The last book from Allah (SWT) descended from the heavens in stages and changed the world forever. It guided the hearts of the first generation of Companions from the darkness of injustice and immorality into the light of purity and goodness. The keys to the salvation of mankind are contained within the pages of the greatest book and the loving guidance of the greatest Prophet (SAW). With the Qur’an firmly fixed in the hearts of the first believers, an unparalleled Islamic Nation was established which brought fear to the hearts of its enemies and made safe its citizens who lived happily within its borders. However, the book which was so eagerly received, memorised and applied by the first companions, now sits on many shelves all over the world, unopened, unloved and ignored.
At the beginning of this series, we related the story about the angel Jibril bringing an important message from Allah (SWT) to the Prophet Muhammad (SAW). When Jibril asked the Prophet (SAW), “What is Iman?”, he responded by saying: “It is to believe in Allah, in His Angels, in Paradise, in the Hellfire, in resurrection after death, and in Divine Preordainment in its entirety (which is to believe that Allah (SWT) has already decreed everything that happens in our lives, both in terms of blessings and hardships.)” (Ahmad).
In other narrations of this same hadith, the Arkan of Iman (Pillars of Faith) also includes belief in His Books and His Prophets (Bukhari). In Surah Al Baqarah:285, Allah (SWT) tells us:
“The Messenger believes in what has been sent down to him from his Lord, and (so do) the believers. Each one believes in Allah, His Angels, His Books and His Messengers. (They say,) “We make no distinction between one another of His Messengers” and they say, “We hear and we obey. (We seek) Your forgiveness, Our Lord, and to You is the return of all.”
Some of Allah’s messages came as oral transmissions and others in the form of books. For example, the book of Musa was sent down as a written text, while other books, although written in the Al-Lauh al-Mahfooz (The Preserved Tablet), may have been sent down verbally, like the Qur’an.
The men who brought these messages are referred to as Messengers. Those Messengers who received books were Musa, Dawud, ‘Eesa and Muhammad (peace be upon them all). Others received oral messages, like Prophets Ismaa’eel, Ishaaq, Ya’qoob and others of which we are not aware (peace be upon them all). The various books and messages sent before the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) were aimed specifically at the people they were sent to. Only the Qur’an is the universal guidance for all of mankind, and it is the only book Allah (SWT) promised to preserve until the Last Day.
“Verily, We, it is We Who have sent down the Dhikr (i.e. Qur’an) and surely, We will guard it (from corruption).” (Al-Hijr:9)
The scholar Al Hasan Al-Basri (642 – 728 AD) said: “Allah revealed one hundred and four books, all the knowledge of which was gathered in four books: the Tawraat, the Injeel, the Zaboor and Al-Furqaan (Al Qur’an). Then the knowledge of the three was gathered in the Qur’an.”
The Qur’an is the last, the longest and the most comprehensive of all of the books that Allah (SWT) has sent to mankind. It confirms all of the books that came before it. Anything in the previous books which contradicts the Qur’an is either a distortion, an alteration or those verses have been abrogated.
What do all of Allah’s books have in common?
All of Allah’s books were revealed in the month of Ramadhan, and all of them call mankind to worship Allah (SWT) alone. Other matters of belief included in them all were: believing in the angels, the jinn, the Last Day and the Hereafter.
The concepts of reward and punishment and being called to account for our actions is also a common theme. Allah (SWT) warns us about evil and falsehood and how to avoid it time and again. Throughout His books we know that no person shall bear the burden of another person’s sins and that those who purify themselves for Allah (SWT) alone will be the winners on The Day when there will be no shade but the shade of His Arsh (throne).
All of Allah’s books, brought by His most beloved servants, established justice and fairness. They outlined how to keep our wealth clean, told us to pray and pay charity and finally, after Ibrahim (RA) built the Ka’bah, ordered us to perform Hajj.
Allah (SWT) revealed His books to lovingly guide mankind, to anchor the believers during the storms of life and as lights to guide our way in the blackest of nights. However, Allah’s books were sent for more than spiritual development alone. They were sent to establish the laws needed to govern our lives on earth and make them better. The laws of the various books changed over time but with the revelation of the Qur’an, the laws within it became fixed. Allah (SWT) said:
“This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” (Al-Maidah:3)
The Qur’an is not the only book from Allah (SWT). According to Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah, iman is conviction of the heart, declaration with the tongue and implementation with the limbs. If one of these is missing, iman will be lacking. Therefore, believing in Allah’s final book means we not only read it, but we also believe in its words with all of our hearts and we implement its rules. The implementation of these rules means we set up and live under the guidance of the shari’ah which His Messenger (SAW) reestablished through the Qur’an and Sunnah.
Believing in all of Allah’s books is a pillar of iman; denying Allah’s books are why nations before us were punished and destroyed. Regarding those who turn their backs on the Qur’an, Allah (SWT) informs us that the Prophet (SAW) will say:
…“O my Lord! Verily, my people deserted this Qur’an (neither listened to it, nor acted on its laws and teachings).” (Al-Furqan:30)
Instead, I ask Allah (SWT) to make us from the companions of the Qur’an who pick it up, read it and ponder its meanings on a daily basis. Let us be from the ones whose skin shivers when the verses are recited. Let it change us deeply the way it changed the first generation.
Oh Allah, make us firm on your deen and keep us patient.
Messengers and the Message, In the Light of the Qur’an and Sunnah by ‘Umar S. al-Ashqar
Ann (Umameer) Stock reverted to Islam 27 years ago and lives back and forth between Cairo and Jeddah with her Egyptian husband. She wants to help the next generation of Muslims understand more about their faith.