One of the most important concepts in the religion of Islaam is the concept of al-walaa'. This concept implies having loyalty to Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, loving for the sake of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and hating for the sake of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, "The strongest tie of eemaan (bond of faith) is having loyalty for the sake of Allaah, disassociating from others for the sake of Allaah, love for the sake of Allaah and hatred for the sake of Allaah." 
'Abdul Ghani notes that one of the first obligations of this required loyalty is to have loyalty and love for the Book of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, which is Allaah's سبحانه و تعالى speech and His revelation to mankind. So, first and foremost, a Muslim must have a strong love for the Qur'aan. But this love is not simply at a theoretical level. It must be exhibited by one's actions toward the Qur'aan. This would include reading, studying, memorising, defending and acting in accordance with the Qur'aan. 
This love for the Qur'aan should flow from one's love for Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and His Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم. One could not possibly love Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and not love Allaah's سبحانه و تعالى speech and revelation to mankind. Conversely, love for the Qur'aan implies one's love for Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and His Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم. The Companion Sayyiduna 'Abdullaah Ibn Mas'ood رضي الله عنه said, "Whoever loves to know if he loves Allaah and His Messenger, he should look and see for if he loves the Qur'aan, he loves Allaah and His Messenger." 
In addition to loving the Qur'aan, one must be very thankful and grateful to Allaah سبحانه و تعالى for revealing the Qur'aan and sending His Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم to teach the Book. Allaah سبحانه و تعالى Himself reminds the believers of this great blessing and how before its revelation, the believers did not know the truth and were astray. Allaah سبحانه و تعالى says,
"Certainly did Allaah confer a great favour on the believers when He sent among them a Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) from among themselves, reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the Book (the Qur'aan) and Al-Hikmah (the wisdom, i.e. the Sunnah), although they had been before in manifest error." (Soorati-Aali 'Imraan, 3:164)
This gratefulness for the revealing of the Qur'aan should be exhibited by one's study, reading and devotion to the Qur'aan and its teachings.
With respect to one's obligation toward the Qur'aan, it is important to note the hadeeth of the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم in which he said, "The religion is naseehah." The people said, "To whom?" The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم replied, "To Allaah, and to His Book, and to His Messenger, and to the Leaders of the Muslims and to the common folk of the Muslims." 
In this hadeeth, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم stated that one should make naseehah[نصيحة] toward the book of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى. Naseehah is a difficult word to translate. Based on the linguistic roots and the Qur'aanic usage of the term, Imaam ar-Raaghib al-Isfahaani رحمه الله has given the Sharee'ah definition of the term as, "Naseehah is the seeking of an action or statement that contains goodness and improvement for the other person." 
Imaam Ibn as-Salaah رحمه الله has stated that the essence of naseehah is where the one doing the naseehah (sincere well-wishing) truly seeks the best for the one to whom he is making naseehah. In both his intention and his actions, he desires what is best for the other person." 
This is how the believers' attitude must be toward the Qur'aan. In other words, he must be acting sincerely with respect to it and doing "what is good for it," which would here imply reading it, understanding it, applying it and so forth. In a comprehensive passage, Imaam al-Maroozi رحمه الله has summed up some of the obligatory components of making naseehah to the Book of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى. He stated,
"Naseehah for the Book of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى implies having a strong love for it and great respect for its worth, since it is the speech of the Creator سبحانه و تعالى. It also implies a strong desire to understand it and taking special care in pondering over its verses, stopping while reading it, seeking the meaning that the Lord wants one to get from it. Then one must also apply it after understanding it. The same is true when one receives naseehah from another human being; one tries to understand the advice that he is receiving. Similarly, if he receives something in writing from another person, he will take utmost care to understand it so that he will be able to apply the advice. The same is true for the one who is accepting the counsel of the Book of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى; he must do his best to understand it in order to be able to apply it for the sake of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى in a way that is both pleasing and beloved to Allaah سبحانه و تعالى. Then he spreads among the people what he has understood from it. And he continues to study it with love for it, acting in accordance to its manners and behaving according to its guidance." 
Besides what Imaam al-Maroozi رحمه الله mentioned, naseehah to the Book of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى includes having the proper belief about the Qur'aan: That it is revealed from Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, that is is the speech and uncreated word of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, and that is is not like the word of man. In addition, the complete naseehah to the Book of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى requires that one, according to one's ability, reads and recites it properly, applies it, studies its admonitions, lessons and parables. Calling others to believe in the Book of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى is also part of this naseehah.
Another obligation that the believer has toward the Book of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى is that he must accept the Book as the final judge and arbiter of any matter or issue. It is the law by which he abides. Whatever this Book says is lawful, he takes as lawful and whatever this Book says is unlawful, he treats as unlawful. Both "religious" and "mundane" matters must be subjected to the guidance of this Book. Allaah سبحانه و تعالى says,
"O you who have believed, obey Allaah and obey the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and those in authority among you. And if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allaah and His Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم), if you believe in Allaah and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination." (Sooratun-Nisaa', 4:59) 
Allaah سبحانه و تعالى also says,
" And whoever does not judge by what Allaah has revealed - then it is those who are the disbelievers." (Sooratul-Maa'idah, 5:44)
On this point, 'Abdul Ghani wrote,
"One of the greatest demonstrations of one's loyalty to the Book of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى is ruling by the Book of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى. It is a clear declaration of a Muslim's loyalty to this Book... It is a practical application and actual deed demonstrating the Muslim's love for this Book and the extent to which he respect and gives honour to it... Applying the Law of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and ruling by His Noble Book is an obligation of the faith, a goal of the creed, and a foundation of tauheed (Islaamic monotheism). No one would stray from it except an ignorant person whose ignorance is not to be excused, a hypocrite whose hypocrisy is is well known or a disbeliever who is rejecting the Godhood of his Lord سبحانه و تعالى. That is because ruling by the Book of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى is one of the greatest acts of worship by which the human worships his Lord and it is one of the greatest acts that takes one closer to Allaah." 
When the Book of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى is not being adhered to, not being read regularly or seriously, when it is being misinterpreted or misapplied, when its great wisdom is being ignored, when its laws are being usurped and man made laws are invoked to replace it, then one must certainly stand up for the Book of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and try to redress this tragedy. What makes this tragedy even worse and most important to remedy is that often those who believe in the Qur'aan take the wronf approach to it and, at the same time, think that they are showing the greatest amount of respect to the Qur'aan. Unfortunately, their respect is sometimes misplaced. Until they fulfill these aspects mentioned above, then, in reality, they are not fulfilling their obligations of making naseehah to Allaah's Book. 
 Recorded by at-Tayaalisi, al-Haakim, at-Tabaraani and others. According to Shaykh al-Albaani رحمه الله, it is saheeh. Saheehul-Jaami', vol. 1, p. 497
 Sayyid Sa'eed 'Abdul Ghani, Haqeeqah al-Walaa' wal-Baraa' fi Mu'taqad Ahlus Sunnah wal-Jamaa'ah (Beirut: Daar Ibn Hazm, 1998), p. 57.
 Reported by at-Tabaraani. According to al-Haithami, the narrators in its chain are all trustworthy. See 'Abdullaah ad-Darweesh, Bughyah az-Zaa'id fi Tahqeeq Majma' az-Zawaa'id wa Manba al-Fawaa'id (Beirut: Daar al-Fikr, 1992), vol. 7, p. 342.
 Saheeh Muslim
 Imaam ar-Raaghib al-Isfahaani رحمه الله, Mu'jam Mufradaat Alfaadh al-Qur'aan, (Damascus: Daar al-Qalam, 1997), p. 808.
 Imaam 'Uthmaan Ibn as-Salaah رحمه الله, Siyaanah Saheeh Muslim min al-Ikhlaal wal-Ghalat wa Hamaayatuhu min al-Isqaat was-Saqat (Beirut: Daar al-Gharab al-Islaami, 1984), p. 223.
 Imaam Muhammad al-Maroozi رحمه الله, Tadheem Qadr as-Salaah (Madeenah: Maktabah ad-Daar bil-Madeenatul-Munawwarah, 1406 A.H.), vol. 2, p. 693.
 The commentators agree that referring the matter to Allaah سبحانه و تعالى means referring it to the Book of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى while referring it to the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم means referring it to him while he was alive and referring it to his Sunnah after his death صلى الله عليه وسلم. Cf., Imaam Ismaa'eel Ibn Katheer رحمه الله, Tafseer al-Qur'aan al-'Adheem (Riyadh: Daarus-Salaam, 1998), p. 338.
 Sayyid Sa'eed 'Abdul Ghani, Haqeeqah al-Walaa' wal-Baraa' fi Mu'taqad Ahlus Sunnah wal-Jamaa'ah (Beirut: Daar Ibn Hazm, 1998), p. 98.
 How to Approach and Understand the Qur'aan, pp. 27-32.
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Reading the Qur'aan to Ponder over It and to Act upon It
It is disheartening that many people do not read the Qur'aan (or other important Islaamic texts) with a clear mind and in a proper setting, reading slowly and closely to capture the meaning of what is being read. Sometimes when Muslims read about Islaam, whether the Qur'aan or other Islaamic literature, they do so when they have leisure time, nothing else to do or less than full energy to read in a more serious manner. On the other hand, when reading other types of works, for example, material related to work or study, they are careful to pick the best place and time to study those materials to make sure that they do not miss anything important from those works. Often times, they will take notes from those works and mark important portions while they do not bother to take notes while reading the Qur'aan.
It is the Qur'aan that deserves to be read under the best circumstances for learning so that the reader can understand the guidence it possesses. It is meant to be understood, pondered over and acted upon. When a person does that, he will, by the will of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, receive the blessings and guidance that the Qur'aan contains. Allaah سبحانه و تعالى says,
"(This is) a Book (the Quran) which We have sent down to you, full of blessings that they may ponder over its Verses, and that men of understanding may remember." (Soorah Saad, 38:29)
After quoting this verse, Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan حفظه الله wrote, "Allaah سبحانه و تعالى has made it clear in this verse that the [first] goal of revealing the Qur'aan is for its verses to be pondered over. That is, we should think about their meanings, their implications, their intricate points and their information until we are able to derive from them guidance and we get from them [the result that we] fear Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and worship Him alone without ascribing any partner to Him and that we know what we should fo and should not do with respect to deeds, statements, dealings and so forth. This will not come completely to someone and this will not be achieved except by pondering over the Qur'aan." 
In addition to what Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan حفظه الله mentioned, pondering over the verses also includes having a strong connection and complete attention to the Qur'aan when reading it. When the person is completely attuned to what he is reading, he then begins to ask Allaah سبحانه و تعالى for forgiveness whenever he comes across a verse that he has not fulfilled properly. Whenever he reads a verse concerning Allaah's mercy, he responds by asking Allaah سبحانه و تعالى for such mercy. Whenever he reads of Allaah's punishment, he immediately seeks refuge in Allaah سبحانه و تعالى from such punishment. This was the way of reading of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, even during his reading of the Qur'aan during his late-night prayers, as Imaam Muslim has recorded in his Saheeh. 
A sign that one has truly pondered over the meaning of the Qur'aan and is considering what it is saying is if it has the effect on him that Allaah سبحانه و تعالى has described the Qur'aan as having on the true believers:
"The believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, feel a fear in their hearts and when His Verses (this Quran) are recited unto them, they (i.e. the Verses) increase their Faith; and they put their trust in their Lord (Alone)." (Sooratul-Anfaal, 8:2)
If one simply recites the Qur'aan, either in the Masjid or at home, without actually thinking about its meaning and without it having any such effect on him, then it may be that he is treating the Qur'aan in a way similar to how Allaah سبحانه و تعالى describes the disbelievers as dealing with the Qur'aan. Allaah سبحانه و تعالى states,
"Do they not then think deeply in the Quran, or are their hearts locked up (from understanding it)?" (Soorah Muhammad, 47:24)
It is recorded that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم stood in prayer one night and when he came across the verse,
"If You punish them, they are Your slaves, and if You forgive them, verily You, only You are the All-Mighty, the All-Wise."(Sooratul-Maa'idah, 5:118), he continued to recite that verse over and over and ponder over it until morning. 
Similar reports have been narrated about the Companions Tameem ad-Daari, Asmaa' and Ibn Mas'ood رضي الله عنهم, as they would ponder over one verse for hours at a time. 
The Companion Sayyiduna 'Abdullaah Ibn 'Abbaas رضي الله عنهما is narrated to have said, "For me to read Sooratul-Baqarah and Soorah Aali 'Imraan slowly, precisely and with concentration [on their meanings] is more beloved to me than to read the entire Qur'aan in a quick fashion." 
Sayyiduna 'Ali Ibn Abi Taalib رضي الله عنه is also reported to have said, "There is no goodness in a reading without knowing what [one has read] and there is no goodness in knowledge without understanding and there is no goodness in worship that contains no concentration." 
Imaam Ibn Ashoor رحمه الله states that the jurists of his school stress that reading less of the Qur'aan but with concentration and understanding is better than reading more of it while not comprehending it. 
There are numerous important benefits that result from pondering over the Qur'aan in the proper manner. Imaam Abdur-Rahmaan as-Sa'di رحمه الله notes that pondering over the Qur'aan is the key to knowledge and understanding. From it, one can derive all good. From such pondering, one's faith is increased and its fruits are watered because one begins to know his Lord سبحانه و تعالى and object of worship. One also sees the path to pleasing his Lord سبحانه و تعالى and the path that leads to one's destruction. The more the person ponders over the Qur'aan, the greater his knowledge, deeds and awareness. 
One must never, though, get the goals confused with the means. Pondering over the meanings of the Qur'aan is not the ends in itself. It is only part of the means to apply the Qur'aan. The goal is to believe completely, understand correctly and apply the Qur'aan properly in one's life. 
Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan حفظه الله astutely noted, "If we stopped at just reciting and pondering over the Qur'aan and we leave acting [according to it], we have stopped at the beginning of the road and we have not attained anything. All of our efforts would have been lost without any benefit from them as we would have tired ourselves on the steps and we would have abandoned the fruits. This is because the fruit [of the efforts of reading and pondering] is the acting in accordance with the Qur'aan. Allaah, perfect and exalted is He, said,
"Indeed, those who recite the Book of Allah and establish prayer and spend [in His cause] out of what We have provided them, secretly and publicly, [can] expect a profit that will never perish - That He may pay them their wages in full, and give them (even) more, out of His Grace. Verily! He is OftForgiving, Most Ready to appreciate (good deeds and to recompense)." (Soorah Faatir, 35:29-30).
These verses show that they did not stop at recitation but, in fact, they established the prayer after they had established the practice of reciting the Qur'aan. Similarly, they gave out of what Allaah سبحانه و تعالى had provided for them by giving the Zakaah, charity and doing acts of goodness toward the creation. That is the fruit of recitation, it is the acting in accord with it. If you act in accord with it, it will be a proof for you while if you do not act in accord with it, it will be a proof against you. The Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم said, 'The Qur'aan is a proof for you or a proof against you.'"  
The Companions رضي الله عنهم of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم understood very well what were the means and what were the goals behind reading and studying the Qur'aan. They gave the goal preference over the means. Perhaps, Allaah knows best, this is why Sayyiduna 'Abdullaah Ibn Mas'ood could say, "It was difficult [relatively speaking] for us to memorise the wording of the Qur'aan but it was easy for for us to act upon it. For the people who came after us, it was easy for them to memorise the Qur'aan but difficult for them to act upon it."  
 Abd Rabbih: Kayfa Nahyaa bil-Qur'aan (Ad-Dauha: Daar al-Haramin lin-Nashir, 1983), p. 99.
 Recorded by Imaam an-Nasaa'ee رحمه الله, Imaam Ibn Maajah رحمه الله and Imaam al-Haakim رحمه الله. According to Shaykh al-Albaani رحمه الله, it is hasan. See: Saheeh Sunan an-Nasaa'ee (Riyadh: Maktabah at-Tarbiyyah al-Arabi li-Duwal al-Khaleej, 1988), vol. 1, p. 218.
 Cf., Haafidh al-Hakami رحمه الله, An-Naseehah li-Kitaab Allaah (ad-Dammam, Saudi Arabic: Daar Ibnul-Jawzi, 1995), p. 62.
 'Abdul 'Azeez Mustafa: Sharh Asbaab al-Asharah al-Moojibah li-Muhibbah Allaah kamaa Adaha al-Imaam Ibn al-Qayyim رحمه الله (Riyadh: Daar Taybah, 1415 A.H.), p. 32.
 Quoted in Imaam az-Zabeedi رحمه الله: Itihaaf as-Saadatul-Muttaqeen bi-Sharh Ihyaa 'Uloomud-Deen (Beirut: Daar al-Kutub al-'Ilmiyyah, 1989), vol. 5, p. 87 from Abu Nu'aym's رحمه الله Hilyat al-Awliyaa'. Such a statement is also narrated as a hadeeth of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم but the scholars are agreed that it is most apparently a sttement of Sayyiduna 'Ali رضي الله عنه rather than a hadeeth. See Shaykh az-Zuhairi's footnotes to Imaam Ibn 'Abdul Barr's رحمه الله Jaami' Bayaan al-'Ilm wa Fadhlih (Beirut: Daar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 1978), vol. 2, p. 811-812; Shaykh al-Albaani, Silsilatul-Ahaadeeth ad-Da'eefah (Beirut: al-Maktab al-islaami, 1399 A.H.), vol. 2, pp. 162-163.
 Imaam Ibn Ashoor رحمه الله: Tafseer at-Tahreer wat-Tanweer, vol. 1, p. 29.
 Abd Rabbih: Kayfa Nahyaa bil-Qur'aan (Ad-Dauha: Daar al-Haramin lin-Nashir, 1983), p. 112.
 Recorded by Imaam Muslim رحمه الله in his Saheeh. In this hadith, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم makes it clear that the Qur'aan is either a proof for someone or a proof against him. There is no third, neutral party. One must be from one group or the other. This is similar to what Allaah سبحانه و تعالى has said in the Qur'aan,
"And We send down of the Quran that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe. And it increases the wrongdoers nothing but loss." (Sooratul-Israa', 17:82).
This verse shows the diametrically opposite results that come about through the Quran. If a person turns to it with belief and seeks its guidance, it is a healing and a mercy. However, if a person ignores the Quran and refuses to follow it, that does not harm the Quran in any way. Indeed, that only harms the person himself. The Quran will then come as a witness against that person and will lead him to the Hell-fire. Commenting on this verse, Qatada stated that no one sits with the Quran except that it will either increase or decrease him.
In other words, anytime one listens to the Quran, it will either increase his faith and blessings or it will cause him greater harm due to his neglect of it. One of the early scholars stated that a person may be reading the Quran while the Quran is cursing him. For example, in the Quran, Allah سبحانه و تعالى curses the wrongdoers while the person himself is reading the Quran and not applying it. He is, therefore, one of the wrongdoers. He is reading his own curse and not even realizing it.
One of the early scholars stated that no one sits with the Quran and stands up from it while remaining the same as he was before. Either he profited from it or he lost due to it. And then the person recited the above verse.
The Companion Ibn Mas'ood رضي الله عنه stated that if a person puts the Quran in front of him, as a guide, it will lead him to Paradise. If he puts it behind him, not using it as a guide, it will take him to the Hell-fire. On another occasion, he said, "The Quran will come on the Day of Resurrection. It will intercede for its companion and will be a guide to Paradise. Or it will come as a witness against him and drive him to the Hell-fire."
Abu Musa al-Ashari رضي الله عنه, another Companion, stated, "This Quran will be a reward for you or it will be a burden upon you. Follow the Quran and do not have the Quran follow you up. For one who follows the Quran, he will descend with it into the gardens of Paradise. And for one who is followed up by the Quran, he will have it take him by the back of his neck and he will be thrown into the Hell-fire."
The Quran is First and Foremost a Book of Guidance
In the opening verses of surah al-Baqarah, at the beginning of the Quran, it is explicitly mentioned that the Quran is guidance. This demonstrates the major goal of the Quran: to guide humanity to the Straight Path with all of its connotations. As Abdul Hameed Siddiqi wrote, "This explains the main purpose of this Divine Book. This Book is primarily meant as a Book of right guidance for humanity. It is neither the Book explaining the fundamentals of physical sciences nor the laws of medical science, it is meant to guide people to the path of righteousness. This book is in fact a visible expression of a very favourable response from the Lord for the supplication made to Him in the concluding part of Sura al-Fatiha that Allah, in His infinite mercy, should direct the humanity on the right path."
Although this point should be quite obvious, it is something that is often forgotten. People have a tendency to turn to the Quran for reasons other than trying to receive the guidance of how to believe and live. People read it for the sake of barakah (blessings) or to cure illnesses. Some read it as some sort of intellectual journey, learning about the past, metaphysics or to get some temporary spiritual high. When this occurs, and the Quran is not looked upon first and foremost as a book of guidance, the true blessing and teaching of the Quran is lost, although people might still continue to read it.
It also should be noted that the guidance that it gives covers all realms of human life. In other words, it is not simply a guidance related to ritual matters. It guides man in its relation to his Lord سبحانه و تعالى, to other humans in society, and even to himself. The fundamental and guiding principles for social, political and financial life are all encompassed as part of its teachings and guidance.
The most important guidance it contains is the guidance related to knowing one's Lord سبحانه و تعالى and one's relationship with his Lord. Allah has made all of these matters very clear in the Quran. If a person sincerely turns to the Quran and sincerely seeks this guidance from the Quran, this Quran will be a proof or witness for him on the Day of Judgment. However, if a person turns away from the Quran and does not bother to benefit from what the Quran has to offer him, then the Quran will be a proof against him on the Day of Judgment.
Allah's revealing of the Quran is one of the greatest blessings that He has bestowed upon mankind. There is virtually no excuse for anyone's not benefiting from the Quran. The meaning of the Quran is clear. Its message to all of mankind is clear. If a person does not turn to it, learn it and apply it, he will be misusing one of the greatest blessings from Allah سبحانه و تعالى. On the Day of Resurrection, he will have no argument on his behalf. Instead, it will be the Quran that will be a witness against him.
On the other hand, if a person turns to the Quran and benefits from this great blessing in a proper way, it will be a witness or proof for him on the Day of Judgment. He had followed the guidance that came from Allah سبحانه و تعالى and this was all that was required from him in this life. In the Hereafter, the Quran will be his guide to Paradise. [Commentary on the 40 Hadeeth of Imaam an-Nawawi رحمه الله, vol. 2, pp. 734-736]
 How to Approach and Understand the Qur'aan, pp. 95-100
"And the Messenger [Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم] has said, 'O my Lord, indeed my people have taken this Qur'aan as [a thing] abandoned.'" (Sooratul-Furqaan, 25:30)
It can reasonably be argued that many people today are treating the Qur'aan as something to be shunned. Yes, no Muslim would ever do such a thing intentionally. However, a Muslim may do this without realising what he is doing; and that is where the real problem lies.
There are many ways by which a people may take the Qur'aan as something mahjoor. Imaam Ibn al-Qayyim رحمه الله notes the following ways:
(1) Avoiding listening to its recitation, believing in it, paying attention or inclining to it.
(2) Avoiding acting by and respecting what the Qur'aan states as permissible or forbidden, even though the person reads it or believes in it.
(3) Avoiding accepting the Qur'aan as the arbiter or judging by it in the fundamental as well as secondary aspects of the religion or believing that it does not warrant certainty or belief.
(4) Avoiding pondering over its meanings, understanding it and knowing what Allaah desires from the reader.
(5) Avoiding using it as a healing and cure for the diseases of the heart while seeking the cure for such diseases from other sources. 
Another important way by which one takes the Qur'aan as something mahjoor - and a very dangerous way because the person may not realise it or may not be willing to admit it - is to only emphasise or concentrate on the secondary aspects of the Qur'aan and to ignore its main goals and purposes. Muslims turn to the Qur'aan for many reasons. But it seems, Allaah knows best, that one of the main reasons why the Muslims are not receiving the entire guidance fromt the Qur'aan is that they are emphasising aspects of it that are not the main reasons for which it was revealed. If Muslims only emphasise these secondary aspects of the Qur'aan, they may never find its true message. 
Mufti Muhammad Shafi رحمه الله said, "On the face of it, abandonment of the Qur'aan means its denial or non-acceptance, which is expected only from the disbelievers. However, in certain traditions it is reported that there are Muslims who do believe in the Qur'aan, but they neither read it nor try to follow it [and they are the ones who fall into this category of people]. Sayyiduna Anas رضي الله عنه has quoted the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم as saying, 'The person who has learnt the Qur'aan and then hanged it (on the wall), neither recites it routinely nor ponders over its injunctions, will be brought on the Day of Judgement with the Qur'aan hanging from his neck, and it will complain before Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, "This servant of Yours had abandoned me, so decide between me and him."'" 
Imaam Ibn Katheer رحمه الله said, "When he (the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم) would recite the Qur'aan to them (the idolators), they would talk nonsense or speak about something else, so that they would not hear it. This is a form of forsaking it and rejecting it, and not believing in it is the same as forsaking it, and not pondering its meanings and trying to understand it is the same as forsaking it, and not acting upon it and following its commandments and heeding its prohibitions is the same as forsaking it, and turning away from it in favor of poetry or other words or songs or idle talk or some other way is the same as forsaking it. We ask Allah, the Most Generous, the Bestower of bounty, the One Who is able to do what He wills, to keep us safe from doing that which earns His wrath and to use us to do that which will earn His pleasure of preserving and understanding His Book, following its commandments night and day in the manner which He loves and which pleases Him, for He is Generous and Kind." 
 al-Fawaa'id (Beirut: Daar an-Nafaa'is, 1984), pp. 107-108.
"This is the Book, concerning which there is no doubt. A guidance for the Muttaqeen."  (Sooratul-Baqarah, 2:2)
In the typical translation of this verse, it seems not to say a great deal about the Qur'aan. In reality, though, in this verse, Allaah سبحانه و تعالى has stated many important points about this Book. 
The first aspect that one notes is that Allaah سبحانه و تعالى refers to the Book with the demonstrative pronoun ذلك [dhaalika], which would normally be translated as, "that" instead of "this." However, the word "that" is used for "this" for particular reasons.
'Abdul Hameed Siddiqi noted, "The demonstrative pronoun ذلك [dhaalika] ["that"] indicates remoteness of distance, but at times it indicates esteem, honour and grandeur of that for which it is used as we find in the case of the Qur'aan." 
Second, the phrase is actually more comparable to something like, "This is the Book." It implies that it is the most complete book and that no other book deserves to be called a "book" like this Book does. It is the real Book that encompasses what no other previous book encompasses. In other words, Allaah سبحانه و تعالى is pointing to the completeness and perfection of this Book and, hence, its superiority over all other books. 
Third, Allaah سبحانه و تعالى mentions that this is a Book concerning which there can be no doubt. It is the case that many disbelievers and skeptics doubt this Book. However, that is not the meaning of this verse. The meaning is that the proofs and evidences that this is a true and perfect revelation from Allaah سبحانه و تعالى are so great and clear that there is in reality no room or reason for anyone to doubt this Book. This applies to the Book as a whole and every portion of its guidance. There should be no doubt concerning anything that Allaah سبحانه و تعالى has stated in this Book. The absence of doubt, as Imaam as-Sa'di رحمه الله points out, implies that the believer must be completely certain and satisfied that everything stated in this Book is true. 
Fourth, Allaah سبحانه و تعالى describes this Book as "guidance." Commenting on this portion of the aayah, Imaam as-Sa'di رحمه الله noted, "Allaah سبحانه و تعالى stated the word "guidance" without stating its regimen or governing word. He did not say, "Guidance for the benefit of so and so," or "for the benefit of such and such purpose." [Such was not said] so that the concept of guidance may be left in its generality. It is guidance for all of the needs and benefits of the life of this world and that of the Hereafter. It is the guide for humans concerning fundamental and secondary aspects. It distinguishes truth from falsehood and what is sound from what is weak. And it makes clear for them how to follow the path that is beneficial for them in both their worldly affairs and their other worldly matters. 
