IMPORTANCE OF QUR’AAN
“Verily we have revealed the Remembrance (Qur’an) and indeed we are its protectors.” (Al-Qur’an)
All praise is due to Allah Ta’ala alone for the priceless bounty of the Qur’an-al-Kareem. May our lives be sacrificed for the Glorious Qur’an. Hence those who have been especially chosen by Allah Ta’ala as a means to protect and safeguard His pure Book are extremely fortunate indeed. These special people are the Huffaz (plural of Hafiz). They are a manifestation of Allah Ta’ala’s Majesty and Power, that Allah Ta’ala showered His mercy upon them and enabled them to commit the Glorious Qur’an to memory. Memorising a book as voluminous as the Qur’an-al-Kareem is indeed a miracle — a miracle of the Qur’an which Allah Ta’ala has made manifest through His special servants.
In the present times we are extremely fortunate that we have many Huffaz in our communities, unlike the situation a few decades ago when Huffaz had to be brought from far away places to perform the Taraweeh Salaah. It could be safely said that at this present moment more than a thousand students are engaged in the memorising of the Qur’an in United Kingdom only, let alone the rest of the world. These students will tomorrow be leading the Taraweeh Salaah in various places. Unfortunately many do not fully realize the tremendous responsibility that this task entails. This simple booklet is a feeble attempt to highlight to our young Huffaz their own status as well as the responsibility that lies on their shoulders.
May Allah Ta’ala accept this humble effort and due to His sheer grace and mercy may He make it beneficial to the readers. Aameen. The Ulama-e-Kiraam who may peruse through this booklet are requested to kindly point out any errors or inaccuracies so that these could be rectified in the next edition.
Assalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuhu
All praise be to Allah Ta’ala! Salutations be upon our most beloved Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). Indeed, how greatly Allah Ta’ala has blessed you. What a priceless treasure you have been granted. The entire world, together with all its wealth and riches, cannot match even one verse of the Qur’an you have in your heart, let alone the entire Qur’an. You have become a special person of Allah Ta’ala (a VIP in the true sense of the word) and a member of His “family.” Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is reported to have said: “Verily Allah Ta’ala has family members among the people.” “Who are is Family?” asked the Sahaaba (Radhiallahu Anhum). Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “The people of the Qur’an. They are the family of Allah and His special people!”(Targheeb). Thus you, dear Hafiz, have become a special person in the sight of Allah Ta’ala.
Furthermore, you are also among the BEST of people. This title comes to you from none other than our most beloved Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), as he declared in the following hadith: “The best among you is he who learns the Qur’an and teaches it”(Tirmizi).
Wallah! … Wallah! The wealth in your bosom is more valuable than the sun, moon, the oceans and the entire universe. Those who own gold and diamond mines or oil wells have NOTHING, indeed nothing, compared to what you have in your heart. When all the gold and diamond mines and all the oil wells of the world cannot compare to what you have, it is obvious that the one little flashy car, or the tiny little “mansion”, or the few million rands are totally insignificant when compared to the wealth of the Qur’an-al-Kareem that is in your heart. What a wealth! Subhanallah! What a gift! Allahu Akbar! All praise be to Allah Ta’ala in the Heavens and on the earth.
Yes, you undoubtedly have the greatest treasure in your bosom. The reality of this treasure will truly become apparent in the Hereafter when, on the day of judgement, the PARENTS of the Hafiz will be made to wear such crowns that will outshine the sun while the Hafiz himself will be permitted to intercede on behalf of ten sinful Believers who were destined for Jahannum. Both these astounding virtues are mentioned in the following Ahadith:
“He who learns the Qur’an and practices upon it, his parents will be made to wear a crown on the day of Qiyamah, the brilliance of which will excel that of the sun if the same were within your worldly houses. Hence, what do you think about the person who himself acts upon it?”(Abu Dawood).
Whoever reads the Qur’an and memorises it, while he regards what it makes lawful as lawful and its unlawful as forbidden (i.e. he practices according to it), Allah Ta’ala will admit him into Jannah and will accept his intercession on behalf of ten such persons of his family who were doomed to the fire of Jahannum (Tirmizi).
