The Need for Scripture

Iffat Mirza, Raynes Park

One word that a book-lover stumbles upon in life often is ‘timeless’. We often talk about certain books having a persisting influence over the centuries. Reading, for me, has never just been a hobby. For hours upon hours I would devour books. It ultimately culminated in my opting to do a degree in literature. It became very clear that I just simply could not live without words.

Over the course of my education and degree, I have been exposed to new languages and books from around the world. No doubt, this led me to question the role of language and literature in our lives. Even looking back to some of those novels that I would go as far as to say shaped my worldview, I often find myself pondering on the power of words on civilisation.

Then I think back to the idea of ‘timelessness’. What makes a text timeless? For me, it is those texts that reveal to humanity the rights and the wrongs. The good and the bad. The past and the future. Despite the rise in atheism and the general abandonment of holy scripture, I find that scripture is indeed the most timeless of texts – particularly the Holy Qur’an. The 21st century most certainly is not so far advanced, and it will never be, that it can abandon the holy words of God Almighty.

Having survived over a thousand years, the Holy Qur’an has had unquantifiable influence over societies and individuals across the world, to such a strong degree that people would be prepared to live and die for these words.

The second chapter of the Holy Qur’an opens with an introduction to itself:

“This is a perfect Book; there is no doubt in it; it is a guidance for the righteous”[1]

The Holy Qur’an, unlike most books, claims it is a timeless guidance for humanity. It is not simply a book of tales to entertain but rather seeks to benefit mankind. As a Muslim, living in the West in the 21st century, approximately 1,400 years after the advent of the Holy Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), the Holy Qur’an has undoubtedly taught me more about morals and ethics than any other source.

Humankind has become close-minded. Now living in secular societies, we have forgotten the scriptures of old – be it the Bible, the Torah, the Vedas or the Holy Qur’an. Societies, for centuries, have turned to these sources to write laws and legislation. Our very fundamentals: do not murder, do not steal, do not commit adultery, are all teachings of religion.

The truth is that scripture, despite being thousands of years old, is still unimaginably relevant. Human nature has not changed so much, nor will it, that it would need a whole new set of morals.

Ideas of justice and equity are at the heart of the Holy Qur’an. It beautifully instructs mankind: ‘And O my people, give full measure and full weight with equity, and do not deprive people of things which by right belong to them and commit not iniquity in the earth, causing disorder.’[2]

This particularly never fails to resonate with me – living in the 21st century, justice and equity are always on my mind. Flicking through the news channels I see the suffering and the disorder across the earth. The project for world peace is larger than life itself and often seems impossible. However, the repeated teachings of kindness and justice, make it clear that the Holy Qur’an does have the solution to this arduous task.

In fact, on this topic, His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has echoed the words of the Holy Qur’an in his advocacy for world peace: “Hence, according to the Qur’an, justice requires that a person is willing to testify even against himself and his most loved ones in order to guard and protect the truth. The second level of engagement advocated by the Holy Qur’an is that a person should not only be just, but should go beyond it by doing ‘good to others’ by manifesting generosity and forgiveness. As I have already mentioned, the Holy Qur’an teaches that once you have successfully stopped an aggressive nation from inflicting further cruelties, you should not seek revenge or impose hardship upon it. Rather, you should seek to help them build up their economy and infrastructure. Where this will help them, it will also help you in the long term.”[3]

The need for scripture, I would argue, is more pertinent than ever. We are living in dangerous times. In such a global community, it is impossible for events to take place in isolation. They will inevitably impact the whole globe. Therefore, it is imperative that we look to the book that was sent for all of mankind, and recognise it as a source of genuine solutions.

 

[1] Holy Qur’an English translation by Maulvi Sher Ali (ra) Chapter 2 Verse 3

[2] Holy Qur’an English translation by Maulvi Sher Ali (ra) Chapter 11 Verse 86

[3] https://www.reviewofreligions.org/14665/true-and-sustainable-world-peace/

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