Virtues of Qur’an
Hadhrat Uthman (Radhiyallaho anha] narrates that Rasulullah () said: “The best amongst you is he who learns the Qur’an and teaches it.” In most of the books, this hadith is quoted with the word ‘and between ‘learns’ and ‘teaches’ as above. Thus the greatest reward would be for him who learns the Holy Qur’an and thereafter teaches it to others. But in some of the books this ‘hadith’s is narrated with the word ‘or’, in which case the meaning would be: “The best amongst you is he who learns the Qur’an or teaches it.”
According to this version, the reward is general, i.e., equally great whether one learns himself or teaches to others.
Thus there would be equal virtue for both.
The Qur’an is the basis of the religion of Islam, and on the preservation and propagation of the Qur’an depends the very existence of this faith. Hence the virtue of learning and teaching the Qur’an is self-evident and does not need further elucidation.
There are, however, various degrees of excellence. The highest is to learn the Qur’an along with its meanings and purport, and the least is to learn its words only.
The hadith mentioned above is supported also by another saying of Rasulullah as reported by Hadhrat Sa’eed ibn Saleem (Radhiyallaho anho): “If a person who has acquired knowledge of the Holy Qur’an considers another person who has been gifted with something else to be more fortunate than himself, he has shown disrespect to the blessings of Allah bestowed on him on account of his learning the Qur’an.” It is evident that since the Qur’an, being the Word of Allah, is superior to all other discourses as mentioned in some of the Ahadith quoted later, its reading and teaching must be superior to everything else.
Mulla Alt Qari quotes from another hadith that whoever acquires the knowledge of Holy Qur’an stores the knowledge of Prophethood in his forehead.
Sahl Tastari (Rahmatullah alaih) says that the proof of love for Allah is the existence of love for the Word of Allah in one’s heart.
In ‘Sharhul Ihya, the list of people who will be given shelter in the shade of the Arsh (Throne of Allah) on the fearful Day of Judgment includes those persons who teach the Qur’an to the children of Muslims and also those who learn the Holy Qur’an in their childhood and are devoted to its recitation when grown up.
HADITH – 2
Hadhrat Abu Sa*eed (Radhiyallaho anho) narrates that Rasulullah () said: “Almighty Allah says; “If anybody finds no time for My remembrance and for begging favours of Me, because of his remaining busy with the Holy Qur’an, I shall give him more than what I give to all those who beg favours of Me. The superiority of the Word of Allah over all other words is like the superiority of Allah over the entire creation.”
In other words, compared to those who are begging favours of Allah, He will surely confer some better reward on a person who remains so occupied with committing the Qur’an to memory or learning and understanding it that he hardly gets time for du’a (prayer).
It is commonly known that when a man distributes sweets, or something else amongst others, a share is set aside for the person who cannot attend the function because of the task of distribution given to him by the distributor himself.
In another hadith, in the same context, it is mentioned that Allah would give such a person a better reward than what He would give to His ever grateful servants.
HADITH No. 3
Hadhrat ‘Uqbah ibn Aamir (Radhiyallaho anho) has said: “Rasulullah () came to us while we were sitting on the Suffah and asked if any one of us would like to go to the market of But-haan or Aqeeq and fetch from there two she-camels of the finest breed without committing any sin or severing a tie of kinship. We replied that everyone of us would love to do so. Rasulullah (Sallallaho alaihe wasallam) then said that going to the musjid and reciting or teaching two ayaat of the Qur’an is more precious than two she-camels, three ayaat are most precious than three she-camels, and that similarly reciting or teaching of four ayaat is better than four she-camels and an equal number of camels.
“Suffah” is the name of a particular raised platform in the Mosque of the Holy Prophet () in Medina. It used to be occupied by the poor Muslim muhajirin (Plural of muhajir-emigrant from Mecca to Medina) who are known as “Ashab-us-Suffah” (Men of Suffah). The number of these men varied from time to time: ‘Allamah Suyuti (Rahmatullah alaih) has listed one hundred and one names and also written an independent booklet about their names.
Buthan and Aqeeq were the two market-places for camels near Medina. The camel, more particularly a she-camel having a fat hump, was a favourite of the Arabs.
The expression “without sin” is significant. A thing can be acquired without labour either by extortion, through illegal inheritance (by forcefully taking over the property of some relative) or by theft. Rasullullah () thus ruled out all such acquisitions. Acquiring a thing without any sin is certainly preferred by all, but much more valuable is the learning of a few ayaat.
