IS IT NOT NECESSARY TO READ QURAN WITH UNDERSTANDING?
Muslims believe that Quran is the Book of Allah revealed to Prophet Muhammed (Sallal Lahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) and that it will continue till the end of the world to admonish and guide the entire humanity, irrespective of nation, country, time and space. It is not only a source of remembrance and guidance for the believers but also a healing mercy. This belief demanded that Muslims should have developed a conscious relationship with it, understood it, pondered over its verses, derived the light of learning from it, followed it sincerely and should have fulfilled the responsibilities placed on them by this book. But the case of Muslims is strange. They do not even feel the necessity of reading this book with understanding. They are satisfied merely with believing in and reciting it. In consequence their relationship with Quran has actually been weakened. The central place of importance which should have been occupied by this book and the traditions (Sunnah) of the prophet (peace be upon him) for Muslims is taken up by other personalities and their books or that they have become independent to follow their own free will. This state of affairs is not such that we may just pass over it. Cursorily, but there is a need to analyses the cause and remove the mental bocks pertaining to this.
EXCUSE OF NOT KNOWING ARABIC
Generally people think that
since Quran is in Arabic and they do not know Arabic, it is not necessary for
them to know the sense and meaning of the Quran. This excuse would have been
acceptable if there were no resources available for understanding its meaning
and message. But what does this excuse mean when every kind of resource to
understand its meaning and message is available? In modern times education is
common and the new methods of printing has provided immense resources for
publication and dissemmation of knowledge, and so far as Quran is concerned
its translation is available in many, and commentary in quite few, languages
of the world. Then what prevents us to receive benefits from them?
People read news papers as soon as they rise from bed. They read books and magazines of their choice. They have plenty of time to go through the worldly books, but they do not have time to read the Book of Allah with its translation. What a great tragedy it is! Is it not possible for them to devote half an hour after the morning prayer to recite the holy Quran, to study and ponder over it? What sort of preoccupation is this that they have time to understand everything of the world but no time to understand the divine book!
If a person receives a letter from his friend in a language not understood by him, he makes some one else read it in order to understand it. But he does not care to know the message sent by the Lord of the word for His slaves.
IS THE UNDERSTANDING OF QURAN ONLY FOR THE SCHOLARS (Ulema)?
A section of Muslims feels that the understanding of Quran is meant only for the religious scholars. For the remaining masses it is sufficient to read the books written by the scholars or the saints. Such a thought is not only wrong and baseless but it also deprives the people of the light of Quran and has driven them to the wrong practice of saint worship.
Who does not know that the very revelation of the holy Quran begins with the word “Iqra” which means “Read” and reading here implies the reading of Quran only. It includes reading with understanding because Quran is a purposeful book and how can its benefits be derived without understanding it? The command for reading is given to every person through the Prophet (Sallal Lahu Alaihi Wa Sallam); whoever receives Quran, whether he is Muslim or non-Muslim, whether belonging to the classes or the masses, whether a scholar or an ordinary person, with no reservations at all.
Quran explains the purpose of
its revelation as “So that you understand”. Hence it is wrong to think that
only the scholars (Ulema) can understand it. Quran itself explains its own
simplicity and comprehensibility.
Despite this clarification by Quran it is wrong to say that this book is meant for the understanding of scholars only. The fact is that who ever studies Quran with the sincerity of purpose is bound to be benefited by its reading, no matter how less knowledgeable the person is and this is the foremost object of Quran.
