QUESTION: As salaam wa alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa baraaktu,(may peace and blessings be upon you)
I need some advice two people have asked me to help them with their imaan. I would like to know what can I do to help them as I could not refuse to help them but I would like some advice and tips on what can be good and the right way to improve their imaan please do help.
ANSWER: Peace to you!
Thank you for your message. Speaking from my perspective and field of expertise (please look at my cv information) I would suggest the following:
Firstly try to help them find knowledge about the big picture (e.g. teach them a summary of the message of books that came before the Quran, the Torah, Zabur and Injeel. I can offer you a free e-mail correspondence course on that subject)
Secondly teach them what Islam is about with a particular emphasis on providing answers to questions they will face such as, 'Is the following information correct:
According to Muslim sources, Muhammad did not memorise the Quran perfectly (Sahih al-Bukhari: vol. 1, bk. 8, no. 394; vol. 6, bk. 61, no. 556; Sahih Muslim: bk. 4, no. 1720).
Sometimes he edited it (Sahih al-Bukhari: vol. 6, bk. 61, no. 512; Sahih Muslim: bk. 20, no. 4676-4677).
There are seven authorised readings of the Arabic Qur'an with fourteen transmissions. These have small but real differences between them and different parts of the world use and print different transmissions. (Sahih al-Bukhari: vol. 6, bk. 61, no. 514; vol. 4, bk. 56, no. 682) Umar bin Al-Khattab and Hisham bin Hakim were from the same tribe, therefore, this difference was not a matter of dialect. The phrase 'In the name of Allah...' appears 113 times at the start of the Surahs. Unlike the Warsh Quran, the Hafs version considers it as part of Allah's revelation.
The Quran was not collected into one book under Muhammad's supervision. His companions did this by gathering material from various sources, discussing among themselves what parts of what Muhammad said were Qur’anic. (Sahih al-Bukhari: vol. 6, bk. 61, no. 509; Sahih Muslim: bk. 5, no. 2285)
Several different collections were made by the companions of Muhammad (Sahih al-Bukhari: vol. 6, bk. 60, no. 468; vol. 6, bk. 61, no. 527; Sahih Muslim: bk. 4, no. 1799-1802)
Under Utman one collection was commissioned and all the others were burnt in 653 AD (Sahih al-Bukhari: vol. 6, bk. 61, no. 510). It was not accepted by Abdullah ibn Mas’ud, one of the greatest reciters of the Qur’an and Muhammad said to learn the Qur'an from him (Sahih al-Bukhari: vol. 6, bk. 61, no. 521, 522, 576 )
The Uthmanic Quran was not complete. A long chapter and two verses were missing (Sahih Muslim: bk. 5, no. 2286, bk.8, no 3421, Sahih al-Bukhari: vol. 8, bk. 82, no. 817).
Some of the ancient Uthmanic Qur’an manuscripts are not identical to the modern Qur’an (www.qurantext.org)
The chain of narration for the modern Hafs Qur’an does not guarantee that it is authentic since Abdullah ibn Mas’ud and Ubayy ibn Ka’b did not recite it that way.
The 1924 Egyptian Standard Edition of the Qur’an has gone through several minor adjustments in 1924 and 1936. (Gabriel Said Reynolds, The Qur'an in its Historical Context, London: Routledge, 2008, p. 2)
According to Surah 15, Al Hijr, verse 9 the Quran is not supposed to have ANY variant readings, let alone a missing chapter and verses.
Please let me know if you need more information.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Jazakallah for the advice I will ask for more advice if needed, I have another question I take extremely long to read salaah like fajr will take me 15 minutes and zuhr almost 45 minutes I don't know why I take so long to read but someone told me that its because I have no concentration I want to know if its good or bad??? And I have been having difficulty concentrating and connecting with Allah (SWT) before when I used to read salaah I felt at ease and peace after reading I felt a burden lift off my shoulders and couldn't wait for the next salaah, now a days because I take so long when I finish then after a while realise its time for Salaah again, my salaah isn't satisfying and doesn't bring me peace how cam I connect to Allah and feel peace again?
Peace to you! Thank you for your question. It is important that you try to understand what you read, no matter how long it takes. God has given us a mind so we need to use it for his glory. So please don't worry if you take longer than others.
You asked, 'how cam I connect to Allah and feel peace again?'
What prevents peace and connection to Allah is our sin and the shame it causes. I copy you below the way how to deal with it according to the earliest books, the Torah, Zabur and Injeel with references to the Quran too. Please study and apply this guidance and let me know your thoughts on it.I pray for you as you do.
According to the previous Scriptures, the Torah, Zabur and Injel, sin produces shame, fear guilt and dishonour. Sin is much more than simply wrong doing. That is only one result of wrong thinking and wrong being. Due to the seriousness of sin from the perspective of God who is absolutely Holy, He showed one unique way to mankind how to deal with it. The principles of God's way are first reflected and later clearly taught in the following, well known stories:
-Adam and Eve: When they sinned and discovered they were naked, a horrible shame and fear entered into their lives. They tried to cover themselves with leaves. God gave them garments of animal skin, pointing to the first sacrifice that deals with the devastating result of sin. (Genesis 3:7, 21) Men's effort to do good deeds (symbolised by the leaves) to cover their shame and fear caused by sin was not enough from God's perspective. In the Quran too God gives them 'clothing to cover their shame.' (Surah 7, Al Araf, verse 26). Shame only comes as a result of sin. Where there is no actual, consciously committed sin there is no shame, hence small children do not mind being naked.
-Cain and Abel known as Habil and Kabil in the Quran: God accepted the animal sacrifice of Abel but rejected the sacrifice of crop made by Cain. (Surah 5, Al Maida, verse 27, Genesis 4:3-7)
-Abraham: God provided an animal as a sacrifice instead of the son (Surah 37, Al Saffat, verse 107, Genesis 22). It cannot have been a simple act of worship on Abraham's part because the Quran says, 'we ransomed him with a mighty sacrifice.' Compared with the son who is much more valuable than an animal, the latter must have been called 'mighty' because it symbolically pointed to a perfect sacrifice to come in the future.
-Moses: He was commanded by God to sacrifice animals for the absolute certain forgiveness of sins of the people of Israel (Numbers 19:1-10). This story is alluded to in Surah 2, Al Baqara, verses 67-74. The Jewish Temple and its priests are also mentioned in Surah 17:1-7 and 5:44. Daily sacrifices of animals for the forgiveness of sins were central to both according to the Torah.
-Jesus: Animal sacrifices in the Torah (Old Testament) are less valuable than human beings. They only pointed to the perfect and sinless sacrifice to come. An illustration may help to understand this better: It is a bit like a cheque (=animal sacrifice) which guarantees money (=Jesus and his death). Once it is paid, the cheque becomes obsolete.
Jesus died on behalf of all people in the world to take away the sins, shame, fear and guilt of all those who repent and believe in him (John 1:29, Mark 10:45). God confirmed his work by raising Jesus back to live on the third day and up to Him about forty days later. (Acts 1:3, 1 Cor 15)
Since you are asked in the Quran to believe in the previous books from which I just explained God's way to forgive mankind, do you believe in it?
If not, please consider Surah 2, Al-Baqarah, 107:
"Whatever message We abrogate or cause to be forgotten, We bring one better than that or the like thereof..."
What could possibly be better than to receive instantly:
- absolute forgiveness of sins
-restoration from shame to honour
-release from fear and guilt
-power for a life in obedience to God.
All this has been promised in the previous Scriptures to all who truly repent and believe in God's way.