The Qur’an: The Eternal Miracle

The Qur’an is God’s greatest gift to the people of the End of Time. It is the textbook of the learning centre of the world that is filled with divine trial and examination and is God’s last message and final call to humanity.

Allah Almighty bestowed the Qur’an upon us so that we may comprehend the reason for our creation, lead our lives as befits human honour and dignity, acquire moral excellence, become familiar with the manifestations of Divine power and majesty in the universe and in order for us to ultimately attain happiness in two worlds. That is to say, the Qur’an is the greatest of all blessing, honour and distinction which Allah Almighty has conferred upon us His servants.

As stated in a Qur’anic verse:

“O humankind! There has come to you an instruction from your Lord, and a cure for what (of sickness or doubt) is in the breasts, and guidance and mercy for the believers.” (10:57)

The Divine Edict

The Qur’an is a letter of Divine guidance and happiness sent to all humanity.

– It is an eternal source of effusive grace imparting peace to the spirit.

– It is a miracle of speech to remain until the Last Day.

– Similarly, it is an unrivalled Divine edict transforming a fear of death into the fervour of eternal union.

Endless Miracles in Every Letter

The Qur’an is an expression of the Divine Will. An endless number of miracles are hidden in its each and every letter. Whoever is closer to the Qur’an is closer to Allah. Whoever is close to Allah attains insight into the wisdom and mysteries of the Qur’an, deepens in reflection and leads a life of piety and God-consciousness. And to one who leads a life of piety and righteousness Allah teaches what is beyond the lines. A verse of the Qur’an reads:

“…(Always) act in due reverence for Allah and try to attain piety. Allah teaches you (whatever you need in life, and the way you must follow in every matter)…” (2:282)

 

Treasure Trove of Mystery and Wisdom

The Qur’an is a magnificent gate opening onto the profundities of the realm of reflection. It is the language of the heavens and the earth. It is a treasure trove of Divine mystery and wisdom granting cure for bleeding spirits and ease for weary hearts.

 

The Prosperity of Preoccupation with the Qur’an

When the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, entered the mosque one day, he encountered two groups seated in two separate circles. One of these groups was reading the Qur’an and turning to Allah Almighty in entreaty, while the other was engaged in teaching and learning. Upon seeing this, the Noble Messenger, upon him be blessings and peace, said:

“‘Both these groups are (upon the path of) good (and righteousness). This group is reciting the Qur’an and making supplication to Allah, and if He wills He will give to them, and if He wills He will withhold from them. And these people are engaged in learning and teaching. I have but been sent as a teacher.” Then he sat down with the latter. (Ibn Maja, Muqaddima, 17)

 

Every Verse an Invitation to Reflect

By inviting the human being – from its first verse to its last – to constant reflection, the Qur’an, an inimitable directory of guidance and happiness, demands them to contemplate the wisdom in their creation, the wondrous order in the universe and the Qur’an’s being a miracle of speech and expression. Again, the Qur’an warns human beings through such statements as, “Will you not, then, reason and understand?” “Will you not, then, reflect?” “Will you not reflect and be mindful?” Consequently, every human being who aspires to lead a life befitting human honour and dignity and to acquire spiritual profundity is obligated to enter this world of reflection governed by the Qur’an.

The Most Fertile Soil

There are such sacred seeds of predisposition planted by the Divine Hand of Power within the spiritual make up of the human being, that these seeds await the effusive grace of belief and the Qur’an in order to exhibit the hues and beauty of spring.

The spiritual perception and truths reached as a result of the reflection and feeling within human beings received from the Qur’an are of a magnificence equal to or surpassing that of the magnificent splendour displayed by the transformation of minuscule seed into a huge sycamore by means of fertile soil.

 

Two Important Trusts

The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, says:

“I leave for you two things of value in trust. You will not go astray so long as you hold fast to them. One of them is weightier than the other: the Book of Allah, the Qur’an, a rope extending from the heavens to the earth, and my family – the members of my household…” (Tirmidhi, Manaqib, 31/3788)

The Qur’anic Prescription

Allah Almighty has communicated the prescription for humanity to lead lives befitting human dignity and honour in the Qur’an, which comprises the lofty character of the Messenger of Allah.

Indeed:

– The cure for the temporal and carnal passions wreaking havoc on the human being is to be found in the Qur’an.

– The protection against the immodesty causing the human being to stoop to a level than that of animals is to be found in the Qur’an.

– The delicate balance preventing a sense of justice from turning into persecution is to be found in the Qur’an.

In short, the most acceptable response to the needs of all humanity from the lowest echelon to the highest, across time and space, is again to be found in the Qur’an.

 

Benefiting from the Qur’an is Contingent Upon Spiritual Profundity

The Qur’an is akin to a vast, boundless ocean into which one can delve proportional to the level of their heart. Just as one who cannot swim can only dabble about in shallow water while a proficient diver can dive to the depths of the ocean and see what those on shore cannot, beholding utterly different realms through myriad wondrous, strange and mystifying scenes, those who advance spiritually on the path of piety encounter a great many manifestations of wisdom in the Qur’an, become truly enlightened by it and acquire spiritual profundity.

In the same way that a person’s head begins to spin when they look down a deep well, the perceptions of a heart deepening in the truths of the Qur’an open toward endlessness, render the servant, a traveller upon the path of utmost astonishment and propel them to receiving a share in experiential knowledge (ma’rifa) of Allah.

