Honoring the Glorious Qur’an.
(by Sheikh ‘Abdul-Bârî ath-Thubaytee.)
All praise is due to Allah, Lord of all the worlds. Peace and blessings be upon the Messenger, his household and his companions.
Humanity was living in an extreme darkness, beset by deviations and superstitions until Allah honoured it and revealed to it the Qur’an so that it could bring it out of the darkness to the light and out of subjection to idols and statues to total submission to the only One Lord and the Judge. Allah revealed the Qur’an as an everlasting miracle. He challenged the man and the Jinn to bring forth the like thereof. All human orators surrendered to its eloquence; the wise among mankind succumbed to its wisdom and the scholars among them were astounded by its mysteries. Evidences of its opponents were disproved while their weakness was exposed. It has to be so because the Qur’an is the Word of Allah, the All-Wise, All-Knowledgeable. It is His Unique Word that can never be rivaled or paralleled by any word or expression. It is a succinct word, full of miraculous verses.
The mere mention of it gladdens the hearts of those who remember Allah. Its verses are easy to memories for those who memories them. It is the spring of the hearts and the light of the minds. Allah made it a light that guides to the light. It is the truth that guides to the truth. It is the straight path that leads its followers to the everlasting Paradise. Hearts never get bored with its recitation and it never wears out as a result of frequent reading. The Qur’an is the guide for the Muslims; it is the law that guides the lives of the believers. It is the main source of the law of Islam, the pillar of the religion, the source of wisdom, the sign of the message and the light of the eyes and the visions. There is no way to Allaah except through it and there is no salvation without it. Therefore, let those who seek guidance, light and happiness in this world and the Hereafter take the Qur’an as their intimate companion at all times by reading it and putting its injunctions into practice in order to attain their goals. Let them endeavor to be among the frontrunners.
Dear brethren! The first generation of the Muslims marched upon the path of the Qur’an and then became the first community ever evolved for mankind. Then, the Qur’an was not preserved in written form; it was rather preserved in their hearts, behaviors, manners and deeds. When one of them walked on the land, he walked carrying manners, etiquettes and principles of the Qur’an with him. The enemies testified to the greatness of the Qur’an and to the splendor of its meanings. Al-Waleed ibn al-Mugheerah once came to the Messenger of Allah (SAW) and told him: “O Muhammad, read the Qur’an for me.” The Messenger of Allah (SAW) read for him Allah’s saying,
“Indeed, Allah enjoins justice and good conduct and giving to relatives; and forbids immorality bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded.” The Messenger of Allah (SAW) hardly finished reciting this verse that this avowed enemy requested him that he recited the verse once again because of the its majestic wordings and sacred meanings. He was seized by the solidity of its construction and was overwhelmed by its strong impact. He soon registered his acknowledgement of the greatness of the Qur’an by saying: “By Allah! It has sweetness and it is full of grace. It is leafy in the lower side and full of fruits in the upper side. This is certainly not the word of a human being.”
Allah tells us of the greatness of the Qur’an that if it was addressed to the mountains they would humble and come apart from the fear of Allah. He says,
لَوْ أَنْزَلْنَا هَذَا الْقُرْآنَ عَلَى جَبَلٍ لَرَأَيْتَهُ خَاشِعًا مُتَصَدِّعًا مِنْ خَشْيَةِ اللَّهِ وَتِلْكَ الأَمْثَالُ نَضْرِبُهَا لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ
“Had We sent down this Qur’an on a mountain, you would surely have seen it humbling itself and rent asunder by the fear of Allaah.” (Surah Al-Hashr 59:21)
During one of the Prophet’s battles, a man among the Muhajireen and a man among the Ansar stood in guard one night. The Muhajir brother slept and the Ansari was performing prayer. A man from among the enemy came; and when he saw the Ansari in prayer he shot him with an arrow, the Ansari removed the arrow and continued praying until the enemy shot him three times. He then bowed and prostrated. His Muhajir companion who had been sleeping then awakened, and the enemy ran away. When he saw blood on his brother he asked him shockingly, “Subhânallah! Why didn’t you wake me up when he shot the first arrow?” But his companion answered, “I was reading a surah and I did not want to interrupt it.” The greatness of a word is usually measured by the greatness of the one who says it. Then imagine how great the word would be if the one who says it is Allah, the Exalted, the Omnipotent and the Possessor of the heavens and the earth! Allah says,
ذَلِكَ وَمَنْ يُعَظِّمْ شَعَائِرَ اللَّهِ فَإِنَّهَا مِنْ تَقْوَى الْقُلُوبِ
“Thus it is, and whosoever honors’ the Symbols of Allah, then it is truly from the piety of the hearts.” (Surah Al-Hajj 22:32)
The Qur’an represents the symbol of Allah among His servants. It is His Book that will never be affected by falsehood from its front or from its rear. The Qur’an is great with Allah and it is in the Preserved Tablet as Allah says,
وَإِنَّهُ فِي أُمِّ الْكِتَابِ لَدَيْنَا لَعَلِيٌّ حَكِيمٌ
“And Verily, it (this Qur’an) is in the Mother of the Book (i.e. Al-Lauh Al-Mahfouz), with Us, indeed Exalted, full of Wisdom.” (Az-Zukhruf 43:4)
Ibn Katheer said, “Allah explains its nobleness in the midst of the angels so that that those who are in the earth can also honour it and obey its injunctions.”
