Thursday, August 19, 2010

Surah Ale Imran – The Family of Imran

This Surah is almost like Surah Al Baqarah - Astonishing and covers vast topics. It is very enlightening and good food for thought to all. It has answers to many questions I’ve been seeking and comparing to historic data I am unearthing simultaneously.
Surah Ale Imran begins thus :
Ayat 1- Alif Laam Meem (the knowledge of this is with Allah alone)
Ayat 2 – There is no diety except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of existence.

The Surah states in Ayat 33 that Allah chose Adam, Noah and the family of Abraham and the family of Imran over the worlds. Here it highlights that Abraham and Imran’s descendents were chosen over the others.
Abraham’s descendents were Isaac and Ishmael whereas Imran is the father of Mary and Mary is the mother of Jesus.

Ayat 35 and Ayat 36 state mention about wife of Imran, who pledged her unborn baby to the service of Allah and thereafter gave birth to a girl and named her Mary (Maryam).

Ayat 37 – Mentions about the upbringing up Mary and her being placed in under the guardianship of her uncle Zechariya.

I am rushing through the ‘ayats’ (verses) pertaining to the life of Mary, her upbringing and giving birth to Messiah Jesus, because I wish to write a detailed article about her life as depicted through Quran. In fact, Surah Ale Imran mentions a lot about the family of Mary (as is the topic of the Chapter itself) and Mary herself. Apart from this Chapter, Quran has a full Chapter dedicated to Mary called – Surah Maryam. This is the only Chapter in Quran dedicated to a woman. That shows the level of importance Mary is given in Quran.

Ayat 42 to Ayat 47 mention about Allah’s message to Mary telling her about giving birth to the Messiah, Jesus.

Ayat 48 to Ayat 55 describe Jesus.

This further goes on to explain that the birth of Jesus is similar to how Adam was brought to life from clay (mud). In this Allah tells us that He is capable of doing anything. So, those who believe that Jesus was begotten by a Holy Spirit, are not correct. God can bring anyone to life in any way possible. We only know how a normal birth takes place. And this order itself is brought by Almighty God (Allah). So we only think within that box. We haven’t seen miracles (because they no longer happen) nor do we know of anything beyond our means of knowing. Hence, we do not think out of the box. But we do not hesitate to think out of the box when it comes to mythology or some occult culture!

Ayat 47 : She (Mary) said, "My Lord, how will I have a child when no man has touched me?" [The angel] said, "Such is Allah ; He creates what He wills. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, 'Be,' and it is.

The concept of the birth of Jesus is described through Ayat 59 : “Indeed the example of Jesus to Allah (i.e. regarding creation of him) is like that of Adam. He created him from dust; then He said to him, ‘Be’ and he was.”

So those who call Jesus the son of God are not right. In fact, in Islam it is considered ‘shirk’ (sin of the highest order) to associate partners or persons with Allah.

Again the highlight in some verses is on Allah being the same Lord who revealed the Torah and Gospel and asks the Believers of the Scriptures to reason.

Here again, human nature comes to light. When I refer to the Almighty as Allah, He is construed as the Supreme Power of the Muslims. When He is referred to as God, we assume He is the Christian Almighty. God or Allah or Elahi or known by any other name in any religion, the Almighty is only one and has remained constant since eternity and will remain till infinity. Why do we then confuse our little brains? I see so much trash on net making fun of each other’s religion and God, and it amuses me as to how can anyone make fun of and respect the same God with different names. Any person with good sense should be sensible enough to understand that.

Muslims, through Quran are urged to follow the religion of Abraham as he was a true Muslim. He was asked by Allah to re-built the Holy Kaaba. This was then done by Abraham and his son Ishmael. When Abraham is called a true Muslim, it is said in the context of Islam. Islam itself means ‘submission to the will of Allah’. So the one who believes in one God / Allah and submits to His will and follows His command, he is a Muslim.

Ayat 65 – ‘O People of the Scripture, why do you argue about Abraham while the Torah and the Gospel were not revealed until after him? Then will you not reason?’

Ayat 67 - Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was one inclining toward truth, a Muslim [submitting to Allah ]. And he was not of the polytheists.
Ayat 95 - Say, " Allah has told the truth. So follow the religion of Abraham, inclining toward truth; and he was not of the polytheists."

Ayat 96 - Indeed, the first House [of worship] established for mankind was that at Makkah - blessed and a guidance for the worlds.

Ayat 97 - In it are clear signs [such as] the standing place of Abraham. And whoever enters it shall be safe. And [due] to Allah from the people is a pilgrimage to the House - for whoever is able to find thereto a way. But whoever disbelieves - then indeed, Allah is free from need of the worlds.

Ayat 84 - Say, "We have believed in Allah and in what was revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Descendants, and in what was given to Moses and Jesus and to the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we are Muslims [submitting] to Him."
This ayat is similar to Ayat 136 of Al Baqarah. In this Surah, again stress is laid on who is actually a Muslim and what he believes in.

Allah states that from the people of the earlier Scriptures too there are people who follow the commandments of God as they were revealed and pray to Him and do good deeds.

Ayat 113 – They are not [all] the same; among the People of the Scripture is a community standing [in obedience], reciting the verses of Allah during periods of the night and prostrating [in prayer].

Ayat 114 - They believe in Allah and the Last Day, and they enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and hasten to good deeds. And those are among the righteous.

There is a verse (Ayat 168) in Chapter Ale Imram which I found to be quite philosophical and interesting.
“Those who said about their brothers while sitting [at home], "If they had obeyed us, they would not have been killed." Say, "Then prevent death from yourselves, if you should be truthful."
Though the verse is in reference to the battle of Uhud, by itself also it has a deeper meaning.

Finally in the ending verses, there are teachings on conduct and patience. Highlighting two important ones.

Ayat 188 - And never think that those who rejoice in what they have perpetrated and like to be praised for what they did not do - never think them [to be] in safety from the punishment, and for them is a painful punishment.

Ayat 200 (last verse of the Chapter) - O you who have believed, persevere and endure and remain stationed and fear Allah that you may be successful.

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