If the average individual were to be asked to list the rights of his employer upon him, the answer would be readily available. Similarly, if one were to be asked about the rights of his spouse or children, in fact, even if asked about those of his pet or electronic device, a second’s thought would not be required. But, if the average Muslim is asked about the rights of the Qur’ān; Allāh’s gift to humanity; that book which we claim regulates our lives, we find that many of us struggle with the answer. If this is not remedied there will be incontrovertible consequences. We must, thus, attempt to transform these consequences into opportunities before the Day arrives when the Qur’ān will make its voice heard.
The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said,
الطُّهُورُ شَطْرُ الإِيمان، والحَمدُ لله تَمْلأُ الميزَانَ، وَسُبْحَانَ الله والحَمدُ لله تَملآن – أَوْ تَمْلأُ – مَا بَينَ السَّماوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ، والصَّلاةُ نُورٌ، والصَّدقةُ بُرهَانٌ، والصَّبْرُ ضِياءٌ، والقُرْآنُ حُجةٌ لَكَ أَوْ عَلَيْكَ
“Cleanliness is half of faith and ‘Alḥamdulillāh’ fills the scale, and ‘SubḥānAllāh’ and ‘Alḥamdulillāh’ fill all that is between the heavens and the earth, and prayer is a light, and charity is proof of one’s faith and patience is brightness, and the Qur’ān is a proof for you or against you..”
Whether we realise it or not, the Qur’ān is not merely a book that sits quietly on our shelves; rather, it will be heavily involved in the proceedings of the Day of Judgement and will have a major influence on our final destination. Thus, the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) would say,
“Recite the Qur’ān, because it will come on the Day of Judgement and intercede for its people.”
In a yet more graphic depiction of this, he said:
“On the Day of Resurrection, the Qur’ān and those who acted according to it will be brought forth, with Surah al-Baqara and Aali-Imran ahead of them.”
The narrator said: “The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) compared them to three things, which I have not forgotten since. He said, ‘They will be like two clouds, or two black canopies with light between them, or like two flocks of birds in ranks arguing on behalf of the one who recited them.’”
What is there to worry about on the Day of Judgement if your lawyer in the court of Allāh is the very word of Allāh? It, therefore, behoves us to honour the rights of this book. In this article we will explore just five.
1) Attentive listening
“So when the Qur’ān is recited then listen to it and pay attention so that you may receive mercy.”
This right is not fulfilled by playing it in one’s house or car without giving it the focus it deserves. This āyah commands us to engage in Istimā’ (listening) and Insāt (the paying of attention) when the Qur’ān is recited.
The scholars say
“‘Istimā’ is to listen but ‘insāt’ means to listen without speaking.”
When these two conditions are present mercy is attained, inshāAllāh.
Despite the fact that Allāh revealed the Qur’ān to mankind through the Prophet Muḥammad (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam), our messenger enjoyed listening to others reciting it to him. He once said to the companion Ibn Masʿūd,
“Recite to me some Qur’ān” He replied, “O messenger of Allāh! How can I recite it to you whilst it was revealed to you?” He said, “I love to hear it from other than me.” He said, “So I started to read from Sūrat An-Nisā until I reached the āyah that reads, ‘So how will it be when We bring from every nation a witness, and we bring you, O Muḥammad, against these people as a witness?’” The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam), at this point, said to Ibn Masʿūd, “This is enough”. Ibn Masʿūd said, “I looked at him and he was shedding tears.”
Just fifty or so years ago, fulfilling this obligation was very difficult for many people, particularly those who could not read. For many, they would have to wait from one Ramaḍān to the other to hear the recitation of the Qur’ān. They did not have TV’s, the internet, MP3 players or their likes. With the advent of modern day technology, fulfilling this obligation has become very accessible.
“And I am commanded to be of the Muslims. And to recite the Qur’ān.”
The recitation of the Qur’ān is a commandment from Allāh.
Allāh also says in the Qur’ān,
“And recite the Qur’ān with measured recitation.”
This is yet another commandment from Allāh and, with that said, we understand that learning the basics of Arabic and Tajwīd is also an obligation. This is because the famous Fiqhi principle states,
“Whatever is needed to fulfil an obligation is an obligation.”