Fellow Muslims! Venerating Allah’s Book is a manifestation of venerating Allah. An-Nawawi said, “The Muslims are unanimous that venerating the glorious Qur’an is obligatory.”
Qadi ‘Iyadh said, “Whoever treats the Qur’an, a copy of it or any of its contents contemptuously has become a disbeliever according to the consensus of the Muslims.”
The Qur’an is venerated by its perfect recitation, belief in its contents, abiding by its commandments and avoiding its prohibitions, and by honoring it by whatever means Allah ordains. Venerating the glorious Qur’an is not restricted to learning and applying its Tajweed alone; it is not restricted to decorating its printing, hanging it on the walls or reciting it on the dead. Its actual veneration lies in preserving its letters and limitations, glorifying it and following its teachings.
كِتَابٌ أَنزَلْنَاهُ إِلَيْكَ مُبَارَكٌ لِيَدَّبَّرُوا آيَاتِهِ وَلِيَتَذَكَّرَ أُوْلُوا الأَلْبَابِ
“(This is) a Book (the Qur’an) which We have sent down to you, full of blessings that they may ponder over its Verses, and that men of understanding may remember.” (Surah Saad 38:29)Venerating the Book of Allah entails that one should not read it while he is in the state of sexual defilement. This is because the Messenger of Allah (SAW) wrote to ‘Amr ibn ‘Azm that, “None but the clean (from impurities) should touch the Qur’an.” (Maalik)
A manifestation of honoring the Qur’an is that nothing should be said about it without knowledge. An-Nawawi said, “It is forbidden that commentaries should be made on it without knowledge and nothing should be said concerning its intricate meanings except by qualified scholars. There are many Hadith’s in this regard, as there is a consensus of the Muslims regarding this. As for commenting on its meanings by the scholars, there is a consensus that this is permissible and commendable.”
Venerating the Qur’an entails abstention from commenting on its verses with mere assumptions. The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “Beware or narrating from me except that which you know. For, whoever intentionally tells a lie against me should choose his place in Hell. And whoever speaks of the Qur’an with his opinion should choose his place in Hell.” (Ahmad and al-Tirmidhi) Venerating the Qur’an entails reciting it with attention and reflecting upon its meanings. The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “There will appear in this nation a group of people so pious apparently that you will consider your prayers, fasting and good deeds inferior to theirs. But they will recite the Qur’an, the teachings of which will not go beyond their throats and they will go out of their religion as arrow darts through the game.” (Al-Bukhari)
It is a manifestation of honoring the Qur’an to clean the mouth with cleaning stick and to rinse the mouth before reciting it. The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “Had it been that I did not want to inconvenience my followers, I would have commanded them to clean their mouths with miswaak at the time of every prayer.” (Muslim)
Al-Bayhaqi said, “This Hadith indicates that the Prophet used to do so each time he wanted to pray or recite the Qur’an.”
It is also a sign of honoring the Qur’an not to interrupt its recitation for people’s discussions. People’s talks should not be allowed to affect recitation of the Qur’an.
Al-Bukhari reported on the authority of Naafi’ that whenever Ibn ‘Umar recited the Qur’an, he would not talk until he finished the recitation.
Venerating the Qur’an necessitates that its knowledge should be taken only from trustworthy scholars.
Muslim reported on the authority of Anas that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) told Ubayy, “Allah commanded me to recite the Qur’an to you.” Ubayy said, “Did Allah mention my name to you?” The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “Yes, Allah mentioned your name to me.” Upon hearing that, Ubayy started weeping. Honoring the Qur’an necessitates avoiding argument about it. Muslim reported on the authority of ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Umar who said: “I went to Allah’s Messenger (SAW) in the morning and he heard the voice of two persons who had an argumentation with each other about a verse. Allah’s Messenger came to us (and) the (signs) of anger could be seen on his face. He said: Surely, those who were before you were ruined because of their disputation in the Book.”