While the great virtues are evident from these Ahadith, nevertheless both virtues are subject to a precondition which is absolutely clear – the condition of practicing according to the Qur’an-al-Kareem. Thus, these rewards are not for merely memorising the Qur’an. Rather, they are promised to the one who memorises the Qur’an and also acts according to the injunctions therein.
Remember, the memorising of the Qur’an is only possible with the help and assistance of Allah Ta’ala. Allah Ta’ala selects who He wishes for the protection of His Pure Word (the Qur’an-al-Kareem). Many cherished the desire to become a Hafiz, but they passed on to their graves with that desire not fulfilled. Allah Ta’ala has specially selected YOU to receive this special favour and this great status. Hence it must be appreciated and its rights must be fulfilled.
KNOWLEDGE OF PROPHETHOOD
Considering the superior status of a Hafiz, Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has given special instructions to him to adopt a superior conduct. Hazrath Abdullah bin Amr (Radhillahu Anhu) reports that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: Whoever reads the Qur’an secures the knowledge of Prophethood between his ribs (in his bosom), though divine revelation is not sent upon him. It does not befit the one endowed with the Qur’an that he be indignant (upset) with those that are in anger, nor should he indulge in any act of ignorance with those who are ignorant, while the Qur’an is there in his bosom” (Haakim).
Therefore when the Hafiz has gathered the knowledge of Prophethood in his bosom, his conduct should be the conduct of the Ambiya (Alaihimus Salaam). The true Hafiz will therefore shun all evil habits, he will never attend places of evil and sin and the company he keeps will be of those who are pious. His character with his parents, Ustaads, family members, the elders, the young and with every person will be such that the life of a true Muslim and of a bearer of the Qur’an will shine forth. He will be clothed with piety and will be adorned with humility. His conduct will automatically reflect that he is a different person, not just another fellow who cannot be distinguished from others on the street. The Hafiz will thus respect himself – not just his physical self – but the Qur’an-al-Kareem that is in his heart. As a result he will be bestowed with great honour in this world as well as in the Hereafter.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF IMAAM
As the month of Ramadhaan approaches, the Huffaz (plural of Hafiz) will be selected to lead the people in Taraweeh salaah. Thus you will be appointed as the Imaam to enable the people to perform the special Ibadah of Taraweeh salaah. According to the Ahadith the Imaam enjoys a superior status. It is reported in a Hadith that the Imaam who performs salaah in such a manner that the congregation is pleased will have a mount of musk on the day of Qiyamat (Tirmizi vol.2, pg.84). Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) also made dua for the hidayat (guidance) of the Imaams (Tirmizi vol.1, pg.51). This is indeed an honour – but more than that it is a tremendous responsibility. Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) is reported to have said: “The Imaam is responsible (Haakim).”If the Imaam performs the salaah correctly, the salaah of the congregation will likewise be correct. If the Imaam is negligent, he will bear the burden of the deficiency that occurred in the salaah of the entire congregation due to his negligence. The Imaam should also be an Imaam in the Musjid while leading the salaah, as well as conduct himself as an Imaam when out of the Musjid. This applies even though you may just be an Imaam for the Taraweeh salaah only.
Hence the Hafiz who will lead the Taraweeh salaah should at all times posses, among others, the following qualities of an Imaam:
He must be upright and pious
He must be able to recite the Qur’an correctly
He must know the basic masaa’il of Deen pertaining to taharah, salaah, etc.
He must be one who knows the Sunnah and adheres to it
He must not be one who openly commits sins
He must at all times be humble
KNOWLEDGE OF MASAA’IL
Among the qualities of the Imaam stated above is the essential quality that he should be well acquainted with the basic masaa’il oftaharah, Salaah, etc. The ghusal and wudhu must be performed completely in the sunnah manner. Neglecting to perform the ghusal and wudhu in the sunnah manner will cause a deficiency in the quality of the salaah. Thus the Imaam has to be even more careful that the sunnah procedure is carefully observed while performing ghusal and wudhu.
