Present for the readers. It is with due humility and a deep sense of thanks giving to Allah the Almighty, that I present to my readers this exercise entitled "The Digest of the Holy Qur'an". The object is to classify and catalogue the teachings of the Holy Qur'an in such a way that its guidance is available for
application in the every day life of the Muslims.
Importance of knowledge. When Allah created Adam, he taught him the
nature of things, a knowledge denied to the angels. Allah asked the angels to
bow to Adam, and they did except Satan. This appears to signify that because
of his knowledge-
(1) Man will overcome the forces of nature--the angels; and
(2) He will have to carry a relentless struggle against evil--the Satan.
In this effort on two fronts, "Knowledge" is to help man fulfil his task.
Mandate of Allah. When Allah commissioned Man as His vicegerent on earth
He endowed him with the faculty of assimilating "Knowledge", and in knowledge lies the superiority of Man over other creations of the universe. The mandate of Allah commissioning Man His vicegerent is contained in the Holy Qur'an.
This means that if Man is to fulfil his mission as the vicegerent of God, he
must know intimately what is his mandate, and what are his obligations and
responsibilities. That is why, the Holy Qur'an enjoins man to pray to God to
advance him in knowledge. This exercise has been undertaken primarily with
the object of bringirig home to the Muslims the mandate which they have to
carry into effect as the vicegerents of Allah.
Encyclopaedic character of the Holy Qur'an. The Holy Qur'an is the
fountain-head of all knowledge, and "the advancement in knowledge" implies that
the Holy Qur'an should not be read or recited merely as a religious ritual; it
should be studied in depth as an exercise in the advancement of knowledge.
Knowledge lies embedded in the Holy Qur'an as corals and pearls lie in the
depths of the seas. We must dive deep to reach the treasures of the sea; thus
we should strive to the utmost to understand the Holy Qur'an, with a view
to applying its injunctions to every day life. This Digest is an exercise in
projecting the Holy Qur'an as a "Book of knowledge", a veritable encyclopaedia.
The Islamic way of life is not confined to a few religious rituals; it extends
to the entire gamut of human life. We have thus to seek the guidance of the
Holy Qur'an not merely to be a good believer, but to be a good citizen as well.
This obviously needs the projection of the Holy Qur'an not merely as a book
of religious commandments, but as an emitome of knowledge and guidance which could be pressed into service to tackle the problems of every day life. It is towards the achievement of this object that this exercise has been undertaken.
Uniqueness of the Holy Qur'an. The Holy Qur'an is a unique book. In its
narration, style, way of approach, and presentation it is fundamentally different
from the conventional books with which we are familiar. It talks of many things
in the same breath, and repeats the same thing over and over again in different
context in different forms for the sake of emphasis, and driving home the
particular point. The Holy Qur'an may be compared to a garden blooming with
flowers of myriad hues. In order to preserve the fragrance of the flowers, scent
is to be distilled from them; thus in order to understand the Holy Qur'an, it
is necessary that a suitable digest of its teachings should be prepared. This
exercise is designed to serve this purpose.
Aid to the study of the Holy Qur'an. The Holy Qur'an itself requires the
believers to study, meditate, and ponder on the meanings of the Holy Qur'an.
Allah has promised that those who strive to understand the Holy Qur'an, the
light and mercy of God will come to meet them. This means that some aid
has to be provided to enable the ordinary Mualims understand the Holy Qur'an.
Through the last fourteen hundred years, numerous commentaries have been
written on the Holy Qur'an by eminent scholars in different languages. In
English we have some well-known commentaries by Allama Yusuf Ali, Maulana
Muhammad Ali, Maulana Mawdaudi, Pickthall, Muhammad Asad and others.
