Many new Muslims find that it is through the Quran that they become acquainted with Islam; and the sudden interest in the faith sends them on a life-changing experience.
Once embracing Islam, however, getting to know the Quran is even more important – even for born Muslims. It is vital to remember that there are no versions of the Quran; neither have there been updates or replicas to suit different denominations of Muslim followers.
The Quran remains the same scripture that God has perfected. This is why it is important for believers to become as closely acquainted with Quran as possible in order to foster closeness with God.
For new Muslims, learning about Islam through the Quran can be a little daunting. But when good intentions are in tow, God makes the most arduous task, lightweight.
Start by Learning to Read Arabic
Reading the Quran may seem impossible for some, especially when Arabic is not a language of familiarity. Learning to read Arabic at a beginner’s pace would probably be the best way to familiarize oneself with the sight of the Arabic letters and the sounds they make. Engaging in a private tutor who has experience in teaching how to read Arabic from scratch is a good place to start.
Quran is such a blessing to mankind that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
Whoever recites a letter from the Book of Allah, he will be credited with a good deed, and a good deed gets a ten-fold reward. I do not say that Alif-Lam-Mim is one letter, but Alif is a letter, Lam is a letter and Mim is a letter. (At-Tirmidhi, 9)
So imagine just learning the letters of the Quran and being able to recognize them over and over again. This is the simplest way to garner rewards from God.
Aisha reported that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
The one who is proficient in the recitation of the Quran will be with the honorable and obedient scribes (angels). And he who recites the Quran and finds it difficult to recite, doing his best to recite it in the best way possible, will have a double reward. (Al Bukhari and Muslim, 4)
Even if a Muslim finds it difficult to read the Quran, God has promised great returns. Even Aisha learned to read the Quran at her own pace. There are narrations relaying that she prayed to God for guidance to be able to recite the verses like her Prophet Muhammad; and Aisha later went on to become one of the best teachers in Islamic history.
Invest in a Tafsir of the Quran
Learning the meaning – or the tafsir – behind the messages and the stories of the verses is probably the most important part of getting to know the Quran. This is also true for understanding the principles that each verse places forth and the rationale behind each principle.
The first step in understanding the tafsir behind the verses would be to find a well-written translation of the original Quran, which tally with the original verses. The translation alone is not enough; it is better for Muslims to read the translations with their corresponding narrations.
The Quran thus is able to intercede on behalf of its reader and if this person is able to engage in the good deeds laid out in the Quran, his or her rewards will be multi-fold.
Learning the Arabic Language
Learning the Arabic language will be an immense benefit for Muslims. Not only are the daily prayers recited in Arabic – and include Al-Fatihah, the opening chapter of the Quran – the entire prayer is said in Arabic. Learning the Arabic language will also bring a greater sense of closeness to the Quran while a person reads it.
The Arabic of Quran is a bit complex; it is of a class higher than the Arabic that is heard and documented today. And this would make sense as the entire Quran is written by God.
However, this should not stop Muslims from at least learning the key words of verses.
In fact, learning the Arabic language will also aid in the memorization of verses. Memorization of the Quran is also something Muslims should strive for, as the Quran keeps the heart pure and soft and wards away evil thoughts.
The one who was devoted to the Quran will be told on the Day of Resurrection: Recite (commit to memory) and ascend (in ranks) as you used to recite when you were in the world. Your rank will be at the last ayah (verse) you recite. (At-Tirmidhi, 11)
This is probably the best incentive to read the Quran.
Take Time to Get to Know Prophet Muhammad
Prophet Muhammad, coined in the Quran as the mercy to mankind, is the best embodiment of the Quran.
His wife Aisha once described him as the walking Quran. He lived his life in full devotion of the principles of the Scripture, out of his love for God. With this, to get to know the Quran better, Muslims should make full use of their efforts to learn about the Prophetic Seerah.
From the way he ate to the way he slept; from how he treated his family members to his staunchest enemies; and from the way he worshiped to the way he taught his followers… Muslims will learn exactly how to practice Islam in light of the Quran, the ultimate source of knowledge for all believers.
(From Discovering Islam’s archive.)