by Mohamed Nathani Takim (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)
Qur’an in Ramadhan
t the outset, it needs to be clarified that the points and ideas enumerated in an earlier article on Majalis Scholars, were originally presented by the then chairman of IRD (Islamic Religious Department) Shaykh (Dr.) Kumail Rajani at a World Federation meeting in Dar es Salaam several years ago. The article was edited and the point “noise pollution” was added. Hopefully, it has not been taken to have been plagiarised, nor was the intention now that the source has been mentioned
The month of Ramadhan is associated with the revelation of the Holy Qur’an,(or is it vice versa?) and Muslims are recommended to read it more often during the month – many completing it by the end of the month. Where in the past we read the Qur’an in its Arabic script without understanding it but did so for its merit, to earn thawab, now we read each verse with a translation next to it in a language of our choice. Do we feel any transformation in our hearts when we know what we read?
However, not infrequently we are told that we can not know the meaning of many of the ayats without referring to the religious scholars- we need to know the tafsir. So was the Qur’an revealed for the experts only? How about you and me? What would a man traveling by camel on business from Medina to Damascus do? Would he run to a Maulana of his time to ask him to explain what a particular ayat meant?
If the Qur’an was descended for all places and all times how is it relevant to me? If the Qur’an was speaking to the Meccans of the 7th century, is it also speaking to me personally in the 21st century? Would I be able to see the relevance for me by reading and pondering or shall I too have to run to my present Maulana to ask him to interpret an ayat or two? Would he refer me to a tafsir of a jurist who lived in the 11th century or give his own in light of the 21st Century? Would he be talking the language of our contemporary Allamah al-Tabatabai’s “Al Mizan”, the author, very famously quoted?
In one article the author (name not known) asked perhaps shockingly to some: “Does God speak to the 21st-century man? Does He speak to him directly or through the dead of the past? Is the Quran a dead book for us that made sense only to some pious elders in the early centuries? Such questions have a direct bearing on any creative approach to the text. ”How would you, the reader, react to such a statement?
Is the Qur’an being of any benefit to you? If so, how? Do you now read each ayat with its translation to understand what Allah is telling you? Or are you grappling with a compulsive desire to complete reading the Qur’an before the end of the month to earn thawab? If the latter, what other benefit will you have derived? In the next post, read some exhortations given by the Glorious Book.