1. SURAT AL FATIHA (OPENING)
In the Name of Allah, the All-Caring, the Mercifuly Forgiving (1)
All praise belongs to Allah the Lord of All Creation, all Mankind (2)
The All-Caring, the Mercifully Forgiving (3)
(A beginning to a scripture among scriptures claimed to be Divine which beginning no other scripture can even begin to match! It is plainly saying that what is to follow all come from the Very Source of All Existence and as such can only be true and right in the fullest sense of truth and reality. It addresses the whole mankind as well as all other possible similarly sentient creatures whom only Allah can know about fully. Then continues:)
The Owner of the Day of Judgment (4)
(There is one for sure)
Only Thee We worship, only Thee we ask for help (5)
(Who else can we serve for our maximum and sure benefit than what is true or what is real. Allah stands for both truth and reality and as we shall see later on one of His many Holy Beautiful Names is ‘al Haqq’ which means both truth and reality. Again no other scripture could ever describe God through so many names each more fitting and beautiful than the other. In the Qur’an we have more than a hundred of them. We have already so far seen Allah/ THE God), ‘Al Rahman’/ All-Caring, ‘Al Rahim’/ Mercifully Forgiving and ‘al Malik’/Owner, King)
Please guide us on to the Straight Path (6)
The Path of those on whom Thou hast bestowed favours, not the path of those who earned (Thy) anger, nor of those who went astray (7)
(After praising Allah as He deserves and warning of a Day of Judgment, the Sender of this Message teaches us a prayer, so succinct and to the point that there is none like it in the whole religious literature of the world. With all this, this opening sura or chapter of the Qur’an introduces us to full loving and fearing submission/ISLAM to our Creator and with the rest of 114 suras or chapters answers the very prayer He so kindly taught us above, as we shall see) 2. SURAT AL BAQARA (THE COW)
ALLAH EXPOUNDS MAN’S NATURE AND CHOICES IN METAPHOR
(Consider) when your Lord said to the angels “I am about to place a deputy on earth”. They said “Are you going to place there one who will work corruption there and shed blood while we are already glorifying You with your praises and sanctifying You?”. He said “Indeed I know something you don’t” (30)
He (created and then) taught Adam all names and then showing them to the angels asked “Inform Me of the names of these if you are truthful” (31)
They said “Hallowed are You, we have no knowledge except what You taught us. It is You and only You Who is the Knowing and the Wise” (32)
He said “O Adam, inform them of names of these”. When he informed them of the names He said “Didn’t I tell you that I know the secret of the heavens and the earth and know what you declare or hide?” (33)
(Firstly we must recognise that our father Adam in all stories about him represents ourselves- man as a concept with all his potentials and handicaps. So: Here it appears that man is distinguished and superior to angels by virtue of his rational and analytical mind which enables him to analyse creation into separate entities and devise concepts in their explanation. He explores their natures and actions in the context of a nomenclature- i.e., a system of given names, names for both tangibles, e.g. a tree, and intangibles, e.g., truth or logic.
For their part angels see things holistically and analysis and nomenclature are unavailable to them except when Allah helps and permits in the context of their duties, like bringing revelation. So their actions, however powerful and brilliant, are fixed, practical results-oriented and holistic- i.e., personal choices do not apply- while man’s abilities are experimenting, adventurous, often dangerous and potentially original and innovative.
Hence he is enabled to challenge the status quo and modify it as he sees fit and can. Hence his deputyship of Allah. So, the above dialogues become metaphors for the ontological difference between man and angel. Angel is all holiness, never committing a wrong while man can be all things across a vast if not infinite spectrum of being and becoming, so covering all potentialities of created existence- like his Lord- over which created existence in fact Allah is primarily and necessarily effective. Still Allah knows best, we are just humbly speculating in good faith.
In brief we men have a lot of responsibility, for with will responsibility arrives; we should always act with that in mind. Overall, with obedience to truth and reality we can live in heaven, with rebellion in hell
Lastly are we not seeing man’s deputyship of Allah most graphically in the recent developments in genetics with which man is allowed to tamper?)
(Consider) When We said to the angels “Prostrate yourselves to Adam (on account of his being Our elected deputy) and they had prostrated except Iblis. He declined, he took pride and as a result became one of the blasphemous (34)
(We can infer from this that essentially blasphemy or ‘kufr’ is deliberately resenting and opposing Allah’s choices. Since Allah’s choices for us depend on truths relating to and realities surrounding us blasphemy amounts to unwisely resenting truths which we must obey and realities which we cannot change.
If and when we can change our condition for the better that is only possible by using truths and realities known to or learnable by us which brings in science and technology from the most primitive to the most advanced. Incidentally we must remember that truth is a correct belief or statement about reality- including spiritual and moral reality- while reality is that nature of things on which all conscientious and competent observers can agree and always stands the test of experience. How can we succeed in life unless we respect truths and the realities behind them? A man is a devil when he is jealous of another man and is prepared to subvert and destroy him, which means Iblis the Devil is a metaphor for this low quality lurking somewhere in all of us in differing forms to differing extents. If followed this quality may both unjustly harm our fellow man as well as making us a criminal bound for a hell of a conscience, however long we may delay our admission and the repentance of it)11. SURAT HUD
In the Name of Allah, the All-Caring, the Mercifully Forgiving
Alif. Lam. Ra. An Epistle from the Wise, Aware One, the verses of which have been consolidated and then detailed (1)
That “Do not worship but Allah, I am for you a warner and giver of good-news from Him (2)
That “Ask forgiveness from Allah and then turn towards Him so that He provides you with nice provision until an appointed deadline and give every virtuous one the reward of his virtue”. If you turn away then I am afraid the painful punishment of a Great Day awaits you (3)
"To Allah is your return- and He is able to do all things (4)
(The whole purpose and promise of the Qur’an are summarised above in a breathtaking broadness- all of which boil down to: “Either favour yourselves and help yourselves to Allah’s wonderful gifts in both worlds or let yourselves down and prepare and be unhappily responsible for your own disaster)
There is no animal in earth but on Allah is its provision; He knows its resting and settling place. All are in an Plain Book (6)
(No animal has to worry about its food etc. Allah has undertaken to provide all needs wherever it may be- in the womb or in its lair. All its destiny is set like a map seen at one glance in the vision of Allah)
It is He Who created the heavens and the earth in six days and His Throne was on water, in order to test as to which of you will do better acts. If thou sayest “You are to be raised after death” those who disbelieve would indeed say “This is plain magic” (7)
(The purpose of the creation of the universe is creating and testing individual men and women. In a more philosophical expression “Man is the ultimate and most advanced fruit of the tree we call universe". "HIS THRONE WAS ON WATER" is especially intriguing. We tend to interpret it as "The phenomenon of life whose man is the supreme masterpiece and Allah’s highest respondent, this phenomenon of life has been based on water as its chief ingredient". That is because as far as we are aware water has never been in a more important role than its causation of life. And man is life’s highest level. At his level of advancement he has mind, values and a conscience all of which render him responsible for his acts, as no other animal can be, and here Allah reminds us as much. Lastly the human heart which is the metaphoric seat of the soul is nurtured and nurtures the rest of the human body with blood which is mostly water as is the brain which seems to be the actual throne of the spirit.
As such, this verse is an example of the metaphoric verses which constitute the major part of the Qur’an which kind of verse is first spoken of in Surat Ali Imran v. 7- which see)