It is the quality of a believer that his/her heart, mind and soul are continuously in Allah’s Dhikr. But, how is it to be achieved, seeing that there are so many diversions? The answer is in the Quran: recite it, memorize it, study it, search its meanings, learn it, teach it, and seek its explanation.
A believer’s heart is in the Quran. The Muslim community’s faith, inspiration, social activities and humdrum of life have the Quran at the center.
Knowing the Quran, its meaning, its explanations, its applications, is the individual’s and the community’s business – as if they live for the Quran. It is their Lord’s Word, spoken out to them by the One to whom they are preparing to return, to meet. The day they die, will be the day of their Eid.
Abraham’s Scriptures were sent down by the first of Ramadan, The Torah was sent on the sixth of Ramadan, the Gospels were sent down on the 13th of Ramadan, Zabur had been sent down on the 18th of Ramadan while the Quran was completed on the 24th of Ramadan.
Said Ibn Abbas said:
The Prophet (PBUH) was the most generous of the people; and the most generous that he could be was in Ramadan when he met Gabriel and the two would recite the Quran to each other. It was when the Prophet (PBUH) met Gabriel that he became more generous than a breeze sent across.
Muslims love and wait for Ramadan. For, the Quran – their life and their spirit – was sent down to the Bayt al-Mamur in Ramadan as a whole. From there, it began to be revealed in parts and pieces to the Prophet (PBUH), beginning with the first revelation in Ramadan, in a night called the Night of Qadr, better than a thousand months. When the Prophet (PBUH) said that someone of the past nations fought in Allah’s path for a thousand months, the Companions felt envious; so, Allah gave them Laylat al-Qadr and said that it is better than a thousand months.
Ramadan, the Quran and Laylat al-Qadr are deeply interlinked.
Come Ramadan and prominent Shayateen are locked up. That is the time when the Muslims take up the Quran for special studies following the Prophetic direction. He said:
I advise you about Taqwa, for it is the elemental-head of all (good) things; and upon you is Jihad, for this is the asceticism of Islam; and upon you is Dhikr-Allah; and recitation of the Quran because it is your means of comfort in the heaven and your mention on the earth.
And why shouldn’t he whose soul is in the heaven wish to be closer to Allah? The Prophet (PBUH) shows the way to achieve it. He said,
Whoever wishes to love Allah and His Prophet, may look (oftener) into the Quran.
A student of the Quran has the good news that:
The Quran will appear and intercede (for its reader, saying), ‘Lord! Decorate him!’ So he will be given a crown of honor. The Quran will say, ‘Lord. Increase him.’ So he will be dressed entirely with honor. The Quran will say, ‘Lord. Be pleased with him.’ He will express his approval of him and say, ‘Recite and rise up (and up, in levels),’ and he will be assigned a Good for every verse.
Muslims hold fast unto the Quran because, as the Prophet (PBUH) said, “It is the rope of Allah extended from the heaven unto the earth;” for, “Allah raises a people by this Quran, and lowers others by it.”
They try to become Allah’s own people following the Prophet’s (PBUH) words:
Allah has His own people from amongst the mankind. It is the students of the Quran who are Allah’s own people, and His own confidant.
Naturally then, the students of the Quran chant it out. Hasn’t the Prophet (PBUH) instructed them that, “Adorn the Quran with your voices?”
Such are the reasons that the earliest Muslims used to recite whole of the Quran in their Prayers during Ramadan. In fact, al-Aswad used to recite the entire Quran every two days of Ramadan and every six days out of Ramadan.
Qatadah on the other hand, a scholar of the Quran, used to finish reciting the Quran once every seven days outside of Ramadan, but once every three days during Ramadan. But when the last ten nights of Ramadan arrived, he recited the whole of it every day.
Shafe-i, a man of superb knowledge of the Quran, recited the Quran sixty times during Ramadan, all of it in Prayers. Mujahid had made it a point to recite whole of the Quran between Maghrib and Isha. They delayed Isha until the first quarter of the night had passed. Azadi had adopted the same practice. Another expert of the Quran, Abu Hanifa also recited the Quran once every day of Ramadan.
Zuhri used to say at the arrival of Ramadan, “This is the month of recitation of the Quran and feeding the people.” Indeed, it is reported of Malik that when Ramadan came, he gave up the company of scholars (to devote full time to the Quran). Abd al-Razzaq went one step further. He gave up all kinds of works, and took to reciting the Quran. Zubayd al-Yami gathered Quran copies during Ramadan and gathered his students around it. Aisha (RA) herself is reported to recite the Quran at Fajr by looking into a copy, folding it away after the sunrise, when she would go to sleep.
Imam Ghazali wrote that fasts are one fourth of Iman. Hadn’t Allah said that fasts are one half of patience, and that patience one-half of faith?
Wrote Sayyid Qutb:
It is the Quran that brought this Ummah out of darkness into Light; blossomed it; exchanged its fear to peace; established it in the earth; gave it those values by which it became an Ummah, which was no Ummah before these values were given; had no place in the earth, nor mentioned in the heavens. Therefore, he did not fail who thanked Allah for this blessing from Him, the Quran, by fasting during the month in which it was revealed.
So how can one read the Quran, seeing that there are so many diversions, and, most of all reasons, the fact that the inner self does not agree to it, but rather, is more interested in worldly affairs than in the affairs of the Hereafter? The answer is simple: do that as many hours of the day, as possible. With time, application, and consistency, you will learn to increase the time devoted to it. Then, a situation will arise, a level will be achieved, when the Quran will begin to ring in the mind: in bed, in office, in the bazaar, anywhere, in any activity; its words and phrases will echo and resonate at the sub-conscious level. That will keep you in Allah’s Dhikr all the time, every moment, Insha Allah!