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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 04 July 2009 at 12:40pm

Methodological Guidelines

Within the framework of the above general principles, some methodological guidelines should be useful for you.

One: First, try to determine the meanings of those words which you find crucial to the understanding of the text. Your initial guides will be the translation and the short commentary that you have. Consult the dictionary as well, but do not consider dictionary renderings adequate. Your best and final guide is the immediate context of the word, as well as the whole Qur'an and its world-view.

Two: Once you understand the words and the direct, literal meaning, place the passage in its textual context and try to understand what it means. Read the preceding and succeeding texts, also the whole Surah if necessary.

Three: Collect as much historical information as you can find and as is necessary and relevant. But ensure its authenticity.

In this connection, you will come across Hadith giving reasons of revelation' (asbab al-nuzul). They may give valuable information, but keep two things in mind: firstly, such narratives may not always tell exactly about the historical occasion when the revelation came, but rather the situation to which it was considered relevant and applicable. Secondly, the textual evidence about the occasion of revelation is more important; it should not be set aside while accepting historical information. Thirdly, historical information should not act as a constraint on your understanding in applying the text to your situation.

Four: After comprehending the direct, literal meaning, try to understand, as best you can, how the text may have been understood by its first hearers. Finding the literal meaning may be an easier task; finding the 'original' meaning, fourteen centuries later in a different civilizational context, will be a difficult and complex task. This is not the place to discuss these difficulties, only to caution you.

Five: Your next task should be to read and understand the text in your own context. This too is as formidable a task as determining the original meaning, especially if you do not wish to fall into the trap of reading your context into the Quran. Again, it is not possible here to discuss the complex problems of interpretation in this regard, nor do I dismiss them lightly. But this is a task you cannot ignore or avoid. If you remain mindful of one elementary principle and observe it come to the Qur'an with an open mind and never make it say what you think is right you may avoid such traps. Also, concentrate on the essential message for your life, rather than on complex legal and moral issues.

It is possible, sometimes even necessary, to employ contemporary terminology to elucidate and bring into focus the real intent and import of the Qur'an for our situation, but only so long as the direct, clear and original meaning is maintained, and the original terminology is not lost.

 
 


Edited by a well wisher - 04 July 2009 at 12:41pm
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Far-fetched and Irrelevant Meanings

Six: Do not concern yourself with discovering such farfetched, allegorical, inner meanings which no ordinary person can ever understand. Nor look for meanings which have no relevance to your life or to the lives of the Qur'an's first believers.

Seven: Understand meanings at the level of intelligence and knowledge that you possess. However, do not lose sight of the level of knowledge that its first addressees had, so that you do not go astray and begin to read your own knowledge into the Qur'an.

Eight: There is no escaping the fact that each person will employ his own knowledge to understand the Qur'an. Indeed, you need to have this knowledge in order to critically evaluate it by Quranic criteria, to seek guidance from the Qur'an on the issues it raises, and to understand the Qur'an in current idiom. Again. by all means bring your knowledge to help you understand the Qur'an, but never bring the Qur'an to confirm contemporary knowledge. Do not make the Quran foretell all the scientific discoveries of our day. Especially, remain cautious about scientific theories, which are like shifting sand. It would be as wrong to read into the Qur'an Einstein or Copernicus, Nietzsche or Bergson, as it is to read Ptolemy, Aristotle and Plato.

Nine: There will be many words and sentences, that you will not be able to understand after every effort. It may be because you do not possess enough knowledge, or because it is too difficult. In such cases make a note of your difficulties and then pass on to other studies. Do not spend time grappling with things which may, at some stage, lie beyond your competence.

 
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Life of the Prophet

To understand and absorb the Qur'an, you must come as close as you can to the Prophet, blessings and peace be on him, who received it first from Allah. His life is the best 'exegesis' of the Qur'an, the surest guide to its meaning and message. It is the 'living Qur'an'. If you want to see the Qur'an rather than merely read it, see the Prophet, blessings and peace be on him. For, as Sayyidah 'A'ishah said, 'his conduct was nothing but the Qur'an'. You will find his Sirah much more helpful in understanding the Qur'an than great exegetic works like Ibn Jarir, Ibn Kathir, Kashshaf and Razi.

