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Thoughts on Burn-a-Qur’an Day

We are reposting this article in response to the recent burning of the Qur’an by Pastor Terry Jones.342149395_50041ef83a_b

On September 11th 2010, the Dove World Outreach Center in Florida was due to host ‘Burn a Qur’an day’, which seems to have been called off – for now. The Pastor responsible for the event explained his reasoning simply as “Islam is of the devil” – yet he had never actually read the Qur’an. An interesting thought came up on twitter in that regard: “Wonder if the Florida Qur’an-burning Christians will spare the pages that praise Jesus.” While they will not be burning Qur’ans on this day, we can see that hate for the Qur’an was not born out of knowledge but rather out of ignorance. Unfortunately, some of us are guilty of the same thing this church is. None of us want to burn the Qur’an of course, but we may be guilty of something else: ignorance of the Qur’an.

Since Ramadan has come to an end, it is an apt time for us to assess our relationship with the book of Allah. Many of us probably read some Qur’an during the holy month. For some of us, it was a question of quantity; can we complete the Qur’an in one month? How many times can we complete it? Since we are rewarded for every letter recited, this is a logical way of looking at the Qur’an. But as Muslims, and moreover, as educated Muslims, we need to move beyond that basic level. If it is simply about quantity, we remain ignorant of the Qur’an’s beautiful message and its purpose in being sent down as a guide. A more crucial way of looking at this great Book is assessing the affect it has on our hearts. Allah says,


“If We had sent down this Qur’an upon a mountain, you would have seen it humbled and coming apart from fear of Allah. And these examples We present to the people that perhaps they will give thought.” (Qur’an, 59:21)

How often have we felt the weight of the Qur’an on our hearts? The Qur‘an is able to humble a mountain, yet our hearts remain hard. Our hearts are more moved by novels about fictional scenarios – such as stories about vampires! But Abu Bakr (ra) was known to weep when he recited the Qur’an. Umar (ra) was transformed by the Qur’an from a drunkard who abused Muslims and beat them, to a man who felt responsibility if an animal was being abused under his rule. What accounts for this difference? Simply that we fail to reflect on the reality that the Qur’an speaks of, and the fact that it is addressed to us. We forget that the Qur’an is Allah’s Words, directed to us.

We need to have a Ramadan resolution- and that is to connect to the Qur’an. Our goal should be to attain the level of Abu Bakr (ra), who was so moved by the Qur’an that he could not help but weep every time he recited. He was conscious of the fact this Book is not solely to be read for blessings. Khurram Murad, in his book “Way to the Qur’an” said, “You must remain alive to the reality that, while you are reading the Qur’an, you are in the very presence of Him who has sent these words to you.”

Finally, some practical tips to help up to connect to the Qur’an:

  1. Start a Qur’an study circle: the best way to engage with the Qur’an is to understand it. Allah says “Say, “Are those who know equal to those who do not know?” Only they will remember [who are] people of understanding.” [Qur’an, 39:9] And doing that with others ensures we have support.
  2. If you cannot do that, aim to listen to or read some tafseer [commentary of the Qur’an] at least a couple days a week.
  3. Try to reflect on Allah’s Names. This directly related to the Qur’an because we gain a deeper understanding of the One who has sent down the Qur’an to us.
  4. While ‘Burn a Qur’an Day’ has been called off, this should serve as a motivator for us to be proactive rather than reactive. We should increase our outreach activities, explain Muslim beliefs and engage with those who may otherwise be in the dark about Islam. Wherever we have a Muslim community, either at work or at the mosque or at a university, we should hold informational events and invite our fellow citizens.

About the author

Jinan Yousef

Jinan Yousef

Jinan's main interests within the field of Islamic Studies are the Names of Allah, the life and character of the Prophet ﷺ, tazkiya and Muslim personalities.


  • Great article Sr. Jinan! May Allah (swt) make us among those who keep the Qur’an close throughout the year and let it penetrate our hearts. Ameen.

    PS. Missing the feeling of awaiting the Salah Series parts 🙁

    • JazakAllah khair for your comment. I miss writing them, but I pray that they were of benefit and that Allah enables us to implement them. Hope to start a new series soon inshAllah

  • A very good response to this whole Fitna. It reflects the true temperance of Islam as opposed to those radicals who have given so-called “fatwa” to kill Terry Jones. May Allah guide us. Thank you, Shaykh. You’re a good brother.

  • A Rabbi and a Buddhist Monk are having a conversation about both of their religions. After the Rabbi explained why Buddhism is a form of idolatry, the Monk asked the Rabbi for a sefer Torah — a parchment hand-written Torah of the type we’ve had for 3,500 years.

    The Monk looks over the scroll, asks the Rabbi to read parts, and then rolls it back up. He starts walking towards and open window, when the Rabbi realizes he intends to throw it out the window — a window that opens to the side of a mountain, where the sefer Torah will surely be destroyed by the fall.

    The Rabbi immediately tells the Monk to stop and starts talking about how holy a sefer Torah is.

    The Monk turns and asks him “Which one of us is the idolater now?”

    The answer is that the Torah (and Qur’an) you can hold, read, cherish — as well as desecrate, burn, abuse, etc. — is not The Torah (or Qur’an). The NAZIs stole sifrei Torah, burned our synagogues, murdered our people, and we’re still here. Extremist fanatics can burn Qur’ans, flush them down toilets, make fun of them, and all these other actions, but the Qur’an that can be abused is not The Qur’an.

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