Friday, May 1, 2009

Etiquettes With Respect To the Glorious Qur'an.

Etiquette With Respect To the Glorious Qur'an.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful;
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, May Allah blessings and peace be upon His Messenger.


Allah, the Exalted, revealed the Qur'an, to be a beacon of light that cannot be extinguished. It is a methodology and way of life that is perfect in all respects. In it is strength that cannot be equaled or repelled. It is the foundation of Iman (Faith) and the spring of knowledge. Allah willed that the Qur'an be what quenches the thirst for knowledge. It is the delight of the people of wisdom. The Qur'an is the greatest cure for all ailments. It is Allah's Rope that cannot be severed. It is the Wise Reminder and the truly Straight Path.

It is the Speech of Allah, the Almighty. Because of that exaltedness, Muslim should approach to it with special manners, taking the guidance from the Prophet Muhammad (sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) .

Relation between Human Being and Quran

Allah, the Almighty states that anyone who truly believes that there is a life after this life also believes in this Book. This negates any claim to legitimacy by those who claim to follow a previous religion and book but yet they reject the Qur'an. Allah rejects even their claim to belief in the hereafter.

He says:

“And they did not appraise Allah with true appraisal when they said, “Allah did not reveal to a human being anything.” Say, “Who revealed the Scripture that Moses brought as light and guidance to the people? You [Jews] make it into pages, disclosing [some of] it and concealing much. And you were taught that which you knew not — neither you nor your fathers.’ Say, “Allah [revealed it].” Then leave them in their [empty] discourse, amusing themselves. And this is a Book which We have sent down, blessed and confirming what was before it, that you may warn the Mother of Cities [i.e. Makkah] and those around it. Those who believe in the Hereafter believe in it, and they are maintaining their prayers." [Al-An’am, 6: 91-92]

In the following verses, Allah reaffirms the relationship between belief in the hereafter and belief in the Qur'an by mentioning the punishment of those who disbelieve in the hereafter right after mentioning the guidance of the Qur'an. Also, since this book is from our Creator and is not the creation of any man, it contains the guidance to all that is best and most upright.

Allah says:

"Indeed, this Qur'an guides to that which is most suitable and gives good tidings to the believers who do righteous deeds that they will have a great reward And that those who do not believe in the Hereafter — We have prepared for them a painful punishment." [Al-Israa’, 17:9-10]

Allah reminds us of His omnipresent knowledge and that He is fully aware of those who do not submit to the truth of the Qur'an. Allah command to "do as you wish" is the most serious of threats and is also a clear statement that those who choose disbelief and are later punished for it did so by their choice and so deserve what comes to them. Zikir (the Reminder) here refers to the Qur'an.

It is because it is from Allah Most Exalted; falsehood cannot approach it from any direction. Any honest investigation of the Qur'an will find it free from any contradictions and containing many miraculous statements consistent with human knowledge which wasn't acquired until centuries after the Qur'an was communicated to the Prophet - that in addition to its comprehensive guidance to all that is best for mankind as individuals and societies.

Allah says:

"Indeed, those who inject deviation into Our verses are not concealed from Us. So, is he who is cast into the Fire better or he who comes secure on the Day of Resurrection? Do whatever you will; indeed, He is Seeing of what you do. Indeed, those who disbelieve in the message [i.e. the Qur'an] after it has come to them. And indeed, it is a mighty Book. Falsehood cannot approach it from before it or from behind it; [it is] a revelation from a [Lord who is] Wise and Praiseworthy." [Fussilat, 41: 40-42]

There is no better occupation or use of your time than learning and or teaching the Qur'an. This includes mere recitation as well as its meanings, rulings and application. The best of this nation are those who learn the Qur'an and those who teach the Qur'an.

It is narrated from ‘Uthman that the Prophet (sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) said: "The best of you is the one who learns the Qur'an and teaches it." [Al-Bukhari]

In other narrations the Prophet (sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) said: "It will be said to the person who memorizes the Qur'an, "Read and ascend and recite as you used to recite in the worldly life, for your level is at the last verse which you read." [At-Tirmidzi]

He also said: "A sign of glorifying Allah [by individuals] is [their] honoring the Muslim elder, the bearer of the Qur’an (the person who memorizes it), who is neither extravagant nor negligent towards it and honoring of the just ruler.” [Abu Dawud]

Etiquette of Reciting the Qur'an

It is befitting for one reciting the Qur'an that he or she be in a state of ritual purification and approach Allah’s Book with the best of manners, humility and respect. He should be sitting up and not leaning nor sitting in any disrespectful and arrogant manner. The best recitation of all is that done in prayer and the best of that is in the mosque, but this does not suggest that one neglects it when at home.

