By Imam Suhaib Webb
The Qur’an’s role in developing the right mindset and attitude towards life cannot be underestimated. Unfortunately the Qur’an, for many, has become a book of mere blessings. Let there be no doubt that its blessings cannot be fathomed nor its beauty and aroma captured. However, many have left a real, daily, practical relation with the Book of Allah and, instead, have settled for a mystical relationship whose outcomes are not easily measured nor understood. This is very dangerous and the outcomes of such an attitude have had paralyzing effects:
1. A chronic negligence of the Arabic language
2. Preference is given to other sources prior to the Qur’an
3. Dark depression that one, as a layman, is not able to comprehend nor understand the message of the Creator to Humanity
I would like to address the third point as I feel it is really the cause for points one and two. Many feel that they are unable to approach the Qur’an, draw conclusions from its lessons and articulate its beautiful message in their daily lives. Thus, we have an Ummah cut from it umbilical cord, frustrated, spiritually tired and on the verge of collapse. The further we draw back from our relationship with the Qur’an our reference for life is replaced by other sources. In my eyes this is one of the major reasons for the problems we see in our communities:
1. A brother who spent the majority of his pre-pubescent and early adult life listening to DMX, 50 Cent and Biggie is going to surely have issues when he gets married. When his wife trips his mind will not revert to the statement of Allah, “And live with them (your wives) in an honorable manner.” But instead, “Girl $#$%^*!” Or perhaps he will go back to his “Tommy Vercetti” and try to take manners into his own hands?
2. A sister who makes here seven circuits around the black elevator at her local mall once a week. Who busies herself looking at the Sunday news papers in order to get, “The Best deals” and “The finest clothes” and compounds that with a 62 ounce Big Gulp of films, songs and Internet sources that can only increase the desire to have and be, has to really start to ask some hard questions. What type of wife will she be to a brother involved in the struggle for dawa? I’ve seen many of the sisters involved in seeking knowledge and the dawa sell their fellow brothers out and opt for a high flying Muslim Donald Trump who doesn’t practice. Then after some time she’s gone from the work and we lose an important piece to the puzzle. They leave the brothers, who’ve made sacrifices for the din trying to find Condoleza Right, and settle for the comforts of this life. No doubt we should be taking care of our sisters, but those brothers involved in the Dawa are in need of the best sisters. But, if those sisters, leave those brothers on the front lines empty handed, then the dawa takes a hit (Before any sisters start to burn their Mothers of Believer CDs don’t worry the same applies to brothers who leave the sisters in the dawa and run after the latest Aishwarya Rai).
These are the outcomes, perhaps a bit over the top, of materialism and selfishness (look at the crazy cost of mahrs these days). If our constructs are based on revelation, strong tarbiyah and a correct understanding of community many of these problems would, not go away but, be addressed with the medication of revelation and communal support. However, we are constantly hounded with the fact that we are mere ‘Awam, Qur’anic illiterates lacking the basic skills to interpret the Creators message. In turn, this has led to another phenomenon:
hijrah from the Qur’an.
Sh. Muhammad al-Hassan Walid al-Dido al-Shanqiti [may Allah preserve him] stated that the Qur’an’s verses were divided by the scholars into the following:
1. Those verses who’s meanings are only known to Allah (for example alif lam mim)
2. Those verses who’s interpretation must be done by those who are specialized scholars, have finished a sound curriculum of study and are recognized by the fellow contemporaries
3. Those verse that can be explained by the serious students of knowledge who have access to scholars and resources
4. Those verses that are understood by the common person. For example, “Say He is Allah the unique.” or “And there is nothing like Him.”
Verses found under the fourth category are understood by all. They are clear and offer a treasure of lessons for those who sit and ponder on them. We must bring back this understanding to Western Muslims who are struggling to uncover the true essence of their identity, role and purpose. If the common Muslim is disconnected from the roots of his identity then it is not fair for religious leaders to blame them, nor chastise them for something those very religious leaders forbade them from. The Prophet’s [may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him] companions [May Allah be pleased with them], if they lost the rope that tied their camel, would seek the answer in the Book of Allah. Then what can we say about those who are trying to find the answers to their purpose and identity?
1. Start a weekly halaqa of Qur’an in your home. Read a few verses and discuss them as a family or by yourself (if by yourself keep a diary of what you’ve read and your thoughts. Then, when you have a family, you can use what you’ve written)
May Allah bless us to love the Qur’an, read it and act on its profound lessons.