Quran Focus Academy Blog

Virtues, Blessings, Rewards and Benefits of reciting the Holy Quran

To reflect upon the verses of Allah is a form of worship; it is something that will draw one close to Allah, Most High. This reflection is not a reckless and wandering one, rather, it includes a study of the classical Tafseer (exegesis) of the verses being pondered over. Allah, Most High, Says in the Quran (what means): “Then do they not reflect upon the Quran? If it had been from [any] other than Allah, they would have found within it much contradiction.” [Quran: 4:82]

The Book of Allah is unlike any other; it is the timeless Speech of Allah, and not a created thing. It is the study guide for life, death, and what follows. Therefore, it deserves a far more careful study than anyone else’s speech. It necessitates that its reader return to the early narrations of those who witnessed its revelation and heard its explanation by the one deputed by Allah to rehearse and explain His Words to humanity, Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) . For if one would try to ponder over the meanings of the verses without having done this study, then surely the filth of the time that he lives in and his ignorance of the correct application and understanding that the early Muslims had would cause him to understand some things not intended by Allah, Most High, and therefore he would go astray, thinking to be worshipping Allah. So, let every sincere Muslim who hopes to earn Allah’s Love by reciting and reflecting over Allah’s Book hold tight to the meanings explained by the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) and those taught by the Companions and their immediate followers, and the early scholars of Islam.

Dear Muslim brother and sister! Know that reciting and pondering over the Book of Allah and devoting regular time to its study and implementation has tremendous benefits in this life and the next. Let us now look at just a few of them to attach ourselves more firmly to the majestic Words of Allah. Each benefit stands as enough of an encouragement to shun any laziness we have and dedicate ourselves wholly to the Quran.

Reading and Reflecting Over the Quran Fulfils an Islamic Duty

The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) summarised this religion with his statement: “The religion (of Islam) is naseehah (offering sincere advice)!” Tameem bin Aws  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him said: “We asked, ‘To whom?’” He  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) replied: “To Allah, His Book, His Messenger, the leaders of the people, and to their subjects.” [Muslim] The sincerity that is due to the Book of Allah includes its regular recitation, learning the rules of Tajweed (the recitation of the Quran, according to specified rules) and reciting it beautifully, learning about its Tafseer and the reasons for its revelation, affirming that it is the truth, the perfect Speech of Allah and not part of the creation, honouring it and defending it, abiding by the orders and prohibitions found in it, and teaching it and calling to it.

The Quran will be a Proof for or against Us on the Day of Judgement

This is due to the statement of the Messenger  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ): “And the Quran is a proof for you or against you.” [Muslim] So, one of two things will occur with this proof, the Book of Allah. It will either be in one’s favour, a proof for us on the Day when we will desperately need every single good deed, or it will be something standing against us. The very Speech of our Creator as a proof against us! Who could be saved from the terrors of that Day if Allah’s own Speech is against Him?

Think carefully, dear Muslim brothers and sisters, about your position with the Quran. Are you neglecting it, contradicting it, and being heedless of its orders and prohibitions? Are you thinking deeply over it? Will it be on your side on the Day of Judgement?

The Quran will Intercede for Us on the Day of Judgement

Abu Umaamah  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him related that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “Read the Quran, for indeed it will come on the Day of Standing (Judgement) as an intercessor for its companions.” [Muslim]

The Quran Raises One’s Status in this Life

In Saheeh Muslim, which is one of the two most authentic books of prophetic narrations, we find a wonderful story about how a man from the people of Paradise, ‘Umar bin Al-Khattaab  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him understood this principle. The story is that once, some men came to question him during his reign as caliph regarding the leadership of Makkah. The men asked: “Who do you use to govern Makkah?” He  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him said: “Ibn Abzaa.” They asked: “And who is Ibn Abzaa?” ‘Umar  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him replied: “A freed slave from those we freed.” They remarked: “You left a freed slave in command of the People of the Valley (the noble tribes of the Quraysh)?” He  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him replied: “Indeed he is a reciter of the Book of Allah and is knowledgeable about the obligations of the Muslims. Haven’t you heard the statement of your Messenger  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ): “Verily Allah raises some people by this Book and lowers others by it””?

