Approaches to the Understanding of the Qur’an

The study of the Qur’an is essential for every committed Muslim, since it is the main source and foundation of the religious thought and faith. Whatsoever gives meaning, essence and sanctity to his existence lies in the Holy Qur’an.

The Qur’an is not just like other religious books which are content to discuss the problems of existence of God and creation in cryptic tones, or like those which merely convey a series of simple moral advice and counsels, so that those who believe in them are hopelessly left to search for guidance in other sources. Unlike such books the Qur’an formulates the tenets of faith besides communicating the ideas and views that are essential for a man of faith and belief. Similarly, it also lays down the principles of moral and ethical values for the purpose of social and familial existence. It leaves the job of explanation, interpretation, and occasionally that of ijtihad and application of principles (usul) to secondary matters (furu’) to be dealt with through ijtihad and sunnah. Accordingly, utilization of any other source depends on the prior knowledge of the Qur’an. The Qur’an is the criterion and standard for judging all other sources. We should judge hadith and sunnah in the light of the Qur’an. We can accept it only when it is in accordance with the Qur’an, otherwise we do not accept it.

There are four more books that come after the Qur’an, and are regarded as the most sacred and the most authentic sources (by the Shi’ah Muslims). They are: Al-Kafi, Man la yahduruhu al-faqih, Tahdhib, and Istibsar. There are also other sources like the Nahj al-Balaghah, and the prayers of al-Sahifah al-Sajjadiyyah. All these books are secondary to the Qur’an, and their authenticity of source is not so absolute as that of the Qur’an. A hadith from al-Kafi is as trustworthy as it may be in conformity with the Qur’an, and reliable so far as its words comply with the teachings of the Qur’an and do not go against it. The Prophet (S) and the infallible Imams have said that their traditions should be checked in the light of the Qur’an; if they do not coincide with the words of the Qur’an, they should be regarded as false and fake, and as being wrongfully attributed to them; since they have not said anything that can go against the Qur’anic teachings.

Approaches to the Understanding
of the Qur’an

1. Authentication:

It means that the first step towards the research study of any book is to see to what extent the book in our hands is authentic, whether all the things recorded on its pages are genuine, or if only a part of it is authentic. Moreover, what criteria and standards should be employed in order to judge the authenticity and genuineness of authorship? By what logic can the authenticity of any book be totally rejected or affirmed?

The Qur’an is absolutely exempt from all such criteria that may be applicable to all worldly books. It is regarded as the exclusively singular book since the ancient times. No book of ancient days has remained above doubt to such extent despite a long lapse of several hundred years. No one can ever say about it that such and such a surah has a questionable authenticity or such and such a verse that is present in such and such a manuscript is missing from another manuscript. The Qur’an stands above the notions of manuscript reading. There is no place for the slightest doubt that all of the verses that exist in the Qur’an are those conveyed to Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Allah (S) who communicated them as the miraculous Word of God. Nobody can ever claim that another version of the Qur’an existed anywhere, or still exists. There has not been any Orientalist either who would begin the study of the Qur’an by saying, “let us trace from the earliest of the manuscripts of the Qur’an to see what was included in it and what was not.” The Qur’an is absolutely free from this kind of investigation necessary in case of such books as the Bible, the Torah, or the Avesta, or the Shahnameh of Ferdowsi, or the Gulistan of Sa’di and every other ancient or not so ancient work.

Only for the study of the Qur’an no such questions arise, and the Qur’an is far above the usual norms of authenticity and the craft of manuscript reading. Moreover, besides the fact that the Qur’an is one of the heavenly scriptures and has been regarded by its followers as the most basic and authentic proof of the Prophet’s (S) claim to prophethood, and as the greatest of his miracles, the Qur’an, unlike the Torah, was not revealed at one time and was not subject to later difficulties in distinguishing the true manuscript. The verses of the Qur’an were revealed gradually during a span of twenty-three years. From the very first day, the eager Muslims memorized its verses, preserved and recorded them. Those were the days when the Muslim society was quite a simple society. No other book existed besides the Qur’an, and the Muslims were inevitably inclined to memorize its verses. Their clear, unmarked minds and their powerful memory, their general ignorance about reading and writing, all these factors assisted them in acquiring and retaining their information regarding the Qur’an. This is the reason why the message of the Qur’an, which was so congenial to their sensibilities and their natural propensities, got effectively imprinted on their hearts like inscription on stone. Since they believed it to be the Word of God, it was sacred to them also. They couldn’t permit themselves that a single word or even a letter of it be altered or replaced in its text. They tried to acquire the nearness to God by reciting its verses. It should be noted here that from the very early days the Prophet (S) had engaged a group of scribes for the purpose of writing down the Qur’an, who were known as the “Scribes of the Revelation.” This should be regarded as one of the merits in favour of the Qur’an from which all other ancient books are excluded. The absence of any alteration and change in the Word of God was on account of this process of writing and recording from the very beginning.

The other reason responsible for the popularity of the Qur’an among the people was its extraordinary, supernatural literary and artistic dimension depicted in its rhetoric and eloquence. It was this strong literary attraction towards the Qur’an, which had an appeal for the people, that prompted them to immediately memorize its verses. But unlike other literary works like the Diwan-e-Hafiz and poems of Rumi, which are exposed to meddling by admirers who think they are improving on the original, nobody could ever give himself the permission of meddling with the sacred text; for the Qur’an immediately declared in one of its verses:

Had he [the Prophet (S)] invented against Us any sayings, We would have seized him by the right hand, then We would surely have cut his life vein. (69:44-46)

2. Analytical Study:

This sort of understanding is, however, concerned with the subject of the book, and is relevant in regard to all kinds of books, whether it is the medical treatise of Ibn Sina, or if it is the Gulistan of Sa’di. It is possible that a book may lack an outlook as well as a message, or it may contain an outlook but not a message, or it may contain both.

Regarding the analytical study of the Qur’an we shall have to see, in general, what sort of problems does the Qur’an deal with, and what is its manner of presenting them. What is its manner of argument and its approach to various problems? Does the Qur’an, being the defender, presenter and protector of faith, and its message being a religious message, view reason as a rival to its teachings, and clings to a defensive posture against it, or whether it considers reason as a supporter and protector of faith and relies upon its power? These questions and various other queries, arise during the analytical study of the Qur’an.

3. Study of the Sources of Ideas:

This kind of study regarding Hafiz, or any other author, implies the study of the source and roots of the author’s ideas and thought. This sort of study is secondary to an analytical study; that is, firstly the contents of the author’s thought should be completely understood, and afterwards an attempt should be made to identify its roots and sources. Otherwise, the result of one’s effort will be something like the works of certain writers of history of various sciences, who write without any thorough knowledge of the subject, or similar to the works of those writers of philosophical books, who undertake, for instance, a comparative study of Ibn Sina and Aristotle, without any knowledge of either. After superficial comparison and on discovering some literal similitudes between the works of the two great thinkers, they immediately sit down to pass a quick judgment. Although, for the purpose of a comparative study, very deep and profound knowledge of the ideas and thoughts of both of the philosophers is required. A lifetime of study is necessary for such a task; otherwise, it has no more value than can be given to blind imitative conjectures.

For the study and understanding of the Qur’an, an analytical study must be followed by a comparative and historical study. That is, the contents of the Qur’an should be compared with other books that existed at that time, specially the religious ones. For the purpose of such a comparison, it is essential to keep in mind the conditions and relations of the Arabian peninsula with other parts of the world, and the number of educated Arabs living in Mecca at the time. Only then we can arrive at an estimation of the influence of other books of those times on the contents of the Qur’an, and if we find something common in them, discover its proportions. We can then see whether the material that has been borrowed from other books is used in an original manner or not. Does the Qur’an go even further to the extent of playing a role in amending the contents of those books and setting right the errors occurring in them?

The Three Distinguishing
Characteristics of the Qur’an

But the study of the sources of the Qur’an, and confirmation of its originality, depend upon the analytical study. So I resolve to open this discussion with the analytical study of the Qur’an. We shall first see what is the subject matter of the Qur’an, what kind of problems are discussed in it, what type of problems have been given priority, and in what manner those subjects are presented in it. If we are successful in our critical analysis, and acquire a sufficient understanding of the Qur’anic teachings, it will bring us to an acknowledgment of its principal aspect, which is the Divine aspect of the Qur’an, the quality of its being a Divine miracle.

Conditions Necessary for the Study of the Qur’an

The third condition essential for the understanding of the Qur’an, is the correct knowledge of the sayings of the Prophet (S). He was, according to the Qur’an itself, the interpreter of the Qur’an par excellence. The Qur’an says:

We have revealed to you the Reminder that you may make clear to men what has been revealed to them … (16:44)

It is He who has sent among the illiterate a Messenger from among them, to recite His sings to them, and to purify them and to teach them the Book and the Wisdom. (62:2)

A very important point to remember during the initial stages of study, is that we should try to understand the Qur’an with the help of the Qur’an itself; because, the verses of the Qur’an constitute a completely united integral whole, a coherent unified structure. If we single out any verse from the Qur’an and try to understand it in isolation from the rest of the Book, it would not be a correct method. However, it is possible that we may happen to understand it, but the method is not recommended by caution, as certain verses of the Qur’an are explanatory for certain other verses. All great commentators of the Qur’an have affirmed this method; the infallible Imams also had approved of this manner of interpretation of the Qur’anic verses. The Qur’an has its own specific mode of discussing various problems. There are instances where if a solitary verse is studied without placing it in its proper context, it gives quite a different sense than when it is seen under the light of the verses dealing with a similar subject.

For instance, the specific mode and style of the Qur’an may be noticed from the distinction drawn between al-ayat al-muhkamat (the firm verses) and al-ayat al-mutashabihat (the ambiguous verses). There is a prevalent view regarding the muhkamat and the mutashabihat. Some people imagine that al-ayat al-muhkamat are such verses as whose meaning is quite simple and clear, whereas the meaning of al-ayat al-mutashabihat is cryptic, enigmatic and puzzling. According to this notion, men are only permitted to cogitate upon the meaning of al-ayat al-muhkamat, and al-ayat al-mutashabihat are basically inscrutable and beyond their understanding. Here, the question arises, what is the philosophy underlying al-ayat al-mutashabihat? Why has the Qur’an put forward such verses that are incomprehensible? A brief answer to this question is that neither muhkam means “simple” and “clear”, nor mutashabih means “ambiguous”, “cryptic” and “enigmatic.” “Ambiguous” and “enigmatic” are adjectives applicable to sentences that do not convey the meaning in a direct and simple manner, as are sometimes met in the writings of various authors. For example, when Sultan Mahmud rewarded the poetic efforts of Ferdowsi with a reward of an insignificant and humiliating amount of money, Ferdowsi did not accept it, and instead he accused Sultan Mahmud of the trait of parsimony in his versified lampoons. Some of them were quite clear and obvious whereas the others were not devoid of ambiguity and a lot of enigma. Ferdowsi is quite direct when he says:

Had the king’s mother been an honourable lady,
He would have rewarded me with knee-high gold and silver.

The palm of king Mahmud, the conqueror of lands,
Was nine times nine and three times four,

We shall see whether there are actually any enigmatic and abstruse verses in the Qur’an. Such an assumption contradicts with the text of the Qur’an which unequivocally states that it is a clear and comprehensible book whose verses provide guidance and shed light. The core of the problem is that some of the issues dealt with in the Qur’an are related to metaphysical matters and the transcendental world, which cannot be expressed in ordinary language. In the words of Shaykh Shabistari:

The word fails to encompass meaning,
The ocean cannot be poured into a pot.

(Some) faces on the Day shall be bright, looking towards their Lord. (75:22-23)

Uniqueness of the Qur’an

Vision perceives Him not, and He perceives all vision. (6:104)

He sent down upon thee the Book, wherein are verses firm (ayat mahkamat) that are the essence of the Book. (3:6)

 Is the Qur’an Understandable?

Among the Shi’ah scholars of three or four centuries ago, there appeared a group which believed that the Qur’an is not a hujjah (“proof”, meaning a legal source usable for vindication). Among the four sources of fiqh that have been regarded as the criteria and standard for the understanding of the Islamic problems by Muslim scholars, i.e. the Qur’an, the sunnah (tradition), ‘aql(reason) and ijma’ (consensus of opinion), they did not recognize three of them. Regarding ijma’, they said that it belongs to the Sunni tradition and they could not follow it. Concerning reason, they maintained that reason can also err, and reliance on reason is not legitimate. About the Qur’an they respectfully asserted that the Qur’an is greater in station than being subject to study and comprehension by us humble human creatures. It is only the privilege of the Prophet and the Imams to ponder over the verses of the Holy Qur’an. We ordinary human beings have only the right to read and recite them. This group was that of the Akhbariyun or Akhbaris.

The Akhbaris regarded hadith and chronicles as the only permissible sources of fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence). One may be astounded to learn that in some of the Qur’anic exegeses written by these people, they mentioned only those verses about which the tradition existed, and refrained from mentioning other verses as if they are not a part of the Qur’an.

Such a kind of practice was an injustice to the Qur’an. This shows that a society that could neglect and alienate their own heavenly book and that too of the standard and stature of the Qur’an, is not at all up to the Qur’anic standards. Besides the Akhbaris there were other groups who also regarded the Qur’an as inaccessible to the ordinary human intellect. Among them the Ash’arites can be named, who believed that the knowledge of the Qur’an does not necessarily mean that its verses should be pondered over, but the real meanings are the same as that the words literally communicate. According to them, whatever we understand from the outward meaning, we have to be satisfied with it. We should not be concerned with the secret and inner meanings. It was quite natural that this sort of thinking regarding the Qur’an, very rapidly, gave rise to serious deviations and grave misunderstandings. Since they were forced on the one hand to the task of interpretation of the meaning of the Qur’anic verses, and, on the other hand, banished reason also from the realm of religious learning, as a result, they were forced to adopt merely vulgar and superficial interpretations of the Qur’anic verses. On account of their faulty way of thinking, they deviated from the regular course of correct thinking, and thus gave way to distorted and faulty religious vision. As the result of this type of religious thinking, heretical beliefs like the personification of God the Almighty, and numerous other distorted ideas like the possibility of visual perception of God, His possession of physical characteristics etc., came into existence.

Opposing the group which abandoned the Qur’an, another group came into existence which used the Qur’an as the means to fulfill their selfish aims. They gave the Qur’anic verses such interpretations as were favourable to their selfish interests, and wrongfully attributed certain ideas to the Qur’anic text that were not at all in agreement with the spirit of the Qur’an. In answer to every objection that was made against them, they said that none except themselves could understand the esoteric and secret meaning of the Qur’anic verses, and whatever they stated was based on the understanding and knowledge of the esoteric meaning of the verses.

The champions of this movement in the history of Islam consist of two groups: the first group are the Isma’ilis, who are also known as the Batinis (secret sect), and the other are the Sufis. Most of the Isma’ilis are found in India and some of them are in Iran. They had formed an empire in Egypt known as the Fatimid caliphate. The Isma’ilis are so-called Shi’ahs who believe in six Imams. But all the Twelver Imami Shi’ah scholars are unanimous in the opinion that in spite of their belief in six Imams, the Isma’ilis stand at a greater distance from the Shi’ite faith than the non-Shi’ite sects. The Sunnis, who do not believe in any of the Imams in the same sense as the Shi’ah do, nevertheless are nearer to the Shi’ah than these “Six-Imami Shi’ahs.” The Isma’ilis, on account of their batini beliefs and secretive practices have played a treacherous role in the history of Islam and have had a big hand in causing serious deviations in the realm of Islam.

Besides the Isma’ilis, the Sufis are also charged with distortion of the Qur’anic verses and had a long hand in interpreting them according to their personal beliefs. Here I present a specimen of their exegesis so that the extent and method of their misinterpretation may be known:

The anecdote of Ibrahim (A) and his son Isma’il is described by the Qur’an as follows: It occurred to Ibrahim (A) in his dream that he has to sacrifice his son for the sake of God. At first he is perplexed regarding such an instruction; but as he repeatedly has the dream reiterating the same theme, he becomes certain of the Will of God and decides to obey the Divine command. He puts the whole matter before his son, who also faithfully accepts his father’s proposal of executing the Divine command:

“My son, I see in a dream that I shall sacrifice thee; consider what thinkest thou?” He said, “My father, do as thou art bidden; thou shalt find me, God willing, one of the steadfast.” (37:102)

It is obvious that such interpretation of the Qur’an is like wanton treatment of it, and presents a distorted perspective of its teachings. It is in the context of such deviate interpretations of the Qur’an based upon personal or sectarian bias and interests that the Prophet has said: One who interprets the Qur’an according to his wish, should be certain of his place in hell.

This kind of frivolous attitude towards the verses of the Qur’an amounts to the betrayal of the Qur’an and that too of a grievous degree. The Qur’an itself strikes a middle course between the stagnant and narrow-minded attitude of the Akhbaris and the unwarranted and deviate interpretations of the Batinis. It recommends a course of sincere, disinterested study and asks for unbiased and unprejudiced meditation over its meanings. Not only the believers and the faithful, but even the infidels are invited by it to contemplate over its verses. The Qur’an demands that it verses should be first contemplated over, before forming any adverse opinion against them. Addressing the opponents, it says, why they don’t ponder over the Qur’an, what sort of hearts they possess, they are as if shut close and sealed:

What, do they not ponder the Qur’an? Or is it that there are locks upon their hearts? (47:24)

(This is) a Book We have revealed to you abounding in good, that they may ponder the verses.

That those endowed with understanding may ponder its signs and so remember. (38:29)

Because the Qur’an is not for an exclusive age or for an exclusive people.