As for the quantity of reading, there are narrations from the Companions regarding completing the entire Qur’an every three days, every week or every month. Once every month is the recommendation of the Prophet. Once a week is his recommended minimum for those who desire to do more and less than three days should not be attempted since it will compromise comprehension which is the point of reading the Qur'an.

It is narrated from ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Amr: "The Prophet (sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) said to me: "Read the [entire] Qur'an each month." I said: I have more strength than that. He said: "Then read it every twenty days." I said: I have more strength than that. He said: "Then read it every seven days and do not exceed that." [Muslim]

You should not attempt to complete the Qur'an in less than three days. The Prophet (sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) stated that one who does this has no comprehension.

‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Amar narrated that the Prophet (sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) said: "Whoever reads the Qur’an in less than three [days] will not comprehend it." [Abu Dawud]

The simplest formula is that you should seek to maximize your recitation and study of Allah's Book the most you can without impeding your necessary business and work, without harming your health and without compromising your ability to recite the sounds correctly [from reading too fast] or pondering their meanings. This last statement implies that if you do not know the meanings of the Qur’an, which it would be best to divide your time between reciting the Qur’an and learning Arabic and the meanings of the Qur'an in order to arrive at the desired result. Ibn ‘Abbas is reported to have said: "To read Al-Baqarah and Al-'Imran with correct recitation and careful contemplation is more beloved to me than to read the entire Qur'an a hasty recitation."

If you find yourself with time on your hands, do not pass up this opportunity for reward and benefit and spend much of it reciting the Quran. Strive to not let your recitation become less than one complete reading each year - and add another in Ramadhan if you are able.

Beautifying the Voice with the Qur'an

You should strive to read the Qur'an in a nice sounding voice. One who was given a pleasant voice should strive as much as they are able. This should never resemble the style of music and songs.

Al-Baraa' Ibn ‘Aazib narrated that the Prophet (sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) said: "Beautify the Qur'an with your voices [i.e. by reciting it in a pleasant nice voice]." [Abu Dawud].

The preferred reading is the quiet reading, where one hears himself without disturbing others.

'Uqbah ibn 'Amir Al-Juhani narrated that the Prophet (sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) said: "He who raises his voice with the Qur'an is like one who displays his charity and he who lowers his voice with the Qur'an is like he who gives charity privately." [Abu Dawud]

Except of course that he should be able to hear himself. It is also without harm to raise one's voice with the Qur'an sometimes for a particular purpose such as to perfect pronunciation, aid in memorization or to fight drowsiness. Also included in this is teaching and learning and a condition for all of this is that it is not disturbing others or interrupting their prayer.

Contemplating the Meanings.

When you recite the Qur'an, you should remember the great kindness and favor of Allah upon His creation in allowing the meanings of His speech to enter his mind by means of this Book. You should remember always that what you are reading is unlike any other book. Keep the reality and greatness of the source of the Qur'an present in your heart and ponder the meanings of what you are reading. This pondering and this understanding is, after all, the point of the Qur'an and the point of reading it. If it can only be accomplished by repeating verses over and over, then do that and do not rush on to more verses. If you do not understand the Arabic, then read and contemplate a translation of the meanings in your language after each verse you recite while remembering that what you are reading in another language is not the speech of Allah, but only the translation of the meaning.

Abu Dharr reported that the Prophet (sallallāhu `alayhi wa sallam) once spent an entire night in contemplation of Allah's statement: “If you punish them, they are your slaves…” [An-Nisaa’, 4:118].

When you recite the Qur'an and contemplate its meanings, you should bring as much understanding as possible to each verse you read and get the full benefit of that verse. So for example, when you read verses that mention the creation of the heavens and the earth, have in your heart and mind the contemplation of the greatness and complexity of all that Allah has created.

When you read about the creation of the fetus from some liquids in the body and the stages it goes through in development, reflect on the great power of Allah in bringing about something so complex from something so simple.

Staying Away From All That Blocks or Prevents Understanding.

For example, evil thought may inject into your heart that you have not read correctly and pronounced a letter exactly correctly and so you get stuck on that and forget about concentrating on the meanings. Another cause is if the reciter is engaged in a sin on a continuous basis, or is arrogant or imprisoned by his desires. All of this is a cause of darkness of the heart and its rust. It is like dirt on a mirror that prevents true vision.

The heart is like a mirror and the desires and distractions are like the dirt and the meanings of the Qur'an are like the images seen in the mirror. So exercise your heart by setting desires aside and focusing against all distractions as if you are cleaning a mirror.

When you recite the Qur'an, you must know that you are the one being addressed in the Qur'an with the promises and the threats. And that its tales were not sent for entertainment but to learn from and take warning. On this basis, you can contemplate the book and act upon its directions.

[Excerpted with modifications from Islam Web published on 24 January 2006]

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