Dr Israr Ahmad
Our first obligation is to have faith in the Holy Qur´an. A verbal declaration of belief that the Holy Qur´an is the word of Almighty God, revealed to Prophet Muhammad (SAW) through the angel Gabriel is a legal requirement for becoming a Muslim. True faith, however, will emerge only when that attestation blossoms into a strong inner conviction and deeply felt certitude. And, of course, only true faith can lead us towards genuine devotion and veneration of the Holy Book.
Today ,the trouble is that, though we claim to believe in it, there is hardly any true conviction in our hearts regarding the Divine origin of the Holy Qur´an. This unfortunate state of uncertainty and doubt is responsible for the fact that our “faith” in the Qur´an is, generally speaking, nothing more than an article of dogma that has very little to do with our practical lives. It may be pointed out that the ultimate fountain-head and source of Iman is the Holy Qur´an itself. If the Book is studied and its meanings are pondered upon in an authentic quest for truth, all the veils of darkness shall be lifted from one´s heart, and the soul will get illumined by the light of gnosis and conviction.
Our second obligation is slow and thoughtful reading of the Holy Qur´an with correct pronunciation. The Holy Qur´an is unlike any other book, and, as such, it should never be read like ordinary books. We must read it carefully, reflecting on its messages, constantly seeking guidance for our lives, and we must read it again and again. Just as our material body is in constant need of food for its sustenance, our spiritual soul or Rooh is also in perpetual need for its nourishment. And just as the food for our bodies is derived from the earth, the diet for our souls is obtained from the Word of God, the Holy Qur´an itself.
Our third obligation is to understand and comprehend the Holy Qur´an. Of course, there are numerous levels and grades of comprehension, accessible to different persons according to their respective planes of intellect and consciousness. The first stage in the comprehension of the Holy Qur´an is called Tazakkur, a term which alludes to the fact that the teachings of the Qur´an are not at all foreign or alien to the human nature, rather they represent the eternal truths ingrained in the human soul.
The Holy Qur´an has been rendered very easy, by Almighty God, for the purpose of gaining this level of guidance. The second stage in the comprehension of the Holy Qur´an, however, is far from easy. Tadabbur is described as a penetrating study, an intense reflection, as thorough deliberation of the Holy Qur´an as possible, and diving deep into the bottomless ocean of its wisdom. There must be a number of scholars, at all times, who are engaged in this level of deep study and research. Such scholars can only be produced if we have a network of universities, throughout the Muslim world, which concentrate on the Qur´anic research and make this Book the focus of all their intellectual activity.
Our fourth obligation is to act upon the teachings of the Holy Qur´an. At an individual level, it is imperative for every Muslim to mold his or her life according to its message. Our Prophet Muhammad (SAW) has said, “None of you can become a true believer until his desires become subordinate to what I have brought.” The best way to benefit from the study of the Holy Qur´an is to go on changing our life-styles and mending our ways in accordance with its teachings. According to another saying of the Prophet, “The Qur´an will be an argument either for you or an argument against you (on the Day of Judgement).”
At the collective level of the community, it is equally imperative for us to try and establish the system of Social Justice as given by the Holy Qur´an. The Muslims are, as a whole, responsible for establishing the sovereignty of the Almighty God, and each of us is obligated to try his utmost in this path. It has been made obligatory upon all of us to try our utmost in establishing the Islamic System of Collective Justice, initially in our own homeland and then, ultimately, over the entire globe. This obligation obviously requires the Muslims to bring about fundamental changes in the un-Islamic politico-socio-economic system under which they may find themselves, in order to conform it to the teachings of the Holy Qur´an.
Our fifth obligation is to propagate the message of the Holy Qur´an to every nook and corner of the world. This was originally the responsibility of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), who fulfilled his own obligation by conveying the Divine message to the Ummah; since Prophethood has come to an end with the advent of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), it is now the duty of the Muslims to deliver that message to all humanity.
Thus, the Holy Prophet has commanded “Convey on my behalf, even if it only a single verse.” It may be pointed out here that this obligation cannot be fulfilled to the highest degree unless there is an Islamic state in existence. This is because the the unassailable proof of the remarkable perfection as well as the applicability of the Qur´anic injunctions in the contemporary world can be established only when they are put into practice in toto, and the results presented before the whole world as evidence of the veracity of Qur´an. In other words, the fourth and fifth obligations are closely linked with each other.
To sum up, we must develop real faith that this is indeed the word of God; we must read the Holy Qur´an on a daily basis; we must try to comprehend its meaning; we must act upon its do´s and dont´s in our individual as well as collective capacities; and we must spread the message and teachings of this Book to every nook and corner of the world. In addition to being a guarantee of our salvation in the Hereafter, this is the most certain and surefire approach if we want to achieve a sense of real unity among our ranks.