 Issues in an Analytical Study of the Qur’an:

The Qur’an has dealt with a vast range of subjects, and in this process, it is more concerned with certain subjects and less with others. The universe and its Creator are among the most recurring themes of the Qur’an. We must try to see how it treats this theme. Is its outlook philosophical or gnostic? Is its treatment similar to that of other religious books like the Bible and the Torah? Is it similar to that of the religious books of Hinduism? Does it deal with this problem in its own independent manner?

The other problem that is repeatedly treated by the Qur’an is the problem of the universe or the world of creation. We must examine the outlook of the Qur’an about the universe. Does it regard the universe and all creation to be an exercise in vanity and futility or does it regard it as being based on coherent truth? Does it consider the state of affairs in the universe as being based upon a series of laws and principles, or does it regard it as a chaotic phenomenon in which nothing is the cause or condition of any other thing? Among the general issues dealt by the Qur’an is the problem of the human being. The Qur’anic outlook regarding the human being must be analyzed. Does the Qur’an possess an optimistic outlook of man? Does it speak of him in pessimistic and negative terms? Does the Qur’an consider man as a despicable creature, or does it acknowledge his nobility and dignity?

The other problem dealt with in the Qur’an is the problem of human society. We have to see if the Qur’an considers the society to be primary and the individual as secondary or whether it subordinates the society to the individual. Are societies, according to the Qur’an, subject to laws governing their life and death, their rise and decline, or are these conditions applicable to individuals alone? In the same way, its conception of history also needs to be clarified. What is the Qur’anic view regarding history? What are the forces that control the dynamics of history? To what extent can an individual’s influence affect the course of history in the view of the Qur’an?

The Qur’an deals with numerous other issues. I shall enumerate some of them here. One of them is the point of view of the Qur’an about itself. The other issue is related to the Prophet (S) and its manner of introducing and addressing him. Another issue is its definition of a believer (mu’min) and his characteristics and so on.

Furthermore, each of these general issues possesses various branches and divisions. For example, when discussing mankind and its situation, it is natural to speak about morality. Or, when speaking about society, the problem of human relationships also unavoidably enters the discussion. The same is true of such notions as “enjoining good and forbidding evil,” and the problem of social classes.

How does the Qur’an Introduce Itself?

The Qur’an describes its other function as the presentation of the Prophetic mission, which is aimed at guidance of humanity, by delivering it from darkness and leading it towards light:

A Book We have sent down to thee that thou mayest bring forth mankind from the darkness into the light… (14:1)

That thou mayest bring forth your people from the darkness into the light … (14:5)

The exegetists of the Qur’an emphasize the point that whenever the Qur’an mentions darkness, it always uses it in the plural form although it always uses light in its singular form. This means that the word, (darkness) includes all sorts of darkness, all of the evil ways that lead towards darkness, and that (light) signifies one single right path –the path of righteousness, whereas the ways of deviation and perversion are many. In Suurat al-Baqarah, the Qur’an says:

God is the Protector of the believers; He brings them forth from the darkness into the light. And the unbelievers –their protectors are taghut, that bring them forth from the light into the darkness … (2:257)

The Language of the Qur’an

The comprehension of the meaning of the Qur’an has certain peculiarities to which due attention must be paid. While other books are read for the purpose of acquiring the knowledge of novel ideas that merely involve reason and the rational faculties of the reader’s mind, the Qur’an must be studied with the intention of educating oneself. The Qur’an itself clarifies this point:

A book We have sent down to thee, blessed, that men possessed of mind may ponder its signs end so remember. (38:29)

That which is termed here as the heart, is the great source of profound feeling that resides within all human beings. This is sometimes also called “the sense of being”, i.e. the feeling of relationship between human existence and the Absolute Being.

One who knows the language of the heart, when he addresses the human being in this language, can move the inner depths of his being. It is not merely the mind and the intellect alone which is affected, but his whole being, which is profoundly influenced. This sort of influence can perhaps be illustrated by the example of music. The various forms of music share the common quality which is stimulation of human feelings. Music appeals to the human soul and immerses it into a specific world of feeling. The nature of feelings, excited by different kinds of music, of course, varies. Certain types of music may be associated with the passions of valour and bravery. In the past, on the battlefield, the effects of martial music were evident. Sometimes its effects were so strong that the frightened soldiers who would not dare come out of their bunkers, were made to march in fervour despite fierce attacks from enemy’s ranks. It is possible that certain other kinds of music may excite sensual feelings and invite the listener to succumb to sensual vices. The results of such music are noticeable in the moral waywardness of our own times. Perhaps no other thing could have so effectively broken down the walls of morality and chastity to the extent of this kind of music. Other kinds of instinctive feelings and passions, whether aroused by means of music or by some other means, can be controlled when addressed in the language that appeals to them.

One of the most sublime instincts and emotions present in all human beings is the urge for religion and the natural quest for God. It is in the same heavenly echoes that the Qur’an speaks to the Divine instincts of mankind. The Qur’an itself recommends that its verses be recited in fine and beautiful rhythms; for it is in those heavenly rhythms that it speaks to the Divine nature of man. The Qur’an, describing itself, maintains that it speaks in two languages. Sometimes it introduces itself as the Book of meditation, logic and demonstration; at other times as the Book of feeling and love. In other words, it does not merely seek to nourish the intellect and thought, but also nurtures the human soul.

The Qur’an lays great emphasis on its own specific quality of music, a music which more than any other music, is effective in arousing the profound and sublime feelings of the human heart. The Qur’an directs the believers to devote a few hours of the night to reciting its verses, and to recite them during their ritual prayers when their attention is turned towards God. Addressing the Prophet, the Qur’an says:

O thou enwrapped in thy robes, keep vigil the night, except a little (a half of it, or diminish a little, or add a little) and chant the Qur’an very distinctly. (73:1 -4)

It were the same rhythms of the Qur’an that became the singular source of spiritual joy and strength, and the means of producing inner purity and sincerity among Muslims. It was the same music of the Qur’an which, in a very short period of time, converted the barbarous tribes of the Arabian peninsula, into a steadfast nation of committed believers, who could grapple with the greatest powers of the age and overthrow them.

The Muslims did not merely view the Qur’an as a book of moral advice and instruction alone, but also, as a spiritual and ideological tonic. They recited the Qur’an with devotion of heart during their intimate nightly supplications, and during the day, they derived from it the strength to attack the unbelievers like roaring lions. The Qur’an had just such an expectation of those who had found their faith. Addressing the Prophet, it says:

Obey not the unbelievers, but struggle against them with it [the Qur’an] striving mightily. (25:52)

When the Qur’an calls its language “the language of the heart,” it means the heart which it seeks to purify, enlighten and stimulate. This language is other than the language of music that occasionally arouses sensual feelings. It is also different from the language of martial music that arouses the spirit of heroism in the hearts of soldiers and strengthens and enhances their enthusiasm. Rather, it is the language which converted the Arab Bedouins into inspired mujahidin, for whom it was said:

They carried their visions on their swords.

Standing in prayer during nights,
fasting during daytime.

It is on account of this characteristic, that the Qur’an is a book of the heart and the soul. Its appeal overwhelms the soul and brings tears flowing from the eyes and makes the heart tremble. It stresses this point and considers it true even of the “People of the Book”:

Those to whom We gave the Book before this believe in it, and, when it is recited to them, they say, ‘We believe in it; surely it is the Truth from our Lord; even before it we were of those who surrender. (28:52-53)

And when they hear what has been sent down to the Messenger, thou seest their eyes overflow with tears, because of the truth they recognize. They say, “Our Lord we believe; so do Thou write us down among the witnesses.” (5:83)

God has sent down the fairest discourse as a book, consimilar in its oft repeated parts, whereat shiver the skins of those who fear their Lord; then their skins and their hearts soften to the remembrance of God … (39:23)

The Qur’an’s Addressees:

It is but a reminder unto all beings, and you shall surely know its tiding, after a while. (38:87-88)

We have not sent thee, save as a mercy unto all beings. (21:107)

And We sent down with them the Book and the Balance so that men might uphold justice … (57:25)

The Qur’an declares that its followers are those who have a clear and pure conscience. They are drawn to it solely by the love of justice and truth, which is ingrained in the nature of all human beings —not under the urge for material interests and worldly desires and allurements.

Conception of Reason in the Qur’an

It is to be seen whether or not the Qur’an acknowledges the “authority” (hajjah) of reason –as the scholars of fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) and usul put it. This means whether or not we should respect the judge-ments of reason and act according to them if they happen to be correct and rightly deduced by it. Moreover, if one acts according to the dictates of reason and occasionally falls into error, will God exonerate him for it, or whether He will punish him on account of that error? And, if one fails to act according to the ruling of reason, does he deserve punishment?

Evidence in Favour of the Authority of Reason

1. The Qur’an’s Emphasis on Rationalism

Surely the worst of beasts in God’s sight are those that are deaf and dumb and do not reason. (8:22)

It is not for any soul to believe, save by the leave of God… (10:100)

And He lays abomination upon those who do not reason. (10:100)

Say: Bring your proof if you are truthful. (2:111)

Were there gods in them [earth and heaven] other than God, they would surely disintegrate … (21:22)

2. References to the Law of Causality

God changes not what is in a people, until they change what is in themselves … (13:11)

The Qur’an urges Muslims to study the conditions and circumstances of societies of the past and to take lesson from their history. It is evident that if the destinies of races and nations were random, or dependent upon accidents, or were prescribed from above, the advice to study and draw a lesson would not have any sense. By laying emphasis on it, the Qur’an intends to remind us that a uniform system of laws governs the destinies of all the nations of the world. It also reminds us that if the conditions of a society in which we live, are similar to the conditions prevalent in a society of the past, the same fate awaits us too. Elsewhere, the Qur’an says:

How many a city We have destroyed in its evildoing, and now it is fallen down upon its turrets. How many a ruined well, a tall palace. What, have they not journeyed in the land so that they have hearts to understand with, or ear to hear with … ? (22:45-46)

3. Rational Basis of Divine Commands

Indeed prayer forbids indecency and dishonour … (29:45)

Prescribed for you is the Fast, even as it was prescribed for those that were before you –haply you will be God-fearing. (2:183)

4. Combating Deviations of Reason

The human mind can, in many cases, fall into error. This fact is acknowledged by all of us. However, this danger is not limited to the intellect alone, but can equally befall the senses, and feelings as well. Just for the sense of vision, scores of visual errors and optical illusions have been pointed out. In the case of reason, too, there are times when people frame an argument and rationale and draw an inference on its basis, but later on they realize that the basis of their conclusion was erroneous. Here the question arises, whether the faculty of reason should be suspended on account of its occasional failures, or whether we should employ other means for discovering the errors of the intellect and seek to avoid such errors. In answering this question, the Sophists said that reason should not be relied upon, and that, basically, argumentation and reasoning is an absurd practice. Other philosophers have given a fitting reply to the Sophists, and said that though the senses can also err like reason, but no one has ever recommended their suspension. Since it was not possible to discard reason, the philosophers resolved to find ways of making reason secure from error. During their efforts in this regard, they discovered that all arguments consist of two parts, namely, matter and form. Like a building which has various ingredients in its construction, like, lime, cement, steel, etc. (matter), to acquire a specific structure (form). In order to attain the permanence and perfection of its construction, it is essential to procure proper material as well as to draw a perfect and faultless plan. For the correctness and accuracy of an argument, too, it is essential that its content and form be both free of error and defect. For judging the validity of the form of any argument, the Aristotelian or formal logic came into existence. The function of formal logic is to determine the accuracy or inaccuracy of the form of an argument, and help the mind to avoid errors in the process of reasoning.

But the major problem that remains is that solely formal logic is inadequate for this purpose, because it cannot alone guarantee the validity of an argument. It can give assurance about one aspect alone. To obtain the perfection of the material aspect, the use of material logic is also essential, that is, we need certain criteria for controlling the quality of the rational material.

Thinkers like Bacon and Descartes strove hard to evolve some kind of material logic similar to the formal logic of Aristotle, which was devised for formal reasoning. They did obtain certain criteria in this regard, though they are not as universal as those of Aristotelian logic, but are, to a limited extent, helpful in preventing the mind from committing errors in reasoning. Some may be surprised to know that the Qur’an has presented such principles for the prevention of any lapses in the process of reasoning, which surpass in merit and precedence the efforts of philosophers like Descartes and others.

The Qur’anic Viewpoint
Regarding the Sources of Error

If thou obeyest the most part of those on earth, they will lead thee astray from the path of God: they follow only surmise, merely conjecturing. (6:116)

And pursue not that thou has no knowledge of … (17:36)

The second source of error in the reasoning process, which is particularly relevant in social issues, is imitation. Most people are such that they accept whatever beliefs that are current in their society. They adopt certain beliefs merely for the reason that they were followed by their preceding generation. The Qur’an bids people to carefully scrutinize all ideas and judge them by the criteria of reason –neither to follow blindly the conventional beliefs and traditions of their ancestors, nor to reject them totally without any rational justification. It reminds us that there are many false doctrines that were introduced in the past, but were accepted by the people, and there are also certain truths that were presented in the distant past, but people resisted them on account of their ignorance. In accepting any ideas or principles, men are advised to make use of their intellects and rational faculties, and not to indulge in blind imitation. Very often, the Qur’an puts imitation of ancestors in direct opposition to reason and intellect:

And when it is said to them: ‘Follow what God has sent down’, they say, ‘No; but we will follow such things as we found our fathers doing.’ What? Even if their fathers had no understanding of anything, and if they were not guided ? (2:170)

God changes not what is in a people, until they change what is in themselves … (13:11)

A Third effective source of error pointed out by the Qur’an is

Selfish motives tarnish virtue and merit,
A cascade of curtains gallops from the heart towards vision.

A problem of fiqh was put before al-Allamah al-Hilli: If an animal falls inside a well, and the carcass cannot be removed; what should be done with the well? Incidentally, during the same days, an animal happened to fall into the well in his own house, and it became inevitable for him to deduce an injunction to solve his own problem, too There were two possible ways to solve the issue: Firstly, the well should be totally closed, not to be used again; secondly, a fixed quantity of water should be emptied from the well and the rest of well’s water would be clean and usable. The ‘Allamah realized that he could not give a completely impartial verdict about the problem without interference from his own personal interest. Accordingly, he ordered his own well be closed. Then, with an easy mind, free of the pressure of selfish motives. he turned to deducing the details of verdict in the second case.

The Qur’an contains a large number of warnings regarding the evil of submission to personal desires. The following is just one instance of it:

They follow nothing except conjecture, and what the self desires … (53:25)

 Qur’anic Outlook Regarding the “Heart”

Surely in that there is a reminder to him who has a heart … (50:37)

My heart was alarmed
[on sensing the coming danger],
While I, a thoughtless dervish,
Do not know what
this wandering prey has come across.

In their hearts is a sickness, and God has increased that sickness … (2:10)

Definition of the Heart

In places where the Qur’an speaks of revelation, it does not make any mention of reason; rather it is merely concerned with the heart of the Prophet (S). This does not mean an absence of rational and demonstrative reception of the Holy Qur’an on the part of the Prophet, but it was his heart which, in a state that we cannot imagine, obtained the direct experience and awareness of those transcendental realities. The verses of Suurat al-Najm and Suurat al-Takwir describe the state of this union to some extent:

Nor speaks he out of caprice. This is naught but a revelation revealed taught him by one terrible in power, very strong; he stood poised, being on the higher horizon, then drew near and approached nearer, two bow’s length away, or nearer, then revealed to His servant that He revealed. His heart lies not of what he saw. (53:3-11)

Truly this is the word of a noble messenger having power, of honoured place with the Lord of the Throne, obeyed, moreover trusty. Your companion is not possessed; he truly saw him on the clear horizon; he is not niggardly of the Unseen. (81:19-23)

Wherever the Qur’an speaks of the revelation and the heart, al- though its import transcends the limits of reason and thought, its speech is not irrational or anti-rational. It expounds a vision which surpasses human reason and sensibility, and enters a domain which is, basically, beyond reason and intellect.

Characteristics of the Heart

Prosperous is he who purifies it [the self]. (91:9)

No indeed; but that they were earning has overwhelmed their hearts. (83:14)

If you fear God, He will assign you [the capacity of] distinguishing …(8:29)
But those who struggle in Our [cause], surely We shall guide them in Our ways… (29:69)

Our Lord, make not our hearts to swerve after Thou hast guided us … (3:8)

No indeed; but that they were earning has overwhelmed their hearts. (83:14)

When they swerved, God caused their hearts to swerve … (61:5)

God has set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing, and on their eyes is a covering … (2:7)

We lay veils upon their hearts lest they understand it … (6:25) So does God seal the hearts of the unbelievers. (7:101) So that their hearts have become hard, and many of them are ungodly. (57:16)

Human history itself is a witness to the fact that whenever despotic regimes have wanted to bring other societies under their autocratic rule, they have tried to corrupt their social spirit and pollute their social atmosphere. They provided enormous facilities for the people to indulge in licentiousness, and gave them every kind of freedom in this regard. A heart-rending account of this unholy treatment meted out to Muslims of Spain –a region which is regarded to have played an effective role in initiating the Renaissance, and had the most advanced culture in Europe– throws enough light on this phenomenon. In order to divest Spain out of Muslims’ hands, the Christians resorted to defilement of the morals of Muslim youth, by providing ample facilities for their debaucheries. They even went to the extent of alluring and enticing the army generals and government officials in topmost ranks. They thus succeeded in diverting Muslims from the path of determination and purpose, and in divesting them of their power, their strength of faith, and purity of soul, converting them into profligate weaklings addicted to drinking and licentiousness. It is obvious that it is not very difficult to subdue such individuals. Christians took revenge on nearly eight hundred years of Muslim rule in such a way that history is ashamed at recounting those deeds. The same Christians who, according to the teachings of Jesus Christ (“offer your left cheek if your right cheek is slapped”), were supposed to behave in a different way, surpassed the bloodthirsty tradition of Genghiz Khan by the massacre of Muslims in Spain. Nevertheless, the ruin that Muslims suffered was the result of their own spiritual degeneration and decay; it was their punishment for abandoning the Qur’anic commands.

