Muhammad Ali, The Holy Qur-án. Containing The Arabic Text With English Translation And Commentary (1917)
A detailed exposition of the prominent features of the study of the Holy Qur-án I reserve for a separate volume to be issued at a later date. In this Preface I would draw the reader’s attention to two important points, viz. (1) a summary of the teaching of the Holy Qur-án, and (2) its collection and arrangement.
I. Summary of the Teachings
While dealing with the first important point, I propose to answer the question, What is Islam? Briefly, it is the religion which the Holy Qur-án teaches, and every student of the Holy Book, with the aid of a little knowledge as to the manner in which the Holy Prophet carried the Quranic precepts into practice, will know everything necessary about Islam. But for the facility of the readers of this volume I answer that question briefly in this Preface.
Islam as the religion og humanity.
“Islam” is the name by which the religion preached by the Holy Prophet Muhammad, who appeared in Arabia over thirten hundred years ago, is known, and it is the last of the great religions of the world. This religion is commonly known in the West as Muhammadanism, a name adopted in imitation of such names as Christianity and Buddhism, but quite unknown to the Muslims themselves. According to the Qur-án, the religion of Islam is a wide in its conception as humanity itself. It did not originate from the preaching of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, but it was equally the religion of the prophets who went before him. Islam was the religion of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus; it was, in fact, the religion of every prophet of God who appeared in any part of the world. Nay, Islam is the religion of every human child that is born, according to the Holy Prophet, who to be accurate, is not the originator, but the latest exponent of that Divine system which was made perfect at his advent. And, according to the Qur-án, Islam is the natural religion og man: “The nature made by Allah in which He has made men; ther is no altering of Allah’s creation, — that is the right religion” (30:30). And since, according to the Holy Qur-án, prophets were raised among different nations in different ages, and the religion, of everytrue prophet was in its pristine purity no other than Islam, the scope of this religion, in the true sense of the word, extends as far back and is a wide as humanity itself, the fundamental principles always remaining the same, the accidents changing with the changing neds of humanity. The latest phrase of Islam is that which made its appearance in the world with the advent of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace and the blessings of God be upon him.