GM Sb says: Naseersaab says, "Nobody ever
said that these laws were not sent down earlier."
This is a deceptive reply to what I
had said. What I had said was,
What you said is immaterial and irrelevant. "Nobody ever said that these laws were not sent down
earlier." applies to me. I never claimed that the 10 commandments
were original and therefore your argument is uncalled for and irrelevant.
Civilization did not start with Moses or even Abraham and therefore many of the
laws/principles will be found in earlier civilizations. Deception is your way
not mine. I have no need for it.
According to the
Quran, every nation on the earth was sent a Prophet for their guidance.
And for every Ummah (a
community or a nation), there is a Messenger; (10:47)
And verily, We have
sent among every Ummah (community, nation) a Messenger (Qur'ân 16:36)
"And there is not
a people but a warner has gone among them." (35:24)
Of some messengers We
have already told thee the story; of others We have not; (4:164)
And, indeed We have
sent Messengers before you (O Muhammad(P)); of some of them We have related to
you their story and of some We have not related to you their story, (40:78)
Surah 41 (The Signs
Expanded version of
the Golden Rule:
34. Nor can goodness
and Evil be equal. Repel (Evil) with what is better: Then will he between whom
and thee was hatred become as it were thy friend and intimate!
35. And no one will be
granted such goodness except those who exercise patience and self-restraint,-
none but persons of the greatest good fortune.
36. And if (at any
time) an incitement to discord is made to thee by the Evil One, seek refuge in
Allah. He is the One Who hears and knows all things.
that the same message was given to the apostles before
43. Nothing is said to
thee that was not said to the apostles before thee: that thy lord has at his
Command (all) forgiveness as well as a most Grievous Penalty.
52. Say: "See ye
if the (Revelation) is (really) from Allah, and yet do ye reject it? Who is
more astray than one who is in a schism far (from any purpose)?"
Schism: a split or division between strongly opposed sections or
parties, caused by differences in opinion or belief.
that the same message was delivered to all people
53. Soon will We show
them our Signs in the (furthest) regions (of the earth), and in their own
souls, until it becomes manifest to them that this is the Truth. Is it not
enough that thy Lord doth witness all things?
We do find the Golden
Rule in the furthest regions of the earth both geographically and in time from
the earliest civilization.
The scholars also
attribute the Golden rule to religions:
The golden rule, "Do to others as you would have others
do to you," is widely assumed to have a single meaning, shared by
virtually all the world's religions. (Jeffrey Wattles)
Interestingly Jeffrey Wattles calls it "the principle
of the practice of the family of God."
And yet GM Sb says: If the same precept is expressed by wise
men in different countries and at different times, it does not necessarily mean
that what they are saying comes from divine origin. It means they are
expressing a universal sentiment felt by all those who try to co-exist in
groups. That applies to Confucius's dictum, "Never impose on others what
you would not choose for yourself."
From the same Sura
41: 5. They say:
"Our hearts are under veils, (concealed) from that to which thou dost
invite us, and in our ears in a deafness, and between us and thee is a screen:
so do thou (what thou wilt); for us, we shall do (what we will!)"
40. Those who pervert
the Truth in Our Signs are not hidden from Us. Which is better?- he that is
cast into the Fire, or he that comes safe through, on the Day of Judgment? Do
what ye will: verily He seeth (clearly) all that ye do.
Allah knows best.
Sb indulges in straw man arguments:
says : “There is no reason to think that the moral principles of the Ten
Commandments or the Sermon on the Mount were not known and articulated by men
long before Moses and Jesus pronounced them with thundering effect.”
ever said that these laws were not sent down earlier. As a matter of fact, I
have said earlier that Atenism has at least 3 of the 10 commandments. The fact
however is that all of these are from religion. The Quran does not say that it
is a confirmation of revelations sent only to the prophets from the Abrahmic
tradition. On the contrary, it says that prophets were sent to every nation all
through the ages and clearly says that only a few of these prophets are
mentioned in the Quran.
says: The fact that many moral principles have been articulated and
sanctified by religions does not mean that this is the exclusive province of
If we can find a person who does not
show the influence of religion by talking of soul, heaven, god etc, who has
come up with a moral principle that is original, then I have no problem
agreeing with him. However, he keeps on arguing without evidence. My journey of
discovery started from philosophy and found confirmation in the Quran. As a
matter of fact, this argument was first stated by me in my article of March
as a Civilizing Influence” three and a half years ago. At that time, I had not made any
connection with the finding with any verse from the Quran.