In our times, also, wherever the evil of colonialism exists, the same practices are vigorously adopted –a danger against which the Qur’an so emphatically warns us. The colonialists try to corrupt the hearts; when the heart is thus debilitated, reason, too, is not only lost and fails to function properly, but is itself turned into a terrible bondage. The colonialists and the exploitive powers are not afraid of establishing schools and universities: they even advocate popular education; but, on the other hand, they take good care to make arrangements to corrupt and destroy the spirit of students, and of the teachers as well. They are fully aware of the fact that an unhealthy mind and a sickly soul cannot make any decisive move, and readily yield to every type of exploitation and degradation.

That is why the Qur’an gives ample importance to the idea of exaltation, edification, and purity of the soul of society. In one of its verses, it says:

And help one another to piety and God-fearing, do not help each other to sin and enmity… (5:2)

Here I shall mention two or three sayings of the Prophet (S) and the Imams (A) in order to elucidate this point. There is a tradition that once a person came in the presence of the Prophet (S) and told him that he wished to ask certain questions. The Prophet asked him whether he wanted to listen to the answers, or if he wished to ask questions first. He asked the Prophet (S) to give the answers. The Prophet (S) told him that his question was concerned with the meaning of virtue and goodness. The man affirmed that he intended to ask exactly the same question. The Prophet gently knocked the man’s chest with his three fingers, saying: “Put this question to your own heart;” then he added: “This heart is so made that it is harmonious with virtue; it is put at ease by virtue and piety, but disturbed by vice and villainy. In the same way, as presence of an alien disharmonious object in the human body causes uneasiness and discomfort, and disturbs its order, the human soul is thrown off its balance and ease on account of faulty behaviour.” What is commonly called the pain and torment of the conscience, is the same state of inconformity and alienation of the soul:

[For an honest insight] ask your own heart, though the masters may have their own (different) opinion.

Elsewhere, when the Prophet (S) was asked about the meaning of faith (iman), he said, “When one performs an ugly deed, and is overwhelmed with the feeling of reproach and displeasure, and when one performs virtuous deeds and feels happy and joyous, it means that he is endowed with faith.”

It has been quoted from Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (A) that when a believer liberates himself from all worldly bondages, he feels the delight of nearness to God within his heart; in this state, the whole world appears to him very small and insignificant; he strives with all power to liberate himself from the bondages of the material world. This is a reality attested by the lives of the men of God.

In the biographies of the Prophet (S), it is written that once after his morning prayers the Prophet (S) went to visit the Ashab al-Suffah. They were a group of poor men who did not possess any worldly belongings, and used to live by the side of Prophet’s Mosque in al-Madinah. When the Prophet (S) happened to see one of them, Harith ibn Zayd, who looked rather pale and emaciated, his eyes sunk deep inside his skull, he inquired, “How are you.” He answered, “I have woken up a man of certain faith.” The Prophet asked him what proved his claim. He answered, “I am bereft of sleep at nights and engage in fasting during the days.” The Prophet told him that this was insufficient. “Tell me more about it,” he said. Harith said, “O Messenger of God, my condition is such that I can clearly see and hear the people of heaven and those of hell. If you permit me, I will inform you about the secret thoughts and inner states of every one of your companions.” The Prophet bade him hold his tongue, and say no more; but asked him, “What is your desire?” He said, “To fight in the way of God.”

According to the Qur’an, furbishing of the human heart exalts a human being to such a point that, in the words of Ali (A), even if the veils that conceal the Unseen be removed from in front of him, there is nothing that can enhance his faith. The teachings of the Qur’an are meant to educate man to become a being equipped with the power of knowledge and reason on the one hand, and possessed of a pure heart and sound feeling on the other. They aim to train a human being who is able to employ his reason and heart in the most proper and exalted fashion. The Imams (S) and their true pupils were examples of such human beings.

The study and knowledge of the Qur’an is essential for every learned person as well as for all faithful believers. It is specially essential for those scholars who are interested in the study of man and society, since this book has been effectively instrumental not only in moulding the destinies of Islamic societies, but also in shaping the destiny of the human race as a whole. A brief glance over history would be enough to provide sufficient proof of the claim that there has been no such book that has ever influenced human societies to the magnitude of the Qur’an. It is for the same reason that the Qur’an automatically steps into the precincts of sociological discussions, and becomes the elemental constituent of the subjects of research in this discipline. This means that any deep study and profound research in the field of world history of the last fourteen hundred years, is impossible without the knowledge of the Qur’an.

Now that the necessity of understanding the Qur’an has been confirmed, let us see what are the ways of understanding this book. Generally for the purpose of a profound understanding of any book it is necessary to study it in three ways: At this stage, we want to know to what extent the relationship of a book with its author is authentic. Suppose we want to study the Diwan-Hafiz, or the Ruba’iyyat of ‘Umar Khayyam. At first, we have to see whether the work which is attributed to Hafiz, wholly belongs to him, or whether a part of it is Hafiz’s work and the rest is an apocryphal annexation to it. Similarly in the case of ‘Umar Khayyam, and others too, we must judiciously scrutinize their works. It is here that the matter of examination of manuscripts –and for that matter the oldest of them– becomes relevant. Thus we see that none of these books can dispense with such a treatment. The Diwan-e-Hafiz printed by the late Qazvini, which has been based on some of the most authentic manuscripts of Hafiz’s work, varies greatly from the ordinary editions of Hafiz.

printed in Iran and Bombay, which are usually found in homes. The editions of Hafiz’s works published during the last thirty or forty years contain as much as twice the amount of Hafiz’s original works. In view of certain modern manuscript experts of repute, they are fake; although we occasionally come across in them some verses which match the sublime heights of Hafiz’s poetry. Likewise when we study the quatrains attributed to ‘Umar Khayyam, we shall find nearly two hundred quatrains of the same poetical standard with only minor differences usually possible even among the authentic verses of a single poet. However, if we look back at the history of Khayyam’s times, we shall notice that the number of quatrains attributed to him may perhaps be less than twenty. The authenticity of the rest of them is either doubtful, or may with certainty be said to belong to other poets. There are several other verses in the Qur’an that forbid forgery in relation to the Word of God.

The gravity of this sin as stressed by the Qur’an had profound impression upon minds and served as a severe discouragement in this regard. In this way, before any type of alterations could have taken place in its verses, they were repeated often, thus reaching a stage that it was impossible to increase, diminish or alter even a single word in this heavenly book. Accordingly, there is neither any need of any discussion about the Qur’an from the point of view of authenticity, nor does any scholar of the Qur’an throughout the world see any necessity of such a discussion. However, I think, it is necessary to remind the readers about the fact that, because of the rapid expansion of the Islamic domain and distance of the major part of the population living far away from Medina, which was the center of huffaz (those who memorized) of the Qur’an and the Companions of the Prophet, there arose the danger of occurrence of advertent or wilful gradual alteration in the Qur’anic text. But the prompt dexterity and timely awareness on the part of early Muslims averted this danger.

Within the first five decades, they utilized the services of the Sahabah (the Companions of the Prophet) and those of the huffaz of the Qur’an for the purpose of averting the chances of conscious or inadvertent alterations in the text of the Qur’an. They distributed approved copies of the Qur’an from Medina to the surrounding regions. They thus checked any chances of wrongdoing, especially on the part of the Jews, who are well-known champions in this field. During this stage of study and analysis of a book, it is essential to understand these things: the subject it deals with, the goal that it pursues, its outlook regarding the world, its point of view concerning man and society, its style and treatment of the subject-whether the treatment of the subject is in an intellectual and scholarly manner, or whether it has its own characteristic style. One more question that is relevant in this context is whether this book contains any message and guidance for humanity or not.

If the answer to this question is in the affirmative, then what is the message that it conveys? The first group of questions are, of course, concerned with the point of view and outlook of the book regarding man and universe, about life and death etc. In other words, these questions are associated with the, world-outlook of the book, and in terms of Islamic philosophy, with its al-hikmat al-nazariyyah(theoretical wisdom). But the second group of questions is concerned with the perspective of future of mankind offered by the book. They deal with the suggested basis for moulding the human kind and human societies. This aspect may be regarded as the “message” of the book. At this stage, i.e. after verification of authenticity of the authorship of a book, and after thorough study and analysis of its contents, we come to the stage of exploring whether the contents of the book comprise of its author’s own original ideas, or, the ideas have been borrowed from some other source.

For instance, in studying Hafiz’s works, after verifying the authenticity of the verses and making their analytical study, we have to see whether these themes, ideas and thoughts that have been incorporated into Hafiz’s poetry and poured into the moulds of his words, phrases, couplets, language and style, are actually the creations of Hafiz, or whether only the words and phrases and the beauty, art and craftsmanship reflected in the verses come from Hafiz, whereas the thoughts and ideas belong to someone else, or have been borrowed from another source. After ascertaining his artistic originality, the intellectual originality of Hafiz’s works has also to be established. Our study of the Qur’an acquaints us with three distinguishing characteristics of this holy book.

The first distinguishing characteristic is the absolute authenticity of its source. That is, without the slightest need of any comparison between the oldest manuscripts, it is evident that what we recite as the verses of the Holy Qur’an, are exactly the same words presented before the world by Muhammad ibn ‘Abd-Allah (S). The second characteristic feature of the Qur’an is the quality of its contents: its teachings are genuinely original and have not been adopted or plagiarized. It is the duty of an analytical study to prove this fact. The third characteristic of the Qur’an is its Divine identity: its teachings have been delivered to the Prophet from a world that transcends his thought and mind. The Prophet (S) was only a recipient of this revelation and message. This is the result that we obtain from the study of the sources and roots of the Qur’an. The understanding of the Qur’an requires certain preliminaries which are briefly described here.

The first essential condition necessary for the study of the Qur’an, is the knowledge of the Arabic language, such as for the understanding of Hafiz and Sa’di, it is impossible to get anywhere without the knowledge of the Persian language. In the same way, to acquaint oneself with the Qur’an without knowing the Arabic language is impossible. The other essential condition is the knowledge of the history of Islam; since, unlike the Bible and the Torah, this book was revealed gradually during a long period of twenty-three years of the Prophet’s life, a tumultuous time in the history of Islam. It is on this account that every verse of the Qur’an is related to certain specific historical incident called sha’n-i nuzul The sha’n-i nuzul, by itself does not restrict the meaning of the verses, but the knowledge of the particulars of revelation throws more light on the subject of the verses in an effective way. The Qur’an also says: According to the Qur’an, the Prophet (S) himself is the exegetist and the interpreter of the Qur’anic text. Whatever has reached us from the Prophet, is of great help in our understanding of the Qur’an.

For the Shi’ah, who believe in the infallible Imams (A) also, and believe that the Prophet (S) has transmitted everything he obtained from God to his spiritual successors (awliya’), those genuine riwayat (narrations about the Prophet (S)) that have reached us through the Imams, possess the same degree of authenticity as those obtained directly from the Prophet (S). Accordingly, the authentic riwayat of the Imams are of great help to us in our understanding of the Qur’an. However, when he remarks: what does he intend to say? Here Ferdowsi has made use of an enigmatic technique. Those who are interested would like to know the solution: 9 X 9=81, 3 X 4=12, and 81 plus 12 add up to 93. Ferdowsi says, the Sultan’s palm was just like 93. It means that the fist of the Sultan was so tightly closed that only his thumb was free, and this thumb along with the index finger (which acquires the shape of 92 and other three fingers make 93. Through this obscure statement Ferdowsi wants to emphatically report the miserliness of the Sultan.

Since the language of the Qur’an is the same as used by men, inevitably, the same diction is used for the most sublime and spiritual themes as we human beings use for earthly subjects. But in order to prevent any misunderstanding about certain problems, some verses have been devised in such a way that they need to be explained with the help of other verses. There is no way except this. For example, the Qur’an wanted to point out to a truth namely, seeing God through the heart; that is, to witness the presence of God by means of one’s heart. This idea has been expressed in the following terms: The Qur’an makes use of the verb “looking,” and no other word more suitable could be available for the expression of the desired sense. But to avert the possibility of any doubt, the Qur’an explains in other place: The second verse makes the reader distinguish between two different meanings conveyed by the same word. In order to avoid any possibility of ambiguity in its exalted themes, the Qur’an asks us to check the mutashabihat against the mahkamat: Thereby, the Qur’an means that there are certain verses whose firmness cannot be denied and other meanings cannot be derived from them, except their real ones. Such verses are the ‘mother’ of the Book (umm al-kitab).

In the same way as a mother is the refuge to her child, or a cosmopolitan city (umm al-qura) is the center of small cities, al-ayat al-muhkamat are also regarded as the axes of the mutashabihat. Al-ayat al-mutashabihat are, of course, to be cogitated upon and understood, but they are to be pondered upon with the help of al-ayat al-muhkamat. Any inference drawn without the help of the mother-verses would not be correct and reliable.  During the analysis and study of the Qur’an, the first question that arises is whether the Qur’an can be studied and understood. Has this book been introduced for the purpose of studying and understanding it, or whether it is just for reading and reciting and obtaining reward and blessing? The reader, possibly, may wonder at raising of such a question. To him it may appear beyond doubt that the Qur’an is meant for the purpose of knowing and understanding it. Nevertheless, in view of various undesirable currents, which due to numerous reasons came into existence in the Muslim world regarding the question of understanding of the Qur’an, and which had an important role in bringing about the decline of Muslims, we shall discuss this matter in brief. Regrettably, the roots of those degenerate and dangerous notions still persist in our societies. So I consider it necessary to elaborate on this topic.

Here the aim is the expression of total submission and resignation towards the Divine decree. For the same reason the father and son are ready to execute the Divine command with whole-hearted purity and sincerity, but the execution of the command was stopped by the Will of God. But the same incident is interpreted by the Sufis in this fashion: Ibrahim here represents intellect and reason (‘aql) and Isma’il represents the self (nafs); the Qur’anic anecdote is an allegory that hints at the attempt of reason to murder the human self (nafs). The Qur’an also says in one of its verses: That is, We have not sent the Qur’an to be kissed, embraced and put on the niche to gather dust, but for men to read and to contemplate about its contents: The above verse and scores of other such verses emphasize the importance of contemplation in the Qur’an and interpretation of the Qur’anic verses, although not an interpretation based on personal caprices and bias, but a just, truthful and balanced interpretation free of all traces of selfish interests. If we try to comprehend the Qur’an in an honest and unbiased way, it is not at all necessary to solve all problems that we find in it. In this regard the Qur’an is similar to Nature. In Nature, too, a number of mysteries have neither been solved yet, nor can they be solved in present conditions, yet are likely to be solved in the future. Moreover, in studying and understanding nature, man has to tailor his ideas in accordance with Nature itself. He is forced to interpret Nature in accordance with its reality. He cannot define Nature in terms of his own caprices and inclinations.

The Qur’an, like the book of Nature, is a book that has not been sent for a specific age and time. Had it been otherwise, all the secrets of the Qur’an would have been discovered in the past; this heavenly Book would not have presented its charm, freshness and vitality. But we see that the possibility of contemplation, reflection and discovery of new dimensions is inexhaustible in the case of this Holy Book. This is a point that has amply been emphasized and clarified by the Prophet and the Imams. In a tradition, it is related from the Prophet (S) that the Qur’an, like the sun and the moon, will present its movement and continuity; that is, the Qur’an is not static or monotonous. In some other place the Prophet has said that outwardly the Qur’an is beautiful and inwardly it is deep and unfathomable. In ‘Uyun akhbar al-Rida, from the Imam al-Rida (A), it is quoted that Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (A) was asked about the secret of it that as the time passes and the more it is read and recited, the Qur’an increases in its novelty and freshness day by day. The Imam al-Sadiq (A) answered: The Qur’an has been sent for all ages and for all human beings. It is so composed that in spite of changes in knowledge, outlook and approach through various times and ages, it surpasses all learning and knowledge in all ages.

While it encompasses mysteries and abstruse intricacies for the reader of every age, at the same time it presents a great feast of meanings and ideas that can satiate the needs of every time in accordance with the capacity of that particular age.  Now we shall proceed to study the contents of the Qur’an from an analytic viewpoint. Of course, if we were to deal with every subject of the Qur’an separately, it would call for –as Rumi would say– seventy tons of paper. So we will confine our discussion mainly to general and then a few particular issues. For the purpose of analysing Qur’anic themes, it is better to start by examining the opinion of the Qur’an about itself and its manner of self-introduction. The first and foremost thing that the Qur’an pronounces about itself is that all of its words, phrases and sentences are the Word of God. It makes clear that the Prophet (S) was not its author; rather the Prophet only related whatever was revealed to him through the agency of the Ruh al-Qudus (Gabriel) with the permission of God. Without doubt the darkness of ignorance is one of the vices from which the Qur’an emancipates humanity and leads it towards the light of knowledge and wisdom.

However, if merely ignorance were regarded as darkness, then the philosophers could have accomplished this job. But there exist other evils more dangerous than the vice of ignorance, and to subdue them is beyond the power of sheer knowledge. Among them are the vices of worship of material benefits, egoism, enslavement to desires, and greed, which are considered to be personal and moral vices. Social vices like oppression and discrimination manifest the spiritual darkness of a society. In Arabic, the word zulm (injustice and oppression) is derived from the same root as zulmah (darkness), which shows that injustice is a form of social and spiritual darkness. To struggle against such forms of darkness is the responsibility and mission of the Qur’an and other heavenly books.