Those to be Envied

 The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, states:

“Envy is permitted only in two cases: [First], a person whom Allah has taught the Qur’an and he concerns himself with it by day and by night. And [second], a person whom Allah has given wealth and he spends it in the service of Truth.” (Muslim, Musafirin, 266, 267)

The Qur’an is A Description of the States and Attributes of the Prophets

One who orients oneself with the Qur’an takes on the noble conduct of the Qur’an and Allah’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings. They develop a familiarity and acquaintance with the stories of the Prophets narrated in the Qur’an and, as such, the exceptional virtue and beauty of Prophetic conduct begins to reflect on their own person.

Mawlana Jalal al-Din al-Rumi vividly depicts this truth in the following words:

“The Qur’an is (a description of) the states and attributes of the Prophets… When you have fled (for refuge) to the Qur’an, you have mingled with the spirit of the Prophets. And if you read and do not accept (take to heart) the Qur’an, suppose you have seen the Prophets and saints (what will that avail you?); But if you are accepting (the Qur’an), when you read the stories (of the Prophets), the bird, your soul, will be distressed in its cage. “

 

All Truths are Hidden in the Qur’an

The happiness in this world and the Hereafter that is promised the human being can only be attained through complete and utter devotion to the Qur’an. Every truth is hidden within the Qur’an and every happiness apparent in belief. The most auspicious and happiest of the people are those who gather beneath the Qur’an’s shade of mercy, who are illuminated with and annihilated within its light. In other words, they are those who can themselves become a living, breathing Qur’an.

Let us not forget that if love of the Qur’an does not pour forth in our barren hearts like the exuberant spring rains, we cannot attain the lush emerald-green of a Muhammadan climate.

 

The Qur’an is Instruction in Refined Manners

Mawlana Jalal al-Din al-Rumi says:

“Whoever has not received a share in refined manners cannot be said to be human as the difference between the human being and animal is refined manners. O human being, open your eyes and carefully observe the Qur’an, the Book of Allah. You will see that it consists, verse by verse, of refined manners.”

An Indicator of Our Level of Piety

The indicator of the level of our piety and righteousness is our Qur’anic tradition, while our Qur’anic tradition exhibits itself as the Islamic morality, which includes such facets as sincerity in worship, beauty in behaviour and spiritual profundity.

Our intimate knowledge and love of Allah, as well as our sincerity and God-consciousness, will deepen in proportion to our benefiting from the spiritual luminance of the Qur’an.

The Lustre of Hearts

Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said:

“Indeed, hearts rust in the same way that iron rusts.”

The Companions asked, “What is its polish, O Messenger of Allah?” Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, replied, “Constant recitation of the Book of Allah and remembrance of Allah.”   (‘Ali al-Muttaqi, II, 241)

 

The Strongest Handle

The Qur’an is the strongest handle for those who seek to attain Allah’s good pleasure and approval and to be delivered of all forms of evil and eternal punishment – one which Allah Himself has extended to His servants. Those who take hold of it are saved, elevated and honoured, while those who reject it are debased, disgraced and deviate from the straight path. As is stated in a Prophetic Tradition:

“The Book of Allah is a rope whose one end is in the hands of Allah while the other end is in yours; so take hold of it and you shall not err nor be destroyed.”  (Haythami, IX, 164)

 

The Source of Knowledge

The source and treasure of all knowledge is the Qur’an, our sacred book. For this reason, the most honourable deed, the greatest wealth and the most magnificent dominion is to teach the Qur’an and be engaged in its teaching and instruction. The Messenger of Allah, the pride of humanity, upon him be peace and blessings, has said:

(Such a book is) the Book of Allah, glorified and exalted be He, (that it) secures (the human being) against every kind of trial.  In it is knowledge about what came before you, news about what will come after you and correct judgement for what happens between you. It is the Criterion (distinguishing between right and wrong) and is not for pastime. Allah will crush any who reject it because of their despotism. Whoever searches for guidance in something other than it, Allah leads them astray. It is Allah’s strong rope. It is a book which vain desires cannot lead astray, or tongues confound and with which scholars cannot be satiated. It will never be exhausted by repetition and its awe-inspiring wonders will never be depleted. Such a book it is that when they heard it, they could not help but say, “We have indeed heard a wonderful Qur’an…”[1]  Those who speak in agreement with it speak the truth. Those who judge by it judge justly. Whoever acts according to it will be rewarded and whoever calls to it calls to the straight path.” (Tirmidhi, Fada’il al-Qur’an, 14/2906; Darimi, Fada’il al-Qur’an, 1)

 

The Eternal Miracle

Allah Almighty has rendered the Qur’an an eternal miracle affirming the truthfulness and reality of both His Divine Essence as well as His Messenger. For this reason, its aspects of miraculousness are too numerous to be counted. The Qur’an will continue to proclaim its mysteries and wisdoms to pious hearts until the Last Day.

 

A Miracle of Eloquence

The society in which the Qur’an was revealed was a society at the pinnacle of poetry and oration. Everyone, young and old, was preoccupied with the art of rhetoric and poetry. Despite this, all oratory and poetic masters writhed with desperation and despair before the eloquence, rhetoric and miraculous verse of the Qur’an and were thus buried into the vortices of impotence.

Notwithstanding the Qur’an’s repeated challenge to gather all their aids and produce the like of its chapters and expression, the proud-hearted Arabs of the Age of Ignorance were never able to respond.

 

Knowledge of the Unseen

The account of the creation of the first human being, the associated events unfolding herein, knowledge of former societies and their life stories, as well as their connection with the Prophets sent to them, all pertain to news that the Qur’an conveys in relation to the past.

