By Khurram Murad
The most important nourishment for the heart is the Qur’an. Those who lived in the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) received their training and inspiration from the Qur’an. It was their guide, their light and their leader. Likewise, it must be your constant companion.
The Qur’an contains a treasure house of soul-stirring inspiration and wisdom. We can and should spend hours in understanding the Qur’an. There are thousands of pages of tafseer (Qur’anic exegesis) to read. But, we must know that the real test of benefiting from the Qur’an lies somewhere else. The Qur’an says that when people really listen to it, their faith must increase:
Believers are those who, when God is mentioned, feel a tremor in their heart, and whenever His Messages are conveyed to them their faith is strengthened. (Al-Anfal 8:2)
Where there is a fire, there is smoke. If the `fire’ of iman (faith) has been lit inside the heart, there must be smoke, and you will see that those who truly listen to the Qur’an, their eyes begin to well up with tears which trickle down their cheeks.
Live with the Qur’an
Nowadays, when we listen to the Qur’an or read it, our hearts are not moved, nor do our lives change. It is as if water is felling on a rock and flowing away. Our task is to replace this hard rock with soft absorbent soil so that the Qur’an may nourish the seed that has been planted.
We should always study the Qur’an as if it is being revealed to us today. One of the greatest injustices we do to the Qur’an is that we read it as if it were something of the past and of no relevance to the present.
Remember that the whole purpose of the man is to guide you and to change you by bringing you into submission to Allah. As you read it, also try to live by what it invites you to. If it does not have any impact upon your actions and if you do not observe what it enjoins and avoid what it prohibits, then you are not getting anywhere nearer the Qur’an.
In fact, one who reads the Qur’an and does not try to act upon it may be more likely to be cursed and punished by Allah. The Prophet said:
“Many of the hypocrites in my Ummah will be from among the reciters.” (Ahmad)
“He is not a Believer in the Quran who makes halal or lawful what has been made haram or prohibited.” (At-Tirmidhi)
It is also narrated that many Companions, like Uthman and `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud, once they learnt ten verses from the Prophet did not move further unless they had `learnt’ it fully both in understanding and in action; that is how they sometimes spent years in learning only one surah or chapter.
If you sincerely start changing your life according to the Qur’an, Allah will certainly help you and make the path easy for you. Allah reassures us in the Qur’an:
Those who say, `Our Lord is Allah,’ and continue upon the straight way, the angels descend upon them: Do not fear, nor be grieved, and receive glad tidings of the Garden which you were promised. We are your supporters in this world and in the Hereafter. And for you therein is whatever your souls desire, and for you therein is whatever you ask for.’ (Fussilat 41:30-31)
The Method of Tilawah
Tilawah or recitation is an act in which your whole person – soul, heart, mind, tongue and body – should participate. Thus, to recite the Qur’an, as it deserves to be recited, is not a light task; but neither is it impossible nor difficult. Otherwise, the Qur’an could not have been meant for everyone; nor could it be the mercy and the guidance that it surely is. There are a few obligations regarding recitation of the Qur’an which you should keep in mind.
– Read the Qur’an every day; in fact do not consider a day complete without it. It is better to read regularly, even if it be a small portion, than to read large sections, but only occasionally.
– Every day you must also find time to memorize as much of the Qur’an as you can. You can start with small surahs and short passages and then move on to longer portions.
– Read as much of the Quran in Prayer as you can, especially during the night, after the `Isha’, before the Fajr and in the Fajr, as nothing is more effective in making you attuned to the Quran and ensuring you absorb it than reading it in the night or in the morning. Indeed, the early hours of the morning is a particularly blessed time to recite the Qur’an:
Indeed, the recitation of the Quran at dawn is ever witnessed. (Al-Israa’ 17:78)
– Read the Qur’an in a good voice, as we have been told: “Beautify the Qur’an with your voices” (Abu Dawud); but also remember that the real beauty is the beauty that comes with the fear of Allah in the heart: “His recitation and voice are the most beautiful so that when you hear him, you think he fears Allah”. (Ad-Darimi)
– Read the Qur’an with concentration and understanding. The Prophet told Ibn `Umar not to finish reading the Qur’an in less than a week He also said that one who finishes it in less than three days does not understand any of it. One companion said that he preferred to read a short surah like Al-Qari`ah with proper understanding than to hastily finish long ones like Al-Baqarah and Aal `Imran.
Your Constant Companion
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), has said: “I am leaving you with two murshids.” The term murshid refers to the one who guides to the right path. The first is the talking murshid, the Qur’an, mid the second is the silent murshid (death).
As much as you keep in touch with the Qur’an and as long as you keep in touch with the idea that you are going to return to Allah and give an account of your actions, so you will stay on the right path.
You don’t need any other training program or another `person’ to guide you. These two murshids (guides) are enough and everyone has them at his disposal.
The article is excerpted from the author’s In the Early Hours: Reflections on Spiritual and Self-Development.