The journey has lead me to discover the
meaning of ayat AL Nur. The fact that my explanation fits the verse perfectly,
and all earlier explanations are falsified by verse 24:36 according to which
the Light is external to man since: “(Lit is such a Light) in houses, which
Allah hath permitted to be raised to honour; for the celebration, in them, of
His name: In them is He glorified in the mornings and in the evenings, (again
and again)”, and such houses are described as-“monasteries, churches,
synagogues, and mosques, in which the name of Allah is commemorated in abundant
The universality of ayat Al Nur, and the
source of all scriptures as of Divine origin and beyond what man can produce is
what the Quran is saying clearly. The meanings of the components of the lamp
giving out the Divine Light are also clear. This Light shines in places of
worship where the scriptures are recited in prayers, read, taught, studied and
What GM Sb is saying effectively, is that
what is in the scriptures could have been produced by man. He says this without
any evidence, and as a matter of fact, with evidence to the contrary. He is not
alone in saying this, and the entire Western academic discipline backs him up. For
them religion is only a human construct. In effect he is saying that ayat 10:37
and 24:35 are empty claims.
person bent on denial, and bent on arguing in circles, can go on doing so till
eternity and so I must part ways with such persons and say “To you be your way
and to me mine and Peace”
GM Sb, God did not teach us
rocket science because God gave man the inclination to pursue all utilitarian
disciplines on his own. We excel in every utilitarian field.
Man is the only
creation capable of making moral choices. Man can override his instinct,
emotions, utilitarian considerations to do what is right. No other creation has
such freedom or ability to make moral choices. They are slaves of their
instinct and emotions and limited ability to see through reason what is good
for them in the immediate context.
God has also put
utilitarian value into every moral principle to a limited extent to enable man
to understand its value and appreciate the transcendent value or necessity of
the principle regardless of what his instinct, emotions and reason based on
utilitarian conditions demand. It is rising above all other considerations to
make a choice that is moral that makes man a creation worthy of the Angels and
the Jinns to prostrate before him.
Moral principles are
divine from the Divinity and what raises man above every other creation to a
level where it is appropriate for the rest of the creation to prostrate before
It is not given to
man to become moral on his own leave alone discovering the moral principles.
That is why the Quran says repeatedly that Allah guides whom He wills and
allows to go astray whom He wills.
Those who behave arrogantly on the earth in defiance of right - them will I
turn away from My signs: Even if they see all the signs, they will not believe
in them; and if they see the way of right conduct, they will not adopt it as
the way; but if they see the way of error, that is the way they will adopt. For
they have rejected our signs, and failed to take warning from them.
Relate to them the story of the man to whom We sent Our signs, but he passed
them by: so Satan followed him up, and he went astray.(176) If it had been Our
will, We should have elevated him with Our signs; but he inclined to the earth,
and followed his own vain desires. His similitude is that of a dog: if you attack
him, he lolls out his tongue, or if you leave him alone, he (still) lolls out
his tongue. That is the similitude of those who reject Our signs; So relate the
story; perchance they may reflect.
Allah had found in them any good. He would indeed have made them listen: (As it
is), if He had made them listen, they would but have turned back and declined
"Of no profit will be my counsel to you, much as I desire to give you
(good) counsel, if it be that Allah willeth to leave you astray: He is your
Lord! and to Him will ye return!"
Yet no faith will the greater part of mankind have, however ardently thou dost
(17:94) What kept men back from belief when
Guidance came to them, was nothing but this: they said, "Has Allah sent a
man (like us) to be (His) Messenger?"
If you read the
verses about righteousness, it is righteousness alone that makes one man
superior to another and not whether he is follower of Muhammad, Christian, Jew,
Sabian, Buddhist, Zoroastrian etc ( I avoided using Muslim because Muslim
covers all people who are righteous). However, unless a person orients himself
to the Giver of the moral code, there is no motivation to be moral but simply
the motivation to do what is dictated by “practical ethics”. If man was capable
of becoming righteous on his own, there was no need of any religion. If
revelations were not necessary for man, there would have been no revelations.
If man was capable of discovering moral principles on his own and becoming
moral, there would have been no need for God to send prophets and reveal Books
Man only shows a
great capacity to regress from what is moral even though he keeps the Book of
revelations with him and even reads it. That is why every religion has become a
source of immorality as well. The ayat Al Nur cannot apply to any human being
and not even to the prophets. In any case the verse following 24:35 makes it
clear that the Light is external to man and is found in mosques, monasteries,
churches, synagogues etc and not in the hearts or minds of men. Every single
element of what produces Allah’s Light for man to perceive the higher truths is
perfect or divine. Past scholars could not fathom its meaning but felt
compelled to comment because of the obvious beauty and mysticism of the verse.
