Allah, the Entirely Merciful, has given us the gift of the Quran. During Ramadan, we should take time to reflect on the significance of that glorious gift. We should also express gratitude to the One Who bestowed it.
Allah is Al-Aleem, the All-Knowing. In His perfect knowledge, He knows exactly what we, His Creation, need. He knows that throughout the passage of time, humanity will experience highs and lows, tests and trials because He, in His perfect knowledge and wisdom, has decreed them for us. He is aware of our triumphs and progress, just like He is aware of our calamities and our setbacks. He knows that the events of life (both the ups and downs) will challenge our faith in Him. He tests us, and through those tests, He exposes our true nature to us, because He is Al-Khabeer, the All-Aware; He already knows who we are. He knows the inner realities of everything in His creation. He knows us well.
Allah is Ar-Raheem. He is Exceptionally Merciful to the Believers, and in that perfect mercy, He gives us exactly what we need, when and how we need it. When our faith is high and our deeds are good, if we ask Him sincerely, He gives our hearts what they need to keep persevering with humility and submission.
Likewise, when our hearts are breaking, our hopes are dashed, and our egos are running amuck, He can give us what we truly need to stay the straight course. He has given us many gifts, but we have to have the correct mindset to acknowledge and accept them.
Allah is Al-Wahhab, the Bestower of Gifts. He is the Great Giver whose blessings are freely and perpetually given. He gives to us with no expectation of compensation. He gives, whether we ask, or whether our fears and frustrations make us become mute. He is truly the Most Liberal Giver who gives both to the deserving and undeserving, to those who are aware that we are in need, and to those of us who mistakenly think we are self-sufficient, independent, and without the need of help.
In Truth, He is the only thing in existence that is Self-Sufficient. We, His creation, are in perpetual need of sustenance, Divine guidance, motivation, admonition, and inspiration. Allah has given us a gift to address our needs. We have been given Al-Kitab, the Book. This is not just any book; it is The Book.
The Quran is the Best Gift
It was on a special night during the blessed month of Ramadan that Allah began to send down the Quran to Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. It was on that night that Allah gave mankind the best gift of guidance. For believers, there is no doubt that the Quran is the Book that mankind needs. This is the book that is the cure and the relief from all trials. It is the rest at the beginning, during, and at the end of our journeys. It is the hope after our hopelessness and the calm after our personal and societal storms.
It's all there in the Quran. The Book. Allah lets us know that …
“Those who have believed and whose hearts are assured by the remembrance of Allah, Unquestionably (certainly, without a doubt!)by the remembrance of Allah, hearts are assured."
(Surah Ar-Ra'd, 13:28)
It is through the Quran that hearts come to find the gifts of satisfaction, rest, and calmness. Allah Al-Wahhab gave us a Book that brings those gifts to our hearts. It provides comfort and peace.
The Miraculous Gift of Allah’s Speech
Allah has given us a miraculous gift. What is it about this book that it is able to soothe our spirits? What is it about this book that when Allah challenges the people who hear the Quran to produce even one small chapter like it. This is no ordinary book.
The Quran is not a created thing. It is the speech of Allah. In Surah Tawbah, Allah says:
“And if anyone from the people of polytheism seeks that you grant him protection, then grant him protection so that he can hear the Speech of Allah.”
(Surah At-Tawbah, 9:6)
Allah ascribes to Himself the attribute of speech. He, the Perfect and Most High, warned us about what the hypocrites really want to do with this gift. He said:
“...They wish to alter the Speech of Allah…”
(Surah Al-Fath, verse 15).
He lets us know that there will be people who will try to change Allah’s words and their meanings. These are people who don't understand or believe in The Gift.
The Quran is only one example of Allah giving the gift of His Speech to humanity. In the past, He spoke to the people of Prophet Musa through the Tawrah. He spoke to the people of Prophet Eesa through the Injeel. He spoke to the people of Prophet Dawud through the Dhabur. Peace be upon all of the prophets. These scriptures, in their original forms, represent the words of Allah. They have been distorted and changed over time by mankind, so Allah sent to humanity His final words, in the form of the Quran. What a gift!
Allah speaks to us with commands, prohibitions, reminders, stories, and parables. In Surah Yasin, He says:
“When He speaks a command, when He wills something, He says to it kun fiya kun, or “be, and it is."
(Surah Ya Sin, 36:82)
That is how awesome and powerful His speech is. What a gift!
