The Qur’an is the ultimate manifestation of God's grace for man. It is the ultimate wisdom, the ultimate beauty of expression and is unparalleled by anything else. If one were to ask a Muslim to illustrate it, they would most likely offer similar words.
The Qur’an was revealed by God Almighty through the last and the seal of the Prophet’s, Muhammad ﷺ. The Prophet ﷺ himself had no role in authoring the Qur’an, he was a Messenger repeating the dictates of the Divine Creator:
"He (Muhammad ﷺ) does not speak of his own desire. It is no less than an Inspiration sent down to him." (An-Najm: 3-4)
It was revealed in Arabic over a period of twenty-three years. It is composed in a style so unique that it cannot be deemed poetry, even by poets themselves. The Qur’an is unique; it cannot be simulated or copied and God Almighty challenges mankind to pursue such an endeavor:
"Or do they say he forged it? Say: Bring then a chapter like unto it, and call (to your aid) anyone you can, beside God, if it be that you speak the truth." (Yunus: 38)
Due to its unique style of language, the Qur’an is not only readable but also relatively easy to remember. This latter aspect has played an important role in the Qur’an's preservation and in the spiritual life of Muslims of all times. God Himself declares:
"And We have indeed made the Qur’an easy to understand and remember; then is there anyone that will receive admonition?" (Al-Qamar: 17)
From the miracles of the Qur’an is that it remains today in its Pure form, the only holy book which has this characteristic. Sir William Muir noted, "There is probably in the world no other book which has remained (fourteen) centuries with so pure a text."
The Qur’an’s preservation started during the lifetime and under the supervision of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, who himself was illiterate, and was then sanctified after his death through rigorous methods which has scrutinized both written and oral traditions. Thus its authenticity is unblemished, and is its preservation is seen as the fulfillment of God's promise:
"We have, without doubt, sent down the Message, and We will assuredly guard it from corruption." (Al-Hijr: 9)
The Qur’an is a book which provides the human being the spiritual and intellectual nourishment he/she craves. Its major themes include the oneness of God, the purpose of human existence, faith and God-consciousness, the Hereafter, the concepts of eternal bliss or eternal suffering. Heavy emphasis is also placed upon reason and understanding.
In these spheres of human understanding, the Qur’an goes beyond just satisfying the human intellect, it causes one to reflect on implications. There are Qur’anic challenges and Prophecies.
Perhaps the best description of the Qur’an was given by Ali (RAA), the cousin of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ when he expounded upon it as follows:
"The Book of God. In it is the record of what was before you, the judgment of what is among you, and the prophecies of what will come after you. It is decisive, not a case for levity. Whoever is a tyrant and ignores the Qur’an will be destroyed by God. Whoever seeks guidance from other than it will be misguided. The Qur’an is the unbreakable bond of connection with God; it is the remembrance full of wisdom and the straight path. The Qur’an does not become distorted by tongues, nor can it be deviated by whims; it never dulls from repeated study; scholars will always want more of it. The wonders of the Qur’an are never ending. Whoever speaks from it will speak the truth, whoever rules with it will be just, and whoever holds fast to it will be guided to the straight path."
To reflect upon the verses of Allah is a form of worship. It is something that will draw one close to Allah, the Most High.
The Qur’an is unlike any other; it is guidance for all times and places with no inconsistency. It is not a created thing as some may say, but the actual words of God. Allah (SWT) says:
“Then do they not reflect upon the Qur’an? If it had been from other than Allah, they would have found within it much contradiction.” (An-Nisa: 82)
and Allah (SWT) says:
“And We send down of the Qur'an that which is a Healing and a Mercy to those who believe, and it increases the Dhalimoon (polytheists and wrong-doers) in nothing but loss.” (Al-Isra: 81)
There are many verses in the Qur'an which highlight the Majesty of Allah (SWT) and mentioning all the verses in regards to this would be innumerous, however below are some which show our Creator’s Majesty and Might. Allah (SWT) says:
“Say: If mankind and Jinn gathered together to produce the likes of this Qur’an, they could not produce the likes thereof, even if they were to one another helpers.” (Al-Isra: 88)
and Allah (SWT) says:
“Had We sent down this Qur'an on a Mountain you would surely have seen it humbling itself and rending itself asunder from the fear of Allah (SWT). Such are the parables which We put forward to mankind that they may reflect.” (Al-Hashr: 21)
and Allah (SWT) says:
“There is nothing like Him, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.” (Ash-Shura: 11)
and Allah (SWT) says:
“The Only Owner (and the Only Ruling Judge) of the Day of Recompense (i.e. the Day of Resurrection)” (Al-Fatihah: 4)
Reading and Reflecting Over the Qur’an Fulfils an Islamic Duty
Narrated by Tamim Ad-Dari (RAA) that the Prophet ﷺ said: “Religion is Nasihah.” We said: “To whom?” The Prophet ﷺ said: “To Allah, His Book, His Messenger, to the leaders of the Muslims and their common folk.” (Muslim)
The sincerity that is due to the Book of Allah includes its regular recitation, learning the rules of Tajweed and reciting it beautifully, learning about its Tafseer and the reasons for its revelation, affirming that it is the truth, the perfect Speech of Allah and not part of the creation, honouring it and defending it, abiding by the orders and prohibitions found in it, and teaching it and calling to it.