Addressing Prophet Moses (A), the Qur’an says: This darkness, this shadow, is the darkness of Pharaoh’s oppression and injustice and that of his clique. The light is the light of justice and freedom. The Qur’an determines its goal to be the breaking of the chains of ignorance, misguidance, moral and social corruption and destruction, or in other words, to dissipate all sorts of (darkness) and to guide humanity in the direction of justice, goodness and light. The other issue is that of gaining familiarity with the language of the Qur’an and the recitation of it. There are some people who think that the Qur’an is to be read merely for the purpose of obtaining spiritual reward (thawab) without need of understanding anything of its contents. They continuously recite the Qur’an, but if they are even once asked) “Do you understand the meaning of what you are reading?” they cannot answer. To recite the Qur’an is essential and good, being regarded as the first step necessary for comprehending its contents; and not merely as a means for gaining Divine reward.

One of the functions of the Qur’an is to instruct and to teach. For this purpose, the Qur’an addresses human reason and speaks in logical and demonstrative terms. There is also another language that the Qur’an makes use of. But this language is not used to appeal to the faculty of reason, but to the heart. This is the language of feeling. Whosoever wants to acquaint himself with the Qur’an, should be familiar with both of the languages and be able to make use of both of them simultaneously. It is a grave mistake to separate one from the other. It asks the Prophet (S) to recite the Qur’an while standing for the prayers. Tartiil means to recite neither too hastily that words cannot be distinguished, nor too slowly that their connection be lost. It commands the Prophet (S) to recite its verses rhythmically, and at the same time to cogitate upon their meaning.

Again, in a later verse of the same surah, the Prophet is reminded that he needs enough sleep to effectively perform the daily chores of business or jihad in the path of God; nevertheless, he should not forget to seclude himself for worship. The Qur’an advises the Prophet (S) not to pay heed to the words of the infidels and to stand firmly against them equipped with the weapon of the Qur’an. It assures him that the ultimate victory shall be his. The life of the Prophet (S) itself is a positive proof of this assurance. He stood all alone against enemies without any support except the Qur’an, and the same Qur’an meant everything to him. It produced warriors for him, furnished arms and forces, until, ultimately, the enemies were totally subdued.

The Qur’an drew towards him individuals from the enemy’s camp, and caused them to submit before the Messenger of God. In this way the Divine pledge was fulfilled. Those people carried their vision, their ideology, their religion and spiritual discoveries on their swords, and used them in the defence of those ideals and ideas. The notions of private and personal interest were alien to them. Though they were not innocent and infallible, and they did commit mistakes, yet they were those who rightly fitted the description: Every moment of day and night, they were in contact with the depths of Being. Their nights were passed in worship, and days in jihad. It describes a group of people who undergo a state of veneration and awe when the Qur’an is recited before them. They affirm faith in all the contents of the Book, declare everything in it to be nothing but truth and their veneration of it continues to increase.

In another verse, the Qur’an affirms that among the Ahl al-Kitab (The People of the Book), the Christians are closer to the Muslims than the idolaters and Jews. Then a group of Christians who believed and became Muslims on hearing the Qur’an are described in these words: In another place, while describing the believers, the Qur’an says: In these, as well as in many other verses (such as 19:58, 61:1, etc.), the Qur’an tells us that it is not merely a book of knowledge and analysis; but at the same time that it makes use of logical arguments that appeal to the intellect, it also speaks to the finer sensibilities of the human soul. Another point that has to be inferred from the Qur’anic text during its analytical study, is to determine the identity of those who are addressed by it.

There are certain expressions like “guidance for the God fearing,” “guidance and good tiding for the believers,” “to admonish and caution him who is alive,” which often recur in the Qur’an. Here the question may arise: Of what need is guidance for those who are already guided, the pious and the righteous? Moreover, we see that the Qur’an describes itself in these words: Then, is this book meant for all the people of the world, or is it for the believers alone? In another verse addressing the Prophet, God the Most Exalted, says: A more detailed explanation of this matter would be undertaken during the course of later discussion regarding the historical aspect of the Qur’an. Here it is just sufficient to mention that the Qur’an is addressed to all the people of the world. It does not single out any particular nation or group.

Everyone who accepts the invitation of the Qur’an is assured of spiritual salvation. However, the verses which mention the Qur’an as the book of guidance for the believers and the God-fearing (mu’minun and muttaqun), clearly specify the kind of people who will be attracted towards it and others who will turn away from it. The Qur’an never names any particular nation or tribe as being its devotees. It does not take sides with a specially chosen people. Unlike other religions, the Qur’an never associates itself with the interests of any specific class. It does not say, for example, that it has come to safeguard the interests of the workers or the peasants. The Qur’an repeatedly emphasizes the point that its purpose is to establish justice. Speaking about the prophets, it says: The Qur’an advocates justice for all mankind, not merely for this or that class, tribe or nation. It does not, for example, like Nazism and other such cults, stir up the passions of prejudice to attract people.

Similarly, it does not, like certain schools of thought like Marxism, base its appeal upon the human weakness of interest-seeking and enslave-ment to material motivations to incite people; because the Qur’an believes in the essential primariness of the rational consciousness of man and his intrinsic conscience. It believes that it is on the basis of its moral potentialities and its truth-conscious human nature that mankind is placed firmly on the path of progress and evolution. This is the reason why its message is not limited to the working or farming class or exclusively to the oppressed and deprived. The Qur’an addresses both the oppressors as well as the oppressed, and calls them to follow the right path.

Prophet Moses (A) delivers the message of God to both Bani Israel and Pharaoh, and asks them to believe in the Lord and to move in His path. Prophet Muhammad (S) extends his invitation both to the chieftains of Quraysh and to ordinary persons like Abu Dharr and ‘Ammar. The Qur’an cites numerous examples of an individual’s revolt against his own self and his voluntary return from the path of deviation to the straight one. But, at the same time, the Qur’an is aware of the point that the restoration and repentance of those immersed in a life of luxury and opulence is comparatively more difficult than that of those familiar with the hardships of life: the oppressed and the deprived, who are, as a matter of fact, naturally more inclined towards justice; whereas the rich and wealthy, at the very first step, have to forgo their personal and class interests and abandon their wishes and aspirations. Heretofore we have discussed briefly the diction of the Qur’an, and said that, for the purpose of communicating its message, the Qur’an makes use of two types of languages, namely, the language of rational argument and the language of feeling. Each of these languages has a specific appeal.

The first type addresses and appeals to the intellect or reason, while the second one is meant to appeal to the heart. Now we shall examine the point of view of the Qur’an regarding reason (‘aql). The issue of the authority of reason in Islam is certain. Since the earliest times until the present, none amongst the Islamic scholars –except for a very small number– has ever negated the authority of reason; they have counted it as one of the four sources of Islamic fiqh. Since our discussion is about the Qur’an, I think it necessary to produce arguments concerning the authority of reason from the Qur’an itself. The Qur’an, in various ways, confirms the authority of reason. About sixty to seventy verses can be cited –and that, too, for just one of the various ways, as mentioned– in which the Qur’an indicates that such and such a matter has been mentioned for reason to reflect on.

In one instance, the Qur’an refers to this issue in a striking statement: Of course, it is obvious that the Qur’an does not mean the physically deaf and dumb, but those who do not want to listen to truth, or those who, when they hear, do not wish to admit it with their tongues. In the view of the Qur’an, the ears which are unable to listen to truth and which are only used for listening to absurd and nonsensical things, are deaf. The tongue which is merely used to utter nonsense, is dumb. The people who do not reason, are those who do not make use of their intellect and their faculty of thought. Such are not fit to be called human beings.

The Qur’an includes them among the beasts. In another verse, while bringing up a subject related to Divine Unity (al-tawhid), the Qur’an refers to the issue of unity of Divine Acts, and says: After stating this profound issue –a problem which is not easily comprehensible to every human mind– the Qur’an continues the verse like this: In these two verses, which I quote here for the sake of example, the Qur’an, in the terms of logic, invites us to ratiocination. There are many other verses in the Qur’an which, on the basis of consequential signification, can be said to accept the authority of reason. In other words, the Qur’an makes statements which cannot be accepted without accepting the authority of reason.

For instance, an opponent is asked to forward rational argument in favour of his position: This can only be inferred to mean the Qur’an’s ratification of the authority of reason. In another place it uses syllogistic argument to prove the existence of the Necessary Being (wajib al-wujud): In these verses the Qur’an has framed a conditional proposition, which exempts or excludes the antecedent premise for arriving at a conclusion which is consequent upon it. Thus the Qur’an aims at emphasizing the role of reason and refutes the view of some of the religions that faith is alien to, or, is incompatible with reason, and that to embrace faith one has to suspend his rational faculty and concentrate upon heart alone, so that it may absorb the Divine light and become illuminated by it. This view is totally negated and refuted by the Qur’an.

The other argument that supports the view that the Qur’an approves of the ultimate authority of reason, is that it defines various problems in terms of cause-and-effect relationship. The cause-and-effect relation-ship, or the law of causation, is the foundation of rational thinking. This law is honoured by the Qur’an and is also employed by it. The Qur’an speaks on behalf of God, the Almighty, the Creator of the system of cause and effect. Despite the fact that His Word transcends the limitations of causality, the Qur’an is not oblivious of pointing out to the system of causality operating in the universe; it views all phenomena and events as being subservient to this system. The following verse supports this view: The Qur’an intends to say that, although all destinies depend on the Will of God, He never imposes upon human beings such fate as is outside and alien to their determination, will and action.

The destinies of societies also change according to their intrinsic system of functioning. God does not extravagantly alter the destiny of a nation without any specific reason, unless they themselves bring about a major change in their system of social and moral values and their manner of performing their individual duties. From this statement, we can infer that the affirmation of the law of causality and the approval of the cause-and-effect relationship, imply the acceptance of authority of reason. Another argument which proves that the Qur’an believes in the ultimate authority of reason, is that the Qur’an always explains the rationale behind its commands, laws and precepts. The scholars of usul al-din (the principles of the Faith) maintain that the harms and benefits caused by human deeds are among the reasons behind laws and commands. For example, while at one place the Qur’an ordains the performance of prayers, in another place it explains the philosophy of prayer: It mentions the spiritual effects of prayer, and states how the prayer can edify man.

It explains that it is on account of this exaltation that man can dissociate himself from indecencies. Elsewhere, after laying down rules for observing the fast, the Qur’an explains the rationale for its command: Similarly, with respect to other commandments like those regarding zakat (alms) and jihad, the Qur’an clarifies their necessity for individual, as well as for society. In this way, the Qur’an, not withstanding the transcendental nature of Divine commandments, clarifies fully their worldly and terrestrial relevance, and asks men to cogitate upon their rationale until their meaning becomes explicit, so that it may not be imagined that these laws are based on a series of occult notions beyond the power of human comprehension. Another evidence in favour of the Qur’an’s affirmation of the authority of reason –which is more conclusive than that mentioned above– is the battle it launched against all those agents which obstruct the proper functioning of reason.

For clarification of this point, we are forced to mention certain things in the way of an introduction. Among various sources of error mentioned by the Qur’an, one is that of taking conjecture and hypothesis for certainty and conviction. If a person were to adhere to the principle of putting conviction only in certainties and of not confusing between conjectures and certainties, he would not fall into error. The Qur’an lays great emphasis on this problem, and has clearly stated in one place that one of the biggest errors of the human mind is pursuit of conjectures and hypotheses. In another verse, which is addressed to the Prophet (S), the Qur’an says: In another verse, the Qur’an says: This is the word of caution to mankind extended by the Qur’an, for the first time in the history of human ideas, warning mankind against this kind of error. The Qur’an constantly reiterates the view that the idea of antiquity of an idea is neither the evidence of its falsity, nor is it a testimony of its truthfulness.

Antiquity affects material objects; but the eternal truths of existence never become old and outmoded. Truths like: are true for ever and ever. The Qur’an asks us to face issues with the weapon of reason and intellect. One should neither forsake a belief for fear of becoming the target of others’ ridicule and banter, nor should he accept a belief just because it is upheld by some important and well- known persons. We should ourselves study and investigate the roots of all matters and draw our own conclusions. Unless one maintains objectivity and neutrality in every matter, he is unlikely to think correctly. Reason can function properly only in an atmosphere that is free of selfish desires and motives. A well-known anecdote of al-Allamah al-Hilli, can illustrate this point. Perhaps I need not explain here that in the language of literature and mysticism the term heart does not mean the organ situated in the left side of the human body, which pumps blood into the blood vessels.

What is implied is the sublime and distinguishing faculty of the human soul, as can be readily understood from the following examples from the Qur’an and verses of Sa’di: These two examples make it obvious that the connoted meaning of the heart is quite different from the bodily organ. Elsewhere, the Qur’an refers to the ailments of the heart: To cure this sickness is beyond the powers of any man of medicine, even the heart specialist; only the doctors of the spirit can diagnose such diseases and suggest proper remedies. What is the definition of this heart then? An answer to this question is to be sought in the reality of human existence. Every human being, although he is a single individual, possesses myriads of existential dimensions. The human “self” encompasses myriads of thoughts, desires, fears, hopes and inclinations.

Like the ocean which links all rivers with one another, all these components of the human personality are related to the same center, which unites them with one another. The “self” itself is the deep and unfathomable ocean, whose depths no one can claim to have charted out and to have discovered all its mysteries. Philosophers mystics, and psychologists –each of them has tried in his own specific way to explore its depths, and has succeeded only to a certain degree in discovering its secrets. Perhaps the mystics, a bit more than others, have been successful in this regard. What the Qur’an refers to as the heart, is the reality of that ocean, which includes all that we name as the manifestations of the soul, to which all its rivers and tributaries are connected. Even reason is one of the various rivers associated with this sea.

The Qur’an mentions all these things to show that these matters are basically beyond the range of rational understanding. Muhammad Iqbal offers a fine interpretation of this subject. He says that the prophet is one who, at first, imbibes the entire truth, and later on, in order to enrich the world and to alter the course of history, communicates everything that has reached him by the way of Revelation. The Qur’an regards the heart, also, as an instrument of understanding. In fact, the greater part of the Qur’anic message is addressed to the human heart –a message which is audible to the ears of the heart alone, and is inscrutable to other receptive faculties. Accordingly, it attaches great importance to the care, protection, and development of this instrument. In the Qur’an, we recurrently come across such notions as purification of the self, purity and enlightenment of the heart, and purification of the heart: And about the salvation and enlightening of the heart, the Qur’an says: Contrarily, the Qur’an recurrently reminds that indecencies infect and darken the human soul, and deprive the human heart of sublime inclinations and virtuous tendencies.

At one place, speaking on behalf of the believers, it says: Describing the qualities of the evildoers, the Qur’an says: The darkness of sin and injustice has engulfed their hearts: About the sealing and hardening of the hearts, it says: And also: All these verses point to the fact that the Qur’an recommends a sublime, spiritual atmosphere for mankind, and deems it necessary for every individual to strive to keep it clean and unpolluted. In addition, since an unsound social atmosphere renders fruitless the efforts of most individuals to keep pure and wholesome, the Qur’an recommends that the people should employ all their endeavour in the direction of purification of their social atmosphere. The Qur’an unequivocally propounds the view that the continued existence of all those sublime values, beliefs and ideas, and continued social receptivity to all its moral advice and counsels, depend upon individual and collective struggle to eradicate all types of meanness, sensuality, and lewdness. Men are, firstly, enjoined to pursue piety and are warned against sinning; secondly, they are asked to perform righteous deeds collectively, not individually. The Prophet (S) points out the fact that if a person endeavours to seek reality and truth with an open and impartial mind, his heart can never deceive him in this regard; it will always guide him towards the straight path.

Basically, as long as man is in search of truth and reality, and treads the path of truth, whatever he encounters in this course is nothing but truth. This is, of course, a very delicate point which is often misunderstood. When someone falls into misguidance and loses his path, it is because he was following a certain direction which was not determined by sincere search of truth. Answering someone who had asked the Prophet, “What is virtue?,” he said, “If you really want to know what is virtue, then understand that when your heart is serene and your conscience at rest, whatever has caused them to be such, is virtue. But when you are attracted towards something, and that does not bring peace and serenity to your heart, then you should know that it is vice and sin.”

