The Abandonment of the Qurʾan
Today, we have a complaint that we must address to this new generation which is: Why are they not acquainted with the Qurʾan? Why are they not being taught the Qurʾan in their schools? Even if we go to the Universities, we see that the (Muslim) university students cannot even recite the Qurʾan! 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, Shariʿah and Qurʾan which are being taught in the Islamic schools (Madaris) that this is enough for the new generation to become completely acquainted with the Qurʾan?
What is more amazing is that the previous generations were also distanced from and had abandoned the Qurʾan – and then we wish to complain to the new generation why they have not developed a relationship with the Qurʾan!? Without doubt, the Qurʾan has truly been alienated from ourselves and then we still expect the new generation to hold onto the Qurʾan!?
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 Qurʾan - meaning that he does a lot of contemplation upon the contents of the Qurʾan and if he knows the complete interpretation of the Qurʾan, how much respect would such a person have amongst us? None. However, if a person was to know “Kifayah”1 of Akhund Mullah Kadhim Khurasani, then he would be respected and would be considered as one with integrity.
Thus, the Qurʾan is truly unknown and has become distanced from us and this is the same complaint that the Qurʾan itself will proclaim!
We are all included in the protests and objections of the Messenger of Allah (S) when he complains to Allah (s.w.t.):
) يٌا رَبِّ إِنَّ قَوْمِي اتَّخَذُوا هٌذَا الْقُرٌآنَ مَهْجُوراً (
“O’ my Lord! Surely MY nation took this Qurʾan as something trivial.”2
Approximately one month ago3, one of our own great scholars had gone to the holy cities (in ʿIraq) and narrates that he visited Ayatullah Khuʾi (q.d.s.). He said to the Ayatullah, “Why have you stopped the lessons in Tafsir which you were previously giving?”4 The Ayatullah replied to him that there were many obstacles and difficulties in offering classes on Tafsir of the Qurʾan. This scholar then told Ayatullah Khuʿi (q.d.s.), “ʿAllamah Taba’taba’i (q.d.s.) has continued his classes on Tafsir of the Qurʾan in Qum and thus, most of his time is spent in this area of study and research.” Ayatullah Khuʿi replied, “Ayatullah Taba’taba’i 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 Qurʾan, 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 “Kifayah”, then he would be worthy of receiving everything!
Thus, in summary, we can find thousands of people who know “Kifayah” very well. They also know the replies to the points brought up in “Kifayah” 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 “Kifayah” however we cannot find even two people who know the Qurʾan properly! If you ask any scholar about a verse of the Qurʾan, they will say that they must go back and refer to the Tafsir of the Qurʾan.
What is even more amazing than this is that the older generation has acted in this regards to the Qurʾan, however we had higher hopes that the new generation of the youth would be able to read the Qurʾan, understand it and act upon it!
If the previous generations had not strayed away from the Qurʾan, then without doubt, this new generation too would not have been led astray from the path of the Qurʾan. Thus, it is ourselves who have acted in this way to earn the wrath and curse of the Prophet (S) and the Qurʾan.
In relation to the Qurʾan, the Noble Messenger (S) has stated:
إِنَّهُ شٌافِعٌ مُشَفَّعٌ وَ مٌاحِلُ مُصَدَّقٌ
By this we mean that in the presence of Allah (s.w.t.), the Qurʾan is an intercessor and its intercession will be accepted and in relation to those people who ignore the Qurʾan, it will complain (to Allah (s.w.t.)) and its complaints will be accepted as well.529
It is both the older generation and even the newer generation who have done an injustice to the Qurʾan and continue to do so. It is the previous generation who had initiated this act of ignoring the Qurʾan, 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 Qurʾan. We must all return back to this Qurʾan and place the Qurʾan in front of us and then march forward under the shadow of the guidance of the Qurʾan so that we will be able to reach to happiness and perfection. !
1) قال رسول اللّه صلّى اللّه عليه وآله و سلّم: ألشباب شعبة من الجنون.
