Ayah 1 – الم
Surah al-Baqarah starts with “Alif Laam Meem“. In Arabic, these words are called Haroof Muqattaat. These haroof will always be written together but read separately. These type of words come in the beginning of different surah. There are different opinions about these words. Following are a few of them:
- It can be a name of Allah or name of a surah.
- There is no meaning of these words.
- Allah is most knowledgeable and we don’t know their meaning.
- Alif means Allah, Laam means Jibreel ‘alayhi salaam, Meem means Muhammad salAllahu ‘alayhii wa sallam.
- Better to be quiet and don’t give any opinion whether it has a meaning or does not have a meaning.
- Most acceptable and preferable opinion is of Ibn Tayyimiah, he said these words are used to astonish the people of Arab/mushrikeen who disclaimed the Qur’an by saying that this book is written by a human being and they can produce something like that.
It was a challenge to the mushrikeen to bring a simple Surah if they were right in their claim. So the wisdom behind these words is to alert the listeners of Qur’an that is why Surah starts with them. These words attract the concentration of a listener. Qur’an is a miracle, it is based upon haroof, haroof make ayaat and ayaat make surahs. Every Surah that begins with these letters demonstrates the Qur’an’s miracle and magnificence, and this fact is known by those well-versed in such matters. The count of these Surahs is twenty-nine.
Ayah 2 ذَلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لاَ رَيْبَ فِيهِ هُدًى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ
Thalika alkitabu laraiba feehi means it is that book which has no doubt in it.
In Arabic, word Thalika is used to show the importance of a thing. ‘This’ book is not an ordinary. Its original is in the Lauh-e-Mahfooz (Preserved Scripturum). Where is Lauh-e-Mahfooz? It is not in the world, it is at the highest place.
In Surah Burooj Ayat 21-22, Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala says:
“Bal huwa qur-anun majeed fee lauhin mahfooz”
“Nay, it is a glorious, Qur’ān [inscribed] in the tablet that is protected.”
Angels have one of its copies as we read in Surah ‘Abasa Ayaat 13-16,
“(It is) in Records held (greatly) in honor (Al-Lauh Al-Mahfooz). Exalted (in dignity), purified, in the hands of scribes (angels). Honorable and obedient.”
This book has no doubts, it has all answers of hidden things, it satisfies the reader which nobody else can do. It is from Almighty Allah and it is true.
Hudalil Mutaqeen: it is guidance for mutaqeen (who have taqwa). Now it comes in mind what is TAQWA? Avoiding sins with the fear of Allah. The root meaning of Taqwa is to avoid what one dislikes. Those sins, which can take us to the hell and towards the anger of Allah.
Hidayah is for those who will have taqwa. But in Qur’an on other place it’s also said that Hidayah is for all. Now contradiction has created if it’s for all then why it is said that it is for mutaqeen? Here we have to revise the meaning of Hidayah.
Hidayah is of two types:
i) Ilmi …one who can acquire knowledge of the Qur’an.
ii) Amli…one who can not only acquire knowledge of the Qur’an but also act according to the Qur’an. Amli hidayah is for mutaqeen.
Taqwa also has its levels; those who have taqwa like ‘Umar radhiAllahu ‘anhu are on high level. It was reported that
‘Umar bin Al-Khattab asked Ubayy bin Ka‘b about Taqwa. Ubayy said, “Have you ever walked on a path that has thorns on it” ‘Umar said, “Yes.” Ubayy said, “What did you do then” He said, “I rolled up my sleeves and struggled.” Ubayy said, “That is Taqwa.”
There are people who recite the Qur’an and offer their Salah but it doesn’t change their behavior. Why is that? It is because they lack Taqwa. They just read without understanding the meaning, if they understand, they don’t act upon it. That’s why they lie in first category and don’t become mutaqee. Huda here means the faith that resides in the heart, and only Allah is able to create it in the heart of the servants.
Allah subhanahu wa ta `ala said in Surah al-Qasas,
“Verily, you (O Muhammad) guide not whom you like.” (28:56)
Now Hidayah has two terms: Irshad and Toufeeq.
Irshad means Roushd, knowledge while Toufeeq is skill of doing something. So it is concluded that hidayah depends on Taqwa. The more Taqwa you have the more guided you will be. The more you fear Allah, the more you shall get guidance. We should not blame Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala and the Qur’an, that even after reading the Qur’an people don’t change. The fault is ours. We don’t act upon what we learn.
It can be shown by example, if you sow a seed in the ground, give it best water and food, but at the end you don’t get outcome or fruit of good quality, then it is not the fault of water or food. The ground was barren. Similarly, it goes with us. Never think there is no benefit of reading the Qur’an, it depends on who is reading it.
If we feel we are not getting benefit out of it then we should ask taqwa from Allah as Prophet Muhammad asked:
” O Allah! Inspire me with truth and protect me from the evil of my nafs.” (Tirmidhi)