How to Understand Holy Quran Better?

quran1“I swear by the places where the stars set. Indeed it is a great oath, should you know. This is indeed a noble Qur`an, in a guarded Book—no one touches it except the pure—gradually sent down from the Lord of the Worlds.” (Surat al-Waqi’ah, Verses 75-80)

The Holy Quran is the eternal miracle of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuhahf). It is a book that illuminates all things. Though it is composed of simple words and phrases, it is stated in a high literary style and conveys ideas that soar far beyond the comprehension of a normal human being. To perceive its essence and accurately derive laws from it, is immensely difficult. Thus, despite the fact that the Quran is “clear,” to properly understand it and act upon it takes great effort. If you like to understand the Holy Quran better, the following points are its prerequisites:

  1. You should attain a purity of soul and a desire to seek the truth so that you can approach the “pure ones.” As the Holy Quran says, “Only the humble can be reminded.”
  1. You should eliminate arrogance and prejudice and approach the Qur`an with fear and humility. Arrogance distances one from Allah’s (swt) proximity, so does it blind the heart, thereby preventing it from comprehending the Qur`an.
  1. You should have a thorough knowledge of the ‘Arabic language: both its vocabulary and grammar. These can be attained through the disciplines of morphology, syntax, rhetoric, style and vocabulary.
  1. You should have an in-depth knowledge of Islamic history and the circumstances surrounding the revelation of the verses. You should know the Quranic sciences; For example, you should know the general verses and the specific ones; the unqualified verses and the qualified; the verses that abrogate and those that are abrogated.
  1. You should seek protection from Allah (swt) from the cunning of Satan and from the trickery of his own lower soul. Saying: “I seek refuge from Satan, the cursed one” 
  1. You should start by saying the bismillah. 
  1. You should know all the verses that are in any way related to the verse in question as well as all the narrations that speak to the verse. The latter is especially important because the verses of the Quran have deeper, hidden meanings that no one other than the Infallibles can access.
  1. You should put aside all personal bias so that you can effectively comprehend what the Quran has to say. If you find that the Quran contradicts your previous understanding, you must accept the Quran’s teaching and abandon your prejudice. Otherwise, you will end up imposing your own view on the Quran (al-tafsir bi al-ra’y).
  1. You should look at the Quran from a metaphysical viewpoint so that you do not attribute physical traits to Allah (swt) nor liken him to his creation. To do this, you should interpret equivocal verses (al-mutashabihat) in light of unequivocal ones (al-muhkamat) and authentic traditions.
  1. You should also be aware of the needs of the day. You should be aware of scientific advancements and should keep a look out for the fulfillment of certain divine promises that are found in the Quran. In this way you will better be able to satisfy the needs of the younger generation. As Imam Ja’far b. Muhammad as-Sadiq says: “Allah has not sent this Quran for one age or another, not for one people or another. Rather, it is perpetually fresh and attractive to all people.”
  1. Your intention in reading and studying the Quran should not be limited to attaining the reward for reading it, nor to using the verses in speaking and writing. Instead of making the Quran an investment for this world, you should make it an investment for the afterlife. You should seek insight and understanding, and should seek to act according to its precepts.
  1. When you read verses concerning Allah’s (swt) mercy and his promises of Paradise, you should feel hopeful and should enjoin yourself to obey Allah (swt) and to abandon sin. And when you read verses containing threats of hellfire and descriptions of its punishment, you should frighten yourself of sinning against Allah (swt). All this is to purify your heart and prepare the way to eternal felicity.
  1. When you read verses that describe the believers and those who fear Allah (awj) and do righteous deeds, and when you read verses describing the disbelievers, the pagans, the beliers and the hypocrites, you should weigh yourself against the scale of the Quran. You should take account of yourself, and purify yourself of all bad attributes and adorn yourself with righteousness. As Allah (swt) has said, “I have only created Mankind and the Jinn to worship me.”

How to Read Holy Quran?

LearningReadingQuranThe Holy Quran is a book containing the words of Allah (swt). It should be treated with the respect it deserves. This respect should also extend to any book, such as this manual, wherein there are verses of the Holy Quran.

  1. The words of the Holy Quran should only be touched after doing Wudhu. Allah (swt) says: “None should touch it except the purified.” (al-Waqi’ah, 56:79)
  1. However, you may recite the words at any time, even without Wudhu. Allah (swt) says: “Those who remember Allah (swt) (recite Quran), standing, sitting and reclining, and think and wonder about the creation of the heavens and the earth…” (Ali Imran, 3:191)
  1. Always begin the recitation with Ta’awwudh. Allah (swt) says: “When you recite the Quran, seek refuge in Allah (swt) from Shaitan, the accursed.” (an-Nahl, 16:98) Ta’awwudh means to recite, “A’udhu Billahi minash Shaytaanir Rajeem“, which means “I seek refuge in Allah (swt) from Shaitan the accursed.
  1. After Ta’awwudh, recite “Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim“, which means, “I begin in the name of Allah (swt), the Beneficent, the Merciful”.
  1. Even if you know the verses by heart, it is better to recite while looking at the words, as this increases the rewards many times.
  1. It is Sunnat to recite the Holy Quran with your head covered and while facing the Qiblah.
  1. While reciting the Holy Qur’an, we should think as if Allah (swt) is directly addressing Himself to us. But it should not be so for memorizing it or quoting it in our speeches to arouse passion.
  1. We should recite the Holy Qur’an in a way as it ought to be recited that is with clear pronunciation of words, in distinct manner, in good voice, with proper care of pauses and not in a hurriedly and unintelligible manner. As the Holy Qur’an says: “Recite the Qur’an distinctly.” (Surah Muzzammil, 73: 4) 
  1. After reciting the Holy Qur’an one should ponder over the meaning also as the Holy Qur’an has objected to those who recite it as a formality just by hurriedly moving their lips without knowing the meaning. The Holy Qur’an says: “Do they not ponder over the Qur’an?” (Surah an-Nisa, 4:82)
  1. While reciting the Holy Qur’an, we should bear in mind the narrations of our infallible Imams about relevant verses of the Holy Qur’an as well as the background of the revelation of those particular verses as to the specific occasions so that we are not distracted from its true meaning and we do not deviate from our basic faith. We should not derive the incorrect meaning of the verse howsoever conservative or progressive it may be in outlook .
  1. When the Quran is being recited, listen attentively and do not eat or talk. Allah (swt) says: “And when the Quran is recited, listen to it with (full) attention, so that you may be blessed with mercy.” (al-A’raf, 7:204)
  1. Do not leave the Holy Quran open and unattended or in a place where it may be disrespected. Recite from it regularly and do not leave it unread on the shelf. Allah (swt) says: “And the Prophet (s.a.w.) shall say, “O my Lord! Verily my people abandoned this Quran.” (al-Furqan, 25:30)
  1. Worn-out pages of the Holy Quran or paper with verses of the Holy Quran must not be thrown in the bin. Instead they should be recycled or buried.