14 December, 2018 | 5 Rabi al-Thani, 1440 H

"What corrupts generosity is mentioning it."

- The Prophet Muhammad (s)

Learning
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Core Curriculum

Section 1 - God, Religion and Islam: An Introduction
  • Topic 1.1 - The Problem of Evil, Suffering and Pain

  • Topic 1.2 - God, Allah and Religion

  • Topic 1.3 - Introduction to Islam

  • Topic 1.4 - What is “Religion” and What’s the Point of it Anyways?

  • Topic 1.5 - A Brief Introduction to the Prophet Muhammad (s), the Prophet of Islam

Section 2 - Foundations of Islam - Theology
  • Topic 2.1 - Entering Islam: The Shahada

  • Topic 2.2 - The Usūl al-Dīn: The Fundamental Beliefs of Islam

  • Topic 2.3 - Tawhīd: The Unity and Oneness of God in Islam

  • Topic 2.4 - Adala: Divine Justice in Islam

  • Topic 2.5 - Nubuwwa: The Purpose of Prophethood in Islam

  • Topic 2.6 - Imāmah or divinely guided leadership in Islam after the Prophet Muhammad.

  • Topic 2.7 - Maʿād: The Day of Judgment in Islam

  • Topic 2.8 - The Sharīʿa: Purpose and Practice

  • Topic 2.9 - The Islamic Concept of the Nafs: Battling the Human Ego

  • Topic 2.10 - Satan, Jinns and Angels: Their Influence in the World

  • Topic 2.11 - The Problem of Evil, Suffering and Pain

Section 3 - Foundations of Islam - Obligatory Acts
  • Topic 3.1 - Accepting Islam: Putting Faith into Action

  • Topic 3.2 - Jihād in Islamic Law and Spirituality

  • Topic 3.3 - Salāt: Obligatory Ritual Prayers in Islam

  • Topic 3.4 - Ritual Purity in Islamic Law: Understanding Tahāra and Najāsa

  • Topic 3.5 - The Five Categories of Islamic Law

  • Topic 3.6 - Tawalla and Tabarra, its Basics and Purpose

  • Topic 3.7 - The Purpose of Zakat and Khums in Islamic Law

  • Topic 3.8 - The Hajj Pilgrimage

  • Topic 3.9 - The Furūʿ al-Dīn: The Fundamental Practices of Islam

  • Topic 3.10 - Fasting in Islam, its Purpose, Dos and Don’ts

  • Topic 3.11 - Other Obligatory and Forbidden Acts in Islam

  • Topic 3.12 - Niyya: Religious Intention as the Foundation of Islamic Practice

  • Topic 3.13 - Commanding the Good and Forbidding Evil in Islam

Section 4 - Prophethood in Islam
  • Topic 4.1 - A Brief Biography of the Prophet Muhammad (s): The Prophet’s Childhood (PART I of III)

  • Topic 4.2 - Bio: The Prophet Muhammad as a Prophet of God (PART II of III)

  • Topic 4.3 - A Brief Biography of the Prophet Muhammad (s): The Prophet’s Character (PART III of III)

  • Topic 4.4 - The Prophet Muhammad (s) as Messenger and Teacher

  • Topic 4.5 - The Prophet and his Relationships

  • Topic 4.6 - The Prophet’s Sunnah and Hadith

  • Topic 4.7 - Ghadīr and Arafah: The Two Last Sermons of the Prophet

  • Topic 4.8 - Jesus and Mary in Islam

Section 5 - The Qur'an and Hadith
  • Topic 5.1 - Islam and Other Religions

  • Topic 5.2 - What is the Qur’an? A Short Introduction to Islam’s Holy Book

  • Topic 5.3 - The Structure of the Holy Qur’an

  • Topic 5.4 - The Quran and Islamic law

  • Topic 5.5 - The Qur’an, Allah and Humankind

  • Topic 5.6 - Hadith and Sunnah, difference and variations

  • Topic 5.7 - The Reliability of Hadiths

  • Topic 5.8 - A Reflection on Verses of the Holy Qur’an

  • Topic 5.9 - Hadith al-Thaqalayn

  • Topic 5.10 - Imam Ali (as) and Nahj al-Balagha.

  • Topic 5.11 - Taqlid and Tawḍih Al Masail Genre of Literature

Section 6 - Measuring Good and Bad in Islam
  • Topic 6.1 - The Effects of Our Actions in this World

  • Topic 6.2 - The Gray Areas of Islamic Law and Morality

  • Topic 6.3 - Heaven and Hell in Islam

  • Topic 6.4 - Life and Death in Islam

  • Topic 6.5 - Guidance According to Islam

  • Topic 6.6 - Fate and the Consequences of our Choices in Islam

  • Topic 6.7 - The Effect of Culture and Environment in Shaping our Religious Choices

