By Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam
The word Qur’an comes from the Arabic root word ‘Qara’ which means a collection to read, a book meant to be read. It is a proclamation to humanity. It is a Book of Wisdom (10:1, 31:2, and 36:2). The Quran makes things clear (15:1, 25:33, 26:2, 27:1, 28:2, 36:69-70, 43:2). It is both good news as well as warning (17:9-10). It is a healing and mercy to all of us (17:82).
I don’t think we can derive all these benefits only by reading the Quran, without any understanding. We can truly avail of all the good and the guidance only if we read the Quran with understanding, i.e., besides reciting in Arabic; we should also read in the language we understand the best.
During the Medieval period (8-12th century), the world is considered to be in a state of darkness- it was the “Dark Ages”. The Europeans were at the bottom at that time, but the Muslims were at the top. The reason was that the Muslims were close to the Quran and the influence of Muhammad (pbuh) was very high then. At that time Arabic was the most common and most popular language and if anyone had to study anything related to the study of nature or science then one had to learn Arabic. But today the Muslims are at the bottom in almost every field, especially in the field of science and technology, only because our relation with the Quran has withered.
The most common of all the excuses is that we do not know Arabic as a language. More than 80% of the Muslim world does not understand Arabic as a language. These are all vague excuses. We can very easily purchase (if I am allowed to use this word) a Quran with the translation in the language we understand the best. But I have simplified things too much; the reality is a bit different. The Holy Quran is the most untranslatable book in this world. Because the language of the Holy Quran is so divine, it is so noble, it is so pure, it is so miraculous, it is so unsurpassable, it is so intelligible, which makes it the most difficult book in the world and in fact an almost impossible book to be translated into various other languages. The language of the Holy Quran is so rich, that each word requires several words or at times even sentences to translate. Many Arabic words have several meanings. And many a times, more than one meaning is applicable for that Ayah (verse). The beauty of the original Arabic text cannot be translated into any other language. Yet in spite of this difficulty, there are several scholars throughout the world, who have translated the Holy Quran into various other languages of this world. Even though you cannot grasp the 100% message of the Holy Quran and in depth knowledge of the Holy Quran by reading the translation, yet you can acquire the majority, the maximum of the basic message, which the Quran gives you even if you read the translation of the Holy Quran.
The other excuse that most of us give is that we don’t have much time for reading and understanding the Quran. People will spend years in secular studies but will not even spare even a day for trying to understand the Quran. I am not against secular education; I promote it at the top of my voice because the Quran too promotes it. Within a few months we can finish the reading and understanding the major parts of the Quran if only we take exactly 10 minutes of time everyday in the morning. Every day after offering the Morning Prayer, I read one Para or one part of the Quran and read the English translation, and it hardly takes more than 10 minutes. God willing in a few months time I will have completed the reading and understanding for the fourth or fifth time. I don’t find this task taxing, in fact I enjoy it and I feel refreshed.
The Holy Quran says in Surah Baqura 2: 1-2 “alif laam mim, zaalikal kitabu laraiba fee…..” which means “this is the book in which without doubt there is guidance for those who fear Allah”. The Holy Quran says in Surah Kahf 18: 54 that “we have explained in detail in this Holy Quran, for the benefit of humankind, several similitudes; but man in most things is contentious” The Holy Quran says in Surah Al-Zumar 39: 27 that “we have put forth for the human being, every kind of parable in order that they may receive admonition”. The Holy Quran promises you that it will give you benefit in this world as well as in the hereafter
The Holy Quran says in Surah Baqura 2: 185 that “Ramadhan is the month in which the Holy Quran was revealed as a guidance to the humankind, to judge right from wrong. The Holy Quran says in Surah Al-Zumar 39: 41 that “we have revealed to thee (that is prophet pbuh) the Holy Quran to instruct the humankind”. It does not say to instruct the Muslims or the Arabs, but to instruct whole of humankind. The Holy Quran says in Surah Al-Qalam 68: 52 which says, “This is nothing but a message to all the world”. The Holy Quran says in Surah Takwir 81: 27 that “verily this is no less message to all the worlds”. It does not say only to Muslims, but all the worlds. And our beloved prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) was not send only for the Muslims or the Arabs, but the Holy Quran says in Surah Al-Ambiya 21: 107 “we have sent thee not but as a mercy for the whole of humankind” as a mercy to all the creatures; as a mercy to all the worlds. The Holy Quran says in Surah Saba 34: 28 that “we have sent thee as a universal messenger, giving glad tidings and warning them against sins; but most of human beings yet do not know.”
The Holy Quran says in Surah Jumaah 62: 5 that “the similitude of those who were given the Mosaic Law is like a donkey which carries tons of books, but it understands it not.” The holy Quran says that the Jews were given the Mosaic Law, but they did not practice that law, it is as though they are like donkeys carrying tons and tons of books, but it understands it not.
A person can completely read the Holy Quran and superficially understand it. But no one can ever say that he has done complete pondering over the holy Quran, no one can ever say that he has understood the complete Quran, each and every ayah of it, in depth. The Holy Quran is a book which people never get tired of reading. The more you read it, the more knowledge you get, the more guidance you get. It was very important to read the Holy Quran with understanding but now it has become compulsory for at least Muslims to read the Quran with understanding because we see that because of the deliberate mistranslation of the Quran, radicalism, orthodoxy and terrorism are on the rise. We need a huge chunk of Muslims, if not all, to know the meaning of the Quran quite well so that they can counter the wrong ideology of the fanatics and save our children from turning them into ogres.