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2 meanings of Zikr: Hifz (remembering; memorizing) and understanding;
As an Ummah, we worked on the first one and saw Allah’s promise fulfilled in front of our own eyes. We have almost millions of huffaz. To see greatness of this miracle, try to memorize paragraph of a language which you can read but not understand (any European language that you don’t know). Would not find it extremely difficult?
If we work on the 2 nd aspect (of understanding), we will see the miracles here too. In fact, the amount of work required to develop understanding of the Qur’an is much less than that for doing Hifz.
The Prophet’s (pbuh) eagerness to learn Qur’an
And hasten not (O Muhammad) with the Quran ere its revelation hath been perfected unto thee, and say: My Lord! Increase me in knowledge. Al-Qur’an [20:114]
Everything around us in this universe is a creation of Allah except the Qur’an. It is the attribute of Allah. It contains the words of Allah.
How extremely fortunate we are that the creator of this universe, the one who is always existing and will always live, has blessed us with a Book in His own words containing guidelines for our own benefits and WE DON’T HAVE TIME TO STUDY IT!
The best of the Books the worst treatment from us
If I have 20 books in my shelf, then Qur’an perhaps is the one which receives the worst treatment (in terms of the real use of a book, i.e., understanding it).
Allah has sent us the ‘best of the Books’ and our attitude towards it is almost the worst in practical terms (even though we do pay a lot of lip service).
Even if such a daily slot or weekly slot exists for attending a dars or a study circle of the Qur’an, we drop it at the slightest pretext such as, “I am tired,” “I had some friends/relatives at my house and I can not come,” etc.
By the way, none of these pretexts are used when it comes to our job or other interests (such as social gatherings).
He enjoys all the facilities and does everything except studying his books.
When you come in the evening (and you know that he has not opened a single book during the day), he starts praising you, “O Dad! How nice are you! Thank you so much for bringing me everything!”
May be you will tolerate it the first day. But, if this behavior continues for the next four or five days, your patience will surely run out. You may perhaps punish him in response to his PRAISE and will tell him that you have done everything for him so that he is careful about his studies.
By Allah, the Book (Al-Qur’an) that I have in my house is the same Book, because of which the night in which it was revealed became so much honored, because of which Ramadaan became the best of months, …
Do I spend sleepless nights full of excitement because this Book is present in my house! Do I ever feel so much happy and overjoyed when I look at this Book in my house!!! Do I GET UPSET/RESTLESS THE DAY I MISS ITS LESSON, ITS RECITATION, …
In today’s environment of high perks for software engineers, if we are told that a new language (N++ !!?) has come and anyone who masters that language using a manual of 600 pages will get a job worth $10,000, then almost everyone of us perhaps will do his best to understand each and every line of the manual.
If I have spent thousands of days and nights for 40 years of service/position/job, then what about Al-Quran, with which my infinite future (not 40 years, not 40,00, not 40,000, not 40 million, not 40 billion, not 40 trillion, but infinite future) including that of this world is related.
How many hours have I or do I spend or do I plan to spend for this Book?
Ex. 11: Our reverse logic when it comes to Qur’an
Allah says in the Qur’an, “(This is) a Scripture that We have revealed unto thee, full of blessing, that they may ponder its revelations, and that men of understanding may reflect” [Al-Qur’an, 38:29]. The purpose of revelation is that “they ponder over its verses”. A simple and clear statement by Allah!.
Have you ever read a book on any topic (Maths, physics, social sciences, commerce, etc.) in which the author has asked you to understand its contents! Never!
However, we Muslims have reverse logic when it comes to Qur’an. Even after clear statements by Allah subhanahu ta’ala about the purpose of revelation, we just take it easy and never bother seriously to understand it.
The tragedy is that no Muslim denies the importance of understanding it yet at the same time does almost nothing serious to understand it.
Ex. 12: Common sense applied everywhere except..
I can ‘read’ a newspaper in French which has similar alphabets as those of English (even though I don’t understand French).
If I tell you that I have read it, you will ask me about the news. If I respond by saying, “Well I have read it but I don’t know the news,” you may immediately tell me to stop ‘fooling around’ or ‘joking.’
Didn’t we find any other Book except Qur’an to ‘fool around’ or ‘joke’? We never bother to understand it seriously and on the top of it are completely satisfied with our performance. We still claim that we can ‘read’ Qur’an!!!
If we don’t understand the Qur’an while reading it, then we have not read it in the most common sense of the word, ‘read.’ (I am not talking of beginners here).
If your son takes up a new language, say French, in his primary school class and comes in the beginning of the year with some French sentences, you surely will be happy. You may not be upset even if he does not understand those sentences.
However, if this style continues till the end of year, you surely will not be happy with his mere utterances of French sentences. You will tell him explicitly that one year is long enough for one to start understanding at least something of that language.
Allah wants us to start everyday under Qur’anic light (with 2 lectures in 2 Raka’ahs of Fajr)
Allah wants us to end the day also in Qur’anic light with 4 lectures; 2 in Maghrib and 2 more in Isha within 2 hours! Perhaps because man is more prone to Satanic temptations in the night (Allah knows best).
Abud-Darda (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "He who follows a path in quest of knowledge, Allah will make the path of Jannah easy to him. The angels lower their wings over the seeker of knowledge, being pleased with what he does. ...'' [Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi].