“And expound His revelations to
mankind that they may be reminded”.(Baqarah:221)
“Nay, verily this is an admonition
so whoever will may heed it” (Muddatthir:54-55)
Even if in the battle field any non-believer seeks refuge in order to hear the Book of Allah, then it is commanded to give him shelter to enable him to hear the Book of Allah:
“If any of the polytheists seeks asylum with you, then give him protection till he may hear the word of Allah. They convey him to the place of safety. That is because they are the people who know not.” (Taubah : 6)
However it is strange to see that a section of Muslims wishes to shut the door of understanding of Quran for Muslims. It says that the people would fall a prey to mischief if they read the translation of Quran, as if there is no danger of Muslims falling a prey to mischief if they read Quran without understanding it. They feel that Muslims would fall a prey to mischief if they read Quran with translation. This is a wrong logic that they are presenting. If their apprehension is correct, then the question arises as to why the scholars have taken all the trouble of translating Quran. Are the translations done only for the benefit of scholars? Shah Abdul Qadir Saheb, Moulana Mehmudul Hasan Saheb, Moulana Ashraf Ali Saheb Thanavi, Moulana ?Fateh Muhammad Saheb Jalandhari, Mufti Muhammad Shafi Saheb and other distinguished scholars have made valuable contribution to the translation and commentary of Quran. For whose benefits did they make such serious efforts? Were they meant for Arabic knowing persons or for the urdu knowing? Had there been any danger of mischief in translation, these Ulema would not have undertaken this work. There may be slight differences in different translations, but if the correctness of the translation is assured, then minor differences, due to different understanding of the translators, need not be given undue importance, to the extent that the people are advised not to read the translation at all. There are lots of Muslims today who are deriving benefit from new and old translations. What mischief is caused by their reading Quran with translation? What are not the people who fear mischief from the translation of Quran apprehensive of any mischief in reading and making others listen to the books of their Ulema when these writings contain many controversial things, and there are books containing weak and fabricated Hadith, exaggerated encomium of the Saints, baseless stories and wishful dreams which have damaged the very fabric of the religion. Hence there is a need to stress on the importance of the holy Quran compared to the books of the Ulema of the respective schools of thought. The work for reformation would be easier if the relationship of the people is strengthened with the holy Quran. When they would read Quran with understanding, they would achieve the light of learning and they would not place their confidence in the books written by men.
RELIGIOUS GATHERINGS SANS QURANIC LESSION.
It is odd that the books of Ulema are read at the religious gatherings organized in the mosques with due attention but lessons from Quran are not arranged there. Any satisfactory translation or the commentary can be read if no competent person is available to impart lesion from the Quran, in order that the word of Allah can be presented to the people with its meaning and comprehension. And this can be more effective and beneficial compared to other things. But those who pay lip service to the virtues of the holy Quran do no to see this virtue of the Quran. They do not take interest if the teaching of Quran is imparted any where. However they take a lot of interest when a book of their own school of thought is read out. It is worth consideration what position we have given to Quran and what position it deserved.
IS IT NOT PROPER TO OFFER TRANSLATED QURAN TO NON-MUSLIMS?
With a view to propagation when the holy Quran is presented to non-Muslims with the translation and commentary some people raise objections saying that it is essential to be clean while handling Quran. The etiquettes which are prescribed for handling Quran for Muslims are not prescribed for non-Muslims. A Muslim is forbidden to enter the mosque in the state of uncleanness unless he takes a bath. But this condition is not applicable to non-Muslims. Accordingly the Prophet (Sallal Lahu Alaihi Wasallam) had ordered Thamama Bin Athal, an infidel, to be tied to the pillar of the Masjid-I-Nabavi when he was brought as a captive. Similarly the letters sent by the Prophet to the Caeser and khasrau (Persian Emporer) contained Quranic verses. Thus it is clear that a portion or the whole Quran can be presented to non-Muslims for Dawah purposes. It is their responsibility if they disrespect the same. However it should be avoided when it is known that instead of taking benefit from it they would be disrespecting it. The rapid progress of printing in the contemporary world has made accessible the translated version of the Quran quite easily. Non-Muslims can obtain the copies of the holy Book from various book stalls. Should the book sellers and the publishers then be prohibited from selling it to non-Muslims? The fact is that Quran is printed in the press it to non-Muslims? The fact is that Quran is printed in the press belonging to non-Muslims, and non-Muslim publishing houses publish the same. All this is tolerated. But some persons object to the translated version of Quran being offered to non-Muslims to acquaint them with the message of Quran. This objection of theirs becomes an obstacle in the progress of Dawah efforts.
