Why were holy books sent down?

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Why were holy books sent down?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Testing is done based on the criterion of justice. A teacher wants to apply the criterion of justice in tests through practice. Similarly, Allah needs to practice His students for the tests. The practice is a teacher and books / notes for the subject.The teachers of the humanity in the school of life are prophets and the notes for the subjects are heavenly books.

The following verse attracts attention to this fact:

“…Nor would We visit with Our Wrath until We had sent an messenger (to give warning).” (al-Isra, 17/15 )

Besides, there are a lot of purposes why this huge universe was created. It is necessary to be insane to think that the universe equipped with wisdom all over is purposeless, absurd and unnecessary. The primary purpose of the creation of the universe is the fact that Allah wants to be known and wants His slaves to learn this.

“I have only created jinn and men, that they may serve Me.” (adh-Dhariyat, 51/56)

The verse above indicates this fact. Slaves of Allah cannot know Him and cannot learn how to worship without a teacher and a book...

What reflects Allah’s names and attributes, teaches them, reflects His endless knowledge and power is the book of the universe, which is an embodied Quran. In order to learn the deep meanings, fine embroidery and the instructive messages of the book of the universe, a teacher that teaches them is necessary. Otherwise, no matter how wonderful a book is, it is no different than a roll of paper if its meaning is not known and if there is no teacher to teach it.

Similarly, would it be possible to understand the fine mysteries of the book of the universe if there had not been a book like the Quran, a teacher like Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) teaching the book of the universe with its finest beauties, narrating its bonds with the Creator and explaining its purpose of creation? As a matter of fact, those who do not heed the Quran and Muhammad (pbuh) think that this universe is a meaningless, aimless and purposeless puppet with their materialistic ideas; they see man as a poor person that is impossible to know where he comes from, where he will go, why he has come to this world and that is known to disappear after a certain time. A book and its teacher are necessary to correct the misunderstandings above.   

According to the Quran, the reason why the heavenly books were sent is to judge between people in matters in which they differed (al-Baqara, 2/213), to fulfill justice among men (al-Hadid, 57/25), to make clear to people those things in which they differ, to be a guide and a mercy to those who believe (an-Nahl, 16/64), to lead mankind out of the depths of darkness into light (Ibrahim, (14/1), and to admonish the unjust, and to give glad tidings to those who do right. (al-Ahqaf, 46/12).

The heavenly books that Allah sent through His prophets to guide humans and to convey Allah’s message to them are also called "divine books" or "books that were sent down". These books are the words of Allah in terms of form and meaning. The books that were sent down to prophets by Allah to be conveyed to people and to be explained were sent in the written form as pages or tablets, or in the form of all kinds of revelation with words and meanings as compiled or non-compiled books. The non-compiled books are collected together as the prophets dictate them.  

The heavenly books, whether they are big or small in terms of size, whether they are sent in the compiled or non-compiled form, are sent in the language of the people that the prophet belongs to. For, Allah sent prophets to every nation in various centuries:

"Verily We have sent thee in truth, as a bearer of glad tidings, and as a warner: and there never was a people, without a warner having lived among them (in the past).” (Fatir, 35/24)

"To every people (was sent) an Messenger: when their Messenger comes (before them), the matter will be judged between them with justice and they will not be wronged." (Yunus, 10/47)

"We sent not a messenger except (to teach) in the language of his (own) people, in order to make (things) clear to them...." (Ibrahim, 14/4)

Some divine books have miraculous properties. The Quran has a lot of miraculous properties.

The heavenly book was sent in the written form to Hz. Ibrahim (pbuh) as pages and to Hz. Musa (pbuh) as tablets. The Quran was sent to Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) gradually in various forms of revelation orally.  Hz. Prophet (pbuh) dictated them to revelation scribes in their proper order.

All of the heavenly books unanimously mention the following points:

1.They agree on declaring the principles of belief and oneness.

2.Allah is unique in his personality and attributes. He is the only Creator and Maker. Nobody but Allah is worshipped.  

3.The essence of the types of worship like prayer, zakah (alms) and fasting. Their forms may be different in different religions. (al-Anbiya, 21/73; al-Baqara, 2/183)

4.Fornication, murder, theft and similar sins that violate people’s rights of honor, chastity, life and property are major sins.

5.They order all kinds of good deeds and the principles of high ethics.

6.They state that Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) will come as the Messenger of Allah and they mention his attributes.

7.They encourage people to work in the way of Allah with their lives and property.

Allah includes in the Quran most of the principles and information that He sent with the previous heavenly books. Verse 48 of the chapter of al-Maida indicates this issue:

"To thee We sent the Scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety; so judge between them by what Allah hath revealed…"

In that case, the Quran is a witness, controller and touchstone related to the unchanged parts of the previous heavenly books and the distorted and mixed parts of the parts and verses.

The Quran states that the facts declared by it were also sent down through the previous divine books:

"Verily this is a Revelation from the Lord of the Worlds: With it came down the Spirit of Faith and Truth― To thy heart and mind, that thou mayest admonish, In the perspicuous Arabic tongue. Without doubt it is (announced) in the revealed Books of former peoples."(ash-Shuara, 26/192-196)

The phrase "the revealed Books of former peoples (zubur al-awwalin)"includes the pages of Ibrahim, the Torah the Psalms and the Gospel.

