Islam is a universal religion of Millions of Muslims around the world. I chose this religion because of my curiosity to know more about it and its sacred text, The Quran. The holy book of Muslims is unique and it is in its original form since its revelation on Prophet Mohammad. I came to the conclusion that the book is very comprehensive and easy to read and understand. Commands of God are clear and concise. The sacred portion we’ve chosen for the study in Chapter 19 (Surah Marium).
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I’ve chosen Islam for studying. The sacred text in Islam is “The Quran”, which is said to be the true “Word of God” in its original form since its revelation on the last prophet Mohammad (Salalalho-alaihay-wasalam). “We have sent down this message, We will be its Protector.” (Quran – 15:9). The sacred text under study in Chapter 19 (Surah Marium). I am very excited to read this new text and how the word of God would be in its original form. Am very much curious to know what Islam is and Quran is about.
Al-Quran is the book of Guidance for Millions of Muslims around the world. Of course, the book has a great message to convey that’s why it’s so much popular among Muslims and non-Muslims. Though some non-Muslims misinterpret the text and are unable to understand the text as a Muslim does. The reason is that Muslims are taught the book since their childhood and explained to them by teachers hence they find it easy to understand and obey. Their culture also supports the way of life the Quran addresses. In fact, Quran itself design a culture for Muslims to live in. Only after reading the sacred text from Quran, we can judge the book whether it is good or bad. “This scientific onslaught increasingly focused on the Qur’an, to be dismantled in the same way the Old Testament (OT) and New Testament (NT) had been already. (Al-A’zami, 2006)
What is the general description of the Scripture
The Quran is the Holy Scripture, God’s message to whole mankind on this earth. It is guidance for Muslims and all others who need to seek advice from their Lord. In a very clear and concise manner, God has conveyed His message to humanity leaving no room for misunderstanding. The core theme of the Quran is to bring in faith in only One God without adjoining any partners with Him. None share His sovereignty in His ruling, His kingdom, and in His own-self. Meaning He is only Unique and one, He has no son or daughter. Another part of the text emphasized the responsibilities and duties of believers, stressing that we’ve to pay rights of each other while living in a community and leading an honest life with fair dealings. Quran narrates stories of different prophets when God sent them to their nations to spread the message. The reason was to tell the last prophet how people behaved when they were called upon to obey Guidance from Allah in order for him to be patient if His call is rejected. It also aims to inform us about His attributes, Power & Knowledge, Essence, Uniqueness, and Names (Gulen, 2006). Quran is a gift of God to mankind, but only those who understand, believe, and obey with Guidance will be successful.
“This is the Book, there is no doubt in it, a guidance for those who fear.” (Al-Quran – 2:1) “These people bring in faith in what is sent down to you and what was sent down before you and are sure of the last.”(Al-Quran – 2:4)
The Quranic text is the most radiant, miraculous, and enduring message for all. The style of expression is superb, its articulation with any age and time, principles to be followed, legal rulings, social discipline, and education to mankind is expressed in such an amazing way that none can compete and bring similar writing into existence. “And if you are in doubt as to that which We have revealed to Our servant, then produce a Surah (chapter) like it and call on your witnesses besides Allah if you are truthful.” (Quran 2: 23). It’s a perfect, complete word of God, an errorless, and untainted fountain, and an infinite resource. The creation of Earth and Sky, Sun and Moon, Day and Night are expressed in an incredible way revealing important elements of all sciences.
Origination (Religion/writing from which the Scripture is originated)
Religion is Islam. Quran was revealed to Prophet Mohammad (Salalaho alaihay wasalam) during the period of 23 years. The Qur’an (also known as the Koran) is the principal sacred text of Islam. Only the Arabic version of this Quran sharif is the actual Qur’an, translations into any language are only efforts to interpret the meaning of the words of Allah (the Only God) to all people. No translation is perfect to match the words of God. Hence to understand the text it is important to read several different translations to grasp the meaning. The other way is to learn Arabic itself to understand the words of God.
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“He has sent down the Book with certainty, authenticate that which is before it, and He sent the Tourat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel) before,” (Quran 3:3)
Author and the author’s position/status at the time translate
The only author of the book is “Allah” the only God. No one can be the author of the book except Allah Subhanahu Ta’la. Translators of the book cannot be the ‘authors’ of the Book. Hence for this reason we’ll use the word ‘translator’ instead of ‘author’. Sacred writing of the Quran is only and only from God. It’s not from any man. It’s the word of God, hence no space for arguments.
For whom is your chosen text intended?
Muslims and Christians specifically and generally every intelligent man or woman who can read and understand, and is not psychic.
