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Majalis-ul Muayyadiya - by Al Muayyad fid-din Shirazi
Life and Lectures of Al Muayyad fid-din Shirazi
Contents Lectures 1 through 20 of the Majlis
Lecture 20- Interpretation of the Qur'an
"The text of the Qur'an needs ‘Taweel'." This is agreed by every commentator. The point at issue is whether the ‘Taweel' can be known or cannot be known. Our opponents say that it cannot be known. They try to prove this point by quoting the Qur'anic verse, "None knows the ‘Taweel' excepting God." They stop here and make the succeeding part of the verse, "And those who are well-grounded in knowledge" the beginning of a new sentence.
But the exponents of the ‘Taweel' read the verse as a whole, "None knows the ‘Taweel' of the Qur'an excepting God and those who are well-grounded in knowledge." They treat the phrase, "Those who are well-grounded in knowledge" as an additional clause. The succeeding part of the verse, "They say we believe in it" is treated by the exponents of the ‘Taweel' as an adverbial clause. Accordingly the meaning of the verse is, "and those who are well-grounded in knowledge" saying "We believe in it."
They maintain that if those who are well-grounded in knowledge do not know the ‘Taweel' then it will be difficult for them to say that they believe in it. For, faith is a matter of conviction. Conviction in a thing which cannot be arrived at without the full knowledge of it. How can one say that he is convinced of something, which he does not know?
They further argue the case by saying that either the Prophet knew the ‘Taweel' of what he had brought with himself or did not know it. If he did know it then it would be wrong to read the verse as, ‘None but God knows its Taweel" and stop here as our opponents do. For, it is necessary that the Prophet should be in the know of this ‘Taweel' and we know that the Prophet was the foremost of those that were well-grounded in knowledge. If he was in the know, then, it automatically follows that those who were well-grounded in knowledge and who acquired this knowledge from him also knew the ‘Taweel'.
On the other hand if we maintain that the Prophet did not know it, then it does not look wise on the part of God that he should have sent him with something about which if any question is put to him he should plead his ignorance. This should be making the position of God and as well as that of the Prophet ridiculous.
Again, the ‘Taweel' which is mentioned in the Qur'an is either useful for the people or useless. If it is useful then how can it remain hidden and unknown? If it is useless then there was no necessity for God to talk of something which is of no use to man. This is clear to everybody except the enigmas of the Imams.
Tackling the subject from the rational point of view we know that the religion which the Prophet brought for us is as full of potentialities as the heavens and the earth and men themselves. The holy Qur'an says, "We shall show them Our signs in the heavenly bodies and in their own-selves." In another passage God says, "For men of conviction there are signs on earth and in your own-selves." Do you not notice them? The Prophet says, "God has framed His religious laws on the patterns of the laws of the Universe, so that the observance of these laws may lead men to the laws of religion and these laws may lead them to the uniformity of the work of God."
God has created the earth, air, water and fire for the growth of various kinds of vegetables and animals. None of these vegetables or animals is at first visible in the earth, air, water or fire. They possess the potential power of bringing out the various forms of life. Similarly the instruments of sound with which we are gifted do not talk at all at once but are potential talkers. They do not and cannot talk unless they are taught to talk.
In short, we find that everything that God has created in this world is meant for a certain definite purpose. It is not visible at first. It has to be drawn out by the intellectual power of man. For instance, the cultivator draws out corn from the field, the blacksmith makes instruments out of iron, the carpenter makes wooden things from wood and the goldsmith turns out ornaments from gold. Had God liked to unveil these things by themselves and not kept them latent, the land would have produced cooked bread, dates, grapes, liquors and dates stuffed with almonds. God did not like to do this and left it to the labour of workman to produce these things in order to prove their superiority over lower animals.
This is practically the case with everything that God has created. The purpose for which it has been created is to be decided and shaped by man. It automatically follows now that the ‘Shariat', a code of the laws of Islam, which the Prophet brought with himself, consists of the general principles. They possess the potentiality of being stretched out and made applicable to different cases, just as the earth, water, fire and air have the potential capacity to produce all sorts of things which man needs. It is only the ‘Wasees' and the Imams descending from the Prophet, who can draw out the essence from the general principles, like the human beings who draw out the various things they want from earth, water and air. The source of the religion and the creation of heavens and earth is one and the same. This clarifies to us the meaning of the verse; "There are signs for men of conviction on earth and in yourselves. Do you not notice them?”
Contents Lectures 1 through 20 of the Majlis
Another article on Al Muayyad by Mohamed Adra
Poetry by Al Muayyad
Al Muayyad's protege Nasir Khusraw
Poetry by Nasir Khusraw
Ismaili Heroes Check out the Al Muayyad Section
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