Many of us learn to read the Quran as children, but we never actually learn to understand the Quran or appreciate the wisdom and endless guidance found in it. So being one of those people, I decided to take a journey to understand the Quran as a beginner with fresh eyes.

So the first thing I had to figure out, was how to understand the Quran as a beginner? First begin to read a translation of the Quran in English or any language that you understand fluently. Read the best version that you can find for a beginner so that you can actually focus on having a good read. It’s important to know who the author is and why the book was authored. It’s also important to reflect and ponder about the verses that you are reading. Finally, you need to decide why you’re reading the Quran and set your intentions for what it is that you want to get out of this. This is the final point, but it’s the most important thing that you must do before you start reading.

The first thing I did was, decide on why I want to understand the Quran. That may sound like silly, but the truth is we all come to the Quran for different reasons.

Someone who is born a non muslim will turns to the Quran looking for one thing, whereas someone like myself who was born a Muslim will look for something else. No one reads the Quran because they want to read a nice novel, because the Quran was not authored by a man.

Which brings us to the very first question:

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  1. Who is the Author of the Quran?

The Quran itself infoms us that it is the words of God, otherwise known as Allah in the Quran. Allah is the the creator of all existence as He informs us in the first verse from Surat Al-Fatihah in the opening of the Quran.

“All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Universe”

Allah also informs us in the following verse, that He sent down this Final Revelation from the Heavens so that we would would become people of understanding.

“Indeed, We have sent it down as an Arabic Qur’an so that you might understand.”

Quran, Surah Yusuf, 2

With a clear message that this Quran is the the words of God Himself, Allah teaches us immediately who He is, referring to himself as The Lord of the Universe. In fact just before this verse Allah says:

“In the name of God, the Most Compassionate and the Most Merciful.”

Allah informs the reader that He is the one who revealed this book as a source of guidance for those who are aware, and conscious of the existence of God. There are many claims and challenges that Allah makes as The Author of this book of guidance. Most of this is a rhetorical, so as to make the reader think and question the statement being made as He the Almight wants you to really think and use your intellect.

 

  1. Who is the intended audience?

You are the intended reader. Allah has revealed this Quran as a guide for all of humanity and Jinn with no exceptions. However, Allah says clearly in these verses that there is no one forcing you to accept this message and to follow it, it’s up to you to make the decision once you’ve reflected on the verses.

Allah refers to those who submit to his religion (way of life), as a person who has submitted, a Muslim. Being born a Muslim like I was, doesn’t mean that you automatically submit to Allah. We, like all humans question the validity of what we are being taught, it’s human nature.

However, many times we don’t actually pursue the knowledge required to validate our beliefs. This is one of the reasons you meet with Muslims, who don’t know too much about their faith, or when in a discussion, they say incorrect things about Islam.

Allah makes it a condition that knowledge is the prerequisite of becoming a Muslim. This  is the knowledge of God and the knowledge of his Servant, and the relationship that we have with Allah.

This knowledge is from the articles of faith, believing in Allah, His Angels, the books of revelation (the final one being the Quran), believing in the Prophets and Messengers (all of them), believing in the Day of Judgement, and believing in the decree of God, that he is in control and decrees all things good and bad. These are the foundations of faith in Allah and Islam.

These are the articles of Faith, meaning the things that you have to accept in order to be a Muslim.

The greatest knowledge of all is the knowledge of the Creator, Allah the Most High. So, the very first thing any muslim or non muslim looking to understand the Quran will learn in reading the Quran is knowing who Allah is. We humans will only know about the creator through His names and attributes as described in the divine revelation, the Quran and the Sunnah of the Messenger Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).

The first four names of Allah that we learn from the Quran are:

  • Allah(the only one true God worthy of worship)
  • Ar-Rub (The Lord)
  • Ar-Rahman (the Most Compassionate)
  • Ar-Raheem ( the Most Merciful).

 

  1. Do I have to read the Quran in Arabic? 

If you want to get the best out of the Quran, and really understand what the message of the Quran is, then I’d suggest you have to read it in a language that you understand fluently. Now, in the English language, there are many translations of the Quran and my advice to anyone seeking to understand the Quran as a beginner is to get yourself a copy of the Quran and just start reading.

Now, going back to the Arabic question, as a Muslim if you are able to read the Quran in Arabic, then of course you should read in Arabic for the reward that Allah promises. And when you are ready, should seek out a start your journey in an Arabic course so you can understand the Quran in Arabic, because that was the language of revelation.

But in the meantime, don’t let that stop you go straight to an English translation or any other language translation and read the Quran in your language.

