Book of Telegrams
Holy Qur'an can be appropriately described as 'A Book of Telegrams'. For
this is how the Book was revealed in the form of telegraphically addressed
Messages in answer to the questions on:
ALCOHOL AND GAMES OF CHANCE
THEY ASK THEE
CONCERNING WINE AND GAMBLING.
(SURA BAQARAH) Holy
QUR'AN AND HADITH
The above is just one example of how God speaks! Other examples are to follow. Can any sincere seeker of truth be convinced in any easier way? The answer is 'No!' Yet He (God) Reasons with the recalcitrant in the following words: -
"Are the blind equal,
(SURA RA`D) Holy
compare the above Words of God Almighty on the subject of "WINE"
(intoxicants) with the words of His Chosen Messenger Muhammad Mustafa (pbuh), NOT
FORGETTING that the above verse 2:219 and
what follows from the Hadith below were heard from the lips of the
Prophet (pbuh) and recorded by his Companions.
Anas (RA) reported that the Messenger of Allah cursed every one who was
associated in any way with the production and consumption of any kind of
intoxicating beverages. He said:
Cursed is he who grows grapes for brewing.
Cursed is he who sells it.
Cursed is he who crushes it.
Cursed is he who bottles its, and
Cursed is he who drinks it, or
words to this effect.
The Holy Prophet (pbuh) is also reported to have said:
intoxicates if taken in greater quantity is also forbidden in smaller
There is no excuse in the House of Islam for a nip or a tot, unlike
Paul's advice to Timothy –
no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often
(Holy Bible) 1
Solomon's sanguine yet humorous recommendation for enslaving and subjugating a
strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of
them drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more".
we forget, please look again at the Qur'anic dictioin and the words of the
Prophet (pbuh) above, and you cannot help agreeing that the two are worlds apart
in style, structure, and sublimity though articulated by the same lips.
example of replying telegraphically to a question regarding the –
ask thee concerning the new moons.
they are but signs to mark fixed periods of time in (the affairs) of men,
and for pilgrimage.
(SURA BAQARAH) Holy
"There were many superstitions connected with the New Moon, as there are to the present day. We are told to disregard such superstitions. As a measure of time, where the lunar calendar is used, the New Moon is one great sign, for which people watch with eagerness. Muslim festivals, including the Pilgrimage, are fixed by the appearance of the New Moon".
telegram, in an identical vein to the question of –
ask thee (O Muhammad!) what they should spend (in charity).
whatever ye spend that is good,
whatever ye do that is good, -
(SURA BAQARAH) Holy
question arise in charity:
What shall we give?
whom shall we give?
How shall we give?
The answer is here, giving anything that is good, useful, helpful,
valuable. It may be property or money; it may be a helpful hand; it may be
advice, it may be a kind word: "WHATEVER YE DO THAT IS GOOD" is charity. On the other hand, if you throw away what is useless,
there is no charity in it. Or if you give something with harmful intent, e.g. a
sword to a madman, or a drug or sweets or even money to some one whom you want
to entrap or corrupt. IT IS NO CHARITY BUT
A GIFT OF DAMNATION".
WHOM SHOULD YOU GIVE?
may be tempting to earn the world’s praise by a gift that will be talked
about, but are you meeting the needs of those who have the first claim on you?
If you are not, YOU ARE A PERSON WHO
DEFRAUDS CREDITORS: it is not charity!
"Every gift is judged by its unselfish character: the degree of
need or claim is a factor which you must consider; if you disregard it, there is
something selfish behind it.
SHOULD IT BE GIVEN?
As in the sight of Allah; it shuts out all pretence, show, and
A. Yusuf Ali
(pbuh) received yet another telegram in answer to the query in the nature of: -
ask thee (O Muhammad!) concerning (the nature of) the soul.
"The soul is by the command of my Lord:
of the knowledge of it very little is communicated to you, (O Men!)"
BANI ISRA-IL) Holy
cannot help over-emphasizing the fact that THE
RECITATION OF THE HOLY QUR’AN IS UNLIKE ANY OTHER BOOK ON EARTH. IT SPEAKS
STRAIGHT AND TO THE POINT. THERE ARE NO IFS AND BUTS, NO PREVARICATIONS, NO
BEATING ABOUT THE BUSH. In the whole vast volume you will not get the type of script out of
which a "box-office hit", or a record breaking film like the "Ten
Commandments", "Samson and Delilah", or a
"David and Bath-sheba" can be produced for the silver screen –
the cinema. In this regard, the Holy Bible is the script writer's delight. It is
all there for easy transmuting into pots of gold!