  • Topic 6.8 - Major Sins in Islam

  • Topic 6.9 - Why Allah Allows People to Sin

  • Topic 6.10 - Repentance and Forgiveness of Sins in Islam

  • Topic 6.11 - The Three Kinds of Rights in Islam

  • Topic 6.12 - Sinning Against Others and their Delayed Punishment

  • Topic 6.13 - Kufr in Islam

  • Topic 6.14 - Trivializing the Harām

  • Topic 6.15 - Benefits of Islamic Law in this World

  • Topic 6.16 - Good and Bad Deeds: The Spiritual Consequences of our Choices

Section 7 - The Legacy of the Prophet Muhammad (s) and his Ahl al-Bayt (as)
  • Topic 7.1 - Islam and Knowledge: the Importance of Islamic Education

  • Topic 7.2 - The Ahl al-Kisa

  • Topic 7.3 - Imamah in the Qur’an

  • Topic 7.4 - Fatima al-Zahrah (as)

  • Topic 7.5 - A Brief Look at the Lives of the Imams (Imam al-Hasan until Imam Muhammad al-Baqir)

  • Topic 7.6 - A Brief Look at the Lives of the Imams (Imam Jafar al-Sadiq until Imam Hasan al-Askari)

  • Topic 7.7 - A Brief Look at the Life and Importance of Imam al-Mahdi (aj)

  • Topic 7.8 - Salawat and Atonement in Islam

  • Topic 7.9 - The Companions (Sahaba) of the Prophet According to the Qur’an

  • Topic 7.10 - Clerical Hierarchies in Muslim Communities

  • Topic 7.11 - Mosques in Islam

  • Topic 7.12 - The Philosophy of Karbala and Majalis

  • Topic 7.13 - A Brief Biography of Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (as)

  • Topic 7.14 - The Battle of Karbala: A Brief History

Section 8 - Islamic Relationships, Sects and Conflicts
  • Topic 8.1 - Misconceptions about Shi’ism

  • Topic 8.2 - Major Sects of Islam

  • Topic 8.3 - Islam and Religious Conflicts

  • Topic 8.4 - Islam and Rights

  • Topic 8.5 - Sunnism and Shi’ism, beginnings and historical developments.

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Special Topics

Section 9 - Independent Topics
  • Topic 9.1 - Muslim Converts – Welcome to Islam!

  • Topic 9.2 - Basic Dos and Don’ts of Being a Muslim

  • Topic 9.3 - Halal Food and Zabiha

  • Topic 9.4 - Family, Parents and Marriage in Islam

  • Topic 9.5 - Marriage in Islam

  • Topic 9.6 - Islam and Sex

  • Topic 9.7 - Modesty in Islam

  • Topic 9.8 - Women’s Menstruation in Islam

  • Topic 9.9 - Music, Alcohol, Drugs and Pork in Islam

  • Topic 9.10 - Islam and Science

  • Topic 9.11 - A Reading List of Islamic Knowledge

  • Topic 9.13 - Ritual Prayers and Supplications in Islam

  • Topic 9.14 - Death & Burial Rituals in Islam

  • Topic 9.15 - The Battle of Armageddon: An Islamic View

  • Topic 9.16 - The Muslim Calendar

  • Topic 9.17 - Muslims and non-Muslims in the Shariah

  • Topic 9.18 - A Timeline of Major Events in Islamic History

  • Topic 9.19 - Introducing the Qur’an: Why it is the way it is

  • Topic 9.20 - The School of Imam Jafar al-Sadiq

  • Topic 9.21 - Major Fields in Islamic Studies

  • Topic 9.22 - The Caliphate in Sunni and Shia Islam

  • Topic 9.24 - Islam, Racism and Anti-Semitism

Section 10 - Islam, Religion, and Modern Controversies
  • Topic 10.1 - Modern Fallacies about God: where Theists and Atheists Agree

  • Topic 10.2 - Tawhīd: The Muslim God according to the Prophet Muhammad and the Ahl al-Bayt (as)

  • Topic 10.3 - God’s Existence: The Argument From Being (Wujūd)

  • Topic 10.4 - God’s Existence: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

  • Topic 10.5 - God’s Existence: The Argument From Design

  • Topic 10.6 - The Problem of Evil, Suffering and Pain

  • Topic 10.7 - Why did God Create Us? The Purpose of our Creation

  • Topic 10.8 - Why Humans Need Religion according to Islam

  • Topic 10.9 - Jahl and Spiritual Ignorance in Islam

  • Topic 10.11 - Do Non-Muslims Go to Hell?

The Structure of the Holy Qur’an

Abstract

The Qur’an was revealed gradually and divided into a 114 chapters. Each verse was revealed within a particular context. This context shows us that the Qur’an is not interested in abstract thought, but concrete applicability of religion in human life.

INTRODUCTION 

 

Bismillāhir Rahmānir Rahīm, As-salāmu ʿAlaykum wa rahmatullāhi wa barakātuh. Peace be upon you brothers and sisters. 

 

Welcome back to the Muslim Convert Channel! 

 

In this lesson, we’re going to be looking at the Qur’an on a more “structural” level. Here we will look into how the Qur’an is divided, the geographical and temporal division of verses, as well as the origins of its descent unto the earth and the reason why the Book was revealed in the Arabic language. 

