Instrument for Understanding Qur'an
Dr. Rafiq Ahmad
Sahâbah Kirâm (RA) used to say that indeed ‘Nur of Imân is Tafakkur (meditation)’. Different Ibâdât (i.e., acts of worship) are being performed by us with the help of different parts of our body and Tafakkur is the Ibâdat of Qalb. Take the example of a manual labourer. He sweats blood in scorching heat and biting cold during the day and gets fifty or sixty rupees in the evening. On the other hand, for example a doctor earns hundred rupees just with a single stroke of his pen by writing a small prescription. Similarly, a businessman can earn thousands just by saying only few words and a king can earn millions just by a phone call or the like. Higher the status, lesser is the energy spent in doing a job and much higher is the reward. Taking the same analogy, Qalb is the king of the various parts of the body and hand, feet etc are just like the labourers. Ibâdat of labourers (hand, feet, etc) will involve more energy but will fetch less reward and the Ibâdat of Qalb will involve less energy but much higher reward or Thawaab. Unfortunately, Muslims in general are unaware of the Ibâdat of Qalb.
Why Ambiya (AS) and Awliya (RA) were not easily recognized by the people of their times
In general, people usually do not recognise the Ambiya u or Awliya (RA) of their times. They think that these people (i.e, Ambiya and Awliya) are having nothing special or extra than themselves They see them as common men without any extra-ordinary possession. The reason for this misunderstanding is simple; the common people only see their physical character and are totally ignorant about their interior status and condition of their hearts (Quloob). Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) used to say:
"My eyes sleep, my Qalb does not sleep”. (Mishkat Sharief)
Abu Jahal and his associates failed to understand this, as they looked only at the physical personality Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) which in no way appeared special or superior to them. They never tried to look deep into the real personage of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam).
Similarly, people ordinarily fail to recognise a Wali-i-Kaamil, because physically he is no different than the common people. Whole Ummah is unified at this point that after Ambiya-al-Kirâm u Hadhrat Abu Bakr Siddiq (RA) is the greatest man. He is superior to all Sahâbah al-Kirâm (RA). You will agree with me that this greatness of Hadhrat Abu Bakr (RA) was not because of the fact that he was offering more Nafl Salâh (non-obligatory prayers) than rest of the Sahâbah, or he was keeping more fasts than others or he was performing any other Ibâdat-i-Zâhiriyah (perceivable worship) more than others did. There is no such evidence present in Ahâdith or Islamic history. Therefore, the question automatically arises as to what had elevated his status over others? The answer is simple, the status of his Qalb, his interior condition and the range of his Fikr surpassed all others.
Depth of Tafakkur of Hadhrat Abu Bakr (RA)
The last Surah which was revealed to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) as a whole was the Surah-An-Nasr-110. This Surah was revealed only a few months before the passing away of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) Rabi 1, A.H. 11. The place was either the precincts of Makkah at his farewell pilgrimage (ÌãÚÉ ÇáæÏÇÚ), Zulhijja A.H.10,or Madinah after his return from the farewell Pilgrimage.
In this Surah Allah Ta’ala says:
ÅöÐóÇ ÌóÇÁó äóÕúÑõ Çááøóåö æóÇáúÝóÊúÍõ () æóÑóÃóíúÊó ÇáäøóÇÓó íóÏúÎõáõæäó Ýöí Ïöíäö Çááøóåö ÃóÝúæóÇÌðÇ () ÝóÓóÈøöÍú ÈöÍóãúÏö ÑóÈøößó æóÇÓúÊóÛúÝöÑúåõ Åöäøóåõ ßóÇäó ÊóæøóÇÈðÇ ()
"When comes the Help of Allah Ta’ala and Victory, And thou dost see the people enter the Allah Ta’ala’s Religion in crowds, Celebrate the praises of thy Lord! and pray for His Forgiveness: For He is Oft-Returning. (in forgiveness)”. (110:1-3)
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) recited this Surah to Sahâbah al-Kirâm (AS), and then said in his Khutba (sermon) that Allah Ta’ala has given authority to his slaves to choose between this ‘World’ and the ‘Aakhira’ (Hereafter) and he (i.e., Rasulullah (SallAllah Ta’alau Alaihi Wasallam) chose the latter. On hearing this, Hadhrat Abu Bakr Siddiq (RA) started weeping. No other Sahaabi except probably Ibn Abbas (RA) could understand the hidden message in this Surah and the reason why Abu Bakr (RA) wept. It was the range of Abu Bakr’s (RA) Taffakur or inner vision only which could reach to the real depth of the meaning. Since in this Surah Allah Ta’ala commanded Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) to engage himself in Istigaffar (pray for His forgiveness). Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said that he opted for Aakhira (Hereafter), Hadhrat Abu Bakr (RA) understood that these Aayaat carried the message of departure of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) from this world in near future, though this type of message does not apparently seem to be revealed. What made Hadhrat Abu Bakr (RA) comprehend from these lines the real message when most of the Sahâbah failed to do so, though all of them were Arabs and well versed in Arabic language?
