The Holy Quran is a source of light and guidance for the Muslim ummah. It is a miracle of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى and a gift for all of us. We are blessed to have a wonderful piece of guidance among us.
Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى has vouched for the Holy Quran in the following words of the Holy Book itself:
“Alif. Lam. Ra’. This is a Book which We have revealed to you that you may bring forth mankind from every kind of darkness into light, and direct them, with the leave of their Lord, to the Way of the Mighty, the Innately Praiseworthy.” [14:1]
Aside from being revered, the Holy Quran must be read and understood. That is the main purpose of the Holy Book. To make it convenient for the believers, translations of the Holy Quran, along with its commentary, are available in nearly every language of the world. Furthermore, the Holy Book is divided into 114 chapters and 30 paras or juz to make reading the word of the All Mighty سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى even easier.
Introduction to Para 1
Since it contains a significant part of the longest chapter of the Holy Quran, the first part covers a wide range of themes and topics. The juz begins with verses of Surah al-Fatiha that seek Allah’s سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى guidance. It is a prayer for truth so we can get on the right path.
The para continues with various themes and events important to understanding Islam as a way of life. The two chapters are quite different from each other in their content. Surah al-Fatiha is short. It details Allah’s سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى Greatness and seeks His refuge against evil deeds so we can be rightly guided.
Surah al-Baqarah explores a whole range of themes. This is because it is much longer, and the context in which the two chapters were revealed varies significantly. This may be because Surah al-Fatiha was revealed in Makkah when the Holy Prophet ﷺ was trying to preach the message of Islam. Surah al-Baqarah was revealed in Madinah when the Muslims established their state.
Quranic chapters revealed in Makkah and Madinah differ in their contact and subject. However, such is the miracle of the book that nowhere does it seem to lose its flow or confuse the reader.
Themes of Para 1
Para one consists of the following themes:
The theme of guidance, specifically seeking Allah’s سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى guidance towards the truth, begins the first para. It is easy to get astray and lost in worldly pleasure, so it is necessary to ask for guidance. Additionally, guidance is the purpose of the Holy Quran in the first place. Guidance is a central theme not just of the Quran’s first juz. Guidance and truth will only be for those willing to submit to Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى.
· Oneness and Unity
Islam is the ultimate monotheistic religion in that it strictly prohibits the worship of any other being or deity besides Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى. There are multiple places in the Holy Quran where Allah’s سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى Oneness is highlighted again and again. The opening verses of the first para introduce Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى by emphasizing His سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى singularity. This makes sense since belief in One God سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى is the fundamental belief in Islam. It sets Islam apart from all other religions, even monotheistic religions.
· The Disbelievers
Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى in the Quran quickly differentiates between two types of people: the believers and the disbelievers. The disbelievers, in particular, are addressed from the beginning as being misguided and led astray.
These disbelievers and hypocrites, according to Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى are those who oppose Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى and are involved in creating havoc and destruction. These misguided people think that they live a comfortable life while defying Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى, but that is not true. They have deceived themselves since the true reward or punishment lies with Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى.
Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى makes it clear that He gives these kinds of people time to either reform themselves or continue down the path of self-destruction. The disbelievers will one day receive the punishment they have brought upon themselves through their actions.
· The Creation of Prophet Adam عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ
The first para details the creation of the Prophet Adam سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى. This is very appropriate since the creation of Prophet Adam عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ was the catalyst for all other events that have unfolded throughout human history.
The beginning of the Holy Quran dives right into the main conflict; which is the creation of the first human and the jealousy of iblees and the challenge he makes to Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى. From the get, the Holy Quran provides the context in which we exist and the purpose we must serve.
· Addressing Bani Israel
Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى addresses Bani Israel in the first para. Bani Israel refers to the People of the Book who received Allah’s سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى guidance time and again. Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى sent several of His Messengers. Despite the constant signs, warnings, and favors of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى people of Bani Israel remained adamant in their opposition of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى.
Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى reminds them of His سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى favors upon them. However, nothing seems to have kept them on the right path. Majority of Bani Israel went against Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى and defied His سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى commands again and again.
· Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ
Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ is mentioned at the end of the first para. His life story and how he built the House of Allah is a relayed in detail. Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ is amongst the most important of Allah’s سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى Messengers.
It also shows how Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى speaks not just about the disbelievers, like Bani Israel and iblees who openly defied Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى, but also the believers, like Prophet Adam عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ and Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ. The contrast is truly eye-opening and what makes the Quran such a comprehensive Book.
Benefits of Reading the First Para
Reading and reciting the Holy Quran is an activity that is full of blessings. Here are just a few benefits of reading the first para of the Quran:
- Even if we recite the words of the Holy Quran in Arabic without knowing the meaning behind them it is considered an act of worship. Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى rewards those who recite the verses of the Quran. Even a single word of the Holy Book is filled with blessings.
- Reading and understanding the Holy Quran enlightens our minds and guides our lives.
- The first para forms the perfect opening to the Quran. It lays the foundation upon which the Divine Message is relayed. The para differentiates between good and evil. It makes a clear distinction to show which is the Right Path and how we must live our lives as Muslims.
- The first para provides an introduction to Islam. It opens our hearts and minds to the message of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى.
- We learn about the life the various Messengers of Allah, specifically Prophet Adam عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ and Prophet Ibrahim عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ. Their life provides important life lessons and an example of how we should live our lives.
The first para contains many themes repeated throughout the rest of the Book since these are integral to the spirit of Islam. It teaches us to seek guidance from Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى and work towards gaining Allah’s سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى favor.
The very first verses of the para divide people into two categories: those who choose the righteous path and earn the favor of Allah and those who defy Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى and go against His commands. It teaches us always to strive to be among the rightly guided.
It teaches us never to forget how we came to this earth—due to our innate human desires and the jealousy of the devil, Prophet Adam عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ got deceived into going against the command of Allah. Humans are flawed and bound to make mistakes, but Our Lord is Most Forgiving. Seeking Allah’s سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى Forgiveness is the only way to succeed in this life and the next.
On the other hand, those who think they can trick Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى or continue disobeying Him will be dealt with a severe punishment. Giving into the desires of this world rep as nothing but failure and doom.
Incorporating the Quran Into Our Life
The Divine word of Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى has been preserved in its original, unadulterated form since the time of the very first revelation. Allah’s سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى commands, words, guidance, and warnings have been passed down to us through oral communication and ultimately through the compilation of the Holy Scripture in a written format. Now anyone can find the Holy Quran in any corner of the world in any language, along with its original Arabic version.
There is no excuse for us not to read and understand the Quran. Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى has made it easy for us. The Holy Quran is a special Book. Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى Himself has promised to protect it till the end of times. It is a miracle bestowed upon the Last Messenger of Allah ﷺ.
We are doing a great injustice to ourselves if we fail to read and recite the Quran and understand its deep meaning. It is the ultimate manual to live our lives, so we must make reading the Quran an integral part of our worship and lives.