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QUR'AN's BASICS
FOR CHARACTER BUILDING

QURAN UNDERSTANDING

By SYED AKBAR HASSAN

When we get closer to the Qur’ān and try to recite and understand it, we find that the Qur’ān gives us complete guidance for success in both the worlds. In two surahs, Surah Al-Mumanun (ayaat 1-11) and Surah Al-Ma’rij (ayaat 22-35), certain traits and qualities are very profoundly laid down. If we adopt these qualities and traits in ourselves as foundation for building our character in this world, it will not only lead to success in this world but the hereafter too, inshaAllah.

The first and foremost exercise for falah (success) is salah. Salat means coming face to face with Allah. When we begin our prayer and make the niyah, we actually come face to face with Allah. Before each and every salah we say inni wajahtu…which means that I have turned my face towards the direction of Allah Who created all heavens and earth cutting my connections and relations from whole of the world…. That is why the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) said that if it is salah and if it is coming out of your consciousness and depths of your hearts, it is the meraj (highest ascension) of momin. This can happen only when we know what we are saying in our prayers which is very important for our concentration level, and it is the lack of the same that our minds wander here and there during prayers and it becomes a mere exercise or ritual. Khushu, Khuzu and Hafizun are the three key words related to salah. Khushu and Khuzu are the inner quality of salah – we must realise and feel that we are face to face with Allah and our ruku and sajda must not be just physical but we must realise some sort of mental and spiritual attachment with Allah. Hafizun means that we have to guard ourselves and ensure that no salah is missed, is always said on time observing all the rules and we are constant in this.

The second pre-requisite is not to indulge in laghv (futile) exercises. Laghv does not mean sin but something that is useless, frivolous pastime, wastage of precious time. When we prepare or appear for some exam, we put our body and soul into it and do not waste any time in any other activity which may distract us resulting in our failure in the exam. Similarly, the life of this world is also a continuous test for all of us - the result of which will be declared in the akhirah - inshaAllah. Therefore, we must try to make the best of our time (we do not know how much – may be few moments from now or may be another couple of years) we are left with. We should ensure that we do not waste time in useless and unproductive activities. We should guard ourselves from talking nonsense, bad and loose. A characteristic of the promised Paradise is: “…therein you will not hear anything vain or useless.” (Al-Qur’ān – 78:35)

Another step towards building up of our character as per the Qur’ān is sharing our wealth (besides the love for it) by way of Zakat and Sadaquat. Zakat is obligatory for which the exemption limit and rate is fixed while sadaqua has no limits or exemption as such. Anyone can give sadaqua for which there is no condition of rich and poor rather the Prophet has said that if you have one bread and share the half with some needy, it is more worthy to Allah than the sadaqua from the rich. Even the priority with which we should share our wealth is prescribed in Surah Al-Baquara; ayaat 177 which says “…and gives his wealth, in spite of love for it, to the relatives, to the orphans, and to Al-Masâkin (the poor), and to the wayfarer, and to those who ask, and to set slaves (debtors) free, performs As-Salât (Iqâmat-as-Salât), and gives the Zakât….” The above ayaat also makes it very clear that Zakat and Sadaqua are two different things altogether and our obligations do not end with Zakat only but we must share our money by making sadaqua as much and as often as possible. Don’t you think what pleasure and satisfaction it will give when we share our money with a person who is jobless, or the one who tries to earn a living but does not earn enough to meet his needs, or the one who has become disabled because of an accident or calamity, and is unable to make a living – and that too before they ask or come to us for help.

Firm belief in the Day of Judgment and akhirah is the quality without which we cannot think of building our character so as to be successful. Unless we do not have these traits in our personality, we shall always remain vulnerable to the evils around us. Amal-e-saliha is possible only when we are fully aware that we shall be accountable for what we do in this world on the Day of Judgment and our success in akhirah will depend on our passing the test.

One major quality that builds our character strong is modesty. We are supposed to be modest and should be in good control of our animal instincts guarding ourselves with all sorts of abuses and perversions.

Trust, keeping up our promises and standing firm on our testimonies are also very important traits which are required for a successful personality. We must think twice while making a promise and should only make promise when we are confident of fulfilling it. The greatest of all the promises that we have made and keep on repeating in all our salats is in surah Al-Fatihaiya ka nabudu wa iya ka nastaien (You alone do we worship and You alone do we turn for help). In a hadith Anas (may Allah bless him) has reported that whenever the Holy Prophet (to whom be peace) addressed his Companions, he would always give them the instruction: “Beware, the one who does not keep his trust has no faith, and one who does not fulfill his pledges has no religion.” (Baihaqi, Ash-Shu ab al-Imam). Standing firm on our testimonies means that we neither conceal evidence nor change it in any way for selfish motives.

On making a comparative study of both the surahs i.e. Surah Al-Mumanun (ayaat 1-11) and Surah Al-Ma’rij (ayaat 22-35), we find that before and after the end of the mention of qualities which are required for character building so as to be successful in duniya and akhirah, the stress is on salah. This gives us an idea of the importance of the salah. The description of the merits of the high and sublime character of those who have been declared as worthy of jennah, began with the salah and has been concluded with it. To be a performer of the salah is their first characteristic, to be steadfast and ever constant with regard to the salah is their second characteristic, and to guard their salah is their last characteristic.

The above is the advice that we get from the Qur’ān when we get closer to it and seek its advice for flawless formula for success. The Qur’ān advises us not only for the benefit of duniya but for attaining success in the akhirah as well.

An hour a day to recite and understand the meaning of the Holy Qur’ān can help us in building our character and thus in attaining success in both the worlds. Now the study of the Holy Qur’ān has become even easier as today not only it is available in text form but also available in audio-video and other forms.

[sahassan_akbar@yahoo.com]



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