When Are We To Understand?
Turn on your computer and a signal flashes on your screen: You have 1 message waiting. Is it your friend? Has that online order been shipped? You can’t wait to find out. Or is that “annoying” mailing list that sends out a verse-a-day that many delete without looking twice?
Dear brothers and sisters, there is an unread message waiting for us. It is Al-Qur’an Al-Kareem, the Noble Recitation. And its author is our Creator!
Let us randomly ask Muslim communities around the world the following question: Why did Allah reveal the Qur’an? Many a community will respond without hesitation, “The Qur’an was revealed to bless us.” But is that the correct response?
The Qur’an is blessed and blessed is he who recites it. However, listen carefully to the following verse:
“(This is) a Book (the Qur’an) which We have sent down to you, full of blessings that they may ponder over its Verses, and that men of understanding may remember.” (Qur’an, 38:29)
Blessing is a characteristic of the Qur’an, not the purpose of revelation. The purpose of revelation is so that “its verses will be contemplated and acted upon!”
The misconception that the place of Qur’an in our lives is one of barakah alone has many manifestations. We find many Muslim families bent on the desire to have their children read the Qur’an in Arabic just once in their lifetime. We find communities that print copies of the Qur’an in 30 separate parts so that they can recite it only when someone dies.
No, we’ve misunderstood the role of the Qur’an in our lives and the message is still waiting to be read. Do you know which language the Qur’an would have been revealed if the majority of speakers were the primary consideration? It would have been in Mandarin Chinese. But the Qur’anic language is not open to the whims of humans. Allah chose a pure and blessed language – Arabic. It is we who must strive to understand it.
“A Book whereof the Verses are explained in detail; a Qur’an in Arabic for people who know.” (Qur’an, 41:3)
The Qur’an is truth in its purest form. Falsehood cannot touch it.
“Falsehood cannot come to it from before it or behind it (it is) sent down by the All-Wise, Worthy of all praise (Allah).” (Qur’an, 41:42)
The Qur’an is the straight path which we ask for in Surah Fatihah every day in our Salah. The Qur’an is the rope of Allah that we are ordered to hold fast to. The Qur’an is the best speech.
“Allah has sent down the best statement, a Book (this Qur’an), its parts resembling each other in goodness and truth, oft-repeated. The skins of those who fear their Lord shiver from it (when they recite it or hear it). Then their skin and their heart soften to the remembrance of Allah. That is the guidance of Allah. He Guides therewith whom He pleases and whomever Allah sends astray, for him there is no guide.” (Qur’an, 39:23)
What has happened to us that we do not want to hear Allah’s message with passion? During Ramadan, we have good Imams who lead the Taraweeh prayers. They recite the Qur’an and make dua during Witr. Tears overtake the words they recite. One of the brothers once came up to me with his eyes misty, and a sheet of paper and pen in his hands. He said, “Muhammad, I want you to translate for me everything the Imam is saying in his du’a.”
Caught off guard, I shrugged and said, “You want me to translate the whole thing here in the hallway?”
He replied, “Yes because we’re Muslim too. If it makes the Imam cry, it would make us cry too … if we only knew what it meant!” As he spoke, tears overtook him. The words locked in my mind, “If only we knew what it meant.” Allah says:
“And the Messenger will say: “O my Lord! Verily, my people deserted this Qur’an.” (Qur’an, 25:30)
How is the Qur’an abandoned?
1. The Qur’an is abandoned in our lives when we prefer listening and watching 135 satellite channels. But if it were to accidentally play, we would not listen to it or perhaps rush to shut it off.
2. The Qur’an is abandoned when a person does not care to learn Allah’s message in the Qur’an.
3. The Qur’an is abandoned when we leave its laws and instead turn to the laws of the disbelievers to dictate justice to us.
A hard heart
We often hear a statement: “My heart is hard as a rock. I do not feel any spirituality.” We hear this over and over again in our communities. Allah says in the Qur’an:
“Has not the time come for the hearts of those who believe to be affected by Allah’s Reminder (this Qur’an), and that which has been revealed of the truth, lest they become as those who received the Scripture, and the term was prolonged for them and so their hearts were hardened? And many of them were disobedient.” (Qur’an, 57:16)
Notice that it is an admonishment from Allah that our hearts are not humbling to the Qur’an. Allah is telling us that it is our fault when we do not feel that spirituality. How much time has passed since we last contemplated the Qur’an? How many years? When are we to understand?
If any of us are planning to watch TV all summer long, let me tell you TV guide’s best bet: It’s called the OFF button. Our time is too valuable for that.
How can we waste our time when we know for a fact that when we get up to pray our Salah, the majority of the Muslim congregation will not know what the verses recited mean?
With all our wealth, conveniences, and intelligence, we have no excuse but to excel in our drive to learn Islam and learn it properly.
– Excerpt from a Khutbah
– Muhammad Alshareef – is director of Al-Maghrib Institute, Canada