The thought came to me not very long ago…
Back in October 2015 I started a course in the Translation and Understanding of the Quran. This course provided a reading, brief understanding, background and tafseer of the whole entire Quran. Cover to cover, all 30 Juz ( chapters). Now, six months later, I have completed it, and I am immensely grateful to Allah that He allowed to me stumble upon this course.
A little background info:
I grew up having limited knowledge of the Quran. Of course I knew it was the book of Islam, that it was our Holy book, like the Bible or Torah is for the Christians and Jews. At a young age, I was taught to read the Quran in Arabic, without actually understanding the meaning of what it was I was reciting. The “trend” while growing up was to make sure that when a child hit an age around puberty, that he or she begin learning to read the Quran in Arabic and complete a full “reading” of the whole Quran, front to back. My parents threw a party for my “bismillah” which marked the start of my reading and a party for when I finished my reading “Katm-ul-Quran”. This basically meant I had read the Quran, cover to cover, in Arabic, but I understood nothing of what I had read.
For a long time I thought that was enough. That “reading” or “reciting” the Quran in Arabic without understanding what I was actually saying, was enough. Enough in Islam. Enough to be Muslim. Enough to get to Jannah (heaven), right?
But how could that be enough? I love to read and can spend hours in a library or bookstore. How is it though, that I will find the newest book from some random author living on the other side of the planet, but had not picked up and read the Quran yet? How is that I will read fictional stories of this person and that person, thoroughly study various textbooks to pass my exams in school, but had not opened the most important Book. The one Book, that not only exudes endless riches, but will be the key in my passing the most important test of all: my life.
I completely believe, that if you truly make the intention and effort to seek Allah’s help, and in this case, His book of Guidance, He turns difficulty into ease. I was truly curious now to know what it was, that I as a muslim was missing out on. What was in this miracle that has been gifted to us, from Allah? How could it guide me? Why didn’t I know what was inside? I’d hear about stories from the Quran here and there, but it wasn’t enough. My search led me to various translations. Most were written in such old school Shakespearean English, the likes of something that would be assigned in an AP English Literature class. The advice I got here and there, was to just pick up any translation and start reading it. But being of average intelligence, and born in the 20th century in America, I needed a translation I could understand. Good old American English, plain and simple. Eventually Allah answered this search, this quest, this difficulty, but pointing me in the direction of this course. Alhamdulilah.
This brings us back to today.
Today, the majority of us, still don’t understand the true of value of the Quran. We have no idea the priceless knowledge it contains. We keep asking questions, but overlook the most beautiful source of answers sitting right in front of us. We don’t make the effort to open this miracle and look inside. Instead we just let it sit on our highest shelves and gather dust. Out of sight, out of mind. Yes I, too like many others, don’t understand Arabic (I plan to work on that inshaAllah) But that shouldn’t discourage or stop us. We have to make the effort and start somewhere. Numerous translations are out there, in almost every language. We just need to pick one up.
I too, was like the majority. But it was through Allah’s guidance that allowed me stumble upon this course. Alhamdulilah, from just a basic reading of an english translation, my whole outlook on life and this world, has taken new turn. I can only imagine how much there is to learn from the deeper detailed Tafseers out there?
And then some more thoughts… Why didn’t I do this earlier? Why didn’t I pursue this earlier? Why didn’t I open this treasure earlier? I wonder if others realize how much you can begin to gain from just simply reading the translation.
I’d like to share with you, my own personal notes from each Juz (chapter), a glimpse of my thoughts and understanding of what I have learned about the beautiful Quran, so far.
Maybe, hopefully, inshaAllah, this glimpse will inspire you to open the most beautiful gift Allah has given us, if you haven’t already done so.