The Divine Essence of Allah the Exalted, His attributes and acts, the angels and jinn, the world of the grave, news concerning Paradise and Hellfire, and expressly the verses describing the mindsets in addition to the intrigues and deceptions occurring to the hearts and minds of the People of the Book, the hypocrites and unbelievers, constitute news of the Unseen with regard to the specific time of revelation.

The most important of knowledge which pertains to the Unseen, however, is that which concerns the events that will unfold in the future.

 

Guiding Scientific Discovery

As a case in point, the Qur’an provides information concerning human reproduction and the formation of the embryo that modern science has only recently been able to discover. The relevant verse reads:

“We created humankind (in the very beginning) from a specially sifted extract of clay. Then We have made it into a fertilized ovum in a safe lodging. Then We created of the fertilized ovum a clot clinging (to the womb wall), and (afterwards in sequence) We created of the clinging clot a (chew of) lump, and We created of (a chew of) lump bones, and We clothed the bones in flesh. Then We caused it to grow into another creation. So Blessed and Supreme is Allah, the Creator Who creates everything in the best and most appropriate form, and has the ultimate rank of creativity.” (23:12-14)

A comparison between this information that the Qur’an provides and the findings of modern biology reveals a complete consonance between the two. In his work in the field of embryology, Professor Emeritus in the Division of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto, Keith L. Moore expounded the stages of human development in the womb. He then compared the findings of modern embryology with relevant verses in the Qur’an and concluded that these were in agreement with the Qur’an, even conceding that the examples provided in the Qur’an were significantly ahead of their time and ahead of the science of medicine.

Similarly, the fact that every single human being possesses a unique fingerprint was discovered towards the end of the nineteenth century. The Qur’an draws attention to this phenomenon centuries earlier:

“Does human think that We will never assemble his bones (to resurrect him)? Yes, indeed, We are able to make whole his very fingertips [banānah].” (75:3-4)

In addition to the abovementioned, the Qur’an also made known, centuries in advance, nuclear fission, the creation of everything in pairs, the atmosphere that is a protected canopy, the seas that do not mix, atmospheric pressure and fertilising winds.

In short, the Qur’an is forever in the lead, while scientific discoveries tag along behind, constantly affirming the Divine Word.

See Yourself in the Divine Mirror

The human being can find oneself in the truest way only in the atmosphere of the Qur’an and can thus overcome their material and spiritual crises. By holding up a divine mirror to the human being, the Qur’an ensures that they see and come to know themselves in a real sense. This is because the Qur’an is not the word of human beings, but is a letter of guidance, a manual of eternal happiness sent by our All-Mighty Lord Who creates and Who best knows us. Consequently, one who deepens in the Qur’an reads their own self and the favours of their Lord, turns the pages of the book of the universe and becomes acquainted with the flow of Divine Power and the artistry of Divine majesty.

As beautifully expressed by one of the possessors of intimate knowledge:

“For the knowing, this realm is a journey of wonder (mystery for the reasoning and being able to observe the Divine art with the ‘eye of the heart’), while for the foolish, it is appetence.”

If You Seek to Speak with Allah

For humanity, the Qur’an is the most propitious path to hearing the celestial echo, feeling the Divine breath in one’s soul and conversing with Allah while still in this world.

Indeed, the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, has said:

“Whoever wishes to speak with their Lord should read the Qur’an.” (Suyuti, I, 13/360)

A Spiritual Banquet

The Qur’an is a spiritual banquet prepared by Allah Almighty for His servants. Those who accept His invitation and attend this banquet delight in endless bounties offering tranquillity, felicity and joy.

Indeed, for the Prophet’s Companions, leading a life in conformity to the Qur’an was tantamount to an insatiable pleasure. Every single verse that was revealed was as though an elaborate repast descended from the heavens. Their entire exertion was to be able to duly perceive the Qur’an, put it into practice and serve as a good example in this regard.

 

Wealth With No Poverty

As stated in a Prophetic Tradition:

“Such wealth is the Qur’an that no wealth can equal (or surpass) it (i.e. one who attains it has attained the greatest treasure) and there is no poverty after it (i.e. that Divine treasure cannot be compared with any material riches).” (Haythami, VII, 158)

 

The Messenger’s Union With the Qur’an

The Messenger of Allah, upon him be blessings and peace, used to recite the Qur’an at every opportunity. He used to recite it when conveying the message of Islam, in spiritual exchange with his Companions, when explaining a particular matter and in particular during his night worship, as the solution to every matter is to be found in the Qur’an. The detailed explanation and practice of the Qur’an is exemplified in the life of Allah’s Messenger. It can thus be said that the life of the Messenger of Allah, from beginning to end, constitutes a commentary of the Qur’an.

 

Doing Justice to One’s Eyes

The Companions of Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to read the Qur’an constantly and did not wish for a single day to pass when they had not read the Qur’an and gazed upon its pages. They would begin their day with the Qur’an and would advise those with eye problems to look at the sacred manuscript. (Haythami, VII, 165)

 

The Primary Pursuit of the Prophet and His Companions

The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, used to instruct his Companions in the Qur’an even under the most trying circumstances. Abu Talha, may Allah be well pleased with him, once saw the Messenger standing, instructing the Suffa Companions in the Qur’an. The Greatest of the Prophets had strapped a rock to his stomach to straighten his back that had been bent double in hunger. (Abu Nu’aym, Hilya, I, 342)

The foremost preoccupation of the Messenger of Allah, upon him be blessings and peace, was to learn the Book of Allah, comprehend its meaning, teach it to others, attain its manifestations of wisdom and to act as it required. He derived the joy his existence from constant reading of the Qur’an, listening to its recitation and putting it into practice.