To move closer to the Prophet, you should, firstly, read his sayings, the Hadith, and his life, the Sirah, as much as you can. You will also find the Qur'an to contain the best account of his Sirah, even if there are no biographical details. And, secondly, try to follow his Sunnah. By doing so you will really understand him and, therefore, the Qur'an. Also you will love Allah and Allah will love you (Al 'Imran 3:31).

 
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Chapter 6:

Collective Study

Importance and Need

Your journey through the Qur'an requires that you seek and join a community of quest and study. No doubt you will read the Qur'an individually, but your benefits will multiply if you also join in fellowship with other believers and seekers after the Qur'an. In companionship, the states of the heart may be intensified, and many minds joined together may understand meanings better and more correctly. And, only by joining with others can you live fully the lives inspired by the Qur'an and discharge the mission that reading it enjoins upon you. By acting and fulfilling that mission you will deserve to be admitted to the fullest possible blessings of the Qur'an.

Significantly, the Quranic address is almost always collective. And the Prophet, blessings and peace be on him, from the moment he received the revelation of the Qur'an, set out to create a community with the Qur'an at the centre of its life, and spent every moment of his life in this effort. The instruction to 'read' was followed, in time, by the command to 'arise and warn'. The instruction to continue to 'read what has been revealed to you in the Book of your Lord' is immediately followed, contextually, with the instruction to 'bind yourself with those who call upon their Lord at morning and evening, desiring His countenance, and let not your eyes turn away from them' (al-Kahf 18: 27-8). These Quranic teachings clearly and forcefully establish the link between its reading and the need for a strong, closely-knit community rooted in that reading.

Again, no Prayer can be complete without reading the Qur'an, nor, if it is obligatory and there is no genuine excuse, without fellowship with others (Jama'ah). What is the purpose of reading the Qur'an in Prayer if not to hear it, understand it and ponder over it? Thus five times a day this purpose should be accomplished in collective endeavour.

The duty to communicate the message of the Qur'an to the whole of mankind also entails that the Qur'an should be read and explained corporately. The word tilawah, when used with the Arabic preposition 'ala, means to communicate, to propagate, to spread, to teach. To do the tilawah in this way is one of the basic functions of the Prophethood, and, therefore, of his Ummah (al-Baqarah 2: 129, 151). In Surah al-Jumu'ah (62), failing to understand and live by Divine guidance is emphasized in the context of failing to stay with the Friday Prayer for which every worldly activity must be given up.

The Qur'an also hints at the reading of the Qur'an in families and homes in the following verse: 'And remember that which is recited in your houses of the revelations of God and the Wisdom' (al-Ahzab 33: 34).

Those who gather together to read and study the Qur'an are blessed because upon them descend the angels with God's abundant mercy, as the Prophet, blessings and peace be on him, said:

Whenever people gather in one of the houses of Allah for reading the Qur'an and teaching it to one another, peace descends upon them, mercy covers them, angels spread their wings over them, and Allah mentions them to those around Him (Muslim).

So you should not be content with reading and studying the Qur'an alone, but should set out to find other seekers and invite them that you may do so together.

 

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Forms of Collective Study

Collective study may take two forms.

One: Where a small group gathers to study and deliberate upon the Qur'an so that each participant takes an active part in the process, though some among them may be more knowledgeable than others and one will lead the study. This we shall call Halaqah, (after the above Hadith), or Study Circle.

Two: Where a group, small or large, gathers to study the Qur'an by actively listening to the exposition given by a knowledgeable person. The participants only raise questions. This we shall call 'Dars', lesson or lecture.

You should know how a Study Circle should be conducted and how to prepare and deliver a Dars. Here we can discuss only very broad guidelines. Again, it is important to remember that there can be no standard, fixed procedures. Each person or group will have to develop his or their own method, and each situation will have to be treated on its own. The guidelines given below are only suggestions which you should adapt to your requirements and capabilities.

Four rules are basic to the success of any collective study.

