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Time taken to understand Quran

Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,

As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.  (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)



One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:

Dear Burhan,

I am most impressed by your understanding of Islam and would like to be guided by you through  attendance of spiritual meetings. If this is not possible how do we go about this quest. Tell me how much time did it take for u to read and understand the Quran. The little that I have read of Abdullah Yusuf Ali's translation doesnt make for very easy comprehension.  Pls advice me.

Thanking you


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Time taken to understand Quran

In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.


All praise is due to Allah Alone, who has guided us and honored us to be muslims.    Had Allah not helped us and had mercy upon us, we would have been utterly ruined in this world, and in the hereafter.  Glorified and Exalted is Allah, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and everything that exists in between.


Your request:  would like to be guided by you through attendance of spiritual meetings.

One of the best way to obtain guidance is by attending the Quran understanding classes done by a good scholar.  These classes are held almost over the world by the brothers who work in the Cause of Allah.   Wherever you may be residing, the chances are that these Quranic classes are being conducted on a regular basis.  Brother, if you could give us the city and country where you are residing, we will most probably be able to guide you to these meetings,  Insha Allah.  The main advantage with these Quranic classes under a scholar, is that the scholar will always be available to clarify any of the questions that may arise.


Your Question: Tell me how much time did it take for u to read and understand the Quran.

My personal situation was a little different and complicated, but once I got to the stage where I read the Holy Quran with understanding, it did not take me long at all.   I was so desperately searching for the Truth, that I did some heavy reading, and I dont remember exactly, but it must have taken me not more than one month to finish reading the Quran the first time.   


I will try and tell you briefly how I came to read and understand the Quran.    I was born in a staunch Dawoodi Bohra family,  where my father and almost all my uncles were Bohra shaikhs.  I grew up in this environment, and basically accepted the deen followed by my family.   I always used to have doubts about why this and why that, but was never explained, and basically told to shut up and look at the Syedna, and keep following the Bohra deen.   


When I was about 22 years of age, my friend invited me to one of the Quran study classes, where a scholar would translate and explain some aayahs of the Quran every week.   I initially refused to go, because I was brought up and taught never to learn the deen from any other than the raza na saahib, otherwise I would become mis-guided.   But these raza na saahibs never taught the deen from the Quran, but rather always spoke about the History of the Muslims after the death of the Prophet (saws).!   Alhamdolillah,  I went to this Quran study class.  It was very casual, and the scholar used to read one of the small surahs from the last chapter of the Quran and then explain its meanings.  The advantage was that I myself had a fair knowledge of the Arabic language, and could understand the Arabic words fairly well.    Anyways, after the dars was over, there always used to be a question and answer session, and I began arguing with the scholar that the Bohra beliefs were right,  and he was wrong.  He asked me whether I had ever read the Quran with understanding,  and obviously I had not;  thus I  told him no.    He then requested me to read the Quran with understanding once, and find out if what I believed since birth was from the Quran or not!   I did not immediately read the Quran, but used to attend the classes every week and argue with the scholar from the knowledge that I had from hearing the waaz, etc.    He was extremely polite and always gave evidence from the Quran for whatever he said.


After about six months of attending these classes, one evening, I ran into a very heated argument with the scholar on some subject, but he kept on giving evidence from the Quran which was absolutely different and contrary to what I was taught since childhood.   This is when I challenged him and told him that I would read the Quran myself and bring him evidence from this very Book, that the Bohras were right and he was wrong!   This is when I picked up the Quran and started reading it to prove the Bohra belief right.


The Quran is eloquent, so beautiful, so clear and so perfect in its preaching, that it leaves no room for any mis-understanding in Islam.   And one by one, all the questions that I ever had, and all the doubts that I ever had, were answered by this Glorious Book of Allah!    By the time I reached the 14th Chapter of Surah Ibrahim, I remember, I started crying profoundly. There was just no room for invoking and worshipping anybody other than Allah Subhanah Alone!   Allah absolutely closes all the doors of shirk, and opens the heart to believe, invoke, worship, and fear the One Lord Alone!  


I was now in a dilemma!  Whether to believe what the Quran was guiding towards,  or whether to believe what I was taught since childhood and carry on invoking and worshipping human beings and graves with Allah?   Allah guided me to choose the Quran as Supreme, and from that day, Alhamdolillah, I left the invoking, worshipping and bowing down to human beings and graves,  and began invoking, worshipping and bowing down to the One Lord, Allah Alone!   


From then on I began my serious study of the Quran, and read almost all the available translations of the Holy Quran in English.   No matter who the translator was,  the meanings and context of the aayahs of the Quran did not change.   I read volume after volume, time and time again; and everytime I read the Quran,  Allah opened my heart a little more towards the understanding of this beautiful Book and Islam.  


