By Iman Badawi
It is known as “al-Kitab” (the Book). It is so well known and highly revered that when any Muslim refers to “the Book,” it is understood to mean the Holy Qur’an. It is the book above all books because it is the complete and final revelation of Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) to mankind. It is the best of speech, the way of guidance, the book of wisdom, and it will remain unchanged and protected until the Day of Judgement. Muslims usually decorate its pages and outside cover and always place it on the highest shelf in their homes to signify its elevated status. Most Muslims begin the most important ceremonies of their lives with the recitation of its blessed words. Yet when it is recited, few are those who listen to it carefully and even fewer are those who understand it. Yet still fewer are those who ponder its meanings and dedicate their life to its study. A human would never abstain from the elements that are necessary for nourishing his body, yet so many humans go for extended periods of time depriving themselves from that which nourishes the hearts and the minds—the Holy Qur’an.
Ibn Masood (radi Allahu `anhu – may Allah be pleased with him), a famous companion of the Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) said: “None of you needs to ask himself [about anything] except for the Qur’an: If he loves the Qur’an, he loves Allah, and if he detests the Qur’an, he detests Allah and His Messenger ﷺ.”1 Hence, there is a direct correlation between one’s relationship with Allah and his relationship with the Qur’an. This is the case because the Qur’an is our source of knowledge about the truth of all matters, what Allah (swt) likes and dislikes, and the nature of His essence and actions. It is our connection to Allah (swt) and that is why He ordered us to recite it in each of our daily prayers. Therefore, he who abandons the Qur’an has, in fact, abandoned his connection and relationship with Allah (swt).
If a Muslim continues abandoning the Qur’an in his life, the faith in his heart begins to weaken, he becomes accustomed to disregarding Allah’s commands, and he begins to forget about Allah’s promise in the Hereafter and, instead, desires the pleasures of this temporal life. The connection with Allah (swt), that gives true life to the hearts of humans, becomes severed and the heart becomes a dark dungeon; the filth of sins veils it and no light of guidance penetrates it. This is why `Uthmaan ibn `Affan (ra) said: “If our hearts were really clean, we would never become satiated with the words of Allah.”2
The coming of a time when people would abandon the Qur’an was prophesied in the Holy Book itself. In Surat al-Furqan, Allah says: “And the Messenger has said, ‘O my Lord, indeed my people have taken this Qur`an as [a thing] abandoned,” (Qur’an, 25:30). The scholars of tafseer (interpretation of the Qur’an) had differed over the meaning of this verse, as to whom it refers to and the meaning of “taken this Qur’an as [a thing] abandoned”. Al-Qurtubi (rahimahu Allah, may Allah have mercy on him) says: “It has been said that the Messenger’s saying ‘O my Lord’ will be said on the Day of Judgement.”3
Some scholars considered this verse to refer to the polytheists of Mecca who would make noise and speak loudly while the Qur’an would be recited to drown out its sound. They did this out of fear that those who would hear the Qur’an would be affected by its magnificence and also out of ridicule and disdain towards it. Informing us of their attitude towards the Qur’an, Allah (swt) says: “And those who disbelieve say, ‘Do not listen to this Qur’an and speak noisily during [the recitation of it] that perhaps you will overcome.’ But We will surely cause those who disbelieve to taste a severe punishment, and We will surely recompense them for the worst of what they had been doing” (41:26-27).
Ibn Kathir (rahimahu Allah) states that this is one type, the worst form, of abandonment. Of the other forms, he says: “When he would recite the Qur’an to them, they would talk nonsense or speak about something else, so that they would not hear it. This is a form of forsaking it and not believing in it is also forsaking it, and neglecting pondering about it and understanding it is a form of forsaking it, and leaving behind the knowledge of it and complying with its orders and avoiding its prohibitions is from forsaking it, and turning away from it to any other thing such as poetry or sayings or singing or amusement or talking, or taking a path other than it is from forsaking it.”4
From the sayings of the scholars, it becomes evident that abandonment of the Qur’an is of different levels. The worst level of abandonment is to disbelieve in the Qur’an and prevent others from listening to it as did the pagan Arabs of Mecca in the Prophet’s time ﷺ.
The second level of abandonment is to not seek out its message, as is the case with so many human beings who go all through life not giving any priority to God and hence they do not make any attempt to discover His true revelation.
The third level of abandonment is committed by those who believe in the Qur’an, that is: Muslims who do not even listen to the Qur’an. Listening is put before reading because it is easier and doesn’t require any knowledge (of rules of recitation) on the part of the listener. This level of abandonment doesn’t imply that the Qur’an is never recited in the presence of those Muslims, but rather it means that when it is recited, they do not concentrate on listening to it, at the very least, out of respect. Those who have abandoned the Qur’an in this way may even continue their idle conversations during the recitation of the Qur’an, feeling no shame or modesty in front of Allah (swt). They may even joke or laugh aloud while the Qur’an is recited, in complete contradiction to the mood of humility and contemplation that Allah (swt) has ordered us to assume when His words are recited. Allah says: “So when the Qur’an is recited, then listen to it and pay attention that you may receive mercy” (Qur’an 7:204). Therefore another part of abandonment in this level is to be silent while the Qur’an is recited while allowing the mind to wander, not pondering over the meanings of its verses. An even worse level of abandonment would be listening to songs, music, poetry, or any other form of speech, instead of the Qur’an. The result of this has been mentioned in Ibn Masood’s saying: “Remembrance of Allah causes faith to grow in the heart like water causes onions to grow, and songs cause hypocrisy to grow in the heart just as water causes onions to grow.”5
The fourth level of abandonment is to abandon reading of the Qur’an. This includes those who make no effort to learn the Arabic alphabet and vowels so as to be able to the read the Qur’an. It also includes those who know how to read it, but make many mistakes out of carelessness, such as not pronouncing the letters properly while having the ability to do so, or not adhering to the most basic rules of tilaawah (rules of recitation), or reciting it so fast that one easily skips over certain vowels or the like. This doesn’t refer to those who will make mistakes while learning; there is no sin on those who error while struggling to correct themselves and, in fact, they receive a double reward if recitation of the Qur’an is difficult for them.6
Another aspect of this abandonment relates to some peoples’ usage of the Qur’an for worldly gain. Imran ibn Husain (ra) narrated that when he came upon a reader who was reciting the Qur’an and then asking for payment, he told the reader that he heard the Messenger of Allah ﷺ say: “When anyone recites the Qur’an, let him ask reward for it from Allah, for (in the future) there will come a people who will recite the Qur’an and ask reward for it from men.”7
The fifth level is abandonment of memorization of the Qur’an. This could refer to those who go through life memorizing only a small portion of the Qur’an, or those who memorize the Qur’an but allow themselves to forget it by not reviewing. As for those who don’t memorize anything of the Qur’an or very little, the following narration refers to them. Ibn ‘Abbas (ra) related that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said (what means): “One whose heart doesn’t contain anything from the Holy Qur’an, is like a deserted house.”8
In regard to those who do memorize, the following narration warns of the effort needed to preserve the Qur’an in one’s mind and heart. Abu Musa al-Ash’ari (ra) related that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Preserve the Holy Qur’an in your hearts, by Allah in whose hand lays the life of Muhammad, it goes out of memory faster than a camel escapes from its rope.”9 This or any level of abandonment usually comes from ignorance of the virtue of every aspect surrounding the Qur’an. In addition, if the youth knew how much they will regret not having taken advantage of the “golden” years, the stage at which the mind can memorize more easily, they would not delay memorization of the Qur’an for one moment.
Abandonment of reflection is the sixth stage. This is mostly due to lack of understanding of the Arabic language. In an authentic hadith (narration), the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said (what means): “The Arab is the one who learns Arabic.” Obviously, Muslims of Arab decent do not have a monopoly on the Arabic language. Hence, negligence of the Arabic language is indicative of negligence towards understanding the Qur’an. It is not nationalistic or ethnic elitism that elevates the Arabic language, rather it is the fact that it is the language of Allah’s Holy Book. In fact, Allah (swt) informs us in the Qur’an that He made it an Arabic book so as to facilitate its understanding and memorization. Allah (swt) says in Surat Yusuf (what means): “Indeed, We have sent it down as an Arabic Qur’an that you may understand” (Qur’an 12:2). So one who sticks to the Arabic language and struggles to learn it has gained a high level of affinity for and understanding of the Qur’an and one who is close to the Qur’an is close to Allah (swt).
The last and most dangerous level is the abandonment of practice. The essence of this type of abandonment is illustrated in the following narration in which the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “…the Qur’an is either an argument for you or against you.”10 Imam an-Nawawi (rahimahu Allah) states in regard to the meaning of this hadith: “[It means] that you will benefit from it if you recite it and act by it, otherwise it will be an argument against you.” This means that on the Day of Judgement, the Qur’an will be a proof or a testament against those who disobeyed Allah (swt) and did not follow the path He outlined in His Holy Book.
The very purpose of listening, reading, memorizing, and reflecting upon the Qur’an is to be able to practice it and hence this is the gravest level of abandonment. Those who don’t practice the Qur’an will be in ruin and this is true even on the level of nations and civilizations. `Umar ibn al-Khattab (ra) narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said (what means): “Allah will elevate some nations through this book and degrade others with it.”11 This level of abandonment, when applied to nations, means their ruling by other than the Qur’an. The most potent example of how the Qur’an elevates nations is the example of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ and his companions. `A’isha (ra), the Prophet’s wife, described his character as being the Qur’an, itself. He embodied the perfect and complete practice of Qur’anic tenets in his life and his companions followed suit by emulating his character. Through their adherence to Allah’s Holy Book, in a matter of no more than 23 years, a group of 40 oppressed and poor men and woman grew to become the most powerful force in the Arabian Peninsula. Muslims of today need not ask why they are now living a humiliating reality, even while not lacking in numbers or wealth. They need not look further than the Qur’an for the solution.
The levels of abandonment are, indeed, mere stages in the degradation of the ummah (community) and its individual members. The levels of abandonment are categorized in this order because each level builds upon the other and makes the problem of abandonment deeper and deeper. One who cannot read will find difficulty memorizing and is more prone to make mistakes. And one who is not motivated by the desire to memorize the Qur’an will certainly not reflect upon it. And one who doesn’t reflect upon the Qur’an could not conceivably practice it as a complete way of life.
Allah (swt) says:
“And whosoever is blinded from remembrance of the Most Merciful – We appoint for him a devil and he is to him a companion. And indeed, the devils avert them from the way [of guidance], while they think that they are rightly guided.” (Qur’an, 43:36-37)
This year, alhamdulillah, I took up reading Surat al Kahf on Fridays, and that led me to reading a juz a day in Ramadan although I’ve never really read after the third juz. (I naturally speak and read Arabic). I also have found that I have overcome my former revulsion (probably born of guilt) of reading or hearing recitation, and have made myself a schedule for memorizing Quran. I am also thinking of listening to it, finding a reciter I like etc…
I am saying all this because I am SO HORRIFIED at what the article has said, because it certainly describes everything that I was doing before. I am appalled at how close one can be to total devestation without even realizing it.
Sorry, by third juz I meant the 30th, 29th and 28th ajza’.
Get Quran audio it has all the best recites from Abdul basit to Abdul Rahman it’s also free
Jazakallah Khair for this timely and very imortant post! May Allah (swt) enable all of the Muslims to build a stronger connection with the Holy Quran during this blessed month of Ramadan!
may Allah protect us from abandoning His Book. Jazakillahu khayran for such a detailed explanation.
Jazakum Allahu khair for the article. Much appreciated. I would like to know if it is wrong to reflect on the English Translation of the Qur’an when one doesn’t understand Arabic?
The most important thing to get from the Qur’an is to understand it in detail, and also to live by it – so there is no problem in reading the translation of the Quran if you can’t read Arabic. But do try to learn some Arabic to be able to appreciate the literary excellence of the Quran
The Messenger of Allah (blessings of Allah be upon him and his family) has said: “The number of levels (stages) in Heaven is (equivalent to) the number of verses in the Qur’an(6236). Thus, when a reciter of the Qur’an enters into Heaven, it will be said to him: ‘Go up one level for every verse that you can recite.’ Thus, no one will be in a higher level than the one who has memorized the entire Qur’an.”
Do you have a reference for this hadith?
Allah (swt) says in Surat Yusuf (what means): “Indeed, We have sent it down as an Arabic Qur’an that you may understand” (Qur’an 12:2).
Obviously, every book and message given to all the prophets were given to them in their native languages. It would have made no sense to have given a Chinese Qur’an to the Arabs. So, the fact that it was given in Arabic means that it was given to Arabs for understanding so that Arabs could not have an excuse for not seeking out, understanding, or following the path of Allah.
To insist that everyone should learn Arabic does not take into account the situation of believers who live in non-Arabic speaking countries. To acquire fluency in a language takes about 10 years of study at 3-4 hours a day and continued study after that to maintain fluency. That’s rather difficult to do if one doesn’t live in an Arabic-speaking country and if one has a job and a family to take care of, as well as participate in the activities of the ummah.
Yes, learning Arabic is important for acquiring a better understanding of the Qur’an, and there is much reward in doing so. In fact, reading or reciting the Qur’an without understanding the Arabic language (the meaning of the recitation) is accomplishing little more than what a trained parrot can do.
Even so, it should be remembered that the purpose of the Qur’an is to give guidance to people, guidance that brings them closer to Allah. So, while learning Arabic can be of great benefit in fulfilling this purpose, can it be said that not learning Arabic is abandonment of the Qur’an? Isn’t it true that anyone who reads, studies, and reflects upon a translation of the Qur’an (especially when accompanied by scholarly commentary) with sincerity of intention of seeking and worshipping Allah will become close to Allah and will practice following the path given by Allah?
Allah knows best.
Good points raised but as a non Arab I do think there is virtue in learning the language of the Quran. Yes it’s a great effort but Allah can make our path to obtain knowledge easier if we have the intention of getting closer to him. It is after all Allah’s words to guide us. The true meaning of these revelations come to life if we obtain knowledge of the sacred language. Just my take on the issue which I need to start working on inshallah.
And yes you’re right ultimately Allah knows best. 🙂
I disagree that learning a language takes 10 years x 3-4 hours a day. If it takes someone this long then they are doing something wrong….It may take that long to master a language or eliminate an accent…but I don’t think it takes 10 years.
I learned quite a good deal of Spanish just taking classes at the local community college and spending a few months in Mexico. As for Arabic it will indeed be a bit harder, because of the script and the huge grammar differences, but I am optimistic that it can be learned casually in far less time with structured study and an open mind.
the biggest reason people have a hard time acquiring a foreign language is because they think they cant. I am telling you you can. I live with a Pakistani brother who learned English in years, and I know of brothers who have studied in the middle east who have learned Arabic in about two years.
but it begs the question, even if it did take you 10 years to understand the Qur’an….wouldn’t it be worth it? The more I learn about Islam, and the Qur’an the more I realize that yes it is indeed a book of guidance for all of mankind, and yes there are miraculous things that can be translated which inspire non Arabic speakers such as you or myself to become Muslim in the first place….but the true miracle of the Qur’an is in the usage of Arabic and the style which Allah narrates therein. From what I understand is that the Arabs of the time of our beloved prophet PBUH were so amazed by the miraculous nature of the Qur’an, that many of them converted because of it.
I long to understand this miracle, and I pray that I will some day be able to understand the miraculous nature of the Qur’an even further by learning Arabic inshaAllah.
Yes it is not easy but atleast we should try to study and learn the word to word translation in a language that we do know.
And if we take a look at most muslim countries, English is not their native tongue. Yet for the wordly matters we do learn it and encourage our children to do so…if just for the dunya we can do something than why not learn Arabic (atleast as much as we can) for our Deen which is our way of life
Yes, it may not be that easy to lean a new language, but atleast we should try to study and learn the word-to-word translation in a language that we do know…
If we take a look at most Muslim countries, English is not their native tongue. Yet,, for the wordly matter we do learn it, and encourage our children to do so too…if just for the dunya we can learn an altogether new language then why not learn Arabic (atleast as much as we can) for understanding the Book of Allah and our Deen which is our way of life 🙂
Translation into English or any other language loses so much of the emotion and beauty and depth which is present only in the Arabic language, the language of the Quran. And yes, as Ryan said, the time spent in learning it (no matter how much) would definitely definitely be worth it!
May Allah enable us all to understand His Word and to ponder over it and apply it in our lives! (Ameen)
But i wondered why is it so hard to translate? Like why would God send it like that in such hard Arabic..isn’t it supposed to be universal and straight forward, so everyone can learn from it easily. hmm don’t get me wrong but i am just wondering. I love Allah (SWT). May Allah have mercy on all of us.
Why wouldnt it be in depth, the beautiful language of the holy quran, afterall it is from the creator of the heavens and the earth, i cannot be in an ordinary language , for HE himsrlf has challanged the entire mankind to bring a single verse like it, but still there are millions of non-arabs that have memorized this magnificent book cover to cover, word by word which is a miracle in itself, but how? Because Allah made it easy for them, yes quran itself is a heavy language but it is easy for all those eager to learn it, it is Allah’s promise that he will make it easy for anyone who strives to seek knowledge, and here comes our test too, whoever takes up the courage to try to seek knowledge , he succeeds, so Allah has made the holy quran a test itself for us, now it is upto us to fail ourselves or to barely pass or to pass with flying colors:-) hope i’ve helped
Jazak Allah and Assalam O Alaikum:-)
I agree with you. Yet there is no denying that learning Arabic language would give the learner/believer an opportunity to embrace or comprehand the Holy Qur’an fully than those who seek for plain translation. However, In my view the language ‘Arabic’ in this argument is little bit different to the relationship between the believers and Allah (SWT). What I understand is Allah, who is the Almighty over everything, can listen as well as understand all the wish/intention (Niyah) made by every individuals regardless of in what language he/she makes.
The one great evidence to this fact is all the converted Muslims, specially from non Arabic languages, across the world. Just think how all non Arabic converted Muslim were guided/blessed by Allah while they speak of their native languages. In most cases these converted Muslims were either motivated by Islam’s philosophy (The Qur’an, Hadith) in their native language or in English. Then they contemplated, realised, then eventually converted to Islam. Look very carefully, despite being non Arabic speaking these converted Muslims were guided by Allah because of their realization and inherent intention towards Allah (SWT).
Allah knows best.
I think one of the biggest reasons for the abandonment is due to the lack of emphasis placed on tafsir. I was recently speaking to a masters grad from Madinah, and was surprised when he told me that they do not cover the tafseer of the entire qur’an.
What if someone has the quran memorized but does not follow it? What if they know every verse but they are not a good person. Will they still be on the highest scale or will they be punished for knowing the words of Allah and not going by them.
I think that would make them even more responsible. Knowledge without action seems like a real waste.
Allah knows best.
Brother Salam, there is a hadith qudsi (I am summarizing in my own words) in which in which three men come to Allah on the Day of Judgement: a martyr, a scholar, and a reciter.
The martyr will say to Allah that he had fought a died in the way of Allah for sake. Allah will say to him that he actually fought and died so that it will be said of him that he was a fighter and a martyr.
The scholar will say to Allah that he had sought knowledge for the sake of Allah. Allah will say to him that he had sought knowledge so it may be said of him that he was a great scholar.
The reciter will tell Allah that he had dedicated his life to memorization and recitation of the Quran. Allah will tell him that he only did so to be known as a great qari.
As you see, in the Quran, we are told not to invalidate our deeds or render them worthless. In surah al-kahf, ayat 103-104, tells us that the most lost deeds are the ones done for the pleasures of this world while they seem righteous. If we do things soley for the pleasure of Allah, not seeking worldy gain, then our deeds will be accepted. Surah al-baqara, ayat 225, tells us that Allah takes us by what our hearts send forth.
may ALLAH give us the strength, will & ability to hold fast to the word of ALLAH- the Qur’an
[…] Qur’an, he loves Allah, and if he detests the Qur’an, he detests Allah and His Messenger ﷺ.”1 Hence, there is a direct correlation between one’s relationship with Allah and his relationship […]
may i noe that i dont know arabic but i can read quran(fresher)….and i seek meanings in english…..is it ok that i am not learning arabic but getting to know meaning in english??
i read quran in english though i will admit not everyday i promised myself i would read it a juz a day through ramadam but sadly i have let myself down i feel so bad but i am only muslim in my family i have four children and lots of medical problems i have a bad memory [ write my childrens names on their pictures so i know who they are] i am trying to lear arabic an i will admit its very strange how i can rember it better than other things though still need to keep looking things up before each lesson. i need a way to remind me to read quran have tried to read two pages after every pray but hard when my family hate me doing this . can anyone make any surgesstions please?
I suggest you make lots of dua and Inshallah everything will become easier for you.
May Allah grant you (an me and the whole ummah) Jannat ul firdos because of your efforts and save you from the fire. Ameen
oops forgot to say i will never be able to memorize quran when i cant even rember my name or my childrens so i will not make it to paradise on that fact alone which makes me so depressed
Sister, don’t think that way. God won’t hold you accountable for what you can’t do. Obviously, you’re trying your best to memorize but you can’t so if you’re intentions are pure, I’m sure that Allah will give you the reward as if you memorized the entire Qur’an. Just stay dedicated and never forget the mercy of God. He knows what’s in your heart and will judge you based on that.
That’s great advice, Rhonda! Lorry, I think we need to remember that many of us are not native Arabic speakers and that we get rewarded for just struggling to read the Quran in Arabic. I’ve been using Quranexplorer.com and reciting along with the various reciters this Ramadan. I read the English translation first and then listen to the Arabic recitation. That’s a suggestion that may be easy to follow 🙂
I too love Quran explorer and the choices I get for reciter, script, and translator
Allhumdulilla, I am reading this article. I am a non arab muslim. But I have learned to recite Al Quran in arabic. But few years ago I discovered the true meaning of Al Quran when I started to read the translation of Al Quran in my mother language and its becoming more meaningful then reciting in arabic. And I am getting addicted to recite the translation of AL Quaran and loosing the interest in reciting Quran in arabic as i dont understand arabic. I am also trying to learn some simple arabic words and senteces as i have very limited scope for learing arabic in any institution.But still i am trying to manage some time to learn but i know it will take a very long time.Before that time is it good to recite the traslation of Al Quran? Is it becoming a bad habit to only recite the traslation instead of original arabic book of Al Quran?
I like to read and understand the Quran and i definetly believe in Allah (SWT) . I do not understand Arabic but i do read the English translation and in the English translation sometimes they write harsh words and i always wondered if it is really written like that in Arabic in the actual Quran? And in the Quran i always see it referring as..”tell your women” or “tell the women”, i wondered why wouldnt Allah (SWT) just talk to us women directly by saying Oh my women or something? It always hurted me i dont know why, it just made me feel inferior as a woman. I hope someone can clearify this for me.
Also dosnt Allah (SWT) want to give a universal message then why would it be written in Arabic only when not everyone can understand it, what about the very poor one’s who dont really have the money to learn. I mean, can I rely 100% on the English translation? and why would a universal message be written in such difficult way? Why can’t it be straight foward that there are so many opinions about it from different scholars?
I always wondered these questions. I have many more but it would take forever to write it here. But I hope someone can clarify these for me atleast. I am a bit confused. But i do believe in Allah (SWT) and all his Prophets (peace be on all of them). I hope Allah (SWT) has mercy on us and give us all a place in Jannah. Ameen.
Sister, Allah SWT tells us Himself in the Qur’an that it is revealed in Arabic so that it is easy for people to understand. Yes, the religion of Islam is a universal deen but the Arabic language is the language of Allah. It is so intricate in its expression that no single word in the Qur’an is used without a purpose thus it is in this way that the message of the Qur’an is clear. In order to appreciate this one needs to have some knowledge of Arabic. No other language is comparable to it and this is not degrading other languages because after all every kind of language is from Allah SWT. (i am a non arab)
Our Rasulullah SAW was an Arab, Allah SWT chose him to be our final Messenger and we do not have a say in His choice. That is why the Qur’an is in Arabic. The Qur’an was first directed to the Arabs and how weird would it be to have it revealed in a language foreign to them?
“We have sent it down as an Arabic Quran, in order that you may learn wisdom.” (Quran 12:2)
“And certainly We have set forth to men in this Quran similitudes of every sort that they may reflect. An Arabic Quran without any crookedness, that they may guard (against evil).” (Quran 39:27-28)
Allah SWT will make it easy for those who have the correct intention of learning the Arabic language for His SAke alone… Trust in Allah and HiS Word
A person is an Arab who speaks the Arabic language not in terms of ethnicity. In this way all Muslims in all spheres of life are unified. Having One Qur’an helps preserve the sacred message of Allah.
Reading the Arabic Qur’an is the actual message, the translations are merely best attempts at deriving some meaning from it.
And I just realized that sister Sarah very wonderfully answered your questions for you mashaAllah 🙂 But I shall post this anyway.
Thank you for answering my question, I understand where you are coming from..but i also wondered when i was reading, almost in every Quran it is written “O tell your women”..rather then talking straight foward to us women..i feel inferior to men then when i read it and it makes me feel so bad inside..like we women are not as important as men..”I dont think Allah would write like that..he is God he can talk straight to us women because he created us.
I am still very confused, please dont get me wrong..i am just trying to find the right message. I love Allah and May he have mercy on all of us.
Dear ukhti, Allah is Just and loving Allah means that we understand this and have firm belief in this. Allah SWT loves His believing female slaves as equally as He loves His believing male slaves and loves one more so than the other only in terms of piety. In His Book He SWT speaks to both men and women on equal footing in so many instances
For Muslim men and women, for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in charity, for men and women who fast, for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah’s praise, for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward. (33:35)
Who so does that which is right, and believes, whether male or female, him or her will We quicken to happy life. (16:97)
How can we then feel inferior?
