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EXPLANATION OF THE HOLY QUR'AN'S ATTRIBUTES

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EXPLANATION OF THE HOLY QUR'AN'S ATTRIBUTES

 

Since the abovementioned synoptic exposition of the Holy Qur'an's attributes is insufficient, it seems necessary to discuss some of these attributes elaborately for the reason that they leave many social and ethical impacts on individuals. However, for the details of the other attributes, I refer the gentle readers to the books of Tafsir (exegesis of the Holy Qur'an) where the verses that carry these attributes are discussed exhaustively. The coming discussion of some attributes of the Holy Qur'an is purposed not only for introducing it but also for introducing the Ahl al-Bayt for their being the equivalents of the Holy Qur'an. Moreover, the Ahl al-Bayt and the Holy Qur'an are inseparable counterparts. Let us now mention some common points between the Ahl al-Bayt and the Holy Qur'an:

(1)                As the Holy Qur'an is the presenter of the truth, the Ahl al-Bayt are always with the truth and the truth is always with them.

(2)                As falsehood cannot approach the Holy Qur'an, the Ahl al-Bayt are sinless and protected against wrong.

(3)                As the Holy Qur'an enjoys supervision and authority on people, the Ahl al-Bayt are the divinely commissioned leaders (Imams) of the people, and so on.

 

BLESSED

The Holy Qur'an is blessed, that is abundant in blessings. It is such from many aspects; it is blessed from the side of its Source, since it has been revealed from Almighty Allah—the All-gracious, All-munificent and the Source of the innumerable favors.

It is blessed from the side of its recipient, which is the heart of the Holy Prophet—the merciful and kind—who has been sent as mercy for all the peoples.

It is blessed from the side of its results since it holds guidance, good and pleasure of this world as well as the world to come. In addition to peace and tranquility, the Holy Qur'an comprises the ideal administrative system of humanity that conserves its righteousness and entity.

It is blessed from the side of its size; although it is one book, all experts in the various fields of knowledge derive from it in view of the fact that it is inexhaustible source. Jurisprudents, theologians, grammarians, men of letters, intellectuals, politicians, socialists, economists, physicians, legists and rulers—all these take from the Holy Qur'an and make it as the proofs on their arguments; nevertheless, the Holy Qur'an has been all the time immortal and liberal. This fact corroborates its having come from Almighty Allah since all these fields of knowledge require huge and incalculable books to include them.

Finally, the Holy Qur'an is blessed as many as those whom have been guided to the right path through it and as many as those whose hearts and intellects have been enlightened through his blessedness.

 

UNASSAILABLE

The Holy Qur'an is unassailable; that is it cannot be easily comprehended because it is preserved in a Sealed Book (kitab Maknun) and, likewise, its exalted facts are kept in the Preserved Tablet. Yet, these words are only examples that are cited for making these connotations close to the humah mentalities that are familiar with material meanings since it is not easy for them to mount up for obtaining the comprehension of these meanings that can only be figured out, understood and recognized by the Immaculate Ones from whom Almighty Allah has taken out impurity and whom He has purified thoroughly. These are the Ahl al-Bayt—the Family of Prophet Muhammad. We have previously cited Imam 'Ali's saying, "I swear by Him Who split the seed and created the souls that we do not have such except that Almighty Allah confers upon a servant (of Him) an understanding of His Book."

 

The Holy Qur'an is unassailable in the sense that it is unique since it is the Words of Almighty Allah Whose like is nonexistent.

It is unassailable in the sense that none can ever controvert or challenge it. To this very sense, Almighty Allah has referred by saying, "We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it. 15/9"

 

It is unassailable in the sense that it is always predominant, vanquisher and victor, because it is Almighty Allah's Word—the ever supreme. The word of the Holy Qur'an is thus insurmountable since it preeminently occupies the highest position of authority and government over the people.

Finally, it is unassailable in the sense that it is required under all circumstances. It is said that every available thing is bored and every missing thing is sought; hence, the Holy Qur'an is the lost of everyone who seeks nearness to Almighty Allah.