The People of the Quran are from Best of People

‘Uthmaan  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him said that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “The best of you are those who learn the Quran and teach it to others.” [Al-Bukhari]

There are Ten Rewards for Every Letter Recited from the Quran

As a Hadeeth (prophetic statement) in At-Tirmithi proves: “Whoever reads a letter from the Book of Allah, he will have a reward, and this reward will be multiplied by ten. I am not saying that ‘Alif, Laam, Meem’ (a combination of letters frequently mentioned in the Holy Quran) is a letter, rather I am saying that ‘Alif’ is a letter, ‘Laam’ is a letter and ‘Meem’ is a letter.” [At-Tirmithi] So increase your recitation of the Quran to gain these merits, as well as the following ones.

The Reciters of the Quran Will Be in the Company of the Noble and Obedient Angels

‘Aa’ishah  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  her related that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “Indeed the one who recites the Quran beautifully, smoothly, and precisely, will be in the company of the noble and obedient angels. As for the one who recites with difficulty, stammering or stumbling through its verses, then he will have twice that reward.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

So dear brother or sister Muslim, do not let the Shaytaan (Satan) give you false excuses, such as ‘I am not an Arab.’ or ‘It is not in my language.’ This Hadeeth is a firm proof against these whisperings.

Dedicate yourself to the Book of Allah, whether you are an Arab or not! The excuses have been eliminated and the pathway has been cleared for you to embrace the Book of Allah without holding back or offering excuses! Surely you will not hesitate to seek a teacher or a study circle for the Quran once you hear the last and perhaps greatest benefits of reading and contemplating over the Quran.

One’s Position and Rank in Paradise is Determined by the Amount of Quran He Memorised in this Life

‘Abdullaah bin ‘Amr bin Al-‘Aas  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him heard the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) saying: “It will be said to the companion of the Quran: ‘Read and elevate (through the levels of Paradise) and beautify your voice as you did when you were in the worldly life! For verily, your position in Paradise will be at the last verse you recite!’” [Abu Daawood and At-Tirmithi]

The Quran Leads to Paradise

The Quran states (what means): “Indeed the Quran guides to that which is most suitable and gives good tidings to the believers who do righteous deeds that they will have a great reward.” [Quran: 17:9]

The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “The Quran is an intercessor – something given permission to intercede, and it is rightfully believed in. Whoever puts it in front of him, it will lead him to Paradise; whoever puts it behind him, it will steer him to the Hellfire.” [At-Tabaraani]

Know, dear brothers and sisters, that these nine benefits from the numerous benefits available can only be attained by a sincere commitment to the Book of Allah, and not simply by an empty claim of love for it. Rather, the heart must be sincerely attached to the Book of Allah and the limbs and tongue will follow suit in this attachment. One must know that we only mentioned a few of the numerous benefits of reading and reflecting over the Quran. There are many other benefits that await your reading of the Quran and books of Hadeeth, such as the chapter of the Quran that will plead on your behalf in the grave, and that it is a physical healing, a source of rest and relaxation for your heart, among many other things.

Students from Lowfield Primary School visit Sheffield Islamic Centre Madina Masjid Trust

Students from Lowfield Primary School visited a local Mosque, to learn more about Muslims living in the city.

The youngsters visited Sheffield Islamic Centre Madina Masjid Trust, where they were given a tour of the Mosque’s wash rooms, prayer areas and library and learned more about the contents of the Quran and how children start to study the religious text of Islam from a young age.

Mosque visit - Quran Focus Academy

Mosque visit – Quran Focus Academy

The children and staff were joined by students from their partner school, Hartington C of E Primary School, as part of studies into city and countryside cultures and differences.

Lowfield Teaching Assistant, Judith Flower, said: “The Mosque tour was such a great experience, for both the children and the staff. We removed our shoes and our guide explained the importance and relevance of why Muslim people cleanse before they go to pray.

“We learnt so much about the religious views of Muslim people, as well as how and where they pray.

“It was fantastic to see all the children asking questions to develop their learning. As Hartington is a Church School with a strong Christian ethos, it is fantastic that pupils are able to learn about other great world faiths.”

This event came after Sheffield youngsters visited the Derbyshire Dales school in July last year, where they investigated life within a rural community.

