The whole town was abuzz with the news that the best recitor of the Quran from the Middle East was coming to lead the taraweeh prayers. Every one was talking about his voice, the magic of his recitation, the way his reading rises and falls and the way the melody of his recitation mesmerized everyone.
Especially in Ramadan this ritual is played out in Muslim communities around the world.
Although listening to a beautiful recitation of the Quran is captivating, but let us revive the essence of what the month of the Quran is meant to be.
In a population of over 1.5 billion Muslims in the world, some 50 per cent are illiterate. Acquisition of knowledge is one of the obligations upon every Muslim. Nearly 83 per cent are totally ignorant of the book that is the foundation of their faith. Some may read the Arabic text but do not know what they read in their prayers.
The Quran describes itself as a message for people who reflect and think. Muslims all over the world have begun to place emphasis on learning. Muslim families are genuinely concerned to ensure that their children learn biology, mathematics, chemistry, social sciences from the best schools with full honors. But to learn the Quran is not consequential. Where the Quran is being taught it is limited to reading and memorization. To learn and excel in various fields of knowledge is essential but at the same time to learn and excel in the understanding of the Quran cannot be neglected.
A patient cannot memorize and just listen to the doctors prescription and believe that he will be cured. Once a prescription is written, the patient immediately picks up the medicine from a pharmacy and starts using it. But the divine prescription for curing human ills is neglected in a manner that is unexplainable. To memorize the Quran is an honorable deed that God will bless but to memorize without understanding the Quran would be a serious neglect of our duty towards the Quran.
When a child is raised up in an environment where the Quran is seen as a book to be recited only on certain occasions without the need to understand it, his relation with the Quran will be superficial unless there is some dramatic change in his or her attitude toward the divine book.
The Quran is the most read yet most neglected book in our recent and distant history. Millions of people have memorized parts or the whole of the Quran yet we do not see the practice of the Quran in our societies. If the purpose of this book was to be recited and read without understanding the Quran would not claim to be a guidance for humanity.
(Quran 2:1-5) Alif. Lam. Mim. This is the Book in which there is no doubt, a guidance unto those who ward off (evil). Who believe in the unseen, and establish worship, and spend of that We have bestowed upon them; And who believe in that which is revealed unto thee (Muhammad) and that which was revealed before thee, and are certain of the Hereafter. These depend on guidance from their Lord. These are the successful.
The Quran was meant to be a book of guidance in every aspect of life. The recitation with understanding was recommended primarily to highlight the importance of its message in every day life. Yet very little of the time of the believer is spent in reflecting on its message and using it as a guidance in every aspect of life.
The month of Ramadan gives us a unique opportunity to restore our understanding of the Quran and learn its message. Yet most of the time and in most of the places, the opportunity to further our understanding of the Quran is lost by limiting it to ritual reading.
Modern technology gives us tools to capture the best voice and repeat it at our will. But this is not the only purpose of the revelation. It is meant to be understood, followed and implemented in one's life. As long as this purpose is not served, the Quran will stand betrayed by those who revere it more than anyone else.
Dr. Aslam Abdullah is editor of the Detroit based English weekly, Muslim Observer, director of the Islamic Society of Nevada, Las Vegas and the recently elected General Secretary of the World Council of Muslims for Interfaith Relation. He is also the vice President of the Muslim Council of America, MCA.
Topics: Quran Values: Compassion, Knowledge
It is unfortunate that A.K.M. misconstrued the statement of this author. this is a fact. knowing the exact meaning of the Holy Quran (Arabic) is tantamount to knowing the truth that can set one free. nowadays, many of our children can only read the arabic and are ignorant of translation. and that is why many of them convert forgeting simplicity of life can only be found in Islam. at the end of the they come back realising they are on the wrong side.
Help us with Daw;ah thru any islamic organisation.
May Allah subuhanau wataala reward our brother for this toughtful write up.sincerly speaking the writer has spoken the minds of many muslims around the world ,who are seriously worry about how we neglet learning and reflecting on the knowledge of Allah.
the problems muslims are facing to day can only be solved,when we take the book of Allah the way We supposed to take it.May Allah make useful for us what he tought us and teach us what will be useful for us (amin)
There is an excellent facility in Astoria, New
York, called the Foundation for Knowledge and
Development. Its founder is a graduate from Umm-
al-Qura university in Makkah. It is an amazing
institute that focuses on Islamic studies &
specializes in teaching Arabic following a very
similar curriculum that is being taught in the
three year programs taught to incoming students of
Umm-al-Qura and Al Madeenah universities.
Alhamdulillah, I've learnt arabic from this
institute and was able to develop myself as a
muslim in the west.
InshaAllah we should look for these types of
centers in our cities or encourage the emergence
and establishment of such centers.
DAHIRU MAKAMA, NIGERIA
When I began many years ago as a Muslim I read all the Hadith and still find much wisdom in these, but now I begin to doubt some of these sayings. I have even heard the Univ. of Egypt has begun to purge the Hadith to make them as accurate as possible...especially the ones who support what has become terrorism and suicide.
Thank you for this article...and let me know if what I heard about Univ of Egypt's effort is true.
God bless you my brother...I will send this article out widely to those who "Betray the Quran"
We will have to have multi-prong approach. I will write on the subject in the Muslim Observer, Islamicity pages, if published and at the website, LVmasjid,US. I can mention a few points here.
Major overhauling of the school curriculum from kindergarten to upper grades for teaching the Quran.
Major overhauling in our approach to understand the Quran. Meaning of The Quran and not the translation of the Quran need to be emphasized. The meanings reveal themselves when we define the Quranic words in the manner they were initially used, in the repeation of those verses and in the context of overall message.
If Quran is the foundation of Islam and Muslims, then I am afraid we have to develop a strategy to ensure that the Quranic Arabic becomes part of Muslim culture and our educational needs are geared to that.
Inshallah, you will soon read about these issues in details.
for thousand years, Muslim read Al-Quran without understanding it but only for tajweed and memorization. Recent application of Islamic finance derived from Al-Quran will accumulate US1 trillion asset in two years time as recently reported. Hope Muslims will see the kind of power they can get from Al-Quran!. The early morning before I sat my last physic exam, I stumbled to the fact that the binding energy of iron,Fe(56), is the higest in binding energy curve, 8.8MeV (iron-56 is one of the most tightly bound nuclei,stable) exactly as stated by Al-Hadid! Wassalam.
A student does not understand what is he reading. All he knows that he would get barakah for reading the scripture.
Imagine this student growing up with the notion that of all that he is studying in this age, the Quran is the only book that should not be understood.
Unless, we have courses in Arabic language that introduces the language of the Quran to our children from an early age, I am of the strong belief that the message of the Quran should be made clear simultaneous to the process of tajweed and memorization.
Priority is to be given to understanding and living by that understanding.
However this problem is not the disease itself, it is just a symptom of the mindset we seemed to have adopted some centuries ago that instructs us to box our minds, to stop thinking, to stick to tradition and shut up - (of course we have to stick to tradition, but it must be the genuine tradition of Muhammad (S) and the earlier generations). This mindset has spelt the ruination of the ummah, and it is not just a betrayal of the Quran, but a betrayal of the mission of Muhammad (S).
The prophet Muhammad did not come to teach us about Idghaam and Qalqalah. He did not. Yet today all our focus in teaching is recitation and good tajweed, and Quranic competitions etc. What a betrayal of Muhammad(S)
May Allah forgive us all.