Dr. Munawar Sabir was born in Kenya, then a British colony. He received his education in Kenya, Pakistan, England, and Canada. As a product of Muslim and secular heritages of Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America, he has gone back to delve deep into his original heritage of the din and the Koran.
Dr. Munawar Sabir has written six books on contemporary Islam, the covenant of the Koran, and the historical events that have shaped the current state of Islamic societies. These books are the culmination of over forty years of observation, study, and research on Islam and the sociopolitical development of Islamic societies in relation to their fulfillment of the covenant of Allah.
Munawar Sabir is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. He has practiced medicine in Britain and Canada for over fifty-eight years and has published scientific papers on neurological disorders of the musculoskeletal system.
In this book, Dr. Munawar Sabir argues that the Koran is a living, vibrant communion between Allah and His creatures. The lines of thought and the step-by-step guidance laid out by Allah for the individual believer fourteen hundred years ago continue to vitalize the community of believers as it did in the course of early Islam’s belief, thought, and history. The sense of the word read, recited, and explained by the scholars of Islam has remained anchored to the meaning given to it by the masha’ikhs of the schools of jurisprudence at the time of the Umayyad and the Abbasid caliphates of the Middle Ages. The Quran is forever. The religion that passes as Islam today—that is, the Islam of the masses, the scholars, and the ruling classes both of the Shia and the Sunni—is the fossilized version of the Islam of the Middle Ages. Its facade, however dilapidated, is there, but the spirit is essentially medieval. It is not the Islam of the Koran, nor it is the Islam of the blessed nabi.
It is essential that each Believer connect with Allah. Koran, Allah’s word, is the primary source of the believers’ spiritual well-being. Recitation of the Koran imparts peace, tranquility, and closeness to Allah and also renews the believers vow to obey Allah’s covenant. All believers memorize some parts of the Koran, particularly Sura Al-Fatihah and certain other verses to recite the salat. The salat is the daily renewal of the Koran in the believer, a daily rejuvenation of his or her covenant with Allah and communion with Him.
The blessed Nabi said, “Iman is knowledge in the heart, a voicing with the tongue and activity with the limbs.” The term heart, often used in the Koran, refers to a specific faculty or a spiritual organ that provides the humans intellect and rationality. Therefore, iman in effect means confidence in the Reality and truth of things and commitment to act on the basis of the truth that they know. Thus, iman (faith) involves words and actions on the basis of that knowledge.
Koran is Allah’s speech to the believers, and it is the foundation of everything Islamic. Thus, the humans connect with Allah by speaking to Him. The believer speaks to Allah through daily salat and supplication, du’a. The words are accompanied by action of the body, symbolizing subservience, respect, and humility. The salat consists of cyclic movements of standing in humility in the presence of Allah, bowing down to Him, going down in prostration in the Lord’s presence, sitting in humility, reciting verses from the Koran, and praising Allah. Recitation of the Koran serves to embody it within the person reciting salat.
Allah is light (nur), and His word (the Koran) is His luminosity. To embody the Koran through faith and practice is to become transformed by this divine light that permeates through the believer in his closeness Allah has bestowed the human with a mind and free will. The mind has the ability to perceive ideas and knowledge from the divine and from the signs of Allah. The whisper of the divine, the rustle of the wind, the light of God (nur), the fragrance of God’s creation, and the sensation of the divine touch all inspire the human mind with an endless stream of ideas and knowledge. Man has been granted knowledge and the ability to process his thoughts with free will.
The verse of the light encompasses the totality of the knowledge and guidance that Allah sent to the human through His prophets. The pagan in the human confused God’s message and instead began to worship the messenger. With the end of the era of prophecy, man has the freedom to open his heart to the light of Allah and to learn to recognize the presence of Allah within himself, in his own heart.
Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The parable of His Light is as if there were a Niche and within it a Lamp: the Lamp enclosed in Glass; the glass as it was a brilliant star: lit from a blessed Tree, an Olive, neither of the East nor of the West, whose Oil is well-nigh luminous, though fire scarce touched it: Light upon Light! Allah guides whom He will to His Light: Allah sets forth Parables for men, and Allah is the font of all Knowledge, and knows all things. Lit is such a light in houses, which Allah hath permitted to be raised to honor and celebrate His name. In them He is glorified in the mornings and in the evenings, over and over again. (An-Nur 24:35–36, Koran)
The parable of divine light is the fundamental belief in one universal God for the whole humankind. Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth that bestows life, grace, and mercy on His creatures. Allah loves His creation, and His nur is ever luminous in the hearts of those who love Him, place their trust in Him, and open their heart and soul in submission to Him. In the hearts and minds laid open to Allah in submission is a niche in which glows the light, Spirit, and knowledge of Allah. Such is the glow and the luminescence of the divine light, Spirit, and wisdom; it shines with the brilliance of a star—a star that is lit from divine wisdom, the tree of knowledge, and the knowledge of Allah’s signs. For those who believe, Allah is within, and the believer is aglow with Allah’s brilliance—light upon light, light seen from the heavens and the earth. The dwellings in which Allah is glorified in the morning and in the evening over and over again are aglow with Allah’s light and mercy.
Allah has granted knowledge and wisdom of furqan and taqwa to the believers who have opened their hearts and minds to Him. Man has been granted the freedom of choice in doing what is wholesome and beautiful or what is corrupt and ugly. It is only man among the creation who has been given the knowledge to distinguish right activity, right thought, and right intention from their opposites. This knowledge reminds the human of the scales of Allah’s justice; the two hands of Allah—His mercy and His wrath—are reflected in the human domain, where people have been appointed Allah’s vicegerents. Deeds of goodness and wholesomeness are associated with mercy, paradise, and what is beautiful. Evil and corruption is rewarded with wrath, hell, and what is ugly.
It is in the Koran that the Muslims will find the answers to their search. The remedy to the ills of modern-day Islamic world lies in the pages of the holy book in the step-by-step guidance of Allah.