“…the Book I have sent down to you so that you may bring these people out of darkness to the light with the will of God to the path of Al-Mighty and the Praiseworthy. It belongs to Allah that exists within the heavens and within the earth, and for non-believers, there is a great torment.” (Al-Quran – 14:1-2)
Context (Historical, Social, Cultural situation when the passage was written)
This portion of the text (Chapter 19) was revealed in Mecca. It was revealed before Muslims started migrating to Habash. One of the Muslims Hazrat Jaafar recited verses 1-40 of this chapter (Marium) in front of Negus King in his court when he called upon Muslims to ask the reason for migration.
After 5 years of revelation when Islam was spreading fast in Mecca and leaders of Quraish felt that they are failing in suppressing Islam by ridiculing them, false accusations and threats they started persecution, torture, discrimination, and put economic pressure on Muslims. New Muslims and their relatives were caught starved, physically tortured, dragged on the hot sand of Mecca, get work from them, and would not pay them wages to give up Islam. Most threatened were poor people and slaves who worked for richer and well-off. When their affliction increased to the intolerable prophet with the will of God ordered Muslims to migrate to Habash and told them that their king is a peace-loving person and does not allow injustice to the people.
He told them to stay there until God wills another thing for them. Hence, initially, new Muslims migrated to Habash. Quraish sent precious gifts to the king and asked him to return their migrants who have denied their old faith and also not accepted the faith of the king. The king of Negus called upon them and asked about their new faith. Then one Muslim stood up and told the king that “O King, we were sunk deep in ignorance and had become very corrupt; then Muhammad (salalaho alaihay wasala) came as Messenger of God and taught us and reformed us. But the Quraish began to persecute his followers, so we have come to your country in the hope that here we will be free from persecution” King asked them to recite the revelations from God. They recited few verses of Surah Marium (chapter 19). The King believed in what was said and gave them protection. He said I will not give you back to them. You’re safe here and in peace.
How does the chosen Scripture relate to the general writings as a whole? (What precedes and follows it?)
The main focus and purpose of the Quran as a whole script is to call upon people to believe in one God Allah and do make partners with Him (In Arabic text it is called ‘shirk’). Shirk (making partners with Allah) is extremely prohibited. The core theme of the Quran is to believe in ‘Oneness of Allah’. He has no son, no daughter, no wife, no brother, no sister, no father, no mother, none to share His sovereignty. Prophets He sent were all men and none were His son. Hence, people who claim that Jesus was His son are wrong. In the portion of text, specifically story of Marium is narrated to tell people how Jesus (Essah) was born from his mother only with the command of God. God has power to do anything anytime. He can create anything without any help of anyone. If He wants to create anything He’ll just say “Be” and the thing will come into existence. He commanded creation of Jesus in the womb of Marium, so he born from her without having any sex relation with any man. Jesus is without any father. It’s miracle God showed to everyone. God did not father Jesus, nor does Jesus is son of God. In different portions of text story of Jesus and other prophets is repeated to place emphasis on the subject of oneness of God.
Purpose of the text
Purpose of the text is to convey the message that different prophets came because God sent them and none was His child or son. When God wishes to do anything he orders that “to be” and it eventually comes into existence. He has complete power over anything and complete knowledge of everything. He answered prophet zakariya’s prayers for a son when his wife was a barren and he himself was very old age. But still when God wanted to create He does not need men and women, He can create with just His willingness to do anything. “And We sent after them in their footsteps Isa, son of Marium, confirming what was before him of the Taurat and We gave him the Injeel in which was guidance and light, and confirming what was before it of Taurat and a guidance and an admonition for those who guard (against evil).” (Quran 5:46)
Summary of Content
Prophet Zakariya called upon his Lord in secret to give him a son, an heir of prophethood. He knew his wife was barren and he’s now old age but he trusted God and prayed. His prayers were answered and God gave him a son, Yahya. Then it states story of Marium and her son Jesus who was born without a father only with the will of Allah. He was normal human but born with Allah’s command. When she brought back the child people thought she has committed adultery, but she pointed towards the newborn baby, who then spoke and told them that he’s a prophet and blessed in both worlds. It is clearly explained that Allah hasn’t adopted any son, the birth of Jesus was from His incomparable power and knowledge. It also gives warning about the judgment day and each person will be answerable to his deeds. God confirms that everything on the earth will be destroyed except that Allah’s name will remain. Then it narrates story of Abraham who questioned his father for worshipping statues. He declined to worship statues and declared that he would only pray one God Allah. Though his father threatened him to death and misery, but still Abraham chose to decline his faith of worshipping statues because that doesn’t make any sense to him to worship lifeless & speechless statues.
