REFLECTIONS

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Quarterly: Issue No 43

Rajab 1428

 

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CONDITIONS TO TRUE UNDERSTANDING OF QUR’AN

 

Just as cleanliness and ablution are conditions for the Salaah as one can obtain its true blessings only if one fulfils these conditions before offering it. Similarly, there are some basic conditions for the true understanding the Noble Qur’an. One can be blessed with this unique understanding only if one tries to grasp the Kalaamullah after fulfilling these conditions.  Let us briefly ponder over these conditions:

A) Purity of Intention

Purity of intention (ikhlaas) is the foremost of all conditions. It means that one should read the Noble Qur’an only to obtain guidance (hidaayah) from it and not for any other purpose.  If a person has some other purpose in mind, he will not only remain deprived of the blessings of the Noble Qur’an, but he may also get further away from the Noble Qur’an than he formerly was. If he studies the Qur’an in order to be an exegete (mufassir) so that he may get some fame and mundane benefit from it, he might achieve this worldly fame but he will never get to the true comprehension of the Qur’an. Similarly, if a person studies the Qur’an to notch up some arguments for his preconceived false (baatil) notions, he may succeed in getting some distorted proofs for them, but at the cost of not being blessed with the true understanding the Noble Qur’an.

Allah Almighty revealed the Noble Qur’an as a book of guidance and simultaneously nurtured the urge for guidance in every soul. If a person studies the Qur’an out of this urge, he reaps the benefit according to the endeavour put in and according to the help of Allah he received to understand the Kalaamullah in this regard.  And if he intends to use the Noble Qur’an under the yoke of some other motive he will get what he is looking for.  Owing to this very unique characteristic of the Qur’an, the Almighty defines it in this way:

By it He misleads many, and many He guides thereby. (2:26).

And after describing this characteristic, Allah clearly states:

And He misleads thereby only those who are Al-Fasiqoon (the rebellious, disobedient to Allah). (2:26)

It means that Allah leads only those people astray who out of their own free will deviate from the right path.  If someone worships idols even in the Ka’bah, then he does not deserve to be acquainted with the secret of Tawheed. If a person is interested in gathering thorns even from flowers, then he is not worthy of being blessed with the fragrance of flowers. If somebody, due to his depraved nature, considers cure as ailment, then he does not deserve health; rather he deserves to become even more sick.  It is to this very fact that the following verses were revealed:

These are they who have purchased error for guidance, so their commerce was profitless. And they were not guided. (2:16)

B) Belief in the Superiority of the Qur’an

The second condition for studying the Qur’an is that it should be acknowledged as the Superior Word of Allah before one embarks upon understanding it. If a person has no idea of the High Esteem and Significance of the Noble Qur’an, one cannot work as hard as needed to grasp its Sublime Treasure of Wisdom. Having a favourable preview of the Holy Qur’an beforehand is not an absurdity at all, as some may think. In fact, it is a very sane and logical attitude.  After all, the Qur’an has a magnificent history behind it. Its impact has been glorious. The miracle it has shown in changing human minds and ideologies stands unparalleled in history. Moreover, millions of people in the world not only accept it as a mere book, rather they regard it to be a Divine Book (Kitaabullah), a word revealed from the Divine Tablet (al-Lawh al-Mahfoodh). They acknowledge it as an inimitable word whose match has never been presented by either man or jinn and neither will they ever be able to do so. If a person has no idea of this importance of the Book, it is impossible for him to reflect on it as deeply as is essentially required. If it is known that a particular piece of land contains gold and a huge amount of gold has already been excavated from it, then it is rightly expected that more gold will be obtained on further digging. And again, whatever resources are spent on benefiting from such a piece of land is proportionate to its utility.

C) Resolve to live in accordance with the Qur’an

In order to truly benefit from the Noble Qur’an, the third most important condition is to have a firm resolve of transforming oneself according to the dictates of the Qur’an.  When one deeply studies this Book, one feels that what it demands from a person is entirely different from his own wants and desires.  He realizes that not only are his own ideals and thoughts different from those of the Qur’an, but also his dealings and social affairs goes beyond the limits imposed on them by the Qur’an. He does not find his inner as well as outer self in agreement with

