I WRITE THIS sadly knowing that being from “the people of Allah” is a dream I’ll have to work harder towards. My writing of “the people of Allah” is like a beggar who looks at a rich man giving charity, wishing he was in his place, or an ignorant person listening to a scholar, wishing to be as learned as he is. The biggest thing I need to remind myself –and the rest who join me in this quest—of is that simply wishing without acting is just a mirage and will eventually lead us to more despair and thirst.
So what exactly do I mean when I say, “the people of Allah”?
The Prophet Muhammad said,
Allah has His own people among mankind. The Companions said: “O Messenger of Allah, who are they?” He said: “The people of the Quran–they are the people of Allah and those who are closest to Him’” (Ibn Mâjah)
The Book of Allah is unlike any other; it is the timeless Speech of Allah. We hold tight to its meanings as explained by the Prophet and understood by the Companions.
One of the miracles of the Quran is that Allah made it easy for us to memorize,
And We have indeed made the Quran easy to understand and remember, then, is there any that will remember? [Sûrat Al-Qamar, 54:17]
This verse is repeated four times in the same chapter. The fact that the verses of the Quran are so articulate and can never be reproduced by the most eloquent of mortals, but yet can be memorized from cover to cover is proof that Allah has indeed made it easy. Yet many of us sit and let this opportunity flow past us without giving it a second thought.
Let’s have a look at the status awaiting the Ahl Al-Qurân
The Best People
ʿUthmân ibn ʿAffân narrates that the Prophet said,
The best of you are those who learn the Quran and teach it to others. (Bukhâri)
The Quran changes the life of a person around. During the caliphate of the ʿUmar bin Al-Khaṭṭâb, some men came to question him regarding the leadership of Makkah.
The men asked: “Who do you use to govern Makkah?” He said: “Ibn Abza’.” They asked: “And who is Ibn Abza’?” ‘Umar replied: “A freed slave from among those we freed.” They remarked: “You left a freed slave in command of the People of the Valley (the noble tribes of the Quraysh)?!” He replied: “Indeed, he is a reciter of the Book of Allah and is knowledgeable about the obligations of the Muslims. Haven’t you heard the statement of your Messenger: “Verily Allah raises some people by this Book and lowers others by it”? (Muslim)
What awaits at the end of the journey is not just success in the dunya but also a certificate from the Messenger of Allah himself calling you, “The Best of People.” What more of an honor can we hope for?
The Reward System
Since Allah rewards us for something as small as moving a thorny twig from the path of people out of His mercy, then what would be the reward of reading/memorizing the very speech of Allah?
Ibn Masʿûd narrates that the Prophet said,
Whoever recites a letter from the Book of Allah, he will be credited with a good deed, and a good deed gets a ten-fold reward. I do not say that Alif-Lam-Mim is one letter, but that Alif is a letter, Lâm is a letter and Mîm is a letter.” (Tirmidhi)
Sometimes when we try to memorize something, we have to read it many times for it to set in or to correct our mistakes. We have to go through quite some difficulties in memorizing it –maybe because of the language or the correct pronunciation. Allah is indeed the Most Merciful; even for this extra and “failed” effort He rewards us.
In one narration the Prophet said,
The one who reads the Quran and tries hard to memorize it, even though it is difficult for him– he will have a double reward. (Bukhâri)
Such is our Rabb, The Most Merciful, The Most High.
Not only has Allah made the Quran a source of rewards for us (by reading it), but He has also made it a source of giving charity –even if we don’t have 2 coins to rub together in our pockets. Such is the beauty of Islam!
Prophet Muhammad said,
The one who recites the Quran loudly is like one who gives charity openly, and the one who recites the Quran silently is like one who gives charity in secret. (Al-Nisâ’i)
Abû Hurairah narrated that the Prophet said,
The Quran will come on the Day of Resurrection and will say, ‘O Lord, adorn him [its reciter].’ So he will be given a crown of honor to wear. Then it will say, ‘O Lord, give him more.’ So he will be given a garment of honor.’ Then it will say, ‘O Lord, be pleased with him.’ So Allah will be pleased with him. (Tirmidhi)
A Proof on the Day of Judgement
Abû Umâmah related that the Prophet said:
Read the Quran, for indeed it will come on the Day of Standing (Judgement) as an intercessor for its companions. And the Quran is a proof for you or against you. (Muslim)
In another ḥadîth, the Prophet stated,
The Quran will meet its companion on the Day of Resurrection when his grave is opened for him, in the form of a pale man. It will say to him, ‘Do you recognize me?’ He will say: ‘I do not recognize you.’ It will say: ‘I am your companion, the Quran, who kept you thirsty on hot days and kept you awake at night. Every merchant benefits from his business and today you will benefit from your good deeds….” (Aḥmad)
We have already seen the great standing that the Quran has with Allah. It will either be in one’s favor, a ‘proof,’ or witness, for us on the Day when we will desperately need every single good deed, or it will be standing against us. The very speech of Allah as proof against us! Just imagine that. By Allah, this sends a deadly chill down the spine.
Are we neglecting the Quran?
Are we going against its teachings?
Are we finding loopholes in its orders and prohibitions?
Will it be on our side on the Day of Judgement?
In our worldly affairs, we search for “wasṭa,” a.k.a. connections in life to get things done. Well, here is the biggest and the highest wasṭa one can dream of: the Quran itself advocating for us in front of our Rabb, when our tongues may refuse to speak for us.
Rank in Paradise
The Quran is not just a means of blessing; rather, it is the key to success both here in the dunya as well as in the akhira. Through it we can determine our level of stay in Jannah and the very company that we will have there, Insha’Allah.
ʿAbdullâh ibn ʿAmr Bin Al-ʿAâṣ heard the Prophet saying:
It will be said to the companion of the Quran: ‘Read and elevate (through the levels of Paradise) and beautify your voice as you did when you were in the worldly life! For verily, your position in Paradise will be at the last verse you recite!” (Tirmidhi)
Our mother, ʿÂishah, related that the Prophet said,
Indeed, the one who recites the Quran beautifully, smoothly, and precisely, will be in the company of the noble and obedient angels. (Bukhâri)
Forgetting the Quran
This is something that angers and saddens me a lot. It takes so much time to memorize just a page and so little time to forget it. It’s like sand falling down from a clenched fist. If you don’t hold the wrist firmly, then slowly but surely it will slip away.
The Prophet Muhammad said,
The one who learns the Quran is like the owner of a hobbled camel. If he pays attention to it, he will keep it, but if he releases it, it will go away. (Bukhâri)
He also said,
It is a bad thing that some of you say, ‘I have forgotten such-and-such verse of the Quran,’ for indeed, he has been caused [by Allah] to forget it. So you must keep on reciting the Quran because it escapes from the hearts of men faster than [unattended] camels do. (Bukhâri)
With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility
Nearly all of us have heard of this above statement. But now in our hands is not some common book that you pick off the bookshelf; rather, it is the words of Allah, the Most High.
The Prophet said,
Whoever recites the Quran secures knowledge of Prophethood within his ribs [bosom], though Divine Revelation is not sent upon him. It does not befit one endowed with the Quran that he should be indignant with those in anger, nor should he indulge in any act of ignorance with those who are ignorant, while the Speech of Allah is there in his chest. (Al- Ḥâkim)
Such is the litmus test for us to measure and honor our relationship with the Quran. May Allah help us give the Quran its right.