An Expression Of Divine Mercy

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

Repeatedly does the Qur’an emphasize that the delivery of Torah, the Bible and the Qur’an to man is an expression of divine mercy.

“And which (the Qur’an) is preceded by the Book of Moses, a guide and Mercy.”

Surah: Hud (Hud) – Chapter: 11 – Verse: 17

“O men! Now hath a warning come to you from your Lord, and a healing of what is in your breasts, and a guidance and a mercy to believers.

Say: through the grace of God and His mercy! And in this therefore let them rejoice: better is this than all ye amass.”

Surah: Yunus (Jonah) – Chapter: 10 – Verses: 57-58

“This is a clear proof for mankind, and a guidance and mercy to a people who are firm in faith.”

Surah: Al-Jathiyah (Kneeling) – Chapter: 45 – Verse: 20

“It is not enough for them that we have sent down to thee the Book to be recited to them? In this verily is a mercy and a reminder to those who believe.”

Surah: Al-Ankabut (The Spider) – Chapter: 29 – Verse: 51

Indeed on this basis, the Qur’an calls the Prophet of Islam as a Rahmat or mercy unto the whole world.

“We have not sent thee otherwise than as mercy unto all creatures.”

Surah: Al-Anbiya’ (The Prophets) – Chapter: 21 – Verse: 107

The Handiwork Of The God Of Grace

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

‘The handiwork of the God of Grace’ is the term used here. Everything, the Qur’an points out, is the creation of one who is not merely a creator but a creator who at the same time is God of Grace, of mercy and that where mercy is at work, there shall dwell beauty and perfection.

“(Blessed be He) Who hath created seven heavens one above another. No defect canst thou see in the handiwork of the God of Grace. Repeat thy gaze: seest thou a single flaw? Then twice more repeat thy gaze: thy gaze will return to thee dulled and weary.”

Surah: Al-Mulk (The Kingdom) – Chapter: 67 – Verses: 3-4


Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

The Qur’an uses the term Itqan also to denote the very same thing. It means that everything in the Universe is properly set and there is no defect or flaw noticeable in its setting.

“Tis the work of God who sets everything with exactitude.”

Surah: Al-Naml (The Ants) – Chapter: 27 – Verse: 88


Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

The Qur’an uses another term – Taswiya which means ‘setting things in right perspective.’

“Praise the name of thy Lord, the Most High,
Who hath created and set all things in right perspective;
Who hath fixed their courses and guideth them.”

Surah: Al-A’la (The Most High) – Chapter: 87 – Verse: 1-3

“O man! Who hath misled thee against thy generous Lord,
Who hath created thee and moulded thee and shaped thee aright?
In the form which pleased Him hath He fashioned thee.”

Surah: Al-Infitar (The Cleaving Asunder) – Chapter: 82 – Verse 6-8

Pleasures And Pre-Occupations Of Life

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

To keep us engaged while we have to live, diverse desires, passions, urges for wealth, honour and power, desires for progeny and love of children, and pleasures and pre-occupations of life have all been thrown across the path.

“Fair seeming to men is the love of pleasure from women and children, and the stored-up heaps of gold and silver, and horses of mark, and flocks and corn-fields! Such, the enjoyments of this world’s life. But God! Goodly is the home with Him!”

Surah: Al-‘Imran (The Family of ‘Imran) – Chapter: 3 – Verse: 14

Variation In Individual Span Of Life

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

Every individual life has to pass through childhood, youth, adolescence, manhood, maturity and obsolescence Every stage rouses new sensations and feelings, and presents new experiences and trials, so much so, that before we are satisfied with the experiences incidental to one stage, the next stage unobtrusively puts in its appearance, rendering us insensitive to the length of life we have lived.

“He it is who created you of dust, then of the germ of life, then of a blood-clot, then brought you forth as a child. Then He letteth you reach your full strength, and then become old men – though some of you die early – and reach the appointed term that haply ye may understand.”

Surah: Ghafir (The Forgiver) – Chapter: 40 – Verse 67

The Entire Framework Of Human Society

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

The entire framework of the human society is the outcome of the conjugal state between man and woman.

“O mankind! Be careful of your duty to your Lord who created you from a single person, and of him, created his mate and from these twain hath spread abroad a multitude of men and women. Be careful of your duty to God in whose name ye claim (your rights) of one another, and toward the wombs (that bore you). Verily, is God watching over you.”

Surah: Al-Nisa’ (Women) – Chapter: 4 – Verse: 1

“God, too, hath given you wives of your own species and from your wives hath He given you children and grandchildren.”

Surah: Al-Nahl (Bees) – Chapter: 16 – Verse: 72

Tazwij – The Law Of Producing A Thing By Twos

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

Tazwij or Tathnia – the law of producing a thing by twos. Nothing is produced solitarily single. It always comes out in twos, one being a complement to the other. The day has its counterpart in the night; the morning in the evening; and male in the female species, man in woman, life in death.

“And of everything, have We created pairs; that haply ye may reflect.”

Surah: Al-Dhariyat (Scattering Winds) – Chapter: 51 – Verse: 49

“Glory be to Him, who hath created pairs of all things of what the earth growth, and of mankind themselves, and of things beyond their ken.”

Surah: Ya Sin (Ya Sin) – Chapter: 36 – Verse: 36

The Qur’an states that this arrangement is devised to induce love between them and peace of mind, so that through their joint co-operation, they might with confidence bear and counter the trails of life.

“And one of His signs it is, that He hath created mates for you of your own species, that ye may dwell with them, and hath put love and tenderness between you. Herein truly are signs for those who reflect.

Surah: Al-Rum (The Romans) – Chapter: 30 – Verse: 21

It is this joint life which leads to reproduction and the expansion of one’s family circle and the extension of social ties.

“And it is He who hath created man of water, and appointed for him kindred by blood and kindred by marriage.”

Surah: Al-Furqan (The Distinguisher) – Chapter: 25 – Verse: 54

The Different Aspects Of Peace In Life

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

The Qur’an very often draws attention to the different aspects of peace in life. Man by nature dislikes monotony and uniformity. Contrarieties and contradictions both in nature and in the life of man exist side by side, acting and reacting on each other so as to contribute to peace in life. It is in this context that Qur’an speaks of the alternating behaviors of the night and the day. In them lie concealed innumerable signs for the thoughtful. Had time been one continuous night or day, life would have become an impossibility.

“Verily, in the creation of heavens and of the earth, and in the succession of the night and of the day, are signs for men of understanding.”

