Have you ever heard of this famous verse?
شَهرُ رَمَضانَ الَّذي أُنزِلَ فيهِ القُرآنُ هُدًى لِلنّاسِ وَبَيِّناتٍ مِنَ الهُدىٰ وَالفُرقانِ
“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”
(Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:185)
As stated, the Quran was revealed in the month of Ramadan. But how was it revealed to our Prophet Muhammad s.a.w for the first time and what are the first few verses that were revealed to him?
Well, it all started when Prophet Muhammad s.a.w was sitting in the cave of Hira’ on a mountain called The Mountain of Light also known as ‘Jabal Nur’. As Prophet Muhammad s.a.w felt restless and helpless with the decadence of the Meccan Quraisy, the Prophet s.a.w found peace and solace during his seclusion in the cave of Hira’. Little did he know that one of the days of his stay in the cave, that Angel Jibril a.s. would visit him.
Image source: Ridhwan Mohd Basor Facebook
But what happened when Jibril came to meet the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w?
In a hadith reported by Sayyidatina Aisyah r.a. and narrated by Imam Al-Bukhari,
“..The angel came to him and asked him to read. The Prophet s.a.w replied, "I do not know how to read.’’ The Prophet s.a.w added, "The angel caught me (forcefully) and pressed me so hard that I could not bear it anymore. He then released me and again asked me to read and I replied, 'I do not know how to read.”Thereupon he caught me again and pressed me a second time till I could not bear it anymore. He then released me and again asked me to read but again I replied, “I do not know how to read !?” Thereupon he caught me for the third time and pressed me, and then released me and said,"
"Read in the name of your Lord, who has created (all that exists), created man from a clot. Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous.”
(Surah Al-'Alaq, 96:1-5)
The first revelation that Allah s.w.t. revealed to Prophet Muhammad s.a.w was the commandment for his people to seek knowledge, through the spirit of Iqra’ (reading). This set the foundational basis of the Prophetic message to humanity. The importance of knowledge is clearly expounded by the Prophet. This promotion of knowledge for all humankind had enlightened humanity from the ignorance of the Dark Ages.
Allah s.w.t. commanded us to read, to ponder, to analyse and to understand the verse of the Quran. The Quran is indeed a gift for all humankind. Each verse in the Quran is so unique that it can never be rephrased even by a linguist expert. Given that the Quran is very significant for Muslims, let’s appreciate the Quran by taking a first step of reading this final scripture revealed to humanity, even if we have yet to understand the Arabic language.
Here are 5 reasons why we should recite the Quran:
Yes! You read it right, not 1 surah, not 1 ayat, not 1 word, but you will be rewarded for each letter that is recited from the verses of the Quran.
Sayyidatina Aishah r.a reported:
مَن قَرَأَ حَرْفًا مِنْ كِتَابِ اللَّهِ فَلَهُ بِهِ حَسَنَةٌ وَالْحَسَنَةُ بِعَشْرِ أَمْثَالِهَا لاَ أَقُولُ الم حَرْفٌ وَلَكِنْ أَلِفٌ حَرْفٌ وَلاَمٌ حَرْفٌ وَمِيمٌ حَرْفٌ
Whoever recites a letter from Allah's Book, then he receives the reward from it, and the reward of ten the like of it. I do not say that Alif Lam Mim is a letter, but Alif is a letter, Lam is a letter and Mim is a letter
Reciting the Quran is part of remembrance (zikir). It is also a form of Ibadah. When you do zikir, you will attain inner peace and solace as mentioned in the Quran:
الَّذينَ آمَنوا وَتَطمَئِنُّ قُلوبُهُم بِذِكرِ اللَّهِ ۗ أَلا بِذِكرِ اللَّهِ تَطمَئِنُّ القُلوبُ
“Those who have believed and whose hearts are assured by the remembrance of Allah. Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah, hearts are assured”
(Surah Ar-Ra’ad, 13:28)
For some of us, the Arabic language is a foreign language. When you are a beginner, you tend to stutter and may find it difficult to read it fluently. Not understanding what you are reading is already frustrating enough, what more to practice to read in different language and letters.
But fear not, Allah s.w.t. is All-Knowing, Most Merciful. He will reward you twice for the hard work of trying to read the verses of the Quran!
Sayidatina Aishah (r.a.) reported:
الذي يقرأ القرآن وهو ماهر به مع السفرة الكرام البررة، والذي يقرأ القرآن ويتتعتع فيه وهو عليه شاق له أجران
"The one who is proficient in the recitation of the Qur'an will be with the honourable and obedient scribes (angels), and he who recites the Qur'an and finds it difficult to recite, doing his best to recite it in the best way possible, will have two rewards."
(Sahih Al-Bukhari & Muslim)
As a human being, we constantly need someone to talk and to share our problems. While making dua is one of the means to talk to Allah, you can also find answers while reading the Quran. It is one of the ways how Allah communicates with us. He sent down guidance for us 1400 years ago! Allah s.w.t. mentioned in the Quran in a couple of Surahs:
كِتابٌ أَنزَلناهُ إِلَيكَ لِتُخرِجَ النّاسَ مِنَ الظُّلُماتِ إِلَى النّورِ
“A Book We have sent down to you so that you may bring forth mankind from the darkness into the light..”.
(Surah Ibrahim, 14:1)
Read the Quran and you will be amazed how it speaks and comforts you and that the answers to your worries may just be in between the lines. Remember, when reciting the Quran, do ensure to find the right source of interpretations and get clarifications from certified Asatizah as well.
To this, Allah s.w.t. says in the Quran:
وَلَقَد يَسَّرنَا القُرآنَ لِلذِّكرِ فَهَل مِن مُدَّكِرٍ
And We have certainly made the Quran easy for remembrance, so is there any who will remember?
(Surah Al-Qamar, 54:17)
Allah s.w.t, the Most Merciful mentioned in the Quran four times specifically in Surah Al-Qamar, that He had made it easy for us to recite and comprehend, to remind mankind that regardless of who we are, we are constantly in need of reminders from Him. Allah s.w.t. mentioned in Surah As-Sad:
كِتابٌ أَنزَلناهُ إِلَيكَ مُبارَكٌ لِيَدَّبَّروا آياتِهِ وَلِيَتَذَكَّرَ أُولُو الأَلبابِ
[This is] a blessed Book which We have revealed to you, [Oh Muhammad], that they might reflect upon its verses and that those of understanding would be reminded
(Surah Sad 38:29)
While it is recommended that we strive to understand the Quran, this does not mean that we can interpret the Quran once we read its translation on our own. We certainly need guidance from credible asatizah to explain the tafsir of the Quran. And when you make an effort to read and understand the Quran, Allah s.w.t. will open the gates of knowledge and wisdom for you to understand His beautiful words! Insya’Allah.
So what are you waiting for? Let us take this opportunity in this blessed month of Ramadan, the month revelation, to appreciate the gift of the Quran. Learning the Quran is a lifelong journey, never stop learning and keep improving yourself as a Muslim!
“Everybody has to start somewhere. Perfection doesn't happen right away.”
May Allah s.w.t. guide us and ease our path in seeking knowledge.
Do also watch our weekly Ramadan Quran Reflections as we deep-dive into the meaning of the Quran!