Name List of Hindi Movie Actress

Most Popular Bollywood actresses of all time selected fromThere are actually very few actresses who made their name out of blue

  • Aamna Shariff
  • Aarti Chabbria
  • Achint Kaur
  • Achla Sachdev
  • Adah Sharma
  • Aditi
  • Aditi Govitrikar
  • Aditi Rao Hydari
  • Ahsaas Channa
  • Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
  • Aishwaryarai
  • Aiysha Saagar
  • Akshara Haasan
  • Alaamara Khan
  • Alia Bhatt
  • Alisha Chinoy
  • Alka Pradhan
  • Alma Saraci
  • Amardeep Jha
  • Ambika Chowdhry
  • Amisha Patel
  • Amita Pathak
  • Amoha
  • Amrita Arora
  • Amrita Bedi
  • Amrita Saluja
  • Amrita Singh
  • Amy Jackson
  • Anaitha Nair
  • Anandi Ghose
  • Ananya New
  • Anchal Sabharwal
  • Andreah
  • Andria D Souza
  • Anishka Khosla
  • Anita Wall
  • Anitha Hasanandani
  • Anjala Zaveri
  • Anjali Gupta
  • Anjana Sukhani
  • Anjori Alagh
  • Anju Mahendru
  • Anupama Kumar
  • Anupama Verma
  • Anupriya Kapoor
  • Anushka Sharma
  • Anuya
  • Archana Gupta
  • Archana Puran Singh
  • Arpita Singh
  • Asha Sachdev
  • Asha Sharma
  • Ashwini Kalsekar
  • Asin
  • Auritra Ghosh
  • Aushima Sawhney
  • Austin Marie Sayre
  • Ava Mukherji
  • Ayesha Dharker
  • Ayesha Kapur
  • Ayesha Mohan
  • Ayesha Takia
  • Ayushi Burman
  • Baby Pooja
  • Baby Shriya Sharma
  • Barkha Singh
  • Bhagyashree
  • Bhanu Priya
  • Bharathi
  • Bharati Achrekar
  • Bhumicka Singh
  • Bhumika
  • Bhumika Chawla
  • Bipasha Basu
  • Brinda Parekh
  • Cameron Diaz
  • Carran Kapoor
  • Celina Jaitley
  • Celina Jaitly
  • Chhavi Mittal
  • Chitrangada Singh
  • Chitrangada Singh
  • Chitrashi Rawat
  • Daisy Bopanna
  • Dakota Fanning
  • Dara Singh
  • Deepal Shaw
  • Deepika Padukone
  • Deepika Sharma
  • Deepti Naval
  • Deeptiman Chadhury
  • Dia Mirza
  • Diana Penty
  • Dimple Kapadia
  • Dipannita Sharma
  • Disha Pandey
  • Divya Bharti
  • Divya Dutta
  • Dolly Minhas
  • Esha Gupta
  • Evelyn Sharma
  • Faith
  • Farah Khan
  • Freida Pinto
  • Gauhar Khan
  • Gaur Khan
  • Gauri Kulkarni
  • Gayatri Patel
  • Geeta Basra
  • Genelia
  • Genelia Dsouza
  • Gracy Singh
  • Gul Panag
  • Hansika Motwani
  • Hrishitaa Bhatt
  • Ileana
  • Inayat
  • Isha Sharwani
  • Jacqueline
  • Jacqueline Fernandez
  • Jennifer
  • Jiah Khan
  • Juhi Chawla
  • Kaifina
  • Kajal Aggarwal
  • Kajol
  • Kalki Koechlin
  • Kalpana Pandit
  • Kangna Ranaut
  • Kareena Kapoor
  • Karishma Kapoor
  • Karisma Kapoor
  • Kashish Singh
  • Kashmira Shah
  • Katrina Kaif
  • Kaveri Jha
  • Kavya Madhavan
  • Kesha
  • Khushbu
  • Kiara Advani
  • Kim Sharma
  • Kkaatyayani Sharma
  • Koena Mitra
  • Konkona Sen Sharma
  • Laila Khan
  • Lisa Haydon
  • Lisa Ray
  • Maddalsa Sharma
  • Madhu Sharma
  • Madhuri Dixit
  • Mahi Gill
  • Malaika Arora
  • Malika Haydon
  • Mallika Sherawat
  • Mamtha Mohandas
  • Manasi New
  • Manasi Rachh
  • Manasvi Mamgai
  • Mandhra Bedy
  • Mandy Takhar
  • Manisha Kelkar
  • Manisha Koirala
  • Manjari Phadnis
  • Masumi Makhija
  • Meenakshi
  • Meera Vasudevan
  • Minissha Lamba
  • Monalisa
  • Monishka
  • Mugdha Godse
  • Muskkan Kkanwar
  • Nandana Sen
  • Naomi Campbell
  • Nargis Fakhri
  • Nazneen Patel
  • Neha Dhupia
  • Neha Sharma
  • Neha Uberoi
  • Nibhana
  • Nigar Khan
  • Niharika Sharma
  • Nikhita
  • Nikita Anand
  • Nisha Kothari
  • Nisha Rawal
  • Padma Lakshmi
  • Paoli Dam
  • Parineeti Chopra
  • Payal Rohatgi
  • Perizaad Zorabian
  • Pia Trivedi
  • Pooja Bedi
  • Pooja Kumar
  • Poonam Jhawer
  • Poonam Pandey
  • Prachi Desai
  • Preeti Bhutani
  • Preeti Jhangiani
  • Preity Zinta
  • Priya Gill
  • Priyanka Chopra
  • Priyanka Chopra
  • Priyanka Kothari
  • Promita Banik
  • Rachna Maurya
  • Raima Sen
  • Rakhi Sawant
  • Rakul Preet Singh
  • Rani Mukerji
  • Raszia
  • Regina Cassandra
  • Rekha Rana
  • Reshma
  • Richa Pallod
  • Rimi Sen
  • Rituparna Sengupta
  • Saeeda Imtiyaz
  • Sagarika Ghatge
  • Sakshi Gulati
  • Sameera Ready
  • Sameera Reddy
  • Sana Khan
  • Sania Mirza
  • Sarah Jane Dias
  • Saru Maini
  • Shamita Sharma
  • Shamita Shetty
  • Shaurya Chauhan
  • Shazahn Padamsee
  • Sheena Shahabadi
  • Sherlyn Chopra
  • Shilpa Shetty
  • Shilpi Sharma
  • Shobit Rana
  • Shraddha Arya
  • Shraddha Kapoor
  • Shreya Saran
  • Shriya Saran
  • Shruthi Haasan
  • Shusmita Sen
  • Smily Suri
  • Sneha Ullal
  • Soha Ali Khan
  • Sohali Khan
  • Sonakshi Sinha
  • Sonal Chauhan
  • Sonali Kulkarni
  • Sonam Kapoor
  • Sophie Chaudhary
  • Sridevi
  • Sunny Leone
  • Surveen Chawla
  • Survi Chatterjee
  • Sushma Reddy
  • Sushmita Sen
  • Suzanna Mukherjee
  • Taapsee
  • Taapsee
  • Tabu
  • Tamannaah
  • Tanisha Singh
  • Tanushree Datta
  • Tara Sharma
  • Tena Desa
  • Tulip Joshi
  • Tulsi Kumar
  • Udita Goswami
  • Urmila Matondkar
  • Urvashi Rautela
  • Vaishali Desai
  • Veena Malik
  • Vidya Balan
  • Vidya Malvade
  • Yana Gupta

Bollywood actresses Name List

List of Lovely Bollywood Actresses. I have taken care of adding the actress of Bollywood’s Golden Era Classics. As well as not so old yet forgotten ones. DO suggest your best pick. So we will rate and arrange accordingly

Top Landmark Film Year
Madhubala Basant 1942
Nargis Tamanna 1942
Nimmi Barsaat, Aan 1949
Shyama Zeenat 1945
Mumtaz Shanti Kismet 1943
Top Landmark Film Year
Nalini Jaywant Samadhi 1950
Geeta Bali Baazi 1951
Meena Kumari Baiju Bawra 1952
Bina Rai Anarkali 1953
Vyjayanthimala Nagin 1954
Nutan Sujata 1959
Waheeda Rehman Pyaasa 1957
Mala Sinha Dhool Ka Phool 1959
Top Landmark Film Year
Sadhana Shivdasani Love in Shimla 1960
Saira Banu Junglee 1961
Asha Parekh Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai 1961
Sharmila Tagore Kashmir Ki Kali 1964
Nanda Jab Jab Phool Khile 1965
Rajshree Jaanwar 1965
Vimi Hamraaz 1967
Babita Farz 1967
Mumtaz Do Raaste 1969
Top Landmark Film Year
Hema Malini Johny Mera Naam 1970
Jaya Bachchan Guddi 1971
Farida Jalal Laal Patthar 1971
Zeenat Aman Hare Rama Hare Krishna 1971
Raakhee Sharmilee 1971
Shabana Azmi Ankur 1974
Neetu Singh Khel Khel Mein 1975
Rekha Do Anjaane 1976
Reena Roy Naagin 1976
Parveen Babi Deewaar 1975
Aruna Irani Deewaar 1975
Smita Patil Bhumika 1977
Poonam Dhillon Noorie 1979
Jaya Prada Sargam 197
Top Landmark Film Year
Tina Munim Karz 1980
Rati Agnihotri Ek Duje Ke Liye 1981
Padmini Kolhapure Prem Rog 1982
Sridevi Himmatwala 1983
Meenakshi Seshadri Hero 1983
Amrita Singh Betaab 1983
Yogeeta Bali Jaanwar 1983
Mandakini Ram Teri Ganga Maili 1985
Farha Naaz Naseeb Apna Apna 1986
Neelam Ilzaam 1986
Seema Biswas Amshini 1988
Madhuri Dixit Tezaab 1988
Juhi Chawla Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak 1988
Bhagyashree Maine Pyar Kiya 1989
Top Landmark Film Year
Pooja Bhatt Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin 1991
Kimi Katkar Hum 1991
Farheen Jaan Tere Naam 1992
Divya Bharti Deewana 1992
Madhuri Dixit Hum Aapke Hain Kaun…! 1994
Raveena Tandon Mohra 1994
Manisha Koirala Bombay 1995
Urmila Matondkar Rangeela 1995
Kajol Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge 1995
Mamta Kulkarni Karan Arjun 1995
Karisma Kapoor Raja Hindustani 1996
Tabu Maachis 1996
Mahima Chaudhry Pardes 1997
Rani Mukerji Kuch Kuch Hota Hai 1998
Nandita Das Earth 1998
Aishwarya Rai Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam 1999
Raised to Fame Landmark Film
Anu Agarwal Aashiqui
Shilpa Shirodkar Kishen Kanhaiya
Ayesha Julka Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar
Madhoo Roja
Shilpa Shetty Baazigar
Twinkle Khanna Barsaat
Sonali Bendre Major Saab
Preity Zinta Soldier
Sushmita Sen Biwi No.1
Top Landmark Film Year
Preity Zinta Kya Kehna 2000
Shilpa Shetty Dhadkan 2000
Kareena Kapoor Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham 2001
Gracy Singh Lagaan 2001
Riya Sen Style 2001
Amisha Patel Gadar: Ek Prem Katha 2001
Madhuri Dixit Devdas 2002
Aishwarya Rai Devdas 2002
Bipasha Basu Jism 2003
Celina Jaitley Janasheen 2003
Neha Dhupia Julie 2004
Gayatri Joshi Swades 2004
Priyanka Chopra Aitraaz 2004
Mallika Sherawat Murder 2004
Konkona Sen Page 3 2005
Lara Dutta No Entry 2005
Vidya Balan Parineeta 2005
Amrita Rao Vivah 2006
Aishwarya Rai Dhoom 2 2006
Katrina Kaif Namaste London 2007
Raised to Fame Landmark Film
Asin Thottumkal Ghajini
Anushka Sharma Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi
Sonam Kapoor Saawariya
Deepika Padukone Om Shanti Om
Jacqueline Fernandez Aladin
Kangana Ranaut Fashion
Ayesha Takia Wanted
Mahie Gill Dev D
Kalki Koechlin Dev D
Top Landmark Film Year
Sonam I Hate Luv Storys 2010
Sonakshi Sinha Dabangg 2010l
….. Band Baaja Baaraat 2010
Deepika Padukone Housefull 2010
Asin Thottumkal Ready 2011
Jacqueline Fernandez Murder 2 2011
Nargis Fakhri Rockstar 2011
Chitrangada Singh Desi Boyz 2011
Lisa Haydon Queen 2014
Esha Gupta Jannat 2 2012
Prachi Desai Bol Bachchan 2012
Sarah Jane Dias Kyaa Super Kool Hai Hum 2012
Diana Penty Cocktail 2012
Neha Sharma Kyaa Super Kool Hai Hum 2012
Poonam Pant Student Of The Year 2012
Parineeti Chopra Ishaqzaade 2012
Huma Qureshi Gangs of Wasseypur – Part 1 2012
Richa Chadda Gangs of Wasseypur – Part 1 2012
Ileana D’Cruz Barfi! 2012
Yami Gautam Vicky Donor 2012
katrina kaif dhoom 3 2013
Priya Aashiqui 2 2013
Sunny Leone Ragini MMS 2 2014
Kriti Sanon Heropanti 2014
Kiara Advani Fugly 2014

