It’s quite common in the twenty-first century to look back at the stories (or history) of previous nations and wonder “What do those people have to do with me?” While it’s true the world we live in is a very different place in terms of advancements in technology, science, medicine, etc., prematurely dismissing our past may lead us to endanger our future.
As George Santayana famously said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Let us take a few moments of our time and reflect on not only the histories of those who came before us but also on the divine wisdom in preserving some of their stories in the last revelation to humanity; The Quran.
God tells us, after concluding the story of Yusuf (Joseph, the son of Jacob, may God’s peace be upon them both) in chapter twelve of the Quran, “In their stories, there is a lesson for those of understanding. This [Quran] is no invented tale, but rather a confirmation of the previous [scripture] and a detailed explanation of all things, as well as guidance and mercy to those who believe” (12:111). From this, we can understand that God has revealed some of the stories of previous peoples for a specific reason; so that by learning about, reflecting upon, and understanding their stories we might take lessons that will help us in our own lives.
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