One: You must always make all the preparations necessary to fulfil your responsibility. Do not take your task lightly, do not postpone your preparation till the eleventh hour, do not consider a quick glance enough, never say anything about the Qur'an without having given it full consideration. It is always better to make note of what you have studied and what you want to say.

Two: Whether you are a novice or you already possess some knowledge, whether you have to give Dars or participate in discussion in a circle, undertake a study on your own of the selected part, broadly in line with the procedure described earlier.

Three: Always keep your niyyah right, that is, understand and live the Qur'an in order to seek Allah's pleasure.

Four: Do not study together merely for pleasure, intellectual curiosity, or argument and discussion. Your studying the Qur'an together must result in your obeying the Qur'an together and fulfilling the mission it entrusts to you.

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Study Circle

The following guidelines should help in making the group study effective.

One: The number of participants should be 3-10; with no great divergence in the levels of their knowledge and intelligence. Anything less will make it a dialogue, anything more may hinder the active participation of everyone.

Two: The stress should always remain on the message, context and what guidance and lessons are to be drawn. Never get entangled in fine points which have no relevance to real life.

Three: All members should be fully aware of their aims, limitations and procedures.

Four: All members should have the necessary commitment to their task and realize that time, attention and hard work will be required. It is especially important that regular preparation and attendance are observed.

Five: All members should know how to find their way through the Qur'an. A study of this book may be of some use.

Six: The group members should not sit as strangers, but as brothers in faith in the Qur'an, committed to understanding and obeying it.

One: One member should, first, make a presentation of the results of his study.

Two: The rest should then join in, further elaborating, correcting, modifying, raising questions, or providing answers.

Three: If all the members are required to study, then you may either designate beforehand who will do the presentation; this will result in better standards of presentation. Or, call upon anyone present to do the presentation; this will keep everyone alert and working hard.

Four: It will always be useful if at least one member of the circle is more knowledgeable and has access to sources. He would, then, during the discussion, overcome any deficiencies and shortcomings in the original presentation. He may also set and steer the tone and direction of discussion.

Five: If one member who is learned in the Qur'an participates, he should not intervene from the beginning. Rather he should let the participants say what they want to say, and only then, gently correct them if they are wrong, or add to their knowledge. His method should be suggestive and interrogative rather than discursive.

Six: Towards the end, one member, preferably the leader or teacher, should always sum up the broad message of the passage, its main themes, and its call to action. 

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Dars

The following guidelines may help to make a Dars effective.

One: Have a fair idea about the audience: such as, their level of knowledge and intelligence, their state of Iman, their concerns and worries, and their needs and requirements.

Two: Select the passage in keeping with the state of your audience, rather than what you find yourself eager to expound.

Three: The nature and level of your style, language, exposition should correspond to the nature of your audience.

Four: Pray to Allah to help you in bringing the true message of the Qur'an to your listeners.

Five: Study the passage and write down your notes: what do you want to say? In what order? How? How do you begin? How do you end?

Six: Give due regard to the time at your disposal. Never exceed your time. You may have a lot of good points and be very eager to pour them all out. But, remember, your listeners have a very limited capacity to retain. They may admire your learning and erudition, but may not learn very much from it.

Long passages can always be dealt with in a short duration and short passages can be dwelt upon for a long duration. It all depends on what you think you have to communicate from the passage under study.

Seven: Give full attention as to what clear message or messages, out of all that you may say, you would like to leave with the listeners for them to retain, reflect and act upon.

This must conform with the central idea of the passage, not with your own desires.

 
 
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How to Deliver

One: You must have only two aims:

Firstly, to seek Allah's pleasure by doing your duty in making others hear His words.

Secondly, to communicate the message of the Qur'an clearly and effectively.

Two: Remember that it lies in the hands of Allah to make your communication effective in reaching your listeners' hearts and minds.

But this does not absolve you from your responsibility for doing your best to prepare as best you can, to deliver as effectively as you can, to bring the message of the Qur'an in a manner as makes it living and dynamic for them, to make it relevant to their concerns, to make it bear upon their situation.

Your delivery may not be of high oratorial or rhetorical standards, it may be very ordinary but it is your niyyah and effort that count.

