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16.12.12

Coherence in the Qur'an : A Study of Islahi's Concept of Nazm in Tadabbur-i Qur'an-Textual analysis of Quran

Tadabbur-i-Qur'an (Urduتدبر قرآن‎) is a tafsir (exegeses) of the Qur'an by Amin Ahsan Islahi based on the concept of thematic and structural coherence, which was originally inspired by Allama Hamiduddin Farahi. The tafsir is extended over nine volumes of six thousand pages. It was originally written in Urdu, but now it is being translated in English.

It expounds each surah as a coherent discourse, arranging surahs into pairs, and establishing seven major surah divisions - the entire Qur'an thus emerges as a well-connected and systematic book.
Each division has a distinct theme. Topics within a division are more or less in the order of revelation. Within each division, each member of the pair complements the other in various ways. The seven divisions are as follows:
GroupFromToCentral theme
1Al-Fatiha[Quran 1:1]Al-Ma'ida[Quran 5:1]Islamic law
2Al-An'am[Quran 6:1]At-Tawba[Quran 9:1]The consequences of denying Muhammad for the polytheists of Mecca
3Yunus[Quran 10:1]An-Nur[Quran 24:1]Glad tidings of Muhammad's domination
4Al-Furqan[Quran 25:1]Al-Ahzab[Quran 33:1]Arguments on the prophethood of Muhammad and the requirements of faith in him
5Saba[Quran 34:1]Al-Hujraat[Quran 49:1]Arguments on monotheism and the requirements of faith in it
6Qaf [Quran 50:1]At-Tahrim[Quran 66:1]Arguments on afterlife and the requirements of faith in it
7Al-Mulk[Quran 67:1]An-Nas[Quran 114:1]Admonition to the Quraysh about their fate in the Herein and the Hereafter if they deny Muhammad

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A widely held view about the Qur’an is that, in its received form, it lacks coherence. Not surprisingly, most approaches to the Qur’an have remained atomistic in characters. Also, some western scholars have tried to rearrange the Qur’an in order to make it “more comprehensible”.
The contemporary Pakistani scholar Amin Ahsan Islahi rejects the view that the Qur’an is disjointed. Developing the seminal ideas and insights of his teacher, Hamid ad-Din al-Farahi, he has argued in Tadabur-I- Qur’an, his multi-volume Qur’an commentary (Urdu), that the Qur’an possesses a nazm or coherence that is not only aesthetically pleasing but carries profound hermeneutical significance.
Coherence in the Qur’an is the first detailed study of Islahi’s contribution to Qur’an exegesis. After putting a historical perspective on the idea of nazm in the Qur’an, it makes a critical examination of the major aspect of Islahi’s theory of Qur’anic nazm, and tries to assess the significance of this new approach to the Qur’an.
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The Textual Analysis of The Qur'an
Ehsan Butt, PhD, President Daira Tadabbur Canada


Arthur John Arberry (1905-1969) a respected and one of the most prolific scholars of Arabic, and Islamic studies, Head of the Department of Classics at Cairo University in Egypt and Sir Thomas Adams's Professor of Arabic at Cambridge University was unique in his realization of a textual harmony in the Qur'an. He stated that he is "wishing to show each Sura(chapter) as an artistic whole, its often incongruous parts constituting a rich and admirable pattern"1. Arberry pointed out the weaknesses in the method and general approach of western scholars towards understanding the Qur'an. He wrote "the disciples of the Higher Criticism, having watched with fascinated admiration how their masters played havoc with the traditional sacrosanctity of the Bible, threw themselves with brisk enthusiasm into the congenial task of demolishing the Koran". Arberry then gives some examples of the inconclusive work of the prominent western Quranic scholars and comments "Such is the position which champions of the Higher Criticism of the Koran eventually reach. It is against this excess of anatomical mincing that I argue the unity of the sura and the Koran;" ibid. Vol. 2, p 10, 12.

