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Read the Qur’aan, for it will come on the Day of Resurrection and intercede for its companions

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It was narrated that Abu Umaamah al-Baahili (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: “Read the Qur’aan, for it will come on the Day of Resurrection and intercede for its companions…” [Narrated by Muslim, 804.]

This hadeeth is indicative of the virtue of reading the Qur’aan, and the great reward that it brings, and tells us that it will intercede for its companions on the Day of Resurrection for them to enter Paradise.

It was narrated that al-Nawaas ibn Sam’aan (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: I heard the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: “The Qur’aan will be brought on the Day of Resurrection, with its people – those who used to used to act in accordance with it – preceded by Soorat al-Baqarah and Aal ‘Imraan.” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) likened them to three things, which I did not forget afterwards. He (the Prophet) likened them to two clouds or two black canopies with light between them, or like two flocks of birds in ranks pleading for one who recited them.”  [Narrated by Muslim, 805.]

And it was narrated from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Amr that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Fasting and the Qur’aan will intercede for a person on the Day of Resurrection. Fasting will say, ‘O Lord, I deprived him of food and desires during the day, so let me intercede for him.’ And the Qur’aan will say: ‘I deprived him of sleep during the night, so let me intercede for him.’ So they will both be allowed to intercede.”  [Narrated by Ahmad, 6589.]

The fasting person should recite Qur’aan a great deal during these blessed days and nights, for reading Qur’aan during Ramadaan is more special than in other months.

He should make the most of his time in the blessed month in which Allaah revealed the Qur’aan.

Reading Qur’aan in the nights of Ramadaan is something special, for the night is free of distractions and it is easier to focus the mind, thus a person can focus on what he is reading and try to understand it. And Allaah is the One Whose help we seek.

It was proven that Jibreel (peace be upon him) used to meet with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) every night in Ramadaan and study the Qur’aan with him. If dhikr were superior to the Qur’aan or equal to it, they would have recited dhikr all the time or some of the time during their frequent meetings. This hadeeth shows us that it is mustahabb to study the Qur’aan in Ramadaan and to gather to do so, and to practise reciting Qur’aan in front of one who has more knowledge of it.

The righteous salaf of this ummah used to recite Qur’aan a great deal during Ramadaan. When they fasted they would sit in the mosques and say, Let us guard our fast and not backbite about anyone. They would recite Qur’aan in prayer and at other times.

‘Uthmaan (may Allaah be pleased with him) used to read the entire Qur’aan once a day.

Some of the salaf used to complete it when praying qiyaam every three nights.

Some of them used to complete it every seven nights, and some every ten.

In Ramadaan al-Shaafa’i used to complete it sixty times at times other than prayer.

Al-Aswad used to read the whole Qur’aan every two nights in Ramadaan.

Qutaadah used to complete the Qur’aan every seven days all the time, and in Ramadaan every three days, and in the last ten days every night.

These reports about the salaf are well known.

Al-Haafiz Ibn Rajab (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: It was narrated that it is not allowed to read the Qur’aan in less than three days as a habit, but in times of virtue, such as the month of Ramadaan – especially during the nights in which Laylat al-Qadr is sought, or in places of virtue such as Makkah for non-residents who go there, it is mustahabb to read Qur’aan a great deal, seeking to make the most of the virtue of that time or place. This is the view of Ahmad, Ishaaq and other imams, and this is indicated by the actions of others as stated above.

The one who reads Qur’aan must observe the proper etiquette, including having a sincere intention towards Allaah.

He should read in a state of purity (i.e., with wudoo’)

He should use miswaak.

He should think about what he is reading and not rush, rather he should read at a measured pace, and focus on the meanings, because this helps the reader to pronounce the letters correctly and ponder the meanings, and focus with proper humility. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“(This is) a Book (the Qur’aan) which We have sent down to you, full of blessings, that they may ponder over its Verses, and that men of understanding may remember”

[Saad 38:29]

The etiquette of reading includes not breaking off to speak to anyone. Many people sit to read with others next to them, and they often break off to speak to their neighbour. This is not appropriate because it is turning away from reading unnecessarily.

The one who is reading should act in accordance with the Qur’aan, regard as halaal that which it permits and as haraam that which it forbids, so that the Qur’aan will testify for him on the Day of Resurrection and will intercede for him to enter Paradise.

And Allaah knows best.

Source: Ahkaam al-Siyaam by al-Fawzaan, p. 63.

