Par Excellence - Islam - Topics

Understanding IslamIntroduction to IslamSome Basic InformationMuslim BeliefsAbout The Qur'aan IAbout The Qur'aan IIHistory of Muhammed (pbuh)History of ProphetsSermons of Muhammed (pbuh)40 AhadithSome Prominent MuslimsThe Holy Qur'aan
Source of Information: The Islamic Scholar Professional CD-ROM

Par Excellence - Islam - List of Topics In Selected Reference

About The Qur'aan II


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1. A NEW WORLD AWAITS YOU: MOMENTOUS JOURNEY

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You are about to undertake a momentous journey - a journey that will take you through the endless joys and riches of the words that your Creator and Lord has sent to you and all mankind. As you come to the Qur'an, you will come to a new world - a world of untold treasures of knowledge and wisdom to guide you on the pathways of life, of thought and action; of deep insights to capture your imagination; of radiant light to illumine the deeper reaches of your soul; of profound emotions and glowing warmth to melt your heart and bring tears running down your cheeks. It is the Qur'an, and only the Qur'an, which can lead you on and on to success and glory in this world and the Hereafter.

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2. A NEW WORLD AWAITS YOU: BEYOND HUMAN COMPREHENSION

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It is beyond the power of man to comprehend or even to describe the greatness and importance of what the Qur'an holds for him. Yet you must have some idea of what it means to you, to inspire you to immerse the whole of your self in the Qur'an, in total commitment and dedication, as it demands. The Qur'an is Allah's greatest blessings for you. It is the fulfilment of His promise to Adam and his descendants:

...THERE SHALL COME TO YOU GUIDANCE FROM ME AND WHOSOEVER FOLLOWS MY GUIDANCE NO FEAR SHALL BE ON THEM, NEITHER SHALL THEY SORROW (Holy Qur'an 2:38)

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3. A NEW WORLD AWAITS YOU: ONLY WAY TO SUCCESS AND SALVATION

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It is the only weapon to help your frail existence as you struggle against the forces of evil and temptation in this world. It is the only light, as you grope in the darkness, with which to find your way to success and salvation. It is your only sanctuary as you are tossed around in the stormy sea of life. It has been brought down by one who is powerful and trustworthy in the heavens - the angel Jibra'il. Its first abode was that pure and sublime heart, the like of which man has never seen - the heart of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). More than anything, it is the only "way" to come nearer and closer to your Creator. It tells you of Him; of His attributes; of how He rules over the cosmos and history; of how He relates Himself to you and how you should relate to Him, to yourself, to your fellow men and to every other existence.

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4. A NEW WORLD AWAITS YOU: INDEED -- THE WORD OF ALLAH

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What you read in the Qur'an is the word of Allah, the Lord of the worlds, which He has conveyed to you in a human language, only because of His infinite Mercy and care and providence for you. This act of Divine mercy is enough to awe and overwhelm you and inspire you to ever greater heights of gratitude, yearnings and endeavours to enter the world of the Qur'an. The majesty of the Qur'an is so overpowering that,

IF WE HAD SENT DOWN THIS QUR'AN UPON A MOUNTAIN, YOU WOULD HAVE SEEN IT HUMBLED, SPLIT ASUNDER OUT OF FEAR OF ALLAH. (Holy Qur'an 59:21)

Indeed, no treasure is more valuable and precious for you than the Qur'an, as Allah says of His generosity:

O MEN! THERE HAS COME TO YOU AN EXHORTATION FROM YOUR LORD, HEALING FOR WHAT IS IN THE HEARTS AND A GUIDANCE, AND A MERCY FOR BELIEVERS.(Holy Qur'an 10:57)

SAY: IN (THIS) BOUNTY OF ALLAH AND IN HIS MERCY IN IT LET THEM REJOICE. IT IS BETTER THAN WHATEVER THEY AMASS. (Holy Qur'an 10:58)