Hartington pupil Jacob Blackwell, 9, said: “It was interesting to see the Mosque and stunning to learn more about what Muslim people do when they pray and how they worship Allah.”

Lowfield School Council Co-ordinator and Year 3 Teacher, Richard Green said: “The trip to the Mosque gave the Hartington children an understanding of the social and cultural activities that our children undertake and really bonded the two communities.”

Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital opens another free cancer hospital in Pakistan

Peshawar gets Pakistan’s largest free cancer hospital

 PESHAWAR: Pakistan’s largest and the second Shaukat Khan Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre was formally inaugurated here Tuesday.It was announced on the occasion that 75 percent cancer patients would get free treatment.

Free Cancer Hospital Peshawar Pakistan

Free Cancer Hospital Peshawar Pakistan

 

A six and a half years old cancer patient, Faakhir Afridi, along with Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan inaugurated the hospital.

Donors, members of the hospital’s board of governors, and senior staff members of the Lahore-based cancer hospital attended the event. British High Commissioner to Pakistan Philip Barton was also present.

Speaking on the occasion, Imran Khan said establishing a cancer hospital in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was one of his biggest dreams.

“The construction of the free cancer hospital is beyond logic, wisdom and rationality and I congratulate all Pakistanis for their generosity which made it possible to build two hospitals,” he said.

“Cancer treatment is one of the most expensive in the world. Despite having all the resources and my start status, my mother died due to cancer. The poor people have no place to go for treatment of cancer,” he reminded.

“It is a miracle because these are the only hospitals in the world that offer free cancer treatment to 75 percent patients,” he said.He praised Prof Dr Nausherwan Khan Burki, who happens to be his cousin, Dr Faisal Sultan, chief executive SKMCH and Dr Asim Yousaf, medical director, for their contribution in realising his dream of establishing the two free cancer hospitals.

“There had been many occasions of happiness in my life but I was so excited over completion of the cancer hospital in Peshawar that I couldn’t even properly sleep last night,” Imran Khan remarked.

Though Imran thought he had arrived an hour before the start of the scheduled time, he kept the participants waiting for his arrival to formally begin the proceeding.Imran recalled his old struggle launched by him in the 1990s for collecting donations to build the cancer hospital in Lahore.

“In the 1990s, I was at the peak of my popularity as a cricket star but when I decided to establish a cancer hospital through donations, I collected Rs100 million only in one and half years. But now when we made an appeal for Rs800 million donations in November last, people gave us Rs900 million because of their trust in the excellent services provided by the Shaukat Khanum Hospital Lahore,” Imran said.  He said he needed Rs800 million to purchase important diagnostic equipment for the hospital and this had prompted him to make the appeal for donations in November.

Imran recalled he had visited 29 cities of the country in six weeks to collect donations for the cancer hospital in Lahore. “During my life, I had not even asked my father to give me money, but when I decided to establish the cancer hospital, I used to go to every person to collect donations. The educational institutions and the students played a vital role in establishing the first cancer hospital. They proved my real tigers and helped my fundraising campaign for the hospital,” he said.

Imran said he used to go to educational institutions in the morning and bazaars in the evening to seek donations. “I can’t describe the scenes how daily-wagers, poor labourers and shopkeepers generously donated for the cancer hospital,” the PTI leader said.

Imran said after deciding to set up the first cancer hospital, he called top 20 doctors in Lahore to seek their opinion.“Out of 20, 19 said establishing cancer hospital was not possible in Pakistan. One of them said it was feasible but providing free cancer treatment is not possible. But I was determined and we built Lahore hospital 21 years ago and opened the second one in Peshawar today,” he stressed.

In the 1997 general election campaign, he said the PML-N launched campaign against the hospital in Lahore and it caused a drop in donations and the hospital was about to stop operations.

“But once people went to the hospital then nobody could stop them from giving donations. We spend Rs7 billion in Lahore per year and faced a deficit of Rs3.5 billion but we were able to not only cover the deficit but also raise Rs4 billion for the Peshawar hospital,” Imran expolained.

The hospital would provide 20 beds for chemotherapy, six emergency room beds, 12 admission beds, two intensive care unit beds, radiology services, including mammography, plain radiology and ultrasonography and pathology laboratory.