This verse makes it clear that the Qur'aan is first and foremost a Book of guidance.
Finally, in this verse, Allaah سبحانه و تعالى mentions that the Book is a guidance for those who have taqwa (fear of Allaah and God-consciousnes). 
Elsewhere Allaah سبحانه و تعالى has described this revelation as,
"a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion [between right and wrong]." (Sooratul-Baqarah, 2:185)
What these two verses, Sooratul-Baqarah - 2:2 and 2:185, imply is that the guidance of the Qur'aan is there for everyone to see and benefit from. However, not everyone is going to benefit from its wonderful guidance. Only those who approach the Qur'aan in the proper way, seeking to obey it and implement its guidance, will be the ones who truly benefit from the guidance of the Qur'aan. 
 Throughout the Qur'aan, there are two words that are used quite often as a reference to the Qur'aan: the Qur'aan and the Book (Kitaab). The word "the Qur'aan" is a verbal noun implying, "the reading or the recital." This implies that the Qur'aan is something that is recited by the tongue. The word "the Book" implies that it is recorded. Muhammad 'Abdullaah Daraaz notes that these two words used for the Qur'aan imply how the Qur'aan was and is to be preserved. It was and is used to be preserved in the hearts as well as in written form. If a mistake creeps into one of these two forms, it can be spotted and corrected by the other form. This is, in reality, how the Qur'aan has been passed on throughout the centuries. Thus, there is no room for anyone to doubt the authenticity and purity of the Qur'aan.
Daraaz goes on to make another point about these two words used for the Qur'aan. Both of these words come from roots that imply, "combining or joining something together." In the case of reciting, one joints the different letters together to pronounce the proper sounds that make up the words. In the case of writing something down, one also joins the different letters together to record the proper words.
Daraaz then states that one can make the following conclusion: These words of the Qur'aan combine together all of the meanings, knowledge and truths that one needs to live. This conclusion is supported by what Allaah Himself سبحانه و تعالى has said about the Qur'aan,
"And We have sent down to you the Book (the Qur'aan) as an exposition of everything, a guidance, a mercy, and glad tidings for those who have submitted themselves (to Allaah as Muslims)." (Sooratun-Nahl, 16:89)
See Muhammad 'Abdullaah Daraaz, An-Naba al-'Adheem: Nadharaat Jadeedah fil-Qur'aan (Riyaadh: Daar Taibah, 1997), pp. 5-6.
Long before Daraaz, Imaam Raaghib al-Isfahaani رحمه الله made the same point concerning why this revelation is called the "Qur'aan" in comparison with the previous revelations; it encompasses all that the previous scriptures encompassed as well as all the knowledge necessary for mankind. See Imaam Raaghib al-Isfahaani رحمه الله, Mu'jam Mufradaat Alfaadh al-Qur'aan (Beirut: Daar al-Fikr, n.d.), p. 414.
 One will note that in many cases the true or complete ramifications of the original Arabic of the Qur'aan are very difficult or impossible to capture in a mere translation. Of course, the English translation cannot be called the Qur'aan. The Qur'aan is only the original Arabic text. No matter how excellent a translation may be, it can never match the miraculous nature and linguistic excellence of the Qur'aan.
 'Abdul Hameed Siddiqi, The Holy Qur'aan: English Translation and Explanatory Notes (Lahore, Pakistan: Islamic Book Centre, n.d.), vol. 1, p. 10.
There are some commentators who understand the demonstrative pronoun phrase here to mean, "that is the book." They are then forced to explain what is the referent of "that." Imaam Fakhr ad-Deen ar-Raazi رحمه الله has given seven possible explanations [see At-Tafseer al-Kabeer (Beirut: Daar Ihyaa at-Turaath al-Arabi, n.d.), vol. 2, pp. 12-13.]. However, it is clear from the statements of the Companions رضي الله عنهم that the meaning of the phrase is "this is the book" and not "that is the book."
Allaah سبحانه و تعالى also refers to the Qur'aan as rooh ("spirit"). Allaah سبحانه و تعالى says,
"Thus We have revealed to you a rooh  of Our command." (Sooratush-Shooraa, 42:52)
While commenting upon this verse, Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan noted thar rooh implies the thing that gives life to a heart. In the same way that the physical heart's life is directly tied to a rooh, the spiritual life is also directly tied to a rooh, and that rooh is the Qur'aan. It is this Qur'aan that gives life to the spiritual heart. If the heart is void of the Qur'aan, then it is in fact spiritually dead, no matter how much it may be physically alive in this world.
The heart attains real life when it is joined with the Qur'aan. It is by the teachings of the Qur'aan that the heart truly knows its Lord سبحانه و تعالى and knows how to worship Him. The heart then becomes filled with love of Allaah , fear of Allaah , reverence for Him and hope in Him. These are some of the key ingredients that are needed for a healthy heart. The heart is moved by the Qur'aan in the same way that the physical heart is moved by the physical soul. The physical death that is the result of the loss of the rooh cannot compare to the spiritual death that is the result of being void of the spiritual rooh or the Qur'aan. Physical death comes to believers, disbelievers, evildoers and even animals. Its result is a departure from this worldly life. A spiritual death is what the disbelievers are experiencing and its result is the painful abode of the Hell-fire forever. 
Shaykh Muhammad ar-Raawi notes that people are very much aware of the result of the physical rooh leaving the body. When that happens, they take the body and bury it as it is not able to perform anya ction since its rooh has left. In this sense, it has become useless. At the same time, people disregard what happens when the effects of the Qur'aan are no longer seen on a person. They do not see what happens to the person in both this life and the Hereafter when he has lost the rooh of the Qur'aan. Whithout this rooh, a person is truly spiritually dead even though it looks to all around him that he is physically alive. He is dead because he is not even realising his purpose in this life. He is living his life without heading toward its proper goal, hence, he may as well be physically dead.  
 Rooh lexically refers to the "spirit, soul". In this particular verse, it has been interpreted in a number of ways. Some say that it means prophethood; others say that is means "mercy"; others have said that it means "book"; and another interpretation is that it is in reference to the Angel Jibreel (Gabriel) عليه السلام. See Imaam al-Qurtubi رحمه الله: al-Jaami' li-Ahkaam al-Qur'aan (Beirut: Daar Ihyaa at-Turaath al-Arabi, n.d.), vol. 16, pp. 54-55).
Allaah سبحانه و تعالى also describes the Qur'aan as a "light" (noor). Allaah سبحانه و تعالى says,
"This We have revealed to you a rooh of Our command. You knew not what is the Book nor what is faith. But We have made it [this Qur'aan] a light (noor) wherewith We guide whosoever of Our servants We will. And verily you guide [mankind] to the straight path." (Sooratush-Shooraa, 42:52)
Light is the thing that shows the person the path in front of him. It is by light that he can avoid the harmful objects in his way and follow the way that is most beneficial. However, as Shaykh al-Fawzaan noted, this is different from the light that one physically senses in this world. This is a spiritual light. By this light, one recognises and understands what will benefit him both his mundane and religious spheres. He will recognise truth from falsehood and he will be following the path that leads to Paradise. 
This light leads to the Straight Path and Allaah's grace and mercy. However, that light is only beneficial for the one who follows it. Allaah سبحانه و تعالى says,
"O mankind! Verily, there has come to you a convincing proof from your Lord, and We sent down to you a manifest light [this Qur'aan]. So, as for those who believed in Allaah and held fast to it [the Qur'aan] , He will admit them to His mercy and grace, and guide them to Himself by a Straight Path." (Sooratun-Nisaa', 4:174-175)
From the above it is clear that the Qur'aan is the key to the believers' real and true life. Without the Qur'aan, a person is suffering from a spiritual death and living in darkness. In fact, Allaah سبحانه و تعالى has said in reference to the guidance that He revealed and blesses His followers with,
"It he who was dead and We gave him life and set for him a light whereby he can walk among men like him who is in the darknesses from which he can never come out?" (Sooratul-An'aam, 6:122) 
 Muhaadhiraat fil-'Aqeedah wad-Da'wah (Riyadh: Daar al-Aasimah, 1415 A.H.), p. 292.
 An alternative interpretation for "held fast to it," is, "held fast to Him," meaning Allaah سبحانه و تعالى. This alternatice interpretation is more consistent with the principles of Tafseer; however, the interpretation given above is more consistent with the context of the verse. Allaah knows best. In either case, thought, the purport will be the same, as holding fast to Him or to His revelation virtually imply one and the same thing.
 How to Approach and Understand the Qur'aan, pp. 12-14
Allaah سبحانه و تعالى also says about the Qur'aan,
"Indeed, We have sent down to you [O mankind] a book in which there is your honour and distinction  [for the one who follows it]. Will you not then understand?" (Sooratul-Anbiyaa', 21:10)
This verse was first addressed to the Arabs of the Quraish. 
It was a great blessing upon them that this Qur'aan was revealed in their language. If they then adhered to it, they would be remembered and honoured for that distinction that Allaah سبحانه و تعالى bestowed upon them.
Beyond that, though, the verse is addressing all believers and all humans and is stating the fact that one's honour, distinction or glory is found in adhering to and applying the Qur'aan by becoming true believers in it. Allaah سبحانه و تعالى has said,
"Honour belongs to Allaah and His Messenger, and to the Believers; but the hypocrites know not." (Sooratul-Munaafiqoon, 63:8)
This fact was demonstrated in the case of the Arabs. Before their belief in and following of the Qur'aan, they were not a people who were known or necessarily respected throughout the world. They had little or nothing to offer the world. But after receiving the Qur'aan, they conveyed it to the world. This was, as Sayyid Qutb رحمه الله pointed out, the only thought or provisions that they had to offer the world. By it, their position was exalted. They became leaders of the East and the West. 
Commenting on Sooratul-Anbiyaa :10, Imaam as-Sa'di رحمه الله wrote, "This verse is confirmed by what actually occurred. The believers in the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم, those who took heed by the Qur'aan, from the Companions رضي الله عنهم and those who came afterwards, achieved prominence, distinction, great renown and honour among the kings. Such is something well-known to everyone. Similarly, it is well-known what happened to those who did not raise their heads with the Qur'aan and were not guided or purified through it. [They suffere from] disgrace, disdain, ignobility, and unhappiness. There is no way to achieve the happiness of this world nor that of the Hereafter except by following the remembrance of this Book." 
This principle applies to all times. If the believers want to be respected, to have honour and dignity and not live in disgrace and humiliation, Allaah سبحانه و تعالى has shown them what they need to turn to: the Qur'aan. If they turn to it and apply it in their lives, it will be the source of their honour and dignity in not just this temporary life but in the everlasting life in the Hereafter. Sayyiduna 'Umar Ibn al-Khattaab رضي الله عنه is quoted to have said about Islaam itself, which directly implies the Qur'aan also, "We were the most despised people and Allaah honoured us and gave us strength through Islaam. And if we ever seek such honour through something other than that which Allaah honoured us by, then Allaah will disgrace us." 
In fact, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم himself said about the Qur'aan, "Verily, Allaah exalts some people by this Book and He debases others by it."  
 Although there are numerous other interpretations for this portion of the verse, this is what has been narrated from Sayyiduna 'Abdullaah Ibn 'Abbaas رضي الله عنهما and concluded by Imaam at-Tabari رحمه الله. See Imaam Abu Ja'far Muhammad Ibn Jareer at-Tabari رحمه الله, Jaami' al-Bayaan an Ta'weel Ayil-Qur'aan (Beirut: Daar al-Fikr, 1998), vol. 10, p. 7.
 However, its meaning is general and is directed to every believer or human from the time of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم.
 Sayyid Qutb رحمه الله, Fi Dhilaal al-Qur'aan (Cairo: Daar ash-Shurooq, 1992), vol. 4, p. 2370.
 Imaam 'Abdur Rahmaan as-Sa'di رحمه الله, Taiseer al-Kareem ar-Rahmaan fi Tafseer Klaam al-Mannaan (Beirut: Muassasah ar-Risaalah, 1996), p. 468.
 Recoreded by Imaam al-Haakim رحمه الله who said that it is saheeh accordng to the standards of Imaam Muslim رحمه الله and Imaam al-Bukhaari رحمه الله. See Imaam 'Abdul 'Adheem al-Mundhiri رحمه الله, at-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb minal-Hadeeth ash-Shareef (Beirut: Daar al-Kutub al-'Ilmiyyah, 1986), vol. 3, pp. 559-560.
 Recorded by Imaam Muslim رحمه الله and others.
 How to Approach and Understand the Quran, pp. 14-16.
The Eternal Result of Following the Qur'aan Sincerely for the Sake of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى
The Qur'aan has been revealed to guide man in his affairs in this life so that he will be beloved to Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and guided to Allaah's mercy and paradise in the Hereafter.
The Qur'aan is part of that guidance that Allaah سبحانه و تعالى has sent to mankind that is referred to in the following verse:
"For whosoever shall follow My guidance, there shall be no fear on them nor shall they grieve. As for the disbelievers and those who belie Our signs, they are the inhabitants of the Fire wherein they shall abide." (Sooratul-Baqarah, 2:38-39)
The reward for following the Qur'aan is, as Sayyiduna 'Abdullaah Ibn 'Abbaas رضي الله عنهما stated, that the person will not go astray in this world nor will he be miserable in the Hereafter. The person will not have to fear about what he is about to face nor shall he grieve concerning what occurred in the past. The Qur'aan is noor (a light) as mentioned earlier. However, the one who refuses to follow that light will be rewarded with naar (Fire).
Similarly, Sayyiduna 'Abdullaah Ibn 'Abbaas رضي الله عنهما stated, "Allaah سبحانه و تعالى guaranteed for whoever reads the Qur'aan and acts upon it that he shall never go astray in this life nor will he suffer misery in the next life." Then he read the following verses,
"And if there should come to you guidance from Me - then whoever follows My guidance will neither go astray [in the world] nor suffer [in the Hereafter]. But whosoever turns away from My Reminder, verily, for him is a life of hardship, and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of Resurrection. He will say: "O my Lord! Why have you raised me up blind, while I had sight (before)." [Allaah] will say, "Thus did Our signs come to you, and you forgot them; and thus will you this Day be forgotten."" (Soorah Taa Haa, 20:123-126) 
That is, whoever turns to the Qur'aan sincerely, learns it correctly and applies it in his life, follows the straight path blessed by Allaah سبحانه و تعالى in both this life and the Hereafter.
