In the name of Allah (Almighty God) The Most Compassionate, The Most Merciful. In a recent previous article, I talked about the concept of "the only true religion". As I said then, religions throughout human history were created by people in order to explain things that they did not and could not understand. In some cases they worshipped or revered nature as with many religious traditions of native peoples of Africa, Australia, The Americas, and ancient Europeans. In some cases they worshipped a man or mythical men and women as great powerful deities such as that of the Ancient Egyptians, the Ancient Greeks and Romans and to some extent Roman Catholic Christians. Still others seemed to base worship on the self as in Buddhism. Some say that there is NO supernatural power or if there is it is no consequence to us, such as in Atheism and Secular Humanism. All of these religious traditions have good points, but none contain viable, reasonable explanations for the real and ultimate source of existence. Ultimately, it can be reasonably and rationally deduced, as it was by philosophers such as Renee' Descartes, that finite things, meaning everything in the universe, cannot be ultimately created by other finite things. If so you're left with the concept of infinite regression; a phenomenon by which there is no actual beginning. In other words if life on Earth came from the primordial ooz, and the Earth created the primordial ooze, and the Earth was created of the Sun, and the Sun created out of the center of the galaxy, and the galaxy created in the "big bang" when a small dense bundle of mass exploded.......then what created that bundle of mass, and then what created that, and what created that, and so on, and so on. This is reasonably, rationally and actually physically impossible. Thus there must be an ultimate and infinitely powerful source from which all things originate. This infinitely divine force is thus the only thing worthy of any kind of worship or exaltation because it is therefore the only thing that we truly owe our existence to. So, therefore the conclusion is that all religion is rubbish, except, that which simply calls humans back to communion with that one divine, infinitely powerful source. That is the only thing that can be reasonably, rationally and scientifically sound.
However, we then are left with the question, "Does that infinitely divine power communicate with us?". Deists believe the answer is no. Deism is the belief that there is indeed an infinitely powerful source of creation but that it does not communicate with its creation. This would be a viable argument if it weren't for the fact that human beings, by their very nature, are creatures of faith. Even Atheists have faith, because it cannot be proven "scientifically" that The Divine DOESN'T exist no more than it can't be proven scientifically that it DOES exist. We are thus programmed to engage in some form of faith. Faith comes from someone or something conveying information to us, and then with or without tangible evidence, we believe it to be true. For example no one can see, feel, smell or touch an atom, however because of the effects we see of them, we believe, or you could say, we have "faith" that they exist. In the religious realm, faith comes from someone conveying information about The Divine or the supernatural to the masses and those masses consequently believing or having "faith" in that information. If we take into consideration that all religion is nonsense except for that which calls human beings to understanding and communion with that one infinitely divine source of all that is, then likewise all faith is null and void except for faith based on information that conforms to that ultimate reality.
Almost every religion has a belief in this ultimate infinitely divine source of power, including religious traditions that are understood to be polytheistic or paganistic. In Hinduism there is a belief in Rahman, which they understand to be the infinitely divine source of all creation, and then all of their subsequent gods and goddesses are only different manifestations of that infinitely divine force, and they pray to statues of those gods and goddesses as a way to channel and focus their prayer toward the "real" source of power, Rahman. Native Americans, while they revered many spirits of nature, also knew of the "great spirit" from which all things came.
In the history of human civilization, amidst all of these different religious traditions that arose to explain the unexplainable, there has been one thread that has continued to exist in perpetuity that despite occasional deviation due to the natural flawed nature of humans, has indeed called human beings back to realization and communion with that infinitely divine source of all existence. Evidence of that thread appears in scriptural books such as the five books of Moses, the Psalms of David, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and others. Because these texts and revelations call human beings toward the worship of nothing besides that infinitely divine force, they are and can only be the true revelation of that infinitely divine force. As I stated earlier many of these texts were corrupted by humans at various points in their history, but the ultimate message still rings through them; There is nothing worthy of worship EXCEPT that infinitely divine force from which all creation originates.
Throughout all of these revealed scriptures, The Divine uses the great miracles of humanity as its medium. The great miracles of humanity could be narrowed down to reason, law, spirituality and language. It may seem odd at first, but really when you think about it these four things are the pillars of humanity. Every human civilization that has ever existed can be broken down into these four categories. It is ultimately these four things that distinguish humans from all other creatures both natural and supernatural.
