It’s very difficult to change the human habits, but Allah has given us this lockdown opportunity in order to reconnect with Him.
One of the best ways to reconnect with Him is to read His book, Quran, that He sent through Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) for us to read and reflect.
It’s very important that Muslims read the Quran for themselves. Yes, you could have a technical question about the law and you refer to some expert, but you should read the Quran for yourself because this is your own duty.
In fact, Allah said:
Then do they not reflect upon the Quran, or are there locks upon [their] hearts? (Quran 47:24)
People who don’t reflect on the Quran have locks on their hearts and have a major misunderstanding of what this faith is all about.
It’s very important to take this opportunity and start reading the Quran, but not in the ways that the Quran itself warned us from. Allah gave us three examples related to three animals that when we read the Quran, we should not be like these similes:
1- A Donkey
The donkey is among the believing beings, according to the Quran, that have their own prostration and their own prayers and they are regular with that.
Allah made it as part of the nature to know Him and to worship Him. But when it comes to the Quran, if you put the books on the back of the donkey, Allah said:
The example of those who were entrusted with the Torah and then did not take it on is like that of a donkey who carries volumes [of books]. (62:5)
The donkey that carries books doesn’t understand what the books are carried for, and therefore, we do this sometimes. One reading of the Quran we should avoid is to have the Quran on our desks or shelves and sometimes we don’t hear or memorize some of it, but we don’t reflect, we don’t carry it in our heart. And that is one error in reading Quran.
2- A Dog
Allah talked about the hypocrites being like the dog who is always panting whether you let it rest or let it run. This is actually a simile of somebody who has a crooked heart, there is something wrong in their nature.
This simile is important for us to reflect upon and not to do.
The hypocrite who did like that dog of always going about their habits and what is considered to be a nature in them if they dig into their hearts and find a good spot somewhere in their hearts they can build on it and they can start to wipe out the darkness from their hearts and become closer to Allah.
3- A Cow
When Moses went to his followers and told them that Allah is asking you to slaughter a cow. And then, they went into all of these questions that are irrelevant to the application of the command, and that is a deviation. Eventually, when he answered all of their questions, he made it very difficult for them the more they ask.
Sometimes we ask about things when we read the Quran that we don’t need to ask about; they are changeable with the change of time as Prophet Muhammad commented on this particular story, “Had they slaughtered any cow, would have been enough for them.” But they continued to ask trivial questions because they had something in their hearts that has to do with not wanting to apply what the command is saying.
That’s why Allah said at the end of the story:
So they slaughtered her, but they could hardly do it. (2:71)
Sometimes we ask trivial questions like the number of the sleepers in the cave, were they five, seven, or nine…
When we read the Quran, and sometime when we look into some interpretations, we should be very careful that we don’t get into the issues that are not related to the practicality of it to how it will fix your heart or fix the reality around you.
We have the ample time to reconnect with the Quran, we need to look for themes, topics, we need to ask questions of meaning about particular topics and about particular systems we see in today’s world.
When we have a theme, justice or mercy for example, in our minds and we read Quran looking for that theme, we look how many forms of justice or mercy Allah is teaching us. Not just His mercy or His Names, but how this manifests in our lives as values, as objectives, and as ways of thinking throughout the stories, when He talks about the hereafter or history.
When we read Quran with a theme in mind and with what I do in life and mind, then I reflect deeper in the Quran.
If you are a physician, you’ll read Quran differently; keep your knowledge in mind when you read Quran and see what you can see in that book.
If you are a businessman, a student looking for a particular field of knowledge, or somebody who counsels people with their problems… look at how the Quran deals with the human psychology and mentality and how it convinces us in certain facts, and how it takes us in certain gradualism.
When you work with charity, look at how the Quran deals with charity; these are not just numbers and percentages; this is a spirit, even a smile is a charity as Prophet Muhammad said.
It’s an opportunity for us to change and bring real insights to our lives.
The Quran is highly unexplored, we need to go back to it, reconnect and find a way to live Islam in a new way.