DOES NOT RECITATION OF QURAN EARN (DIVINE) REWARDS?
What is stated above is not
meant to convey the idea that the recitation of Quran is not worth while. It
would be wrong to say such things in view of the virtues and importance given
to recitation and memorization of Quran in Quran and the Hadith. We should
avoid excesses in religious matters and adopt moderation. We have written a
note on the “Recite this book which has been revealed to you” (Ankaboot:45 )
in the commentary of Dawatul Quran explaining this ayah, as under:
Full benefit from the recitation
of Quran can only be achieved if the recitation is done in a manner which is
its due implies: to believe in, to understand it, deliberate over it, take
lesson from it and accepting its guidance to shape his life in accordance
with its teaching. But it does not mean that the non-Arabic knowing Muslims
should always read Quran with the translation. This is not possible because
in the prayer (Salat) only recitation is done. The question of reading the
translation does not arise. The main point is that Quran being the word of
Allah, its recitation itself is worship and the means of nearness to Allah,
because when a person having faith in this book recites it sincerely, he
remembers Allah, and it develops humility and fear in him and this is a great
spiritual wealth. Therefore he reading of each and every letter of Quran is
rewarded and hence the importance of the recitation (Tilawat) of the holy
Quran cannot be minimized. It would be as much rewarding as it would be read.
The inducement for reading it is given in the Quran as well as in Hadith.
People who recite Quran often but never make an effort to understand it are
like the people who offer prayers (Salat) but do not make an effort to know
what do they read in this, so much so that they are not even aware of the
meaning of the surah Al-Fatiha or what they read in ruku’ and sajdah, nor do
they know what do they affirm and deny in the prayer (Salat). Though such
prayer is said to be duly performed but it remains defective from the
viewpoint of its effects, blessing and rewards. Similarly the recitation of
Quran does give the benefit of the worship but the negligence towards its
meaning and sense not only reduces the reward of the worship but such person
is not fully benefited from Quran and he fails to establish a relationship
with Quran for attaining purity and guidance and this a big loss. Do such
people think that the Al-mighty Allah will not ask them as to why they did
not try to understand the Book of Allah when it was with them? Was the book
revealed only for recitation or was it revealed so that people may receive
light from it? (Tafseer Dawatul Quran)
THE BENEFITS OF THE STUDY OF QURAN
The benefits flowing from the
study of Quran do not need any description. Nevertheless it is necessary to
point out certain things in view of the prevalent negligence in this
Fourthly Quran is a remedy for
the diseases of the heart. “And it is healing for the diseases which are in
the hearts.” (Yunus:57). Therefore Quran is the best means to purify the
heart from evil thoughts, doubts, arrogance, hypocrisy, inclination towards
sins, jealousy, rancour and other evils and it creates good qualities and
promotes them. For purification of self it is not necessary to have a saintly
person of “Tariqat” as a “Peer”, but to study Quran and sunnah and to adhere
to them would suffie.
Then what is the purposes of minimizing the importance of a practicable thing and stressing on things which are not practicable? The intention behind our assertions is not that the company of the saints, scholars and righteous persons should be considered as useless. But our object is to emphasize that the company of the prophets should be sought whose chronicles are found in Quran in a way as if the listener of the reader is observing the same. And the pious life of the Prophet (Sallal Lahu Alaihi Wasallam) preserved in Quran and Hadith is quite sufficient to provide benefits to the seeker of his pious company
Sixthly Quran is the book to
bestow elevation as stated in hadith:
If Muslims wake up and establish a conscious relationship with Quran, they can then glorify themselves and can offer everlasting life to others. They can be successful in this world and also in the next world. May Allah bless Muslims to understand this.
RISE WITH THE MESSAGE OF QURAN AND AWAKEN THE PEOPLE OUT OF SLUMBER
QURAN IS THE WORD OF ALLAH AND ITS DEMANDS ARE: