Why was the Quran sent down?

The Quran was sent down to make people and jinn, who are rendered responsible because they have intelligence and will, attain the consciousness of servitude as it is stated in the following verse: [I have only created jinn and men, that they may serve Me." (adh-Dhariyat, 56)] and to attain bliss both in the world and the hereafter. The Quran is not an aimless word: [It is not a thing for amusement."(at-Tariq, 14)] It is a whole of criteria and norms that distinguishes the truth from the falsehood, the good from the bad and the nice from the ugly.

It is the most distinctive feature of the Quran, whose unique aim is the guidance and happiness of human beings, to use a style in compliance with this aim, to address sometimes the mind, sometimes the feelings, sometimes the conscience and sometimes the heart of its readers, to attract attention to the previous nations, the sky and the earth, the kingdom of plants and animals, the psychological, sociological, philosophical and ethical realities and to ask its readers to think on these issues.

As Muhammad Asad puts it, "Never has any book - not excluding the Bible - supplied to so many, and over so long a span of time, a comprehensive answer to the question:

"How shall I behave in order to achieve the good life in this world and happiness in the life to come?"

The Quran remains beyond all kinds human properties like geography and race; it does not give the full names of the people and places it mentions; it gives lessons for the general education of people by mentioning them.

The Quran is a guide of salvation for the whole mankind in every age and place in general. It is a guide that shows ways of solutions for the believers who are in crisis and trouble in particular. The concept of guidance (hidayah in Arabic) which denotes a way out for those who do not know what direction to go in the desert corresponds to the position of the Quran for the whole mankind.

The Quran, which states that man is in loss by swearing using the term time {al-Asr, 1-2}, is a "recipe of salvation" and a "life buoy" for man, who has been confused due to spiritual crises, moral corruptions and social problems in the past and today.

"A Book which We have revealed unto thee in order that thou mightest lead mankind out of the depths of darkness into light― by the leave of their Lord― to the Way of (Him) Exalted in Power, Worthy of all Praise!"Ibrahim, 1

The only way of solution for a community that has lost its virtues and nice characteristics and whose present day and future have darkened to attain welfare and happiness is shown in the Book of Allah as follows:

"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." (al-Maida, 15, 16)

Human ideologies, which come forward with the assertion that they will solve the problems of the mankind, deteriorate the problems with their temporary and incomplete solutions; on the other hand, the Quran offers eternal and absolute ways of salvation that are valid for all ages and places. The Quran likens a person who tries to solve the problems through solutions offered by human beings to a helpless person who takes a few steps when a lightning that dazzles the eyes strikes in the middle of darkness and then who stops {2/20}. The Quran guides to the most right. {17/9}. For, it is the absolute truth {13/1; 17/105}.

"O mankind! There hath come to you a admonition from your Lord and a healing for the (diseases) in your hearts and for those who believe, a Guidance and a Mercy. Say: "In the Bounty of Allah and in His Mercy― in that let them rejoice": that is better than the (wealth) they hoard." Yunus, 57-58

The Quran is a cure and relief, hence a mercy, for all kinds of spiritual disorders and troubles. The hearts that blacken due to spiritual dirt and sins and that harden and become ill {2/10; 6/43; 8/49} can be purified, softened and cured only by the Quran:

"The skins of those who fear their Lord tremble thereat; then their skins and their hearts do soften to the celebration of Allah's praises."az-Zumar, 23

"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."ar-Rad, 28

Thus, the Quran becomes a cure and mercy for the people whose hearts and minds become confused due to Satanic delusions. The heart of the people who get rid of those kinds of troubles and diseases become enlightened and their foresights become active.

"This Quran is (nothing but) lights from your Lord, and Guidance and Mercy, for any who have faith."{7/203; 45/20}

The Quran is such a holy book that {6/155}, as Hz. Umar (ra) puts it, "Allah opens the closed eyes, deaf ears and locked hearts with it."

One of the names of the Quran is "dhikr", that is, advice; and another name for it is "tadhkira" that is a warner and a reminder. The Quran is the whole of advice and warnings that teaches and reminds man of his responsibilities and that leads man to the good and the truth:

"Here is a Message for mankind: let them take warning therefrom, and let them know that He is (no other than) One God: let men of understanding take heed."İbrahim, 52

The Quran informs man of his responsibilities toward himself, his Lord, the other people and nature. It teaches those who are not aware of their responsibilities and reminds those who forget them of about their responsibilities. It warns severely those who do not fulfill their responsibilities deliberately.

