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Summary of Series

In the first four series of the program basically focused on the matters of belief.  The first one was about monotheism, second dealt with Prophethood, third dealt with Muhammad in the Bible or the his advent in the Old and New Testament, the fourth dealt with other aspects of Islamic belief such as the soul, life, resurrection and related issues.  This amalgam of the first four series, which was made up of 40 programs, was basically an elaboration on the first and fundamental Pillar of Islam the Testimony of Faith.  The fifth series picked up the other four Pillars of Islam (the devotional acts): the five daily prayers, charity, fasting and pilgrimage.  The sixth series focused on the Moral Teachings in Islam.  This dealt with the question of ethics in general, basic questions about the nature of the human, the human’s position in the universe and how he relates to other people, the creator and to the environment.  There were reasonably detailed discussions about the forbidden and lawful issues in matters of food, drinks, clothing, behavior and the question of sexual morality.

The last ten programs in that series dealt with the basic moral virtues in Islam.  The seventh, eighth and night series went beyond the matters of belief, worship and moral teachings to examine Islam as a complete way of life.  The seventh dealt with the social system of Islam.  It looked into general issues such as the universal brotherhood of mankind, brotherhood of the faithful, social responsibility in Islam.  The major part of that series focused on the woman Islam and the position of women and the role of family in the Islamic way of life.  The eighth series took the Economic System of Islam which dealt with the question of consumption, production and distribution within the Islamic framework, riba or interest and how to establish and economy without it, a great deal of the attention was given to the Muslim contribution to civilization and science which was one aspect of Muslim attitude towards production and productivity with a focus on an alternative to mortgage.  The last series dealt with the Political System of Islam in terms of its basic foundations, principles and the basic political process according to Islam, the ideal situation that Islam teaches, the question of succession of the Prophet, we went into details about the virtues of the companions of the Prophet.  We showed that the Prophet left the choice to his followers to chose who would follow him as their leader.  We discussed other guiding principles like freedom and justice and the rights of non-Muslims minorities in an Islamic State.  The last three series dealt with Islam as a way of life.  Throughout all nine series we have been quoting the Quran and the Prophetic Tradition (Hadith).  We however never went into depth of examining these basic sources of Islam, what is the source from which these teachings are derived which is what we hope to accomplish in this series.


10.1     Introduction

Host:  Give us an overview of what to expect from this series.

Jamal Badawi:

There are two primary sources in Islam: the Quran and the Prophetic Sayings or Hadith.  There are secondary sources which are based on the first two sources.  As far as the first source, the most basic and fundamental one, we hope to look into some of the basic definitions, the nature of the Quran, how it differs from other revelations, we will examine the Quran’s source, who was the author of the Quran, we will try to verify facts.  Third, we will cover the revelation of the Quran and how it was revealed, how were the Surahs (chapters) organized, how the Ayat (verses) put together.  A fourth aspect would be the history of the Quran’s compilation and recording.  It is crucial that we figure out whether the Quran is still the same as when it was revealed to the Prophet or not.  We will address the question of the “challenge of the Quran” which may relate to the manifestation of its source.  We may touch on the Sciences of the Quran which developed very early in the history of Islam which studied the Quran, authority and authenticity.  Similar questions can be applied to Prophetic sayings.  This all relates to the methodology of finding the proper sources of information about Islamic Teachings.


Host:  What does the word Quran mean?