Hollywood American film Actresses Names

Name List of the hottest actresses from Hollywood

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  • Beverly Aadland 1942–2010
  • Mariann Aalda 1948
  • Caroline Aaron 1952
  • Diahnne Abbott 1945
  • Rose Abdoo 1962
  • Donzaleigh Abernathy
  • Whitney Able 1982
  • Terri Abney 1990
  • Candice Accola 1987
  • Amy Acker 1976
  • Jean Acker 1893–1978
  • Bettye Ackerman 1924–2006
  • Amy Adams 1974 (born in Italy)
  • Brooke Adams 1949
  • Edie Adams 1927–2008
  • Jane Adams 1965
  • Joey Lauren Adams 1968
  • Julie Adams, born October 17, 1926 (age 88)
  • Lillian Adams 1922–2011
  • Shohreh Aghdashloo 1952 (Iranian-born)
  • Dianna Agron 1986
  • Christina Aguilera 1980
  • Lexi Ainsworth 1992
  • Jessica Alba 1981
  • Lola Albright, born July 20, 1924 (age 90)
  • Jaimie Alexander 1984
  • Jane Alexander 1939
  • Khandi Alexander 1957
  • Sasha Alexander 1973
  • Tatyana Ali 1979
  • Ana Alicia 1956 (born in Mexico)
  • Debbie Allen 1950
  • Elizabeth Allen 1929–2006
  • Joan Allen 1956
  • Karen Allen 1951
  • Krista Allen 1971
  • Laura Allen 1974
  • Nancy Allen 1950
  • Kirstie Alley 1951
  • June Allyson 1917–2006
  • Daniella Alonso 1978
  • Trini Alvarado 1967
  • Lauren Ambrose 1978
  • Mädchen Amick 1970
  • Suzy Amis 1962
  • Eva Amurri 1985
  • Andrea Anders 1975
  • Gillian Anderson 1968
  • Loni Anderson 1945
  • Mary Anderson, 1918–2014
  • Melody Anderson 1955
  • Nicole Anderson 1990
  • Jennifer Aniston 1969
  • Odette Annable 1985
  • Susan Anton 1950
  • Shiri Appleby 1978
  • Christina Applegate 1971
  • Anne Archer 1947
  • Beverly Archer 1948
  • Leila Arcieri 1973
  • Eve Arden 1908–1990
  • Ashley Argota 1993
  • Jillian Armenante 1968
  • Bess Armstrong 1953
  • Samaire Armstrong 1980 (born in Japan)
  • Alexis Arquette 1969
  • Patricia Arquette 1968
  • Rosanna Arquette 1959
  • Bea Arthur 1922–2009
  • Jean Arthur 1900–1991
  • Elizabeth Ashley 1939
  • Mary Astor 1906–1987
  • Eden Atwood 1969
  • Margaret Avery 1944
  • Nicki Aycox 1975
  • Rochelle Aytes 1976
  • Candice Azzara 1945
  • Lauren Bacall 1924–2014
  • Barbara Bach 1947
  • Catherine Bach 1954
  • Mary Badham 1952
  • Jane Badler 1953
  • Pearl Bailey 1918–1990
  • Fay Bainter 1893–1968
  • Diora Baird 1983
  • Carroll Baker, born May 28, 1931 (age 83)
  • Kathy Baker 1950
  • Leigh-Allyn Baker 1972
  • Brenda Bakke 1963
  • Fairuza Balk 1974
  • Lucille Ball 1911–1989
  • Talia Balsam 1959
  • Anne Bancroft 1931–2005
  • Tallulah Bankhead 1902–1968
  • Elizabeth Banks 1974
  • Tyra Banks 1973
  • Christine Baranski 1952
  • Adrienne Barbeau 1945
  • Ellen Barkin 1954
  • Priscilla Barnes 1955
  • Majel Barrett 1932–2008
  • Barbara Barrie, born May 23, 1931 (age 83)
  • Dana Barron 1966
  • Drew Barrymore 1975
  • Ethel Barrymore 1879–1959
  • Roseanne Barr 1952
  • Mischa Barton 1986
  • Kim Basinger 1953
  • Angela Bassett 1958
  • Kathy Bates 1948
  • Cyia Batten 1972
  • Frances Bavier 1902–1989
  • Anne Baxter 1923–1985
  • Jennifer Beals 1963)
  • Amanda Bearse 1958
  • Kimberly Beck 1956
  • Bonnie Bedelia 1948
  • Nicole Beharie 1985
  • Catherine Bell 1968
  • Kristen Bell 1980
  • Lake Bell 1979
  • Camilla Belle 1986
  • Kathleen Beller 1956
  • Troian Bellisario 1985
  • Maria Bello 1967
  • Bea Benaderet 1906–1968
  • Andrea Bendewald 1970
  • Annette Bening 1958
  • Haley Bennett 1988
  • Joan Bennett 1910–1990
  • Amber Benson 1977
  • Ashley Benson 1989
  • Julie Benz 1972
  • Candice Bergen 1946
  • Polly Bergen 1930–2014
  • Elizabeth Berkley 1972
  • Jeannie Berlin 1949
  • Crystal Bernard 1961
  • Sandra Bernhard 1955
  • Halle Berry 1966
  • Valerie Bertinelli 1960
  • Angela Bettis 1973
  • Troy Beyer 1964
  • Mayim Bialik 1975
  • Leslie Bibb 1973
  • Jessica Biel 1982
  • Barbara Billingsley 1915–2010
  • Rachel Bilson 1982
  • Traci Bingham 1968
  • Thora Birch 1982
  • Kerry Bishé 1984
  • Summer Bishil 1988
  • Karen Black 1939–2013
  • Joan Blackman 1938
  • Betsy Blair 1923–2009
  • Linda Blair 1959
  • Patricia Blair 1933–2013
  • Selma Blair 1972
  • Amanda Blake 1929–1989
  • Ronee Blakley 1945
  • Jolene Blalock 1975
  • Tammy Blanchard 1976
  • Alexis Bledel 1981
  • Yasmine Bleeth 1968
  • Joan Blondell 1906–1979
  • Nikki Blonsky 1988
  • Moon Bloodgood 1975
  • Emily Blunt 1983
  • Ann Blyth, born August 16, 1928 (age 86)
  • Eleanor Boardman 1898–1991
  • Mary Boland 1880–1965
  • Julia Bond 1987
  • Beulah Bondi 1889–1981
  • Lisa Bonet 1967
  • Shirley Booth 1898–1992
  • Olive Borden 1906–1947
  • Michelle Borth 1978
  • Rachel Boston 1982
  • Kate Bosworth 1983
  • Barbara Bouchet 1943 (born in Germany)
  • Clara Bow 1905–1965
  • Katrina Bowden 1988
  • Andrea Bowen 1990
  • Julie Bowen 1970
  • Lara Flynn Boyle 1970
  • Jessica Bowman 1980
  • Lorraine Bracco 1954
  • Alice Brady 1892–1939
  • Alexandra Breckenridge 1982
  • Tracey E. Bregman 1963 (born in Germany)
  • Eileen Brennan 1932–2013
  • Amy Brenneman 1964
  • Abigail Breslin 1996
  • Jordana Brewster 1980
  • Paget Brewster 1969
  • Chloe Bridges 1991
  • Alison Brie 1982
  • Connie Britton 1967
  • Beth Broderick 1959
  • Jayne Brook 1960
  • Geraldine Brooks 1925–1977
  • Louise Brooks 1906–1985
  • Blair Brown 1947
  • Yvette Nicole Brown 1971
  • Leslie Browne 1957
  • Logan Browning 1989
  • Sabrina Bryan 1984
  • Joy Bryant 1974
  • Tara Buck 1975
  • Betty Buckley 1947
  • Sandra Bullock 1964
  • Billie Burke 1884–1970
  • Delta Burke 1956
  • Carol Burnett, born April 26, 1933 (age 81)
  • Brooke Burns 1978
  • Catherine Burns 1945
  • Ellen Burstyn, born December 7, 1932 (age 82)
  • Hilarie Burton 1982
  • Sophia Bush 1982
  • Brett Butler 1958
  • Yancy Butler 1970
  • Spring Byington 1886–1971
  • Amanda Bynes 1986
  • Marion Byron 1911–1985
  • Jeanne Cagney 1919–1984
  • Erin Cahill 1980
  • L. Scott Caldwell 1950
  • Alice Calhoun 1900–1966
  • Sarah Wayne Callies 1977
  • Anna Camp 1982
  • Christa Campbell 1972
  • Danielle Campbell 1995
  • Tisha Campbell 1968
  • Dyan Cannon 1937
  • Lizzy Caplan 1982
  • Jessica Capshaw 1976
  • Kate Capshaw 1953
  • Irene Cara 1959
  • Gina Carano 1982
  • Linda Cardellini 1975
  • Lynn Carlin 1938
  • Kitty Carlisle 1910–2007
  • Kelly Carlson 1976
  • Jeanne Carmen 1930–2007
  • Sue Carol 1906–1982
  • Charisma Carpenter 1970
  • Jennifer Carpenter 1979
  • Barbara Carrera 1944? (born in Nicaragua)
  • Tia Carrere 1967
  • Dixie Carter 1939–2010
  • Lynda Carter 1951
  • Diahann Carroll 1935
  • Madeline Carroll 1996
  • Nancy Carroll 1903–1965
  • Rosalind Cash 1938–1995
  • Peggy Cass 1924–1999
  • Joanna Cassidy 1945
  • Katie Cassidy 1986
  • Peggie Castle 1927–1973
  • Phoebe Cates 1963
  • Jessica Cauffiel 1976
  • Emma Caulfield 1973
  • Joan Caulfield 1922–1991
  • Lacey Chabert 1982
  • Carol Channing, born January 31, 1921 (age 94)
  • Stockard Channing 1944
  • Cyd Charisse 1922–2008
  • Annette Charles 1948–2011
  • Daveigh Chase 1990
  • Jessica Chastain 1977
  • Ruth Chatterton 1892–1961
  • Kristin Chenoweth 1968
  • Cher 1946
  • Vanessa Lee Chester 1982
  • Lois Chiles 1947
  • Anna Chlumsky 1980
  • Erika Christensen 1982
  • Claudia Christian 1965
  • Jamie Chung 1983
  • Candy Clark 1947
  • Judy Clark 1924?
  • Melinda Clarke 1969
  • Sarah Clarke 1972
  • Patricia Clarkson 1959
  • Jill Clayburgh 1944–2010
  • Rosemary Clooney 1928–2002
  • Glenn Close 1947
  • Lauren Cohan 1984 (British-born)
  • Claudette Colbert 1903–1996
  • Taylor Cole 1984
  • Tina Cole 1943
  • Holliston Coleman 1992
  • Kim Coles 1962
  • Lynn Collins 1977
  • Holly Marie Combs 1973
  • Betty Compson 1897–1974
  • Julie Condra 1970
  • Michaela Conlin 1978
  • Jennifer Connelly 1970
  • Rachael Leigh Cook 1979
  • Jennifer Coolidge 1961
  • Teri Copley 1961
  • Gretchen Corbett 1947
  • Ellen Corby 1911–1999
  • Mara Corday, born January 3, 1930 (age 85)
  • Miranda Cosgrove 1993
  • Stephanie Courtney 1970
  • Laverne Cox
  • Courteney Cox 1964
  • Nikki Cox 1978
  • Yvonne Craig 1937
  • Jeanne Crain 1925–2003
  • Barbara Crampton 1958
  • Joan Crawford c. 1904 – 1977
  • Cathy Lee Crosby 1944
  • Denise Crosby 1957
  • Mary Crosby 1959
  • Marcia Cross 1962
  • Lindsay Crouse 1948
  • Suzanne Cryer 1967
  • Erin Cummings 1977
  • Quinn Cummings 1967
  • Kaley Cuoco 1985
  • Jane Curtin 1947
  • Jamie Lee Curtis 1958
  • Ann Cusack 1961
  • Joan Cusack 1962
  • Tawny Cypress 1976
  • Miley Cyrus 1992
  • Yaya DaCosta 1982
  • Alexandra Daddario 1986
  • Arlene Dahl, born August 11, 1928 (age 86)
  • Elizabeth Daily 1961
  • Tyne Daly 1946
  • Dorothy Dandridge 1922–1965
  • Claire Danes 1979
  • Shera Danese 1949
  • Beverly D’Angelo 1951
  • Brittany Daniel 1976
  • Bebe Daniels 1901–1971
  • Erin Daniels 1973
  • Blythe Danner 1943
  • Linda Darnell 1923–1965
  • Lisa Darr 1963
  • Jane Darwell 1879–1967
  • Stacey Dash 1967
  • Alexa Davalos 1982
  • Amy Davidson 1979
  • Ann B. Davis 1926–2014
  • Bette Davis 1908–1989
  • Dana Davis 1978
  • Geena Davis 1956
  • Hope Davis 1964
  • Josie Davis 1973
  • Kristin Davis 1965
  • Phyllis Davis 1940
  • Viola Davis 1965
  • Pam Dawber 1951
  • Rosario Dawson 1979
  • Roxann Dawson c. 1958
  • Doris Day, born April 3, 1924 (age 90)
  • Felicia Day 1979
  • Marceline Day 1908–2000
  • Priscilla Dean 1896–1987
  • Yvonne De Carlo 1922–2007
  • Brooklyn Decker 1987
  • Ruby Dee, 1922–2014
  • Sandra Dee 1942–2005
  • Kaylee DeFer 1986
  • Ellen DeGeneres 1958
  • Gloria DeHaven, born July 23, 1925 (age 89)
  • Olivia de Havilland, born July 1, 1916 (age 98) (English-born)
  • Wanda De Jesus 1958
  • Paz de la Huerta 1984
  • Kim Delaney 1961
  • Diane Delano 1957
  • Dana Delany 1956
  • Julie Delpy 1969
  • Rebecca De Mornay 1959
  • Carol Dempster 1901–1991
  • Lori Beth Denberg 1976
  • Kat Dennings 1986
  • Sandy Dennis 1937–1992
  • Bo Derek 1956
  • Laura Dern 1967
  • Portia de Rossi 1973
  • Donna D’Errico 1968
  • Emily Deschanel 1976
  • Mary Jo Deschanel 1945
  • Zooey Deschanel 1980
  • Amanda Detmer 1971
  • Zoey Deutch 1994
  • Loretta Devine 1949
  • Torrey DeVitto 1984
  • Jenna Dewan 1980
  • Joyce DeWitt 1949
  • Noureen DeWulf 1984
  • Susan Dey 1952
  • Cameron Diaz 1972
  • Angie Dickinson, born September 30, 1931 (age 83)
  • Marlene Dietrich 1901–1992
  • Victoria Dillard 1969
  • Phyllis Diller 1917–2012
  • Melinda Dillon 1939
  • Mia Dillon 1955
  • Donna Dixon 1957
  • Ellen Drew 1915–2003
  • Nina Dobrev 1989
  • Megan Dodds 1970
  • Shannen Doherty 1971
  • Ami Dolenz 1969
  • Dagmara Dominczyk 1976 (born in Poland)
  • Elinor Donahue 1937
  • Elisa Donovan 1971
  • Donna Douglas, 1932–2015
  • Illeana Douglas 1965
  • Billie Dove 1903–1997
  • Doris Dowling 1923–2004
  • Rachel Dratch 1966
  • Fran Drescher 1957
  • Louise Dresser 1878–1965
  • Marie Dressler 1868–1934
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus 1961
  • Joanne Dru 1922–1996
  • Alice Drummond, born May 21, 1928 (age 86)
  • Haylie Duff 1985
  • Hilary Duff 1987
  • Olympia Dukakis, born June 20, 1931 (age 83)
  • Patty Duke 1946
  • Faye Dunaway 1941
  • Dominique Dunne 1959–1982
  • Irene Dunne 1898–1990
  • Mildred Dunnock 1901–1991
  • Kirsten Dunst 1982
  • Tiffany Dupont 1981
  • Eliza Dushku 1980
  • Clea DuVall 1977
  • Shelley Duvall 1949
  • Alexis Dziena 1984
  • Jeanne Eagels 1890–1929
  • Bobbie Eakes 1961
  • Leslie Easterbrook 1949
  • Alison Eastwood 1972
  • Mary Eaton 1901–1948
  • Christine Ebersole 1953
  • Sonya Eddy 1967
  • Lisa Edelstein 1966
  • Melissa Claire Egan 1981
  • Nicole Eggert 1972
  • Jennifer Ehle 1969
  • Lisa Eilbacher 1956 (born in Saudi Arabia)
  • Jill Eikenberry 1947
  • Hallie Eisenberg 1992
  • Carmen Electra 1972
  • Erika Eleniak 1969
  • Jenna Elfman 1971
  • Shannon Elizabeth 1973
  • Vera-Ellen 1921–1981
  • Jane Elliot 1947
  • Patricia Elliott 1942
  • Jena Engstrom 1942
  • Kathryn Erbe 1965
  • Jennifer Esposito 1973
  • Judi Evans 1964
  • Linda Evans 1942
  • Mary Beth Evans 1961
  • Eve 1978
  • Angie Everhart 1969
  • Briana Evigan 1986
  • Kayla Ewell 1985
  • Shelley Fabares 1944
  • Nanette Fabray, born October 27, 1920 (age 94)
  • Morgan Fairchild 1950
  • Lola Falana 1942
  • Edie Falco 1963
  • Siobhan Fallon 1961
  • Dakota Fanning 1994
  • Elle Fanning 1998
  • Anna Faris 1976
  • Frances Farmer 1913–1970
  • Vera Farmiga 1973
  • Terry Farrell 1963
  • Mia Farrow 1945
  • Farrah Fawcett 1947–2009
  • Barbara Feldon, born March 12, 1933 (age 82)
  • Sherilyn Fenn 1965
  • America Ferrera 1984
  • Tina Fey 1970
  • Sally Field 1946
  • Linda Fiorentino 1958
  • Danielle Fishel 1981
  • Jenna Fischer 1974
  • Carrie Fisher 1956
  • Joely Fisher 1967
  • Schuyler Fisk 1982
  • Fannie Flagg 1944
  • Jennifer Flavin 1968
  • Rhonda Fleming, born August 10, 1923 (age 91)
  • Louise Fletcher, born July 22, 1934 (age 80)
  • Calista Flockhart 1964
  • Nina Foch 1924–2008
  • Megan Follows 1968 (born in Canada)
  • Bridget Fonda 1964
  • Jane Fonda 1937
  • Lyndsy Fonseca 1987
  • Joan Fontaine 1917–2013 (English-born)
  • Anitra Ford 1942
  • Courtney Ford 1978
  • Maria Ford
  • Deborah Foreman 1962
  • Jodie Foster 1962
  • Kimberly Foster 1961
  • Meg Foster 1948
  • Sara Foster 1981
  • Sutton Foster 1975
  • Jorja Fox 1968
  • Megan Fox 1986
  • Vivica A. Fox 1964
  • Bonnie Franklin 1944–2013
  • Diane Franklin 1962
  • Mona Freeman 1926–2014
  • Kate French 1984
  • Lindsay Frost 1962
  • Soleil Moon Frye 1976
  • Isabelle Fuhrman 1997
  • Annette Funicello 1942–2013
  • Eva Gabor 1919–1995 (Hungarian-born)
  • Zsa Zsa Gabor, born February 6, 1917 (age 98)(Hungarian-born)
  • Jacqueline Gadsden 1900–1986
  • Bethany Joy Galeotti 1981
  • Aimee Garcia 1978
  • Ava Gardner 1922–1990
  • Judy Garland 1922–1969
  • Jennifer Garner 1972
  • Kelli Garner 1984
