To give primacy to Qur’anic education

The Holy Qur’an is a Divine trust revealed to the servants of Allah as guidance for them. To carry this trust first to ourselves then to other human beings comes at the beginning of our most significant duties. In fact, in a tradition of the Prophet (pbuh) it is stated that:

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

The greatest service that can be done for a human being is to help him to gain his eternal future. The method for this is to direct a believer to servitude to Allah on the straight path, which can only be achieved by attaining Qur’anic morals and sentiments.

The Qur’an is the source of Divine wisdom for destitute souls. Allah the Almighty presents His word to humanity as follows:

يَاۤ أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ قَدْ جَاۤءَتْكُمْ مَوْعِظَةٌ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ

وَشِفَاۤءٌ لِمَا فِي الصُّدُورِ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةٌ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ

“O men! there has come to you indeed an admonition from your Lord and a healing for what is in the breasts and a guidance and a mercy for the believers.”(10; 57)

By consisting the perfection, truth and spiritual secrets which humanity needs until the Last Day, the Holy Qur’an is a sublime guide. This is stated in the Qur’an as follows:

“Surely this Quran guides to that which is most upright and gives good news to the believers who do good that they shall have a great reward.” (17; 9)

Since the Holy Qur’an is a Divine book whose guidance will continue until the Last Day, Believers, who are under its shadow, should live according to its guidance until they die. In other words, believers should be devoted to its guidance and should accept the future generations’ spiritual guidance, peace and revival through the guidance of the Qur’an as their most sacred duty. The following account from the early period of Islam proves the greatness of this duty.

Upon a request the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) sent about seventy Qur’an teachers called “Qurra” to the tribes of Ra’l, Zaqwan, Usayyah and Banu Lihyan. When they reached the place called “Bi’r Maunah”, members of these tribes betrayed and martyred them. When the Prophet (pbuh) heard the news, he prayed for the destruction of the murderers for a month.

The curse of the Prophet of mercy (pbuh), who had not cursed for the people of Taif who stoned him, for the murderers of the teachers’ of the Qur’an shows how big a sin is to prevent Qur’anic education. This also proves that according to the Prophet (pbuh) what an honorable duty is to teach Qur’an.

The high significance given by the Prophet (pbuh) to Qur’anic education was reflected in the souls of the Companions as love for the Holy Qur’an. Here is an example of the love that the Companions had for the Qur’an:

During the battle of Zat al-Riqa’, Ammar b. Yasir and Abbad b. Bishr (may Allah be pleased with them) came to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and told him that they voluntarily would like to stand guard for the night. When their request was accepted, Ammar (may Allah be pleased with him) took the second turn and went to sleep. His friend Abbad (may Allah be pleased with him) stood up and started to pray. Then a polytheist saw him and shot an arrow at him. Abbad (may Allah be pleased with him) removed the arrow from his body and continued to pray. But then second and third arrows came and hit him. He did the same and continued his prayers. Finally he finished his prayer and woke ‘Ammar up:

“Wake up, I’ve been shot.” When ‘Ammar woke up, the polytheist saw him and ran away. When ‘Ammar saw Abbad in blood, he said:

“Subhanallah! Why didn’t you wake me up after the first arrow?” Abbad (may Allah be pleased with him) replied:

“I had just started to recite a chapter from the Qur’an and I did not want to break my prayer before finishing it. But then arrows had started to come one after another, and I was forced to make ruku’ and then wake you up. By Allah, if I did not fear to lose this post, which had been ordered to be protected by the Messenger of Allah, I would rather to die than to cut the recitation.”[1]

Respect, love and fervor for the Holy Qur’an revives the souls, while neglect or disrespect for it is the main sin which darkens the spiritual life of human beings. When the sins of his nation were shown to the messenger of Allah (pbuh), he saw that “forgetting the memorized Qur’an” was the greatest sin.[2]

That is why we should both ourselves and our children learn and try to live according to the guidance of the Holy Qur’an so that we can revive its spiritual power and blessings. Otherwise the Holy Qur’an cannot affect our hearts. The Prophet (pbuh) expresses:

“An era will come for my nation when number of qurras (Qur’an readers) will increase; while jurists (wise scholars who do righteous deeds) will decrease and knowledge will be withdrawn… later such an era will come that what people read from Qur’an will not go below their throats.”(Hakim, Mustadrak, IV, 504)

Allah the Almighty says in the Holy Qur’an:

“Most surely in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day there are signs for men who understand.”

