legislations and Messengers in obedience and submission. Those who ignore to submit to Allah’s Commandments and follow His Path and Legislation are not sincere servants or worshippers.
Worshiping has three levels:
- A man worships his Lord seeking His Reward and fearing His Punishment.
- A man worships his Lord to be honored by His worship and to follow Him by accepting His Obligations.
- A man worships his Lord out of the belief that He the Almighty is the Creator and Worthy of worship and he is His servant.
This is the highest level of worship which called “Servitude”. The more the man achieves this level, the more his Servitude to Allah is elevated.
- The Main Objectives: Knowledge – Faith- Good Deed.
Those three themes are regarded as the main objectives for many reasons:
- Being the elements of a worshipper, as the servitude cannot be achieved unless by them. The Quran aims to help each of those
Elements to achieve the maximum level of servitude. The Quran is keen to help the mind in collecting the facts of useful sciences, the heart in achieving Faith and feel its sweetness, and the body in performing good deed and hastening in charitable activities.
- Being independent elements, we cannot neglect one of them while achieving the minimum public order prescribed by the Quran. Knowledge without faith is meaningless, and faith with no good deeds is futile. Allah Almighty, in His Scripture, has urged man to seek knowledge, “…say: My Lord! Increase me in knowledge.”(Surate Taha, 114).
In addition, Allah the Almighty warns about the great accountability resulted from speaking without knowledge, “And follow not (O man i.e., say not or do not or witness not) that of which you have no knowledge. Verliy, the hearing, and the sight, and the heart of each of those one will be questioned (by Allah).” (Surate Al-Isra’ (The Journey by Night), 36).
On the other hand, Faith is considered to be from the main Quranic objectives because it includes the belief in:
- Allah as the Absolute Initiator of everything and the Creator of every existence
- The Last Day revealed by Allah the Almighty as the end of this earthly life and the beginning of the Day of Resurrection and Accountability
- Divine Guidance transmitted through Revelation (Angels and Messengers), Writing (Divine Scriptures generally and the Holy Quran specifically) and Clarification [Sunnah (Prophetic Tradition)]
In addition, good deed is reflected in the apparent actions such as performing Salat (prayer), Zakah (Almsgiving), fasting, Hajj (pilgrimage), testifying that Allah is the only deity as well as performing legislated optional deeds and approaching Allah by good deeds. Human is the successor of Allah on the earth applying justice and truth by following Allah’s Legislations. Human should exert his effort to purify his soul and protect it against sins. Human is also assigned to construct the earth as Allah the Exalted says:“…He brought you forth from the earth and settled you therein, then ask forgiveness of Him and turn to Him in repentance. Certainly, my Lord is Near (to all of his knowledge) Responsive.” (Surate Hud, 61)
Then, he explains the subsidiary objectives.
The liable needs to know the accountability of their actions in this worldly life. Thus, The Quran clarifies this matter by mentioning the restraint which determine the result of a good deed and a sin; pushing man to seek knowledge from the savior sciences.
Whereas the Quranic sciences are forgettable, the Quran sets rulings for its lasting preservation; the function of the Reminder as a Quranic Objective. One’s Heart holds faith, but faith is fluctuating. Thus, the Quran sets ruling for its stimulation; the function of Admonition. While good deed is a duty which may cause a person to feel boring and apathetic, leading him to stop performing good deed so it starts to decline till vanishing. Thus, the Quran sets rulings for its continuation; the function of Patience as a Quranic objective. The Quran also sets rulings for those main objectives to help them achieving their aims and targets; the objective of Ihsan (Spiritual Excellence).
Briefly, the “Restraint”, as a Quranic Objective, reflects the idea that Allah the Almighty deals with the man in two ways to motivate his intellect and sentiment. Allah the Almighty grasps the attention of the man by invitation and promise about reward and happiness in the worldly life and the Hereafter; by mentioning Paradise and its blessings, being the best motivator. In addition, Allah the Almighty encourages the man by intimidation; to fear the consequences of disobedience and ingratitude; by focusing on Hell fire and its Punishment. In fact, this way (invitation and intimidation) suits human nature which detests pain whatever its kind and seek happiness wherever it is found.
In brief, the “Reminder”, as a Quranic objective, aims to preserve the science missions revealed by the Quran in our minds. It also reminds us of the Creator and creature, the greatness of the Creator and the duty of the creature as well as the past and the future.
While “Admonition” aims to soften hearts to be able to follow what is good for both the worldly life and the Hereafter. It refers to the beautiful preaching mentioned by Allah the Almighty: “Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knoweth best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance.” (An-Nahl (The Bees), 125.
