By Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times
The second last verse of Surah Ha Mim Sajdah reads, “We will show them Our Signs in the universe and also in their own psyche and consciousness until it becomes manifest to them that the Quran is the Truth.” (Al Quran 41:53)
It goes without saying that our knowledge of our solar system, our universe, cosmology, physics and mathematics that supports it, has multiplied a billion fold from the seventh century Arabia to the 21st century global village.
It is self evident that the Allah’s Signs in the universe that move the heart and mind of 21st century person are not the same that made the 7th century Arabs stand in awe of the Creator.
Today, for the understanding of our universe you could be watching any number of good documentaries produced by the reputable Western companies. I will share only one here:
Likewise our understanding of the human psychology has increased in so many different ways.
So there is no denying that almost a thousand Quranic verses talking about nature or the study of nature do not mean the same thing today as they did in the seventh century Arabia. I have written specifically about this topic before also: Science in the Service of the Scriptures and how Darwinian evolution has changed our Quranic story of Adam: Surah Al Baqara (The Cow): Section 4: Adam and Eve.
I believe that any good commentary of the Quran can never be written in stone. Please see our collection below about scope and style of the Quran.
Therefore, verses about sociology, legislation and host of other subjects that change with the changing societies have to be understood and read in contemporary terms.
The fundamentalist then ask is there any thing fixed in the Quran? Yes, the main themes of theology. Monotheism and our accountability, in the hereafter, are written in stone.
I believe that the two fundamental beliefs in Islam, which it shares with Judaism and Christianity are belief in the Transcendent God and accountability in the life after death. (87:16-19) The former is discussed at some length in the commentary of Surah Al Fatihah and the latter in the commentary of Surah Al Waqi’ah. This is why each and every prophet of God was sent and this indeed is the very purpose of the holy Quran, as it often uses the first creation as a proof for the second creation, namely our accountability in the hereafter.
Suggested reading for knowing the Creator of our universe
Scope, Style and Preservation of the Quran
- Sometimes the Quran is Written on Stone and Often on Paper?
- The Scope, Style and Effect of the Holy Quran
- The History of the Qur’anic Text: From Revelation to Compilation
- Sources or Criteria for Interpretation of the Holy Quran
- The Quran Gives Principles of Justice, But No Judicial System
- The Quran Only Means What Our Wisdom and Intentions Dictate: A Progressive Understanding
- The Holy Quran and the Seventh Century Arabian Metaphors
- Is God Alive or Dead: A Metaphor for the Scriptures from the US Constitution?
- God Is Living, So Why Does Religion Treat God As Dead?
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