Monday, 5 June, 2023

Ramadan: The month of al-Qur’an

Dr Muhammad Obaidullah

Ramadan is a special month for Muslims all over the world. It is a time when Muslims fast, pray, engage in acts of charity, and do many other good deeds. However, the significance of Ramadan goes beyond these outward practices. Ramadan is also known as the month of the Qur’an. Because the Qur’an revealed onto the Prophet (PBUH) in this month. The Qur’an states itself: “The month of Ramadhan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion…. (Surah al-Baqarah, 2: 185) It is noteworthy to state that, although, it took 23 years to be completed, the revelation started in the laylatul al-Qadr (See: Surah al-Qadr, 97:01) which is in the month of Ramadan when the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was at the age of forty and ended in the same month after 23 years. Exception to all the other heavenly scriptures, the Qur’an took this long time to be a completed revelation (book) onto the Prophet (PBUH) as on the basis of demand it was revealed gradually. Moreover, the Angel Zibrayil (a.) reads the whole revealed part of the Qur’an each year to the Prophet (PBUH) in the month of Ramadan. Therefore, the month of Ramadan is also called month of the Qur’an.
Muslims all over the world practice many things in this blessed month. Among them, recitation of the Qur’an is noteworthy to be stated. Most of the practicing Muslim try to recite the whole Qur’an during this month. Moreover, the hifzul Qur’an Tarabih prayer also creates the opportunity to listen the whole Qur’an in this month. Many of the rest, especially non-native Arabic speaking Muslim try to learn how to read the Qur’an, the meaning of the Qur’an and study the tafsir as well to understand it.
However, considering the present situation, if anyone studies critically and raises the question that how many of Muslims the present world can read the Qur’an properly? How many of us understand the meaning of the Qur’an? How many of us can explain the meaning of the Qur’an? How many of us are able to find out the solution to any problem raised in our daily life? What will the answers?
We have learned and skilled people of various difficult fields of study or in the branches of knowledge but don’t know how to read the Qur’an. However, we claim ourselves as Muslim and belong to the religion Islam. We pray and recite the required portion of the Qur’an during the prayer, but it is not in the way of proper recitation. We don’t know the meaning. Therefore, how the Qur’an guide us to the right path?
It is well known that the Qur’an was revealed onto the Prophet (PBUH) to guide the whole mankind not to guide any particular nation. Not even for the Muslims only but for the Mankind. I repeat “it is not only for the Muslim but for all”. The Qur’an states itself very clearly: “The month of Ramadhan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion…. (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:185) The ayat neither mentions Muslim nor Mu’min but al-Nas (people). So, it is a guide for all of us; men.
However, everybody will not get the guidance from the Qur’an. It depends on how we are trying to get the guidance from this. As it is revealed by Allah, He (swt.) has taught us the ways how and who we can be benefited from this heavenly book; al-Qur’an. As the Qur’an states in other places that the believer (Mu’min), the pious people who fear Allah (Muttaqi), intellectual men (ulu al-Albab), critically observers (ulu al-Absar) and others can get the guidance from this book. As an example, it states: “This is the Book; in it is guidance sure, without doubt, to those who fear Allah. (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:2) The ayat tells us that the Allah fearing people can get the guidance from the Qur’an. Moreover, the Qur’an itself elaborates who are the Allah fearing people. It states, then: “Who believe in the unseen, establish prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them, And who believe in what has been revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and what was revealed before you, and of the Hereafter they are certain [in faith]. (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:3-4). The ayat proves that Islamic belief is important to be the Allah fearing people (Muttaqi) and they will be able to get guidance from the Qur’an. Not only that but also they are the guided and thus successful people as it is also mentioned in the Qur’an. It says: “Those are upon [right] guidance from their Lord, and it is those who are the successful. (Surah al-Baqarah, 2: 5)