Three: You may first read the whole text and give its translation, and then take up the exposition, with or without reading each verse and its translation again. Or, you may give a brief introduction and start by taking up one verse after another, or a group of verses. What procedure you adopt will depend on the time at your disposal and the situation.

Remember that it is not essential to read the whole passage and its translation in the beginning, especially if time is short. You may spend the time better in preparing the listeners for what they are going to hear.

Four: As far as the individual verses or groups of verses are concerned, you may use a mixture of various approaches. If the verse is clear and short, you may first read it and then elaborate. You may turn tO the theme before and after your exposition.

What you must ensure is that your listeners get a sense of cohesive unity each statement should be seen to flow from the preceding one and lead to the next.

Five: At the end, you must sum up the contents, and emphasize the message. You may also, if you have time, even read the whole text again, or only the translation. Reading the text or translation towards the end serves to bring your listeners in direct contact with the Qur'an after they have understood what it means in light of your exposition.

Six: Always be on guard that it is the Qur'an which must speak, and not you. The Qur'an has been effective, without any exposition, for those who knew the language and the Messenger. It still is. You may hinder the Qur'an from speaking not only by inserting your own views too much, but also by your very lengthy and elaborate explanations. By the time you finish your long discourse, your listeners may very well forget what the Quranic text said.

So, firstly, keep your explanations as short as possible; and, secondly, if they have to be long as may be necessary in some instances, you should refer back to the text as often as possible. You should create no distance between the listeners and the text of the Qur'an, not only in meaning, but also in hearing.

Seven: Model your own exposition on the pattern and style of the Qur'an. This may be the most effective means of ensuring the success of the occasion.

Initially you may find it difficult, but gradually as you move nearer to the Qur'an, read it often, memorize it it will become part of your own style.

You must remember certain characteristics of the Quranic style. Firstly, that it appeals to both reason and feeling, intellect and soul as one whole. Secondly, that it is short, precise, direct, personal, and evocative. Thirdly, that it confronts its listeners with choices and decisions and inspires them to heed and act. Fourthly, that its language is a s powerful as the message, which penetrates deep inside you. Fifthly, that its argument is always what its listeners are able to understand, that it is always drawn from their everyday experience, that it always finds an echo inside them. Above all, that it is not abstract, logical, speculative.

Eight: Do not make overly abstract statements, nor conceptualize and systematize at the cost of the Qur'an's dynamic impact. Concepts and systematic presentation are vital to the presentation of the Qur'an's message, but so long they are made in simple and ordinary language and within the grasp of the audience. Calls to action; summons to commit, must be essential ingredients of your Dars. Whether it is nature or history, injunction or statement, dialogue or address each should result in some call to respond, to come forward, to decide and to act.

Nine: Do not use the Qur'an as a pretext to propound your views, instead make yourself an exponent of the word of God.

Ten: Let the Qur'an make its way to your listeners' hearts, let it reside there, let it stir impulses of recognition, love, gratitude and awe: this should be the thrust of your Dars.

Eleven: Always remain attentive to the response of your audience. You can always cut an argument short or give up what you may consider valuable to impart, if you feel that it does not interest them or arouse them. You can always introduce new points, styles, and emphasis, depending on what you feel are the demands of the situation.

 
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Chapter 7:

Living the Qur'an

Obeying the Qur'an

Reading the Qur'an will be of little benefit to you, it may even bring misery and harm, unless you, from the first moment, begin to change and reconstruct your life in total surrender to God who has given you the Qur'an. Without the will and striving to act, neither the states of heart and enraptures of the soul, nor the ecstasies of mood, nor intellectual enrichment will be of any use to you. If the Quran does not have any impact upon your actions and if you do not obey what it enjoins and avoid what it prohibits, then you are not getting nearer to it.

On every page of the Qur'an is an invitation to surrender and submit, to act and change. At every step the reader is confronted to decide and commit himself. Those who do not submit to it are declared to be Kafir, zalim (wrongdoer) and fasiq (iniquitous) (al-Ma'idah 5: 11-7). Those who are given the Book of God but do not understand it nor act upon it are described as 'asses which carry loads', but neither know nor benefit from what they carry (al-Jumu'ah 62: 5). They are those against whom the Prophet, blessings and peace be on him, will plead on the Day of Judgement:

O my Lord! Behold, [some of] my people have taken this Qur'an as a thing to be shunned (al-Furqan 25: 30).

