If you’re part of the Stony Brook MSA… please skip this post…Should be out in the next Minaret inshAllah.
Habib Ali al-Jifri once compared the Qur’an to a letter sent to us from Allah. It makes sense if you think about it. The Qur’an is the word of Allah. It is unlike the Bible or the Torah. The Bible is a compilation of what Jesus said and did and the Torah is written in a manner different from the Qur’an.
The word Qur’an is derived from a word that means “recitation.” Verily, the Qur’an is also a book that is to be oft-recited. We recite the Qur’an in salah; we pray and implore Allah’s forgiveness from verses revealed in the Qur’an; we even recite dua from the Qur’an. But much too often, we don’t reflect or try to learn what the Qur’an really tells us.
Habib Ali narrated a scene that is similar to the dilemma we face with the Qur’an. Imagine a king sending a letter to you inviting you to his court for an assembly. You read the letter aloud in a beautiful voice and then put it aside. You don’t attend the assembly. The king asks his messenger why you haven’t responded to the letter. The king sends another letter. There is no response. He asks “where is my subject whom I invited?”Someone tells the king that you are contemplating the letter. The king says, “Fine, where is he?? The letter says to come to me!” The messenger says that you read the letter with a beautiful voice and manners. But the king is not satisfied. He still wants to know where you are. He asks again where you are. The messenger says, “He’s reading your letter! Is it not enough that he read your letter?”
This response would surely not satisfy the king. He has invited you to come to him and you do not respond. You read his letter and do so beautifully but ignore the content. But Allah is the King of kings! The King of kings has sent us a letter saying race to My Forgiveness. He tells us to turn to Him. But we ignore this or haven’t turned to Allah.
We take the letter and stick it on a shelf. We leave it to sit there. It’s forgotten on our bookshelves. Habib Ali makes the point that obviously we have not done a good job receiving this letter. Nor do we understand the message contained in this letter. Yes, we learn tajweed and gain hasanat by reading the Qur’an properly. I will not belittle the importance that has. But do we listen to this message? Do we understand what Our King is saying to us?
There is no RSVP on this letter we’ve received. So we neglect it. We leave it on the shelf. But we do not realize that the RSVP is not written on the card, but it is written in Allah’s book. The date we must respond by is the date of our death. But we do not know when this day will come. It can come at any second, but we do not have this sense of urgency. My mother’s coworkers relative just passed away in a car accident. He had just turned 18. We’ve all heard of accidents occurring and people dying but how real is it to us? We are not invincible youth. Our death is written but we go live in this dunya as if we will live forever. He was 18. He was our age. A Muslim. His death was written at that moment, at that time.
Our time is fleeting. This dunya is temporary. How can we die without having a connection to Allah? He has given us His letter, the Qur’an. He has laid out for us the path to reach Him in this Qur’an. He gave us a guide in the Prophet (SAWS) to lead us along the way. He has bestowed upon us countless blessings and gifts. But we are heedless of His words. We must ask Allah to open our hearts and ears to His words. Allah is calling us to Him. We must answer this call.
I really must stress the importance of reciting the Qur’an daily and either reading a Tafsir with it (like Ibn Kathir or Maariful Quran) or learning Arabic yourself to at least get the meaning of the verses we recite daily. The Qur’an is not a joke or something to be lightly. The Prophet (SAWS) said, “And the Qur’an is a proof for you or against you.” [Muslim] Learning the Qur’an and its exegesis is not only beneficial for us in this world, but has tremendous reward in the Hereafter. Likewise, neglecting it means having it testify against you on the Day of Judgment. Let us not ignore this letter from Allah. May Allah make us people of the Qur’an and of its understanding.
“This is a Scripture that We have revealed unto thee, full of blessing, that they may ponder its revelations, and that men of understanding may reflect.” [38.29]