5 Practical steps on how we can truly live with the Qur’an
I will mention 5 points and practical steps on how we can truly live with the Qur’an insha’Allah:
1. Always try to be in the company of the Qur’an
The Arabs use this term (sahib) to indicate a close association between two things, for example a rich person who lavishes and spends money wherever they go is referred to as ‘Sahib Maal’ which literally means ‘companion of money’. For the same reason, a person in close association with the Qur’an is called ‘Sahib al-Qur’an’ because he/she studies the Qur’an, teaches it, reads it continuously and lives with it. We should accompany the Qur’an and also allow the Qur’an to accompany us wherever we go; in our travels and holiday, in our daily commute etc.
Point to note: The Qur’an will only go where is pure and clean, so if you accompany it, it will lead you to the good and pure insha’Allah. Live with it and it will take your life down a righteous and virtuous path because that’s the direction the Qur’an travels in.
2. Reading and pondering over the Qur’an
The second step we can take towards living with the Qur’an is to actually read it and UNDERSTAND it. What is Allah `azza wa jall telling us in His Verses? Although there is reward in recitation (even if one does not fully understand), the greater objective of the Qur’an is achieved when we read with understanding. That is when the power of the verses will enter our hearts and create a change.
So allocate a special time when you can read a portion of the Book and allocate a special place in your home too, and have what is called ‘Hudhur al-Qalb’ – bring your heart to the surface and make it attentive, ready to absorb the ayat. Let your heart come in a humbled state, seeking out a reminder from its Lord so as to draw close to Him.
Don’t read to merely finish a chapter, but read to bring your heart back to life. Read so that with every chapter and page you go turn, your heart also turns with it. If it’s a verse about seeking forgiveness, then interact with the Qur’an at that point and seek forgiveness. This is a Sunnah of the Prophet (s) whereby he would respond to the verses that he read. Also, allow your body to respond; allow your eyes to shed tears and let that come from the deep chambers of your heart. Enjoy these moments because they are moments of transformation for you – your heart is turning and moving; it is responding to the verses of Allah. Allow yourself to contemplate and repeat a verse over and over again until you can feel its sweetness increasing. The Salaf used to say ‘The Qur’an is like a date; the more you chew of it, the more its sweetness comes out.’
As they say, ‘If you want to talk to Allah, then pray. But if you want Allah to talk to you, then open up the Book.’
Malik ibn Dinar: ‘Whoever finds pleasure in talking to people and doesn’t find pleasure in talking to Allah, then his knowledge has taken a plunge, his heart has become blind, and his life has surely been wasted.’
Speaking about the person who recites and studies the Qur’an, Imam al-Ajuri says in his book, ‘Akhlaq Ahl al-Qur’an, “If he studies the Qur’aan then he does so with complete understanding and intellect. What concerns him is fully comprehending that which Allah has made mandatory on him to follow and adhere to, and desisting from what He `azza wa jall has forbid him from. His concern is not ‘when will I finish the Qur’aan?’ But rather his deep concern is ‘when will I be fully content with Allah and independent of other than Him?’ ‘When will I be from the Muttaqeen (pious)? When will I be from the Muhsineen (perfection in worship)? When will I be from the Mutawakkileen (relying only on Allah)? When will I be from the Khashi’een (humbled to Allah)? When will I be from the Sabireen (patient)? When will I be from the Sadiqeen (truthful)? When will I be from the Kha’ifeen (fearful)? When will I be from the Raajeen (hopeful)? When will I become ascetic in this world? When will I yearn for the Hereafter? When will I repent from sins? When will I recognise the successive blessings of Allah? When will I thank Him for it? When will I deeply understand the public address from Allah (i.e. this Qur’aan)? When will I sincerely comprehend what I’m reciting? When will I overcome my soul’s desires? When will I strive for Allah with a true striving? When will I guard my tongue? When will I lower my gaze? When will I protect my chastity and when will I have hayaa’ (modesty/shyness) of Allah with a true and honest hayaa’?”
So make time to read and reflect over the Qur’an. After the day is over (or maybe before it’s begun), go and make yourself a cup of tea or coffee, go somewhere warm and cosy in your home, and just sit with the Qur’an for a few minutes, reading and contemplating over it. Make it a part of your life.
3. Consult the Qur’an throughout your life
In life, whenever you have a need or if you’re in some troubled waters, it’s really important to go back to the Qur’an and consult it. Read with the intention of seeking help and guidance. From the first descriptions given to the Qur’an is that is it ‘a guide for those who are God-conscious.’
If you have a quarrel/fight with family or friends, or if a business transaction goes sour, or if whatever reason you need judgement, go back to the Book for a judgement. Make it a source of your consultations and place it between you and the people. Insha’Allah, you will find it having the best answers.
“And whoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed then they are indeed the wrongdoers.” [al-Ma’idah: 45]
If you ignore the Qur’an during times of judgement and feuds, then you will most likely wrong and oppress others as well as yourself! Don’t oppress, go back to the Words of al-‘Adil (the Most Just).
Also, consult the Qur’an in times of hardship; go to it as a shoulder to lean on and pour your heart to it. The Qur’an is a great therapy for people going through difficulties and hardships. There are many passages and stories which highlight the hardships and sorrows of people before us – and it tells us their story to show us that we are not alone and to show us how they turned to Allah. These trials of the people before us are like trails in the Qur’an; passages and pathways that we can take a walk through to understand and sympathise. To find similarities and a consolation for ourselves.
