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Quran and Sunnah

Returning to Our Dusty Shelves

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Please join us in welcoming our new associate writer and first sister among the associates – Amatullah. You can read her bio here.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

الحمد لله حمدا كثيرا طيبا مباركا فيه

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 والصلاة والسلام علي أشرف الأنبياء و المرسلين

 shelf

[Written by Amatullah]

In the summer of 2006, I had an amazing opportunity to perform umrah for the first time in my life, a 20 day seerah trip where we were visited by a different scholar each day to teach us a section of the life of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam. After performing our umrah during the most blessed part of the night, the last third, I was anxious to finally pray in jamaa’ah behind one of the famous Imaams of the Haram.

While I was standing there in the most blessed house of Allah, in the most blessed city, hearing the most blessed of Speech, complete sadness overtook me. How is it that I am standing before my Rabb, hearing His words echo all around me, yet I cannot comprehend a word of it? I was utterly ashamed. After finishing my first prayer in the haram, I made the intention to begin learning this blessed language on my return.

Ask anyone who has taken the steps to learn Arabic, and they will tell you of similar moments when the urgency hit them to learn the language of the Qur’an.

Unfortunately, the majority of this ummah does not understand their own book. As the generations of Islam progress, we move further and further away from the Qur’an. We have forgotten the fact that the Qur’an is speech; for if the Qur’an is speech, then we will agree that speech is to be understood. What is holding us back then, from understanding the book of Allah?

The Qur’an has become a means to only seek barakah (blessings). It has become an unpractical mix of medieval ideas and stories of old that are, once in a while, taken off our dusty shelves; and once in a while that nice reciter makes for a good sleep aide. Many of us feel that we cannot approach the Qur’an or derive lessons and practical benefits from it and we have removed ourselves from using it as a guide in our lives. We turn to other sources before the Qur’an. We migrate from the Words of the Creator to the deficient and weak minds of the creation. How can we ever think that we will be successful if this is our state? As the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, “Surely Allah raises some people by way of this Book and lowers others by it.” (Saheeh Muslim) 

So, what is really holding you back?

You.

Allah azza wa jal says to us,

وَلَقَدْ يَسَّرْنَا الْقُرْآنَ لِلذِّكْرِ

We have certainly facilitated the Qur’an for remembrance. (54:17) يَسَّرْنَا is from ya-seen-ra (ي س ر), yusr, and tayseer is to make something right, appropriate and fit for the purpose. It is to remove everything that is unsuitable, so that the purpose it was made for can be achieved.

It is said, yassaral farasa lir rukoob, the horse has been made ready for the rider. If you know anything about horses, you know that a rider cannot go to any horse and jump on it to ride. Rather, the horse has to be trained, it has to be fed well, it needs proper shoes, the saddle has to be fitted, the stirrups need to be straightened, and then the horse is ready for riding. Yassara means that the horse is ready and prepared, and all that it’s waiting for is the rider to come ride.

 Yassarna does not mean the Qur’an has been made very simple, rather it means it is fit and has been made easy for its purpose: Dhikr, to understand it, to take a lesson from it, and to remind yourself and others with it. The Qur’an is ready and prepared for the purpose of remembrance.

For us to take a reminder, we need to come to the Book of Allah with the proper attitude and understanding. What do we need to ensure?

Intentions: We cannot come to the book of Allah with different intentions thinking we will be successful. There is only ONE direction here, and that is to seek guidance. We use the Qur’an for everything but guidance. When you seek guidance from this Book, then you will receive protection, love and respect. Be humble in front of Allah and acknowledge that you are in need of guidance.

Purity:  The Qur’an is a blessed book, and can only be carried in a pure container. Allah ta’ala does not give the knowledge of His book to sinners. We need to constantly purify our hearts and seek forgiveness for our sins so that we can be containers for this Book.

Priority: The amount of effort we put into something shows how important it is to us. Make an assessment of your relationship with the Qur’an.  Ask yourself: would Allah see me as those who give the Qur’an priority? Is it a priority? What we get out of the Qur’an is what we put into it. We need to be confident that this Book is universal truth. Be afraid that we don’t represent the Book of Allah.

