Theme of Juz One – Importance of Obeying the Law
The first Juz of the Qur'an begins with Surah Al-Fatiha
which is a dua for guidance. It is quite fitting that the Qur’an begins with a prayer for guidance, as it is the book of guidance and should be read by people who are seeking guidance.
The bulk of this Juz is comprised of the first half of Surah Al-Baqarah.
Surah Al-Baqarah is the longest Surah in the Qur'an. The core theme of this Surah are the Laws of Islam and the importance of obeying them.
This Surah was revealed in Madinah when the Islamic State was being formulated and the importance of the laws was crucial for the successful foundation of the state. If we wish to revive Islam today, the first step is to go back to treating the law of Allah as the priority in our lives.
Note that while most of the laws in this Surah are addressed to the believers, the very first commandment in the Qur'an is addressed to all of mankind, "Oh Mankind, worship your Lord," (2:21)
Tawheed (Islamic Monotheism) is the first and most emphasized command in the Qur'an. Every human needs to acknowledge Tawheed before anything else.
In order to emphasize the importance of obeying the laws, the first Juz of the Qur'an is full of stories of those who disobeyed the laws of Allah.
The first story mentioned in the Qur'an is that of Adam and Shaytaan, and Shaytaan's refusal to bow to Adam
, which was the first act of disobedience against Allah. The story of Adam and Shaytaan is repeated throughout the Qur’an due to its historical and moral significance. This story teaches us about the origins of mankind, the beginning of evil, the dangers of arrogance and the purpose of life. This story should be studied carefully and reflected upon to discover its many lessons.
The bulk of this Juz comprises of the stories of Bani Israel and how time after time in a variety of different ways, they violated the laws of Allah, as well as the consequences of them doing so. These stories are remarkably similar to the different ways in which many Muslims today violate the laws of Allah.
One story which stands out is the story which this Surah is named after. A murder had occurred among the Israelites and they asked Prophet Musa
to assist them in identifying the murderer. Allah revealed that they should sacrifice a cow and Allah will reveal who the murderer is. The people did not take this seriously and began to ask a multitude of questions, each of which restricted the type of cow they needed to slaughter. Eventually, after they had made the law too difficult upon themselves, they had to search for a very specific type of cow and only after slaughtering it, was the murderer made clear to them.
The lesson of this story is to avoid asking unnecessary questions that will make this religion stricter than it needs to be. Allah has purposely left certain things general, and kept silent on other things, as a Mercy to us. Too many questions about minute issues leads to the establishment of laws which are too strict and not in keeping with the goal of the Shariah i.e. the removal of hardship. Nowadays, it is quite common to find Muslim communities stressing over such minute issues, making the laws of Islam unnecessarily stricter upon themselves than it needs to be. It will serve us well to reflect on the lesson from this story.
The Juz ends with a reminder to follow the example of Prophet Ibrahim
and his descendants who were amazing examples of submission and obedience to the laws of Allah. Prophet Ibrahim, Hajar, Ismail and the rest (peace be upon them all) obeyed Allah even in things which average people can’t understand. Whether it was the command to sacrifice his firstborn son, or the command to leave his wife and son in the desert of Makkah, Prophet Ibrahim
is one of the best examples of true submission (Islam) to the will of Allah.
Source: Themes of the Qur'an by Abu Muawiyah Ismail Kamdar