To shun the Qur'an, to leave it, and to put it aside, means not to read it, not to understand it, not to live by it, to consider it a 'thing of the past', which has ceased to be relevant.

The Prophet, blessings and peace be on him, is no less emphatic in stressing the necessity of obeying the Qur'an:

Many of the hypocrites in my Ummah will be from among the readers of the Qur'an (Ahmad).

He is not a true believer in the Qur'an who treats as halal (permissible) what it has made haram (prohibited) Read the Qur'an so that it enables you to desist [from what it prohibits]. If it does not enable you to desist you have not really read it (Tabarani).

For the Companions of the Prophet, to learn the Qur'an amounted to reading it, pondering over it, and acting by it. lt is narrated that:

Those who were engaged in reading the Qur'an told that people like 'Uthman Ibn 'Affan and Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud, once they had learnt ten verses from the Prophet, blessings and peace be on him, did not go any further unless they had really 'learnt' whatever these verses contained by way of knowledge and practice [understood them and acted upon them]. They used to say that they learnt the Qur'an and knowledge together. That is how they sometimes spent years in learning only one Surah (al-Itqan fil 'Ulum al-Qur'an, Suyuti).

Al-Hasan al-Basri said: 'You have taken the night to be a camel that you ride on to pass through various stages of the Qur'an. Those before you considered it as messages from their Lord; they pondered over them at night and lived by them by day' (Ihya').

Reading the Qur'an should induce faith inside your heart; that faith should shape your lives. It is not a graduals piecemeal process, by which you first spend years reading the Qur'an, then understanding it and strengthening your faith, you only then act upon it. The whole is one unified process, all things take place simultaneously. As you hear or recite the words, they kindle faith inside you; as you have faith inside you, your life begins to change.

What you must remember is that to live by the Qur'an requires a major decision on your part: you have to completely alter the course of your life, irrespective of what may be the dominant thought-patterns around you, of what your society may be dictating, or what others may be doing. This decision requires major sacrifices. But unless you, as believers in the Qur'an being the word of God, are prepared to take the plunge, not much good will come out of the time you spend with the Qur'an.

From the very first moment, at the first step, it is made abundantly clear that the Qur'an is a guidance for those who are prepared to act to save themselves from the harm that comes from living against God's will, from earning His displeasure, and who fear the consequences-they are the al-muttaqi (al-Baqarah 2: 1-5). The Qur'an, does not recognize any polarity between between knowledge and action, between faith (Iman) and righteous deeds (al amal al salih).

 

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Fulfilling the Qur'an's Mission

An essential and important part of living by the Qur'an is to convey its message to people around you. Indeed the moment the Prophet, blessings and peace be on him, received the first revelation he realized the immense task of bringing it to his people. And the second revelation came with the summons: 'Stand up and warn' (al-Muddaththir 74: 2). Then at various places it was made clear to the Prophet7 blessings and peace be on him, that to communicate the Qur'an, to make it heard, to explain it was to be his primary duty, his life mission (al-Anam 6: 19; al-Furqan 25: 1; al-Anam 6: 105; al-Mai'idah 5: 67; Maryam 19: 97; al-A'raf 7: 157).

Now we, as his followers, as people possessing the Book of God, are charged and entrusted with the same mission. To have the Qur'an obliges us to convey it; to hear the Qur'an is to make it heard. We must make it clear and known to mankind and not let it remain concealed: And when God took pledge from those who had been given the Book: 'You shall make it known to mankind, and not conceal it.' But they cast it behind their backs, and bartered it away for a small price how evil was their bargain (Al 'Imran 3: 187).

If there is a lamp in your heart and hand, it must spread its light. If there is fire inside you, it must radiate its warmth and glow.