Eventually that day will come when the crescent of Ramadhaan will be sighted. On that night you will have to assume your position as the Imaam of the Taraweeh salaah and lead the congregation. It is extremely important to keep in mind that Taraweeh salaah is also SALAAH. While the pace of reciting the Qur’an may be a little faster in Taraweeh salaah, the same care must be taken in performing Taraweeh as is necessary in the daily Fardh (obligatory) salaah.
COMMUNICATING WITH ALLAH TA’ALA
Consider that even while performing Taraweeh salaah you are communicating with Allah Ta’ala. Ponder over the following hadith: Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is reported to have said that when the musalli recites the first aayah of Surah Fatiha in salaah, Allah Ta’ala replies and says: “My servant has praised Me.” When he recites the second aayah Allah Ta’ala says: “My servant has glorified Me.” When he recites the third aayah Allah Ta’ala says: My servant has extolled My praises.” When he recites the verse “You Alone do we worship and You Alone do we ask for assistance,” Allah Ta’ala says: “This is between Me and My servant.” Finally when he completes the rest of the Surah, Allah Ta’ala declares: “This is for My servant – and for My servant is what he has asked” (Mishkaat).
Hence, when the salaah is a means of communication with Allah Ta’ala, it must be performed in a most dignified manner. The speed of the recitation must not be so fast that some of the words cannot be clearly heard. The recitation must be absolutely clear. The rules of Tajweed must be adhered to. Of utmost importance is the correct pronunciation of the letters. Often due to “high speed” recitation, the letters are not pronounced clearly. In many instances such incorrect pronunciation results in the meaning being completely changed. This is a major sin and one must therefore totally refrain from it. Remember! Taraweeh is salaah. It is an ibadah. Like in any other salaah, one is communicating with Allah Ta’ala in Taraweeh also. Thus be particular with the speed of recitation as well as all other aspects.
Extremely important is the proper performance of ruku, qaumah (the standing posture after ruku before going into sajda), sajda andjalsa (the sitting posture between the two sajdas). It is waajib to remain AT LEAST for the duration of one tasbeeh in ALL the above four postures. The duration of one tasbeeh in this context is the extent it takes to say subbahana rabbiyal azeem once. It is sunnatul muakkadah to recite the tasbeehs of ruku and sajda at least thrice. The Imaam must recite the tasbeehs at least three times each in such a manner that the muqtadies also manage to recite the tasbeehs thrice. It is makrooh to recite the tasbeehs so quickly that (in general) the muqtadies do not manage to recite the tasbeehs thrice (see Fatawaa Mahmoodia v. 2, p. 108). Keep in mind that you have not been appointed as the Imaam to break any speed records. You are not in some sort of marathon that you want to complete in record time. Do not perform the Taraweeh in such a manner as if you “just want to get over with it.” You are carrying on your shoulders the responsibility of the salaah of the entire congregation. You can NEVER dare to be hasty or negligent. Always keep in mind the Hadith wherein it is stated that the salaah that is not performed properly rises up in an ugly and dark shape and curses the one who performed it. It is then flung back like a dirty rag on the face of the person (Tabrani).
While refraining from being hasty, one should also consider the ease of the muqtadies. Therefore a moderate pace should be adopted, not such a slow pace which tires the muqtadies. The rakaats should also be approximately of even length. To recite a very lengthy portion in the first rakaat and just a few aayats in the second rakaat tires most muqtadies.
The qualities of an Imaam have already been listed. Among them is the important aspect that the Imaam must not be one who commits sins openly. Among the common sins which are committed openly in our time is the watching of T.V. and the intermingling of the sexes. As for T.V., people all sit together engaging collectively in the zina of the eyes and ears. Besides this open sin rendering the Imaamat of such a person to be makrooh, with what purity of the heart can a Hafiz lead the Taraweeh salaah when the filth of the T.V. is in his heart and mind.
