It has been two months since the blessed month of Ramadan. During this time, and for the next two months, the companions of the Prophet Muhammad would make Du’a that their Ramadan was accepted from them. What about us? Have we forgotten about the progress we made? Have we continued the beautiful actions we did? What is your motivation to continue once this blessed month has long passed?
The month of Ramadan is widely known as the month of the Qur’an. One of the many beautiful things about Ramadan is that it is the month where almost everyone makes an extra effort to have a special relationship with the Qur’an, whether it is increasing recitation, or pondering more over the meaning of the great verses.
This year, Ramadan flew past and left us within a blink of an eye. Although we may feel saddened, Ramadan is a training period for the rest of the year – it shows you your potential for worship, good character, and avoidance of sin. But, as Ramadan goes further away from us, it is easy to feel the temptation of sin, and the laziness to continue to do good. Therefore, we need to continuously remind ourselves of the benefits of Ibadah, so that we feel that we truly cannot live without it.
So, with the aim of inspiring you to continue your revived ‘Ramadan-relationship’ with the Qur’an, I wanted to share the ways you could use the Qur’an to its maximum potential to benefit you in this world and the Hereafter. Knowing the benefits of the Qur’an will enable you to renew and make multiple good intentions every time you recite it and what better way to return to the Qur’an than during the blessed days of Dhul-Hijjah! RasulAllah said,
“There are no days during which the righteous action is so pleasing to Allah than these days (i.e., the first ten days of Dhul-Hijjah).” He was asked: “O Messenger of Allah, not even Jihad in the Cause of Allah?” He replied, “Not even Jihad in the Cause of Allah, except in case one goes forth with his life and his property and does not return with either of it.” [Sahih al Bukhari]
And one of the best actions for a believer is to recite Qur’an, understand it, and act upon it. So let’s make the Qur’an an essential part of our lives – starting now!
Change the way you think about time
Unfortunately, for many after Ramadan, time with the Qur’an can seem like a chore or time that could be spent doing something else.
“Reading Qur’an can be done at any time! I mean, I read enough Qur’an during Salah! Right now, I need to answer my emails, revise for my exam and complete the housework!”
The first thing we need to do is change the way we think about time. Time well spent does not always have to be in doing something that will further your career, help you in your exams, or make your house cleaner! Why do we rush Salah and give up time for Qur’an recitation, but we are meticulous when it comes to our errands or work? We must internalise that any time spent reciting and pondering over the Qur’an can never be wasteful or better replaced, the same way charity does not decrease wealth. It is a trick of Shaytaan that when we are reciting Qur’an, we suddenly remember something we had forgotten for so long, suddenly thinking of all the things we need to do, or we unexpectedly feel so sleepy.
The truth is, is that there are so many divine blessings (barakah) in reading Qur’an, that this act of worship will make the rest of your day seem so much longer, and make your tasks seem much easier. Your productivity will increase because you put the worship of Allah above all material things. Most importantly, regularly giving time to the Qur’an will bring you lasting peace and tranquillity – soon enough, your heart will feel incomplete when you miss a day of reading Qur’an.
Beating the biggest time-waster: Smartphones and social media
How much time do you spend during the day on entertainment? How many social media accounts do you own? Instagram? Facebook? Twitter? Snapchat? Tumblr? All of the above?! Any I’ve forgotten?
The answer to this requires some honesty with yourself. We may spend most of our day working, studying or taking care of our families, but how many times do you log on to social media for a quick scroll? A person might check their Facebook or Instagram with the intention to spend two or three minutes, and then look to see that more than ten minutes have passed! In this wasted time, just think of how many ayahs of the Qur’an could have been recited! Think of all the bad you may have seen, and all the good you missed out on.
Now, it is not practical to try and abandon social media completely, as it has inevitably become a huge part of our lives. But I truly believe that social media has become the biggest source of time wasting nowadays – and it will only get worse! We reach to social media to relax and unwind when actually it probably does the exact opposite.