Jamal Badawi:

The word Quran comes from Qara’ which has two related meanings.  The most common meaning is reading or recitation.  A second meaning is to put together or compile.  This could also be a reference to the compilation of the different chapters.  In terms of a definition of the Quran the most common and unanimously agreed upon definition is that it is the word of Allah (God) which was revealed to His last Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and mere recitation makes is an act of worship.  If we look into the elements of that definition it is first the word of God which makes it distinct from the words of any other human being, even the words of Muhammad (PBUH) when he is not receiving revelation is not regarded as Quran.  Second, it is the revealed part of the word of Allah.  This brings to our attention the realization that no all of the words of God have been revealed to us as the knowledge of God is infinite.  This is what He chose to communicate to us.  A third qualification of the definition is that it is not only the revealed word of Allah but that it was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).  We recognize that Allah has revealed scriptures and teachings to previous Prophets throughout history but these are not part of the Quran which is the last revelation particularly the one that has come through the last Prophet.  The fourth part of the definition is that not only is the meaning of the Quran holy but its own words are holy because it is the direct word of God.  The meaning was not inspired into the heart of the Prophet and then the Prophet used his words to convey them, but rather it is the verbatim the words of God.  It is common among Muslims to recite Quran as an act of worship, because it is a devotional act in itself.  Even in Muslim countries where Arabic is not the mother tongue people still try hard to recite the Quran as an act of worship.  Of course it is more desirable to be able to understand in addition to reciting the Quran.  Just like the term Islam which was not a term given by outsiders, a race of people or group the Quran as a holy book is also in the Quran.  There are nearly 70 places in the Quran where the term Quran appears in the Quran itself.


Host: Are there other names used for the Quran?

Jamal Badawi:

Yes there are.  The Quran was given the name of Al Kitab, The Book.  Dr. Draz a very prominent author on the subject of the Quran indicates that the fact that it is called Quran, which comes from recitation and Kitab which comes from writing is a reflection of the double protection through recitation as well as through preservation.  Another name given to the Quran which appears in the beginning of the 25th Surah is Al Furqan which means the criterion.  This is the criterion that divides between truth and falsehood, between right and wrong.  Of course the revelation of God is the truth so it shows us the right path or the criterion for distinction.  It is also mentioned in Surah 15 as Al Thikr, the reminder, because it reminds us of our creator of our duty, of our destiny and returning back to our creator.  It is also given the name of Al Tanzeel which means the revelation as we find in (26:192).

In the Quran in (4:174) it is called Nuran Mubina: a manifest light because it brought people from darkness to the true path of the authentic teaching of the creator.  It is also described as Hudan as mentioned in the beginning of the second Surah in the Quran which means guidance.  It is called Shifa’a or healing because it heals the heart, psychological or spiritual diseases, people who are suffering or feel sad can go to the Quran to find soothing.  It is called Mouitha or exhortation and as Bashiran wa Nathiran, bringing of glad tidings and warning.  Mubarak, blessed, Aziz, honored, Majede, glorious and one of the most beautiful names of the Quran is Rahmah, mercy.  The Quran is mercy unto mankind, it is mercy because by following the Quran, the last revealed word of the Creator people can learn to be merciful to each other and themselves and they qualify themselves to deserve mercy.  Sometimes we find that in a single passage in the Quran more than a single name is given to the Quran.  An example is found in (10:57) “O mankind! there hath come to you a Direction from your Lord and a Healing for the (diseases) in your hearts,- and for those who believe, a Guidance and a Mercy.”  Regardless of which name is used to refer to the Quran, the more common name, it is quite different from any other revelation including the Hadith.


Host:  How is the Quran different from the Prophetic Sayings?

Jamal Badawi:

While both the Quran and Hadith were uttered by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) they are kept totally distinct with totally different styles.  In the case of the Quran, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had no control over the words because the Quran was dictated to him both in meaning and in word.  The Hadith which is also uttered by him but is distinctly separate from the Quran he may have received inspiration from God but not the words which then allowed him to use his own words to explain it.  Since we made the distinction between the Quran, revelation in word and meaning and Hadith, revelation of meaning there are two broad categories.  One is called Hadith Qudsi, Divine Hadith which is an inspiration to the Prophet in meaning but where he says “God revealed” so it is like quoting the Creator but which is separate from the Quran.  This doesn’t mean that the Prophet received the exact wording of the saying even though he may say God says this.  We find many instances in the Quran where it talks about the stories of different Prophets where it quotes the essence of what they said but not verbatim.  The second category is the Prophetic Sayings which have two types.  There are Prophetic sayings which are derived from basic revelation given to the Prophet.  This means that the meaning of the Hadith was revealed to Prophet Muhammad but the Prophet used his own words to express it which is called Touqifi.