Thematic coherence and unity of the Quran has recently become more recognized after a number of studies positively identified it at almost all places where focus happened to fall. A search for coherence takes direct analytical and open deliberation approach that initially assumes that it was the same text that spellbound all Arabia and its scholar's contemporary to Prophet Mohammad, why not? All earliest to modern Muslim Quranic exegetes believe in an inherent thematic unity and deeper organization, they call, Nazm. However it has been scarcely explicitly explained in the Muslim literature if ever to any satisfactory level. Modern scholars of Quranic textual studies focused on its explory and were very successful. Numerous studies describe a design in Quran that how every word, verse and sura seems to be embedded in a meaningful structure e.g. series of minor topics develop into a compelling major theme which makes a perfect match with other local and global major themes. The Nazm, can thus be taken as the context and relationship among topics of different parts which highlights several aspects of the meaning of a part with the help of another. Muslim scholars of all ages have been unanimous that the true meaning of the Quranic text must be completely consistent with not only the local context but also the Qurán as a whole. Incidentally the Nazm, which helps determine the true meaning, also unravels the beauties of expression concealed in the text.
Progress 
Many scholars worked on the ideas similar to Arberry's and concluded effectiveness of textual analysis in discovering consistent thematic interrelationships. However the two scholars of South East Asia particularly produced most exhaustive works focused on the textual analysis of the Qur'an. They are Farahi(1863-1930) a renowned scholar of Arabic and Islam who promoted similar studies of the text of the Qur'an and his famous student Amin Ahsan Islahi(1904-1997) who continued Farahi's investigations. Their voluminous works describe how they arrive at their postulates about the precise theme of a particular sura and how the theme beautifully unites all contents of the sura rendering it as a series of well focused literary dialogues. Islahi completed a full commentary of Qur'an explaining the basis of his exegetical principles, methods and results. Many scholars who have reviewed his works agree that he is amazingly successful in exposing the hidden system of themes. He aims to show how every Sura of the Quran is characteristically a focused thesis hammering a point of wisdom with the flavor of some super Arabic Ode(Moallaqa). The work of both scholars covers around 100 years of continuous academic research. Islahi believes that the principles elaborated by him in his commentary are scientific, rational, and based on common sense, without which the true message and beauty of the Qur'an cannot be understood or appreciated. For English readers an introduction to the Farahi and Islahi work is included in the Ph.D. thesis2 of Mustansir Mir with Professor James A. Bellamy at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor as supervisors. The thesis concluded: “Islahi has convincingly shown.., that the Qur’an has design and method. He has shown that individual surahs revolve around specific central themes, an essential complementary nature exists between members of the pairs of surahs, and that larger set of surahs, he calls groups, display identifiable patterns of nazm. A study of Tadabbur-I Qur’an is bound to leave one with the impression that, contrary to the usually held view, the Qur’an is a well ordered book”. Other major sources on contributions of Farahi & Islahi works in English language include Professor Neal Robinson's work "Discovering The Qurán"3 and a volume of Islahi's work translated in to English4. However a vast majority of their work still remains un-translated in Urdu or Arabic. Most unfortunately, now after them there seem to be no major initiatives in the academic circles of the world to keep this knowledge alive. Rather there are several examples that due to the all pervasive ignorance about their work some people begin in this field and start reinventing the wheel.
Needs 
The significance of the textual analysis, that naturally aids building academic consensus on the Quranic interpretations, can not be overestimated. An empathetic attention to Qur'anic studies, which is the first principal in Quranic textual studies, in mainstream western educational systems will send clear signals in the media and the hearts of Muslim countries effectively countering notions of the clash of civilizations. A wider access to education in the textual analysis of the Qur’an, which in a sense takes it as an important human heritage can also provide an opportunity for an on-going multicultural communication. There is a crucial need for such communications to eliminate countless potential risks of local and global conflicts arising from interpretations of the Qur'an where they originate from circles of vested interests as against scholarly investigations for seeking the truth. Anybody having doubts about the increased multicultural harmony that can be realized from more deeper & coherent understanding of the book must remember two things

One, that it is a consensus view of Muslims that during the time of the past glories of Muslim civilization they had a better awareness of the original message of the Qur'an than they have today. Two, the historical accounts abundantly confirm that the past Muslim civilization with a better mass education on the Qur'an at its zenith demonstrated the highest degree of culture and religious toleration. Recently Gary Brown5 brought to light some peculiar instances. E.g. he mentioned that the Muslim policy of toleration and the persistent intolerance of many Christian factions had important consequences, strikingly illustrated by the words of no less a personage than the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople, around 1173. Addressing the Byzantine Mutual Misperceptions 
The Historical Context of Muslim-Western Relations Emperor Manuel I, who was contemplating a religious union with the western Church of Rome, the Patriarch said: “Let the Muslim be my master in outward things rather than the Latin dominate me in matters of the spirit. For if I am subject to the Muslim, at least he will not force me to share his faith. But if I have to be ... united with the Roman Church, I may have to separate myself from my God.” 
Opportunities 
The above provides enough evidence to establish a case for promoting education and studies relating to the textual analysis of the Qur’an. The academic exercise could greatly help answering many questions about how Qurán played its constructive role in the historical development of first Islamic communities and later during global Islamic civilization. In addition such studies can provide some more tangible and current benefits. For instance, a wider access to education about Qur'anic interpretation based on principles of textual coherence and examinations of contexts can provide Muslims quality education about their heritage and an alternative to the separate Islamic institutes that mostly run to perpetuate Muslim sectarian Madrassa beliefs and by the same people.

Some Activities To Promote Education, Studies and general Awareness about Textual Analysis of the Qur’an

• Introduction to the textual analysis approach, its methods, results in comparison with traditional and modern modes of Quranic interpretation • Critical analysis of Farahi-Islahi works • Textual studies focused on legislative Quranic verses • Comparative study of Quranic historical accounts with other historical & archeological resources e.g Biblical. The author has been working on the textual analysis of Quranic verses relating to the history of Bani Israel, children of Israel.

Education relating to textual analysis of Quran can take different forms:
• can be included as a part, or a project in the regular courses where relevant 
• At separate regular course level, where opportunities exist 
• As a continuing education course 
• As a masters or PhD studies topic, for some thorough and fresh critical examination of previous works and making further progress

This author has been delivering 60-90 minutes seminars with Q&A sessions aimed at exposing the coherence, organization of themes discovered in the first sura, Fatiha, of Quran. Intricate textual structures in Fatiha carry themes of higher morals, historical nature, wisdom and philosophical connotations, which are so systematically arranged, that they not only create a literary masterpiece but also a compelling motivational effect.
References: 
The text version of the Qurán considered here is the one that 99.999999% of muslims use for reading and 100% use for learning by heart. This version was previously known as Qiratul Aamma, or Mushaf ul Umma in e.g in Bukhari, and was considered transmitted by whole muslim ummah and never associated with any one person. It is a relatively recent phenomenon that some people started to associate it with somebody Hafs Bin Asim. This actually goes against the consensus view of Twatar in Quran transmission and reduces it to a mere single report termed as Khabri-Wahid. Khabri-Wahid is a type of reported tradition which at any time was only known to one single reporter and thus is considered a weak report. 
1 The Koran Interpreted, Translation of Qur'an, by Arthur John Arberry, Touchstone, Rockefeller Center, 1230 Avenue of Americas, New York, NY 10020, ISBN 0-684-8250, Vol.1 p 25 (1996)

2 Coherence in the Qur'an : A Study of Islahi's Concept of Nazm in Tadabbur-i Qur'an by Mustansir Mir , American Trust Publications, 125

3 Discovering the Quran: A Contemporary Approach to a Veiled Text by Neal Robinson, Publisher: Georgetown University Press; 2 edition (February 28, 2004) English, ISBN-13: 978-1589010246

