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Quranic Sciences

Imam ‘Ali Describes the Holy Qur’an

In another place, the Commander of the Faithful ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib describes the Holy Qur’an as follows:

 

“Then God revealed to him (the Prophet [S]) the Book.

 

It is a light whose radiance shall not be extinguished;
A lamp whose flame shall not die;
An ocean whose depth shall not be fathomed;
A path which shall not lead astray;
A blaze whose brilliance shall not be darkened;
A criterion whose evidence shall not be suppressed;
An elucidation whose cornerstones shall not be demolished;
A cure with which there is no fear of ailments;
A power whose supporters cannot be defeated;
A truth whose helpers will not be forsaken.
Thus, it is the source of faith and its prosperity;
It is the fountain-head of knowledge and its vastness;
The meadow of justice and its flowing streams;
The support of Islam and its foundation;
The valleys of the truth and its fields;
An ocean that shall not be drained by those who draw upon it;
A spring that shall not be exhausted by those who draw from it;
A watering place that shall not be depleted by those who come to it;
A station whose road the travelers do not miss;
A signpost which the wayfarers will always see;
The hilltops that cannot be bypassed by those who seek them.
God has made it the quencher of the thirst of scholars,
A vernal season for the hearts of the jurists,
A destination for the path of the righteous,
A cure after which there is no malady,
A light which does not alternate with darkness,
A rope whose knots are firm,
A stronghold whose peak is impregnable.
It is power for whoever cultivates it,
Peace for whoever dwells on it,
A guidance for whoever follows it,
A laudable act for whoever embraces it,
An argument for whoever speaks for it,
A witness for whoever fights for it,
A sharp instrument for whoever bases his arguments on it,
A support for whoever supports it,
A means of deliverance for whoever employs it,
A sign for the discriminating, a shelter for whoever seeks healing,
A source of knowledge for whoever has sense,
And the best narrative for its transmitters,
And a means for the one who sits in judgment.”

 

Subhaanallah! This brilliant oration reviews many important points which call for careful reflection.

 

For instance, by saying that the Qur’an is ‘a lamp whose flame shall not die,’ Imam ‘‘Ali (as) means, as he does in many other statements in this oration, that the Qur’an is a book whose signification shall not be exhausted. It will remain fresh and new until the Day of Resurrection.

 

A verse may have been sent down regarding a specific occasion or community, yet its relevance is not limited to that occasion, person, or community; rather, its signification and applicability are general.

 

Regarding the verse

 

“For every people there is a guide (13:7)”,

 

al-’Ayyashi reports the following discussion with Abu Ja’far (Imam al-Baqir (as):

 

“The Imam said, ‘‘Ali is the guide, and the guide is always one of us.’

 

I said, ‘Then you – for whom may my life be a sacrifice – are now the guide.’

 

‘You are right,’ said the Imam (as). ‘The Qur’an lives and will not die; the verses live and will not die. If a verse were to die with the death of the persons concerning whom it came down, then the Qur’an would have definitely died. Rather, such a verse would continue to apply to those who are alive as it did to those who died.’”

 

Another tradition reports that Imam al-Sadiq (as) said, “Certainly, the Qur’an lives, and has not died; and it is existent just as the day and the night and the sun and the moon are existent. And it will exist for the last among us as it has existed for the first.”

Adapted from: "Towards Better Understanding of the Qur'an" by: "Shaykh Muslim Bhanji"