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The Command to convey the Message, to recite the Qur'an and to pray

Then Allah commands His Messenger and the believers to recite the Qur'an, which means both reciting it and conveying it to people.

﴿ وَأَقِمِ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ‌ۖ إِنَّ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ تَنۡهَىٰ عَنِ ٱلۡفَحۡشَآءِ وَٱلۡمُنكَرِ‌ۗ وَلَذِكۡرُ ٱللَّهِ أَڪۡبَرُ‌ۗ

(and perform the Salah. Verily, the Salah prevents from Al-Fahsha' and Al-Munkar and the remembrance of Allah is greater indeed.) Prayer includes two things: the first of which is giving up immoral behavior and evil deeds, i.e., praying regularly enables a person to give up these things. Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurayrah said: "A man came to the Prophet and said, `So-and-so prays at night, but when morning comes, he steals.' The Prophet said:

« إِنَّهُ سَيَنْهَاهُ مَا تَقُول »

(What you are saying (i.e., the Salah) will stop him from doing that.)'' Prayer also includes the remembering of Allah, which is the higher objective, Allah says:

﴿ وَلَذِكۡرُ ٱللَّهِ أَڪۡبَرُ‌ۗ

(and the remembrance of Allah is greater indeed.) more important than the former.

﴿ وَٱللَّهُ يَعۡلَمُ مَا تَصۡنَعُونَ

(And Allah knows what you do.) means, He knows all that you do and say. Abu Al-`Aliyah commented on the Ayah:

﴿ إِنَّ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ تَنۡهَىٰ عَنِ ٱلۡفَحۡشَآءِ وَٱلۡمُنكَرِ‌ۗ

(Verily, the Salah prevents from immoral sins and evil wicked deeds) "Prayer has three attributes, and any prayer that contains none of these attributes is not truly prayer: Being done purely and sincerely for Allah alone (Ikhlas), fear of Allah, and remembrance of Allah. Ikhlas makes a person do good deeds, fear prevents him from doing evil deeds, and the remembrance of Allah is the Qur'an which contains commands and prohibitions.'' Ibn `Awn Al-Ansari said: "When you are praying, you are doing good, it is keeping you away from immoral sins and evil wicked deeds and what you are doing is part of the remembrance of Allah which is greater.''

﴿ وَلَا تُجَـٰدِلُوٓاْ أَهۡلَ ٱلۡڪِتَـٰبِ إِلَّا بِٱلَّتِى هِىَ أَحۡسَنُ إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ ظَلَمُواْ مِنۡهُمۡ‌ۖ وَقُولُوٓاْ ءَامَنَّا بِٱلَّذِىٓ أُنزِلَ إِلَيۡنَا وَأُنزِلَ إِلَيۡڪُمۡ وَإِلَـٰهُنَا وَإِلَـٰهُكُمۡ وَٲحِدٌ۬ وَنَحۡنُ لَهُ ۥ مُسۡلِمُونَ

(46. And argue not with the People of the Scripture, except with that which is better -- except with such of them as do wrong; and say (to them): "We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you; our God and your God is One, and to Him we have submitted.'')

Arguing with the People of the Book

What is meant here is that anyone who wants to find out about religion from them should argue with them in a manner that is better, as this will be more effective. Allah says:

﴿ ٱدۡعُ إِلَىٰ سَبِيلِ رَبِّكَ بِٱلۡحِكۡمَةِ وَٱلۡمَوۡعِظَةِ ٱلۡحَسَنَةِ‌ۖ

(Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and fair preaching...) (16:125) And Allah said to Musa and Harun when he sent them to Fir`awn:

﴿ فَقُولَا لَهُ ۥ قَوۡلاً۬ لَّيِّنً۬ا لَّعَلَّهُ ۥ يَتَذَكَّرُ أَوۡ يَخۡشَىٰ

(And speak to him mildly, perhaps he may accept admonition or fear.) (20:44) Allah says here:

﴿ إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ ظَلَمُواْ مِنۡهُمۡ‌ۖ

(except with such of them as do wrong;) meaning, those who turn away from the truth, turning a blind eye to clear evidence, being stubborn and arrogant. In this case you should progress from debate to combat, fighting them in such a way as to deter them from committing aggression against you. Allah says:

