Good Book Review About This Chapter Is Useful In Providing The Essential Basics In Understanding The Qur’an.
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Chapter one introduces us to the very beginning of the history of the Qur’an and provides us with valuable background information as to the environment in which God has decided to speak to humanity. Some biographical information about Muhammad, God’s messenger, is also given in this chapter, providing us with a better understanding of Muhammad and his concern of ordinary people. The Qur’an, as defined here, is a textual unity, which contains different themes and revelations and serves as a universal guidance to humanity.
The birthplace of the Qur’an is Mecca, a dry and poor region on the Arabian Peninsula. It is said to have been founded by Abraham, and later it was he and his son, Ismail, who built a center for God’s worship, a sanctuary called the Ka’ba (the cube). The book also offers us a deep insight into the story of Abraham, his wife Hajar and their son, their settlement in Mecca and the further population of this territory.
The Arabian Peninsula wasn’t a peaceful area, as it was inhabited by various tribes constantly fighting with each other for land and authority, together with outer powers such as the Byzantine, the Persian Empires trying to secure their interests in Arabia. The powers were constantly shifting along the periphery of the Arabian Peninsula, whereas in Mecca there was a relative stability. In the pre-Islamic period Mecca was ruled by the tribe of the Quraysh.
Arabians were rather superstitious at that time, they believed in supernatural forces and in a power which could interfere in human affairs. The “Battle of Elephant” was a clear indication of God’s blessing over Ka’ba, a sacred sanctuary. A few decades before Muhammad’s birth, Ka’ba has become the greatest sanctuary in Arabia and its main pilgrimage site. People belonging to many religions came here, they came without weapons and could spend their time without fear. The Quraysh provided the pilgrims with water, food and shelter, they themselves have been exposed to various religions, such as Christianity, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, but didn’t adopt any of them, staying faithful to the Ka’ba.
The pre-Islamic period is known as Jahiliyya and it was noted for its immorality, corruption and ignorance. The traces of this period, however, are controversial. In the records of this period we find mostly negative portrayals of life as it was – people were uncivilized and vulgar, they woshiped idols, they wallowed in bloodshed and crime, female infanticide was practiced on a regular basis. There appeared certain laws and rules, but only concerning security in trade, as they had nothing to do with the poor, or with slave women.
This chapter is also essential in understanding the figure of Muhammad and his mission as a messenger of God. We are told that Muhammad was born into the Quaraysh tribe, his family life wasn’t an easy one, as his father died while he was still in his mother’s womb. As he was growing, he was raised first by mother, then grandfather and later his uncle, who was his true support and shelter. In this chapter we learn about his early years and his later life, we learn that he was involved in trade, that he married an older woman, with who he lived long 25 years of happiness. This woman has occupied a special place in Muhammad’s life and heart.
Muhammad was a respected man in his circle, he was known to be honest, trustworthy and reliable, he was often called for fair judgement in the matters of trade and some controversial situations. When called to be a messenger at the age of 40, Muhammad was involved in lives of those around him and he knew the human nature well.
Mattson, Ingrid. The story of the Qurʼan : its history and place in Muslim life. Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub, 2015. 19 Feb. 2015