Acting upon the Qur’an
December 17 2021 12:01 AM

It is narrated on the authority of ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib may Allah be pleased with him that he said:
I heard the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam (may Allah exalt his mention) say, “Indeed, there will be a Fitnah.” I asked, “What is the way out of it, O Messenger of Allah?” He said, “The Book of Allah, which includes the stories of those who were before you, the news of those who will come after you and the judgment on the disputes between you. It is a decisive statement and not an amusement. No tyrant left it but Allah broke him, and whoever seeks guidance in anything else other than it, will be misguided by Allah. It is the strong rope of Allah, and the wise mention. It is the straight path, by virtue of which inclinations never deviate (from the truth), nor are tongues confused, nor are scholars satiated from it, nor is it ever considered old regardless of its being repeated so often, nor do its wonders die out. It is that which prompted the Jinn, when they heard it, to say (what means): {… indeed, we have heard an amazing Qur’an. It guides to the right course, and we have believed in it. And we will never associate with our Lord anyone.} [Qur’an 72:1-2] Whoever speaks with it proves truthful, and whoever acts upon it receives reward, and whoever judges by it becomes just, and whoever invites to it will be guided to a straight path.” [At-Tirmithi]
This hadith, which includes the characteristics of the Book of Allah Almighty, is of great significance and should be deeply considered. It is a satisfactory answer to the way out of Fitnahs once they occur, i.e. to return to the Book of Allah Almighty, which contains:
1- The stories of those who were before us, i.e. the previous nations, some of whom belied the Messengers, whereupon they were ruined, while others gave trust to the Messengers, whereupon they were rewarded.
2- The news of those who will come after us till the establishment of the Day of Judgment and the Final Hour, like the descent of ‘Eesa (Jesus) son of Mary, may Allah exalt his mention, and others which are known to some and unknown to others.
3- The judgment of the disputes between us, i.e. the rulings of qisas (legal retribution), personal affairs, dealings among individuals and communities at times of prosperity and adversity, war and peace, and so on.
4- It is the decisive statement, i.e. its judgments are incisive and its fundamental rules established and as clear as a sword’s point.
5- It is not amusement; all of it is serious and decisive: either lawful or unlawful, precise or unspecific, narrations or examples.
6- No tyrant abandons it but that Allah breaks him because the Qur’an enjoins justice and kindness. Justice is the foundation on which dominion is based; and any ruler who abandons justice, Allah punishes him and seizes him with the seizure of One Exalted in Might and Perfect in Ability.
7- Whoever seeks guidance in anything other than it will be misguided by Allah because no guide in any sharia comes but from Allah; and whoever seeks for honour and power, for sure, it has all power and honor; and whoever goes astray from its guidance will be disgraced by Allah in this world, and the punishment of the Hereafter is more grievous.
8- It is Allah’s strong rope, one of whose ends is in the Hand of Allah while the other is in our hands. Whoever adheres to it has indeed grasped the trustworthy handhold which never breaks.
9- It is the wise mention: whoever likes to remember Allah Almighty, there is nothing better than the recitation of His Book, all of which abounds with wisdom.
10- It is the straight path: whoever follows it will not be among those who evoke [Allah’s] anger nor of those who are astray.
11- It is that by virtue of which inclinations never deviate from the truth: whoever seeks to be inclined to its interpretation and rulings, soon his snares will be discovered because Allah Almighty promised to guard it, saying (what means): {Indeed, it is We who sent down the Qur’an and, indeed, We will be its guardian.} [Qur’an 15:9]
12- It is that by which the tongues are never confused because it is an Arabic Qur’an evident in wording and mutawatir in text (collectively contiguous) which no letter has been added to or reduced from.
13- The scholars are never satiated from it because all Sharia sciences stem from the Qur’an and they take what they take from its inexhaustible spring; and whoever likes more will not be able to quench his thirst.
14- It is never considered old regardless of its being repeated so often: every time one recites the Qur’an, he tastes a fresh sweetness in it, as if he is reciting it for the first time; new meanings appear to him, and the believer understands it with a new understanding; and no one feels it is old except him whose insight is blinded by Allah from the even path. Allah Almighty challenged all people to produce even a single verse like it, and this challenge will be in force till the Day of Judgment, and no human being will ever be able to produce a verse like it.
15- Its wonders never die out: the wonders which emerged after the death of the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, were more numerous than those which appeared during his life, and what will appear in the future is even more.
16- It is that which prompted the Jinn, when they heard it, to say (what means): {… Indeed, we have heard an amazing Qur’an. It guides to the right course…} [Qur’an 72:1-2] It is the Book of Allah to guide men and jinn, and what amazed the jinn amazes men more, and what guides the jinn to the right course guides men to a better right course.
17- Whoever speaks with it is truthful because the whole of it is true and nothing else.
18- Whoever acts upon it will be rewarded because if one acts according to its principles and laws, Allah multiplies, for him, one good deed by ten times the like of it, up to what Allah wills.
19- Whoever judges by it will be just, whether with himself, his family, the community or the people. There is nothing but justice in it.
20- Whoever invites to it will be guided to a straight path because it is the guide of the callers to Allah, the truth and the straight path.
Does this hadith not have the most comprehensive, the most accurate and the most wonderful description of the Noble Qur’an? No doubt, the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, was given the keys of eloquent speech, and about him, Allah says (what means): {Nor does he speak from [his own] inclination. It is not but a revelation revealed.} [Qur’an 53:3-4]

