Alhamdulillah on the 12th – 13th July, 27 sisters gathered for Iftar and Qiyam 🙂 ! The theme of the programme was ‘Making Friends with the Qur’an’. Here is a summary of one of the talks from the event:
Qiyaam al Layl (night prayers) literally means ‘standing in night’. These prayers are one of the major features of Ramadan and are a great way to increase our ibadah (worship) during this blessed month.
The holy Prophet (pbuh) said of Ramadan and qiyaam:
”This is the month in which Allah has prescribed for you fasting and I have initiated for you the night prayer. Whoever fasts in it and prays with sincerity and faith, they are cleansed of their sins and [they become as they were] the day their mother gave birth to them”. (Ibn Majah)
Therefore, the blessed month of Ramadan is a great opportunity for Muslims to wake up for night prayers, seek refuge with Allah (swt) and turn to Him for their needs, for none has the power to answer their call except Allah (swt) alone.
* Reward of Qiyaam al Layl *
There are immense rewards for performing Qiyaam. It is reported by Ali (ra) that the holy Prophet (pbuh) said:
“In Paradise there are apartments the outside of which can be seen from the inside and the inside of which can be seen from the outside.” A Bedouin stood up and said: “Who are they for, O Messenger of Allah?” He said: “They are for those who speak good words, feed others, fast regularly and pray to Allah at night when people are sleeping.” (Saheeh al-Tirmidhi)
Furthermore, Abu Hurairah (ra) reported that Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) said:
“The best of prayer after those prescribed (i.e. obligatory prayer) is that in the depth of night.” (Saheeh Muslim)
Moreover, observing night prayers such as Taraweeh increases our spiritual awareness and enables us to praise Allah (swt) and worship Him. It gives yet another opportunity to further reflect on the holy Qur’an in Salah and develops a sense of unity when prayed in congregation.
* Bountiful Mercy from Allah (swt) *
During the month of Ramadan, the reward for a single good deed is increased to 70 times the normal reward.
“…Whoever draws nearer (to Allah) by performing any of the (optional) good deeds in (this month) shall receive the same reward as performing an obligatory deed at any other time, and whoever discharges an obligatory deed in (this month) shall receive the reward of performing seventy obligations at any other time… “ (Ibn Khuzaymah)
That means the Qur’an has even more of an important significance in the month of Ramadan, and reading it carries more rewards!
Ramadan and the Qur’an are totally connected, as Allah says:
‘The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Quran, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong)’ [Quran al-Baqarah 2:185]
The Angel Jibreel used to come to the Prophet (saw) every night in Ramadan, and study the Qur’an with him. (al-Bukhaari, 5; Muslim, 4268)
* Being Truly Connected to the Noble Qur’an *
The Quran is the unaltered word of God, the last word revealed to the last Prophet (saw). As such it is a Message from Allah to all of humanity and specifically to YOU.
There are many depths to the Qur’an- so there’s a level that any ordinary person can understand. For example, take the verse: Qul huwAllahu ahad– ‘Say God is One’. The meaning of this is so clear, and it applies to everyone, calling on everyone to declare belief in Tawheed (belief in One God).
But there are many levels and layers in the meaning of the Qur’an, which a person will understand as they increase in knowledge– for example if you study Arabic, or if you are more well versed in hadith, if you study with scholars and people of knowledge…in all these ways you will understand a deeper, richer meaning behind the verses of the Qur’an.
There are beautiful examples of those who connected deeply with the Qur’an with its rich meanings: One of the most striking is Abu Bakr (ra). Abu Bakr (ra) used to sob whilst reading the Qur’an – he read it with true understanding. When the Prophet (pbuh) died, this was the biggest calamity the Muslims ever had to face. Some people didn’t want to believe it; some people were so used to the idea that the Prophet (saw) would be among them that they doubted that this could happen; some people were so grieved they were in need of hope. And this is when Abu Bakr (ra) showed his great calibre as a person and high level of faith: once he was able to confirm that the Prophet (pbuh) had actually passed away and returned to his Lord, he recited the following words of the Qu’ran:
“Muhammad (pbuh) is nought but a Messenger like the Messengers who had surely passed away before him: will you, then, if he dies or be slain, turn round on your heels”. (3:144)
He truly understood that verse and its importance at that particular moment because he was so connected to the Qur’an.
Ibn Abbas (ra) said about this incident – “By Allah, It was as if the people had not heard of this revelation earlier. It was as if they had just learnt it from Abu Bakr! The next minute, the verse was on everyone’s lip.” (Bukhari)
This shows the importance of understanding the Qur’an and knowing how to apply it.
Look at what the companions were before hearing the message of the Qur’an and afterwards – because of the guidance within the Qur’an; for example Umar (ra). SubhanAllah we all know the story of Umar (ra)! Before he came to the deen he was a person that did so many awful things. But after hearing the Quran he accepted Islam and became a man transformed.