4 TADABBUR-E-QUR'AN - PONDERING OVER THE QURAN by Amin Ahsan Islahi, translated in English by Mohammad Saleem Kayani http://www.ibtbooks.com/

5 Mutual Misperceptions: The Historical Context of Muslim-Western Relations, by Gary Brown, Department of the Parliamentary Library, Commonwealth of Australia, Current Issues Brief No. 7 2001-02, Foreign Affairs, ISSN 1440-2009 (http://www.aph.gov.au/library/pubs/CIB/2001-02/02cib07.pdf)

Profile Ehsan Butt, PhD

President, Daira Tadabbur Mississauga, ON L5K 1B5, Canada Tel: 905 919 9930, Fax: 905 403 9548 ehsan.tadabbur@gmail.com

Ehsan studied at the Idara-i-Tadabbur-i-Qur’an-u-Hadith Lahore, Pakistan which was founded by Amin Ahasan Islahi. The Idara was established to promote awareness about the methods and discoveries related to their beneficial textual investigations. It remained the centre of Islahi's intellectual activities until his death (15th December 1997).

Ehsan studied Arabic grammar, literature, styles of Quran, Farahi & Islahi's discoveries on thematic relationships, Methods of Quranic textual analysis, Interpretation of the Quran using the textual analysis method, Hadith Sahih Muslim, Buthari and Muatta Imam Malik, selected Pre-Islamic poetry: Hamasa Abu-Tamam and critical analysis of the stands of major philosophical schools. Allama Khalid Masud (1935 - 2003) who was Islahi's most famous student contributed in management of Idara. Khalid relieved Islahi from teaching new students. Ehsan learned most of the subjects from Allama Khalid Masud. Ehsan took special interest in learning the skill of identifying the thematic systems of ayats within Suras and suras within the Quran as a whole.

He remained a regular participant in lectures, discussions meetings with Amin Ahsan Islahi for several years. Being a founding member he participated in the meetings of Idara-i-Tadabbur-i-Qur’an-u-Hadith. His Urdu language proficiency afforded him the study of almost all Islahi books. Afterwards he:

• Taught Arabic grammar courses, and selections of Tafseer elucidating methods of identifying thematic systems • Offered Seminars on selections of Islahi’s Tafseer, Tadabbur • Contributed in the series publication, Tadabbur, Urdu published by Idara Tadabbur-i-Quran o Hadith under the patranage of Amin Ahasan Islahi • Translated in English selections from Urdu works of Amin Ahsan Islahi • Established Dairatadabbur Canada and currently teaching Arabic grammar and Tafseer, Tadabbabur i Quran based on Coherence in the Quran.

• Study sessions for Farahi’s Arabic works and Arabic poetry , Moallaqat

• For two new books “Quranic History and Thematic Structure” and "How Quran Created Our Modern World"continuing to collect material, its study, analysis and draft writing

• Manager of web group Scientific Religion http://groups.msn.com/scientificreligion which has about 200 members

Retrieved from "http://en. .org/wiki/Textual_analysis_of_Quran"

10.11.12

Quran


Introduction:

