What Is Meant By Having Faith In The Qur’an?

What Is Meant By Having Faith In The Qur'an?

What is meant by having faith in the Qur’an? It means that one should, in the first instance, verbally profess that the Qur’an is the Word of Allah (SWT) that was revealed by Him through His chosen angel Jibra’eel (AS), to the last of His messengers, Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Having made this profession, a person will be accepted as a member of the Muslim community, although he may not have yet attained true faith. It is only when he comes to cherish this belief with a deep, inward conviction that the light of true faith will illumine his heart. Then he will find his heart to be full of reverence for the Holy Book. As his faith becomes stronger and stronger, his mind will come more and more under the spell of the Qur’an, and his feeling of reverence for it will become deeper and deeper. Thus faith and reverence go together. We learn from the study of the Our an that the first individual to believe in this Revealed Book was none other than the Prophet (SAW) himself who was followed by his Companions (RAA).

“The Messenger believed in what was revealed to him from his Lord, as well as the believers….” (Al-Baqarah 2:285)

Their belief was a deep inward conviction that the Qur’an was kalam Allah (the Word of God). This conviction developed in them a reverential attitude towards the Qur’an and created in their hearts an unbounded love and devotion for it. It was for this reason that the Holy Prophet (SAW) used to wait anxiously for the Revelation to come, that he would get impatient if it was temporarily suspended, and when it was resumed he would try to memorize it with utmost avidity and eagerness, so much so that Allah (SWT), out of love and affection for his Messenger (SAW), forbade him to be impatient in this regard with the following instructions:

“…do not be in haste for the Qur’an….” (Taha 20:114)

“And do not move your tongue quickly (in trying to memorize the Revelation) to make haste therewith.” (Al-Qiyamah 75:16).

Once at an early stage, the continuity in the process of Qur’anic revelation was interrupted for an unusually long period. It is reported that this interruption caused the Holy Prophet (SAW) so much anguish and distress that he would often think of throwing himself down from a mountain. So deep was his devotion for the Qur’an that he would spend the greater part of the night in prayer and recitation. He would stand reciting the Qur’an for long hours until his feet would get swollen. His Companions (RAA) were also equally enamored of the Holy Book and would recite it for long hours at night. Many of them had made it a point to go through the whole Qur’an once a week. The Holy Prophet (SAW), though himself the recipient of the Qur’anic Revelation, often asked his Companions (RAA) to recite the Qur’an to him and would be moved to tears by the intensity of feelings roused in his heart.

Obviously, the reason why the Companions of the Holy Prophet (SAW) came to entertain such a deep love and reverence for the Qur’an in their hearts, and regarded it with so much reverence, was that their belief in the Qur’an being a Revelation from the Almighty had reached the highest stage of conviction – a stage at which a reality is accepted as an Absolute Truth. Now let us examine the condition of our faith in the Qur’an. We do profess that the Qur’an is a Divine revelation and, indeed, we should be thankful to the Almighty that He has included us among those who hold this belief about His Book, but most of us are not inwardly convinced of its being the Word of Allah (SWT), a Revelation from the Creator of the heavens and the earth. This is the real cause of our estrangement from, and indifference to the Qur’an. Even a casual introspection and self-examination will prove that our hearts are devoid of the true belief in the Qur’an and, instead of harboring true faith, they have become the dwellings of doubts and misgivings. My fellow Muslims might resent this plain speaking on my part; nevertheless, it is a fact that we Muslims woefully lack a staunch faith in the Divine origin of the Qur’an. The state of doubt and uncertainty in which we find ourselves today has been described in the Qur’an in the following words:

“…truly, those who have inherited the Book after them are in suspicious (disquieting) doubt concerning it.” (Al-Shura 42:14)

This lack of faith is the reason why we neither find any reverence for the Qur’an in our hearts, nor feel inclined to study it, nor evince any interest in pondering over its meaning, nor ever think of seeking its guidance in conducting our lives. As long as we do not make up this dreadful deficiency, no useful purpose will be served by any amount of religious instruction.

The first and foremost duty of every Muslim, therefore, is to check his belief in the Qur’an to see whether his belief in the Qur’an being a sacred and heavenly book is a mere dogma which has nothing to do with his practical life, or whether he is really convinced of its being a Word of Allah (SWT) which has been vouchsafed to mankind to seek guidance from it and make it a practical code of life. If we hold this conviction, we may have reason to be satisfied and be thankful to Allah (SWT), but if not – which unfortunately is the case with a vast majority – we should first of all make up this deficiency in our faith, because the fulfillment of our other obligations to the Qur’an is dependent upon this very conviction.