we are at it, let me remind my readers that search as you may you will not find
within the covers of the Holy Qur'an even the name of Muhammad's (pbuh) father
or mother. You will not discover the names of his wives or the names of his
daughters, nor the names of his beloved companions. Amazingly! though you will
find a whole chapter dedicated to Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ (pbuh) … Sura
Maryam, or Mary,
chapter 19 of the Holy Qur'an. Jesus (pbuh) is mentioned in this Book of God
no less than twenty-five times, whereas the name of the Prophet (pbuh) only five
times, Reason? Are Jesus and his mother more important than Muhammad and his
mother (peace be upon them all)? "No! not at all" Then why this
infordinate coverage? Simply because the integrity of Jesus and his mother
(peace be upon them) was at stake. There were various false charges,
insinuations and innuendos against mother and son which had to be cleared. Hence
the story of the annunciation, the immaculate conception and the birth of Jesus
(pbuh) had to be recorded. Nobody ever questioned the genealogy of the Prophet
of Islam at any time, therefore not a word was wasted in the whole book about
the Prophet's birth or parentage. The Qur'an is not a biography of Muhammad
(pbuh)! This is difficult for the unbeliever to understand.
us give one more example of the telegraphic communication from the Holy Qur'an
on the subject of the Last Day, the End of Time, that is –
THE FINAL HOUR
ask thee (O Muhammad!) about the (final) hour – when will be its appointed
"the knowledge thereof is with my Lord (alone): none but He can reveal as
to when it will occur.
were its burden through the heavens and the earth.
all of a sudden will it come to you."
(SURA A`RAF) Holy
will be worth while to compare this one verse above with the whole of
chapter thirteen of the Gospel of St. Mark, which uses all of the thirty-seven
verses there to reach the conclusion of the single aayah (verse) above. A
simple test to distinguish man-made books from the Word of God. You will find
the Qur'an free from frills and verboseness!.
other examples can be given from the Book of God to prove that its narration is
not in the style of men; that it is an absolutely unique Book. In fact a volume
can be written on this theme itself. However we will end this chapter with one
last example from the Holy Qur'an. It is a classical short chapter of only four
SAY: He is God, 6296
God, the Eternal, Absolute; 6298
He begetteth not,
And there is none
Holy Qur’an 112:1-4
the four verses put together are less in wording than the five examples of a
single verse each given above. You will note five numbers to the four verses,
Nos. 6296 to 6300. In the complete translation of A. Yusuf Ali, you will find
his learned commentary. You may or may not agree with his elucidations. They are
not infallible. The word of God IS THE
ARABIC TEXT you
see above, and the English is accepted as the best human effort at translation.
will now give you my own observation from the angle of Revelation that we are
discussing, e.g., Divine inspiration – Word of God, under the title:
ACID TEST OF THEOLOGY
the authority of the Messenger of Allah, it is universally accepted that a
Muslim reciting the above four verses in its original form, three times, will
derive the spiritual blessings of reading the whole Qur'an. What makes this
short Sura (chapter) so invaluable? It is not the sound, nor the music of
that inimitable symphony which move men to ecstasy and tears. It is the Message,
that acid test of religion which gives it that high and sublime status.
is not a theology, or a concept of God which is out of the purview of these four
short verses. They are the touchstones about the knowledge of God. Through these
you can accept or reject any idea of God, or know right from wrong. This is
exactly like the "touchstone" the jewellers use for testing
gold. Ask a jeweller friend how a touchstone works. How did our Qur'anic
touchstone come about?
THE "HEAD COMPUTER"
were under way for me to visit Zambia on a lecture tour in mid-1975. I received
a phone call from Lusaka that an air ticket was sent to Durban which I could
pick up from the headquarters of the South African Airways in the city centre. I
walked up to the airways office and approached the information counter and told
the man in charge that I had come to pick up my air ticket which had been sent
from Lusaka. He told me to see one of the ladies, out of a dozen that were
seated in a semi-circle, each with a computer terminal with a visual screen in
front. As most of them were attending to other customers, I asked "Which
one?" The officer was obviously irritated and flayed his hands and said
roughly, "Any one!" Pointing in the direction of the seated ladies.
that moment, I could not understand the reason for this otherwise polite
gentleman getting ruffled with my humble and innocent question. I was looking
forward to receiving a long booklet of ticket vouchers. I had handled and used
them a few times before in my life so there was no mistaking in what I was
anticipating. How can any one of those women have my ticket? I wondered. But the
irritated tone of the man's voice left me no choice but to seek further
information as indicated.
I approached the fist lady that I saw free to serve and told her of my mission.
