Teaching Submission to the Lord and Integrating Work, World, and Worship
Knowing the contents of the book is one thing; understanding its meaning and message is something else. Since its purpose is to teach us complete submission to our Lord. The Quran is Allah’s book, Divine guidance, light and proof of His majesty and Creative power. To benefit from it you must read with humility, mindfulness and in a state of submission and prayer. This mindset is the key to understanding it. So, approach the Divine writ humbly.
Here I want to highlight three ways of reading the Quran thoughtfully:
1. To gain a deep understanding of the Quran
My experience and anecdotal reports reveal that Muslims love the Quran dearly, they consider it to be the Divine revelation. However, the lack of Quranic literacy is common. So, the whole Quran reading is a crucial means of helping to address the issue of growing Quranic illiteracy. To help you I have written a short guide titled ‘Keys to understanding the Quran’ available on Kindle. It’s a great introduction to the Quran. A better understanding of the Quran helps us see the big picture, the transient and fleeting nature of the world, and develops trust in Allah as we recognise His might and power.
2. To form a Godly worldview
The Quran is like a pair of glasses. We should look through the Quran as we look through glasses to see Allah, the world around us and ourselves more clearly. This being the case, it is the main story of the Quran. In crafting a Quranic worldview, we do so based on the Quran’s content and its significant teachings: God’s original creation, Adam the Divine representative; Ibrahim the great prophet, role model leader and founder of Semitic nations; other Divine revelations, books and teachers the prophets; the day of judgement; moral life and spiritual purity etc. It’s interesting to note that the Quran doesn’t merely present rational, logical arguments to convince us of the Creator, it profusely enriches our mental images with the physical world, so the Lord doesn’t meet in our minds but draws our attention to the material world, the vast universe, the natural phenomena in the sky and on the earth. That’s the Divine presence. That’s why the entire universe is also an open book, to be witnessed, seen, heard, tasted, smelled, experienced and enjoyed. Once we know this, we can immerse ourselves in it, so that we begin to think and live out its perspective. Then the Quran will shape our worldview and mould the way we view Allah, work, the world and worship.
3. For shaping our submission and dedication to the Lord
We consider the Quran as a book, but a special book, a handbook. We use a handbook to do something or to make something. Simply, how do we live our lives? So, you are not a reader of the Quran but a user. Not a bystander but a participant. Therefore, we must immerse ourselves in the Quran. That’s the only way to gain a deep appreciation of it. In doing so, over time, we grow in our understanding of what it means to be created beings, our realisation that the world is created for us to live as Allah’s representative. So, we must live in such a way that we seek to realise the Divine intent for creation. The Quran shapes us in the process, how we think, how we live, what we give, our generosity, the use of time, our sexual activity, and our business deals.
When studying The Majestic Quran by yourself it’s important to remember that whilst the beliefs and doctrines it teaches are clear, you must not interpret them by yourself. Sincere, intelligent and faithful Quran readers could reach different conclusions without the guidance of scholars. That’s why it’s imperative to consult the orthodox books of Islamic creed like Aqaid al Nasafi. An even better strategy is to seek clarification from your local Imam.
Similarly, when you are reading the sections or verses concerning the law of worship (Fiqh) or injunctions concerning civil, business and criminal law consult the relevant books of Fiqh for clarification. Finally, when you read stories and historical accounts in the Quran use your imagination to reflect on their meanings and derive lessons. Quran reading requires this anchor of the scholastic, traditional and orthodox Islam and its long view.