Our Relationship with the Qur’an Al-Karim

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How is our relationship with Qur’an al-Karim, the holy book that renders the month in which it has been revealed precious, and the night of its revelation better than a thousand months? How well do we know our sublime and sacred book which is a source of mercy and guidance for the believers?

The month of Ramadan is also known as “The month of Qur’an”. The reason the month of Ramadan is so closely associated with the Qur’an al-Karim is the following ayah: “The month of Ramadan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an.” (Baqara 185)

According to the majority of scholars, the word Qur’an is derived from the root verb “qara’a” and means “reciting, collecting and explaining”. Reciting stands out as the prominent meaning among these definitions. The fact that the first ayah to be revealed is “iqra/read”, that the root “qara’a” is used in seventeen places in Qur’an to signify “reading” and that reading Qur’an frequently is strongly advised lends a great deal of weight to this interpretation.

A common definition such as the following can be rendered by establishing the basis on the existing definitions regarding the terminological meaning of the Qur’an:

“Qur’an is a compendious Arabic scripture that is sent down by Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) to the last prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) through the intermediation of Jibril (alayhissalam) and revealed through wahy (revelations) the nature of which cannot be known, which is collected in written copies, reported through tawatur (multiple successive chains of reliable reports through which that which is reported remains unchanged), the sole act of the reading of which constitutes an act of worship, which begins with the surah al-Fatiha, ends with the surah al-Nas and leaves any attempt to produce a resembling scripture absolutely impossible to fulfill.”

According to this, the expression “through wahy” indicates that the Qur’an al-Karim is of divine origin. The expression “sent down by Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) to the last prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam)” excludes other samawi books. The expression “collected in written copies” signifies that no word or utterance that is not part of the Qur’an makes it into the volume itself. The expression “reported through tawatur” means that there is no uncertainty or ambiguousness regarding its perfect and complete transmission through time and its arrival to this day. The expression “the sole act of the reading of which constitutes an act of worship” emphasizes the fact that no tafsir or translation of it in any language equals to the Qur’an itself and none can be used for ibadah. (Shawkani, Irshad al-Fuhul, I, 85-56; Zurkani, Manahil, I, 19)

 

The names of the Qur’an al-Karim

The Qur’an al-Karim has many names and attributes. The scholars state that there are more than fifty such names and attributes by referring to the verses mentioning the properties of the Qur’an. (Zarkashi, al-Burhan, I, 273-276)

Some of these names and attributes found in the Qur’an are as follows:

Bashir (Giver of good tidings) / Nazir (Warner): “As a giver of good tidings and a warner; but most of them turn away, so they do not hear.” (Fussilat 4)

Bayaan (Statement) / Hidayah (guidance) / Mawaidha (sermon): “This [Qur’an] is a clear statement to [all] the people and a guidance and instruction for those conscious of Allah.” (Ali Imran 138)

Furqan (Criterion): Blessed is He who sent down the Criterion upon His Servant that he may be to the worlds a warner. (Furqan, 1)

Hakeem (The Wise): Alif, Lam, Ra. These are the verses of the wise Book. (Yunus, 1)

Haqq (The Truth): And those who believe and do righteous deeds and believe in what has been sent down upon Muhammad – and it is the truth from their Lord – He will remove from them their misdeeds and amend their condition. (Muhammad, 2)

Noor (Light): O mankind, there has come to you a conclusive proof from your Lord, and We have sent down to you a clear light. (Nisa, 174)

Shefah (Healing) / Rahmah (Mercy): O mankind, there has to come to you instruction from your Lord and healing for what is in the breasts and guidance and mercy for the believers. (Yunus, 57)

Dhikr (Reminder): It is certainly We Who have revealed the Reminder, and it is certainly We Who will preserve it. (Hijr, 9)

 

The excellence of the Qur’an al-Karim

Knowledge regarding the excellence and the superiority of the Qur’an al-Karim can be found in the Qur’an itself and within the ahadith of Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) who is its announcer. Almost all of the verses indicate the Qur’an’s superiority:

  • The Qur’an is the best of statements. (Zumar, 23)
  • It is the word of Allah. (Tawbah, 69)
  • It is a noor that brings people out of darkness into the light. (İbrahim 1; Ahzab 43)
  • It is a most concise word that the like of which the people and the djinn are helpless to create. (Isra, 88)
  • It is a heavy burden of trust that even the mountains shrink from. (Hashr, 21)
  • Just like it is with the night of qadr, it is a blessed book that bestows worth and blessing upon everything it touches. (An’am, 155)

Rasulallah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) draws attention to the excellence of the Qur’an al-Karim in a number of his ahadith. These ahadith are usually found in the sections of the hadith books titled “Fadhailu’l-Qur’an (Virtues of the Qur’an)” and “Thawabu’l-Qur’an (Reward of the Qur’an)”.  According to a report on the authority of Ali (radiallahu anh), Rasulallah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) mentioned the incidences of strife that were going to manifest in the future and upon being asked how to protect oneself from these incidences, he said:

“Allah’s book. In it is news for what happened before you, and information about what comes after you, and judgement for what happens between you. It is the Criterion (between right and wrong) without jest. Whoever among the oppressive abandons it, Allah crushes him, and whoever seeks guidance from other than it, then Allah leaves him to stray. It is the firm rope of Allah, it is the wise remembrance, it is the straight path, and it is the one that the desires can not distort, nor can the tongues twist it, nor can the scholars ever have enough of it, and it shall not become dull from reciting it much, and the amazement of it does not diminish. It is the one that when the Jinns hear it, they did not hesitate to say about it: ‘Verily, we have heard a wonderful Recitation (this Qur’an)! ‘It guides to the Right Path, and we have believed therein.’ Whoever speaks according to it then he has said the truth, and whoever acts according to it he is rewarded, and whoever judges by it he has judged justly, and whoever invites to it then he guides to the straight path.” (Tirmidhi, Fadhailu’l-Qur’an 14)

 

The Recitation of the Qur’an al-Karim

As specified above, the Qur’an al-Karim is a book by reciting which one performs an act of worship. Because, one of the most prominent characteristics of a muslim is reciting Qur’an. In the following ayah, reciting the Qur’an al-Karim is mentioned together with ibadah such as salah and giving sadaqah (charity):

“Indeed, those who recite the Book of Allah and establish prayer and spend [in His cause] out of what We have provided them, secretly and publicly, [can] expect a profit that will never perish.” (Fatir 29)

Also, the relationship between the reciting of the Qur’an and the growing of iman (faith) is described thusly in another ayah:

“The believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, their hearts become fearful, and when His verses are recited to them, it increases them in faith; and upon their Lord they rely.” (Anfal 2)

The number of ahadith reports related to the virtue of reciting the Qur’an al-Karim is fairly high. We would like to present several of the statements by Rasulallah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) regarding the subject:

“The best among you are those who learn the Qur’an and teach it.” (Bukhari, Fadhailu’l-Qur’an 21)

“[Whoever recites a letter] from Allah’s Book, then he receives the reward from it, and the reward of ten the like of it. I do not say that Alif Lam Mim is a letter, but Alif is a letter, Lam is a letter and Mim is a letter.” (Tirmidhi, Fadhailu’l-Qur’an 16)

“Recite the Qur’an, for on the Day of Resurrection it will come as an intercessor for those who recite It.” (Muslim, Musafirin 252)

“Do not wish to be like anyone except in two cases. (The first is) A person, whom Allah has given wealth and he spends it righteously; (the second is) the one whom Allah has given wisdom (the Holy Qur’an) and he acts according to it and teaches it to others.” (Bukhari, Ilm 15)

“Indeed, the one who does not have the Qur’an inside him (his heart), is like the ruined house.” (Tirmidhi, Fadhailu’l-Qur’an 18)

Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) says in a hadith al-qudsi: “Whoever is too busy with the Qur’an for remembering Me and asking Me, then I shall give him more than what I give to those who ask.” (Tirmidhi, Fadhailu’l-Qur’an 25)

Ramadan is the month of the Qur’an al-Karim. It is the month during which it was sent down. For the sake of this month, we should review our relationship with it. We should make an extra effort to be able to recite the Qur’an al-Karim according to its rules of recitation. We should make it part of our daily routine of ibadah by reading the Qur’an al-Karim everyday. Because reading the Qur’an is the first and most fundamental part of acting according to its verdicts and embracing its morals as our own. May we become blessed by the Qur’an al-Karim in the month of its revelation…

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