Surah: Al-‘Imran (The Family of Imran) – Chapter: 3 – Verse: 190

It is this difference between night and day that has divided life into two parts. The light of the day is to help man engage himself in life’s activities, and the darkness of the night to induce in him the urge for rest. The activity of the day is succeeded by the rest of the night, and the rest of the night ushers in a fresh day of activity.

“Of his mercy, He Hath made for you the night that ye may take your rest in it: and the day, that ye may seek what ye may need out of his bounteous provisions, and that ye may give thanks.”

Surah: Al-Qasas (The Story) – Chapter: 28 – Verse: 73

Not merely this, but even the time of day is a succession of varied phases, all tending to sustain our zest in life.

“Glorify God therefore when ye reach the evening and when ye rise in the morning: And to Him be praise in the heaven, and on the earth; and at twilight, and when ye rest at noon.”

Surah: Al-Rum (The Romans) – Chapter: 30 – Verse: 16

A Struggle For Existence

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

Zest for life. Take another example. The life of man is marked by a struggle for existence. This you will notice in every field of life and at every corner of it. Life taken as a whole is a series of trials.

“Surely, we have created man to face trials.”

Surah: Al-Balad (The City) – Chapter: 90 – Verse: 4

The Upward And The Downward March In Life

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

The evolutionary process is applied equally well to the upward and the downward march in life. In the upward march, it allows time for easy gathering of perfection from stage to stage; and on the downward path, it allows time to make amends.

“To all – both of these and those; the good and the bad people – do we prolong the gifts of thy Lord; for not to any shall the gifts of thy Lord be denied.”

Surah: Al-Anbiya’ (The Prophets) – Chapter: 21 – Verse: 17

If a man desires to profit by the latitude furnished by this process, he can in proper time make amends for every mishap, and march upward. On the other hand, if he misses the opportunity so afforded, he steadily goes down till the inevitable decree, implicit in his behavior, imposes itself on him, and none can help man at that stage.

“And when their term is come, they shall not delay or advance it an hour.”

Surah: Al-Nahl (Bees) – Chapter: 16 – Verse: 61

A Period Of Ajal And The Process of Takwir

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

Look at the laws of life and death. The life of a thing advances slowly and steadily from its growth across the stages of its development, and then even as slowly and as steadily, it passes its stages of decline till its final stage marked by death. The phenomenon is observable not merely in the life of man, but in the life of every other creation. For everything is set a period or ajal as styled by the Qur’an. And this period varies with every object of creation; so much so, that what is but a moment with nature, may seem a thousand years in the life of man.

“And verily, a day with thy Lord is as a thousand years as ye reckon them!”

Surah: Al-Hajj (The Pilgrimage) – Chapter: 22 – Verse: 47

This gradual process of Nature is also called Takwir in the Qur’an. The day does not dawn instantly in all the brightness. It comes in slowly, even as the night.

“For a serious purpose, hath He created the heavens and the earth: it is of Him that the night returned upon the day, and that the day returneth upon the night: and He controleth the sun and the moon to an appointed goal.”

Surah: Al-Zumar (The Crowds) – Chapter: 39 – Verse: 5

This process of gradualness is evidently intended, it is application to human life, to help man pause and reflect at every stage and adjust himself with the laws inherent in him or operating in the process. The provision of this opportunity for correction is a provision of Rahmat or the grace of God. The Qur’an says that were this provision absent from life’s equipment, none would have profited by life, and every slip would have spelt ruination to it.

“If God should chastise men according to their deserts, he would not leave any moving thing on the surface of the earth. But to an appointed term, doth He respite them. And when their time shall come, then verily God’s eye is on his servants.”

Surah: Fatir (The Creator) – Chapter: 35 – Verse: 45


The Light Of Intelligence And Reason

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

Nature has endowed man not only with a form in proper proportion, but has at the same time given him an inward form, equally balanced. It is this inward equipment which distinguishes man from the other animals. It is this which generates in him the light of intelligence and reason.

“God hath brought forth you out of your mother’s womb with little knowledge of anything, but hath given you hearing and sight, and heart that haply ye might render thanks.”

Surah: Al-Nahl (Bees) – Chapter: 16 – Verse: 78

The Universal Weakness In The Disposition Of Man

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

The universal weakness in the disposition of man is that he does not properly appreciate the value of a gift until it is withdrawn from him. The world is provided with beauty in abundance and of comfort for man. This very abundance renders him insensitive to their value in life. The Qur’an repeatedly draws attention to this common place expression.

“Of everything which ye ask him, giveth He to you; and if ye would reckon up the favors of God, ye cannot count them! Surely man is unjust and ungrateful.”

Surah: Ibrahim (Abraham) – Chapter: 14 – Verse: 34

The Composite Melody Of Life

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

There is no doubt that you meet in life things of ugly bearing standing close to objects pleasing to the eye. You listen to the melodious note of the nightingale along with the disturbing note of the crow. The composite melody of life is to be composed of a diverse variety of notes. Such is the law of harmony in life.

“The seven heavens and the earth raise their voice of praise, neither is there aught which doth not celebrate his praise; but their notes of praise, ye understand not.”

Surah: Al-Isra’ (The Night Journey) – Chapter: 17 – Verse: 44

An All-Round Bliss For Everything

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

The greatest blessing of nature is its beauteous aspect. Nature does not simply destroy and construct; it contructs in a manner pleasing to the eye. Take a comprehensive view of the entire universe or look at any part or corner of it. There is a viel of beauty spread over it; so much so, that the entire universe looks like an exhibition house of beauty working deliberately fir proportion and balance in every particle of it and thereby releasing forces for an all-round bliss for everything.

In fact, the very nature of the universe is constituted of beauty. Even as elements were created to give a form to the universe, even so was it invested with the qualities of color, light and shade, and of rhythm and melody in order to lend beauty to it.

“This is He who knoweth what is out of our knowledge and what is within it, the Mighty, the Merciful, who hath made everything which He hath created most perfect.”

Surah: Al-Sajdah (Prostration) – Chapter: 32 – Verses: 6-7

Under The Shade of Trees

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

Man, however uncivilized or narrow his life, is never insensitive to the good that his surroundings offer. Take the case of even a humble wood-cutter. Sitting in front of his hut, he may not be able to interpret what he beholds around him, but he certainly feels that everything around him contributes to his comfort. When he falls ill, he eats the herbs close to him to cure his illness. When he feels the heat of the sun, he seats himself under the shade of trees. In hours of unoccupation, he cools his eyes by looking at green fields and beautiful flowers. The trees around provide him with fruit. When they dry up, they supply planks for him. In his hearths, they glow into flames and help him to cook his food and so forth.