Jazaak Alllah Khair for reading.

The Challenge of Qur’aan

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By Dr. Ameenah Bilal Philips

The Qur’aan is not only unique in the way in which it presents its subject matter, but it is also unique in that it is a miracle itself. By the term “miracle,” we mean the performance of a supernatural or extraordinary event which cannot be duplicated by humans. It has been documented that Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) challenged the Arabs to produce a literary work of a similar caliber as the Qur’aan, but they were unable to do so in spite of their well-known eloquence and literary powers. The challenge to reproduce the Qur’aan was presented to the Arabs and mankind in three stages:

l. The Whole Qur’aan:

In the Qur’aan, Allaah commanded the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) to challenge all of creation to create a book of the stature of the Qur’aan,

“Say: ‘If all mankind and the jinn would come together to produce the like of this Qur’aan, they could not produce its like even though they exerted all and their strength in aiding one another.’” [Soorah al-Israa’ (17):88]

2. Ten Soorahs:

Next, Allaah made the challenge ostensibly easier by asking those who denied its divine origin to imitate even ten soorahs of the Qur’aan:

“Or do they say that he has invented it? Say (to them), ‘Bring ten invented soorahs like it, and call (for help) on whomever you can besides Allaah, if you are truthful.” [Soorah Hood (11):13]
This final challenge was to produce even a single soorah to match what is in the Qur’aan, whose shortest soorah, al-Kawthar, consists of only three verses:

“And if you all are in doubt about what I have revealed to My servant, bring a single soorah like it, and call your witnesses besides Allaah if you are truthful.” [Soorah al-Baqarah (2):23]

These challenges were not just empty words with no one caring to prove them wrong. Prophet Muhammad’s (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) call to monotheism, to the abolition of idolatry in all its forms, and to the equality of slaves and their masters threatened the whole socio-economic framework of Makkah society in general, and the position of the ruling Qurayshee tribe from which the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) came in particular. Makkah, the trading center of Arabia, as well as its spiritual center, desperately wanted to stop the spread of Islaam. Yet all that the Prophet’s opponents had to do to crush the movement was to make up a single soorah like any one of those which the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) and his followers were reciting to the people. A number of Qurayshee orators and poets tried to imitate the Qur’aan, but they failed. They then resorted to offering him vast amounts of wealth, the position of king over them, and the most noble and beautiful of their women in exchange for his promise to stop inviting people to Islaam. He responded to them by reciting the first thirteen verses of Soorah Fussilat, until they asked him to stop. [Collected by al-Haakim, al-Bayhaqee, Aboo Ya’laa and Ibn Hishaam, and declared hasan by lbraaheem al-‘Alee in Saheeh as-Seerah an-Nabaweeyah, p.64.]

The Quraysh also resorted to torturing their slaves and relatives who had embraced Islaam in a vain attempt to cause them to revert to paganism. Later they organized an economic boycott against the Prophet his followers and the members of his clan, Banoo Haashim, in an attempt to starve them into submission. But even this plan eventually failed. Finally, they plotted to kill him in his home by sending armed young men from each of the clans of Quraysh in order that the guilt of his murder be shared by all the clans, making revenge by the Prophet’s clan impossible.

However, Allaah enabled the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) and his followers to flee Makkah and join a new band of converts who had arisen among the tribes of a city to the north called Yathrib. Islaam spread rapidly through the clans of Yathrib, and within a year Muslims became the city’s majority. Prophet Muhammad was then made the ruler, and the name of the city was changed to Madeenah an-Nabee (The City of the Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam), which was then shortened to “Madeenah.” Over the next eight years, the clans of Makkah and its neighboring lands mounted a series of unsuccessful battle campaigns against the emerging Muslim state in Madeenah, which ended with the Muslim invasion of Makkah itself.

All of this bloodshed could have been avoided if only the Quraysh and their allies had been able to produce a mere three lines of poetry or flowing prose similar to the shortest soorah of the Qur’aan. Hence, there can be no doubt about the inimitability of the Qur’aan’s literary style, about the miracle of its rhyme and the marvel of its rhythm.

