Courtesy of Islamfaith.com
Reading The Quran: What’s in it For Me?
Every belief system has an original source – oftentimes a book – upon which it is based. We can usually learn a lot from people of each faith. However, to truly form a complete picture of a belief system, we must read its scriptures. In Islam, this means reading the religion’s revealed book – the Holy Quran – which was sent to the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) more than 1400 years ago.
What is The Quran?
The word “Quran” means ‘recitation’ – named as such because it came not in a physical, written-down form, but through oral revelation and transmission. The Arabian society to which Prophet Muhammad ﷺ belonged was not a literary one. The Arabs did not record things in writing, for the most part. Rather, they maintained a tremendously strong oral tradition, with knowledge and history passed through the generations by word of mouth and their incredible skills of memorization.
When Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was 40 years old, the revelation first began. The Archangel Gabriel came to him with the first words of the book: “Iqra” – meaning ‘recite’ or ‘read’. These words came directly from Almighty God, carried by the angel to Prophet Muhammad ﷺ – the man who was to be the final Prophet and Messenger of God.
What followed was a period of 23 years over which the Quran was revealed. Upon completion, it was a divinely revealed guidebook to life consisting of 114 sections, called Surahs.
It’s important to note the Quran is only called as such when read in its original Arabic language. The meanings of the Arabic, however, can be translated into other languages – though translations can never fully capture the beauty and literary elegance of the words in their original classical Arabic.
So why should the Quran be essential reading?
1. It is The Unadulterated, Verbatim Word of God
The Quran is the verbatim word of God, and has been preserved – to the letter – in its original form since its revelation more than 1400 years ago. While God sent other scriptures to various groups over the centuries, many of them have been altered over time through translation.
The Quran, however, has been retained in its original classical Arabic language, and passed down through the centuries in this form. Not only has it been preserved in writing, but also via oral transmission. Millions of Muslims have memorised the entire book, with this tradition continuing in the 21st century.
“INDEED, IT IS WE WHO SENT DOWN THE QUR’AN AND INDEED, WE WILL BE ITS GUARDIAN.” [NOBLE QURAN 15:9]
WIth God promising to protect the Quran , it is the only scripture from God that has stood the test of time. Nothing has been added, nothing taken away, and nothing changed. It’s a direct, pure, and final communication from the Creator to the creation.
2. It’s A Guide For All Humanity Through All Ages
While other scriptures were sent to God’s messengers for their specific populations, in their particular time periods, the Quran – being the final message from God to humanity – is relevant to people of all times and all places.
“THIS IS THE BOOK ABOUT WHICH THERE IS NO DOUBT; A GUIDANCE FOR THOSE CONSCIOUS OF ALLAH.” [NOBLE QURAN 2:2]
It speaks to you directly – establishing a link between the reader and the Creator of the Heavens and Earth. If read with an open mind and humility – sincerely seeking guidance – the reader is sure to take benefit from the many lessons, encouragements, and warnings set out for humankind.
3. It Answers Life’s Big Questions
Where did we come from? Why do we exist? Who is God? Why is there suffering in this world? Where are we going? What happens after we die?
These are among the most critical questions pondered by humanity for centuries. And while philosophers and other great thinkers came to various conclusions throughout our collective history, the Quran answers these and other crucial questions with clarity.
It maps out the history of humanity from initial creation, to the way we came to Earth, our early days here, and beyond. Importantly, the Quran also lays out the perspective of this worldly life being just one short stage of an overall existence. It explains what the future holds, and how to ensure we secure the best position in the more lasting life to come after we leave this world.
4. It Challenges You to Ask Questions And Use Your Intellect
Islam is a far cry from blind faith. Muslims are encouraged to read the Quran and contemplate every word. The Quran challenges our assumptions and, after presenting evidence, encourages readers to use their intellect. Again and again, the Quran asks: “Will you not reason?” “Have you seen?” “Have you considered?”
We live in an age where moments of reflection and internal peace are few and far between. However, reading the Quran will lead you to ponder many things: the world in which you exist, social norms of the day, and the power, compassion, and mercy of the Being that created everything.
5. It Complements Science
In the modern era, many people are polarized between religion and a “rational” belief in science, holding the two to be incompatible with each other. However, the Quran is different because it complements modern day scientific knowledge. From embryology to meteorology, geology and more, the Quran’s text has proven to be amazingly accurate in light of scientific discoveries that were only made in the last century.
“WE WILL SHOW THEM OUR SIGNS IN THE HORIZONS AND WITHIN THEMSELVES UNTIL IT BECOMES CLEAR TO THEM THAT IT IS THE TRUTH…” [NOBLE QURAN 41:53]
Upon reading sections of the Quran, coupled with their own specialized knowledge, numerous academics have been convinced of the Quran’s truth. In fact, Dr Maurice Bucaille, a prominent French doctor and Egyptologist, embraced Islam after an in-depth scientific study.
6. It Contains Timeless Lessons For Humanity
Humans enjoy stories. In fact, one of the most effective ways of conveying information and teaching lessons is through storytelling.
“WE RELATE TO YOU, [O MUHAMMAD], THE BEST OF STORIES IN WHAT WE HAVE REVEALED TO YOU OF THIS QURAN ALTHOUGH YOU WERE, BEFORE IT, AMONG THE UNAWARE.” [NOBLE QURAN 12:3]
The Quran partially acts as a History book for humanity.It details the story of man’s creation, his early days and journey to Earth, and some of the most important events in human history.
In these are not only factual accounts of significant events in our history, but also timeless lessons that we can extract to apply to our modern times. From the modesty and dedication of Mary to the firm faith of Abraham, the economic sense of Joseph and the strong leadership of Moses, it’s all there.
However, the Quran also tells these stories without boring the reader. It sticks only to the essential points needed for us to understand what happened and take lessons for our own lives. The most prominent example of this is Surah Yusuf, which tells the story of Prophet Joseph from start to finish.
7. Its Literary Eloquence is Unmatched
Think of the most beautiful poetry or prose you’ve ever read, and the impact it had on you. For the Arabs of the time, the Quran was all that and so much more. It was simply out of this world; unparalleled in terms of its style, eloquence, symmetry, and impact.
Unfortunately, non-Arabic speakers cannot fully grasp these wonders because translations into other languages can’t do justice to the Quran given the richness of Arabic language.
Ready to Dive in?
There are so many translations of the meaning of the Quran, but perhaps the best way to begin your reading is to select an easy to read, basic translation. To request a Free copy of the Quran, visit our order section here.
Although reading the Quran may go against social norms in your society, the reality is no matter your religious or philosophical persuasion, it’s a journey of discovery that’s well worth the time and effort.
Do yourself a favor and open your heart and mind. You never know what you could gain from your efforts.
- The Purpose of Life by Dr Jeffrey Lang
- Divine Speech: Exploring the Quran as Literature by Nouman Ali Khan and Sharif Randhawa
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