Now, one can raise the question that, if the Qur’an is the guidance for all but why only the believers will be able to get guidance from it and successful one? The answer can be as stating that, the Qur’an is for all meaning everyone has the opportunity to read and study the Qur’an ad to be benefited from it. But, unless one does believe in that this is the words of Allah and there is no doubt in it and believing in many other issues which all of them are not be possible to be proved by the acquired knowledge; logically and scientifically as there are many unseen issues are discussed in the Qur’an; he will not be able to get the guidance from it. Therefore, the guidance is for all, but believer will be benefited.
Another question is if it is the guidance for all men then why it is in Arabic language? Is it not difficult for the non-native Arabic speaking people? The answer has been given by Allah in the Qur’an. It says: “Indeed, We have sent it down as an Arabic Qur’an that you might understand.” (Surah ….) It proves that the Qur’an was revealed in Arabic which was the mother tongue of the Prophet (PBUH). As the Prophet (PBUH) was responsible to convey the messages of Allah (SWT) to the people who are also Arabic speaking nation, it is logical for Qur’an to be in Arabic. Although, the Qur’an was not for the Arabic speaking nation but for all men, it was revealed in Arabic which was one of the most easiest languages in the world. Moreover, Allah made it easy to remember and understand. Many hafiz al-Qur’an surrounding us can surely prove the saying of Allah (SWT). Allah says in the Qur’an: “And We have indeed made the Qur'an easy to understand and remember: then is there any that will receive admonition?” (Surah al-Qamar, 17, 22, 32 & 40). Allah repeats this statement four times in the same surah. Repetition of anything proves the strengthen of any statement. The same goes to the Qur’an as it is in Arabic.
Those who are reading this article are surely learned and educated people, no doubt. Now, ask yourselves. Do you know how to read the Qur’an properly? Do you understand the Qur’an? Do you know how to explain the Qur’an? Are you able to find out the Qur’anic solution of the problems you face in your daily life as it has all the solutions? Why?
Your answer can be either Yes or No. If yes, alhamdulillah. But why? The answer is that, because you have tried to learn this book although it is in a different language. If the answer goes to none of the above all questions or partially that is because of the lack of your intention and efforts given to learn it. You don’t know the Qur’an does not mean that you have not the ability to learn it. It surely means, you have the ability, but you did not try. You did not emphasize on learning this book.
Even if it is your situation that you don’t know how to learn the Qur’an and understand it, don’t be worried. Still, you have a good chance. Please remember that Islam is a religion as easy as flexible. It makes your tasks easy not hard. Allah says: “… Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship….” (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:185) Another tradition of Allah is stated in the Qur’an: “Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity….” (Surah al-Baqarah, 2: 286) Therefore, the following can be good for you: (i) make your intention now, (ii) try to find out the possible way, (iii) schedule an every-day time for this beside your daily activities, (iv) Tawakkul ‘ala Allah (seek the blessings of Allah).
Remember, you don’t need to be the most learned and expert of the Qur’an which is not also possible for everyone but try to be. Again, your intention and effort are important than your achievements. Please keep in your mind that Allah (SWT) does not want the result of your effort but your intention and way of efforts you are giving to achieve the goals. The prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is reported to have said that “Verily, Allah does not look at your bodies or your faces but He looks at your hearts (intentions) and your deeds.” (Sahih Muslim, Hadith no. 190) Even if you are at the end of your life in this world and you have made the intention but could not start as death comes; you will be given the full reward. This is very surprising nature and uniqueness of your religion; Islam.
The month of Ramadan has given suitable chance to do many good things and we the believers do as many as possible. We have the sufficient time in this month as the office time has been reduced. The environment becomes supportive at home, mosque and even in the society. Why not do we avail this golden chance to learn the Qur’an? Start yourself along with your family members, friends, relatives, collogues, well-wishers or those who are comfortable to you. Learning in a team can be more useful than an individual. Importantly, find your own way to learn the Qur’an. If needed, seek help from others who are reliable. But don’t wait! We don’t know the duration of our life in this world. Any time death can come to us.  May Allah help us to learn and understand the Qur’an and practice the teachings of it in our practical life!

The writer is a researcher in Islamic views on contemporary issues