What is the goal and main idea of the Quran? What kind of a book is the Quran?

"THE QUR'AN is a Revealed Scripture which comprises in summary the Books of all the prophets, whose times were all different the writings of all the saints, whose paths are all different, and the works of all the purified scholars, whose ways are all different. Its six aspects are all brilliant and refined of the darkness of doubts and skepticism; its point of support is certain heavenly revelation and the pre-eternal Word;  its aim and goal is self-evidently eternal happiness; its inner aspect is clearly pure guidance; its upper aspect is necessarily the lights of belief; its lower aspect is undeniably evidence and proof; its right aspect is evidently the surrender of the heart and conscience; its left aspect is manifestly the subjugation of the reason and intellect; its fruit is indisputably the Mercy of the Most Merciful One and the realm of Paradise; and its rank and desirability are assuredly accepted by the angels and man and the jinn." (Badiuzzaman Said Nursi, Sözler (Words))

What kind of a book is the Quran?

The necessity of turning toward the Quran and to make it dominant in our life today, when the earth is invaded by mischief and disorder, is obvious. If people are engaged in foolish nonsense and spend their time on it, if they refer to and obey the works of people instead of the Book of Allah, if those who claim to represent Islam call people to their own party, sect and group instead of the Quran, if Muslims regard books full of superstitions, not the Quran as their guide book, if the ummah has left the Quran as the Messenger of Allah complains about in verse 30 of the chapter of al-Furqan: 

"Then the Messenger will say: 'O my Lord! Truly my people took this Qur'an for just foolish nonsense.'"

if Muslims are in a state like that of the people of the Book and undergo a crisis of identity that can be described as having no ground to stand upon and not standingfast by the Law, the Gospel, and the Quran as it is stated in verse 68 of the chapter of al-Maidah: 

"Say: 'O People of the Book! Ye have no ground to stand upon unless ye stand fast by the Law, the Gospel, and all the revelation that has come to you from your Lord." It is the revelation that cometh to thee from thy Lord, that increaseth in most of them their obstinate rebellion and blasphemy. But sorrow thou not over (these) people without Faith.'"

, then, the necessity to turn toward the Quran, to understand it and to support it becomes significant. It is necessary to know the Quran well, to read it and to understand it in order to make it dominate our lives.

A Different, Unmatched and Unique Book Beyond Human Standards:

The first property that a reader who has just started to read the Quran needs to take into consideration is this: It is not a book written by humans and divided into certain chapters under titles or a book having the parts of introduction, body and conclusion. The Quran is not a literature or ideology book that we are accustomed to; it is not a book of history, astronomy, sociology or medicine either; it is not even a classical book of religion. It attracts attention to many issues that are in the scope of the branches of science mentioned above, but it is a completely different and unique book in terms of its goal, style, language, arrangement and the style of dealing with issues. It is an extraordinary book that cannot be measured by any branch of science; as Mawdudi puts it, "it is the only book of its kind in the world". 

The Quran was not sent down in order to inform its readers about certain issues or to encourage them to do scientific research.  On the contrary, its unique aim is to make people and jinn, who are rendered responsible because they have intelligence and will, attain the consciousness of servitude as it is stated in the following verse:

"I have only created jinn and men, that they may serve Me." (adh-Dhariyat, 51/56)

and to attain bliss both in the world and the hereafter. The Quran is not an aimless book:

 It is not a thing for amusement."(at-Tariq, 86/14)

It is a whole of criteria and norms that distinguishes the truth from the falsehood, the good from the bad and the nice from the ugly.

It is the most distinctive feature of the Quran, whose unique aim is the guidance and happiness of human beings, to use a style in compliance with this aim, to address sometimes the mind, sometimes the feelings, sometimes the conscience and sometimes the heart of its readers, to attract attention to the previous nations, the sky and the earth, the kingdom of plants and animals, the psychological, sociological, philosophical and ethical realities and to ask its readers to think on these issues.