The ayahs you state are those that are directed to the Messenger of Allah SWt..Allah is ordering him to command us women…we are after all HIS women? and should be proud to be so alhamdulillah! it is far more effective and lets the men know that this instruction of Allah is restricted to women.
I don’t speak with any sort of knowledge pertaining to these ayahs regarding women, but this is only a reassurance to you sister. You should absolutely NOT feel bad inside…any sort of doubts that enter your mind can lead to a dangerous path.
It is not up to us to know how Allah should talk to us or what words He should have used…part of our iman is that we take Allah’s BOOK and His Messenger whole heartedly and if we do not understand something of our beautiful and comprehensive deen then let us not qucikly jump to questioning Allah’s Wisdom or Will (nauthubillah!) it is because there is a deficiency in our understanding and not a deficiency in Islam.
Your keenness in finding this out should be applauded mashaAllah but sister please be careful .
Allah SWT knows best.
May Allah SWT always increase our understanding and love for His Book and give us the strength to always live by it. Ameen.
thank you all so very much for you help and advice i will keep trying as its wht i want an need to do.
sara i know what you mean i also wonder if the english translation is true but from people i have talked to [i have many muslim friends] they say that it is very hard to translate quran into another language exactly so i have one given me by my local mosque [ the one time i was allowed to go before my non muslim husband locked me in house to stop me] and it is very very good and has good footnotes to explain things
it has english and arabic [the quran arabic text with corresponding english meanings english revised and edited by sahee international- abul-quasim publishing house po box 6156 jeddah 21442 saudi arabia] sorry that is all the information i have on it
Oh thank you for that lorry! I will definitely try to find it, it shouldn’t be that hard.
But i wondered why is it so hard to translate? Like why would God send it like that in such hard Arabic..isn’t it supposed to be universal and straight forward, so everyone can learn from it easily. hmm don’t get me wrong but i am just wondering. I love Allah (SWT). May Allah have mercy on all of us.
Assalamu alaikum sister! May Allah reward you and shower you with His love! I don’t know the answer to your question, but I think that when Allah revealed His books to humanity, it had to come in human language, of one nation or another. Picking just one language (as opposed to having multiple original Qurans in different languages) gives the Qur’an a single consistent meaning, without error or variation around the world. And it allows Muslims to be unified as a global community, since we all can come to learn the language of our faith. My understanding is that He chose Arabic because as a language it happens to be one of the most beautiful and eloquent languages, and capable of expressing the full meaning of His message.
In Arabic the vocabulary of the Qur’an is actually at a pretty simple level – that even someone with a basic understanding can get the basic message subhanAllah. A small vocabulary can understand about 80% of the text. And the main points are repeated frequently for emphasis.
Why people say it is complex and difficult to translate is in the rich layers of meaning – in Arabic one word can imply many shades of meaning at the same time, like the most beautiful poetry only on a level worthy of a Divine Book. And takes scholarship to understand the meaning on so many levels – scientific, historical, spiritual, etc. Whereas English is a very specific language – each word expresses only one shade of meaning – in translating it you have to pick only one and the others are lost.
I’m not a native Arabic speaker myself, and when someone finally went through just one Aya with me, word by word, explaining each word and the meaning all together, I was in tears. SubhanAllah it was so beautiful and so much richer than I ever understood. Definitely worth learning and struggling with, even if we only get a SINGLE ayah!
Insha’Allah Allah rewards those of us who struggle with the Arabic far more for each letter we read or understand, because of the great effort we make for His sake.
I mean clearly, we all know God is all powerful,he is MORE than able to convey his message in more than one language, he doesnt have constraints,he didnt HAVE to only do it in Arabic. I not trying to question God but you know God is God and he is just so powerful.
Also how does Quran unify people because due to the vagueness and various translations, there is verly little unification and people just follow a imam or get advice from some other person and that is why most countries are in trouble.
To read Arabic, a “simple” person is ALWAYS told to go to scholar to TRULY understand. I am so confused about this and a little lost but i always have these questions in mind. I love Allah(SWT) dont get me wrong, i hope he has mercy on all of us. JazakAllah Khair.
Assalamu alaikum sister – may Allah reward you for your questions! (Again, I’m only answering out of my understanding here – please Sh Suhaib correct me if I’m wrong.) Of course Allah swt is capable of revealing the Quran in as many languages as He desired. But that would cause inconsistency and variation in meaning between versions – whereas one of the main strengths of Islam is that our holy book is ONE and uncorrupted and unvaried since the time it was revealed.