The Quran (English pronunciation: /kɒˈrɑːn/ kor-ahnArabicالقرآن‎ Al-Qurʾān, literally meaning “a recitation”), also transliterated Qur'anKoranQur’ānCoranKuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, the verbatim word of God (Arabicالله‎, Allah) and the final divine revelation—Final Testament. It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language. The suffix "pedia" is from the Greek root 'paideia' [Παιδεία] meaning education, culture. 'Quran-Pedia'  is eduction, learning about Quran.
Muslims believe that the Quran was verbally revealed through the angel Jibrīl (Gabriel) from God to Muhammad [peace be upon him-pbuh] gradually over a period of approximately twenty-three years beginning in 610 CE, when Muhammad was forty, and concluding in 632 CE, the year of his death. Furthermore, Muslims believe that the Qur'an was precisely memorized, recited and exactly written down by Muhammad's companions, called Sahabas, after each revelation have been dictated by Prophet Muhammad [pbuh].
Muslims regard the Quran as the main miracle of Muhammad [pbuh], the proof of his prophethood  and the culmination of a series of divine messages that started, according to Islamic belief, with the messages revealed to Adam, regarded in Islam as the first prophet, and continued with the Suhuf Ibrahim (Scrolls of Abraham), the Tawrat (Torah or Pentateuch) of Moses, the Zabur (Tehillim or Book of Psalms) of David, and the Injil (Gospel) of Jesus. The Quran assumes familiarity with major narratives recounted in Jewish and Christian scriptures,[being fromsame source-God] summarizing some, dwelling at length on others and in some cases presenting alternative accounts and interpretations of events. The Quran describes itself as a book of guidance for humanity, sometimes offering detailed accounts of specific historical events, and often emphasizing the moral significance of an event over its narrative sequence.The revelations received by the earlier messengers, some available in the form of books in Bible (Torah, Psalms, Gospel etc) were meant for specific people for specific time, besides not being in the original revealed form, their authenticity can not be established due to variant versions.  Allah says: “He has revealed to you this Book (Qur’an) with the Truth, confirming whatever there still remains of the scripture which preceded it, as He revealed the Torah and Gospel, aforetime as a guidance unto mankind, and it is He who has bestowed (upon man) the standard by which to discern the true from the false. Behold, as for those who are bent on denying God’s messages- grievous suffering awaits them: for God is almighty, an avenger of evil.”(Qur’an;3:3-4); "Truth has come and Falsehood perished: for Falsehood by its nature is bound to perish.”(Qur’an;17:81). Allah says: “And, verily, (the essence of ) this (revelation, i.e. Qur’an) is indeed found in the ancient books of divine wisdom (as well) (Qur’an;26:196,link 2:42, 61:6) Qur’an was foretold in Bible, Deutronomy;18:15 &18. Hence to discern the true from the false the previous scriptures have been abrogated and replaced with the final revelation.(Qur’an; 2:106-107, 16:101, 5:48).
Compilation:
The Qur’an consists of 114 chapters (sūrahs) of varying length, revealed in Arabic language. The Qur’an, comprising 6236 verses (ayah) is unrivalled in its recording and preservation. The Prophet (peace be upon him) not only orally passed the Qur’an to the people of Arabia, he also made elaborate arrangements to ensure that its contents are preserved. The companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) participated in this preservation process in large numbers, through writing and memorizing the text and safely transferring to the next generation. The Qur’an is not like the writings of the New Testament, where as per Christian traditions, God inspired a scribe to write down the scripture; the idea and words were those of the scribe while God only supervised the scribe. In other cases, the Christians would like to say that the scribe was inspired by God and revealed a certain idea to him. The scribe then wrote it down in his own words. In case of the Qur’an, the words and ideas are both Divine. The words and verses of the Qur’an were preserved, through the oral as well as the written traditions, in the lifetime of Prophet (peace be upon him), as also evident from the internal evidence from Qur’an, which repeatedly mentions itself asal- kitaab’ (The Book) from the very beginning: “This (Qur’an) is the Book; in it is guidance sure without doubt to those who fear Allah.”(Qur’an;2:2);“Recite from this Book (Qur'an) which has been revealed to you”(Qur’an;29:45); “And recite (and teach) what has been revealed to thee of the Book of thy Lord: none can change His Words and none wilt thou find as a refuge other than Him.”(Qur’an;18:27). Allah says: “By no means (should it be so)! For it (Qur’an) is indeed a Message of instruction: Therefore let who will keep it in remembrance. It is written in scrolls, which are honored, exalted, purified, and which remain in the hands of scribes, who are noble and virtuous.”(Qur’an;80:11-16). Abdullah Yousaf Ali explains that: “At the time when this Sura Abasa (Chapter Number: 80) was revealed, at Makka; there were perhaps only about 42 or 45 Suras in the hands of the Muslims. But it was a sufficient body of Revelation of high spiritual value, to which the description given here could be applied. It was held in the highest honor; its place in the hearts of Muslims was more exalted than that of anything else; as Allah's Word, it was pure and sacred; and those who transcribed it were men who were honorable, just and pious. The legend that the early Suras were not carefully written down and preserved in books is a pure invention. The recessions made later in the time of the first and the third Caliph were merely to preserve the purity and safeguard the arrangement of the text at a time when the expansion of Islam among non-Arabic-speaking people made such precautions necessary”. The details of the process of compilation of the Holy Qur’an is found in the books of history and exegesis, a glimpse here provide the insight to the process of its preservation and dissemination. Initially (while at Mecca) Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to read out the revealed passages to the small group of his followers who besides committing the revelation to their memory also used to write it down on available writing material. Subsequently, the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) himself unlettered, constituted a committee of more than forty of his literate companions, who were assigned the task of writing the Holy Book. On receiving a verse or verses from Allah through revelation, the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) used to call one of the members of the committee and dictated it. At this time, the Holy Prophet also used to instruct the Scribe as to where the newly revealed verse or verses were