Praise be to Allah.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, a holy month that Muslims look forward to every single year. A month which closes the way it began with the sighting of the new moon.
The most intriguing thing about Ramadan is the very fact that it is only revealed in the Quran through Surah al-Baqarah. Particularly in verse 185 of the Surah, Allah s.w.t. mentioned,
شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِيَ أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَى وَالْفُرْقَانِ
“The month of Ramadan is that in which was revealed the Quran, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion.”
(Surah al-Baqarah, 2:185)
As much as Ramadan is the month of fasting, Allah s.w.t. also highlights the greatest event in this prestigious season, which is the revelation of the Quran.
The Quran is a definitive and timeless Book that brings about the light of guidance and is a source of strength. From the Quran, we draw enduring qualities and great reminders. It also sets the standards and brings clarity in terms of differentiating the right from wrong.
In this guide to life, death and what follows, there surely is infinite goodness in the words of Allah s.w.t, what more when they are recited.
Amongst the virtues that await the readers and reciters of the Quran are the multiple rewards for every single letter that is recited from it. In a hadith, ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud reported that the Prophet s.a.w. said,
مَنْ قَرَأَ حَرْفًا مِنْ كِتَابِ اللَّهِ فَلَهُ بِهِ حَسَنَةٌ وَالْحَسَنَةُ بِعَشْرِ أَمْثَالِهَا لَا أَقُولُ الم حَرْفٌ وَلَكِنْ أَلِفٌ حَرْفٌ وَلَامٌ حَرْفٌ وَمِيمٌ حَرْفٌ
“Whoever recites a letter from the Book of Allah, he will be credited with a good deed, and a good deed gets a ten-fold reward. I do not say that Alif-Lam-Mim is one letter, but Alif is a letter, Lam is a letter and Mim is a letter”.
The next best virtue of reading the Quran is becoming the Best of People. As the words of Allah s.w.t. are the best of reminders, those who read, recite, learn and teach His words are truly the best. As narrated in a hadith, ‘Uthman bin ‘Affan reported that the Prophet s.a.w. said,
خَيْرُكُمْ مَنْ تَعَلَّمَ الْقُرْآنَ وَعَلَّمَهُ
“The best of you are those who learn the Quran and teach it.”
Amongst many other virtues of reciting the Quran is attaining peace, calmness and tranquillity.
Al-Bara’ reported, a man was reciting the chapter of the cave (Surah al-Kahf) with a horse tied with two ropes by his side when a cloud overshadowed him. The cloud came nearer and nearer till his horse became frightened of it. He went to the Prophet s.a.w. in the morning and mentioned that to him. The Prophet s.a.w. said,
اقْرَأْ فُلَانُ فَإِنَّهَا السَّكِينَةُ تَنَزَّلَتْ عِنْدَ الْقُرْآنِ أَوْ تَنَزَّلَتْ لِلْقُرْآنِ
“Continue reciting. Verily, that was tranquillity which came down for the recitation of the Quran.”
As we prepare ourselves to interact with the Quran, after being inspired by virtues of reciting it, there are a few etiquette rules to observe:
أَعُوذُ بِاللَّهِ مِنْ الشَّيْطَانِ الرَّجِيمِ
A`uzu billahi min ash-shaytan nir-rajim
I seek refuge with Allah from the accursed Shaytan
بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
These etiquette rules, or Adab, demonstrate respect towards the Book of Allah s.w.t. and His words.
With the coming of the fasting month of Ramadan, the month in which the Quran was revealed, many would make this sacred month a milestone to finish reciting the entire Quran.
Here are some practical steps for you to reach the finishing line of recitation in the month of Ramadan.
1. Start with the right intentions
Intentions are like GPS or compasses that guide and direct us to where we are heading. To fulfill your aspiration to complete reading the Quran in Ramadan, start with the right intentions.
First and foremost, make the intention for Allah s.w.t. to instill sincerity, even before embarking this journey. ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab r.a. reported that the Prophet s.a.w. said,
إِنَّمَا الْأَعْمَالُ بِالنِّيَّاتِ وَإِنَّمَا لِكُلِّ امْرِئٍ مَا نَوَى
“Verily, actions are by intentions and every person will attain what they have intended for.”
