Who is the best of people?

Uthman (Radhi Allahu anhu) narrates that Rasulullah (sallallaho alaihe wasallam) said: "The best amongst you is he who learns the Qur'an and teaches it." In most of the books, this hadith is quoted with the word 'and' between 'learns' and 'teaches' as above. Thus the greatest reward would be for him who learns the Holy Qur'an and thereafter teaches it to others. But in some of the books this 'hadith' is narrated with the word 'or', in which case the meaning would be ''The best amongst you is he who learns the Qur'an or teaches it."


According to this version, the reward is general, i.e., equally great whether one learns himself or teaches to others. Thus there would be equal virtue for both.


The Qur'an is the basis of the religion of Islam, and on the preservation and propagation of the Qur'an depends the very existence of this faith. Hence the virtue of learning and teaching the Qur'an is self-evident and does not need further elucidation.


There are, however, various degrees of excellence. The highest is to learn the Qur'an along with its meanings and purport and the least is to learn its words only.


The 'hadith' mentioned above is supported also by another saying of Rasulullah (Sallallahu alaihe wasallam) as reported by Sa'id ibn-I-Salim (Radhi Allaho anhu): "If a person who has acquired knowledge of the Holy Qur'an considers another person who has been gifted with something else to be more fortunate than himself, he has shown disrespect to the blessings of Allah bestowed on him on account of hi learning the Qur'an."


It is evident that since the Qur'an, being the Word of Allah, is superior to all other discourses as mentioned in some of the 'ahadith' quoted later, its reading and teaching must be superior to everything else.


Mullah Ali Qari quotes from another 'hadith' that whoever acquires the knowledge of Holy Qur'an stores the knowledge of prophethood in his forehead.


Sahl Tastari (Radhi Allahu anhu) says that the proof of love for Allah is the existence of love for the word of Allah in one's heart.


In 'Sharah Ihya', the list of people who will be given shelter in the shade of 'Arsh' (Throne of Allah) on the fearful Day of Judgement includes those persons who teach the Qur'an to the children of Muslims and also those who learn the Qur'an in their childhood and are devoted to its recitation when grown up.


(Adapted from Fadha'il Qur'an)



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