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June 26, 2011

The Rights of the Quran and some tips on how to fulfill them – Part 2

by Umm Muawiyah

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu Alaikum.

[Here's Part 1.]

An important point regarding reciting the Quran:

I’ve noticed that many people do not recite the Quran daily and they do not recite it in order.

What do I mean by “in order”? Well, one is supposed to recite the Quran from Al-Fatihah, then move on to Al-Baqarah and so on until one reaches Surah An-Naas (the last Surah).

After that, one returns to Al-Fatihah and starts all over again.

That’s what the Sahaabah (the Companions of the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam)) did. Some of them recited the whole Quran in a month, others completed it in a week and still others finished it in three days.

[Yes, that may sound impossible but it's not.]

I asked a couple of sisters about how they recited the Quran and they said they just picked up the mushaf and recited the parts that they liked. Well, okay that’s fine but one should also attempt to recite from start to finish, even if that takes a year.

Also, it seems that some people have gotten confused about the fact that the Sahaabah used to study ten ayaat (verses) of the Quran at a time. Yes, they did but this was apart from their daily recitation.

Apart from reciting the Quran in order, one should sure to recite some of it daily even if you can only manage to recite a few verses. Don’t sleep without doing that, no matter how tired you are.

Just think about this: What if you were in bed and you realised that the gas stove was switched on or that you had left your car keys in your car (some people do that!)? Would you still go to sleep?

No! You’d jump out of bed and solve the problem.

So, if you’re in bed and you realise that you haven’t recited your daily portion of the Quran, then get up and do it. This way, you’ll make sure that it becomes a habit.

Oh and please remember to recite with tajweed. The whole point of learning how to recite properly is to….well, recite properly.

3) To understand it

In order to understand the Quran, one needs to understand Arabic.

I’ve put some tips up on my series on learning Arabic (here’s Part 5).

I should point out a few things here:

a) Even if you don’t understand Arabic, you can still understand the Quran to some degree by using a translation.

Try to use more than one so that you end up getting a more complete picture of the portion that you are reciting. The two most accurate translations are the Muhsin Khan one and the Saheeh international one. You could also use a word to word translation of the Quran.

[Yesterday, I heard of a story of an agnostic Jew who read 4 translations side by side and also used an Arabic dictionary along with it!]

For those of you who are struggling to recite and understand the Quran, you could use the following site:

http://tanzil.net – It has both audio and translation. You could play each ayah, then recite after it and then read the translation.

b) Translations are not enough.

You know, I’m in the process of listening to a rather wonderful lecture series by one of my teachers entitled “How can you understand the Quran?”

The sad news (for those that don’t understand Arabic) is that this series is in Arabic. [For those of you who can understand Arabic, you can download it here.]

Now, the purpose of me mentioning that was not to rub it in your faces, rather it was to make you ponder.

Why would ARABS need to know how to understand the Quran? Don’t they know Arabic?

Yes, they can understand the words but that does not necessitate that they understand the intended meaning of the ayaat (verses).

Unfortunately, many people think that they can study the Quran on their own by just understanding the meaning of the words. This is not correct.

Why not? Because when Allah revealed the Quran, He also sent a Prophet to explain His Book, so we need to refer back to him (salallahu alaihi wasallam) and his Companions (radiallahu anhum) in order to understand the meaning of the ayaat and the context in which they were revealed.

So, one needs a tafsir (explanation) to fully understand the Quran. And one is not enough. If you are able to read ten, then you should read ten. If you can read a hundred, then you should read a hundred. The Quran is a treasure. Reading just one tafsir is not going to give you the whole treasure.

Apart from the tafsir, one should also try to study the sciences of the Quran. These deal with the language of the Quran, the reasons for revelation of various ayaat, etc.

Insha-Allah, in the next part, I’ll mention some word-to-word websites and books, various tafsir books as well as some courses and books on the sciences of the Quran.

[And yes, I will only mention English resources...]

c) Don’t forget the whole point of learning all this stuff.

We’re not in a race to see who will read the most books. However, we are in a race to see who will have the highest iman and who will have the most amount of good deeds.

So, the point is not to finish as many tafsirs as possible. What is the point of studying the Quran then? The point of studying the Quran and its sciences is to ponder over its message.

The message? It’s tawheed (worshipping Allah alone). The whole Quran is just about that one topic. It introduces us to Allah, His Power, His Mercy, His Majesty and His other attributes* and it tells us what we need to do in order to get closer to Him. It also talks about what awaits those who follow His orders and what awaits those who don’t.

[*Remember that the Quran is the Speech of Allah and hence is one of His attributes as well.]

Unfortunately, many people today will talk about the Quran and discuss everything except tawheed. It’s sad but true.

So, we should not be like them. Rather, we should strive to remember the purpose of reciting the Quran whilst doing so.

To be continued…

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