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|Good article on the Quran|
|06/30/01 at 00:10:52|
|Found this article while surfing on the Quran. It is beautifully written. I don't know anything about the website or the so called "easy-translation" but this article is very good:|
Time authenticates the miracle of Quran
For fourteen centuries, the Quran has performed wonders in the lives of countless number of people. It has touched and changed millions of people and even entire nations. Yet, all through the centuries, it has managed to stay unchanged and unadulterated. That in itself is a miracle. The march of time actually serves to authenticate the miracle of the Quran!
The history of the world is a witness to the fact that the authenticity of the Quran is beyond reproach. There are absolutely no discrepancies in its text, and there is only one version. Every copy is exactly like the other and anyone can verify that fact. The skeptic can purchase a copy of the Quran in Indonesia and check it against the recitation of a blind 'hafiz', one of those who memorize the entire Quran by heart, in any of the obscure villages of Central Africa. He may acquire a copy from any library or museum and compare it against the annual public recitation, the ?taraweeh?, held in the month of Ramadhan in any mosque around the world. He will have to confirm that not even a dot has changed in its text over the centuries. The disbeliever may disagree with its verses, but would have to confirm that it is, word for word, the same Quran that was revealed to prophet Muhammad, SAW; the same one that electrified, transformed and catapulted the nomads into the role of the leaders of the world. The skeptic may doubt its message, but would have to concede, in all honesty, that a person reciting the Quran today moves his lips in exactly the same sequence, as did the prophet, SAW. Its message is surprisingly simple, that the end of life is not the end of a person. The real life is the life to come, while this life is just a test. This world is unreal, an illusion, and the shadow of the world to come. Infinitely better than success here, is the triumph of the hereafter. Those who prefer the hereafter and rush towards its rewards will find that this world trails them like a shadow. Those who run after this world find themselves chasing their own shadows. Those who prefer this world to the next one, actually end up losing both. This transient elusive world, too, slips right through their fingers. About the hereafter, Prophet Muhammad, SAW, said, "Accept this truth and you will find that this world and the next world will come tumbling down on your feet." The obscure people of Arabia accepted that fact in the first millenium of the Common Era, and this world fell prostrate before them. The barbarians of Mongolia accepted that fact in the second millenium, and became civilized. The riches and power of this world were theirs for several centuries. It has the potential to produce the same spectacular results in the third millenium. Quran, the miracle, is still alive and awaits a nation, any nation, to come alive and heed its call. Five times every day the call of the Quran, the ?athaan?, resounds throughout the world! The miracle belongs to humanity, not to the black, white or any other race!
Seven centuries after the Quran was first revealed, it produced yet another miracle. The citizens of the Islamic state ignored it, lost their faith and became decadent. The Mongols, the most vicious and bloodthirsty barbarians of central Asia invaded the Muslim territories. They ransacked every city and went on a rampage killing every one within sight. Streams of blood flowed through the cities, headless bodies clogged the rivers, and throughout the area the stench of corpses permeated the air for months. Using their victims? skulls, they erected tall towers as ghoulish monuments of their cruelty. Within months, such towers replaced hundreds of towns and villages. That was a particularly gory and gruesome period of world history. The world had never seen such ferocity and barbarism. They killed for fun, and did not spare women or children. They <grayblank_Top.gif> <grayblank_Top.gif> slaughtered even stray cats and dogs. The names of Gengis Khan, the chief leader of the Mongols and Halaku Khan, the captor of Baghdad will forever be remembered in history for their savagery and brutality. They were full of hatred for Islam, and were committed to wipe it out of this world. They vengefully eradicated all symbols of religion. They burned books and libraries, and razed mosques and schools to the ground. Except for a small Islamic state in Egypt all the Muslim areas came under their sway. Before the Mongol invasion, Baghdad the capital of the Islamic caliphate had a population of one and a quarter million people. Barely three hundred thousand survived the ordeal. The same story was repeated in every single town under the control of the Mongols. It is estimated that they killed about one-third to one half of the entire population of the country. The pillage and carnage continued for fifty years and it appeared to the world that Islam had run its course. It seemed that Islam was destined to die out in its own citadel, and that the Quran will go the way of the previous scriptures. The tragic end seemed near at hand.
