Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Reading Quran in Ramadan

The Quran describes itself as a book (kitab), a word that appears 230 times in various contexts.

Even though there are narrations in many books that suggest that the Quran in the form that we have it today was compiled during the Caliphate of Abu Bakr at the insistence of Second Caliph Umar bin al-Khattab and later finalized at the time of third Caliph, Usman bin Affan, the verdict of the Quran about its finalization, preservation, authenticity and compilation is overriding.

"We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption)." (15:17) "And (moreover) We have guarded them from every evil spirit accursed." (15:17).

It is obvious that the efforts of the Caliphs were to make copies of the Quran from the original for wider distribution in the Muslim world. It is evident from the writings of Ibn Hazm in his book Kitab ul Fisl that over 100,000 copies of the Quran were present in the entire world at the time of Umar bin Al-Khattab.

The Quran describes itself as a book that proves the commonality of the divine messages previously revealed to earlier prophets that were not preserved in the original form by their followers. It also asserts that the divine m essage has essentially been the same revolving around three main principles;

1) monotheism in the sense that the source of all divine messages is Allah, the initiator and the creator of the universe,

2) the guidance from a higher and neutral source is needed by human beings to lead a simple and disciplined life. It is only through following the divine guidance human beings can discipline their lives the same way as every thing else in the universe runs in a perfect order.

3) the life is in constant evolution and the death would not end the life but move in a difference stage of existence where individuals and groups would be held accountable for every thing that they do and say in their limited life in this world.

The greatest miracle of the Quran is the consistency of this message evident in all its suras (chapters) and ayas (sentences). The linguistic beauty and style are apparent to only those who understand the language but the clarity and consistency of the message is for everyone regardless of their linguistic skills and they relevant for all times. In other words every sura of the Quran is connected with its overall message with variations in emphasis and every ayat is related with a particular aspect of the message within the context of the total guidance.

Thus the month of Ramadan offers the believers a unique opportunity to refresh their understanding of the guidance and live it for an entire month so that the life in coming months could be disciplined around that. Thus, the first task for every believer is to get connected with the divine guidance in a disciplined, consistent, and regular basis.

The fasting enables a person to live the principle of self control and self discipline, which is essential to realize the strength and relevance of the divine message.

Seemingly, a large number of Muslims do not know the Arabic language and hence find it hard to understand when the Quran is recited to them. Moreover, we have the traditions informing us that the reading of the Quran gives us the reward of reading one letter to the equivalent to the 30 letter reward. The mercy and the divine measurement for good deeds are limitless and this narration should be read in that context.

Besides earning reward for reading the Quran without understanding, we can also make efforts in the month of Ramadan to read it with understanding. This may even double or triple the reward. It is no harm to read the Quran with translation. Non-Arabic speaking believers can recite the Quran in Arabic and listen to its pronunciation during the taraweeh prayers, besides reading the translation in their own languages to understand the essence of the divine message. This understanding will enable us to get closer to the guidance of Allah.

Often it is argued that it is difficult to understand the Quran in any other language. The Quran, on the other hand repeats the following verse four times: "And We have indeed made the Qur'an easy to understand and remember: then is there any that will receive admonition? (54:17) Besides, the Quran also says: "And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and your colors: verily in that are Signs for those who know." (30:22)

The reading of the Quran with meaning would give us an opportunity to understand the divine message as is and inspire us to appreciate its relevance for us in our times. Thus in addition to reading the Quran, we can also make efforts to live it.

We spend much of our efforts in correcting our pronunciation of the Quran. This is good and the proper sound of every letter and word must be perfected authentically. However, the main purpose of perfecting the pronunciation must never be ignored: i.e. to understand so that we could live the Quran, the way our Prophet lived it.

During the month of Ramadan we arrange lavish functions for the breaking of fast, a good practice to bring people together. However, if in these functions, we make it a habit to focus on understanding one of the passages of the Quran, probably we can make better use of these gatherings. It would not take us more than 5 to 10 minutes to reflect on the message of the Quran in these functions, but it would help us understand the divine guidance, the main reason for decreeing fasting in this month.