No wonder this book soothes hearts and heals our souls. Allah says in Surah Waqiah:
“Most certainly, it is a Quran, Most honorable.”
(Surah Al-Waqiah, 36:77)
We have been given the gift of the criterion for right and wrong because the Quran differentiates between the truth and false, the lawful and unlawful.
We have been blessed with a protected dhikr or a reminder. Allah says:
"Indeed it is We, We Who sent down the Reminder in parts, and it is indeed, We, Who are its Guardian.”
(Surah Al-Hijr, 15:9)
We have been gifted with a clear book of guidance. We have been gifted with a book that is filled with miracles. Such is the beauty of the Quran. There are miracles in the Quran’s language, in its prophecies, and in its structure – miracles upon miracles.
What if we don’t feel worthy of The Gift?
For many reasons, we (or our loved ones) can become people who don’t know how to receive beautiful gifts. Receiving a gift with gratitude requires a certain degree of vulnerability and humility. But when we know we have been sinful or disobedient, we don’t always feel worthy. This can especially be true if we are converts to Islam and were raised to believe that our savior is another human. This may also be true if you have been socialized in an environment where people politicize Islam and do not govern according to the Quran and Sunnah. How could we possibly be worthy of the big, mega gifts when everything in our environment is telling us that we are not worthy? Deep down, in the recesses of our souls, we can't fathom that our restless hearts will ever find ease. These feelings are indicative of crises of faith.
But the Quran isn't like any other cure. The illustrious scholar Ibn ul Qayyim, may Allah be pleased with him, said: "The Quran is the complete healing from every sickness of the heart and body and the worldly life and the hereafter" (Zaad al-Ma'ad, 4/119).
Shaytan does not want us to connect with the Quran. He wants us to think it is just another book or that it is the product of human invention. He wants you to believe there are errors and inconsistencies in it, but there are no discrepancies in the message of the Quran. Its inimitable style and Divine message offer guidance for believers who interact with it in certainty.
11 Rules of Engagement with the Gift
There are some basic principles we should keep in mind as we engage with the Quran:
- Be mindful of your intention. Approach the Quran seeking to be guided, inspired, enlightened, and healed.
- Pray for Allah’s guidance. Seek refuge with Allah before reading it. Begin with Allah’s name.
- Be consistent. Read and listen to the Quran regularly.
- Reflect on the verses you read. Look for repeated phrases and topics. Pay attention to what the Quran says about itself.
- Strive to implement its commands and stay away from its prohibitions. Let the Quran truly become your instruction manual for life.
- Focus on the direct, fundamental, and clear statements of the Quran. Don’t try to analyze the metaphorical verses and the huruf muqattaʿat (the disconnected letters at the beginning of some chapters) based on your own knowledge.
- Study sound hadith and commentary. Seek to understand how the words, actions, and tacit approvals of the Prophet, peace be upon him, help us to understand the verses of the Quran. The Quran states:"And We revealed to you [Muhammad] the message that you may make clear to the people what was sent down to them and that they might give thought." (Surah An-Nahl, 16:44)
- Understand that the actual Quran is in the Arabic language. Translations are interpretations and do not come close to the beauty of the Arabic Quran that Allah has protected, nor do the translations necessarily have the same miraculous effect on the soul. Allah, however, grants understanding to whomever He pleases.
- Do not form a conclusion about the Quran's meaning based upon a solitary verse taken out of context. All of the Quranic verses on a topic must be considered. We also have to consider how the first generations of Muslims implemented its verses.
- The Quran is divinely protected. (Surah Al-Hijr, 15:9)
- Know that Allah has completed His message to humanity and no one can change anything in it. (Surah Al-An’am, 6:34 & 115)
The Quran is our gift, so thank Allah for its words, its guidance, its message, its eloquence, its miracles, and its assurance.
Candice “Sister Islaah” Abd’al-Rahim reverted to Islam in 1976, and considers herself a student of knowledge. She has deep education credentials which include an M.A. in Teaching, a Certificate of Advanced Studies (Post-Masters) in Administration and Supervision, a B.S. in English, and experiences as a principal (in fact the first hijab public school principal in Maryland!), curriculum and staff developer, mentor, and classroom teacher of grades pre-K through 12. She is a former adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University’s Graduate School of Education and is a doctoral candidate in Islamic Sciences at the International Online University. Islaah’s contributions to the field have earned her honors in the Who’s Who of Distinguished JHU Alumni. She is a wife, daughter, mother, and grandmother and is an active member of several Muslim communities in the Baltimore area.