People are in need of prophets that convey them Allah's decrees; similarly, they are also in need of the heavenly books sent down to them due to the following reasons:

1.The heavenly books sent down to prophets are the books that ummahs refer to in order to know and describe the creed, principles, purposes and decrees of their religion no matter how much time passed.  Ummahs refer to Allah's book in order to know the decrees of Allah's shari'ah, to explain the fards that Allah orders and the harams that He prohibits, to learn the virtues and high ethics, rules of good manners and etiquette, Allah's warnings, to declare Allah's promises and threats, to call people to the right path and to get and give advice. After the death of the prophet, the scholars of the ummah will refer to Allah's book in order to find the legal decrees regarding the problems of human life.

2.The divine book sent down to a prophet is a fair referee that people refer to after the death of the prophet regarding the issues that they disagree about. For, it is the word of Allah, who is the fairest judge. Allah states the issue as follows in the Quran:

"Mankind was one single nation, and Allah sent Messengers with glad tidings and warnings; and with them He sent the Book in truth, to judge between people in matters wherein they differed..." (al-Baqara, 2/213).

A book that is sent down to an ummah and that is written protects the principles of oneness, the creed, rules and decrees of the religion. If a heavenly book remains without undergoing any change in an ummah, it means the prophet lives among them. Prophets die like other human beings. If the heavenly book did not remain after the death of the prophet, the disagreements of the ummah would increase so much as to make them deviate from the origin of the religion. The existence of a written divine book is necessary in order to decrease the dragging of man by their souls and desires, which is due to their nature, and to stop the disagreements in religious understanding and ijtihads.

The divine book bears the influence and ability of the call of the prophet in spreading the religion and guiding the people no matter how much away it is from the place and time it was sent down. The influence and service of the Quran has been great in spreading and settling the universal religion of Islam conveyed by Hz. Muhammad (pbuh), the last Prophet.

Allah sent down books to His prophets due to the reasons mentioned above and some other reasons. The prophets conveyed those books and explained them. Hz. Prophet (pbuh) left the Quran, which is a light and guide for humanity, after him.

Prophets, who honored humanity with their existence, need to be instructed by Allah in order to fulfill their duties of messengership. This instruction is given to prophets through heavenly books. The heavenly books are the holy laws of Allah to be applied for humans. Allah informs humans about their rights and duties through these laws. The lives of the prophets in this world are ephemeral. The continuation of the divine decrees conveyed by the prophets to their ummahs could be possible only through these books. If it were not for these books, people would be unaware of the purpose of their creation, the duties burdened with them, and the bounties and disasters they would encounter in the hereafter. They would be deprived of the divine principles that would arrange their lives. They would be also be deprived of the honor and happiness of reading the holy verses, worshipping through them, getting advice from them and getting rid of dangerous opinions by understanding the truth thanks to them.    

The orders and prohibitions that the Quran informs humans and the wisdom and truths that it explains are plentiful. They are basically about beliefs, worshipping, laws related to human relations, ethics, works of arts and masterpieces showing the power of Allah, exemplary events and other things. We can summarize them as follows:  

1) The Quran informs humans about the existence, oneness, majesty, wisdom and holiness of Allah. The words of those who have philosophical opinions are dim compared to its illuminated words. 

2) The Quran calls humans to obtain knowledge and to meditate on things by looking at them carefully. It advises humans to look at Allah's great works that show His wisdom and power.

3) The Quran gives information about some of the prophets sent to humans in the previous eras. It tells man how they managed their lofty duties and what difficulties they faced while fulfilling their duties. It orders all people to obey the last Prophet.

4) The Quran tells people about the most exemplary scenes and historical events related to the previous ummahs so that people will learn lessons from them. It also tells people about the terrible ends of the sinning nations that rebelled against their prophets.

5) The Quran orders humans to have an alert spirit all the time and not to forget God. It advises them not to be deprived of religion and virtues by obeying the desires of their souls. It tells them that to be deprived from spiritual pleasures and the bounties of the hereafter by plunging into the material benefits and pleasures of the world is a big disaster.

6) The Quran advises Muslims to adhere to their religion and to defend the truth all the time. It reminds them that they should always be strong and work hard in order to prepare the equipment to protect themselves. It orders them to fight when it is necessary, to protect their religion, honor, country and their material and spiritual belongings by their lives and property.

7) The Quran informs them about the principles and rules that are necessary for the civil and social life to go on in order and peace. It asks people to protect and maintain certain rights and duties.

8) The Quran advises both individuals and communities to adhere to justice, honesty, modesty, love, to have mercy, to do favors, to forgive, to have good manners, to support equality and to have similar lofty characteristics. It prohibits people from oppression, treason, conceitedness, stinginess, revenge, hard-heartedness, ugly deeds and words, harmful drinks and food. It tells people about the food and drinks that are halal (legitimate) and haram (forbidden).  

9) The Quran tells people that nobody can change the natural laws that Allah imposed for this realm. It states that everybody has to act in accordance with those laws. It reminds people that they cannot obtain anything but the fruits (benefits) of their work. It encourages people to work.

10) The Quran gives the believers who accept and adopt Allah's orders and prohibitions and act accordingly the glad tidings of the bounties of the world and the hereafter and the achievements they will obtain. It warns unbelievers against the bad end prepared for them, and the forms of hellfire. Through these explanations, the Quran wants to inform people about the lofty purpose of their creation.

In conclusion, the message of the Quran is a miracle. It containsmany more wisdoms and facts. The humanity can never be excluded from the instructions of the Quran no matter how high it rises. The acts that are contrary to the instructions (principles) of the Quran are actually a fall rather than a rise.

Questions on Islam

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