Every Muslim is aware of the centrality of the Qur'an to Islam and the message of Islam. Yet, it is an unfortunate reality that in many Muslim homes, the Qur'an is treated as merely something to be put on the shelf and it is given no other practical importance. In Sūrah Furqān of the Qur’an, we find Rasūlullāh (sallAllāhu 'alayhi wasallam) will complain to Allah Ta‘ālā on the Day of Qiyāmah: 

 

يَا رَبِّ إِنَّ قَوْمِي اتَّخَذُوا هَذَا الْقُرْآنَ مَهْجُورًا

"O my Lord! My people took this Qur'an as something abandoned!" (25:30)

 

The scholars mention that "abandoning" the Qur'an has a number of manifestations, which include failure to recite the Qur'an, listen to it, ponder and reflect over its meanings, practise on its injunctions, believe in its contents and so on. Ask yourself, do you wish to be subject to the complaint of our beloved Nabī (sallAllāhu 'alayhi wasallam)?

 

As Muslims, we need to make an active effort to introduce the Qur'an as a living reality in our lives. The Qur’an should be approached with the belief that it will guide us, show us the right path, bring us nearer to Allah, clean our hearts, unite us, bring down mercy upon us and be a means of taking us to Paradise.

 

One may ask, how are we, as common Muslims, to try and build a stronger bond with the Qur'an? There are a number of ways of interacting with the Qur’an, including:

 

1) Recitation of the Arabic verses of the Qur'an, which is known as Tilaawah.

2) Reflecting over the meanings of the Qur'an, which is known as Tadabbur.

3) Acting on the guidance and teachings of the Qur'an, which is known as 'Amal.

 

When we observe the lives of Nabī (sallAllāhu 'alayhi wasallam) and his close companions, we find that reading the Qur’an was a daily practice of theirs. Some of them would finish the recitation of the whole Qur'an daily; others in three days; others in a week; and others over a longer period. But common to them all was that they had portions of the Qur'an that they would recite regularly. The Qur'an says:

 

وَرَتِّلِ الْقُرْآنَ تَرْتِيلًا

 

"And recite the Qur’an clearly in a distinct and measured tone."

 

There are many benefits to tilaawah, in both this life and the next. The Qur'an promises that by reading and listening to it mercy will descend. (Qur'an 17:82, 7:204) The Qur’an is a healing (shifaa’) not only for ailing hearts but its recitation averts even physical illnesses, as attested to in some hadiths. Tranquillity (sakeenah) descends on those who recite the Qur'an. In a hadith recorded in the Sahīhs of al-Bukhāri and Muslim, Nabī (sallAllāhu 'alayhi wasallam) said: "The skilled reciter of the Qur'an is with the noble and righteous angels, and the one who recites Qur'an and stutters therein, and it is difficult for him, he will have double reward." Hence, even those who find tilaawah difficult, and cannot read as fluently as others, should not give up or feel despondent as they are promised double reward in the next life. 

 

On the immense rewards of reciting the Qur’an, Tirmidhī reports that Nabī (sallAllāhu 'alayhi wasallam) said: "Whoever recites a letter of the Qur'an will attain one reward, and one reward is equivalent to ten. I do not say ‘Alif Lām Mīm’ is a letter, but ‘Alif’ is a letter, ‘Lām’ is a letter and ‘Mīm’ is a letter." Furthermore, the rewards of tilaawah are not limited to the next life. In a hadith recorded by Tirmidhī, Nabī (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: "Whoever is occupied by (reading) the Qur'an from doing zikr of Me and from asking of Me, I shall give him what I do not give those who ask."

 

Hence, we should devote a part of our daily routines to reading the Arabic of the Qur’an, even if only for fifteen minutes. This will have a profound effect on us: peace, tranquillity and mercy will descend; we will feel much calmer and healthier; many rewards will be kept in store for us in the afterlife; and many rewards we will receive in this life. Subhaan Allah!

 

Although reciting the Qur'an is extremely important in a Muslim's life for its spiritual, remedial and other positive effects, there is another very important layer to the Qur'an's objective, and that is its message and its meanings. The Qur'an says:

 

أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ أَمْ عَلَى قُلُوبٍ أَقْفَالُهَا

"Do they not ponder over the Qur'an or are there locks over their hearts?" (47:24)

 

In a hadith recorded in the Sahīh of al-Bukhari, Nabī (sallAllāhu 'alayhi wasallam) said: 

 

خَيْرُكُم مَنْ تَعَلَّمَ الْقُرْآنَ وَعَلَّمَه

 

"The best of you is he who studies the Qur'an and teaches it."

 

Equally important, therefore, if not more so, is to study and reflect on the message of the Qur'an. However, the Qur'an is no ordinary book. In a hadith recorded by Tirmidhī, Nabī (sallAllāhu 'alayhi wasallam) said: "The distinction of the speech of Allah over all speech is like the distinction of Allah over His creation." 

 

The Qur'an, therefore, cannot be read and studied like an ordinary book. This is why the Qur’an was revealed in small parts, as it takes time for its verses to be grasped and internalised. Moreover, to understand the interpretation of the Qur'an, we are obliged to refer to the explanations of Rasūlullāh (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) and the early Muslims, the Sahābah. This is so that the meanings of the Qur'an are not distorted.

The Qur'an has its context, its language, its idioms, inflections and tones, which are not easily appreciated by the novice. Nabī (sallAllāhu 'alayhi wasallam) said in a hadith recorded by Tirmidhi: "Whoever interprets the Qur'an using his own reason, let him prepare his place in the Hellfire!" We must, therefore, be very careful when interpreting and deriving meanings from the Qur'an. Only once we have understood the intent of the verses from the sayings of Rasūlullāh (sallAllāhu ‘alayhi wasallam), the Sahābah and the imams of Tafsīr, may we proceed to reflect, ponder, and internalise the messages of the Qur’an and remodel our lives accordingly. 

 

For this purpose, we need more than just a translation or a literal English rendering of the Qur’an. For English and Urdu speaking readers, we recommend the excellent commentary of the Qur'an authored by Mufti Muhammad Shafī‘ (rahimahullāh), called Ma‘āriful Qur’ān, that is available in both the English and Urdu languages. Alongside one’s regular recitation of the Qur’an, he should aim to read and ponder over at least ten to twenty pages of the commentary each day. This will help to give a much greater appreciation for the word of Allah Ta‘ālā, and will help bring the message of the Qur’an into one’s heart, mind and limbs.

 

 

Zameelur Rahman, UK

Student, Darul Iftaa

KHARWASTAN

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