Ramadan, the month of the Quran, has passed like a whirlwind as usual, with just a bit less than a third of it left already. Now we haplessly watch the days and nights interchange with quick succession, with our routines having set in, and our eating and sleep patterns following a comfortable schedule. We zealously look forward to the last ashrah’s five odd nights, in hopes of having our sins forgiven and our supplications granted for the coming year. However, there are some of us who find themselves quelling an innate guilt of not having lived up to the resolutions regarding daily goals of Quran reading, recitation and reflection that we made before this month started.
When we could not keep up with the half, one, or over one juz of Quran reading per day that we had ambitiously promised ourselves to do during Ramadan, we gave up and left it altogether. However, this is not the right attitude, because the Quran was not meant to be finished in a hurry anyway.
“And recite the Qur’an in slow, measured rhythmic tones.” [Surah Al-Muzammil 73:4]
We should remind ourselves that so many of the Prophet’s companions died before the Quran’s revelation was even complete i.e. they did not even get the opportunity to “finish” it during their lives. The Prophet Muhammad [صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم] also received the revelation of the Quran in stages that followed an erratic and unpredictable schedule spanning more than two decades! The reasons for this gradual, step-by-step revelation as opposed to one, complete swoop (as in the case of the Torah), is:
“Thus (is it revealed), that We may strengthen your heart thereby, and We have rehearsed it to you in slow, well-arranged stages, gradually.” [Surah Al-Furqan – 25:32]
Granted, we live in an era when the entire Quran is ensconced in the hearts of millions of Muslims already, so we should focus on completing it during Ramadan, as was the action of Prophet Muhammad [صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم], who revised it each year in its entirety with the Archangel Jibreel during Ramadan.
Let us be realistic however; we may try your best, but we still might not finish it. The next best option would be to utilize the amazing gift of technology for our spiritual benefit for the rest of the month, as an aid towards revising the whole Quran, in case we cannot finish its recitation or reading on our own. Remember that the rewards of each activity might not be the same, but at least they will keep us tied to the Book for the rest of the month, which is better than having given up on its recitation altogether:
Open up the Quran on a website such as Quran Flash or Quran Explorer, turn on the audio of a particular Surah and follow the words with your eyes, reading silently with your lips moving, as the Qari recites it. You will be able to enjoy the spiritual effect of recitation by reading the Divine verses while listening to them.
Dedicate a few minutes you can easily afford for this activity every day (even as few as ten!), and enjoy this time of reflection. You can cover all of your “favorite” portions of the Quran this way i.e. those verses that especially touch your heart when you listen to them. Menstruating women too, can remain bonded with the Quran during Ramadan via this activity.
If you have been going to taraweeh, or if you intend to go in the last five odd nights of Ramadan for Qiyam Al-Layl in the mosque, take a mushaf along with you, which you can hold during prayer and follow the Quran’s words with your eyes as the imam recites them.
If you can watch the channel on which the taraweeh from the Haramain is broadcast live in your home, sit in front of it with a mushaf and follow as the imam recites. You can do this even with any other program that airs a portion of Quran recitation during the day.
If your commute to school, college or office is long, use the car’s tape/CD player or your iPod (if you use the tube or bus) to listen to the Quran while you travel. While listening is not the same in reward, as reading, or of course reciting it yourself, the effect of the recitation on the listener’s heart is nevertheless, still better and more worthy of being sought during Ramadan, than wasting the same time thinking random thoughts, twiddling thumbs, reading worldly literature, watching scenery, or dozing off.
Homemakers can also use a tape or CD player this way, for listening to the Quran while they do housework, especially while preparing iftar in the kitchen. This also prevents unnecessary conversation, such as gossip, between household members.
Last but not least, we all can reap the benefits of the last five odd nights of Ramadan by trying to intensify our reading, recitation and reflection on the Quran during the precious hours of these nights before suhoor. Intensive worship can easily help us accomplish two or three juz per night, if we are motivated enough.
Again, the point is not to rush through the Quran in order to be able to save face before our family and friends by telling them how much we covered. Rather, the goal is to absorb as much of the Quran as we can, with deep understanding and reflection, before this month of exclusive worship passes us by and we are left regretting how we could have cashed in on the chances to do more, yet gave up on ourselves too soon.