So many people come to the Quran for different reasons, some want to prove that it is not the word of God. Others want to prove that it is the word of God, and they want to be sure themselves. Yet others are just curious about what it is that more than 1 billion people on the face of the earth seem to be taking this book as their divine source of guidance in life.

You see Allah does not expect anyone just to read it and obey it without thinking about what they are reading. Rather, he challenges us to prove that it is not the words of the creator if you are in doubt.

 

  1. One of the Most Important Things to Consider When Reading Quran

One of the most important things when approaching the Quran is to understand why you want to read the Quran in the first place. What is your motivation? Because if you understand why, then you can outline your goals and look for it as you read.

For example, you’re a beginner and you want to validate the belief that the Quran is divine revelation, then you might look for scientific miracles in the Quran. If you understand the Arabic, you may look for linguistic miracles in the Quran.  If on the other hand, you are someone who is quite spiritual, in tune with your own thoughts and feelings then you may look for verses that speak out to you.

On the inverse, if you are looking to disprove the Quran as being the words of God, then you may look for errors in the Quran, or even look for scientific inaccuracies so as to validate your thoughts.

Having said that my advice to you is read it without preconditions. And to clarify what I mean in light of what I’ve already said about goals, you can have things that you’re looking for, and things that you are trying to clarify in the Quran. However, if you come to reading the Quran with a very strong bias either positive or negative, then you may overlook everything that opposes your bias.

So if you want to be intellectually unbiased and balanced and get an Just view of what you are reading, then allow yourself to be open-minded, even if you read something which goes against your initial thoughts. Allow your mind to roam around and digest what Allah is saying.

With an open heart and mind, I’m sure you will find amazing benefit that you never expected. Don’t listen to those who say you’re not qualified to read it. Everyone should read it, but be careful not to start giving legal rulings.

 

  1. What is the Quran about?

It’s important to understand that the Quran is like the constitution of life. Within it, you will find all types of guidance and advice. The creator of all of humanity is addressing all the different types of people and their roles. This is a manual for running a nation that is balanced and in harmony with the world and the natural laws. In this book of revelation, the God of humanity addresses the leader of the nation, addresses the parents, addresses the children, addresses the citizens, addresses the family unit, addresses the politician, addresses the military leader, addresses the husband and addresses every type of person that exists with all of our different roles.

I’ve listed so many different roles within society because we all fulfil different roles in our lives. You and I we have different roles in life. The roles that we have chosen and the roles that we were given and so we look for different things to help us to fulfil our obligations and live the best possible lives that we can.

So, in this book you will find that Allah addresses the mother and the student and the military leader and the politician and businessman. Allah addresses all of them. And so the various verses that you read in the Quran may or may not be applicable to you. So bear this in mind that this is a constitution, but be csarefull not to treat the message like it’s for someone else.

As you read it, you will find that your creator will engage you with things that are very relevant to your life, right from the beginning of the Quran to the end of the Quran.

 

  1. Which version of the Quran is the best translation or the best Quran for beginners? 

The best Quran is different for each and everyone of us. However, my advice is that you pick a modern translation of the Quran that is well known and recommended. I’ll give you a list of a few different versions of the Quran, but my suggestion to you is read one that is not in old English and one that you find easy to read. Because the last thing you want to do is waste time trying to understand the old English, or the style of English writing.

Rather, you want to focus all of your time whilst reading in contemplating the verses and how they relate to you. So the best Quran is always going to be the one that is the easiest to read.

 

  1. Can I understand everything in the Quran in English? 

The Quran in a translation of the meaning of the verses. So yes, you can understand most things, as they have been translated, but bear in mind that the translation is someone’s hard work in translating the meaning.

You won’t find a Quran that is translated word for word, because that wouldn’t make sense in the English language. The Arabic cannot be translated word for word into English, such that it will make sense to the reader. So all translators translate the meaning of the Quran and what was intended by the verses.

My advice is don’t get too hung up on which is the best version of the Quran. The main thing is to pick one that is easy to read, which means that you may need to look at a few before you pick the one that’s right for you. Remember nothing begins until you’ve actually begun to read the Quran.

So go to the Quran with an open heart, looking for the truth, you will not be disappointed. However, if you go to the Quran and try and force it to fit your perception of life, then you will not get from it the guidance and benefit that is found within. I know clearly that I am not an authority on life and the best way to live it. However, my creator, Allah is an authority because he’s the creator of all that we know. And this manual for life shows us how to get the best out of life.

Allah begins Surat Al Baqarah, verse 2 by saying:

“This is the book wherein there is no doubt.”

No one claims that their book is faultless, no author does that except Allah. May the Lord of the heavens and the Earth bless your journey.

 

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  • ​Quranic guidance on Optimising Your Life
  • ​Become the Best version of​ your​self this Month
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