Monday, September 1, 2008

Ramadan readings: the expansive message of the Qur'an.

As most of our readers are aware, reading or recitation of the Qur'an is very important in the month of Ramadan. While it is not our intention to go into the particulars of how this tradition has evolved, it is nonetheless a necessity to engage in its study while observing the fast.

The study of the Qur'an is never a boring experience for the believer, and it is our view that benefiting from it is especially heightened while fasting. It is my hope to share some observations of texts I read today.


Just about every religious group has among its adherents those who believe that Heaven, paradise, Nirvana, or whatever label applied, is limited to themselves only. The Quranic position can be described in the following text:

And they say: None enter Jannah [paradise] unless they are Jewish or Christian. These [assertions] are their desires. Say: Produce your evidence, if you are truthful [Q 2:111]

This ayah summarizes the argument made by sects and religions as to the holders of salvation. God says to those holding such views to show their proof to the followers of the Prophet Muhammad, indeed, to all mankind.

Does anyone of us have keys to heaven? Can we look inside and find out exactly who is in it? Indeed, we cannot, and those who think otherwise are just speculating, following their own desires and prejudices.

Allah has told us- in the final revelation called the Qur'an, who will be in his paradise. The answer may surprise us all:

Nay! [the one who is] completly submissive to God, a doer of good, then he has his reward with his Lord, on them shall be no fear nor grief .{ Q 2112}

No label is given. Action is required. The word 'Nay' [Bal'] negates the argument of the prior sentence. Those who think they are the only ones blessed by God are indeed incorrect. In another place, Allah has said that those who are sincere in thinking they are God's exclusives, to the detriment of others, to kill themselves, return to God and his heaven faster{ Q 62:6].

Allah is the Provider and nourisher of all. While it is true that many of us hold to theological errors, can we really say that God made people, allowed them to make these mistakes in belief, just to send them to hell for misunderstanding? The Quranic message is this: Have the right understanding of God, and act accordingly. Label has not been given that much importance.

In this same section, we are shown again how labels have little bearing on one's status before God Almighty.

Jews and Christians will never be satisfied with you until you follow their Millah. Say: Surely God's guidance is the [real] guidance... [2:120].

Allah created all people, he knows best who deserves his rewards and who does not. Also of interest is the following verse;

The Jews say: "The Christians have naught (to stand) upon; and the Christians say: "The Jews have naught (To stand) upon." Yet they (Profess to) study the (same) Book. Like unto their word is what those say who know not; but Allah will judge between them in their quarrel on the Day of Judgment. [Q 2:113]

In the end, God is the judge. Therefore, we should never judge someone's ideology and say that God will not given them anything. That's arrogance on our part.


For a more in-depth study of some of these issues, the reader is referred to the work The language of revelation, in which this writer has explored the Quranic usage of Kaafir, Islam and Muslim. To obtain, email


Anonymous said...

Ramadan Mubarak.

Holly (islamfactor) said...

Thats interesting I like the points of view you made. it's interesting that you do not just use the whole right wrong in the sctrict push away matter I have so often seen.

I like the way you used the ayah's and also displayed your examples.