The Abandonment of the Qur’an
Today, we have a complaint that we must address to this new generation which is: Why are they not acquainted with the Qur’an? Why are they not being taught the Qur’an in their schools? Even if we go to the Universities, we see that the (Muslim) university students cannot even recite the Qur’an! Of course it is unfortunate that this has occurred however we must ask ourselves, “What steps have we taken to help them in this path?”
Do we assume that with the lessons of Fiqh, Sharīʿah and Qur’an which are being taught in the Islāmic schools (Madāris) that this is enough for the new generation to become completely acquainted with the Qur’an?
What is more amazing is that the previous generations were also distanced from and had abandoned the Qur’an – and then we wish to complain to the new generation why they have not developed a relationship with the Qur’an!? Without doubt, the Qur’an has truly been alienated from ourselves and then we still expect the new generation to hold onto the Qur’an!?
At this point, we will prove to the readers how we have alienated ourselves from this Sacred Book.
If a person’s knowledge is that of the science of the Qur’an - meaning that he does a lot of contemplation upon the contents of the Qur’an and if he knows the complete interpretation of the Qur’an, how much respect would such a person have amongst us? None. However, if a person was to know “Kifāyah” of Akhūnd Mullāh Kādhim Khurāsānī, then he would be respected and would be considered as one with integrity.
Thus, the Qur’an is truly unknown and has become distanced from us and this is the same complaint that the Qur’an itself will proclaim!
We are all included in the protests and objections of the Messenger of Allāh (s.w.a.) when he complains to Allāh (s.w.t):
يٌا رَبِّ إِنَّ قَوْمِي اتَّخَذُوا هٌذَا الْقُرٌآنَ مَهْجُوراً
“O’ my Lord! Surely MY nation took this Qur’an as something trivial.”
Approximately one month ago, one of our own great scholars hadgone to the holy cities (in ʿIrāq) and narrates that he visited Ayatullāh Khūʾī (q.d.s.). He said to the Ayatullāh, “Why have you stopped the lessons in Tafsīr which you were previously giving?” The Ayatullāh
replied to him that there were many obstacles and difficulties in offering classes on Tafsīr of the Qur’an. This scholar then told Ayatullāh Khūʿī (q.d.s.), “ʿAllāmah Tabā’tabā’ī (q.d.s.) has continued his classes on Tafsīr of the Qur’an in Qum and thus, most of his time is spent in this area of study and research.” Ayatullāh Khūʿī replied, “Ayatullāh Tabā’tabā’ī has sacrificed himself – he has withdrawn himself from the society” - and he is right.
It is amazing that in the most sensitive issues of the religion, if we see a person who sacrifices his entire life to study the Qur’an, then he will fall into thousands of difficulties and problems from the point of view of his food, overall life, his character (within the society), his respect and he will be removed from and deprived of many things. However, if he was to spend his entire life in the study of books such as “Kifāyah”, then he would be worthy of receiving everything!
Thus, in summary, we can find thousands of people who know “Kifāyah” very well. They also know the replies to the points brought up in “Kifāyah” and they even know the replies to the replies that have been given - and they even know the replies to the replies of the replies of “Kifāyah” however we cannot find even two people who know the Qur’an properly! If you ask any scholar about a verse of the Qur’an, they will say that they must go back and refer to the Tafsīr of the Qur’an.
What is even more amazing than this is that the older generation has acted in this regards to the Qur’an, however we had higher hopes that the new generation of the youth would be able to read the Qur’an, understand it and act upon it!
If the previous generations had not strayed away from the Qur’an, then without doubt, this new generation too would not have been led astray from the path of the Qur’an. Thus, it is ourselves who have acted in this way to earn the wrath and curse of the Prophet (s.w.a.) and the Qur’an.
In relation to the Qur’an, the Noble Messenger (s.w.a.) has stated
إِنَّهُ شٌافِعٌ مُشَفَّعٌ وَ مٌاحِلُ مُصَدَّقٌ
By this we mean that in the presence of Allāh (s.w.t.), the Qur’an is an intercessor and its intercession will be accepted and in relation to those people who ignore the Qur’an, it will complain (to Allāh (s.w.t.)) and its complaints will be accepted as well.
It is both the older generation and even the newer generation who have done an injustice to the Qur’an and continue to do so. It is the previous generation who had initiated this act of ignoring the Qur’an, and it is the newer generation who are continuing in their footsteps.
This in conclusion, in the issue of the leadership of the youth, more than anything else, there are two things which we must do:
1) We must first recognize that which is troubling this generation. Once we have done this, then we can sit and think of the cure and remedy for their problems, since without knowing what is troubling them, it is not possible to go forth and cure the illness.
2) The second thing is that the older generation must first correct themselves. The older generation must ask forgiveness for the greatest sin which they have committed and that is that they have left and ignored the Qur’an. We must all return back to this Qur’an and place the Qur’an in front of us and then march forward under the shadow of the guidance of the Qur’an so that we will be able to reach to happiness and perfection.!
1) This is one of the major books in the field of Usūlul Fiqh that students of the Theological Seminary need to study as they progress in their studies to reach the highest level of learning – Ba`thul Khārij. (Tr).
2) Sūrah al-Furqān (25), Verse 30
3) From when this lecture was originally given in 1963. (Tr).
4) It has been narrated that Āyatullāh Khū`ī was offering classes in Tafsīr of the Qur’an some 8 or 9 years ago in Najaf, some of which were also printed in book form.
5) al-Kāfī, Volume 2, Page 599