By SYED AKBAR HASSAN
Today, we (Muslim Ummah throughout the world) find ourselves in a pathetic and disastrous condition as we have neglected the Holy Qur’ān. Our indifferent attitude toward the last of the Allah´s Revelations, along with our hypocritical lip-service, is as good as ridiculing it. Instead, we must clearly understand our responsibilities towards the Holy Qur’ān and try our very best in fulfilling them. We can get the best of both the worlds only when we get closer to the Qur’ān and Hadith and seek guidance in our daily affairs from them. We often find ourselves in trouble just because we only depend upon our own intellect and do not refer to the Qur’ān and (or) Hadith in such situations.
The Qur’ān makes five demands from each one of us, which are as follows:
A Muslim is required to believe in the Qur’ān;
He is required to read it;
He is required to understand it;
He is required to act upon its teachings;
He is required to convey its teachings to others.
The first and foremost is to have faith (Iman) in the Divine origin of the Qur’ān. Iman not only refers to iqrar bil-lisan (verbal declaration) but at the same time tasdeeq bil-qalb (heart-felt conviction). To have faith in the Qur’ān means that we should verbally accept that the Qur’ān is the Allah’s word that was revealed by Him through His angel Gabriel to the last of His messengers, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be to him). This is a legal requirement for the acceptance of a person as a member of the Muslim society.
Having done that, it is only when we have real conviction in that verbal declaration that our hearts and minds would come under the spell of the Holy Qur’ān, leading us towards genuine devotion and adoration of the Holy Book. Unfortunately, it seems that we lack strong faith in the Divine origin of the Qur’ān today and that seems to be the reason why we neither find any admiration for the Qur’ān in our hearts, nor feel inclined to study it, nor show any interest in pondering over its meanings, nor ever think of seeking its guidance in conducting our lives.
Note that faith is not something that is to be planted in us from outside. It is a personification of fundamental truths that already exist inside us; the practice of pondering over the ayaat of the Qur’ān serves to bring them to the surface of our consciousness.
Secondly, slow and thoughtful Tilawat (reading) not only is an important form of worship but also continuously refreshes and enhances our Iman. The beauty of the Qur’ān – which also again goes on to prove that it is a divine revelation – is that its repeated Tilawat with understanding always gives some new dimension and meaning to its ayaats and never ever one finds monotony.
Our third obligation is to understand and comprehend the Holy Qur´an. The Qur’ān has been revealed so that it may be understood and pondered upon. Of course, there are numerous levels and grades of comprehension, accessible to different persons according to their respective planes of intellect and consciousness. The teachings of the Qur’ān are not at all foreign or alien to the human fitrah (psychology/behaviour). Instead, they represent the eternal truths dormant in the human soul itself, and the reading of or listening to the Holy Qur’ān only facilitates the recalling of these forgotten verities. The Holy Qur’ān has been rendered very easy, by Almighty Allah, for the purpose of gaining this level of guidance. The knowledge of Arabic is, however, indispensable for this purpose. Today we (Muslims) are educated and are also obtaining advanced degrees in arts and sciences – we must also learn Arabic so that we could understand the Holy Qur’ān directly and not through translations only. Learning basic Arabic is a duty that every educated Muslim owes to the Holy Qur’ān.
Next is transition from information to transformation. The teaching of the Holy Qur’ān must not only be a source of information to us but there must be some transformation in ourselves which will also ultimately transform our families, societies and ummah as a whole. The Qur’ān is the “Guidance for mankind.” The purpose for which this Book has been revealed will be fully realised only when we act upon its teachings and make it the guide for us in every sphere of our lives. If we disregard the injunctions of the Qur’ān, then the reading and understanding of the Holy Book, instead of doing us any good, will only make us guiltier before Almighty Allah.
At an individual level, it is imperative for all of us to mould our lives as per the teachings of the Qur’ān. The best way to benefit from the study of the Holy Qur’ān is to go on changing our lifestyles and mending our ways in accordance with its teachings.
At the collective level of the community, it is equally imperative for us to try and establish the system of Social Justice as given by the Holy Qur’ān. We, as a whole, are responsible for establishing the Sovereignty of Almighty Allah in the public as well as the private sphere, and each of us is obligated to try his utmost in this path. The struggle for the establishment of such a just and equitable order in accordance with the teachings of the Qur’ān is the bounding duty of its followers.
It is our responsibility to propagate the message of the Holy Qur’ān to every nook and corner of the world (the start for which will be our spouses, sons, daughters, relatives, neighbours and so on and so forth). This was originally the responsibility of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be to him), who fulfilled his own obligation by conveying the Divine message to the Ummah; since Prophethood has been concluded with the advent of Prophet Muhammad, who is the last of the Divine Messengers, it is now our duty to deliver that message to all humanity. Unfortunately, the proclamation of the Divine message to the whole world appears like a far-fetched and fantastic idea, because, at the moment, we ourselves are ignorant of the teachings of the Holy Qur’ān.
Therefore, a powerful intellectual and academic movement – come closer to the Qur’ān – is needed in order to propagate and disseminate the knowledge and wisdom of the Holy Qur’ān, both on a general scale for the benefit of our masses and on the highest level of scholarship in order to convert the educated and intelligent elite of the Muslim society.
Lastly, let us pledge to give at least an hour every day to recite and understand the meaning of the Holy Qur’ān so as to seek hidayat from Allah. And we must remember that all acts of our day-to-day life shall become Allah’s rehmat if His hidayat is also there. Now the study of the Holy Qur’ān has become even easier as today it is available not only in text form but in audio-video and other forms as well.