The basic reference for any Muslim that chooses Islam as his religion and surrenders to Allah is the Quran. He will learn the principles of life that will bring him happiness in the world and the hereafter from the Quran. He will learn what he needs to believe and what he needs to reject, what is good and legitimate and what is bad and illegitimate, what he needs to do and what he needs to avoid from the Quran. He will purify his heart, strengthen his surrendering to Allah and refresh his belief and excitement with it {9/124; 16/102}. "Whenever there cometh down a Surah, some of them say: 'which of you has had his faith increased by it?' Yea, those who believe― their faith is increased, and they do rejoice" (at-Tawba, 124) "Say the Holy Spirit has brought the revelation from thy Lord in truth, in order to strengthen those who believe and as a Guide and Glad Tidings to Muslims."(an-Nahl, 102) He will learn the beauties of Paradise and the horror of Hell torture from the Book of Allah; thus, he will work harder to lead a virtuous life and will act more carefully in order to avoid sins and bad deeds. In short, a believer will find everything about how to act in order to attain the consent of Allah in general in the Quran:

"We have sent down to thee the Book explaining all things, a Guide a Mercy and Glad Tidings to Muslims."(an-Nahl, 89)

However, one should not conclude from this verse that the Quran is an encyclopedia or a book of science. It is not a book that mentions temporary scientific theories; it is a life guide. It is a manual sent by Allah, who created us and who knows our nature better than us; it shows us how to use our ephemeral body in this ephemeral world:

"This Quran is not a tale invented, but a confirmation of what went before it a detailed exposition of all things, and a Guide and a Mercy to any such as believe." Yusuf, 111

The Quran is the last and perfect word of Allah. Human beings, who have been addressed by revelation since Hz.Adam (as), the first man, have the Quran, which is a perfect treasure that confirms what is true in the previous teachings of oneness that have been forgotten, lost or changed and that corrects what is wrong in them. Human beings can learn what is divine truth and what is wrong and superstitious thanks to the Quran, which is "Furqan" (Distinguisher between good and bad).

The Quran is definitely the touchstone for Muslims. A Muslim's mentality, worldview and behavior pattern should be formed by the Quran. He should check everything that comes to him in the name of Islamic knowledge and culture by the Quran one by one; and he should distinguish between what is right and wrong, what is true and superstitious, what is sound and made up.

It should not be forgotten that the greatest chance of Islam is that its followers have Furqan, (the distinguisher) the book which has not undergone any changes, which is under the protection of Allah and which will remain as an infallible criterion distinguishing between the right and wrong. It is a book that does not contain even a tiny mistake. 

Believers refer to the Quran in order to learn the secrets of the world and the hereafter; they also refer to it and the sound sunnah of Messenger of Allah, who is the living Quran, regarding the issues that they disagree over.

In short, the Quran is the book of reference whose value will never decrease until Doomsday for believers. This book of treasure is the only reference that believers will refer to in order to solve all kinds of spiritual problems including the issues that they disagree over.

The Quran is not a book that deals with some historical, social, philosophical and ethical facts theoretically. On the contrary, it aims to establish a community shaped by the universal ethical and spiritual principles that it introduces. It aims to eradicate everything related to lack of virtue and evil and to make the whole mankind surrender to Allah, that is, Islam, as it transformed one of the most ignorant societies of the world into the most virtuous society {2/193} ; it is a revolutionary book. The Quran was sent down so that it would be practiced and obeyed.

" Follow (O men!) the revelation given unto you from your Lord, and follow not, as friends or protectors, other than Him. Little it is ye remember of admonition!"al-Araf, 3

Everybody who believes in the Quran, primarily, the Prophet (pbuh), has to obey it and uphold the principles imposed by it:

"So hold thou fast to the Revelation sent down to thee: verily thou art on Straight Way. The (Qur'an) is indeed the message for thee and for thy people; and soon shall ye (all) be brought to account." az-Zukhruf, 43-44

The Quran "is the Book of Allah that you will never go astray if you hold fast to it." {Ibn Majah}

"It is the strong rope of Allah that will lead you to brightness, maturity, and honor if you hold fast; there is no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out clear from Error; whoever rejects Evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks.. Allah heareth and knoweth all things."al-Baqara, 2/256-7)

"And hold fast, all together by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude Allah's favour on you; for ye were enemies and He joined your hearts in love so that by His Grace, ye became brethren; and ye were on the brink of the pit of fire, and He saved you from it. Thus doth Allah make his signs clear to you: that ye may be guided."(Aal-i Imran 103)

The society that holds fast to the rope of Allah and obeys the principles of the revelation becomes happy both in the world and in the hereafter. Those who turn their back on to the divine truths and leave the Book of Allah by disobeying it will be unhappy in both realms.

The ethical principles, advice and recommendations that exist in the Quran become significant when they are practiced. For instance, the following divine advice will not be of any use if it is not applied: {al-Isra, 32-38}

"Nor come nigh to adultery: for it is a shameful (deed) and an evil, opening the road (to other evils)."