The literal meaning of the Arabic word Quran means something which is read over and over again.   And no matter how many times you read the Quran, your hearts expands a little more, and its aayahs and its guidance become more and more clearer to you.  Subhan Allah!


I bear witness, that the Holy Quran is the only book one needs to read and understand, if he truly wants to be guided aright.  The Quran is the very words of our Lord and Creator, and He, The All Wise, The All Knowing, has sent it as a Mercy for our guidance.  There is absolutely no other source of guidance, except the Holy Quran, and it is a duty unto every muslim to read and understand this Book, if he truly wants to be guided aright.   And I assure you brother, once you read the Glorious Quran with understanding, no one will ever be able to misguide you in Islam!


Your Comment: The little that I have read of Abdullah Yusuf Ali's translation doesnt make for very easy comprehension. Pls advice me.

I really can understand and relate to your condition.   But if you keep a few simple things in mind, before you start reading the Holy Quran,  it will be easier to get guidance from this Glorious Book of Allah.


First, lets see what Allah Himself has to say about His Book:


Allah says in Chapter 2, Surah Baqarah aayat 185:"Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was sent down: this Book is a perfect guidance for mankind and consists of CLEAR teachings which show the right way and are a Criterion of the Truth and falsehood."


Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 16 Surah Nahl verse 89:We have sent down to you this Book, which makes everything plain, and is a guidance, blessing and good news to those who have surrendered themselves entirely.


Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 19 Surah Maryam verse 97:Mohamed, We have made this Quran easy, and sent it down in your tongue so that you should give good news to the pious and warn the stubborn people.


2.   This book is not like all the other books we are used to reading; where the author first introduces all the characters of the story, then plots the story and events, then there is a climax, and then there is a conclusion in the end. This Book was actually delivered as a series of speeches which was revealed to the Prophet (saws) through inspiration, by The All Wise, All Knowing, Allah Subhanah.   Although it may seem incoherent at first to the reader, the Holy Quran is absolutely in context and extremely coherent in its guidance.


3.  If you really want to attain proper guidance, please start reading in line from the first chapter Surah Fateha, then the second chapter Surah Baqarah, then the third and so on.    Allah Himself has commanded the collection and formation in the way that is available to us today, for our guidance.  Sometimes what happens is that some brothers just open the Quran in the middle and try to understand the meaning of some verses or some particular Surah.   It would give you as much guidance as if someone took someones oral speech and tried to understand the whole context of the speech by listening to a few lines said in-between!    Thus it is very important for the first time reader to read the Holy Quran in the manner it is collected.  Allah, in His Supreme Wisdom and Knowledge, commanded that the Quran be collected in this formation for our guidance; and without a doubt, this is the best way to get guidance.


4.   One thing you must do before you start reading the Holy Quran, is beg Allah to guide you to the Truth, and bestow His Mercy upon you, and grant you the wisdom and the knowledge to comprehend His Message; for it is Allah Alone Who guides whomever He wills.  And whoever prays and supplicates Allah to guide him to the Truth, Allah will always help him to find the Truth.


There is no doubt that the translation by brother Abdulla Yusuf Ali is indeed one of the best in the English language.  It is universally regarded and accepted as the best and most authentic translation of the Holy Quran in the English language.   If one needs a line by line translation of the Quran in English, there is no translation better than that of brother Abdulla Yusuf Ali.   But, for a first time reader, this translation might be a little difficult to understand and comprehend, as a line by line translation breaks the continuity of the subject matter and makes it seem incoherent.   Also, brother Abdulla Yusuf Ali does use the biblical words like Thee, Thou,  Maketh,  Shalt, etc.  which becomes a little difficult for the brothers to understand the Message properly,  especially if they are reading the Quran for the first time.


There are many other eminent and worthy scholars, who have done  very good translations in simple laymans English,  which would be ideal for a first time reader.  One of the best of such translations is The Meaning of the Holy Quran by Syed Abul Aala Maududi.  This author has used very simple English, and anyone who can read and understand English will be able to understand this translation very well.  To make the understanding easy and more fruitful, the author has not done a line by line translation, but rather a paragraph by paragraph translation depending on the subject.    This makes for a much more coherent, and easy understanding of the Holy Quran.  


I would highly recommend that you read the translation by Syed Abul Aala Maududi.   And if you cannot find one, please do send us your postal address, and we will arrange to mail this translation to you as soon as possible, Insha Allah, for the Pleasure of Allah Subhanah.   


May Allah bless your decision to read His Message with understanding.   May Allah help you and guide you in your search for the Truth.   May Allah increase your quest for the knowledge of Islam.  Ameen.


Brother, if you have any questions or need any further clarifications, please do not hesitate to write to us.   It would a honor and a pleasure for us, to help you in your search for the Truth, Insha Allah.    May Allah accept our humble and weak efforts in the propagation of His deen of Truth, and save us from the Hell Fire.  Ameen.


Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me.  Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.


Your brother and well wisher in Islam,









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