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Studying the Quran as a Source of Culture and Knowledge

August 7, 2014 Leave a comment

 

The Quran contains a great deal of information about the prophets who appeared before the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon them) as well as the different peoples who were destroyed because of their refusal to obey Allah’s laws.

 
If someone wanted to learn about such people as a matter of culture and learning, one can find this needed information in the Quran. Obviously, the historical information stated in the Quran is not meant to teach the Muslims history but is meant for much more than that, as shall be noted below. As Murad advised,

Do not read it merely for intellectual pursuit and pleasure; even though you must apply your intellect to the full to the task of understanding the Quran. So many people spend a lifetime in studying the language, style, history, geography, law and ethics of the Quran, and yet their lives remain untouched by its message. The Quran frequently refers to people who have knowledge but do not derive benefit from it.

[Khurram Murad, Way to the Quran (Leicester, UK: The Islamic Foundation, 1 985), p. 28.]

 

 

In fact, in the history of Islam, many people got distracted by delving into this aspect of the Quran in great detail. They attempted to discover all of the details that they could about the people that Allah talks about in the Quran. That is why one can find in some of the books of Quranic commentary discussions of the following issues: the type of tree from which Adam ate, the type of wood Noah used to build his ark, the names and types of birds that Abraham killed and were brought back to life, the names of the Companions of the Cave as well as the name of their dog, the price for which Joseph was sold, the name of the ruler who debated with Abraham and numerous other details that Allah has left unmentioned in the Quran.

[Ibn Katheer, Tafseer al-Quran al-Adheem, p . 14]

 

 

 

None of that type of information was necessary as everything that the Muslims need for guidance is contained in the Quran. Unfortunately, many did not grasp this point and turned to unauthentic sources to discover the history of the prophets and people mentioned in the Quran. Regrettably, much of the unauthentic information they uncovered found its way into many of the commentaries on the Quran.

 

 

Included in this category of people could be those who read the Quran simply for its linguistic and artistic beauty. They tum to the Quran to read pure and beautiful Arabic and to study the prose of the Arabic language. Or, perhaps, they study the Quran as a type of art. Their Quranic study does not go beyond that; therefore, they miss the true purpose of the Quran.

 

[How to approach and understand the Quran by Jamal al Din Zarabozo, page 88-89]

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