The Sacrifice of the Companions

The Companions led their lives in accordance with the Qur’anic enjoinments and dedicated their lives to the Qur’an. They exhibited an endeavour and service unparalleled throughout history. They were subjected to torture, oppression and persecution, but made no concessions whatsoever with respect to the values in which they so wholeheartedly believed. So as to translate the Divinely revealed verses into action, they emigrated, leaving their wealth, possessions and homeland behind and sacrificed everything they had for this cause.

 

The Endeavour to Become a Living Qur’an

When the Qur’anic verses enjoining spending in the way of Allah were revealed, even the poorer Companions who had nothing to give carried wood from the mountains and sold it, and as such enjoyed the peace that being able to spend for Allah’s cause engendered in their conscience. Demonstrating their love for Allah, glorified and exalted be He, and His Messenger, upon him be blessings and peace, by way of this deed of righteousness, they virtually strove to each become a living Qur’an.

 

The Qur’an Speaks to a Feeling Heart

Benefiting duly from the Qur’an is contingent upon the development of one’s inner world, or one’s inner world receiving a share in experiential knowledge (ma’rifa). Otherwise, just as the abundant spring rains are of no use to the rocks over which they run, no benefit can be obtained from the Qur’an for hearts whose doors are shut to it. The Qur’an perhaps even increases the frustration and misguidance of such people, as those unable to meet the Qur’an’s mercy and guidance face great disappointment. Prominent Qur’anic commentator from the era of the followers of the Prophet’s Companions, Qatada, states:

“Those who recite the Qur’an rise either with profit or with loss. As is declared in a Qur’anic verse:

‘We are sending down the Qur’an in parts – it is a healing and a mercy for the believers, though for the wrongdoers it increases them only in ruin.'” (17:82)

That is to say, however much we can turn to the Qur’an with a heart overflowing with a love of faith, its healing and mercy will become manifest in us to that same degree.

 

The Qur’an is Honoured and Bestows Honour

Nafi’ ibn ‘Abd al-Harith met ‘Umar at ‘Usfan and as ‘Umar, may Allah be well pleased with him, had employed him as governor in Makka, ‘Umar asked him, “Whom have you appointed as your deputy over the people of Makka?”

Nafi’ said, “Ibn Abza.”

When ‘Umar asked who Ibn Abza was, Nafi’ replied, “He is one of the freed slaves.”

Upon ‘Umar’s remarking, “So you have appointed a freedman over them,” Nafi’ gave the following telling response:

“He is well versed in the Book of Allah and takes pains with fulfilling its commandments and prohibitions (in utmost piety and God-consciousness).”

‘Umar, may Allah be well pleased with him, then said in admiration, “The Messenger of Allah, upon him be blessings and peace, had said, ‘By this Book, Allah raises some in rank and debases others.'” (Muslim, Musafirin, 269)

Compass of Truth Across Time and Space

The Qur’an is a realm of miracles shedding light on historical obscurities, solving inextricable mysteries and enabling its inhabitants to experience the spring of tranquillity and bliss both in this world and in the Hereafter.

In relating to us the cautionary tales of bygone societies, the Qur’an pours forth wisdom and offers us many lessons of life and society in relation to our own future.

Again, the Qur’an is the miraculous words of our Lord. It is the demonstration of the manifestations of the Divine names in speech. However, only those believers who have received their share of experiential knowledge with a pure heart can only duly comprehend its wisdom and draw complete benefit from its truths.

Just as is colourfully illustrated in the following story narrated by Mawlana Jalal al-Din:

“Someone once accompanied Jesus, peace be upon him, on his way. The man caught sight of some bones in a deep-dug hole and said to Prophet Jesus, ‘O companion, teach me that Exalted Name (al-Ism al-A’zam) by which you bring the dead to life that I may do good and by means of it endow the bones with life.’

Jesus said:

‘Be silent, for that is not your work: It is not meet for your breath and speech, for it wants breath purer than rain and more piercing in servanthood to Allah than the angels. The Exalted Name requires that the breath might be purified (of all that is forbidden and doubtful) and a heart purified (of everything that distracts one from Allah). Its possessor was such that they were not soiled with the religiously prohibited and were as free from sin and wrongdoing as the angels, for a person’s supplication will not be acceptable without a purified selfhood.

Let us suppose that you have grasped the staff of Moses firmly in your hand: whence will accrue to your hand the strength of Moses to turn it into a dragon? Thus, like so, what use is pronouncing the Name over the bones when you possess not the breath of Jesus?'”

 

The Qur’an is Read with the Heart

The Qur’an is, in essence, read with the heart. The duty of the eyes is to be like a pair of glasses for the heart. If all the believers, from commoner to scholar, were to sit before the same lectern and read the Qur’an, they would all receive from it according to their spiritual level.

As indicated by Mawlana Jalal al-Din al-Rumi:

“First reform yourself before you read the verses of the Book and the Traditions of the Noble Messenger. For if you smell not the fragrance in the rose garden, seek the fault in your heart and your nose and not in the garden.”

