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Lost in Translation (The Art of Contemplating the Quran)

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WILL YOU NOT MAKE CONTEMPLATION OF THE BLESSINGS OF YOUR LORD,
OR ARE YOU LOST IN TRANSLATION?

You enter the prayer. Allahu Akbar. A few moments later, you exit it. Assalamu ‘alaykum warahmatullah

But you can’t even remember what you recited. 

Does it even feel like you prayed? 

You open the Qur’an. Time to pick up from where you stopped a few hours ago. 

But you can’t even work out, did you stop on the left page or the right page? 

Does anything you recite actually enter your mind or heart? 

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So many people out there complain of the fact that they read the Qur’an but they don’t feel it, understand it, or live it. 

A person will be reading Surah Yunus, and all of a sudden will find themselves in Surah Yusuf and they went past Surah Hud in the middle as if they never recited even a single letter from it. 

And that, whilst knowing that Abu Bakr al-Siddique (radhy Allahu ‘anhu) said to the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam), “I see you going grey O Messenger of Allah!” to which the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) replied: 

“It was Surah Hud and its sisters that turned me grey.” 

Forget about us turning grey whilst reciting the Qur’an, do we even feel a tingle??

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DO YOU KNOW HOW WE WERE COMMANDED TO READ THE BOOK OF ALLAH?

Do you realise that the Qur’an is itself the means and the end? 

Meaning, that one has an objective to achieve by reading it and that is the contemplation of its meanings and then positive change as a result. That is the ultimate reason for reading the Qur’an. 

But uniquely, the means to achieve this change which is done by reading the Book itself, is also its own objective. Reciting even one letter brings huge reward, and reciting beautifully, even more rewards. 

Allah the Almighty commanded us to make “tarteel” of the Qur’an i.e. to recite it beautifully. Pretty much all of us know this. 

But He also commanded us in Surat al-Nisa’, and Surat al-Mu’minun, and Surah Sad, and Surah Muhammad, to make “tadabbur”of the Qur’an i.e. to reflect and internalise its meanings deeply. Four times this command has been repeated. Will you take heed? 

So to recite, and beautifully do so, and to contemplate deeply upon its meanings: This is the perfect way of reading the book. 

And even better, we can show you how by the Will of Allah!

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TADABBUR IS ACHIEVABLE BY EVERYONE!

One of the biggest mistakes we make is to relegate the real power and meaning of the Qur’an to the scholars, and believe that it’s only the Qur’an’s recitation which is our job. 

You couldn’t be more wrong. 

Contemplating and reflecting is a skill: an ability, a tangible and clear process that can be taught and practised and achieved by ALL! 

Whereas the Tafsir or exegesis/interpretation of the Qur’an is the realm of the scholars, the most important objective behind the Book of Allah is available to all. We just need to show some sincerity and discipline and then you can also taste some of what our early founding fathers would taste when they interacted with the Qur’an:

Masruq said:
“A man from the people of Makkah said to me:

‘This is the place of your brother Tamim al-Dari. I remember seeing him that night pray until the morning and all he did was repeat a single verse, ‘Or do those who commit evils think We will make them like those who have believed and done righteous deeds – equal in their life and their death? Evil is that which they judge.’”

Ibn ‘Abbas said:

“That I should recite a single chapter during the night and contemplate it, is more beloved to me than finishing the whole Qur’an.”

Muhammad ibn Ka‘b said:

“That I should spend the night reciting only Zalzalah and Qari῾ah repeatedly and contemplate them is more beloved to me than to rush the completion of the Qur’an.” 


The wife of al-Hasan al-Basri was asked how he used to recite the Qur’an, she replied, 

“I would see him open the Qur’an; his eyes would be shedding tears whilst his lips were still.” 


But enough of the marvelling at others. 

It’s time for you to marvel too.

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“Lost In Translation – The Art of Contemplating the Qur’an” is a new class packed with everything that you will ever need to know on how to connect with the Book of Allah in the most authentic, the most practical, and the most effective way you could have ever imagined. 

Taught by the Head of our Qur’an Department, Shaykh Ahsan Hanif, this single-weekend seminar will take us back to the best of generations to study the template they left behind for us in how to interact with the Qur’an with respect to its recitation, its interpretation and its contemplation. 

More than anything else, you will finally bring that sweetness, real life and true meaning back to your prayers and your Qur’an reading! 

