Having the right keys for the door
Unlocking divine knowledge
The Quran is the most precious gift from Allah Almighty, however accessing its meaning is as much to do with us, as it is to do with the Quran.
It speaks to each individual personally. Different people will take away different levels of meaning. Some will merely skim the surface, others will dive down deep.
So how are we to engage in this interactive process? How do we make sense of it and take away the wisdom for our own hectic, perplexing lives today?
The answer lies inside us – specifically our attitude. We generally observe the world around us assuming that we are right. It is others who don’t make sense. We almost always know better. It is critical, however, when we approach the Quran that we begin with a different approach. The approach of someone who knows little before someone who knows everything. That is the shift that we need to make and then open our minds to the words.
Thus, the Quran should be accessed with the right keys. These are tawaadu (humility) and isti’adha, seeking Allah Almighty’s protection.
Tawaadu’ (modesty and humility) is the opposite of kibr (arrogance).The Prophet (peace be upon him) has mentioned, ‘Whoever practices tawaadu, Allah Almighty will raise their ranks in knowledge, understanding and in the heavens.’ Neither tawaadu’ nor kibr can be hidden from Allah Almighty. It is critical that we do not approach Allah Almighty’s words as if we know them already. Even though we recite parts of it in our salah so many times a day, we should be humble for there are depths of understanding beyond those which are most apparent to us.
Knowledge is a gift and blessing from Allah Almighty. And Allah Almighty bestows it on those who make sincere effort. We should remember that of all knowledge, we have been given but little – barely a drop in the ocean. Allah Almighty gives to whom He wills as much as He wills. Beyond that, He is the Omniscient and we cannot know what He has kept from us. And we should know that when we trust Him, He responds. Allah Almighty has said, ‘I respond to the call of the suppliant when he calls upon Me.’ (Chapter 2: Verse 186)
Shaytan will try to attack us, particularly where he perceives a gap in our knowledge or practice. The isti’adha, thus, helps us to enhance our focus, increase closeness and attain depth in our worship. So when we turn to Him we should ensure that we turn to Him fully and cut out other voices. We are always vulnerable and exposed, so we ask Allah Almighty to defend us from Shaytan’s machinations. A man once came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) who was overcome with rage. The Prophet (peacebe upon him) advised that had this man known what to say (referring to the isti’adha), Allah Almighty would cool him down and keep Shaytan away from him. Allah Almighty is the All Knowing; His knowledge is beyond anything we can imagine.
In the renowned Forty Hadith of Imam Nawawi (may Allah be pleased with him), the Prophet (peace be upon him) said that ‘Actions are by intention and every man shall have that which he intended.’ The correct intention is to read His words: to seek Allah Almighty’s pleasure and guidance, to strengthen one’s imaan (faith), to gain beneficial knowledge, to gain closeness to Him and to increase in gratitude to Him.
The keys to understanding the divine words are purifying our intention and perfecting our etiquette towards His word. We should always listen carefully when the Quran is being recited.
When we approach Him with the correct etiquette – sincerity and unadulterated intention, deep faith and reliance on Him alone, the doors of knowledge will, be opened for us, inshallah.