It may be asked as to how can this deficiency be made up. Obviously, the easiest and the most effective way to acquire and augment faith is to move in the society of godly persons whose hearts are illumined by the light of true faith. The Companions of the Holy Prophet (SAW) owed their unique faith to the inspiring influence of their Master (SAW), who himself was an embodiment of faith and certitude. After the death of the Holy Prophet (SAW), one can never dream of attaining the same degree of faith as the Companions (RAA) had attained on account of his physical presence among them, still the method of improving and perfecting faith in the company of the pious will be followed with immense advantage even today; so, we need to turn to the pious among us for continually refreshing our faith. So far as the pious are concerned, they, in their turn, will find the greatest source of the light of faith in the Holy Qur’an itself. They will also make a careful study of the biographies of the Holy Prophet (SAW) and his Companions (RAA) so that they may be able to enjoy an intellectual and spiritual companionship of the Messenger of Allah (SAW) and his Companions (RAA).

As regards the faith in the Qur’an and its growth, we have to depend upon one source only and that is the Holy Qur’an itself.

Iman (or faith), in reality, is not something that can be planted in us from outside. It is an embodiment of fundamental truths that continually flash through our inner being and are caught and reflected by our heart. We can say that the human heart is a wonderful mirror that automatically catches and reflects the light of those universal truths that constitute Iman. What happens is that sometimes the surface of this mirror gets blurred under the effect of wrong environment and education and fails to catch and reflect the inner light of Iman. To polish this mirror so that it may clearly reflect man’s inner light, Allah (SWT), out of His benevolence to mankind, has revealed His Word, urging us to discern the light inside ourselves and reminding us of the truths which are the intuitive apprehensions of our primordial nature.

“An insight and reminder (of the truths ingrained in human nature) for every servant who turns to Allah in repentance.” (Qaf 50:8)

If the Holy Book is studied and its meanings are pondered over in a genuine quest for truth, all the veils of darkness are lifted, one after another, and our inner self is illumined by the light of faith. After the heart’s mirror has once been rendered capable of clearly reflecting the light of faith, we shall still have to revert to the Qur’an whenever we find that its shining surface is becoming dull and hazy under the effect of worldly temptations. The following tradition, narrated on the authority of Abdullah Ibn Umar (RAA) refers to the polishing effect of the Qur’an on the mirror of the heart:

The Holy Prophet (SAW) once remarked: “Surely, these hearts get rusted as iron gets rusted in water.” He was asked how the heart’s rust could be rubbed off. He replied: “By frequent remembrance of death and the recitation of the Qur’an.” (Narrated by Bayhaqi)

The crux of the matter is that if our belief in the Divine origin of the Qur’an remains a mere dogma, it will not bring about any change in our present conditions and in our attitude of cold indifference towards the Qur’an. If we wish to do justice to the Qur’an and fulfill the demands it makes from us, we should first of all have the deep inner conviction that the Qur’an is, indeed, the last and final Message of Allah (SWT) delivered to the last of His messengers for the guidance of mankind. As soon as we come to have this conviction, our attitude towards the Qur’an will undergo a radical change. As soon as we realize that it is a Revelation from our Lord, our Creator, that Most Exalted Being Whose slightest apprehension transcends the bounds of our imagination,[1] our thinking will be completely revolutionized. We shall then feel that the Qur’an is the greatest blessing for us under the sun. Its recitation will sustain and nourish our souls, and contemplation over its meanings will chasten our hearts and enlighten our minds. From that point onwards, we shall never feel satiated with its study; and even after dedicating the best powers of our mind and intellect to its service, and having devoted our whole life to meditation over its meanings, we shall feel that we have not been able to do justice to the Glorious Qur’an, the greatest of the heavenly books.

[The Obligations Muslims Owe to the Qur’an by Dr. Israr Ahmed, p.8-13]


[1] According to Abu Bakr Siddique (RAA), “the clearest apprehension of Allah (SWT) possible to man lies in admitting one’s total inability to apprehend Him.” Sayyidena Ali (RAA) is said to have made the following addition to these words, as if to complete the couplet: “and to make an inquisitive probe into His being can lead to polytheism.”

Previous articleSome Life Accounts of Ibn al-Jawzi
Next articleThe Imitation Of The Western Mode Of Life By Muslims