“(It is He) who even out of the green trees hath given you fire, and indeed, ye kindle fire from it.”

Surah: Ya Sin (Ya Sin) – Chapter: 36 – Verse: 80

Behold The Animal Life!

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

Behold the animal life! The cattle roaming on the earth, the birds wafting in the air, the fishes fluttering in water are all there to benefit us.

“And the cattle! For you Hath He created them: in them ye have warm garments and gainful uses; and of them ye eat: And ye have a sense of beauty in them when ye fetch them home, and when ye drive them to pasture. And they carry your burdens to lands which ye could not else reach but with hardship. Truly, your Lord is full of goodness and compassion.”

“And He hath created horses, mules and asses, that ye may ride them, and for your ornament: and things of which ye have no knowledge hath He created.”

Surah: Al-Nahl (Bees) – Chapter: 16 – Verses: 5 – 8

“And in the existence of the cattle, there is great food for reflection. We give you drink of the pure milk between dregs and blood which is in their bellies – pure milk, easy and agreeable to swallow for those who drink.”

Surah: Al-Nahl (Bees) – Chapter: 16 – Verse: 66

“And God hath given you houses to dwell in: and He hath given you skins of beasts for tents, that ye may find them light when ye shift your quarters, or when ye halt; and from their wool and soft fur and hair hath He supplied you with goods that ye might use for a time.”

Surah: Al-Nahl (Bees) – Chapter: 16 – Verse: 80

Look At An Ocean!

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

Similarly look at an ocean. On its surface float ships, and down below flutter fishes, and further down in its depths pearls and corals are formed.

“And look! He it is who hath subjected the sea to you, that ye may eat of its fresh fish, and take forth from it ornaments to wear; look! The ships plough its billows that ye may go in quest of His bounties, and that ye might give thanks.”

Surah: Al-Nahl (Bees) – Chapter: 16 – Verse: 14

Look At The Earth!

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

Look at the earth! The surface is spread over with fruits and flowers. On it streams of water flow. From the depths of the earth come out gold and silver. Although its surface is curved, it is so formed that for us it looks like a levelled up ground.

“And He it is who hath outstretched the earth and placed on it firm mountains and flowing streams; and of every fruit He hath provided two kinds. He causeth the night to enshroud the day. Verily, herein are signs for those who reflect. And on the earth hard by each other are its various portions: gardens of grapes and corns, and palm trees, single or clustered. Though watered by the same water, yet some make We more excellent as food than other: Verily in all this are signs for those who understand.”

Surah: Al-Ra’d (Thunder) – Chapter: 13 – Verses: 3 & 4

“And now have We established you on the earth, and given you therein the supports of life. How little do we give thanks!”

Surah: Al-A’raf (The Heights) – Chapter: 7 – Verse: 10

The Compulsiveness Of Divine Grace

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

Philosophy points out that the urge of Nature is to aim at form and beauty. Form demands proportion, and beauty demands harmony. The two constitute the compulsive law of life. But the question arises: Why this compulsiveness? Why harmony, and not the reverse of it? Philosophy fails to give an answer to these questions. In the words of a renowned philosopher, “Where ‘why’ begins, philosophy ends.” But the Qur’an offers an answer. This compulsiveness, it points out, is the compulsiveness of divine grace. The mercy of God demands that whatever comes into being must be good and beautiful, and so it is. Asks the Qur’an:

“Say: Whose is all that is in the heavens and the earth?

Say: God’s. He hath imposed mercy on Himself as a law.”

Surah: Al-A’nam – Chapter 6 – Verse: 12

“And my Rahmat encompasseth everything in the universe.”

Surah: Al-A’raf (The Heights) – Chapter: 7 – Verse: 156


Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

Rahmat – But what is this Rahmat of God? The Qur’an points out that whatever beauty or perfection that there is in life, is but an expression of the divine Rahmat.

When we reflect over the life of the universe, the most pointed reality that strikes us is the order that subsists therein – the Nizam-i-Rububiyat. It is through this order that we are introduced to Nature: and when we get to know it a little closer, we realize that a greater reality than this order is at work everywhere and on which this very order depends.

And what is the objective of this order, this Rububiyat? It is sustenance of life in the universe. But sustenance alone is not the whole objective. Something greater than this is in view. Sustenance is but a means to the development of beauty in everything. We notice that there is a design in the life of the universe, and that there is beauty in this design. There is in its disposition the sense of balance. Its actions display specific attributes. In its visage there is beauty. In its voice there is music. In its smell there is perfume, and there is nothing about it which does not contribute to the upkeep of its edifice. This aspect of life is greater in its reaches than the orderliness (Rububiyat) that dwells therein. And this reality the Qur’an designates as Rahmat, an attribute which displays the qualities of both Al-Rahman and Al-Rahim, the graciousness and mercifulness of God.

Al-Rahman and Al-Rahim

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

The terms Al-Rahman and Al-Rahim are derived from Rahmat. The term Rahmat in Arabic is used to denote the type of tenderness which stimulates in one the urge to show kindness to others. Its connotation is wide enough to cover the qualities of love, compassion, benevolence and generosity.

The two terms Al-Rahman and Al-Rahim, though both are derived from the same root of Rahmat, denote two separate aspects of it. Al-Rahman means the being who possessess Rahmat; and Al-Rahim means the being who not merely possesses Rahmat but gives perennial expression to it, and from whom everything in the universe derives goodness every moment.

The purpose of the Qur’an in bringing to mind the two aspects together is to emphasize the all-embracing character of the Rahmat of God.

“And my Rahmat encompasseth everything in the universe.”

Surah: Al-A’raf (The Heights) – Chapter: 7 – Verse: 156

The Straightforward Method Of The Qur’an

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

The method followed by the Qur’an to bring home its truths is not that of logic involving complicated argumentation. On the other hand, its appeal is direct and straightforward. Its questions posed prompt appropriate answers. Indeed, the answers are implied in the very manner of its questioning. That is why it very often frames its appeal in forms of address such as: “O men! Serve your Lord” – Serve Allah, my Lord and your Lord” – Verily, Allah is my Lord and your Lord, so, serve Him” – “This is Allah, your Lord; so serve Him” – Of a truth, this, your faith is the one faith and I am your Lord; therefore serve” – “Say: will ye dispute with us about God, when He is our Lord and your Lord.?”