In the first phase, the hospital will provide X-ray, CT scan, MRI, chemotherapy and pathological services to the patients. Next, the radiation services will be made available in the second phase and surgery after one year.

Imran said the Peshawar hospital was 30 percent larger in size than the one in Lahore.The construction of this comprehensive cancer diagnosis and treatment hospital began on March 9, 2011.

Imran Khan said the hospital was built as per international standards to provide modern cancer treatment services to the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa irrespective of their ability to pay.

He said patients are equally treated in Shaukat Khanum Hospital. “In the Lahore hospital, son of our great poet Allama Mohammad Iqbal, Javed Iqbal was lying on one bed and a poor patient was on the bed next to him,” he pointed out.

With the establishment of the Peshawar hospital, patients would no longer need to go to Lahore, he said, adding, 23 percent cancer patients visiting SKMCH Lahore belonged to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata and some even came from Afghanistan.

It may be added that former chief minister Ameer Haider Hoti, who belonged to the ANP, had provided 50 kanal of government land in Hayatabad to the cancer hospital free of cost and had also donated Rs50 million.

Dr Faisal Sultan, the chief executive officer of SKMCH Lahore, told The News the patients would be offered the best quality treatment in the Peshawar cancer hospital.He said being an expensive treatment, cancer destroyed families financially. Dr Asim Yousaf, medical director of SKMCH Lahore, said in the first phase they started walk-in-clinic, outpatient clinics, chemotherapy facilities, radiology services, ICU, an inpatient unit and emergency assessment room in Peshawar from December 29.

 

Muslims donate 30,000 bottles of water to Flint, Michigan, during water crisis

A Muslim organization called “Who is Hussain?” donated 30,000 bottles of water to the Red Cross in Flint, Michigan, on Sunday to help alleviate the water contamination crisis that has gripped the city for months. The donation drive came on the heels of President Obama’s declaration of the situation as a federal state of emergency.

Flint MI water drive - Quran Focus

Flint MI water drive – Quran Focus

Who is Hussain? collected the water after a local campaign collected donations of cases of water bottles and online donations netted funds to purchase additional water.

The city of Flint is located approximately one hour away by car from Dearborn, Michigan, the city with the highest population of Muslims by percentage in the United States. According to the 2000 US Census, the population of Dearborn was more than 29 percent Arab.

Dr. Aziza Askari, representative for the Michigan chapter of the Who is Hussain?, said, “We saw what needed to be done and we decided to do it. We reached out to schools, neighbors, friends, mosques, anyone and everyone to help us by donating a case of water, or money towards a case.”

Who is Hussain? was inspired by the story of an early Islamic leader, Imam Hussain ibn Ali, the grandson of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. Hussain ibn Ali complained early on about growing violence and extremism in the Muslim community, but was brutally killed after being denied water for several days. Adherents of Hussain’s teachings believe that the denial of water under any circumstances is an unconscionable crime, and actively promote water distribution campaigns on a regular basis. On the anniversary of Hussain’s death, they themselves forsake food and water for most of the day as a type of remembrance.

“Prophet Mohammed taught us ‘Your neighbor comes before your own household.’ As a resident of Detroit this is not only a Flint problem this is a Michigan problem and I feel obligated to help to the best of my ability.” said Mohammed Almawla, a local filmmaker and volunteer for the organization.

Flint has been the site of growing issues with water contamination, after the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) allegedly ignored months of reports of water quality issues and fought with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over water quality treatments. The EPA was also criticized for failing to prevent the problem.

Another Michigan native and filmmaker, Michael Moore, called for the arrest of Gov. Rick Snyder. Mr. Moore also called for President Obama to visit Flint to survey the problem, criticizing the president if he failed to do so.

“We’re taking every action within reason, and going beyond reason to address this,” said Gov. Snyder in response to scrutiny, according to the Detroit Free Press. “This is something you wish that never happened, and let’s see that it never happens again in the state of Michigan.”

Howard County, Maryland adds Muslim holidays to school calendar

Ater considering how best to create an inclusive academic calendar — either by removing all but state-mandated public school holidays or by recognizing additional holidays — the Howard County Board of Education has voted to close schools for students on a Muslim and a Hindu holiday, for the first time in the school system’s history.

