By Yusuf Abdullahi
……There is no exception on the need for all Muslims to learn the Holy Book. Inability to read it accuratelyis no doubt a shame to a believer irrespective of sex. With the help of Allah, memorization of the Qur’an was remarkably simplified…..
In the name of Allah who states “those to whom We have given The Book study it as it should be studied; they are the ones that believe therein; those who reject faith therein, the loss is their own” Q2:121
Peace and blessings of Allah be upon His noble servant our master Muhammad and his pure progeny.
Looking at the significance of the month and the rationale behind it, the relevance of various forms of worship cannot be overemphasized. With my emphasis on the general Qur’anic recitation last week, I wish to draw our attention to the Qur’anic recitation competitions organized across the Muslim world.In our areas, they are organised by states, schools and organizations. Before I shed more light on this point, it is imperative to go through the Shi’ah belief regarding the Qur’an recorded in Aqa’idul Imamiyyah by Sheikh Muzaffar -the renown Islamic scholar from Iraq – translated by a group of scholars, in contrast to the widely circulated rumours
DOCTRINE 21: BELIEF IN THE QUR’AN
We believe that the Qur’an was divinely inspired, and revealed by Allah on the tongue of His honourable prophet, making clear everything, an everlasting miracle. Man is unable to write anything like it because of its eloquence, clarity, truth and knowledge, and no alteration can be made to it. The Qur’an we have now is exactly what was sent to the prophet, and anyone who claims otherwise is either an evil doer, a mere sophist or else a person in error, and all of them have gone astry, because it is the speech of Allah, and; "falsehood cannot come at it from before it or from behind" Q41:42
One of the testimonies to the miraculous nature of Qur’an is that, as time moves on and the arts and sciences advance, it remains as fresh and harmonious as ever, its supreme aims and ideals preserved. There can be no grounds for dispute with it, nor does it contradict true scientific facts, and there is nothing in it contrary to positive philosophical thinking. On the contrary, it is the books of scientists and even the greatest of philosophers at the pinnacle of learning, which contain at least a few trivialities and contradictions and even incorrect assertions. Moreover, with advances in scientific research and with modern scientific theories, even the greatest philosophers of Greece such as Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, whom all those who have come after have recognised them as fathers of science and masters of thought have been shown to have made some errors. We also believe that we must respect and give dignity to the Glorious Qur’an, and this in both words and deeds. Therefore, it must not be defiled intentionally, not even one of its letters, and it must not be touched by one who is not tahir. It is said in the Qur’an: "None can touch it save the purified" Q56:79
This subject is dealt with in the books of Islamic law. Neither is it permitted to burn it or to be impious towards it by any behaviour which is deemed to be insulting, such as throwing it, making it unclean, or putting one’s foot on it; nor is it permitted to put it in a filthy place. If anyone does any of these things or anything similar, he is not a believer in the Qur’an and its sanctity, and he is considered to be an unbeliever. In fact, he has rejected the Lord of all the worlds"
Back to the topic, the recitation competition was started some decades ago with a view to improving general Qur’anic sciences! More than any other time, the competitions organised in categories are generally promoted at various levels from local to international. In Nigeria, it commences from local to national levels. The successful competitors in various categories emerge from these stagesmostly sponsored by governments. Non-governmental organizations and philanthropists also partake in the exercise. Generally, the champions are honored with various prizes such as hajj opportunities, cars and houses among others. The incentives serve as inducement to students and other stakeholders.
The schools comprise of ordinary andadvanced. Being blessed with Islam, children in Hausa land traditionally begin educational career with rudimental stages of Qur’an to memorization. At certain stage, they are made to learn some jurisprudential rules and regulations governing acts of worship. The Islamiyyah schools became very popular in the recent past with relatively more organized form of scholarship in the Holy Qur’an, hadeeth and jurisprudence. We also have impressive sectionsfor adults. Interestingly, it is organized and run in flexible ways to contain people with different backgrounds. In fact, the system became efficient means of distance learning and correspondences with relatively successful result. The science of Tajwīd is technically meant to prevent Qur’anic reciters from mistake in the cause of recitation. “Verily this is a revelation From The Lords of the Worlds; Which came down The Truthful spirit. To thy heart That thou mayest admonish in the perspicuous Arabic tongue” Q26:192-195. The Book as revealed in Arabic has peculiar rules and regulations which must be known and followed. Although, the messenger of Allah was an Arab, he was taught and supervised. “Move not your tongue concerning (the Qur’an) to make haste therewith. It is for US to collect it and to promulgate it” Q75:16-17. And also “Be not in haste with the Qur’an before its revelation to you is completed, but say O my Lord! Advance me in knowledge” Q20: 114
In a tradition, the prophet is reported to have said “Gabriel would place before me the Qur’an for review once a year, but this year he did it twice which indicates that the time for my departure is close at hand”. In the light of the verses and hadeeth, we are instructed to put in more efforts in Qur’anic scholarship so that we can study the Book. “Do they not then Earnestly seek to understand The Qur’an, or is it that there are locks upon their hearts?” Q47:24
There is no exception on the need for all Muslims to learn the Holy Book. Inability to read it accuratelyis no doubt a shame to a believer irrespective of sex. With the help of Allah, memorization of the Qur’an was remarkably simplified. Historically, it took some righteous predecessors decades to memorize unlike now whereyouths in their teens are blessed with the same! The Qur’an is memorized in proportionate circle. For example, based on some Fudiyyah plans, students memorize in five years. This was successfully proven in Kano Fudiyyah Nursery and Primary School for several years. Other schools have their own arrangements. Listening to the Holy Book is also important part of worship rewarded abundantly. Thatiswhyabsolute silence and meditation should be observed when it is recited “When the Qur’an is read, Listen to it with attention, And hold your peace, That ye may receive mercy” Q7:204. In addition to memorization, our children must learn other aspects of knowledge which the Qur’an serves as base. I extolled this in the World Educational Dynamism: undisputed pride of Islamic civilization, such as jurisprudential and professional aspects.
Most important point to emphasize here is the absolute practice of its teachings. We must be sincere in all our actions so that our Qur’anic studies should not be geared towards fame or success in competitions for worldly gains, but rather strict reflection of its teachings for Allah’s pleasure. Dr. Alwani argues that there are two levels of reading the Qur’an; the first level consists of cultivating spiritual upliftment while the second urges man as vicegerent of Allah to study the cosmos for the purpose of positive action on earth. Performing the two readings together and keeping a balance between them are prerequisites for well-being in this world and in the hereafter. Therefore, the teachers of the Qur’an who were described as the best of us in a hadeeth, the students, the parents and indeed all Muslims are expected to live strictly in accordance with the teachings of the book as vicegerents of Allah on earth just as A’isha, mother of believers described the ethics of the Holy prophet as the Qur’an in its entirety!
Using the medium, as usual, let me reiterate the need for the unconditional release of Sheikh el-Zakzaky (H) and his disciples