The Main Theme
The subject matter of the Qur’an is essentially man: man in relation to his Lord and Creator, Allah, man in relation to himself, and man in relation to the rest of creation. The main theme that runs throughout the Qur’an is that Allah Alone deserves worship and that man should submit to Allah’s laws in his personal life and in his relationship with creation in general. Or, in other words, the main theme is a call to the belief in Allah and the doing of righteous deeds as defined by Allah.
If the reader keeps in mind these basic facts, he will find that from the beginning to the end, the Qur’an’s basic topics are all closely connected to its main theme and that the whole book is a well-reasoned and cohesive argument for its theme. The Qur’an keeps the same object in view, whether it is describing the creation of man and the universe, or events from human history. Since the aim of the Qur’an is to guide man, it states or discusses things only to the extent relevant to this aim and leaves out unnecessary and irrelevant details. It also repeats its main theme over and over again in the presentation of each new topic.
The following four principles should be kept in mind by the new reader of the Qur’an if he or she is to avoid unnecessary confusion and disorientation:
1. “The book is the only one of its type in the world.”
2. “Its literary style is quite different from all other books.”
3. “Its theme is unique.”
4. “Pre-conceived notions of a book are only a hindrance to the understanding of the Qur’an.”
The Miracle of The Qur’an
The Miracles Given to the Prophets
Man has a natural distaste towards submitting to another human being unless he is forced to by physical strength or his mental superiority, or if he is shown feats far beyond the human. In the first two cases he yields reluctantly, while in the third he yields because of his belief in a higher force or power defying all human comparison. Because of this, Allah favored His messengers not only with revelation, but also with miracles, clearly proving to the people the divine origin and truthfulness of their messages. The inability of the people to imitate the miracles of the prophets made them willingly bear witness to Allah’s unity and obey the commandments of the prophets.
Due to the difficulties involved in communication and transportation, the early prophets were sent only to the people among whom they were raised. Therefore, the miracles which they brought were particularly suited to the areas of knowledge in which their people excelled in order for the miracles to have the maximum effect on them. For example, Prophet Moosaa (Moses) (Peace be upon him) was raised up among the Egyptians who were noted for their mastery of the occult arts, sorcery, and magic. Allah gave him the miracle of being able to place in hand in his cloak and his hand. When sorcerers and magicians were gathered to challenge Prophet Moosaa (Peace be upon him), the staffs which they cast appeared to the audience as snakes. Then Allah turned Prophet Moosaa’s staff into a real snake which swallowed up the optical illusions of his opponents. That defeat was sufficient proof for the magicians and sorcerers who knew that no man could change the nature of a stick as Moosaa apparently had done. They fell on their faces in submission and sincere belief in the god of Moosaa, in spite of the threats on their lives uttered by their master, the Pharaoh. Another example is that of Prophet ‘Eesaa (Jesus), who was chosen by Allah from among the Jews. The Jews were especially noted for their exceptional abilities in the field of medicine. Jewish doctors were highly respected and revered for their seemingly magical ability to mend bones, heal wounds, and cure the sick. Thus, Allah favored Prophet ‘Eesaa (Peace be upon him) with the miraculous ability to make the blind see, the lame walk, and bring the dead back to life. These abilities were clearly beyond those of the Jewish doctors of that day and they knew well that no mere man could do feats.
Yet, Allah gave Prophet ‘Eesaa (Peace be upon him) an even more dazzling miracle: he was able to mold birds out of clay, breathe on them, and they would fly away. Since the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was to be the last of the prophets, sent not only to a particular people, but to all of mankind, Allah gave him a miracle which not only amazed the people among whom he was raised, but which would challenge and amaze the human mind until the last days of this world. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), like the other prophets before him, was given a number of other miracles whose effects were basically limited to the people of his time; for example, the splitting of the moon at his tribe’s request for a sign, the outpouring of water from his hands on one occasion when he and his companions were short of water, and the phenomenon of pebbles and rocks giving Salaams to him (greeting him with the phrase,“Assalaamu‘alaykum,’ which means “Peace be on you”), just to mention a few. However, the miracle of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) which was consistent with Allah’s aid to the prophets before him was a literary miracle.
The Arabs had very little in the way of unique skills or accumulated knowledge, but they took great pride in their oratory and literary skills. Yearly contests were held in fairs like that of ‘Ukkaadh, in which many lines of speeches and poetry were recited from memory. Their language had reached development and eloquence and was considered the highest quality human being could possess. In fact, the ten most famous poems were so revered that they were etched in gold and hung in the Ka‘bah for “Alif Laam Meem” or “Qaaf” or “Noon,’ tantalizing the Arab mind, as if they say “from these letters which you combine to form your daily conversations, as well as your great works of poetry and prose, is formed a book whose shortest chapter does not exceed three lines, yet you cannot imitate it no matter how hard you try!”
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) stated,
“All Prophets were given something which would cause people to believe in them. The thing which I was given is none other than a revelation (the Qur’an) which Allah revealed to me. So I hope that I will have the most followers of them on the Day of Judgement.”
 Maududi, Abu Ala; The Meaning of the Qur’an (Islamic Pub Ltd.), Pakistan, Second Edition, 1971, vol.2, p.7.
 Reported by Abu Hurayrah and collected by al-Bukhari (Sahih al-Bukhari (Arabic- English), vol.6, p.474, no.504) and Muslim.
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