 

The Heart Demanded by the Qur’an

The Qur’an reveals its secrets to a heart purified of turbidity and enveloped in luminosity. There is therefore a need to refine the heart with piety and God-consciousness and to turn to the Qur’an with precisely such sentiment. As stated by Rumi:

“Only those who have set fire to their lusts and fancies (those who have defeated their carnal passions), who have thus melted away (their existence) before the Qur’an and whose souls have as though become the Qur’an itself can comprehend its meaning…

How To Become Acquainted with Divine Mysteries

Ibrahim Dasuqi, may his secret be sanctified, makes the following observation in relation to properly benefiting from the spiritual effulgence of the Qur’an:

“One who wishes to read the Qur’an must first purge their tongue of evil and repugnant speech. They must not tend towards waste and must be vigilant against the unlawful and the doubtful. For if they are not attentive to these, they would be guilty of impiety against the Qur’an…”

“Son, if you seek to understand the secrets of the Qur’an, purify your carnal soul and strive to benefit from the emanation of the Qur’an. Abandon empty speech and preoccupy yourself with propitious deeds. Place your cheek to the ground (in humility) and do not forget that you have come from the earth and will return to it. Fear your sins being great in number and fear their being held against you on the Day of Reckoning. Reckon well whether or not your deeds will be accepted. If you do so, you may well understand the subtle meanings and mysteries in the Word of your Lord. If you do not, this Divine door will remain to you closed.”

Semantic Richness in the Qur’an

Allah Almighty declares in relation to the infinite richness of meaning in the Qur’an:

“If all the trees on the earth were pens, and all the sea (were ink), with seven more seas added thereto, the words of Allah (His decrees, the acts of all His Names and Attributes manifested as His commandments, and the events and creatures He creates) would not be exhausted in the writing. Surely Allah is the All-Glorious with irresistible might (Whom none can frustrate and Whom nothing can tire), the All-Wise.” (31:27)

As a result, the commentaries and translations rendered with a view to indicating the meanings contained within the Qur’an resemble our taking water from a boundless ocean in accordance with the particular capacity of our cup. Mawlana Jalal al-Din al-Rumi echoes this meaning:

“It is possible to write the external meaning of the Qur’an using a single okka of ink. As for expression of all the secrets it contains, if all the boundless oceans were ink and all the trees on earth pens, this would still not suffice.”

 

An Infinite Ocean of Meaning

In the same way that the truths present in the universe are discovered and studied by natural scientists working in such fields as medicine, botany, astrophysics and embryology in accordance with their particular scope and comprehension, the Qur’an too is examined by Muslim scholars and its truths unearthed in the course of time. Those scholars and Sufis who have been delving into its profound contents for over the last 1400 years and who have been studying the truths that it contains, take from it in accordance with their reason, perception, capacity and spiritual depth. This endeavour will continue until the Last Day and even by then, all the truths that the Qur’an contains would still not have been discovered and exhausted. This point is articulated in a Prophetic Tradition as follows:

“…and its wonders are never exhausted…” (Tirmidhi, Fada’il al-Qur’an, 14)

For every single word of the Qur’an possesses an endless semantic meaning that cannot be compared with the scope of those considering it. What the majority of human beings require is its outward or exoteric meaning. This is sufficient in enabling the perfect regulation of human life. In any event, perceiving that ocean of truth in its entirety is not possible as the Qur’an is not the knowledge of a mortal but is a manifestation of the infinite knowledge of Allah Who bestows humanity with the guiding principles of all disciplines.

The Source of Honour

As decreed in a verse from the Qur’an:

“Now We send down to you (O people of Makka and O all humankind,) a Book which contains what you must heed in life for your honour and happiness. Will you not, then, use your reason?”(21:10)

Beginning with Adam and perfected with the Prophet of the End of Time, upon him be blessings and peace, the horizon that Islam attained constitutes the final stage of the continuum of human honour and virtue. In this way, the horizon of meaning that hearts fittingly kneaded with that lofty Divine Book are able to attain encompasses the boundlessness that is beyond reason and comprehension. This is because without illumination by the light of the Qur’an, it is not possible to duly perceive our Creator and for the human being to arrive at the mystery of whence they came and to where they are headed.

Consequently, the Qur’an is in every respect the light of our eye, the joy of our heart and the most abundant source of our guidance. This guide to deliverance and sun of meaning, the Book of Allah, transformed the Bedouin deserts that were each a river of blood lost in the deep abysses of ignorance into radiant gardens of civilisation and turned the swamps of persecution rife with hostility, conflict and killing into the peaceful and loving climate of faith fellowship. The life of those tribes, who prior to the emergence of Islam were at each other’s throats, attained a sweet serenity. Such a star of guidance is the Qur’an that it elevates communities that follow it to the peak of humanity, virtue and civilisation across time and space. Just as humanity has hitherto not possessed such a powerful means of transforming the life of this world into a garden of Eden, it will not possess another hereafter.

The Person Loved by the Prophet

Kulayb ibn Shihab narrates:

‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be well pleased with him, once heard voices coming from within the Mosque of Kufa and inquired as to its source. He was informed that some people were engaged in reading and learning the Qur’an.

