By Dr Israr Ahmed
August 12, 2016
The pathetic and disastrous condition of the Muslim Ummah throughout the world is due to its abandoning of the Holy Quran. The constant attitude of indifference, along with our hypocritical lip-service, is tantamount to ridiculing the last of Allah’s revelations. Instead, we must clearly understand our responsibilities towards the Holy Quran and try our very best to fulfil them. We can neither expect any improvement in our worldly state of affairs, nor hope for salvation in the Hereafter, unless we carry out all the obligations that we owe to the Quran.
The five demands that the Quran makes on every Muslim are as follows: (1) A Muslim is required to believe in the Quran. (2) He is required to read it. (3) He is required to understand it. (4) He is required to act upon its teachings. (5) He is required to convey its teachings to others. To have faith in the Quran means that we should verbally profess that the Quran is the Word of Almighty Allah that was revealed by Him through His angel Jibrael (AS) to the last of His Messengers (PBUH). This is a legal requirement for the acceptance of a person as a member of the Muslim society.
Having done that, however, we also need to develop a deeply felt certitude in the Quran. It is only when we have real conviction in this verbal declaration, that our hearts and minds would come under its spell, leading us towards genuine devotion and veneration of the Holy Book. Its absence is the reason why we neither find any reverence for the Quran in our hearts, nor feel inclined to study it, nor evince any interest in pondering over its meanings, nor ever think of seeking its guidance in conducting our lives. If the Book is studied and its meanings are pondered upon in an authentic quest for truth, all the veils of darkness shall be lifted from our heart.
It might be asked as to how we can acquire true faith. The answer is that the source of Iman is the Holy Quran itself. If the Book is studied and its meanings are pondered upon in an authentic quest for truth, all the veils of darkness shall be lifted from our heart, and the inner self – the soul – will get illuminated by the light of true faith. Note that faith is not something that can be planted in us from the outside. It is an embodiment of fundamental truths that already exist inside us; the practice of pondering over the ayahs of the Quran serves to bring them to the surface of our consciousness.
Slow and thoughtful reading of the Holy Quran with correct pronunciation is generally described as Tilawat, Tarteel, and Tajweed. Note that Tilawat is not only an important form of worship, but it is also an effective method of continually refreshing our faith. The Quran is not a book to be read once; it is a book that needs to be read again and again. We must read it carefully, reflecting on its messages, constantly seeking guidance for our lives. Just as our material body is in constant need of food for its sustenance, our soul (Rooh) is also in perpetual need for its nourishment. And while the food for our bodies is derived from the earth, the nutrition for our souls is obtained from the Word of Allah, the Holy Quran itself. Tilawat is not only an important form of worship, but it is also an effective method of continually refreshing our faith.
Moreover, a regular and constant programme of reciting the Holy Quran is also needed because it is a means of refreshing and reviving our faith, and a weapon for surmounting the obstacles in the path of Almighty Allah. The ideal way in which the Holy Book should be recited is that one should stand in the post-midnight prayer before his Lord and recite its Ayahs in a slow and patient manner, pausing at proper places so as to enable one’s heart to imbibe its influence. The Quran has been revealed so that it may be understood and pondered upon. Of course, there are numerous levels and grades of comprehension, accessible to different persons according to their respective planes of intellect and consciousness.
Tadabbur is described as a penetrating study, an intense reflection, as thorough deliberation of the Holy Quran as possible. It involves diving deep into the bottomless ocean of its wisdom. This kind of understanding is impossible, unless one is to devote his entire life, all his talents, and all his energies for the sole purpose of comprehending the Quran. Obviously, not everyone is capable of such a high level of devotion and effort to acquire such insight and comprehension. But there must be a number of persons, at all times, who are engaged in this enterprise.