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The way to the Qur’an, Purity of Intention and Purpose

Jan 16, 2013
By Khurram Murad

Read the Qur'an with no purpose other than to receive guidance from your Lord, to come nearer to Him, and to seek His good pleasure. What you get from the Qur'arn depends on what you come to it for. Your Niyyah (intention and purpose) is crucial. Certainly the Qur'an has come to guide you, but you may also go astray by reading it should you approach it for impure purposes and wrong motives.

“Thereby. He causes many to go astray, and thereby He guides many; but thereby He causes none to go astray save the iniquitous.” (al-Baqarah 2:26).

The Qur'an is the word of Allah; it therefore requires as much exclusiveness of intention and purity of purpose as does worshipping and serving Him. Do not read it merely for intellectual pursuit and pleasure; even though you must apply your intellect to the full to the task of understanding the Qur'an. So many people spend a lifetime in studying the language, style, history, geography, law and ethics of the Qur'an, and yet their lives remain untouched by its message. The Qur'an frequently refers to people who have knowledge but do not derive benefit from it. Nor should you come to the Qur'an with the fixed intention of finding support for your own views, notions and doctrines. For if you do, you may, then, hear an echo of your own voice in it, and not that of Allah. It is this approach to the understanding and interpreting of the Qur'an that the Prophet, blessings and peace be on him, has condemned. 'Whoever interprets the Qur'an by his personal opinion shall take his place in the Fire' (Tirmidhi).

Nothing could be more unfortunate than to use the Qur'an to secure, for your own person, worldly things such as name, esteem, status, fame or money. You may get them, but you will surely be bartering away a priceless treasure for nothing, indeed even incurring eternal loss and ruin. Indeed, the Prophet, blessings and peace be on him, said: 'If anyone studies the Qur'an seeking thereby a living from people, he will rise on the Day of Resurrection with his face as a fleshless bone' (Baihaqi). He also said that one who learns, recites and teaches the Qur'an for worldly acclaim will be thrown into the Fire (Muslim).

You may also derive other lesser benefits, from the words of the Qur'an, such as the healing of bodily afflictions, psychological peace, and deliverance from poverty. There is no bar to having these, but, again, they should not become the be all and end all that you seek from the Qur'an nor the goal of your Niyyah. For in achieving these you may lose a whole ocean that could have been yours.

Reading every single letter of the Qur'an carries with it great rewards. Remain conscious of all the rewards, and make them an objective of your Niyyah, for they will provide you with those strong incentives required to spend your life with the Qur'an. But never forget that on understanding, absorbing and following the Qur'an you have been promised much larger rewards, in this-world and in the Hereafter. It is these which you must aim for.

Not only should your purpose be pure, but you should also, once you have the Qur'an with you—both the text and its living embodiment in the Sunnah—never go to any other source for guidance. For that would be like running after mirages. It would mean a lack of confidence, a denigration of the Qur'an. It would amount to divided loyalties.

Nothing brings you nearer to your Lord than the moments you spend with His words. For it is only in the Qur'an that you enjoy the unique blessing of hearing His 'voice' addressing you. So let an intense desire to come nearer to Allah be your one overwhelming motive while reading the Qur'an. Finally, your Niyyah should be directed to seeking only your Lord's pleasure by devoting your heart, mind and time to the guidance that He has sent to you. That is what you barter when you surrender yourself to Allah:

'There is such as would sell his own self in order to please Allah' (al-Baqarah 2:207).

Purpose and intentions are like the soul of a body, the inner capability of a seed. Many seeds look alike, but as they begin to grow and bear fruits, their differences become manifest. The purer and higher the motive, the greater the value and yield of your efforts.

So always ask yourself: Why am I reading the Qur'an? Tell yourself constantly why you should. This may be the best way to ensure the purity and exclusiveness of purpose and intention.

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