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Chronological analysis of the Holy Qur’an
The Qur’an was revealed in Arabic to the Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam (may Allah exalt his mention) over a period of 23 years from 610-632 CE. In the first 13 years of the revelation, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, was living in Makkah. Persecution, at the hands of the tribe of Quraysh then forced him, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, and his companions, may Allah be pleased with them, to leave for Al-Madinah, in what is known as the Hijrah (immigration), where he lived the last 10 years.
The 114 chapters of the Holy Qur’an are not listed in the chronological order of their revelation. This special order, however, was inspired to the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, by Allah, the Most Exalted, so it is a genuine quality of the Qur’an. Each chapter is described as either Makkan or Madinan, depending on whether the majority of its verses were revealed before or after the Hijrah.
Knowing the chronological order in which the different Surahs (Qur’anic chapters) or verses were revealed can be of importance in some cases. And even though this may not be possible for all of the 6,234 verses, because the sequence was recorded at anytime, through sound Ijtihad (research) and analysis, scholars were capable of putting together the cases where authentic reports confirmed such order and the cases where that order was made clear.
These efforts resulted in the development of a method in which the revelation of the Qur’an was looked at in chronological terms as well as dividing revelation into Makki (Makkan) and Madani (Madinah) types or periods.
We will first look at some of the benefits of this chronological analysis, then proceed to discuss the Makki and Madani criteria and their use in the Tafseer (interpretation of the Qur’an) and the deduction of Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) rulings.
In the following we will present a very brief look at three main benefits of the chronological analysis of the Qur’an, other benefits and many more examples can be found in Al-Itgan, by Imam As-Suyooti, may Allah have mercy upon him:

Assessment of Rulings’ Abrogation
Abrogation is a term that refers to the cases in which a ruling gets abrogated by another. Simply put, abrogation means the replacement of one verse by another thus reversing or repealing the ruling that was revealed in it. Therefore, if we have a case in which we have two verses that carry in them two rulings which oppose one another and we could reconcile them in a way that is acceptable under the Principles of Fiqh (Jurisprudence), then we look at the chronological order of their revelation to assess which verse carries the abrogated ruling. Obviously, the verse revealed first carries the abrogated ruling, and we should uphold the ruling carried in the late-revealed one.

Examples of that: If we knew that:
1. The verses making Salah (prayer) obligatory were revealed in Makkah before the Hijrah [migration of Prophet Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, and his companions may Allah be pleased with them from Makkah to Madinah].
2. The verses making Zakah (the Poor Due) and Sawm (fasting) obligatory were revealed during the second year of Hijrah, and
3. The verses that established the obligation of Haj (pilgrimage to Makkah) were revealed in the sixth year of Hijrah.
We would know the sequence in which these pillars of Islam were established.

Appreciation of the Gradual Process in Legislation
This is an important part of the general message of Islam, especially the aspect related to making prohibitions and having people go through major changes of lifestyle. Knowledge of the chronology of how these aspects were made in the early period of Islam leads one to appreciate the wisdom behind the gradual process of legislation. A good example of this is the prohibition of inebriants. First, people were told they are bad but may have some benefit, as in the verse (which means): “They ask you (O Muhammad , sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) about wine and gambling. Say, ‘In them is great sin and [yet, some] benefit for people.’” [Qur’an 2:219]
Then they were told not to drink before Salah, through the verse (which means): “O you who have believed, do not approach prayer while you are intoxicated ...” [Qur’an 4:43]
And later inebriants were prohibited altogether, through the verse (which means): “O you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants, gambling, [sacrificing on] stone alters [to other than Allah], and divining arrows are but defilement from the work of Satan, so avoid it that you may be successful.” [Qur’an 5:90]
In this example we notice the way the legislation considered the fact that drinking was a major solid part of the Arabs’ social life. But the gradual approach used in indicating its harms and making it prohibited on them made it easy for them to accept, a realistic approach which we can all learn from.

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