Therefore, the Quran looks as if it is complicated and tangled in terms of the issues it deals with though it is arranged in the form of chapters and verses. It is a necessity of the unique style of the Quran to move to an issue that seems irrelevant while dealing with an issue, to repeat things frequently, to mention solutions to the practical problems of a society in particular during the twenty-three-year process of being sent down and the universal problems of the humanity in general, to encourage people to do good deeds and to obey ethical principles, to give them the glad tidings of Paradise, to warn them not to do bad deeds and to warn them against Hell.

When the Quran is read again and again, it is seen better that there is a surprising cohesion and integrity among its topics, words and concepts, that no sentence is used unnecessarily and that the whole book is focused on one single aim: to make man attain guidance and bliss. As Muhammad Asad puts it, "Never has any book - not excluding the Bible - supplied to so many, and over so long a span of time, a comprehensive answer to the question, "How shall I behave in order to achieve the good life in this world and happiness in the life to come?"

The True, Complete, Non-contradictory, Unchanged Book Sent by Allah:

There is no doubt that the Quran is the true book that was sent down to the Prophet Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) by Allah, the Lord of the Realms. "This Quran cannot have been designed or written by anyone but Allah. It confirms the true parts of the revelations that have reached today and explains the revelation which has doubtlessly comes from the Lord of the Realms fully: 

"This Qur'an is not such as can be produced by other than Allah; on the contrary it is a confirmation of (revelations) that went before it, and a fuller explanation of the Book― wherein there is no doubt from the Lord of the Worlds." (Yunus, 10/37)

The Quran explains this fact as an answer to claims like the following:

"Naught is this but a lie which he has forged, and others have helped him at it... Tales of the ancients, which he has caused to be written."(al-Furqan, 25/4, 5),

"... It is the word of a poet…; it is the word of a soothsayer..."(al-Haaqqa, 69/41, 42)

and challenges those who utter those nonsensical slanders:
"And if ye are in doubt as to what We have revealed from time to time to Our servant, then produce a Surah like thereunto; and call your witnesses or helpers (if there are any) besides Allah, if your (doubts) are true. But if ye cannot and of a surety ye cannot then fear the Fire whose fuel is Men and Stones, which is prepared for those who reject Faith." (al-Baqara, 2/23, 24)

"Or do they say, "He forged it"? Say: "Bring then a Surah like unto it, and call (to your aid) anyone you can, besides Allah, if it be ye speak the truth!" (Yunus, 10/38)

A person who examines the Quran carefully will definitely notice at first sight that it cannot have been written by a human being. It is impossible to see any personal weakness of the author that can be seen in a book or any clues related to the conditions of the medium that an author lives in. For instance, as Abdullah Draz points out the Quran remains beyond all kinds human properties like geography and race; it does not give the full names of the people and places it mentions; it gives lessons for the general education of people by mentioning them. Only this issue is enough to prove that the Quran is the word of Allah. 

Besides, it is possible to find some mistakes and faults as a result of a detailed examination even in a perfect book written by a human being. None of the people who examined the Quran due to various reasons for hundreds of years has been able to find a small mistake or contradiction. It is impossible to find any crookedness or mistake in the Quran:

"Praise be to Allah Who hath sent to His Servant the Book, and hath allowed therein no Crookedness." (al-Kahf, 18/1)

The Book of Allah challenges people regarding the issue:

"Do they not ponder on the Qur'an (with care)? Had it been from other than Allah, they would surely have found therein much discrepancy."(an-Nisa, 4/82)

Anybody who reads the Quran by meditating and trying to understand it will see that it is not the word of a human being uttered coincidentally and without any purpose:

"It is not a thing for amusement." (at-Tariq, 86/14).

"This is the Book whereof there is no doubt." (al-Baqara, 2/2)

"(Their doom is) because Allah sent down the Book in truth but those who seek causes of dispute in the Book are in a schism far (from the purpose)." (al-Baqara, 2/176}.