Each language has its own shades of meaning — and even lacks words that other languages have. For example, “charity” in English means something substantially different than both “sadaqah” and “Zakat.” The Qur’an would lose a great deal of meaning without those two Arabic words – so an English version would end up missing some important guidance for us!
Plus if you had varied ORIGINALS of our Qur’an there would be no single authoritative version – so we wouldn’t know where to take our Islam from.
It’s a great blessing that we know clearly our translations are only “reading guides” and not the Real Thing… Unlike with the current state of the Torah and Gospels where there is disagreement about which versions are authoritative, and the words of the “interpreters” over the years have gotten impossibly mixed with the words of Allah.
Alhamdolillah we know where to turn for our trusted source – what words are Allah’s and what are from people.
As far as unification – when any Muslim reads the Fatihah we are all saying the exact same words, in unison, all around the world! This is extremely beautiful and moving subhanallah: that a herdsman in Mongolia can pray in the same voice as a homemaker in Iowa as a farmer in the mountains of Mexico as a businessman in Tokyo. All of us have been able to learn enough Arabic to pray together, and all of us can hope and try to learn enough Arabic to read Allah’s book together, in its original!
As far as vagueness or the ability of a “simple” person to understand the Qur’an, Allah swt has told us there are two types of verses in the Qur’an — those that are clear in and of themselves, and those that have a deeper meaning. The clear verses are the majority — that Allah is ONE, about the prophets, about giving to the poor and caring for orphans and widows, about being just and kind and truthful and humble and patient, about prayer and fasting, about the Last Day and our reward and punishment for our deeds…
As far as the need to rely on scholars, this is for the verses that require interpretation AND that we shouldn’t draw our own conclusions or make up rules out of what we read but should look to those who are knowledgeable. And of course even the “simple” verses have many many degrees of enlightenment we can gain from them, with guidance. But that doesn’t take away from the power of the simplicity of Allah’s fundamental message.
As for the different interpretations and rulings by different scholars around the world – so long as we all agree on the fundamentals, this is not a problem in the Qur’an but actually a mercy from Allah. He made Islam flexible in many ways so it can fit well in any time, place, or condition — so long as the essentials of our belief and worship are protected. Again, having one single holy book as the same source for all our Ummah and all our scholars is a huge protection for our faith!
May Allah guide all of us and increase our understanding and our love for His deen – and forgive me for anything I’ve said incorrect – and Allah knows best.
Jazak Allah Khair sister Sarah for answering the above question in so much detail! 🙂
A point that i considered in the above question, as to why Allah did not reveal multiple Qurans in multiple languages for all the people of the world…
When we come to think of it look at it this way.
So many languages that exist in today’s time were actually not even present in the time that Quran was revealed…they originated quite alooot of time later (e.g English)..
Now if you think that ” with the surfacing of every language or atleast all the languages that ‘were’ present at that time, why was not a Quran revealed separately?” Well, just think about it…just the revelation of a book is not all…we need a practical example like that of Prophet Muhammad(SAW). How can it be possible to have a single example in multiple forms? We know how difficult it was to receive ‘Wahi’ from Allah and how the condition of Prophet SAW would change when a revelation came to him when Angel Gabriel brought to him…how could it be possible for the wahi to come to so many different people around the world?
Considering all the above things it just seems totally impractical and One Word and One example to follow for all the mankind till the day of judgement is definitely the MOST straightforward! 🙂
And besides, Arabic language is the easiest language to learn as a second language! Even today this language is alive and a uniting force for the Muslim World whereas all the languages that existed back then with the Arabic are now not spoken anymore! Subhan Allah!
Thank you guys for your reply to my questions.
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Ma sha Allah
If this is the case, I think that the custom of playing the Qur’an with loudspeakers in public spaces, either from mosques or in shops ‘just because it seems a good thing’ contributes to abandonment. While we should respect a recitation by stopping and listening, when it is played out of a suitable context, while people are out and about, or trying to do their daily chores and work and routine tasks, they are going to be forced to move on with their errands and ignore the recitation. This conditions people – including me, I find – to ignore the recitations. Ironically it is a result driven by well-meaning people who believed that playing the Qur’an recitations in public audiospheres for no particular reason, is a good thing.
What happen for those who ignored Al Quran as a Holy Book ? please answer 🙂
I know this is a silly question but its important i really liked this article of yours and wanted to share it amongst the people as a lecture by maybe adding a few more relating points and dalail so if you dont mind can i copy it to benefit people? Please reply!