How to Approach the Qur’an

Bismillah Walhamdulillah Wassalatu Wassalamu ala Rasulillah

The Quran contains a great deal of information about the prophets who appeared before the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon them) as well as the different peoples who were destroyed because of their refusal to obey Allah’s laws.

If someone wanted to learn about such people as a matter of culture and learning, one can find this needed information in the Quran. Obviously, the historical information stated in the Quran is not meant to teach the Muslims history but is meant for much more than that, as shall be noted below. As Murad advised,

Do not read it merely for intellectual pursuit and pleasure; even though you must apply your intellect to the full to the task of understanding the Quran. So many people spend a lifetime in studying the language, style, history, geography, law and ethics of the Quran, and yet their lives remain untouched by its message. The Quran frequently refers to people who have knowledge but do not derive benefit from it.

[Khurram Murad, Way to the Quran (Leicester, UK: The Islamic Foundation, 1 985), p. 28.]

Included in this category of people could be those who read the Quran simply for its linguistic and artistic beauty. They tum to the Quran to read pure and beautiful Arabic and to study the prose of the Arabic language. Or, perhaps, they study the Quran as a type of art. Their Quranic study does not go beyond that; therefore, they miss the true purpose of the Quran.

HOW TO APPROACH THE QUR’AN – SHAYKH JAMAAL ZARABOZO:

For those who don’t know who sh. Jamaal is, here is an introduction by one of his favorite student, sh. Yasir Qadhi:

“Shaykh Jamal Zarabozo is a rare breed – a self-taught scholar of Islam who has achieved a profound command of the original sciences of our religion.”

Thinking of the fact that the Qur’an is the Book of Allah ta’ala, which was revealed for the guidance of mankind, we realize how amazing it is for the Muslim Ummah to possess such a book. There are people who read it daily, many of which have actually memorized it in its entirety, or at least large portions of it. Yet despite all of this, we see the state that the Muslims are in—not just the political state, but also the state with respect to what the Qur’an is telling us to do. The basic commandments and teachings of the Qur’an have been abandoned by the Muslim societies today. This, in itself, shows us that there are major problems with how we perceive the book of Allah.

Allah, in the Qur’an, tells us of an example of those who were entrusted with the Tawrah and then failed in its obligations. They are compared to a donkey that carries huge loads of books. Allah ta’la is talking here about the Jews who have the book—they recite it—they memorize it, but they do not apply it. Allah says it is just like a donkey. You put books on the donkey, but what does the donkey benefit from those books? We have to take this lesson and take head so that we do not fall into the same situation that the Jews fell into. If we are simply reading the Qur’an for the sake of barakah, then in reality, we are not reading it properly.

Those to whom We have given the Book recite it with its true recital [2:121]

While pronouncing the Qur’an properly is a part of haqqa tilaawatih, it is not the only part that needs to be focused on.

Abdullah ibn Mas’ood swore by Allah and said that haqqa tilawatih, or the proper recitation, is to treat permissible that which the Qur’an states as permissible, to treat impermissible that which it states to be impermissible, to recite it in the way Allah revealed it, not to distort a word from its proper meaning, and not to misinterpret it.

The Prophet, sal Allahu alayhi wa salam, said that the Qur’an and its people will be brought together on the day of judgement. Who are its people? Alatheena kaanu ya’maloona bih, those people who used to act according to it. Also, Allah ta’la says the Qur’an is shifaa li ma fis-sudoor or a cure for that which is in the chest. The real disease that the Qur’an is curing for us is not simply from Jinn, but the diseases of the heart (shirk, kufr, ignorance and kibr that prevent us from worshipping Allah the right way)—this is the healing that we should get from the Qur’an.

You must approach the Qur’an with an open mind so to allow the Qur’an to speak for itself. You cannot approach the Qur’an with the mentality that you already know the truth, as this will cause you to try and twist the Qur’an to meet what you want to believe. If you approach the Qur’an in such a manner, you will miss some of the intended guidance of the Qur’an.

Lastly, let’s look at the importance of living in the shade of the Qur’an. As you experience what Allah ta’ala is telling you to do, you will understand what the Qur’an is talking about. It will no longer be a theoretical thing, but it will become part of your life. If you do not take the steps to strive in any of these directions, you will not understand the Qur’an. You will begin to understand more and more lessons of the Qur’an when you begin to live the Qur’an. On the other hand, one of the things that will take away your guidance and knowledge is the committing of sins. The more sins you commit, the less you will understand the Qur’an. It is a dynamic relationship. The more you turn to Allah, the more Allah turns towards you.

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