1. The Messenger of Allah (S) has said: “The period of the youth is from the stages of obsession.”6
2) قال الإمام عليّ عليه السّلام: جهل الشاب معذور وعلمه محقور.
2. Imam ʿAli ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) has said: “The ignorance of the young person is excusable and his knowledge is limited.”7
3) قال الإمام عليّ عليه السّلام: شيئان لا يعرف فضلهما إلاّ من فقدهما: ألشّباب والعافية.
3. Imam ʿAli ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) has said: “There are two things which people do not recognize the greatness of until they lose them: their youth and good health.”8
4) قال رسول اللّه صلى اللّه عليه وآله و سلّم: خير شبابكم من تشبّه بكهولكم وشرّ كهولكم من تشّبه بشبابكم.
5) قال الإمام الصادق عليه السّلام: وصيّة ورقة بن نوفل لخديجة بنت خوليد إذا دخل عليها يقول لـها: إعلمي أن الشّاب الحسن الخلق مفتاح للخير مغلاق للشرّ، وأن الشّاب الشحيح الخلق مغلاق للخير مفتاح للشرّ.
5. Imam Jaʿfar ibn Muhammad as-Sadiq (a.s.) has said: “Any time Waraqah ibn Nawfil would go to see Khadijah binte Khuwaylid, he would advise her as such, ‘You should know that surely the young person who has good behaviour is the key to all goodness and is kept away from all evil, while the young person who has bad behaviour is kept away from all goodness and is the key to all evil.”11
6) قال الإمام عليّ عليه السّلام: إعلموا رحمكم اللّه أنّكم في زمان القائل فيه الحق قليل....فتاهم عارم، وشائبهم آثم، وعالـمهم منافق.
6. Imam ʿAli ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) has said: “You should know that, may Allah have mercy upon you, surely you are living in a time in which those who profess to be on the Truth are very few in number … their youth are obstinate, their young people are sinners, and their scholars are hypocrites.”12
7) قال الإمام عليّ عليه السّلام: إنّما قلب الحدث كالأرض الخالية، ما القي فيها من شيء إلاّ قبلته.
7. Imam ʿAli ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) has said: “Surely the heart of the youth is like the uncultivated ground – it will accept whatever you throw upon it [and that is what will grow from it].”1337
8) قال الإمام الصّادق عليه السّلام: - للأحول -: أتيت البصرة؟ قال: نعم. قال: كيف رأيت مسارعة النّاس في هذا الأمر ودخولـهم فيه؟ فقال: واللّه إنـهم لقليل، وقد فعلوا وإن ذالك لقليل. فقال (عليه السّلام): عليك بالأحداث؛ فإنـهم أسرع إلى كلّ خير.
8. Imam Jaʿfar ibn Muhammad as-Sadiq (a.s.) said to a companion named Al-Ahwal: “’Have you been to Basrah?’ The man replied, ‘Yes.’ The Imam (a.s.) then asked him, ‘How did you find the enthusiasm of the people in regards to this issue [of the Wilayah and Imamate of the Ahlul Bait] and their acceptance of it?’ The man replied, ‘I swear by Allah surely those people [who follow and accept this] are few in number. They work upon this [propagating this belief to others, even though they are small in number.’ The Imam replied to him, ‘I advise you to work on the youth [in educating them on these issues] since surely they are quicker to accept all good things.’”14
9) قال رسول اللّه صلى اللّه عليه وآله و سلَم: من تعلّم في شبابه كان بـمنـزلة الرسم في الحجر، ومن تعلّم وهو كبير كان بـمنـزلة الكتاب على وجه الـماء.
ا. The Messenger of Allah (S) has said: “The person who seeks knowledge while in his youth is similar to the act of inscribing something upon a rock; while the person who seeks knowledge while he is old is similar to the act of writing something upon the water.”15
10) قال الإمام عليّ عليه السّلام: العلم من الصغر كالنقش في الحجر.
