Learning to be Thoughtful, Smart and Realistic
Most of us are devotedly reading Quran alhamdulillah, we have read it over and over many times. We have done dozens of Khatam-e-Quran, Masha-Allah! Yes, all the 114 chapters. But if I ask you the question “Have you read them all?” I’m sure we’ll say we have, but can you say ‘I know the content of the whole chapter?’
Each chapter of The Majestic Quran promises a special reward to those who study it well. For example, Surat-al Kahf will challenge you about the clash between the lovers of the material world and the seekers of Allah. Surat-al Rum will invite you to reflect on the predictions about the future of the world. Whilst Surah Yaseen prepares you to meet your Lord at the time of death.
The rewards of Quran study depend greatly on willingness and capacity to respond to ‘Divine invitations’. Reading the Quran with attention means developing and practising a set of skills; attention, receptivity and comprehension. It is like being a good host who prepares for the arrival, warmly welcomes the guest, generously serves and then enjoys the company. It is love, an active and receptive attitude not passive.
Reading the Quran is easy
Many of us are poor Quran readers because we study it on our terms, impatiently since we didn’t understand the storyline. There’s a false notion that it’s difficult to understand, Quran is an enigma! There couldn’t be anything further from the truth than this idea. This is why you can’t give it the sustained and undivided attention. We don’t listen to Allah’s voice, since our thoughts are drowned by the hustle and bustle of the worldly life. Here you need to be listening to Allah not listening for things that you want to hear.
When we do Khatam-e-Quran, we read all 114 chapters, that’s wonderful. However, it would be better if we focused on fewer chapters but read them with the translation thoroughly and repeatedly until we got the message and recognised its central theme. This is meditative reading and the best way to internalise the message. By selecting some chapters of the Quran for deeper study, you are exposing yourself to important themes, topics and subjects. Now you can discover different styles that permeate across the Surats. Many benefits will come in unexpected and surprising ways. Reading the Quran should not be a chore, a boring duty or a means of getting merits, but to enjoy, savour and experience the company of the Lord.
Here are some suggestions on how you can benefit from reading actively rather than passively:
- At the end of a passage, summarise, paraphrase it or re-read it. Don’t rush. You can use The Majestic Quran’s Journal, which has been developed specifically for this purpose.
- Put the Quran down, stand up and pray two units of prayer to absorb the stories and commands.
- Can you imagine how Allah will respond to your reading like this? Writing about what you have read in the Quran is a precious act.
- Sometimes randomly pick interesting sections of the Quran that invite you. It is like eavesdropping on a conversation, which took place long ago e.g. in Pharaoh’s Egypt or in Tubba’s Yemen or in the far-flung lands of Zul Qarnayn.
Reading the Quran in a group is very valuable, known as a study circle. Here a keen group gathers at home in a lounge, masjid or a university. So, people share their understanding, feelings and perspectives. It’s like seeing the Quran through a prism. Reading the text from different angles, and different viewpoints of experts. Seeing the colourful messages and discoveries is exhilarating.
To become a good Quran reader is a lifelong task, a long journey of surprising discoveries. A better reading of the Quran, I believe leads to improved intellectual capacity and the ability to understand. “So, take the lesson smart ones!”