"Nor take life which Allah has made sacred― except for just cause..."

"And come not nigh to the orphan's property..."

"and fulfill (every) engagement, for (every) engagement will be enquired into (on the Day of Reckoning)."

"Give full measure when ye measure, and weigh with a balance that is straight..."

"And pursue not that of which thou hast no knowledge; for every act of hearing, or of seeing or of (feeling in) will be enquired into (on the Day of Reckoning)."

"Nor walk on the earth with insolence: for thou canst not rend the earth asunder, nor reach the mountains in height."

"Of all such things the evil is hateful in the sight of thy Lord."

As it is seen in the verses 32-38 of the chapter of al-Isra that we quoted as example above, the Quranic verses contain quite practical principles that can be understood even by a very ignorant community. The Quran is not a complicated, incomprehensible, ancient book that can be understood by experts, scientists and academicians only or whose codes can be decoded by them only. It is often repeated generally at the beginning of the chapters of the Quran that the Quran and its verses are "clear" and "understandable".

In the Quran, everything is explained "through various examples" {18/54; 20/113} and in detail {6/55, 56, 126; 41/2-3}. The Quran has been made easy to understand through metaphors and examples:

"And We have indeed made the Qur'an easy to understand and remember: then is there any that will receive admonition?"{al-Qamar, 17, 22, 32, 40}

"Since the first addressees of the Quran are illiterate, the holy Shari'ah of Islam is simple. The Shari'ah was sent down in a form that would be understood and practiced easily by its addressees without needing any knowledge or specialization. To claim the opposite is contrary to the essence and foundation of the Shari'ah. The first addressees were illiterate; so, the shari'ah sent down to them would be simple. Otherwise, they would have said, "It is beyond our level; it does not resemble our words; they are words that we do not know or understand, etc..." {41/44}.

Besides, Allah states, "On no soul doth Allah place a burden greater than it can bear" {2/286}; "Allah has imposed no difficulties on you in religion" {22/78}. For practical reasons, the Shari'ah had to be sent down in a language and style that could be understood by everybody." Shatibi

The Quran is explained as follows in hadiths:

 "Some people are the people of Allah. When the Messenger of Allah was asked, 'Who are they?', he said,'They are the people of the Quran; they are the people of Allah and their friends." (Tirmidhi)

Mercy and abundance pour down onto a place and angels and tranquility surround a place where a believer reads the Quran sincerely and for the sake of Allah. (Tirmidhi)

Harith al-Awar narrates: "While passing through the mosque, I found that people had left remembrance of Allah and were engrossed in vain talk. So, I went to Hz. Ali (ra) and told him what I had seen. He asked me, 'Are you telling the truth, is that really so?'When I assured him that it was so, he said: 'I heard Messenger of Allah say, "Behold! A dissension will come! I immediately asked him: ‘What is the way out of it? O Messenger of Allah! He replied:

'It is to obey the Book of Allah.It contains all information about what has happened to those communities before you, news of dissensions and tumults that will happen after you and signs of Doomsday. Also it has the judgment regarding the matters which will occur among you (about matters such as belief-blasphemy, obedience-disobedience, what is permitted-forbidden, etc.). It is the distinguisher between the truth and the falsehood. It is serious in everything it mentions, there is no word in it that is excursive or digressive. Whoever falls in absurdity by not taking notice of it and does not behave according to it, Allah will perish him. If anyone seeks guidance elsewhere Allah will lead him astray. It is the strong rope of Allah. It is the reminder with wisdom, and it is the straightest path. It protects souls who obey it from being ruined and misguidance and tongues that recite it from ambiguity. Scholars of the Qur’an always crave more from it. Reading it again and again never bores its reader; neither does the reader lose any taste by reading it over and over again. Its magnificent wonders that astonish the mankind never end. It is such a Book that, when they had heard it, the jinn could not help to confess that, 'We have heard a wonderful recital (God’s word). This surely guides to the Truth and we believe in it.' (Surah al-Jinn, 72/1) He who utters it, speaks the truth. He who acts according to it, will be rewarded. He who pronounces judgment according to it, will be just. He who invites people to it, will guide them to a straight path. Oh Awar! Learn very well these beautiful words.'" (Tirmidhi)

To sum up, the Quran, "the miracle book", that will end the dark days that we live in and the troubles and agonies that we suffer and that will lead the whole mankind to "the universal happiness", is at our disposal as an unmatched treasure. What we need to do is to read this "recipe of salvation" with attentive eyes in order to find relevant answers to today's questions and to have the dynamism and excitement that existed in the first days of Islam.

 (Kur'an Nedir, Nasıl Okunmalıdır, A. Yıldız-Ş. Özdemir, Pınar Yayınları)

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