Verily, this is the honourable Qur'an written in the Preserved Tablet. (56:77)
If one from amongst the Pagans asks thee for asylum, grant it to him, so that he may hear the Word of Allah. (9:6)
The Qur'an is the Word of Allah; as a result it is unique. It is the only entity that came directly from Allah to man. Of course, it was sent through Angel Gabriel. Before it was even recited, Gabriel impressed it in the heart of the Prophet (pboh), thereafter; the recitation became easy, as the verses were not revealed in chronological order. Recitation, intonation, meaning and the wisdom contained in the messages of the divinely revealed verses were given to the Prophet (pboh) over a period of twenty three years.
The Qur'an existed long before Allah created the universe. Prophet Muhammad (pboh) is reported to have said:
Allah recited Surahs Taaha and Yaseen one thousand years before creation. When the angels heard them they said: how fortunate are they on whom they (the chapters) will be revealed; how fortunate are those who commit them to memory; how fortunate are those tongues that shall recite them. (Ghazali, Ihya)
Being the Word of Allah, the Qur'an has a special combination of vibrations which cannot be reproduced, nor can it be ever matched by any creature. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why Allah says:
Had We sent down this Qur'an on a mountain, surely, you would have seen it humble itself and cleave asunder, for fear of Allah. (59:21)
Muslims are therefore, very blessed to have been the recipient of this divine formula. Prophet Muhammad (pboh) is reported to have said:
A reciter of the Qur'an belongs to the family of Allah, and is His sincere servant.
When the Qur'an is being recited the vibrations contained in the words impact on those who recite as well as those who listen to the recitation. It purifies them and polishes their souls. The Noble Messenger is reported to have said:
Rust falls on the heart as it falls on iron. When asked: how can the rust of the heart be removed? He replied: By reciting the Qur'an and remembering death.
Recitation of this Holy Book does not only help us in this life; it will be one of our greatest helper in the Next. The Prophet (pboh) is reported to have said:
Prophets, angels or anybody else cannot be better intercessors in ranks than the Qur'an.
The Qur'an contains knowledge of the past, present and future. We read about the fall of Adam, the murder of Abel, the confrontation of Pharaoh by Moses; the destruction of Aad and Samuud, the Story of Joseph, etc. from the Holy Book. We are told about the effects of man's activities on the environment and the consequences of disobedience; and the next phase in the evolution of the universe is clearly written in the Book.
It is interesting to know that long, long before the universe was created Allah had already stated that there will be believers (ashaabul yameen) and non-believers, (ashaabul shimaal); how they both will behave and what will be the consequences of their actions. It means that whatever is happening is in the knowledge of Allah and cannot be questioned by us. What should be our concern is to live in conformity with the Divine Prescription contained in the Book and, in addition read it "for the pleasure of Allah".
Our New Year Resolution should be: We are going to recite the words of the Book, for the sake and pleasure of Allah; and if we cannot recite it, we shall spend some time listening to it.
Some people are of the view that we waste time reciting the Qur'an in Arabic, as we are unable to understand what we read. In this connection it is useful to place on record what Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal said; he said: I saw Allah in a dream, and asked Him; O Allah, for what thing one can come near to You? He (Allah) said: O Ahmad, by means of My Kalaam. I asked Him, O Lord, by means of understanding it or not? He said, Yes, whether you understand its meaning or not.
Except the Prophet (pboh), no one can fully grasp all the meanings of the words contained in the words, even then the companions used to read the Book excessively. Hazraats Umar and Uthmaan used to recite it once every week. Hazraat Ali said:
If I wish I can load seventy camels with the Tafseer (commentary) of Surah Fateha.
For us humble believers, it will be a very good thing if we can allocate some extra time for recitation of this noble Book in the coming year, as it will definitely help to become more enlightened.
And we should try to know more of the messages contained in it, and teach others what we know, as the Prophet (pboh) is reported to have said:
The best person is he who learns the Qur'an and teaches it.
May Allah bless everyone with a peaceful and prosperous new year.