Wisdom of Quran- The Qissa-e-Khizr

December 9, 2009 at 9:53 pm (Education, Islam) (, , )

By Komal Hashmi

QURAN.jpg quran image by zazhewanz

Sheikh Imran Hosein is an eminent modern Muslim scholar. Whilst listening to his lectures, I came across his explanation of the Quranic narration of the event when Hazrat Musa (AS) meets Khizr (AS). Sheikh’s interpretation of Quran, about this event made me ponder further on the subject. In light of the verses of Surah-e-Kahf that describe this event, I attempted to recognize the cause of decline of our Ummah both morally and scholastically. By isolating the cause of our downfall, we can work on our deficiencies and amend our flaws. And perhaps, head towards a brighter future with Allah’s blessings.

 I feel that lack of religious knowledge is a key factor in our moral decline and also contributes to obstruction in our worldly progress. We have secularized knowledge and education, thereby severing the sacred links of knowledge to it source, which is Allah. By cutting our ties with Allah and laying the foundation of our scholarship solely on rationale and observation, we close the doors to wisdom granted by divine knowledge. Truth is not limited to what our five senses can perceive. Truth extends beyond our observation and comprehension and therefore, it is vital to acknowledge the presence of information that exists beyond the boundaries of scientific rationale, the information that converts intellect into wisdom. The story of Khizr (AS) helps us learn the significance of spiritual insight and the wisdom it grants, as well as the limitations of rational knowledge.

 In the historic story, Moses (pbuh) delivers a sermon to his followers and is praised by a listener, on his knowledge. Moses(pbuh) accepts the praise and forgets to acknowledge the source of his knowledge, Allah Almighty, who is the most learned of all. Allah speaks to Moses (pbuh) and tells him about His servant Khizr (AS) whose knowledge is superior to that of Moses(pbuh). Moses(pbuh) insists to meet Khizr (AS), so that he may gain from Khizr’s  (AS) knowledge. Allah instructs Moses (pbuh) to meet with Khizr (AS) at the junction of two oceans (مَجْمَعَ الْبَحْرَيْن )  . Sheikh Imran Hosein interprets these oceans as that of knowledge from two sources. One derived from external observation and the other guided by internal intuitive spiritual insight. As these two oceans come together and integrate harmoniously in a single individual, A Khizr, (AS) the most learned man on earth will be born. Men of such caliber will have the acumen and capability to decipher the truth of nature and grasp the knowledge of universe in its true essence.

 It is therefore crucial to choose our source of knowledge with due care. A pure source can impart divine wisdom but a corrupt source can lead a person astray. A pure source like Quran guides those who are pure at heart, and refer to it, seeking for direction and advice. Repeatedly reading this divine book also helps to cleanse one’s soul (tazkiya-e-nafs). This Book (Quran) was revealed to Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) as a message of Allah and was meant to be read and followed by his Ummah. Our failure at fulfilling these obligations that we owe to Quran has lead us in the wrong direction and has resulted in our decline as an Ummah. To revive our former glory we have to follow the ways of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) and his companions and embrace Quran as our guideline for daily practices. We have to read it, understand it and follow it if we want to get out of the mess we have dug for ourselves.

 Secular education or Godless knowledge has given humanity nothing but destruction and immorality. We have to integrate divine insight with our observational knowledge to be able to understand the depths of the subjects we study.  We have to realize that secular intellectualism cannot advance into wisdom due to deficit of divine insight, the unobservable knowledge, that lies beyond scientific rationale. At many instances, Intellect driven by scientific knowledge challenges reality but wisdom guided by spiritual insight embraces it. Knowledge with divinity leads to tranquility and works for betterment of humanity while Godless knowledge is devoid of humanity and leads to anarchy and havoc.

 Here is an excerpt of Qissa-e-Khizar from Surah-e-Kahf: (Translation by Yousuf Ali)

 So they found one of Our servants, on whom We had bestowed Mercy from Ourselves and whom We had taught knowledge from Our own Presence. Moses said to him: “May I follow thee, on the footing that thou teach me something of the (Higher) Truth which thou hast been taught?”(The other) said: “Verily thou wilt not be able to have patience with me!”.”And how canst thou have patience about things about which thy understanding is not complete?”

 So they both proceeded: until, when they were in the boat, he scuttled it. Said Moses: “Hast thou scuttled it in order to drown those in it? Truly a strange thing hast thou done!”. Then they proceeded: until, when they met a young man, he slew him. Moses said: “Hast thou slain an innocent person who had slain none? Truly a foul (unheard of) thing hast thou done!”.Then they proceeded: until, when they came to the inhabitants of a town, they asked them for food, but they refused them hospitality. They found there a wall on the point of falling down, but he set it up straight. (Moses) said: “If thou hadst wished, surely thou couldst have exacted some recompense for it!”

 Moses (pbuh) was unable to stay patient and questioned him on each occasion. After his third inquiry Khizr (AS) refused to accompany Moses any further and explained the wisdom of his actions:

 “As for the boat, it belonged to certain men in dire want: they plied on the water: I but wished to render it unserviceable, for there was after them a certain king who seized on every boat by force. “As for the youth, his parents were people of Faith, and we feared that he would grieve them by obstinate rebellion and ingratitude (to Allah and man). “So we desired that their Lord would give them in exchange (a son) better in purity (of conduct) and closer in affection. “As for the wall, it belonged to two youths, orphans, in the Town; there was, beneath it, a buried treasure, to which they were entitled: their father had been a righteous man: So thy Lord desired that they should attain their age of full strength and get out their treasure – a mercy (and favour) from thy Lord. I did it not of my own accord. Such is the interpretation of (those things) over which thou wast unable to hold patience.”

 Concluding my essay, I would suggest that we have to revert back to Quran and seek guidance from it if we hope to revive our former glory. Nationalism has divided Muslims into tribes and countries. We bicker with our brethren on trivial matters because we have distanced ourselves from islamic injunctions. If we hope to survive and long for Allah’s blessing, we have to create stronger bonds with His Book, His Prophet and His Message and have to create a united front against the growing menace of secularism, that preaches to alienate God from all wordly matters.

1 Comment

  1. Ashlyn Haynesworth said,

    Really Good Work…. You Helping People A lot I still would not put them quite on the level of some of the others I’ve mentioned, though.

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