  • Peggy Ann Garner 1932–1984
  • Janeane Garofalo 1964
  • Teri Garr 1944
  • Greer Garson 1904–1996 (British-born)
  • Jennie Garth 1972
  • Ana Gasteyer 1967
  • Janina Gavankar 1980
  • Erica Gavin 1947
  • Rebecca Gayheart 1971
  • Janet Gaynor 1906–1984
  • Mitzi Gaynor, born September 4, 1931 (age 83)
  • Barbara Bel Geddes 1922–2005
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar 1977
  • Gladys George 1904–1954
  • Lauren German 1978
  • Gina Gershon 1962
  • Jami Gertz 1965
  • Cynthia Gibb 1963
  • Debbie Gibson 1970
  • Kelli Giddish 1980
  • Melissa Gilbert 1964
  • Sara Gilbert 1975
  • Elizabeth Gillies 1993
  • Peri Gilpin 1961
  • Annabeth Gish 1971
  • Dorothy Gish 1898–1968
  • Lillian Gish 1893–1993
  • Robin Givens 1964
  • Summer Glau 1981
  • Lola Glaudini 1971
  • Paulette Goddard 1910–1990
  • Tracey Gold 1969
  • Whoopi Goldberg 1955
  • Gage Golightly 1993
  • Selena Gomez 1992
  • Meagan Good 1981
  • Ginnifer Goodwin 1978
  • Ruth Gordon 1896–1985
  • Betty Grable 1916–1973
  • Maggie Grace 1983
  • Aimee Graham 1971
  • Heather Graham 1970
  • Katerina Graham 1989 (Swiss-born)
  • Lauren Graham 1967
  • Gloria Grahame 1923–1981
  • Ariana Grande 1993
  • Lee Grant, born October 31, 1926 (age 88)
  • Bonita Granville 1923–1988
  • Karen Grassle 1942
  • Erin Gray 1950
  • Kathryn Grayson 1922–2010
  • Alice Greczyn 1986
  • Ashley Greene 1987
  • Judy Greer 1975
  • Jennifer Grey 1960
  • Virginia Grey 1917–2004
  • Pam Grier 1949
  • Corinne Griffith 1894–1979
  • Melanie Griffith 1957
  • Leslie Grossman 1971
  • Carla Gugino 1971
  • Grace Gummer 1986
  • Mamie Gummer 1983
  • Anna Gunn 1968
  • Jasmine Guy 1962
  • Maggie Gyllenhaal 1977
  • Shelley Hack 1947
  • Joan Hackett 1934–1983
  • Martha Hackett 1961
  • Sara Haden 1899–1981
  • Molly Hagan 1961
  • Jean Hagen 1923–1977
  • Uta Hagen 1919–2004 (born in Germany)
  • Leisha Hailey 1971 (born in Japan)
  • Barbara Hale, born April 18, 1922 (age 92)
  • Lucy Hale 1989
  • Grayson Hall 1922–1985
  • Veronica Hamel 1943
  • Linda Hamilton 1956
  • Margaret Hamilton 1902–1985
  • Daryl Hannah 1960
  • Alyson Hannigan 1974
  • Sammi Hanratty 1995
  • Marcia Gay Harden 1959
  • Melora Hardin 1967
  • Ann Harding 1902–1981
  • Mariska Hargitay 1964
  • Jean Harlow 1911–1937
  • Angie Harmon 1972
  • Elisabeth Harnois 1979
  • Tess Harper 1950
  • Laura Harring 1964 (Mexican-born)
  • Barbara Harris 1935
  • Danielle Harris 1977
  • Danneel Harris 1979
  • Julie Harris 1925–2013
  • Rachael Harris 1968
  • Harriet Sansom Harris 1955
  • Linda Harrison 1945
  • Kathryn Harrold 1950
  • Deborah Harry 1945
  • Melissa Joan Hart 1976
  • Mariette Hartley 1940
  • Elizabeth Hartman 1943–1987
  • Lisa Hartman 1956
  • Teri Hatcher 1964
  • Anne Hathaway 1982
  • Marcia Haufrecht 1936?
  • Aaliyah Haughton 1979–2001
  • Olivia de Havilland, born July 1, 1916 (age 98)
  • Wanda Hawley 1895–1963
  • Goldie Hawn 1945
  • Salma Hayek 1966 (Mexican-born)
  • Allison Hayes 1930–1977
  • Helen Hayes 1900–1993
  • Susan Hayward 1917–1975
  • Rita Hayworth 1918–1987
  • Glenne Headly 1955
  • Shari Headley 1964
  • Amber Heard 1986
  • Patricia Heaton 1958
  • Anne Heche 1969
  • Eileen Heckart 1919–2001
  • Tippi Hedren, born January 19, 1930 (age 85)
  • Katherine Heigl 1978
  • Marg Helgenberger 1958
  • Katherine Helmond, born July 5, 1929 (age 85) 1928?
  • Mariel Hemingway 1961
  • Zulay Henao 1979 (born in Colombia)
  • Florence Henderson, born February 14, 1934 (age 81)
  • Christina Hendricks 1975
  • Marilu Henner 1952
  • Pamela Hensley 1950
  • Taraji P. Henson 1970
  • Audrey Hepburn 1929–1993 (British)
  • Katharine Hepburn 1907–2003
  • Barbara Hershey 1948
  • Lori Heuring 1973
  • Jennifer Love Hewitt 1979
  • Catherine Hicks 1951
  • Marianna Hill 1941
  • Paris Hilton 1981
  • Nichole Hiltz 1978
  • Cheryl Hines 1965
  • Connie Hines 1931–2009
  • Marin Hinkle 1966 (born in Tanzania)
  • Gaby Hoffmann 1982
  • Alexandra Holden 1977
  • Laurie Holden 1969
  • Willa Holland 1991
  • Judy Holliday 1921–1965
  • Laurel Holloman 1971
  • Lauren Holly 1963
  • Celeste Holm 1917–2012
  • Katie Holmes 1978
  • Darla Hood 1931–1979
  • Charlene Holt 1928–1996
  • Miriam Hopkins 1902–1972
  • Hedda Hopper 1885–1966
  • Lena Horne 1917–2010
  • Julianne Hough 1988
  • Whitney Houston 1963–2012
  • Bryce Dallas Howard 1981
  • Traylor Howard 1966
  • Season Hubley 1951
  • Vanessa Hudgens 1988
  • Jennifer Hudson 1981
  • Kate Hudson 1979
  • Felicity Huffman 1962
  • Josephine Hull 1877–1957
  • Gayle Hunnicutt 1943
  • Bonnie Hunt 1961
  • Helen Hunt 1963
  • Linda Hunt 1945
  • Holly Hunter 1958
  • Kaki Hunter 1955
  • Ruth Hussey 1911–2005
  • Anjelica Huston 1951
  • Lauren Hutton 1943
  • Martha Hyer 1924–2014
  • Sarah Hyland 1990
  • Joyce Hyser 1957
  • Laura Innes 1957
  • Kathy Ireland 1963
  • Amy Irving 1953
  • Judith Ivey 1951
  • Janet Jackson 1966
  • Kate Jackson 1948
  • Shar Jackson 1976
  • Sherry Jackson 1942
  • Victoria Jackson 1959
  • Allison Janney 1959
  • Claudia Jennings 1949–1979
  • Scarlett Johansson 1984
  • Amy Jo Johnson 1974
  • Lynn-Holly Johnson 1958
  • Angelina Jolie 1975
  • Anissa Jones 1958–1976
  • Carolyn Jones 1930–1983
  • Cherry Jones 1956
  • Janet Jones 1961
  • January Jones 1978
  • Jennifer Jones 1919–2009
  • Rashida Jones 1976
  • Shirley Jones, born March 31, 1934 (age 81)
  • Tamala Jones 1974
  • Milla Jovovich 1975
  • Elaine Joyce 1945
  • Ella Joyce 1954
  • Ashley Judd 1968
  • Victoria Justice 1993
  • Jane Kaczmarek 1955
  • Madeline Kahn 1942–1999
  • Mindy Kaling 1979
  • Melina Kanakaredes 1967
  • Carol Kane 1952
  • Chelsea Kane 1988
  • Mitzi Kapture 1962
  • Lainie Kazan 1940
  • Jane Kean 1923–2013
  • Staci Keanan 1975
  • Diane Keaton 1946
  • Arielle Kebbel 1985
  • Monica Keena 1979
  • Catherine Keener 1959
  • Sally Kellerman 1937
  • Sheila Kelley 1963
  • Grace Kelly 1929–1982
  • Jean Louisa Kelly 1972
  • Lisa Robin Kelly 1970–2013
  • Minka Kelly 1980
  • Moira Kelly 1968
  • Nancy Kelly 1921–1995
  • Patsy Kelly 1910–1981
  • Anna Kendrick 1985
  • Barbara Kent 1907–2011
  • Riley Keough 1989
  • Margot Kidder 1948
  • Nicole Kidman 1967
  • Laura Kightlinger 1969?
  • Jaime King 1979
  • Kent King 1974
  • Regina King 1971
  • Sally Kirkland 1941
  • Tawny Kitaen 1961
  • Eartha Kitt 1927–2008
  • Alexis Knapp 1989
  • Shirley Knight 1936
  • Keisha Knight-Pulliam 1979
  • Beyoncé Knowles 1981
  • Susan Kohner 1936
  • Nancy Kovack 1936?
  • Linda Kozlowski 1958
  • Jane Krakowski 1968
  • Lisa Kudrow 1963
  • Mila Kunis 1983
  • Swoosie Kurtz 1944
  • Nancy Kwan 1939 (born in Hong Kong)
  • Eva LaRue 1966
  • Cheryl Ladd 1951
  • Diane Ladd 1935 ?
  • Christine Lahti 1950
  • Sanoe Lake 1979
  • Ricki Lake 1968
  • Veronica Lake 1922–1973
  • Christine Lakin 1979
  • Hedy Lamarr 1914–2000 (born in Austria)
  • Dorothy Lamour 1914–1996
  • Sarah Lancaster 1980
  • Juliet Landau 1965
  • Audrey Landers 1956
  • Judy Landers 1958
  • Carole Landis 1919–1948
  • Diane Lane 1965
  • Priscilla Lane 1915–1995
  • Hope Lange 1933–2003
  • Jessica Lange 1949
  • Heather Langenkamp 1964
  • A. J. Langer 1974
  • Brooke Langton 1970
  • Angela Lansbury, born October 16, 1925 (age 89)(British-born)
  • Joi Lansing 1929–1972
  • Liza Lapira 1981
  • Ali Larter 1976
  • Sanaa Lathan 1971
  • Ashley Laurence 1966
  • Piper Laurie, born January 22, 1932 (age 83)
  • Linda Lavin 1937
  • Barbara Lawrence 1930–2013
  • Jennifer Lawrence 1990
  • Vicki Lawrence 1949
  • Bianca Lawson 1979
  • Maggie Lawson 1980
  • Cloris Leachman, born April 30, 1926 (age 88)
  • Sharon Leal 1972 79?
  • Kelly LeBrock 1960
  • Nene Leakes 1967
  • Diana Lee 1961
  • Gwen Lee 1904–1961
  • Peggy Lee 1920–2002
  • Robinne Lee 1974
  • Sheryl Lee 1967
  • Andrea Leeds 1914–1984
  • Erica Leerhsen 1976
  • Hudson Leick 1969
  • Chyler Leigh 1982
  • Janet Leigh 1927–2004
  • Jennifer Jason Leigh 1962
  • Bethany Joy Lenz 1981
  • Kay Lenz 1953
  • Melissa Leo 1960
  • Téa Leoni 1966
  • Joan Leslie, born January 26, 1925 (age 90)
  • Margarita Levieva 1987 (born in Russia)
  • Juliette Lewis 1973
  • Vicki Lewis 1960
  • Jennifer Lien 1974
  • Judith Light 1949
  • Abbey Lincoln 1930–2010
  • Riki Lindhome 1979
  • Bai Ling 1966 (Chinese-born)
  • Laura Linney 1964
  • Peggy Lipton 1946
  • Peyton List 1986
  • Peyton List 1998
  • Lucy Liu 1968
  • Blake Lively 1987
  • Sabrina Lloyd 1970
  • Amy Locane 1971
  • Sondra Locke 1944
  • Heather Locklear 1961
  • Lindsay Lohan 1986
  • Alison Lohman 1979
  • Kristanna Loken 1979
  • Carole Lombard 1908–1942
  • Karina Lombard 1969
  • Lauren London 1984
  • Nia Long 1970
  • Shelley Long 1949
  • Eva Longoria 1975
  • Jennifer Lopez 1969
  • Traci Lords 1968
  • Josie Loren 1987
  • Joan Lorring, born April 17, 1926 (age 88)
  • Lori Loughlin 1964
  • Demi Lovato 1992
  • Bessie Love 1898–1986
  • Carey Lowell 1961
  • Myrna Loy 1905–1993
  • Shannon Lucio 1980
  • Jamie Luner 1971
  • Ida Lupino 1918–1995 (English-born)
  • Masiela Lusha 1985 (Albanian-born)
  • Dorothy Lyman 1947
  • Jane Lynch 1960
  • Kelly Lynch 1959
  • Carol Lynley 1942
  • Meredith Scott Lynn 1970
  • Sue Lyon 1946
  • Natasha Lyonne 1979
  • Jes Macallan 1982
  • June MacCloy 1909–2005
  • Andie MacDowell 1958
  • Ali MacGraw 1939
  • Allison Mack 1982 (born in Germany)
  • Dorothy Mackaill 1903–1990
  • Shirley MacLaine, born April 24, 1934 (age 80)
  • Aline MacMahon 1899–1991
  • Amy Madigan 1950
  • Bailee Madison 1999
  • Madonna 1958
  • Virginia Madsen 1961
  • Marjorie Main 1890–1975
  • Tina Majorino 1985
  • Wendie Malick 1950
  • Dorothy Malone, born January 30, 1925 (age 90)
  • Jena Malone 1984
  • Camryn Manheim 1961
  • Leslie Mann 1972
  • Taryn Manning 1978
  • Jayne Mansfield 1933–1967
  • Gia Mantegna 1990
  • Linda Manz 1961
  • Adele Mara 1923–2010
  • Kate Mara 1983
  • Rooney Mara 1985
  • Vanessa Marcil 1968
  • Ann-Margret 1941
  • Julianna Margulies 1966
  • Constance Marie 1965
  • Brit Marling 1983
  • Paula Marshall 1964
  • Penny Marshall 1943
  • Andrea Martin 1947
  • Kellie Martin 1975
  • Mary Martin 1913–1990
  • Meaghan Jette Martin 1992
  • Pamela Sue Martin 1953
  • Natalie Martinez 1984
  • Marsha Mason 1942
  • Chase Masterson 1963
  • Mary Stuart Masterson 1966
  • Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio 1958
  • Samantha Mathis 1970
  • Marlee Matlin 1965
  • Marilyn Maxwell 1921–1972
  • Elaine May, born April 21, 1932 (age 82)
  • Melanie Mayron 1952
  • Jayma Mays 1979
  • Debi Mazar 1964
  • Monet Mazur 1976
  • Diane McBain 1941
  • Irish McCalla 1928–2002
  • Mercedes McCambridge 1916–2004
  • Jenny McCarthy 1972
  • Melissa McCarthy 1970
  • Rue McClanahan 1934–2010
  • AnnaLynne McCord 1987
  • Mary McCormack 1969
  • Patty McCormack 1945
  • Maureen McCormick 1956
  • Sierra McCormick 1997
  • Kimberly McCullough 1978
  • Jennette McCurdy 1992
  • Hattie McDaniel 1895–1952
  • Mary McDonnell 1952
  • Frances McDormand 1957
  • Gates McFadden 1949
  • Vonetta McGee 1945–2010
  • Kelly McGillis 1957
  • Elizabeth McGovern 1961
  • Maureen McGovern 1949
  • Rose McGowan 1973
  • Dorothy McGuire 1916–2001
  • Kathryn McGuire 1903–1978
  • Lonette McKee 1954
  • Danica McKellar 1975
  • Nancy McKeon 1966
  • Nina Mae McKinney 1912–1967
  • Maggie McNamara 1928–1978
  • Kristy McNichol 1962
  • Katharine McPhee 1984
  • Butterfly McQueen 1911–1995
  • Kay Medford 1914–1980
  • Leighton Meester 1986
  • Tamara Mello 1976
  • Eva Mendes 1974
  • Bridgit Mendler 1992
  • Idina Menzel 1971
  • Lee Meriwether 1935
  • Una Merkel 1903–1986
  • Ethel Merman 1908–1984
  • Debra Messing 1968
  • Dina Meyer 1968
  • AJ Michalka 1991
  • Aly Michalka 1989
  • Lea Michele 1986
  • Tammy Lynn Michaels 1974
  • Bette Midler 1945
  • Alyssa Milano 1972
  • Sylvia Miles, born September 9, 1932 (age 82)
  • Vera Miles, born August 23, 1930 (age 84)
  • Penelope Milford 1948
  • Ivana Miličević 1974 (born in Yugoslavia)
  • Ann Miller 1923–2004
  • Christa Miller 1964
  • Penelope Ann Miller 1964
  • Donna Mills 1940
  • Yvette Mimieux 1942
  • Nicki Minaj 1982
  • Rachel Miner 1980
  • Ming-Na 1963 (born in Macau)
  • Liza Minnelli 1946
  • Elizabeth Mitchell 1970
  • Mary Ann Mobley 1937–2014
  • Katherine Moennig 1977
  • Gretchen Mol 1972
  • Taylor Momsen 1993
  • Michelle Monaghan 1976
  • Daniella Monet 1989
  • Elizabeth Montgomery 1933–1995
  • Mo’Nique 1967
  • Marilyn Monroe 1926–1962
  • Demi Moore 1962
  • Grace Moore 1898–1947
  • Joanna Moore 1934–1997
  • Juanita Moore, born October 19, 1922 (age 92)
  • Julianne Moore 1960
  • Kenya Moore 1971
  • Mandy Moore 1984
  • Mary Tyler Moore 1936
  • Terry Moore, born January 7, 1929 (age 86)
  • Agnes Moorehead 1900–1974
  • Erin Moran 1960
  • Rita Moreno, born December 11, 1931 (age 83)
  • Chloë Grace Moretz 1997
  • Cathy Moriarty 1960
  • Debbi Morgan 1956
  • Haviland Morris 1959
  • Kathryn Morris 1969
  • Jennifer Morrison 1979
  • Shelley Morrison 1936
  • Elisabeth Moss 1982
  • Tamera Mowry 1978 (born in Germany)
  • Tia Mowry 1978 (born in Germany)
  • Bridget Moynahan 1970
  • Liliana Mumy 1994
  • Diana Muldaur 1938
  • Kate Mulgrew 1955
  • Megan Mullally 1958
  • Olivia Munn 1980
  • Brittany Murphy 1977–2009
  • Donna Murphy 1959
  • Jillian Murray 1984
  • Tara Magalski
  • Nita Naldi 1894–1961
  • Florence Nash 1888–1950
  • Mildred Natwick 1905–1994
  • Elise Neal 1970
  • Patricia Neal 1926–2010
  • Noel Neill, born November 25, 1920 (age 94)
  • Kristin Nelson 1945
  • Tracy Nelson 1963
  • Lois Nettleton 1927–2008
  • Bebe Neuwirth 1958
  • Julie Newmar, born August 16, 1933 (age 81)
  • Barbara Nichols 1928–1976
  • Nichelle Nichols, born December 28, 1932 (age 82)
  • Rachel Nichols 1980
