By Khurram Murad
It is beyond man’s power to comprehend, or to describe, the greatness and importance of what the Qur’an holds for him. Yet, to begin with, you must have some idea of what it is and what it means to you, such that you are inspired to immerse the whole of yourself in the Qur’an, in total commitment, complete dedication and ceaseless pursuit, as it demands.
The Qur’an is Allah’s greatest blessing for you. It is the fulfillment of His promise to Adam and his descendants:
There shall come to you guidance from Me, and whosoever follows My guidance no fear shall be on them, neither shall they sorrow. (Al-Baqarah 2:38)
It is the only weapon to help your frail existence as you struggle against the forces of evil and temptation in this-world. It is the only means to overpower your fear and anxiety. It is the only ‘light’ (nur), as you grope in the darkness, with which to find your way to success and salvation. It is the only healing (shifa’) for your inner sicknesses, as well as the social ills that may surround you.
It is the constant reminder (dhikr) of your true nature and destiny, of your station, your duties, your rewards, your perils.
It was brought down by one who is powerful and trust- worthy in the heavens – the Angel Gabriel (Jibreel). Its first abode was that pure and sublime heart, the like of which man has never had – the heart of the Prophet Muhammad, blessings and peace be on him.
To Get Closer
More than anything, it is the only way to come nearer and closer to your Creator. It tells you of Him, of His attributes, of how He rules over the cosmos and history, of how He relates Himself to you, and how you should relate to Him, to yourself, to your fellow men and to-every other existence.
The rewards that await you here are surely many, increasing manifold in the Hereafter, but what awaits you at the end of the road, promises Allah in the hadith qudsi, “the eye has seen not, nor the ear heard, nor the heart of man ever conceived”, and, adds Abu Hurayrah: read if you wish (in Al-Sajdah 32:17): “No human being can imagine what joys are being kept hidden for them in reward for all that they did”. (Bukhari and Muslim)
Infinite Mercy and Majesty
Most important to remember is that what you read in the Qur’an is the word of Allah, the Lord of the worlds, which He has conveyed to you in a human language, only because of His mercy and care and providence for you:
The Most-merciful, He has taught the Qur’an. (Ar-Rahman 55:1-2)
A mercy from your Lord. (Ad-Dukhan 44:6)
The majesty of the Qur’an, too, is so overpowering that no human being can comprehend it. So much so that, says Allah:
If We had sent down this Qur’an upon a mountain, you would have seen it humbled, split asunder out of the fear of Allah. (Al-Hashr 59:20)
This act of Divine mercy and majesty is enough to awe and overwhelm you, to inspire you to ever-greater heights of gratitude, yearning and endeavor to enter the world of the Qur’an. Indeed, no treasure is more valuable and precious for you than the Qur’an, as Allah says of His generosity:
O men! There has come to you an exhortation from your Lord, healing for what is in the hearts, and a guidance, and a mercy for believers. Say: In (this) bounty of Allah, and in His mercy – in it let them rejoice. It is better than whatever they amass. (Yunus 10:57,58)
Hazards and Perils
Rejoice you must, in the mercy and blessing and generosity of Allah. Seek you must, for the treasures that await your search herein. But the Qur’an opens its doors only to those who knock with a sense of yearning, a sincerity of purpose and an exclusive attention that befit its importance and majesty.
And only those are allowed to gather its treasures, while they walk through it, who are prepared to abandon themselves completely to its guidance and do their utmost to absorb it.
It may quite possibly happen therefore that you may read the Qur’an endlessly, turn its pages laboriously, recite its words beautifully, study it most scholarly, and still fail to make an encounter with it that enriches and transforms your whole person.
For, all those who read the Qur’an do not profit from it as they should. Some remain unblessed; some are even cursed.
The journey has its own hazards, as it must, just as it has its own precious and limitless rewards. Many never turn to it, though the Book always lies near at hand, and many are turned away from its gates.
Many read it often, but come back empty-handed; while many others who read it never really enter its world. Some do not find, but are lost. They fail to hear God even among His own words; instead, they hear their own voices or those other than God’s. Still others, though they hear God, fail to find inside themselves the will, the resolve and the courage to respond and live by His call.
Some lose even what they had and, instead of collecting priceless gems, they return with back-breaking loads of stones which will hurt them for ever and ever. What a tragic misfortune it would be if you came to the Qur’an and went away empty-handed- soul untouched, heart unmoved, life unchanged; ‘they went out as they came in’.
The Qur’an’s blessings are limitless, but the measure of your taking from it depends entirely upon the capacity and the suitability of the receptacle you bring to it.
So, at the very outset, make yourself more deeply aware of what the Qur’an means to you and what it demands of you; and make a solemn determination to recite the Qur’an in an appropriate manner, so that you may be counted among “Those whom We have given the Book, they recite it as it ought to be recited; it is they who believe in it”. (Al-Baqarah 2:121)
The article is excerpted from the author’s Way to the Qur’an.