By Farhat Amin
Once you’re convinced Allah is your creator how do you know how to worship Him? Why did Allah create you and how are you going to find out?
Some people believe they can decide how they are going to worship their creator. They want to choose their own spiritual path. They see belief as a personal journey and everyone should be free to ‘find God’ in their own way and do what makes them spiritually happy.
Read more: 6 reasons you should believe in Allah (swt)
There is a big problem with personalised spirituality and making up your own religious rituals. What if your religious practices cause harm to others? For example, the Aztecs worshipped many gods, the most important was their sun god, Huitzilopochtli, they believed that their ‘good’ gods should be kept strong to keep away the ‘bad’ gods. Unfortunately, they kept them strong by making human sacrifices! The Ancient Egyptians also chose to sacrifice people as part of their Pharaoh’s burial rites. The Pharaoh’s servants would be killed after the Pharaoh died so they could accompany him to the afterlife. They believed that what belonged to the Pharaoh on Earth, also belonged to him in the next life and he should be able to enjoy his ‘possessions’ in the afterlife. These two examples illustrate that when people decide how to worship their creator it can lead to irrational and gruesome rituals.
So how can we communicate with our Creator?
People can’t directly talk to Allah so it makes sense that Allah will then communicate with us to answer all the questions that we naturally have about our purpose in life. Throughout time and even today there are people who claim they are messengers of God. If someone came to you today and said “I am a messenger from God, I will tell you how God wants you to live your life, you should follow me” What would you say to them? Of course, you would be sceptical and ask for proof. A sign, something miraculous that could only be from God. A magic trick or lucky charm would not suffice. As we know, there are con-artists who pretend they can communicate with God and charge people for praying for them or making amulets (*tawiz). These self-styled saints (*pirs) prey on desperate people who are trying to communicate with God. In the Quran, we are told about genuine messengers and Allah gave them miraculous signs to prove their authenticity. Here are just two examples.
Prophet Sulaiman (as)
He was given many special abilities from Allah. He was granted the power to understand the speech of birds, animals and control the wind and Jinn.
“So, We subjected to him the wind blowing by his command, gently, wherever he directed,” Sad (38 :36)
“[Sulaiman said] O people, we have been taught the language of birds…” An-Naml (27:16)
“And gathered for Sulaiman were his soldiers of the Jinn and men and birds…” An- Naml (27: 17)
Prophet Musa (as)
Allah said to Musa (as)
“Go then to Pharaoh and say to him, we’ve been sent by the Lord of All the Worlds, so send the Children of Israel with us” Ash Shuara (26:16-17)
When Musa (as) met with the Pharaoh. He rejected Musa’s (as) call to obey Allah and said to his subjects
“If any of you choose a god other than me, then I’ll put you in prison!” [Musa replied] “Even if I showed you clear proof?” Ash Shuara (26:29-31)
[Pharaoh said] “If you’ve really come with a sign, then show it if you’re telling the truth. Then Moses threw his staff down and suddenly it became a snake in plain sight. Then he pulled out his hand and it glowed white.” Al-Araf (7: 106-109)
The previous messengers have passed away and their miracles were only seen by their people. The final messenger that Allah sent was the Prophet Muhammad (saw) and the miracle that Allah gave him was the Quran which we can witness today. So how can we know for sure that the Quran is the word of God and is miraculous?
Linguistic miracles in the Quran
If you’re not fluent in Arabic it can be difficult to appreciate the linguistic miracles in the Quran but the Arabs at the time could appreciate it and many became Muslim just by hearing the Quran. Here is example that is easy for a non–Arabic speaker to understand.
The Quran contains palindromes, a palindrome is a word or phrase which reads the same backward as forward, such as madam or racecar. Sentence-length palindromes may be written when allowances are made for adjustments to capital letters, punctuation, such as “A man, a plan, a canal, Panama!”, “Was it a car or a cat I saw?”. Palindrome sentences are notoriously difficult to write in any language. It’s easy to write nonsensical palindromes (kids do it all the time).
As mentioned previously, the Quran is an oral text, when an ayah of Quran was revealed, the prophet (saw) would recite it to his companions but he would not write it down. In surah Mudhathir (74:3) Allah says the phrase:
“Declare the greatness only of your lord”
the transliteration of the ayah is: wa rabbaka fakabir
The letter ( و) in the beginning with a fatha ( وَ ) is “wa” which means the word “And”. According to Arabic grammar the letter ( و) can be used for over 21 things, one of them is to start a new sentence. You can see the ( و) being used in this way in the subsequent ayahs of Surah Mudhathir ayahs( 4-8) So, the rest of the ayah says.
If you sound out the letters in the ayah and write them out, you notice something, it’s spelt backwards and forwards the same way.
ر ب ك ف ك ب ر
Allah gave the Messenger (saws) words that he did not write down. Allah says
“You never recited any scripture before, We revealed this one to you; you never wrote one down with your hand.” Surah Al-Ankabut (29:48)
Receiving revelation was an entirely oral exercise for the prophet (saw) and once he recited something he didn’t edit or correct it, Allah revealed it and he said it exactly the way Allah instructed him to.
So, the question arises that is it possible for any person to replicate what the Quran brought? Can they produce a similar sentence “Declare the greatness only of your lord” in any language: German, Chinese, Spanish etc. It must be a palindrome, without writing it down, in one attempt and it must make sense. Try it yourself. When you’re writing a palindrome, you are concentrating on the spelling, the meaning is secondary, it’s difficult to get both right at the same time. However, remarkably the Quran manages to achieve both perfectly.
Divine Symmetry in the Quran
Many Christians believe Isa (as) is the son of God. However, if Isa (as) is the son of God because he was born without a father, then shouldn’t Adam (as) be even more miraculous since he was born without a father and a mother? Allah says in the Quran
“Indeed, the example of Jesus to Allah is like that of Adam. He created Him from dust; then He said to him, “Be,” and he was.” Surah Ali Imran (3:59)
What is amazing is that in the Quran, Isa (as) is mentioned 25 times throughout the Qur’an and Adam (as) is also mentioned 25 times! This symmetry could not have been a coincidence…
Stay tuned for part 2!