Reciting the Noble Qur'aan and Contemplating on it (2/3)
“Do they not then contemplate on the Qur'aan, or are there locks upon their hearts?” (Soorah Muhammad (47):24).
Allaah proclaims that He only revealed the Qur'aan so that its aayaat would be pondered over, He says:
"(This is a) Book that We have sent down to you, full of blessings, so that they may ponder over its aayaat, and that those of understanding may remember.”( Soorah Saad (38):29).
Allaah also explains that the reason behind the lack of guidance for the one who deviates from the straight path is his disregard for reflecting on the Qur'aan and being too proud to listen to it, He says:
“Indeed, My aayaat used to be recited to you, but you used to turn back on your heels. With haughtiness, you talked evil about it (i.e., the Qur'aan) throughout the night. Have they not then pondered over the Word (i.e. the Qur'aan) or has there come to them what had not come to their fathers of old?” (Soorah al-Mu'minoon (23):66-68).
He mentions of the Qur'aan that it increases the believers in eemaan if they read it and contemplate on its aayaat, Allaah says;
“The believers are none other than those whose hearts feel fear when Allaah is mentioned. When His aayaat are recited to them, they (i.e., the aayaat) increase them in their eemaan and upon their Lord (alone), they rely.” (Soorah al-Anfaal (8):2).
Allaah relates about the righteous amongst the Ahl al-Kitaab, that when the Qur'aan is recited to them they fall upon their faces in humble prostration and in a state of weeping, and that it increases them in humility, eemaan and submission. Allaah says:
"Say, 'Believe in it (i.e., the Qur'aan) or do not believe (in it). Verily, those who were given knowledge before it, when it is recited to them, they fall upon their faces in humble prostration, and they say:” How perfect is our Lord! Truly, the promise of our Lord will be fulfilled:' They fall upon their faces weeping and it adds to their humility.” (Soorah al-Israa' (17): 107- 109).
He also informs that if He were to send down the Glorious Qur'aan upon a mountain, it would humble itself and rupture because of the fear of Allaah. He made this as a parable for the people to demonstrate to them the greatness of the Qur'aan.
"Had We sent down this Qur'aan on a mountain, you would surely have seen it humbling itself and rending asunder out of fear of Allaah. Such are the parables that We put forward to mankind that they may reflect.” (Soorah al-Hashr (59):21).
He described the Qur'aan as being the best of speech, parts of it resembling other parts and He repeated some of it so that it would be understood. He mentioned that the skins of the righteous shiver in fear and hope when they hear the Qur'aan.
"Allaah has sent down the best speech, a Book, its parts resembling each other in goodness and truth, oft repeated. The skins of those who fear their Lord shiver from it. Thereafter, their skin and hearts soften to the remembrance of Allaah. That is the guidance of Allaah.
He guides with it whom He pleases and whomever Allaah sends astray, has no guide whatsoever.” (Soorah az-Zumar (39):23).
Allaah censures the believers for their lack of humility when listening to the Qur'aan and He cautions them to not resemble the disbelievers in this regard. He says:
“Has not the time come for the hearts of those who believe to be affected by Allaah's reminder (i.e., the Qur'aan) and of the truth that has been revealed, and not to be like those who had been given the Book before, whereby the term was lengthened for them and their hearts became hard and many of them are rebellious.” (Soorah al-Hadeed (57): I6).
These aforementioned aayaat contain the clearest indication of the importance of the Qur'aan, the required attention that has to be paid to it, its powerful effect upon the hearts, and that it is the greatest matter that increases eemaan, especially, if the recitation is performed upon contemplation, reflection and on trying to understand its meaning.
Ibn al-Qayyim, may Allaah have mercy upon him, says: "In short, there is nothing more beneficial for the heart than reading the Qur'aan with contemplation and reflection. The Qur'aan encompasses all the levels of the travelers, the conditions of the workers, and stations of those possessing knowledge. It is the Qur'aan that generates love, desire, fear, hope, repentance, reliance, pleasure, entrustment, gratitude, patience and the rest of the different states that are life to the heart and perfection of it. Likewise, it repels all the rebuked characteristics and actions that cause the corruption and ruin of the heart.
If people were to possess a realization of what recitation of the Qur'aan with contemplation contains, they would devote themselves to it at the expense of anything else. When the person reads it with reflection and he comes across an aayah that he is in need of, for the cure of his heart, he repeats it, even if he does so a hundred times or the whole night. Hence, to recite a single aayah of the Qur'aan with contemplation and reflection is better than reciting the Qur'aan to completion without any contemplation or reflection. It is also more beneficial for the heart and more conducive to attaining eemaan and tasting the sweetness of the Qur'aan ...”(Miftaah Daar as-Sa'aaadah, p. 204).
Muhammad Rasheed Ridaa states: "Know that strength of religion and culmination of eemaan and certainty does not come about except by reading the Qur'aan very often and listening to it upon contemplation with the intention of being guided by it and to act on its commands and prohibitions. The correct and submissive eemaan increases, strengthens, develops and its effects such as righteous actions and abandonment of disobedience and corruption, all arise in proportion to the contemplation of the Qur'aan. It also decreases and weakens in proportion to not contemplating on the Qur'aan.
Most of the Arabs only believed when they heard the Qur'aan and understood it. They did not conquer the lands, inhabit cities, nor did their population grow and their power become greater except because of the Qur'aan's effective guidance.
Furthermore, the nobles of Makkah who opposed and stood in enmity, strove against the Prophet and tried to prevent him from conveying the message of his Lord by stopping him from reciting the Qur'aan to the people:
“And those who disbelieve say, `Do not listen to this Qur'aan and make noise in the midst of it (being recited) so that you may overcome …” (Soorah Fussilat (41):26).
The weakness of Islaam since the Middle ages up to the point where most of its empire disappeared is only so because of the abandonment of the contemplation of the Qur'aan, of reciting it and acting by it.” (Mukhtasar Tafseer al-Manaar, 3/ I70).
Thus, the Noble Qur'aan is one of the greatest fortifiers of eemaan and the most beneficial reasons behind its increase.
It increases the eemaan of the slave in many diverse ways. Ibn as-Sa'dee says;” It increases it in many ways. Indeed, as for the believer, by simply reciting the aayaat of Allaah and becoming acquainted with the truthful information and fine rulings present within it, he attains an abundant goodness from the affairs of eemaan. How will it then be if he contemplates on it proficiently and understands its aims and secrets?” (At-Tawdeeh wa al-Bayaan li Shajarah al-Eemaan, p. 27).
However, one must know that the increase of eemaan that arises from the recitation of the Qur'aan does not happen unless one concentrates on understanding the Qur'aan, applying it and acting by it. The case is not that he simply reads it without understanding or contemplation, as many people who read the Qur'aan will find it to be their adversary and opponent on the Day of Judgment.