Alhamdulillahi rabbil aalameen. Was salaatu was salaamu ala ashraful mursaleen sayyidina Muhammadi wa ala aali sayyidina Muhammadi wa ashaabihi ajma’een.
All praise is due to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the entire universe. And the peace and blessings of Allah be upon Muhammad (saw) his family and his companions.
Allah (swt) says in the Holy Quran: “Shahru Ramadana alladhee unzila feehil Quranu hudal linnaasi wa bayyinaatim minal hudaa wal furqaan – The month of Ramadan is the one in which the Quran was sent down as guidance for mankind, with clear signs containing guidance and discrimination.” The topic for today will insha Allah be about the glorious Quran. The first fact mentioned in this ayah which I have just recited is that the Quran was revealed in this month, the month of Ramadan. But we are all aware that the Quran was in fact revealed over a period of about 23 years, from the time that the Prophet (saw) received the revelation at age 40 until he passed away when he was 63. So how can it then be said that the Quran was revealed in Ramadan? According to the mufassirun what is meant here, is that the Quran was revealed in its entirety from the Lawh al-Mahfuz, the Preserved Tablet, to the samaa’ al-dunyaa, the heavens of the world, during this month of Ramadan and from there it was revealed to the Prophet (saw) over all the years.
The ayah then goes on to tell us about the purpose for the revelation of the Quran, which is that it is “hudal linnaas” – a guidance for mankind. This is why the Quran was sent down and this is why we should read it – in order to obtain guidance from Allah (swt) Most High, as to how we should live our lives. Allah (swt) didn’t just create us and then leave us to wander around blindly, he also sent down revelation for us which shows us the way as to how we can attain His Mercy and Pleasure. Through the Quran, we learn our purpose in life. From it we learn our obligations – the things we have to do – and the prohibitions – the things we have to abstain from. It tells us about those things which Allah (swt) loves and about those things which He dislikes and it shows us the way to achieve both the good of this life and of the Hereafter. So the Quran contains complete guidelines as to how we should live our lives and we should strive to the best of our ability in order to live in accordance with it. Without it, mankind would be left in darkness and misguidance.
Although the Quran is a guide, this guidance does not benefit everybody. In another ayah it is mentioned that “Dhaalikal Kitaabu laa raiba feeh. Hudal lil muttaqeen – This is the Book in which there is no doubt. A guidance for the muttaqoon.” So this tells us then that it is only the muttaqoon, it is the only the people who are truly conscious of Allah (swt), who derive benefit and guidance from the Quran. For this reason we should try and acquire this quality within ourselves, this quality of being aware of Allah (swt) at all times. The ayah also states that the Quran is a furqaan or Criterion, which means that it distinguishes between al-haqq and al-baatil i.e. between truth and falsehood.
The Quran has many names and two of them are mentioned in this ayah. That is, it is also known as Huda (guidance) and al-Furqaan (the Criterion). Allah (swt) calls the Quran by this last name in the ayah where He says: “Tabaaraka alladhee nazzalal Furqaan – Blessed be He who has sent down the Furqaan. (25: 1)” The Quran is also known as al-Dhikr (the reminder) since Allah (swt) says: “Dhaalika natloohu alaika minal aayaati wadh dhikril hakeem – That is what We recite to you of the Signs and the wise reminder (3: 58).” The Quran is also a Noor (a light) and the dalil for that is the ayah: “Wa anzalnaa ilaikum nooram mubeenaa – We have sent down a Clear Light to you (4: 174).” It is called a light because it guides people out of the darkness of misguidance by making clear the laws of Allah (swt).
Another aspect of the Quran is that it is a bushraa (good news or glad tidings). Allah (swt) says: “Hudan wa bushraa’ lil mu’mineen – It is guidance and good news for the believers. (27: 2)” The good news that it conveys to us, the believers, is about all of the delights which wait in store for us in Jannah. And yet another of the names of the Quran is that it is a rahmah (mercy) since Allah (swt) says: “Hudan wa rahmatun lil muhsineen – It is guidance and mercy for those who do good. (31: 33).” So these are some of the names and qualities of the Quran: it is al-Furqaan al-Azeem (the supreme Criterion), al-Dhikrul Hakeem (the wise reminder), al-Noorul Mubeen (the clear light), Huda lil ‘muttaqeen (guidance for the God-fearing), al-Bushra lil Mu’mineen (good news for the believers), and al-Rahmatu lil Muhsineen (mercy for those who do good).
