Episode (34): The example of a believer who recites the Qur'an.

Abu Musa Al Ash`ary (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "The example of a believer who recites the Qur'an is that of a citron which smells good and tastes good. The example of a believer who does not recite the Qur'an is that of a date which has no smell but tastes sweet. The example of a hypocrite who recites the Qur'an, is that of basil which smells good but tastes bitter. The example of a hypocrite who does not recite the Qur'an is that of a colocynth plant which has no smell and is bitter in taste." (1)

Explanation of vocabulary (2)

 (citron) is a kind of fruit that looks like apple; which is one of the best and precious fruits at Arabs.

(basil) every kind of plant that has a nice smell.

(colocynth) is a plant which fruits are like orange in size and color, in which there is a very bitter core. It looks like the fruits of melons, but they are smaller and are given as an example for bitterness.

Explanation of the Hadith:

Ibn Hajar said: As for the Prophet's saying: (which smells good and tastes good), it was said: The Prophet compared faith to taste and recitation to smell because faith is more important to a believer than reciting the Qur'an because a person may become a believer by having faith without reciting the Qur'an. Likewise taste is more important than smell because the smell may be lost but good taste remains as it is.

It was said: The wisdom behind mentioning citron without mentioning other fruits is because it combines good taste and good smell like apples because its peels are taken as medicine, it gladdens the souls, and useful lotions are taken from its seeds. It was said: Jinn do not approach the house in which citron are present, so devils will not approach it either. Moreover, the cover of its seeds is white such as the heart of a believer; it also has other benefits such as its size, good shape, its joyful color, and soft touch. You find deliciousness in eating it, good smell, good for the stomach, and useful in digestion among other benefits. (3)

Ibn Battal said: The meaning is that the recitation of the dissolute and the hypocrite does not ascend to Allah and does not benefit. The recitation which benefits is what is recited for His Sake only and with the intention of drawing near to Him. The Prophet compared such a person to the basil when he does not benefit from the blessing of the Qur'an and does not win the good reward. So, sweetness does not exceed the throat and does not reach the heart; those are the people who go out of Islam." (4)


Al `Ayniy said: The words of Allah have great effect on the inner self and outer appearance, moreover people differ in receiving that impact: Some of them have a great share of that impact, and those are the believers who recite the Qur'an, whereas some of them do not have a share at all, and those are the true hypocrite. Others may receive the outer without the inner impact and those are the people who deceive the people with their appearance or the believer who does not recite the Qur'an. These meanings are embodied in the Hadith and no other meanings could reflect their meanings better than the Hadith because people are either believers or not, and the second type is either a hypocrite or not.

The similarity between these examples is that both are composed of taste and smell. The Prophet (peace be upon him) gave an example of trees and their fruits with the actions of the people because they are the results of souls. So, he compared the citron and dates to the believer and the fruits which come out from the earth such as colocynth and basil to show the highness of a believer and his knowledge and the lowness of the hypocrite and the meanness of his actions."(5)

Benefits gained from the Hadith:

1 - The Hadith shows the merit of the one who memorizes the Qur'an and the meaning of reciting the Qur'an is to act according to it.

2 - He set the example for the approximation of understanding. (6)

3 - The recitation of the Qur'an has a great effect on a believer: In increasing his faith, comforting his heart, purifying his heart, increasing his status and rank.

4 - A Muslim should be keen to recite the book of Allah, ponder over it, and act accordingly; a believer should recite a daily portion of the Qur'an in order to purify himself and increase his good deeds.

5 - Some believers may neglect reciting the Qur'an and listening to it which is part of abandoning it.


Imam Ibn Al Qayyim said: Abandoning the Qur'an is of different kinds:

1- Abandoning listening to and having faith in it.

2- Abandoning acting according to it and paying no attention to its lawful and prohibition.

3- Abandoning resorting to it in arbitration, understanding, and knowing its meanings.

5- Abandoning using it as a cure in all moral diseases or asking the cure from other source. All these types are included in Allah's Saying: "And the Messenger (Muhammad peace be upon him) will say: O my Lord! Verily, my people deserted this Qur'ân (neither listened to it, nor acted on its laws and teachings)."[Surat Al Furqan: 30]. However, some kinds of abandoning is easier than others." (7).

 (1) Sahih Al Bukhari, No. (5427) with his own wordings, and reported in Sahih Muslim No. (797).

(2) See: Fathul-Bary of Ibn Hajar 1/126, and Tuhfat Al Ahwazy of Al Mubarakfury, 8/133 - 134.

(3) Fathul-Bary, commentary on Sahih Al Bukhari of Ibn Hajar Al `Asqalany, 9/66 - 67. And see: `Umdat Al Qary, the explanation of Sahih Al Bukhari of Al `Ayny, 20/38.

(4) Fathul-Bary, commentary on Sahih Al Bukhari of Ibn Hajar Al `Asqalany, 13/536.

(5) `Umdat Al Qary, the explanation of Sahih Al Bukhari of Al `Ayny, 20/ 38.

(6) Fathul-Bary, commentary on Sahih Al Bukhari of Ibn Hajar Al `Asqalany, 9/66 - 67. And see: `Umdat Al Qary, the explanation of Sahih Al Bukhari of Al `Ayny, 20/38.

(7) Al Fawa'id, 1/ 82.

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