This series has been
a journey of discovery for me. It started several years ago when I discovered
while studying philosophy relating to ethics and morality that philosophy has
not produced a single moral principle and this was not because this was not
tried or attempted. I had then not
related this to any verse from the Quran and in fact my earlier articles make
no reference to the Quran. It is only in my recent series that I related it to
the Quran and at first, I saw my challenge different from the challenge in the
Quran. It was only while writing the article “Science and Religion” that I saw
that the challenge was essentially the same and also included the other
elements of excellence of the manner in which the message is communicated and
the language. The challenge could be on each of these elements separately or
together. What is capable of being compared was however based only on the
objective element. The meaning of Ayat An Nur became clear to me only while
writing the article “deen-e-Islam”. Anybody can see how well the meaning fits
the verse and how inappropriate all other explanations appear. Allah however
had made the meaning clear by giving us 10:37. Once explained, in hindsight,
everything becomes clear but the correct meaning escaped us for a thousand
years. What contributed to its discovery is also the constant questioning which
made me write one article after another finally leading to discovering the
meaning of this ayat. Strange are the ways of Allah! He strengthens the belief
of one person by the same process with which others are misled!
I would never have
understood the meaning of several verses of the Quran but for the interactions
on this website - the characteristics of people “who will not believe” no
matter what evidence is provided. It is not doubting and questioning that is
bad but closing our eyes and ears to all evidence because of a predisposition
to believe otherwise irrespective of the evidence.
GM Sb, This is what the Quran says:
(10:37) 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.
From the above, it is clear that the
Quran is mainly:
revelations that came before
Fuller explanation of what
So you will find whatever you find in the
Quran in earlier scriptures also. You will find them in the religion of the
earliest civilization also since the Quran also confirms that guidance has been
provided all through the ages to all nations/civilizations.
The Quran and the scriptures contain
what cannot be produced by other than Allah as per the cited verse and these
contain among other things moral principles. The fact is that the main objective
of the Book is to give us the moral way of living.
This understanding has been confirmed
by reviewing the complete history of philosophy to see if philosophy has given
us any useful and durable moral principle that is original or not derived from
pre-existing moral principles from religion. You have also tried to find
something but drew a blank.
Beyond this, Allah knows best and may
He help us to become among those who brings out the truth and support it and
not among those who utter a lie or reject the truth when it comes to us.
(39:32) who, then, doth more wrong than one who utters a lie
concerning Allah, and rejects the Truth (Bil-ṣid'qi) when it comes to him; is
there not in Hell an abode for blasphemers?
(33) And he who brings the Truth (Bil-ṣid'qi) and he who confirms
(wa Saddaqa) (and supports) it - such are the men who do right.
(34) They shall have all that they wish for, in the presence of
their Lord: such is the reward of those who do good:
(35) So that Allah will turn off from them (even) the worst in
their deeds and give them their reward according to the best of what they have
The Quran does make a
claim and what that claim means has been explained in my article "Science
and Religion". The rhyme and reason to believe is also covered in the same
GM Sb is just engaged in
persistent denial without evidence, and inspite of all evidence which supports what
I have said.
The meaning of Ayat Al
Nur was not known to me although it intrigued me and I had read several
commentaries on the same including Imam Ghazali's. I had found all of them
unconvincing. While writing my article on Deen-e-Islam and explaining the
three levels of excellence of the moral way of living in Islam, it struck me
that I was actually describing the ayat Al Nur. Anybody can see that the
meaning has slowly dawned on me and each subsequent version is an improvement
on the previous one starting from the article on Deen-e-Islam. Being such an
important ayat, it deserved a separate article.
I have covered what
others have said on this ayat in my comment and also briefly in the article.
The beginning of morality in Islam is belief in Allah and His revelations through
the medium of Angel and prophets after which only can come the guidance on the
moral way of living.
discussed in the article, the light described is external to man since words of
perfection are used which are not used by the Quran even for the Prophets.
Verse 24:36 further confirms that this light is external to man when it says “(Lit is such a Light) in houses, which Allah hath permitted
to be raised to honour; for the celebration, in them, of His name:” which
obviously refers to “monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, in which
the name of Allah is commemorated in abundant measure” (22:40).