Those who do not do so, for want of transient worldly gains, are in fact filling their bellies with fire: Those who conceal of what the Book of God has sent down on them, and barter it away for a little price they shall eat naught but the Fire in their bellies, God shall not speak to them on the Day of Resurrection, neither purify them (al-Baqarah 2: 174).

And they deserve the curse of Allah: Those who conceal the clear messages and the guidance that We have sent down, after We have made them clear for mankind in the Book they shall be cursed by God and the cursers (al-Baqarah 2: 159).

Unless they discharge their duties: Save such as repent, and put themselves right, and make [the Book] known towards them I shall turn . . . (al-Baqarah 2: 160).

But, if they die in this condition, they will be cursed by all and everyone: But those who remain in [the state ofl disbelief, and die disbelieving upon them shall be the curse of God, and the angels, and of all men . . . (al-Baqarah 2: 161).

God will not even look at them: Those who barter away their covenant with God, and their pledges, for a little price, they shall not partake in the blessings of the life to come; and God shall not speak to them, neither look at them on the Day of Resurrection, neither will He purify them ... (Al 'Imran 3: 77).

Look at yourself! Look at Muslims today! Why, despite the fact that the Qur'an is read by millions day and night, does it make no difference to our situation? Either we read it and do not understand it; or, if we understand it, we do not accept it nor act upon it; or, if we act upon it, we accept part of it and reject part of it; or, while we are engrossed in reading it and acting by only part of it, we are guilty of committing the worst crime and concealing it and not bringing its light to the world.

And some among them are illiterate common people, who have no knowledge of the Book, [believing] only wishful fancies, and they depend on nothing but conjecture. Woe, also, unto those who write [the meanings of] the Book with their own hands, then say, 'This is from God', that they may acquire thereby a little price . . . (al-Baqarah 2: 78-9).

What! Do you believe in part of the Book and disbelieve in part? What, then, shall be the reward of those of you who do that but ignominy in the life of this-world and, on the Day of Resurrection to be returned unto the most grievous suffering (al-Baqarah 2: 85).

Let there not be the slightest doubt in our minds that unless we commit ourselves to the most important responsibility of being witnesses unto the Qur'an, which devolves upon us by virtue of us having it and reading it, we shall never discharge what we owe to the Qur'an. The ignominy, dishonour, humiliation, backwardness that has become our lot is only because of the way we treat the Qur'an and the mission it entrusts to us.

By this Book God makes some peoples to rise and others to decline (Muslim).

Had they established the Tawrah, and the Injil, and what has been sent down to them from their Lord, they would have eaten from above them and from beneath their feet (al-Ma'idah 5: 66).

Nor shall we succeed in discovering and understanding the full and real meaning of the Qur'an, whatever Quranic scholarship we may attain, unless we obey the Qur'an. The Prophet, blessings and peace be on him, said to his Companions:

There will be such people among you that, when you will compare your Prayers with theirs, your Fasts with theirs, your good deeds with theirs, you will consider yours very inferior. They will read the Qur'an, yet it will not sink deeper than their throats (Bukhari).

To surrender and obey is not only to fulfil the real mission of the Qur'an, it is one of the surest keys to its understanding. You discover a meaning by obeying that you never discover by mere thinking. You, then, begin to 'see' the Qur'an. Writes Syed Mawdudi in memorable words one can hardly forget:

. . . but all that you may do to understand the Qur'an is not enough. If you want to identify with the spirit of the Qur'an, you must practically involve yourself with the struggle to fulfil its mission. For the Qur'an is not a book of abstract theories and cold ideas, which one can grasp while seated in a cosy armchair. Nor is it merely a religious book like other religious books, whose meanings can be grasped in seminaries and oratories.

On the contrary, it is a Book which contains a message, an invitation, which generates a movement. The moment it began to be sent down, it impelled a quiet and pious man to abandon his life of solitude and confront the world that was living in rebellion against God. It inspired him to raise his voice against falsehood, and pitted him in a grim struggle against the lords of disbelief, evil and iniquity. One after the other, from every home, it drew every pure and noble soul, and gathered them under the banner of truth. In every part of the country, it made all the mischievous and the corrupt to rise and wage war against the bearers of the truth.

