The Qur’an is the foundation of our faith; the source of guidance, warning, hope and wisdom. And we are told to read it. In numerous verses we are being reminded:
And this is a Book which We have revealed as a blessing: so follow it and be righteous, that ye may receive mercy (Al-’An’am: 155)
Read! In the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, who created (Al-’Alaq: 1)
Those to whom We have sent the Book study it as it should be studied (Al-Baqarah: 121)
We have sent it down as an Arabic Qur’an, in order that ye may learn wisdom. (Yusuf: 2)
We all know how important the reading of the Qur’an is and how many blessings the recitation brings. Yet, sometimes we get so immersed in the everyday routines of our worldly lives that our contact with the Qur’an ends with the obligatory prayers, and we don’t ponder much on the meaning of the verses we read. It may seem that we don’t have enough time to spare, but then time is in our hands and we have to set the priorities. The multiple roles that we are playing every day – being Muslims, but also wives, mothers, sisters, entrepreneurs and breadwinners – may get us out of focus and make us forget what the ultimate goal is:
And verily the Hereafter will be better for thee than the present. (Ad-Duhaa: 4)
In the famous book by Stephen Covey, ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’, the author poses a question: ‘What one thing could you do, that if you did on regular basis, would make a tremendous difference in your life?’ I remember that the first thing that came to my mind was reading the Qur’an. Following the author’s guidance, to achieve effectiveness in our lives, we have to first recognise our priorities, identify the means to fulfil them and finally apply these means in our lives. So, if submitting to Allah’s will is our priority and the Qur’an is the perfect guidance in how to achieve it, then what could be more important than incorporating it into our lives? We have to remember that living according to Qur’anic instructions will actually make our lives easier. As we read:
O mankind! There hath come to you a direction from your Lord and a healing for the (diseases) in your hearts, and for those who believe, a guidance and a mercy. (Yunus: 57)
So, the next step to follow is to establish the good habits. I have made a resolution to read Qur’an for fifteen minutes daily after offering Fajr prayer. It is actually a Sunnah to stay awake after morning Salat, and we are also advised in the Qur’an:
Establish regular prayers – at the sun’s decline till the darkness of the night, and the morning prayer and reading: for the prayer and reading in the morning carry their testimony. (Al-’Isra’: 78)
As with all good habits, I had to persevere at the beginning and resist the temptation to climb back into bed to get some sleep before the morning duties start. The benefits of morning recitation can be enjoyed immediately. It brings peace and helps achieve balance. Reading the translation of randomly chosen verses from the Qur’an in the morning inspires me to strive more, to be more patient and focused when dealing with the day’s tasks ahead. And even though I do not try to remember everything I read in the morning, in hard situations, unexpectedly, words of the Qur’an come to my mind to guide me.
I do not understand Arabic and I still struggle reading it, so I have to rely on the English translations to grasp the meaning of the Qur’an. I memorise short surahs by printing their pronunciation with the meaning and sticking it on the fridge. This way, the Qur’an keeps me company all day long and I try to recite more of the verses I learn in my prayers. Still, I feel the urge to comprehend better and learn more, and the question comes back: maybe I should enrol on Qur’anic Arabic classes? My sister-in-law, who has been studying for few months now, says that nothing gives her more pleasure than actually understanding the verses she reads and the du’as she says, not merely knowing the meaning, but real understanding. I know my days are filled to the brim with activities, but do I really push myself hard enough? Once again, following advice from ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’, I try to see how much of my day is filled with activities that are urgent, but not really important. I can then assess if cutting out trivial things could save me time to do things which are really important, even though they don’t seem urgent.
The blessed month of Ramadhan is the perfect time to start incorporating the Qur’an into our lives. The rhythm of the day slows down, especially for those of us lucky enough to live in Muslim countries, and we find more time for spiritual development. Reading the Qur’an daily during Ramadhan is for many of us as essential as fasting, and there is no reason why it should not become an essential part of our everyday lives.
Incorporating the Qur’an into our lives, as important as it is, may seem a tremendous task, but we should remember that:
Allah doth advance in guidance those who seek guidance: and the things that endure, good deeds, are best in the sight of thy Lord, as rewards, and best in respect of (their) eventual return. (Maryam: 76)
To begin with, we just need the will to change, the determination to bring the Qur’an closer. And we have to give it time. Even as little as fifteen minutes a day, any time of the day:
Allah doth appoint night and day in due measure He knoweth that ye are unable to keep count thereof. So He hath turned to you (in mercy): read, therefore, of the Quran as much as may be easy for you. (Al-Muzzammil: 20)
We all hear stories of experiences and encounters that profoundly change people’s lives. The Qur’an can easily become our everyday life-changing experience. If we just open up to Allah’s words, then, insha Allah, the seeds of wisdom will grow strong in our hearts and rejuvenate our souls. Because Allah does not change a people’s lot unless they change what is in their hearts. (Ar-Ra’d: 11)
Klaudia Khan is a freelance writer based in the UK and Pakistan, happily married and blessed with two daughters.