My intellectual and emotional attachment to Islam is the result of a few turns of good fortune. My first piece of good fortune was that I was born into a muslim family. My second instance of good fortune was that whilst in the third grade of Akbar Islamia High School in Jammu (Kashmir), our teacher for Islamic studies gave us some advice that has remained engraved upon my heart and mind ever since. Mawlawi sahib said:” Children! when you read the Qur’an, read with understanding. Whatever you understand believe it to be the truth word for word and literally. Do not look for metaphorical, allegorical and interpretive meanings. If you do not understand something, leave it and continue with your reading. Mawlawi sahib said that one of the miracles of the Qur’an is that with repeated readings the meanings of the Qur’an unveil themselves to the reader in accordance with his own capacity/receptivity. By all means (he said) when you grow up, do benefit from books of commentary but be careful to maintain you personal connection with God through this method of reading and understanding the Qur’an directly”.

I have tried to act upon this advice of Mawlawi sahib to the best of my ability. I cannot claim that I have understood the whole of the Qur’an. However it is certainly true that every year of the last sixty years of recitation has brought an increase in both depth and breadth of meaning in my understanding of its meanings. Rather the like the moon whose rays continue to pierce through clouds spreading their light in the darkness of the night.

The other benefit that I reaped from this advice was that my heart and mind accepts every word of the Qur’an without the slightest doubt. I have never had to have recourse to any “explaining away” or “interpretation” of its verses. To be protected in this age of modern rationalism from doubt regarding the Qur’an is something that I consider to be my third piece of good fortune.*

extract from Shahabnama by Hz QU Shahab.

* translations of extracts are not literal but very close to the original.

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