I want to share a beneficial technique which I feel is useful in connecting with the Qur’an and which I have been utilizing for a few years now. I see too many people obsessed with finishing the Qur’an without really connecting with it, which is one of its intended purposes. The advice below may be useful for everyday average Muslims who are not enrolled in an Islamic studies program and/or thorough study of the religious sciences. Of course, there is a much deeper and thorough connection that can be built with the Qur’an only through a thorough study of the religious sciences including a deep study of the Arabic language. The more deeper we study the religion of Allah, the stronger our connection with His book. However, this does not mean that average Muslims cannot build a connection with the Book of Allah at any level. This is what I am hoping to accomplish with this post: how average everyday Muslims, who are not enrolled in a detailed study of the religion, can build some sort of connection with Allah’s Book.
Every week I take just two pages of the Qur’an, which is basically one page front and back. I read them fully in Arabic and jot down any new vocabulary I find on new note cards to memorize for the week. I use various dictionaries to find definitions for the new words and try to translate every verse myself and then compare it to another translation. I understand that this may not be suitable for everyone especially those who are not familiar with Arabic. In that case, I suggest you just use any reliable translation. I personally prefer Sahih International, Clear Quran, or Abdul Haleem.
After reading the two pages and doing the translation, I go to a brief tafsir (exegesis) of the Qur’an and read the tafsir of all the verses on the two pages. The idea is to get the general detailed meaning of the verses without delving into long explanations. For most non-experts wanting to connect with the Qur’an, this should suffice. Your main objective is to incorporate the meaning of the verses into your mind and soul and you cannot do that when you delve into detailed discussions about the verses. There are many great brief tafsirs out there but most are in Arabic. I personally use Tafsir Al-Muyassar and Jalalayn. The latter is translated into English as well. Occasionally, I will refer to Zubdah al-Tafsir and Tafsir Sa’di. If on some rare occasion, I become more curious about a verse, especially if it deals with stories in the Qur’an, I delve into more detailed tafsirs like Ibn Khatir and Baghawi. The former has a summarized translation available in English.
After reading the brief tafsir of the verses, I then read the same two pages every single morning for the next seven days keeping in mind the tafsir of the verses. So if you don’t know Arabic, then you would read the Arabic verses first and then a reliable translation for those verses for seven days. When you do this, you get to engage with the Qur’an on a daily basis and reflect and ponder over its verses. Every single reading brings new light and reflection from the verses which touch the soul. That’s what this book is about, to touch your soul through ponder and reflection which lead to humility, increase in imaan, and action. If the verses are not touching your soul and having an impact in your life, then you are not properly engaging with the book of Allah.
I treat the Qur’an as a dialogue between myself and my Maker. That’s the mindset I read it with especially the Arabic. And because you are sticking to a few verses on a daily basis, the meaning stays with you for a longer amount of time and you begin to see the lessons drawn from it in your everyday life.
When the seven days are over, I start the cycle again with the next two pages. I have been doing this for a while now and find it very beneficial. This process has a number of benefits in my opinion:
- You get to have daily wird (routine) with the Qur’an
- You are focused on understanding the Qur’an’s message
- You actually begin to connect with the Qur’an
- You see various lessons from the Qur’an reflected in your daily life
- It creates an indescribable awe in your mind for your Maker
- It humbles you and makes you want to worship your Creator more
- And so much more!
This is why I find those who are only obsessed with finishing the Qur’an without reflecting on its meanings, allowing it to touch their souls, and most importantly acting on it useless. I cannot remember the last time I did a khatm. I don’t concern myself with finishing it because I want to take my time in understanding it and incorporating its meaning into my soul so that it becomes a part of me. I want it to be my companion and build a relationship with it.
I hope the above is helpful to those interested in building a real connection with the Qur’an. The above is what works for me in connecting with it. And Allah Knows Best.
P.S. – The absolute worse are those who only use the Qur’an to argue with it!