This is the Book which launched a glorious movement, with the voice of a single individual, and continued to provide guidance to it for twenty-three years, till the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth. At every stage during this long and heart-rending struggle between truth and falsehood, this Book showed its followers the ways to eradicate the old order and usher in the new.

Is it, then, possible to reach the heart of the Qur'an merely by reading its words, without ever stepping upon the battlefield of faith and disbelief, of Islam and Ignorance, without passing through any stage of that struggle? No, you can understand the Qur'an only when you take it up, begin to act upon it, and call mankind to God, and when every step you take is in obedience to its guidance.

Then, and only then, you will go through all the events and experiences which occurred during the course of its revelation. You will then pass through makka, and habash, and ta'if; you will face badr, uhud, hunayn and tabuk. You will encounter abd jahl and abd lahab; you will meet with hypocrites and jews; you will come face to face with those who instantly responded to this call as well as those who were drawn into Islam seeking some gain. You will come across all of these human models; you will deal with all of them. This is a path different from the so-called 'mystic path', which I name the 'Quranic path'. Such is this 'Quranic path' that, as you pass through its various stations and stages, certain Surahs and Ayahs will disclose their full message to you, and tell you that they were revealed precisely for this stage and station that you are passing through. You may miss some linguistic and grammatical subtleties, you may miss certain finer points in the rhetoric and semantics of the Qur'an, yet it is impossible that the Qur'an will fail to reveal its full and true spirit to you.

In the same way, no person can ever understand the legal injunctions, the moral teachings, and the political and economic directives of the Qur'an, unless and until he puts them into practice. Neither the individual who lives independently of the Qur'an nor the nation which runs its institutions in violation of its guidance can discover the spirit of the Qur'an (Tafhimul Qur'an, Vol. I, Lahore 1979, pp. 334).

La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammadur Rasulullah
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APPENDIX 1: Prophets Readings

What the Prophet Particularly Read or Emphasized

There are certain Surahs or Ayahs of the Qur'an which, it is reported, the Prophet, blessings and peace be on him, used to recite more often in particular Prayers or on specific occasions, or which he especially extolled by describing their excellent merits and special rewards. You should know them.

The Hadith given below are not meant to prove the superiority of one part of the Qur'an over another. Nor should you ignore the rest of the Qur'an and occupy yourself in reading and memorizing these at the expense of the rest. These selections are useful only because one cannot memorize and read everything every day and because one usually needs to habituate oneself to the reading of a definite portion regularly. What could be better than to follow the Prophet, blessings and peace be on him, and hope for the rewards he has promised.

It is important to remember that the Prophet, blessings and peace be on him, used to recite the whole of the Qur'an at least once in the month of Ramadan. He also recited long portions in the night-prayers, as much as Surah al-Baqarah and Al 'Imran in one rak'ah.

 

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What the Prophet Recited in Various Prayers

In the Fajr Prayer

He used to recite Qaf (50) and similar Surahs, reports Jabir Ibn Samurah (Muslim).

He recited al-Waqi'ah (56) (Tirmidhi).

I heard him reciting al-Takwir (81), reports 'Amr Ibn Hurayth (Muslim).

He recited, while in Makka, al-Mu'minun (23), until verse 45 or 50, reports Abdullah Ibn al-Sa'ib (Muslim).

He recited al-Kafirun (109) and al-Ikhlas (112), reports Abu Hurayrah (Muslim).

He recited al-Falaq (113) and al-Nas (114), reports 'Uqbah Ibn 'Amir (Ahmad, Abd Da'ud).

He recited verses from al-Baqarah (2: 136) and Al 'Imran (3: 64), reports Abdullah Ibn 'Abbas (Muslim).

Abu Bakr al-Siddiq is reported to have recited al-Baqarah (Muwatta').

'Uthman Ibn 'Affan very often used to recite Yusuf (12) (Muwatta').

'Umar Ibn al-Khattab recited Yusuf (12) and al-Hajj (22) (Muwatta').

'Umar wrote to Abu Musa to recite tiwal mufassal [from Surah Muhammad (47) to al-Buruj (85) (Tirmidhi).

