Al-Baqarah, 01-02: The Divine Introduction

سُوۡرَةُ البَقَرَة

This surah has a dynamic opening. It begins with the ‘Three Categories of Mankind”: the righteous, the disbelievers and the hypocrites, so we would know where we belong, then act appropriately so as to correct ourselves. In Al-Fatihah, we asked Allah to show us the way of those on whom He has bestowed his Grace. So here, Allah (swt) directs us to His Book in response that all our answers lie here, and in order to stay guided, we should adopt the traits of the Righteous. Read on…
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
الٓمٓ (١) ذَٲلِكَ ٱلۡڪِتَـٰبُ لَا رَيۡبَ‌ۛ فِيهِ‌ۛ هُدً۬ى لِّلۡمُتَّقِينَ (٢)
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. 

“Alif Lam Mim.” [Al-Baqarah, 02:01]

These isolated letters found in the beginning of different surahs are called al-huruf-ul-muqatta’at. The correct position about them is that their meaning is not known to anybody. It is a divine secret that may be disclosed only by Allah in the Hereafter. Since no practical issue depends on their knowledge, our ignorance about them does not have any adverse effect on our faith or practice. [The Meanings of the Noble Qur’an, Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani]

So you see the dynamic opening? Right from the beginning, the Qur’an calls out a challenge. O mankind, no matter how much you think you know and no matter what heights of technology you reach, you can never unveil anything until Allah wills.

Allah says in surah Isra, 85:
“You have been given but very little of knowledge.”

So when Allah says Alif Lam Mim, we read it, we believe it and we accept that and no one but Allah knows the true meaning of it.

This is the Book (the Qur’ân), whereof there is no doubt,…

In this world where we are always so unsure about things, Allah seems to call us to His mercy…come towards Me, read My book with faith and trust My judgement…

Right from the beginning Allah (swt) gives a strong introduction of His Book in one short sentence. For a person who really wants to benefit from this Book, it is necessary that he clears his mind of all previously formed opinions and self-made principles. Instead of scrutinizing the Qur’an on our limited understanding of things, we should let this Word of Allah be the judge of our philosophies. For this Book contains NO doubtful statement. It is based on His personal knowledge and wisdom, so it’s only logical that we let the Qur’an be the Criterion of everything around us.

“…a guidance to those who are Al-Muttaqûn.” [Al-Baqarah, 02:02]

Al-Muttaqun, by definition are the pious and righteous persons who fear Allâh much by abstaining from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which He has forbidden, and they love Allâh much by performing all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained.

So if we try to understand the Qur’an with the intention of mending our ways, seeking Allah’s (swt) pleasure and gaining piety, then to us will Allah show His way. ‘Cause then we will be provided with a Standard to differentiate between the right and the wrong. We would be granted wisdom and the ability to make the right decision at the right time (be it any religious or worldly affair).

I remember, when we were analyzing this verse, our Qur’an instructor had warned us: “Those of you who have come here to satisfy your intellectual cravings can leave.” [Many university and college students had frowned upon this, including me.]…”True, the Qur’an points out many scientific and historical facts, but unless the required level of piety is reached, you will not be benefitted. Unless you let the fear of Allah rule over your heart and unless you understand this Book the way the Prophet taught it, you will not be able to interpret it correctly nor will you be able to reach the right conclusions.”

And then the following hadith was quoted:

“If anyone seeks knowledge to use it in vying with the scholars, or debating with the foolish, or to attract attention to himself, Allah will bring Him into Hell.” [Tirmidhi]

Allah (swt) summarizes it all: My Book contains no false statements. If you want direction or guidance from it, you will get it if you fear Me.

So how is this love-and-fear relationship with Allah developed? Stay tuned till the next post. 🙂

Implement these verses:

  • Clear your head of all suspicions and prejudices when you read the Qur’an
  • Cross check your intentions while reflecting on the Qur’an
  • Give this Book of Allah its due place in your heart; revere it, understand it, act upon it and recite it daily

One thought on “Al-Baqarah, 01-02: The Divine Introduction

  1. Here’s something to get you going: The Prophet (pbuh) said:

    “The Qur’an will meet its companion in the shape of a pale-faced man on the Day of Resurrection when his grave is opened. The Qur’an will ask him,
    ‘Do you know me’
    The man will say, ‘I do not know you.’
    The Qur’an will say, ‘I am your companion, the Qur’an, which has brought you thirst during the heat and made you stay up during the night. Every merchant has his certain trade. But, this Day, you are behind all types of trade.’
    Kingship will then be given to him in his right hand, eternal life in his left hand and the crown of grace will be placed on his head. His parents will also be granted two garments that the people of this life could never afford.
    They will say, ‘Why were we granted these garments’
    It will be said, ‘Because your son was carrying the Qur’an.’

    It will be said (to the reader of the Qur’an), ‘Read and ascend through the levels of Paradise.’ He will go on ascending as long as he recites, whether reciting slowly or quickly.”

    [Narrated by Ahmad]

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