This is the power of the Qur’an, about which Allah says: “And We send down of the Qur’an, that which is a healing and a mercy to the believers…”
So how can we reach that level? How can we be of those people who are deeply moved and changed by the verses of the Qur’an? Here are 3 valuable ways in which we can draw nearer to the Qur’an:
~ a) The First Level of Getting Close to the Qur’an: Reciting the Qur’an:
People who recite the Qur’an well are people we should try to be like. The Prophet (pbuh) said:
“There is no envy (acceptable) except in two (cases): a person whom Allah has given the Qur’an and recites it throughout the night and throughout the day. And a person whom Allah has given wealth, that he gives out throughout the night and throughout the day.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
And look at the opposite: without the Qur’an, a person who does not have in their heart even one letter of the Qur’an, is like an abandoned house.
“Verily he who has nothing of the Qur’an in his heart, is like a house (which has been) destroyed.” [At-Tirmidhi]
A person who reads one letter of Qur’an gets reward and your reward is always multiplied, especially in Ramadan! – Allah (swt) is so generous, He makes it easy!
“Whoever reads a letter from the Book of Allah will receive a hasanah (good deed) from it (i.e. his recitation), and the hasanah is multiplied by ten. I do not say that Alif-Laam-Meem is (considered as) a letter, rather Alif is a letter, Laam is a letter, and Meem is a letter.” [At-Tirmidhi, Ad-Darimi]
The people of the Qur’an are the people of God – that means the people who Allah loves.
“The people of the Qur’an are the people of Allah and His chosen ones.” [Ahmad, Nasa’i, and Ibn Maja from Anas (Allah be pleased with him)]
The awliya of Allah are the friends of God –> if anyone tries to harm you, Allah declares war against those people. Allah (swt) only declares war for riba (usury) and on those who do something bad to his awliya. The Prophet (pbuh) described how the awliya, if they ask for anything, Allah will give it them. One such companion was Sa’ad bin Abi Waqqas (ra). Prophet (pbuh) even told people to go to him to make du’a for them. Another person is Sa’ad bin Muadh- he was a person devoted to the learning and teaching of the Qur’an, and when he died the Throne of Allah shook, such was the level of his iman. And Allah has kept this category of people open for all times – it is not just for the people of old! Anybody can be a wali of Allah (swt). We could all of us be friends of Allah!
~ b) The 2nd level of getting close to the Qur’an: to memorise as much as you can.
The Quran can determine the level you reach in paradise – Allah will say ‘recite and ascend’ (so how much you know will determine your station in heaven)
If you struggle and only learn a small amount, you will be rewarded for your struggle and perhaps even as much as someone who has actually memorized the Qur’an!
Importance of memorising:
– The Quran is an oral book; it was MEANT for memorisation and reading out loud!
– An example of the importance of memorising the Quran: when you have memorised a song and when a situation happens, the song just pops in your head. It comes to you easily – well the Qur’an is far far more precious than any old song. And if you don’t have it memorised in your heart, you will forget it very easily and you will not apply it in your life.
– True knowledge isn’t found on sheets of paper, if you can’t recall it you don’t know it. For example: doctors can’t bring textbooks into operations; witnesses can’t bring notes with them to give evidence in court – this knowledge has to come from memory.
~ c) The 3rd level of getting close to the Qur’an: apply it in our lives!
It’s God’s message to you and me – so how can we not act upon it?
God’s Words are not just random words, everything written there is with deliberation and a purpose. The Qur’an has 604 pages in most mushafs, and not one word is a waste.
It is also important to cover tafseer (explanation of Qur’an). It is better to go to classes and get taught by someone qualified, because this Qur’an is a trust, an amanah, and we want to ensure that we have understood its message properly. Otherwise if you have no such opportunity you can read it with tafseer on your own or listen to audio, but it is better to do it in a group.
When you read the Qur’an, always reflect on what the purpose of the Qur’an actually is – it is a message to us, meant as a mercy, a guidance. When we read a command from Allah we should be quick to implement it.
By learning about the life of the Prophet pbuh and his ahadith we can truly understand the Qur’an – we need to use the seerah to understand the context. It can be dangerous not to look at it in context- we cannot just pick a random verse and interpret it in our own way. We would then become misguided people and not of those who apply the Qur’an in the correct way. When reading the Qur’an we are meant to have awareness of God – so we must be careful of what we take from the Qur’an and not use it to just defend our own arguments or just to win a debate. It is something far more precious and weighty than that.
May Allah give us the tawfiq to benefit from the Qur’an and draw close to it this Ramadhan. May it be an intercessor for us, along with our fasts, on the day of Judgment – ameen! 🙂
(Click here for the blog about the Qiyam event!)