Howard County school calendar

“I am extremely pleased by the Board’s ability to discuss and unanimously agree to seek ways to recognize the diverse backgrounds of Howard County’s students and families,” said Board of Education Chairwoman Christine O’Connor. “We want to do our best to find flexibility within the calendar to provide opportunities for all students to experience all cultures within our community.”

Please read more;

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/howard/columbia/ph-ho-cf-school-calendar-0121-20160115-story.html

 

 

American writer spends year debating Holy Quran with Muslim scholar

What happens when an American writer and a madrassah-trained scholar debate the Holy Quran in a bid to find interfaith understanding? A powerful journey to help bridge one of the greatest divides shaping our world today.

If the Oceans Were Ink is American writer Carla Power’s story of how she and her longtime friend Sheikh Mohammad Akram Nadwi decided to tackle the “ugly stereotypes and persistent misperceptions” that were dividing their communities.

“People are going back to the basic texts, and they’re stripping away centuries of culture and tradition and looking for what they see at the heart of the religion,” she says.

Power provides readers with details of her year with sheikh Akram and how the Quran provided her with many moments of grace. “I found comfort in how small I felt reading the text, as when I considered the images of the ‘lord if the heavens and the earth and everything in between, and Lord of all points of the sunrise.’  Even as a nonbeliever, I still found myself taking refuge in the Quran classes as a clam inlet from daily life.”

Carla Power

Carla Power

Power notes the greatness of the Quran by highlighting the triviality of worldly matters like the “close on Wall Street, the exam score or dress size, even happiness itself” that seemed nothing next to the fact that from God we come and to God we return. She describes this as “constant reminders of one’s own puniness and powerlessness.”

She also shares a personal experience that made her realise the essence of the word InshAllah. “When my mother died, I remember thinking how sensible it was, the Muslim practice of saying InshAllah after every plan, every promise, no matter how minor, since only God can be sure whether next Wednesday’s lunch date will indeed be kept. It was a comfort, in a season of grief, to hang out with a community that honored this world’s certainties.”

On her understanding of namaz, she writes about it as a symbol of devotion to God. She mentions studies on the postures of Muslim prayers by scientists who have concluded that they encourage calm and flexibility. While standing straight strengthens the arrangement of muscles in the body, bowing helps stretch out the lower back and hamstrings, and sitting after prostration keeps joints mobile. In relation to this, Power notes how “Akram’s prayers have rendered him culturally supple, too, stretching his humanity in surprising ways. The act of return, to his prayer mat, to his Quran and his classical text–has often afforded an expansion of his worldview, not a restriction of it.”

She beautifully describes the sheikh offering his prayers and the meaning attached to his every move. She writes, “In standing, kneeling, bring his forehead to the earth, then standing again, his attention returns to his origins and destination, which are one and the same.” She also shares the words of the sheikh, who connects the experience to a “feeling of returning to the arms of your mother, when you are a child.”

The author explains the meaning of existence for the sheikh revolves around God, in the shape of a circle. The circle has God at its end, beginning, and every point in between. This sheds lights on his belief that “from Allah he has come, and to Allah he will return,” with everyday circling back to God.

On starting her Quran lessons, as she was able to understand its message, she realised that it is more than just a book. Instead, she reflects on its reach to Muslims around the world as a “metaphor of return. It is a place to which the faithful return, again and again.”

She explains, “I’d come a long way from earliest encounter with the Quran, but I still hadn’t understood that it was far more than a much-revered book. Over the course of the year, I began to see that the Quran was not merely a set of pages between two covers. Calling it a book, something one can read from beginning to end, embalms it in expectations. It was just another way of limiting it into something small: an amulet, a manifesto, an instruction guide, a political tool. In the life of a Muslim like Sheikh Akram, its meaning is much more diffuse.”

On questioning the sheikh about how to better understand the Quran, she shares his response, “Read. Keeping reading the Quran. Read it, and read it again. Return,” echoing the command that Prophet Muhammad had heard upon revelation.

Islamic Quran academy opens in Tatarstan, Russia

An Islamic academy has opened in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Bolghar Historical and Archaeological Complex in the Tatarstan Republic of the Russian Federation on Thursday with the intent of raising Islamic scholars for Russian Muslims.