to be placed in the Holy Qur’an. The Holy Prophet thus not only used to dictate scattered verses but also give a divine order of arrangement of each verse. Zaid bin Thabit (one of scribes) reports that after having dictated the verse, the Prophet (peace be upon him) would ask the scribe to read it out. Errors if any were rectified and the final draft was approved. Although the Qur’an had been compiled in the lifetime of the Prophet (died 632 C.E), yet need of preparation of official copy was felt during the reign of Abu Bakar, the 1stCaliph (632-634 C.E), for preservation of standard text to meet the requirements of ever expanding global Muslim community. Abu Bakar constituted a committee under the chairmanship of Zaid bin Thabit. All the companions assisted him and the volume thus compiled was attested by hundreds of companions. During the period of 3rd Caliph (644-656 C.E) Uthman, a large number of non-Arabs also embraced Islam, who were found to be reciting Qur’an in varied dialects. Uthman in consultation with all the companions, got the copies of Qur’an written in accordance with the dialects and calligraphic style of the Quraysh, and these copies were placed in the major cities of the Muslim Caliphate, the expert reciters (Qari) to elucidate and teach the correct recitation were also made available. These copies served as the master copies for all the Muslims and numerous copies were prepared and circulated. Two of the master copies prepared by Uthman are still available in museums at Tashkent, and Istanbul, which are identical to any copy of Qur’an found in Indonesia, China, America, Australia, Morocco, France, Nigeria or any other part of the world. Thus the contribution of Uthman is not that he compiled the Qur’an for the first time, as is generally misunderstood, he in fact united the Muslims on one standard recitation of the Qur’an. (Details are narrated in Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 4.709, Narrated by Anas and Hadith, 6.510 Narrated by Anas bin Malik).
The Qur’an is the central to the life of Muslims, which is recited to the new born and to the one breathing his last. The devout Muslims routinely recite part of Qur’an daily, some completing one recitation in a month. Those who can not read are content to listen quietly. Every year in the month of fasting (Ramadan), recitation of complete Qur’an is completed by the prayer leaders (Hafiz) in (taraweeh) prayers. Every Muslim has to memorize some parts or chapters of Qur’an, as it is obligatory for every Muslim to recite some verses of Qur’an, in the original Arabic (not translation), in the five daily prayers at least seventeen times (in obligatory, faradh). Besides availability of written script, Muslims feel greatly honored all over the world to memorize the Qur’an word by word as a whole, they are called-Hafiz (Protector). At any one time there are Protectors (Hufaz) among all age groups in every village, town, city and country. Hence there are millions of Protectors (Hufaz) the world over, who are continuously being replaced by new one’s as the elders die in natural process. This process of preservation of Qur’an in the memory and hearts of Muslims is in line with Allah’s saying: “And We have indeed made the Qur’an easy to understand and remember: then is there any that will receive admonition?”(Qur’an;54:17); “Surely We have revealed this reminder (Qur’an); and We will surely preserve it Our self”.(Qur’an;15:9). This is how Qur’an is transferred from ‘generation to generation’ through the process of Historical Continuity (Twater) in its original form without any distortion. Hence amazingly this scripture has remained unchanged over the past fourteen hundred years.
The earliest sūrahs (revealed during initial 13 years, Makkan  period) call for strict monotheism, worship and obedience to Allah (One God), the moral and religious obedience in light of the coming Day of Judgment; the ones revealed later (Madni-10 years) generally provide directives for the creation of a social structure that will support the moral life called for by God. The Qur’an also provides detailed accounts of the joys of paradise for pious believers and the terrors of hell for sinners and disbelievers. The God who conveyed the revelations to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), through archangel Gabriel, is the same God, worshiped by Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Jesus and all other prophets mentioned in Bible. The stern justice of God is emphasized in Qur’an along with frequent references to his mercy and compassion for the repentant believers. The Qur’an demands absolute submission (Islam) to God: "Surely Allah’s religion is (Man’s) self surrender to Him (Islam).”(Qur’an;3:19).Both Qur’an and Traditions (Sunnah) of Prophet (peace be upon him) serve as the primary source of Islamic law (Shari’a). Qur’an is immutable in both form and content; the translations are just paraphrases to facilitate understanding of the actual scripture, in no way substitute to the original Arabic script. Qur’an is eternal guide for those who ponder. Allah says: “This Book (Al-Qur’an) which We have sent down to you (O Muhammad) is highly blessed, so that they may ponder upon its verses and the men of understanding may learn a lesson from it.”(Qur’an;38:29). Some Qur’anic verses, draw the attention of humanity towards scientific phenomena, as His signs, related with Astronomy, Physics, Geography, Geology, Oceanology, Biology, Botany, Zoology, Medicine, Physiology, Embryology as well as General Science, mostly un known to humanity fourteen centuries ago, discovered recently proving miraculous nature of Qur’an as word of God. The world's leading authority on orientalism and Middle East, Princeton Professor Philip K. Hitti, in his book ‘Islam, a Way of Life’, writes; “The Koran is dictated (by Allah). Any quotation from the Koran can be introduced with ''saith Allah”. It is now for the mankind to make their own choice; weather to follow the distorted and corrupted ancient scriptures or the Last Testament, the message of divine guidance available in its pure form- The Qur’an!  Backed up with practical demonstration of its application by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) available in the form of written and oral record of Traditions (Hadith and Sunnah).
Qur’an provides the basic guide lines, the details of the way of living acceptable and pleasing to Allah are provided through the practical life of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the role model, Allah says: “You have indeed, in the life of Messenger of God, the 'Best Model' for him whose hope is in God and the Day of the Hereafter, and who engages himself much in the remembrance of God.”(Qur’an;33:21). Allah says: “O ye who believe! obey Allah and obey the Messenger and make not vain your deeds!”(Qur’an;47:33); “We sent not a messenger, but to be obeyed, In accordance with the will of Allah…”.(Qur’an;4:64). Obedience of Messenger has been repeatedly emphasized in Qur’an; 3:31,32,132, 4:59, 5:92, 8:20, 9:71, 12;8, 24:52, 54, 33:21, 33:71, 47:33, 48:28, 64:12. The Messenger (peace be upon him) practically demonstrated to lead the life according to Qur’an, therefore Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is also referred as living Qur’an. Prophet (peace be upon him) had been entrusted with great responsibility; Allah says: “We sent those Messengers with clear signs and scriptures; and now We have sent down the reminder (Qur’an) to you (O Muhammad), so that you may explain clearly to mankind as to what was sent to them so that they may think about it”(Qur’an 16:44).