Allaah سبحانه و تعالى also says,
"Verily, this Qur'aan guides to that which is most just and right and gives glad tidings to the believers, who work deeds of righteousness, that they shall have a great reward (Paradise). And that those who believe not in the Hereafter, for them We have prepared a painful torment (Hell)." (Sooratul-Israa', 17:9-10)
The believing and following of this Qur'aan is the key to Allaah's mercy. Allaah سبحانه و تعالى says,
"And this is a blessed Book (the Qur'aan) which We have sent down, so follow it and have Taqwa of Allaah,  that you may receive mercy." (Sooratul-An'aam, 6:155)
The Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم said about the Qur'aan, "The Qur'aan is an intercessor whose intercession is accepted and a litigant who is believed. For the one who places it in front of him [being guided by it], it will lead him to Paradise. And for the one who places it behind him [ignoring its guidance], it will drive him to the Hell-Fire." 
Imaam an-Munaawi رحمه الله, while commenting on this hadeeth, stated that if a person is not leading his life by the guidance and principles found in the Qur'aan, he must be leading his life by some other principles. Hence, he is deserving of the Hell-Fire. On the other hand, if he is abiding by the Qur'aan, the Qur'aan will lead him to Paradise. 
In another hadeeth, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم described how the Qur'aan will come to the aid of those who acted according to it in this life. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, "The Qur'aan will be brought on the Day of Resurrection along with its people who used to act according to it with Sooratul-Baqarah and Soorah Aali 'Imraan preceding them. They are like two clouds or two black canopies with light between them or like two flocks of birds in ranks pleading for the one who recited them." 
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, "It will be said to the companion of the Qur'aan, 'Read, ascend and recite as you recited in the world, for your place will be at the end of what you used to recite.'" 
In Sooratul-An'aam, verse 92, Allaah describes the Qur'aan as blessed in a comprehensive sense. Indeed, its blessings are continual and perpetual for the one who earnestly and sincerely seeks them. It blesses the person while he is in his grave by protecting him from punishment therein. 
And it blesses the person in the Hereafter by coming as an intercessor and pleading for the one who read and lived by it. Indeed, it blesses the person by elevating his rank in the Hereafter.  
 According to Imaam al-Hasan رحمه الله, the meaning of "My guidance" in this verse is specifically the Qur'aan. See Imaam Ibn Katheer رحمه الله: Tafseer al-Qur'aan al-'Adheem, p. 63
 Quoted in Imaam Ibn Abil-'Izz رحمه الله: Sharh 'Aqeedah at-Tahaawiyyah (Beirut: Muassasat ar-Risaalah, 1988), vol. 1, p. 9.
 Recorded by Imaam Ibn Hibaan رحمه الله and Imaam al-Bayhaqi رحمه الله on the authority of Sayyiduna Jaabir رضي الله عنه and also recorded by Imaam at-Tabaraani رحمه الله and Imaam al-Bayhaqi رحمه الله on the authority of Sayyiduna 'Abdullaah Ibn Mas'ood رضي الله عنه. According to Shaykh al-Albaani رحمه الله and Shaykh 'Abdul Qaadi al-Arna'oot رحمه الله, it is saheeh. Shaykh al-Huwaini states that this is narrated as a statement of Sayyiduna 'Abdullaah Ibn Mas'ood رضي الله عنه through saheeh chains but as a narration of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم there is some strong weakness to it. On the other hand, Shaykh Musfir al-Ghaamdi concludes that even if it is a statement of Sayyiduna 'Abdullaah Ibn Mas'ood رضي الله عنه, it is considered as having its source with the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم.
In sum, it is either an acceptable hadeeth of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم or a statement of Sayyiduna 'Abdullaah Ibn Mas'ood رضي الله عنه, one of the noble Companions رضي الله عنهم. If it is the latter case, one could argue that is must have originated wih the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. In any case, from the discussion of the above scholars, it seems that the stronger opinion is that is a hadeeth of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and not a statement of Sayyiduna 'Abdullaah Ibn Mas'ood رضي الله عنه. Allaah knows best.
Cf., Shaykh Muhammad Naasirud-Deen al-Albaani رحمه الله, Silsilatul-Ahaadeethis-Saheehah (Riyadh: Maktab al-Ma'arif, 1991), vol. 5, pp. 31-32; Shaykh 'Abdul Qaadir al-Arna'oot رحمه الله, "Introduction" to Imaam Ismaa'eel Ibn Katheer رحمه الله, Tafseer al-Qur'aan al-'Adheem (Riyadh: Daarus-Salaam, 1998), p. 9; Shaykh al-Huwaini's footnotes to Imaam Ibn Katheer رحمه الله, Kitaab Fadaa'il al-Qur'aan, pp. 281-282; Shaykh Musfir al-Ghaamdi's footnotes to Shaykh Muhammad adh-Dharees, Fadaa'il al-Qur'aan (Daar Haafidh, 1988), pp. 105-107.
 Recorded by Imaam Ahmad رحمه الله, Imaam at-Tirmidhi رحمه الله, Imaam Abu Dawood رحمه الله and others. According to Shaykh Ahmad Shaakir رحمه الله and Shaykh al-Albaani رحمه الله, its chain is saheeh. See Shaykh Ahmad Shaakir رحمه الله, footnotes to Imaam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal رحمه الله, al-Musnad (Cairo: Daarul-Hadeeth, 1995), vol. 9, pp. 388-389; Shaykh al-Albaani رحمه الله, Saheeh Sunan Abee Dawood (Riyadh: Maktabah at-Tarbiyyah al-Arabi li-Duwal al-Khaleej, 1989), vol. 1, p. 275.
 It was narrated that Sayyiduna Abdullaah Ibn Mas'ood رضي الله عنه said: "Whoever reads Sooratul-Mulk every night, Allaah سبحانه و تعالى will protect him from the torment of the grave. At the time of the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم we used to call it al-maani'ah (that which protects)." Narrated by Imaam an-Nasaa'ee رحمه الله 6/179; classed as hasan by Shaykh al-Albaani رحمه الله in Saheeh al-Targheeb wat-Tarheeb, 1475.
 Cf., Shaykh Muhammad ar-Raawi, Hadeethil-Qur'aan 'anil-Qur'aan (Riyadh: Maktabah al-Ubaikaan, 1994), p. 119.
 How to Approach and Understand the Quran, pp. 48-54.
Some Words of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم about the Qur'aan
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, who received the inspiration and lived by it, spoke about many of the important features of the Qur'aan. Below are presented just a small sampling of his many important and illuminating statements.
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم has made it clear that this Qur'aan is a great blessing and miracle from Allaah سبحانه و تعالى. In the following hadeeth, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم is referring to the miracles that were given to the previous Prophets عليهم الصلاة والسلام. Although the miracles that were performed at their hands were something great, they cannot compare to what the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم received as his standing miracle - even the staff that was given to Prophet Moosaa (Moses) عليه السلام or the raising of the dead and healing of the blind by Prophet 'Eesaa (Jesus) عليه السلام cannot compare to what the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم received in the form of the Qur'aan. For this reason, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم had reason to hope that he will have the greatest number of followers on the Day of Judgement. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, "There was no prophet among the prophets except that he was given something that would make the people believe in him. But what I have been given is an inspiration that Allaah has revealed to me. So I hope that I will have more followers than them on the Day of Resurrection." 
Another hadeeth sheds some light on the greatness of the Qur'aan, which is the speech of Allaah. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, "The superiority of the speech of Allaah over all other speech is like the superiority of Allaah over His creation." 
When a person realises that such is the nature of the superiority of the Qur'aan, he will definitely dedicate some of his time to read this speech and not ignore it or turn to other sources for guidance.
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said about the Qur'aan, "Have glad tidings! Verily, one end of this Qur'aan is in the hand of Allaah and another end is in your hands. Adhere to it, for then you will not be destroyed and you will never go astray after it." 
The Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم also said, "O people, certainly I am but a human and soon a messenger from my Lord may come to me and I will respond to his call [and die]. I am leaving among you two heavy things.  The first of them is the Book of Allaah. It contains guidance and light. The one who adheres to it and follows it will be upon guidance. The one who doesn't adhere to it shall go astray. Therefore, take the Book of Allaah and cling to it..." 
Another hadeeth states that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, "Certainly, Allaah has special people among mankind." He was asked, "O Messenger of Allaah, who are they?" He replied, "They are the people of the Qur'aan - they are the people of Allaah and specially His." 
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم also said, "The best of you is he who learns the Qur'aan and teaches it to others." 
The Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم also said about the Qur'aan, "Whoever follows a path in order to seek knowledge thereby, Allaah will make easy for him, due to it, a path to Paradise. No people gather together in a house of the houses of Allaah, reciting the Book of Allaah and studying it among themselves, except that tranquility is descended upon them, mercy covers them, the angels surround them and Allaah makes mention of them to those in His presence. Whoever is slowed by his deeds will not be hastened forward by his lineage." 
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم also said, "The example of the believer who recites the Qur'aan is like that of a citron, which tastes good and smells good. And he who does not recite the Qur'aan is like a date, which is good in taste but has no smell. And the example of the hypocrite who recites the Qur'aan is like the raihaana plant, which smells good but tastes bitter. And the example of a hypocrite who does not recite the Qur'aan is like the colocynth, which tastes bitter and has no smell." 
'Abdul Ghani notes how the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم has demonstrated the greatness and lofty nature of the Qur'aan in this hadeeth: Even when it comes out of the mouth of someone who does not truly believe in it, it is described as having a good and pleasant aroma. 
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم also said, "I have left among you two matters that if you adhere to them you will never be misguided: the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Prophet." 
Finally, another hadeeth demonstrates the importance of the Book of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى in one's life: the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم said, "The Qur'aan is either an argument for you or against you." 
In this hadeeth, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم makes it clear that the Qur'aan is either a proof for someone or a proof against him. There is no third, neutral party. One must be from one group or the other. This is similar to what Allaah سبحانه و تعالى has said in the Qur'aan,
"And We send down of the Qur'aan that which is healing and mercy for the believers, but it does not increase the wrongdoers except in loss." (Sooratul-Israa', 17:82) 
 Recorded by Imaam al-Bukhaari رحمه الله.
 Recorded by Imaam at-Tirmidhi رحمه الله, Imaam ad-Daarimi رحمه الله and others. After a lengthy discussion, Shaykh al-Huwaini concludes that the hadeeth is hasan due to its supporting evidences. See Abu Ishaaq al-Huwaini's footnotes to Imaam Ismaa'eel Ibn Katheer رحمه الله, Kitaab Fadaa'il al-Qur'aan (Cairo: Maktabaj Ibn Taymiyyah, 1416 A.H.), p. 274.
 Recorded by Imaam at-Tabaraani رحمه الله. According to Shaykh al-Albaani رحمه الله, it is saheeh. See Muhammad Naasirud-Deen al-Albaani رحمه الله, Saheehul-Jaami'us-Sagheer (Beirut: al-Maktab al-Islaami, 1988), vol. 1, p. 69.
 In other words, shouldering the responsibility of these two and acting upon them is something very heavy.
 Recorded by Imaam Ahmad رحمه الله with the above wording and Imaam Muslim رحمه الله has something very similar to it.
 Recorded by Imaam Ahmad رحمه الله, Imaam Ibn Maajah رحمه الله, Imaam an-Nasaa'ee رحمه الله in Fadaa'il al-Qur'aan and others. According to Shaykh al-Albaani رحمه الله, it is saheeh. See Saheehul-Jaami', vol. 1, p. 432.
 Recorded by Imaam al-Bukhaari رحمه الله.
 Recorded by Imaam Muslim رحمه الله.
 Recorded by Imaam al-Bukhaari رحمه الله.
 Sayyid Sa'eed 'Abdul Ghani, Haqeeqatul-Walaa' wal-Baraa' fee Mu'taqad Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa'ahg (Beirut: Daar Ibn Hazm, 1998), p. 61.
 Recorded by Imaam Maalik رحمه الله, Imaam al-Haakim رحمه الله and Imaam al-Bayhaqi رحمه الله. It is saheeh. Cf., Shaykh al-Albaani رحمه الله, Saheehul-Jaami', vol. 1, p. 566.
 Recorded by Imaam Muslim رحمه الله.
 How to Approach and Understand the Qur'aan, pp. 18-23.
Statements about the Qur'aan from Those Who Knew and Lived The Qur'aan
Those who learned the Qur'aan in depth and lived by its guiding light are the next to be turned to to learn more about the Qur'aan. Foremost among this category are the noble Companions رضي الله عنهم of the Prophet who received much of their teachings of the Qur'aan directly from the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم.
One of the most succint and concise descriptions of what the Qur'aan is really meant to be comes from Sayyiduna 'Ali Ibn Abi Taalib رضي الله عنه. He once stated,
"Stick to the Book of Allaah, which speaks of those who have gone before as well as of those who will come later, and tells the truth in clear and definite terms in matters concerning which you disagree. Whosoever neglects it out of conceit shall be humiliated by Allaah سبحانه و تعالى. And whosoever looks for guidance elsewhere shall be misled. It is the rope of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى which shall never break, the Wise Message and the Right Path which shall never be distorted by evil minds nor corrupted by wicked tongues. Its mysteries shall never end, nor shall scholars ever be satisfied by the amount they know of it. Whoever speaks according to it has spoken the truth; whoever acts upon it shall be rewarded; whoever rules according to it does justice; and whoever calls to it shows the Straight Path. 
Sayyiduna 'Abdullaah Ibn Mas'ood رضي الله عنه once said, "A human should not be asked about himself except with respect to the Qur'aan. If he loves the Qur'aan, then he loves Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and His Messenger (may Allaah exalt his mention and grant him peace)." 