The Prophet recited al-Kafirun (109) and al-Ikhlas (112) in the two rak'ahs before Fajr, reports Abu Hurayrah (Ibn Majah).

In the Fajr Prayer on Fridays

He recited al-Sajdah (32) in the first rak'ah, and al-Dahr (76) in the second, reports Abu Hurayrah (Bukhari, Muslim).

 
 
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In the Zuhr and 'Asr Prayers

He used to recite al-Layl (92) and, according to another version, al-A'la (87), and similarly in 'Asr, reports Jabir Ibn Samurah (Muslim).

He used to recite al-Buruj (85) and al-Tariq (86) and similar Surahs, reports Jabir Ibn Samurah (Tirmidhi).

'Umar wrote to Abu Musa to recite awsat mufassal [from Surah al-Buruj (85) to al-Bayyinah (98)] (Tirmidhi).

In the Maghrib Prayer

I heard him reciting al-Mursalat (77), reports Umm al-Fadl (Bukhari, Muslim).

I heard him reciting al-Tur (52), reports Jubayr Ibn Mut'im (Bukhari, Muslim).

He used to recite al-Kafirun (109) and al-Ikhlas (112), reports Abdullah Ibn 'Umar (Ibn Majah), especially on Friday nights, reports Jabir Ibn Samurah (Sharh al-Sunnah).

He recited al-Dukhan (44), reports Abdullah Ibn 'Utbah (Nasa'i).

He recited al-A'raf (7), reports Aishah (Nasa'i).

He recited al-Kafirun (109) and al-Ikhlas (112) in the two rak'ahs after Maghrib, reports Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud (Tirmidhi).

'Umar wrote to Abu Musa to recite qisar mufassal [from Surah al-Bayyinah (98) to al-Nas (114)] (Tirmidhi).

In the 'Isha' Prayer

He instructed Mu'adh Ibn Jabal to recite al-Shams (91), al-Duha (93), al-Layl (92), and al-A'la (87); and not longer Surahs like al-Baqarah, reports Jabir (Bukhari, Muslim).

I heard him reciting al-Tin (95), reports al-Bara' (Bukhari, Muslim).

In the Jumu'ah and 'Id Prayers

I heard him reciting al-Jumu'ah (62) in the first rak'ah, and al-Munafiqun (63) in the second, in the Jumu'ah, reports Abu Hurayrah (Muslim).

He used to recite al-A'la (87) and al-Ghashiyah (88) in the Jumu'ah and both the 'Id Prayers, and if the Jumu'ah and 'Id fell on the same day he recited the same Surahs in both, reports al-Nu'man Ibn Bashir (Muslim).

He used to recite Qaf (50) and al-Qamar (54) in al-Adha and al-Fitr, reports Waqid al-Laythi (Muslim).

 

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What the Prophet Recited at Various Times

At Tahajjud (optional night prayers)

After getting up from sleep, he looked towards the sky and recited inna fi khalqi's-samawat . . . till the end of the Surah' [Al 'Imran 3: 190-200], reports Abdullah ibn 'Abbas (Bukhari).

In the Morning and Evening

Al-Ikhlas (112), al-Falaq (113), al-Nas (114) three times: Recite them in the morning and in the evening and they will suffice you for every purpose, reports Abdullah Ibn Khubayb (Tirmidhi, Abd Da'ud).

Ayatu 'l-Kursi and Ha Mim . . . al masir (al-Mu min 40: 24): Anyone who recites them in the morning 'will be protected because of them till the evening and anyone who recites them in the evening will be protected because of them till the morning', reports Abu Hurayrah (Tirmidhi)

Last three Ayahs of al-Hashr (59: 22-4): if one recites these in the morning, 'seventy thousand angels ask forgiveness for him until the evening, and if he recites it ig the evening they do so until the morning', reports Misqil Ibn yasar (Tirmidhi).

Three Ayahs of al-Rum (30: 17-19) 'If one recites it in the morning, he is rewarded for whatever good he neglects during the day, and if he recites it in tlle evening, he is rewarded for whatever good he neglects during the night', reports Abdullah Ibn 'Abbas (Abd Da'ud)

 
 
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