"The Point of the Beginning" and the "Seal of the Prophets":
An analysis of the well-known Qur'anic verse (33:40) and of the consequences of its misinterpretation by Islamists

By Gloria Yazdani

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #93
Louhelen Bahá'í School: Davison, Michigan, USA
October 8–11, 2009
(see list of papers from #93)

    It is revealed in Chapter 18 verse 109 of the Qur'an that "If the ocean were ink wherewith to write out the words of my Lord, sooner would the ocean be exhausted than would the words of my Lord, even if we added another ocean like it, for its aid..." And in chapter 96, verse 1, of the same blessed Book it is stated, "Read in the name of your Lord, who created ... Read, and your Lord, Most Exalted teaches by means of the pen." The "Pen" indeed reflects in Islamic theology and ideology the station of "the reality of realities" ... A symbol of the creative forces of divine Revelation; yet astonishing it is that -- despite the Qur'an's own testimony to the fact that oceans of inc would ran out before the words of God would come to an end -- generation after generation of Muslims have clung to an understanding of the Qur'anic verse (33:40) that claims an end to divine Revelation. A claim that so clearly and defiantly ignores divine promises of unending bestowals and bounties! "...Let not our hearts deviate now after Thou hast guided us, but grant us mercy from Thine own presence; for Thou art the Grantor of bounties without measure..." (Qur'an 3:8)

    This paper makes an overview study of the concept of the infiniteness of time (with a beginning that has no beginning and an end that has no end); it reviews the theological belief by both Baha'is and Muslims of an ancient Covenant between God and humankind; it touches upon the allegorical nature of certain scriptures as attested by the Qur'an itself; and it draws upon the undeniable force of advancement throughout the ages and the unequivocal role of religion in this advancement.

    These elements are then brought together in order to define the aforementioned Qur'anic verse within the context of the oneness of the Prophets in the immensity of a timeless universe, and to demonstrate the adverse consequences of the manner in which it is being interpreted by Islamists.

    "Our Lord! Thou art He Who will gather mankind together against a Day about which there is no doubt; for Allah never fails in His promise..." (Qur'an 3:9) And yet our Muslim brothers and sisters are suffering the deprivation of seeing the Premised Day of God by a mere misinterpretation of an allegorical verse! In the words of Baha'u'llah "For when God — Blessed and Glorified is He — sealed the station f prophethood in the person of Him Who was His friend ... He promised all men that they shall attain unto His Own presence in the Day of Resurrection... Blessed be he who knoweth of a certainty that he shall attain unto the presence of God on that Day when His Beauty shall be made manifest..." (Gems of Divine Mysteries page 42)

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