“Those who remember Allah standing and sitting and lying on their sides and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth: Our Lord! Thou hast not created this in vain! Glory be to Thee; save us then from the chastisement of the fire:”(3; 190-91)

When these verses were revealed, the Prophet (pbuh) said:

“Woe onto those who do not think about these verses!” In another version:

“Woe onto those who just chew these verses (just read them) and do not think about them…”[3]

Qur’anic education should primarily start with entering its lofty atmosphere and the contemplation of the Qur’an. Otherwise reading the Qur’an without thinking about its meaning will  “not go below the throat,” in other words it will not benefit the servant’s soul, as it is stated in the tradition of the Prophet.

The most important means of salvation from the periods of religious stagnation has been efforts in the path of Qur’an. Today these efforts display vital significance. In this age the most essential service to Islam is to increase the interest for Qur’anic education, which will enable the Muslim nation to wake up and go back to its own self.

As a matter of fact to believe the promise of that Allah the Almighty “will complete (the revelation of) His Light.” (61; 8) However, since Allah the Almighty will realize His promise in the hands of humans, we should do our best to fulfill our duty. Otherwise Our Lord will still complete His Light without our help, but those who neglect this duty will be held accountable. Divine punishment for the three people, who joined all the military campaigns but the Battle of Tabuk is a known incident in Islamic history. Then in order to be free from personal responsibility, it is necessary to be a benevolent person in the matters of serving Islam. What would be more honorable than having a share in the service of faith? However expecting that just faith and hope would bring Divine help without doing our best is something against the spirit of Islam.

In order to save ourselves from the negative effects of the modern age, i.e. disbelief, atheism and compromise to non-Islamic traditions, we should learn and teach the Qur’an to our family and to the people around us. We should never forget our need for the Qur’an. To be in continuous relation with the Qur’an will lead us to find the path of the Qur’an and to be adorned with its ethics. To act against this will be a complete disappointment and frustration.  It means to waste an eternal future for temporary pleasures.

Those who live away from the light of the Qur’an are the travelers of eternal darkness. Especially our school age kids need Qur’anic education, religious knowledge, faith and ethical training. The belief that only family can give a good religious education is not correct. Just like a proper scientific education would be received from a school, religious education should also be received from its masters; nevertheless, forgetting the youth around us while giving education to our own children is not an appropriate Islamic manner.

Training the young generation without the light of the Qur’an and spiritual sentiments is a very painful disappointment for human beings, the most honorable creation of the universe. The main responsibility of the parents is not just to feed their bodies but to feed their souls and prepare their eternal future.

In this age when most people submit to materialism, the teachers of the Qur’an must pay special attention to their students. The hearts of the students should be filled with love for their teacher. Before starting to learn the alphabet, they should learn the reality of the alphabet from their teacher. Student’s tiny heart should be filled with Allah’s love and His messenger’s love;the beauty of Islam should find a place in their hearts.

We should start teaching the Word of Allah from inoculating them with the excitement of being addressed by Divine speech. In this way their tiny hearts will comprehend the difference between the Qur’anic alphabet and the other alphabets and they will show their respect to the Holy Qur’an as long as they live. Their souls will be molded with the meaning of it and will transform into a treasure of Divine secrets.[4]

When innocent hearts filled with the love for Allah the Almighty, His Messenger and His Sacred Book, their worship will advance towards perfection. Because their faith will get stronger, their spiritual world will prosper. Then they will recite the Qur’an with a different taste and be more careful about its commands and prohibitions. They adorn themselves with the morals of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh).

To have such a child is a great eternal gain for all parents.  The Messenger of Allah explains this gain as follows:

“Allah the Almighty raised the degree of his Servant in the Hereafter. The surprised servant asks:

“O Lord! Why did you raise my degree?”

Allah the Almighty says:

“Because of your child’s prayer and repentance on your behalf”(Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, II, 509; Ibn Majah, Kitab al-Adab, 1)

In another tradition, it is stated that:

“When a man dies, his acts come to an end, but three, recurring charity, or knowledge (by which people) benefit, or a pious son, who prays for him (for the deceased).”(Muslim, Kitab al-Wasiyyah, 14; Tirmidhi, Kitab al-Ahkam, 36)

In short service to the Qur’an is Allah the Almighty’s blessing to His servants, which requires great sensitivity and attention, and it is not only a work of the tongue but also of a sensitive heart.

[1].      See Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, III, 343-44.

[2].      Abu Dawud, Kitab al-Salat, 16

[3].      See Ibn Hibban, Sahih, II 386.

[4].      Our ancestors forbade their children who memorized the whole Qur’an to play the leapfrog game, because of their respect to the Holy Qur’an. Thus they provided the most suitable environment to raise their kids with whole respect to their sacred book.