In this seminar you will learn how to decipher the structure of a verse, learn the key phrases and patterns that are oft-repeated – and intentionally so – in order to impact on your heart and soul. You will become cognisant of the thematic relationships that come to light with just a simple investigation process. You will study the science of Translation, and look at the most well known English translations to appreciate the pros and cons behind each one. You will be taught the principle of Tafsir, so that you will always have access to the interpretation of the meaning of the Text as you move forward in your journey to deeper contemplation. 

With learning the Science of Interrelation, studying guidelines and principles on how to connect with this Sacred Book, and all of this with the stunning backdrop of Sh Ahsan’s recitation as well as a practice and improvement of your own, this is one jam-packed seminar which few can afford to miss. 

Don’t be lost any more. Don’t rely on translations. You now can also practice the art of deep contemplation…

كِتَابٌ أَنزَلْنَاهُ إِلَيْكَ مُبَارَكٌ لِّيَدَّبَّرُوا آيَاتِهِ وَلِيَتَذَكَّرَ أُوْلُوا الأَلْبَابِ 

 [This is] a blessed Book which We have revealed to you, that they might reflect upon its verses and that those of understanding would be reminded. 


Surah Sad, 38:29

 

Course Outline

1. THE QUR’ĀN WAS REVEALED TO BE CONTEMPLATED

  • Allah’s Commandments to Contemplate the Qur’ān

  • The Difference between Contemplating and Interpreting the Qur’ān

  • The Importance & Benefits of Contemplating the Qur’ān

  • Examples of the Prophet, Companions & Scholars Interacting with the Qur’ān

  • Is it Better to Recite a Little with Contemplation or a Great Amount with no Contemplation?

  • Activity: Audit our Relationship with the Qur’ān & Why We Sometimes Abandon It

2. TRANSLATIONS OF THE QUR’ĀN IN CONTEMPLATING THE QUR’ĀN

What is a Translation?
Available Translations
Choosing the ‘Best’ Translation; A Comparative Study Application

3. THE SCIENCE OF TAFSĪR IN CONTEMPLATING THE QUR’ĀN

  • The Purpose of Tafsīr, A Brief History & Methodologies of the Exegetes

  • Available Tafsīr Books

  • 5 Most Important Principles of Tafsir

  • Using Tafsīr for the English Speaker

  • Activity: Tafsir Ibn Kathir Case Study

4. 6 GUIDELINES BEFORE YOU START TO HELP CONTEMPLATE THE QUR’ĀN

The Greatness & Miraculous Nature of the Qur’ān

The Heart is the Home of Contemplation

Attentive Listening

Read the Qur’ān as it Should be Read

Clear the Heart of All Obstacles

Do Not be Hasty, Stop & Ponder

5. 16 PRINCIPLES TO HELP YOU CONTEMPLATE THE QUR’ĀN

i.Connect the Qur’ān to Your Life
ii. Return to the Books of Tafsir
iii. How Does the Verse Relate to You?
iv. Openings of Surahs
v. Types of Address in the Qur’ān
vi. The Context in which the Names & Attributes of Allah are Mentioned
vii. The Combination of the Names of Allah
viii. Descriptive Coupling & Their Order
ix. Dealing with Similar Verses
x. Conditional Verses
xi. General Nouns in the Qur’ān
xii. Parables in the Qur’ān
xiii. The Context of Commandments in the Qur’ān
xiv. The Choice of Phrase
xv. Causes of Revelation & Relating to those Circumstances
xvi. Gather Similar Themes Throughout the Qur’ān

6. THE SCIENCE OF INTERRELATION ‘ILM AL­MUNĀSABĀT’

The Importance of this Science
The Conditions of this Science
How to find the Theme of a Sūrah 

  •  The common theme found at the beginning and end of the Sūrah
  •  Words or phrases which are repeated in the Sūrah
  •  The uniqueness of the Sūrah
  •  The name of the Sūrah
  •  The end of the previous Sūrah
  •  Division of the Qur’ān into Quarters and Eighths
  •  The most important ingredient?

7. BEWARE OF...

Incorrect Interpretations
Entering into the Ambiguous
Deriving Rulings & Creed from Contemplations Thinking You Have Become an Expert

8. Neglecting the Arabic Language; the Language of the Qur’ān Abandoning the Qur’ān 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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