Read Surah al-Anbiya for example – the Chapter of the Prophets. Even the title is extraordinary because we know that the Prophets were the most tested, and in this chapter the hardships and difficulties of the Prophets are mentioned. Allah `azza wa jall introduces these Prophets by saying, ‘And Nuh called out to Us’, ‘And Ayyub called out to Us’, ‘And Zakariya called out to Us…’ and after each of the stories, Allah says, ‘Fastajabna lahu’ – ‘And We Responded to him’. The Qur’an will take you down their trails so that you can see and be enlightened by their lives, and realise that in moments of adversity, you need to do what the Prophets did: call out to Allah, because He will respond.
Amazingly, towards the end of the chapter, after listing the stories and difficulties of all these Prophets, Allah `azza wa jall ends by saying, “Indeed, your Ummah is one Ummah, and I am your Lord so worship Me.” [al-Anbiya: 92]
The message? You’re not alone. We are an Ummah led by Prophets and Messengers. Our trials are the same because our trail is the same. We are in submission to Allah so whatever comes our way, we will take it like our leaders (Prophets) took it: with patience, perseverance, humility, strength, hope and deep faith in our Lord.
So whatever your hardship, open up the Qur’an and let it take you away. Guaranteed insha’Allah, you will return with a lighter burden, a fresher and positive mind, greater strength and determination insha’Allah.
4. Take the Qur’an as a cure and a healing
Unfortunately, with the advancement of Medicine, we have somewhat come to abandon the great practise of healing and curing with the Qur’an. It’s important to realise that while drugs and medicines can treat ailments and Islam is very much in encouragement of seeking treatment, there are however some illnesses that only the Qur’an can treat, e.g. diseases of the heart such as arrogance, disbelief, jealousy/envy, hatred etc. The Qur’an also treats physical illnesses. The soul is connected to the body and by curing and healing the soul, the body can also be cured because the two are connected. Modern medicine just focuses on treating the physical body, but the Qur’an cures via a more powerful mechanism and pathway: it cures through the soul, mind, and heart – it has a holistic approach.
“And We send down from the Qur’an that which is a cure and a mercy for those who believe…” [al-Isra: 82]
So, part of our living with the Qur’an is our turning to it as a source of healing, whether from a physical ailment or a spiritual disease or a mental distress – even healing from something that might not be recognised as an illness but you find it harming you e.g. a heavy or broken heart, disappointment/disheartenment, low emotion etc. Let it heal you and restore you to full strength and well-being. Make the Qur’an your family doctor or GP!
Point to note: I believe every Muslim should know how to perform ruqyah – curing with the Qur’an. Nowadays it has become a profession, but really, everyone who knows Qur’an has the ability to do it. It’s not difficult. So whenever you are suffering from pain or illness, address the soul with the Qur’an.
[Brief summary of how to perform ruqyah e.g. recitation of al-Fatihah x3 or x7, Ayat al-Kursi, last 2 verses of al-Baqarah, the 3 Quls, Ayah in al-Isra. If suffering from effects of evil eye, magic, jinn/mass, then specific portions of al-A’raf, Yunus, TaHa, al-Baqarah etc – you can search online].
Let us get into the habit of using the Qur’an as a cure and medicine for any and every illness insha’Allah.
“Indeed, this Qur’an is the banquet of Allah, so learn as much as you can from the banquet of Allah. Indeed, this Qur’an is the strong Rope of Allah and it is the clear guidance and it is a beautiful cure, a protection for those who cling to it, and a salvation for those who follow it. Nothing is bent or corrupted except that the Qur’an rectifies it, nor is anything deviated but that it reprimands it. Its marvels do not fade nor is the sweetness of it decreased by the frequency of those who recite it…” [al-Hakim]
It is especially important that as women, we learn how to perform ruqyah so that we remove the need of going to a male raqi, and instead we can do it for ourselves, our female relative, family members and our children; the best ruqyah is the one that a person does for him/herself.
5. Use the Qur’an to become people of insight
The last point I want to talk about is a very deep point about living with the Qur’an – it’s about using the Qur’an to develop our perspectives and develop insight.
Al-Hasan al-Basri: “Adhere to the Book of Allah `azza wa jall, follow what is in it of examples and become a people of insight by it.”
Nothing is mentioned in the Qur’an except that there is a deep lesson or wisdom behind it and it has certain insights to offer. This is why ‘verse’ in Arabic is called ‘Ayah’ – a Sign. Because every verse is a sign from Allah which leads a slave back to Allah. So if you want to seek out the Signs of Allah, then seek out His Verses.
“Indeed, basa’ir (insights, enlightenment etc) have come to you from your Lord, so whoever sees does for the benefit of his soul, and whoever is blind does harm against it…” [al-An’am: 104]
The Signs of Allah will come to a person throughout their life, so it’s important to be awake and attentive to them. We should know that truly living with the Qur’an means living upon Iman and living with insight. Let the Ayat of the Qur’an come alive in your life. For example, many times Allah talks about the creation around us and He says that they are signs for those who reflect and have insight. What does it mean when He talks about the trees for example? Maybe we’re supposed to consider the magnificence of the tree, tall branches reaching to sky, but the roots are embedded and hidden from sight – to teach us that roots are more important than branches i.e. inner is more important than outer. Or perhaps we’re supposed to look at how the leaves fall in winter; like sins falling from a person during the ‘winter’ of their life; their times of hardships…and so on.
There are always signs in our surroundings and we must be attentive to them if we truly want to live with the Ayat of Allah and with the Book of Allah.
This is a vast and extensive topic that I cannot possibly cover in just 1 hour, but I pray that these small pointers serve as a reminder for myself firstly and others and they push forward in taking the Qur’an and really living with it and not just living by it, because there’s a world of difference between living by something and living with something.
May Allah `azza wa jall make His Book the Light of our lives and may He grant us basirah (insight), ameen.