Procrastination affects us all – however, the most serious procrastination is the one that keeps us away from Allah’s path and away from good deeds.
It’s interesting how people normally procrastinate to do good deeds or beneficial actions, but would rarely procrastinate when it come to bad deeds or useless tasks! It reminds me of what Imam Zaid Shakir said in our recent interview with him, he said clearly ”procrastination is from shaytaan”.
I want us to tackle a growing problem amongst many Muslims today: It’s the procrastination from reading/reciting the Quran on a daily basis. We call it procrastination, but in some cases, it can be called complete abandonment (may Allah protect us).
Normally, what makes people procrastinate from reading the Quran daily revolves around the following six excuses:
- Lack of time: “I don’t have time! I’m too busy!”
- Enough Quran in Salah: “I read Quran in my Salah everyday…”
- Mental blocks: “I like to be in a certain mental/spiritual state to read the Quran – I rarely get those ‘states’ every day”
- Guilt: “I haven’t touched the Quran in ages, I feel so bad, don’t think I can read it now, maybe when I go to Hajj or in Ramadan”
- Inability to read: “I don’t know how to read the Quran”
- Lack of Understanding: “I can read the Quran but I don’t understand it, so for me, there’s no point reading it”
We’ve heard these excuses in varied degrees and we’ll tackle them below insha’Allah.
Seriousness of Abandoning the Quran
Firstly, I want to highlight the seriousness of not keeping a close relationship with the Quran. Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) says in the Quran: “And the Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) will say: O my Lord! Verily, my people deserted this Qur’an (neither listened to it, nor acted on its laws and teachings)”. (Quran, Surah Al-Furqan, Chapter #25, Verse #30).
Imagine the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) complaining about me and you on day of Judgement for deserting the Quran? And why shouldn’t he complain when he (Peace and blessings be upon him) left behind the best of Books, the eternal miracle, the words of Allah between our hands, and we simply put it on a shelf to collect dust!
Imam ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah [rahimahullah] summarized the type of abandonment of the Quran:
- By not listening to its recitation or giving attention to it.
- By not acting by it and abiding by what it has prescribed of halal or haram, even if the one who does so still believes in it or recites it. This means it is not sufficient to believe in it and recite it, but then to then abandon acting by it.
- By not ruling by it or taking it as judge in all matters of religion
- By not reflecting upon its meanings, understanding them and knowing what Allah [the One who spoke it] desires from the one who recites it.
- By not using it as a cure and a healing for all of the diseases and ailments of the heart, such that one seeks the cure for his/her illness in other than the Quran.
Healing and Mercy
I’m not trying to freak you out, but I just want to make it clear that not reciting/reading the Quran regularly is not a ‘small’ thing; you definitely want to stay in touch with the Quran regularly. Allah says in the Quran: “And we send down from the Qur’an that which is a healing and a Mercy to those who believe [in Islamic Monotheism and act on it], and it increases the Zalimoon [polytheists and wrong-doers] nothing but loss.” [Quran, Al-Isra, Chapter# 17, Verse# 82].
Imagine, every time you open and read this book, mercy and healing comes down to you. That’s mercy and healing for all your social problems, psychological issues, emotional ups and downs, etc. How can it not be a mercy and healing, when it’s Allah’s beautiful timeless words that He says brings tranquility to the heart?
I once heard a story narrated of a Muslim man who had psychological problems. He went to see a lot of doctors in his country and couldn’t find a solution to his issues. He travelled to the US and visited a top Christian doctor. After hearing his problems, the doctor quietly walked to a shelf, picked up a book and told him: “You Muslims have this and you have psychological problems?!” The book he held was the Quran.
Tackling the Excuses
1. “Lack of time” – I’m sure you have 10 minutes!
2. “Enough Quran in Salah” – Alhamdulillah, it’s good that you’re reading Quran in your salah every day, but unless you’re Hafidh of Quran, the large majority of what you recite in Salah is the last 5 pages of the Quran. Correct? Exactly, reading the Quran outside the salah allows you to explore the other beautiful and miraculous 595 pages and truly build the Quran into your life. You need time with Quran where you can just sit down to read and reflect on the ayah.
3. “Mental blocks” – Get into the habit of reading the Quran daily and your ‘special mental state’ will come.
4. “Guilt” – This is one of the most famous tricks of Shaytan. Shaytan will whisper to you that you’re too sinful to even come close to the Quran, there’s no point now after so long, and you can only make repentance during Hajj. My simple advice is to fight those whisperings of Shaytan; now that you know those thoughts come from Shaytan, don’t listen under any circumstance. Use that guilt you feel for abandoning the Qur’an to drive you into taking action and making a change. It’s really as simple as picking up the Quran and reading it. Insha’Allah you’ll soon fall in love with the Quran.
5. “Inability to read” – Join a Quran class or find a Quran teacher.
6. “Lack of Understanding” – Join a Quran class, find a Quran teacher, start learning Arabic, and/or have a translation next to you.
Three Practical Tips
So here are the practical tips to get you into the habit of reading the Quran on a daily basis.
- Set a daily allocated time, not more than 10 minutes, to read the Quran. I say not more than 10 minutes because if you over do it (especially in the first few days), you won’t come back reading the Quran again. It’s a psychological quirk, don’t ask me! Just simply set a daily 10 minutes a day, whether it’s before/after Fajr, or during your commute, or before you sleep.
- Make it a habit: You know brushing your teeth in the morning is a habit? Good, use that same concept with the Quran. It’s part of your morning routine or evening routine or some form of a habit that you consistently do and you would feel incomplete and unhappy if you have not done it.
- Sign up to a Quran class: This depends on your level. If you can’t read the Quran, join a class that teaches you how to read. If you can read the Quran, but don’t understand its meanings, start learning Arabic. If you can read the Quran, and can understand it, start memorizing. Whatever it is, make sure you attend a learning circle related to the Quran. Subhan Allah, the Quran is an endless sea of knowledge that one does not tire to explore, so start your journey today.
BONUS TIP: HOW TO FINISH THE QURAN IN 30 DAYS OR LESS!
I want to share with you a very simple practical tip that will help you read the Quran every 30 days insha’Allah.
I’m assuming here that you’re reading the Quran in Arabic and not the translation. There are roughly 600 pages in the Quran, so if you divide 600 pages by 30 days in a month, you get 20 pages to complete in a day, or roughly one Juz’ (1/30th of the Quran). 20 pages per day may sound a lot, but what if you divide it by the 5 daily prayers? You’ll only have to read 4 pages before/after every salah. So, if you can read only 4 pages of Quran after every salah, you can complete reciting the entire Quran in 30 days! Moreover, reading a page of the Quran with recitation and pronunciation can take up to 3 minutes, so 3 minutes x 4 pages = 12 minutes. It’s not a lot, honestly!
Now, if you can manage, imagine the way your life would change if you could supplement this with reading the translation so you understanding the meaning, message, and lessons.
My Parting Thoughts
I’ll be honest with you, the Quran is like a silent teacher that guides you and teaches you. The more you devote yourself to it, the more it’ll unlock its treasures for you and you’ll grow and come to understand things in ways you never thought before. People pay thousands for coaches, personal advisors, etc…but you have the Speech of Allah (AzzawaJall) right between your hands to guide you.
Will you embark upon the journey of the Quran, a journey of constant recitation, learning, and acting upon the Quran insha’Allah?