The Qur’an will be a Proof for or against Us on the Day of Judgement
The Prophet ﷺ said: “The Qur’an is a proof for you or against you.” (Muslim)
So one of two things will occur with this proof. It will either be in one's favor, a proof for a person on the Day when we will desperately need every single good deed or it will witness against us and cause us much regret.
Think carefully my dear brother and sister about your position with the Qur’an. Are you neglecting it? Are you contradicting it? Are you being heedless of its orders and prohibitions? Are you thinking deeply over it? Will it be for you or against you on the Day of Judgement? These questions are not questions to be taken lightly.
One’s Position and Rank in Paradise is Determined by the Amount of Qur’an He Memorized in this Life
Abdullah ibn Amr ibn Al-As heard the Prophet ﷺ saying: “It will be said to the companion of the Qur’an: ‘Read and elevate (through the levels of Paradise) and beautify your voice as you did when you were in the worldly life! For verily, your position in Paradise will be at the last verse you recite!’” (Abu Dawood & At-Tirmidhi)
The Reciters of the Qur’an Will Be in the Company of the Noble Angels
Narrated by Aisha (RAA), the Prophet ﷺ said: “Indeed the one who recites the Qur’an beautifully, smoothly and precisely will be in the company of the Noble and obedient Angels. As for the one who recites it with difficulty, faltering or stumbling through its verses, then he will have two rewards.” (Al-Bukhari & Muslim)
Do not let Shaytaan give you false excuses, such as ‘I am not an Arab’ or ‘It is not in my language.’ This Hadith is a firm proof against these whisperings. Dedicate yourself to the Book of Allah, whether you are an Arab or not! The excuses have been eliminated and the pathway has been cleared for you to embrace the Book of Allah.
The Reward of the Night prayers
The countless rewards and benefits of praying and reciting Qur’an during the night prayers especially in the last third of the night are frequently mentioned in the Ahadeeth of the Prophet ﷺ. Below are a few to indicate the rewards and benefits.
Narrated by Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-As (RAA), the Prophet ﷺ said: “Whoever recites ten verses in Night prayers will not be recorded as one of the forgetful. Whoever recites a hundred verses in Night prayers will be recorded as one of the devout, and whoever prays a thousand verses in Night prayers will be recorded as one of the Muqantareen (those who pile up good deeds).” (Abu Dawood and Ibn Hibbaan. Saheeh at-Targheeb 635)
The Muqantareen are those who will be given a Qintaar of reward. A Qintaar is a large amount of gold, and most of the scholars of the Arabic language are of the view that it is four thousand dinars.
And it was said that a Qintaar is a bull’s hide full of gold, or eighty thousand, or a large but unspecified amount of wealth. See al-Nihaayah fi Ghareeb il-Hadeeth by Ibn al-Atheer.
The Prophet ﷺ said: “The best prayer after the obligatory prayer is prayer at night.” (Muslim)
And he ﷺ said: “You should pray Qiyaam al-Layl, for it is the custom of the righteous who came before you and it brings you closer to your Lord, and expiates sins and prevents misdeeds.”
(Tirmidhi; classed as Hasan by Al-Albani in Irwa’ al-Ghaleel)
Amr ibn Murrah al-Juhani narrated that a man came to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ from Qadaa’ah and said to him: “O Messenger of Allah, what do you think if I bear witness that there is no one worthy of worship except Allah and that you are His Messenger, and I pray the five daily prayers, and fast the month of Ramadan, and pray Qiyaam in Ramadan, and pay zakat?” The Prophet ﷺ said: “Whoever dies doing that will be one of the Siddeeq’s and Martyrs.” (classed as Saheeh by Al-Albani in Saheeh ibn Khuzaymah)
Narrated from Ali (RAA) that the Prophet ﷺ said: “In Paradise there are apartments the outside of which can be seen from the inside and the inside of which can be seen from the outside.” A Bedouin stood up and said: “Who are they for, O Messenger of Allah?” He said: “They are for those who speak good words, feed others, fast regularly and pray to Allah at night when people are sleeping.” (Classed as Hasan by Al-Albani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi)
Narrated that the Prophet ﷺ said: “Jibreel came to me and said: ‘O Muhammad, live as long as you want, for you will die. Love whomever you want, for you will leave him. Do whatever you want for you will be requited for it. Remember that the believer’s honour is his praying at night, and his pride is his being independent of people.” (Al-Haakim; classed as Hasan by Al-Albani in Saheeh al-Jaami)
Imam al-Bukhari used to pray the Night prayers until the time of Suhoor, and he would read between a half and a third of the Qur’an and complete it at Suhoor every third night.