‘Ali, may Allah be well pleased with him, then said,

“Happy are they, for they were the most beloved of people in the eyes of Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.” (Haythami, VII, 162)

 

Attributes of the People of the Qur’an

The people of the Qur’an (ahl al-Qur’an) are as vibrant as the spring and revive hearts with beauty, fruit by fruit and flower by flower. In describing the people of the Qur’an, Ibn Mas’ud, may Allah be well pleased with him, says:

“One who has learned the Qur’an by heart should be distinguished by their prayer and recitation at night while the people sleep, their earnest endeavour while the people are given to excess, their sorrow while the people are joyous, their silence while the people indulge in idle chatter and their consciousness of Allah while the people are conceited. One who memorises the Qur’an, moreover, should be humble, tender-hearted and gentle, never harsh or quarrelsome.”(Abu Nu’aym, Hilya, I, 130)

Allah is the Guardian of the Qur’an

The Qur’an is the last of the four Divinely revealed scriptures sent to humanity. Of all the books that Allah sent, He vowed that He would protect only the Qur’an until the Last Day. As affirmed in a Qur’anic verse:

“Indeed it is We, We Who send down the Reminder in parts, and it is indeed We Who are its Guardian.” (15:9)

On account of this, the only Divine scripture preserved entirely in its original form, without alteration of even a single letter, is the Qur’an. The pressing question at this point is the extent to which we can each serve as a means to the fulfilment of God’s promise.

 

Will the Qur’an be our Intercessor or Complainant?

The Qur’an will endure with the human being as the human will endure with the Qur’an. At the end of human life in this world, on the Last Day, this universe will be destroyed and the pages of the Qur’an will be erased. Subsequently, a new order will be established and a day that is unending will begin. On that day, those favoured with the intercession of the Messenger of Allah and the Qur’an will be admitted into Paradise, while those subjected to the Qur’an’s complaint will face a tragic end. They will be driven to Hellfire.

Houses of Ruin

A human being’s honour, or their standing before their Lord, is by virtue of the Qur’an. The believer’s aspiration, in that case, is to be able to become a living Qur’an, like its greatest exemplar, the Pride of Humanity, upon him be peace and blessings.

The words of the Messenger of Allah below are most striking:

“A person who has nothing of the Qur’an inside their heart is like a ruined house.” (Tirmidhi, Fada’il al-Qur’an, 18; Darimi, Fada’il al-Qur’an, 1)

 

Seeking Shade Beneath the Supreme Throne

It is stated in a Prophetic Tradition:

“Instruct your children in three things:Love of the Prophet, love of his household and the recitation of the Qur’an.

For the bearers of the Qur’an (those who learn and teach the Qur’an and serve in this cause) will be with the Prophets and the friends of Allah in the shade of the Supreme Throne on that Day (of Judgement) when there will be no shade but His.” (Munawi, Fayd al-Qadr, I, 226)

 

The Greatest Negligence

There is no failing greater among those blackening a person’s spiritual life than a disregard of the Qur’an. When the sins of his community were shown to him, the Messenger of Allah, upon him be blessings and peace, pointed to ‘forgetting the (portions of the) Qur’an that one has committed to memory,’ as the greatest sin among them. We are therefore required to adorn both ourselves and our children with the love and morality of the Qur’an that we aspire to learn and to put into practice.

We must send our children to the Qur’an schools established for the sake of the instruction and training in the Qur’an by the pious people of our ummah with great sacrifice, and thus avoid the grave responsibility of contributing to their closure due to lack of students and interest. We must not be one of those who fail to appreciate the Qur’an as a Divinely-bestowed bounty and who are deprived of the exuberant climate of the Qur’an due to their pinning their hopes on worldly diplomas, in pursuit of their petty, fleeting and base interests in their trepidation about the future. It will become apparent in the end that these fleeting obsessions are altogether empty, but the damage would have well and truly been done by that time. Everything would have been over and the opportunity for making amends lost.

In this respect, we must never forget that it is Allah Almighty alone Who will grant our children happiness and prosperity. We must not put our eternal future at risk with our concern for a fleeting future. Again, we must strive to lead a life in accordance with the verse that we read in each every single of our prayer, (Our Lord!) You alone do We worship, and from You alone do we seek help.” (1:5)

Calling Ourselves to Account

It is not enough to say, “I love the Qur’an.” To what extent are the ethics and morality of the Qur’an projected onto our person? To what degree are we able to act upon the enjoinments of the Qur’an? How much are we able to send our children to learn the Qur’an and enable them to acquire a knowledge of the Qur’anic tradition and morality? Precisely how much are we able to reflect on the fact that the Qur’an will be either an intercessor or – due to our negligence – a complainant on the Day of Reckoning? These are the kinds of questions that we therefore constantly need to ask ourselves.

Happy Are Those Who Become One With the Qur’an

It is stated in a Prophetic Tradition:

“Read the Quran, for it will come forth as an intercessor for its reciters on the Day of Judgement.” (Muslim, Musafirin, 252, 253; Ahmad, V, 249, 251)

“Whoever reads the Qur’an and acts upon it, on the Day of Judgement their parents will be crowned with a crown of light, its brightness more radiant than that of the sun in a worldly abode.  What, then, do you suppose will be given to one who acts upon what the Qur’an contains?” (Abu Dawud, Witr, 14/1453)

“Allah does not listen so attentively to anything as He listens to a servant who offers two units of prayer. And righteousness spreads over the head of the servant as long as they remain in prayer. And the servant does not draw as near to Allah, glorified and exalted be He, as through that which came from Him, (meaning the Qur’an).” (Tirmidhi, Fada’il al-Qur’an, 17/2911)

 

The Reward of Devotion to the Qur’an

The true bearers of the Qur’an, those who have committed the entire book to memory, are granted many Divinely bestowed bounties in this world as well as in the Hereafter. Friend of Allah, Mahmud Sami Ramazanoğlu, may his secret be sanctified, personally recounted the story of the disinterment of such a person who had memorised the entire Qur’an and passed away in Adana thirty years prior, as a road that was being built cut through his burial site. He witnessed firsthand the body to have been perfectly preserved and what is more, the white shroud to still have been bright and gleaming.

