If you want to identify with the spirit of the Qur’aan, you must practically involve [yourself] with the struggle to fulfil its mission. For the Qur’aan is not a book of abstract theories and cold ideas, which one can grasp while seated in a cosy arm chair. Nor is it merely a religious book like other religious books, whose meanings can be grasped in seminaries and oratories.
On the contrary, it is a Book which contains a message, and invitation, which generates a movement. The moment it began to revealed down, it impelled a quiet and pious man to abandon his life of solitude and confront the world that was living in rebellion against God. It inspired him to raise his voice against falsehood, and pitted him in a grim struggle against the lords of disbelief, evil and iniquity. One after the other, from every home, it drew every pure and noble soul, and gathered them under the banner of truth. In every part of the country, it made all the mischievous and the corrupt to rise and wage war against the bearers of the truth.
This is a Book which launched a glorious movement, with the voice of a single individual, and continued to provide guidance to it for twenty-three years, till the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth. At every stage during this long and heart-rending struggle between truth and falsehood, this Book showed its followers the ways to eradicate the old order and usher in the new.
Is it, then, possible, to reach the heart of the Quran merely by reading its words, without ever stepping upon the battlefield of faith and disbelief, of Islam and Ignorance, without passing through any stage of the struggle? No, you can understand the Quran only when you take it up, begin to act upon it, and call mankind to God, and when every step you take is in obedience to its guidance.
Then and only then, you will go through all the events and experiences which occurred during the course of its revelation. You will then pass through Makkah, and Habashah, and Taai’f; you will face Badr, Uhud, Hunayn and Tabuk. You will encounter Abu Jahl and Abu Lahab; you will meet the hypocrites and Jews; you will come face to face with those who instantly responded to this call as well as those who were drawn into Islam seeking some gain. You will come across all of these human models; you will deal with all of them.