Islamic Academy Tatarstan Russia

The Bolghar Islamic Academy opened with Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov, Turkey’s Kazan Consul-General Turhan Dilmaç, Religious Affairs Secretary of Turkey’s Moscow Embassy Dursun Aygün, chief mufti of Russia and head of the Central Muslim Spiritual Directorate Talgat Tadzhuddin, President of Russia’s Muftis Council Rawil Gaynutdin, Tatarstan’s Mufti Kamil Samigullin and other religious leaders in attendance. The academy will offer six-month Quran courses. The Bolghar Historical and Archaeological Complex went under restoration and was included on UNESCO’s World Heritage Site List last year. “The new academy will raise Islamic scholars not only for Tatarstan, but also Russia’s [other] Muslims,” Minnikhanov said.

Dilmaç also said two religious lecturers have been sent from Turkey to give Quran courses at the academy. “We are pleased with their efforts. Bolghar will remain both a historical, educational and religious city,” he said. Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), Aygün said Quranic recitation courses will be extended and offered to religious staff in Tatarstan, Bashkortostan and other parts of Russia. An international conference was held with the theme “Religious view of Muslims on the concepts of nation, religion and civilization.”

Teaching the Holy Quran in Uyghur, China

Mosques fail to offer enough space for worshippers at regular Friday prayers for Muslims in two prominent cities of the Uyghur Autonomous Region of China: Urumchi and Kashgar. People have to take to the streets and squares without bothering others. The Idkha Mosque in downtown Kashgar is the largest mosque in the region. More than 30,000 people join the Eid prayers performed in the square that also hosts the mosque. The Idkha Mosque was built in 1442 and was enlarged three times. Around 700 people can perform prayers in the closed area of the mosque.

There are 28,000 clerics (24,000 appointed to mosques) officially assigned to the Uyghur Autonomous Region. There are schools teaching lessons on the Quran in the local towns that offer courses lasting two to three months. Graduates of elementary and high schools are admitted to these schools. China has nine years of compulsory education during which no religious courses are offered. There are 10 Quran courses in China. The Xinjiang Quran School is the only officially recognized school for teaching the Quran in Xinjiang Uyghur region in China. It is also the only school that teaches the Quran in the Uyghur language in China. The hadiths are recited in Arabic but the explanations are in Uyghur. Students study for five years in the school to receive their qualifications and Muslim graduates who are appointed to serve the people are given a monthly allowance. There are 10 different ethnic Muslim groups in Xinjiang and those other than the Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and Huis are able to communicate with each other. The graduates of the school teach the Quran to the public and some work as members of the local popular congress. The Chinese Religious Affairs Directorate and the Chinese Islamic Affairs Department regulate the appointment of students abroad. Of these, 37 students continued their education in Egypt. The Huis have nine other Quran schools in other parts of China. The Huis teach in the Chinese language.

The construction of the Xinjiang Quran School started in 1983 and the school was completed in 1987. It receives financial aid from the state and the Chinese government gave 250 million yuan in 2012 to construct a huge new school that now hosts 300 students and 70 teachers. They train clerics in eight undergraduate and three pre-undergraduate programs. Mainly religious and cultural courses are offered, with cultural courses constituting 3 percent of the curriculum. The cultural classes include ethnic and religious policies. Uyghur literature, Arab language and literature, and history are also being taught. Seventy percent of the courses are focused on religious studies, which include studying the Quran, recital, tawjeed (rules of recitation), methodology, Islamic jurisprudence, Islamic theology and culture, the life of the Prophet Muhammad and Arabic grammar. Male high school graduates aged between 18 and 22 are admitted to the school in a two-stage exam.

The Xinjiang Quran School is a religious school that trains clerics. They do not admit female students. There are three different types of religious education: clerical school, Quran courses and Quran schools. Women are allowed to receive religious training from their fathers or husbands at home.

The school offers help every year for those who would like to perform the pilgrimage in Mecca. The pilgrims have to meet several conditions, including having sufficient financial resources, being healthy and able to travel. Every year, nearly 14,000 people in China travel to Mecca for the pilgrimage. Of these, about 3,500 sign up for the pilgrimage in Xinjiang. Turkish Religious Affairs Directorate President Mehmet Görmez has paid a visit to Xinjiang twice. He was appointed president after he returned from Urumchi. For this reason, it is argued that Urumchi brings good luck.