As indicated in a Prophetic Tradition:

“When a bearer of the Qur’an (a memoriser of the Qur’an who lives in accordance with the Qur’anic laws, who takes on its morality and attains spiritual refinement with its wisdom) dies, Allah forbids the earth to consume their body and the earth says, ‘O Lord! How can I consume their body when Your Word presides in their bosom?'” (Daylami, I, 284/1112; ‘Ali al-Muttaqi, I, 555/2488)

 

Were Our Hearts Pure

‘Uthman, may Allah be well pleased with him, is known to have said:

“Were our hearts truly pure (i.e. had we undergone a process of spiritual purification and refinement), we could never be sated with the Word of our Lord, may He be glorified and exalted.  I do not like that a single day pass without my having gazed upon the Book.”

 

Service to the Qur’an

Serving the Qur’an that was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad and interpreted through his lived example is one of the most important manifestations of embodying the Prophetic conduct and morality. Indeed, saying, “The best of you are those who learn the Qur’an and and teach it to others,” (Bukhari, Fada’il al-Qur’an, 21) the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, served as the model of perfection to his community with respect to busying oneself with the Qur’an under any circumstances. As a result, learning and teaching the Qur’an is the principal duty and responsibility of the believer. Expressed differently, love for and service to the Qur’an is the mark of a believer.

How Must the Qur’an Be Read and Recited?

The hearts of those being of service to the Qur’an must, first and foremost, be filled with love of Allah that these exuberant hearts motivate those surrounding them to a depth of feeling and reflection.

To those who asked which recitation of the Qur’an was best, the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, replied:

“The recitation of the one whom you perceive to fear Allah upon hearing his recitation.”   (Darimi, Fada’il al-Qur’an, 34)

Otherwise, it is self-evident that a recitation that does not descend from the tongue to the heart cannot possibly lead a person to the Qur’an’s horizon of infinite reflection and to its profundity of feeling.

 

Reverence Towards the Qur’an

Utmost care and meticulousness is necessary when it comes to the mannerliness and reverence one shows towards the Divine Word. For instance, the Qur’an should not be read and taught without the ritual ablution for a relevant Qur’anic verse expressly declares:

“None except the purified ones can reach it (to obtain the knowledge it contains. And none except those cleansed of material and spiritual impurities should touch it).” (56:79)

Implied in this verse are the minor and major ablutions as well as women’s states of ritual impurity (of menstruation and post-natal bleeding). The four legal schools are unanimous in the view that touching the Qur’an without the ritual ablution is forbidden. In any event, this ruling has been applied throughout the more than fourteen centuries that have passed since the time of the Prophet (known as ijma’ al-umma, or the consensus of the community).

Imam Malik says:

“One should not carry the Qur’an in its casing, or on a cushion, unless they are pure… This is not because there is something on the hands of the one who carries it by which the Qur’an will be soiled, but because it is reproachful for someone to carry the Qur’an without being pure, out of reverence and honour for the Qur’an.” (Muwatta, Qur’an, 1)

 

Reverence for the Qur’an is a Requirement of Piety and God-Consciousness

All manner of reverence and honour as keeping the Qur’an at a level above one’s waist, not extending one’s legs towards it (in a reclining position), not placing other books or objects on top of it and not entering an impure place with the Qur’an on one’s person, must be observed with a spirit of worship and must be passed down to future generations. For the Qur’an is one of the most important sha’a’ir al-Islam, or marks or symbols of Islam. A Qur’anic verse reads:

“…That (is the truth itself). And whoever venerates the public symbols and rituals set up by Allah (such as Jumu‘ah and Eid Prayers, the Call to Prayer, Sacrifice, and the rites of the Pilgrimage), surely it is because of the true piety and God-consciousness of their hearts.”(22:32)

 

Learning the Language of the Qur’an

If we are obliged to learn any language, this is surely to be the language of the Qur’an, as learning the language of the Qur’an, becoming acquainted with its meaning, learning its laws and ethics is at the same time an expression of our human dignity, refinement and grace.

 

Attaining An Eternal Future

The greatest service that can be rendered to the human being is to aid them in attaining their eternal future. The means to achieving this is to guide them to a life of servanthood with which Allah is well pleased. This life is comprised of being guided by the criteria of the Qur’an and espousing its morality.

 

A Means of Deliverance

The most vital means to deliverance from every period of intermission, or fatrah, has been the efforts in the service of the Qur’an. The true service enabling the Muslim world in our day to pull itself together and return to its essence is to ensure that an interest and need felt for the Qur’an is maintained. Let us note as a historical case in point, that the key cause of material and outward grandeur and glory is adherence to spiritual mysteries and wisdoms. The six hundred year splendour of the Ottoman state had its source in the importance it attached to spirituality. The well-known story of founder of the Ottoman state, Osman I, staying overnight as a guest in the residence of a family acquaintance and refrained from lying down in his room out of respect for the Qur’an hanging on the wall. This is considered as a fundamental reason behind the legendary greatness of the Ottoman state. Sultan Selim I’s having the sacred trusts brought to Istanbul in great reverence and appointing forty huffaz (reciters of the Qur’an who committed the whole Qur’an to memory) to read the Qur’an without interruption for what would be centuries to follow, can be identified as another indication of high respect shown to the Qur’an by Ottoman Sultans.