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5. A NEW WORLD AWAITS YOU: HIS MERCY, BLESSINGS & GENEROSITY

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Rejoice you must, in the mercy and blessing and generosity of Allah. But the Qur'an opens its doors only to those who knock with a depth of yearning, sincerity of purpose and exclusiveness of attention that befits its importance and majesty. And only those are allowed to gather its treasures, while they walk through it, who are prepared to abandon themselves completely to its guidance and do their utmost to absorb it. What a tragic misfortune it would be if you came to the Qur'an and went away-empty handed -- soul untouched, heart unmoved, life unchanged -- "they went out as they came In". You may recite its words and turn its pages endlessly and laboriously, yet fail to make an encounter with it that enriches and transforms your whole person. The Qur'an's blessings are limitless, but the measure of your fill depends entirely upon the capacity and the suitability of the receptacle you bring to it. Nine months spent in the womb of your mother have transformed a drop of water into "you" -- hearing, seeing and thinking. Can you imagine what a lifetime spent with the Qur'an -- seeking, hearing, seeing, thinking, striving -- can do for you? It can make you into an entirely new "being" -- before whom even angels will feel proud to kneel. So, at the very outset, make yourself more deeply aware of what the Qur'an means to you, and, what it demands of you; and make a solemn determination to recite the Qur'an in an appropriate manner, so that you may be counted among:

THOSE WHOM WE HAVE GIVEN THE BOOK, THEY RECITE IT AS IT OUGHT TO BE RECITED; (IT IS ONLY) THEY WHO BELIEVE IN IT. (Holy Qur'an 2:121)

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6. A NEW WORLD AWAITS YOU: TILAWAH OR RECITATION

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Tilawah or recitation is an act in which your whole person -- soul, heart, mind, tongue and body -- should participate. To recite the Qur'an thus, as it deserves to be recited, is not a light task; but nor is it difficult or impossible. Otherwise the Qur'an could not have been meant for a layman like you; nor could it be the mercy and the guidance that it surely is. But it does entail many a travail of heart and mind, soul and intellect, spirit and body; and requires that certain conditions be observed and obligations be fulfilled -- some inwardly, some outwardly. You should know them all now before you enter the glorious world of the Qur'an.

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7. ATTITUDES OF HEART AND MIND

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There are certain basic attitudes of heart and mind, to be integrated deeply in the conscious soul and in action, which constitute the necessary prerequisites to any fruitful study of the Qur'an.

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8. ATTITUDES OF HEART AND MIND: Firm Faith and Conviction

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Come to the Qur'an with a deep and firm faith and conviction that it is the revealed word of Allah. Such is the charm of the Qur'an that even if a man takes it up and starts reading it as he would an ordinary book, he would still benefit from it, provided he reads it with an open mind. But this is the Book of Allah; and you should always remain conscious that each word you are reading has been sent for you by Allah. This constant awareness is vital to develop the right attitudes and strong determination required to reach the heart of the Qur'an and assimilate its message. Think of His majesty and glory and power, and you will feel the awe and devotion and a longing for His words. That is why the Qur'an reminds you of this important truth at the beginning of most surahs and frequently in between.

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9. ATTITUDES OF HEART AND MIND: Purpose of Recitation

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Recite the Qur'an with no other purpose than to come nearer to your Lord and seek His guidance and good pleasure. You should seek guidance from the Qur'an, for your total life, and only from the Qur'an. It is the word of Allah; and it requires as much exclusiveness as He does. One who desires worldly ends from the Qur'an may get them, but he shall surely lose a whole ocean that could have filled his cup. One who has the Qur'an with him and yet goes to other sources for guidance, is surely running after mirages.

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10. ATTITUDES OF HEART AND MIND: Accept Truth, Knowledge and Guidance

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Accept, without the slightest doubt or scepticism, every piece of truth, knowledge and guidance that the Qur'an conveys to you. You have every right to enquire, reflect and understand what it contains; but what you cannot fully comprehend is not necessarily unreasonable. You have a right to reject that it is the word of Allah; but once you have accepted it as His, you have no basis whatsoever to doubt even a single word of it. There must be a total surrender and abandonment to the Qur'an. Your own opinion, beliefs, notions, whims and caprices should not be allowed to override any part of it.

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11. ATTITUDES OF HEART AND MIND: Readiness to Change Attitudes and Behaviour

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Have the determination and readiness to change and mould your attitudes and behaviour -- inward and outward -- in accordance with the teachings you come across in the Qur'an. Unless you are prepared and begin to act, there intellectual exercises will never bring you anywhere near the real treasures of the Qur'an.

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12. ATTITUDES OF HEART AND MIND: Seek Refuge with Allah

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Remain aware that, as you embark upon reciting the Qur'an, the possibilities and the potentials of your advancement are so great that Satan will, on this occasion, make greater efforts to deprive you of the fruits of your labour. He may pollute your intention make you remain unmindful of its meaning and message; create doubts in your mind; create barriers between your soul and the words of Allah; or tempt you away from obeying the Qur'an. It is with the full consciousness of these perils and dangers that your tongue should, in obedience to the Qur'an, say: "A' Uzubillahi...."

