How to study The Majestic Quran

The Quran is a book of guidance that impresses the reader, drives home the message deep into the heart and mind. It affects attitude, mood, feelings and makes you act positively.

Every Surah develops its central theme logically from the beginning to the end, there is a gradual move to completion, it seems disjointed sometimes but these are often digressions, brackets and parenthesis. There is a pattern in which the Quran follows. Some surahs open with the mysterious broken letters, others with praise and glorification of the Lord followed by arguments for the Lord’s majesty, a reference to His creative power in nature, or a description of heaven and hell, rewards, punishment, or reference to the human history of disobedience. This pattern helps in achieving the original goal which is to impress the reader and knock sense into them.

Another rule of understanding the Majestic Quran is it makes certain assumptions that are not clearly stated, for example, take Surat al Hadid verse 22, Allah says that people use their wealth for enjoyment only, so that’s why they fail to give charity. Similarly, the constant reference to the people of the book answers the question of why should Muslims be burdened with this, the answers are given without stating the assumption sometimes.

The Quran gives direct commands rather than speaking in abstract terms, uses repetition of certain stories, phrases, words for emphasis with a profound effect. The Quran has a habit of keeping things brief, minimum details, it is concise, to the point. For example, it leaves out the names of people, towns, the numbers, showing it’s in a hurry to get to the message and reveal the moral and spiritual lessons.

Oaths and broken letters
The use of the broken letters is to highlight a belief and concept that requires emphasis. Often to underline the importance of Islamic beliefs of Tawhid, Risalah and Akhira. What does the Quran take oaths of? The astronomical bodies, the sun, the moon and stars, sometimes it comments on physical phenomena like wind and the times of the day; dawn, morning, night, places of interest Makka, Sinai, animals and plants.

Linguistic and stylistic tools of the Quran
The Quran is a book of guidance, not a textbook, a systematic account of a subject. Therefore it persuades, dissuades, pricks the conscience, flips from present to future and back to past, reasons using evidence from nature, human experience, and history.

Paying attention is a constant Quranic refrain, so what does it mean? This is an act of applying one’s mind, consideration and care, an attitude of readiness; like standing to attention. Attentional processes that are required during Quran reading include, knowing who is the Creator? What did He do? By observing nature, we can see something of His power. Learn and understand the Divine conventions; beliefs, divine commandments; prohibitions, challenges of life, purpose and objectives of life. It means to become aware of the bigger picture and understand the deceptive nature of life.

Quranic persuasion through reason

By asking questions the Majestic Quran tries to persuade us:

  • What point was being made?
  • What is the main message for me to take?
  • What does the Majestic Quran want me to believe, accept or do?
  • What reasons does it offer to support its position?

Pay special attention to:

  • The keywords and their meanings
  • The main themes or the sub-themes, these are usually highlighted
  • Look at the repetitions, how many times, why, what is the keyword in them
  • The Quran answers many assumptions that it does not state openly
  • Sentences that will help to join a Surat together
  • Look at how the Quran presents arguments
  • The arguments to soften the hearts
  • The rhetorical questions, the Quran uses these to reinforce the instructions given earlier
  • The repetition, the Quran uses these as an effective means to cement together various parts of a Surah

My translation of The Majestic Quran will improve the image of Quran translations. Professor Abdel Haleem said “literalism and the atomistic approach, with the lack of regard for the context, all contributed to making translations of the Quran difficult to follow.” The atomistic approach, fragmentary representation of the translation does not help the reader to see the thematic units but rather shows isolated sentences. My aim was to produce a translation that is reader-friendly, free-flowing, eloquent and accurate. I hope this will give the readers an opportunity to benefit from the inspiration of this vast and boundless treasure house of wisdom. I want Quran readers to understand its meanings as the blessed Messenger (peace be upon him) and his companions understood it and felt it.

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