But then something stunning and mind boggling happened. A miracle took place! The world had never before witnessed such a miracle. The fiercest, most savage people in the world, were miraculously struck by the sword of Islam _ the Marvelous Majestic Quran. Barely fifty years after they conquered the Muslim country, the Mongols embraced Islam. The barbarians became civilized and found religion. The savage had a change of heart and found God. The victor adopted the religion of the vanquished, something that had never happened before. The Quran mellowed their hearts and drove them to tears. They performed ablution, rinsed away their hatred, brought home the scripture, and showered it with respect. They became the humble servants of the same Quran that they had set out to trample under their feet. With contempt they had cursed it, but with reverence they picked it up and kissed it. They bestowed the highest honor to the Quran, and placed it in the safest of places _ their hearts and their lives. They adopted it as their constitution and the source of law, and zealously began to implement its teachings in their public and private lives. They were the defenders of the Quran for centuries after that. Against all odds, and despite being defeated and vanquished, the Quran won over the heart and soul of the most savage and ruthless people the world had ever seen. Islam does conquer by its sword! The sword of Islam, the Quran, continues to strike friends and foes alike, across the world. Why else would they abandon the religion of their birth and choose to call themselves Muslims?
A miracle is an occurrence contrary to the normal course of events, and involves suspension of the laws of nature. It defies explanation and indicates divine intervention. To deny it is to display arrogance, intransigence and ignorance of the laws of nature. For those who witness it first hand, it is a proof positive. After the witnesses pass away, its overwhelming influence begins to pass, and diminishes with each succeeding generation. For those born later, it is merely a lore penned and propagated by zealots, and backed by the sanctity of the scriptures. After the passage of time, it fails to excite anyone except the staunchest of believers. The real impact of the miracle is upon those actually present at the time. Others must take a leap of faith to believe it. The raising of the dead, the restoring of sight to the blind, and the parting of the sea were unenduring miracles with waning influences. Their proof is lost with the passing of the eyewitnesses. The permanent miracle must neither fade nor fail to inspire awe. The march of time should not taper its validity, and it must endure and abide till the end of time. Subsequent generation should be able to witness its wonder first hand, and not have to rely upon amazing anecdotes. It must continue to defy explanation and must bear its own unimpeachable testimony. The Quran is such an enduring miracle! Its text is unadulterated, and the language of its revelation continues to be alive and widespread. Its authenticity and effect has not ebbed. Ubiquitous and universal, it is truly a living miracle. Even the manner in which it is preserved is miraculous.
scriptures were recorded _ if at all _ hundreds of years after they were revealed. The Quran was written down right as it was being revealed. It was also memorized in its entirety by hundreds of people, just as it was being sent down. The religious rite of ?taraweeh?, reciting the entire text from memory in a congregation once a year, also serves to keep the Quran pristine and pure. The Quran is canonized aright; by write, rote and rite!
The prophet and hundreds of his companions committed it to memory right at the time of its revelation. Those who were literate read the written text and learnt it by heart. Others, particularly those born blind, learnt it by rote and taught it to others similarly afflicted. Its melodious and singsong quality makes it easy to memorize. Each generation __ included in it are those deprived of the gift of sight __ bequeathed this gift of God to their children. The process went on uninterrupted and still goes on. The passage of time did not alter its impact. By rote, and reposed in the hearts of men, it traveled through time. Those who commit the entire Quran, along with all the accent and punctuation marks, are called the ?Hafiz? or the ?Preservers?. They are not monks or priests who shun the world and devote themselves to the study and practice of religion. Rather, they are ordinary men and come from all walks of life. Some of them are doctors, engineers, lawyers, businessmen, artisans and farmers. No one, not even a single person has ever memorized any other book in the world, religious or secular, scientific or spiritual. There is such a stark and striking difference between it and the rest of the books of the world. The Quran is the only book in the history of mankind that has been committed to memory in its entirety. Today there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people who can recite the entire Quran by memory in its original order. It can never become extinct, even if all of its written copies are destroyed. The ?hafiz? would be able to reproduce the entire text from memory. The Quran is immortalized in this manner, and preserved for posterity. Such an extraordinary phenomenon is nothing short of a miracle!
