Today, we’re going to answer the following question:
How do we speak to non-Muslims about the Quran?
How can we introduce the Quran to non-Muslims?
Because, you know, there is a lot of nonsense out there spoken about the Quran. There are a lot of misconceptions, there is a lot of deliberate mischief.
Well I want us to avoid all the mischief and avoid all the misconceptions and speak to you as a Muslim, and say what Muslims believe to you about the Quran.
You know, I’ve been Muslim now for 14 years or so, Alhamdulillah, and the more I know of the Quran, first of all the more ignorant I realize I am about the Quran; but two, the more beautiful I see the Quran to be.
Even recently, I was in London not long ago, and I heard a talk from a Muslim scholar, and he was talking about the Quran, in answering to a question, and he gave a very beautiful idea which I will share with you, the idea isn’t mine, I share it with you.
He described the Quran and said: “Imagine a building site, you go to visit a building site and all you see on the building site are heaps of sand and cement and buckets of water and bricks here and bricks there, people rushing around and moving about, and you would have no idea looking at the building site what the building is going to look like.
The only one on that site who has a vision in his mind of what the building will look like is the architect. He knows what the final building will be like. Well, this speaker who was talking about the Quran said: “The Quran is like that”.
When the Quran was revealed, it was revealed over 23 years and it was revealed in this city and in that city maybe, two parts of the same verse were revealed 20 years apart, and maybe the second part was revealed first and then the first part of the verse was revealed 15 years later and anyone looking at all the bits of the Quran that were revealed wouldn’t quite understood what the final thing would look like. Allah alone, the architect of all things, knew what it was going to look like.
And then right at the end, the angel Gabriel and Prophet Muhammad – he revealed to Prophet Muhammad – the order the Quran would be revealed in. And what we have now, the Quran that we look at that was put together by Prophet Muhammad and Angel Gabriel it brought together all the verses revealed in different places over 23 years and put into the order we find them today.
And you know the extraordinary thing, like that building site, we find one verse was revealed here, one verse was revealed there for a particular reason in answer to a particular situation… then when it was all put together, the most extraordinary thing happened, the most miraculous thing happened. We find that there are rhymes within verses, that there are themes and sub-themes within verses that no one could possibly have imagined when they were been revealed at the time.
You get the idea?
They were revealed here and there piece by piece but when it was all put together a whole existed that no one could have imagined. It was like all the parts of the jigsaw were all put together. The architect of it all knew what it will say in the end. But people looking at it here and there just thought these verses were responding to particular situations. When they were all put together at the end, the situation they responded to was maybe completely different to what they were originally revealed for.
So in this little thing, it teaches us something about the Quran. The Quran is a miracle of Allah; the Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). You know, some of the people who like to cause mischief say that “Prophet Muhammad invented the Quran, it was all of his own making.”
Well I hope that showing you that idea of the building site it would have be impossible for any human being to make such a perfect, I’m not a mathematician but there are other scholars who go through the Quran and say how many rhymes appear how many times and how many words appear here… there is an extraordinary symmetry within the Quran that is quite miraculous. Leave all that to one side, it’s all very beautiful.
Another thing I’d like to tell you about the Quran if you are not Muslim is that the Quran we look at today, it was revealed 14 hundred years ago, if you look at any Quran from any country from any century of the last 14 hundred years and you will see that it is exactly the same Quran, it is completely without change.
The Quran was revealed orally, it was revealed not in writing. It was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) by the angel Gabriel orally and then Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, remembered the verses and told other people and they learned the verses by heart.
Not one person, but the whole community. He revealed what had been revealed to him and then they all memorized it and then eventually, some years, not too many years later, they all got together and said “well is this what was revealed.. yes this is what was revealed… no that word is wrong… the whole community got together and agreed on what they had all remembered and the Quran was put together. It was written down but it’s meant to be listened to, it’s meant to be recited it’s not meant to be a written book. It was revealed for us to hear.
So if you’re not Muslim, a little thing I would encourage you to do is listen to the Quran.
You know, some people say “Oh, I’ve read the Quran” as if to say and I know everything about it.
You know, the Quran is the word of Almighty God, it’s not a history text book, it’s not a science manual; it’s the word of God speaking to us. It’s not something you just begin one page and finish right at the end, we must read it with a certain reverence. When Muslims read the Quran, they wash their hands, they keep the Quran in a place of honor, in their homes the Quran is kept in a place of honor, it is never put on the floor for example; it’s treated with courtesy. The Quran is not something we take lightly, it’s Allah Almighty speaking to us.
And what is He saying?
Well, as Muslims we believe the Quran is the final message of God Almighty to mankind, had He spoken to mankind before?” Yes He had, in many ways through many messages.
But as Muslims, I said this before, but I repeat it now, we believe that the Quran confirms everything that had gone before it if it was true. It denies or gets rid of anything that goes before it that was false, and if there are things in previous books that had gone before it that the Quran doesn’t speak about, well as Muslims we don’t know whether they are true or false.
So for example, in one of the Gospels chosen by the Christian church to be part of their canonical scripture, or in the four, it tells us that Jesus is the son of God, whereas the Quran tells us that he is not.
So as Muslims we believe that the mistakes made in the past regarding this teaching were corrected by the Quran. The Gospels chosen by the Christian church tell us that Jesus died on the cross, the Quran tells us of a certainty they crucified him not, he did not die on the cross. So as Muslims, we take that previous teaching and say that was wrong.
But if there were things in the Gospel and the Torah that the Quran confirms we say yes they are true, and if there are things in the Gospel and in the Torah that are not in the Quran well we don’t know where they come from.
So if we’re telling people about the Quran, we’re telling people the Quran is the final word of Almighty God, Allah, to mankind. It’s His last word; it’s like the instruction manual for life; it’s telling us how to live our lives as Allah Almighty wants us to live.
You know it’s easy, you can take a verse here or a verse there and those mischief makers often do this, they take a word out of context. You know, I did a debate at Cambridge University once and someone asked a question, he said: “Sir, what about all of these quotations of the Quran” and he read about killing people and doing this. I said I’m very pleased you asked that question.
I said I’ve got my own list and I read a list from the Bible and it was about slaughtering babies and bashing the heads against stone and ripping babies from the mother’s womb and at the end I said “my dear friend I no more believe that those quotations sum up the teachings of Judaism or Christianity, than I believe that the words you’ve quoted me reflect the teaching of the Quran. We must understand all of the words in context.”
A final thought for those mischief-makers, you know, they like to tell us as Muslims what we believe. Well I’m tired with non-Muslims telling me what I believe as a Muslim. You know Muslims do not believe what mischief makers would have us believe.
Final word, the Quran is the word of God. It’s the word of Allah, His final word to His creation.
I encourage you to listen to it.
Assalamu Alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.