Sunday, March 26, 2017

Professor Matthew Davies's YouTube videos

A friend of mine recently sent me a YouTube video link to a 3-part lecture by Professor Matthew R. Davies on "Understanding Islam". You can view the series by clicking here, here and here. I recommend this lecture series to any non-Muslim who is interested in the  subject. As a knowledgeable Christian, who teaches religion, Mr. Davies did an excellent job in discussing the faith of some 1.7 billion Muslims in the world.

During the Q&A, Professor Davies was asked a question about grace in the Qur'an. The questioner was told by some Christians that the word 'grace' does not appear in the Qur'an. I am glad that Mr. Davies was able to correct the misconception on this subject.

The Qur'an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (S) in the early 7th century, C.E., in piecemeal over a period of 23 years in Arabia in  the language of the Arabs, i.e., Arabic. Obviously, it would be foolish to expect the English word 'grace' within the Qur'an. So, what is meant in the Q&A is the Arabic equivalent of the English word 'grace'.

There are at least two Arabic words that convey the meaning of grace - these are rahmah and fadl.

The Qur'an starts with the phrase: Bismillahir Rahmaneer Raheem, meaning: In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
This exact phrase appears 114 times in the Qur'an - 113 of which are in the beginning of 113 surahs (chapters) of the Qur'an. [See also the discussion here on the subject by Adnan Majid.] As to the word 'rahmah' this phrase appears 151 times in the 147 verses in the Qur'an (outside the beginning phrase). See Muhammad Habib Shakir's translation for checking this out.

The Arabic word 'fadl' - appears 105 times in 95 verses of the Qur'an. One can find the citations in the link here. Here are some examples:
"Then you turned back after that; so were it not for the grace (fadl) of Allah and His mercy (rahmah) on you, you would certainly have been among the losers. "  (سورة البقرة, Al-Baqara, Chapter #2, Verse #64)

"Those who disbelieve from among the followers of the Book do not like, nor do the polytheists, that the good should be sent down to you from your Lord, and Allah chooses especially whom He pleases for His mercy, and Allah is the Lord of mighty grace."  (سورة البقرة, Al-Baqara, Chapter #2, Verse #105)

"Say: Surely grace is in the hand of Allah, He gives it to whom He pleases; and Allah is Ample-giving, Knowing."  (سورة آل عمران, Aal-i-Imraan, Chapter #3, Verse #73)

"He specially chooses for His mercy whom He pleases; and Allah is the Lord of mighty grace."  (سورة آل عمران, Aal-i-Imraan, Chapter #3, Verse #74)

1 comment:

  1. I had seen those videos of davies lectures before read this blog. It's truly important videos, not just for non-muslims, but for us as muslims. Salam