It has been suggested that the inimitability of the Qur’aan is not necessarily unique, for great English poets like Shakespeare, Chaucer, or great poets in any language tend to have distinctly unique styles which set them apart from their contemporaries. However, if, for example, some leading poet of today were to make an in-depth study of Shakespeare’s writings and write a sonnet in Shakespeare’s style in old ink and on old paper, then claim that he had discovered a lost poem of Shakespeare’s, the literary world would probably accept this claim, even after careful study. Thus, even the greatest of poets could be imitated, no matter how unique his style was, just as the famous painters have been imitated. [In fact, some English scholars consider much ofwhat has been attributedto Shakespeare to have been written by his contemporary, Christopher Marlowe.] The Qur’aan, however, is way above this level, as attempts to forge chapters have been made throughout the ages, yet none has withstood close scrutiny. And, as was mentioned before, the incentive to imitate the Qur’aan was more intense during the time of its revelation when literally skills were at their peak than at any other time, yet there was no successful attempt.

Tips For Improving Your Relationship With The Qur’an

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Are you one of those people who rarely touches the Quran? Or do you read daily, but don’t find it is having the impact on you that it should? Whatever the case may be, these are some simple tips that can help you connect with the Quran.

1. Before you touch it, check your heart

The key to really benefiting from the Quran is to check your heart first, before you even touch Allah’s book. Ask yourself, honestly, why you are reading it. Is it to just get some information and to let it drift away from you later? Remember that the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was described by his wife as a “walking Quran”: in other words, he didn’t just read and recite the Quran, he lived it.

2. Do your Wudu (ablution)

Doing your Wudu is good physical and mental preparation to remind you you’re not reading just another book. You are about to interact with God, so being clean should be a priority when communicating with Him.

3. Read only 5 minutes everyday

Too often, we think we should read Quran for at least one whole hour. If you aren’t in the habit of reading regularly, this is too much. Start off with just five minutes daily. If you took care of step one, Insha Allah (God willing), you will notice that those five minutes will become ten, then half an hour, then an hour, and maybe even more!

4. Make sure you understand what you’ve read

Five minutes of reading the Quran in Arabic is good, but you need to understand what you’re reading. Make sure you have a good translation of the Quran in the language you understand best. Always try to read the translation of what you’ve read that day .

5. Remember, the Quran is more interactive than a CD

In an age of “interactive” CD-Roms and computer programs, a number of people think books are passive and boring. But the Quran is not like that. Remember that when you read Quran, you are interacting with Allah. He is talking to you, so pay attention.

6. Don’t just read, listen too

There are now many audio cassettes and CDs of the Quran, a number of them with translations as well. This is great to put on your walkman or your car’s CD or stereo as you drive to and from work. Use this in addition to your daily Quran reading, not as a replacement for it.

7. Make Dua (supplication)

Ask Allah to guide you when you read the Quran. Your aim is to sincerely, for the love of Allah, interact with Him by reading, understanding and applying His blessed words. Making Dua to Allah for help and guidance will be your best tool for doing this.

Why a non-Muslim should know the Qur’an?

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The Qur’an is undeniably a book of great importance even to the non-Muslim, perhaps more today than ever, if that is possible. One aspect of Islam that is unexpected and yet appealing to the post-Christian secular mind is the harmonious interplay of faith and reason. Islam does not demand unreasoned belief. Rather, it invites intelligent faith, growing from observation, reflection, and contemplation, beginning with nature and what is all around us. Accordingly, antagonism between religion and science such as that familiar to Westerners is foreign to Islam.

This connection between faith and reason enabled Islamic civilization to absorb and vivify useful knowledge, including that of ancient peoples, whereby it eventually nursed Europe out of the Dark Ages, laying the foundation for the Renaissance. When Europe got on its cultural feet and expelled Islam, however, the European mind was rent by the inability of the Christian church to tolerate the indivisibility of the sacred and the secular that characterized Islam and had enabled Islamic civilization to develop natural science and abstract art as well as philosophy and social science. The result was a painful, ill-fated divorce between science and religion in Europe, one whose consequences have adversely affected the entire world.

In the post-Christian West, where thinking people, including scientists themselves once more, are seeking solutions to the difficulties created by the Christian divorce between religion and science, the Qur’an offers a way to explore an attitude that fully embraces the quest for knowledge and understanding that is the essence of science, while at the same time, and indeed for the same reasons, fully embraces the awe, humility, reverence, and conscience without which “humankind does indeed go too far in considering itself to be self-sufficient” (Qur’an 96:6-7).

