Studying the Qur-aan for the Right Reasons

Everything in this universe, except for human beings and Jinns, is consistently and perfectly obedient to Allaah in the sense that it functions and behaves exactly as ordained by Allaah SWT through laws of nature or animal instincts. However, their obedience is not voluntary. They are pre-programmed for that consistent and constant obedience. The reason we are able to utilize those creations of Allaah SWT for our benefit is because of their consistency in their functions and behaviour. Also, their natural behaviour sustains life on the earth; maintains the ecology in a state of balance and equilibrium; and makes all natural systems function harmoniously. In other words, the laws of nature imposed by Allaah create harmony, coherence, balance and growth. This is so because they are based on absolute knowledge and ultimate wisdom of Allaah SWT.

Allaah SWT delegated human beings some authority to make decisions, choose responses to a stimulus and take actions. To enable them to use this freedom, He gave them intellect, and capacity to learn and to know right / wrong, proper / improper or good / bad. However, human beings do not have complete knowledge, perfect wisdom or comprehensive view of the intricate and interrelated matters to consistently make the right decisions and to chalk out the right path that will ensure similar peace, justice fairness and harmony in the society as is pre-programmed in the nature by Allaah SWT. To help them in this respect, being so kind and merciful, Allaah SWT provided appropriate guidance from His perfect knowledge and ultimate wisdom to human beings for enabling them to live a properly balanced and good life. He provided this guidance through revelation of His Books, especially the last Book, the Qur-aan. Thus, instead of pre-programming human beings to follow the right path, He gave them freedom but provided the guidance along with the freedom so that people can choose by their free will to follow His guidance. Thus, revelation of the Qur-aan is act of Allaah’s kindness and Compassion.

These are the points that are reminded to us in the following verses:
It is the Most Compassionate (Allaah) Who taught the Qur-aan. He created man and taught Him expression (including the intellect to generate and the ability to evaluate the ideas that are expressed). The sun and the moon function in precisely calculated manner, and the stars and trees prostrate (comply obediently). And the heaven (the universe around the earth) He raised and imposed balance. So do not transgress (disturb) the balance. Ar-Raĥmaan 55:1-9

Even the very first revelation mentioned this favour:
Proclaim (Recite publicly), and your Lord is the Most Gracious Who taught by pen – taught man what he did not know. Al-‘Alaq 96:3-5

The best way to appreciate this mercy and favour of Allaah SWT is that we invest our time and abilities to learn and understand the guidance provided by the Qur-aan and reflect on the message to internalize it and to adopt the ways and means of living personally and collectively according to that guidance provided by it. Not paying attention to the Qur-aan and its teachings is something about which the Messenger ŝall-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam (ŜA‘WS) will complain to Allaah SWT:
And the Messenger will say: O my Lord, my people did treat the Qur-aan with neglect. Al-Furqaan 25:30

The reflection on the message of the Qur-aan (which pre-requires understanding) is such an important aspect that it is mentioned as the main purpose of the revelation:
This is a blessed Book which we have revealed to you (O Muhammad), so that they reflect on its verses and those who understand are reminded. Ŝaad 38:29

The people who do not benefit from the guidance of the Qur-aan are either those who do not reflect or they have closed hearts and minds:
Is it that they do not reflect upon the Qur-aan, or are there locks upon their hearts? Muĥammad 47:24

That is why the Prophet ŜA‘WS highly emphasized the learning, teaching and practising the message and teachings of the Qur-aan, as is evident from the following Aĥaadeeth reported from him:
Once the Prophet ŜA‘WS talked about some terrible situation and mentioned that it would so happen when the knowledge would have disappeared. He was asked how can knowledge disappear when we read the Qur-aan, teach to our children and they will teach it to their children. At that, the Prophet gave the example of Jews and Christians and said, "Do not you see that these Jews and Christians read Torah and Gospel but do not act much upon what is in there?" Reported in Ibn Maajah from Ziyad ibn Labeed
Allaah will dress the parents of the one who reads the Qur-aan and acts upon its teachings with a crown that will shine more beautifully than the brightness of the sun if it were decorating the houses of the world. Just imagine the status of the person who himself acts upon it. Reported in Aboo Dawood from Mu‘aadz Juhani
Whoever walks the path seeking the knowledge (of the Qur-aan), Allaah facilitates for him the path to Jannah. And if people gather in one of the houses of Allaah reciting (understanding and reflecting on) the Qur-aan and discuss its teachings with each other, tranquility (Sakeenah) descends on them, mercy (Raĥmah) covers them, angels surround them, and Allaah mentions them among those who are with Him. And remember, whose performance is holding him back, his bloodline is not going to advance him. Reported in Muslim from Aboo Hurairah
A person who makes Ĥalaal (permissible) what has been made Ĥaraam (prohibited) by the Qur-aan is not a believer in the Qur-aan. Reported by Tirmidzi