I was informed about a ticket waiting to be picked up. She asked me my name
which I spelled out for her. As I spelt it, she began typing it on the keyboard
before her. She was watching the screen as she typed. I could not see the
wording from where I stood. She nodded her head and said, "Yes",
suggesting that she had got it. I said that I wanted to leave Durban for
Johannesburg on the Tuesday evening. She offered me a 6 p.m. flight which I
accepted, and she punched a few more words on the keyboard. I told her, further,
that I wanted to leave Johannesburg to arrive in Lusaka at about 3 p.m. the next
day. That was the instruction from my hosts there as they wanted the news media
and the TV news to cover my arrival. She typed some more words and enquired
whether I wanted to go to Lusaka via Gaborone or Maputo.
said, it didn't matter as long as I arrived at my destination on Wednesday at 3
p.m. She hit the keyboard again and scanning the screen said, "I am sorry
but you are booked on Zambian Airlines and we cannot transfer your ticket to
another airline because we cannot contact Zambian Airlines today as they are
closed on account of a national holiday in that country". So I was asked to
return the next day. Very interesting! I thought, but I was sorely disappointed
as the ticket was almost within my reach but not within my grasp. I still
imagined that she had the tickets in her desk drawer.
my puzzlement, I asked her, "Where did you get all that information
from?" She said, "It was from the Head Computer in Johannesburg".
She was kind enough to explain further that every other computer in the country
with similar end terminals had access to that computer at the press of a button.
I enquired that whilst she was trying to book me on that 6 p.m. flight to
Johannesburg, and if there was only one seat left, and if there were other
terminals trying for that seat, what would happen? She said the first one within
the second would get the seat and the rest would draw a blank. I thanked her
profusely and left the airways building.
my way back to my office, my mind began to buzz with ideas. This is how it
happened, I thought, I mean the wahy (the Revelation of God to
Muhammad (pbuh)) His Chosen Messenger, came from the "Head Computer"
– THE PRESERVED TABLET!:
this is a Glorious Qur’an,
(SURA BURUJ) Holy
Qur’an 85: 21-22
"Tablet" is not like the one Moses (pbuh) used for inscribing
the Ten Commandments, a tablet of stone. It is unlike the ones teachers use in
schools, called "blackboards" or "green boards". Neither it
is the Tablet of a computer screen or the silicone chip. It is God's Own tablet
guarded and protected; it is not to be understood in any material sense for it
is not made of stone or metal, IT IS SPIRITUAL! How
does it operate? We can only guess –
Islam was getting a firm foothold in Madeenah, the reputation of the Messenger
of God spread throughout the length and breadth of Arabia. A community of Arab
Christians living in Najran, around Yemen, heard that an Arab in Arabia was now
claiming Divine inspiration and had proclaimed himself to be the mouthpiece of
God – a Prophet. A deputation set out for Madeenah to cross-examine the
Prophet, to match their wits against his to test his knowledge about God and
religion in general.
their arrival they were housed in the Masjid-en-Nabawi (the mosque
of the Prophet): a simple structure of mud walls with a thatched roof of palm
leaves. The Christians, ate and slept in the Mosque and had discussions with the
Messenger of Allah for three days and three nights in the mosque. The details of
the dialogue can be found in the Books of Traditions.
the course of the dialogue, the spokesman for the Christians, amongst many other
things, posed the question, "Now tell us O Muhammad, what is your
concept of God?" The Prophet did not prevaricate, he did not beat
around the bush, fumbling for words and ideas, to gather his thoughts, as anyone
of us would have done if we did not have a ready answer. Muhammad (pbuh), so to
speak, presses his spiritual buttons (there were no buttons to press) but as I
said: "So to speak" as if, like the lady above, in the airways
office contacting the "Head Computer." He is seeking an answer from
Allah through the "PRESERVED
TABLET", the head computer of all revelational knowledge. He is asking, again I
said, so to speak "O my Lord! What shall I say?" Came the answer –
(O Muhammad) He is Allah the one and only;
begetteth not, nor is He begotten,
(SURA IKHLAS) Holy
uttering the above formula on the Purity of Faith, the conversation returned to
the usual discourse of words. No Arab worth his name could have missed the
difference in tone and intensity between the two discourses. The words above
were not the Prophet's but were God's words. They were literally being put into
his mouth. While he recited them, he was only being used as a mouthpiece of God,
like the "speaker" in the radio. This data material was programmed
into his own, God-given, computer, into his heart and mind a decade earlier in
Makkah, under identical circumstances. At that time he was being prodded by the
Jews who were trying to trip him on the subject of the "identity and
genealogy of God". Not unlike the Pharisees of old who were dogging the
footsteps of Jesus, their waited Messiah (pbuh).
foregoing is a perfect example of how God Almighty sent His revelation to his
chosen Messenger – by verbal inspiration – and how His Messenger had it
protected and preserved, and how His human mouthpiece used and re-used that
Message, and how we, the followers of the Prophet (pbuh), are to have that
Message imbibed to use it at every opportunity.
the religious literature of the world there is nothing to compare with even this
short chapter of Sura Ikhlas quoted above! If this chapter 112 is
the acid test of theology – God's concentrated word, then the rest of the
Qur'anic text is its explanation, with which we are to discover the Qualities of
God, and avoid the pitfalls into which men and nations have fallen repeatedly in
trying to understand God.