ON THE QUR`AN
Chapter 2: Surat Al-Baqarah
the name of Allah,
the Beneficent, the Merciful
Book, there is no doubt in it – a guide to those who safeguard
themselves with fearful awareness.
first 5 verses (ayâh) describe and define the believer (mu'min)
who trusts in the mercy and justice of Allah and who carefully
channels and guards his awareness. The
next 2 verses are about those who cover up reality (kâfirun,
from kafara, to cover, hide), and the
following 13 verses deal with hypocrisy.
are numerous interpretations of Alif, Lâm, Mîm, the three
Arabic letters that open this chapter. One interpretation is that
they symbolize the fundamental modules which are basic to
understanding and communicating the meaning of creation. Letters are
the building blocks of language, which, when strung together
intelligently, are means of communicating information to all
humankind. Another example of fundamental modules is the genetic
alphabet which contains and explains the entire biological story of
'This book'; Allah says: there is only the Book. Whenever one looks
it is unfolding. The Book in its most expanded meaning is the decree
of God, the full creational reality. There is 'no doubt in it'. It
is absolute and all-encompassing, for it covers the physical
material world as well as the world of the Unseen.
The one who safeguards himself with watchful awareness (muttaqî)
for the way of Allah is uncompromising and decisive avoids
whatever is not conducive to positive development. He has been
warned against it by experience. In a state of real awareness (taqwâ),
of God, one becomes aware of the presence of the One overall Reality
beyond time and space.
who believe in the Unseen and establish the prayer, and spend
from what We have provided them.
mercy of Allah encompasses the entire creation, both the Seen and
Unseen (Ghayb). The meaning of the book is rooted in the
Unseen (what is not felt or measured by human senses), and its
unfoldment is in the Seen. For example, within each individual is
the hidden Book, the genetic imprint of the chromosomes that will
unfold as the body grows, exploding from one cell by the guidance
and direction of that genetically coded message. Every cell in that
body contains the entire code of the body. The hidden, biological
book will manifest itself in the physical body.
This ayât (communication; verse) describes the seekers of
reality, the believers who unfold and awaken through self-knowledge.
They trust in the Unseen, which exists but not perceptible within
the limited range of human senses. These sensory limitations allow
man to know the meaning of Unlimited, for nothing can be known
without its opposite. Life is meaningless unless there is death.
Each attribute is balanced by its opposite, and contains the doorway
to the knowledge of its opposite. Another name for the Qur'an is al-Mîzân
'the Balance'. This name reflects the understanding of opposites in
creation. Islam is the middle path.
Those who believe in the Unseen establish prayer (salât),
because salât is the spiritual action that brings about
transformation. It is an act which enables the believer to move
along the path of knowledge of the laws that govern existence and go
beyond. Salât represents the submission of all creation of
God. It connects the seeker to the Truth (haqq). That
connection brings about a certainty which dispels anxiety about
All that is needed by and beneficial to humankind, whether material
or abstract, such as knowledge, is provision. When the spiritual
seeker is fulfilled inwardly, and external worries are minimized,
then both his gross and subtle provision flow easily to him. By
spontaneous awareness, faith, prayer and correct action, the
unfolding of self-knowledge will take place.
Essentially man is born without any outer wealth and leaves this
world without taking anything with him. The Qur'anic teaching
centers around giving: if one gives, one will also be replenished.
So tap the reservoir of the Unseen and become an open conduit!
those who believe in that which has been revealed to you, and
that which was revealed before you, and they are sure of the
refers to those who trust and follow what has come through the
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the preceding messengers.
They believe that they will be guided. They are certain of the
Hereafter (Äkhira), and that this physical realm of
experience will come to an end, and that beyond death lies another
realm of experience and consciousness. This certainty (yaqîn)
is a deep, unconscious and 'unprovable' (empirically) knowledge
which is a higher aspect of belief (îmân). It is innate and
not connected to logic and deduction.
are on a right course of guidance from their Lord, and they
shall be successful.
this we are cast back to the opening chapter, Surât al-Fatihah:
'Guide us to the straight path.' By avoiding what is harmful, one is
able to follow the true life-transaction (dîn). Success (falâh)
comes as a result. The failures and pitfalls are numerous. The
unleashed self-ego (lower nafs), arrogance (kibrîyâ),
and self-elevation are amongst the veils which enable our shaytân
or lower negative tendencies to act. Shaytân is translated
into English as 'satan', but the meaning is different and so too,
therefore, is the image conjured up by it. We will use the term shaytân
rather than replace it with the English term because shaytân
comes from the verbal root which means to be cast off the path, to
be far away. This shaytânic energy begets covetousness,
jealousy, lust, love of power and other twisted traits. The way can
be made straight only by removing these obstacles.
those who disbelieve, it is the same to them whether you warn
them or do not warn them, they will not believe.
has sealed their hearts and their hearing, and over their eyes
there is a covering. For them is a great punishment.
verses concern the disbelievers (kâfîrûn). Their hearts
are hardened, set and sealed by covering up the truth and denying
reality, which is inherent within them. Their denial of the One, the
All-Encompassing and All-Merciful Reality, condemns them to flounder
in isolation. This condition is one of torment, agony, and great
punishment. Our spirit emanates from an Essence which is limitless
and most sublime; limitation is therefore a 'punishment'. Limitation
is the result of man's perceived separation and isolation which
arises out of a lack of true submission.
among people are those who say: We believe in God and the Last
Day while they are not believers.
thrives on elusiveness. The Arabic word for hypocrisy, (nifâq)
is related to the word which means a tunnel or underground
passageway (nafaq). If the lower aspect of the self is not
contained and displaced by the higher aspect it will lurk in one
tunnel after another in a desperate attempt to avoid purification.
The lower self tries to preserve itself by avoiding being checked
and uprooted by spontaneous awareness. The hypocrite (munâfiq)
always finds excuses and will never confront his vices and
self-imposed shackles squarely. The main characteristic of the
hypocrite is that he avoids facing the central issue of submission
to God through faith and trust. To avoid this confrontation, he
claims to believe in God and the Hereafter, but in truth does not,
and mistakenly thinks that he has safely escaped the real