Allah revealed the Quran to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) not only for the people of his time but for all the humanity for eternity, since no other prophet was going to come after him. The Quran’s Law of Requital serves as warning to all the peoples of the world: [44:4] فِيهَا يُفْرَقُ كُلُّ أَمْرٍ حَكِيمٍ – In the Quran, which contains the heavenly revelation, all matters have been distinctly separated (from the wrong ones); truth has been separated from falsehood.
In human life, truth and falsehood intermingle in such a way that it is very hard to recognize them. This is the reason that a thing may be true to one nation but considered false by another nation. How to decide then, which is truth and what is falsehood? Every nation comes up with its own justification for its position. This is exactly similar to individuals when they argue with each other to prove the truthfulness of one’s own position.
This is relative truth and relative falsehood. Traffic rules may be different for different countries. What is lawful in one country may be unlawful in another country. The values and standard of law of one country may be different from another country. These are relative values. However, there are values that are absolute truths, e.g., to deceive someone. It is not a relative value that it is true in one country but not in another. There are many absolute truths. Human intellect cannot come up with absolute truths because each nation thinks for its own national interest leading to clash of interests. This is because there is no commonly agreed absolute value for all nations. If there were one common standard for measuring absolute value for all humanity then these clashes would not occur. For example, the Quran has given the standard for human equity for all humanity [17:70] as the absolute truth irrespective of race, color, language, nation etc. However, nations do not accept this as the universal standard. Instead, they give preference to their own citizens causing national clashes and human suffering. Nations follow the political dictum “my country right or wrong.”
Therefore, every nation has its own standard for measuring right and wrong resulting in clash of interests and war among nations. This is because humanity has been divided among nations on the relative basis of race, language, ethnicity, demographics etc. The Quran says that humankind is a single indivisible unit [2:213]. Dividing humankind into different nations and tribes is against the permanent human value of the Quran. Creating artificial boundary lines between nations and preventing humans from crossing these lines is against humanity. The Quran calls this falsehood, a roadblock in the path of human unity. Once these artificial boundaries are removed, the clash of interests will automatically disappear. There must be an absolute standard for measuring entire humankind’s benefit. However, this absolute standard is beyond humans to create. The Quran calls this absolute measure قدر (Qadr), and which in today’s terminology is called permanent value.
The Quran says: [44:4] فِيهَا يُفْرَقُ كُلُّ أَمْرٍ حَكِيمٍ – In the Quran, which contains the heavenly revelation, all matters have been distinctly separated (from the wrong ones); truth has been separated from falsehood. The relative values have been separated from the Absolute Values. This separation of relative and absolute values is not temporary but permanent that applies to entire humanity for all time until eternity. In another verse, the Quran says: [97:1] إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ – We revealed this Quran with permanent values and principles at a time when the world was shrouded in darkness, without the light of revelation. Hence, the night when the revelation started was indeed the beginning of a new era; that clearly separated the physical materialistic relative values from the humanistic permanent values. Animals, as against humans, live purely at the physical material level. They do not need absolute values to live by. For example, an animal does not have the ability to distinguish his owner’s farm from other farms when it comes to filling his stomach.
The condition of humanity at the time of the revelation of the Quran
It is Allah’s blessing that right and wrong, truth and falsehood, what is allowed and what is not – all these have been completely separated by the Quran. The condition of humanity was very bleak and it was living in dark ages – referred to as لیل (Layl) in [97:1] – at the time of the revelation of the Quran. The whole world was shrouded in complete darkness at that time. It was devoid of civilized discourse; it was devoid of cultural norms; and it was devoid of knowledge and reason to solve matters of society. The Quranic term لیل (Layl) describes the state of this darkness hovering over humanity at that time. There was no light of knowledge shining anywhere. Messengers had been coming to different peoples bringing divine message of light [14:5, 33:43], but after their departure, their people left that message of light and went back to darkness of ignorance [2:257]. Therefore, at the time, humanity everywhere was living in darkness so much so that it is referred to as the Period of Ignorance (Jahiliyyah). The Quran’s divine source of light started in this darkness in order to dispel that darkness hovering over humanity (14:1, 5:16, 57:9, and 65:11).
Divine light shows the reality of everything
In the period before the Quran, the light of values existed nowhere in the world. The world was completely engulfed in human darkness of ignorance. In this Dark Age, the light of the Quran started shining in the world. Allah has called the Quran نور (Nur) or light [5:15].
Why was the Quran revealed? What does light do? It reveals everything as it really is. Darkness covers everything. One cannot recognize anything or anyone in darkness; one cannot distinguish between a rope and a snake in darkness or one person from the other. However, light exposes the truth about everything. Quran’s light exposes the right and wrong; what is true and what is falsehood; and it shows everyone’s humanity or inhumanity – so no one can be deceived. This is what the Quran calls [44:4] فِيهَا يُفْرَقُ كُلُّ أَمْرٍ حَكِيمٍ .
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