Do acts such as sending down manna from skies, waiting for camel’s turn to drink water, hitting fornicators with club not look too simple when compared to the marvelous operations of the Creator of Worlds?

Details of the Question
Do acts such as sending down manna from skies, waiting for camel’s turn to drink water, hitting fornicators with club not look too simple when compared to the marvelous operations of the Creator of Worlds?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

They are not issues that mental capacity of a believer cannot perceive.

For instance, it is already an obvious event if manna was sent to Israelites as a miracle. Actually, miracle already means something extraordinary. It is possible that the dessert named as “Mann” (Manna) in the Quran is interpreted as “halwa of power” due to the fact that nobody else can do it.

On the contrary, if it is not a miracle, but an offering to Jews, it is still obvious to some extent. This is because it is religiously unobjectionable to consider it a substance falling from the sky onto the leaves of trees and from which a kind of molasses is made by boiling. The latter view is even more strengthened by the fact that the other food sent to Israelites is quail, which flies in the sky and is familiar to everyone.

The fact that Allah orders people to wait for camel’s turn to drink water, which is an issue considered amongst insignificant events in daily life is indeed a testing and trial. There is not much difference between this issue and forbidding Jews to fish on Saturdays. If Allah chose to try His slaves in different ways, what we are supposed to is to submit to Him. The fact that the tribe of Thamud was tried with a small amount of water is etymologically quite consistent with the word “thamud”. The word “thamud” means a small waterhole.

Hitting a single person who fornicated with a club is a really dissuasive punishment. It causes physical pain and on the other hand, there is also an even greater pain of falling into disgrace in front of everyone. If the Divine Wisdom has considered this appropriate, we need to be in favor of it. If such a punishment was applied today, women would surely be saved from abuse, which is so wide. At least it would decrease by one tenth.

The wisdom behind the Quran drawing attention to insignificant issues:

We will try to summarize the issue in the form of a few items:

As already known, the most important aim of the Quran is to prove the existence and oneness of Allah and draw attention to it. Some very insignificant and simple issues mentioned in the Quran indicate that Allah, who is unique, is there for everything -insignificant or significant- and sees it all with His infinite knowledge and might and mystery of oneness. Everything happens with His permission and His creation. Every event is materialized only with His will.

Such insignificant issues are mentioned in order to show that Allah cares everything, regardless of their importance, and is thoughtful of their rights. For instance, the first verses of the chapter al-Mujadila clearly prove the issue:

God has indeed heard (and accepted) the statement of the woman who pleads with thee concerning her husband and carries her complaint (in prayer) to God: and God (always) hears the arguments between both sides among you: for God hears and sees (all things).

Each of the insignificant issues mentioned in the Quran is a universal law. The Quran sometimes explains quite wide, long and universal laws and general laws with simple, small examples from certain events, like displaying a great sea inside a ewer, because Allah takes the level of perception of human beings who are simple and ordinary into consideration, due to His mercy over them. The issue can be exemplified as follows:

a. An insignificant event called “teaching of names” is mentioned in the Quran (al-Baqara, 2/31); however, teaching of all knowledge and science inspired to mankind was expressed with this event.

b. Again in chapter al-Baqara (2/34) it is stated that all angels prostrated before the prophet Adam, except Satan. This insignificant event taught humankind the lesson of the fact that the majority of beings from fish to angels are obedient and yet that detrimental creatures from serpents to Satan do not obey and are enemies.

c. An insignificant event such as “slaughtering a cow” is mentioned in several verses (2/67-73) starting with the verse, the translation of which is “And remember Moses said to his people: "God commands that ye sacrifice a cow”, in the chapter of al-Baqara again. However, the Quran indicates with this insignificant event that cow-worshipping which is a kind of paganism wide spread in Egypt and which also influenced Jews was cut off with Moses’ knife (i.e was ended).

d. The verse which is translated as “And indeed, there are stones out of which rivers gush forth, and indeed, there are of them (stones) which split asunder so that water flows from them, and indeed, there are of them (stones) which fall down for fear of Allah.” (al-Baqara, 2/74) mentions about the insignificant events such as water and rivers springing out of stones, and stones rolling down. However, the Quran indicates with this that the stone layer under the soil layer keeps the treasure of water and is like the mother of soil.

In conclusion, it is necessary to bear in mind that everything mentioned in the Quran has a lot of wisdom and is also a means of testing for us. It is Allah who created everything from the smallest detail to the most obvious detail.

The Quran is the word of Allah. We must believe and trust in each verse of it doubtlessly, even if we may not find it logical and even if they do not comply with modern life. It is a necessity of belief to accept them all as they are. Yet, it is better to search the wisdoms behind them.

The answer of the Believers when summoned to Allah and His Messenger in order that He may judge between them, is no other than this: they say "We hear and we obey": it is such as these that will attain felicity. He who obeys Allah and His messenger, and fears Allah, and keeps duty (unto Him): such indeed are the victorious.” (an-Noor, 24/52-52).

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