By Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam
14 November 2017
Not only is it possible to derive a single meaning of every verse of the Quran, but each of my articles is a demonstration of how this can be done. The meaning will always prevail over every other interpretation for the simple reason that any interpretation which is not the meaning, will contradict one or more verses of the Quran, and the true meaning alone will be in conformity with the whole of the Quran. This is precisely what is meant by describing the Book as Kitabum Mubeen. What this also means is that no verse of the Quran contradicts another verse. However, for most of the Islamic scholars, past and present, whose understanding of Islam is not based on the Quran but on the secondary sources such as the Ahadith, and who treat parts of the Quran as abrogated to bend the meaning to conform with the Ahadith, the Quran is neither Kitabum Mubeen, nor a Book without contradictions, but on the other hand, it is full of contradictions necessitating treating certain verses as abrogated! No meaningful discussions are possible with people who reject the Quran as the final arbiter on all questions, but base their understanding on the secondary sources, although they will never admit this. They will therefore run away from any discussions based on the Quran alone, because they know what the difference is between what the Quran says, and their beliefs based on some Hadith or another.
All interpretations that are not the meaning, can be demolished with ease, for example, the fatwa of Sheikh Albani “all polytheism is Kufr and all Kufr is polytheism”. All that it requires is to show that Kufr is relative to what one knows and believes to be the truth. Kufr is a trespass against reason and doing the opposite of what one knows to be right or doing what one knows to be wrong. For those who would like to connect this meaning of Kufr to the dictionary meaning of “to cover”, Kufr is when you allow any emotion to cover/suppress/bury your reason or sense of what is right. I have shown Kufr to be a relative concept, in my article:
Allah provides a level playing field to all His creation. No person is at an advantage being born a Muslim, or at a disadvantage being born a non-Muslim. Else, Allah would not be a just God. The Muslims however believe otherwise, considering all the Mushrikin to be Kafirin, going not only by Sheikh Albani’s fatwa, but by the explicit theology of every sect, and therefore their concept of God is that of an unjust God, and they thus blaspheme God. Such a concept is a trespass against not only the Quran, but against reason also, and therefore Kufr. The Christians and the Jews similarly have false notions of being favoured by God. The Mushrikin however, have no concept of being either particularly favoured or disfavoured by God based on their beliefs alone, and to this extent, they do not trespass their reason. One simple false belief of the “believers”, and correct belief of those we call the “disbeliever”, restores the balance between the monotheists and the polytheists. The monotheists blaspheme God through their belief of an unjust God, who has favours them, and the Mushrikin are far humbler, and do not consider any person favoured or disfavoured, based on the accident of their birth into a particular religion.
Every person will be judged, based on the progress they make on the path of truth. Those who remain where they found themselves at their birth are alike, those who make positive progress are the seekers of truth and those who slide back are those who succumbed to temptation. Most Muslims, only follow the creed of the sect they are born in, and are therefore, not different from persons of another faith, who have also simply followed their own creed. The difference is only in their individual deeds. If neither person has done anything to purify their beliefs by seeking knowledge of the truth, or if both have rejected the truth that they became aware of simply because the truth contradicted their creed, are at par as far as their beliefs are concerned. All persons who are simply a product of their circumstances, are equal as far as their beliefs go, but different only in what deeds they did with those beliefs, and can be judged only on that basis. Those who consciously sought knowledge and purified themselves, are on a higher plane and those who slid back are on a lower plane.
Why does not anyone else say that a single meaning of every verse of the Quran can be logically derived? The major reason is because, they “interpret” the Quran in the light of the Ahadith, and realize that they need to deviate from the clear meaning and treat many of the verses of the Quran as abrogated, to make its “meaning” conform to their beliefs. They knowingly pervert the meaning of the Quran as the People of the Book do (2:75) and call it using connotations rather than the meaning. Is there a need for them to depend upon the Ahadith for the meaning? No, the Quran explicitly denies such dependence. “And no question do they bring to you (O, Muhammad) but We reveal to you the truth and the best explanation (thereof)” (25:33). And what is revealed to the Prophet (pbuh) is in the Quran and is the truth and the best explanation. Anything else attributed to the Prophet as his saying to explain the Quran, and as an answer to a question posed, falsifies the Quran’s claim that every such question is answered by the Quran in the best possible manner. All the Ahadith attributed to the Prophet as an explanation of the Quran, but alter its meaning even slightly, are therefore falsehood attributed to the Prophet. All those Ahadith that do not change the meaning of the Quran, or violate its meaning can be accepted. These will be concerning the rituals alone such as prayer rituals.