 

GLORIOUS

According to al-Raghib al-isfahaniy's Mufradat Gharib al-Qur'an (The Exotic Words of the Holy Qur'an), a dictionary of the Holy Qur'an, the word 'majd (glory)' means expansion in generosity and sublimity. The Holy Qur'an has thus been given this attributes (of glory) because of the expansive worldly and religious graces that it comprises. On account of the Holy Qur'an's extroverted honor and generosity, Almighty Allah has described it as "Karim (honorable or generous)" by saying "This is indeed a Qur'an Most Honorable. 56/77"

 

CUSTODIAN

In the same way as a custodian on a family or a community does, the Holy Qur'an acts as custodian over the peoples; it drives, leads and guides them to the objects of their prosperity and prepares for them all means of worldly and religious pleasure. Similarly, the method of the Holy Qur'an acts as custodian over all the other methods on both levels of doctrines and legislation. Moreover, the law of the Holy Qur'an is preferred to as well as the head of all the other laws, which must be subsidiary, submissive and governed by it. If humankind seeks actual goodness and pleasure, the supreme custody in this life must be given to the Holy Qur'an. Nevertheless, the method of the Holy Qur'an has been neglected when the people's defective intellects, which are in most cases acquiescent to the law of passions and personal interests, have ruled.

 

The holy verse that attributes custody to the Holy Qur'an has first paved the way to this attribute by demonstrating its being empty of any crookedness, imperfection or defect. It reads, "Praise be to Allah, Who hath sent to His Servant the Book, and hath allowed therein no Crookedness. 18/1"

It is conditional that a custodian whose mission is to make others perfect must first of all be self-perfect, since it is impracticable for a bereaved of something to give it to the others. On this account, one who undertakes the mission of perfecting people must be perfect; and such perfection cannot be found anywhere save in the Holy Qur'an and its counterpart, namely the Ahl al-Bayt. Thus, anybody other than these two has no right in leading the Muslim community. Too many are the Hadiths that have deemed obligatory the preference of the Holy Qur'an and the Ahl al-Bayt to anything else. The Holy Qur'an reads, "But whosoever turns away from My Message, verily for him is a life narrowed down, and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of Judgment. 20/124" This is the result of everybody who turns away from the mention of Almighty Allah and cuts off all relations with Him living away from the Holy Qur'an. Because such a person detaches from the all-expansive mercy of Almighty Allah and exposes himself to the limitless passions and avidities, he lives in distress, misery and incessant pain. As a result, he lives in terror because of fear of death causing himself to lose the worldly life, which is his main interest, and to lose the Hereafter; he lives in miserly devotion to that which he possesses because of fear of loss; he lives in fatigue because he constantly runs behind mirage and whenever he achieves a goal thinking it as his ultimate pleasure, he discovers that he was under a delusion and thus he runs behind another. For instance, one imagines that his pleasure lies in money; therefore, he begins a long journey in search of it. Finally, he discovers that his big fortune has not achieved his pleasure. Then, he imagines that his pleasure lies in the building of handsome palaces; he therefore constructs mansions but discovers that he has not achieved pleasure. He then imagines that pleasure lies in women; he therefore plays with a big number of women without finding the pleasure that he seeks and finally he has found himself before a dead end. Such being the case, the following verse is applied to him, "When the night covered him over, He saw a star. He said, 'This is my Lord.' But when it set, He said, 'I love not those that set.' When he saw the sun rising in splendor, he said, 'This is my Lord; this is the greatest (of all).' But when the sun set, he said, "O my people! I am indeed free from your (guilt) of giving partners to Allah. 6/78"

The star, moon and sun in the previous verses stand for money and other worldly pleasures, which, being imperfect gods, cannot have power to harm or benefit others as well as themselves. When one reaches such a stage on condition that sincerity in search for truth is found, one will gain true guidance and will repeat the words of the faithful ones, "O my people! I am indeed free from your guilt of giving partners to Allah. For me, I have set my face, firmly and truly, towards Him Who created the heavens and the earth, and never shall I give partners to Allah. 6/78-79" But if one is void of such sincerity, he will not be led to the true guidance and the answer to him will be, "But the Unbelievers,- their deeds are like a mirage in sandy deserts, which the man parched with thirst mistakes for water; until when he comes up to it, he finds it to be nothing: But he finds Allah fever) with him, and Allah will pay him his account: and Allah is swift in taking account. 24/39"

In this manner, those who turn away from the Holy Qur'an and thus from the Ahl al-Bayt live in states of continuous misery, vexation and distress between the hammer of death that may grasp their souls in any moment and the anvil of avidity and stinginess. In this regard, the Holy Qur'an says, "Thou wilt indeed find them, of all people, most greedy of life. 2/96" As a confirmation, it is noticeable that the majority of cases of suicide take place in the rich countries and the welfare states since the origin of such distress and misery is the spiritual vacuity.