Similarly, to freely intermingle with ghair mahrams (those with whom marriage is not perpetually haraam) is not permissible even if such ghair mahrams are closely related to one (such as sisters-in-law, cousins, etc.). This also results in zina of the eyes, ears, etc. The Imaam should therefore be extra careful in this regard.
Another aspect that the Fuqaha (jurists) have unanimously regarded as an open sin is the shaving off of the beard or trimming it to less than the extent of one fist length. The beard is not “just a sunnat.” According to all the four Imaams of fiqh it is waajib to keep a beard to the extent of one fist length. This compulsion has been derived from various Ahadith wherein Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has greatly stressed the keeping of the beard. In many Ahadith Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has given the imperative command of lengthening the beard.
It is reported that once a fire-worshipper, who had shaved his beard and lengthened his moustache, came to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). Upon seeing him in this condition Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “What is this you have done?” He replied: “This is our religion.” Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “In our religion WE ARE COMMANDED to lengthen the beard and cut the moustache” (Hukmul Lihya Fil Islam).
In another Hadith it is recorded that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) DISLIKED looking at the emissaries that came from the court of Kisra because they shaven their beards. He said to them: “Woe unto you! Who has told you to make your appearance like this?” They replied: “Our lord, the emperor Kisra ordered us to do so.” Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: “But I have been COMMANDED by my Lord, Allah, to lengthen the beard and cut the moustache”(Al Bidaya wan Nihaya). Consider this narration carefully. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) DISLIKED looking at the emissaries BECAUSE they had shaven off their beards. The gravity of this matter is apparent from these Ahadith.
When this is the injunction for ordinary Muslims, it becomes even more important and significant for an Imaam. Due to the great stress in the Ahadith on having a lengthened beard, the Fuqaha (jurists) have stated that it is makrooh tahrimi to appoint such a person as the Imaam who shaves his beard or trims it to less than one fist length. Makrooh tahrimi is a category that is next to Haraam, therefore such an aspect is also forbidden. If one who shaves his beard is nevertheless appointed as the Imaam, the salaah of the muqtadis(followers) will be makrooh. However, the collective burden of the deficiency in the salaah of the entire congregation will be upon the Imaam and upon those who appointed him to lead the salaah.
What a huge burden to carry! Can any person afford to take on such a burden? And that also in the month of Ramadhaan, the month wherein you should be earning more rewards, not extra sins? Thus, dear Hafiz, never shave off your beard or trim it to less than the extent of one fist.
PANTS BELOW THE ANKLES
Likewise it is also Makrooh Tahrimi to wear one’s pants below the ankles at all times, whether in salaah or outside it. The salaah that is performed by a person whose pants are below his ankles is makrooh. In numerous Ahadith Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has warned against wearing the pants below the ankles. It is reported from Abu Hurairah (R.A.) that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Whatever is below the ankles from the izaar (pants or any garment which covers the bottom half of the body), that (portion of the leg which is covered below the ankle) is in the fire” (Sahih Bukhari). In another narration it is reported that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Beware of lowering your izaar below your ankles, for verily that is from pride. And Allah Ta’ala does not love pride” (Abu Dawood). Therefore, dear Hafiz, totally refrain from this as well at all times, especially while in salaah.
Finally, dear Hafiz, always keep in mind the elevated status and position that Allah Ta’ala has granted you. Never forget that you are a member of Allah Ta’ala’s “family.” Hence let the radiance of the Qur’an shine forth from every action and remain eligible for the great rewards that Allah Ta’ala has promised a true Hafiz. Furthermore, when you are appointed as the Imaam to lead the Taraweeh salaah, keep in mind all that has been mentioned above. Also carefully study the masaa’il of Taraweeh that are recorded hereunder.
May Allah Ta’ala keep you steadfast and grant you the best of both the worlds. May He enable you to remain steadfast upon the injunctions of the Qur’an. May He raise you on the day of Qiyama with Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and accept the intercession of the Qur’an in your favour. Aameen.