Allah also showed Abraham His power of creation from the pieces of a dead bird scattered on the mountain. Story of Ismail & Moses is followed with specific mention that they were blessed. Along the side of narration it gives advises on adopting good habit, praying and giving charity to poor. Nuh, Ibrahim and Yaqoob all were blessed. It also gives threat to those who deny and wasted their prayers. God shows His mercy on those who repent and follow the commands will be in heaven. Paradise will be a place for honest and duty-full. He is the only Lord of universe with no one standing equivalent to Him. The worst kind of punishment will be for those who were leaders in misdeeds and not believing in Allah. Those who do not fear God will have worst of punishment while those who fear Allah will be saved from Hell. The disbelievers who ridicule will have their judgment, and many such generations were destroyed who disobeyed God. After this it addresses issues of adopting and worshipping several fake gods or worshipping other than Him. Thus all their endeavors will go in vain. He repeatedly addresses punishment for those who associate son with God. It addresses itself that Quran is very easy to read book and conveys the message to God fearing people who want to obey.
General subject matter (theme)
There is no son of God. He is all powerful to create anything anytime. Jesus was His prophet as other prophets. Allah is all powerful and knowing, He can do anything and create humans from nothing. All His prophets were blessed and conveyed His message, none was His son. There is Paradise and Hell. Paradise for those who believe and follow commands of Allah and Hell for those who disbelieve and deny oneness of God and make partners with Him or say He has got a son.
Analysis of Text
Format(s) of the text (prose, poetry, historical, symbolic, metaphor, irony, analogy, parable, short story, tale, miracle story, speech, part of a letter, argument, definition, explanation, moral instruction, defense, etc.) How are the formats (above) organized (placed and utilized) within the text (i.e. how often and in which type of pattern are they repeated, if at all?) How well does the organizational method of the formats develop the argument, theme, and/or mood of the text? Give examples. Is the argument/theme complete, or is it possibly continued in another text? Do you find contradictions within the text itself? What is the tone/mood of the text (not the main point?) In what way is this conveyed?
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The text contains a message and theme that relates to one another. It is a combination of historical events, miracle story, moral instructions, parable and metaphor. The organization of the text is very well. The text narrates different stories to make reader understand the purpose of sending messengers and their message. It also places emphasis on uniqueness of God, His power and His knowledge. It’s a complete guide and code of life for every person who wants to seek guidance. Argument proposed is very strong and complete message in itself. However it does continue the message in another text. There are no contradictions within the text. The text endorse and in agreement with other parts.
Evaluation of the Text
What is/are the main point(s) of the text, if any? Is it ambivalent, or is/are there meaning/meanings within the text? Does the text have an overall usefulness to the audience for which it was intended?
Yes the text is not an ordinary kind of essay written by any person. But it is the word of God, truthful very clear and concise in meaning. I am impressed to read the text and felt God is directly communicating with me through His book. It is very useful to read and comprehensive.
The main points are that
The text is not similar to any human writings. In human writings there are proper headings and sections addressed under each heading separately. But in this text as it is not a human way to write the text flow is different thus one subject is not collected under one heading to categorize. But one will find same message in several chapters for the reason of its importance and emphasis on particular message. Sometimes only one particular message is mentioned in one chapter and not repeated else where.
Did you like/dislike studying the text? Did the text have meaning for you? Are you left with questions? What are they? What did you think? What did you feel? Has the study of your chosen text left you with a new insight? A new puzzle? While researching your paper, did you encounter an event in your life that allowed you to think about your chosen text?
Yes I liked studying the text and enjoyed reading it. I noticed it is a bit different from other sacred text and very easy to understand. Yes it does has meaning and very comprehensible. It addresses several issues related to uniqueness of God. Stories of different prophets are addressed in the text. It narrates stories of Marium and her son Jesus (messiah). Prophets Zakariya, Abraham, Moses are also mentioned. The text clearly state that there is only One God and no one shares His sovereignty. Jesus was son of Mary but not son of God. He doesn’t hold “Lord” position. He was not God. But he was blessed messenger of God. The text defines uniqueness and oneness of God. All the prophets were sent for the purpose of spreading His word to mankind. None of the prophets share sovereignty of God. All were men, and all were blessed who conveyed His message. None were His son.
I feel very good about reading the text because till now I was informed that Jesus Christ was son of God and Lord himself. In Christianity it is taught that God is trinity i.e., three in one. Hence this is not believable and does not confirm to normal intelligence that Jesus as son of God.
Al-Alzami, M. M. (2004) THE HISTORY OF THE QUR’ANIC TEXT FROM REVELATION TO COMPILATION: A COMPARATIVE STUDY WITH THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS. By Muhammad Mustafa Al-A[zami. Leicester: UK. Islamic Academy, The Muslim World Book Review, 24:4; 2004. Web.
Surah Marium. Web.
Gülen, F. (2006) On The Holy Qur’an and Its Interpretation. Web.
Surah Baqarah. Web.