In this post I shall speak a bit more about the Qur’an as a book, and try to describe its effect on those who actually read it and ponder over its verses.
Prophet Muhammad P.B.U.H. said in the farewell sermon: “I am but a man, and my God’s messenger (i.e. angel of death) is about to come to me and I shall answer his call, but I leave with you two important trusts: the first of which is Allah’s book, in it is guidance and light, so whoever holds tight to it and follow its guidance, he shall remain on the righteous path, and whoever misses it, he shall go astray.” [Recorded by Muslim]
If you ponder over the life of the first generation that embraced Islam, you will find that this generation was lagging far behind the other nations, they were sinking in darkness and ignorance, fornication was something natural and widely spread, so was drinking, usury, gambling, waylay, road robbery, polytheism, atheism, idolatry, burglary… you name it. In short, their conditions were close to many nations on earth today. When the persons of this generation, men, women and even perceiving children received the Qur’an in the correct manner, when they listened to the verses of the Qur’an and pondered deeply over their meanings, those who were the worst of all nations changed. Within few years, the Qur’an raised from them a unique generation that jumped from its position at the tail of all nations to the head. Those who were ignorant and depraved turned into being the best of all monks in their piety and worship, the best of all knights in their chivalry and bravery, and the closest in their manners and conduct to the prophets. Stunned by the Qur’an’s effect on the first generations of Muslims, Sheikh Qurafy (1227-1285 A.D.) commented on this saying, “If the prophet had no other miracle but his companions, they would suffice in confirming his Prophethood.”
Sir Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938 A.D.), the famous philosopher and convert to Islam said: “The Qur’an is not just a book, it’s much more than that. When it enters the heart it changes the person, and if the person changes, the world changes.”
The generation of the companions is enough as evidence on this. When they listened to the Qur’an, it attracted their hearts and minds to ponder over its meanings, and it produced this fast marvelous result in less than 40 years. One very famous example is ‘Omar Ibn Al-Khattab; speaking about the story of his conversion, he said: “When I heard the Qur’an, my heart softened, I wept and Islam entered my heart.” [Recorded by Ibn-Hishām].
However, it is important to notice that like no one can be affected by the sun’s light except those who are subjected to it. So is the case with the Qur’an, it doesn’t affect except those who read and ponder over its verses. Allah says in the Qur’an itself:
“…and We have sent down unto you (O Muhammad) the Message, so that you may clarify to the people what was sent to them, and that they may give thought.” [The Qur’an (16:44)].
“[Here is] a Book which We have sent down unto you, full of blessings, that they may ponder over its verses, and that people of understanding may receive admonition.” [The Qur’an (38:29)].
“Do they not ponder over the Qur’an? If it had been from any entity other than Allah, they would have found therein many discrepancies.” [The Qur’an (4:82)].
“…So relate to them these stories may they ponder over [their meanings]” [The Qur’an (7:176)].
“Thus We make plain Our revelations for those who reflect.” [The Qur’an (10:24)].
“Do they not ponder over the Words (of Allah)?” [The Qur’an (23:68)].
Nasr Ad-Deen Dinet (born as Alphonse-Étienne Dinet) (1861-1929 A.D.) was a French orientalist and painter, he embraced Islam in 1927. He said in his great book “The life of Prophet Muhammad”: “Nevertheless there was one miracle, the only one placed to Mohammad’s credit, and which was the cause of great anxiety among the Quraysh idolaters: the miracle of the “Ayat”, a word generally rendered by “Verses”, but really meaning: “miraculous signs” of the Qur’an. The miracles wrought by earlier Prophets had been transient, so to say, and for that very reason, rapidly forgotten, while that of the Verses may be called “The Permanent Miracle.” Its activity was unceasing.”
The Palestinian poet “Nicola Joseph Hannah” (1923-1999 A.D.) described how the Qur’an touched him saying: “I read the Qur’an and it stunned me, I pondered deeply over its meanings and it fascinated me, I read it again and I believed. How couldn’t I believe when the miracle of the Qur’an is between my hands, and I’m looking at it and feeling its effect all the time? It’s a miracle not like any other, an everlasting divine miracle that stands as a proof on itself. It doesn’t need anyone to speak about it nor preach it.”
The Qur’an is like a magnet of piety. The more you ponder over its verses and connect the related verses together in order to extract the true meaning intended, the stronger will your heart be connected to it. You will find that your deeds are affected by its provisions all the time, and even your speech. Try it yourself, read the book and write your notes on the empty margins so that you may return to them every time you read other verses tackling the same issue. Look up the meanings of the words you don’t understand online. Believe me when I say that this way, you will end up having a deeper and better understanding of Islam as a religion than if you follow what scholars say or what Muslims do.
A female British scholar named Ayesha Bridget Honey, who studied Philosophy in one of the Canadian universities described the Qur’an’s influence on her saying: “However hard I try, I cannot fully estimate the impression the Qur’an left on my heart. Before I finished the third Surah (i.e. chapter), I had prostrated myself before the Creator of the universe. This was my first Salaat (prayer) and since that time by the grace of Allah I am Muslim.”
Again, by all means, don’t take my words for granted, get your own copy of the Qur’an, read it and ponder over its verses, and then judge for yourself.
Written by: Ehab Shawky
For more insights about the Qur’an, also read The Final Testament and the posts included in it.