Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Thematic Commentary On The Qu'ran: Al Ikhlas [Purity of Faith ]


....If you guys have not got your own copy of Shaykh Muhammad al Ghazali's seminal work, "A Thematic Commentary On The Quran" , yet, perhaps this short thematic commentary by him on Surah Al Ikhlas [ 112 : 1-4 ] could persuade you to grab yours from ...

GOD IS ONE. He is neither two or three. He has no spouse or offspring. He is Supreme and Omnipotent. The Qur'an tells us: " God says, 'Do not take two gods; He is the One God, so fear Me "[al-Nahl: 51] Elsewhere in the Qur'an, we read: "Do not say 'three gods.' Refrain from saying so for your own good. God is but One God; far too highly glorified is He to have a son" [al- Nisa: 171]

The principle of tawhid is the very soul of Islam. In comparision to God, as we come to know Him through the Qur'an, everything and everyone else is utterly powerless and helpless. The Qur'an abounds with strong arguments supporting this principle:

Never has God begotten a son, nor has there ever been any other god besides Him. Were the opposite to be true, each god would govern his own creation, and some would have overwhelmed others. Exalted be God above their falsehood. He knows the unknown as well as the manifest.[al-Mu'minun: 91-92]

Were there other gods in the heavens and earth besides God, both heavens and earth would have been ruined. None shall question Him regarding His works, but all else shall be questioned.[al-Anbiya: 22-23]

Advocates of the doctrine of Trinity believe in three coequal partners in the godhead, who are in fact one: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, existing in total harmony.

They also believe in the crucifixion of Jesus, which raises the question: who was actually crucified: one of the three or all three? If the three are one, and the 'one' was crucified, does that mean that God was out of existence for a time before He came back to the world? But if the Son only was crucified, how could he be 'God'?

People are, of course, free to believe what they wish to believe, and this surah, which is said to be equivalent to'one third' of the Qur'an, gives a most concise definition of the essence of Islamic belief. "Say, God is one.The Eternal God. He begot none, nor was He begotten. None is equal to Him."[112: 1-4] God is unique, and there is nothing that can be likened to Him. There is nothing that can be equal to Him. He could, therefore, have neither been a father nor a son. He is the Eternal to whom all creation refers and will return.

The very nature of the cosmic structure does not allow for multiple gods. It is nonsensical to believe that there is an independent god for the sun and another for the earth, or one for the animal kingdom and another for the plants, or one for the African continent and another for Europe. The cosmic order is an integrated whole, set up, designed, run, and controlled by a single self-sufficient power. This power regulates the operation of the human digestive system and the orbiting of planets and stars in the infinite universe. The plants grow out of the ground, the dawn breaks every day, and the sun and the moon move in their charted courses in accordance with His will.

Rational and sensible contemplation of these issues could only lead us to believe that there is only the one God, without a partner, the Sovereign, to Whom belongs all the praise, the All-Powerful and Omnipotent.

1 comment:

Pearls & Gem said...

One can say The Glorious Qur'an is so easy to read and comprehend, one do not need a 'tafsir'or a commentary to understand it.That would be a gross fallacy.There is a dearth of commentary works in the English language. I do not consider Abdullah Ali's work as a commentary, as it is more an English's transliteration of the Qur'an.
Ibnu Katsir's work , translated to English may be too voluminous for those beginning student of the Qur'an.
Hamka's Tafsir al Azhar to my mind is excellent for those wanting to study the Qur'an in Bahasa.The examples he gave are very 'familiar' to our experience in this Nusantara and the beauty about doing Hamka is that this humble man did not assume he is the only expert muffasirin or exegist. So one get all views.Great read ,his 10 volume work.Took me 3 years to finish when I was in my early thirties.
I must warn you that reading the Qur'an as a standalone[ without the help of a commentary ] is like sailing on the high seas without a compass.
Just take Surah al Tawbah[Surah 9].If one read it without help, one would think the early Muslims and Muhammad were very warring and war-happy, all-conquering. This could not be furthest from the truth.All the ayats were inspired went early Muslims were surrounded by people who were ready to have it 'killed in the bud', from within and without.
I wish you guys many happy days discovering Muhammad al Ghazali's brillaince.May your Ramadan and mine be a blessed one, Insyaallah!