Understanding the Holy Word

Imagine you receive a letter from an honourable person, a colossus personality; he is the one whom you follow, respect, and admire; the man who is honest, truthful, trustworthy and praiseworthy. The letter contains nuggets. It can change your life, can serve as a beacon, can topple your dangerous materialistic fondness, can serve as an epitome of blessings and beauty, can melt prejudice, can break through barriers; the words for sure would sooth your heart, provide solace to your heart and eyes, and eradicate the restlessness which you have been experiencing since your tender age. Alas, it turns out that you can’t read the letter, you are oblivious to the message it carries, you are not in a position to draw something valuable from it, something which could pave way to the right path. Undoubtedly, it will be a huge loss if you aren’t able to understand and decipher the meaning of the words, if you remain complacent, if you remain nonchalant, and not wary!

The noble Quran is analogous to the letter on a broader spectrum sent from Allah (SWT), revealed directly on the Messenger of Allah (PBUH), in the night of Laylat al-Qadr. The other scriptures like Torah, Zabūr and Injil came in the written form, as books, and were not revealed to the Prophets. Quran was revealed first, and later on it was compiled without any tampering with the text. Interestingly, the essence of the Quran can be gauged through these string of pearls from Hazrat Ali (R.A): He used to say, “if I wanted to speak to Allah to seek his forgiveness and mercy, I would offer Salah, and if I wanted Allah to speak to me, to guide me to the righteous path then I would open the holy Quran.”

Quran was revealed in the Arabic language. The astonishing fact about this language is that each alphabet carries a unique meaning, there exists no such language in the world with such astounding quality. In Surah Baqara, Allah says, “Alif, Laam, Meem. Dhaalikal kitaabu laa rayba feeh, hudal lil muttaqeen.”, ‘huda’ means the peak of a huge rock in a water body. Arabs used to get the information about their routes by looking at peaks of those rocks, which shimmered in the sunlight. Those glimmering rocks served as reference points for them, as indicators for the routes; those glimmering peaks would confirm to them that they were moving ahead in the right direction. That reference point for humanity is Quran, a beautiful analogy drawn by Allah; as you bring the Quran to the fore, understand the meaning, and follow the commandments, you would never go astray. Quran begins with a note on Allah’s limitless mercy – “In the name of Allah, the most gracious and the most merciful”. The words Ar Rahmaan and Ar Raheem are two of the 99 names of Allah which refer to Allah’s attribute of being kind, gentle, and merciful. This dispels the myth that it’s difficult to follow the path of Islam, to tread the path which guides us- toward righteousness, teaches us to be immune to hate, malice, corruption, grudge, fantasy, and warns us not to bear any ill will against anyone. It is quite apparent that we often interpret Quran in a manner wherein the interpretation conveys strictness, horror of the afterlife. Quran teaches us to protect ourselves from the creator’s wrath, it meticulously forbids from indulging into any un-Islamic practices; this narration pictures Allah’s love for his servants: Umar ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “Some prisoners were brought to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and there was a woman among the prisoners who was searching (for her child). When she found her child she embraced him and put him to her bosom. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said to us, ‘Do you think that this woman would throw her child in the fire?’ We said, ‘No, by Allah, not if she is able not to.’ The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, ‘Allah is more merciful to His slaves than this woman is to her child.”. In some Hadiths, it is mentioned that Allah’s love for his slaves is seventy times more than their biological mothers, however, some scholars disagree with it and it stands disputed. Nevertheless, in Arabic language seventy doesn’t signify a number in a literal sense, it simply means ample and unconditional.

We read Surah Fatiha in every prayer, but do we know its meaning and importance? Surah Fatiha, like all other chapters, is undoubtedly a treasure trove of the Quran. Our Prophet (PBUH) said that Allah gave me Surah Fatiha for the holy book Torah, which was sent to Musa (alayhi salam). It is imperative on all of us to understand Quran properly and absorb its wisdom. The almighty Allah says:

“[This is] a blessed Book which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], that they might reflect upon its verses and that those of understanding would be reminded.” [Quran, 38: 29]

The above mentioned Ayat clearly signifies that it is a spiritual duty of a Muslim to reflect upon the holy verses which is only possible when they are read in an understandable language.

As the Holy Quran is full of information that transforms the lives of millions of people around the world, so, it is important to recite and understand it in local language for better understanding its knowledge. Understanding Quran is very important for every Muslim because when we understand its meaning , we will be able to implement it in our lives.

Pertinently, what is the purpose of reading the Quran in prayer if not to comprehend and ponder over it? Just take  one Surah, try to grasp the meaning by going through some authentic translation in a language you understand, preferably in your mother tongue.  Even if you don’t understand Arabic, hold onto the meaning, memorize it, try to recall it during the recitation; you will surely feel the difference!

The holy Quran is not a surreal mix of fact and fantasy, it is the authentic book with no tinkering with its text, no discrepancies, whatsoever; contemplate over it, ponder upon it.  Embrace it, clutch it, spread it, and live by it!

Afaaq Majid Sheikh Studied B. Tech in Electronics and Communication, NIT Srinagar