“If Islam is a beautiful religion and its teachings are that terrific, then why are the Islamic countries so backward?! Why are Muslims killing Muslims everywhere?! Why are the most fanatic religious people today Muslims?!” [A Muslim atheist on national Egyptian TV, 2011].
The previous, among hundreds of questions always give us a terrible headache when we think about them. No matter how different the answers maybe, there is always one thing in common. It comprises the most preferred reason stated by Muslim thinkers: “Muslims are extremely sick and in real urgent need for treatment. They have a heart condition. Their malady is the lack of piety and piousness.”
The problem in my humble opinion is that in the course of time, Muslims’ faith declined from being built upon pondering over our Creator’s own words, working our hearts in understanding them and living with the guidance we find therein, into being built upon studying other books including different opinions written by men. Muslims’ hearts were gradually emptied from the piety acquired from the words of our Creator, only to be filled with the opinions of men about God’s words. This is the true Fitnah or religious tribulation into which Muslims have fallen. Prophet Muhammad prophesized about this to his companions in many occasions, and he told us of the remedy. Our treatment is right between our hands, but we are too blind to realize it.
Prophet Muhammad said in the farewell speech: “I am but a man, and my God’s messenger (i.e. angel of death) is about to come to me and I shall answer his call, but I leave with you two important trusts: the first of which is Allah’s book, in it is guidance and light, so whosoever holds tight to it and follow its guidance, he shall remain on the righteous path, and whosoever misses it, he shall go astray.” [Recorded by Muslim].
Companion Hudhaifah Ibn Al-Yaman reported that the prophet P.B.U.H. informed him that after his departure, differences and conflicts will erupt. So Hudhaifah asked the prophet: “O prophet, what do you order me to do if I live to see those times?” The prophet answered: “Learn the book of Allah, and abide by what you learn. Verily, inside it is the way out from all tumults.” He repeated this thrice. [Recorded by Abu-Dāwud, An-Nasā’ī, Al-Hākem and agreed on by Dhahaby].
Allah says in the Qur’an itself:
“…and We have sent down unto you (O Muhammad) the Message, so that you may clarify to the people what was sent to them, and that they may give thought.” [The Qur’an (16:44)].
“[Here is] a Book which We have sent down unto you, full of blessings, that they may ponder over its verses, and that people of understanding may receive admonition.” [The Qur’an (38:29)].
“Do they not ponder over the Qur’an? If it had been from any entity other than Allah, they would have found therein many discrepancies.” [The Qur’an (4:82)].
“…So relate to them these stories may they ponder over [their meanings]” [The Qur’an (7:176)].
“Thus We make plain Our revelations for those who reflect.” [The Qur’an (10:24)].
“Do they not ponder over the Words (of Allah)?” [The Qur’an (23:68)].
If some cannot see the sun’s light because it’s cloudy, this doesn’t mean that the sun is not there, or that its effect doesn’t exceed this dim light coming through the clouds. It just means that you have to show some perseverance until the clouds are dispersed by the light. So is the case with the Qur’an, its miracle will always be there preserved by its sender till the end of time, all we need to do is to ponder enough over its verses till we reach the circle of its influence. It is a great regret that the long time we have spent away from this circle has caused us to stop believing in its existence and unique capability of making a real change in our lives.
The more you ponder over the verses of the Qur’an, and connect the related verses together in order to extract the true meaning intended, the stronger will your heart be connected to it. You will find that your deeds are affected by its provisions all the time, and even your speech. Try it yourself, write your notes on the empty margins of your own copy of the Qur’an so that you may return to them every time you read the same part again. Look up the meanings of the words you don’t understand online or in the Arabic dictionaries. Stop referring to voluminous exegesis for the meanings. Believe me when I say that this way, you will end up having a deeper and better understanding of Islam.
Nasr Ad-Deen Dinet (born as Alphonse-Étienne Dinet) (1861-1929 A.D.) was a French orientalist and painter, he embraced Islam in 1927. He said in his great book “The life of Prophet Muhammad”: “Nevertheless there was one miracle, the only one placed to Mohammad’s credit, and which was the cause of great anxiety among the Quraysh idolaters: the miracle of the ‘Ayat,’ a word generally rendered by ‘Verses,’ but really meaning: ‘miraculous signs’ of the Qur’an. The miracles wrought by earlier Prophets had been transient, so to say, and for that very reason, rapidly forgotten, while that of the Verses may be called ‘The Permanent Miracle.’ Its activity was unceasing.”
Written By: Ehab Shawky