Hasan KANBOLAT   h.kanbolat@todayszaman.com

Previously Published in Todays Zaman

 

Learning to Read the Holy Quran

An Invitation to read the book of books

There are some books that need not be read once or twice but scores of times. There are books that simply decimate you, that don’t need our recommendation but that judge us. There are books that one would not like to part with even in grave. There are books that need certain moral and spiritual qualifications to be understood, or we would fail to drink from the fount of wisdom. There are books that must be in the curriculum of life’s education. What is the book that is most urgent reading for anyone  who cares about higher things of life including wisdom and ethics? I argue it is, first of all,  a divine book. Let us try to read one today.

Imagine any reason for praising a work or at least paying attention to it and one may find that the Quran illustrates the case. If impact of a work counts, the Quran we know created history and new civilization. If readership or recitation counts, it is amongst the most read, most memorized, most recited works. If inherent linguistic and literary excellence counts, it is, by almost universal consensus amongst the best scholars of Arabic language and the Quran, a feat that we ordinarily describe as miraculous. If loftiness of themes, polyphony and polysemy count, it impresses in the same way that other sacred scriptures impress. Countless commentaries have been written and keep coming. The best minds from philosophers to Sufis to poets to scientists have been struck dumb by it and they have joined in the great tradition of commenting on it. Some of the most influential modern minds  including psychologists like Jung have also joined in this group by commenting on certain verses or chapters. From Nietzsche to Derrida we see glowing tribute paid to the aspects of legal, mystical and philosophical culture inspired by the Quran. Heidegger,  arguably the greatest figure in twentieth century philosophy, deemed himself a philosopher in the Arab tradition of philosophers. In previous centuries literary giants from Carlyle to Goethe have been struck by the Quran.  If speaking to – rather shaking –  depths of our being is a criterion, its power is too well known to need a comment.  If inimitability is the criterion,  we find that from its contemporary Arab poets to James Joyce in Finnegan Wake, attempts to dilute the force of the claim of inimitability have patently failed.

How come some of the greatest Orientalists and those who approached the Quran from purely academic reasons become its for good? How come volumes have been devoted to apparently as simple things of the Quran as orthography of letters by the best minds? The Quran inspired art, poetry, philosophy and number of traditional science constitute a significant part of cultural heritage of mankind. The Quran has stayed and will stay

The Quran consumes the reader or the reader fails to read it. It transforms, it devastates as a great beauty devastates. Man’s salvation lies in getting ready for such a transformation. Great tragedy or poetry seeks to accomplish something similar.

There are books that one should pray for getting access to them. The sacred scriptures and writings of saints are such books. If one isn’t able to enjoy the Quran despite linguistic and other resources at one’s command, one needs to investigate why. Perhaps some notions bequeathed by shallow education or misinterpretations need to be addressed. I seek to argue that the key claims of the Quran are self evident and none can find them problematic. Let us try to see how we can appreciate the Quran as an open invitation to all of us including the Muslims (usually Muslims think they know the Quran  and it is other communities that need to be invited to it.)

Learn Quran Reading Online

Who can refuse invitation to explore the science of the self or psyche (anfus) and the cosmos (aafaq) to which Al-Quran invites all? The Quran invites us to pay attention to ontological Quran, the text of flesh, blood, matter and soul  that constitutes anfus and aafaaq. Who can finish exploring them? Who can finish reading the Quran this sense? Who can’t entertain Quranic invitation to take sensory experience, reason and history seriously as sources of knowledge? Who can have issues with the invitation to see all religions from Adam to Muhammad (PBUH) received through prophets as explicating one Deen – Al-Islam i.e., submission to Truth/Reality? Does Truth need any other certificate to claim our assent? The Quran doesn’t give a view or interpretation of truth that one could subject to certain ideological critique but asks man to submit to Truth not its particular truth but Truth as such wherever one finds it. Kufr is concealing the truth and who can approve of it?