the Qur’an.  After realizing this difference a determined and an ardent seeker of truth decides that whatever be the situation, he will adapt himself according to the requirements of the Qur’an. By sacrificing everything and bearing various hardships and by overcoming all obstacles that block his way, he strives to mould himself according to the lifestyle envisaged by the Noble Qur’an.  But a person who lacks will and strength is never able to fill up the huge gap between the Qur’an and himself. He fears that if he commits himself to the objectives set by the Qur’an, he will not only have to abandon all his mundane interests and pleasures. He dreads that if he scrutinizes his financial means in the light of the Qur’anic criterion of the lawful and the unlawful, he will have to give up all the luxuries and comforts of life he possesses. Not everyone is capable of confronting such turbulence in life. Only those who have a very high moral character and firm determination can face these ordeals. But then there are some people who always adhere to their sensual desires, even though they may confess that the Qur’anic path is the only correct path. Some people turn the illegitimate into the legitimate and the lawful into the unlawful on the pretext of being helpless and being compelled to do so because of adverse circumstances. Some cover up the truth with falsity by the aid of misleading and distorted interpretations. Some try to distort the meanings of the Divine Book like the Jews had done in the Torah. Some try to find a midway between belief and unbelief, that is to say, they follow only that part of the Qur’an which they find to be in accordance with their own desires while they ignore that which is against their wants.  All these ways are satanic tricks and whichever of them is adopted will lead a person to destruction. The only path to salvation is that a person should try to adapt himself according to the decrees of the Qur’an by sacrificing everything which is required in this regard. This determination is tested by Allah for some period of time. If a person is able to brave the storm of this test and trial, he finds fortune smiling at him. If one door is closed for him, Allah opens another one. If one society discards him, another society welcomes him. If one place refuses to lend refuge to him, another accepts him with open arms. It is this reality that the following verse refers to:  As for those who strive hard in Us (Our Cause), We will surely guide them to Our Paths. And verily, Allah is with the Muhsinoon (good doers).  (29:69)

D) Reflection

Reflecting on the Divine Book is the fourth most important condition to benefit from the Qur’an which itself mentions repeatedly:  Do they not then think deeply in the Qur'an, or are their hearts locked up (from understanding it)?  (47:24)

The companions of our beloved Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) were the first addressees of the Qur’an. They would ponder and contemplate on the Qur’an and the most distinguished among them in understanding the Qur’an were those who reflected the most on the Noble Qur’an.

Reciting the Qur’an without understanding it solely for the sake of obtaining blessings (thawaab) was not the only purpose of the Companions of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). The Qur’an is perhaps the only Book in the world which lays so much emphasis on the fact that it can be truly beneficial only when people reflect and put some thoughts upon its teachings. But it is an undeniable fact as well that it is this very Book which is always read with closed eyes. People read other trivial writings with attention and concentration in order to understand them but they deal with the Qur’an so indifferently. When they begin to read it, their minds are so closed and they have no interest in reflecting upon its teachings.

E) Entrust its understanding to Allah

In order to truly benefit from the Qur’an, the fifth condition is that instead of getting frustrated on word or verses a person is not being able to comprehend, he should submit these difficulties to Allah Almighty and ask for His guidance. Showing any ill will to the Qur’an or criticizing it in when it poses difficulties to a person is an uncalled for attitude. At times, one does feel the brunt of ‘a burdened word’ and fails to come to grips with its meanings. The right approach in such problematic and troublesome situations is that one should keep praying to the Almighty for His help and be steadfast in adhering to the Qur’an. If one remembers portions of this divine message by heart, one should recite them slowly and gradually during the night prayers. By the will of Allah, his difficulties will subside and he will be blessed with the radiance of the Qur’anic wisdom. The following prayer also proves very useful in such situations:

O Allah! By virtue of all Your Names which are just Yours, by which You called Yourself in Your Book, or which You made Your creature learn, I beg You to render the Qur’an the freshness of my heart, the light of my soul, a relief to my grief and a cure of my distress and sorrow. Ameen!

 

OUR RIGHTS TOWARDS THE NOBLE QUR’AN

 

In Hadith al-Qudsi it has been mentioned that Allah says:
"
If anybody finds no time for My remembrance and for begging favours of Me, because of him remaining busy with the Holy Qur'an, I shall give him more than what I give to all those who beg favours of Me. The superiority of the Word of Allah over all other words is like the superiority of Allah over the entire creation."  (Tirmidhi)

Even though we may not be Hafiz-e-Qur’an we must put much effort into reciting the words of Allah as much as we can. May it be just a few lines or words, however try and make sure it is persistent. There are three most important rights of the Qur’an:

1. ‘Azmah (Greatness)

a) Inner greatness - Love (Batini)

We should have love for the Qur’an from our hearts.

b) Outer greatness  - Adab (Zahiri)

We should respect the Qur’an by our actions.

2. Tilaawah (Recitation)

The recitation of the Noble Qur’an should be our daily habit.
3. ‘Amal (Practice)

Practising upon what Allah has commanded in the Noble Qur’an.

  

I request your humble du'aas.

Abdul Haq Abdul Kadir

Umhlanga Rocks, KZN

South Africa