By Umarrah Javed Al-Hadi
The verses of the Qur’an are the words of Allāh rightly so they hold immense significance for over 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide. The Book serves as a guide for moral conduct, spirituality, and societal organisation. Imagining a world without the Qur’an raises intriguing questions about the potential consequences such a scenario would have on society, culture, and the spiritual lives of individuals. In this article, we will embark on an exploration of this hypothetical scenario, delving into various aspects of life that would be profoundly affected.
The first and perhaps most obvious change would be the loss of Spiritual Guidance:
The absence of the Qur’an would leave a significant void in the lives of Muslims. The Book is a source of inspiration, guidance, and moral teachings for believers and a daily connection to their Creator. Without the Qur’an, individuals would need to seek alternative sources to fill this spiritual vacuum. The loss of this religious text would fundamentally reshape Islamic belief systems and practices, forcing Muslims to adapt and redefine their spiritual paths.
Allāh tells us in the Qur’ān:
“And [mention] the Day when We will resurrect among every nation a witness over them from themselves. And We will bring you, [O Muhammad], as a witness over your nation. And We have sent down to you the Book as clarification for all things and as guidance and mercy and good tidings for the Muslims.” [16:89]
The Qur’ān contains law but it also contains stories, examples, lessons, and information of the past and the future. It provides a holistic framework for how to conduct oneself in this life in order to achieve success for now and for the Hereafter.
Another crucial reason for the need of Divine Guidance is that our Beloved Prophet ﷺ was the final Prophet. He was the Seal of Prophets and the last of the Messengers from Allāh. Thus, in the time between his passing ﷺ up until the the final hour, humanity requires an unchanging guidebook to unify us and keep us in remembrance of Allāh.
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said, “I am leaving behind two things, the Qur’an and my example (Sunnah), and if you follow these, you will never go astray.” [Source: al-Muwaṭṭa’ 1661]
Impact on Islamic Law
The Qur’an forms the foundation of Sharia, the Islamic legal system. Its absence would necessitate a reevaluation of the legal frameworks in Muslim-majority countries and communities. The reinterpretation and potential fragmentation of Islamic law would likely occur, leading to diverse legal systems across different regions. The absence of the Qur’an’s teachings could also create space for alternative interpretations, potentially altering social norms and legal principles.
Allāh tells us in the Qur’ān:
“And [I have come] confirming what was before me of the Torah and to make lawful for you some of what was forbidden to you. And I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, so fear Allah and obey me.” [3:50]
The Qur’ān confirmed the teachings of the previous Books but as it is the final message, it provided the definitive structure to live in.
Anas ibn Malik reported: The Prophet ﷺ said, “Seeking the lawful is a duty upon every Muslim.” [Source: al-Mu’jam al-Awsaṭ lil-Ṭabarānī 8610]
The Prophet ﷺ is the best guide for Muslims, thus to follow his teaching we must have the Book that contains fair, objective law that can be agreed upon and followed by people throughout the ages.
The Qur’an has influenced the cultural fabric of Muslim societies for centuries. It has shaped art, literature, clothing and architecture, providing inspiration for creative expression. A world without the Qur’an would lead to a significant loss of cultural heritage, creativity, and artistic traditions rooted in Islamic spirituality. The absence of this influential text would necessitate the development of new cultural references and expressions, resulting in a transformed artistic landscape.
Allāh tells us in the Qur’ān:
“And We have certainly diversified in this Qur’an for the people from every [kind of] example; but man has ever been, most of anything, [prone to] dispute” [18:54]
Further to this, Abu Dharr reported: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ left us behind and no bird flaps with its wings but that he had given us some knowledge about it. Abu Hatim said, “It means by his commands, his prohibitions, his stories, his actions, and his permissions, peace and blessings be upon him.” [Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Ibn Ḥibbān 65]
Gender Dynamics and Women’s Rights
The Qur’an plays a pivotal role in shaping gender roles and relations in Muslim societies. Its absence would likely have wide-ranging implications for women’s rights, equality, and empowerment. Without the Qur’an’s teachings on gender equity and women’s rights, societies would need to undergo substantial reevaluation and redefine their approach to gender issues. This hypothetical scenario raises questions about the potential for positive or negative shifts in gender dynamics in the absence of Qur’anic principles.
