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Home > Opinion
 
Lessons from Quran

Khwaja Mohammad Zubair (Reflections) / 22 July 2012

FAITH AND sincerity are the first requisite if one wants the divine help in understanding the Holy Quran and following the message of God in practical life, which can turn him into a man of excellent character, the crying need of the Muslim nation.

 The recitation of the Holy Quran in the month of Ramadan, which is also known as the month of Quran, is a source of infinite blessings.

No doubt, it is the duty of every Muslim, man, woman, or child, to read the Holy Quran and understand it according to his own capacity. If anyone of us attains to some knowledge or understanding of it by study, contemplation, and the test of life, both outward and inward, it is his duty, according to his capacity, to instruct others, and share with them the joy and peace which result from contact with the spiritual world.

The Quran — indeed every religious book — has to be read not only with the tongue and voice and eyes, but with the best light that our intellect can supply, and even more, with the truest and purest light which our heart and conscience can give us. The soul of mysticism and ecstasy is in the Holy Quran, as well as that plain guidance for the plain man, which a world in a hurry affects to consider as sufficient.

Every earnest and reverent student of the Holy Quran, as he proceeds with his study, will find with an inward joy difficult to describe, how the general meaning of the Quranic verses enlarges as his own capacity for understanding increases. It is like a traveller climbing a mountain: the higher he goes, the further he sees.

How much greater is the joy and sense of wonder and miracle when the Holy Quran opens our spiritual eyes. The meaning, which we thought we had grasped, expands. New worlds are opened out. As we progress, still newer and again newer worlds ‘swim into our ken’. The miracle deepens and deepens, and almost completely absorbs us.

It is in this spirit that we should approach the Holy Quran with sincerity and total faith in the religion of Islam.

An incident related by an eminent scholar, the late Dr Hamidullah, on how the reading of the Holy Quran opens newer and still newer worlds is food for thought for every Muslim:

“I have known a Frenchmen, Gilles Guilbert, who by taste, nature and profession, was a musician. He used to assert often and everywhere to our amusement that the true and only criterion of a civilisation and culture of a people is the level of its love for music!

“Somehow, he heard one day a Muslim Qari reciting the Holy Quran, and Guilbert was at once enchanted. It was music to him, and so powerful that wherever he went he wanted to hear the Holy Quran recited. And he was so much more impressed when he was told that it was not a poem but a prose.

“He began meditating: poems in any and every language are melodious, and could be measured and scanned, but prose nowhere. Why an exception in Arabic? Then he learned Arabic script, and began reading the Holy Quran himself. He bought a pocket size copy of the sacred text, and carried it always with him. He began even learning by heart smaller Surahs. At last, he became Abdullah Guilbert.

“I met him for the first time in Istanbul some 40 years ago, and there he explained to me his theory or discovery, viz, poems can be scanned and measure with mathematical precision in any language, but not prose works, be that a classical or modern language; the only exception is Arabic; and in Arabic, only the Holy Quran. So the Holy Quran cannot be of human origin, surely, it is the revealed word of God Himself for, its verses can be scanned like the syllables of a poetical hemistich, so much so that even if a single letter of a verse of the Holy Quran is omitted, it can be detected immediately on “hearing it.”

“I was impressed, but not being a musician myself, I was not much interested. One day he came to see me in the university, very nervous, agitated, perplexed and trembling. He told me: surely our Muslim ancestors have somehow lost some passages of the Quran! Then he explained: in the Surah 110 (Izaja’a) they read and write: “Afwaajaa fasabbih…”, and that is, musically speaking, impossible! My humble knowledge of Tajweed (psalmody of the Quran) came to my help, and I said: No, that is not the only right way of reading; one may also pronounce: afwaajan fasabbih. The sound of letter ‘N’ in “afwaajan” may then be pronounced in full as “afwaajan” instead of “afwaaja”. This may then be followed by the second word, “fasabbih”.

Thereupon, he recovered as if from a trance, and said: Oh, if, that is so, then it is all right, nothing lacks and I renew my faith! But to Abdullah Guilbert, it was the music, nothing else, not even the grammar.

From Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s preface to his translation and commentary of the Holy Quran

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