What about those who believe in abrogation? Abrogation, as the Quran says clearly, is replacing something with what is better. For example, replacing the principle of reciprocity (do unto others as you would have them do unto you) in the earlier scriptures with the principle of ‘Ahsan’ or returning what is better – for example returning an injury with forgiveness. Abrogation does not refer to the Quran at all, and even if it did, what is better would prevail and not what is worse. “There is no compulsion in religion” cannot be replaced with “Compel people to believe” which is not there at all in the Quran, but falsely believed by many scholars. Those who believe in abrogated verses of the Quran are guilty of believing in a part and disbelieving in other parts:
(15:90) (Of just such wrath) as We sent down on those who divided (Scripture into arbitrary parts),-
(91) (So also on such) as have made Qur´an into shreds (as they please).
(92) Therefore, by the Lord, We will, of a surety, call them to account,
(93) For all their deeds.
Those who talk of the Meccan Quran and the Medinian Quran as if these were different are splitting the Quran into arbitrary parts. Those who have made the Quran into shreds as they please, are those who treat some verses as abrogated. They are also those who do not take the meaning by considering all relevant verses together. The Quran explains one verse with the help of another and it is therefore important to take the meaning considering all the verses. The Jews are warned similarly (Surah Al- Baqarah, Ayat 85) “Then is it only a part of the Book that ye believe in, and do ye reject the rest? but what is the reward for those among you who behave like this but disgrace in this life?- and on the Day of Judgment they shall be consigned to the most grievous penalty. For Allah is not unmindful of what ye do”. This warning is meant to warn the believers that they should learn a lesson from the plight of the Jews who neglected the warning that was given to them by God, and persisted in their wrong ways, as if to say: You are beholding the degradation of the Jews. Do you like to meet with the same end by neglecting this warning?
Yet another confirmation from the Quran, that it fully explains and makes clear its meaning without any dependency outside of it:
(75:16) Move not thy tongue concerning the (Qur´an) to make haste therewith.
(17) It is for Us to collect it and to promulgate it:
(18) But when We have promulgated it, follow thou its recital (as promulgated):
(19) Nay more, it is for Us to explain it (and make it clear):
The verse below says that it explains to the people of the earlier scriptures in matters in which they disagreed. If this is so, then, where is the question of leaving any part of it unexplained to the Muslims?
(27:76) Verily this Qur´an doth explain to the Children of Israel most of the matters in which they disagree.
The other reason as to why people do not believe in a single logically derived meaning, is because they have no concept of what it means to logically derive a single meaning. There is no other Book, apart from the Quran, which has this property of being capable of logically deriving the meaning of all its verses. Most people are incapable of reasoning even with simple problems in math or physics. They do not know when the data is sufficient to find a single or unique solution. If they are at sea in finding a solution, they are more likely to say that the data is insufficient or what is asked is unclear, when neither is the issue. Use of reason to find answers, is very uncommon. People go by their common sense, and their common sense tells them to rely upon reputation, consensus and tradition, which is why the Mullahs and the Muftis have such a hold and will continue to have a hold.
There is therefore a vast gulf which is unbridgeable, unless the Muslims believe in the whole of the Quran, and discard the secondary sources for an explanation of the Book. “And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: "We believe in the Book; the whole of it is from our Lord:" and none will grasp the Message except men of understanding”. There appear to be very few people of understanding across the spectrum of the “believers” and the “disbelievers”, providing proof thereby, that the playing field is very level indeed for all, and there is little difference among the people, except their deeds. False beliefs are common to all people, and the “believers” equally blaspheme God, their Prophet and their Book with their false beliefs.
Naseer Ahmed is an Engineering graduate from IIT Kanpur and is an independent IT consultant after having served in both the Public and Private sector in responsible positions for over three decades. He is a frequent contributor to www.NewAgeIslam.com
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