In other words, since the recitation of the Qur’ān is an obligation which cannot be fulfilled except by learning the basics of Arabic and Tajwīd, then doing so also becomes an obligation.
It is simply unacceptable for a Muslim to allow himself to reach the age of 30 or 40, for example, whilst still making the most primitive of mistakes while reciting the words of Allāh, particularly when such a Muslim has the ability to change this.
The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said:
“Whoever recites a letter from the Qur’ān will be rewarded a good deed and each good deed is multiplied by 10. I do not say “Alif Lām Mīm” is one letter, but “Alif” is a letter, “Lām” is a letter and “Mīm” is a letter.”
The scholars have counted over 320,000 letters in the Qur’ān. Bearing in mind that each letter equates to 10 good deeds, it becomes clear just how profitable this investment is. No text in existence has this quality, it is exclusive to the Qur’ān and, thus, real success is with the reciter of Qur’ān. Allāh says,
“Indeed, those who recite the Book of Allāh and establish prayer and spend out of what We have provided them, secretly and publicly, can expect a trade that will never fail.”
Our copies of the Qur’ān today are divided into 30 sections. The recitation of 20 pages a day will mean that the Qur’ān is completed once a month. This may sound unachievable; however, we must consider that:
(1) The companions had divided their copies of the Qur’ān into only 7 sections. This was so that they could finish the recitation of the Qur’ān once a week.
(2) Were we to count the pages of text we read on a daily basis in the form of e-mails, text messages, WhatsApp forwards, Facebook posts, twitter tweets and their likes, by Allāh, it would amount to far more than one Juz of the Qur’ān.
If a mobile phone is taken away from one of us for just 30 minutes, we experience anxiety, stress and restlessness until it is returned, and yet, many of us allow an entire day to pass without picking up the Qur’ān without even realising. Were we to leave our homes without our mobile phones, again, we would race back inside in search of it, but if we leave without our copies of the Qur’ān, do we look for it in a similar way? We are desperately in need of realigning our priorities.
The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said,
“He who has no Qur’ān in his heart is like a house that is destroyed.”
Allāh said, speaking about the Qur’ān,
“Rather, it (the Qur’ān) is clear verses in the hearts of those who have been given knowledge.”
The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said,
“Whoever memorises the first seven long chapters of the Qur’ān is a scholar.”
And he said,
“I have been given the sab (the first seven long Sūrahs) in place of the Torah, and the mi’in (the next eleven Sūrahs) in place of the Zabūr, and the Mathani (the next twenty Sūrahs) in place of the Injīl and, on top of that, I was honoured with the Mufassal (from Sūrah 50 until the end of the Qur’ān).”
In other words, the one who memorises the Qur’ān has gathered within his heart the goodness of the Torah, Zabūr and the Injīl as well as the Mufassal.
Soon, you and I will be made to recite what we know of the Qur’ān from memory, without being given a chance to revise, rethink an āyah or ask for help. The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) said,
“It will be said to the person of the Qur’ān, ‘Read and ascend and recite how you used to recite in the Dunya, for your place in Jannah will be at the last verse which you read.’”
The grade that you aspire for in Jannah is directly linked to your aspirations towards the Qur’ān today.
There are countless institutions in our communities that teach the memorisation of the Qur’ān, alḥamdulillāh, however, we are severly lacking in instutions teaching the art of contemplating the Qur’ān.
What is interesting is that there are no āyāt in the Qur’ān that reprimand people for not memorising the Qur’ān, despite its importance, but there are at least four āyāt that censure those who do not contemplate it.
“Have they not pondered over the Qur’ān?” 
“Do they not reflect upon the Qur’ān, or are there locks upon their hearts?”
Not one lock, but “locks”. Every parent is keen to see his child memorising the Qur’ān and this is most definitely admirable. But, rarely do we find a parent searching for those who may teach their children to understand the Qur’ān. And yet, according to Allāh, this was the very reason why the Qur’ān was revealed. He says,
“This is a blessed Book which We have revealed to you so that they might reflect upon its verses and that those of understanding would be reminded.”