﴿ لَقَدۡ أَرۡسَلۡنَا رُسُلَنَا بِٱلۡبَيِّنَـٰتِ وَأَنزَلۡنَا مَعَهُمُ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ وَٱلۡمِيزَانَ لِيَقُومَ ٱلنَّاسُ بِٱلۡقِسۡطِ‌ۖ وَأَنزَلۡنَا ٱلۡحَدِيدَ فِيهِ بَأۡسٌ۬ شَدِيدٌ۬

(Indeed We have sent Our Messengers with clear proofs, and revealed with them the Scripture and the Balance that mankind may keep up justice. And We brought forth iron wherein is mighty power) until:

﴿ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ قَوِىٌّ عَزِيزٌ۬

(Verily, Allah is All-Strong, All-Mighty) (57:25). Jabir said: "We were commanded to strike with the sword whoever opposes the Book of Allah.'' And His saying:

﴿ وَقُولُوٓاْ ءَامَنَّا بِٱلَّذِىٓ أُنزِلَ إِلَيۡنَا وَأُنزِلَ إِلَيۡڪُمۡ

(and say (to them): "We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you;) means, `if they tell you something which you do not know to be true or false, say to them: We do not hasten to say it is a lie, because it may be true, and we do not hasten to say it is true because it may be false. We believe in it in general, under the condition that it has been revealed and has not been altered or deliberately misinterpreted.' Imam Al-Bukhari, may Allah have mercy on him, recorded that Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "The People of the Book used to read the Tawrah in Hebrew and explain it in Arabic to the Muslims. The Messenger of Allah said:

« لَا تُصَدِّقُوا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ وَلَا تُكَذِّبُوهُمْ، وَقُولُوا: آمَنَّا بِاللهِ وَمَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْنَا وَمَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْكُمْ، وَإِلَهُنَا وَإِلَهُكُمْ وَاحِدٌ، وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُسْلِمُون »

(Do not believe the People of the Book and do not deny them. Say: "We believe in Allah and what has been revealed to us and what has been revealed to you. Our God and your God is One, and to Him we have submitted.'')'' This Hadith was narrated only by Al-Bukhari. Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn `Abbas said: "How can you ask the People of the Book about anything, when your Book that was revealed to the Messenger of Allah is more recent, you read it pure and uncontaminated, it tells you that the People of the Book altered and changed the Book, that they write the Book with their own hands and then say, `This is from Allah,' to purchase with it a small price Should not the knowledge that you have, prevent you from asking them No, by Allah, we have never seen any of them asking you about what was sent down to you.'' Al-Bukhari recorded that Humayd bin `Abdur-Rahman heard Mu`awiyah talking to a group of Quraysh in Al-Madinah. He mentioned Ka`b Al-Ahbar, and said: "He was one of the most truthful of those who narrated from the People of the Book, even though we found that some of what he said might be lies.'' I say, this means that some of what he said could be classified linguistically as lies, but he did not intend to lie, because he was narrating from manuscripts which he thought were good, but they contained fabricated material, because they did not have people who were so conscientious in memorizing the Scriptures by heart as the people of this great Ummah.

﴿ وَكَذَٲلِكَ أَنزَلۡنَآ إِلَيۡكَ ٱلۡڪِتَـٰبَ‌ۚ فَٱلَّذِينَ ءَاتَيۡنَـٰهُمُ ٱلۡڪِتَـٰبَ يُؤۡمِنُونَ بِهِۦ‌ۖ وَمِنۡ هَـٰٓؤُلَآءِ مَن يُؤۡمِنُ بِهِۦ‌ۚ وَمَا يَجۡحَدُ بِـَٔايَـٰتِنَآ إِلَّا ٱلۡڪَـٰفِرُونَ وَمَا كُنتَ تَتۡلُواْ مِن قَبۡلِهِۦ مِن كِتَـٰبٍ۬ وَلَا تَخُطُّهُ ۥ بِيَمِينِكَ‌ۖ إِذً۬ا لَّٱرۡتَابَ ٱلۡمُبۡطِلُونَ بَلۡ هُوَ ءَايَـٰتُۢ بَيِّنَـٰتٌ۬ فِى صُدُورِ ٱلَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ ٱلۡعِلۡمَ‌ۚ وَمَا يَجۡحَدُ بِـَٔايَـٰتِنَآ إِلَّا ٱلظَّـٰلِمُونَ

(47. And thus We have sent down the Book to you, and those whom We gave the Scripture believe therein as also do some of these and none but the disbelievers reject Our Ayat.) (48. Neither did you read any book before it nor did you write any book with your right hand. In that case, indeed, the followers of falsehood might have doubted.) (49. Nay, but it is clear Ayat, (preserved) in the breasts of those who have been given knowledge. And none but the wrongdoers deny Our Ayat.)

