Advice to the Hamil al-Qur’ān (Bearer of the Qur’ān)
- Ikhlas (sincerity). Have a sincere intention when studying the Qur’ān – this is inextricably linked to the condition of the Heart. Sincerity is key in understanding the Qur’ān.
- Approach the Qur’ān with a readiness to follow the guidance. Sayyid Qutb writes, “We should return to it to find out what kind of person it asks us to be, and then be like that. During this process, we will also discover the artistic beauty in the Qur’ān, the marvellous tales in the Qur’ān, the scenes of the Day of Judgment in the Qur’ān, the intuitive logic of the Qur’ān, and all other such benefits, which are sought in the Qur’ān by academic and literary people. We will enjoy all these other aspects, but these are not the main object of our study. Our primary purpose is to know what way of life is demanded of us by the Qur’ān, the total view of the universe which the Qur’ān wants us to have, what is the nature of our knowledge of God taught to us by the Qur’ān…and the kind of legal and constitutional system it asks us to establish in the world.”
- Ask the help of Allah سبحانه وتعالى to understand the Qur’ān.
When faced with problems in understanding the Qur’ān, one should supplicate to Allah سبحانه وتعالى for help and guidance while continually studying and trying to understand. It is mentioned that when Abdullah ibn Masood (ra) would recite the words of Allah, “And say, My Lord, increase me in knowledge,” (20:114) he would say, اللهم زدني علمًا وإيمانًا ويقينًا “O Allah, increase me in knowledge, faith, and conviction.” It is also reported that when Ibn Taymiyyah encountered difficulty in understanding an Ayat of the Qur’ān, he would take refuge in a large mosque in a desolate area, place his forehead on the ground (in sajdah) and repeat, “O teacher of Ibrahim! Grant me understanding.”
- Appreciate the magnificence of the Divine Speech.
قال بعض الحكماء كنت أقرأ القرآن فلا أجد له حلاوة حتى تلوته كأني أسمعه من رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يتلوه على أصحابه ثم رفعت إلى مقام فوقه كنت أتلوه كأني أسمعه من جبريل عليه السلام يلقيه عَلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ثم جاء الله بمنزلة أخرى فأنا الآن أسمعه من المتكلم به فعندها وجدت له لذة ونعيماً لا أصبر عنه
Imam al-Ghazali quoted a saying, “I read the Qur’ān but did not find sweetness in it. Then I read it as if I was hearing it from the Prophet while he was reciting it to his companions. Then, I moved a stage further and read the Qur’ān as I was hearing it from Jibreel while he delivered it to the Prophet. Then Allah سبحانه وتعالى brought me to a further stage – I began to read it as if I was hearing it from the Speaker. This was a blessing that was so unbearably (amazing) and satisfying.”
5. Read the Qur’ān as if every word is directed directly to YOU. Recite and read the Qur’ān as if YOU are the one being addressed. When Allah سبحانه وتعالى speaks about Jannah, think that you are the one He is speaking about. When Allah سبحانه وتعالى speaks about the disbelievers and warns them, think that you are the one that is being warned from His punishment. When the descriptions of those being dragged to the Fire, imagine it is you that it is happening to.
6. Recite the Qur’ān slowly while your Aql (intellect) is able to digest and process what is being recited. Detach from all outward and inward whisperings and distractions.
7. Ask key questions. How do I practically carry out the injunctions and guidance upon myself, those under my authority (family, workers etc) and communally as an Ummah.
8. Read the Qur’ān having Yaqin (certainty) that every word is the Kalam (speech) of Allah. The Qur’ān coheres with reality in such an amazing way that it shows that only the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth could have sent this book. Experiencing the truthfulness of the Qur’ān is like trying out a key. Without the right key, we cannot open a locked door. With the right key (i.e., with the message of the Qur’ān), we open the door (i.e., discover the truth of our existence) and thereby confirm that indeed the key is the right one.
9. B.R.U.A.D. Remember the acronym:
1. To Believe in the Qur’ān (Iman)
2. To Read it (Tilawah)
3. To Understand it – Learn and Reflect (Ta’leem and Tadabbur)
4. To Act upon it (Amal bihi)
5. Give Da’wah (Convey its message and teachings)
You can use Qur’ān Wiki (www.quran-wiki.com) to help you increase your knowledge about the Qur’ān. It aims to consolidate the best available data for every Surah and Ayat of the Qur’ān. Amongst its features are the Tafsir Zone, Qur’ān Dictionary, Dashboard with graphs and pie-charts and Manuscripts/Inscriptions section.
- Be a Zahid. Zuhd is to only take and engage with those worldly possessions that will benefit your after-life. Do not choose to be a person who loves money, riches and the luxuries of this temporary world. Be a person who loves the riches and luxuries of the permanent after-life.
- Be a person of integrity. Never compromise your position as a bearer and companion of the Qur’ān by flirting with people who will bring into question your integrity; albeit the rich, governments and people of power. Al-Ajurri writes, “He (the bearer of the Qur’ān) does not beautify his voice for the sake of the kings of this world.”
- Do not abandon the Qur’ān. There are a number of ways that one can abandon the Qur’ān;a. Abandoning honouring the Qur’ān – taking its words, commands lightly, as a joke or mocking etc.
b. Abandoning the listening of the Qur’ān.
c. Abandoning learning and teaching others of the Qur’ān.
d. Abandoning the recitation of the Qur’ān.
e. Abandoning the memorization of the Qur’ān.
f. Abandoning the Tadabbur (contemplation) of the Qur’ān.
g. Abandoning acting on what you have learnt from the Qur’ān.
h. Abandoning ruling according to the Qur’ān.
- Learn the Book of Allah and follow it تعلَّم كتابَ اللهِ، واتَّبعْ ما فيه
The way out of every fitnah (trial) is to; firstly, learn the Book of Allah and secondly, follow its instructions and advice. Many people fall short in one of these two categories. Either there are shortcomings in how/what they learn from the Book of Allah or the shortcoming is in the implementation. Guidance is exclusively from Allah and He grants it to those who are deserving of it. It is therefore imperative to hold on to the Qur’ān with strength (quwa), both in learning and implementation.