Even for the secular Westerner, apart from any question of religious belief or faith, there are immediate benefits to be found in reading the Qur’an. First, in view of the sacredness and vital importance of the Qur’an to approximately one-fifth of all humanity, a thinking citizen of the world can hardly develop a rational and mature social consciousness without considering the message of the Qur’an and its meaning for the Muslim community.

With the fall of communism, it has become particularly clear that global peace, order, and self-determination of peoples cannot be achieved without intelligent respect for Islam and the inalienable right of Muslims to live their religion. The second immediate benefit in reading the Qur’an, therefore, is that it is a necessary step toward the understanding and tolerance without which world peace is in fact inconceivable.

For non-Muslims, one special advantage in reading the Qur’an is that it provides an authentic point of reference from which to examine the biased stereotypes of Islam to which Westerners are habitually exposed. Primary information is essential to distinguish between opinion and fact in a reasonable manner. This exercise may also enable the thinking individual to understand the inherently defective nature of prejudice itself, and thus be the more generally receptive to all information and knowledge of possible use to humankind.

Excerpted from “The Essential Koran” by Thomas Cleary. Thomas Cleary has translated various religious texts, including The Essential Tao, The Secret of the Golden Flower and the bestselling The Art of War.

The Qur’an: An Awakening of Reason

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Understanding, meditation, observation, reasoning, are words reiterated many times in the Qur’an in the context of criticizing the disbelievers’ insistence on blind imitation of their wrong traditions and refusal of the truth.

For example, Allah Almighty says, [And when it is said unto them: Follow that which Allah hath revealed, they say: We follow that wherein we found our fathers. What! Even though their fathers were wholly unintelligent and had no guidance?] (Al-Baqarah 2:170).

Allah Almighty also says, [Will they then not meditate on the Qur’an, or are there locks on the hearts?] (Muhammad 47:24).

In this verse, Allah Almighty calls the disbelievers to reflect on the verses of the Qur’an and try to get the message they imply. Likewise, the Qur’an calls people to meditate deeply upon Allah’s creation.

He Almighty, for instance, says, [Lo! In the creation of the heavens and the earth and (in) the difference of night and day are tokens (of His sovereignty) for men of understanding] (Aal `Imran 3:190).

The Qur’an also awakens people to reflect upon Allah’s creation and the truth of their being by posing rhetorical questions in this respect. Allah Almighty says, for example, [Have they not observed all thing that Allah hath created] (An-Nahl 16:48).

He Most High also says, [Will they not regard the camels, how they are created?] (Al-Ghashiyah 88:17).

There are also many verses in the Qur’an that wind up with impressive questions in this regard, such as, [Will they not then heed?] (As-Sajdah 32:26), [Will they not then see?] (As-Sajdah 32:27), [Have ye then no sense?] (Ya-Sin 36:68).

The importance of the role of reason in understanding, and thus believing, the message of Islam is further emphasized by considering the person’s capacity of understanding and reasoning as the basis of his or her being held legally responsible in Islam. That is why Almighty Allah forbids all things that may cause harm to man’s intellect and make him intoxicated.

Hence, He Almighty says, [O ye who believe! Strong drink and games of chance and idols and divining arrows are only an infamy of Satan’s handiwork. Leave it aside in order that ye may succeed] (Al-Ma’idah 5:90).

The Qur’an also stresses that having sound knowledge is the means for developing one’s intellectual faculties; this is implied in Almighty Allah’s words [And such are the parables We set forth for mankind, but only those understand them who have knowledge] (Al-`Ankabut 29:43).

Contemplating the above sample verses, it is emphasized that the Qur’an awakens people to realize the truth of their existence and calls them to give up the blind imitation of wrong traditions and the fanatic attitudes they hold in this respect.

This is because Islam considers sound human reason as the source of man’s honor and the basis that gives humankind true guidance and leads to a genuinely enlightened civilization.Hence, it is high time now for Muslims all over the world to free their reasons from the shackles of blind imitation so as to assume their correct Islamic role of enlightenment in this world. They should give up all ways of [old-fashioned] idle reception of the process of education and replace them with critical and scientific thinking, so as to be able to progress and resume their pioneering roles in various fields of knowledge.

To fulfil this objective, it is not enough to memorize the Qur’an by heart; Muslims must also meditate upon its meaning and message and inculcate in their children’s minds that the Qur’an teaches them the way to lead positive and enlightened lives.Theses are points for all reasonable people to consider, and exceptionally truthful are Almighty Allah’s words [But none remember except men of understanding] (Al-Baqarah 2:269).