Sayyiduna 'Abdullaah Ibn 'Amr رضي الله عنهما stated, "When one reads the Qur'aan, it is as if prophethood is descending upon him except that he is not receiving revelation. Whoever reads the Qur'aan and believes that someone has been given something better than what he has been given has made great what Allaah has belittled and belittled what Allaah has made great." 
Sayyiduna 'Abdullaah Ibn 'Abbaas رضي الله عنهما, for whom the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم prayed that Allaah سبحانه و تعالى would teach him the Book of Allaah, as recorded by Imaam al-Bukhaari and Imaam Muslim,  said, "The bounty of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى is Islaam. And His mercy is that He made you from the people of the Qur'aan." 
Indeed, in Sooratur-Rahmaan, in which Allaah سبحانه و تعالى mentions many of the blessings that He has bestowed upon mankind, Allaah begins the Soorah by stating,
"The Most Merciful, Has taught (you mankind) the Qur'aan (by His Mercy), He created man." (Sooratur-Rahmaan, 55:1-3)
In these verses, Allaah سبحانه و تعالى refers to His beneficent act of teaching mankind the Qur'aan before He mentions His beneficent act of creating mankind. This has been cited by some as an indication that, in reality, His merciful act of teaching the Qur'aan is even more merciful than His act of creating humans. This interpretation is consistent with the statement just quoted from Sayyiduna 'Abdullaah Ibn 'Abbaas رضي الله عنهما.
Sayyiduna 'Uthmaan Ibn 'Affaan رضي الله عنه and Sayyiduna Hudhayfah Ibn al-Yamaan رضي الله عنه are both reported to have said, "When the hearts become pure, they can never get enough of reading the Qur'aan." 
Imaam Sufyaan ath-Thawri رحمه الله was asked which was preferred, Jihaad or reading the Qur'aan? He replied that reading the Qur'aan is preferred and, as part of his evidence, he quoted the hadeeth, "The best of you is he who learns the Qur'aan and teaches it to others." 
'Abdul Ghani has explained and supported this view by writing: "There is nothing strange in Imaam Sufyaan ath-Thawri رحمه الله giving preference to reciting the Qur'aan over Jihaad. This is because Jihaad can be attended to by many, many people. The qualities and pre-requisites for Jihaad are found in many among the Muslim nation. However, those who excel in reciting the Qur'aan, being knowledgeable of its laws and being able to teach it to the Muslims are few in number. Therefore, their remaining behind and spending their time in teaching the Muslims the Book of Allaah is better in their case than their going out for Jihaad, especially if the Jihaad is one which is a communal obligation (Fard Kifaayah) and there are people attending to it.  In that case, the learning of the Qur'aan and teaching it to the Muslims is in itself a type of Jihaad."  
 This statement was recorded by Imaam at-Tirmidhi رحمه الله as a hadeeth of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. But, in that matter, its chain is weak, as Imaam at-Tirmidhi رحمه الله himself points out. Some scholars, including Imaam Ibn Katheer رحمه الله and Shaykh al-Albaani رحمه الله, say that it is correctly a statement of Sayyiduna 'Ali Ibn Abi Taalib رضي الله عنه. However, Shaykh al-Huwaini points out that even in its narration as a statement of Sayyiduna 'Ali, there seems to be some weakness in its chain. Allaah سبحانه و تعالى knows best. See Shaykh al-Arna'oot's رحمه الله footnotes to 'Ali Ibn Abil-'Izz رحمه الله, Sharh al-'Aqeedah at-Tahaawiyyah (Beirut: Muassasat ar-Risaalah, 1988), vol. 1, p. 10 or Shaykh al-Albaani's رحمه الله footnotes to a different edition of the same work, Sharh al-'Aqeedah at-Tahaawiyyah (Beirut: al-Maktab al-Islaami, 1984), p. 7; Shaykh al-Huwaini, footnotes to Imaam Ibn Katheer رحمه الله, Kitaab Fadaa'il al-Qur'aan, pp. 44-48.
 Recorded by Imaam at-Tabaraani رحمه الله and others. According to Shaykh al-Huwaini, the chain back to Sayyiduna 'Abdullaah Ibn Mas'ood رضي الله عنه is saheeh. See footnotes to Imaam Ibn Katheer رحمه الله, Kitaab Fadaa'il al-Qur'aan, p. 48.
 This statement is recorded as a hadeeth of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم by Imaam at-Tabaraani رحمه الله and others. Shaykh al-Huwaini discusses its chain in detail and shows that as a statement of the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم, it is a weak narration. However, it seems to be correct as a statement of Sayyiduna 'Abdullaah Ibn 'Amr رضي الله عنهما, as presented above in the text. See footnotes to Imaam Ibn Katheer رحمه الله, Kitaab Fadaa'il al-Qur'aan, pp. 296-297.
 Sayyiduna 'Abdullaah Ibn 'Abbaas رضي الله عنهما said, "The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم embraced me and said, 'O Allaah! Teach him (the knowledge of) the Book (Quran).'" (Saheeh al-Bukhaari).
 Mahmood Ibn Shu'aib, al-Kalimaat al-Hasaan (Al-Jeezah, Egypt: Maktabah Ali-Yaasir, 1994), p. 9.
 Quoted in Salaah al-Khaalidi, Mafateeh lit-Ta'ammul ma'al-Qur'aan (Damascus: Dar al-Qalam, 1994), p. 46.
 The hadeeth was recorded by Imaam al-Bukhaari رحمه الله. The statement by Imaam Sufyaan ath-Thawri رحمه الله may be found in Imaam Ahmad Ibn Hajar رحمه الله, Fat-hul-Baaree Sharh Saheehul-Bukhaaree (Beirut: Daar al-Kutub al-'Ilmiyyah, 1989), vol. 9, p. 95.
The Qur'aan came to change the beliefs, behaviour and outlook of all who are astray. It came to guide them to true happiness and the way of life that one should follow in this life. Allaah سبحانه و تعالى states,
"O you who have believed! Respond to Allaah and His Messenger as they call you to that which gives you life." (Sooratul-Anfaal, 8:24)
Imaam as-Suddi رحمه الله, an early commentator on the Qur'aan, stated that this verse means that Islaam gave the noble Companions رضي الله عنهم true life after they were truly dead in disbelief. 
The difference between faith and disbelief is truly comparable to the difference between life and death. Knowing the Qur'aan, that source of life to which Allaah and His Messenger is calling every human, as opposed to not knowing it is also comparable to the difference between life and death.
The effect of the Qur'aan can clearly be seen in the first generation of Muslims رضي الله عنهم. These were the people who were given life by the Qur'aan. They were taken from darkness into light. The example these noble people set is the example that all later generations who believe in the Qur'aan must aspire to.
The World Before the Advent of the Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم)
Shaykh Abul Hasan 'Ali Nadwi رحمه الله, in his work Islam and the World, has done an admirable job of describing the situation of the world before the coming of the time of the Prophet (may Allaah exalt his mention and grant him peace). 
Shaykh Abul Hasan 'Ali Nadwi رحمه الله described the plight of all of the different nations of the world. Herein, only a few passages from his description will be quoted. He begins his discussion with the following strong words,
"The sixth century of the Christian era, it is generally agreed, represented the darkest phase in the history of our race. Humanity had reached the edge of the precipice, towards which is had been tragically proceeding for centuries, and there appeared to be no agency or power in the whole world which could come to its rescue and save it from crashing into the abyss of destruction." 
After these words, he describes the plight of the Romans and the Persians, two of the major civilisations at that time. He said that they sunk "to a state of complete moral depravity. They wallowed in the inveterate vices of their corrupt and decaying civilisations." 
Perhaps religion could have been the saviour for the moral situation of the people of that time. However, Christianity, the main religion of the Western power, had lost most of its original teachings. Indeed, it had become so mixed with Greek mythology, Roman idolatry, Egyptian Neo-Platonism and Monasticism  that it itself was in need of help. For other similar reasons, Judaism and the Jews also were not in a position to offer much help to the prevailing situation.
The plight of Europe has been summed up by Robert Briffault in his The Making of Humanity,
"From the fifth to the tenth century Europe lay sunk in a night of barbarism which grew darker and darker. It was a barbarism far more awful and horrible than that of the primitive savage, for it was the decomposing body of what had once been a great civilisation. The features and impress of that civilisation were all but completely effaced. Where its development had been fullest, eg., in Italy and Gaul, all was ruin, squalor and dissolution." 
Shaykh Abul Hasan 'Ali Nadwi رحمه الله continues to discuss North-Western Europe, Iran, Central Asia (India) and China in some detail. He also discusses the religions of Buddhism, Hinduism and others. The plight of those areas and religions were similar to the plight of Europe and Christianity. It is sufficient, for the purposes here, to understand that mankind was definitely in a state of loss. There was no true light of guidance emanating from any part of the world at that time.
The plight of the Arabs was not much different from the rest of the world. However, their situation shall be dealth with in more detail as they are the people to whom the Qur'aan was first presented and they are the ones who were first most affected by its teachings.
The Arabs Before the Advent of the Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم)
The Arabs - like all other peoples at that time - had a combination of virtues and vices. However, like the others, two dangerous characteristics were present: their vices were many and their virtues were distorted.
In the opening chapter of his The Life of Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم, Shaykh 'Abdul Hameed Siddiqui has presented an overview of the characteristics of the pre-Islamic Arabs. This overview is based on pre-Islamic poetry that described the common practices and beliefs of those days. Among their common features and attributes were: idol worship, love for sensuous pleasures, tribal pride, clan warfare, arrogance, disdain and lack of respect for women. 
For example, concerning their lust for sensual pleasures, Shaykh 'Abdul Hameed Siddiqui wrote,
"Drinking had in fact become a second nature with Arabs. Wine and women go together, and as a result of licentious drinking, fornication was very rampant. The caravans which radiated from Makkah with native merchandise to the Byzantine Empire, Syria, Persia and India, returned therefrom with all luxurious habits and vices and imported slave girls from Syria and Iraq who afforded vast opportunities of sensual pleasures to the rich with their dancing and singing and all corruption which usually goes with them. We reproduce below some of the verses which would give an idea of the immoral life which the Arabs of the pre-Islamic period were habituated to leade... 
The old Arab poetry has so many tales to narrate of the drinking orgies of the people of Arabia before the advent of Islaam... 
The heathen Arabs had little regard for the sanctity of matrimonial relations. They took pride in flouting them and describing publicly their adulterous adventures." 
Concerning the status of women in pre-Islamic Arabia, Shaykh 'Abdul Hameed Siddiqui wrote, again based on evidence from pre-Islamic poetry,
"Not only were the female infants buried alive, but those who were spared, led a life of unspeakable misery and wretchedness. They were a sort of marketable commodity which could be sold in the open market to the highest bidder. At the time they were transferred to the custody of their husbands their position was still worsened. Marriage for them was a kind of bondage and the marital rights of the husband were a kind of overlordship. He was free to treat and dispose of his property as he liked." 
The Change in the Arabs Brought about Through the Qur'aan, by the Will of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى
It is clear that the Arabs at the time of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم were wont to drink, make merry and engage in tribal battles. They were knwon to sometimes kill their female babies. However, one finds that in a short span of close to twenty years a movement that started with just one man was able, due to the grace of Alaah سبحانه و تعالى and the miraculous effect of the Qur'aan, to change almost all of the Arabs and non-Arabs in the Arabian peninsula and bind them together into a brotherhood of faith and mercy which was so strong that if any part of this brotherhood was in anguish, the whole brotherhood would be affected negatively. At that time, one could find two people who were from previously antagonistic tribes sharing their wealth and willing to give up their lives for each other. Indeed, one was willing to split half of his wealth and divorce one of his wives for the sake of his new brother who was from a "foreign" tribe. 
Perhaps one of the best descriptions of the change that took place among them can be seen in the famous statement of the noble Companion Sayyiduna Ja'far Ibn Abi Taalib رضي الله عنه who was asked by the Negus of Abyssinia about the mission of the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم. He told him,
"O king, we were an ignorant people, worshipping idols, eating carrion and indulging in sexual pleasures. We teased our neighbours, a brother oppressed his brother, and the strong devoured the weak. At this time a man rose among us صلى الله عليه وسلم, who had already been known to be truthful, noble and honest. This man called us to Islaam. And he taught us to give up worshipping stones, to speak the truth, to refrain from bloodshed, and not to defraud the orphans of their property. He taught us to provide comfort to our neighbours and not to bring slander against chaste women. He enjoined upon us to offer prayers, observe fasts and give alms. We followed him, gave up polytheism and idolatry and refrained from all evil deeds. It is for this new way that our people have become hostile to us and compel us to return to our old misguided life." 
That generation, in turn, took the message to the rest of the world. They were clearly a people who were taken from darkness into light and to the straight path of Allaah. When asked by the Emperor of Persia what brought the Muslims to their lands, two different Companions answered in similar terms: "Allaah has sent us to take whoever wishes from the servitude of mankind to the servitude of Allaah and from the tightness of this world to its expanse and from the injustice of the ways of life [in this world] to the justice of Islaam." 
During the lifetime of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم one can see how these people were turned into a pious generation, fearing Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and hoping for Allaah's سبحانه و تعالى reward. Even when they, as humans, slipped and committed sins, they eagerly repented and turned to Allaah سبحانه و تعالى for His forgiveness. They would much rather face a severe penalty in this life, such as death, than face Allaah with their sins on their hands. This can be seen in the cases of Maa'iz Ibn Maalik al-Aslami رضي الله عنه and the woman called al-Ghaamidiyah رضي الله عنها. Both of them came to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم to admit that they had committed adultery and each asked the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم for the worldly punishment of stoning to death to erase their sins. In the case of al-Ghaamidiyah رضي الله عنها, the Prophet asked her to go back after her confession and to return to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم after she had given birth. She came back with her child in her arms and asked the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم to purify her from her sins. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم then asked her to return after she had weaned the child. Then she returned after some time and told the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم that the child was no longer in need of her breastfeeding. She once again asked for her expiation from her sin. Then, finally, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم had a ditch dug for her and she was stoned to death as an expiation for her sin of adultery. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم then praised her act of repentance. 
