Here I reflect on my passion and enthusiasm for the Divine Book. Its clear teachings to the challenging passages. This four-part essay will be part of my forthcoming book ‘Why we read the Quran’.
What’s in it for me?
A simple answer to the question of ‘why I read the Quran’ is because I must. This can be restated “What’s in it for me?” Everything, it’s beneficial, I need the Quran for my self-improvement, but more importantly to connect with my caring Lord, worship and remember Him, thank Him and adore His creativity. It’s the path to a flourishing, happy life here and in the Hereafter.
We read books to broaden our understanding and knowledge of the world around us, and how people experience different walks of life. We read to understand the mind of the author and explore their thoughts and feelings. Sometimes we just read, we read for pleasure as we let our imagination loose and wander the author’s world. Amazingly reading transports us into another world so that we can learn from the writer, to download their knowledge, experience and perspective. Now, we learn about a world that is outside of our own experience, we discover amazing new gems.
Experiential, Emotional & Theological reading of the Quran
The pleasure of reading the Quran is all these things mentioned above and much more. You can freely travel into space with angel Jibreel, across the earth with Prophet Ibrahim, through deserts, forests and down the valleys of Makkah, march with Zulqarnain’s army from the East to West, fly across the vast spans of earth in a few moments with Prophet Suleiman.
The Makkan Surahs can transport you to the future, the awesome Day of Judgement, Allah’s court. Imagine the Divine judgement in full swing. Here billions of humans standing in anticipation, bare, stripped of their worldly titles and garments. Some wallowing in their sweat, others standing under the Divine throne watching the spectacle. Look, there are rows upon rows of angels, with two, four, six and even more wings. What a space. A strange kind of weighing scale stands in the centre of the court, it’s weighing something… I can go on and on imagining the gathering, the assembly, the like of which no one has ever seen.
I can go beyond that into paradise and get glimpses of the beautiful residents of paradise, I can see the waiters, fresh and young, the servants pouring exotic drinks into crystal cups for the honourable residents. Straight ahead is the bridge, and lying beneath is hell.
So, reading The Majestic Quran turns into travelling without taking a single step. The Quran takes me to the future, what will happen before the last hour etc. It opens new vistas and new worlds, and I am delivered from the narrow confines of my material world into the vastness of Allah’s space.
For example; in Surah Nuh – set on the Eastern shores of the Black Sea, ten thousand years ago – I hear the moving, eloquent and powerful sermon of Noah where he’s admonishing his people, “Seek your Lord’s forgiveness, He is most forgiving. He sends abundant rain for you from the sky and has blessed you with wealth and children and has made for you gardens and rivers. What is the matter with you that you do not believe in the majesty of Allah? He created you in stages. Have you not seen how Allah created the seven heavens layer upon layer? Therein He made the shining moon, and the sun a lamp. Allah produced you from the earth like plants, and then He will return you to it and once again bring you out from it. And Allah made for you the Earth spread out, so that you may be able to travel over its spacious paths” (Nuh: 10-20).
Then we can now go to Mesopotamia to visit Prophet Ibrahim debating with Nimrod the evil king. Ibrahim told him, “My Lord gives life and death”. Nimrod replied, “I give life and death too”. Ibrahim responded, “Allah brings the Sun from the East, so bring it from the West, if you can?” The disbeliever was taken aback. Allah does not guide wicked people” (Baqarah: 258).