It is a matter for deep regret that our commentators of the Qur’an have failed to notice this peculiarity of the Qur’anic presentation. Losing themselves in dialectical disquisitions, they have neglected to note and appreciate the straightforward method of the Qur’an. The result is that the spirit of the Qur’an has been kept in the background on their account.

For Every Action One Does In This Life

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

Chapter LI (51) entitled Al-Dhariyat – Scatterers, is devoted chiefly to the subject of requital, din, or the consequences in the life hereafter of what one does in this, “Surely,” states the Qur’an, “it is the truth of which you are forewarned. Judgment is sure to be delivered.” The idea is emphasized by the reference to the functioning of Rububiyat in nature.

“By the clouds which scatter with scattering,
By those (winds) which bear their load,
And by those which speed lightly along,
And those which apportion by command!”

Surah: Al-Dhariyat (Scatterers) – Chapter: 51 – Verses: 1-4

This is reinforced by an appeal to the facts of life:

“And in the earth are signs for those who are of firm belief,
And also in your own selves:
Will ye not then notice them?
The heaven hath sustenance for you, and containeth that
which ye are promised.”

Surah: Al-Dhariyat (Scatterers) – Chapter: 51 – Verses: 20-22

To clench the whole issue, the Qur’an asserts:

“By the Lord of the heaven and of the earth, verily. this is the truth even as ye speak yourselves.”

Surah: Al-Dhariyat (Scatterers) – Chapter: 51 – Verses: 23

The affirmation is emphatic and amounts to suggest that even as provisions of this life are provided by God, even so, a recompense in the life to follow is provided by God for every action one does in this life.

An Argument For The Life Hereafter

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

Order of Providence, an argument for the life hereafter. Similarly, the Qur’an bases its argument for the life hereafter on the analogy of the visible, mundane system of divine Providence in the phenomenal world. A thing which has been devised with such meticulous care and circumspection has always a meaning to offer and purpose to serve. An object like the human being who is made to appear the best of objects on earth and for whose development so much has been carefully provided, is certainly not meant to be a thing which has no better purpose to serve than to strut on earth for a while and disappear forever. The Creator of the universe who has created everything for a specific purpose will not throw away the best of his creation, viz., man, as a piece of no value or little consequence.

“What! ‘Did you think that We had created you in vain and that ye should not be brought back to us?’ Wherefore, let God be exalted, the King, the Truth! There is no god but He! Lord of the stately throne!”

Surah: Al-Mu’minun (The Believers) – Chapter: 23 – Verses: 115-116

An Argument For Divine Revelation

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

Order of Providence as argument for divine revelation. In like manner, The Qur’an draws from this very order of divine Providence the principle of good and evil that is at work in the life of men, and draws also the argument for divine revelation. It is not conceivable that the God of all the worlds – of all creation – who has provided the means of physical growth and development for everything, should omit to devise a system or law of life which could attend to the spiritual needs of man. Even as in the realm of physical life, a system is provided to sustain the spiritual life of man and that is the provision of what is called divine revelation.

“The revelation of the Book is from God, the Mighty, the Wise!

Assuredly in the heavens and the earth are signs for those who believe

And in your own selves: and in the animals scattered abroad are signs for those firm in faith:

And in the succession of night and day, and in what God sendeth down of sustenance from the clouds whereby He giveth life to the earth when dead, and in the change of the winds, are signs for a people of discernment.

Such are signs of God: with truth do We recite them to thee. But in what word will they believe, if they reject God and his signs?”

Surah: Al-Jathiyah (Kneeling) – Chapter: 45 – Verses: 1-6

An Argument For Divine Unity

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

Order of Providence as argument for divine unity. Likewise, the Qur’an bases its argument for divine unity on the order of life subsisting in the universe.

“O men! Adore your Lord who hath created you and those who were before you: haply you may be mindful of Him”

“Who hath made the earth a bed for you and the heaven a covering, and hath caused water to come down from heaven, and by it hath brought forth fruits for your sustenance? Do not therefore set up knowingly rivals to God.”

Surah: Al-Baqarah (The Cow) – Chapter: 2 – Verses: 21-22

“O men! Bear in mind the favour of God towards you. Is there a creator other than God who nourisheth you with the gifts of heaven and earth? There is no god but He! How then are ye turned aside from Him?”

Surah: Fatir (The Creator) – Chapter: 35 – Verse: 3

The Qur’anic Method Of Presentation

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

The Qur’an asks further:

“Say: Is God the more worthy or the gods they join with Him?

It is not He (the more worthy) who hath made the heavens and the earth, and hath sent down rain to you from the sky by which we cause luxuriant groves to spring up? It is not in your power to cause the trees there to grow. What! A God with God! Yea! They are people who ascribe equals (unto Him).

It is not He (the more worthy) who hath set the earth so firm, and placed rivers in its fold and hath placed mountains upon it and set a barrier between the two seas? What! A God with God? Nay, most of them know not.

It is not He (the more worthy) who answereth the oppressed when they cry to Him, and taketh off their ills, and maketh you to succeed your sires on the earth? What! A God with God! Little do they reflect!

It is not He (the more worthy) who guideth you in the darkness of the land and of the sea, and who sendeth forth the winds as heralds of His mercy? What! A god with God? Far from God be, the Exalted High, what ye join with Him!

It is not He (the more worthy) who projects creation, then reneweth it, and who supplieth you out of the heavens and the earth? What! A God with God? Say: Bring forth your proofs if ye speak the truth.”

Surah: Al-Naml (The Ants) – Chapter: 27 – Verses: 59 – 64

Every one of the questions raised here is a definite argument in itself; for, to every one of these questions there is but one answer, and that is what human nature itself so forcibly furnishes. Our dialecticians of the past missed to take note of this. They failed to appreciate the Qur’anic method of presentation, and in consequences lost themselves in far-fetched conceits.

To Human Nature

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

The Qur’an repeatedly addresses itself to human nature and invites an answer from its very depths.

“Say: Who supplied you sustenance from the heavens, and the earth? Who hath power over hearing and sight? And who bringeth forth the living from the dead, and bringeth forth the dead from the living? And who ruleth over all things?

They will surely say: ‘God,’ Then say:

What! Will yet not therefore be mindful of Him? Such then is God, your true Lord: and when truth is gone, what remaineth but error? How then are ye so perverted?”

