Companions’ Preoccupation with the Qur’an


How was the occupation of the companions with the quran?

Companions, who were disciplined under the Prophet’s supervision, paid the greatest attention to the Qur’an. They were moved by the Qur’an and lived with it. They read the Qur’an so much that they did not even want to spend a single day without reading it and looking at its pages. They began their days with the Qur’an and they even advised those who had eye problems to look at it in order to get cured. According to the reports, Uthmān (r.a.) wore out two Qur’ans from extensive reading. (Kattanī, II, 197)

Umar b. al-Khattāb (r.a.) used to tell Abu Musa al-Asharī (r.a.), who was a very good Qur’an reciter:

“O Abu Musa! Remind us our Lord.” And Abu Musa would recite the Qur’an. (Abū Nuaym, I, 258) On an occasion Umar (r.a.) told Abu Musa (r.a.):

“My brother! Enrapture us towards our Lord.” Thus, he began to recite the Qur’an. After he recited some parts from the Qur’an, people called Umar to prayer. As if awakened from a spiritual world, Umar wonderingly told them:

“Have not we been already in prayer?” (Ibn Sa’d, IV, 109) This incident also proves us how much enjoyment companions were getting from listening to the Qur’an.

Even though Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) ordered his companions to read the Qur’an much, he also warned those who exaggerated. Neither Allah nor His Messenger (pbuh) approved exaggeration in the matters of the religion. ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin Al-‘As narrated:

“Allah’s Apostle (pbuh) said to me,

“O ‘Abdullah! Do you think that I have not been informed that you fast during the day and offer prayers all the night?”

‘Abdullah replied, “O Allah’s Apostle! Of course I know that you have been informed, but I only do so to reach God’s pleasure.” The Prophet said,

“Don’t do that; fast for a few days and then give it up for a few days, offer prayers and also sleep at night, as your body has a right on you, and your wife has a right on you, and your guest has a right on you. And it is sufficient for you to fast three days in a month, as the reward of a good deed is multiplied ten times, so it will be like fasting throughout the year.”

I insisted on fasting and so I was given a hard instruction. I said,

“O Allah’s Apostle! I have power.” The Prophet said,

“Fast like the fasting of the Prophet David and do not fast more than that.” I said,

“How was the fasting of the Prophet of Allah, David?” He said,

“Half of the year, (i.e. he used to fast on every alternate day) and recite the whole Qur’an once a month.” Abdullah said,

“I can recite more (in a month),” The Prophet (pbuh) said:

“Then recite it once in every twenty days.” Abdullah said,

“I can recite more (in a month),” and the argument went on till the Prophet said,

“Recite the Qur’an once each seven days; do not exceed this limit.” The more the amount was increased, apparently the more it was to my disadvantage. And the Prophet (pbuh) added:

“You do not know that maybe you will have a long life.”

Afterwards when ‘Abdullah became old, he said, “It would have been better for me if I had accepted the Prophet’s advice.” (Bukhārī, Sawm, 55-56-57; Muslim, Kitāb al-Sawm, 181-193)

Even though this companion realized how big his mistake was for not listening to the advice of the Prophet (pbuh), he tried to keep his promise to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). Because of his love and submission to the Prophet (pbuh) he spent the last days of his life by forcing himself to complete his acts of worship in order to not break his promise. According to the reports, in the final days of his life he read one-seventh of the Qur’an in the morning in order to rest a little at night. When he needed strength, he would take a break for a few days from fasting; but later he would fast on other days in the amount of the days he could not fast.

In the following report of Abu Huraira (r.a.) the Prophet (pbuh) also expressed the significance of not torturing oneself:

“When any one of you gets up at night for prayer and his tongue falters in the recitation of the Qur’an, and he does not know what he is reciting, he should go to sleep.” (Muslim, Musāfirūn, 223) “…because those who pray sleepily may curse himself/herself while wishing to repent.” (Abū Dawūd, Tatawwū’, 18)

Source: An Excellent Exemplar, Osman Nuri Topbaş,  Erkam Publications

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