The Qur’an’s role in developing the right mindset and attitude towards life cannot be underestimated. Unfortunately, for many Muslims the Qur’an has become a book of mere blessings. Let there be no doubt that its blessings can neither be fathomed nor its beauty and aura captured. Many have left a daily, practical relationship with the Book of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala (exalted is He) and instead have settled for a mystical relationship with it whose outcomes are not easily measured or understood. This is very dangerous. The outcomes of such attitudes can have paralyzing effects such as:
1. A chronic neglect of the Arabic language.
2. Preferring to give other sources priority over the Qur’an.
3. A dark depression that one is neither able to comprehend nor understand.
I would like to address the third point as I feel it is the cause of points one and two. Many feel that they are unable to approach the Qur’an, draw conclusions from its lessons and articulate its beautiful message in their daily lives. Thus we have an Ummah who is cut from its umbilical cord, frustrated, spiritually tired, and on the verge of collapse. The further we withdraw from our relationship with the Qur’an, the more our reference for life is replaced by other sources. This is one of the major reasons for the problems we see in our communities. Here are two examples:
1. A brother who spent the majority of his pre-pubescent and early adult life listening to DMX, 50 Cent, and Biggie will undoubtedly have issues when he gets married. When his wife trips, his mind will not revert to the statement of Allah (swt), “And live with them (your wives) in an honorable manner.” (Qur’an 4:19) Instead, his reaction will be “Girl $#$%^*!” Perhaps he will go back to his “Tommy Vercetti” and try to take matters into his own hands.
2. A sister who makes her seven circuits around the black elevator at her local mall once a week. She busies herself looking at the Sunday newspapers in order to get “the best deals” and “the finest clothes.” She compounds this with a 62 oz. Big Gulp of films, songs, and Internet sources which can only increase her desire to want more. She has to start asking herself some hard questions. What type of wife will she be to a brother involved in the struggle for da`wah (the call to Islam)? I’ve seen many of the sisters involved in seeking knowledge and performing da`wah sell their fellow brothers out and opt for a high flying Muslim Donald Trump who doesn’t practice. Then after some time, she leaves the work and we lose an important piece to the puzzle. They leave the brothers who have made sacrifices for the din (religion), and settle for the comforts of this life. No doubt we should be taking care of our sisters, but those brothers involved in performing da`wah are in need of the best sisters. If those sisters leave those brothers on the front lines empty handed, then the da`wah takes a hit. (Before any sisters start to burn their “Mothers of the Believer” CDs, don’t worry. The same applies to brothers who leave the sisters in the da`wah and run after the latest Aishwarya Rai).
These are the outcomes – perhaps a bit over the top – of materialism and selfishness (look at the crazy cost of mahrs [dowries] these days). If our constructs are based on revelation, strong tarbiyah (discipline) and a correct understanding of community, many of these problems would be addressed with the medication of revelation and communal support. However, we are constantly hounded with the fact that we are mere ‘awam (Qur’anic illiterates) lacking the basic skills to interpret the Creator’s message. In turn, this has led to another phenomenon—Hijrah from the Qur’an.
Sh. Muhammad al-Hassan Walid al-Dido al-Shanqiti (may Allah preserve him) stated that the Qur’an’s verses were divided by the scholars into the following:
1. Those verses whose meanings are only known to Allah (swt). An example would be alif lam mim (Qur’an, 2:1).
2. Those verses whose interpretation must be done by specialized scholars who finished a sound curriculum of study and are recognized by fellow contemporaries.
3. Those verses that can be explained by the serious students of knowledge who have access to scholars and resources.
4. Those verses that are understood by the common person. For example, “Say: He is Allah the unique” (Qur’an, 112:1) or “And there is nothing like Him.”(Qur’an, 16:74)
Verses found under the fourth category are understood by all. They are clear and offer a treasure of lessons for those who sit and ponder on them. We must bring back this understanding to Western Muslims who are struggling to uncover the true essence of their identities, roles, and purposes. If the common Muslim is disconnected from the roots of his or her identity, then it is not fair for religious leaders to blame or chastise them for something those very leaders forbade them from. If the Prophet’s ﷺ companions lost the ropes that tied their camels, they would seek the answer in the Book of Allah (swt). Then what can we say about those who are trying to find the answers to their purposes and identities?
- Start a weekly halaqa (study circle) of Qur’an in your home.
- Read a few verses and discuss them as a family or by yourself (if by yourself, keep a diary of what you’ve read and your thoughts. Then when you have a family, you can use what you’ve written.)
May Allah bless upon us the love of the Qur’an and help us read it and act on its profound lessons.