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The Quran: What It ls and What Is One's Obligation Toward It

Before delving into the main goal of this work, it was

thought best to begin with a reminder: a reminder of what the

Quran truly is and what a Muslim's obligation is toward it.

Probably no Muslim ever forgets that the Quran is the

revelation from Allah that He revealed to His final

messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him). At the same

time, though, a Muslim may not completely realize the

ramifications of that fact. He may forget some of wonderful

aspects that Allah has stated concerning the Quran. He may

also be neglectful of what the Prophet (peace be upon him)

has said about the Quran.

The first goal of this chapter, therefore, is simply to

remind the reader of what the Quran is. Undoubtedly, the

more a believer knows about the Quran, the more he will

yearn to learn it. The more a person realizes about the Quran,

the closer he will want it to be to his heart and mind. The one

who knows the Quran the best is its speaker, Allah. So first

there will be a discussion of selected verses from the Quran

that describe the Quran itself.1 The one who knows the

Quran second best is the one who received it as revelation,

the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Hence, some

of his statements concerning the Quran will also be

discussed. Quotes from those who learned the Quran from

the Prophet (peace be upon him) and who implemented it in

their lives will also be presented. The chapter will then end

with a general description of a Muslim's obligation toward

this great and noble Quran.

What Allah Says about the Quran

In the opening passages of the Quran, the beginning

of soorah al-Baqarah, Allah says,

"This is the Book, 1 concerning which there is no doubt, a

guidance for those who fear Allah" (al-Baqarah 2). In the

typical translation of this verse, the verse seems not to say a

great deal about the Quran. In reality, though, in this verse,

Allah has stated many important points about this Book.1

The first aspect that one notes is that Allah refers to the Book

with the demonstrative pronoun dhaalika, which would

normally be translated as, "that" instead of "this." However,

the word "that" is used for "this" for particular reasons.

Siddiqi noted,

Second, the phrase is actually more comparable to

something like, "This is the Book." It implies that it is the

most complete book and that no other book deserves to be

called a "book" like this book does. It is the real book that

encompasses what no other previous book encompasses. In

other words, Allah is pointing to the completeness and

perfection of this book and, hence, its superiority over all

over books.

Third, Allah mentions that this is a book concerning

which there can be no doubt. It is the case that many

disbelievers and skeptics doubt this book. However, that is

not the meaning of this passage. The meaning is that the

proofs and evidence that this is a true and perfect revelation

from Allah are so great and clear that there is in reality no

room or reason for anyone to doubt this book. This applies to

the book as a whole and every portion of its guidance. There

should be no doubt concerning anything that Allah has stated

in this book. The absence of doubt, as al-Saadi points out,

implies that the believer must be completely certain and

satisfied that everything stated in this book is true. 2

Fourth, Allah describes this book as "guidance."

Commenting on this portion of the verse, al-Saadi noted,

This verse makes it clear that the Quran is first and

foremost a book of guidance. This is a point that shall be

discussed later and forms one of the_ main focuses of this

present work.

Finally, in this verse, Allah mentions that the book is

a guidance for those who have taqwa (fear of Allah and Godconsciousness).

Elsewhere Allah has described this

revelation as

"A guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance

and the criterion [between right and wrong]" (al-Baqarah

185). What these two verses, al-Baqarah 2 and al-Baqarah

1 85, imply is that the guidance of the Quran is there for

everyone to see and benefit from. However, not everyone is

gong to benefit from its wonderful guidance. Only those who

approach the Quran in the proper way, seeking to obey it and

implement its guidance, will be the ones who truly benefit

from the guidance of the Quran.

says,

Allah also refers to Quran as rooh ("spirit"). Allah

"Thus We have revealed to you a rooh1 of Our command"

(al-Shoora 52). While commenting upon this verse, Saalih

al-Fauzaan noted that rooh implies the thing that gives life to

a heart. In the same way that the physical heart's life is

directly tied to a rooh, the spiritual life is also directly tied to

a rooh, and that rooh is the Quran. It is this Quran that gives

life to the spiritual heart. If the heart is void of the Quran,

then it is in fact spiritually dead, no matter how much it may

be physically alive in this world.

The heart attains real life when it is joined with the

Quran. It is by the teachings of the Quran that the heart truly

knows its Lord and knows how to worship Him .. The heart

then becomes filled with love of Allah, fear of Allah,

reverence for Him and hope in Him. These are some of the

key ingredients that are needed for a healthy heart. The heart

is moved by the Quran in the same way that the physical

heart is moved by the physical soul. The physical death that

is the result of the loss of the rooh cannot compare to the

spiritual death that is the result of being void of the spiritual

rooh or the Quran. Physical death comes to believers,

disbelievers, evildoers and even animals. Its result is a

departure from this worldly life. A spiritual death is what the

disbelievers are experiencing and its result is the painful

abode of the Hell-fire forever. 1

Al-Raawi notes that people are very much aware of

the result of the physical rooh leaving the body. When that

happens, they take the body and bury it as it is not able to

perform any action since its rooh has left. In a sense, it has

become useless. At the same time, people disregard what

happens when the effects of the Quran are no longer seen on

a person. They do not see what happens to the person in both

this life and the Hereafter when he has lost the rooh of the

Quran. Without this rooh, a person is truly spiritually dead

even though it looks to all around him that he is physically

alive. He is dead because he is not even realizing his purpose

in this life. He is living his life without heading toward its

proper goal, hence, he may as well be physically dead. 2

In the same verse quoted above, as in other verses,

Allah describes the Quran as a "light" (noor). Allah says,

"Thus We have revealed to you a rooh of Our command.