The term Hadith derives from the Arabic root Hdth, meaning "to report,"  "to happen," and so, "to tell a happening," to speak of” or "to have, or give, as news." Hence the traditions are seen as narrative and record. From it comes Sunnah (literally, a "well-trodden path," i.e., taken as precedent and authority or directive), to which the faithful conform in submission to the sanction that Hadith possesses and that legalists, on that ground, can enjoin. Tradition in Islam is thus both content and constraint, Hadith as the biographical ground of law and Sunnah as the system of obligation derived from it. The Sunnah (Traditions) of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is a broader term which include his sayings, actions, approvals and disapprovals. Even if some action was performed in the presence and knowledge of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and he kept quite; then it is considered as his approval, because he would not tolerate wrong. There are repeated commands in Qur’an, for the believers to offer Prayer and pay charity: “Therefore establish Salah (prayer), pay Charity (Zakah) and obey the messenger, so that you may be shown mercy.”(Qur’an;24:56). But the detailed procedure to offer the Salah (prayer) and details for payment of obligatory Charity (Zakah) are not found in Qur’an; but in the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). He laid down exceptions as elaborations of Qur’anic injunctions; for example it is prohibited to eat dead animals (Qur’an;5:3); Prophet (peace be upon him) specified the exception of fish and locust. Prohibition of donkey meat is not mentioned in Qur’an, but in Sunnah it is found to be prohibited and zebra as permissible. Marriage with aunt of wife is not mentioned in Qur’an, but Sunnah prohibits it. It is normal to say Prayer Call (Adhan) for Salah, but in Sunnah it is found that there is no Adhan for Eid and some other types of prayers. The authentic (Sahih) Hadith do not conflict with Qur’an, any apparent conflict could be due to misunderstanding by an individual, which will get reconciled if one goes in to the details and background. The Traditions (Hadith and Sunnah) have been protected from corruption through record of continuous chain of reliable authentic narrators. It is through Hadith, that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has shaped and determined the behaviour patterns of the household of Islam by the posthumous leadership his personality exercised and will continue to exercise till eternity, Allah says in Qur’an: “It is He who has sent His Apostle with Guidance and the Religion of Truth to proclaim it over all religion: and enough is Allah for a Witness.”(Qur’an;48:28).
While the Qur’an was being received, there had been reluctance and misgiving about recording the words and acts of the Prophet, lest they be confused with the uniquely constituted contents of the divine scripture. At times Prophet (peace be upon him) prohibited some thing, which was later permitted; like initially women were prohibited to visit graves, as they used to make a lot of hue and cry but with more maturity they were later allowed. Although there was no formal system of recording of Hadith like the one followed for Qur’an, there is no authentic prohibition: Abu Saed Khidhri was reportedly prohibited by the Prophet (peace be upon him) to write Hadith along with Qur’an, to keep Qur’an pure. This incidence appears to have been quoted out of context, because some companions had been writing the sayings of Prophet (peace be upon him) in his lifetime with his permission; like Abdullah bin Umro bin Al As, Abu Rafi, Anas Bin Malik, Abu Hurairah; who had kept written record of Hadith in the form of many books, from which he used to teach many of his pupils. Humam bin Minbah being one of them, the book named after him; translated by Dr.Hamid Ullah. The 1st Caliph Abu Bakar wrote 500 Traditions on request of his daughter Aysha, but washed them fearing that some of them which he had listened from others might not be accurately narrated, he did not want to be accused. Aysha (the mother of believers) herself a great scholar, used to refer Traditions in her correspondence on theological matters. Umar, the 2nd Caliph discussed the writing of Traditions but discarded due to the fear, people mixing it up with or relegating Qur’an as done by the Jews and Christians with their scriptures. The 3rd Caliph Ali is reported to have asked the people to bring papers, then he dictated the Traditions. This is sufficient to establish that there was no prohibitions of writing of Traditions, which were transferred from father to son and from teacher to the pupils. The huge record of written letters and instructions of Prophet (peace be upon him) has been preserved in the books of history.
A tradition had to be sustained by an expert "Science of Attestation” able to satisfy rigorous formal criteria of their connection with the person of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) through his "companions," by an unbroken sequence of "reportage". This science became so meticulous that there was no possibility of any error. Pioneers in Hadith in second century Hijra was historian Ibn Ishaq (died AH 150/C.E 767) and Malik ibn Anas, (died AH 179/C.E 795): The most revered of all traditionalists was Muhammad ibn Isma'il al- Bukhari (AH 194-256 /C.E 810-870 ), His Sahih occupied 16 years of editorial pains and scrutiny. He collected 300,000 Ahadith, and memorized 200,000 of which some were unreliable. He included approximately 7,275 traditions with full isnad. Allowing for repetitions, the net total was 2,230, for which there was no doubt about their authenticity. He arranged the whole into 97 books and 3,450 chapters or topics, repeating the traditions that bore on several themes. The others compilers of Hadith  are Muslim ibn al-Hajjaj (AH 202-261/C.E 817-875), Abu Da`ud al-Sijistani (AH 202-275/C.E 817-889), Abu 'Isa Muhammad at- Tirmidhi (died AH 279/C.E 892), Abu' Abd ar-Rahman an-Nasa’i (AH 216-303 /C.E 830-915]) and Abu 'Abdallah ibn Maja (AH 210-273/C.E 824-886). Nor did they oust the earlier collection of Malik ibn Anas, but they formed the sources of later popular editions, intended to conflate material for didactic purposes. One such was the work of Abu Muhammad al-Baghawi (died AH 516/C.E 1122) called Masabih as-Sunnah ("The Lamps of the Sunnah"). Commentaries on all these classical musannafat, or compilations, were many, and important in education and piety. The Shi’a collection of Traditions was prepared by Abu Ja'far Muhammad al-Qulini (died AH 328/C.E 939) with the tilte of  Kafi fi 'Ilm ad-Din (All You Need About the Science of Religious Practice).
