The Holy Quran – Source of Guidance
The Holy Quran has a collection of several stories related to different Prophets, communities and societies. As a matter of fact all these stories contain a set of lessons of guidance and knowledge for human beings. Our objective should be to acquire those lessons of guidance through these stories. This objective can be justified with the fact that the Holy Quran itself says that it is a book of guidance:
"and it is a guide for those who guard against evil" (Surah al-Baqarah, 2:2)
And at other place it says,
شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِي أُنْزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِلنَّاسِ
"The month of Ramazan is that in which the Quran was revealed, a guidance to men and clear proofs of the guidance"(Surah al-Baqarah, 2:185)
This is how the Holy Quran has introduced itself as a book of specific guidance to the pious and a general guidance to the entire humanity. If the Holy Quran is a book of guidance for humanity, then each and everything inside it, is for guidance only and has no other objective. We have treated the Quran in a very indecent manner to the extent that the Holy Quran will complain about this.
These days there are those infidels who desecrate the Quran by flushing it in washrooms, but more than those, the Quran will complain against us for the maltreatment we have done to this Holy Book. This is because those infidels who desecrated the Quran were ignorant and had no sense about the significance of this book, but we are inheritors of this book. We have wrapped the Quran in a beautiful cloth cover and don't even open to read It. This is the biggest insult to the Quran that its followers don't even open it, they have no concern with it, don't read it and worst is that there are many who don't even know how to read it.
It is present in traditions also that the biggest humiliation for a religious scholar is not that he is stoned, abused and criticized, but the worst of humiliation and difficulties for a scholar is that he is present in a society and no one takes benefits from his knowledge. Hence, the peak of the difficulties for Ameerul Momineen (as) was that he used to invite people to ask him, but they used to ignore him; they did not increase their knowledge through him, and they were not concerned of getting rid of their ignorance through him. They had all sorts of other dealings with him apart from acquisition of knowledge from him, and this was the biggest insult to his personality.
Similarly, the Holy Quran is a book of guidance and it contains guidance in itself. This is not a book of "Istekhara". Since the subject under discussion is not Holy Quran, hence I am just giving some key indicators about this, but be certain about what we consider and think about Quran, it is not that, it is a book of guidance only. It is a not a book of seeking rewards (thawaab) by mere recitation. Allah (s.w.t.) did not descend the Quran for us to accumulate as much rewards as we can. It was not like that Allah (s.w.t.) gave the Quran to Gibrael to give it to the Holy Prophet (S), so that Allah can keep on giving more and more rewards to the people for their recitations. We organize Quran recitation ceremonies for the sake of seeking rewards. An analogy to this is when we want to distribute or invite some people for having food we organize a majalis, or a miracle recitation program to make it a means of distributing food. As if Allah (s.w.t.) wants to distribute rewards and hence he created Quran so that people can read it and earn rewards.
The purpose of associating rewards with the Quran is related to the purpose of creation, whereby Allah (s.w.t.) wants us to acquire guidance, acquire spirituality and be disciplined. Holy Quran is the means to acquire these essential things for our lives and hence there is a reward associated with its recitation, so that if not explicitly for the ·sake of guidance, but at least for the sake of getting rewards we will come near to the Holy Quran.
There are several acts which are done for the purpose of attracting others towards a much higher goal behind those preliminary acts. Reverting to the same example of distribution of food in Majalis, many a times when we are not certain of people's attendance in the majalis, we announce that food will be served after the majalis. This ensures a much larger audience who even if they come for the sake of food, they will still listen to the lecture that would be a means of guidance for them. Allah (s.w.t.) established guidance for human being and along with this said that if you come closer to this guidance I will give you rewards also, so that your involvement with this source of guidance becomes certain.
But our approach towards the Holy Quran is to just open it and read it for the sake of rewards but not with the purpose of getting guidance from it. The Book of Guidance without understanding it is of no use, but a book of rewards whether you understand it or not, you still get rewards. So it is up to us to decide how we want to treat the Quran as, a book of guidance or a book of rewards. If as a book of guidance, then we need to ponder over its verses and these stories to understand it.
Quran has everything inside it related to our life, but we give more importance to Quran only after death. If someone cannot achieve something from the Quran during his life, for sure he will not gain anything from this book after his death also. We have selected few chapters like Yaseen and Rahman which have more rewards; we read it regularly just to earn those rewards.