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The Holy Quran : Preserved Forever




Verily, We Ourselves have sent down this Exhortation, and most surely We will be its Guardian, (Al-Hijr, 15:10)

This verse of the Holy Quran promises that its text has been safe-guarded in its original form by a divine plan for all times to come.

Commentary:

This verse furnishes a powerful proof of the truth of the Quran and of its divine origin. In fact, the promise about the preservation of the Quran made in this verse has been remarkably fulfilled that even if there had been no other proof of the truth of Islam, this alone would have sufficed to establish its divine origin.

Verse 8 of this Sura, contains the demand, mockingly made by disbelievers that if the Quran were really as grand a book as it was claimed to be, it ought to have descended under the guardianship of angels. This ridicule of disbelievers has been answered in the present verse, which emphatically says that the Quran is indeed a sublime book and that God Himself has undertaken to act as its Guardian and that He will always protect it against every kind of corruption and interference. And in order that this promise about the protection of the Quran may gain still more force, particles expressive of special emphasis, such as 'Anna' (verily We) and 'Nahnou' (Ourselves) and again 'Anna' followed by 'Lam' (most surely) have been used in this verse. Thus the claim has been made in the most emphatic and forceful language.

The statement that God Himself is the Guardian of the Quran does not mean that angels do not guard it. They also do so, for when the master himself is guarding a thing, the servants must also be necessarily engaged in that service. By saying, most surely We will be its Guardian, God, however, points to the fact that there are certain peculiarities of the Quran which it is beyond the power of angels to guard and therefore, God Himself has undertaken to do that work.

The means adopted to safeguard the purity of the text of the Quran have been briefly referred to in verse 2 in the memorable words 'Al-kitab' (the written Book) and 'Quran e Mubeen' (the illuminating Recital) signifying: (a) That every verse of the Quran was committed to writing as soon as it was revealed and this writing was most tenaciously preserved. (b) That it was committed to memory as soon as revealed by a number of Muslims. And this pious practice has increasingly continued so much so that in the past centuries hundreds of thousands of Muslims have had the entire Quran literally on the tips of their tongues. Add to this the fact that from the very beginning of Islam the recital of parts of the Quran in the five daily Prayers was made obligatory.

Again, it is not only the text of the Quran that has been preserved intact by God. He has provided for the preservation of its spirit also. This has been done by raising divinely inspired Reformers among the Muslims from time to time. These Reformers, known in Islamic terminology as Mujaddids, receive revelations from God and interpret and explain the true meaning of the Quranic text. Such Reformers appeared among the followers of other religions also, but that was only for so long as such Scriptures served as guides for their followers. After the advent of Islam, however, all other religious systems and their Scriptures, which were intended only for specific periods and specific peoples, became abrogated and divinely inspired Reformers ceased to appear among them. Now, therefore, the Quran alone among all revealed Scriptures of the world holds the field as a living book and hence divinely inspired Reformers now appear only among the followers of Islam. The appearance of such reformers in itself constitutes proof of the living power of a religion and its Scripture inasmuch as they are really the fruit of their religion and their appearance proves its efficacy.

The question here arises, if the Scriptures revealed to the previous Prophets have not been preserved in their original purity, what guarantee is there to believe that the Quran would enjoy permanent security? In this connection it should be noted that the promise of protection made by God in this verse mentions the word 'Al Zikr' (rendered in the text as "this Exhortation") and not the Quran or any other word; and herein lies the answer to the above question. For, to become deserving of the permanent protection of God it is essential that the divine revelation should be 'Al Zikr' of which the necessary attributes are. (1) that it should establish a close and permanent relationship between man and his Maker, inspiring in the former constant remembrance of God, the word 'Zikr' meaning remembering; and (2) that it should elevate man to a state where God may also remember him or in other words favor him with His words and with heavenly help, the word 'Zikr' also meaning eminence. 'the verse under comment thus purports to mean that God undertakes to protect any Scripture so long as it serves the above two purposes. But when, through changes in the conditions and circumstances of man, any Scripture ceases to perform these functions and God, in infallible wisdom, deems it necessary to reveal another Scripture, He naturally ceases to extend His protection to earlier revelations.