Many millennia ago, a man named Abraham walked the Earth. His father was an idol maker; making idols that people of the time worshipped as gods. Abraham reasoned that this was absurd and illogical. These figures of clay and wood had no real power to help nor harm anyone. His rejection of these superstitious beliefs led to great conflict and eventual exile from his community. One night he looked to the night sky and saw a star and said, "perhaps this is my god". When that star vanished from the sky he said "this cannot be a god because it goes away". Then he saw the moon and again said "perhaps this is my god" but when the moon set he again said, "a true god cannot disappear". Once more when he saw the sun he said, "perhaps this is my god", but when the sun set, Abraham had an epiphany. He realized that the only true "god", was the force that was behind all of these things and indeed everything that existed. He, through the miraculous human gift of reason, came to realization of the existence of The Divine, and upon that realization he not only communed with The Divine but The Divine communed with him. Bestowing on him the gift of prophecy and made him a messenger to his people.
Some time after Abraham had long passed, lived a man named Moses. He was a descendant of Abraham through Abraham's son Isaac and of a people known as the "Children of Israel". At the time the Children of Israel were enslaved under the self proclaimed "god", Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt. While Moses was raised in the Pharaohs household, he still was a "Jew", and upon accidentally killing a soldier of Pharaoh who was beating a Jewish worker, was made a fugitive from that land. It was during his days in the wilderness that The Divine chose him to be a messenger, speaking to him through a burning bush. Moses subsequently returned to Pharaoh demanding that the Children of Israel be free and came with miraculous plagues to support his position against the Pharaoh. Upon the freedom of the Children of Israel, The Divine revealed the next major human revelation through Moses; this time based on the next great miraculous gift of humanity...law. These laws found in today's Torah served as the first divinely inspired civic and social legal framework for human kind to live by, including civil, criminal, matrimonial, dietary and martial laws. This would become the greatest legacy of the Prophet Moses.
Amongst the Children of Israel there once lived a small boy named David. This small boy, who began life modestly, became the hero of his people upon defeating a mammoth of a man named Goliath from amongst the Philistines, the enemies of the Children of Israel. David eventually became a king, and more importantly, The Divine inspired in him the next major revelation to humanity, the Psalms. This time, The Divine used another of humanity's great miracles, language. The Psalms were song and poetry, that praised, gave thanks to, and explained the nature of The Divine.
Human beings have always had an attachment and fascination with the supernatural, our existence after death and the spiritual elements of our own selves. Again, from amongst the Children of Israel, came by far the most miraculous of all prophets, and indeed probably the most miraculous of all humans save maybe Adam (the first human). Jesus of Nazareth was born of a pure virgin mother, Mary, in which The Divine created Jesus in Mary's womb without the seed of a human male. Upon Jesus's birth he spoke as an infant in the arms of his mother to defend her honor from wicked accusations of the Jewish aristocracy. As a boy he spent time not learning, but actually TEACHING Jewish law in the Temple of Jerusalem, and as a man set about to bring the Children of Israel back to the spiritual elements of their faith that they had long forgotten. Jewish tradition had become at that time very dogmatic, ritualistic and devoid of inward, spiritual qualities that had been the legacy of great prophets like David. Most importantly, Jesus was the Messiah, prophesied in the book of Isaiah, come to be the savior of the Jewish people. His allegories and parables sparked deep inward reflection, inspired deep and undying love for one's fellow man, and most importantly, drew every individual who reflected upon his words back to communion with The Divine. While his enemies attempted to kill him, Jesus Christ was raised up and saved from their hands, and in the end days he will return to complete and fulfill his duty not only as the Messiah of the Children of Israel, but indeed the Messiah of Humanity.
All of these great prophets came with revelations that were testaments to the glory and majesty of The Divine. But The Divine wasn't done yet. The Divine revealed to Moses in his book of Deuteronomy, "I will raise up a prophet from amongst your brethren, and will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I command him" (18:18).
And then later, The Divine revealed through Jesus Christ the prophecy of another to come, a comforter and a spirit of truth. Jesus, peace and blessings be upon him said, "Nevertheless I tell you the truth, it is expedient for you that I go away. For if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you, but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment. Of sin because they believe not in me. Of righteousness because I go unto the Father, and you see me no more. Of judgment because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to tell you, but you cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth, for he shall not speak of himself but whatsoever he hears, that he shall speak, and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me, for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you" (John 16:7-14).
