The Spirit Of Islam
Dr Israr Ahmed
THE pathetic and disastrous condition of the Muslim Ummah throughout world is due to its abandoning of the Holy Qur’an. The constant attitude of indifference, along with our hypocritical lip-service, is tantamount to ridiculing last of Allah’s revelations. Instead, we must clearly understand our responsibilities towards the Holy Qur’an and try our very best to fulfil them. We can neither expect any improvement in our worldly state of affairs, nor hope for salvation in Hereafter, unless we carry out all the obligations that we owe to the Holy Qur’an.
The five demands that the Holy Qur’an makes on every Muslim are as follows: (1) A Muslim is required to believe in the Quran. (2) One is required to read it. (3) One is required to understand it. (4) One is required to act upon its teachings. (5) One is required to convey its teachings to others. The first obligation is to have faith (Iman) in the Divine origin of the Holy Qur’an. Iman has two phases: verbal profession (Iqrar bil-lisan), and heart-felt conviction (tasdeeq bil-qalb). To have faith in the Quran means that we should verbally profess that the Holy Qur’an is the Word of Almighty Allah that was revealed by Him through His angel Jibrael (AS) to the last of His messengers, the Holy Prophet (PBUH). This is a legal requirement for the acceptance of a person as a member of the Muslim society.
Having done that, however, we also need to develop a deeply felt certitude in the Holy Qur’an. It is only when we have real conviction in this verbal declaration, that our hearts and minds would come under its spell, leading us towards genuine devotion and veneration of the Holy Book. Its absence is the reason why we neither find any reverence for the Holy Qur’an in our hearts, nor feel inclined to study it, nor evince any interest in pondering over its meanings, nor ever think of seeking its guidance in conducting our lives. If the Book is studied and its meanings are pondered upon in an authentic quest for truth, all the veils of darkness shall be lifted from our heart.
It might be asked as to how we can acquire true faith. The answer is that the source of Iman is the Holy Qur’an itself. If the Book is studied and its meanings are pondered upon in an authentic quest for truth, all the veils of darkness shall be lifted from our heart, and the inner self — the soul — will get illuminated by the light of true faith. Note that faith is not something that can be planted in us from the outside. It is an embodiment of fundamental truths that already exist inside us; the practice of pondering over the ayahs of the Qur’an serves to bring them to the surface of our consciousness.
The second obligation is slow and thoughtful reading of the Holy Qur’an with correct pronunciation, generally described as tilawat, tarteel, and tajweed. Note that tilawat is not only an important form of worship, but it is also an effective method of continually refreshing our faith. The Holy Qur’an is not a book to be read once; it is a book that needs to be read again and again. We must read it carefully, reflecting on its messages, constantly seeking guidance for our lives. Just as our material body is in constant need of food for its sustenance, our spiritual soul (or rooh) is also in perpetual need for its nourishment. And while food for our bodies is derived from earth, the nutrition for our souls is obtained from the Word of Allah, the Holy Qur’an itself.
Tilawat is not only an important form of worship, but it is also an effective method of continually refreshing our faith. Moreover, a regular and constant programme of reciting the Holy Qur’an is also needed because it is a means of refreshing and reviving our faith, and a weapon for surmounting the obstacles in the path of Almighty Allah. The ideal way in which the Holy Book should be recited is that one should stand in the post-midnight prayer before his Lord and recite its Ayahs in a slow and patient manner, pausing at proper places so as to enable one’s heart to imbibe its influence.
The third obligation is to understand and comprehend the Holy Qur’an. The Holy Qur’an has been revealed so that it may be understood and pondered upon. Of course, there are numerous levels and grades of comprehension, accessible to different persons according to their respective planes of intellect and consciousness. The first stage in the comprehension of the Holy Qur’an is called tazakkur, a term which alludes to the fact that the teachings of the Holy Qur’an are not at all foreign or alien to the human nature. Instead, they represent the eternal truths dormant in the human soul itself, and the reading or listening of the Holy Qur’an only facilitates the recalling of these forgotten verities. The Holy Qur’an has been rendered very easy by Almighty Allah for the purpose of gaining this level of guidance. It does not matter if a person’s intelligence is limited, or his knowledge of logic and philosophy is poor, or if he has no fine sense of language and literature. In spite of these drawbacks, he can still understand the basic message and practical guidance of the Holy Qur’an, provided he has an untainted nature not perverted by any crookedness. — Courtesy: Albalagh.org
The Spirit Of Islam