Jalees Ahmad, Al Hakam
The Holy Quran and Ramadan share a unique relationship. “The month of Ramadan is that in which the Quran was sent down as a guidance for mankind with clear proofs of guidance and discrimination.” (Surah al-Baqarah, Ch.2: V.186)
Ramadan is filled with immense blessings. As Muslims, we are once again reminded of God’s grace upon mankind. The Holy Quran, the lamp that aids us in navigating through the darkness of the world, was revealed in this very month. Without it, man is in perpetual darkness.
This month affords us Muslims a deeper opportunity to further strengthen our bond with this roadmap to righteousness, the Holy Quran. It is at the top of every Muslim’s to-do list to recite the Holy Quran daily. In this month, we should strive to engage with the Quran in all ways possible, whether it be by reading and completing the recitation, listening to the recitation, or even learning a new surah. As the Holy Prophetsa said, a person who recites even a letter of the Holy Quran, shall receive a great reward from it. (Jami‘ at-Tirmidhi, Kitab thawabi l-qur’ani ‘an rasulillahsa, Hadith 2910)
Thus, when we read and study this glorious book, we must remember that we are holding in our hands the Word of God revealed to our master, the Holy Prophetsa.
The best among you
In our day-to-day lives, as we go about the day, we should always remember to take a step back, reflect and remind ourselves why we are here on earth and what our purpose is. In our everyday lives, aren’t we all trying to improve? Don’t we all try to go the extra mile to attain God’s love and become “the best”? Imagine the Holy Prophetsa advising his companions with a two-step guide to becoming the best Muslim. Hazrat Uthmanra narrated that Allah’s Messengersa said:
خَيْرُكُمْ مَنْ تَعَلَّمَ الْقُرْآنَ وَعَلَّمَهُ
“The best among you are those who learn the Holy Quran and teach it.” (Sahih Bukhari, Kitab fazaili l-qur’an, Hadith 5027)
Simple and neat, isn’t it? Ramadan is a great month to deepen our relationship with the Holy Quran. As Muslims, to become “the best” – as described by the Holy Prophet – we must ensure we not only read but also study the Holy Quran and know it to such an extent that we can then impart its wisdom to other Muslims and the rest of the world. One way we can do this is by simply telling a friend about a point you found interesting in your daily recitation of the Holy Quran.
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra has explained:
“Regarding this study [of the Holy Quran], it should be remembered that every man should fix for himself a certain amount of the text, which he should read daily. He should not indulge in desultory reading but should observe a regular system and measure. Desultory and irregular reading is not fruitful. What is therefore required with reference to the study of the Holy Quran is that a certain amount of it should be fixed for daily study and the same [should be] fully read every day.” (The Review of Religions (English), January and February 1920, pp. 4-6)
Further, Huzoorra added:
“[…] the reading should be intelligent and never so hurried as to preclude a proper understanding of the sense. Slow reading should be practised so that a comprehension of the sense may accompany the reading of the text and, at the same time, due reverence may be paid to the sacred nature of the book.” (Ibid.)
Listening to the recitation of the Holy Quran is sunnah
While reciting the Holy Quran is of great significance, we must also remember and spare time to listen to the Word of Allah.
It is reported that the Holy Prophetsa desired to listen to the Holy Quran:
عَنْ عَبْدِ اللّٰہ، رَضِى اللّهُ عَنهُ قَالَ قَالَ لِي النَّبِيُّ صَلّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم: اقْرَأْ عَلَىَّ الْقُرْآنَ. قُلْتُ: آقْرَأُ عَلَيْكَ وَعَلَيْكَ أُنْزِلَ؟ قَالَ: إِنِّي أُحِبُّ أَنْ أَسْمَعَهُ مِنْ غَيْرِي.
Hazrat Abdullahra narrates that the Holy Prophetsa said to him, “Recite the Quran to me.” Abdullah replied, “Shall I recite [the Holy Quran] to you while it has been revealed to you?” He said, “I like to hear it from others.” (Sahih Bukhari, Kitab faza’ili l-qur’an, Hadith 5049)
The Holy Quran has a profound effect on the heart. One only needs to recall the incident of Hazrat Umar’sra acceptance of Islam. A man who went out to kill the Prophetsa returned home as one of his greatest devotees. Indeed, it was the light and impact of the Holy Quran that caused his heart to melt before the glory of Allah.
