Ramadan-the month of the Qur`an
How much is Ramadan connected to the Qur`an? Or should we say how much is the Qur`an related to Ramadan? Whichever way we look at it, there is no doubt that there is a very strong relationship between the two.
In fact the Qur`an’s journey on this Earth took off in this very month of Ramadan. It was in this month that the Prophet (SAW) was accustomed to retreat and contemplate over his society’s destiny. His silent way of reflecting was soon to lead to the revelation of the most frequently read book in the world.
The Qur`an meaning the oft-read is sounded in the night vigils of Muslims around the globe, but many of us fail to realise why Allah chose this month for it. The reason is that this is the month of the Qur`an, the month when it was revealed. Knowing the exact time of when the Qur`an was revealed is such a salient feature of this ummah that the greatest night of Ramadan, not known to us exactly as it may be, is yet undoubtedly the night in which the Qur`an was revealed. In other words the exact night it was revealed was not a piece of information that Allah felt the ummah needed to know; but knowing that this was the night that the Qur`an was revealed was something not hidden from our knowledge.
Yes that’s right, what we know as laylatul Qadr. Many see it as a night of worship but do not know why it is such a special night. It is not like people have to search the different chapters of Bukhari and Muslim to find out the reason either; it is in the Qur`an itself. Let us have a look at the translation of Surah Al-Qadr, the chapter from where the night of power gets its fame from. Ironically this chapter comes directly after Surah ‘Iqra`’, the chapter that was revealed to the Prophet in the cave on the first night of his prophethood. This is significant, why? Because the chapter of Qadr starts off in a very strange way:
1. Verily we have revealed it on the night of power.
2. And who shall tell you what the night of power is?
3. The night of power is better than a thousand months.
4. The angels and the spirit come down during it by the permission of their lord with every matter.
5. Peace, that is until the awakening of the dawn.
Nothing so strange you may say. But what about the question: what does ‘it’ refer to in the first verse? Without even looking into the tafsir, we already know from this chapter that it can’t be referring to the angels or even the ‘spirit’, which is most commonly known as the angel Jibra`il. This is because the chapter already mentions them later on, so there would be no need to mention them twice, once obscurely and once evidently. Besides the angels, there are very few things aside the heavenly books that descend from Allah.
Therefore Allah can only be talking about the glorious Qur`an, although according to many scholars the other holy books were revealed in the month of Ramadan as well. Yet since the Qur`an is the book of this ummah and by it Allah addresses this ummah, we can safely conclude that the pronoun is referring to the Qur`an and this is agreed upon by all the commentators of the Qur`an.
So what does this mean? So what if the Qur`an was revealed in this month. How does this have an effect on our lives? Well, Ramadan itself would not be so famous without the Qur`an. Before the revelation in this month, Ramadan was not such a famous month. In fact, it is not even included among the sacred months of the pre-Islamic era.
But the revelation of the Qur`an made this month the holiest in our calendar, to such an extent that the actual day of revelation surpasses 1,000 months of worship. Such a reward cannot be found in any of the other months.
So how do we repay Allah for this great favour of giving as the night of power and this holy Qur`an? It is the practice of an obedient worshipper to fast the days and spend the nights in the worship of Allah. This can be seen in the life of the best of examples, whose feet would get swollen from his excessive standing in the night prayers. He was the best at fasting as well. The companions use to try to imitate him in fasting of long hours, until he had to order them to stop, for he was fed and sustained from sources that they did not have access to.
We should also thank Allah for this opportunity by reading more and more of the Qur`an in this prestigious month. Such was the practices of our pious predecessors. They used to complete the Qur`an over sixty times in this month, completing the Qur`an once during the day and once during the night. If we cannot do this, than at least we should try and complete the Qur`an once in the whole of Ramadan, and attend the tarawih prayers from start to finish, so that in this blessed month we get to read and hear the entire Qur`an. In this way our tongue, ears and eyes would have taken part in the fasting rather than just our stomachs. When we read the Qur`an we are using our eyes and tongue and the ears are used when we read the Qur`an and listen to it as well.
We should try our best to read the section of Qur`an that will be recited for tarawih in the evening, and even perhaps read the translation so that when the Qur`an is recited our hearts and minds are also present and working to try and understand what is being read.
We should not wait for the hafiz to read the portion of the Qur`an and wait for the takbir for ruku’. This is very disrespectful to the Qur`an. Some of us are even taiking and giggling while the Qur`an is being recited. Allah has forbidden us from this. He has told us that if we want to receive his mercy we must listen to the Qur`an and remain silent when it is being read. Likewise he has warned us that whoever turns away from his remembrance -and this is one of the names of the Qur`an- he will appoint a devil over that person who will keep him busy in evil pursuits. ‘Turning away’ could also mean not listening to the Qur`an and being disrespectful to it.
Therefore we should respect the Qur`an. By doing so, it will befriend us on the day of Judgement; a day when all other friends shall leave us. On that day the Qur`an may shout out: O Allah do not punish him, during the nights when your words were recited he used to stand up and listen to them out of respect for them, so today respect him and save him from the fire. Do we want the Qur`an, the greatest intercessor, to speak for us in front of Allah on the day of Judgement? Or do we want the Qur`an to turn away from us as we used to avoid it in the world.
Nobody will call someone a friend who doesn’t pay attention to him when he talks. So do we expect Allah to befriend us when we are busy talking in the back rows and not paying attention to his words?
It is for us to decide but, if we don’t make Ramadan, the month of the Qur`an, the time to build our relationship with the Qur`an; the question is when we will?
By: Maulana Sofwan Ahmed