There is great reward in reciting the glorious Quran. The Prophet (saw) said in a hadith: “Whoever reads a letter from the Book of Allah, he will have a reward. And that reward will be multiplied by ten. I am not saying that “Alif, Laam, Meem” is a letter, rather I am saying that “Alif” is a letter, “laam” is a letter, and “meem” is a letter. (Tirmidhi)” So by just be reciting this one word one receives 30 rewards. And if we were to try and count all the letters in the Quran or just in one Juz, we will realise how much barakah Allah (swt) has placed in the recitation of the Quran. If we reflect on this then we will realise that its reward is too immense to be properly understood. And what is more, is that since we are in Ramadan, the rewards for it will be multiplied even more.
Another hadith which speaks about the virtues of reading the Quran is that the Prophet (saw) said: “Read the Qur’an, for verily it will come on the Day of Standing as an intercessor for its companions. (Muslim)” The day of Qiyamah will be the most terrible day that people will ever have to endure, and on that day every one will be looking for something to help him to save him from the punishment of Jahannam. So if we read the Quran and are regular in it, then insha Allah, on that day Allah (swt) will allow the Quran to be a shafa’ah for us, that is it will intercede on our behalf to Allah (swt). But the Quran must not only be read, it must also be studied and taught to others. The reward for doing this is that such a person will be regarded as amongst the best of people in the sight of Allah (swt). It is related that the Prophet (saw) said: “The best of you are those who learn the Qur’an and teach it to others (Bukhari).”
We should also if possible make some attempt to memorise the holy Quran. The one who does this holds a high rank with Allah (swt). On the day of Qiyamah, the parents of one who memorises the Quran will be made to wear a crown which is brighter than the sun. So if this is the reward for the parent’s of the hafiz then it can be imagined what will be the reward for the hafiz himself. Another aspect of studying the Quran is that we should not only recite it and commit to memory but we should also contemplate over the meaning of its ayat. This is very important since the Quran is there for our guidance, as has already been explained, but if we do not read it with understanding then how can we hope to benefit and learn from it? To do this one would of course need to know Arabic, but for those who don’t know the language, there translations available which they can make use of. The importance of reflecting over the Quran is mentioned in it where Allah (swt) says: “Afalaa yatadabbaroonal Quran am ‘alaa quloobin aqfaaluhaa – Will they not then contemplate on the Quran or are there locks upon their hearts (47: 24).”
This is the month of the Quran, so we should try to increase our recitation of it as much as possible. At the least we should make an attempt to complete the recitation of one khatm for the month. It is related that when Ramadan arrived some of the Salaf al-Salih would leave off everything else and devote themselves only to reading the holy Qur’an. Some of them finished the Quran in ten nights during Qiyam al-Layl, others in seven and others in just three nights. It is not advisable to complete the recitation of the Quran in less than three days, since if a person does this then he will not be able to properly contemplate over the meaning of what he recites.
The Quran is the best of all books and its beauty surpasses all others. But what is that really makes it so beautiful? In my opinion, there are three aspects to it which make it so beautiful and that causes it to have such a great impact on people. The first of these is the beauty of its recitation, of the way it sounds. When listening to the Quran being recited by a proper Qari, one cannot help but be amazed at it. There are many different qira’at or modes of reciting, and this increases the beauty of it for the one who has knowledge of such things. But even if he knows nothing about such matters, he is still able to appreciate something of the beauty of the sound of the Quran.
The second aspect of its beauty is the eloquence of the Quran, its amazing style, rhetoric and so on. To be able to appreciate and understand this one needs to have some knowledge of Arabic. So this should be further encouragement for us to learn this language, so that one day will be able to grasp and understand a little bit of just how spectacular the language of the Quran is. The Quran is a literary miracle – it was revealed to a people who prided themselves on their mastery of the Arabic language and they were challenged to bring forth just one chapter like it. But despite their knowledge of Arabic, they were unable to do so, and this shows that the Quran comes from Allah (swt) and not from any man. If it was written by a man, as some people claim, then they would have been able to replicate it.
And the third aspect of the beauty of the Quran is its incredible depth of meaning. Each ayat has so much meaning and depth to it that one will never be able to completely understand all of it. If you go to the books of the mufassirun, those who wrote commentaries on the Quran, then you would find that their books run into a number of volumes. They have explained it in such detail and yet till today people are still discovering new meanings which were unknown before. So these are the three aspects of the Quran which make it so beautiful: the sound of its recitation, its literary style, and all the various meanings which it conveys.
So we pray that Allah (swt) gives us the ability and the guidance to first of all read the Quran, to try to memorise some of it, to contemplate over its meanings, to try and gain an appreciation of its beauty, and most importantly to implement it in our lives.
Wa aakhiru da’waanaa ‘anil hamdu lillahi Rabbil ‘aalameen.