"(This is) the revelation of the Book in which there is no doubt,― from the Lord of the Worlds."(Yunus, 10/37; as-Sajda, 32/2; Yasin, 36/5; az-Zumar, 39/1)

It is such a book that even its one letter cannot be changed and Allah, who has power over everything, has undertaken to protect it. {6/115; 15/9}.

It is a Guide that Leads Human Beings to the Right Path and Light that Takes them from Darkness to Brightness:

The Quran is a guide of salvation for the whole mankind in every age and place in general. It is a guide that shows ways of solutions for the believers who are in crisis and trouble in particular. The concept of guidance (hidayah in Arabic) which denotes a way out for those who do not know what direction to go in the desert corresponds to the position of the Quran for the whole mankind. 

The Quran, which states that man is in loss by swearing using the term time {al-Asr, 1-2}, is a "recipe of salvation" and a "life buoy" for man, who has been confused due to spiritual crises, moral corruptions and social problems in the past and today.  

"A Book which We have revealed unto thee in order that thou mightest lead mankind out of the depths of darkness into light― by the leave of their Lord― to the Way of (Him) Exalted in Power, Worthy of all Praise!"(Ibrahim, 14/1)

The only way of solution for a community that has lost its virtues and nice characteristics and whose present day and future have darkened to attain welfare and happiness is shown in the Book of Allah as follows:

"…There hath come to you from Allah a (new) Light and a perspicuous Book.― Wherewith Allah guideth all who seek His good pleasure to ways of peace and safety, and leadeth them out of darkness, by His Will, unto the light,― guideth them to a Path that is Straight." (al-Maida, 5/15, 16)

Human ideologies, which come forward with the assertion that they will solve the problems of the mankind, deteriorate the problems with their temporary and incomplete solutions; on the other hand, the Quran offers eternal and absolute ways of salvation that are valid for all ages and places. The Quran likens a person who tries to solve the problems through solutions offered by human beings to a helpless person who takes a few steps when a lightning that dazzles the eyes strikes in the middle of darkness and then who stops {2/20}. The Quran guides to the most right. {17/9}. For, it is the absolute truth {13/1; 17/105}.

Mercy, Bounty, Cure and Guide for Human Beings:

"O mankind! There hath come to you a admonition from your Lord and a healing for the (diseases) in your hearts and for those who believe, a Guidance and a Mercy. Say: "In the Bounty of Allah and in His Mercy― in that let them rejoice": that is better than the (wealth) they hoard." (Yunus, 10/57-58)

The Quran is a cure and relief, hence a mercy, for all kinds of spiritual disorders and troubles. The hearts that blacken due to spiritual dirt and sins and that harden and become ill {2/10; 6/43; 8/49} can be purified, softened and cured only by the Quran:

"The skins of those who fear their Lord tremble thereat; then their skins and their hearts do soften to the celebration of Allah's praises." (az-Zumar, 39/23)

"Those who believe, and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah: for without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction." (ar-Rad, 13/28)

Thus, the Quran becomes a cure and mercy for the people whose hearts and minds become confused due to Satanic delusions. The heart of the people who get rid of those kinds of troubles and diseases become enlightened and their foresights become active.

"... this Quran is (nothing but) lights from your Lord, and Guidance and Mercy, for any who have faith."(al-A'raf, 7/203; al-Jasiya, 45/20)

The Quran is such a holy book that {6/155}, as Hz. Umar (ra) puts it, "Allah opens the closed eyes, deaf ears and locked hearts with it."

Advice and Warning that Make man have the Consciousness of Responsibility:

One of the names of the Quran is "dhikr", that is, advice; and another name for it is "tadhkira" that is a warner and a reminder. The Quran is the whole of advice and warnings that teaches and reminds man of his responsibilities and that leads man to the good and the truth:

"Here is a Message for mankind: let them take warning therefrom, and let them know that He is (no other than) One God: let men of understanding take heed."(Ibrahim, 14/52)

The Quran informs man of his responsibilities toward himself, his Lord, the other people and nature. It teaches those who are not aware of their responsibilities and reminds those who forget them of about their responsibilities. It warns severely those who do not fulfill their responsibilities deliberately. 