WHEN YOU RECITE THE QUR'AN SEEK REFUGE WITH ALLAH FROM SATAN, THE REJECTED (Holy Qur'an 16:98)

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13. ATTITUDES OF HEART AND MIND: Allahs Infinite Mercy

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Realise that, just as it has been Allah's infinite mercy that has brought His words to you in the Qur'an, so it can be only His mercy that can lead you to the full rewards of its reading. Your desire and effort are the necessary means; but His will and support are the only guarantees. So approach the Qur'an with humility, with a sense of utter dependence upon Him, with trust in Him and with supplication and devotion to Him at every step.

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14. ATTITUDES OF HEART AND MIND: Constant Praise & Gratitude

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Make yourself constantly pulsate with intense praise and gratitude to your Lord for having blessed you with His greatest gift--the Qur'an, and for having guided you to its reading and study. It is but natural for your heart to beat with joy and murmur:

THANKFUL PRAISE BE TO ALLAH, WHO HAS GUIDED US TO THIS; (OTHERWISE) NEVER COULD WE HAVE FOUND GUIDANCE, HAD ALLAH NOT GUIDED US. (Holy Qur'an 7:43)

The more you are grateful, the more Allah will give you from the riches of the Qur'an.

In this spirit of dependence, trust, praise and gratitude, let your heart and tongue, in mutual harmony, begin the recitation: "In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful" -- the verse which appears at the head of all but one of the 114 Surahs of the Qur'an. And also pray:

OUR LORD! LET NOT OUR HEARTS SWERVE (FROM THE TRUTH) AFTER YOU HAVE GUIDED US; AND BESTOW UPON US YOUR GRACE INDEED YOU ALONE ARE THE BESTOWER. (Holy Qur'an 3:8).

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15. HEART WITH YOU

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Before starting to recite the Qur'an, you should ensure that so long as you are with the Qur'an, your "Heart" remains with you; not merely a piece of flesh, but the centre of all your attention, remembrance, emotions, aspirations and activities; or, your whole inner "person" Only then will you have the capability to receive the great gifts of Allah and respond with humble devotion. The seven prerequisites discussed earlier lay the foundations for the communion of the Qur'an with your heart. In addition to these, the observance of a few more rules will greatly increase the intensity and quality of this presence of heart.

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16. HEART WITH YOU: In the Presence of Allah

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Always keep yourself alive to the reality that, while you are reciting the Qur'an, you are in the very presence of Him who has sent these words to you.

HE IS WITH YOU WHEREVER YOU ARE (Holy Qur'an 57:4)

WE ARE NEARER TO HIM THAN HIS JUGULAR VEIN. (Holy Qur'an 50:16)

WHATEVER PORTION YOU MAY BE RECITING FROM THE QUR'AN, AND WHATEVER DEED YOU MAY BE DOING, WE ARE WITNESSES THEREOF WHEN YOU ARE DEEPLY ENGROSSED THEREIN. (Holy Qur'an 10:61)

REMEMBER ME AND I WILL REMEMBER YOU. (Holy Qur'an 2:152)

You may not see Him, but He is certainly seeing you.

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17. HEART WITH YOU: Listening to the Quran from Allah Himself

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Feel, as a part of your effort to "remain" in the presence of Allah, as if you are listening to the Qur'an from Allah Himself. Al-Ghazali tells, in the Ihya, of a person who could move nearer to the Qur'an and could taste more of its sweetness by feeling that; first, as if he was listening to it from the Prophet (peace be upon him); then, as if from the angel Jibra'il; and lastly, as if from Allah Himself.

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18. HEART WITH YOU: Direct Addressee of the Quran

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Consider that you, individually and personally, are the direct addressee of the Qur'an. Though the Qur'an has been received by you indirectly through persons, time and space, but let all these intermediaries recede and disappear for some moments and allow yourself to receive the Qur'an as if it is talking directly to you, penetrating your heart and intellect. The very thought of such direct reception will keep your heart seized by what you are reading.

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19. HEART WITH YOU: Posture Reflect Inner Submission

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Make your outward posture reflect your inner awe, respect, devotion and submission for the words of your Lord. There is a deep connection between the outward and the inward of a man. The "presence" of the body will keep the "Heart" present. There should be a difference in your posture while reading the Qur'an in comparison to an ordinary book.