Where the Holy Qur'an is to be studied as a book of inspiration for the elevation
of the soul, these commentaries serve a useful purpose. Where the Holy Qur'an
is to be applied as a source of law, knowledge and guidance for every day life,
some aid over and above such commentaries is called for, as these commentaries explain the particular context, and do not tell what the Holy Qur'an says about
the same matter in other contexts. There is thus the need of a digest which
should consolidate the teachings of the Holy Qur'an in such a way that one
could know at a glance what the Holy Qur'an says about the same matter in
different contexts. While there are numerous commentaries, no digest has been
puhlished in English so far. It is a matter of thanksgiving to the Almighty
that in spite of my limitations and handicaps I have completed the project to
the best of my ability. If there is any good in the compilation, it is because
of the Grace of God, if there is any shortcoming therein that is because of my
limitations for which I seek the forgiveness of Allah and the indulgence of the
Salient features. For the facility of my readers, I now proceed to explain some
of the salient features of the book. That would help the readers in understanding the general framework, and that would facilitate the appropriate use of the book according to the requirements of the readers.
Summary of the Suras. Before one proceeds to in-depth study of the Holy
Qur'an, it is necessary that one should have a general idea of what the Holy
Qur'an says. The Holy Qur'an comprises 114 Suras. I have given a summary
of each and every Sura arranged in proper alphabetic order according to the
title of the Sura. The summaries are concise but comprehensive. Care has been
taken to ensure that the summaries are a faithful precis. In the case of shorter
auras the summaries have been prepared verse-wise; in the case of longer suras
the summaries have been prepared section-wise. It is open to the readers to
glance through these summaries in the alphabetic order as given in the Digest,
or study them in the order provided for in the Holy Qur'an. The Sura number
has been indicated in the title in each case, and there can be no difficulty in
reading the Digest of all the Suras in the traditional order.
Commandments. The Holy Qur'an is basically a book of commandments. In
order to observe the commands, it is necessary that one should know in specific
and definite terms what these commandments are. I have digested all the
commands subject-wise in the idiom of the Holy Qur'an. These articles will help
the readers have a clear concept of their obligations to Islam and thereby fortify
Allah. It is Allah Who is our Lord and Master. From Allah we come and to
Allah we return. Each one of us is responsible to Allah in individual as well
as collective capacity. Most of the difficulties in our lives arise from the fact
that we are not able to forge a proper equation between Man and Allah. It
is necessary that we should have a clear concept of Allah. We should not regard
Allah as something abstract or remote; we should regard Allah as the Absolute
Reality, living God, and very close to man. A greater part of the Holy Qur'an
is devoted to the projection of the attributes of Allah. Allah, according to the
Holy Qur'an, is known by no less than ninty-nine names, and each of these
names embodies a specific attribute of Allah. In a number of articles arranged
in alphabetic order I have digested what the Holy Qur'an says about the various
attributes of Allah. That will help the believers in the realisation of the
dimensions of Allah.
The Holy Prophet. The Holy Qur'an is basically a communication between
Allah and the Holy Prophet. The Holy Qur'an provides us the privilege of sharing
in this communication, The Holy Prophet stands at the peak of humanity. He
is the greatest man of all times. The Holy Qur'an projects the personality of
the Holy Prophet in proper perspective. Many details about the biography and
the mission of the Holy Prophet can be read in the numerous verses of the
Holy Qur'an. In a number of articles arranged in alphabetic order, I have digested what the Holy Qur'an says about the Holy Prophet, his qualities, his mission, and his achievements. The Digest can, therefore, be read with advantage as a biography of the Holy Prophet.
Injunctions of Islam. The message of the Holy Qur'an is the message of Islam.
The Holy Qur'an is the source of the Injunctions of Islam, which a believer
should not only know, but which he should be able to understand and practise as well. In numerous articles I have digested all that the Holy Qur'an enjoins
about the various Injunctions of Islam. These articles will help in the proper
understanding of the Injunctions of Islam, and would serve as reminders of faith.
The Digest may under the circumstances be viewed as a Code highlighting the
Injunctions of Islam.
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