Describing the Holy Qur'an, Almighty Allah says, "There hath come to you from Allah a new light and a perspicuous Book, wherewith Allah guideth all who seek His good pleasure to ways of peace and safety, and leadeth them out of darkness, by His will, unto the light,- guideth them to a path that is straight. 5/15-16" Firstly, the Holy Qur'an is light because it lights up a believer's heart and purifies it from the dirt of acts of disobedience to Almighty Allah and from the distresses of sins and ' then cleans the believer's page of deeds so as to make him ready for the exposure of the right. Secondly, the Holy Qur'an is light for societies and the Muslim community since it leads them to the system that achieves pleasure.

One of the nice expressions of the Holy Qur'an is that light, whenever compared with gloom, is mentioned in singular form while gloom in mentioned in plural. This is an indication to the fact that the path of the right is indivisibly one even though its courses and forms may be several, whereas glooms as well as gods that deter from directing towards Almighty Allah are many. Almighty Allah says, "Show us the straight way. 1/6"

 

Among the fruits and blessings of the Holy Qur'an is that it leads those who seek the good pleasure of Almighty Allah to the paths of peace and safety. The first manner of peace that is achieved by the adherence to the Holy Qur'an is the peace of mind, composure and serenity. In this respect, Almighty Allah says, "Those who believe, and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah: for without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction. 13/28"

The second peace that is achieved by the adherence to the Holy Qur'an is family steadiness and orderliness of the household that is based upon the teachings of Islam and the Holy Qur'an that says, "And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that ye may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect. 30/21"

The third peace that is achieved by the adherence to the Holy Qur'an is social tranquility and harmony among the individuals who abide by the morals of Islam. In this respect, the Holy Qur'an reads, "And remember with gratitude Allah's favor on you; for ye were enemies and He joined your hearts in love, so that by His Grace, ye became brethren. 3/103"

"Muhammad is the messenger of Allah; and those who are with him are strong against the unbelievers, but compassionate amongst each other. 8/29"

"They give them preference over themselves, even though poverty was their own lot. 59/9"

 

A WEIGHTY MESSAGE

Weightiness of the Holy Qur'an lies in the meanings of its words and expressions.

It is weighty on souls because it withholds them to give full reins to their passions. Instead, it disciplines, rectifies and leads the souls to the right path.

It is weighty on intellects because it bears secrets that giant intellects can hardly comprehend.

It is weighty on spirits because it includes strenuous duties and strong education. To this meaning, the Holy Prophet is reported to have said, "The Surahs of Hud (No. 112) and al-Waqi'ah (No. 56) have made me white-haired. Because this Surah contains 'Therefore stand firm in the straight Path as thou art commanded. 11/112'" The Holy Prophet recognized the actual weightiness of this command. The reason beyond such weightiness is that it has been issued by Almighty Allah. Books of history and biography of the Holy Prophet have reported the state in which he would enter whenever the Holy Qur'an was revealed to him. Describing the weightiness of the Holy Qur'an, Almighty Allah says, "Had We sent down this Qur'an on a mountain, verily, thou wouldst have seen it humble itself and cleave asunder for fear of Allah. Such are the similitudes, which We propound to men, that they may reflect. 59/21"

The Holy Qur'an is weighty because its bearers as well as those who undertake the mission of applying its instructions to the social lives will certainly suffer ordeals and difficulties in this course. Almighty Allah says, "Alif, Lam, Mim, Sad: A Book revealed unto thee; so, let thy heart be oppressed no more by any difficulty on that account that with it thou mightest warn the erring and teach the Believers. 7/2"

As a preparation to receive these weighty Words and grand responsibility, the Holy Prophet was ordered to offer acts of worship at nights, to adhere firmly to Almighty Allah and to strengthen his ties with Him. From His side, Almighty Allah promised the Holy Prophet of the attainment of the sought results, "And pray in the small watches of the morning: it would be an additional prayer or spiritual profit for thee: soon will thy Lord raise thee to a Station of Praise and Glory. 17/79"

 

ADMONITION, HEALING, GUIDANCE AND MERCY

Almighty Allah says, "O mankind! There hath come to you a direction from your Lord and a healing for the (diseases) in your hearts, - and for those who believe, a guidance and a Mercy. 10/57"

 