10. Imam ʿAli ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) has said: “Gaining knowledge in one’s youth is like imprinting something on a rock [it will always remain].”16
11) قال رسول اللّه صلى اللّه عليه وآله و سلّم: من لـم يطلب العلم صغيرا فطلبه كبيرا فمات، مات شهيدا.
11. The Messenger of Allah (S) has said: “If a person who does not seek knowledge while he is youth, but rather goes to seek it when he becomes old and dies in this state, he dies as a martyr [Shahid].”17
12) قال النبي أيّوب عليه السّلام: إن اللّه يزرع الحكمة في قلب الصغير والكبير، فإذا جعل اللّه العبد حكيما في الصبى لـم يضع منـزلته عند الحكماء حداثة سنّه وهم يرون عليه من اللّه نور كرامته.
12. The Prophet Ayyub (a.s.) has said: “Surely Allah implants wisdom [Al-Hikmah] in the heart of the young person and the old person. So then if Allah makes a servant a wise person in his youth then he would not lower his status in the eyes of the intellectuals simply because he is of a young age since they will see the nur (divine light) of Allah radiating from this person.”18
13) قال الإمام الكاظم عليه السّلام: لو وجدت شابّاً من شبّان الشيعة لا يتفقه لضربته ضربة بالسيف.
13. Imam Musa ibn Jaʿfar al-Kadhim (a.s.) has said: “If I was to find a youth from amongst the youth of the Shiʾa not gaining a deep knowledge and understanding, I would surely strike him with a sword.”19
14) قال الإمام الباقر عليه السّلام: لو أُتيت بشاب من شباب الشيعة لا يتفقه (في الدين) لأدبته.
14. Imam Muhammad ibn ʿAli al-Baqir (a.s.) has said: “If I were to find a youth from amongst the youth of the Shiʾa that was not engaged in gaining a deep knowledge and understanding [of the religion] I would seriously reprimand him.”20
15) قال الإمام الصّادق عليه السّلام: لستُ أُحب أن أرى الشاب منكم إلاّ غاديا في حالين: إمّا عالـما أو متعلما. فإن لـم يفعل فرّط، فإنّ فرّط ضيّع, فإنّ ضيّع أثـم، وإنْ أثـم سكن النار والّذي بعث محمّدا بالحق.
15. Imam Jaʿfar ibn Muhammad as-Sadiq (a.s.) has said: “I do not like to see the youth from amongst yourselves except that he/she is passing the life in one of two states: either as a scholar or as a student. So then if he is not in one of these two states then he is one who has wasted (something) and surely the one who wastes is one who has squandered something and surely the act of squandering is a sin and the person who commits a sin shall reside in the Hell Fire – I swear by the one who appointed Muhammad with The Truth.”2145
16) قال رسول اللّه صلى اللّه عليه وآله و سلّم: إنّ اللّه تعالى يحب الشاب التائب.
16. The Messenger of Allah (S) has said: “Surely Allah, the High, loves the young person who is repents [for his sins].”22
17) قال رسول اللّه صلى اللّه عليه وآله و سلّم: ما من شيء أحب إلى اللّه تعالى من شاب تائب، وما من شيء أبغض إلى اللّه تعالى من شيخ مقيم على معاصيه.
17. The Messenger of Allah (S) has said: “There is nothing more beloved to Allah, the High, than a young person who repents (for his sins); and there is nothing more detested in the sight of Allah, the High, than an old person who perpetuates in disobeying Him.”23
18) قال رسول اللّه صلى اللّه عليه وآله و سلّم: إنّ اللّه تعالى يباهي بالشابّ العابد الـملائكة، يقول: أنظروا إلى عبدي! ترك شهوته من أجلي.
18. The Messenger of Allah (S) has said: “Surely Allah, The High, boasts to the Angels in regards to the young person who is a servant (of His) and He says, ‘Look towards my servant! He has refrained from following his lowly desires for My sake alone.’”24
19) قال رسول اللّه صلى اللّه عليه وآله و سلّم: فضل الشاب العابد الذي تعبّد في صباه على الشيخ الذي تعبّد بعد ما كبرت سنّه كفضل الـمرسلين على سائر الناس.
