posted by Munavvar Izhar at NewAgeIslam.com
Every year during Ramadan the Quran gets read and recited repeatedly in every Masjid big and small. Gatherings of Muslims young and old stand for long hours attending Taraweeh, as they listen to its verses. Huffaz both local and foreign, lead diverse assemblies, representing every ethnic community, as they relentlessly pursue its completion thru a rigorous schedule of nightly prayers. It is as if the Quran somehow becomes a living reality in the lives of Muslims the world over. It does not matter if you are a Sunni or a Shia, a meditating Sufi or a stern Wahhabi, a mild moderate or a rigid conservative, a casual practitioner of the faith or a religious fanatic who practices it with the utmost detail, the Quran captures us all in its warm embrace. It descends upon the collective conscience of the community gently giving us all a sense of comfort and joy.
Our brief month long love affair with the Quran is strangely exhaustive yet exhilarating. It leaves us physically run down but spiritually elevated. It brings us shoulder to shoulder with strangers and neighbours. It bonds us with friends. It binds us with foes. It charms us as no symphony can ever do. For such is its magic and such is its power.
As with so many love affairs where passion consumes reason, so it is with our love affair with the Quran. For although we are passionate in our reading and listening to the Divine Narrative we are sadly not equally passionate in the pursuit of its Divine Guidance. No wonder we fail to hear the silent lament of the Quran bemoaning our woeful disregard for its message. A message that invites us to a higher calling and one that inspires us to lead lives of integrity and purpose. It is as though we read it without reading and hear it without hearing.
Indeed the symbolism that colours our love affair with the Quran, sadly is representative of the symbolism that permeates all other aspects of our relationship with the faith. The Quran shows us a way to live and we refuse to change the way we live.
The Quran reminds us that piety does not lie in turning our faces to the East or the West. Yet we continue to equate piety exclusively with salath. The Quran encourages us to give from our wealth to meet the unmet needs of the poor, the needy and those who ask. Yet we continue to save and hoard and refuse to spend when the wretched and beaten down cry for help. The Quran extols us to live for the Hereafter, pursuing His will, yet we delight in living for the day, cherishing our pleasures, our wealth and our possessions.
The Quran teaches us to be learned with knowledge, to be united in belief, to be patient in adversity, to be models of integrity, to be watchful of our anger, to be keepers of our promises, to be foremost in service and to be defenders of the rights of fellow man. We choose instead, to be illiterate and ignorant, to be divided thru prejudice promoting sectarian hostilities, to be betrayers of the trust of our people and plunder the wealth of our countries, to be explosive in our anger, to be restrictive with our freedoms, unreliable with our promises, indulgent in our self interests, indifferent to the needs of others, unwilling to rise from our abodes of comfort and do His Will.
We were given a country to live in peace and practice our faith and we converted it into a hellhole where neither peace exists nor faith prevails. We were given boundless wealth and resources in the ground, to use them prudently and to better the lives of our people and we squandered them to satisfy our lust for power and pleasure.
The Quran tells us of two paths that we have to choose from, and challenges us to climb the steeper path, the one which requires us to struggle and fight in the defense of human rights and the freedoms of others who are deprived of these essential dignities. The Quran warns us of the horrors of hell for ignoring His Guidance, yet we believe we are heaven bound no matter how we live, simply because we are the promised ones. The Quran repeatedly reminds us of the burden of individual accountability and personal responsibility that each one of us is to bear, yet we crave to lighten that burden, seeking the aid of some dear departed saintly souls. The Quran speaks of His infinite Mercy and shows us the ways to seek it. Without good deeds to replace bad deeds, it declares, the scars of sins remain and cannot heal. The road for redemption requires for us to recognize first that we are lost and going a wrong way, then stop and change direction and pursue a different path. Tauba / repentance mandates a break away from a wrong behaviour, from hurting to healing, from anger to patience, from arrogance to humility. Yet so many of us continue to speed away on the highways of our lives, violating the lives of others, not making any amends, yet expecting His Mercy to prevail.
The new moon each year heralds the beginning and the end of another Ramadan. Millions stand each night throughout the month in silent vigil listening to the verses of the Quran as it is recited. The power of the Quran is in its guidance. A guidance, which so often is obscured because we care not to read it in a language we can understand. The Quran reminds the faithful not to approach salath when intoxicated, as they will not be able to understand what they are reciting. Yet millions of us recite it sober, with little comprehension. Our lives remain unchanged as the years go by The spark that can ignite a fire within our lives that can truly enlighten our world remains hidden within the book. As another Ramadan draws to a close, the silent lament of the Quran bemoans not the fact that it is being burnt by some disbelieving bigots in a churchyard, but that it fails to fire up a generation of mosque goers whose lives are not enlightened by its guidance.
May this remaining Ramadan and there after we get motivated to read the Quran for its guidance and change our lives, because GOD does not help those who make no efforts to change their own lives.
JK and May Allah bless us all.