Memorizing the Qur’an and Applying it to Your Life: al-Sa’di

In the beginning of his book on the principles of tafsir, sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di included the following list of considerations for anyone seeking to memorize and understand the Qur’an:

فعلى الناس أن يتلقوا معني كلام الله كما تلقاه الصحابة رضي الله عنهم فإنهم كانوا إذا قرءوا عشر آيات، أو أقل أو أكثر، لم يتجاوزوها حتى يعرفوا ويحققوا ما دلت عليه من الإيمان والعلم والعمل، فينزلونها على الأحوال الواقعة يؤمنون بما احتوت عليه من العقائد والأخبار، وينقادون لأوامرها ونواهيها، ويطبقونها على جميع ما يشهدون من الحوادث والوقائع الموجودة بهم وبغيرهم، ويحاسبون أنفسهم: هل هم قائمون بها أو مخلون بحقوقها ومطلوبها؟ وكيف الطريق إلى الثبات على الأمور النافعة، وتدارك ما نقص منها؟ وكيف التخلص من الأمور الضارة؟ فيهتدون بعلومه، ويتخلقون بأخلاقه وآدابه، ويعلمون أنه خطاب من عالم الغيب والشهادة موجه إليهم، ومطالبون بمعرفة معانيه، والعمل بما يقتضيه. ـ

People should learn the meanings of Allah’s speech in the same way that the Sahabah learned them. Their way was that if they recited 10 ayaat – give or take -, they would not move past that amount until they understood and actualized the eemaan, knowledge and actions that those ayaat involved.

So they would apply those ayaat to their lives, believing in the beliefs and information they contained, complying with their commands and prohibitions, and put them into practice in any situations or events that happen to them or others.

And they would take themselves to task, asking: Am I living by these ayaat or have I fallen short in realizing and actualizing them? How can I become consistent in beneficial things and avoid falling short in that? How can I free myself from harmful matters?

So they are guided by the Qur’an’s information and their character is formed by its character and ways. They know that it is an address to them from the Knower of both the unseen and the apparent, so they seek to know its messages and to act in accordance with them.

فمن سلك هذا الطريق الذي سلكوه، وجَدّ واجتهد في تدبر كلام الله، انفتح له الباب الأعظم في علم التفسير، وقويت معرفته واستنارت بصيرته، واستغنى بهذه الطريقة عن كثرة التكلفات، وعن البحوث الخارجية، وخصوصاً إذا كان قد أخذ من علوم العربية جانباً قوياً، وكان له إلمام واهتمام بسيرة النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم وأحواله مع أوليائه وأعدائه، فإن ذلك أكبر عون على هذا المطلب. ـ

Whoever takes the path that they took and struggles and strives to contemplate Allah’s speech, then the greatest door of understanding the Qur’an will be opened for him. His understanding will be strengthened, his insight will be illuminated, and through this path he will be able to avoid a lot of difficulties and external research. This is especially true if he has a strong grasp of the Arabic language and a good familiarity and attentiveness to the biography of the Prophet and how he interacted with both his allies and enemies, for these matters are of great aid in contemplating the Qur’an.

[al-Qawa’id al-Hisan, principle #1]

See also: Learning the Qur’an – Both Wordings and Meanings: ibn Taymiyah

One thought on “Memorizing the Qur’an and Applying it to Your Life: al-Sa’di

  1. Pingback: Learning the Qur’an – Both Wordings and Meanings: ibn Taymiyah | Tulayhah

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