Being Among the People of the Qur’an

As the community of Prophet Muhammad, upon him be blessings and peace, we are obligated to become of the People of the Qur’an in order to follow in his luminous footsteps and to take on his noble conduct and morality. For in the words of ‘A’isha, the Mother of Believers, “His character is (the embodiment of) the Qur’an.”

In order for us to adorn our inner worlds with the feeling that permeated the inner world of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, we are in need of the spiritual instruction and training of the Qur’an.

May Allah Almighty embellish our hearts with the knowledge, wisdom, light and radiance of the Qur’an and render us of the devotees of the Prophet who put Islam into practice in the form of a living Qur’an. May He protect our nation and our people from the absence of the Qur’an, belief and morality. May He envelop us in the true magnificence of the Qur’an and thus allow us to lead a life of Paradise in this fleeting realm, and enable us all to serve in the way of ensuring the continuation of an auspicious Qur’an generation.

Amin.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

FOREWORD

Prophet Muhammad: Mercy to the Worlds

Mercy to the Worlds

Were it Not For Him

The True Day of Rejoicing

Obedience to the Messenger is Obedience to Allah

The Messenger’s Life is a Commentary of the Qur’an

Human History’s Inscription of Honour

Ocean of Virtue

The Epitome of Noble Character

Our Debt of Gratitude to Allah’s Messenger

The Monument of Reliance and Surrender

Always the Most Trustworthy, the Most Compassionate

He Always Kept His Word

Even the Unbelievers Put their Trust in Allah’s Messenger

Allah’s Messenger Fulfilled Trusts

Beware of the Rights of Your Neighbour!

The Bravest of Them All

The Prophet of Forgiveness and Mercy

A Heart Beating with Mercy

Allah’s Messenger was in a Constant State of Supplication

Unequalled Refinement

A Countenance Most Beautiful

Had They Seen His Blessed Countenance

The Prophet of Mercy

A Generous One Unafraid of Poverty

If I Had as Much Gold as the Weight of Mount Uhud

If You Can Give Nothing Else

Allah’s Messenger Never Took a Liking to the World

The True Life is the Life of the Hereafter

Allah’s Messenger Divided His Time into Three

The Felicitous Home of Allah’s Messenger

The Best of You

Lest the Crystals Should Break!

A Matchless Court of Mercy

The Peerless Exemplar

A Bouquet of Rare Roses

An Example to People From Every Walk of Life

Behold Yourself in His Mirror

The Prophet’s Teacher is Allah Almighty

The Product of Which Education System?

The Fire will not Burn the Heart that is Filled With Him

Whoever Revives My Tradition

The Fibres of a Rope

The Need for Adherence to the Sunna

The Impossibility of Complete Comprehension of Allah’s Messenger

The One Sent Bespeaks the Might of the Sender 

The Miracle of the Companions

The Pride of Humanity

The True Genius

The Conceding of Consciences

A Person Will Be With Those Whom They Love

Love Demands Sacrifice

So As Not to Face Separation

Harmonising Everything With Him

The Sole Concern of Allah’s Messenger was His Community

He is Very Close to Us, But Are We Close to Him?

The Level of Our Connection

The Level of Our Closeness

A Divine Command: Invoking Peace and Blessings Upon His Messenger

Our Need for Allah’s Messenger

Our Sole Remedy

The Qur’an: The Eternal Miracle

A Manifestation of Mercy

The Divine Edict

Endless Miracles in Every Letter

Treasure Trove of Mystery and Wisdom

The Prosperity of Preoccupation with the Qur’an

Every Verse an Invitation to Reflect

The Most Fertile Soil

Two Important Trusts

The Qur’anic Prescription

Benefiting from the Qur’an is Contingent Upon Spiritual Profundity

Those to be Envied

The Qur’an is A Description of the States and Attributes of the Prophets

All Truths are Hidden in the Qur’an

The Qur’an is Instruction in Refined Manners

An Indicator of Our Level of Piety

The Lustre of Hearts

The Strongest Handle

The Source of Knowledge

The Eternal Miracle

A Miracle of Eloquence

Knowledge of the Unseen

Guiding Scientific Discovery

See Yourself in the Divine Mirror

If You Seek to Speak with Allah

A Spiritual Banquet

Wealth With No Poverty

The Messenger’s Union With the Qur’an

Doing Justice to One’s Eyes

The Primary Pursuit of the Prophet and His Companions

The Sacrifice of the Companions

The Endeavour to Become a Living Qur’an

The Qur’an Speaks to a Feeling Heart

The Qur’an is Honoured and Bestows Honour

Compass of Truth Across Time and Space

The Qur’an is Read with the Heart

The Heart Demanded by the Qur’an

How To Become Acquainted with Divine Mysteries

Semantic Richness in the Qur’an

An Infinite Ocean of Meaning

The Source of Honour

The Person Loved by the Prophet

Attributes of the People of the Qur’an

Allah is the Guardian of the Qur’an

Will the Qur’an be our Intercessor or Complainant?

Houses of Ruin

Seeking Shade Beneath the Supreme Throne

The Greatest Negligence

Calling Ourselves to Account

Happy Are Those Who Become One With the Qur’an

The Reward of Devotion to the Qur’an

Were Our Hearts Pure

Service to the Qur’an

How Must the Qur’an Be Read and Recited?

Mannerliness Towards the Qur’an

Reverence for the Qur’an is a Requirement of Piety and God-Consciousness

Learning the Language of the Qur’an

Attaining An Eternal Future

A Means of Deliverance

Being Among the People of the Qur’an

[1] (72:1)