The knowledge of the Qur’ân is the best after the knowledge of Tawheed. It is a common parlance that the greatness of an aspect of knowledge depicts the greatness of the bearer of that knowledge. The scholars of Islâm are considered to be great simply because of the greatness of the knowledge – of Qur’ân and Sunnah – that they bear.
There are many textual proofs to the excellence of the knowledge of the Qur’aan viz. the popular statement of the Prophet - salallaahu alahyi wa sallam: ‘The best of you is he who learns the Qur’aan and teaches it.’ Hadith of Uthmân bn ‘Affân as recorded in the Sahîh.
The aim of this piece is to however call the attention of many bearers of the knowledge of the Qur’aan to the fact that they ought to live the Qur’ân, not leave it, as far as good character and what is attendant is concerned.
Al-Imâm Aajuree did bemoan those bearer of the Qur’aan whose character speaks volumes of the knowledge they bear.
Before this piece goes further, it becomes necessary to show the difference between a Qaaree and a Muqree.
Al-Qaaree is someone who has learnt the Qur’ân to a degree. There is a Beginner Qaaree [Al-Mub’tadi] who knows between a riwaayah and three. A Middle Qaaree [Mutawasit] knows between four and five. A Higher Qaaree [Muntaha] knows many of the Qiraa’aat or the commonest of them. A Qaaree of any of the levels will always have recourse to teachers; in fact he is still ‘in school’. So if he must teach others, it will be according to his capacity and the express permissibility that has been granted him with that respect. If he has a Ijaazah on one or two riwaayaat, he will be told to recite and teach it ‘according to the well-known conditions slated by the scholars of this great field.’ So he will never puff up.
As for the Muqree, he knows the Qiraa’aat by learning them directly from the tongues (not from the Internet as some latter-day ‘quraa’ do today) of teachers who themselves have the Ijaazah (permission) to teach them. A Muqree has become an independent expert, a Mujtahid! He would have committed many other works of Qiraa’aat such as Hirz Amaanee of Al-Imâm Ah-Shaatibee and Taibah An-Nashr of Ibn Al-Jazaree among many others into memory while knowing how they are effectively applied. He would even have Ijaazah over each!
Hope the difference is clear! So everyone should know where he belongs and acts in that accordance. 'May Allaah help a slave who knows his limits and stays within that.'
One thing is however very clear, this field is so wide that it will be difficult to say someone has encompassed every aspect of it.
‘None is able to amass all the knowledge/even if he spends a thousand year doing so.’
It is however erroneous to call a Qaaree or Muqree a Hâfidh. A Hâfidh comes to play in the field of hadith; someone who has memorised about a hundred thousand hadith with their chains, as it is said though. That is heavy. The Hufaadh (great memorisers) of hadith are few. It is somewhat easy to be a Muqree than being a Hâfidh. While it is common to find many Hufaadh as Muqri’oon in the past, because a Hâfidh would easily memorise all the Usool and Fars’h of Qiraa’aat though he may not become well-known for it, reverse is the case in a Muqree being a Hâfidh. A Muqree is in perpetual busyness so also is a Hâfidh. This is why the majority of Muqrioon were declared weak in hadith or hasan on the least. Well we should leave that for another day.
Now the character!
There are peculiarities but we will choose those that combine the Muqree and Qaaree.
He must be a Muslim, of age, of sound intellect. Trustworthy, reliable, sharp, free from sources of sins and things that smear the character. If he must teach others, then it must be according to what he had been taught by someone whom the conditions we earlier mentioned can be met in, or what was read to his teacher while he (the student) was present, or what he heard another student recited to his teacher.
He must have good intention at all times. He should not desire any worldly gain with his knowledge such as getting paid for it, or that people should praise him, or that he carves a niche for himself for people to pay him homage. He should not even hope for any nicety from those learning from him whether in cash or kind no matter how little even if it were in a form of a gift which if not because of the fact that he is teaching those, they would not have made the gift to him.
The issue of accepting money for teaching Qur’aan or otherwise is contentious with the scholars. Some of them have favoured it for whomever does not have any other source of income. A sensible Muslim should however guard his Deen.
Said Ash-Shaatibee: ‘Their examiners weighed each of them (the Seven Experts)/They found them not using the Qur’ân to eat.’
A person of Qur’ân should adorn himself with excellent and pleasing character in terms of Zuhd, forbearance, contentment, patience, avoiding doubtful matters, quietness, humility. He should shun showing-off, envy, malice, backbiting, belittling others even if they are below him in knowledge.
He should be wary of self-pride – those who are safe from that are few, excessive jokes and dirty sources of income, he should guard his gazes by not looking at prohibited things, neither should he allow his hands to touch what is prohibited.
He should look after his personal hygiene such as removing the air of the armpits regularly, shunning sources of dirty odour, he should get accustomed to using perfume if he can. He should ensure he abides with the rules of the Sharî’ah such as reducing the moustache, keeping the beard, [not trailing the cloth below the ankles], reducing the finger nails. His cloth should be kept clean at all times. White cloths are better he should run away from prohibited cloths such as saffron and cloths of fame – worn by people of Dunya. He should be sound in 'Aqeedah [and Manhaj], of course, that of Salaful-Ummah.
He should always ponder over the meanings of the Qur’ân. He should run away from things that can make him forget the Qur’ân because forgetting the Qur’ân after memorising it is blameworthy.
He should be mindful of Allâh in secret and in the open. He should know that Allâh will question him about his knowledge, what he did with it.
Wa salaLlâhu ‘alaa nabiyyinaa Muhammadin wa sallam.
1. Al-Qiraa’aat Al-‘Ashr Min Ash-Shaatibiyyah Wa Ad-Durrah, Mahmood Khaleel Al-Husary
2. Al-Funoon Fee As-Sirr Al-Masoon, Kamaal bn Muhammad Al-Muroosh
3. Mandhoomah Hirz Al-Amaanee, Al-Imâm Ash-Shaatibee
4. Beneficial Statements of Ash-Shaykh Muhammad Thaanee Muhammad [a graduate of the Islamic University Madînah with Specialization in Qiraa’aat] at Daurah Ramadaaniyyah Fee Ilm Qiraa’aat, Ramadan 1437, Zaria, Kaduna State.
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