This was made manifest in the Prophet’s (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) approach to the Qur’ān. ‘Amr b. Maymun said,
“The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) once came across a woman who was reciting Qur’ān and repeating the verse, ‘Has the news reached you about the overwhelming calamity (i.e. the Day of Judgement?)’ The Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) stood and listened, and said, ‘Yes, news has come to me. News has come to me.’”
His relationship with the Qur’ān was an incredibly dynamic one which, in turn, influenced those who came after him.
Mujāhid b. Jabar said,
“I studied the entire Qur’ān with the companion Ibn ‘Abbās three times, from the first Sūrah until the last. I would stop him at each āyah and ask him about it.”
Many brothers and sisters wish for a project in their lives to serve this Deen. Consider establishing an institution in your locality that trains people to ponder over the Qur’ān. It will be a long-term project and much planning will be required, however it will be one that you will be pleased to present Allāh with on the Day of Reckoning, inshāAllāh.
This is the fruit of contemplation. Allāh says in the Qur’ān,
“And this is a Book We have revealed which is blessed, so follow it.”
The companion’s approach to studying the Qur’an was a fusion of both memorisation and application. Abū ʿAbdirRaḥmān As-Sulami said,
“We were informed by those who used to teach us the Qur’ān, ʿUthmān b. ‘Affān, Ibn Masʿūd and others, that they would learn 10 āyāt at a time from the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) and they would not go beyond them until they had learnt the knowledge and application within them. They said: ‘So we learnt the Qur’ān, along with its knowledge and application at the same time.’”
It was only a few companions who memorised the Qur’ān from cover to cover, and yet the justice of Islām reached all corners of the world through them. They understood what little Qur’ān they had memorised and applied it as well. Today, the memorisers of the entire Qur’ān are in their tens of thousands, however our situation as an Ummah has never been so fragile. The understanding, pondering, and application of the Qur’ān is missing, and thus we find our present situation.
With this said, consider the following as a project:
In addition to your daily portion of Qur’ān that you recite, start a separate reading with the intention of application. For example, while reading your 20 pages a day, take a pen and paper to extract from these 20 pages the commandments and prohibitions. After a month you would have covered the entire Qur’ān. Then, compare your notes with that of your wife, husband, children or friend. In essence, you would have created a document summarising what Allāh wants from you.
Then, create a plan to incorporate these instructions into your everyday life. I believe that this project, if carried out with sincerity and seriousness, can be one of the greatest deeds that a person can present Allāh on the Day of Judgement.
 Narrated by Muslim, on the authority of Abū Mālik Al-Ash’ari
 Narrated by Muslim, on the authority of Abū Umāmah
 Narrated by Muslim, on the authority of An-Nawwaas Ibn Sam’ān
 Al-Qur’ān, 7:204
 At-Tahreeru wat Tanweer
 Narrated by Al-Bukhāri and Muslim
 Al-Qur’ān, 27:91-91
 Al-Qur’ān, 73:4
 Narrated by At-Tirmidhi, on the authority of Ibn Masʿūd
 Al-Qur’ān, 35:29
 Narrated by At-Tirmidhi, on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbās
 Al-Qur’ān, 29:49
 Narrated by Ahmad, on the authority of ‘Aisha
 Narrated by Ahmad, on the authority of Waathila Ibnul Asqa’
 Narrated by At-Tirmidhi, on the authority of ‘Abdullah Ibnu ‘Amr
 Al-Qur’ān, 23:68
 Al-Qur’ān, 47:24
 Al-Qur’ān, 38:29
 Narrated by Ibnu Abi Haatim
 Al-Qur’ān, 6:155
Shaykh Ali Ihsan Hammuda is Islam21c’s Tarbiya Editor. A UK national of Palestinian origin, he gained bachelors and masters’ degrees in Architecture & Planning from the University of the West of England, before achieving a BA in Shari’ah from al-Azhar University in Egypt. He is currently based in Wales and is a visiting Imām at Al-Manar Centre in Cardiff, and also a senior researcher and lecturer for the Muslim Research & Development Foundation in London. Shaykh Ali is the author of several books including ‘The Daily Revivals’, ‘The Ten Lanterns’ and ‘The Friday Reminder’. He delivers sermons, lectures and regular classes across the country.