From this, one can easily draw the inference that only knowing Arabic and reading Tafaaseer (commentaries of Qur’ân) is not enough to understand the real message of the Quran. Something more is needed to attain it. What is that—keep on pondering.
Fehm-i-Qur’ân of Hadhrat Ibn Abbas (RA)
Once Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was returning after attending the call of nature. He found Hadhrat Ibn-Abbass (RA) waiting outside with a jug of water so that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) could make Istinja and Wudhu (Ablution). Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was very much pleased with this action of Hadhrat Ibn Abbas (RA), he moved his merciful hand over his head and gave him blessings with these words:
“O, Allah Ta’ala teach him (Ibn Abbas) meaning (of the Quran)”. (Mishkaat)
It was due to the blessings of this Dua (prayer) of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) that Hadhrat Ibn Abbas (RA) attained a highly distinguished place in the row of commentators of the Qur’ân and became famous as Sayyid-ul-Mufassireen (Head of the commentators of the Quran).
How is it possible that one can become a great commentator of the Qur’ân by the blessings of a Dua (prayer) of somebody else? It is obvious that due to this Dua (prayer) he did not read more books which taught him the meanings of the Qur’ân but due to the blessings of this Dua (Prayer), Allah Ta’ala enlightened his Qalb thus making it capable of utilizing its faculty of Fikr to understand the divine message of the Qur’ân in its real perspective. Due to the blessings of this Dua (prayer), all the locks of his Qalb were smashed and any haze or cloud was cleared away from it. Hadhrat Ibn Abbas (RA) himself narrates that irrespective of the fact that he was very young, Hadhrat Umar (RA) used to make him sit with elderly Badri Sahâbah (those who had taken part in Battle of Badr). Some of them even used to object to Hadhrat Umar (RA) for this. One day Hadhrat Umar (RA) called all of them and also Hadhrat Ibn Abbas (RA). He asked all the Sahâbah present there to explain him the meaning of the same Surah—An-Nasr. They interpreted it in many ways. Hadhrat Ibn Abbas (RA) told him that in this Surah, the message of the departure of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) from this world was revealed. Hadhrat Umar (RA) liked this answer very much and all the Sahâbah y present there also realised the extraordinary ability of Hadhrat Ibn Abbas (RA) to understand the Qur’ân.
Incident of Hadhrat Maulana Yaqoob Nanotvi (RA)
Hadhrat Maulana Yaqoob Nanotvi (RA) was the first head teacher of Darul Uloom Deoband, India. He narrates an incident that once he was reciting Surah Al-Muzzammil in Fajr Salâh (The morning Prayer). While reciting this Surah,, he did not know how he could survive. He says that his chest got expanded and the secrets of this Surah got manifested to him which he could tolerated with great difficulty. He later on, came to know that this was because of Hadhrat Maulana Qasim Nanotvi (RA), the founder of Deoband, who during that time had been contemplating towards him. He was astonished to know that if contemplation of a person can induce such treasures in another’s chest, what treasure-house could his own chest be?
From this incident as well it follows that the seat of understanding the Qur’ân is Qalb and to understand the Qur’ân one has to take care of his Qalb and realise that unimaginable treasures are hidden in the Qur’ân. May Allah Ta’ala bestow upon us these treasures!
DARUL ULOOM ILAHIYAH
INSTITUTE OF ISLAMIC RESEARCH
ILAHI BAGH, BUCHPORA, SRINAGAR, 190011, KASHMIR, INDIA