This Ramadan, I am reading the Quran with the meaning and strive to live the Quran, the way Prophet lived it. Make doa for me in order to finish it by 1 Syawal.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Coretan Ramadan 1432H. Ibadat bukan buat sorang2

Coretan Ramadan

Malam ini sudah hari ke-9 berpuasa dalam bulan Ramadan 1432H penuh berkat.

Puasa, baca Quran, solat jemaah & terawih, tazkirah & ceramah diTV, baca majalah Solusi diamalkan sejak puasa bermula. Alhamdulillah, dengan izin Allah, dapat saya laksanakan.

Kerja dibuat dengan baik & teliti. Alhamdulillah.

Doaku buat kesejahteraan diri, keluarga & ibubapa yang sudah kembali kerahmat Allah. Alhamdulillah. Ada satu doa yang baik dari Al-Quran (Surah Al A'raf:126) " Ya Tuhan kami, limpahkan kesabaran kepada kami & matikan kami dalam keadaan Muslim"

Namun, hari ke-9 ini, saya terasa akan terpanggil untuk membuat suatu amalan yang mulia. Sejak 8 hari yang lalu, saya membuat amalan secara solo & mengabaikan isteri & anak2. Saya rasa macam diri ini mengejar segala ganjaran Ramadan bersendirian & saya lupa akan isteri & anak2 juga harus diajak mengaut ganjaran Ramadan.

Saya terasa seolah2 diri ini tamak. Astaghfirullah..

Surah Tahrim:6 "Peliharalah diri kamu dan keluarga kamu dari neraka yang bahan-bahan bakarannya manusia dan batu"

Dari hari ini, saya cuba untuk menjadi imam kepada mereka & mengajak mereka untuk sama2 mengejar ganjaran Ramadan. Mungkin mereka sedikit keberatan. Namun usaha harus dijalankan supaya mereka sama2 dalam menjadi orang yg bertaqwa. Usaha dibuat dengan saya mengimamkan sembahyang jemaah Subuh & Maghrib serta baca Quran surah2 pendek.

Dakwah tetap dijalankan. Doa tetap dipohon. Moga2 Allah perkenankan doa & menjadikan kami sekeluarga mendapat ganjaran di bulan Ramadan penuh berkat.


Monday, August 1, 2011

The meaning of ISLAM

The first thing that one should know and clearly understand about ISLAM, is the word "Islam" itself.

The Arabic word "Islam" means submission/surrender of one to the only true God.

The religion Islam is not named after a person or people, as in the case of Christianity which was named after Jesus Christ, Buddhism after Gautama Buddha, Confucian after Confucius, Marxism after Karl Marx, Judaism after the tribe Judah and Hinduism after the Hindus.

Those who have claimed divinity for themselves, often based their claims on the mistake belief that God is present in a man. They claim that God is more present in a person(s) than the rest of us, and humans should therfore submit to this/these people and worship him/them as God concentrated within this/these person/s.

It should be very clear that one who has grasped the basic message of Islam is that NOT to worship another human being under any circustances.

God's religion, in essence, is clearly to worship the One and ONLY Creator, and the rejection of creation-worship in any form.

This is the meaning of ISLAM : La ilaa ha illa Allah (There is no God but Allah)

The sincere declaration of this phrase and the acceptance of prophethood Mohammad SAW automatically bring to ISLAM, and sincerely belief in it gurantees one Paradise.

I can write my own story in my blog. After all,it's my blog (I do write a bit on Manchester United, my Kids and my work, which occupies a big chunk of my life)

But I chose to write about Allah (the only true God). This is because, I want my blog followers to REALLY understand ISLAM. Once you got to know ISLAM, it will guide you to lead a really MEANINGFUL LIFE. Nikmat Allah yang terbesar ialah nikmat ISLAM dan IMAN.

So, in welcoming the month of Ramadan, let us all make an effort, to fully accept ISLAM and submit ourselves to the only true GOD... ALLAH!!