Evidence for the Fact that the Qur'an was revealed from Allah

Ibn Jarir said: "Allah says, `just as We revealed the Books to the Messengers who came before you, O Muhammad, so We have also revealed this Book to you.''' What he said is good and fits the context. Allah's saying:

﴿ فَٱلَّذِينَ ءَاتَيۡنَـٰهُمُ ٱلۡڪِتَـٰبَ يُؤۡمِنُونَ بِهِۦ‌ۖ

(and those whom We gave the Scripture believe therein) means, those knowledgeable rabbis and scholars among them who learned it and recited it properly, such as `Abdullah bin Salam, Salman Al-Farisi and others like them.

﴿ وَمِنۡ هَـٰٓؤُلَآءِ مَن يُؤۡمِنُ بِهِۦ‌ۚ

(as also believe therein some of these) meaning, the Quraysh Arabs and others.

﴿ وَمَا يَجۡحَدُ بِـَٔايَـٰتِنَآ إِلَّا ٱلۡڪَـٰفِرُونَ

(and none but the disbelievers reject Our Ayat.) No one disbelieves and rejects them except those who conceal the truth with falsehood, and those who try to hide the rays and light of the sun by their covering an eye. Then Allah says:

﴿ وَمَا كُنتَ تَتۡلُواْ مِن قَبۡلِهِۦ مِن كِتَـٰبٍ۬ وَلَا تَخُطُّهُ ۥ بِيَمِينِكَ‌ۖ

(Neither did you read any book before it (this Qur'an) nor did you write any book with your right hand.) meaning, `you lived among your people for a long time before you brought this Qur'an. During this time you never read any book or wrote anything. Your people, as well as others all know that you are an unlettered man who does not read or write.' This is how he was also described in the previous Scriptures, as Allah says:

﴿ ٱلَّذِينَ يَتَّبِعُونَ ٱلرَّسُولَ ٱلنَّبِىَّ ٱلۡأُمِّىَّ ٱلَّذِى يَجِدُونَهُ ۥ مَكۡتُوبًا عِندَهُمۡ فِى ٱلتَّوۡرَٮٰةِ وَٱلۡإِنجِيلِ يَأۡمُرُهُم بِٱلۡمَعۡرُوفِ وَيَنۡہَٮٰهُمۡ عَنِ ٱلۡمُنڪَرِ

(Those who follow the Messenger, the Prophet, the unlettered about whom they find written with them in the Tawrah and the Injil, -- he commands them with good; and forbids them from evil.) (7:157) This is how the Messenger of Allah will remain until the Day of Resurrection, unable to write even one line or one letter. He used to have scribes who would write down the revelation for him, or would write letters from him to be sent to different places. Allah's saying:

﴿ إِذً۬ا لَّٱرۡتَابَ ٱلۡمُبۡطِلُونَ

(In that case, indeed, the followers of falsehood might have doubted.) means, `if you had been literate, some ignorant people would have doubted you. They would have said that you learned this from Books inherited from the Prophets which came before.' Indeed, they did say that, even though they knew that he was unlettered and could not read or write.

﴿ وَقَالُوٓاْ أَسَـٰطِيرُ ٱلۡأَوَّلِينَ ٱڪۡتَتَبَهَا فَهِىَ تُمۡلَىٰ عَلَيۡهِ بُڪۡرَةً۬ وَأَصِيلاً۬

(And they say: "Tales of the ancients, which he has written down, and they are dictated to him morning and afternoon.'') (25:5) Allah says:

﴿ قُلۡ أَنزَلَهُ ٱلَّذِى يَعۡلَمُ ٱلسِّرَّ فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ‌ۚ

(Say: "It has been sent down by Him Who knows the secret of the heavens and the earth) (25:6). And Allah says here:

﴿ بَلۡ هُوَ ءَايَـٰتُۢ بَيِّنَـٰتٌ۬ فِى صُدُورِ ٱلَّذِينَ أُوتُواْ ٱلۡعِلۡمَ‌ۚ

(Nay, but it is (Quran), the clear Ayat, (preserved) in the breasts of those who have been given knowledge.) meaning, this Qur'an is clear Ayat which indicate the truth, commands, prohibitions and stories. It is memorized by the scholars for whom Allah makes it easy to memorize, recite and interpret. This is like the Ayah,