As Mehmet Akif, the poet, puts it, the Quran was not sent down in order to be read after those who die or in order to tell fortune. It was sent down in order to advise the living people, to remind heedless people of the truth and to warn them against the disasters in the world and in the hereafter that can hit them. Thus, no excuse is left for those who do not heed these warnings and advice {36/5-6, 69-70; 6/155-157}.

"It is a Revelation sent down by (Him) the Exalted in Might, Most Merciful. In order that thou mayest warn a people, whose fathers had received no admonition, and who therefore remain heedless (of the Signs of Allah)."(Yasin, 36/5, 6)

"We have not instructed the (Prophet) in Poetry, nor is it meet for Him: this is no less than a Message and a Qur'an making things clear:"(Yasin, 36/69)

"(That it may give admonition to any (who are) alive, and that the charge may be proved against those who reject (Truth)..."(Yasin, 36/70)

"And this is a Book which We have revealed as a blessing: so follow it and be righteous, that ye may receive mercy."(al-Anam, 6/155)

"Lest ye should say: 'The Book was sent down to two peoples before us and for our part, we remained unacquainted with all that they learned by assiduous study.' Or lest ye should say: 'If the Book had only been sent down to us we should have followed its guidance better than they." Now then hath come unto you a Clear (sign) from your Lord, and a guide and a mercy: then who could do more wrong than one who rejects Allah's signs and turns away therefrom? In good time shall We requite those who turn away from Our Signs, with a dreadful penalty for their turning away.'(al-Anam, 6/156, 157)

The Only Reference for Believers, the Main Resource and Criterion that Distinguishes the Truth from the Wrong:

The basic reference for any Muslim that chooses Islam as his religion and surrenders to Allah is the Quran. He will learn the principles of life that will bring him happiness in the world and the hereafter from the Quran. He will learn what he needs to believe and what he needs to reject, what is good and legitimate and what is bad and illegitimate, what he needs to do and what he needs to avoid from the Quran. He will purify his heart, strengthen his surrendering to Allah and refresh his belief and excitement with it. {9/124; 16/102}

"Whenever there cometh down a Surah, some of them say: "which of you has had his faith increased by it? Yea, those who believe― their faith is increased, and they do rejoice." (at-Tawba, 9/124)

"Say the Holy Spirit has brought the revelation from thy Lord in truth, in order to strengthen those who believe and as a Guide and Glad Tidings to Muslims."(an-Nahl, 16/102)

He will learn the beauties of Paradise and the horror of Hell torture from the Book of Allah; thus, he will work harder to lead a virtuous life and will act more carefully in order to avoid sins and bad deeds. In short, a believer will find everything about how to act in order to attain the consent of Allah in general in the Quran:

"We have sent down to thee the Book explaining all things, a Guide a Mercy and Glad Tidings to Muslims." (an-Nahl, 16/89)

However, one should not conclude from this verse that the Quran is an encyclopedia or a book of science. It is not a book that mentions temporary scientific theories; it is a life guide. It is a manual sent by Allah, who created us and who knows our nature better than us; it shows us how to use our ephemeral body in this ephemeral world:

"This Quran is not a tale invented, but a confirmation of what went before it a detailed exposition of all things, and a Guide and a Mercy to any such as believe."(Yusuf, 12/111)

The Quran is the last and perfect word of Allah. Human beings, who have been addressed by revelation since Hz.Adam (as), the first man, have the Quran, which is a perfect treasure that confirms what is true in the previous teachings of oneness that have been forgotten, lost or changed and that corrects what is wrong in them. Human beings can learn what is divine truth and what is wrong and superstitious thanks to the Quran, which is "Furqan" (Distinguisher between good and bad).