Surah: Yusuf (Joseph) – Chapter 10: Verses: 31-32

Man Is A Telling Witness Against Himself

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

The Qur’an says: Man can deny everything under the stress of indifference or arrogance, but he cannot deny his own nature. When he looks around and finds that the hands of Providence is at work everywhere, his very nature will cry out that what he beholds cannot exist without a Providence.

Be it noted that the method of presentation observed by the Qur’an is not to offer postulates or intellectual poses and to base its argument thereon. On the other hand, its appeal is to man’s natural instincts and aptitudes. It points out that the sense of God is inherent in nature. If one denies it through indifference, he needs to be warned against that indifference. But the method to employ for this should not wholly be intellectual in character. On the other hand, it should be such as could touch his heart also and rouse his conscience. Once that is done, he needs no argument to bring conviction to him. That will come to him as a matter of course. That is why the Qur’an cites man’s own nature as an argument against himself.

“Nay, man is a telling witness against himself, although he tenders excuses.”

Surah: Al-Qiyamah (The Day of Ressurection) – Chapter: 75 – Verse: 14

The Term Of Takhliq-Bil-Batil

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

The term Takhliq-bil-Batil is used as a synonym for tala‘ub or mere sport.

“We have not created the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them in sport: We have not created them but for a serious end: but the greater part of them understand it not.”

Surah: Al-Dukhan (Smoke) – Chapter 44 – Verses: 38-39

The Qur’an itself gives an exposition of the term used in the above passage, the term Takhliq-bil-Batil, in more than one place. For instance, at one place, it draws attention to an aspect of its connotation which emphasizes that everything that exists does not exist without its value to life, and that Nature itself desire that whatever is to be fashioned, should be so fashioned, that it must contain within itself all that it needs for its welfare.

“In right form hath He set the heavens and the earth: It is of Him that the night returneth upon the day, and that the day returneth upon the night: and He controlled the sun and the moon, so that each speedeth to an appointed goal. Is He not the Mighty, the Gracious!”

Surah: Al-Zumar (The Crowds) – Chapter: 39 – Verse: 5

The Law Of Takhliq-Bil-Haq

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

The Qur’an says: the first thing that will strike him will be this, that there is a universal law of life, the law of Takhliq-bil-Haq or of creation in right form, which binds all things together. He will find that everything in the universe is so designed that it is linked to every other under a single principle of life, and that everything is fitted into this scheme for a specific purpose, and that nothing is created in vain. He will find that the entire order has a definite objective before it.

“God hath created the heavens and the earth for a serious end: Verily in this is a sign (of divine purpose) to those who believe.”

Surah: Al-‘Ankabut (The Spider) – Chapter: 29 – Verse: 44

In the chapter, Al ‘Imran, there occurs the well-known verse:

“Our Lord! All this, Thou hast not created in vain.”

Surah: Al ‘Imran (The Family of ‘Imran) – Chapter: 3 – Verse: 191

In another place, while drawing the attention to the benevolent working of the planetary system, the same term Takhliq-bil-Haq is employed.

“It is He who hath appointed the sun for brightness and the moon for light, and hath ordained her stations that ye may learn the numbering of years and the reckoning (of time). God hath not created all this but for a serious end. He maketh his signs clear to those who understand.”

Surah: Jonah (Yunus) – Chapter: 10 – Verse: 5

The ‘life hereafter’ or the life after death is also governed by the same Takhliq-bil-Haq. Everything in universe serves a purpose or moves towards a specific goal. So it is with the life of man which has a purpose to serve or a goal towards which it has to move. The goal is the ‘life hereafter.’ For, it is unthinkable that man should be created just to live for a few moments and then get completely annihilated.

“Have they not considered within themselves that God hath not created the heavens and the earth and all that is between them but for a serious end and for a fixed term? But truly most men believe not that they shall meet their Lord.”

Surah: Al-Rum (The Romans) – Chapter: 30 – Verse: 8

If Only He Cares To Notice Them

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

The Qur’an points out that in everything that the earth contains and in every scene which the heaven present, and in every aspect that life puts on, there are signs of deep impart for man, if only he cares to notice them.

“Any many as are the signs of the heavens and on the earth, yes they will pass them by, and turn aside from them.”

Surah: Yusuf (Joseph) – Chapter 12: Verse: 105

Each Of These Shall Be Questioned

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

Man, says the Qur’an, has been endowed with reason and insight, and so, will he be held responsible for the proper exercise of this talent.

“Surely the hearing and the sight and the heart (of man), – each of these shall be questioned.”

Surah: Al-Isra’ (The Night Journey) – Chapter: 17 – Verse: 36

An Appeal To Reason

 Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

The primary and the most important feature of the method of presentation observed by the Qur’an is the appeal to reason that it makes. It lays repeated emphasis on the search for the truth, and on the need of exercising one’s reason and insight and of reflecting over the inward and the outward experience of life and drawing valid conclusions. In fact, there is no chapter in the Qur’an wherein it has not made an earnest appeal to man to reflect over everything.

“On earth are sighs for men of firm belief, and also in your own selves – will ye not take notice then?”

Surah: Al-Dhariyat (Scattering Winds) – Chapter: 51 – Verses: 20-21

The Love Of The Mother For The Child

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

Look further at the system of Providence! As the child grows in years, the love of the mother for the child instinctively or gradually diminishes in intensity and a time comes when, though this feeling does not completely die out as among the lower animals, there is a distinct subsidence in its warmth. Why should it be so? Why is that the moment the child is born, this great feeling of motherly love takes a sudden rise, and why, having lasted for some time, it gradually subsides? This is so because such is the working of the principle of Providence, such the condition of its existence. Providence desires that the child in its helpless state should be nourished by others. It has therefore fixed the feeling of love in the mother as a motive force for the child’s nourishment. When the child has reached a stage when it no longer needs the careful attention of the mother, the need for it also does not remain. In fact, its continuance will cause unnecessary strain to the mother and hinder the child’s development. It is only at the infant stage that the child needs tender nursing. That is why the love of the mother is intense at such a stage. But as the child advances in years, the need for external aid of every kind diminishes. There is, no doubt, that the mother’s love keeps the grown-up man continuous company. But this has only a social value. It is no longer that instinctive care for him as it was in his infancy.

