THE ATTITUDE BEHIND OUR READING
Although reading leads to greater awareness — how we read is also important. By this I mean that the assumptions and attitude we begin with affects the outcome and belief in what we are reading.
Our intentions matter! We need to have an open mind and pure heart if we want to benefit from the depth of what we are reading; for example, the Qur’an contains the most powerful words and messages, and is from none other than the owner and creator of the entire universe. When we read it with that realisation it has the ability to transform our characters and lives.
The ability to critically analyse, reflect and assess ourselves is crucial if we want to see a betterment in our intellect and lives. The reason why we do something is important. Why do we read the Quran? Is it to enjoy the recitation or stories, gain reward from it, or learn something from it? Striving to think and understand what we are learning can be humbling and empowering, if we do it with a sincere intention.
We may skim, scan and turn pages thoughtlessly and stay deprived of the gems, examples and parables mentioned in the Quran and hadith. Do we prioritise and make time for thinking about and benefitting from what we read?
We are encouraged by our creator to reflect on what we see; and think and look for answers. In the Quran He tells us:
“And it is He Who spread out the earth, and placed therein firm mountains and rivers and of every kind of fruits He made Zawjain Ithnaîn (two in pairs – may mean two kinds or it may mean: of two varieties, e.g. black and white, sweet and sour, small and big) He brings the night as a cover over the day. Verily, in these things, there are Ayât (proofs, evidences, lessons, signs, etc.) for people who reflect.” (Quran, 13: 3)
“It is Allâh Who takes away the souls at the time of their death, and those that die not during their sleep. He keeps those (souls) for which He has ordained death and sends the rest for a term appointed. Verily, in this are signs for a people who think deeply.” (Quran, 39:42)
“And on the earth are signs for those who have Faith with certainty, And also in your ownselves. Will you not then see?” (Quran, 51:20-21)
Reflecting upon what we read in the Quran can take our reading to another level.
How do we reflect though?
We can personally relate and interact with what we are reading by questioning ourselves;
how does this ayah of the Qur’an apply to me?
What is Allah asking or teaching me through this ayah?
What do I learn from this?
Pondering on what we read, questioning ourselves and deducing lessons takes our understanding of what we read to a much higher level.
In order to interpret the Qur’an correctly we must understand the context behind the ayah, the situation in which it was revealed and through reflecting on what we read.
The concept of reflection is taught by Allah in the Quran and with it we can actually benefit from what we read and improve our lives through it.