The Holy Quran was revealed to Muhammad ﷺ from 609 CE to 632 CE. Centuries have passed since its revelation, yet it has remained unchanged and as precious to the Muslims as it was when it was first revealed. In line with its profound guidance for mankind, the Quran has given the world a number of important phenomena that paved the way to a prosperous nation.
1. It put an end to slavery. When the Quran was revealed, slavery was rife, and slaves were put on a social level below humans. The Holy Book gave rights to existing slaves, prevented further enslavement and encouraged their freedom – to the extent that it was obligatory and inevitable in many instances. For instance, Bilal ibn Rabah (ra) was once a slave of ‘Umayyah ibn Khalaf, and was freed by Abu Bakr (ra) once Islam came into fruition via the verses of Quran.
لاَ يُؤَاخِذُكُمُ اللّهُ بِاللَّغْوِ فِي أَيْمَانِكُمْ وَلَـكِن يُؤَاخِذُكُم بِمَا عَقَّدتُّمُ الأَيْمَانَ فَكَفَّارَتُهُ إِطْعَامُ عَشَرَةِ مَسَاكِينَ مِنْ أَوْسَطِ مَا تُطْعِمُونَ أَهْلِيكُمْ أَوْ كِسْوَتُهُمْ أَوْ تَحْرِيرُ رَقَبَةٍ فَمَن لَّمْ يَجِدْ فَصِيَامُ ثَلاَثَةِ أَيَّامٍ ذَلِكَ كَفَّارَةُ أَيْمَانِكُمْ إِذَا حَلَفْتُمْ وَاحْفَظُواْ أَيْمَانَكُمْ كَذَلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللّهُ لَكُمْ آيَاتِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ
“Allah will not impose blame upon you for what is meaningless in your oaths, but He will impose blame upon you for (breaking) what you intended of oaths. So its expiation is the feeding of ten needy people from the average of that which you feed your (own) families or clothing them or the freeing of a slave. But whoever cannot find (or afford it) – then a fast of three days (is required). That is the expiation for oaths when you have sworn. But guard your oaths. Thus does Allah make clear to you His verses that you may be grateful.”
2. It improved navigation and horology. The obligatory prayers detailed within the Quran forced Muslims to grasp time and direction in a manner that was conducive to their daily worship. This led to progress in horology and navigation with the invention of compasses and clocks. For instance, early compass designs trace their way back to the 13th century Islamic world, where Muslims used the compass to find the direction of the Qibla.
وَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّن مَّنَعَ مَسَاجِدَ اللّهِ أَن يُذْكَرَ فِيهَا اسْمُهُ وَسَعَى فِي خَرَابِهَا أُوْلَـئِكَ مَا كَانَ لَهُمْ أَن يَدْخُلُوهَا إِلاَّ خَآئِفِينَ لهُمْ فِي الدُّنْيَا خِزْيٌ وَلَهُمْ فِي الآخِرَةِ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ
“Verily! We have seen the turning of your (Muhammad’s saw) face towards the heaven. Surely, We shall turn you to a Qiblah (prayer direction) that shall please you, so turn your face in the direction of Al-Masjid- al-Haram. And wheresoever you people are, turn your faces (in prayer) in that direction. Certainly, the people who were given the Scriptures (Jews and the Christians) know well that, that (your turning towards the direction of the Ka’bah at Makkah in prayers) is the truth from their Lord. And Allah is not unaware of what they do.”
3. It focused on wealth distribution. The Holy Book instructed the circulation of wealth within society, so that the rich did not trap or hoard It ensured that wealth made its way through to the people so that they were able to prosper. For instance, when the Quran was revealed, many ayat instructed the rich to spend their wealth, to the extent that some, like Mus‘ab ibn Umair, known for his affluence, spent their wealth entirely, only to leave that which they needed most.
مَّا أَفَاء اللَّهُ عَلَى رَسُولِهِ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْقُرَى فَلِلَّهِ وَلِلرَّسُولِ وَلِذِي الْقُرْبَى وَالْيَتَامَى وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ كَيْ لَا يَكُونَ دُولَةً بَيْنَ الْأَغْنِيَاء مِنكُمْ وَمَا آتَاكُمُ الرَّسُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ فَانتَهُوا وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ
“And what Allah restored to His Messenger from the people of the towns – it is for Allah and for the Messenger and for (his) near relatives and orphans and the (stranded) traveler – so that it will not be a perpetual distribution among the rich from among you. And whatever the Messenger has given you – take; and what he has forbidden you – refrain from. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is severe in penalty.”
4. It introduced women’s rights. At the time of its revelation, women lacked fundamental rights and played a subhuman role in society. The Quran detailed the role of both males and females; granting rights to both and ensuring none were treated unjustly due to their gender. For instance, the Quran gave women rights to inheritance, made their consent a condition for marriage, and even prevented the common tradition of burying the daughter alive.
مَنْ عَمِلَ صَالِحًا مِّن ذَكَرٍ أَوْ أُنثَى وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ فَلَنُحْيِيَنَّهُ حَيَاةً طَيِّبَةً وَلَنَجْزِيَنَّهُمْ أَجْرَهُم بِأَحْسَنِ مَا كَانُواْ يَعْمَلُونَ
“Whose acts righteously, whether male or female and is a believer, we will surely grant him a pure life; and We will surely bestow on such their reward according to the best of their work.”
5. It improved astronomy. With over forty pertinent verses, the Quran gave the world vital perspectives on astronomy. In addition to this, the reliance on lunar sightings for obligations detailed within the Holy Book, forced many to improve their understanding on astronomy and cosmology, leading to rapid scientific progression. For instance, in line with the verses of the Quran, many Muslims scientists developed early trajectories of the sun, moon and planets, in addition to mapping out fixed stars within space.
وَالنَّازِعَاتِ غَرْقًا * وَالنَّاشِطَاتِ نَشْطًا * وَالسَّابِحَاتِ سَبْحًا * فَالسَّابِقَاتِ سَبْقًا * فَالْمُدَبِّرَاتِ أَمْرًا
“Consider those (stars) that rise only to set. And move (in their orbits) with steady motion. And float (through space) with floating serene. And yet overtake (one another) with swift overtaking. And thus fulfil the (Creator’s) behest!”
Caiser Abdul Lateef