The Principle Of Providence

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

Ponder over the way in which the principle of Providence has ingrained in the very nature of the mother, the love that she has to bear towards her child – love which is the noblest of feelings that human nature is capable of displaying. It is this love of the mother which inspires in her the noblest of sentiments. Till the child grows into manhood, she does not live for herself, but for her child. For her child’s sake, there is no sacrifice too great for her to bear. Her very love of self pales into insignificance before her love for her child. Instances of motherly sacrifice are too common, and give no occasion for any surprise.

The Sign Of Providence

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

Take the case of man. The moment he takes his birth, the food that he needs provides itself for him in the exact form that his condition demands, and is provided very close to him. The mother, in the intensity of her affection, hugs him to her bosom, and at the very place the child finds the fountain-head of his means of nourishment. And then look at the manner whereby his graded needs are attended to, calling for a continuous variation in diet. It has to agree with the successive changes in his condition. In the beginning, the stomach of a child is so tender that a highly diluted form of milk, is needed for him. That is why the milk of the mother, even as among other animals, is very thin to begin with. But as the child grows and his stomach becomes stronger as time passes, the milk of the mother gradually thickens; so much so, that as soon as the stage of infancy is over and his stomach develops the capacity to digest the normal food, the breasts of the mother dry up. This is the sign of Providence indicating that the child should no longer depend upon milk, but he should be able to try every other form of food.

“With pain his mother beareth him; with pain she bringeth him forth, and his bearing and his weaning are thirty months.”

Surah: Al-Ahqaf (The Sand Dunes) – Chapter: 46 – Verse: 15

It Is God Who Has Created You In Weakness

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

The child of a human being and the twig of a plant may look like belonging to two different orders; but if you look into the way in which they grow, and develop, you will find that a single system of life and growth binds them together. Whether it is a slab of stone, a bud of flower, a human child, or an egg of an ant, everything has its birth; but the means of sustenance for one and all are provided in advance as they emerge into life. And then there is for everyone, a stage of childhood calling for needs appropriate to that stage. That is common to the human child, as to the twig, the stone, and the mound of earth. Everything has its childhood. Then comes in, so to say, the stage of youth for everything and of adolescence, manhood, maturity and obsolescence. The principle of rise and fall in life is common to them all.

“It is God who hath created you in weakness:
then after weakness hath given you strength:
then after strength, weakness and grey hairs:
He createth what He will; and He is the Wise, the Powerful.”

Surah: Al-Rum (The Romans) – Chapter: 30 – Verse: 54

His Attribute Of Providence

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

The Providence of God is at work in nature; and its purpose is to produce water in the particular fashion and arrange its distribution in this particular way. It is the Rahmat or the Mercy of God which produces water but it is His Rububiyat or His attribute of Providence which utilizes this water so as to give every living object its means of sustenance.

“And one of His signs is that He sendeth the winds with glad tidings of rain, that He may cause you to taste His mercy, and that ships may sail at His command, that out of His bounties ye may seek wealth, and that haply ye may render thanks.”

Surah: Al-Rum (The Romans) – Chapter: 30 – Verse: 48

An Expression Of Divine Mercy

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

The creation of water, according to the Qur’an, is an expression of divine mercy, whereas it is His Rububiyat which lets this water come down to earth drop by drop and reach every corner of it only in particular seasons and particular quantity, and search out and quench even the tiniest particle thirsting for water.

“And we send down water from heavens in its due degree and We cause it to settle on the earth and We have power for its withdrawal too –

And by it, We cause gardens of palm trees and vineyards to spring forth for you, in which ye have plenteous fruits and whereof ye eat.”

Surah: Al-Mu’minun (The Believers) – Chapter: 23 – Verse: 18-19

The Rububiyat Of God

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

Indeed, there are countless varieties of creation infinitesimally small in form that our naked eye cannot perceive them. For them, also, the Rububiyat of God has made the requisite provision for sustenance and growth with as much care as for the bulky elephant or the intelligent man. All this man can observe in his external world. Should he look into himself, he will notice that his life, at every moment of his existence, discloses a world of activity propelled by the Rububiyat of God.

“Oh earth are signs for men of firm belief;
And also in your own selves:
Will ye not then notice them?”

Surah: Al-Dhariyat (Scattering Winds) – Chapter: 51 – Verse: 20-21

The Protecting Eye Of Providence

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

To visualize God as Rabbul-Alamin or the Rabb of all creation is to conceive of Him as not only the Creator of everything in the universe but its nourisher and sustainer as well. The provision that He has made for the sustenance and growth of everything is made under a plan, so marvelous that every being is furnished with all that its particular nature demands for the existence, and at the same time, it is furnished in a manner that takes cognizance of every changing situation and need. The ants crawl on earth, the worms push their way in mud and dirt, the fish swim in water, the birds fly in air, the flowers blossom in gardens, the elephants wander in the jungle and the stars revolve in the heavens. But on every one of these, rests the protecting eye of Providence, and there is none that is denied its blessings.

Qualities of Rububiyat

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

When a child is born, it is but an active lump of flesh displaying an urge for living and for nourishment and direction. There then beings a lengthy process of love, of tender and timely care, and of unsolicited favors on the part of the mother. And this goes on till it develops adolescence, both of body and mind. Till then arise needs, not one or two, but numerous which have to be attended to. These vary or change from stage to stage, demanding, according to the nature of each stage, the requisite love and care and amenities of life. The wisdom of God has instilled into the mind of the mother these qualities of Rububiyat whereby she looks after the child from the day of its appearance till it enters the stage of adolescence.

The Touch Of Tenderness

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

Rububiyat is a process of tender or careful nourishment providing from moment to moment and from stage to stage all that one needs to gain the fullest possible development. And this process is always to be marked by the touch of tenderness; for no activity which is not actuated by this can claim to be regarded as Rububiyat.



Al-Rabb Or Al-Rahim

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

If we visualize God in any particular attribute of His, as when we refer to Him as Al-Rabb or Al-Rahim, we confine our vision within the limits of the attribute concerned. We shall think of Him only as a being who possesses the attribute of providence or mercy. But when we refer to Him as Allah, our mind instinctively clenches the sum total of all the qualities attributed to Him, or what He necessarily must possess.

A Being Which Inspires Nothing But Wonder?

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

If God is to be called by any attribute, an endless number of terms could be suggested. But attributes apart, if God is to be given a proper name, what other term is there except this to designate a being which inspires nothing but wonder?

Praise Is For God, Only

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

The worship of the phenomenal owes its origin to this defect in vision. The expression, “Praise is for God, only,” is a definite affirmation of the fact that the beauty and benevolence which subsist in a variety of forms in every field of existence are but manifestations of the attributes of God. Whatever the esteem in which we may hold beauty, perfection or goodness, the credit should go not to the phenomenal object which displays these qualities, but to the artist who fashioned it into a thing of beauty.