It is clear from these prophecies that The Divine's complete anthology was not completed with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the revelation to Moses, The Divine notes that this prophet would be raised amongst their brethren. Up until Christ, the main lineage of prophets came from the Children of Israel, who are descended of Abraham through his Isaac. Abraham had another son named Ishmael who is considered the father of the Arabs. The revelation in Deuteronomy seems to indicate that this last great prophet will come from "the brethren" of the Children of Israel, the Arabs. In the mid 7th century in a town called Mecca, in Arabia, just such a prophet was called to the service of The Divine with the initial command, "READ!!! In the name of your Lord who created! Created man from a single congealed clot of blood. READ!!! for your Lord is most bountiful! Who taught the use of the pen, and taught man that which he knows not!!" (Qur'an 96:1-5)
The Prophet Muhammad is also most definitely the "comforter" prophesied by Christ in that Christ himself says, "he will glorify me". The prophet Muhammad praised Christ exceedingly and exposed his followers to honor Christ, AND the followers of Christ in that time period. In both Deuteronomy and in John it is said that this prophet would speak not of himself but what he is inspired to speak, and that was the miracle of the Qur'an.
While previous revelations used various different miracles of mankind to the exemplify the glory of The Divine, the last revelation of the Qur'an utilized ALL of them. The Qur'an constantly implores mankind to "think" and to "reason" and to contemplate the miracle of creation. The story of Abraham quoted above is found in the Qur'an. In Surah al Rahman (The Chapter of Mercy) The Divine says, "The most Merciful, taught the Qur'an, created mankind, and taught him eloquence of speech, the sun and the moon in precise orbits, and the stars and trees prostrate in adoration, and the heaven he raised and imposed balance, that you may transgress the balance. Establish weight with justice, and do not upset the balance. The earth he laid out for his creatures. Therein is fruit and palms with sheaths, and corn with husks for fodder, and sweet smelling plants. So which of the favors of your Lord will you deny?" In this the Divine encourages us to contemplate creation as the signs of His existence. The Qur'an includes law, giving rules for inheritance, marriage, diet, and warfare. It speaks eloquently of the spiritual nature of man and the need for an intimate relationship with The Divine.
Perhaps the most profound element of the Qur'an, is its language. In 7th century Arabia, poets were the rock stars of their day. Their mastery of the Arabic language was second none (in other languages) in the world. The word "Qur'an" means literally "recitation", and the primarily miracle of it was that the entire Qur'an is basically, a long and complex poem. Poetry that none of the great Arab poets could even begin to match. In the Qur'an, The Divine makes the challenge, "And if you are in doubt about what we have revealed to our servant, then produce a chapter like it! And call your witnesses and helpers besides God, if you are true" (Qur'an 2:23).
The entire Qur'an flows together as a poem, weaving in and out of different stories from our past, instructions on how to live, revelations of our afterlife and more, with a constant refrain of coming back to, "And God is Most Great...And God is Most Merciful...And God sees and hears all...etc...". The complexity of the Qur'an is also understood only by understanding it in its original language...Arabic. While English translations are useful for having at least a partial understanding of the message of some verses, it is absolutely impossible to accurately translate the Qur'an into any language. As a native speaker of English, I'm always learning more and more about the Arabic language of the Qur'an, and the more I pick away at that knowledge, the more I realize how truly miraculous it is. The Qur'an came in bits and pieces throughout the life and ministry of the Prophet Muhammad. It could be compared to doing a massive jigsaw puzzle in which the pieces are dumped out on a table, and you have no picture of what its supposed to look like. Gradually piece by piece it comes together, each piece relating to specific topics and issues taking place at that time, and then by the end, when the last piece was put into place only shortly before the prophets death, you stand back and look at this beautiful masterpiece, unmatchable by even the best of artisans in the world.
Another aspect of the miracle of the Qur'an is its preservation. The Divine says in the Qur'an, "We have sent down this reminder, and We will preserve it" (Qur'an 15:9). The Holy Qur'an is today, in its original Arabic, the exact same as it was in the time of the prophet Muhammad. Nothing has ever been added or taken away, and this is confirmed by even secular scholars and scholars of other religions. Moreover, the Qur'an, while it is compiled in book form and other digital formats, is primarily preserved in the minds and hearts of those who have memorized the entire thing....word for word. These people, known as a hafiz, are the primary preservers of the Qur'an.
The Holy Qur'an represents the culmination of The Divine's revelation to humanity. The seal of His message to us on how to understand Him, and to live our lives according to His will. The Qur'an, along with the Gospels of Christ, the Psalms of David, the Torah of Moses and the revelation of Abraham represent The Divine's communication with us, His creation. Our task is to try and understand them in context, and to come to that most important fundamental and indeed ONLY true act of religiosity.....To know the reality of God, and to come to communion with Him.
...And Allah (The Divine) Knows Best...