  • Julianne Nicholson 1971
  • Cynthia Nixon 1966
  • Mabel Normand 1892–1930
  • Sheree North 1932–2005
  • Brandy Norwood 1979
  • Kim Novak, born February 13, 1933 (age 82)
  • Margaret O’Brien 1937
  • Renee O’Connor 1971
  • Rosie O’Donnell 1962
  • Gail O’Grady 1963
  • Catherine O’Hara 1954
  • Maureen O’Hara August 17, 1920 (age 94) (Irish)
  • Jodi Lyn O’Keefe 1978
  • Tatum O’Neal 1963
  • Barbara O’Neil 1910–1980
  • Jennifer O’Neill 1948 (born in Brazil)
  • Ahna O’Reilly 1985
  • Maureen O’Sullivan 1911–1998
  • Annette O’Toole 1952
  • Randi Oakes 1951
  • Jacqueline Obradors 1966
  • Larisa Oleynik 1981
  • Susan Oliver 1932–1990
  • Ashley Olsen 1986
  • Mary-Kate Olsen 1986
  • Elizabeth Olsen 1989
  • Susan Olsen 1961
  • Nancy Olson, born July 14, 1928 (age 86)
  • Lupe Ontiveros 1942–2012
  • Ana Ortiz 1971
  • Emily Osment 1992
  • Beth Ostrosky 1972
  • Cheri Oteri 1962
  • Kelly Overton 1978
  • Genevieve Padalecki 1981
  • Geraldine Page 1924–1987
  • Janis Paige, born September 16, 1922 (age 92)
  • Adrianne Palicki 1983
  • Betsy Palmer, born November 1, 1926 (age 88)
  • Gwyneth Paltrow 1972
  • Danielle Panabaker 1987
  • Hayden Panettiere 1989
  • Annie Parisse 1975
  • Grace Park 1974
  • Linda Park 1978
  • Eleanor Parker 1922–2013
  • Lara Parker 1937
  • Mary-Louise Parker 1964
  • Nicole Ari Parker 1970
  • Sarah Jessica Parker 1965
  • Suzy Parker 1932–2003
  • Lana Parrilla 1977
  • Leslie Parrish 1935
  • Estelle Parsons, born November 20, 1927 (age 87)
  • Karyn Parsons 1966
  • Dolly Parton 1946
  • Marnette Patterson 1980
  • Alexandra Paul 1963
  • Sarah Paulson 1974
  • Sara Paxton 1988
  • Nia Peeples 1961
  • Amanda Peet 1972
  • Elizabeth Peña 1959–2014
  • Piper Perabo 1976
  • Rosie Perez 1964
  • Elizabeth Perkins 1960
  • Rhea Perlman 1948
  • Pauley Perrette 1969
  • Valerie Perrine 1943
  • Donna Pescow 1954
  • Bernadette Peters 1948
  • Jean Peters 1926–2000
  • Susan Peters 1921–1952
  • Amanda Peterson 1971
  • Cassandra Peterson 1951
  • Valarie Pettiford 1960
  • Madison Pettis 1998
  • Lori Petty 1963
  • Dedee Pfeiffer 1964
  • Michelle Pfeiffer 1958
  • Mary Philbin 1902–1993
  • Busy Philipps 1979
  • Gina Philips 1970
  • Bijou Phillips 1980
  • Mackenzie Phillips 1959
  • Michelle Phillips 1944
  • Cindy Pickett 1947
  • Mary Pickford 1892–1979
  • Sasha Pieterse 1996 ( born South African)
  • Jada Pinkett Smith 1971
  • Maria Pitillo 1966
  • Zasu Pitts 1894–1963
  • Mary Kay Place 1947
  • Dana Plato 1964–1999
  • Alice Playten 1947–2011
  • Suzanne Pleshette 1937–2008
  • Martha Plimpton 1970
  • Eve Plumb 1958
  • Amy Poehler 1971
  • Sydney Tamiia Poitier 1973
  • Teri Polo 1969
  • Scarlett Pomers 1988
  • Ellen Pompeo 1969
  • Alisan Porter 1981
  • Natalie Portman 1981
  • Parker Posey 1968
  • Markie Post 1950
  • Monica Potter 1971
  • Annie Potts 1952
  • CCH Pounder 1952
  • Phyllis Povah 1893–1975
  • Eleanor Powell 1912–1982
  • Jane Powell, born April 1, 1929 (age 85)
  • Stefanie Powers 1942
  • Keri Lynn Pratt 1978
  • Laura Prepon 1980
  • Paula Prentiss 1938
  • Jaime Pressly 1977
  • Carrie Preston 1967
  • Kelly Preston 1962
  • Lindsay Price 1976
  • Megyn Price 1971
  • Pat Priest 1936
  • Victoria Principal 1950
  • Emily Procter 1968
  • Dorothy Provine 1935–2010
  • Linda Purl 1955
  • Maggie Q 1979
  • Kathleen Quinlan 1954
  • Aileen Quinn 1971
  • Cassidy Rae 1976
  • Charlotte Rae, born April 22, 1926 (age 88)
  • Cristina Raines 1952
  • Ella Raines 1920–1988
  • Francia Raisa 1988
  • Mary Lynn Rajskub 1971
  • Sheryl Lee Ralph 1956
  • Esther Ralston 1902–1994
  • Marjorie Rambeau 1889–1970
  • Leven Rambin 1990
  • Dania Ramirez 1979 (Dominican-born)
  • Sara Ramirez 1975 (Mexican-born)
  • Anne Ramsey 1929–1988
  • Laura Ramsey 1982
  • Theresa Randle 1964
  • Phylicia Rashad 1948
  • Kim Raver 1969
  • Navi Rawat 1977
  • Martha Raye 1916–1994
  • Tania Raymonde 1988
  • Nancy Davis Reagan, born July 6, 1921 (age 93)
  • Elizabeth Reaser 1975
  • Crystal Reed 1985
  • Donna Reed 1921–1986
  • Nikki Reed 1988
  • Pamela Reed 1949
  • Autumn Reeser 1980
  • Bridget Regan 1982
  • Tara Reid 1975
  • Lee Remick 1935–1991
  • Leah Remini 1970
  • Anne Revere 1903–1990
  • Judy Reyes 1967
  • Debbie Reynolds, born April 1, 1932 (age 82)
  • Alicia Rhett 1915–2014
  • Barbara Rhoades 1947
  • Cynthia Rhodes 1956
  • Jennifer Rhodes 1947
  • Kim Rhodes 1969
  • Marissa Ribisi 1974
  • Gigi Rice 1965
  • Christina Ricci 1980
  • Ariana Richards 1979
  • Beah Richards 1920–2000
  • Denise Richards 1971
  • Kim Richards 1964
  • Kyle Richards 1969
  • Cameron Richardson 1979
  • LaTanya Richardson 1949
  • Patricia Richardson 1951
  • Beth Riesgraf 1978
  • Amanda Righetti 1983
  • Molly Ringwald 1968
  • Lisa Rinna 1963
  • Kelly Ripa 1970
  • Thelma Ritter 1902–1969
  • AnnaSophia Robb 1993
  • Emma Roberts 1991
  • Julia Roberts 1967
  • Tanya Roberts 1955
  • Britt Robertson 1990
  • Ann Robinson, born April 25, 1929 (age 85)
  • Holly Robinson-Peete 1964
  • Lela Rochon 1964
  • Michelle Rodriguez 1978
  • Sarah Roemer 1984
  • Ginger Rogers 1911–1995
  • Mimi Rogers 1956
  • Elisabeth Rohm 1973
  • Esther Rolle 1920–1998
  • Rose Rollins 1981
  • Ruth Roman 1922–1999
  • Christy Carlson Romano 1984
  • Rebecca Romijn 1972
  • Cristine Rose 1951
  • Emily Rose 1981
  • Margot Rose 1956
  • Diana Ross 1944
  • Katharine Ross 1940
  • Tracee Ellis Ross 1972
  • Emmy Rossum 1986
  • Lillian Roth 1910–1980
  • Misty Rowe 1950
  • Victoria Rowell 1959
  • Gena Rowlands, born June 19, 1930 (age 84)
  • Zelda Rubinstein 1933–2010
  • Maya Rudolph 1972
  • Sara Rue 1979
  • Mercedes Ruehl 1948
  • Janice Rule 1931–2003
  • Olesya Rulin 1986 (born in Russia)
  • Jennifer Runyon 1960
  • Debra Jo Rupp 1951
  • Odeya Rush 1997 (Israeli-born)
  • Betsy Russell 1963
  • Gail Russell 1924–1961
  • Jane Russell 1921–2011
  • Keri Russell 1976
  • Rosalind Russell 1907–1976
  • Theresa Russell 1957
  • Deanna Russo 1979
  • Rene Russo 1954
  • Kelly Rutherford 1968
  • Amy Ryan 1969
  • Blanchard Ryan 1967
  • Debby Ryan 1993
  • Eileen Ryan, born October 16, 1928 (age 86)
  • Irene Ryan 1902–1973
  • Jeri Ryan 1968
  • Meg Ryan 1961
  • Winona Ryder 1971
  • Katee Sackhoff 1980
  • Katey Sagal 1954
  • Eva Marie Saint, born July 4, 1924 (age 90)
  • Susan Saint James 1946
  • Jill St. John 1940
  • Zoe Saldana 1978
  • Laura San Giacomo 1962
  • Kiele Sanchez 1976
  • Erin Sanders 1991
  • Jackie Sandler 1974
  • Mia Sara 1967
  • Susan Sarandon 1946
  • Tura Satana 1938–2011
  • Allison Scagliotti 1990
  • Gia Scala 1934–1972 (English-born)
  • Diana Scarwid 1955
  • Cassie Scerbo 1990
  • Annabella Sciorra 1960
  • Ashley Scott 1977
  • Lizabeth Scott 1922–2015
  • Martha Scott 1912–2003
  • Amy Sedaris 1961
  • Kyra Sedgwick 1965
  • Sandra Seacat 1936
  • Marian Seldes, born August 23, 1928 (age 86)
  • Christian Serratos 1990
  • Joan Severance 1958
  • Chloë Sevigny 1974
  • Amanda Seyfried 1985
  • Sarah Shahi 1980
  • Molly Shannon 1964
  • Lindsey Shaw 1989
  • Alia Shawkat 1989
  • Anne Schedeen 1949
  • Ally Sheedy 1962
  • Adrienne Shelly 1966–2006
  • Marley Shelton 1974
  • Cybill Shepherd 1950
  • Sherri Shepherd 1967
  • Ann Sheridan 1915–1967
  • Lisa Sheridan 1974
  • Brooke Shields 1965
  • Talia Shire 1946
  • Anne Shirley 1918–1993
  • Dinah Shore 1916–1994
  • Elisabeth Shue 1963
  • Gabourey Sidibe 1983
  • Sylvia Sidney 1910–1999
  • Maggie Siff 1974
  • Jamie-Lynn Sigler 1981
  • Karen Sillas 1963
  • Leslie Silva 1968
  • Sarah Silverman 1970
  • Alicia Silverstone 1976
  • Jessica Simpson 1980
  • Molly Sims 1973
  • Lori Singer 1957
  • Marina Sirtis 1955
  • Jennifer Sky 1976
  • Azura Skye 1981
  • Ione Skye 1970
  • Helen Slater 1963
  • Amy Smart 1976
  • Jean Smart 1951
  • Amber Smith 1971
  • Jaclyn Smith 1945
  • Kellita Smith 1969
  • Madolyn Smith 1957
  • Tasha Smith 1971
  • Lois Smith, born November 3, 1930 (age 84)
  • Shawnee Smith 1970
  • Jan Smithers 1949
  • Carrie Snodgress 1945–2004
  • Brittany Snow 1986
  • Liza Snyder 1968
  • Leelee Sobieski 1983
  • Rena Sofer 1968
  • Marla Sokoloff 1980
  • Bonnie Somerville 1974
  • Phyllis Somerville 1944
  • Suzanne Somers 1946
  • Gale Sondergaard 1899–1985
  • Brenda Song 1988
  • Mira Sorvino 1967
  • Shannyn Sossamon 1978
  • Ann Sothern 1909–2001
  • Sissy Spacek 1949
  • Britney Spears 1981
  • Jamie Lynn Spears 1991
  • Danielle Spencer 1965
  • Octavia Spencer 1970
  • Kelly Stables 1978
  • Kim Stanley 1925–2001
  • Barbara Stanwyck 1907–1990
  • Jean Stapleton 1923–2013
  • Maureen Stapleton 1925–2006
  • Karen Steele 1931–1988
  • Mary Steenburgen 1953
  • Hailee Steinfeld 1996
  • Jan Sterling 1921–2004
  • Mindy Sterling 1953
  • Connie Stevens 1938
  • Elaine Stewart 1930–2011
  • Kristen Stewart 1990
  • Julia Stiles 1981
  • Emma Stone 1988
  • Jennifer Stone 1993
  • Sharon Stone 1958
  • Alyson Stoner 1993
  • Madeleine Stowe 1958
  • Beatrice Straight 1914–2001
  • Susan Strasberg 1938–1999
  • Meryl Streep 1949
  • Barbra Streisand 1942
  • Brenda Strong 1960
  • Jessica Stroup 1986
  • Sally Struthers 1947
  • Gloria Stuart 1910–2010
  • Margaret Sullavan 1909–1960
  • Mena Suvari 1979
  • Dominique Swain 1980
  • Hilary Swank 1974
  • Gloria Swanson 1899–1983
  • Kristy Swanson 1969
  • Julia Sweeney 1959
  • Jodie Sweetin 1982
  • Taylor Swift 1989
  • Loretta Swit 1937
  • Kristine Sutherland 1955
  • Raven-Symoné 1985
  • Nita Talbot, born August 8, 1930 (age 84)
  • Patricia Tallman 1957
  • Constance Talmadge 1898–1973
  • Natalie Talmadge 1896–1969
  • Norma Talmadge 1894–1957
  • Amber Tamblyn 1983
  • Jessica Tandy 1909–1994
  • Katelyn Tarver 1989
  • Sharon Tate 1943–1969
  • Christine Taylor 1971
  • Elizabeth Taylor 1932–2011
  • Holland Taylor 1943
  • Jennifer Bini Taylor 1972
  • Leigh Taylor-Young 1945
  • Lili Taylor 1967
  • Scout Taylor-Compton 1989
  • Aimee Teegarden 1989
  • Shirley Temple 1928–2014
  • Tia Texada 1971
  • Charlize Theron 1975 (South African-born)
  • Tiffany Thiessen 1974
  • Lynne Thigpen 1948–2003
  • Marlo Thomas 1937
  • Michelle Thomas c. 1968–1998
  • Lea Thompson 1961
  • Susanna Thompson 1958
  • Bella Thorne 1997
  • Courtney Thorne-Smith 1967
  • Uma Thurman 1970
  • Gene Tierney 1920–1991
  • Maura Tierney 1965
  • Pamela Tiffin 1942
  • Jennifer Tilly 1958
  • Meg Tilly 1960
  • Addison Timlin 1991
  • Analeigh Tipton 1988
  • Ashley Tisdale 1985
  • Thelma Todd 1906–1935
  • Lauren Tom 1961
  • Marisa Tomei 1964
  • Tamlyn Tomita 1966
  • Lily Tomlin 1939
  • Gina Torres 1969
  • Audrey Totter 1917–2013
  • Katharine Towne 1978
  • Michelle Trachtenberg 1985
  • Nancy Travis 1961
  • Claire Trevor 1910–2000
  • Jeanne Tripplehorn 1963
  • Rachel True 1966
  • Robin Tunney 1972
  • Janine Turner 1962
  • Kathleen Turner 1954
  • Lana Turner 1921–1995
  • Aisha Tyler 1970
  • Liv Tyler 1977
  • Susan Tyrrell 1945–2012
  • Cicely Tyson, born December 19, 1933 (age 81) ?
  • Alanna Ubach 1975
  • Leslie Uggams 1943
  • Carrie Underwood 1983
  • Gabrielle Union 1972
  • Kate Upton 1992
  • Brenda Vaccaro 1939
  • Amber Valletta 1974
  • Danitra Vance 1954–1994
  • Vivian Vance 1909–1979
  • Mamie Van Doren, born February 6, 1931 (age 84)
  • Jo Van Fleet 1914–1996
  • Shantel VanSanten 1985
  • Diane Varsi 1938–1992
  • Liz Vassey 1972
  • Sofia Vassilieva 1992
  • Alexa Vega 1988
  • Nadine Velazquez 1978
  • Sofia Vergara 1972 ( born in Colombia)
  • Yvette Vickers 1928–2010
  • Nana Visitor 1957
  • Jenna von Oy 1977
  • Lark Voorhies 1974
  • Lindsay Wagner 1949
  • Natasha Gregson Wagner 1970
  • Shawna Waldron 1982
  • Dee Wallace 1948
  • Marcia Wallace 1942–2013
  • Quvenzhané Wallis 2003
  • Kate Walsh 1967
  • Maiara Walsh 1988
  • Lisa Ann Walter 1963
  • Nancy Walters 1933–2009
  • Sela Ward 1956
  • Susan Ward 1976
  • Julie Warner 1965
  • Jennifer Warren 1941
  • Lesley Ann Warren 1946
  • Fredi Washington 1903–1994
  • Kerry Washington 1977
  • Ethel Waters 1896–1977
  • Carol Wayne 1942–1985
  • Sigourney Weaver 1949
  • Virginia Weidler 1927–1968
  • Rachel Weisz 1970
  • Raquel Welch 1940
  • Tahnee Welch 1961
  • Tuesday Weld 1943
  • Dawn Wells 1938
  • Mae West 1893–1980
  • Celia Weston 1951
  • Shannon Whirry 1964
  • Betty White, born January 17, 1922 (age 93)
  • Karen Malina White 1965
  • Lynn Whitfield 1953
  • Mae Whitman 1988
  • Grace Lee Whitney, born April 1, 1930 (age 84)
  • Dianne Wiest 1948
  • Kristen Wiig 1973
  • Olivia Wilde 1984
  • Cara Williams, born June 29, 1925 (age 89)
  • Cindy Williams 1947
  • Esther Williams 1921–2013
  • JoBeth Williams 1948
  • Michelle Williams 1980
  • Vanessa A. Williams 1963
  • Zelda Williams 1989
  • Kimberly Williams-Paisley 1971
  • Rumer Willis 1988
  • Bridgette Wilson 1973
  • Rita Wilson 1956
  • Sheree J. Wilson 1958
  • Camille Winbush 1990
  • Oprah Winfrey 1954
  • Debra Winger 1955
  • Mare Winningham 1959
  • Mary Elizabeth Winstead 1984
  • Ariel Winter 1998
  • Shelley Winters 1920–2006
  • Reese Witherspoon 1976
  • Alicia Witt 1975
  • Collette Wolfe 1980
  • Deborah Ann Woll 1985
  • Evan Rachel Wood 1987
  • Lana Wood 1946
  • Natalie Wood 1938–1981
  • Alfre Woodard 1952
  • Shailene Woodley 1993
  • Joanne Woodward, born February 27, 1930 (age 85)
  • Shannon Woodward 1984
  • Fay Wray 1907–2004
  • N’Bushe Wright 1970
  • Robin Wright 1966
  • Teresa Wright 1918–2005
  • Jane Wyman 1917–2007
  • Jane Wyatt 1910–2006
  • Amy Yasbeck 1962
  • Morgan York 1993
  • Loretta Young 1913–2000
  • Sean Young 1959
  • Grace Zabriskie 1941
  • Pia Zadora 1954
  • Carmen Zapata 1927–2014
  • Natalie Zea 1975
  • Nora Zehetner 1981
  • Renée Zellweger 1969
  • Zendaya 1996
  • Madeline Zima 1985
  • Yvonne Zima 1989
  • Stephanie Zimbalist 1956
  • Daphne Zuniga 1962