Certain basic states and attitudes of heart and mind are a necessary prerequisite to any fruitful relationship with the Qur'an. Develop them as much as you can. Make them part of your consciousness, keep them everalive and active. Integrate them in your actions. Let them penetrate the depth of your being. Without the help of these inner resources you will not receive your full measure of the Qur'an's blessings. They will be your indispensable companions, too, throughout your journey.
These inner resources are neither difficult nor impossible to find. Through constant awareness and reflection, through appropriate words and deeds, you can acquire and develop them. The more you do so, the closer you will be able to come to the Qur'an; the closer you come to the Qur'an, the greater will be your harvest.
First: Come to the Qur'an with a strong and deep faith that it is the word of Allah, your Creator and Lord. Why should such a faith be a necessary prerequisite? No doubt such is the power and charm of the Qur'an that even if a man takes it up and starts reading it as he would an ordinary book, he will still benefit from it, should he read it with an open mind. But this book is no ordinary book; it opens with the emphatic statement: 'This is the Book [of God], there is no doubt in it' (al-Baqarah 2:2). Your purpose in reading and studying it is no ordinary purpose; you seek from it the guidance that will transform your whole being, bring you and keep you on the Straight Path: 'Guide us on the Straight Path' (al-Fatihah 1:5) is the cry of your heart to which the Qur'an is the response.
You may admire the Qur'an, even be informed by it, but you cannot be transformed by it unless its words soak in to awaken you, to grip you, to heal and change you. This cannot happen unless you take them for what they truly are the words of God. Without this faith you cannot come to acquire all the other inner resources you will need to reach the heart of the Qur'an and absorb its message. Once it comes to reside in your heart, you cannot but be filled with the qualities and attitudes such as sincerity of purpose, awe and reverence, love and gratitude, trust and dependence, willingness to labour hard, conviction of its truth, surrender to its message, obedience to its commands, and vigilance against dangers which stalk to deprive you of its treasures.
Think of His majesty and glory and power, and you will feel awe and reverence and devotion for His words. Reflect on His sustenance and mercy and compassion, and you will be filled with gratitude and love and longing for His message. Know His wisdom and knowledge and kindness, and you will become willing and eager and ready to obey His commandments.
That is why the Qur'an reminds you of this important truth again and again: in the very beginning, in the opening verses of many Surahs, and frequently in between. That is why even the Messenger, blessings and peace be on him, is instructed to proclaim his own faith: 'Say: I believe in whatever God has sent down in this Book' (al-Shura 42: 15). In his faith all believers must join him: 'The Messenger believes in what has been sent down to him by His Lord, and all believers too' (al-Baqarah 2:285).
You must, therefore, always remain conscious that each word that you are reading, reciting, hearing, or trying to understand, has been sent for you by Allah. Do you truly have this faith? You do not have to look far for an answer. Just examine your heart and behaviour. If you have it, then, where is the desire and longing for companionship with the Qur'an, where is the labour and hard work to understand it, where is the surrender and obedience to its message?
How do we obtain this faith, and how can it be kept alive? Although there are many ways, I will mention only one here . The most effective way is reciting the Qur'an itself. This may look as if we are moving in a circle, but this is not really the case. For, as you read the Qur'an, you will surely recognize it as being the word of God. Your faith will then increase in intensity and depth: Believers are only those who, whenever God is mentioned, their hearts tremble with awe; and whenever His revelations are recited to them, they increase them in faith… (al-Anfal 8: 2).