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Reflecting on the Qur’an

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I actually wrote the title of this post on the 8th March 2020 but for some reason, kept drawing blanks every time I sat down to write anything. I’m not sure what it was exactly, but everything just felt grossly unimportant in the grand scheme of things. And I know, that’s a ridiculous way to look at life because if we start to think about insignificance, then almost nothing matters anymore and it almost begs the question: what is the point? But, I digress.

I think in many ways, there was a reason I couldn’t post this when I did. I had barely begun to scratch the surface of this journey within and little had I known, a week or so in, we’d be social distancing on account of COVID-19 and have all the time in the world to learn so much more about what the Qur’an means to me.

I’d originally started writing this post about what verses of the Qur’an meant something to me. It was about which verse moved me to the point that I felt inspired to get on with life and it had come out of a Qur’an study lesson that I’d had. It was by chance that our teacher was absent on the day we had this lesson and other teachers just forgot that she wouldn’t be there so we had to improvise. We essentially ended up sharing with each other what what moved us as individuals and what inspired us to keep going when we felt like all hope was lost. For me it was a verse from Surah Takwir [81:26] and it goes like this: “So where are you going?” and that’s it. It’s as simple as that, and I think compared to a lot of the verses that I’d heard from my peers, this one seemed entirely basic. They had all chosen verses that spoke volumes about the of the grandiosity of God, His mercy, the amazing way in which the Earth was created, and the intricacies of this world.

In the midst of all of that, mine was simply “so where are you going” and I think it’s that that is most telling of my character because I am the kind of person who, once swept up by an idea, can get very involved and carried away. I get very invested and and I always want to make sure I either see it through in its entirety or I don’t do it at all. With me, it’s very go big or go home and I almost never go home so I kind of have to go big on every plan. So yeah, sometimes when I hear this verse it really stops me in my tracks and essentially sobers me up. It’s that moment where everything becomes questionable.

Where are you going?

For real, where do you think you’re going?

What is the point of everything that you are doing?

It’s not even a gentle reminder anymore it’s more a “seriously just stop, just stop what you’re doing and put it all down and tell me what are you doing with your life?”. It’s not even your entire life most of the time, it’s just “what are you doing in this exact moment and what is the purpose for it?”. It really settles me and forces me to think about my purpose and for me, that’s the most important thing. Because let’s be real here, when you get excited, when start to get carried away with things, when you start to live on hope and live on dreams, you lose sight of who you truly are. Let me be clear, that’s not to say you shouldn’t dream. That’s not the case at all, because if you know me, you’ll know that a lot of who I am today have come out of dreams I’ve had in the past and a lot of where I am today is because of the very hopes and dreams which kept me going. But when you lose sight of reality, you lose sight of any kind of moral ramifications that may accompany the end goal – in essence, our bid to live out our best lives often makes us forget that the end seldom justifies the means.

So I guess what I’m saying in this very long-winded way is that that the Qur’an is a book of personal guidance. It’s not just book that was revealed because all religious figures get some kind of Revelation. That wasn’t it. It came as a guidance for our lives and I think the more I read the Qur’an, the more I realise that there is very little in it about what you should and shouldn’t do. There is very little in terms of legalities and judgement calls, and more about guiding who you are as a spiritual being. It’s about perfecting your character and your sense of morality. But most importantly, the Qur’an is about what you as a person can benefit to humanity by living in a way that is gentle and kind and loving. It is about bringing the light of your Lord into the lives of other people without forgetting to bring it into your own life. I think sometimes we get so caught up inspiring others to see the light of God that we stop seeing His light, and we stop being the light in our lives. And that, my friends, is a very sad way to live.

So, as we go through March and into April exercising our abilities to socially distance ourselves for the greater good, I hope we are able to collectively brighten the light that has dimmed over the years. May Allah safeguard us all and allow us to understand the wisdom behind the trials in our lives. May He allow us to reconnect with ourselves, and in turn, with Him. But most importantly, may Allah keep our hearts soft, always.

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Ayesha Khanom

Sometimes a teacher, sometimes a student, but mostly caffeinated. This blog is a terrible attempt at writing out my thoughts - think of it as the 'comments, complaints, and suggestions' section of my brain. Nevertheless, I hope that some of these words will find a place in your heart and will stay with you even when I do not. If you'd like to get in touch, send me a message on Instagram or leave a comment on one of these posts and I'll get back to you at the best possible time.

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