Hardening of the Heart - Chapter 3
Methods of Cure:
The Third Method - the Qur'an
The third way by which we can soften our hearts is the Quran itself. Allah states in the Quran, Al-Hadid, 57:16, "Has not the time come for those who believe for their hearts to fear Allah when they hear the Quran (dhikrullah here is in reference to the Quran) and what truth there is in it, so that they not be like those who received the Scripture before, but in the passage of time, their hearts became hard. And most of them are corrupt."
If we reflect on the Quran, it has the power to soften our hearts. Allah said, about the jinn who heard the Quran, "Indeed we heard an amazing Quran; it guides us to Allah and we believe in it and we will set not partners besides Allah." [See Quran, Surah al-Ahqaf 46:29-32]
Allah goes on to describe the righteous, "And if they (this is amongst the Christians) hear what was revealed to the Messenger, you will see their eyes welling up with tears because of what they know of the truth of what has been brought." This was the case of the ruler of Ethiopia. When Muslims sought refuge there and they recited a portion of the Quran, they saw his eyes fill with tears.
This is how we should be. When we hear the Quran, we should reflect on the meanings. The Quran should not become for us a replacement for pop songs that we used to hear before. People buy recordings of their favourite reciters for the beauty of their voice. The listening of the Quran has become more of a musical thing. We are entertained by that music, so much so that when the reciter is reading, we hear people in the background going, "Allah! Allah! Allah!" People making statements in the background as thought it were a pop show! This is not the (way of the) Quran. Allah tells us, "Will they not reflect (on the meanings)?"
The Quran is a Book of Guidance and it is in the reflection on the meaning of the Quran that we benefit, for it is very important for us to re-assess how we are dealing with the Quran. We should be reading it regularly, not just during Ramadhan. We reflect on it. Not just reading it only in Ramadhan so we can finish the whole Book and say we finished the Quran in Ramadhan. It really does not matter if we don't finish the Quran in Ramadhan. For most of the Prophet's Sallallahu 'Alayhi wa sallam life, he did not finish the whole Quran in Ramadhan. Most of the companions did not finish the reading of the Quran in Ramadhan. Today, for us, Ramadhan is not complete unless we read the whole Quran in Ramadhan. We hire reciters to recite the Quran at 99 miles an hour so much so that even Arabic-speaking people cannot figure out where in the Quran the reciter is!
This has become the precedence - finishing the Quran in Ramadhan and if you can finish it twice, even better! But this is not what the Quran is for. The Quran is for reflection, so that when we hear it, as Allah says of the believers who hear the Quran recited, goose bumps come over their skins. It touches them and causes their heart to tremble.
[Quran Az-Zumar 39:23 : Allah has revealed (from time to time) the most beautiful Message in the form of a Book, consistent with itself, yet repeating (its teaching in various aspects): the skins of those who fear their Lord tremble threat; then their skins and hearts do soften to the remembrance of Allah.]
If when we listen to the Quran, we don't find this reaction of tears coming to our eyes, then we should make ourselves cry. Force ourselves to cry because we need to respond to the Quran in this way. If we don't, we are lost! This is the Word of Allah, the only preserved Word of all the revelations that were given from Adam till now. This is the word of God preserved.
We should read the Quran believing this is Allah speaking to us, because that is what it is. It is Allah talking to us directly. Every time he tells us something about the Jews, we should not (merely) take it as a piece of information, that the Jews are this and the Jews are that. No! Whenever Allah tells us something about the Jews, we should see in it as a warning to ourselves - that we don't become like them. When Allah said, "ghairil maghdoobi 'alayhim wa la-ddaalleen." in Surah Al-Fatiha, the Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi wa sallam explained that al-maghdoob 'alayhim are the Jews and that ad-daalleen are the Christians. Those with whom Allah is angry are the Jews and those who have gone astray are the Christians. Allah is angry with the Jews because they KNOW the truth and they don't act on it. "You call people to righteousness and you forget yourselves." They changed the Book. The Christians are without knowledge; they are lost. They think that God is a man!
This is a warning to us. Every time we recite these verses, Allah is warning us not to be like them - we have the truth, we have the Scripture, but we are not acting according to them. If we do not seek knowledge, if we do not find out what it is Allah wants from us, then we are lost. Every time we read the "ghairil maghdoobi 'alayhim wa la-ddaalleen. it should touch us. We should reflect on it and it should touch us.
There are so many verses throughout the Quran that remind us of the Hereafter, that remind us of the signs of the Day of Judgement. It is enough for us to open any part of the Quran to read about them. In virtually every chapter of the Quran Allah addresses the next life. It is linked to our second point of visiting the graves and remembering the Hereafter. The Quran speaks about the life to come and to reflect on it.