I have scanned how various scholars have commented on this verse
and Imam Ghazali appears to have had quite an influence over many of them such
as Dr Israr Ahmed, Maulana Mufti Muhammad Shafi, Maulana Wahiduddin Khan etc.
Ibn Kathir has the following to say since he obviously has trouble reconciling
the words of perfection used for the glass and comparing the same to a human
heart by Imam Ghazali and others:
“(Hearts are of four kinds: the heart that is clear like a
shining lamp; the heart that is covered and tied up; the heart that is
upside-down; and the heart that is clad in armor. As for the clear heart, it is
the heart of the believer in which is a lamp filled with light; as for the
covered heart, this is the heart of the disbeliever; as for the upside-down
heart, this is the heart of the hypocrite, who recognizes then denies; as for
the armor-clad heart, this is the heart in which there is both faith and
hypocrisy. The parable of the faith in it is that of legume, a sprout that is
irrigated with good water, and the likeness of the hypocrisy in it is that of
sores that are fed by blood and pus.
Whichever of the two prevails is the
characteristic that will dominate.) Its chain of narrators is good (Jayyid)
although they (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) did not record it”
The verse cannot be reconciled with the human heart simply because
the niche, lamp, glass, olive oil or light do not refer to a human being but to
things divine or perfect.
Yusuf Ali mentions that the most notable commentary on the
verse is Ghazali's Mishkat al Anwar but he
departs from it. The Following is from Yusuf Ali’s commentary:
“The Lamp is the core of the spiritual Truth, which
is the real illumination; the Niche is nothing without it; the Niche is
actually made for it. (3) The Glass is the transparent medium through which the
Light passes. On the one hand, it protects the light from moths and other forms
of low life (lower motives in man) and from gusts of wind (passions), and on
the other, it transmits the light through a medium which is made up of and akin
to the grosser substances of the earth (such as sand, soda, potash, etc.), so
arranged as to admit the subtle to the gross by its transparency. So the
spiritual Truth has to be filtered through human language or human intelligence
to make it intelligible to mankind.
The glass by itself does not shine. But when the
light comes into it, it shines like a brilliant star. So men of God, who preach
Allah's Truth, are themselves illuminated by Allah's Light and become like
illuminating media through which that Light spreads and permeates human life.
This mystic Olive is not localised. It is neither of
the East nor the West. It is universal, for such is Allah's light. It is not
localised or immature: it is perfect and universal. The quality of spiritual
Truth: it illuminates the mind and understanding imperceptibly, almost before
the human mind and heart have been consciously touched by it.
Ali comes close to what I have said in my article when Olive Oil is referred to
self-luminous spiritual truth which I have identified as the very first moral
principle “Do unto others as “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.
He also comes close when he refers to
Glass as Human language but he departs when he also refers to it as human
intelligence and also as Men of God
through whom light spreads
says: “Tabari, Baghawi and Ibn Kathir quote Ibn 'Abbas and Ibn Mas'ud as saying
in this context: "It is the parable of His light in the heart of a
"lamp" is the revelation which God grants to His prophets and which
is reflected in the believer's heart - the "niche" of the above
parable (Ubayy ibn Ka'b, as quoted by Tabari) - after being received and
consciously grasped by his reason ("the glass [shining brightly] like a radiant
star"): for it is through reason alone that true faith can find its way
into the heart of man.
would seem that the olive-tree that is neither of the east nor of the west is
an allusion to the organic continuity of all divine revelation which, starting
like a tree from one "root" or proposition - the statement of God's
existence and uniqueness - grows steadily throughout man's spiritual history,
branching out into a splendid variety of religious experience, thus endlessly
widening the range of man's perception of the truth. Since all true revelation
flows from the Infinite Being, it is "neither of the east nor of the
west" - and especially so the revelation of the Qur'an, which, being
addressed to all mankind, is universal in its goal as well.
essence of the Qur'anic message is described elsewhere as "clear [in
itself] and clearly showing
the truth"; and it is, I believe, this aspect of the Qur'an that the above
sentence alludes to. Its message gives light because it proceeds from God; but
it "would well-nigh give light [of itself] even though fire had not
touched it": i.e., even though one may be unaware that it has been
"touched by the fire" of divine revelation, its inner consistency, truth
and wisdom ought to be self-evident to anyone who approaches it in the light of
his reason and without prejudice.”
Comment: Asad goes wrong in my opinion while quoting others but is otherwise close to the
meaning. Yes, the teachings on the moral way of living are either
self-evidently wise or good or become so through practice and reason and people
will accept these even though they may reject their source in the divine revelation.