La Illaha Illallah, read with the help of illumined reason, contains the whole essence of metaphysics as Schuon has noted.  Read with the help of metaphysical, spiritual and esoteric commentaries the Quran is perfectly seen as the deeper voice of both our hearts and minds. Nothing that is revolting to reason or ethics can be in the Quran.

The Quran convinces or saves by virtue of its appeal to Signs of God that are for everyone to contemplate in virgin nature, in rhythms of cosmos, in the music of our souls, in perfections we find everywhere getting embodied in life and universe. The best use of aql leads to a state that the Quran calls heaven. Only the knowledgeable fear God, the Quran declares? Now who can vote against these things?

The Prophet’s mandate is to teach the Book  (all books that are worthy of attention are in a sense in the Mother of Books, Ummul Kitab that is the epithet of the Quran) and love of wisdom (hikmah) and purify the souls. Aren’t all great teachers revered because we think they help us in achieving these three objectives?

What the Quran calls faith in Al-Gayyib is understandable as respect for what Marcel calls mystery that is existence or life and  what Stace foregrounds as depth dimension of things that refuses access to rationalist’s tools. Who is the fool to claim to have demystified the world or emptied it of wonder?

Two of the greatest Muslim scholars of the twentieth century including Allama Anwar Shah Kashmiri once tried to experiment with changing or substituting a verse, a word, a letter in the Quran and investigate if it would change the overall sense and structure. Needless to say, the experiment failed. A good review of major points regarding the literary excellence of the Quran is in Hamza Andreas Tzortzis’ “An Introduction to the Literary and Linguistic Excellence of the Quran.” There are numerous books on Aijaz-i-Quran that cumulatively do make a strong case for engaging with the Quran for modern man.

Postscript

One of our greatest calamities is that we are disconnected from the Arabic language. Teach children Arabic and the Arabic Quran will, most probably, hook them for ever to its miraculous form and content. Hardly any preaching needed. Teaching the Arabic language is the antidote to alienation from religion we currently see in new generation. Ask schools you pay handsomely, for arranging for Arabic teaching. Most of us need to better our Arabic if for no reason than at least enjoying the Quran aesthetically. Faith will take care of itself.

Muhammad Maroof Shah

Previously published in Greater Kashmir

 

 

Manners of Reading the Holy Quran

Be careful when you handle this holy book. Remember, it is not an ordinary book. We need to do the following for giving to the glorious Quran its due respect:

Before you begin reciting from the Quran, seek refuge with Allah (swt) from the Satan, by saying – ‘Aoodhu Billahi Minashaitanir Rajim.’

Take Allah (swt)’s name, before you begin to read, by saying – ‘Bismillah.’

Try your best to be in the state of Wudu, when reciting from the Quran, and sit in a clean place.

Begin reading with a clear intention of seeking only Allah (swt)’s pleasure, not any other worldly gain.

Turn the pages gently and slowly to the required page. It is best, if you use a bookmark at the place you finished last, so that there is no unnecessary flipping of pages.

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Maintain humility, tranquility, and respect, while reading the Quran.

Read the Quran in a moderate voice.

Read the verses with short pauses in between.

Be careful about the Makharij (pronunciation of the letters). Give every letter its due right.

Read the Quran attentively, calmly, and sincerely.

Ponder over the words of the Quran and make efforts to act upon them.

Be grateful, when the verses of Shukr (being grateful) are mentioned and seek refuge with Allah (swt), when asked.

Listen quietly and attentively, when the Quran is being read.

Do not put the Quran on the floor or near a person’s feet.

Do not leave the Quran open, when not being used, or turn it face down on the table.

Do not step over the Quran, if it is lying on the ground or at a low level, such as a prayer mat.

Do not use the Quran as a support to write on.

Do not place things on the top of the Quran.

Do not scribble unnecessary things on the pages of your Quran.

Do not touch the Quran with dirty hands.

Make sure you keep the Quran out of the reach of children that may tear its pages.

Do not eat, while reading from the Quran.

Sit in a proper, respectable position when reading it.

Try not to talk in between, while reciting from the Quran.

Keep the Quran in a clean place.

Learn as much as you can about the Quran by reading an authentic translation in the language of your preference.

Keep the Quran within your reach and in sight.

Let no day pass, without reading or reciting from the Quran.

 

Author: Affaf Jamal