The Quran is definitely the touchstone for Muslims. A Muslim's mentality, worldview and behavior pattern should be formed by the Quran. He should check everything that comes to him in the name of Islamic knowledge and culture by the Quran one by one; and he should distinguish between what is right and wrong, what is true and superstitious, what is sound and made up.

It should not be forgotten that the greatest chance of Islam is that its followers have Furqan, (the distinguisher) the book which has not undergone any changes, which is under the protection of Allah and which will remain as an infallible criterion distinguishing between the right and wrong. It is a book that does not contain even a tiny mistake. 

Believers refer to the Quran in order to learn the secrets of the world and the hereafter; they also refer to it and the sound sunnah of Messenger of Allah, who is the living Quran, regarding the issues that they disagree over.

In short, the Quran is the book of reference whose value will never decrease until Doomsday for believers. This book of treasure is the only reference that believers will refer to in order to solve all kinds of spiritual problems including the issues that they disagree over.

A Book of Practice not Theory:

The Quran is not a book that deals with some historical, social, philosophical and ethical facts theoretically. On the contrary, it aims to establish a community shaped by the universal ethical and spiritual principles that it introduces. It aims to eradicate everything related to lack of virtue and evil and to make the whole mankind surrender to Allah, that is, Islam, as it transformed one of the most ignorant societies of the world into the most virtuous society {2/193} ; it is a revolutionary book. The Quran was sent down so that it would be practiced and obeyed.

 Follow (O men!) the revelation given unto you from your Lord, and follow not, as friends or protectors, other than Him. Little it is ye remember of admonition!" (al-Araf, 7/3)

Everybody who believes in the Quran, primarily, the Prophet (pbuh), has to obey it and uphold the principles imposed by it:

"So hold thou fast to the Revelation sent down to thee: verily thou art on Straight Way. The (Qur'an) is indeed the message for thee and for thy people; and soon shall ye (all) be brought to account."(az-Zukhruf, 43/43, 44)

The Quran "is the Book of Allah that you will never go astray if you hold fast to it."{Ibn Majah} It is the strong rope of Allah that will lead you to brightness, maturity, and honor if you hold fast; there is no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out clear from Error; whoever rejects Evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. "

"Allah heareth and knoweth all things." (al-Baqara, 2/256); {al-Baqara, 2/256, 257; Aal-i Imran, 3/103}

"And hold fast, all together by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude Allah's favour on you; for ye were enemies and He joined your hearts in love so that by His Grace, ye became brethren; and ye were on the brink of the pit of fire, and He saved you from it. Thus doth Allah make his signs clear to you: that ye may be guided." (Aal-i Imran, 3/103)

The society that holds fast to the rope of Allah and obeys the principles of the revelation becomes happy both in the world and in the hereafter. Those who turn their back on to the divine truths and leave the Book of Allah by disobeying it will be unhappy in both realms.

The ethical principles, advice and recommendations that exist in the Quran become significant when they are practiced. For instance, the following divine advice will not be of any use if it is not applied:

"Nor come nigh to adultery: for it is a shameful (deed) and an evil, opening the road (to other evils)."

"Nor take life which Allah has made sacred― except for just cause..."

"And come not nigh to the orphan's property..."

"and fulfill (every) engagement, for (every) engagement will be enquired into (on the Day of Reckoning)."

"Give full measure when ye measure, and weigh with a balance that is straight..."

"And pursue not that of which thou hast no knowledge; for every act of hearing, or of seeing or of (feeling in) will be enquired into (on the Day of Reckoning)."

"Nor walk on the earth with insolence: for thou canst not rend the earth asunder, nor reach the mountains in height."

