Is the Qur’an Alive? If it is alive then what is meant by it? Can we call the Qur’an “the Spirit”?

The Details of the Question
Is the Qur’an Alive? If it is alive then what is meant by it? Can we call the Qur’an “the Spirit”?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The Qur’an calls believers to the things that give life, to the principles that make them alive, fresh and active because one of its names is “the Spirit”:

“And thus We have sent to you (O Muhammad SAW) Rooh (a Revelation, and a Mercy) of Our Command. You knew not what is the Book, nor what is Faith? But We have made it (this Qur'ân) a light wherewith We guide whosoever of Our slaves We will. And verily, you (O Muhammad SAW) are indeed guiding (mankind) to the Straight Path (i.e. Allah's Religion of Islamic Monotheism).” (Surah Ash-Shura, 42/52) Some of the interpreters explained the word “Rooh” (the Spirit) as the Qur’an. (See Tabari, Razi, Hazin, Shawkani, the interpretation of the related verse)

The purpose of Allah’s giving the name of “Rooh”, (the spirit) to the Qur’an is that there is a transition from the death of ignorance to a life which is refreshing. The fact that Allah (SWT) has made His book as “from His order” means He revealed it to the person He decided as He wished with a miraculous manner of narrating and with an astonishing word order. As a matter of fact, Malik b. Dinar said, “O the followers of the Qur’an! What has the Qur’an planted in your hearths? Without doubt, just as the rain is the spring of earth’s surface, so too is the Qur’an the spring of hearts.” (Qurtubi, Jamiu li-Ahkami’l-Qur’an, the tafsir (interpretation) of the related verse.)

Just as the human body becomes lively and alive with the Rooh (spirit), so too can humans live their religion alive with the help of the revelation (the Qur’an). Without the spirit, human body loses its all qualities such as its beauty, niceness, vitality and meaning; similarly, a nation and a believer without Rooh (without the Qur’an) loses its meaning, value, respect and dignity. The Qur’an is a Rooh (Divine Word) that gives life to the individual, family and society. 

Just as the spring enlivens the earth’s ground, so too does the Qur’an revitalize the hearts. Just as the rain ensures the refreshing, greening and proliferation of the ground, so too is the proper nature of greening, refreshing and blossoming of the heart connected to the Rooh (the Qur’an).

This verse also draws attention to this truth, “O ye who believe! Give your response to Allah and His Messenger, when He calleth you to that which will give you life; and know that Allah cometh in between a man and his heart, and that it is He to whom Ye shall (all) be gathered.” (Surah Al-Anfal 8/24)

A great scholar, Iqbal, says; “The Holy Qur’an is a living book. The eternal wisdom and seniority of the Qur’an contains life’s secrets of creation. It gives life to man and provides strength for the weak. (See Iqbal al-Lahuri, Diwan-i Iqbal (Persian) p.: 82)

Badiuzzaman said Nursi, who wrote books on the miraculous aspects of the Qur’an, explains that the Qur’an has six aspects that lead man to know Allah fully.

The first aspect is the point of support, which is the revelation, behind it.

The second one is the happiness it aims in this world and the hereafter because the relations and interests of the Quran extend to the infinity and the hereafter. 

The third one is that it is an explicit miracle.

The fourth one is that it is based on the poles of definite evidence and proof.

The fifth one is that it employs the conscience as a witness. The conscience which cannot conceal its admiration at the spiritual breezes it sends to the heart cannot help saying “Mashaallah”.

The sixth one is that it makes the mind speak and leads it to confirmation through the expressions like “Do you not think?” that it includes. The fruits that the Quran gives are both perfect and reviving. Then, the root of the Quran tree gives the truth and light; it is luminous.  (See Sözler, 25. Söz)

What shows that a tree is not dead, that it is green and, that its roots are strong and alive is its fruit. If the Quran is described as a Tuba tree of Paradise, it will be seen that its roots are based on sound truths and goes down to realities because the fruits it gives are perfect and full of life.  Then, the root of the Quran tree contains the truth and life because the life of the fruit indicates the life of the tree. In each century, so many saints, who are the stars of the sky of the humanity, blossomed and gave fruits of perfect man: the four guided caliphs, the four madhhab imams, the four greatest saints, the twelve imams from the descendants of the Prophet, the twelve mujaddids…

On the other hand, the Quran is a miracle with its meaning, words and letters. The words and letters of the Quran are the names and signs of Islam. What preserves the real meanings of the verses is its living words and letters. Therefore, it is impossible to change them in terms of the religious law. Besides, the words and the letters of the Quran are like a living skin of its meaning; if its words and letters are changed, the thing that is read cannot be the Quran.

The meaning is the spirit. The divine words are not lifeless clothes worn over the meaning; they are like the living skin of the body. The clothes can be changed but if the skin is changed, it harms the body.

Thus, the Quran is the life of the life of the universe and man. Accordingly, man becomes a perfect and real man through the Quran.

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