Reciting Qur’an in Ramadan
Qur’an has even more of an important significance in the month of Ramadan, the month of fasting.
Allah (SWT) says:
“The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion [between right and wrong]. (Al-Baqarah: 185)
Jibreel used to come to the Prophet ﷺ every night in Ramadan and study the Qur’an with him. (Bukhari & Muslim)
Hence the salaf used to read Qur’an a great deal during Ramadan, following in the footsteps of the Prophet ﷺ.
Qataadah (RAA) used to complete the Qur’an every seven nights all the time, and every three nights in Ramadan, and every two nights during the last ten days of Ramadan.
Ibraaheem An-Nakha’i used to complete the Qur’an in Ramadan every three nights and in the last ten days every two nights.
General Rewards for Reciting the Qur’an
The rewards of reciting the Quran are many. Below are a few ahadeeth.
The Prophet ﷺ said: “Whoever reads a letter from the Book of Allah, he will have a reward. And that reward will be multiplied by ten. I do not say that “Alif, Laam, Meem” is a letter, rather I am saying that “Alif” is a letter, “Laam” is a letter and “Meem” is a letter.” So increase your recitation of the Qur’an to gain these merits, and to gain the following merit as well. (Tirmidhi)
Aisha (RAA) relates that the Prophet ﷺ said: “Verily the one who recites the Qur’an beautifully, smoothly, and precisely, he will be in the company of the noble and obedient angels. And as for the one who recites with difficulty, stammering or stumbling through its verses, then he will have two rewards.” (Bukhari & Muslim)
The Qur’an as an intercessor on the day of Judgment
Narrated by Abdullah ibn Masood (RAA), the Prophet ﷺ said: “The Qur’an is an intercessor, something given permission to intercede, and it is rightfully believed in. Whoever puts it in front of him, it will lead him to Paradise; whoever puts it behind him, it will steer him to the Hellfire.” (At-Tabarani)
Benefits of reciting certain Qur’anic chapters
The following are authentic Ahadeeth regarding the benefits of certain chapters in the Qur’an.
Narrated by Abu Hurayrah (RAA), the Prophet ﷺ said: “There is a chapter of the Qur’an containing thirty verses which have interceded for a man until he was forgiven. It is Surat Tabaarak… (Jami’ at-Tirmidhi 2891)
The power of Surat al-Fatihah
Narrated by Abu Saeed (RAA), he said: “A group of the companions of Prophet ﷺ set out on a journey and traveled until they stopped in a land of one of the Arab tribes. They asked them for hospitality but they refused to welcome them. The chief of that tribe was stung by a scorpion and they tried everything but nothing helped them. Some of them said, ‘Why don’t you go to those people who are camped (near us), maybe you will find something with them.’ So they went to them and said, ‘O people, our chief has been stung by a scorpion and we have tried everything but nothing helped him. Can any of you do anything?’ One of them said, ‘Yes, by Allah, I will recite Ruqya for him, but by Allah we asked you for hospitality and you did not welcome us, so I will not recite Ruqya for you until you give us something in return.’ Then they agreed upon a flock of sheep.’ Then he went and spat drily and recited over him Surat al-Fatihah. (The chief) got up as if he was released from a chain and started walking, and there were no signs of sickness on him. They paid them what they agreed to pay. Some of them (i.e. the companions) then suggested to divide their earnings among themselves, but the one who performed the Ruqya said, ‘Do not divide them until we go to the Prophet ﷺ and tell him what happened, then wait and see what he tells us to do.’ So they went to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ and told him what had happened. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ asked, ‘How did you know that it (i.e. al-Fatihah) is a Ruqya?’ Then he added, ‘You have done the right thing. Share out (the flock of sheep) and give me a share too.’ And the Messenger of Allah ﷺ smiled.” (Bukhari & Muslim)
Fabricated Ahadeeth narrating the benefits of some Qur’anic chapters or verses
Although there are many authentic ahadeeth regarding the rewards and benefits of reciting certain chapters or verses of the Qur’an, unfortunately there are also many fabricated ahadeeth that highlight certain virtues of certain chapters or verses.
“Many ahadeeth were fabricated about the virtues of various chapters of the Qur’an. Thee fabricators’ intentions were to encourage people to read the Qur’an and devote themselves to it, and they claimed that they were doing good thereby. However, their intentions were misguided because that is undoubtedly subject to the stern warning contained in the words of the Prophet ﷺ: “Whoever tells a lie about me deliberately, let him take his place in the fire.” (Bukhari & Muslim)