It is a clear fact that let alone one or two camels, even if one acquires the kingdom of all the seven continents one will be forced to leave it, if not today surely tomorrow (at the time of death), but the reward of one ayat will be everlasting. We see even in this life that a man feels happier when he is given only one rupee (without the condition of returning it), rather than if he is given one thousand rupees for keeping in his safe custody for a while only. In the latter case, he is merely burdened with a trust without getting any benefit out of it.
In fact, this Hadith implies an admonition not to compare something temporary with something eternal. Whether in action or at rest, a man should consider if his efforts are being wasted on acquiring the temporary gains of this world, or, are directed towards achieving the everlasting ones. Woe be to the waste of effort for which we earn eternal misery.
The last phrase of the Hadith “superior to an equal number of camels” contains three meanings. First, up to the number four, the reward has been mentioned in detail. Beyond this, it is briefly mentioned that the more ayaat a person acquires, the greater will be their superiority over the number of camels. In this case, the word “camels” at the end refers to the species—either he-camels or she-camels—and the number implied is more than four because, up to the number four, the reward has been mentioned in detail.
The second meaning is that the numbers mentioned are the same as referred to earlier, the significance being that inclinations are always different; some are fond of she-camels, others prefer a he-camel. Therefore Rasulullah () has used this expression to signify that every ayat is superior to a she-camel, and if one prefers a he-camel, an ayat is also superior to a he-camel. The third meaning is that the numbers mentioned are the same as referred to before and not more than four.
According to the second meaning, the explanation that an ayat is superior to a she-camel or he-camel does not hold good, but it implies a collection, i.e., one ayat is superior to a he-camel and a she-camel considered together, and likewise every ayat is superior to the combination of an equal number of he-camels or she-camels. Thus a single ayat has been compared to a pair or couple (of camels). My late father (May Allah bless his grave with Divine light) has preferred the latter interpretation because it points to a superior virtue.
This however, does not mean that the reward of an ayat can be equaled to a camel or two camels. All this is for inducement and illustration. It has been clearly written before that an ayat whose reward is permanent and enduring is superior and preferable even to a kingdom over the seven continents, which is bound to disintegrate.
Mulla ‘Ali Qari has written an account of a pious Shaikh who went to Mecca for Hajj on the 9th day of Dhul Hijjah—the 12th month of the Islamic calendar. When he landed at Jiddah, some of his friends in business requested him to prolong his stay in Jiddah, so that they could earn more profit for their merchandise by virtue of his blessed presence. In fact they wanted that some of the servants of the Shaikh be benefited by the profits of their business.
At first the Shaikh expressed his inability to prolong his stay, but when they insisted the Shaikh asked them as to the maximum profit that they would earn for their goods. They explained that the profit was not the same in all cases; but the maximum that they could expect was hundred per cent.
The Shaikh said, “You have taken all this trouble for such a petty gain; for such an insignificant gain. I cannot miss the salaat in the respected Haram (the most Sacred Mosque), where the reward of salaat gets multiplied one hundred thousand times.*’ In fact, we Muslims should consider how, for petty worldly gains, we sometimes sacrifice great spiritual benefits.
HADITH No. 4
Hadhrat ‘Aa’ishah (Radhiyallaho anha) narrates that Rasulullah () once said, “One who is well versed in the Qur’an will be in the company of those angels who are scribes, noble and righteous; and one who falters in reading the Qur’an, and has to exert hard for learning, gets double the reward.”
“One who is well versed in the Qur’an” means one who is proficient in memorizing as well as in reciting it. It is highly praiseworthy if one masters its meaning and significance as well. “To be with the angels” means that, like the angels who transferred the Qur’an from the, Lowhul Mahfooz’ (Protected Tablet in the Heavens), he also conveys it to others through its recitation and, therefore, both have the same occupation; or that he will join the company of such angels on the Day of Judgment. One who falters will get double reward—one for his reading and the other for his effort in reading the Qur’an, in spite of faltering again and again.
It does not mean that his reward will exceed that of a well-versed person. The reward that is mentioned for a well-versed person is far greater, so much so that he will be in the company of special angels. The explanation is that the labour involved in faltering and the difficulties in the reading of the Qur’an carry an independent reward. As such, reading of the Qur’an should not be given up, even though faltering may be an excuse.
Mulla ‘Ali Qari has reproduced from the riwayat of Tabrani and Baihaqi that one who cannot memorize the Qur’an well and yet persists in learning it by heart gets double reward. Similarly, one who cherishes a longing for memorizing it and does not possess the ability to do so, but does not give up his efforts, will be reckoned by Almighty Allah among the huffaaz (Plural of hafiz—one who has learnt the whole Qur’an by heart) on the Day of Resurrection.