The Unique Quranic Generation -Part1/2-

Since 2014-04-01

At one time this Message created a generation - the generation of the Companions of the Prophet, may God be pleased with them - without comparison in the history of Islam, even in the entire history of man. After this, no other generation of this caliber was ever gain to be found. It is true that we do find some individuals of this caliber here and there in history, but never again did a great number of such people exist in one region as was the case during the first period of Islam.

The Unique Quranic Generation  -Part1/2-

The callers to Islam in every country and in every period should give thought to one particular aspect of the history of Islam, and they should ponder over it deeply. This is related to the method of inviting people to Islam and its ways of training.

At one time this Message created a generation - the generation of the Companions of the Prophet, may God be pleased with them - without comparison in the history of Islam, even in the entire history of man. After this, no other generation of this caliber was ever gain to be found. It is true that we do find some individuals of this caliber here and there in history, but never again did a great number of such people exist in one region as was the case during the first period of Islam.

This is an obvious and open truth of history, and we ought to ponder over it deeply so that we may reach its secrets.

The Qur'an of this Message is still in our hands, and the Hadith of the Messenger of God (pbuh), i.e. his guidance in practical affairs, and the history of his sacred life are also in our hands, as they were in the hands of the first Muslim community whose equal history could not produce again. The only difference is the person of the Messenger of God (pbuh); but is this the secret?

Had the person of the Prophet (pbuh) been absolutely essential for the establishment and fruition of this message, God would not have made Islam a universal message, ordained it as the religion for the whole of mankind, given it the status of the last Divine Message for humanity, and made it to be a guide for all the inhabitants of this planet in all their affairs until the end of time.

God has taken the responsibility for preserving the Holy Qur'an on Himself because He knows that Islam can be established and can benefit mankind even after the time of the Prophet (pbuh). Hence He called His Prophet (pbuh) back to His mercy after twenty three years of messengership and declared this religion to be valid until the end of time. Therefore the absence of the Messenger of God (pbuh) is not the real cause for, nor does it explain, this phenomenon.

We look, therefore, for some other reasons, and for this purpose we look at that clear spring from which the first generation of Muslims quenched their thirst. Perhaps something has been mixed with that clear spring. We should look at the manner in which they received their training. Perhaps some changes have found their way into it.

The spring from which the Companions of the Prophet (pbuh) drank was the Qur'an; only the Qur'an as the Hadith of the Prophet and his teachings were offspring of this fountainhead. When someone asked the Mother of the Faithful, Aisha may God be please with her,-about the character of the Prophet (pbuh),-she answered, "His character was the Qur'an" (Sahih Muslim).

The Holy Qur'an was the only source from which they quenched their thirst, and this was the only mold in which they formed their lives. This was the only guidance for them, not because there was no civilization or culture or science or books or schools. Indeed, there was Roman culture, its civilization, its books and its laws, which even today are considered to be the foundation of European culture. There was the heritage of Greek culture- its logic, its philosophy and its arts, which are still a source of inspiration for Western thought. There was the Persian civilization, its art, its poetry and its legends, and its religion and system of government. There were many other civilizations, near or far, such as the Indian and Chinese cultures, and so on. The Roman and Persian cultures were established to the north and to the south of the Arabian peninsula, while the Jews and Christians were settled in the heart of Arabia. Thus we believe that this generation did not place sole reliance on the Book of God for the understanding of their religion because of any ignorance of civilization and culture, but it was all according to a well thought out plan and method. An example of this purpose is found in the displeasure expressed by the Messenger of God (pbuh) when 'Umar-may God be pleased with him-brought some pages from the Torah. The Messenger of God (pbuh) said: «By God, if even Moses had been alive among you today, he would have no recourse except to follow me» (Reported by al-Hafidh Abu Yala from Himad, from al-Shubi, from Jabir).

It is clear from this incident that the Messenger of God (pbuh) deliberately limited the first generation of Muslims, which was undergoing the initial stages of training, to only one source of guidance, and that was the Book of God. His intention was that this group should dedicate itself purely to the Book of God and arrange its lives solely according to its teachings. That is why the Messenger of God (pbuh) was displeased when 'Umar-may God be pleased with him-turned to a source different from the Qur'an.

In fact, the Messenger of God (pbuh) intended to prepare a generation pure in heart, pure in mind, pure in understanding. Their training was to be based on the method prescribed by God Who gave the Qur'an, purified from the influence of all other sources.

This generation, then, drank solely from this spring and thus attained a unique distinction in history. In later times it happened that other sources mingled with it. Other sources used by later generations included Greek philosophy and logic, ancient Persian legends and their ideas, Jewish scriptures and traditions, Christian theology, and, in addition to these, fragments of other religions and civilizations. These mingled with the commentaries on the Qur'an and with scholastic theology, as they were mingled with jurisprudence and its principles. Later generations after this generation obtained their training from this mixed source, and hence the like of this generation never arose again.

Thus we can say without any reservations that the main reason for the difference between the first unique and distinguished group of Muslims and later Muslims is that the purity of the first source of Islamic guidance was mixed with various other sources, as we have indicated. 

PART TWO

 

Source: http://quranproject.org/Quran-Project-Appendix-The-Unique-Quranic-Generation-223-d-223-d

Sayyid Qutb

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