December 13, 2020

Starting with the Right Perspective

Everything in this universe, except for human beings and Jinns, is consistently and perfectly obedient to Allaah in the sense that it functions and behaves exactly as ordained by Allaah SWT through laws of nature or animal instincts. However, their obedience is not voluntary. They are pre-programmed for that consistent and constant obedience. The reason we are able to utilize those creations of Allaah SWT for our benefit is because of their consistency in their functions and behaviour. Also, their natural behaviour sustains life on the earth; maintains the ecology in a state of balance and equilibrium; and makes all natural systems function harmoniously. In other words, the laws of nature imposed by Allaah create harmony, coherence, balance and growth. This is so because they are based on absolute knowledge and ultimate wisdom of Allaah SWT.

Allaah SWT delegated human beings some authority to make decisions, choose responses to a stimulus and take actions. To enable them to use this freedom, He gave them intellect, and capacity to learn and to know right and wrong, proper and improper or good and bad. Given that full knowledge and perfect wisdom which is needed to consistently make the right decisions and to maintain balance (stay on the right path) that will ensure similar peace, justice fairness and harmony in the society is beyond human capability, Allaah, SWT being so kind and merciful, provided appropriate guidance to human beings from His perfect knowledge and ultimate wisdom so that human beings can choose by their free will, the right path and course of action to live a properly balanced and good life. Thus, Allaah SWT has been very kind and Compassionate (Rahman) to us by revealing the Qur-aan for our guidance.

These are the points of which we are reminded in the following verses:

(Allaah) The Most Gracious taught the Qur-aan. He created the human being, and taught him articulation.1 The sun and the moon comply with precise calculation, and the stars and trees prostrate. And the heaven He raised and established the balance; therefore, you should also not transgress the balance; and weigh properly with justice and do not make the balance deficient. (Ar-Raĥman 55:1-9)

The best way to appreciate this mercy and favour of Allaah SWT is that we invest our time and abilities to learn and understand the guidance provided by the Qur-aan and reflect on the message to internalize it and to adopt the ways and means of living personally and collectively according to that guidance provided by it. Not paying attention to the Qur-aan and its teachings is something about which the Messenger ŜA‘WS will complain to Allaah SWT:

And the messenger will say, “O my Lord! Surely my people treated this Qur-aan with total neglect and derision. (Al-Furqan 25:30)

The reflection on the message of the Qur-aan (whose prerequisite is its understanding) is such an important aspect that it is mentioned as the main purpose of the revelation:

This is the Book, full of blessings, which We have sent down to you so that people ponder over its verses and those with perceptive intellect receive admonition. (Ŝa’d 38:29)

The people who do not benefit from the guidance of the Qur-aan are either those who do not reflect or they have closed hearts and minds:

Then, do they not reflect upon the Qur-aan? Or, are their minds locked by their mental locks? (Muĥammad 47:24)

That is why the Prophet ŜA‘WS highly emphasized the learning, teaching and practising the message and teachings of the Qur-aan, as is evident from the following Ahaadeeth reported from him:

Once the Prophet talked about some terrible situation and mentioned that it would so happen when the knowledge would have disappeared. He was asked how can knowledge disappear when we read the Qur-aan, teach to our children and they will teach it to their children. At that, the Prophet gave the example of Jews and Christians and said, “Do not you see that these Jews and Christians read Torah and Gospel but do not act much upon what is in there?” (Reported in Ibn Maajah from Ziyaad ibn Labeed)

“Allaah will dress the parents of the one who reads the Qur-aan and acts upon its teachings with a crown that will shine more beautifully than the brightness of the sun if it were decorating the houses of the world. Just imagine the status of the person who himself acts upon it.” (Reported in Aboo Dawood from Mu‘adz Juhani)

“Whoever walks the path seeking the knowledge (of the Qur-aan), Allaah facilitates for him the path to Jannah. And if people gather in one of the houses of Allaah reciting (understanding and reflecting on) the Qur-aan and discuss its teachings with each other, tranquility (Sakeenah) descends on them, mercy (Rahmah) covers them, angels surround them, and Allaah mentions them among those who are with Him. And remember, whose performance is holding him back, his bloodline is not going to advance him.” (Reported in Muslim from Aboo Hurairah)

“A person who makes Halaal (permissible) what has been made Haraam (prohibited) by the Qur-aan is not a believer in the Qur-aan.” (Tirmidzi)

These comments clearly indicate that the “Knowledge” when used in the Hadeeth and the Qur-aan is the knowledge of the Qur-aan and that it is meaningless without being completely acted upon; hence, reading the Qur-aan implies reading with understanding and reflection to seek the guidance and to act upon it. Without understanding, reflection and action, it is not reading. Similarly, learning and teaching does not mean parroting without understanding and reflection. The last sentence of the last Hadeeth, in particular, emphasizes that it is the actions of an individual in accordance with the Qur-aan that make the difference, not the family line of a person. In fact, those who read the Qur-aan without putting its teachings into practice have been regarded as hypocrites by our Prophet:

“Most of the hypocrites in my Ummah will be from among the reciters (of the Qur-aan).” (Reported in Musnad Ahmad from ‘Abdullaah Ibn ‘Umar).

