Masjidun-Nur, Detroit, Michigan
We came together for a noble purpose: to study the book of Allah , the Qur’an. The Qur’an is the speech of Allah, innahu kalaam Allah. This is the speech of the Creator talking directly to the creation. That is why the father of the great poet Alam Muhammed Iqbal told him as a young boy, “When you read the Qur’an, read the Qur’an as though Allah, God Almighty, is talking directly to you.”
So we came together for the noble purpose of studying the Qur’an. And really what does it mean? For many of us what is our experience with the Qur’an? What is our educational history with the Qur’an? It’s very important that we look back at our history with the Qur’an because it is a reflection of what has shaped our outlook on the Qur’an. For example, maybe our only experience with the Qur’an happened primarily between the ages of five and ten. What was that experience like? We used to go to someone with a big beard and a large stick and he used to tell us, “Read or I’m going to hit you.” Although it’s humorous there are many people for whom I am sure this was their experience with the Qur’an. “Read…BAM!”
As an educator recalling constructive theory, which was developed by Jean Piaget and others, what type of construction will be built in the mind of a person who is introduced to the Qur’an like this? What type of attitude will they have toward the Qur’an? What type of affection or attachment will they have to the Qur’an?
For many of us the Qur’an was introduced strictly as a cultural phenomenon. Subhan’Allah (glory be to Allah) when someone dies we do what? Read the Qur’an. When anything like a marriage occurs we pay someone to come and read the Qur’an. When we finished the Qur’an, the khatim of the Qur’an, we pay someone to read to the Qur’an. The Qur’an is like a festive ornament that just floats in the ecosystem of our lives but is not really involved centrally. In many Muslim societies this is exactly what role this living miracle plays.
In our time together we have the objective of taking the Qur’an as it should have been taken from the beginning: a manual for our lives. This is the Qur’an, this is the book of Allah . Maybe some people came tonight because your friend sent you an e-mail saying, “You have to come, please just come.” Maybe someone was walking and someone grabbed them and said, “Come on, please, you’ll find your friends there, and we’ll have some tea afterwards.” So maybe people don’t realize the value of being here, the value of being in a place where the Qur’an is studied.
The Prophet said, “No group of people will gather together in a house from the houses of Allah”- and many ulema (scholars) said this doesn’t mean just the masjid, this could be any place where people gather to study the Qur’an-and the Prophet continued “and they come together to recite the book of Allah , the Qur’an, and to study it and to ponder upon it, except that tranquility from Allah will descend on them and that they will be covered with rahma (mercy) and that the angels will come to this gathering and cover them and shower them. And the stack of the angels will go all the way to the heavens and Allah is going to mention your name by you studying the Qur’an.”
So is it possible that this book that is going to bring about these wonderful things-as-sakina (tranquility), mercy, the angels being here, and that Allah is going to mention your name-is it possible that this book is only for ritualistic affairs? Yet this happens when people read it.
Another hadith related by Imam al-Bukhari: Uthman bin Affan said that the Prophet said, “The best of you is the one who learns the Qur’an and then teaches it.”