The Quran is the soul

The Quran is the soul

The Quran is a soul

In the last two verses of Surat ash-Shura, Allah describes the Quran:

وَكَذَٰلِكَ أَوۡحَيۡنَآ إِلَيۡكَ رُوحٗا مِّنۡ أَمۡرِنَاۚ مَا كُنتَ تَدۡرِي مَا ٱلۡكِتَٰبُ وَلَا ٱلۡإِيمَٰنُ وَلَٰكِن جَعَلۡنَٰهُ نُورٗا نَّهۡدِي بِهِۦ مَن نَّشَآءُ مِنۡ عِبَادِنَاۚ وَإِنَّكَ لَتَهۡدِيٓ إِلَىٰ صِرَٰطٖ مُّسۡتَقِيمٖ

And thus We have revealed to you a revelation (ruhan) of Our command. You did not know what is the Book or [what is] faith, but We have made it a light by which We guide whom We will of Our servants. And indeed, [O Muhammad], you guide to a straight path [42:52]

This is the only place in the Quran where Allah uses the word ruh (soul) to refer to the revelation.

We know the ruh as the thing that makes us live: when Allah takes the ruh out of the body, we die.

In this ayah, He is telling the Arabs that they were dead before this ruh was revealed to them, so they should appreciate it and embrace it, not fight it and deny it.

Only Allah knows the reality of the soul

In Surat al-Isra, Allah says, ‘They ask you about the ruh; say: “The soul is my Lord’s command.”’ No one knows the reality and the characteristics of the ruh.

We can see a reflection of it in our bodies, but no one can truly identify it, not even prophets and messengers.

When the Companions asked the Prophet (peace be on him), he said this was from the command of Allah, he didn’t know unless Allah told him.

In this ayah, Allah is saying the Quran is a ruh – ruh for the body, for society, for any community or nation. And if you don’t have this ruh, you are like the walking dead.

Any community without revelation is like a body without a ruh.

Any action without ruh is a dead action – it will not be counted or recorded.

Sincerity is the soul of action

Ibn ‘Ata Allah al-Iskandari, an 8th century Maliki and Sufi scholar, said actions are lifeless bodies, but ikhlas (sincerity) is what gives them life.

Ikhlas is the ruh of action, the core of its acceptance. This is one half of the conditions of acceptance: Ibn ‘Ata is highlighting one side, and he didn’t mention the other because it goes without saying.

It’s stating the obvious, but the other part is that it has to be in accordance with Shari’a.

You might have a very sincere intention, but if it’s not in accordance with Shari’a, it will not be accepted no matter what.

The Quran is a light

In the ayah, Allah is saying that this ruh has been given to you, O Muhammad, and to your community and all humanity until the Day of Judgement. ‘You did not know of this Book and the details of faith.’ Before this, the Prophet (peace be on him) had a general imaan (faith), but not imaan with details.

We have made it a light, by which We guide whom We please from among Our servants.’ [42:52]

This is one of the most beautiful verses of the Quran: you can recite it over and over, and every time gives you different reflection.

The message from Allah to all of us is that we can’t survive without the ruh, so we need to live by the Quran. Inshallah let’s activate this in our families and communities, and be among those whom Allah accepts. Ameen.

Shaykh Haytham Tamim – Ramadan Night 12

Transcribed by Hana Khan

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Shaykh Haytham Tamim is the founder and main teacher of the Utrujj Foundation. He has provided a leading vision for Islamic learning in the UK, which has influenced the way Islamic knowledge is disseminated. He has orchestrated the design and delivery of over 200 unique courses since Utrujj started in 2001. His extensive expertise spans over 30 years across the main Islamic jurisprudence schools of thought. He has studied with some of the foremost scholars in their expertise; he holds some of the highest Ijazahs (certificates) in Quran, Hadith (the Prophetic traditions) and Fiqh (Islamic rulings). His own gift for teaching was evident when he gave his first sermon to a large audience at the age of 17 and went on to serve as a senior lecturer of Islamic transactions and comparative jurisprudence at the Islamic University of Beirut (Shariah College). He has continued to teach; travelling around the UK, Europe and wider afield, and won the 2015 BISCA award (British Imams & Scholars Contributions & Achievements Awards) for Outstanding Contribution to Education and Teaching.