Third: Make yourself constantly alert 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.
Once you realize what a priceless treasure you hold in your hands, it is but natural for your heart to beat with joy and murmur, and for your tongue to join in:
‘Thankful praise be to Allah, who has guided us to this; [otherwise] never could we have found guidance had not Allah not guided us’ (al-A’raf 7: 43).
Of all the intimate blessings and favors He has bestowed upon you nothing can match the Qur’an. If every hair on your body becomes a tongue praising and thanking Him, if every drop of blood in your body turns into a joyful tear, even then your praise and thanks will not match His enormous generosity that is the Qur’an.
Even if the Qur’an had not been sent down for us, its perfection and beauty, its majesty and splendor would deserve all the praise at our command. But that this sublime and perfect gift, having the unique distinction of embodying our Lord’s speech, has been given solely for our sake must intensify our praise beyond bounds.
Such intense praise inevitably turns into intense gratitude. And no word expresses this intense praise combined with overflowing gratitude and thanks as well as does al-hamd.
alhamdu li ‘llahi ‘I-ladhl hadana li hadha …
Why thank Allah for having given us the Qur’an? Principally because He has, thus, guided you to meaning and purpose in life and brought you on the Straight Path. The way
to honor and dignity in this-world has been opened for you. In the Qur’an, you can converse with Allah. Only by following the Qur’an in this-world can you attain forgiveness, Paradise and Allah’s good pleasure in that-world.
Gratitude and joy lead to trust, hope and greater gifts. The One who has given you the Qur’an will surely help you in reading, understanding and following it. Thankfulness and
joy generate an ever-fresh vigor which helps you to read the Qur’an always with a renewed zeal. The more you are grateful, the more Allah gives you of the riches that the
Qur’an has to offer. Generosity evokes gratitude, gratitude makes you deserve more generosity – an unending cycle.
Such is God’s promise:
‘If you are grateful, I will surely give you more and more’ (Ibrahim 14: 7).
Having the Qur’an and not feeling immensely grateful for it can only mean two things: either you are ignorant of the blessings that the Qur’an contains, or you do not attach any
importance to them. In either case you should be seriously worried about the state of your relationship with the Qur’an.
The sentiment of gratitude that permeates every pore of your heart and mind, must also pour out in your words, which should be profuse and incessant. Thank Allah at every step of your journey: for having had time for the Qur’an, for reading it correctly, for memorizing it, or every meaning you discover in it, for having been enabled to follow it. Gratitude must also be transformed into deeds.Â Â
Acceptance and Trust
Fourth: Accept and trust, without the least doubt or hesitation, every knowledge and guidance that the Qur’an conveys to you.
You have the freedom to question whether the Qur’an is the word of Allah or not, and to reject its claim if you are not satisfied. But once you have accepted it as His word, you have no basis whatever to doubt even a single word of it. For to do so would negate what you have accepted. There must be total surrender and abandonment to the Quranic
teachings. Your own beliefs, opinions, judgments, notions, whims should not be allowed to override any part of it.
The Qur’an condemns those who receive the Book as an inheritance and then behave as bewildered and puzzled, doubting and skeptical ‘believers’.
“Those whom the Book has been given as an inheritance after them [the early people], behold they are in doubt about it, disquieting” (al-Shura 42: 14).
The Qur’an also repeatedly emphasizes that every measure was taken to ensure that it came down and was conveyed without any adulteration. And affirms:
With the Truth We have sent it down and with the Truth it has come down (al-Isra’ 17: 105). And perfect are the words of your Lord in Truth and Justice (al-An’am 6: 115).
Accepting and trusting the Qur’an as true, and wholly true, does not mean blind faith, closed minds, un-enquiring intellects.
You have every right to inquire, reflect, question and understand what it contains; but what you cannot fully comprehend is not necessarily irrational or untrue. In a mine
where you believe that every stone is a priceless gem – and it may have proved to be so – you will not throw away the few whose worth your eyes fail to detect or which the tools
available to you are inadequate or unable to evaluate.
Nor can part of the Qur’an be discarded as being out of date and old-fashioned, an old wives’ tale. If God is Lord of all times, His message must be equally valid fourteen centuries later.
To accept some part of the Qur’an and to reject some is to reject all of it. There is no room for partial acceptance in your relationship with the Qur’an; there cannot logically be
(al Baqarah 2: 85).
There are many diseases of the heart and mind which may prevent you from accepting the Quranic message and surrendering to it. They have all been described in the Qur’an. Among them are envy, prejudice, gratification of one’s desires and the blind following of the ways and customs of society. But the greatest are pride and arrogance, a sense
of self-sufficiency (kibr and istighna’) which prevent you from giving up your own opinions, recognizing the word of God, and accepting it with humility.