Hazrat Umar narrates that the Holy Prophetsa said:
إِنَّ اللّٰهَ يَرْفَعُ بِهَذَا الْكِتَابِ أَقْوَامًا وَيَضَعُ بِهِ آخَرِينَ
“By this Book, Allah will exalt some nations and degrade others.” (Sahih Muslim, Kitab salati l-musafirina wa qasriha, Hadith 817a)
Importance of reciting the Holy Quran beautifully
It is important to recite the Holy Quran in a melodious voice. The Holy Prophetsa explained:
لَلَّهُ أَشَدُّ أَذَنًا إِلَى الرَّجُلِ الْحَسَنِ الصَّوْتِ بِالْقُرْآنِ يَجْهَرُ بِهِ مِنْ صَاحِبِ الْقَيْنَةِ إِلَى قَيْنَتِهِ
“Allah listens more attentively to a man with a beautiful voice who recites Quran out loud than the master of a singing slave listens to his slave.” (Sunan Ibn Majah, Kitab Iqamati s-salati wa s-sunnatu fiha, Hadith 1340)
Further, the Holy Prophetsa said:
فَمَنْ لَمْ يَتَغَنَّ بِهِ فَلَيْسَ مِنَّا
“Whoever does not make his voice melodious [while reciting the Holy Quran], he is not one of us.” (Sunan Ibn Majah, Kitab Iqamati s-salati wa s-sunnatu fiha, Hadith 1337)
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa, in his Friday Sermon of 29 March 2019, narrating a tradition from the history of Islam, said:
“In one of the traditions, it states that once Hazrat Aishara arrived a little late to see the Holy Prophetsa. The Holy Prophetsa asked her why she was late, and she replied, ‘A qari [reciter] was reciting the Holy Quran in the most beautiful manner. I began listening to his recitation of the Quran, and thus got late.’ The Holy Prophetsa put on his cloak and went outside and saw that it was Hazrat Salimra who had been reciting the Holy Quran. Upon seeing this, the Prophetsa proclaimed, ‘I thank God Almighty, Who has granted my people such a beautiful qari as yourself.’ (Usdul Ghabbah, Vol. 2, p. 383, Salim Maula Abi Huzaifah, Dar-ul-Kutb al-‘Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2003)” (Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa, Friday Sermon, 29 March 2019)
Seeking God’s forgiveness when reading the Holy Quran
The Holy Prophetsa, upon reciting the Holy Quran, would seek God’s refuge and mercy. It was part of his practice to seek God’s mercy when hearing or reciting verses that related to the topic of mercy. A companion of the Holy Prophetsa reported that he once prayed along with the Holy Prophetsa: “When he [the Holy Prophetsa] recited a verse which spoke of mercy, he stopped and made supplication, and when he came to a verse which spoke of punishment, he stopped and sought refuge.” (Sunan Abi Dawud, Kitab as-salat, Hadith 873)
Further, in light of seeking Allah’s forgiveness upon reading a verse relating to His mercy, we read that Hazrat Huzaifahra narrated, “The Holy Prophetsa recited Surah al-Baqarah, Aal-e-Imran, and an-Nisa in one rak‘ah, and he did not reach any verse that spoke of mercy but asked Allah for it, nor any verse that spoke of punishment but he asked Allah for protection therefrom.” (Sunan an-Nasa’i, Kitab al-iftitah, Hadith 1009)
The immense reward of reciting the Holy Quran
It is important to recite the Holy Quran in Arabic and read its translation, if need be, for a deeper understanding. This is essential when establishing a close connection with the context of the Holy Quran. However, we must also bear in mind the significance of reciting the Holy Quran in the language it was revealed in.
The following hadith shines ample light on the importance of reciting the Holy Quran. In Sahih Muslim, we read:
الْمَاهِرُ بِالْقُرْآنِ مَعَ السَّفَرَةِ الْكِرَامِ الْبَرَرَةِ وَالَّذِي يَقْرَأُ الْقُرْآنَ وَيَتَتَعْتَعُ فِيهِ وَهُوَ عَلَيْهِ شَاقٌّ لَهُ أَجْرَانِ
Hazrat Aishara narrated that the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa said, “One who is proficient in the Quran is associated with the noble, upright, recording angels; and he who falters in it, and finds it difficult for him, will have double rewards.” (Sahih Muslim, Kitab salati l-musafirin wa qasriha, Hadith 798a)
The hadith is simple and clear; however, the more one reads and ponders over it, the more one can understand the Holy Prophet’ssa wisdom and various other matters. Apart from mentioning the grand reward one receives for reciting the Book of Allah, it seems as if the Holy Prophetsa was encouraging readers who found it difficult to recite the Holy Quran to continue doing so and not give up. Often, people abandon tasks they find challenging. However, this hadith serves as an encouragement to continue reciting the Holy Quran even if one finds it difficult to do so properly.
So, at any point, whenever one faces difficulty in reciting the Holy Quran correctly, remember the reward and the words of the Holy Prophet’ssa that serve as encouragement.
Allah has His own people among mankind
Through the common practice of reading, studying, and following the Holy Quran, Man is able to establish a relationship with the One Who revealed it and is counted among His people. The Holy Prophetsa is reported to have said:
إِنَّ لِلّٰهِ أَهْلِينَ مِنَ النَّاسِ
“Allah has His own people among mankind.”
When asked who they were, the Holy Prophetsa replied:
هُمْ أَهْلُ الْقُرْآنِ أَهْلُ اللّٰهِ وَخَاصَّتُهُ
“The people of the Quran, the people of Allah and those who are closest to Him.” (Sunan Ibn Majah, Kitab al-muqaddamah, Hadith 215)
One who does not have the Holy Quran inside his heart
The Holy Quran, is the perfect book of guidance that illuminates the path of life with its brilliant teachings. Like a radiant moon, it provides invaluable light to help the reader navigate the twists and turns of existence and achieve the true purpose of creation. It is the complete step-by-step guide, serving as a compass to lead Man to achieve the epitome of life and their purpose. To truly benefit from the Holy Quran, one must strive to make it one with their soul by making full efforts to follow each commandment to the best of their ability. One must strive to keep the Holy Quran close to the heart. The Holy Prophetsa is reported to have said:
إِنَّ الَّذِي لَيْسَ فِي جَوْفِهِ شَيْءٌ مِنَ الْقُرْآنِ كَالْبَيْتِ الْخَرِبِ
Hazrat Ibn Abbas narrates that the Messengersa of Allah said: “Indeed, the one who does not have the Quran within him [i.e. his heart], is like the ruined house.” (Jami‘ at-Tirmidhi, Kitab thawabi l-qur’ani ‘an rasulillahsa, Hadith 2913)
Our relationship with the Holy Quran should last throughout our lives and not be limited to a single month. However, as the month of Ramadan has a unique and close link with the Holy Quran, we must strive to elevate our relationship with Allah and His Book, which He revealed for the benefit of mankind.