His Preoccupation with The Holy Qur’an

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How was the intensity with the quran of the prophet?

“…they rehearse the Signs of Allah all night long, and they prostrate themselves in adoration” (Al-i Imrān 3; 113)

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) showed the utmost reverence and attention to the Book of his Lord. He incessantly recited it with awe and longing. Following his tradition, companions, too, never left the Word of Allah from their hands or from their tongues. Aws b. Huzayfa from the tribe of Saqif narrates his observations in this respect:

“One night Allah’s Messenger did not come next to us for a long period after the night prayer. We asked:

“O Messenger of Allah! Why were you so late to come back to the congregation?” He said:

“I have formed a habit of reciting a portion (hizb) from the Qur’an. I did not want to come out before I fulfilled my habit.” In the morning we asked the companions:

“How do you divide the Qur’an into portions (hizbs) to read?” They replied:

“We combine the first three chapters of the Qur’an into the first portion; the next five chapters into another portion, the following seven, nine, eleven, and thirteen chapters into different portions. And finally we put the chapters from surat Qāf (50) till the end of the Qur’an into another portion, which makes a total of seven portions.” (Ibn Ḥanbal, IV, 9; Ibn Majah, Salāt, 178)

When the Prophet (pbuh) stood in the presence of Allah the Almighty to offer ritual prayer in the middle of the night, he was reciting the Qur’an for hours and he was getting an avid pleasure from it. He stated the wisdom of reciting the Qur’an in his solitary prayers at night as follows:

“Allah would listen to none of His servants as much as He listens to the servant who performs two rak’ahs of prayer and recites the Qur’an at night…” (Tirmidhī, Faḍā’il al-Qur’an, 17)

Recitation of the Qur’an must be letter by letter, with tartīl, and in accordance with the rules of the recitation of the Qur’an (or tajwīd), for Allah the Almighty ordered His Messenger (pbuh):

“…and recite the Quran in slow, measured rhythmic tones.” (al-Muzzammil 73; 4) Just like all the other orders of Allah, the Prophet (pbuh) followed this order from our Lord with complete obedience and recited the Qur’an as it is required.

Tartīl actually means “order” and “in tune.” In relation to the recitation of the Qur’an it means reciting every letter of the Qur’an slowly and in the way that they are supposed to be recited. In the above mentioned verse, strengthening the imperative verb rattil with its infinitive form tartilan points out the Divine request about how well the tartil of the Qur’an must be. Recitation of the Qur’an is not just about beauty of the reciter’s voice. It is not like singing a song. On the contrary, it means feeling the eloquence, rhetoric, and the relation between verses and their meanings as much as possible while reciting the Qur’an. This is why tartīl and tajwīd are very important in reading the Qur’an.

Our Prophet (pbuh), whose entire life was passed by receiving Divine revelations and conveying them to humanity, paid extra attention to the Qur’an in the month of Ramadan. Angel Gabriel (pbuh) would meet him every night during the month of Ramadan, and they recited the Qur’an to each other. (Muslim, Faḍāil, 50) Even though they had done this once a year, they did it twice in the year the Prophet (pbuh) passed away. (Bukharī, Faḍāil al-Qur’an, 7)

Just like he enjoyed recitation of the Qur’an, the Prophet (pbuh) also enjoyed listening to other’s recitation. This is why he would especially go and listen to the readers of the Qur’an among his companions. It is narrated by Abdullah bin Masud:

“Allah’s Apostle said to me,

“Recite the Qur’an for me,” I told him,

“Shall I recite it to you although it had been revealed to you?” He said,

“I like to hear the Qur’an from others.” So I recited Suratal-Nisa’ till I reached:

“How will it be then when We bring from each nation a witness, and We bring you (O Muhammad) as a witness against these people?” (al-Nisā 4; 41) Then he said, “Stop!” And behold, his eyes were overflowing with tears.” (Bukharī, Tafsīr, 4/9; Muslim, Musāfirūn, 247)

Since the eyes of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) would overflow with tears when listening to the Qur’an, then it would only be more appropriate for Muslims to contemplate, and show respect to the Qur’an and to be in between a state of fear of Allah and hope of His mercy.

Sometimes Allah’s Apostle would secretly listen to his companions’ recitation and be filled with joy. In this regard, Aisha (r.a.) narrates the following incident:

One day Aisha (r.a.) was late to meet with the Messenger of Allah. He asked her the reason for her delay and Aisha replied:

“O Messenger of Allah! There was a man in the mosque, that I haven’t seen anybody who can read the Qur’an more beautiful than him.” Upon this response, the Prophet (pbuh) went to mosque and saw that the man was Salim (r.a.). Then he expressed his feelings saying:

“All praises are due to Allah for having a person like you among my people.” (Ibn Hanbal, VI, 165)           

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

The Human Reality

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