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[I]-A NEW WORLD AWAITS YOU | [II]-ATTITUDES OF HEART AND MIND | [III]-HEART WITH YOU | [IV]-INNER PARTICIPATION | [V]-RECITATION
[I]-A NEW WORLD AWAITS YOU
You are about to undertake a momentous journey - a journey that will take you through the endless joys and riches of the words that your Creator and Lord has sent to you and all mankind. As you come to the Qur'an, you will come to a new world - a world of untold treasures of knowledge and wisdom to guide you on the pathways of life, of thought and action; of deep insights to capture your imagination; of radiant light to illumine the deeper reaches of your soul; of profound emotions and glowing warmth to melt your heart and bring tears running down your cheeks. It is the Qur'an, and only the Qur'an, which can lead you on and on to success and glory in this world and the Hereafter.
It is beyond the power of man to comprehend or even to describe the greatness and importance of what the Qur'an holds for him. Yet you must have some idea of what it means to you, to inspire you to immerse the whole of your self in the Qur'an, in total commitment and dedication, as it demands. The Qur'an is Allah's greatest blessings for you. It is the fulfilment of His promise to Adam and his descendants:
...THERE SHALL COME TO YOU GUIDANCE FROM ME AND WHOSOEVER FOLLOWS MY GUIDANCE NO FEAR SHALL BE ON THEM, NEITHER SHALL THEY SORROW (Holy Qur'an 2:38)
It is the only weapon to help your frail existence as you struggle against the forces of evil and temptation in this world. It is the only light, as you grope in the darkness, with which to find your way to success and salvation. It is your only sanctuary as you are tossed around in the stormy sea of life. It has been brought down by one who is powerful and trustworthy in the heavens - the angel Jibra'il. Its first abode was that pure and sublime heart, the like of which man has never seen - the heart of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). More than anything, it is the only "way" to come nearer and closer to your Creator. It tells you of Him; of His attributes; of how He rules over the cosmos and history; of how He relates Himself to you and how you should relate to Him, to yourself, to your fellow men and to every other existence.
What you read in the Qur'an is the word of Allah, the Lord of the worlds, which He has conveyed to you in a human language, only because of His infinite Mercy and care and providence for you. This act of Divine mercy is enough to awe and overwhelm you and inspire you to ever greater heights of gratitude, yearnings and endeavours to enter the world of the Qur'an. The majesty of the Qur'an is so overpowering that,
IF WE HAD SENT DOWN THIS QUR'AN UPON A MOUNTAIN, YOU WOULD HAVE SEEN IT HUMBLED, SPLIT ASUNDER OUT OF FEAR OF ALLAH. (Holy Qur'an 59:21)
Indeed, no treasure is more valuable and precious for you than the Qur'an, as Allah says of His generosity:
O MEN! THERE HAS COME TO YOU AN EXHORTATION FROM YOUR LORD, HEALING FOR WHAT IS IN THE HEARTS AND A GUIDANCE, AND A MERCY FOR BELIEVERS.(Holy Qur'an 10:57)
SAY: IN (THIS) BOUNTY OF ALLAH AND IN HIS MERCY IN IT LET THEM REJOICE. IT IS BETTER THAN WHATEVER THEY AMASS. (Holy Qur'an 10:58)
Rejoice you must, in the mercy and blessing and generosity of Allah. But the Qur'an opens its doors only to those who knock with a depth of yearning, sincerity of purpose and exclusiveness of attention that befits its importance and majesty. And only those are allowed to gather its treasures, while they walk through it, who are prepared to abandon themselves completely to its guidance and do their utmost to absorb it. What a tragic misfortune it would be if you came to the Qur'an and went away-empty handed -- soul untouched, heart unmoved, life unchanged -- "they went out as they came In". You may recite its words and turn its pages endlessly and laboriously, yet fail to make an encounter with it that enriches and transforms your whole person. The Qur'an's blessings are limitless, but the measure of your fill depends entirely upon the capacity and the suitability of the receptacle you bring to it. Nine months spent in the womb of your mother have transformed a drop of water into "you" -- hearing, seeing and thinking. Can you imagine what a lifetime spent with the Qur'an -- seeking, hearing, seeing, thinking, striving -- can do for you? It can make you into an entirely new "being" -- before whom even angels will feel proud to kneel. So, at the very outset, make yourself more deeply aware of what the Qur'an means to you, and, what it demands of you; and make a solemn determination to recite the Qur'an in an appropriate manner, so that you may be counted among:
THOSE WHOM WE HAVE GIVEN THE BOOK, THEY RECITE IT AS IT OUGHT TO BE RECITED; (IT IS ONLY) THEY WHO BELIEVE IN IT. (Holy Qur'an 2:121)
Tilawah or recitation is an act in which your whole person -- soul, heart, mind, tongue and body -- should participate. To recite the Qur'an thus, as it deserves to be recited, is not a light task; but nor is it difficult or impossible. Otherwise the Qur'an could not have been meant for a layman like you; nor could it be the mercy and the guidance that it surely is. But it does entail many a travail of heart and mind, soul and intellect, spirit and body; and requires that certain conditions be observed and obligations be fulfilled -- some inwardly, some outwardly. You should know them all now before you enter the glorious world of the Qur'an.