In the first article of this series, the author highlights the importance of having a strong and deep faith that the Qur’an is the word of Allah. Such faith is the only means to transform and improve yourself by the Qur’an. The second prerequisite emphasized by the author is the necessity of approaching the Qur’an with a pure and sincere intention. In this article, the author continues with the basic prerequisites in your relationship with the Qur’an.
3. Bringing Gratitude and Praise
Make yourself constantly alert with intense praise and gratitude to your Lord for having blessed you with His greatest gift, the Qur’an, and for having guided you to its reading and study.
Once you realize what a priceless treasure you hold in your hands, it is but natural for your heart to beat with joy and murmur, and for your tongue to join in: (Thankful praise be to Allah, Who has guided us to this; (otherwise) never could we have found guidance had not Allah not guided us) (Al-A`raf 7:43).
Of all the intimate blessings and favors He has bestowed upon you, nothing can match the Qur’an. If every hair on your body becomes a tongue praising and thanking Him, if every drop of blood in your body turns into a joyful tear, even then your praise and thanks will not match His enormous generosity that is the Qur’an.
Even if the Qur’an had not been sent down for us, its perfection and beauty, its majesty and splendor would deserve all the praise at our command. But that this sublime and perfect gift, having the unique distinction of embodying our Lord’s speech, has been given solely for our sake must intensify our praise beyond bounds.
Such intense praise inevitably turns into intense gratitude. And no word expresses this intense praise combined with overflowing gratitude and thanks as well as does al-hamd.
Al-hamdu lillahi Alladhi hadana li hadha.
Thankful praise be to Allah, Who has guided us to this.
Why thank Allah for having given us the Qur’an? Principally because He has, thus, guided you to meaning and purpose in life and brought you on the straight path. The way to honor and dignity in this world has been opened for you. In the Qur’an, you can converse with Allah. Only by following the Qur’an in this world can you attain forgiveness, Paradise, and Allah’s good pleasure in that world.
Gratitude and joy lead to trust, hope, and greater gifts. The One Who has given you the Qur’an will surely help you in reading, understanding, and following it. Thankfulness and joy generate an ever-fresh vigor that helps you to read the Qur’an always with a renewed zeal. The more you are grateful, the more Allah gives you of the riches that the Qur’an has to offer. Generosity evokes gratitude, gratitude makes you deserve more generosity, an unending cycle. Such is God’s promise: (If you are grateful, I will surely give you more and more) (Ibrahim 14:7).
Having the Qur’an and not feeling immensely grateful for it can only mean two things: Either you are ignorant of the blessings that the Qur’an contains, or you do not attach any importance to them. In either case you should be seriously worried about the state of your relationship with the Qur’an. The sentiment of gratitude that permeates every pore of your heart and mind must also pour out in your words, which should be profuse and incessant. Thank Allah at every step of your journey: for having had time for the Qur’an, for reading it correctly, for memorizing it, for every meaning you discover in it, for having been enabled to follow it. Gratitude must also be transformed into deeds.
4. Acceptance and Trust
Accept and trust, without the least doubt or hesitation, every knowledge and guidance that the Qur’an conveys to you.
You have the freedom to question whether the Qur’an is the word of Allah or not, and to reject its claim if you are not satisfied. But once you have accepted it as His word, you have no basis whatever to doubt even a single word of it. For to do so would negate what you have accepted. There must be total surrender to the Qur’anic teachings. Your own beliefs, opinions, judgments, notions, whims should not be allowed to override any part of it.
The Qur’an condemns those who receive the Book as an inheritance and then behave as bewildered and puzzled, doubting and skeptical “believers.”
(Those whom the Book has been given as an inheritance after them [the early people], behold they are in doubt about it, disquieting) (Ash-Shura 42:14)
The Qur’an also repeatedly emphasizes that every measure was taken to ensure that it came down and was conveyed without any adulteration. And it affirms:
(With the Truth We have sent it down and with the Truth it has come down) (Al-Israa’ 17:105)
(And perfect are the words of your Lord in Truth and Justice.) (Al-An`am 6:115)
Accepting and trusting the Qur’an as true, and wholly true, does not mean blind faith, closed minds, uninquiring intellects.
You have every right to inquire, reflect, question, and understand what it contains; but what you cannot fully comprehend is not necessarily irrational or untrue. In a mine where you believe that every stone is a priceless gem and it may have proved to be so, you will not throw away the few whose worth your eyes fail to detect or which the tools available to you are inadequate or unable to evaluate.
Nor can part of the Qur’an be discarded as being out of date and old-fashioned, an old wives’ tale. If God is Lord of all times, His message must be equally valid fourteen centuries later.
To accept some part of the Qur’an and to reject some is to reject all of it. There is no room for partial acceptance in your relationship with the Qur’an; there cannot logically be (Al-Baqarah 2:85).There are many diseases of the heart and mind that may prevent you from accepting the Qur’anic message and surrendering to it. They have all been described in the Qur’an. Among them are envy, prejudice, gratification of one’s desires, and the blind following of the ways and customs of society. But the greatest are pride and arrogance, a sense of self-sufficiency (kibr and istighna’) that prevent you from giving up your own opinions, recognizing the word of God, and accepting it with humility.
(I shall turn away from My revelations those who behave arrogantly on the earth, without any right; though they see every sign, they do not believe in it, and though they see the way of rectitude, they do not take it for a way, and if they see the way of error, they take it for a way) (Al-A`raf 7:146)
(And those who deny Our revelations and treat them with arrogance, the gates of heaven shall not be opened to them, nor shall they enter Paradise until a camel passes through a needle’s eye.) (Al-A`raf 7:40)