Abu Umamah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "The superiority of the learned over the devout worshipper is like my superiority over the most inferior amongst you (in good deeds).'' He went on to say, "Allah, His angels, the dwellers of the heaven and the earth, and even the ant in its hole and the fish (in water) supplicate in favour of those who teach people knowledge.'' [At-Tirmidhi].
Say: Believe therein or believe not, lo! those who were given knowledge before it, when it is read unto them, fall down prostrate on their faces, adoring, Saying: Glory to our Lord! Verily the promise of our Lord must be fulfilled. They fall down on their faces, weeping, and it increaseth humility in them. [Al-Qur’an 17:107-109]
For more details click on another presentation, “Be like those reciters.”
An example of a stanza from an Urdu poem: Kaise kaise ayse wyse hogaye Ayse wyse kaise kaise hogaye The beauty, the choice of words, the rhythm, and the message in such compact simple words is almost impossible to be translated.
If this is the case with human composition, can God’s composition be translated?
A person reading translation is like a blind who is given tour by somebody (translator) of a wonderful garden (with respect to the original beauty of the Qur’an and not with respect to the essential message).
However much the translator tries, he can not convey the impact of the original Arabic of the Qur’an
Of course, a learner will not get all that beauty in the first try, but he surely will enter into a huge new world once he starts understanding Arabic; and Allah will take him to new heights of understanding as his learning continues.
If I tell my students in Master’s degree program to stay one or two years more then they simply get terribly upset. They say that they have to go for a job, use the knowledge to earn money to start the life.
Are we not supposed to live in complete light/guidance of the Qur’an? To ensure the continuous guidance, Allah has asked us to recite/hear it in every Salah and we simply ignore it.
“ Is it a must to understand the whole Qur’an?”
Why then did Allah ask us to recite from any part of the Qur’an in Salah? One should come up with redundant verses/chapters (na’oozubillah). Can anyone claim to do that?
Allah knows best and He gave us this Book. To say that it is not necessary to understand the whole Book is to question His wisdom.
(I am talking about the basic understanding only. Not of mutashaabihaat etc.)
In our daily lives we are faced with tens of different situations.
Qur’an gives us a number of examples, stories, commands, advices.
We don’t know where the solution is hidden for our problems. We should keep reciting it with understanding and ask Allah to guide us. He surely will guide us. After all, did He not reveal it as a Book of guidance?
(We can surely take scholar’s help. But we should do our part too)
“ O mankind! There hath come unto you an exhortation from your Lord, a balm for that which is in the breasts, a guidance and a mercy for believers. Say: In the bounty of Allah and in His mercy: therein let them rejoice. It is better than what they hoard. [Al-Qur’an, 10:57-58].
If you visit those who have some religious awareness, you will be corrected multiple times if you recite the Qur’ran wrongly (violating Tajweed rules). However, nobody will fault you if you don’t know the meaning of the Qur’an!
It is a must to learn Tajweed but let us not stop there.
We are holders of big degrees and that is a pride for us. If somebody does not hold such degrees, it is a matter of shame or a sign of ignorance in our society. (Of course, we should work for education).
However, when it comes to Qur’an, our ‘Main Textbook’ we are ignorant (jaahil)!
Nobody even bothers to ask or makes sure that he knows it.
Have you ever seen non-Arabs who cry while listening to Imam in Fajr, Isha, or Taraweeh prayers? Why? Because they don’t undestand it! You can see that phenomena in Arab world, especially in Majid-e-Haraam or in Masjid-e-Nabawi.
3. If we skip one class, it is almost half-a-month of no-touch/no-interaction with the Qur’anic lesson.
4. Even if you do it regularly (with 1 or 2 pages/class, it means 2 or 3 Juz/paras in a year; or 10 to 15 years to complete the Qur’an!!! What a tremendous loss of remaining active life! For the next 15 years (IF WE LIVE!), we will not be able to understand 50% of the Qur’an on the average!
4. In addition to fulfilling the requirements of the study of Qur’an, let us see how ahadeeth encourage us:
Uthman ibn ‘Affan (may Allah be pleased with him) relates that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “The best among you are those who have learnt the Qur’an and teach it (to others)” [Bukhari].
On the authority of Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “… No people gather together in one of the houses of Allah, reciting the Book of Allah and studying it among themselves , without tranquility descending upon them, Mercy (of Allah) enveloping them, the angels surrounding them, and Allah making mention of them amongst those who are with Him” [Muslim].
8. Our excitement will increase with time because we will get the sense of achievement that we have covered so many paras. In fact, this is what happens. Completion of 10, 15 paras will inspire us to complete the Quran as early as possible.
9. We will develop a habit of daily recitation of the Qur'an.
12. What will we gain if we don’t come for those 40 min. What will we spare? Will we make millions in those 40 min? Will we enjoy the best of sleep in those 40 minutes (if it is after Fajr till Ishraaq, the best and ideal time)? Compare it to how much will be lost!
The duties of Qur’an do not disappear by neglecting them.
Let us not become deaf or blind to this call or any call by Allah, “O ye who believe! Obey Allah and His messenger, and turn not away from him when ye hear (him speak). Be not as those who say, We hear, and they hear not. Lo! the worst of beasts in Allah's sight are the deaf, the dumb, who have no sense”. [Al-Quran 8:20-21].