The Predecessors’ Relationship With The Quran
By Umm Isam – Freelance writer
“Alif, Laam, Meem. This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those conscious of Allah who believe in the unseen, establish prayer and spend out of what We have provided for them. And who believe what has been revealed to you, (O Muhammad), and what was revealed before you, and of the Hereafter they are certain in faith.” (Al Baqarah 2:1-4)
Any believer can use these beautiful and profound opening verses of Surah Al-Baqarah to assess his or her relationship with the Quran. It is a Book that promises ten rewards for reciting each letter. Alif Laam Meem are counted as three letters and hence one gets thirty rewards for reciting words that nobody knows the meaning of (Huroof-e-Muqattaat). Right from the beginning, the Quran demands intellectual submission from the Muslims, informing them that they know very little and only Al-Aleem Allah, The Most Knowledgeable, knows everything.
Now imagine what will be the reward for reciting and understanding the remaining verses. And even further rewards for internalizing it and acting upon it.
How will we approach this noble book then? For Shifa (healing), for Shifaat (favouring) or Thawaab (rewards)? Yes, these are all secondary reasons to recite the Quran but the primary reason is for Hidayah (guidance) of the soul and self.
Are we reciting the Quran with this intention today? What was our pious predecessors’ relationship with the Quran?
Prophet Muhammad (sa)
He would repeat a single Ayah until dawn. Once the Prophet (sa) recited the following verse as he stood in the night prayer until morning broke: “If you punish them, then they are Your slaves. And if You forgive them, then You are the Mighty (Al-Aziz) and the Wise (Al-Hakeem).” (Al-Maidah 5:118)
“When one recites the Quran with contemplation and comes across an Ayah that is needed to rectify his heart, he would repeat that Ayah, perhaps as many as hundred times or even for the entire night. This action can increase Iman and enable a believer to taste the sweetness of the Quran rather than reciting the entire Quran without reflection.”
Ibn Masood (rta)
He was known for his beautiful Qirat. He said: “Do not recite the Quran rapidly without pausing, like the recitation of poetry or babbling it quickly out of hastiness. (Rather) stop when you come to one of its amazements, and let it move your heart and do not be bothered if you do not reach the end of the Surah.”
Ibn Abbas (rta)
Abu Hamza said: “I said to Ibn Abbas, ‘I am very quick in my reading, I read the entire Quran in three days.’ He said to me ‘For me to read a single Surah, contemplate it, and recite it at a slow measured pace is dearer than to recite the Quran as you do.’”
He said: “The Quran was revealed to be acted upon, but these people treat reciting it as the action it requires.” Meaning the noble book is read but they turn away from its meanings. For them, reading seems to be a sufficient task.
There are two types of contemplation of the Quran:
- Contemplating its contents in order to understand the meanings which your Lord intended.
- Contemplating those meanings which invite the reader to reflect and ponder upon them.
“If people only knew the great value of reciting the Quran with reflection, they would devote themselves to it above anything else.” (Ibn Al-Qayyim)