There are special Ahadith attributed to Allah, called Hadith Qudsi, in which the Prophet says, “Allah says so and so”. The meaning of these Hadith was revealed to the Prophet but he put them in his own words, unlike the Qur’an which is the word of Almighty Allah and the Prophet conveyed it exactly as it was revealed to him.  The Prophet says the Allah says: “I am so self-sufficient that I am in no need of having an associate.  Thus he who does an action for someone else's sake as well as Mine will have that action renounced by Me to him whom he associated with Me.”(Hadith Qudsi 5). The status of Hadith Qudsi is next to Qur’an but   they can not be recited in prayer (salah). Thus along with Qur’an, the Traditions (Hadith &Sunnah) of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) are the source of guidance for the humanity for ever. After Qur’an the authenticity of Hadith literature is doubtless, compared to any religious scripture, including the Bible, where even the names of authors are not known what to talk of the chain of transmission.
Conclusion:
The guidance made available in the form of sacred scriptures was meant for the specific people for specific time, hence God did not Himself took responsibility of their protection except Qur’an. The Israelites repeatedly disobeyed the commandments of God, altered the scriptures, and even killed the prophets. They did not believe in Prophet Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) and even tried to kill him, but Allah raised him to Himself. His followers deviated from the monotheism of Abraham, Jacob and Moses (peace be upon them all), invented a different religion known as Christianity based on the concepts of Original sin and Trinity, disregarding the Law. Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) had settled his eldest son Ishmael at Makka, a deserted place which became a town on the main trade route. Prophet Ishmael (peace be upon him) became the ancestor of Arabs. His descendents also corrupted the original teachings of Abraham and Ishmael (peace be upon them), they became polytheists and Idolaters. For nearly over next 2000 years no messenger was sent to them. Due to the persistent disobedience and rebelliousness of the Children of Israel, and corruption of original message of God; He changed the leadership role from the Children of Israel to the Children of Ishmael (peace be upon them),  by appointing Muhammad, peace be upon him (an Arab, from the progeny of Ishmael) as His last messenger in 610 C.E. He reveled to him, Qur’an; the last book of guidance for the humanity and named the faith as Islam (surrender to will of Allah), the faith of all previous messengers. Allah Himself took the responsibility to protect His last scripture: “We have without doubt sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption)”.(Qur’an;15:9);“No falsehood can approach it from before or from behind. It is a revelation from the One Who is Wise and Praiseworthy.”(Qur’an;41:42). Qur’an is the final and the Last Testament, which supersedes the Old and New Testament. Now it is obligatory for the humanity including Jews and Christians to follow the guidance of Qur’an. Many Jews and Christians have reverted to Islam while others decline. The message of truth was spread all over the world and now there are around 1.5 Billion Muslims in the world. Miraculously during last fourteen centuries, Qur’an is available in its original form and will continue to guide the humanity till eternity. Allah says: “Or do ye say that Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes were Jews or Christians? Say: Do ye know better than Allah? Ah! who is more unjust than those who conceal the testimony they have from Allah? But Allah is not unmindful of what ye do!”(Qur’an;2:140). While Jews and Christians claim to be heirs of Abraham, but only Muslims can strongly claim to be followers of the true legacy of Abraham, Tawheed (monotheism).
Practical implementation of Qur’anic teachings was demonstrated by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), which is also available in the form of the traditions of Prophet (Sunnah). The question arises that after Muhammad (peace be upon him) the last messenger, who is responsible for preaching of this Message to the mankind? Allah says: “We have given the Book (Qur’an) as an inheritance to those of Our servants (Muslims) whom We have chosen...”(Qur’an;35:32). At the end of his last sermon during last Hajj (632 C.E) the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “O’ People, no Messengers or prophet will come after me and no new faith will be born. Reason well, therefore, O’ People, and understand my words which I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the Qur’an and my example, the Sunnah and if you follow these you will never go astray. All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly.” The custodians of the Qur’an after the holy Prophet are the People of Islam. They are chosen for the Book, not in any narrow sense, but in the sense that the Book is given for their age and they are charged to believe, read, understand, obey, preserve and propagate it, so that all mankind should receive the Message. In this present era of high-tech communications and media, with the efforts of believers this guidance is available to the increasing numbers of people every day, who are embracing Islam in great numbers. There is no doubt that this Message will remain available to the humanity till the Day of Judgment. The legacy of Prophet Abraham (peace be upon them) continues.
 Our Sustainer! Do not punish us if we forget or make a mistake.” (Qur’an;2:286)                                                        
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Translation is not Quran