I shall turn away from My revelations all those who wax proud in the earth, without any right; though they see every sign, they do not believe in it, and though they see the way of rectitude, they do not take it for a way, and if they see the way of error, they take it for a way (al-A’raf 7: 146).
And those who deny Our revelations and wax proud against them – the gates of heaven shall not be opened to them, nor shall they enter Paradise until a camel passes through a needle’s eye (al-A’raf 7: 40).
Obedience and Change
Fifth: Bring the will, resolve and readiness to obey whatever the Qur’an says, and change your life, attitudes and behaviour – inwardly and outwardly-as desired by it.
Unless you are prepared and begin to act to shape your thoughts and actions according to the messages you receive from the Qur’an, all your dedication and labour may be to
no avail. Mere intellectual exercises and ecstatic experiences will never bring you anywhere near the real treasures of the Qur’an.
Failing to obey the Qur’an and to change your life-because of human frailties and temptations, natural difficulties and external impediments is one matter; failing to do so because you have no intention or make no effort to do so is quite another. You may, then attain fame as a scholar of the Qur’an, but it will never reveal its true meaning to you.
The Qur’an reserves one of its most severe condemnations for those who profess faith in the Book of God, but when they are summoned to act or when situations arise for
decision-making, they ignore its call or turn away from it. They have been declared to be Kafir, fasiq (iniquitous), zalim (wrongdoer).
Hazards and Obstacles
Sixth: Always remain aware that, as you embark upon reading the Qur’an, Satan will create every possible hazard and obstacle to stalk you on your way to the great riches of the Qur’an.
The Qur’an is the only sure guide to the Straight Path to God; to walk that path is man’s destiny. When Adam was created he was made aware of the hurdles and obstacles man would have to surmount in order to fulfil his destiny. All his weaknesses were laid bare, especially his weakness of will and resolve and his forgetfulness (Ta Ha 20: 115). It was also made plain how Satan would try to obstruct him at every step of his journey:
I shall surely sit in ambush for them all along Thy Straight Path; I shall, then, come on them from between their hands and from behind them, from their right and their left. Thou wilt not find most of them thankful (al-A’raf 7: 16-17).
Obviously the Qur’an – the ‘Guidance from Me’ – is your most powerful ally and help as you battle all your life against Satan and strive to live by God’s guidance. Hence, from the
very first step when you decide to read the Qur’an till the last when you try to live by it, he will confront you with many tricks and guiles, illusions and deceptions, obstacles and impediments which you will have to surmount.
Satan may pollute your intention, make you remain unmindful of the Qur’an’s meaning and message, create doubts in your mind, erect barriers between your soul and the world of Allah, entangle you in peripheral rather than central teachings, tempt you away from obeying the Qur’an, or simply make you neglect and postpone the task of reading it. All of these dangers are fully explained in the Qur’an itself.
Take just one very simple thing. Reading the Qur’an every day, while understanding it, sounds very easy. But try, and you will find how difficult it becomes: time slips away, other important things come up. Concentrating mind and attention become something you wish to avoid: why not just read quickly for barakah.
It is with the consciousness of these perils and dangers that your tongue should, in obedience to the Qur’an –
‘When you recite the Qur’an, seek refuge with Allah from Satan, the rejected’ (al-Nahl 16: 98) – say:Â a’udhu billahi mina ‘sh-Shaytani ‘r-rajim
Trust and Dependence
Seventh: Trust, exclusively and totally, in Allah to lead you to the full rewards of reading the Qur’an.
Just as it has been Allah’s infinite mercy that has brought His words to you in the Qur’an and brought you to it, so it can be only His mercy that can help in your crucial task.
You need weighty and precious provisions, and these are not easy to procure. You face immense dangers, which are difficult to overcome. Whom can you look to but Him to hold
you by the hand and guide you on your way.
Your desire and effort are the necessary means; but His enabling grace and support are the only sure guarantees that you will be able to tread your way with success and profit.
In Him alone you should trust as true believers. To Him alone you must turn for everything in life. And what thing is more important than the Qur’an?
Also, never be proud of what you are doing for the Qur’an, of what you have achieved. Always be conscious of your inadequacies and limitations in the face of a task which has
So approach the Qur’an with humility, with a sense of utter dependence upon Allah, seeking His help and support at every step.
It is in this spirit of trust, praise and gratitude, that you should let your tongue and heart, in mutual harmony, begin the recitation:
Bismi illahi ‘r-Rahmani ‘r-Rahim
In the name of Allah, the Most-merciful, the Mercy-giving
This is the verse which appears at the head of all but one of the 114 Surahs of the Qur’an. And also pray, asking His protection:
Our Lord! Let not our hearts swerve [from the Truth] after Thou hast guided us; and bestow upon us Thy mercy, indeed Thou alone art the Bestower (Al ‘Imran 3: 8).
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