Learn: We will never understand the Qur’an without studying Arabic, period. You will never be a proper student of knowledge without Arabic, period. Learning Arabic, contrary to popular belief, is required of us. Allah chose this language for the last revelation to mankind, and if the Companions themselves stressed the knowledge of this language amongst themselves, who are we? Umar radi Allahu anhu said, “Learn Arabic for it is a part of your deen.” A science that has been lost with the language is the science of tafseer. Many Muslims think tafseer is extra, while in fact tafseer is included in understanding the Qur’an. Tafseer keeps us from interpreting the Qur’an to fit our own ideas, and allows us to understand the interpretation of the verses based upon other verses and narrations of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, Companions and righteous predecessors. One of the salaf gave an amazing parable on the importance of tafseer, Iyaas ibn Mu’aawiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “The example of a people who recite the Qur’an and do not know its explanation is like a group of people who have a written message from their king that comes to them during the night, and they do not have a lamp. Therefore, they do not know what is in the message.” The most important aspect of learning the Qur’an is memorizing it. The beauty lies in the relationship: while you memorize Qur’an it builds Arabic, and while you learn Arabic, it builds your understanding of the Qur’an.

Act: The Qur’an was sent down to be acted upon but we have taken just reciting it as enough of a deed. Knowledge of the Qur’an is not enough, rather this knowledge needs to be beautified with deeds. Umar radi Allahu anhu said, “Do not be fooled by one who recites the Qur’an. His recitation is but speech – but look to those who act according to it.” How does one act upon the Qur’an? Qaadhi Iyyadh said, “They should treat as halaal what it makes halaal and treat as haraam what it makes haraam, they should take on its commandments and stay away from what it forbids, and they should stop to ponder its amazing knowledge and wisdom.” Ponder on the verses of Allah, use the intellect He gave you, and you will begin to taste the sweetness of reflecting on the Qur’an and acting upon it.

Allah ta’ala then presents a challenge to each and every one of us after declaring the facilitation of this Book:

فَهَلْ مِن مُّدَّكِرٍ
Then is there anyone who will put in the effort to remember? (54:17)

The Qur’an has been prepared, it has been made easy, it has been facilitated. All that it’s waiting for is the Muddakir: the one to come and take heed of the remembrance.

The Qur’an is ready brothers and sisters. The question is…are you?

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Amatullah is a student of the Qur'an and its language. She completed the 2007 Ta'leem program at Al-Huda Institute in Canada and studied Qur'an, Tajwid (science of recitation) and Arabic in Cairo. Through her writings, she hopes to share the practical guidance taught to us by Allah and His Messenger and how to make spirituality an active part of our lives. She has a Bachelors in Social Work and will be completing the Masters program in 2014 inshaAllah. Her experience includes working with immigrant seniors, refugee settlement and accessibility for people with disabilities.

23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Arif

    December 22, 2008 at 1:47 AM

    Masha’Allah, I feel like jumping onto the horse of knowledge right now!

  2. Amad

    December 22, 2008 at 1:49 AM

    welcome Sr. Amatullah to MM… may Allah make your participation beneficial for all of us.

  3. Egyptian Gumbo

    December 22, 2008 at 3:09 AM

    ooo wow! MashaAllah Habibti! I’m so happy to see a familiar writer! :)

    Keep up the good work!

  4. MM Associates

    December 22, 2008 at 7:20 AM

    bismillah. [by abu abdAllah]

    mashaAllah! may you always invite readers to what is good, and may Allah accept it from you, and increase the benefit for you from it in this life and in the next.

  5. ummhasan

    December 22, 2008 at 1:07 PM

    Assalaamu Alaikum Sr Amatullah
    Jazak’Allah khair for the beneficial article. May Allah allow us to benefit from your writings and reward you for it, ameen!

  6. Ayesha Fatima

    December 22, 2008 at 1:18 PM

    Asak wr wb sister,

    The article is really great. May Allah swt help us in acquiring the knowledge of the deen.

    Jazakumallahu khairaa,

    salaam.

  7. Yus from the Nati

    December 22, 2008 at 1:40 PM

    WOW…mA. Very good post.

  8. SaqibSaab

    December 22, 2008 at 2:30 PM

    One of the salaf gave an amazing parable on the importance of tafseer, Iyaas ibn Mu’aawiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “The example of a people who recite the Qur’an and do not know its explanation is like a group of people who have a written message from their king that comes to them during the night, and they do not have a lamp. Therefore, they do not know what is in the message.”

    That’s some heavy words, right there. May Allah help us have lamps.

  9. MR

    December 22, 2008 at 4:28 PM

    Man, I really need to spend some more time with the Qur’an. JazakAllah khair for this post.

    On a good note, MM finally will have posts that have the Arabic in a larger font size for my 1680 x 1050 resolution. :-D

    Congrats Amatullah!

  10. Kaltham

    December 22, 2008 at 4:50 PM

    May Allah make us of those who learn the Quran, understand it and act upon it, all with the right intentions… This was an amazing read masha Allah.. I ask Allah to benefit us with this reminder, and make us of those who when they hear the reminders follow the best of it. Ameen.

    Amatullah, i’m looking forward to more and more sis!