The key is to be able to assess yourself and do everything in moderation. If you check your social media four times a day, for ten minutes at a time, you could aim to reduce that to three times a day, for five minutes at a time, and use the time saved to recite just a few verses of the Qur’an. When you dedicate yourself to this, in time you will find that spending that much time on social media seems so worthless, your mind feels unstimulated, and you will feel as if you gain no benefit from it.
Now, let’s explore all the ways we can “use” the Qur’an for our own benefit…
1. Use the Qur’an as an intercessor
One of the great benefits of keeping the Qur’an off the shelf, through regular and plentiful recitation and pondering on the Ayah’s, will cause It to intercede for you on the Day of Judgement, bringing you closer to a good reckoning in sha Allah. The Messenger of Allah said,
“Fasting and the Qur’an will intercede for a person on the Day of Resurrection. Fasting will say: O Lord, I kept him from his food and desires during the day; let me intercede for him. And the Qur’an will say: I kept him from sleeping during the night; let me intercede for him. And they will be allowed to intercede.” [Sahih Muslim]
Action point: Read the Qur’an often; you can recite from the Mushaf or your phone; revise the chapters you have memorised while sitting, standing and walking, and lengthen your salah with a variety of different chapters of the Qur’an.
2. Use the Qur’an as a proof for you
In a similar way to the Qur’an interceding for you, keeping your relationship with the Qur’an alive will be used as a proof for you on Yawm al-Qiyamah. The Messenger of Allah said,
“The Qur’an is evidence for you or against you.” [Jami` at-Tirmidhi]
So, if you read the Qur’an with conviction, believed in all its verses and stories; obey its commands and prohibitions within it, and respect the Qur’an as it should be, then it will be in your favour, on a Day where we will desperately need every single good deed on our scales. In contrast, if we neglect the Qur’an, we don’t ponder on its verses, fail to act upon it and do not fulfill our obligations towards it, the Qur’an will speak against you and be an opponent for you on the Day of Resurrection.
Action point: If you do not have a habit of reading Qur’an regularly, start by reciting one ayah a day for a week. Then increase to two ayahs a day for a week, and so on. Chances are, you will end up reciting more anyway!
3. Use the Qur’an to bond with Allah
The Qur’an is our first and main source for whenever we have any questions about anything – whether it is something like how and when to pray, about the history of those before us, or why we were created – the beautiful thing is that Allah is speaking directly to *you*. Allah says of the Qur’an:
“And We have sent down to you the Book as clarification for all things and as guidance and mercy and good tidings for the Muslims.” [Qur’an: Chapter 16, Verse 89]
So, to strengthen your connection with Allah by making a sincere effort to understand what you recite. This is particularly important for those who cannot understand Arabic. Whilst the recitation of Arabic is highly rewarded, we need to make the effort to read the translation and the Tafseer of the Qur’an whenever it is possible. The words of Our Creator should have a direct impact on our hearts to soften them, and understanding the verses and its complex meanings is crucial for this. A priority would be to read it in your own language to actualise its impact; often it can become ritualistic and the meaning isn’t given the awe it deserves.
Action point: Read the English translation alongside the Arabic – using an app is especially effective for this purpose. Make bookmarks of the verses you want to explore in more detail later. Also, look in your local area for Tafseer classes that you can attend weekly, which will give you the opportunity to ask questions about things you don’t understand, whilst being in a blessed environment. Alternatively, there are a wealth of tafseer courses available for free online.
4. Use the Qur’an to give you light in your heart
The prophet Muhammed taught us a beautiful supplication for when we feel grief or sorrow:
“Whoever was afflicted with grief and distress and says (see the following dua), Allah, the Exalted and Ever-Majestic, will remove his grief and will change his sorrow into happiness.” It was said, “O Messenger of Allah! (Do) we have to learn these words?” He said, “Yes, whoever hears them should learn them.”
