THE NECESSITY OF QUR’ANIC LEARNING

The chief ingredients in the home are love, mercy, and spirituality and piety. And these three noble qualities are realised in that home.

Allah Almighty encourages human beings to marry in another verse, in the Qur’anic chapter Nur.

Muhyi’d-Din Ibn ‘Arabi states that being a means to the marriage of others holds great spiritual reward. The deeds of righteousness of the married couple are counted as sadaqa al-jariya, or ongoing charity, for those who play such a role.

Mawlana Jalal al-Din al-Rumi, uniquely, indicates:

“If a shoe is too big or too tight for one foot, then the other shoe, too, is useless.”

What is religiously required in this matter is parity (kufuww), and one must not mediate indiscriminately. Both sides must be known very well. In this way, those who mediate in order to bring about a marriage between them can receive a share in the good deeds that they carry out.

This matter of marriage is in a sense protecting society. It is protecting society from immorality. It is protecting the family. It is protecting society as a whole.

In Ottoman society, charitable trusts were established for preparing the trousseau for orphaned and impoverished girls and for attending to their needs. Neighbourhoods became charitable foundations, so to speak, and saw those who did not have the means (to get maried) as their personal responsibility. And there are many examples of this.

Again, it is declared in a Qur’anic verse, in the chapter A’raf:

“He it is Who created you from a single human self, and made from it its mate, so that he (inclining with love towards woman) may find rest in her…” (7:189)

Allah Almighty makes known one of His favours.

Prophet Adam asked Allah for a spouse. And Allah Almighty granted Eve to him. The first marriage began with a bridal due (mahr) and the sending of peace and salutations to the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings. In this way, the marriage was invested with a distinct spirituality and sacredness.

Again, in the Qur’anic chapter Furqan that was recited:

rabbanā hab lanā min azwājinā wadhurriyyātinā qurrata a’yunin wa-ij’ʿalnā lil’muttaqīna imāma

“…Our Lord! Grant us that our spouses and offspring may be a means of happiness for us, and enable us to lead others in piety (to become a means of the promotion of piety and virtue).”(25:74)

What does Allah Almighty demand of us in this verse? This is, in other words, a societal project, one aimed at producing happy societies:

First: The raising of loved and cherished young girls as they will be the ones who will form the basis of a happy society. This is why Allah Almighty has favoured us with the Qur’an.

al-ramān ‘allama l-qur’ān khalaqa l-insāna ‘allamahu l-bayān

Allah Almighty declares:

“The All-Merciful; He has taught the Qur’ān (to humankind and, through them, the jinn); He has created human; He has taught him speech.” (Rahman, 55:1-4)

That is to say:

hudan lil’muttaqīn

“…a guidance for the God-revering, pious…”(2:2)

A believer is to find life with the Qur’an. The most important learning is learning the Qur’an, putting it into practice and enabling others to do so too. Without the Qur’an, you cannot pray. You can only pray with the Qur’an.

The standing position of the prayer (qiyam) is one of the obligatory components of the prescribed prayer. If one does not have the strength to stand, one can offer the prayer without standing. But you cannot pray without recitation of the Qur’an. This is why this is most important. Beginning with the Messenger of Allah, his raising and educating the Suffa Companions, and what is most important and our greatest gift to our children is to enable them to acquire Qur’anic learning. Correct recitation. Their recitation is to be proper.

What does the Qur’an tell us, how is the Qur’an to be put into practice and kept alive? Allah Almighty refers to the first condition for tijāratan lan tabūra “…a trade which will never perish,” (35:29) as being recitation of His Book. Otherwise – one cannot possibly repay one’s parents for everything they have done (but) – children will be claimants against their parents on the Day of Judgement. “My parents neglected me,” they will say.

This is why the Qur’an cannot be taught to children merely by taking them to the mosque for a month. Besides, the day there passes just telling the children to stop, sit or be quiet. This is why our children must receive sound instruction in recitation. This is why Qur’anic schools are a must. The greatest gift of parents to their child is this – enabling them to receive learning in the Qur’an.

Because:

al-ramān ‘allama l-qur’ān: Allah declares, “The All-Merciful; He has taught the Qur’an.”(55:1-2) This means that this is the greatest blessing and favour of Allah Almighty.

For this reason:

rabbanā hab lanā min azwājinā wadhurriyyātinā qurrata a’yun

“…spouses and offspring (who) may be a means of happiness for us…” (25:74) Especially girls.

The Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, brought some water for his grandson Hasan. His daughter Fatima said:

“Dearest father, it is as though you love Hasan more.”

“No,” he said. “I brought Hasan water as he had asked for it first. Treat your children with equal justice. With the exception of daughters,” he said. “Accord them even greater care.”(See Haythami, IV, 153; Ibn Hajar, Matalib al-‘Aliya, IV, 69)

Of course, these families will be the pride of society. A pious progeny will come from these families.

rabbanā hab lanā min azwājinā wadhurriyyātinā qurrata a’yun

Spouses will be a source of happiness, and from spouses that are a source of happiness will, in turn, come offspring that are a source of happiness also. And we:

wa-ij’ʿalnā lil’muttaqīna imāma

“…and enable us to lead others in piety (to become a means of the promotion of piety and virtue).”(25:74)

Our being pious is not enough. We need to both be pious, as well as enable others to also be thus, to lead others in piety. Allah Almighty presents such a society to us. When such a society was achieved, mothers were happy, children were happy and the community was happy. Society was filled with happiness.

There are a great many such verses in the Qur’an.

There is one verse in the chapter Hujuraat:

inna akramakum ʿinda l-lahi atqākum

Of course this generation will be raised. Which generation will be more honourable?

“…Surely the noblest, most honourable of you in Allah’s sight is the one best in piety, righteousness, and reverence for Allah…(49:13)

That is to say, we are to be pious ourselves and we are to attach importance to our children and our whole family being pious also. We are responsible for the rest of society. Society is our responsibility. We must place importance on the community’s becoming God-revering and pious. We must establish (societal) institutions aimed at this.

inna akramakum ʿinda l-lahi atqākum

This Qur’anic verse was revealed in relation to a slave.

“…Surely the noblest, most honourable of you in Allah’s sight is the one best in piety, righteousness, and reverence for Allah…” (49:13)

A slave was being sold at the market of Madina. Islam has forever endeavoured to abolish slavery for good. But as war continued, the practice of taking and exchanging prisoners continued also, as it was one of the laws of war. However, the Companions strove to free slaves as much as possible, so as to be freed of liability concerning them (in the Hereafter). And many directives were given in this regard. (It is) a long story… In other words, slavery remained only in name.

To be brief, back to the reason for the revelation of this verse:

A slave is sold at the market of Madina. He is a strong and able-bodied. There are many who seek to buy him. The slave has become Muslim. The slave says:

“I have two conditions. Let whoever fulfils these two conditions purchase me. My first condition, When the Call to Prayer is recited, he is to release me and I am to go to the Prophet’s Mosque and perform the prayer behind the Messenger of Allah.” He is to be let off for the prescribed prayer. “Secondly, I will pray behind the Messenger of Allah. And I will do everything else that should be commanded.”

There is, of course, the law of attraction and inclination in hearts. Just as in the laws of physics, this applies to hearts also. When the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings, entered the Prophet’s Mosque, his eyes and his heart sought this slave. When he could not see the slave one day, he asked his master:

“Where is your slave? (In other words, have you neglected him? Have you refused to send him, or have you given him so work to do instead?)

“O Messenger of Allah, he is ill,” his master replied. “He could not come.”

“Then,” said Allah’s Messenger, “We will all go and visit him together.”

At the time, there was no such concept as visiting a slave. A slave was money. In other words, if someone were to saw his slave in half, nobody would have said anything. This was a master’s legitimate right. Such was the Age of Ignorance from which these people came.

The Messenger of Allah said:

“Let us all go and visit that slave together.”

Some time later, the Messenger of Allah did not see the slave again. The Messenger of Allah asked his master:

“I cannot see your slave again. Where is he?”

“O Messenger of Allah, he is on his death bed.”

“Let us all go and visit that slave together,” Allah’s Messenger said.

The slave passed away in the presence of Allah’s Messenger. Allah’s Messenger remained by his side from the washing of his body right through to his burial.

The Makkans said – the Emigrants:

“We have endured so much hardship and suffering, but Allah’s Messenger has honoured this slave more than us.”

The natives of Madina said:

“And we have given our lives and all our wealth in the path of Allah, and Allah’s Messenger has shown more interest in this slave than in us. What is the wisdom behind this?”