"Of all such things the evil is hateful in the sight of thy Lord." (al-Isra, 17/32-38)

A Clear, Understandable, Simplified Book:

As it is seen in the verses 32-38 of the chapter of al-Isra that we quoted as example above, the Quranic verses contain quite practical principles that can be understood even by a very ignorant community. The Quran is not a complicated, incomprehensible, ancient book that can be understood by experts, scientists and academicians only or whose codes can be decoded by them only. It is often repeated generally at the beginning of the chapters of the Quran that the Quran and its verses are clear and understandable.
In the Quran, everything is explained "through various examples" {18/54; 20/113} and in detail {6/55, 56, 126; 41/2-3}. The Quran has been made easy to understand through metaphors and examples:

"And We have indeed made the Qur'an easy to understand and remember: then is there any that will receive admonition?"(al-Qamar, 54/17, 22, 32, 40)

"Since the first addressees of the Quran are illiterate, the holy Shari'ah of Islam is simple. The Shari'ah was sent down in a form that would be understood and practiced easily by its addressees without needing any knowledge or specialization. To claim the opposite is contrary to the essence and foundation of the Shari'ah. The first addressees were illiterate; so, the shari'ah sent down to them would be simple. Otherwise, they would have said, "It is beyond our level; it does not resemble our words; they are words that we do not know or understand, etc..." {41/44}.

Besides, Allah states, "On no soul doth Allah place a burden greater than it can bear" {2/286}; "Allah has imposed no difficulties on you in religion" {22/78}. For practical reasons, the Shari'ah had to be sent down in a language and style that could be understood by everybody." Shatibi

The Quran is explained as follows in hadiths:

“Some people are the people of Allah. When the Messenger of Allah was asked, 'Who are they?', he said, 'They are the people of the Quran; they are the people of Allah and their friends." (Tirmidhi)

"Mercy and abundance pour down onto a place and angels and tranquility surround a place where a believer reads the Quran sincerely and for the sake of Allah." (Tirmidhi)

Harith al-Awar narrates: "While passing through the mosque, I found that people had left remembrance of Allah and were engrossed in vain talk. So, I went to Hz. Ali (ra) and told him what I had seen.

He asked me, 'Are you telling the truth, is that really so?'

When I assured him that it was so, he said:'I heard Messenger of Allah say,

"Behold! A dissension will come!I immediately asked him: ‘What is the way out of it? O Messenger of Allah!He replied: It is to obey the Book of Allah.

It contains all information about what has happened to those communities before you, news of dissensions and tumults that will happen after you and signs of Doomsday.

Also it has the judgment regarding the matters which will occur among you (about matters such as belief-blasphemy, obedience-disobedience, what is permitted-forbidden, etc.).It is the distinguisher between the truth and the falsehood.

It is serious in everything it mentions, there is no word in it that is excursive or digressive. Whoever falls in absurdity by not taking notice of it and does not behave according to it, Allah will perish him. If anyone seeks guidance elsewhere Allah will lead him astray.

It is the strong rope of Allah. It is the reminder with wisdom, and it is the straightest path. It protects souls who obey it from being ruined and misguidance and tongues that recite it from ambiguity. Scholars of the Qur’an always crave more from it. Reading it again and again never bores its reader; neither does the reader lose any taste by reading it over and over again. Its magnificent wonders that astonish the mankind never end.

It is such a Book that, when they had heard it, the jinn could not help to confess that, 'We have heard a wonderful recital (God’s word). This surely guides to the Truth and we believe in it.' (Surah al-Jinn, 72/1) He who utters it, speaks the truth. He who acts according to it, will be rewarded. He who pronounces judgment according to it, will be just. He who invites people to it, will guide them to a straight path. Oh Awar! Learn very well these beautiful words."(Tirmidhi)

To sum up,the Quran, "the miracle book", that will end the dark days that we live in and the troubles and agonies that we suffer and that will lead the whole mankind to "the universal happiness", is at our disposal as an unmatched treasure. What we need to do is to read this "recipe of salvation" with attentive eyes in order to find relevant answers to today's questions and to have the dynamism and excitement that existed in the first days of Islam.

Resource:

A. Yıldız-Ş. Özdemir, Kur'an Nedir, Nasıl Okunmalıdır, Pınar Yayınları.

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