19. The Messenger of Allah (S) has said: “The greatness of the worshipper of Allah who is a youth and who worships Allah while in the stage of his youth over the old person who worships [Allah] after he has become of old age is like the greatness of the deputed ones [the Prophets and Messengers] over all other creations.”25
20) قال رسول اللّه صلى اللّه عليه وآله و سلّم: سبعة في ظلّ عرش اللّه عزّ وجلّ يوم لا ظلّ إلاّ ظلّه: إمام عادل، وشاب نشأ في عبادة اللّه عزّ وجلّ.
20. The Messenger of Allah (S) has said: “There are seven individuals who shall be protected under the shade of the Throne [Power] of Allah, the Noble and Grand on the day when there shall be no shade except for His shade: the just leader … and the youth who spent his time in the worship of Allah, the Noble and Grand.”26
21) قال رسول اللّه صلى اللّه عليه وآله و سلّم: ما من شاب يدع للّه الدنيا ولـهوها وأهرم شبابه في طاعة الله إلاّ أعطاه اللّه أجر إثنين وسبعين صدّيقاً.
21. The Messenger of Allah (S) has said: “There is not a single young person who turns away from the transient world and its pleasures only for the [pleasure] of Allah and spends his youth in the obedience of Allah until he reaches to old age, except that Allah would grant him the reward of seventy-two truthful [and righteous] people.”27
22) قال رسول اللّه صلى اللّه عليه وآله و سلّم: إنّ أحب الخلائق إلى اللّه عزّ وجلّ شاب حدث السن في صورة حسنة جعل شبابه وجماله للّه وفي طاعته، ذلك الذي يباهي به الرحمن ملائكته, يقول: هذا عبدي حقّا.
22. The Messenger of Allah (S) has said: “Surely the most beloved of the creations to Allah, the Noble and Grand, is the youth who is young in age and who is a very handsome/beautiful individual however he places his youth and his beauty in Allah and in His obedience alone. This is the thing for which the Most Merciful [Al-Rahman] boasts to His Angels about and says, ‘This is truly my servant.’”28
23) قال رسول اللّه صلى اللّه عليه وآله و سلّم: إنّ اللّه يحب الشاب الذي يفني شبابه في طاعة اللّه تعالى.
23. The Messenger of Allah (S) has said: “Surely Allah loves that young person who spends his youth in the obedience of Allah, the Most High.”29
24) قال النبي إبراهيم عليه السلام: لمـا أصبح فرأى في لحيته شيبا - شعرة بيضاء - : ألحمد للّه ربّ العالـمين الذي بلغني هذا المبلغ ولـم أعص اللّه طرفة عين.
24. It has been narrated about Prophet Ibrahim (a.s.) that one day he woke up and saw a white hair in his beard and said: “All praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of the entire universe who has made me reach to this stage in my life in which I have not disobeyed Allah for as much as the twinkling of the eye.”30
25) قال الإمام الصّادق عليه السّلام: لسليمان بن جعفر الـهذلي - : يا سليمان من الفتى؟ قال: قلت: جعلت فداك الفتى عندنا الشابّ, قال (عليه السّلام) لي: أما علمت أن أصحاب الكهف كانوا كلهم كهولا فسماهم اللّه فتية بإيـمانـهم؟! يا سليمان من آمن باللّه وأتّقى فهو الفتى.
25. Imam Jaʿfar ibn Muhammad as-Sadiq (a.s.) said the following to Sulayman ibn Jaʿfar Al-Hadhali: “O’ Sulayman, what is meant by a young person [Al-Fata]?” He said, “May I be sacrificed for your sake. In our opinion, a young person [Al-Fata] is a youth [Al-Shabb].” The Imam said to me, “However you should know that surely the Companions of the Cave [Ashabul Kahf] were all old people, however Allah refers to them as youth who have true faith?! O’ Sulayman, the one who believes in Allah and has consciousness of Him is a young person.”31
26) قال الإمام الصّادق عليه السّلام: - لرجل – ما الفتى عندكم؟ فقال له: الشابّ, فقال: لا. الفتى: المؤمن، إنّ أصحاب الكهف كانوا شيوخا فسماهم اللّه عزّ وجلّ فتية بإيـمانـهم.
