Imagine that, without knowing it, you turned down the greatest
opportunity ever offered to you. After realising your mistake, imagine
how sorry you would feel. If only you could travel back in time and make
a different decision. Of course, that is impossible. A self-reflecting
person would investigate what led them to make this error and to take
precautions so it would not happen again. They would think about any people
who may have influenced them while they made their mistake, and would
try not to be influenced by them again. At present, a large number of
people are unwittingly in this situation, passing up without a second
thought an opportunity besides which worldly prospects pale by comparison:
Allah has promised all of humanity both a life on earth filled with beauty,
goodness, justice, equality, plenty, comfort and tranquillity, and an
immortal life in the next world in such grandeur the like of which the
human mind cannot even imagine. The prophets of Allah, and the holy books
which He sent down as a guide to humanity, have brought this invitation
to all people without exception throughout history.
One such offer, made to all of humanity through the Qur'an
is a great opportunity, a great blessing and a great benefaction of Allah
for those who choose to take advantage of it. People of conscience should
thus examine the Qur'an carefully, lest they heedlessly pass up an opportunity
they will later regret. On the Day of Judgment, those who ignored the
truths of the Qur'an will be remorseful, but unlike the example we gave
above, there will be no second chances.
When that difficult day comes, those who today refuse to
accept the invitation of Allah will say, "If only you could see when
they are standing before the Fire and saying, 'Oh! If only we could be
sent back again, we would not deny the Signs of our Lord and we would
be among the believers.' " (Surat al-An'am: 27)
By then it will be too late, for on that day, judgment will be
passed on everything a person has done in life and everybody will receive
the corresponding reward or punishment.
What requires most attention these days is the fact that
a great many people are resistant even to reading the Qur'an, though they
do not know what it contains. Because of ingrained prejudices, and without
knowing what kind of life to which Allah invites them, a majority of people
shy away from the Qur'an. They do not evaluate it in an impartial and
unprejudiced manner and, so, reject the invitation of the messengers.
Being in a state of heedlessness, with fixed ideas, those who reject this
invitation are unwittingly heading towards devastation.
The purpose of writing this book is to alert people about
this prejudiced viewpoint which will ultimately cause them to suffer great
losses in this world and in the next. It is to invite everybody, whether
or not they are believers, to read the Qur'an and consider the verses
of Allah with an open heart and mind, as all pious believers have done
before them, cleansed of all prejudices, rote "knowledge" and fixed ideas.
This reminder is also of benefit to Muslims who say they believe in the
Qur'an but who are not guided by its instructions.
It is worth remembering that all the prophets who were simply
messengers from Allah inviting people to have faith in Allah and His religion,
were met with resistance, denial and rejection from their communities.
So when we talk about "people who do not heed the Qur'an," or "people
who avoid the Qur'an," in this book, we should remember that this is not
unique or special to the Qur'an: all the prophets have been faced with
similar rejections. There have always been people who do not heed the
prophets and their message, and who have thus ignored the reality of the
message from Allah.
Our purpose is to invite people to think about what is contained
in the Qur'an and to submit themselves to Allah while there is still time.
Recall Allah's statement:
Those who do not respond to Allah's caller cannot
thwart Allah on earth and have no protectors apart from Him. Such people
are clearly misguided. (Surat al-Ahqaf: 32)