Thursday, August 02, 2012

Taking the Qur’an as Guidance and a Criterion


“A Tafsir of 2:185 –
Taking the Qur’an as Huda (Guidance) and Furqan (Criterion)”
***
            Allah (swt) says: {In the month of Ramadan we revealed the Qur’an; a Guidance for humankind as well as a Clarification of Guidance and a Criterion}. Regarding this verse, Shaykh `Ata’ Ibn Khalil (Allah preserve him) comments in his tafsir: “And then Allah – may He be glorified – clarifies the Magnificent Qur’an as being as follows:
[A] {a Guidance for humankind} which is grammatically circumstantial in the accusative and means ‘that which guides them to the Truth and to the Sirat al-Mustaqim’;
[B] {a Clear Clarification of Guidance} which is grammatically circumstantial conjunctive and means ‘an unequivocal and inimitable proof of it being a guidance sent down by Allah’ and
[C] {a Criterion} meaning that which differentiates between Truth and falsehood, Good and bad as well as good actions and bad actions’…”[1]
[End]
Notes:
[1] {Guidance/hudan}: ‘that which guides’; The Qur’an is not a local guidance nor is it a periodic guidance but a global and universal guidance for all of humankind and not just Muslims hence {for humankind/li ’l-nas} establishing the universality of this din.
[2] {Clear Clarification/bayyinat min al-huda}: ‘exposition’, ‘clarification’,‘that which makes plain’, ‘that which explains’; Imam al-Mawardi comments: “{a Clear Clarification of Guidance and a Criterion} meaning that which explains what is halal and what is haram as well as a Criterion between Truth and falsehood…”[2]
}وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَى وَالْفُرْقَانِ } أي بينات من الحلال والحرام، وفرقان بين الحق والباطل.
[3] {Criterion/furqan}: ‘that which differentiates’; ‘the standard’, ‘the measurement’; Imam al-Baydawi comments: “{A Guidance for humankind and a Clear Clarification of Guidanceand a Criterion} are two circumstantial conjunctive clauses of ‘Qur’an’ meaning that Allah has revealed it as a guidance for human beings by its miraculous-ness and clear verses that guide to the Truth. It is also a Criterion that differentiates between it and falsehood of laws and injunctions…”[3]
}هُدًى لّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَـٰتٍ مِّنَ ٱلْهُدَىٰ وَٱلْفُرْقَانِ } حالان من القرآن، أن أنزل وهو هداية للناس بإعجازه وآيات واضحات مما يهدي إلى الحق، ويفرق بينه وبين الباطل بما فيه من الحكم والأحكام
           In the month of Ramadan, the mosque khutbas, the Islamic satellite channels, the general Islamic educational programmes and charity work all remind us of the greatness of the Qur’an, the immense reward in reciting it as well as the unique and special month of Ramadan in which this Majestic Book was revealed. But we have a very serious question to ask: WHY HAVE WE FAILED TO TAKE THE QUR’AN AS A HUDA AND FURQAN IN OUR UMMA’S COMPLETE AFFAIRS?
            Since the loss of Islamic political authority nearly a century ago, the laws and system operating and governing the affairs of the ummah have been from non-Islamic sources and standards with rulers who have been the most corrupt and despotic – some being deposed by revolutions over the last year and others likely to follow. The result of this inherited political legacy has been dictatorship, oppression, poverty, weakness, nepotism, exploitation by external Western powers for economic market interests and industrial failure. All this, despite the ample and abundant resources in the Muslims lands.
Indeed, our Mosques in Ramadan may be full with tarawih attendances and they may have an atmosphere of soft murmuring of eager attendees reciting the Qur’an in hope of attaining reward from their Lord; yet our economic, social, judicial and political affairs are administered by laws and policies devised by human beings based on secular frameworks or secular Capitalism and we are urged to adopt the solutions from these frameworks as opposed to the Islamic solutions which form part of our tradition, heritage, culture and belief. The sharp decline in authority therefore began when the Qur’an was practically removed from human affairs and substituted with these human-devised policies and laws.
The events in the Muslim world over the last 18 months have clearly showed that the Muslimumma is at a critical juncture seeking real change but that change will not come unless theumma reverts back to the Islamic viewpoint and takes the Qur’an for why it was revealed: as a Guidance (huda) and Criterion (furqan) for everything and in every matter.[4] To this we must give deep thought and reflection.
The umma here in the West needs to understand that the Majestic Qur’an was revealed to be taken as a complete Guidance and Criterion and not just for recitation, Prayer and personal rituals. The umma needs to also understand that just like Islam has defined laws related to rituals, devotion, diet, dress and manners as discussed by the noble fuqaha’, it also has delineated laws and policies – also discussed extensively by the fuqaha’ – related to forming a political leadership that will administer the affairs of the people with the Shari`a and its solutions that addresses the totality of human problems and challenges that will lead to a path of progress and prosperity like it did for over a span of a millennium.
Therefore, in this blessed month where the umma publically and collectively displays her desire to worship Allah (swt), she must remember to understand the purpose behind the revelation of this Magnificent Book and rush to work to implement it as a Criterion in life to be correctly implemented and the means by which this will be achieved is the political leadership of Islam.
May Allah accept our fasts and our efforts to worship Him. Amin.
And with Allah alone lies success.
s.z.c.

[1] Sh. `Ata’, al-Taysir ila Usul al-Tafsir, p.216.
[2] al-Mawardi, al-Nukat wa’l-`Uyun, 1:240.
[3] al-Baydawi, Anwar al-Tanzil, 1:59.

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