Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Allah explains this in the Qur’an:
“This is the Book in which there is no doubt, a guidance unto those who are god-fearing. Who believe in the Unseen, and establish worship, and spend of that We have bestowed upon them; And who believe in that which is revealed unto You (Muhammad) and that which was revealed before thee, and are certain of the Hereafter. These depend on guidance from their Lord. These are the successful.” [2.2-5]
“Alif. Lam. Ra. (This is) a Scripture which We have revealed unto You that thereby You may bring forth humanity from darkness unto light, by the permission of their Lord, unto the path of the Mighty, the Owner of Praise.” [14.1]
“(This is) a Scripture that We have revealed unto thee, full of blessing, that they may ponder its revelations, and that men of understanding may reflect.” [38.29]
“Allah has (now) revealed the fairest of statements, a Scripture consistent, (wherein promises of reward are) paired (with threats of punishment), whereat does creep the flesh of those who fear their Lord, so that their flesh and their hearts soften to Allah’s reminder. Such is Allah’s guidance, which He guideth whom He will. And him whom Allah sendeth astray, for him there is no guide.” [39.23]
“Ha. Mim. A revelation from the Beneficent, the Merciful, A Scripture whereof the verses are expounded, a Lecture in Arabic for people who have knowledge, Good tidings and a warning. But most of them turn away so that they hear not.” [41.1-4]
Among many other verses.
There is great reward in reciting the Arabic, even if one does not understand its meanings, for these are the Words of Allah, and their aural majesty makes hearts submit reverentially.
One should also seek to understand its meanings, through reading a good translation (such as Pickthall’s) with reflection and contemplation.
One should seek to understand its deeper guidance and message through reading a reliable commentary (the best one in English being Allama Muhammad Shafi’s Maarif al-Qur’an, see: www.al-rashad.com).
Allah reminds us:
“O you who believe! Observe your duty to Allah. And let every soul look to that which it sendeth on before for the morrow. And observe your duty to Allah. Lo! Allah is Informed of what you do.
And be not you as those who forgot Allah, therefore He caused them to forget their souls. Such are the evil-doers.
Not equal are the owners of the Fire and the owners of the Garden. The owners of the Garden, they are the victorious.
If We had caused this Qur’an to descend upon a mountain, You verily hadst seen it humbled, rent asunder by the fear of Allah. Such similitudes coin We for mankind that haply they may reflect.
He is Allah, than Whom there is no other God, the Knower of the Invisible and the Visible. He is the Beneficent, Merciful.
He is Allah, than Whom there is no other God, the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One, Peace, the Keeper of Faith, the Guardian, the Majestic, the Compeller, the Superb. Glorified be Allah from all that they ascribe as partner (unto Him).
He is Allah, the Creator, the Shaper out of naught, the Fashioner. His are the most beautiful names. All that is in the heavens and the earth glorifieth Him, and He is the Mighty, the Wise.” [Qur’an, 59.18-24]
Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) reports, as part of a longer hadith, from the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace be upon him) that, “No people gather in a house of the houses of Allah reciting the Book of Allah and studying it among themselves except that serenity descends upon them, mercy envelops them, the angels surround them, and Allah makes mention of them to those with Him.” [Muslim (4867), Tirmidhi (1345), Abu Dawud (1243), Ibn Maja (221), Ahmad (7118), and others]
Shaykh Muhiyyudin Ibn Arabi (Allah have mercy on him) explains:
“Make it a habit to read from the Holy Qur'an every day. When you read, hold the holy book with respect.
Keep it in your left hand at the level of your chest, and move your right hand along the words you read. Read aloud, but just loud enough that you can hear your own voice.
Read without haste, slowly thinking of the meaning of each word. Wish for divine mercy and beneficence when you come to the verses that inspire His mercy. Take warning from the verses of admonition, and when reading them, promise your Lord your determination to act upon His command, repenting, taking refuge in His mercy, seeking salvation. When you read verses describing the praiseworthy qualities of the truly faithful, think of your own qualities. Be thankful and praise Him for your good qualities, and feel shame for the qualities missing in you, so mat you may hope to find the character of the faithful in yourself. And when you read about the faults of the nonbelievers and of the hypocrites who hide and distort the truth, think about whether you are also afflicted with such faults. If you are, try to stop them, to chase them away, to eliminate them. If you do not have them, take refuge in Him, be thankful and praise Him.