The effect of this change in the noble Companions رضي الله عنهم continued long after the death of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. Note the following accounts of the Companions as they sought to spread the message of Islaam to the rest of the world:
"The sterling character and qualities of the Muslim soldiers were once praised by a Roman officer in these words: 'At night you will find them prayerful; during the day you will find them fasting. They keep their promises, order good deeds, supress evil and maintain complete equality among themselves.' Another testified thus: 'They are horsemen by day and ascetics by night. They pay for what they ear in territories under their occupation. They are first to salute when they arrive at a place and are valiant fighters who just wipe out the enemy.' A third said: 'During the night it seems that they do not belong to this wolrd and have no other business than to pray. And during the day, when one sees them mounted on their horses, one feels that they have been doing nothing else all of their lives. They are great archers and great lancers, yet they are so devoutly religious and remember God so much and so often that one can hardly hear talk about anything else in their company.'" 
Why Doesn't the Qur'aan Have the Same Effect Today?
William Ewart Gladstone, four-time Prime Minister of Great Britain, is famous for telling the English Parliament, "As long as this Qur'aan exists, Europe will never be able to conquer the Islamic East." Similarly, the French Colonial Governor of Algeria said, on the occasion fo one hudred years of French occupation of Algeria, "It is a must to remove the Arabic Qur'aan from their presence and to remove the Arabic language from their tongues in order for us to have victory over them." 
Actually, many of the enemies of Islaam have perceived an even more important point: It is not necessary to physically remove the Qur'aan from the hands of the Muslims. They only need to remove the Qur'aan from being central to the life of the Muslim. It is possible for people - Muslims - to possess the Qur'aan and still not receive the benefits, guidance and blessings that should go hand in hand with the Qur'aan.
The reason why the Qur'aan does not have the same effect today has nothing to do with the essential nature of the Qur'aan - as it will always be the the true guidance that is ever available to take mankind from darkness into light. The source of the problem is in the way that many of today's believers approach the Qur'aan. The possible reasons for this kind of situation could be many. In general, though, four stand out glaringly:
(1) Some Muslims emphasise the secondary aspects of the Qur'aan while ignoring its more important primary aspects;
(2) Related to (1), too many Muslims do not recognise and understand the primary goals of the Qur'aan; therefore, they read it but do not get out of it what it desires for them;
(3) In addition, some Muslims do not approach the Qur'aan in the proper manner, missing the essential link between what it teaches and how it is to affect mankind; and
(4) Even when the above obstacles or problems are overcome, still some Muslims do not interpret the Qur'aan in the proper manner and, hence, although they read it they do not get its correct teachings from it.
These issues are truly the heart of the matter. 
 Imaam Ibn Katheer رحمه الله: Tafseer al-Qur'aan al-'Adheem, p. 574.
 See Shaykh Abul Hasan 'Ali Nadwi رحمه الله: Islam and the World (International Islamic Federation of Student Organizations, 1983), pp. 13-44. Shaykh Nadwi has also quoted a number of Western and non-Muslim sources that described the plight of mankind in the sixth and seventh centuries of the Christian era.
 Ibid., p. 13.
 Ibid., p. 14.
 Ibid., p. 17
 See Shaykh 'Abdul Hameed Siddiqui: The Life of Muhammad (Lahore, Pakistan: Islamic Publications, Ltd. 1975), pp. 4-36.
 Ibid., p. 15.
 Ibid., p. 17.
 Ibid., pp. 20-21.
 When the Muslims migrated to Madeenah, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم established a bond of brotherhood between members of the new emigrants and members of the residents of Madeenah. Such a bond was established between Sayyiduna 'Abdur Rahmaan Ibn 'Awf رضي الله عنه, an emigrant from Makkah, and Sayyiduna Sa'd Ibn ar-Rabee' رضي الله عنه, one of the richest people of Madeenah. Sa'd رضي الله عنه offered to split his wealth with 'Abdur Rahmaan Ibn 'Awf رضي الله عنه and divorce one of his two wives so that he could marry one her. Sayyiduna 'Abdur Rahmaan Ibn 'Awf رضي الله عنه, also in a brotherly gesture, politely turned down Sayyiduna Sa'd's رضي الله عنه offer and asked him to point him to the market place wherein he could work to gain his own wealth and be able to marry on his own. (Recorded by Imaam al-Bukhaaree رحمه الله.)
 The translation of this statement was taken from 'Allaamah Shibli Nu'mani رحمه الله: Seeratun-Nabi (Lahore, Pakistan: Kazi Publications, 1979), p. 211. The incident was recorbed by Ibn Ishaaq in al-Maghaazi and Imaam Ahmad. Its chain is saheeh according to Shaykh al-Albaani رحمه الله. See Shaykh al-Albaani's رحمه الله footnotes to Shaykh Muhammad al-Ghazzaali رحمه الله: Fiqhus-Seerah (Qatar: Idaarah Ihyaa at-Turaath al-Islaami, n.d.), p. 126.
 Imaam Ismaa'eel Ibn Katheer رحمه الله: Al-Bidaayah wan-Nihaayah (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-'Ilmiyya, n.d.), vol. 7, pp. 39-40.
 The story of both Maa'iz رضي الله عنه and al-Ghaamidiyyah رضي الله عنها are recorded by Imaam Muslim رحمه الله.
 Quoted from Shaykh Abul Hasan 'Ali Nadwi رحمه الله: Islam and the World, p. 81. See also Imaam Ibn Katheer: al-Bidaayah wan-Nihaayah, vol. 7, p. 53.
 Shaykh Jamaalud-Deen Zarabozo: How to Approach and Understand the Quran, pp. 35-48.
There are many Muslims who believe in and apply the Qur'aan, however, they do not regularly sit and read it. They may have enough of it memorised to perform their prayers, but beyond that they do not have much knowledge of the Qur'aan. This lackadaisical approach to reading the Qur'aan is, sadly, not that uncommon. The Standing Committee of Scholarly Research and Religious Rulings in Saudi Arabia received the following question and others similar to it:
"What is the ruling concerning reading the Qur'aan, is it obligatory or recommended, as we have asked about its ruling and some have said that it is not obligatory. [In other words] if a person reads it, there is no harm and if he does not read it, there is no [sin] upon him. If that were the case, then many would leave it. So what is the ruling concerning avoiding it and what is the ruling concerning reading it?"
The response of the committee made of Shaykh 'Abdul 'Azeez Ibn Baaz رحمه الله, Shaykh 'Abdur Razzaaq al-'Afeefi رحمه الله, Shaykh 'Abdullaah Ibn Ghudayaan رحمه الله and Shaykh 'Abdullaah Ibn Qa'ood رحمه الله was,
"What is legislated with respect to a Muslim is for him to keep up in reciting the Qur'aan and to recite it often according to his ability, in compliance with the generalness of the command in Allaah's سبحانه و تعالى words,
'Recite, [O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم], what has been revealed to you of the Book [the Qur'aan] and establish prayer.' [Sooratul-'Ankaboot, 29:45],
'And recite, [O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم], what has been revealed to you of the Book [the Qur'aan] of your Lord (i.e. recite it, understand and follow its teachings and act on its orders and preach it to men).' [Sooratul-Kahf, 18:27],
and His statement about His Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم,
'[Say, O Muhammad], "I have only been commanded to worship the Lord of this city [Makkah], Who made it sacred and to Whom [belongs] all things. And I am commanded to be of the Muslims [those who submit to Allaah]. And to recite the Quran." So whosoever receives guidance, receives it for the good of his ownself, and whosoever goes astray, say (to him): "I am only one of the warners."' [Sooratun-Naml, 27:91-92].
The Messenger of Allaah (may Allaah exalt his mention and grant him peace) also said, 'Recite the Qur'aan, for it will come as one who intercedes for its companion on the Day of Resurrection.' Recorded by Imaam Muslim رحمه الله in his Saheeh. [The Muslim must also] avoid any form of avoiding and cutting off from it in any way as mentioned by the scholars. [Then the reply quotes Imaam Ibn Katheer's رحمه الله commentary to Sooratul-Furqaan and the meaning of mahjoor similar to the discussion given above]." 
It may be the case that some sincere Muslims find it difficult to read the Qur'aan. Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan حفظه الله was asked the following question: "I try to read the Noble Qur'aan and I very much love the Book of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى but I find it very difficult for me. I am not able to complete the recitation. What is the solution?" Shaykh al-Fawzaan حفظه الله replied that first the person must seek refuge in Allaah سبحانه و تعالى from the accursed Shaytaan, as Allaah سبحانه و تعالى has mentioned in Sooratun-Nahl, 16:98-100. That is the most important first step. Secondly, the person should not simply read the Qur'aan but he should study it and ponder over its meaning. This will increase his fear of Allaah and his desire to read more of the Qur'aan. The reader's concern should not be to finish a certain portion of the Qur'aan or a certain soorah but it should be to read, understand and ponder over the meanings of the verses. 
There is no question that the one who believes in the Qur'aan and applies it whenever he is told of what it contains is in a better position that one who reads the Qur'aan and does not apply it. Indeed, he is even in a better position that the one who memorises the Qur'aan yet does not apply it. However, he may be missing the great effects that the Qur'aan could have on his faith and his life. By constantly reading the Qur'an, even the same soorahs over and over again, one may be enlightened and get some insight that he would have missed otherwise. Hence, those who believe in the Qur'aan and apply it yet do not take the time to read it are perhaps preventing themselves from getting even greater benefit from the Qur'aan. Such people should turn to the Qur'aan and read it and allow it to have its full effect upon them and try to gain as much guidance from it as they can.
Furthermore, when one does not read the Qur'aan on a regular basis, it becomes easy for him to forget some of the teachings of the Qur'aan or he may remember those that he applies on a regular basis but he may forget those that he needs for specific occasions. In fact, the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم said, "Attend to this Qur'aan [and keep refreshing your knowledge of it], for by the One in Whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, it is more liable to escape [from one's mind] than a camel that is tied down." 
Based on this hadeeth, Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan حفظه الله concludes that a Muslim should recite the entire Qur'aan, at the minimum, at least once a month. 
Allaah knows best. 
 Ahmad Ibn 'Abdur Razzaaq ad-Darweesh, ed., Fataawaa al-Lajnah ad-Daa'imah lil-Buhooth al-'Ilmiyyah wal-Iftaa' (Riyadh: Maktabah al-Ma'arif, 1412 A.H.), vol. 4, pp. 66-67.
 Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan حفظه الله: Muhaadhiraat fil-'Aqeedah wad-Da'wah (Riyadh: Daar al-Aasimah, 1415 A.H.), vol. 2, p. 306.
 Recorded by Imaam Muslim رحمه الله.
 Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan حفظه الله: Muhaadhiraat fil-'Aqeedah wad-Da'wah (Riyadh: Daar al-Aasimah, 1415 A.H.), vol. 2, p. 296.
 How to Approach and Understand the Qur'aan, pp. 56-59.
Possessing or Reading the Qur'aan for the Sake of Baraka (Blessings) Without the Complete Intention to Act upon Its Teachings
There is no question that blessings may descend upon the person who reads the Qur'aan - unfortunately, though, as one looks around the Muslim world witnessing people reading the Qur'aan in the Masaajid, seeing the Qur'aan recited to begin meetings and conferences, seeing the Qur'aan recited at wedding ceremonies, seeing the Qur'aan used to begin and end the broadcast day on television or radio, or seeing the Qur'aan recited over the deceased, one gets the strong feeling that the main reason that the Qur'aan is being resorted to today among Muslims is exactly for this purpose: for the sake of getting blessings from the Qur'aan.
There is no doubt that blessings may descend upon a person due to his reading of the Qur'aan. The following hadeeth demonstrates this fact: The Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم stated, "Which of you would like to go out every morning to Buthaan or al-'Aqeeq  and bring back two camels without committing any sin or cutting the ties of kinship?" We [the noble Companions رضي الله عنهم] said, "We would love to do that." He then said, "Don't you go to the Masjid and teach or read two verses from the Book of Allaah, the Majestic and Glorious, and that is better for the person that two camels; and three [verses] is better for him than three [camels]; and four [verses] is better for him than four [camels] and so on." 
Sayyiduna Usaid Ibn Hudayr رضي الله عنه stated that he was reciting Sooratul-Baqarah at night with his horse tied down next to him. The horse stirred, so he stopped reading and the horse stopped moving. Then he read again and the horse one again jolted. He stopped reading and the horse once again became still. Again he read and the horse stirred. So he stopped reading the horse became calm. He decided to leave because his son Yahya was close to him and he was afraid something might happen to him. The next morning, he told the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم about what occurred. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم told him, "Recite, O Ibn Hudayr." Sayyiduna Ibn Hudayr رضي الله عنه replied, "But I was afraid for Yahya, O Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم, as the horse was close to him, so I raised my head and went to him. When I raised my head and looked toward the sky, I saw a cloud containing what looked like lamps." The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم told him, "Do you know what that was?" Ibn Hudayr replied, "No." He told him, "Those were angels coming close to your voice. Had you kept reciting till morning, the people would have seen it and they would not have disappeared." 
Something similar to what happened to Sayyiduna Ibn Hudayr رضي الله عنه also happened to Sayyiduna al-Baraa رضي الله عنه. In his case, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم told him that the cloud he saw was frightening his horse was the tranquility that descends with the reading of the Qur'aan. 
Furthermore, there is a special reward for reading the Qur'aan. The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, "Whoever reads a harf [word or letter] of the Book of Allaah shall have a good deed [rewarded for him] and every good deed receives a tenfold [reward]. I do not say that Alif Laam Meem is a harf, but Alif is a harf, Laam is a harf and Meem is a harf." 
No one can doubt that this is a true characteristic of reading the Qur'aan that every Muslim must believe in. However, suppose someone reads the Qur'aan just for the sake of reading it and hoping to achieve these blessings. 
That is, his sole purpose is to receive the ten rewards for each letter he recites or he is in search of tranquility to come over him. He does not go beyond that mere superficial reading and try to discover what Allaah سبحانه و تعالى is asking from him in the Qur'aan. Is such a person actually reading the Qur'aan in the proper manner? Has he understood what the Qur'aan is actually intended for?