The Tragedy Of The Human Mind

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

The tragedy of the human mind has lain in this it tends to loss itself in the things of creation and does not always strive to step beyond them to seek the Creator Himself. Man is dazzled by the artistry of the veils which first meet his eye, but rarely does the attempt to lift them and reach Him who has thrown such attractive veils over His own creative beauty.

To Seek Knowledge of God?

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

What then is the road one should take to seek knowledge of God? The Qur’an says there is but one road to it, and that is to reflect over the phenomenal world of creation. The study of an invention takes the student, so to say, directly into the very presence of the inventory himself.

“Those who bear God in mind, standing, sitting and reclining, and reflect on the creation of the heavens and of the earth, they will say: ‘O Lord! Thou has not created all this in vain.’”

Surah: Al-‘Imran (The Family of ‘Imran) – Chapter: 3 – Verse: 191

Sirat-al-MustaqimThe Straight Path

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

The path of goodness is styled ‘Sirat-al-Mustaqim’ or the Straight Path. There could be no better or more appropriate term than this to designate it, for, no one will fail to distinguish between a straight road and a road which is not straight, or disdain to choose the first. And then to enable him to know what a straight road is like, clear pointer is furnished such as man can easily perceive it for himself, and this, not in the form of any abstract idea, but in the form of a concrete reality, namely, the road followed by those on whom God has, as a result of their actions, bestowed favors. For, whatever the country or nation one may belong to, man has always found two ways lying clear before him. One is that of those who have lived successful lives, the other of failures.

Thee Alone Do We Serve

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

The form of prayer suggested in the Surat is not, ‘We serve Thee,’ but is specifically worded, ‘Thee alone do we serve, and from Thee alone do we ask for help.’ This manner of expression fulfils the primary condition of belief in the unity of God, and disallows room for every form of ‘shirk’ or associating with God anything beside Him.

The Attributes Of Grace And Beauty

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

The significance of Malik-i-Yawmuddin is this that alongside of the attributes of grace and beauty, those of ‘power’ and ‘pressure’ are also at work in the universe, and this is not because of any sense of anger or revenge in its creator, but because He is just, and because His wisdom has assigned to each object a particular quality productive of a particular result. Justice, according to the Qur’an, is not a negation of mercy. It is mercy itself.

Malik-i-YawmiddinMaster On The Day Of Recompense

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an 1968

The Surat then refers to God as Malik-i-Yawmiddin, or Master on the Day of Recompense. The word Din here postulates a law of recompense. It emphasizes that requital is but the natural reaction to one’s own action and is its inevitable result. It is not fair therefore to assert that God deals out punishment to any one out of revenge or in anger, for, the word Din in this context simply means recompense or requital or what follows as a natural sequence.

Rabbul-‘Alamin The Lord Of All Creation

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

By calling God Rabbul-‘Alamin, the Lord of all creation or of all forms of life, the Surat desires him to acknowledge the universal character of divine concern for every individual, group, community, country and every form of existence. The concept puts an end to all notions of exclusiveness which had hitherto prevailed among mankind assigning divine blessings and favours to one’s own community.

The All-Encompassing Providence Of God

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

The hamd or praise over, the Surat draws attention to the all-encompassing providence of God, His mercy and His justice; and thus gives a comprehensive picture of divine attributes which operate to provide man with all that he needs to sustain and develop the humanity in him and prevent him from going down in the scale of life.

Hamd The Praise of God

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

The greatest mistake man has made in his approach to the concept of God is that he has very often regarded God as the God, not of love, but of terror. The very first word of the chapter sets right this age-long deviation from truth. It begins with hamd or the praise of God. It is a term signifying the most beautiful form of praise! ‘Praise beautiful’ is possible only of a being who truly is beautiful and good. The term cannot therefore sustain the concept of terror. The being which is Mahmud or worthy of ‘the praise beautiful’ will never inspire terror.

The Compulsive Voice Of His Own Heart And Mind

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

The function of revelation has been simply to interpret, on the basis of knowledge and conviction, the inherent urges of man. And this is what Surat-ul-Fatiha does. It expresses this instinctive urges of man so artfully and with such ease that he is impelled to affirm that every line of this chapter, nay every word of it, is but the compulsive voice of his own heart and mind. Think it over again. Although the very nature of it, this chapter is no more than a simple invocation, it reveals in every word of it, and in every turn of expression, one or other of the great purposes which underlie the Din or the way of life sponsored by the Qur’an.

Nothing is abstruse here!

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

Now, think it over. What plainer view can be taken of human devotion to God and all that it implies than what is presented in this chapter? Here are but seven brief phrases, each of not more than give words, every word crystal clear and impressive. God is here invoked in His attributes, the manifestations of which man beholds day in and day out, however much he may, through indifference, neglect to reflect upon them. Here you have man’s admission of his absolute dependence on God, his acknowledgement of the divine kindness shown to him, his earnest yearning to be saved from the pitfalls of life and to be led along the straight path. Nothing is abstruse here! Since we repeat this Surat so frequently and have grown so familiar with it, it may look as if it is but a commonplace concept of religion. But this very comonplace concept, till it emerged before man, was by no means commonplace or easy to grasp. So it is with everything real. So long as it does not come into sight, it looks as if there is nothing more difficult to perceive. When it is brought to view, what is there so clear and plain?

They are so simple in form

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad – The Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

In the Surat-ul-Fatiha. The chapter, be it noted, consists of just a few words easily counted. But they are so aptly chosen that they seem invested with striking significance. They are so simple in form. There is nothing complicated about them; not do they confuse. The fact is that whatever is true to life is always easily comprehended. Look at nature. Nowhere does it appear elusive. Elusiveness is produced by artificiality. All that is true and real will necessarily be plain and attractive, so attractive that when it appears before you, you do not feel any strangeness about it. Indeed, you accept it without hesitation.

The Way To Righteous Or Good Life

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

In the first place, the Qur’an aims to present the attributes of God in proper perspective, for, it is in his approach to them that man has often blundered. In the second place, it lays emphasis on the principle of causation in life so as to suggest that, even as in nature, every cause has its effect in the domain of human life, both, individual and collective; so much so, that a good action produces a good result and an evil action an evil result. In the third place, it aims to inculcate in man a belief in the hereafter, by pointing out that man’s life does not end with his earthly existence, but that there is a life to follow, where one has to account for his life on earth and where the effect of past deeds becomes manifest, as a matter of course. And lastly, it points the way to righteous or good life.


Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an 1968

The Surat-ul-Fatiha is the first chapter of the Qur’an and is for that reason styled Fatihatul-Kitab or the opening of the book. Because of its intrinsic value, it has been assigned a place of honour in the Quran and allowed to appear on the very first page of it. Indeed, the Qur’an endorses its importance in the following terms:

“O Prophet! It is a fact that We have given thee seven oft-repeated verses and the great Qur’an.”

Surah: Al-Hijr (The Rocky Tract) – Chapter: 15 – Verse: 87

The Plain Meaning Of The Plain Word Of The Qur’an

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an 1968

When zealous followers of the different juristic schools among Muslims developed the passion for sectarianism, the serves of the Qur’an were exploited to uphold, by hook or by crook, their own particular schismatic obsessions. Few cared to be guided by the plain meaning of the plain word of the Qur’an, or by the clear purposes underlying the Qur’anic method of presentation of its contents, or by straight-forward reason. Every one attempted to force the Qur’an meaning to conform to the views sponsored by the Imam or founder of his own schismatic school of thought. To create further complications, certain sections of the Sufi school of thought in their search for the hidden meaning of the Qur’an, went so far as to press everything Qur’anic into the moulds of their own formulas. Thus every Qur’anic injunction and every basic belief came to bear some sort of esoteri connotation.

The Beauty And Attraction Of The Qur’anic Method

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

The manner of argument observed by the Prophets was not to assume logical poses and confuse the hearer. They adopted the natural way of direct appeal, such as might reach every type of mind, and touch every heart. But, the commentators obsessed by the philosophy and logic of Greece could hardly bring themselves to look at reality in its naturalness and appreciate it. They thought that they were honoring the Prophets and turning them into dialecticians. They sought to demonstrate the greatness of the Quran by pressing it into the frame-work of Aristotelian logic, hardly realizing that it was never its primary object. The result was that the beauty and attraction of the Qur’anic method of argument and of demonstrating its truth was lost in a network of dialectical disquisitions. In fact, the truth had already been lost. The tragedy was that our commentators could not achieve even what they aimed at.

The Qur’an Was Lost In A Maze of Far-Fetched Conceits

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

The traditionally of the Prophet were usually employed to clarify the meaning of the Qur’an. But the tendency among the later commentators grew apace to refer not so much to the traditions known to the companions of the Prophet, but to those collected indifferently in later times. This created further difficulties in the understanding of the Qur’anic word. The sad result of all this was that the manner of presentation adopted by the Qur’an was lost in a maze of far-fetched conceits. The strength of the Qur’anic meaning lies in the manner of its presentation. It is that which lends clarity to its statements and observations, and makes significant the import of its stories and parables, its appeals and admonitions, and its purposes. Once the significance of this manner was missed, the true picture of the Quran was lost to sight.

The Real Meaning Of The Qur’an

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an 1968

It is a matter for regret that those who came after the first generations. chiefly inspired by external influences, began to invent for themselves new and newer forms of approach to the Qur’an and caused the original interpretation of it to fall into disuse. The idea came to be entertained that ‘the earlier generation was strong in faith; but the later generation was strong in knowledge,’ although the earlier generation were reputed to be sound both in heart and mind, in faith, as well as, in knowledge. All the same, the real meaning of the Qur’an was gradually relegated to the limbo of oblivion, and its simple message came to raise, in almost every sphere of life, issues too difficult to solve.

The Qur’an Is So Simple To Understand

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

The difficulties which we feel today in appreciating the manner of presentation observed by the Qur’an, or the arrangement of its parts and verses, or the phraseology employed therein are all due to the inclination inherited from our medieval past not to appreciate a simple thing for its simplicity. The Qur’an is so simple to understand and yet we do not feel happy until we evaluate its worthy by fanciful standards of our own making, standards so distasteful to the purpose of the Qur’an. That is the picture which today confronts us at every turn.

The Dispositions Of The First Generation Of Muslims

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an 1968

We cannot visualize beauty or grandeur in its simplicity, Whenever we choose to endow a thing with splendor, we invariably try to fix it in a network of ornamentation. This is what exactly happened with the Qur’an. The dispositions of the first generation of Muslims were not cast in any conventional or artificial moulds. That was why they instantly caught the meaning of the Qur’an. But the generations which followed would not let the Qur’an present itself in its simplicity. Their love for inventiveness or novelty would not allow this. They began to dress everything in the Qur’an in novel costumes; and since the Qur’an could not fit into such costumes, the effort to force on it things which did not suit it repressed its genius and forced its meaning to assume forms by no means natural to it.

The Simplicity Of The Qur’anic Manner

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an1968

But hardly had the first generation of Muslims passed away when the influence of the Roman and Iranian civilizations began to sweep over the new Arab empire. Translations from the Greek literature gave them new literary tastes and initiated them into the art of dialectics. Zest for novelty and inventiveness in approach to everything came to be ever on the increase, with the result that the simplicity of the Qur’anic manner gradually lost its charm for them. Slowly, step by step, a stage was reached when everything Qur’anic was attempted to be given an artificial mould. Since the Qur’anic thought could not fit into any such mould, serious complication in thought arose, with every attempt at resolving them ending in more intricate complications.

A Simple Thought In Its Plain Simplicity

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an  1968

The first generation of people among whom the Qur’an was delivered were not a sophisticated race. Their mind was not cast in any articificial or conventional mould furnished by civilization. It was content to receive a simple thought in its plain simplicity. That was they the Qur’anic thought, simple as it was, sank easily into their hearts. No one at the time felt it different to catch its meaning. The moment the companions of the Prophet heard a verse recited to them, they forthwith caught its significance.

The Heights Of The Qur’anic Thought

Maulana Abul Kalam AzadThe Tarjuman al-Qur’an 1968

In every age, the author of a work is normally the product of his intellectual environment. It is only those who are gifted with vision and insight who form the exception. When we look back into the history of the commentators of the Qur’an from the earliest centuries of Islam right up to the close of the last century, we find that the standard of approach to the meaning of the Qur’an has steadily deteriorated. This was the result of a gradual decadence in the quality of the Muslim mind itself. When the commentators found that they could not rise to the heights of the Qur’anic thought, they strove to bring it down to the level of their own mind.