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Approaching the Quran

Toward a Proper Approach to the Qur’an

The first step.We should earnestly pray to Allah for protection from Satan. Allah gives in the noble Qur’an repeated and emphatic warnings to humans about the risk of following the dark suggestions of Satan:

{O you who believe, enter into Islam wholeheartedly and follow not the footsteps of the evil one [Satan], for he is to you an avowed enemy.} (Al-Baqarah 2:208)

And because Satan is out there with his minoions to mislead us, Almighty Allah particularly admonishes us to ask for His protection from Satan when seeking guidance from the Qur’an:

{When you do read the Qur’an, seek Allah’s protection from Satan, the rejected one.}  (An-Nahl 16:98)

Beseeching Almighty Allah for protection from the guiles of Satan means that humans must have full faith in Allah, the All-Merciful, as the Creator and Guardian Who can protect us from every harm.

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The second step. We must sincerely believe that every word of the Qur’an is Allah’s speech and that Allah will guide those who seek His guidance to the truth. We should read the Qur’an with an earnest desire to increase faith so that we may belong to those who are described in the Qur’an by the following

 {Believers are those who, whenever Allah is mentioned, feel a tremor in their hearts, and whenever His revelations are recited to them increase their faith .}](Al-Anfal 8:2)

The third step. We should remember Allah with gratitude for He guided us to the Qur’an. Only Allah — not any one else — could guide us to His noble book of guidance. For this reason, we should praise the One Who deserves praise, for He created and blessed us with all the bounties we enjoy, and — what is more — He guided us to the truth.

The fourth step. We must show readiness and determination to follow the teachings of the Qur’an. This should be an expression of an unquestioning resolve to surrender to the will of Allah as expressed in His book. This also indicates that we are prepared to do without all selfish interests, lust, greed, foolish pride, and arrogance — in short, any love for the fleeting pleasures of life. In other words, this is a changeover to a new life dedicated to Allah’s pleasure.

The fifth step. The Qur’an should be read with full awareness that now we are with Allah, listening to His words, which are meant to guide us along the straight path. So, when reading the Qur’an, we must take enough time for the verses to get a grip on our hearts and minds, so that the teachings contained therein can be imbibed to the greatest possible extent.

Levels of Reading the Qur’an

One may say that there are three levels of reading the Qur’an:

The first level: visual reading of the Qur’an. That is to read the Qur’an with eyes fixed on the words, and with the voice raised to such a level that makes it audible only to oneself.

The second level: pondering over the meanings of the verses. That is to contemplate the explanation of the verses and their interpretations, which is required to fully understand the ideas therein.

The third level: willingly opening hearts and minds to the verses. This is necessary for paving the way for an effective impact of the teachings in the Qur’an on our lives, to the extent of bringing about a change in attitudes and styles of behavior.

Once this is attained, a truthful prayer to Almighty Allah can be

{Praise be to Allah, Who has guided us to this! We would not have been guided, had not Allah guided us.} (Al-A`raf 7:43)

Indeed, the praise of Allah must be intense and most sincere, as it is Allah Who has bestowed upon us the noble Qur’an.

Gratitude and joy lead to trust, hope, and greater gifts. The One Who has bestowed the Qur’an upon us will surely help us in reading, understanding, and following it.

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About Professor Shahul Hameed
Professor Shahul Hameed is an Islamic consultant. He also held the position of the President of the Kerala Islamic Mission, Calicut, India. He is the author of three books on Islam published in the Malayalam language. His books are on comparative religion, the status of women, and science and human values.