He is the One who sent among the unlettered ones a Messenger (Muhammad SAW) from among themselves, reciting to them His Verses, purifying them, and teaching them the Book (Qur’an) and Al-Hikmah (the Sunnah). And verily, before they had been in clear, manifest error.
In this verse, Allah [SWT] mentions the 4 aspects of the complete Islamic education. They are:
- Tilawah of the verses of Allah (i.e. recitation of the Qur’an)
- Tazkiyyah (i.e. purification of the heart)
- Education in the Qur’an (i.e. its explanation, preservation, etc.)
- Education in the Sunnah (i.e. its explanation, preservation, etc.)
These four aspects provide the complete Islamic education. If you take away one or the other or place an unnecessary emphasis on one over another, then the end result is no different what is mentioned in the verse (underlined above): error and misguidance.
For example, certain groups place so much emphasis on tazkiyyah (purification of the heart) and so little on education in the Qur’an and Sunnah that they end up inventing ways to worship Allah that are totally baseless.
Others place so much emphasis on recitation that the student knows all of the Qur’an with perfect recitation, but hardly understands any of it.
Still others place so much emphasis on studying the Sunnah and the resulting intricate matters of jurisprudence that they delve into advance topics, yet they can’t even recite the Qur’an properly, let alone understand it.
And so on.
But alhamdulillah, the complete Islamic education that the Prophet [SAWS] provided to his companions consists of the four aforementioned aspects. So, what this means for us is that:
- We study tajweed (rules of recitation of the Qur’an) regularly – like once or twice a week – so we can taste its beauty when we recite it. In every masjid, you’ll be able to find people who will be happy to work with you; it’s just a matter of persistence. You can even learn how to recite the Qur’an properly online.
- We study the sciences of the purification of the heart, but make sure that we do not transgress into baseless and fruitless exercises. There are numerous books, articles and lectures dealing with this.
- We study the tafsir (explanation) of the Qur’an daily/weekly. There are no excuses for this, every masjid has a tafsir study circle. If you can understand Urdu, then you can listen to this awesome tafsir. Some English tafsir lectures can be found here.
- We study the hadith books like the Riyadhus Saliheen of An-Nawawi, 40 Hadith of An-Nawawi, or Bulooghul Maram of Hafidh ibn Hajar, along with explanations of the status of the Sunnah and how the ahadith were preserved.
In sha Allah, I plan on adding a few important tidbits about tajweed as we go along, bi tawfeeqillah.