Let us refer, yet briefly, to the exegesis of these meanings as quoted from Sayyid al-Tabatab'iy, the compiler of the famous book of al-Mizan fi Tafsir al-Qur'an (10:80-81):

 

" al-raghib al-Isfahaniy, in Mufradat Gharib al-Qur'an, says

that "wa'z (admonition)" means scolding attached with intimidation. Al-Khalil -ibn Ahmad al-Farahidiy-, a famous Arab linguist, says that wa'z means reminding of goodness in a way of softening the heart. shifa (healing)' metaphorically stands for the vanishing of the wicked spiritual features that bring about unhappiness, embitter life and deprive of the good of this world as well as the world to come from one's heart. Chest is a metaphoric expression of the heart since hearts lies in chests. Besides, people believe that man realizes things and understands questions through the heart that is also the center of love, hatred, desire, aversion, longing, wish and inclination. From this cause, the chest is considered the box of the heart as well as its secrets and spiritual features—the virtuous and the wicked.

 

Commenting on these, Sayyid al-Tabataba'iy says, Traditions have confirmed that the Holy Qur'an heals even physical diseases to the degree that some hadiths state that it is not strange if a dead person for whom the Surah of al-Fatihah (the Opening Chapter, No. 1) is recited seventy times lives again.

 

Al-Raghib al-Isfahaniy continues that Rahmah (mercy) stands for a private feeling in the heart due to the witnessing of another's harm or imperfection. Hence, the source of mercy tries to remove that harm and correct that imperfection. When mercy is ascribed to Almighty Allah, it means the result, not the feeling, of mercy, since Almighty Allah is too far above ordinary emotions. Hence, mercy expresses the ultimate grace of Almighty Allah.

Sayyid al-Tabataba'iy also comments, "On account of the fact that creatures are too short to understand the actual meanings of Almighty Allah's Attributes, the aforesaid discussion has been only an aspect among many aspects of discussing these blessed attributes."

If these four attributes (Admonition, Healing, Guidance and Mercy) that Almighty Allah has ascribed to the Holy Qur'an in the holy verse are added and compared to each other then considered with the Holy Qur'an, the holy verse will be regarded as general comprehension of the nice results and pure effects of the Holy Qur'an on the believers' souls since the first moment of listening to the verse to the moment in which these results and effects find a large area in their hearts.

First of all, the Holy Qur'an touches the believers while they are surrounded by inadvertence and perplexity due to which their inner selves would be darkened by the glooms of suspect and their hearts would be afflicted with the diseases of vices and feelings of wickedness. As a result, the Holy Qur'an presents its excellent admonition to stimulate them from their inadvertence, reproaches them against their ill intentions and wicked deeds and finally pushes them towards goodness and pleasure. [1]

As a second stage, the Holy Qur'an gradually purifies the inner selves from the evil qualities and removes the epidemics of intellects and the diseases of hearts one after another until they fade away.

As a third stage, the Holy Qur'an leads them to the true knowledge, high moral standards and righteous deeds so tenderly that they rise one degree after another and approach them to perfection rank after another until they settle in the nearest position to Almighty Allah and win the reward of the sincere ones.

As a fourth stage, the Holy Qur'an dresses them the garb of mercy, lodges them in the House of Honor and seats them on the seat of pleasure until they are included with the Prophets, the saints, the martyrs and the righteous; and the best of company are they, and are added to the group of the Nearest servants of Almighty Allah in the highest position of Paradise.

The Holy Qur'an is thus admonisher, healer of the diseases of hearts, guide to the Right Path and donor of mercy on the command of Almighty Allah. In fact, it admonishes, heals, guides and extends mercy directly without any other cause since it is the link between Almighty Allah and His creatures. Indeed, it is direction and a healing for the diseases of hearts, guidance and mercy for those who believe. [2]



[1] A deep look into the Surahs that were first revealed in Makkah, such as Surah of al-Muddaththir (No. 74) and Surah of al-Muzzammil (No. 73), demonstrates that these ailrahs are characterized by quick rhythm and strong words whose influences are similar to the electric shocks that are used for awakening the inattentive. Their contents, too, are concentrated on reminding of the Hereafter, death, horrors of the Resurrection Day, the inconveniences of the deniers of faith and the display of Almighty Allah's deeds with the past nations.

[2] Sayyid Muhammad husayn al-tabataba'iy : al-Mizan ft Tafsir al- Qur'an 10:81.