Imaam al-Ghazzaali رحمه الله includes the person who reads in this nature as someone who is getting nothing from his reading but the movement of his tongue. 
How could a person read the verses that discuss, for example, the harm of disobeying Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and not have any feeling of fear in his heart? If a person is reading the Qur'aan in that manner, one cannot even truly say he is reading it, in the sense that if one reads a sign and has not comprehended anything the sign says, then he has not actually read the sign.
Sayyiduna Anas Ibn Maalik رضي الله عنه stated, "Perhaps one is reciting the Qur'aan and the Qur'aan is cursing him." 
In other words, he is reading the words of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, such as the following,
"Certainly, the curse of Allaah is upon the wrongdoers." [Soorah Hood, 11:18], while he himself is one of the wrongdoers referred to in the verse due to his lack of applying what he is reading. 
Indeed, those who recite the Qur'aan with their tongues only supposedly for the sake of blessings while never taking the time to understand and apply the Qur'aan are very much akin to another people whom Allaah سبحانه و تعالى describes in the Qur'aan:
"The similitude of those who were entrusted with the Torah but who subsequently failed in its (obligations) is that of a donkey which carries huge tomes (of books but understands them not)." [Sooratul-Jumu'ah, 62:5] 
According to 'Abdul-Ghani, the following verses also apply to such complacent readers of the Qur'aan,
"O you who have believed! Why do you say that which you do not do? Most hateful it is with Allaah that you say that which you do not do." (Sooratus-Saff, 61:2-3)
These verses were revealed blaming those Muslims who said that they wanted to perform the act most beloved to Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and yet when the command for Jihaad was revealed, they found it difficult to perform that act although it was beloved to Allaah سبحانه و تعالى. 'Abdul-Ghani then asks what must be the situation of the person who reads the Qur'aan and yet he is very far away from its teachings, not fulfilling its commands and remaining away from what it proscribes. His is a terrible state as he claims to believe in the Qur'aan, he reads, he himself is stating what it is saying and yet it has no effect on him whatsoever. 
In fact, some Muslims today may be content with reading the Qur'aan for years without ever taking the time to understand what they are reading to make sure that they are applying it properly. This is in stark contrast to the way of the noble Companions رضي الله عنهم, those who followed the guidance of the Qur'aan and earned Allaah's سبحانه و تعالى pleasure.
Sayyiduna 'Abdullaah Ibn Mas'ood رضي الله عنه said, "When one among us learned ten verses, he would not go beyond them until he knew their meanings and he acted upon them." Similarly, Abu 'Abdur-Rahmaan as-Sulami رحمه الله stated, "Those who used to read the Qur'aan to us narrated to me that they would learn from the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and if they would learn ten verses, they would not depart from them until they knew what they contained of deeds. Hence, we learned the Qur'aan and the deeds together." 
Sayyiduna 'Abdullaah Ibn 'Umar رضي الله عنهما stated, "We lived during a long period and each of us was granted faith before the [revelation of many parts of the] Qur'aan.  Then when a soorah was revealed to Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم, he learned its lawful and its unlawful, its commands and threats, and his stance toward it. Then a time came when I saw a man who was given the Qur'aan prior to his being granted faith; he would read the entire Qur'aan from the opening soorah to the end without realising what are its commandments and threats and what should his stance be towards it and he would scatter it like the scattering of one flying away." 
The people who read the Qur'aan in this fashion are not fulfilling the proper requirements of reciting the Qur'aan; hence one can doubt if they will achieve any blessings from their improper type of reading. Allaah سبحانه و تعالى says in the Qur'aan,
"Those to whom We gave the Book recite it as it should be recited. They are the ones who believe therein. And whosoever disbelieves in it, those are they who are the losers." [Sooratul-Baqarah, 2:121]
Sayyiduna 'Abdullaah Ibn Mas'ood رضي الله عنه said about, "recite as it should be recited," "By the One in whose hand is my soul, the proper reciting is to treat permissible what it states as permissible, to treat forbidden what it states as forbidden, to recite it in the way Allaah سبحانه و تعالى revealed it, not to distort any word from its proper meaning, and not to interpret it in a way that it is not to be interpreted." 
Furthermore, in many of the ahaadeeth of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم in which he decribed what accrues to one who reads the Qur'aan, he stated the conditional factor that one reads it and also acts upon it. For example, the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم said, "The Qur'aan will be brought on the Day of Resurrection along with its people who used to act according to it with Sooratul-Baqarah and Soorah Aali 'Imraan preceding them. They are like two clouds or two black canopies with light between them or like two flocks of birds in ranks pleading for the one who recited them." 
The Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم also said, "The example of the believer who recites the Qur'aan and acts upon it is like that of a citron which tastes good and smells good. And he who does not recite the Qur'aan by acts upon it is like a date which is good in taste but has no smell." 
The essential factor that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم mentioned in both of these examples is that the person acts upon the Qur'aan. The real blessings and virtues are found in the one who acts upon the Qur'aan and not the one who simply reads it without following up that reading by enacting what he has read. 
 These were two places outside of Madeenah in which camel markets were held.
 Recorded by Imaam Muslim رحمه الله.
 Recorded by Imaam al-Bukhaari رحمه الله in mu'allaq* form and by Imaam Muslim رحمه الله.
* A mu’aallaq (lit. suspended) hadeeth is one in which one or more narrators are omitted from the beginning of its isnaad by the muhaddith who compiled the book.
Al-Haafiz ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in Nuzhat al-Nazr (108-109):
Among the forms of mu’allaq hadeeths are:
· Where the entire isnaad is omitted, so it says for example: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said…
· Where the entire isnaad is omitted and only the name of the Sahaabi or the names of the Sahaabi and Taabi’i are left.
· Where the name of the one who narrated it is omitted and it is attributed to someone who came above him (in the isnaad). End quote.
Every hadeeth which is mentioned in the books with the isnaad omitted and which is attributed to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), without being attributed to any of the books of Sunnah, is a mu’allaq hadeeth. If the hadeeth has an uninterrupted isnaad (mawsool, lit. connected) in the books of Sunnah, or the compiler who narrated it as a mu’allaq report has given the uninterrupted isnaad elsewhere in his books, then it seems that the one who quoted it as a mu’allaaq report did so only for the sake of brevity, and describing it as mu’allaq does not mean that it is regarded as da’eef (weak). There is no dispute on this point among the scholars.
You will come across this a great deal in Saheeh al-Bukhaari.
Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in al-Nukat (1/325):
If the hadeeth has only one isnaad, or it includes a number of rulings and needs to be repeated, then in that case he may quote only the text of the hadeeth, or may shorten the isnaad. End quote.
Al-Suyooti said in Tadreeb al-Raawi (1/117):
Most of the reports of this type in al-Bukhaari appear with the full isnaad (mawsool) elsewhere in his book, but he narrated them in mu’allaq form for the sake of brevity and so as to avoid repetition. End quote.
The ruling on a mu’allaq hadeeth is – as in the case of any other hadeeth – that it is essential to collect and examine all its isnaads. After that, the ruling must be one of the following:
1 – If we cannot find an isnaad for it in any book, then in that case the ruling is that the hadeeth is da’eef (weak), because nothing is known about the narrators who have been omitted from the isnaad; some of them may be weak or liars.
For example: al-Haafiz Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr narrated in a mu’allaq report that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “There is no Muslim who passes by the grave of his brother whom he knew in this world, and greets him with salaam, but Allaah restores his soul to him so that he may return the greeting.”
The scholars researched this mu'allaq report but they could not find an isnaad for it in any book. Everyone who mentioned it quoted it from the mu’allaq report of Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr, so basically it is a da’eef hadeeth, but some scholars regarded it as saheeh, following Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr who narrated it as a mu’allaq report but classed it as saheeh.
2 – If we find the hadeeth with an uninterrupted (mawsool) isnaad in another book of hadeeth, then in that case we have to examine the isnaad, and we judge it on the basis of the principles that the scholars have set out for examination of hadeeth. In judging the status of a mu’allaq report we may also the methodology which is stated in the books of Sunnah, as follows:
Some of the scholars have their own methodologies of quoting mu’allaq hadeeth, which were either stated by the scholar himself or defined after him by other scholars who studied his books and examined his methods.
From what the scholars have said about the methodology of Imam al-Bukhaari in narrating mu’allaq reports, we can divide his mu’allaq reports (of which there are one hundred and sixty) into two categories:
1- Those which were narrated in a decisive form, such as saying “He narrated…” and so on.
The ruling on these mu’allaq reports is that they are saheeh or hasan, because it is not possible for him to state that in a decisive form unless it was saheeh in his view. Rather there are some reports which meet his conditions but he reported them in mu’allaq form.
The scholars made an exception from this principle in the case of just one hadeeth, which is reported in mu'allaq form in the Book of Zakaah (2/525):
Tawoos said: Mu’aadh (may Allaah be pleased with him) said to the people of Yemen: Bring an item of clothing, a shirt or other garment as zakaah instead of barley and corn; it will be easier for you, and better for the companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) in Madeenah.
They said: The isnaad as far as Tawoos is saheeh, but Tawoos did not hear it from Mu’aadh.
2- Those which are narrated as mu’allaq in a “defective” form, such as saying “It was narrated,” “it was said” etc.
Some such reports may be saheeh or hasan, and they may be reported as mu’allaq because he did not narrated them word for word, rather he narrated the meaning.
They may also be slightly weak (da’eef), and the narrator may point out the weakness by saying “it is not saheeh.”
(Summarized from al-Nukat by al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar (1/343-345); Tadreeb al-Raawi by al-Suyooti (1/117-121)
With regard to Saheeh Muslim:
There are only five mu’allaq reports in this book, which Imam Muslim narrates with one full isnaad, then after that he narrates them as mu’allaq reports with an isnaad other than the one that he gave in full, for an academic purpose that Imam Muslim wanted to achieve. They have been compiled by Shaykh Rasheed al-Deen al-‘Attaar in an essay that has been published, in which he explains their sources and saheeh isnaads.
After the Introduction, there is no mu’allaq report in Saheeh Muslim for which he does not give a different isnaad elsewhere, except for one hadeeth. Muslim said in hadeeth no. 369:
Al-Layth ibn Sa’d narrated from Ja’far ibn Rabee’ah from ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn Hormuz from ‘Umayr the freed slave of Ibn ‘Abbaas that he heard him say: ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn Yasaar, the freed slave of Maymoonah, the wife of the Prophet (peace be upon him), and I came to Abu’l-Jahm ibn al-Haarith ibn al-Simmah al-Ansaari. Abu’l-Jahm said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him) came from the direction of Bi’r Jamal and was met by a man who greeted him with salaam. The Messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him) did not return the greeting until he went to a wall and wiped his face and hands, then he returned the greeting.
See: al-Nukat by al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar (1/346-353)
This hadeeth is found with the uninterrupted isnaad via al-Layth ibn Sa’d in Saheeh al-Bukhaari (337) and Abu Dawood (329), and elsewhere.
 Recorded by Imaam at-Tirmidhi رحمه الله and others. According to Shaykh al-Albaani رحمه الله, it is saheeh. See, Saheehul-Jaami', vol. 2, pp. 1103-1104.
 Some people simply "possess" the Qur'aan, without reading it, supposedly for the sake of blessings. 'Abdul 'Azeez Mustafa describes this, what he calles a common practice today, as one of the horrendous ways in which the Qur'aan is being abandoned and avoided. People put their copy of the Qur'aan on a mantle or in the front or back of their cars and the copy becomes filled with dust witnessing that it is in fact being avoided and abandoned. See, Sharh Asbaab al-'Asharah al-Moojibah li-Muhibbah Allaah Kamaa Adaha al-Imaam Ibn al-Qayyim (Riyadh: Daar Taibah, 1415 A.H.), p. 31.
 Cf., Imaam Muhammad az-Zabeedi رحمه الله, Itihaaf as-Saadah al-Muttaqeen bi Sharh Ihyaa 'Uloom ad-Deen (Beirut: Daar al-Kutub al-'Ilmiyyah, 1989), vol. 5, p. 113. Imaam al-Ghazzaali رحمه الله includes those who read the Qur'aan in this manner as among those people referred to in the verse,
"And there are among them (Jews) unlettered people, who know not the Book, but (see therein their own) desires, and they do nothing but conjecture." [Sooratul-Baqarah, 2:78).
According to Imaam al-Ghazzaali رحمه الله, thise verse means that they simply know how to read or recite the Book but they do not know its actual meanings. Cf., Itihaaf as-Saadah al-Muttaqeen bi Sharh Ihyaa 'Uloom ad-Deen, vol. 5, p. 115.
 This is a well known statement. It is quoted in 'Abdul Hameed Ibn Baadees, Tafseer Ibn Baadees fee Majaalis at-Tadhkeer min Kamaal al-Hakeem al-Khabeer (Beirut: Daar al-Kutub al-'Ilmiyyah, 1995), p. 35.
 Unfortunately, this correct concept has led some to go to the opposite extreme. For example, someone was quoted as saying, "I am sometimes determined to read the Qur'aan but when I remember what it contains, I fear [Allah's] anger, so [instead of reading the Qur'aan], I resort to extolling Allaah's perfection and seeking His forgiveness." (Quoted in Itihaaf as-Saadah al-Muttaqeen bi Sharh Ihyaa 'Uloom ad-Deen, vol. 5, p. 116.)
Similarly, Ibn Baadees refers to the claim of some that for the "common folk" it is better for them to send prayers (salaah and salaam) upon the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم than to read the Qur'aan because when they send prayers upon the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم they will be rewarded without any sin, while if a sinner reads the Qur'aan he will be even more sinful since he is going against what he is reading. Ibn Baadees provides a lengthy refutation of this misconception. One of the most important points that he makes is that the one who is "cursed by the Qur'aan while reading it" is not being cursed because he is reading it. However, he is being cursed by it due to his sins, and that curse is present whether the person is actually reading the Qur'aan or not. (pp. 35-39.)