What is essential for you is to be heedful at all times, to be attentive to what comes into your mind and your heart. Think about and analyze these thoughts and feelings. Try to control them. Beware of the wishes of your ego, settle your accounts with it.
Have conscience, shame, in front of Allah. That will be a motivation to make you heedful. You will then care about what you are doing or saying or thinking, and the thoughts and feelings that are ugly in the eyes of Allah will be unable to settle in your heart. Your heart will then be safe from wishing acts not in accordance with Allah's pleasure.
Give value to your time, live in the present moment. Do not live in imagination and throw your time away. Allah has prescribed a duty, an act, a worship for your every moment. Know what it is and hasten to do it. First perform the actions He has given to you as obligations. Then do what He has given to you to do through the example of His Prophet. Then take on what He has left you as voluntary, acceptable good deeds. Work to serve the ones who are in need.
Do everything you do in order to come close to your Lord in your worship and prayers. Think that each deed may be your last act, each prayer your last prostration, that you may not have another chance. If you do this, it will be another motivation for becoming heedful and also for becoming sincere and truthful. Allah does not accept good deeds done unconsciously and insincerely as readily as deeds done in consciousness and sincerity.” [Ibn Arabi, What the seeker needs, translation sent from the web]
He also said (Allah have mercy on him):
“Wake before sunrise, remember Allah, and repent. When repentance follows sin, it erases it The sin disappears as if it never happened. When repentance follows a benevolent action or prayer, it is like light upon light, grace upon grace. To remember Allah and to praise Him unifies the heart when it is scattered all around - like a mirror broken into a thousand pieces - and mends it, makes it into one, and turns it towards the One. Then all trouble leaves the heart, and it is filled with the joy of the One whom it remembers.
When your heart is filled to the brim with remembrance, then read the Holy Qur'an. When you read, reflect upon the meaning of what you have read. When verses remind you of His oneness and of His being without likeness and free from all defect, praise Him. When you read verses describing His blessings, bounties, generosity, and love or His wrath and punishment, take refuge from Him in Him and beg for His mercy. When you hear the parables about past prophets and their people, take heed and draw lessons from what happened to them. There are infinite meanings within the verses of the Holy Qur'an, within every word - changing with your states and levels, knowledge and understanding. Therefore you cannot possibly be tired, weary, or bored in reading them.” [ibid.]
This is why the Prophet (Allah bless him & give him peace) said,
“The best of you are those who learn the Qur’an and teach it.” [Bukhari and others]
He also said (Allah bless him & give him peace),
“The people of the Qur’an are the people of Allah and His chosen ones.” [Ahmad, Nasa’i, and Ibn Maja from Anas (Allah be pleased with him)]
Sayyiduna Umar (Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said,
“Verily, Allah raises some people in rank with this Book, and puts down others.” [Muslim]
May Allah make us of the people of the Qur’an, and those who travel the path of His Chosen One (Allah bless him & give him peace), with love and thankfulness.
MMVIII © Faraz Rabbani and Qibla.
All rights reserved
No part of this article may be reproduced, displayed, modified, or distributed without the express prior written permission of both copyright holders. For permission, please submit a request at our Helpdesk.
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, "Knowledge is only through study." While some knowledge can be gained from reading or casually listening to lectures, the best means to gain knowledge is through finding a qualified teacher and then setting up a systematic program of learning. Picking up a book or reading an article and trying to figure things out on our own is no substitute for learning from someone who has a direct link to our living tradition.
Through joining an online class at Qibla, you can benefit from convenient, online courses that will give you access to reliable scholars and our popular curriculum learning tracks. Knowledge gained in these courses will both build your iman and assist you in putting into practice what you learn. Don't give yourself less than you deserve, register today.