“O Allah, I am your slave, the son of your slave. My forelock is in Your Hand. Your judgment of me is inescapable. Your trial of me is just. I am invoking You by all the names that You call Yourself, that You have taught to anyone in Your creation, that You have mentioned in Your Book, or that You have kept unknown. Let the Qur’an be the delight of my heart, the light of my chest, the remover of my sadness and the pacifier of my worries.” [Ahmad]
In his commentary of this supplication, Ibn al Qayyim (may Allah be pleased with him) said:
“In this expression, the word ‘spring’ means “rain”, which brings life to earth. The Qur’an is compared to rain because it revives the hearts. The slave when making this dua, makes a similarity between water, which is the cause of life, and between light, which is the cause of brightness. So, the supplication implies that the heart is revived (elimination of worries and sorrow) by the spring of the Quran, for it is the light of the chest, a concept, which combines life and light.
This Dunya is full trials and injustices, so it important to nurture your heart to not feel despair. This Dua shows that the Messenger of Allah recommended that we strive to make the Qur’an a source of peace and serenity, in a world where it is so easy to lose hope and be overcome with sadness.
Action point: Learn this Dua!
5. Use the Qur’an as a protector
There are many ways recorded in Sunnah about how the Qur’an can protect you, both from punishment in the Hereafter and from evils in this world too. For example:
Action point: Make a list of the recommended verses or chapters from the Qur’an that are known to protect the human being, and memorise them. Reciting these should not form part of your daily portion of Qur’an – we should aim to make these a part of our day when leaving the home or before sleeping, for example.
6. Use the Qur’an as a cure
Allah says of the Qur’an,
“And We send down of the Qur’an that which is healing and mercy for the believers…” [Qur’an: Chapter 17, Verse 82]
The words of the Qur’an are a spiritual cure for all types of ailments – whether they are physical (e.g. a cold or flu), psychological (e.g. anxiety and depression) or spiritual (e.g. evil eye and magic). Although Islam does not prohibit the use of other treatments like medication, the Prophetic tradition is to seek the cure from the Qur’an. Surah al-Fatihah is also known to be a cure for illnesses.
“It was narrated from ‘Aa’ishah [ra] that the Prophet Muhammad used to recite al-mu’aawidhaat [last three chapters of the Qur’an] and blow over himself during his final illness, and when he became too ill (to do that), I used to recite them and blow over him and wipe his hand on him for blessing.” [Sahih al-Bukhari]
Action tip: If you get ill, use the verses from the Qur’an alongside your other treatments. You can have many intentions when using the Qur’an as a cure; you will be reviving a great sunnah, you will be gaining reward from placing your trust in Allah , and you will be reciting the Qur’an!
7. Use the Qur’an to fill your scales
One of my most favourite things about reading Qur’an is that it is such an easy to way to gain millions of rewards – which is why it is recited so much during Ramadan. But this reward is available to gain during the rest of the year too! Prophet Muhammad said,
“[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.” [Jami’ at-Tirmidhi]
Action point: Choose an ayah, count the number of letters in it and multiply it by ten. This is the reward that will fill your scales from simply reading one ayah. SubhanAllah!
8. Use the Qur’an to bring barakah in your life
I briefly discussed the link between the Qur’an and barakah in our time. The Qur’an is a fountain of barakah, especially when recited at blessed times, for example, after Fajr and during the last third of the night. Allah says,
“And this is a Book which We have sent down, blessed and confirming what was before it…” [Qur’an: Chapter 6, Verse 92]
Small, consistent recitation everyday ensures that the divine blessings will radiate in your daily life. As we have nurtured our connection with Allah , in sha Allah, He will make everything in your life easy, whether you are experiencing ease or hardship.
Action point: Read the ProductiveMuslim’s articles on gaining maximum barakah from the Qur’an and how the Qur’an is a major source of blessings from Allah .
So, that seems like more than enough motivation for you and I to continue cultivating a relationship with the Qur’an and making it our most beloved companion. My last action point is to have a sincere intention to continue the efforts you made with the Qur’an during Ramadan. Even if you cannot commit to reading as much you did, having a dedicated time for the Qur’an everyday will be enough in sha Allah. Don’t forget to make multiple intentions by remembering all the ways we can “use” the Qur’an for our own benefit!
How will return to the Qur’an in these blessed days of Dhul Hijjah? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!