Actually, such a reader must change his intention and approach to the Qur'aan. He should not read the Qur'aaan simply for the sake of blessings but he should read it to gain its guidance, learn it and apply it in his life. If he studies the Qur'aan sincerely, it should affect his heart and that should lead him to discontinue his sins and offences. In fact, it is the best means to help a person change his ways and follow the Straight Path.
 Some Muslims get very upset when verses referring to Jews or Christians are quoted in reference to Muslims, as if there is no way that Muslims should ever be likened to Jews or Christians. Actually, as Imaam Ibn Ashoor رحمه الله and Imaam az-Zamakhshari رحمه الله point out, many verses that are directly talking about the disbelievers are indirectly giving a lesson or a warning to the believers and that is, in reality, their purpose. Muslims today must fact the reality that they may be walking in the footsteps of the disbelievers, as the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم stated in a hadeeth.* Hence, one must understand these verses and their implications for the behaviour of the Muslims of today. Cf., Imaam Muhammad at-Taahir Ibn Ashoor, Tafseer at-Tahreer wat-Tanweer (no publication information given), vol. 1, p. 37.
* Sayyiduna Abu Sa'eed al-Khudri رضي الله عنه narrated that the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: "Indeed, you will follow the practices of those who came before you - handspan by handspan, armspan by armspan - to the point that if they follow the lizard into its hole, you would follow them in this." We said: "O Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم, are you referring to the Jews and Christians?" He صلى الله عليه وسلم replied: "Who else?" [Reported by Imaam Ahmad رحمه الله, Imaam al-Bukhari رحمه الله and Imaam Muslim رحمه الله.]
 Sayyid Sa'eed 'Abdul-Ghani, Haqeeqatul-Walaa' wal-Baraa' fee Mu'taqad Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa'ah, (Beirut: Daar Ibn Hazm, 1998), p. 73.
 Quoted in Imaam Ibn Katheer رحمه الله, Tafseer al-Qur'aan al-'Adheem, p. 14.
 This portion of his statement has been interpreted to mean that they had the belief that the Qur'aan is to be applied and submitted to before much of the Qur'aan was revealed. Later peoples have the entire Qur'aan but they are lacking in that attitude. Hence, their application of the Qur'aan is not comparable to the application of the noble Companions. Cf., al-Haafidh al-Hakami رحمه الله, An-Naseehah li-Kitaabillaah, (Ad-Dammaam, Saudi Arabia: Daar Ibn al-Jawzi, 1995), p. 86.
 Recorded by Imaam al-Bayhaqi رحمه الله and Imaam al-Haakim رحمه الله.
 Quoted in Imaam Ibn Katheer رحمه الله, Tafseer al-Qur'aan al-'Adheem, p. 114.
 Recorded by Imaam Muslim رحمه الله.
 Recorded by Imaam al-Bukhaari رحمه الله.
 How to Approach and Understand the Quran, pp. 59-67.
Shaykhul-Hadeeth Maulana Muhammad Zakariyyah Kandhlawi رحمه الله
Sayyiduna ‘Abdullaah ibn Mas‘ood رضي الله عنه said, “If you seek knowledge then ponder into the meanings of the Qur’an.”
The Qur’an is a trove of sacred knowledge and guidance for all times, but to acquire this knowledge one must fulfill the necessary conditions and proprieties of the Qur’an. Unfortunately, we live in an era where once a person learns a bit of the Arabic language and memorizes the translation of the Qur’an, he thinks he has the right to make his own opinions regarding the Qur’an. The Blessed Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “Whosoever explains the Qur’an from his own opinion is wrong even if he is right.” 
Modernists generally ignore the opinions and exegesis of the pious predecessors [as-salafus-saalihoon] issuing fatwas that are based on their own whims. In our time, the modernist desires to embody all the greatest attributes in every field. If he can write simple Arabic, articulate himself in his native language, or deliver impromptu speeches, he sees himself the teacher of Junaid and Shibli in Tasawwuf and also a mujtahid in fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence). He introduces new ideas in the exegesis of the Qur’an without concern for the opinions of the pious predecessors or that his opinions contradict the ahaadeeth of the Blessed Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم.
He is whimsical in matters of Deen. He states his heart’s desire no matter how much it contradicts the Qur’an and the Sunna. Despite this, no one discredits him, protests his incompetence, or shows him his deviation.
If one gathers the courage to say, “This is against the teachings of the pious predecessors,” he is immediately branded a sycophant of the pious predecessors. He is condemned as ultra-orthodox, anti intellectual, and someone not attuned to the modern world. Conversely, if a person rejects the explanations of the pious predecessors and lays out his own views on matters of Deen he is looked upon as an authority [muhaqqiq] in the Deen.
Fifteen Sciences of the Qur'an
This is despite the fact that the exegetists [mufassireen] listed fifteen sciences that must be mastered before one can authoritatively interpret the Qur’an. These are:
1)Classical Arabic is how one learns the meaning of each word. Mujaahid said, “It is not permissible for one who holds faith in Allah سبحانه و تعالى and the Day of Judgment to speak on the Qur’an without learning classical Arabic.” In this respect, it should be known that classical Arabic must be mastered in its entirety because one word may have various meanings. A person may only know two or three meanings to one word whereas the meaning of that same word in the Qur’an may be altogether different.
2)The Science of Arabic Syntax [‘Ilm an-Nahw] is important because any change in the diacritical marks affects the meaning, and understanding the diacritical marks depends on the science of Arabic Syntax.
3)The Science of Arabic Morphology [‘Ilm as-Sarf] is important because changes in the conjugations of nouns and verbs change the meaning. Ibn Faaris said, “A person who misses out on Arabic morphology has missed out on a lot.” Zamakhshari writes in ‘Ujoobaat at-Tafseer that one man recited the aayah: "[Think of] the day when We will call every people with their Imaam [book of deeds]." (17:71) Because of his ignorance of Arabic morphology, he mistranslated the aayah as: "[Think of ] the day when We will call every people by their mothers." He thought the word imaam, which is singular, was the plural of umm [mother]. Had he known morphology he would know that imaam is not the plural of umm.
4) The Science of Arabic Etymology [‘Ilm al-Ishtiqaaq] should be learned because sometimes one word derives from two root words, the meaning of each root word being different. This science explains the reciprocal relation and radical composition between the root and derived word. For example, mas-h derives from the root word masah which means ‘to feel and touch something with a wet hand,’ but also derives from the root word maseeha which means ‘to measure.’
5) Arabic Semantics [‘Ilm al-Ma‘aani] is the science which teaches about phrase construction and its implications on meaning.
6) The Science of Expression [‘Ilm al-Bayaan] is the science by which one learns the similes, metaphors, metonymies, evident [dhuhur] and hidden meanings [khafi] of the Arabic language.
7) The Science of Rhetoric [‘Ilm al-Badee‘] is the science through which one learns to interpret sentences which reveal the beauty and eloquence of the spoken and written word. The above mentioned three sciences are categorized as the Science of Eloquence [‘Ilm al-Balaagha]. It is one of the most indispensable tools for the exegete because he is able to reveal the miraculous nature of the Qur’an through these three sciences.
8) The Science of Arabic Pronunciation [‘Ilm al-Qiraa’a] is important because one reading [qiraa’a] of the Qur’an may differ in meaning from another, and one learns to favour one reading over another based on the difference in the meanings.
9) The Science of Islamic Doctrine [‘Ilm al-‘Aqaa'id] is important because we cannot attribute the literal meaning of certain ayas to Allah سبحانه و تعالى. In this case, one will be required to interpret the aayah, as in the aayah, "Allah’s hand is over their hands." (48:10)
10) The Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence [Usool al-Fiqh] are important so one understands the methodology of legal derivation and interpretation.
11) The Science of Circumstances of Revelation [Asbaab an-Nuzool] is the field by which one learns the circumstances in which an aayah is revealed. It is an important science because the meaning of the aayah is more clearly understood once the circumstances in which it was revealed is known. Sometimes, the meaning of an aayah is wholly dependent on its historical background.
12) The Science of Abrogated and Abrogating Aayaat [‘Ilm an-Naskh] is important because abrogated rulings must be differentiated from the applied rulings.
13) Islamic Jurisprudence is important because one cannot gain an overview of any issue until he has understood its particulars.
14) The Science of Ahaadeeth [‘Ilm al-Hadith] is important because the ahaadeeth explain general [mujmal] aayaat.
15) The Endowed Knowledge [al-‘Ilm al-Laduni] which Allah سبحانه و تعالى grants to his closest servants. They are the servants indicated in the hadith: “Allah سبحانه و تعالى will grant one who acts upon whatever he knows, from a knowledge he never knew.” 
Foundations of the Sharee'ah
The authorities on the principles of fiqh [usooliyyoon] write that to follow the Sharee'ah, one must have knowledge of the four foundations upon which the Sharee'ah rests. They are:
3) [Scholarly] Consensus [Ijmaa‘]
4) Analogical Deduction [Qiyaas] by which one derives rulings from the above three.
Conditions for Acting in Accordance with the Qur'an
Then, to act in accordance with the Qur’an one must know four things:
I) The words of the Qur’an [nadhm al-Qur’ān], their conjugations and root words. They are of four types:
1) The general [‘aamm]
2) The specific [khaas]
3) The homonym [mushtarak]
4) The interpreted meaning [mu’awwal]
II) The methodology Allah u uses to present his message in the Qur’an [wujooh al-bayaan]. This is also of four types:
1) The manifest [dhaahir]
2) The second type of manifest [nass]
3) The unequivocal [mufassar]
4) The transparent [muhkam]
III) Then, these four types are contrasted with four other types:
1) The obscure [khafi]
2) The difficult [mushkil]
3) The ambivalent [mujmal]
4) The intricate [mutashaabih]
IV) Knowledge of the application of the words of the Qur’an [nadhm al-Qur’ān]. This is also of four types:
1) The literal [haqeeqi]
2) The metaphorical [majaaz]
3) The plain [sareeh]
4) The allusive [kinaaya]
V) Then, methodology of understanding the meanings of the Qur’an. This is also of four types:
1) The explicit meaning [‘ibaarat an-nass]
2) The allusive meaning [ishaarat an-nass]
3) The inferred meaning [dalaalat an-nass]
4) The required meaning [iqtidaa’ an-nass]
After all of this, there is one more category that encompasses all the above. This category is also of four types:
1) Sources of Derivation [ma’khadh al-ishtiqaaq] is knowledge of the sources from which the derivation is made.
2) Knowledge of the terminological concepts of the sources of derivation.
3) Knowledge of the sequence of the sources of derivation.
4) Knowledge of the rulings derived from the sources of derivation.
It is important to know when an order [amr] indicates obligation, permissibility, desirability, and when it is merely for repetition. In the Qur’an, an order may require immediate fulfillment of the order [adaa] or sometimes belated fulfillment [qadaa] while at other times vice versa. Furthermore, an order can be general or restricted. A restricted order is of four types. One will find the details of this in the books on the subject of the principles of Islamic Jurisprudence [usool al-fiqh]. 
Mu‘aadh ibn Jabal رضي الله عنه said in a hadeeth of Abu Dawood: "After you, the times of tribulation [fitan] will appear; there will be an abundance of wealth and the Qur’an will be opened by everyone: a believer, hypocrite, a man, a woman, old and young, slaves and freemen will all read it. Then one amongst them will say, ‘Why don’t people follow me though I am learned in the Qur’an? They will not follow me until I bring something new.’" Mu‘aadh رضي الله عنه then said, "Save yourself from the innovations [bid‘a] because every innovation will be a deviation." 
According to the above mentioned hadeeth, those who make grandiose claims about spreading the message of the Qur’an around the world are deviant people. Translating the Qur’an for the blessing of translation is good. However, to derive rulings without sound knowledge of the different sciences [as quoted above] is forbidden. Rulings can only be derived when one gains complete knowledge of those sciences which are necessary for deriving rulings from the Qur’an. In ad-Durr al-Manthoor, it is narrated from Ibn ‘Abbās رضي الله عنهما that he said of the aayah: "He gives wisdom to whom He wills." (2:269) This is reference to knowledge of the Qur’an, knowledge of abrogating and abrogated ayas, transparent [muhkam] and intricate [mutashaabih] aayaat, the chronology of each aayah, what is forbidden and what is permissible and knowledge of other matters of the same kind. 
"Have they not pondered over (yaddabbaroo) the Word (of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, i.e. what is sent down to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم), or has there come to them what had not come to their fathers of old?" (Sooratul Mu'minoon, 23:68)
"(This is) a Book (the Qur'aan) which We have sent down to you, full of blessings that they may ponder over (liyaddabbaroo) its Verses, and that men of understanding may remember." (Soorah Saad, 38:29)
"Do they not then consider (yatadabbaroon) the Qur'aan carefully? Had it been from other than Allaah, they would surely have found therein much contradictions." (Sooratun-Nisaa', 4:82)
Shaykh Muhammad 'Umar Baazmool said,
"At-Tadabbur(التَّدَبُّرُ)linguistically derives from the Arabic word ad-dubur[الدُّبُر] which is the end of something. Dubr ad-Daabah, i.e. the end of the riding beast. Tadbeer and tadabbur of an affair is the consideration of the consequences of the affair, i.e. to consider what the end result will lead to. At-tadabbur is thinking on it, i.e. the acquirement of two pieces of information to acquire a third. Therfore at-tadabbur is thinking and understanding.
At-tadabbur and al-i'tibaar (consideration): a lesson or example; consideration of the past. Al-i'tibaar: contemplation and discernment.
Therefore al-i'tibaar is the condition and psychological framework with which the knowledge of something observed leads to the knowledge of something unobserved.
In conventional language: at-tadabbur is a term meaning the consideration of the consequences of things, and it is similar in meaning to the term at-tafakkur(التَّفَكُّرُ) (i.e. thinking), although thinking is the behaviour of the heart when considering a proof, and tadabbur is the behaviour of the heart with the consideration of the final consequences. 
And in the Islaamic legislation: at-tadabbur is the consideration, understanding, and thinking about the consequences to which the affairs mentioned in the Noble Qur'aan lead, and the benefits from that in regards to the servants eemaan, and the appearance of its effects on the limbs."  
This cannot be undone and I am sure it will be greatly appreciated.
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