﴿ وَلَقَدۡ يَسَّرۡنَا ٱلۡقُرۡءَانَ لِلذِّكۡرِ فَهَلۡ مِن مُّدَّكِرٍ۬

(And We have indeed made the Qur'an easy to understand and remember; then is there any one who will remember) (54:17). The Messenger of Allah said:

« مَا مِنْ نَبِيَ إِلَّا وَقَدْ أُعْطِيَ مَا آمَنَ عَلَى مِثْلِهِ الْبَشَرُ، وَإِنَّمَا كَانَ الَّذِي أُوتِيتُهُ وَحْيًا أَوْحَاهُ اللهُ إِلَيَّ، فَأَرْجُو أَنْ أَكُونَ أَكْثَرَهُمْ تَابِعًا »

(There has never been any Prophet who was not given that which would make people believe in him. What I have been given is revelation which Allah reveals to me, and I hope that I will have the most followers among them.) According to the Hadith of `Iyad bin Himar, recorded in Sahih Muslim, Allah says:

« إِنِّي مُبْتَلِيكَ وَمُبْتَلٍ بِكَ، وَمُنْزِلٌ عَلَيْكَ كِتَابًا لَا يَغْسِلُهُ الْمَاءُ، تَقْرَؤُهُ نَائِمًا وَيَقْظَانًا »

("I am testing you and testing others through you, revealing to you a Book which cannot be washed away by water, which you recite while you are asleep and while you are awake.'') This means, if the manuscript where it is written were to be washed with water, there is no need for that manuscript. This is because it is preserved in the hearts and is easy on the tongue (i.e., is easy to recite), and is controlling people's hearts and minds. It is miraculous in its wording and in its meanings. In the previous Scriptures this Ummah was described as carrying their holy Books in their hearts.

﴿ وَمَا يَجۡحَدُ بِـَٔايَـٰتِنَآ إِلَّا ٱلظَّـٰلِمُونَ

(And none but the wrongdoers deny Our Ayat) Nobody denies it or tries to undermine its status or rejects it except the wrongdoers, i.e., the arrogant transgressors who know the truth but turn away from it, as Allah says:

﴿ إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ حَقَّتۡ عَلَيۡہِمۡ ڪَلِمَتُ رَبِّكَ لَا يُؤۡمِنُونَ وَلَوۡ جَآءَتۡہُمۡ ڪُلُّ ءَايَةٍ حَتَّىٰ يَرَوُاْ ٱلۡعَذَابَ ٱلۡأَلِيمَ

(Truly, those, against whom the Word (wrath) of your Lord has been justified, will not believe. Even if every sign should come to them, until they see the painful torment.) (10:96-97)

﴿ وَقَالُواْ لَوۡلَآ أُنزِلَ عَلَيۡهِ ءَايَـٰتٌ۬ مِّن رَّبِّهِۦ‌ۖ قُلۡ إِنَّمَا ٱلۡأَيَـٰتُ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ وَإِنَّمَآ أَنَا۟ نَذِيرٌ۬ مُّبِينٌ أَوَلَمۡ يَكۡفِهِمۡ أَنَّآ أَنزَلۡنَا عَلَيۡكَ ٱلۡڪِتَـٰبَ يُتۡلَىٰ عَلَيۡهِمۡ‌ۚ إِنَّ فِى ذَٲلِكَ لَرَحۡمَةً۬ وَذِڪۡرَىٰ لِقَوۡمٍ۬ يُؤۡمِنُونَ قُلۡ كَفَىٰ بِٱللَّهِ بَيۡنِى وَبَيۡنَڪُمۡ شَہِيدً۬ا‌ۖ يَعۡلَمُ مَا فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ‌ۗ وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ بِٱلۡبَـٰطِلِ وَڪَفَرُواْ بِٱللَّهِ أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ هُمُ ٱلۡخَـٰسِرُونَ

(50. And they say: "Why are not signs sent down to him from his Lord'' Say: "The signs are only with Allah, and I am only a plain warner.'') (51. Is it not sufficient for them that We have sent down to you the Book which is recited to them Verily, herein is mercy and a reminder for a people who believe.) (52. Say: "Sufficient is Allah for a witness between me and you. He knows what is in the heavens and on the earth.'' And those who believe in falsehood, and disbelieve in Allah, it is they who are the losers.)