These comments clearly indicate that the ‘Knowledge’ when used in the Ĥadeeth and the Qur-aan is the knowledge of the Qur-aan and that it is meaningless without being completely acted upon. Hence reading the Qur-aan does not mean reading without understanding or reflection to seek the guidance and to act upon it. Similarly learning and teaching does not mean parroting without understanding and reflection. The last sentence of the last Ĥadeeth in particular emphasizes that it is the actions of an individual in accordance with the Qur-aan that make the difference, not the family line of a person. In fact, those who read the Qur-aan without putting its teachings into practice have been regarded hypocrites by our Prophet:
Most of the hypocrites in my Ummah will be from among the reciters (of the Qur-aan). Reported in Musnad Ahmad from ‘Abdullaah Ibn ‘Umar

There are some groups of Muslims who will talk about Islam but avoid spending any time on learning, teaching, discussing and reflecting on the Qur-aan itself. Here are some more points for them to think about:
The best of you are those who learn and teach the Qur-aan. Reported in Bukhaari from Uthmaan Ibn ‘Affaan
An expert of the Qur-aan (both in knowledge and practice) will be with the honourable angels who convey the messages of Allaah. Reported in Muslim from ‘Aishah
O People of the Qur-aan! Do not ignore it by putting it behind your back like a cushion. Recite it diligently day and night, spread its message, chant it nicely, and reflect on what it contains so that you succeed. And do not use it for your worldly benefits, because there certainly will be reward for it in the Hereafter. Reported in Mishkaah From ‘Ubaidah Al-Mulaiki

The last Ĥadeeth should be a clear warning to those who approach the Qur-aan just to recite certain verses to achieve worldly objectives or those who use the Qur-aan to earn their living. It must be read, learnt and practised for the reward in the Hereafter. In fact, the Prophet has warned about this more clearly in the following two narrations:
If someone acquires knowledge (of Qur-aan) that is meant to be acquired for the pleasure of Allaah, but he does it for some worldly objective, he will not even get the fragrance of Jannah on the Day of Judgment. Reported in Aboo Dawood from Aboo Hurairah

Who acquired knowledge (of the Qur-aan) for some purpose other than Allaah or intending to use it for some purpose other than Allaah, he should be prepared to find his place in the Hell. Reported in Tirmidzee from Ibn ‘Umar

There are others who would talk about the Dzikr of Allaah but shy away from the Qur-aan sessions. They forget that the best way of remembering Allaah SWT is through the Qur-aan which itself has been clearly called Dzikr in many verses of the Qur-aan, such as:
Verily, We have revealed the Dzikr and certainly We are its protectors. Al-Ĥijr 15:9
And this blessed Dzikr that We have revealed, are you then its rejecters? Al-Ambiyaa 21:50

They should also consider the following comments from the Prophet ŜA‘WS:
The Prophet passed by two groups meeting in his Masjid. He said, “Both are doing good, however, one of them is superior to the other. As for these people, they are calling upon Allaah and are turning towards Him for their needs, He may give them or He may refuse them. As for these people, they are acquiring knowledge (from the Qur-aan) and are teaching those who do not know, so they are superior, and I have been sent as a teacher. Then he sat with them.” Reported in Mishkaah from ‘Abdullaah Ibn ‘Umar

Allaah Tabaaraka wa Ta’aala says that whoever is too occupied with the Qur-aan to do my Dzikr or ask me for his needs, I give to him more than I give to any of the seekers (those who ask). The status of Allaah’s words (Qur-aan ) over other’s words is like the status of Allaah over His creations. Reported in Tirmidzi from Aboo Sa‘eed

The Prophet was heard saying, “On the day of Judgment, there will be some people in the audience of Allaah SWT who will neither be prophets nor shaheed (martyrs) yet the radiance of their faces will dull the sight of those watching them. The prophets and martyrs will be delighted to see their status and closeness to Allaah SWT.” The companions asked, “Who will they be?” The Prophet responded, “Muslims from different tribes/places who would gather for Allaah’s remembrance (through the knowledge of the Qur-aan) and would pick up the best points made just as the picker of dates picks the best of them. Narrated by ‘Amr Ibn ‘Absah in Tabaraani, reported in Zaadi Raah with reference to Targheeb

Those who really want to become closer to Allaah SWT to be counted among His special people can only do so through their dedication to the Qur-aan, as the Prophet ŜA‘WS said:
“From among people, Allaah does have His own special persons.” When asked who they are, he told, “The people dedicated to the Qur-aan – they are Allaah’s people and His special people.” Reported from Anas in Nasaai and Ibn Maajah

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