“Most of the hypocrites in my Ummah will be from among the reciters (of the Qur-aan).” (Reported in Musnad Ahmad from ‘Abdullaah Ibn ‘Umar).

There are some groups of Muslims who will talk about Islam but avoid spending any time on learning, teaching, discussing and reflecting on the Qur-aan itself. Here are some more points for them to think about:

“The best of you are those who learn and teach the Qur-aan.” (Reported in Bukhari from Uthman ibn ‘Affan).

“An expert of the Qur-aan (both in knowledge and practice) will be with the honourable angels who convey the messages of Allaah.” (Reported in Muslim from ‘Ayeshah).

“O People of the Qur-aan! Do not ignore it by putting it behind your back like a cushion. Recite it diligently day and night, spread its message, chant it nicely, and reflect on what it contains so that you succeed. And do not use it for your worldly benefits, because there certainly will be reward for it in the Hereafter.” (Reported in Mishkaah from ‘Ubaidah Al-Mulaiki).

The last Hadeeth should be a clear warning to those who approach the Qur-aan just to recite certain verses to achieve worldly objectives or those who use the Qur-aan to earn their living. It must be read, learnt and practised for the reward in the Hereafter. In fact, the Prophet has warned about this more clearly in the following two narrations:

“If someone acquires knowledge (of Qur-aan) that is meant to be acquired for the pleasure of Allaah, but he does it for some worldly objective, he will not even get the fragrance of Jannah on the Day of Judgment.” (Reported in Aboo Dawood from Aboo Hurairah)

“Who acquired knowledge (of the Qur-aan) for some purpose other than Allaah or intending to use it for some purpose other than Allaah, he should be prepared to find his place in the Hell.” (Reported in Tirmidzi from Ibn ‘Umar)

There are others who would talk about the Dzikr of Allaah but shy away from the Qur-aan sessions. They forget that the best way of remembering Allaah SWT is through the Qur-aan which itself has been clearly called Dzikr in many verses of the Qur-aan, such as:

Verily, We have revealed the Dzikr and certainly We are its guardians. (Al-Ĥijr 15:9)


And this blessed Dzikr that We have revealed, are you then its rejecters? (Anbiyaa 21:50)

They should also consider the following comments from the Prophet ŜA'WS:

The Prophet passed by two groups meeting in his Masjid. He said, “Both are doing good, however, one of them is superior to the other. As for these people, they are calling upon Allaah and are turning towards Him for their needs, He may give them or He may refuse them. As for these people, they are acquiring knowledge (from the Qur-aan) and are teaching those who do not know, so they are superior, and I have been sent as a teacher. Then he sat with them.” (Reported in Mishkaah from ‘Abdullaah Ibn ‘Umar).

“Allaah Tabaaraka wa Ta’aala says that whoever is too occupied with the Qur-aan to do my Dzikr or ask me for his needs, I give to him more than I give to any of the seekers (those who ask). The status of Allaah’s words (Qur-aan) over other’s words is like the status of Allaah over His creations.” (Reported in Tirmidzi from Aboo Sa‘eed).

The Prophet was heard saying, “On the day of Judgment, there will be some people in the audience of Allaah SWT who will neither be prophets nor shaheed (martyrs) yet the radiance of their faces will dull the sight of those watching them. The prophets and martyrs will be delighted to see their status and closeness to Allaah SWT.” The companions asked, “Who will they be?” The Prophet responded, “Muslims from different tribes/places who would gather for Allaah’s remembrance (through the knowledge of the Qur-aan) and would pick up the best points made just as the picker of dates picks the best of them.” (Narrated by ‘Amr Ibn ‘Absah in Tabaraani, reported in Zaadi Raah with reference to Targheeb).

Those who really want to become closer to Allaah SWT to be counted among His special people can only do so through their dedication to the Qur-aan, as the Prophet ŜA'WS said:

“From among people, Allaah does have His own special persons.” When asked who they are, he told, “The people dedicated to the Qur-aan – they are Allaah’s people and His special people.” (Reported from Anas in Nasaai and Ibn Maajah)

However, like any other discipline of study, the study of the Qur-aan to attain guidance for our daily living has to be done in a disciplined manner, using the right methodology and proper rules of language, grammar and interpretation, with a submissive mindset and guidance-seeking attitude. A haphazard, laissez-faire approach disregarding the proper rules or methodology may mislead rather than provide guidance.

Posted in Qur'aan on December 13, 2020 by Ayub Hamid

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