Venerating the Qur’an demands that is should not be transported to the land of the enemy. The Messenger of Allah commanded, “Do not take the Qur’an on a journey with you, for I am afraid it should fall into the hands of the enemy. Ayyub (one of the narrators in the chain of transmitters) said: The enemy may seize it and may quarrel with you over it.” (Muslim)
An-Nawawi said, “The prohibition of taking the Qur’an on a journey to the enemy’s land is for the fear that the enemy might lay their hands on it and desecrate it. If there is no such a fear, there is no objection.”
Honoring the Qur’an requires that one should not use it for material gain. Al-Tirmidhi reported on the authority of ‘Imraan ibn Husayn who walked past a story-teller reciting the Qur’an and then asking for money. ‘Imraan then narrated that he heard the Messenger of Allah (SAW) saying, “Let him who recites the Qur’an ask only Allah with it. For a group of people will come that will recite the Qur’an and ask people with it.”
Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrated on the authority of ‘Ali who narrated that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “During the last days there will appear some young foolish people who will say the best words but their faith will not go beyond their throats (i.e. they will have no faith) and will go out from their religion as an arrow goes out of the game. So, wherever you find them, kill them, for whoever kills them shall have reward on the Day of Resurrection.” This Hadith indicates that there will be at your time some people who will perform many acts of worship but only in order to show off while they are, in reality, far from the religion. They are a people affected by the trial so they become blind and deaf.
Reciting the Qur’an in order to show off is devoid of rewards. It is rather a curse upon whoever does so. The Qur’an should only be recited out of Imaan and in order to put its teachings into practice. Allah says,
إِنَّ هَذَا الْقُرْآنَ يَهْدِي لِلَّتِي هِيَ أَقْوَمُ وَيُبَشِّرُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ الَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ الصَّالِحَاتِ أَنَّ لَهُمْ أَجْرًا كَبِيرًا
“Verily, this Qur’aana guides to that which is most just and right and gives glad tidings to the believers (in the Oneness of Allah and His Messenger, Muhammad (peace be upon him)) who work deeds of righteousness, that they shall have a great reward (Paradise).” (Surah Al-Isrâ 17:9)
Fellow Muslims! Venerating the Qur’an demands that, newspapers, magazines and books that contain verses of the Qur’an are properly preserved and disposed of. It is regrettable that some Muslims read these newspapers and books and then throw them in garbage cans; or place them where they could be trampled upon or used as table mats and thrown into waste cans. There is no doubt that this is tantamount to treating the indefatigable Book of Allah with disrespect.
The Book of Allah should be raised and not be put on the floor, especially in a dishonored place. If one puts it on a dishonored place; that is tantamount to being indifferent to the greatness of the Qur’an. But if someone is reading the Qur’an in a Masjid or in his house and wants to prostrate, there is nothing wrong if he put it down. That will not be regarded as disrespect to the Qur’an.
It is a manifestation of honoring the Qur’an that one should refrain from stretching one’s feet towards it or turning one’s back at it. One of the greatest rights of this Book upon us is that we should defend it and speak out against anyone who seeks to attack it or mock it. The Muslims were pained by the news of desecration of the Qur’an. This is a heinous act that hurt and infuriated all Muslims. It also goes against all moral values, as it is capable of igniting the fire of extremism and hatred.
This repulsive act should therefore be properly investigated and the guilty should be given deterrent punishments. In addition to this, the concerned authorities should apologize to the Muslims.
Al-Bukhari reported that ‘Umar said, “I heard Hisham bin Hakim reciting Surah al-Furqaan during the lifetime of Allah’s Messenger and I listened to his recitation and noticed that he recited it in several different ways which Allah’s Messenger had not taught me. I was about to jump over him during his prayer, but I controlled my temper, and when he had completed his prayer, I put his upper garment around his neck and seized him by it and said, “Who taught you this Surah which I heard you reciting?” He replied, “Allah’s Messenger taught it to me.” I said, “You have told a lie, for Allah’s Messenger has taught it to me in a different way from yours.” So I dragged him to Allah’s Messenger and told him, “I heard this person reciting Surah al-Furqaan in a way which you haven’t taught me!” On that Allah’s Messenger said, “Release him, (O ‘Umar!) Recite, O Hisham!” Then he recited in the same way as I heard him reciting. Then Allah’s Messenger said, “It was revealed in this way,” and added, “Recite, O ‘Umar!” I recited it as he had taught me. Allah’s Messenger then said, “It was revealed in this way. This Qur’an has been revealed to be recited in seven different ways, so recite of it whichever (way) is easier for you (or read as much of it as may be easy for you).”