The Qur’an was revealed in Arabic, the language of Prophet, peace be upon him (and his clan Quraish of Makka). The translation (Tarjama) of the Qur’an means the expression of the meaning of its text in a language different from the language of the Qur’an, for understanding by those not familiar with Qur’anic Arabic. It is customary to quote the original Arabic Qur’anic text (ayah, verses) along with the translation, however this require special handling due to reverence of the sacred text, hence in this book for the convenience of handling by all categories of the readers, only the translation is given, which should also be handled with due respect. It is more appropriate for the reader to also consult the original Arabic Qur’an. Here mostly the translation of verses from Qur’an by Abdullah Yousaf Ali, M.Pickthall, Muhammad Asad and F.Malik have been given at various places. There is agreement among Muslim scholars that it is humanly impossible to transfer the meanings of original Qur’an word by word in an identical mode into another language. This is due to several reasons: firstly the Qur’an itself is a miracle and cannot be imitated by man. As a consequence of this, the translation of Qur’an is not considered as Qur’an. The translations of the Qur’an; e.g. into English, French, German and Urdu, etc, in principle are regarded as paraphrases. These translations can not be used in place of original Arabic Qur’an for ritual purposes. Secondly the words of different languages do not express all the shades of meanings of their original Arabic word, though they may express specific concepts. Hence narrowing down the meaning of the Qur’an to specific concepts in a foreign language would mean missing out other important dimensions. While reading the translations of Qur’an these aspects must always be kept in view. The example of verse: “wa- huwa ‘alladhe khalaqa as- samaawaat wa- al- ‘ard. fe sittah ayyaam..” (Qur’an;11:7) is considered here. The word ayyaam in Arabic means; days or ‘long periods’ or ‘eons’ or ‘epoch’. The four translations being given  here differ in their understanding: “And it is He who has created the heavens and the earth in six eons” (M.Asad); “He is the One Who created the heavens and the earth in six periods” (F.Malik); “And He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days” (Pickthall); “He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days” (Yousaf Ali). The translation of ayyaam as ‘eons’ appears more scientific and accurate. Hence if some contradictions appear, it is due to the limitations of translation, not of Qur’an.
The Qur’an comprises 114 chapters, called Surahs, of very unequal length and each Surah comprises number of verses. The translation of references from Qur’an are generally given within brackets   “xyz” followed by reference of Surah and Ayah in bracket i.e. : “Praise be to Allah the Cherisher and Sustainer of the Worlds.”(Qura’n;1:2). It implies that the translation is from Surah (chapter) Number 1 and verse number 2 of the same Surah. The name of Chapter (Surahs) can be found from the Appendix II . In this case the name of Surah Number 1 as given in Surah Index is  Al-Fatiha meaning ‘The Opening’. The names of Chapters (Surahs) in Qur’an, in most of the cases have no special relation to the subject of the Surah but has been used merely as a symbol to distinguish it from other Surahs. The  name comprise of a word used some where in the Surah. Taking example of 2nd Surah AL-BAQARAH (the Cow), which has been so named from the story of the Cow occurring in this Surah (verse number 67-73). Although this Surah is an invitation to the Divine Guidance and all the stories, incidents etc. revolve round this central theme. As this Surah has particularly been addressed to the Jews, many historical events have been cited from their own traditions to admonish and advise them that their own good lies in accepting the Guidance revealed to the Holy Prophet. It has not, however, been used as a title to indicate the subject of the Surah. It will, therefore, be as wrong to translate the name Al-Baqarah into “The Cow” or “The Heifer” as to translate any English name, say Baker, Rice, Wolf etc., into their equivalents in other languages or vice versa, because this would imply that the Surah dealt with the subject of “The Cow”. Many more chapters (Surahs) of the Qur’an have been named in the same way because no comprehensive words exist in Arabic (in spite of its richness) to denote the wide scope of the subject discussed in them. As a matter of fact all human languages suffer from the same limitation. However in some cases the name of Chapters (Surahs) indicate the subject matter i.e. the first Surah Al-Fatihah, which means ‘that which opens a subject or a book or any other thing’ or in other words, Al-Fatihah is a sort of ‘Preface’. Similarly SurahAl Yousaf’ (Joseph) Surah number 12, is related with the story of Prophet Joseph (pbuh).
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Qur’an – Surah (Chapters) Index
Surah /Chapter Name
Surah /Chapter Name
#
Arabic
English
#
Arabic
English
1
Al-Fatiha
The Opening
47
Muhammad
Muhammad
2
Al-Baqara
The Cow
48
Al-Fat-h
The Victory
3
Al-i’Imran
The Family of Imram
49
Al-Hujurat
Private Apartments
4
An-Nisaa
The Woman
50
Qaf
Letter –‘ Q’
5
Al-Maida
Table Spread
51
Az-Zariyat
Winnowing Winds
6
Al-An’am
The Cattle
52
At-Tur
Tur
7
Al-A’raf
The Heights
53
An-Najm
The Star
8
Al-Anfal
The Spoils of War
54
Al-Qamar
The Moon
9
At-Tauba
The Repentance
55
Ar-Rahman
The Beneficent
10
Yunus
Jonah
56
Al-Waqi’a
The Event
11
Hud
Hood
57
Al-Hadid
The Iron
12
Yusuf
Joseph
58
Al-Mujadila
She that Disputes
13
Ar-Ra’d
Thunder
59
Al-Hashr
The Gathering
14
Ibrahim
Abraham
60
Al-Mumtahna
To be Examined
15
Al-Hijr
The Rocky Tract
61
As-Saff
The Ranks
16
An-Nahl
The Bee
62
Al-Jamu’a
Friday Congregation
17
Bani Israel/Israa
ChildrenofIsrael/Ascension
63
Al-Munafiqun
The Hypocrites
18
Al-Kahf
The Cave
64
At-Tagabun
Mutual Disillusion
19
Maryam
The Mary
65
At-Talaq
Divorce
20
Ta-ha
Ta-Ha
66
At-Tahrim
Banning
21
Al-Anbiyaa
The Prophets
67
Al-Mulk
The Sovereignty
22
Al-Hajj
The Pilgrimage
68
Al-Qalam
The Pen
23
Al-Muminun
The Believers
69
Al-Haqqa
The Reality
24
An-Nur
The Light
70
Al-Ma’arij
Ascending Stairway
25
Al-Furqan
The Criterion
71
Nuh
Noah
26
Ash-Shu’araa
The Poets
72
Al-Jinn
The Jinn
27
An-Naml
The Ant
73
AlMuzzammil
Enshrouded One
28
Al-Qasas
The Story
74
Al-Muddathir
Cloaked One
29
Al-Ankabut
The Spider
75
Al-Qiyamat
Rising of the Dead
30
Ar-Rum
The Romans
76
Ad-Dahr
The Time
31
Luqman
Luqman, The Wise
77
Al-Mursalat
The Emissaries
32
As-Sajda
The Prostration
78
An-Nabaa
The Tidings
33
Al-Ahzab
The Clans
79
An-Nazi’at
Ones, Drag Forth
34
Saba
Sheba
80
Abasa
He Frowned
35
Fatir
The Creator
81
At-Takwir
The Overthrowing
36
Ya-Sin
Ya S’in
82
Al-Infitar
The Cleaving
37
As-Saffat
Who Set Ranks
83
Al-Mutaffifin
Defrauding
38
Sad
Word-  ‘S’
84
Al-Inshiqaq
The Sundering
39
Az-Zumar
Troops
85
Al-Buruj
Mansions of Stars
40
Al-Mu’min
Believer
86
At-Tariq
The Morning Star
41
HaMim
HaMim(letters H,M)
87
Al-A’la
The Most High
42
Ash-Shura
The Counsel
88
Al-Gashiya
The Overwhelming
43
Az-Zukhruf
Ornaments of Gold
89
Al-Fajr
The Dawn
44
Ad-Dukhan
The Smoke
90
Al-Balad
The City
45
Al-Jathiya
The Crouching
91
Ash-Shams
The Sun
46
Al-Ahqaf
The Sand Dunes
92
Al-Lail
The Night

93
Adh-Dhuha
Morning Hour
104
Al-Humaza
The Traducer
94
Al-Sharh
Solace
105
Al-Fil
The Elephant
95
At-Tin
Fig
106
Quraish
The Tribe Quraish
96
Al-Alaq
The Clot
107
Al-Ma’un
Small Kindness
97
Al-Qadr
The Power
108
Al-Kauthar
Abundance
98
Al-Baiyina
The Clear Proof
109
Al-Kafirun
The Disbelievers
99
Al-Zalzalah
The Earthquake
110
An-Nasr
Succor
100
Al-Adiyat
The Courses
111
Al-Lahab
Palm Fiber
101
Al-Qari’a
The Calamity
112
Al-Ikhlaas
The Unity
102
AtTakathur
The Rivalry
113
Al-Falaq
The Daybreak
103
Al-Asr
The Declining Day
114
An-Nas
The Mankind