26. Imam Jaʿfar ibn Muhammad as-Sadiq (a.s.) said to a man: “What is meant by a young person [Al-Fata] in your estimation?” The man replied, “A youth.” The Imam (a.s.) replied, “No, the young person [Al-Fata] is the true believer. Surely the Companions of the Cave [Ashabul Kahf] were all old people, however Allah, Glory and Greatness be to Him, called them youth who believed in Him.”32
قال الإمام الحسن ابن علي المجتبـى عليه السلام:
إنكم صغار قوم و يوشك أن تكونوا كبار قوم آخرين فتعلموا العلم. فمن لم يستطع منكم أن يحفظه فليكتبه و ليضعه في بيته
) بــحار الأنوار – ج 2 – ص 152 – ح 37 (
Imam Hasan ibn ʿAli al-Mujtaba (peace be upon him) has said:
“Surely today you are the youth of the nation, and tomorrow, you will be the leaders of the community, thus, it is incumbent upon you to seek knowledge. So then if you are not able to memorize all that you learn, then you must write it down and preserve it (for safe keeping) so that you can refer to it later on (when you need it).”
Biharul Anwar, Volume 2, Page 152, Hadith 37
- 1. This is one of the major books in the field of Usulul 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 Kharij. (Tr.)
- 2. Surah al-Furqan (25), Verse 30
- 3. From when this lecture was originally given in 1963. (Tr.)
- 4. It has been narrated that Ayatullah Khu`i was offering classes in Tafsir of the Qurʾan some 8 or 9 years ago in Najaf, some of which were also printed in book form.
- 5. al-Kafi, Volume 2, Page 599
- 6. Al-Ikhtisas, Page 343
- 7. Ghururul Hikm, Hadith 4768
- 8. Ibid., Hadith 5764
- 9. You should know that people are of two categories of which the one category is the young person who has distanced himself from following the desires of his lower passions and is distanced from the ignorance which is accompanied by the period of the youth. He has a desire to gravitate towards goodness and to distance himself from bad traits and it is in regards to this type of youth that the Messenger of Allah (blessings of Allah be upon him and his family) has said:
يعجب ربك من شاب ليست له صبوة
“Your Lord is amazed to see a young person who has distanced himself from following the desires of his lower passions and is distanced from the ignorance which is accompanied by the period of the youth.”
- 10. Kanzul `Ummal, Hadith 43058
- 11. Amali of al-Tusi, Page 302 and 598
- 12. Nahjul Balagha, Sermon 233
- 13. Tuhaful `Uqul, Page 70
- 14. Qurbul Isnad, Page 128 and 450
- 15. Biharul Anwar, Volume 1, Page 222, Hadith 6 & Page 224, Hadith 13
- 16. Ibid.,
- 17. Kanzul `Ummal, Hadith 28843
- 18. Tanbiyatul Khawatir, Page 37
- 19. Fiqhul Ridha, Page 337
- 20. Al-Mahasin, Volume 1, Pages 357 and 760
- 21. Amali of Al-Tusi, Pages 303 and 604
- 22. Kanzul `Ummal, Hadith 10185
- 23. Ibid., Hadith 10233
- 24. Ibid., Hadith 43057
- 25. Kanzul `Ummal, Hadith 43059
- 26. Al-Khisal, Page 343, Hadith 8
- 27. Makarimul Akhlaq, Volume 2, Page 373
- 28. Kanzul `Ummal, Hadith 43103
- 29. Kanzul `Ummal, Hadith 43060
- 30. Illulush Shara`iyah, Volume 2, Page 104, Hadith 2
- 31. Tafsir al-`Ayashi, Volume 2, Page 323, Hadith 11
- 32. Al-Kafi, Volume 8, Page 395 and 595