Sunday, 2 September 2012
Digesting the Qur'an
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following is adapted from a swuhbah from Shaykh Muhammad Nazhim Adil al-Haqqani (q.s.), on the 07th February 2010.
We are distinguished from animals by our faculty of understanding. We have the capacity to advance in understanding, to delve deeper and deeper into the mysterious spiritual realms approaching the Divine, a Gift that no animal possesses. Yet, when we live in this world without understanding our mission and purpose, we are at the level of animals, for they too are creatures without understanding.
It is this Divine Gift of understanding, that makes humans the highest of creation. So, we must strive to understand more and more, for the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, “Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave.” Seeking knowledge is the door to the treasures of understanding, and understanding is the door to spiritual elevation and honour. Without which, we simply stagnate at the level of animals. We must be in a constant state of seeking knowledge and understanding, there is no limit to how much a man may understand. Each new level that we climb to is a new horizon with endless honours, stations, enlightenment and power. And this is only achieved by those who seek and strive for knowledge. The Prophet (s.a.w.) himself was Taught to pray:
… “O my Lord! Increase me in knowledge.” (Surah ThaHa:114)
The greater our knowledge of Allah (s.w.t.), the greater our honour. Unfortunately, today, despite studying, many Muslims are devoid of understanding. They seek knowledge, but they belittle the Prophet (s.a.w.), rejecting the truth that he is the door to understanding, the door to Allah (s.w.t.). They say that the Prophet (s.a.w.) merely brought the knowledge, and now that he is dead, he is no longer a part of the equation. They say, after all, the Qur’an is already with us. Why would we need to keep honouring the Prophet (s.a.w.)? These are the followers of Shaythan. They are sorely mistaken if they think they can understand the Qur’an without Rasulullah (s.a.w.). If the Prophet (s.a.w.) had no importance in the teaching of religion, Allah (s.w.t.) could have brought the Qur’an down at a Holy Site, and Said to us, “This book contains the final message for Mankind. Read it and understand it.” and that would have been sufficient for us to read, to practice and to save ourselves. But Allah (s.w.t.) Sent the final message via the Final Messenger (s.a.w.), so we must acknowledge the role that Rasulullah (s.a.w.) plays. A person may read the Qur’an, but the understanding contained within it can only be understood via Rasulullah (s.a.w.).
The Prophet (s.a.w.) was Taught the Qur’an by Allah (s.w.t.) and the Prophet (s.a.w.) then taught the Qur’an to the ummah. How is it that some Muslims have the gall to discard the Prophet (s.a.w.), and to belittle his position as the one who was Taught by the Most Gracious?
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
(Allah) Most Gracious! It is He Who has Taught the Qur’an. (Surah ar-Rahman:1-2)
Without Rasulullah (s.a.w.), we understand nothing. For a period of 23 years, Allah (s.w.t.) Taught Rasulullah (s.a.w.) the knowledge of the Qur’an. Rasulullah (s.a.w.) was Given, in stages, the understanding of the Holy Qur’an:
By degrees shall We Teach thee to declare (the Message), so thou shalt not forget, (Surah al-A’ala:6)
Why did it take 23 years for the best of creation to learn the Qur’an? After all, Allah (s.w.t.) has the Power to Bestow that knowledge and understanding in an instant. In the same vein, why do we eat a few small meals daily? Why not eat a hundred tonnes of food at one go? It is because we need time to digest small amounts of food at a time, so as to yield energy. Similarly, we need time to digest small amounts of knowledge at a time, in order to yield understanding. The Prophet (s.a.w.) himself, under the Tutelage of Allah (s.w.t.), took 23 years to gradually digest the entire Qur’an. The yield was a comprehensive understanding of the Qur’an. How can any of us hope to reach even a minute understanding, without patience and guidance? It is only the foolhardy who try to rush through this journey without a guide.
It is impossible to digest a hundred tonnes of food at one go. We must be patient and follow a heavenly guide. We need to digest knowledge so that understanding will grow within us. For the patient, Allah (s.w.t.) will Bless us with heavenly lights in our soul, and each time we advance in understanding, more light will be given to us. Each time we reach a new horizon, a new one emerges. We can see these lights on the faces of those Endowed with deep understanding. We should not seek a long life simply to eat and drink, for that is for animals. We seek a long life so as to advance in understanding, for each level that we climb, Allah (s.w.t.) will Open a new ocean of light and honour for us. It is sad that people of this generation are merely dreamers. They do not take their religion seriously. They think they can understand Islam without a guide.
Allah (s.w.t.) Says in a hadits qudsi, “I was a Hidden Treasure.” Who understood that Secret? Allah (s.w.t.) Says in the Qur’an:
Behold, thy Lord Said to the angels, “I will Create a vicegerent on Earth.” … (Surah al-Baqarah:30)
Allah (s.w.t.) Mentioned “khalifah” in a singular term in this ayat, so the Chosen Representative referred to here, is Rasulullah (s.a.w.). He is the Beloved of Allah (s.w.t.); the only one whom Allah (s.w.t.) Taught the Qur’an to, and who was the only one Given a glimpse into the Hidden Treasure. Allah (s.w.t.) is Ahadun Ahad, He is One and Unique, and there is only one Chosen khalifah, never a second one. Iblis thought that he was to be that Chosen khalifah. Yet his understanding compared to Rasulullah’s (s.a.w.) is like that of a pinhead compared to an ocean. The recipient of the title of khalifah had been Chosen and Bestowed by Allah (s.w.t.) before Creation. It was not a station that could be achieved by effort. It was a Divine Decree that will stand eternally. But Iblis was devoid of understanding.
So, we must not be like Shaythan in rejecting Rasulullah (s.a.w.). We must stop spreading this deviant belief that one can understand the Qur’an by one’s self without following Rasulullah (s.a.w.), and without a Divinely Sent guide. So many doctors of Islam with PhDs study Islam from non-Islamic universities, from ordinary lecturers and after writing a thick thesis on Islam, they believe that they have reached the pinnacle of knowledge. In reality, they, like Iblis, are devoid of any knowledge or understanding. How pitiful. The ocean of Islam is deep. To dive in without allegiance to the Prophet (s.a.w.), without following a guide who has taken this journey before, is fatal. We will sink into that ocean and may never rise again. So, never say that we can go it alone.