Indeed, it is Our responsibility to have it collected (compiled) and read (as a book). (75:17)
Books did not withstand the pressures of time. They were easy targets during periods of persecution. Scribes copied them one at a time, and the process was painstaking and slow. It took weeks, if not months to produce a single copy, but only minutes to burn an entire roomful of books to ashes. Through out history, libraries have been ransacked and razed and books have been banned, burnt and banished. Countless number of books has become extinct over the years. They have been lost during forced migrations and exodus due to war, famine, and disease. Written texts do not preclude the possibility of adulteration, and scriptures that relied upon them have all been corrupted. The history of the bible demonstrates the inadequacy of the written records. Since scribes had to make copies by hand, inadvertent errors often slipped by into the bible. Subsequent scribes, then, copied the errors of oversight as the word of God. Often, alterations made in the text were calculated and deliberate. The defenders of faith interpolated verses to make it more defendable and palatable. Sectarian and internecine struggle muddied the field. All sects fiddled with the text to foster their own beliefs. Counterfeit and corrupted copies of the text crept into circulation, and threw doubt on the validity of all versions. Several attempts to rid the texts of errors corrupted it still further. Each such attempt introduced the world to yet another version of the bible. Under the pretext of standardizing the text, kings appointed councils to alter and edit portions of it. With the awesome and absolute power of the state at their disposal, they canonized their own concoction of verses and issued edicts banning all other versions. The Catholic, the Protestant, and the Mormon bibles are substantially different, and are merely the versions canonized at different times. All non-canonized versions are not extinct and some, like the Gospel of Barnabas, differ drastically from the canonized bibles. Thousands of old manuscripts of the bible are said to exist, but no two of them are alike. Memorized text, however, is far less susceptible to corruption. The text engraved on stone can be wiped clean, but not the text etched on the hearts of men. Fire readily swallows words inscribed on paper, but not those committed to memory. A man can be imprisoned or killed, but he cannot be robbed of his memory. Neither the sword, nor the dungeon can distort the memorized text. That, which lies shielded within the ribcage, can neither be killed nor caged. Written records support, sustain and supplement the memorized text. Together, they confer immunity against corruption, and grant the seal of sanctity to the scriptures.
The purity of the Quran has been assured by not just one, nor even two, but rather by three distinct methods. It was committed to memory during the life of the prophet, right at the time of its revelation, and the institution of ?hafiz? transmitted the memorized text to each succeeding generation. Within a few months of the death of the prophet, his companions prepared an official written text of the Quran. Twelve years later, the third Caliph of Islam, Othman, made seven official copies of the Quran and dispatched one copy to each of his seven provinces. Several of those official copies are still preserved in museums around the world. One of them can be seen in the museum in Tashkent. Another one is in Topkapi, Istanbul. Caliph Othman was reciting the Quran when he was assassinated, and that official copy, stained by his blood is preserved. His blood stained verse 137 of chapter II of that official copy. In addition to the above two methods, the uninterrupted practice of the annual public recital of the Quran maintained its purity. It rendered the text immune to corruption. Each night during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, a hafiz leads the prayers and as part of the ritual, recites a portion of the Quran from memory. Within three or four weeks, the recitation of the entire text is completed. The congregation stands behind in ?salat? and listens attentively. Any mistake of the ?hafiz? is promptly corrected. Neither a word, nor the order of the words may alter. Not even a dot can change. Neither by accident, nor by design can a word be added to, or deleted from the text. Prophet Muhammad, SAW, started this practice a year before his death, and it has continued uninterrupted till the present. The annual public reading, called the ?Taraweeh?, is held in every city of the Muslim world and in most cities of the non-Muslim world. The miracle goes on display every year, and every generation can witness the wonder of the Quran first hand. The constitution of the Kingdom of God, the document of the utmost importance to mankind, is recited from memory every year in front of a large audience, at thousands of places around the world. One requires the arrogance of an atheist to ignore the evidence of the obvious. This miracle of the Quran is as undeniable as the midday sun on a clear day.
If the author of the Quran was not the Almighty, Muhammad, SAW, would have to be a literary genius, the like of which this world has never seen before or since. Writing a book of that stature requires a treasure of knowledge spread over many diverse fields of study. Such an author would have to study and master scores of books on many subjects. In the seventh century AD, the town of Makkah had only a handful of people who could read and write, and Muhammad, SAW, was not one of them.
Oh messenger! Before this you never read a book. Nor did you ever write anything with your hand. Otherwise, the biased ones would have raised questions and doubts! (29 : 48)
Similarly, We sent a spirit _ (Angel Gibraeel) _ towards you by Our command. You knew nothing about the book, or the matters of faith. But We made this book a beacon of guidance. (42: 52)
The fact that these verses were revealed to a man who could neither read nor write makes the miracle of the Quran far more awesome and irrefutable, and too profound to ignore. A human creation could not be that exquisite, excellent and consistent. The evidence of its divine source exists within the text. It contains rhythm and rhyme, and a unique style. The clear consistent and concise verses are itself the convincing living evidence of its divine origin. It is the pinnacle of perfection and the epitome of excellence. A flame runs through its words and melts away doubt. Vibrating and pulsating with life, its words head straight for the heart. The melody of its recital mellows the heart and affects the mood. Even those believers who do not understand a word of the Quran are distinctly moved and affected. It produces a quasi-hypnotic effect on the believer. Its impassioned appeal impacts the heart, and the delight of its diction stirs the soul. The persistent, passionate and poignant appeal produces a profound effect. It invites and impacts the heart and seeks to evoke a response. It invites the reader to think, ponder and reason. Heart feels convinced that the acceptance of the Quran would confer peace and solace to life.
continued at http://www.quran-easytranslation.com/introduction.htm
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