A lot of us Muslims, for years, have recited the Qur'an in Arabic without understanding or trying to understand the meaning of the verses. This is something that I was personally guilty of. I believe reciting the Qur'an is incredibly important as it is the word of God, but I never really gave any time to try to understand the words of God. Ramadan 2015 was the first time I attended a Qur'an class where I read and reflected upon the verses in a language that I understood. The impact that this had on me was profound. This Ramadan I decided to return to the same classes seeking the kind of life-changing affect I had experienced the previous year.
The following list sums up, but by no means does justice to, just some of the effects the Qur'an has had on me:
1. I feel more motivated to do good deeds.
It is a sad thought that many non Muslims and many islamophobic organisations paint the Qur'an as, quite literally, a book of evil, when the affect it has had on me is solely a positive one. I want to strive to be a better person and do more good deeds. The Qur'an encourages feeding the needy, being good to your parents, turning away in peace when the foolish address you, amongst many other positive things. It encourages us to hasten towards doing good works. I began volunteering with 'The Myriad Foundation' in late 2015 and I believe there was a direct link between my desire to join the organisation and my exposure to the teachings of the Qur'an. They offered me the opportunity to feed the needy and get involved with a project called 'My Hospice Buddy' which is a buddy service for the terminally ill. Both feeding others and visiting the sick are meritorious deeds in Islam and the Qur'an gave me - and still gives me - an inexplicable push to do more and more good actions.
2. I feel more motivated to improve my inner self.
Not only has the Qur'an had a positive impact on my physical actions but I am now more motivated to improve my inner spiritual self. I am more concerned about not only being good in action, but also having a clean heart free from; pride, arrogance, hypocrisy, malice and any other negative trait.
3. I have gained a better understanding of why we go through tests and trials in life.
After going through a challenging, personal experience recently, reading the verses of the Qur'an helped me feel more at peace. The inner tranquility is not something that I have found in worldly things such as movies or social gatherings.
4. Overall, life just makes so much more sense now!
The Qur'an gives details on our purpose and really drives this message home. I understand why I'm here and for what reason. As a result, I feel less concerned about the material aspects of this life. It has shifted my outlook from Dunya (this life) to Akhirah (the hereafter). This has helped me to spend more of my time doing things that I hope will benefit me in the afterlife like watching Islamic lectures on YouTube instead of wasting countless of hours doing things that have no value, such as watching TV. I have gained an appreciation for time and no longer want to waste it on things that won't really benefit me much, in this life or the next.
5. I have realised that the Qur'an details how we are supposed to get into Jannah (Paradise).
This is an obvious point however, one that incredibly, lots of Muslims forget. We all want to end up in Paradise but fail to read the instruction manual on how to! Imagine trying to construct a very complicated piece of flat-pack furniture but disregarding the instructions! This is what I was doing, but to a greater and much more serious extent as my life in the Akhirah (hereafter) is far more important than a piece of flat-pack furniture. We all want to enter Jannah (Paradise) and the Qur'an is a detailed explanation of how to get there, yet unfortunately, some of us have spent years and years without trying to understand its verses.
6. I feel more motivated to change certain things about myself than I previously did
I want to improve my dress code. Previously I was under the impression that the way I dressed was acceptable however, the Qu'ran has made me reflect on who it is I am trying to please in life and I have realised that if I am truly grateful to Allah for a blessing then we wouldn't misuse it. Therefore, if I am truly grateful to Allah, for the way He has created me, then I shouldn't deliberately make a display of myself in public,
7. My Du'as (supplications) have become better.
I think my Du'as now are definitely more Deen-focused than Dunya. I make Du'a that my love of Allah (God) exceeds my love of anything else. I make Du'a for closeness to Allah and for my Iman (faith) to be strengthened. I also make Du'a that Allah makes me sincere - so that I do good deeds seeking only His pleasure and His Countenance and not to show off or for praise from others.
8. I do simple tasks seeking the pleasure of Allah rather than Worldy reasons
Recently, I cleaned my room with the thought 'Allah likes cleanliness' rather than cleaning it just because it was one big mess.
9. I help my mum around the house more and see chores as 'good deed opportunities' rather than chores!
Ironically, my mum complained about me being at the masjid (mosque) all the time, but little did she realise the reason why I was doing the washing up more often was because of the Qur'an classes!
10. The Qur'an increased my Iman (faith).
Stories of non Muslims converting after reading the Qur'an really do not surprise me. Allah (God) puts forward logical proofs for His existence. The wording can be so concise yet so powerful! As Muslims, even if we think we have firm faith, an Iman boost is still incredibly useful. Not only can it make a difference to the kind of deeds we do but it can also have a positive internal effect, making us feel more content and at peace.
To conclude, if you are reading this and have never tried to understand the verses of the Qur'an or read a translation of the Qur'an in a language you understand, then you definitely should, as its verses can have an incredible affect that can only be felt first-hand. If you desire to be a better person or a better Muslim then the verses of the Qur'an can give you the motivation you need insha Allah (God willing).
There are some incredibly powerful ayahs (verses) that simply leave you in awe of Allah. If you think about how great the Sun and the Moon are - and they're nothing in comparison to the rest of the Universe - the Qur'an is the words of The Creator of those things! If you consider a piece of fruit, for example, the watermelon - it once began as a tiny, seemingly insignificant seed. Isn't it incredible how it starts from something so small and becomes something that we can eat and benefit from, containing the right amount of nutrients and vitamins to nourish and not overdose? And before it was a seed it didn't even exist! Do you not want to know and understand the words of The Creator and The Cause of that?
The verses of the Qur'an are so powerful, even when translated, that I wonder what reciting and simultaneously being able to understand the Qur'an in its original language feels like as no translation could ever do justice to the linguistic miracle of the Qur'an, nor could any translation ever capture its inimitable symphony, it's beautiful eloquence or its richness of expression. No translation can ever be an authoritative replacement of the original.
There are no words to describe the impact the Qur'an can have on an individual. After attending the Qur'an lessons in 2015 I remember telling my friend that I felt I had wasted my life up until then. I had spent years without reading the guide to Jannah (Paradise)!