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20. HEART WITH YOU: Purify Yours|elf

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Purify yourself as much as you can. You know that only the "pure" are entitled even to touch the Qur'an. You know that your body, dress and place should be clean. You also know about the purity of intention. But you should also realise that the purity of heart and body from sins is equally important. No one can be completely free from sins; but try to avoid as much as you can. And if you happen to commit some, try to turn to Allah in repentance and ask for His forgiveness, as soon as you can. Also take care that, while reading the Qur'an, you are not eating haraam, wearing haraam, living in haraam (obtained through means not permitted by Allah). The purer you are, the more your heart will remain with you, the more it will open itself to the Qur'an

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21. UNDERSTANDING AND REFLECTING

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It is vital that you should understand what Allah is saying to you and reflect over it as much as you can. If you read the Qur'an without understanding, you may derive some reward because of your sense of devotion and your desire to read this Book. But this would not, in the least, fulfil the purpose for which it has been revealed. It has come to vitalise you, mould you and lead you to a new life and existence. It is not merely a source of blessing, a sacred ritual, a revered relic or a holy magic. The Qur'an is full of exhortations asking you as to why you "hear not", "see not”, “ think not", "use not reason", "ponder not". It says that,

WHEN THEY ARE REMINDED OF THE VERSES OF THEIR LORD, THEY FALL NOT DEAF AND BLIND THEREAT (Holy Qur'an 25:73)

DO THEY NOT PONDER OVER THE QUR'AN, OR ARE THERE LOCKS ON THE HEARTS. (Holy Qur'an 47:24)

You will find elsewhere better guidance on how to understand and ponder over the Qur'an, but there are certain important principles you should keep in mind.

1. Understand and reflect over the Qur'an as if it was being revealed today, as each word of it is as living and relevant today as it was when it was first revealed. In this light, you should try to relate and apply it to your own life, concerns, experiences and levels of knowledge and technology. Do not consider any verse of the Qur'an as merely a thing of the past.

2. Read the whole of the Qur'an, from beginning to end, with the help of a translation. This will give you an overall idea of the Book, its style and message.

3. Initially, read only short but good commentaries and do not delve in long and detailed tafsirs.

4. Try to learn at least as much Arabic as will enable you to understand the meaning of the Qur'an without the help of a translation. It may seem an arduous task, but I have known semi-illiterate persons accomplish this within a few months, once they took to it seriously and devotedly.

5. Ponder and think deeply over the various parts of what you read. This requires reciting a particular verse or portion thereof slowly (with tarr'teel) or even repeatedly. The more you think and reflect, you will have a greater share of its rich and unlimited meanings. It is in this sense that Ibn 'Umar spent eight years on Surah al-Baqarah alone. The Prophet (peace be upon him) and many others used to spend whole nights repeating just one verse.

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22. INNER PARTICIPATION

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The Qur'an was first sent down to the "Heart" or the inner person of the Prophet (peace be upon him). You will therefore reap its full joys only when you are able to involve your inner self in your recitation. This will not prove difficult if you are mindful that you are reading the words of Allah, in His presence, and if you understand and reflect over what you read. Such a state of involvement may be achieved and intensified in certain other ways too

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23. INNER PARTICIPATION: Receiving the Quran with your Hearts

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Always keep reminding yourself of what the Qur'an itself tells of those who receive it with their hearts, and how the Prophet (peace be upon him), his companions and others used to involve themselves in it.

AND WHEN THEY HEAR WHAT HAS BEEN SENT DOWN TO THE MESSENGER, YOU SEE THEIR EYES OVERFLOW WITH TEARS BECAUSE OF WHAT THEY RECOGNISE OF TRUTH. THEY CRY, OUR LORD! WE BELIEVE; SO YOU DO WRITE US DOWN AMONG THE WITNESSES (TO THE TRUTH). (Holy Qur'an 5:86)

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24. INNER PARTICIPATION: Consider Personally

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You have already prepared yourself to receive the Qur'an as being addressed to you from Allah, and as being fully relevant to your times. Now consider that the message in each verse is meant for you personally, whether it be a norm or value, a statement or piece of knowledge, a promise or a warning, a command or a prohibition.

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25. INNER PARTICIPATION: Sincere Response

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Your heart should then come alive and respond to the various notes and themes that are stuck in it by different verses. Make it pass through the various states of adoration and praise, awe and wonder, hope and despair, assurance and anxiety, love and fear, happiness and sorrow, devotion and submission.

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