In the very first self-reference of Quran, it calls itself ‘al-furqan’ (the criteria – Ch 2 Vs 185). There is therefore no question of Quran being the sole source of truth. It is a criteria and criteria are exercised on external sources. It further tells us that signs in the horizon and our souls will show us that the Quran is the truth (41/53). This democratisation of truth is very typical of Quran – it is also democratic when it comes to who purveys truth. No human being has the right to claim exclusive rights for him or herself. It is therefore very paradoxical that, as part of the Quranic process, we see it challenging Readers to find a better source of guidance.
There are at least two of these challenges in Quran itself. In the first one, found in 10/31-42, we see the Quran asking us to produce a better source of guidance towards the truth than itself (10/35). It then explains its role with regards to realisation of this system (10/37) and challenges people to produce a discourse like it (10/38).
In the second challenge, found in 17/78-89, we are told that with the correct use of Quran (17/78-79) will bring about an entry into the gate of confirmation and the bringing of the truth (17/80-81). This thus entails the bringing of the spirit to inspire us to the correct meaning (85). When this process happens, we will be able to understand the irreproducibility of Quran and how comprehensive it is (88-89).
These two examples above are part of what QG calls ‘The Ultimacy Conviction’ (TUC). TUC is a stage of consciousness which the Reader attains in that he or she is convinced that Quran is best source of guidance. This should be emphasised – TUC is not a confessional thing. One does not simply profess that Quran is the best source of guidance and thereby attain salvation. This is dogmatic and we do not believe Quran is about dogma. Rather it is about processes. It is a process we must attain through contemplation, introspection and application.
So what is the use of this attainment? As proven above, Quran is not about gaining exclusive rights to truth. Rather it sees itself a criteria of truth. So how does TUC figure into this process? What do we gain from attaining TUC?
From where we stand, it appears that TUC is a part of the process to gain connectivity with Quran. By understanding Quran’s comparison with other philosophies, we may yet uncover deeper and deeper layers of meaning within it. In doing so, our interests and passions may be kindled to study particular ideas and chapters more deeply. More importantly than that, both the abovementioned passages are not simply conceptual or cerebral. In other words, they do not simply talk about philosophical exercises or thought experiments.
Rather interweaved in their passages are actual applications (10/31-34 and 17/78-81 denote the applicational aspects of these passages). These applications are geared towards higher and higher human experiences. It therefore appears that one cannot simply read Quran and attain depth of meaning. One must actually do Quran to experience bigger and bigger signs pointing towards deeper and deeper levels of truth.
Part 2: We analyse the passages of ‘sura like it’ to understand its implications.