 

BODY OF TEXT 

 

The Prophet Muhammad (s) once said: 

 

"…when I was midway on the mountain, I heard a voice from heaven saying "O Muhammad! you are the apostle of Allah and I am Gabriel." I raised my head towards heaven to see who was speaking, and Gabriel in the form of a man with feet astride the horizon, saying, "O Muhammad! you are the apostle of Allah and I am Gabriel." I stood gazing at him moving neither forward nor backward, then I began to turn my face away from him, but towards whatever region of the sky I looked, I saw him as before." 

 

Indeed, it is We who have sent down to you, [O Muhammad], the Qur'an step by step. (Chapter 76, verse 23 of the Qur’an) 

 

The Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (s) by Allah during the month of Ramadan on what is known as the Night of Power or Laylat al-Qadr. Laylat al-Qadr, the night of the Qur’an’s revelation, is the most important night of the Islamic calendar and praying on that night is the occasion through which Muslims can gain the most blessings from God.  For example, the Prophet (s) said the following about the greatness of Laylat al-Qadr: 

 

“Whoever fasts the month of Ramadan out of faith and in the hope of earning reward, all his previous sins will be forgiven, and whoever stays up during Laylat al-Qadr out of faith and in the hope of earning reward, all his previous sins will be forgiven.” 

 

The medium through which God revealed the Qur’an was the archangel Gabriel. The Qur'an was all revealed to the Prophet (s) at once, but it was gradually revealed to people over a span of two decades. 

 

Each verse that was revealed to the Prophet (s) was revealed in a particular context. The reason for this is because each verse in the Qur’an has practical applicability. The teachings of the Qur’an are not abstract or theoretical, they are concrete and directly relevant to human life in this world as well as the Hereafter. The occasions of revelation in the Qur’an are what are called the shan al-nuzūl.  

 

The occasions of revelation provide us with the historical context, moment, situation as well as the persons involved when the verse was revealed. Through this we are better able to apply the Qur’an’s verses in a practical way in most or all aspects of our lives. Some of the shan al-nuzūl are evident in the Qur’an, but others must be derived from the authentic hadiths or transmitted sayings of the Prophet (s) and his Ahl al-Bayt (as). 

 

One shan al-nuzūl that the Qur’an provides us with are the divisions between Medinan and Meccan verses. Medinan verses are those verses that were revealed during the Prophet’s (s) stay in Medina. The Meccan verses were verses that were revealed during the Prophet’s (s) stay in Mecca.  

 

A major indicator on whether or not a verse is, let’s say Medinan is the subject of its contents. If the verse is talking about Islamic rules, hypocrites, socio-political matters etc., we know the verse was revealed in Medina as this is where these subjects were dealt with. However, if the verses deal with matters of fundamental belief, polytheism, etc., then we know that the verse was likely to have been revealed in Mecca. 

 

The Qur’an is divided into a 114 chapters, also in non-chronological order. The order of the Qur’an, its chapters as well as its verses were all set by the Prophet Muhammad (s) himself in order to maximize the potential for guidance as we saw in our last lesson. 

We know this as the Prophet Muhammad (s) himself was the one who compiled the Qur’an, it was only during the time of the third Caliph Uthman that Imām ʿAlī (as) turned it into a standard book format to be mass produced. 

 

The Qur’an is in the Arabic language. The Arabic language in itself is not holy, but the Arabic language of the Qur’an is. According to a hadīth from the sixth Imām Jaʿfar al-Sādiq (as), the Qur’an was revealed in Arabic because the Arabs at that time were the worst of people. Allah, as Imām al-Ṣādiq (as) explains, always sends Prophets and Scriptures to the worst of people.  

 

According to Imām al-Sādiq (as), another reason why the Qur’an was revealed in Arabic is because the Arabs in their pride would never have accepted a book in a language other than Arabic. 

 

As a sign of respect, Muslims must handle the Qur’an carefully and make sure to have upmost respect for it. This means that one should never leave it on the floor, or throw it. When touching the Qur’an, one must always have ritual purity, in other words, be in a state of wudū before touching its letters.  

Shān al-Nuzūl

Occasion of revelation for the Qur’an’s verses 

Laylat al-Qadr

Night of Power, night in which the Qur’an was revealed 

Q1

Is the Qur’an in chronological order?

No

Q2

What month was the Qur’an revealed in?

Ramadan 

Q3

What is Layat al-Qadr?

The Night of Power, the night in which the Qur’an was revealed 

Q4

Was the Qur’an revealed all at once?

No, it was revealed gradually in a span of two decades. 

Q5

How many chapters does the Qur’an have?

114 

Muslim
God
Allah
Hereafter
Prophet Muhammad
Messenger of Allah
Religion
Ahl al-Bayt
Sin
Sins
Salvation
Soul
Spirit
Islamic community
muslim ummah
holy book
holy scripture of Islam
Qur’an
nature of the Qur’an
Islam’s holy book
guidance of mankind
interpretation of the Qur’an
laylat al-qadr
shan al-nuzul
imam jaʿfar al-sādiq

Al-Mizan by Muhammad Husayn Tabatabai

Authenticity of the Quran by Shaikh Muslim Bhanji