Surah Baqara; Ayahs 1-2 (Part 4)

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In the Name of Allah, the All-Compassionate, the All-Merciful.

After Surah Fateha, or al-Hamd, the next Surah of the holy Qur'an is al-Baqara, whose title is derived from the incident of a sacrificial cow mentioned in it during the days of Prophet Moses (PBUH) among the ever-scheming.

It starts:

"In the Name of God, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate, Alif Laam Meem, That is the Book, there is no doubt in it; a Guidance to the Godwary."

This is the first of the 29 surahs of the Holy Qur'an that start with Hurouf Muqatta'at or separate letters as is evident by the letters:

الم (ALIF LAAM MEEM);

That in English could be rendered as A, L and M. (2:1)

There are 29 chapters in the Holy Qur'an which begin with these letters. In most cases after these letters there come ayahs in which the grandeur of the Qur'an is referred to. The meaning of these separate letters is known only to God and His Prophet, although some exegetes have tried to interpret them. Their use is among the marvels of the unmatched eloquence of the Holy Qur'an, which bewildered the infidels of the days of the Prophet and continues to confound the disbelievers of our own times, who despite the advancement in science and technology, have failed to meet the divine challenge to bring about at least some phrases equal to those of the Holy Qur'an. This is indeed the lasting miracle of the Holy Qur'an. For instance, God creates myriads of plants from dead soil whereas man makes only bricks and ceramics from it.

The next ayah stresses the spotlessly pure and truthful nature of the holy Qur'an whose words are beyond an iota of doubt, and which is the guidance for all those who seek truth, and are eager to avoid any deviations. In other words, the Qur'an is truth manifest. It was revealed in stages to Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), who used to recite it to the Muslims while scribes diligently wrote it. The Muslims of the Prophet's times as well as those who followed, even till this day, memorized the ayahs and even the whole book.

Even today, after the passing of 1,400 years, when one reads the Holy Qur'an and the timeless wisdom it contains, becomes convinced that this is Divine Work and not the work of any creature. Thus it is a universal book meant for all humanity in each and every generation till the Judgement Day. But it is obvious that only those can benefit from the Qur'an who are in pursuit of truth and the righteousness. Thus the stubborn and the prejudiced will not be able to benefit from it since they follow their whims and wanton desires, and they rather want to extinguish the light of truth.

Therefore, to start with, sincerity is required for studying the Qur'anic guidance. That's why the Ayah says:

ذَٰلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لَا رَيْبَ ۛ فِيهِ ۛ هُدًى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ

"... a guidance to the Godwary." (2:2)

It means that the Holy Qur'an is the finest form of guidance for all those who seek truth without any deviationist and devilish tendencies.

Now let's review the lessons learnt from this ayah:

1. The Prophet and the devoted Muslims of his time paid prime attention to writing down and memorizing the ayahs of the holy Qur'an. Gradually, the revealed ayahs took the form of a book as we know it today.

2. The eloquence of the Holy Qur'an is beyond question, as acknowledged even by non-Muslim scholars of the Arabic language.

3. The Qur'an is the book of Guidance for mankind and not a book of any special subject or a particular profession or group of people.

4. We can only feel the light of the Holy Qur'an in our hearts when we prepare our souls in all sincerity to accept its radiation.

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