You knew not what is the Book nor what is faith. But We

have made it [this Quran] a light (noor) wherewith We guide

whosoever of Our servants We will. And verily you guide

[mankind] to the straight path" (al-Shoora 52).

Light is the thing that shows the person the path in

front of him. It is by light that he can avoid the harmful

objects in his way and follow the way that is most beneficial.

However, as al-Fauzaan noted, this is different from the light

that one physically senses in this world. This is a spiritual

light. By this light, one recognizes and understands what will

benefit him in both his mundane and religious spheres. He

will recognize truth from falsehood and he will be following

the path that leads to Paradise.1

This light leads to the Straight Path and Allah's grace

and mercy. However, as will be a recurring theme throughout

this work, that light is only beneficial for one who follows it.

Allah says,

"O mankind! Verily, there has come to you a convincing

proof from your Lord, and We sent down to you a manifest

light [this Quran]. So, as for those who believed in Allah and

held fast to it [the Quran] , He will admit them to His mercy

and grace, and guide them to Himself by a Straight Path" (alNisaa

1 74-1 75).

From the above it is clear that the Quran is the key to

the believers ' real and true life. Without the Quran, a person

is suffering from a spiritual death and living in darkness. In

fact, Allah has said in reference to the guidance that He

revealed and blesses His followers with,

"Is he who was dead and We gave him life and set for him a

light whereby he can walk among men like him who is in the

darkness from which he can never come out?" (al-Anaam

122).

Allah also says about the Quran,

"Indeed, We have sent down for you [O mankind] a book in

which there is your honor and distinction2 [for the one who

follows it]. Will you not then understand?" (al-Anbiyaa 10).

This verse was first addressed to the Arabs of the Quraish. 3

It was a great blessing upon them that this Quran was

revealed in their language. If they then adhered to it, they

would be remembered and honored-for that distinction that

Allah bestowed upon them.

Beyond that, though, the verse is addressing all

believers and all humans and is stating the fact that one's

honor, distinction or glory is found in adhering to and

applying the Quran by becoming true believers in it. Allah

has said,

" "Honor belongs to Allah and His Messenger, and to the

Believers; but the Hypocrites know not" (al-Munaafiqoon 8).

This fact was demonstrated in the case of the Arabs.

Before their belief in and following of the Quran, they were

not a people who were known or necessarily respected

throughout the world. They had little or nothing to offe r the

world. But after receiving the Quran, they conveyed it to the

world. This was, as Sayyid Qutb pointed out, the only

thought or provisions that they had to off er the world. By it,

their position was exalted. They became the leaders of the

East and the West.1

Commenting on al-Anbiyaa 10, "a book in which

there is your honor and distinction," al-Saadi wrote,

This principle applies to all times. If the believers

want to be respected, to have honor and dignity and not live

in disgrace and humiliation, Allah has shown them what they

need to tum to: the Quran. If they tum to it and apply it in

their lives, it will be the source of their honor and dignity in

not just this temporary life but in the everlasting life in the

Hereafter. Umar ibn al-Khattaab is quoted to have said about

Islam itself, which directly implies the Quran also, "We were

the most despised people and Allah honored us and gave us

strength through Islam. And if we ever seek such honor

through something other than that which Allah honored us

by, Allah will then disgrace us."2

In fact, the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself said

about the Quran,

"Verily, Allah exalts some people by this Book and He

debases others by it."3

In these few verses and words of Allah discussed

here, one can already get a clear picture of the importance of

the Quran itself. It is the Book that contains the needed

guidance. It is the rooh or soul for the person. It is the light

that guides the person. And it is the source of the Muslim's

dignity, honor and happiness in both this life and the

Hereafter.

There are many other descriptive names that Allah

has used in reference to the Quran, such as al-Furqaan (the

criterion between right and wrong), al-Dhikr (the Reminder),

al-Burhaan (the conclusive evidence) and so on. 1

There are also many other illuminating verses of the

Quran that highlight its prominence.2 In this brief discussion

only two more sets of verses will be presented. In these

verses, Allah, the Speaker of the Quran and the One who

revealed the Quran- the One who truly knows the Quran­

has described the Quran in a way that is nothing short of

amazing for the one who reflects upon them. Allah has said,

iM

.. ..

"Had We sent down this Quran on a mountain, verily, you

would have seen it humble itself and cleave asunder for fear

of Allah. Such are the similitudes which We propound to

men, that they may reflect" (al-Hashr 2 1). Allah has also

said,

"If there were a Quran with which mountains were moved, or

the earth were cloven asunder, or the dead were made to

speak, [this would be the one] . But, truly, the Command is

with Allah in all things" (al-Rad 31).

Last modified onWednesday, 09 September 2015 17:54
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