By Amal Al-Sibai
May 25, 2018
Ramadan is the month of fasting, and it is
also the month of Qur’an. It was during Ramadan that the first verses of the
Qur’an were revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
The month of
Ramadan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people
and clear proofs of guidance and criterion.
(Chapter 2, verse 185 of the Holy Qu’ran)
Eager to gain the rewards in this month,
many of us rush to read the entire Qur’an and we compete to complete even more
than once before the month is over. While dedicating your time to reading the
Qur’an is no doubt praiseworthy, I call upon my Muslim brothers and sisters to
take a slightly different approach this Ramadan.
Rather than hastily reading through, why
not pick a certain chapter or chapters of the Qur’an and delve deeply into the
meanings of the verses, the lessons to be learned, the context in which they
were revealed during the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), studying
the history, and also the implications the verses carry for our lives today?
Rather than simply, we need to work hard to understand the Qur’an. Alternately,
you can pick a certain topic and research it in-depth in the Holy Qur’an, for
example stories of the prophets, or the description of Paradise. Another
recommendation is to use the Qur’an as a blue print to develop your character.
For example, study the verses which speak about patience or piety or the
characteristics of a believer in general.
For a class which I offer the girls in our
community, we picked Surah Al-Israa, the Chapter of the Night Journey, to
explore the meanings of the verses, and we have learned a lot and greatly
enjoyed the classes.
The Qur’an, the word of God, is a book of
guidance for humanity. Students of the Qur’an never cease to be amazed by the
wonders found in it. Researchers have studied the numbers of times that certain
words are repeated in the Qur’an which causes us to appreciate the Qur’an even
The word ‘day’ (Yawm) is repeated in
its singular form 365 times, while the plural and dual forms, ‘days’ (Ayyam
and Yawmayn) together are repeated 30 times. The number of repetitions
of the word ‘month’ (Shahar) is 12.
The words ‘Paradise’ and ‘Hellfire’ are
each repeated the same number of times, 77 times. The significance I draw from
this is that the believer must live his/her life in a balance between fear of
Allah and fear of the punishment, but also hope in Allah’s mercy and
forgiveness, and the yearning to enter Paradise.
The words, ‘world’ (Dunya) and
‘Hereafter’ (Akhira) are repeated an equal number of times, 115 times.
Although there may not be great importance in the numbers, we should ponder on
the importance of mentioning this world and the next world an equal amount of
times in the Qur’an.
The ultimate priority in a believer’s life
is worshiping Allah, but that does not mean we can neglect our duties and
responsibilities of building and protecting this Earth. What comes to mind is
the saying of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), “If the Resurrection were
established upon one of you while he has in his hand a sapling, then let him
plant it.” (Musnad Ahmad)
At the same time, we must not become so
immersed in this world’s pleasures and problems that we neglect our worship.
Neither work nor entertainment should blind us from dedicating enough time to
the service of others and worshiping Allah.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) warned
us of becoming entranced by worldly affairs; he said, “By Allah, it is not
poverty that I fear for you, but I fear that this world will be spread out in
front of you as it was spread out in front of those before you, and then you
will vie for it as they vied for it, and it will destroy you as it destroyed
them” (Riyad as-Salihin by Imam Nawawi)
Another finding in the Qur’an I marvelled
over is the reference to the land and sea. The word ‘land’ appears 13 times in
the Qur’an and the word ‘sea’ 32 times, giving a total of 45 references. The
number of total references to land and sea, 45, divided by the number of
references to the sea in the Qur’an, 32, and multiplied by 100 is 71.1%.
Extraordinarily, these figures represent the exact proportions of land and sea
on the Earth.