Reciting the Noble Qur'aan and Contemplating on it (3/3)
It has been affirmed on the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) that he said: “Verily, Allaah raises up a people with this Book and He abases others.” (Related by Muslim, 1/559).
It has also been affirmed that he (peace and blessings be upon him) said: ". . . and the Qur’aan is either a proof for you or against you.” (Related by Muslim, 1/203).
So it is a proof for you and it increases your eemaan if you act by it or it is a proof against you and it decreases your eemaan if you neglect it and do not observe its boundaries.
Qatadah stated: “Not a single person sits down with this Qur'aan except that he then rises with either some increase or decrease.” (Related by Ibn al-Mubaarak in az-Zuhd, page 272, al-Aajurree in Akhlaaq Hamlah al-Qur'aan, page 73, al-Marwazee in Qiyaam al- Layl, Page 77 of the concise version. Al-Baghawee mentioned it in his Tafseer, 3/133).
AI-Hasan al-Basree says in clarifying the meaning of contemplating the Qur'aan: “... However, by Allaah, it is not by memorizing its letters and neglecting its boundaries. To the extent that one of them says, ‘I recited the whole Qur'aan and did not miss out a single letter!’ and by Allaah, he missed out the whole of the Qur'aan: no Qur'aan is seen in his character or deeds! To the point that one of them says, ‘Verily I can recite a Soorah with a single breath!’ By Allaah, these are not recites or scholars, they are not wise or pious. Whenever the recites are of this type, may Allaah not increase their like amongst the people!” (Related by 'Abdur Razzaaq in his Musannaf 3/363, Ibn al- Mubaarak in az-Zuhd, page 274, al-Aajurree in Akhlaaq Hamlah al-Qur'aan, page 41, and al-Marwazee in Qiyaam al-Layl, Page 76 of the concise version).
May Allaah have mercy upon al-Hasan. I wonder as to what he would say if he witnessed the recites of our present time?
Recites, who have been infatuated with being melodious, with correctly pronouncing the letters and flowering them, whilst they squander and neglect the limits.
In fact, the ears of the people when listening to the Qur'aan, also turn to the pronunciation of the words and the melody whilst neglecting to hearken or to contemplate on the word of Allaah.
In any case, there is no objection whatsoever to the tajweed of the Qur'aan, to recite it slowly and melodiously, and to render it in a fine way. The objection however, is in over burdening oneself and being obstinate in pronouncing the letters without paying any regard or attention to establishing the commands that were the reason for the revelation of the Qur'aan. To the extent that you do not see in many of them the fear brought about by the limits of Allaah, indeed, nor do you see within them application of the Qur'aan in character or deed.
You find a reciter amongst them, who has memorized the Qur'aan and who correctly pronounces the letters, shaving his beard or lengthening his lower garment. In fact, he may neglect performing prayer in its totality or in congregation, and other such sinful acts, to the extent that one of them – and Allaah's help is sought - opened a music party for an immoral woman with aayaat of the Noble Qur'aan. He recited as an introduction to her singing, aayaat from the Noble Qur'aan!
The speech of our Lord is too great to be dishonored by the likes of such. It suffices me to repeat what al-Hasan, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said,’ Whenever the reciters are of this type, may Allaah not increase their like amongst the people!’
Ibn al-'Arabee mentioned, when describing the reciters of his time being preoccupied with reciting the words of the Qur'aan accurately while neglecting its rulings, and taking it up as a profession when the Qur'aan was only revealed to be acted by:
“... but when this recitation became a profession, they beautified it and vied with it, spent their life - without any need for them - on it. One of them dies and he was able to raise the Qur'aan in speech as a pot is raised but he broke its meanings as a vessel is broken. Thus, he was not consistent with any of its meanings.” (Al-'Awaasim min al-Qawaasim 2/486).
Hence, the Muslim must learn how to derive benefit from the Qur'aan before he begins to recite it in order for its benefit to be achieved. Ibn al-Qayyim, may Allaah have mercy on him, mentioned in this respect a principle that is of great standing and enormous benefit. It is, “if you want to attain benefit from the Qur'aan, bring your heart together upon reciting or listening to it, and divert your hearing to it, and be present in front of it, in the manner of one who is present and spoken to by the One who spoke it, How perfect He is” (Al-Fawaa'id, page 5. Also, refer to al-Fataawa of Ibn Taymiyyah, I 6/48-51 and 7/236-237).
Whoever applies this principle and traverses upon this methodology when reciting the Qur'aan or when listening to it, will succeed with both knowledge and action. His eemaan will increase and it will establish itself like towering mountains, and Allaah is the One who is asked to give us the tawfeeq towards that and every good.
Furthermore, contemplation and reflection over the aayaat of Allaah are of two types: “Contemplation over it to arrive at the intended meaning of the Lord and contemplation over the meanings of what Allaah called His servants to reflect on. The first is contemplation over the Qur'aanic evidence and the second is contemplation over the witnessed evidence. The first is contemplation over His aayaat that are heard (i.e., the Qur'aan) and the second is contemplation over His aayaat that are witnessed (i.e., the universe and what it contains).” (lbn al-Qayyim in Miftaah Daar as-Sa'aadah, p. 204).
The discussion mentioned here centers on the contemplation of Allaah's aayaat that are heard. As for reflection on His aayaat that are seen and witnessed, discussion on this will follow shortly by the will of Allaah.