Regarding spiritual excellence and self-purification “Ihsan and Tazkyiah”, spiritual excellence is the Quranic pedagogical tool that boosts the statue of a passionate person from one level to another till reaching one of the levels of righteous and perfection, as prescribed for him. Ihsan helps achieving self-purification and paving the way towards the right Path; from the moment of saying Shahadah (testifying that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his Messenger) till reaching the level of devoted servitude, the highest level of human perfection.
Achieving “Patience and Strength” is one of the significant Quranic objectives because man can learn then hold and follow a belief accordingly, but this situation is not permanent. Thus, the Quran aims to root these basics. This cannot be achieved except by guaranteeing its lasting preservation. For example, Allah the Almighty says: “Say (O Muhamda), Ruh-ul-Qudus [Jibril (Gabriel)] has brought it (the Quran) from your Lord with Truth, that it may make firm and strengthen (the faith of) those who believe, and as a guidance and glad tidings to those who have submitted (to Allah as Muslims).”(An-Nahl (The Bee), 102).
Allah the Almighty emphasized the reward of Patience and strength in following the Truth by saying: “And We made from among them (Children of Israel), leaders, giving guidance under Our Command, when they were patient and used to believe with certainty in Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.)” (As-Sajdah (The prostration), 24).
Patience has two kinds:
- Patience in performing good deed: push one’s self to keep going in fulfilling his duties.
- Patience against sins: to endure the hardship of combating the sin.
In addition, there are other kinds of patience. For example, there is the patience against difficulties and calamities, which can be achieved by acceptance and submission with no ingratitude and apart from overcoming them in an illegal way.
Finally, the author concludes that the highest Quranic objective is achieving “Devoted Servitude”. He illustrates this idea in the following table.
|Mind||Knowledge||Restraint + Reminder|
|Heart||Devoted Servitude||Faith + Admonition|
|Body||Deeds||Spiritual excellence + Patience|
Therefore, devoted servitude is the Mother of all objectives and its aim, while seeking knowledge and achieving faith and good deed, as Quranic objectives, are the base of this objective. The objective of obtaining the Restraint, Reminder, admonition, spiritual excellence and patience is the best method to establish those bases. Finally, this is the core objective and those are the elements of Quranic objective system.
At the end of his book, the author presents a set of recommendations for researchers interested in the field of Quranic Studies. He urges them to:
- highly focus on comprehensive Quranic studies, to contemplate the Quran with its creativity and structural objectives, and not indulge in the minor issues and studies. He introduces his treatise along with others to help them in extracting the mother of objectives.
- thoroughly study the objectives of each Quranic Chapter, according to its Revelation order and its arrangement in the Mushaf (the written copy of the Quran), in order to know the highlights which Allah wants the reader of the Quran to contemplate first.
- thoroughly study the mothers of objectives through the Messages of Prophets, peace be upon them, in order to deduce the common conclusion of all Divine Messages.
- apply Quranic Verses, as possible, on the Honorable Prophetic Biography to show the Legislator’s graduality in clarifying His Objectives and arrange them according to its significance.
- make a comprehensive comparison among the mothers of Quranic objectives and philosophical studies.
Mr. Ahmad Muhammad Ali
Translated into English by:
Rehab Jamal Bakri
[iii] Muḥammad ibn Jarīr Ibn Yazeed Ibn Katheer Ibn Ghaleb, known as Al-Imam Abū Ja’far Al-Tabari. He is an exegetist, historian and a Jurist-scholar known as Imam ul Mufassireen (The head of exegetists).
[iv] Sa’id ibn Mansur reported that Ibn Maso’ud said: “whoever wants knowledge should study the Quran as It (Quran) gathers all the fortunes of the former and later (people).” Sunan Sa’id ibn Mansur (Hadith Book by Sa’id ibn Mansur)
[vi] This Hadith is transmitted by Muslim, Sahih Muslim (4/1874) in The Book of the Merits of the Companions. No.: (4425).
[vii] Sahih Muslim: 1/63
[viii] Abu Ishaq Ibrahim ibn Musa ibn Muhammad Al-Lakhmi al-Shatibi, an Andalusian Scholar whom other scholars praised his various conrtibutions
[ix] Reference: Al-Imam Ahmad 2/381
[x] Sahih Muslim 2/1104, Reference: Al-Imam Ahmad 3/328
[xi] Al-Mustadrak ala Aṣ-Ṣaḥeeḥayn 2/66, Sunan Ibn-u-Majah 2/784
[xii] Sahih Al-Bukhari 2/981 and 6/2661, Sahih Muslim 4/2063
[xiii] Ibid: 4/1738
[xiv] Jami’ At- Tirmidhi: 5/297 and Sunan ADu Dawood: 2/71
[xv] Sahih Al-Bukhari: 1910/4, Chapter: The compilation of the Qur’an