    Fi Amaani’Laah

  11. AbdulNasir Jangda

    December 22, 2008 at 5:02 PM

    Mashallah looking forward to your contributions.

  12. Nusaybah

    December 22, 2008 at 5:17 PM

    JazakaAllahu khayran sis Amatullah.. I too look forward to reading more of your articles.

  13. AnonyMouse

    December 22, 2008 at 6:00 PM

    Welcome to MM!
    JazaakiAllahu khairan for this article – it’s amazing, subhanAllah!

  14. waleed

    December 22, 2008 at 9:58 PM

    salam
    anyone if the rosetta stone for arabic will be the actual arabic used in the Quran?

  15. ny

    December 23, 2008 at 8:01 AM

    Thank you so much for this article. I read the first few lines on the homepage and it felt like you were reading my mind.

    I’ve recently returned from Hajj, and alhamdulillah my time spent there allowed me to reengage with the Quran in a way I hadn’t been able to for a long time . Since returning I’ve made the resolution to get back on track and start learning the language, insha’Allah.

    While we gathered for the last Jummah prayer before the days of of Hajj began, the Imam of the Haram gave the khutba. He recited the verses relating to the rites of Hajj and reminded us of the steps we would take over the next 5 days; of our standing in Arafat, the stoning at the Jamarat, and so on and so forth. As he spoke he cried and the people around me cried – from his tone you could tell he was soft hearted; and though I understood only a handful of the words he spoke, I cried. In hindsight I regret not understanding what he said and the ayat’s he recited, simply for the reason that if it made me cry though I didn’t understand it, Allah only knows how it would have made me feel if I did understand.

    This article has reminded me of this, so thank you. May Allah reward you.

  16. Sadaf

    December 23, 2008 at 1:56 PM

    Excellent and well-written article! Keep them coming, Amatullah.

  17. MR

    December 23, 2008 at 4:32 PM

    @waleed – I have Rosetta Stone for Arabic and it’s actually surprisingly pretty good. It is modern standard Arabic which is not spoken on the streets but on the Arabic TV stations as well as written in the Arabic newspapers. It is close to the Quranic Arabic, but from taking Arabic class versus learning from Rosetta Stone, I can say this: Rosetta Stone is excellent for vocab (that’s if you use it the way it’s suppose to be used and not be lazy) but you must sit with a teacher (such as Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan of Bayyinah Institute) to learn Arabic grammar.

  18. Al-Madrasi

    December 23, 2008 at 5:52 PM

    Welcome Sr. Amatullah,Ahlan wa sahlan, mashaAllah, a post that made me revisit my attitude towards quran and arabic.

    It would be nice and beneficial if you can post some resources and good pointers for those who want to learn quranic arabic (Allmaghrib forum has some, some more would be nice)

  19. Amy

    December 23, 2008 at 5:56 PM

    Very nice clear, concise article. MaashaaAllaah.

  20. Amatullah

    December 23, 2008 at 6:36 PM

    Jazaakum Allahu khayran for the welcome, kind words and duaas! Alhamdulillah.

    Al Madrasi: InshaAllah I will be sharing many resources very soon.

    I ask Allah ta’ala to make us among the companions of the Qur’an, Ameen.

  21. usman

    December 23, 2008 at 8:17 PM

    Excellent article. Welcome sister Amatullah to this amazing website that has touched my heart many times and has benifited me much. I hope your articles continue to make me think of my duty and others as well. Jazakhalah khair wsalaam

  22. abu abdAllah, the Houstonian

    December 23, 2008 at 9:10 PM

    bismillah.

    MR said:

    @waleed – I have Rosetta Stone for Arabic and it’s actually surprisingly pretty good. It is modern standard Arabic which is not spoken on the streets but on the Arabic TV stations as well as written in the Arabic newspapers. It is close to the Quranic Arabic, but from taking Arabic class versus learning from Rosetta Stone, I can say this: Rosetta Stone is excellent for vocab (that’s if you use it the way it’s suppose to be used and not be lazy) but you must sit with a teacher (such as Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan of Bayyinah Institute) to learn Arabic grammar.

    It would be great if we had an RS-type software for teaching the vocabulary of the Qur’an. I think the software could also assist in learning the grammar of the Qur’an, as discussed in this MM article, but having taken the Bayyinah class in Houston, alhamdolillah, I agree that was an excellent way to acquire the fundamentals of Qur’anic grammar. May Allah reward our teachers including Nouman, and increase for us all the barakat of those lessons.

  23. Medinah

    January 5, 2009 at 7:55 PM

    Assalamu Alaikum:

    Subhanallah! An amazing article!! May we all take heed inshallah!

    Jazakallahu Khairan!

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