Allāh reminds us in the Qur’ān:
“O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women.” [4:1]
The Qur’ān descended at a time of darkness and ignorance. Life was difficult and unfair for women in Arabia at the time of ignorance and the Qur’ān brought with it commands that allowed for them to live fuller, fairer lives.This concept of taking care of and showing excellence to women was also reiterated by Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) who reported:
Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “The believers who show the most perfect Faith are those who have the best behaviour, and the best of you are those who are the best to their wives” [Source: Riyad as-Salihin 278]
Social Ethics and Moral Frameworks
The Qur’an provides a comprehensive moral framework that influences the behaviour and ethics of Muslims. Its teachings guide individuals in areas such as charity, honesty, justice, and compassion. Without the Qur’an, society would lose this shared ethical foundation. Moral frameworks would need to be reconstructed, and alternative sources of ethical guidance would emerge, potentially leading to a more diverse range of moral perspectives.
We, as humanity, learn what righteousness is by the definition that Allāh gives us in the Qur’ān:
“Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west, but [true] righteousness is [in] one who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the prophets and gives wealth, in spite of love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveler, those who ask [for help], and for freeing slaves.” [2:177]
The Qur’ān explains that we are born as individuals but our lives are indefinitely intertwined. We are responsible for ourselves and for others in society while we also learn that we do have the choice to face the direction of righteousness i.e. we can turn to things and people that increase our faith while avoiding and removing things that decrease our faith. The Qur’ān also empowers us to hold ourselves to a high moral standard, not for the sake of any other person or any worldly gain but rather for the sake of Allāh.
As Muslims, we hope and pray that on the Day of Judgement we will be in the group of righteous believers that include our loved ones and most importantly our Beloved Prophet ﷺ.
Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ, said, “Verily, those of you in the closest position to me on the Day of Resurrection are those of you with the best character in the world.” [Source: Tārīkh Dimashq 6085]
The absence of the Qur’an would undoubtedly impact interfaith relations, particularly those involving Islam. The Qur’an has served as a basis for dialogue, understanding, and cooperation among different religious communities. Its removal would require reimagining interfaith engagement and necessitate alternative common grounds for coexistence and mutual respect.
The Qur’ān promotes peace and brotherhood and its core. The Book itself provides an invitation for those new to the religion and allows those that share the invitation to be grounded in truth when sharing the message of peace.
In the fifth chapter of the Qur’ān, Allāh tells us:
“And We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], the Book in truth, confirming that which preceded it of the Scripture and as a criterion over it. So judge between them by what Allah has revealed and do not follow their inclinations away from what has come to you of the truth. To each of you We prescribed a law and a method. Had Allah willed, He would have made you one nation [united in religion], but [He intended] to test you in what He has given you; so race to [all that is] good. To Allah is your return all together, and He will [then] inform you concerning that over which you used to differ.” [5:48]
Again, Allāh reminds us that whatever our differences in this world, we must support one another to good as inevitably everyone will return to Him. The Prophet ﷺ was the Messenger for all of humanity, he lived the Qur’ān and it is narrated that:
Anas ibn Malik reported: The Prophet ﷺ said, “None of you will have faith until he loves for his brother or his neighbour what he loves for himself.” [Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 45]
The absence of the Qur’an would undoubtedly have profound implications for not only Muslims but all humans and their way of life. The Qur’an serves as a spiritual guide, source of law, cultural inspiration, and moral compass. It is creation’s connection to the Creator and its teachings have shaped civilization for centuries, impacting various aspects of society and individual lives. The Qur’ān has been translated to a multitude of languages in order to make it accessible to people from all walks of life. Alhamdulillāh that we exist in a reality where Qur’ān is available to us and that we are able to live our lives with it.
Sahl ibn Sa’d reported: The Messenger of Allāh ﷺ came out to us while we were reciting the Qur’ān to each other. The Prophet said, “All praise is due to Allah! The Book of Allah is one. Among you are those with brown skin, white skin, and black skin. Continue reciting it before some people come who merely sharpen its outer form as if they were sharpening an arrow.” [Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Ibn Ḥibbān 6725]
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