The Qur’an has a remarkable method in presenting the truth of existence to human nature. It appeals to it as a whole, yet it addresses every one of its aspects in every single context. It goes through every opening in human nature and deals with all its thoughts and feelings. The Qur’anic method is also remarkable as it tackles the main issues of existence, revealing certain aspects of it which are readily acknowledged both by human nature and the human intellect. They respond to these and formulate their clear vision on them. It also answers the needs of human nature, releases its potentials, and puts it on the right course.
We cannot but marvel at the unique Qur’anic approach as it takes human nature by the hand and moves up with it gently, step by step, yet with much energy and clarity of vision. It takes it to a sublime height, giving it true knowledge, definite response, firm reassurance, consistency of action, and a clear and relaxed awareness of the fundamental truths of existence.
The Qur’anic approach is unparalleled as it appeals to human nature from angles where no response could have been imagined to come. Yet we find human nature ready with its positive response. The fact is that the One who has revealed the Qur’an is the Creator of man who knows His creation. He is closer to a person than his or her jugular vein.
That is the approach, but what about the subject matter the Qur’an tackles? Here we find ourselves looking at an expanse that no words can adequately describe: [Say: If the sea were ink for my Lord’s words, the sea would surely dry up before my Lord’s words are exhausted, even though we were to add to it another sea to replenish it] (Al-Kahf 18:109).
[If all the trees on earth were pens, and the sea were ink, with seven more seas yet added to it, the words of God would not be exhausted, God is Almighty, Wise] (Luqman 31:27).
I have spent, by God’s grace, 25 years with this Book as my companion, studying carefully the fundamental facts it addresses and the way it tackles various aspects of human knowledge. I have been reading at the same time what human beings have attempted to reveal in some of these aspects. I could see the great wealth and openness of the Qur’an compared to the attempts of human beings. Compared to the great ocean of the Qur’an, these attempts are no more than small, isolated lakes, tiny pools, or even stagnant pits.
Take, if you will, the Qur’an’s holistic approach to existence, its nature, truth, aspects, origin, secrets, and hidden things, as well as what it contains of living entities and potential life. Human philosophy tackles only some of these aspects.
Reflect also on how the Qur’an takes man as a complete entity and explains his origin, potentials, fields of action, molding, reactions, and responses, as well as his different modes and inner self. Biology, psychology, sociology, education, and religious studies address certain aspects of these. Consider also the unique Qur’anic approach to the system of human life, its practical activities, areas of collaboration, and renewed human needs, and how these should be organized. Social, economic, and political theories and doctrines may address some, but not, all of these.
In all these areas, a careful student of the Qur’an is bound to find an amazing wealth of statements and directives that are comprehensive, profound, rich, and truthful. Not once did I find myself in need of a single statement from outside the Qur’an, concerning any of these fundamental issues, with the exception of God’s Messenger’s hadiths.
This Book, the Qur’an, was the source of knowledge, education, and proper molding of a unique generation of human beings that was never repeated in human history. That was the generation of the Prophet’s Companions who brought about a greatly profound development in human history that has not yet been properly studied.
This Book was responsible, by God’s will, for this great miracle in human history. All supernatural miracles that testified to earlier divine messages appear small in comparison to this miracle that was practiced in a human society. Indeed, that generation was an unparalleled historical phenomenon.
The society that was formed for the first time by the Companion’s generation survived for more than 1,000 years. It was governed by the law stated in this Book and firmly based on its standards, values, and directives. That very society was a human miracle. We have only to compare it to other human societies which, as a result of human material progress, surpassed it in material abilities but could not come near to it in human civilization.
Nowadays, in modern societies, people seek to satisfy their own needs as well as the needs of their communities in isolation of the Qur’an. People in then-ignorant Arabia used to require miracles other than the Qur’an. Their naive outlook, profound ignorance, and their various interests prevented the old Arabs from appreciating the great miracle represented by this remarkable Book. People of present time have different obstacles preventing them from appreciating the miracle of the Qur’an. These include the arrogance derived from their superior material knowledge, their sophisticated organization of human life, and its apparent progress and maturity, which all come naturally with the accumulation of experience of one generation after another and with more complex and sophisticated needs.
The Qur’an is ignored today by some Muslims who know it only as hymns to be chanted and charms to be worn. They have been diverted away from it for centuries and driven deep into a state of ignorance that corrupts minds and hearts. The people of old Jahiliya used to divert the masses away from the Qur’an, demanding physical miracles. The people of modern Jahiliya try to divert the masses away from the Qur’an by putting in its place false teachings which they promote through mass media and information channels. Yet it is the Qur’an that is described in these words by God who knows all: [This [revelation] is a means of clear insight from your Lord, and a guidance and grace for people who will believe] (Al-A`raf 7:203). It is then a means of clear insight, providing true guidance and abounding grace and blessings for true believers. It is only those who truly believe that find all this in the Qur’an.
By Sayed Qutb