The Qur’an is the Book of God, revealed to the Prophet of Islam in the first quarter of the seventh century. The Qur’an is not a mysterious blessing; it is a book of wisdom. In the chapter Sad (Sad), the Qur’an says of itself: This is a blessed Book which We sent down to you [Muhammad], for people to ponder over its messages, and for those with understanding to take heed. (38:29)
The Qur’an is, indeed, a book of wisdom, which gives us knowledge about the divine scheme along with all those principles that are required for successful living in this world. In short, the Qur’an is a book of guidance for mankind. It is, moreover, a simple book, which is easily understandable to anyone who has even the most rudimentary knowledge of Arabic. But all the things it has to offer can be discovered only through contemplation. It is contemplation, or tadabbur, that opens the doors of the Qur’anic treasure of knowledge. Then the Qur’an is marked by the most perfect clarity, but that does not mean that you can understand the Qur’an without pondering over it. In fact, there are two layers of Qur’anic learning: one, its literal meaning, and the second is its deeper meaning. If you want to know the message of the Qur’an in a simple manner, then knowing its literal meaning will suffice. Its literal meaning will introduce you to the basic, practical advice offered by the Qur’an. This kind of knowledge is quite enough for the common people who are not of a scholastic bent of mind. Then there is the deeper side of Qur’anic meaning. This can be comprehended only after an in-depth study of the scriptures.
The Qur’an is evidently a book of guidance for both the common man as well as for highly educated people. And both are equally important, there is no doubt about it. Human societies consist of both the educated and the uneducated, so it is but natural that God Almighty should send a book that would be both accessible and meaningful to both categories of people. Take the first verse of the Qur’an:“All praise is due to God, the Lord of the Universe.” (1:2)
This verse provides intellectual food for the common man as well as for those who have acquired great learning. Both can find spiritual nourishment in this Qur’anic verse. The Qur’an is, indeed, a book of wisdom, which gives us knowledge about the divine scheme along with all those principles that are required for successful living in this world. The common man will take it in its simplest sense. He will take it in the sense that he himself and the world all around him was created by God Almighty alone. So, He alone is praiseworthy, He alone deserves his gratitude. But those who have studied the scientific disciplines, and gained knowledge of biology, physiology, physics, chemistry, geology, astronomy, etc., will take what the Qur’an has to say in a more profound sense. They will say that the whole world, including themselves, is a phenomenon of a highly complex creation. And, by taking into consideration all modern scientific discoveries, they will have the enthralling experience of understanding God’s creation plan. If the common man’s response to this verse is his unquestioning acknowledgment of God, the educated man’s response will be an even more carefully reasoned and elevated acknowledgment of his Maker.