This Qur’anic verse was then revealed:

inna akramakum ʿinda l-lahi atqākum

“…Surely the noblest, most honourable of you in Allah’s sight is the one best in piety, righteousness, and reverence for Allah…” (49:13)

What, then, was the distinguishing attribute of that slave? The first is the prescribed prayer. The second is his being in the company of the Messenger of Allah.

This goes to say that one of the distinguishing attributes in piety and God-consciousness is placing utmost importance on the prescribed prayer. The second is maintaining one’s togetherness with the Messenger of Allah, upon him be peace and blessings. Being able to acquire such togetherness. (Being able to think) at each and every moment, “If the Messenger of Allah was next to me, would he have smiled upon my actions?”

The happiest home was the home of Allah’s Messenger. aI-Uswa al-Hasana, the Fine Exemplar. The pinnacle of domestic happiness is the Messenger of Allah. That home was the world’s happiest home. In that home exuded the fragrance of great happiness. And yet there were many times when food had not been cooked in that home for days.

‘A’isha, the mother of the believers, says:

“Were we to make do with that which came to our house, we would not have gone hungry. Our house was the most bountiful of them all, but Allah’s Messenger always preferred others to his own self. Such was his mercy for his community that he distributed everything that came. That is why there were many occasions when three days would pass during which food was not cooked in our house. There were many times when the Messenger of Allah did not have his fill of barley bread for three consecutive days…”

But the fragrance of bliss was diffused from that home. What was there, in the way of sustenance, in that home? There was the approval and good pleasure of Allah in that home as sustenance. There was patience and the delight of submission was savoured.

The daughters of Allah’s Messenger did not have comfortable lives in material terms. However, all his daughters were attached to him with a very deep affection. Allah’s Messenger did not leave a worldly inheritance behind for them either. The true inheritance is that of the Hereafter.

He used to love Fatima very much. When he returned from travel, he would visit Fatima (first). He held her in high esteem. Yet, he directed her to piety in terms of the Hereafter. He directed her to the beauties of the eternal realm, not to fleeting pleasures. From time to time he would say:

“My dear daughter, Fatima, be God-revering and pious, and perform abundant deeds of righteousness. (Do not count on your father’s Prophethood on the Day of Judgement.) (See Ibn Sa’d, II:256; Bukhari, Manaqib, 13-14; Muslim, Iman, 348-353)

“Fatima, there is no felicity in two worlds. You are to endure patiently here and find happiness in the Hereafter,”he used to tell her.

Fatima became the mother of the Prophet’s Household. She became the mother of the Gaylani, the Naqshbandi, the Ahmad al-Rufa’i, and a great many other saints, friends of Allah, the spiritually elect and noble. And how old was she? She passed away in her early twenties.

Each of the Prophet’s wives were also a centre of learning unto themselves. Matters pertaining to women were transmitted by means of these women.

The marriages of Allah’s Messenger had nothing whatsoever to do with carnality. The Messenger of Allah was 50 years old and his wife Khadija was 65 years old. He lived only with her until this time. Then, (due to) various compelling reasons, political reasons… And the women he married were elderly, widowed women, women with children. With the exception of ‘A’isha. And with her – she was one of the seven jurists capable of exercising independent reasoning. And with her (came) Islamic jurisprudence, pertaining to women, and so it was to continue. This was the Divine wisdom (behind such a marriage).

Today, some take a fancy (to this) and say, “See, Allah’s Messenger had more than one wife, this is part of his Sunna. So we can do the same.” Why did the Messenger of Allah have more than one wife? One needs to think about this first. He was to be a brother-in-law and that tribe would then become Muslim. They were widows and women with children, in any case. There was no worldly aim.

When you think about it, no woman can love her husband as much as the pure, noble wives of the Messenger of Allah loved Allah’s Messenger. And no man can love his wife like he loved his wives. No child can love like Fatima loved Allah’s Messenger. No father can love their child like the Messenger of Allah loved Fatima. This means that attention must be shown to that home. The source of tranquillity of that home was piety, was the Qur’an.

Allah Almighty declares:

wanunazzilu mina l-qur’āni mā huwa shifāun waramatun lil’mu’minīn

“We are sending down the Qur’an in parts – it is a healing and a mercy for the believers…” (17:82)

Healing and mercy poured down upon that home. Let those who want a peaceful home look to that one (for example)…

Osman Nuri Topbas

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