The manners of reading the Quran
The serious reader of the Quran rarely has a fresh copy, the well-thumbed book, has red, pink and green highlights splashed, and jottings in the margins. This is a well-studied Quran that belongs to a serious Muslim. You can call it a happy Quran of a happy reader. Quran reading is not an end, but a means by which we are transported to other times and places, where we are inspired to find out the purpose of life and gain timeless guidance. We learn what it means to live a good life. Quran reading is a powerful kind of meditation, a training of the mind in the moment.
125 Quranic stories can provide an escape from the hustle and bustle of a busy life. When we read the stories and the biographies of the Prophets, we see them facing intense opposition, mockery, ridicule and physical attacks. For a while, we can be contemporaries of bold Godly people. Enjoy their company and experience their anguish and sorrow. Feel Prophet Ayyub’s excruciating pain from the open wounds, commiserate with him about the death of his children and the devastation of his wealth and observe him deal with the blasphemy of his beloved wife. Thus, I can walk along with this man of Allah as he goes through his agonies and witness patience.
Walking alongside Musa
The experience of reading the Quran imaginatively can become a simulation that enhances our dull and boring lives. Words have the power to flare and excite the imagination. It’s not like watching television or playing computer games that require limited imagination. Focused reading is a simulation, where we are imitating a situation, a true immersive experience. This simulation allows us to experience the creator’s words and visualise them.
Here is Prophet Musa, teaching and preaching to his rebellious community, speaking with the arrogant chiefs.
Take Musa’s walk with the Green Man, it’s a mind-blowing journey to discover serendipity. A journey like no other! Serendipity is the luck some people have in finding valuable things by chance. It appears the Lord has assembled these stories for our benefit, words woven artistically into a verse; verses arranged into stories, stories into themes and themes into Surahs. The Lord proclaims “We made the Quran easy to understand” so people can walk along with these exemplary humans.
Our love of stories encourages us to understand the world in linear and simple terms; cause and effect, time and distance, incidents, and reflection. But this view of the physical world, essential as it is does not equip us to understand the way that complex spiritual systems work, whose properties often appear to defy the common sense. Notice the circularity of Musa and the Green Man’s story.
Musa at the well of Madyan
After a scuffle with a Coptic who died at the hands of Musa, he had to run away from the Pharaoh, so he set off for Madyan. He had been walking, hungry and thirsty for seven days. Just imagine, he is tired, exhausted and arrives at the well where shepherds are giving water to their flocks. He sees two young ladies standing at a distance, he asks them what’s the matter. They reply, “we will get water once these shepherds move off”. He rolls up his sleeves and volunteers to water their sheep. He must have pulled 50 buckets to water the sheep. Once he had done his good deed, he quietly walked away and lay down under a tree to recover and put a humble plea to his Lord. “My Lord whatever provision you give me I am desperately needy” (Al-Qasas: 24).
Reading for me like other Quran readers, is a lovely habit, a compulsion that is now my necessity like breathing air. Scientists have discovered that our brains are hardwired for reading. Quran reading is essential to withstand the onslaught of worldliness, egotism and evil.
Seeking sparkes of Suleiman’s wisdom
A practical reason for me to read The Majestic Quran is that I want to be smart, Allah’s way. I want to be changed, I want to change my mind and get inspiration. I’m seeking wisdom, like Suleiman: “Lord, inspire me so that I may thank you for the gifts that you gave me and my father so that I may do righteous deeds that will please you and kindly join me with your righteous servants” (Al-Naml: 19).
I love to be wrapped up in something different from my daily chores, I want to immerse myself in a different world, that’s what the Quran does. It provides a window into another world, far more interesting, far bigger and far more meaningful than my Nottingham existence. So, it shows me the scenes of human disobedience thousands of years ago, so I meet tyrants like the Pharaoh, who claimed he was a god.
I get a glimpse of Qarun the richest Jew in Egypt as he enjoys his pompous procession, flanked by an army of servants. The Quran criticises those who are impressed with this display of arrogance “One day he went out among his people dressed in his finest clothes, those who had inferiority complex and desired the life of this world said, ‘what a pity, we lack what Qarun has, he’s lucky.’ However, people of knowledge said ‘what a pity! Allah’s reward awaits those who believe and do good. This is reserved for the patient people.’ So, We buried him and his home in the Earth, he had no one to help him nor was he able to protect himself” (Al-Qasas: 79-81).