One of the most intimate and serene moments is when you read the Qur’an and realize that, actually, it is reading you; that it is explaining the deepest, most intimate secrets in your heart.
It is amazing how this Book reads the human being, reads life and reads the universe.
“We shall show them Our signs in every region of the earth and in themselves, until it becomes clear to them that this is the Truth. Is it not enough that your Lord witnesses everything?” [Qur’an: Chapter 41, Verse 53]
After going through different experiences in life, I came to realize that the Qur’an is one of the greatest manifestations of The Creator’s mercy to all of us. In the toughest situations, when one is almost completely shattered and broken, going through the pages of the Qur’an will ease the pain, put things in perspective and put one back on track with a clear vision of the destination ahead.
“And We send down of the Qur’an that which is healing and mercy for the believers…” [Qur’an: Chapter 17, Verse 82]
You see, the human being is body, mind and soul. We know how to feed our body (food), we know how to feed our mind (education), but sometimes we neglect to feed our soul.
The Qur’an is the nourishment and healing of the soul.
Here are a few points of reflection to share on reading the Qur’an and exploring the beauty within:
1. In a beautiful ayah (verse) in the Qur’an, Allah says:
“I swear by the setting of the stars, And indeed, it is an oath – if you could know – [most] great.Indeed, it is a noble Qur’an.” [Qur’an: Chapter 56, Verse 75-77]
In this verse, Allah swore by the setting, or the locations, of the stars that this is a most generous and noble Qur’an.
But what do the stars do? The stars guide and enlighten.
In one of his lectures, Sheikh Hamza Yusuf shared his insights on this saying, that if you talked to a pilot or someone travelling helplessly in the desert, and ask them what they would do if they got lost, they’ll tell you they follow the stars.
One star after the other guiding the person to his destination.
Similarly with the Qur’an. While reading the Qur’an, remember that there will be ayat (verses) that are especially and most intimately there for you. They’re there in this Holy Book, to be a guiding light to you.
Seek those verses. You may read a whole juz’ (chapter) per week, but there will be one verse (or a few) that will just touch you when you need it the most. Seek those ayat. Make sure you search for them and find them while reading. Those are your stars, your guide.
Do not merely set a target to finish a chapter per week, yet it has no effect on you. There would be no purpose to your reading the Qur’an in this manner. Remember that the Qur’an is basically a manifestation of Allah’s mercy and compassion for human beings whom He created.
So The Holy Qur’an is what you have from The One you belong to. It explains you. It explains life. It cures, guides, soothes and enlightens you.
Do not rush through reading the Qur’an without reflection This is not the ultimate goal or ultimate success. The success is that it fills that time with light and wisdom and beauty, for you and everyone around you.
2. One of the most well known hadiths in our tradition, the first hadith of Imam Nawawi’s 40 hadiths says:
“Verily actions are by the niyyat (intentions), and every man shall have only what he intended.” [Nawawi]
So what is your niyyat (intention)? Set your intention before reading the Qur’an.
Is your intention to get extra points in your book of good deeds? Do we approach Allah with greed? Do we only want what He has to offer or do we approach Him with the niyyat of gaining knowledge – knowing that He is The Source of Knowledge (Al ‘Aleem); to get light – knowing the He is The Source of Light (Al Noor); to get hikmah (wisdom) – knowing that He is The All-Wise (Al Hakeem); to get love – knowing that He is the Most Loving (Al Wadud).
Seek the nearness of Allah through His Book. Ask Him to guide you, cure you and show you the light. Ask for this to reflect on your character, increase you in humbleness, mercy and desire to serve people knowing that the most beloved to Him are those who are most useful to the Ummah.
3. Remember to ask Allah to teach you.
Everything else is a means, but Allah is the Source! Allah says in Surah Ar-Rahman (The Most Merciful): “The Most Merciful. Taught the Qur’an. Created man, and taught him eloquence” [Qur’an: Chapter 55, Verse 1-4]
It is Allah who teaches us the Qur’an. The Qur’an is not merely letters on paper; there are signs to be observed in the universe and within oneself. “We shall show them Our signs in every region of the earth and in themselves, until it becomes clear to them that this is the Truth….” [Qur’an 41: 53]
So ask Allah to show you the meaning and the wisdom, to show you the marvels and treasures in it. This begins by making sincere dua to Allah . Perhaps in sujood, when you are closest to Him, in intimate communication. Allah facilitates the task and opens doors. In this day and age, through all the means of communication, researching and gaining knowledge has become facilitated. Great speakers of tafsir (Exegesis), as well as websites and books are all available to us. These are all means (asbab) that you can utilise. Ultimately, though, it is through the help and guidance of Allah alone, that there will be success and meaning through those actions. So, ask Allah .
4. Find good company and aid one another in reciting the Qur’an and learning its different enriching sciences.
Form groups of recitation, tafsir and tajweed, help one another. Also, join relevant events in your area. The time you spend seeking knowledge of the Qur’an is an investment. The Qur’an itself means that which is being read/recited often. So you need to be constantly connected with the Qur’an. Allah gave you intellect and gave you ‘ilm (knowledge), and He created this ‘Aalam (universe). In essence, this ‘Aalam is a means to reach Al ‘Aleem! Thus, we have a life time worth of learning, elevating and growing in knowledge and closeness to the Source of Knowledge.
5. Commit yourself to reading Qur’an at a set time everyday.
Take pleasure in this reading time; ponder the words, the verses and let it wash over you and grant you the guidance and cure that you seek.
Remember what Allah said in these powerful verses:
“O mankind, there has come to you instruction from your Lord [ The Qur’an] and healing for what is in the chests and guidance and mercy for the believers. Say, “It is the bounty of Allah and His mercy – [that He sent this Qur’an] so let them rejoice over it for it’s better than the worldly riches they’re collecting.” [Qur’an: Chapter 10, Verse 57-58]
Whatever you carry from this Book in your heart is better than the worldly riches we’re collecting that don’t necessarily bring deep satisfaction into our hearts.
6. Make sure to carry something in your heart from the part you are reading in the Qur’an.
Find beautiful ayats that affect you, then look up its tafsir, understand it well, memorize it and share it with your friends, family and on social media. It could be only one verse, but it will become part of your heart and life and effect a positive change.
7. Remember the beauty of reading the Qur’an.
Remember that houses in which the Qur’an is recited will be filled with light. Just like you remembered Allah , He will remember you and raise your mention in the highest heavens.
8. If you are asking when to read, there is nothing like reading the Qur’an at Fajr (dawn).
Every day, before or after the Fajr prayer, take some time to enjoy reading. Remember what Allah said, “…And the Qur’an of dawn (fajr). Indeed, the recitation of fajr is ever witnessed.” [Qur’an: Chapter 17, Verse 78]
This is the most beautiful time for Qur’an. You will hear the leaves and birds, every creature, praising and doing tasbeeh of Allah , at Fajr. You are basically joining this symphony, in harmony with nature, in remembrance and praise of Allah -The Creator.
Remember, that with the help of Allah , you will find beauty, majesty and ease in the Qur’an:“And indeed We have made the Qur’an easy for remembrance, so is there any who will remember?” [Qur’an: Chapter 54, Verse 17]
Be among those who remember.
May Allah fill our houses with His Light.
May Allah bring us closer to Him and elevate our status with Him through reciting His Book.
May Allah make the Qur’an a cure, mercy and guidance for everyone who reads it.