The second type is Toufiqi which means that the Prophet did not receive a specific revelation but he based his saying on contemplation, thought and his understanding of the Quran.  The second category is subject to correction.  We find that whenever the Prophet said something that was contrary to the Will of the Creator he was immediately corrected.  With this distinction of Prophetic sayings and the subdivision within them we find that in all cases they are distinct from the Quran in four basic ways.  One the Quran is a revelation in meaning and words, two the mere recitation of the Quran is an act of worship but reciting the words of the Prophet is not an act of worship, third the Quran contains a challenge for mankind to produce anything similar to it and the Hadith doesn’t (in other words the Quran asserts that it is impossible for anyone to emulate in its beauty and wisdom) and fourthly the compilation and collection of the Quran has been done in a way that leaves absolutely no doubt about its authenticity because it came through multitudes through writing and memorization.  There are some categories of Prophetic sayings that are close to the Quran in authenticity but not all of them are the same.


Host:  If the Quran was dictated word for word, what then was the role of Prophet Muhammad?

Jamal Badawi:

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was not just a tape recorder.  Yes he was directed by Allah to recite the Quran exactly as it was dictated, but if he had no role whatsoever the Quran could have been revealed on a tape, video or tablet without the agency of any human being.  What was his role did he play if he was simply repeating the dictation given by Angel Gabriel?  First of all, he had the duty to understand and comprehend the Quran as well as memorize it.  Second, he had the duty to communicate it to man kind who could relate and understand better when another human communicates rather than when an unknown voice or equipment communicates this.  Third, the Prophet was not simply to receive the Quran and communicate it but he was supposed to exemplify it and he did in his own life and he applied it in the society and  Muslim community around him.  Fourth he had the duty of interpreting the Quran.  Sometimes the Quran dealt with broader issues and problems which needed interpretation and how to apply it was part of his role.  All of these roles were very important and required a human model to show how the Quran could become a living reality in the lives of the believers.


Host:  Some Orientalist make between Prophet Jesus (PBUH) and the Quran which are both regarded as the word of God by their followers, how do you comment on this comparison?

Jamal Badawi:

While the comparison may sound logical suffers from basic flaws.  Some Orientalist say that the basic difference between Muslims and Christians is that in Christianity the word became flesh in the form of Jesus and for the Muslims it was a book.  So here we are talking about a book and flesh.  To start with the Quran says that Jesus was a word from God, but the meaning of this is a little different than what the Christian theologians normally attached to the term.  To Christians the word of God means divine because it is part of God, but when the Quran speaks about this it speaks in plural and mentions Jesus no as the one and only word of God but as a word from him.  What this word means is explained elsewhere in the Quran as it says that the command of God when He wills something is simply to tell it to Be and it is.  In the tenth chapter of the Quran that if the sea was like ink for the words of God the words of God would not be exhausted.  So the words of God are plural and the word Be is a reflection of that.

To the Muslim Jesus was a word, so was Mohammad are you and I and everybody else.  Secondly it is incorrect to compare the Quran with Jesus and to say they are analogous.  In that sense Jesus and Muhammad are similar, both of them are words of God like everybody else and both of them received a book like everybody else.  When the analogy is made that the essence of the word of God in Christianity is in Jesus and the case of Islam it is in a book it seems to give the wrong impression that it is a book verses a person.  As I have indicated in the answer to the previous question that the role of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was not simply to utter the words of the Quran but living the Quran, exemplifying that in his life and in the life of the community around him.  No wonder that we find that when his wife Aisha (May Allah Be Pleased With Her) was asked what was the character of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) her answer was very simple “His character was the Quran.”  This means he was a living Quran, a walking Quran.  The Quran is not just a book because the Prophet was exemplary of it.


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