In this piece of writing is a collection of my top 5 favourite verses I have come across throughout the times I have read the Qur’an. I remember reading them and thinking how profound and meaningful they stood out to me. Each of these verses I saw conveying a powerful meaning or a subtle message relating to us as individuals, or a community, and the situations we live in.
Wherever you may be from and whatever your beliefs, you may find at least one verse which expresses to you a sense of subtlety and wisdom.
1. The Prophet frowned
“The Prophet frowned and turned away because there came to him the blind man, (interrupting). But what would make you perceive, (O Muhammad), that perhaps he might be purified or be reminded and the remembrance would benefit him? As for he who thinks himself without need, to him you give attention. And not upon you (is any blame) if he will not be purified. But as for he who came to you striving (for knowledge) while he fears (Allah), from him you are distracted.” – He Frowned 80:1-10
Some may find this passage unusual and unexpected. We can see here Muhammad (pbuh) is being reprimanded by God because he turned away and frowned at a blind man who came to him for guidance, as he was conversing with some non-Muslims leaders in Makkah, hoping that they would join Islam.
The passage focuses on correcting the Messenger’s (pbuh) slight of moral slip. And it tells us that of course he was a Prophet of God, but also he was human, limited in power and ability like the rest of us. Any of us can make mistakes in our judgement and we can differ, we learn that like the Prophet (pbuh) we are not perfect in our humanity and we need correcting.
I enjoyed this passage much that I even wrote about it, which can be read here.
2. Social justice
“O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not (personal) inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort (your testimony) or refuse (to give it), then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted.” – Women 4:135
This verse as I read it, spoke on many levels about how important justice is within society. The emphasis on how we should ‘persistently’ strive for it, be it against ourselves or even parents or relatives, we shouldn’t compromise, because the “truth presides above everyone and is preferred to everyone” – Tafsir Ibn Kathir.
I like that it teaches to be precise in the matter of justice and not to follow our personal desires if it is wrong. We should not favour someone because they are rich or poor, rather be neutral and see who is right and wrong. And most of all it stresses to be just and fair for the sake of Allah, because to Him belongs ultimate justice, “Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted”.
“O you who have believed, avoid much (negative) assumption. Indeed, some assumption is sin. And do not spy or backbite each other. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his brother when dead? You would detest it. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is accepting of repentance and Merciful.” – The Private Rooms 49:12
I had heard about this verse years back before I had any interest in Islam, I only came to truly understanding it when I started reading the Qur’an. I noticed it as a very strong verse, one that could not be forgotten easily, as it uses a strong figurative example to convey the essence of its meaning. We don’t like to eat dead flesh because of our very human nature, that same way we should hate to make assumptions or spy or backbite of someone on account of our faith.
4. To know each other
“O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another (not that you may hate each other). Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.”- The Private Rooms 49:13
This passage achieves a very powerful meaning by the simplest example. That we come from one pair of male and female, thus share the honour of ourselves equally. And as we have become into nations and tribes, different cultures and colours and diverse societies, this is for us to know each other in good faith. Not that we should discriminate and despise one another for whatever reason.
And I like that it states the noble among us in the sight of God almighty are the ones who are most righteous, this is how He judges us. Our race, cast or heritage does not give us a free pass into God’s good books. And it certainly gives no reason for anyone to take pride about their race, colour or heritage and feel a position above any other.
I see this verse as very deep and significant for our times and an exceptionally useful to tackle the issue of discrimination and racism.
5. Kindness and forgiveness
“Kind speech and forgiveness are better than charity followed by injury. And Allah is free of need and Forbearing.” – The Cow 2:263
I see this as a very simple yet meaningful part from the Qur’an which seeks to soften ones character. Kind compassionate words and supplications, and forgiveness of an injustice is better than charity (Sadaqa) followed by injury, sadness or even grieving. This has a subtlety in it and gives the right sense of principle for humanity.
I have many more verses that are equally beautiful and wanted to include them all in this piece, but hopefully when I have more time. I hope this is at least somewhat inspirational to read and motivates more people to achieve a clearer, deeper understanding of the Qur’an.