Sincerity is key in the journey with the Quran. When things are done solely for Allah s.w.t, He will provide us with ample strength, health, motivation and time to embark and sail through the waves and tides.
Determination is what sparks the fire to the intentions made. It helps to push a person to continue to persevere, despite the twists and turns of any process such as the process to complete the recitation. Allah s.w.t. mentioned in the Quran,
اِنَّ اللّٰهَ لَا يُغَيِّرُ مَا بِقَوۡمٍ حَتّٰى يُغَيِّرُوۡا مَا بِاَنۡفُسِهِمۡ
“Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves”
(Surah ar-Ra’d, 13:11)
The condition of a person is determined by what they do for and by themselves. This includes their desire and determination in any action. When such desires, coupled with the right intentions, are properly planted, only then one can be confident and be purposefully driven to take steps forward towards the goal.
3. Devise a strategy that works for you
There certainly isn’t a specific way to complete the Quran so do what works for you. However, there are some guidelines that can help you to achieve your goal. Allah s.w.t. mentioned in the Quran,
وَ جَعَلۡنٰکُمۡ شُعُوۡبًا وَّ قَبَآئِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوۡا
“ And We have made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another.”
(Surah al-Hujurat, 49:13)
This verse shows us that there is indeed diversity in Allah’s creation. Certainly Allah s.w.t. has created everyone with their own unique sets of strengths and limitations. And it is through our differences that we learn from one another, from the best practices to lessons from adversities.
Some may wish to allocate specific times of the day to sit and recite several pages of the Quran while others prefer to complete a few Juz of the Quran by a fixed deadline.
Here are some strategies that you may want to consider to complete the Quran, either individually or collectively as a group.
The point is that there is not just one way to do this but you can start exploring these suggestions and see what works best for you. If you wish to get this deed done with family and friends, you can try to execute the recitation collectively where everyone in the group can contribute and reap the rewards together.
Determining what is really going to work takes time and effort. It might be rough during the first few days into cultivating this habit to recite the Quran on a daily basis with the aim to complete it, but you will learn to build the habit and patience as you go along. In a hadith, ‘Aisyah r.a. reported that the Prophet s.a.w. said,
اكلَفوا من العملِ ما تُطيقون ؛ و إنَّ أحبَّ العملِ إلى اللهِ تعالى أَدْوَمُه وإن قَلَّ
“Take up good deeds only as much as you are able to, for the best deeds are those which are done consistently even if they are few.”
As such, as shown by the hadith above, consistency is so highly valued in Islam that Allah s.w.t. and Prophet s.a.w. regard them as the best of deeds. Likewise, for those who are striving to complete the Quran in Ramadan, consistency and reading regularly is encouraged for anyone who treads this path. Keep doing, build the habit and make it through.
5. Get a companion to journey with you
As the saying goes, “who you spend your time with is who you become”. And who you spend time with on this journey will make an impact in manifesting your determination to complete reading the Quran into a reality. In a hadith, Abu Hurayrah r.a. reported that the Prophet s.a.w. said,
الرَّجُلُ عَلَى دِينِ خَلِيلِهِ فَلْيَنْظُرْ أَحَدُكُمْ مَنْ يُخَالِلُ
“ A man is upon the religion of his best friend, so let one of you look at whom he befriends.”
The presence of the right companion is to motivate, support and remind you whenever you may need it.
Your companions could be those right by your side like your family members or partner or those you interact with virtually over WhatsApp and via social media. They could also be any reliable Asatizah whom you are comfortable to seek support from.
At the end of the day, everyone wishes to strive and gain the blessings of the month of Ramadan. However, the challenge could be in taking the first step of action. And when you are reaching the end of the journey, remember to keep pushing and striving until you reach the finishing line. Remember to finish what you have started, only for Allah.
May this Ramadan be the month our hearts grow closely attached to the Quran. May the Quran be our companion for the next eleven months till we meet Ramadan in the following year. InsyaAllah.
And Allah Knows Best.
Refresh your memory on Ramadan duas.