Indeed to reflect on Allah’s verses is a form of worship that will draw one close to Allah Most High. This reflection is not a reckless and wandering one, rather it includes a study of the classical tafseer of the verses being pondered over, as this would fulfil Ibnul-Qayyim’s great advice,
“Such as reflecting over a book which a person has memorised and (then) he expounds it so that he may understand what its author intends by it.”
Indeed the Book of Allah is not a book like any other, it is the timeless Speech of Allah, not a created thing, the study guide for life and death and what comes after. Therefore it deserves a more careful study than anyone else’s speech. It necessitates that its reader return to the early narrations of those who witnessed its revelation and heard its explanation by the one who was deputed by Allah to rehearse and explain His Words to humanity (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam).
For, if one would try to ponder over the meanings of the verses without having done this study, then surely the filth of the time that he lives in and his ignorance of the correct application and understanding that the early Muslims had would cause him to understand some things not intended by Allah Most High, and therefore he would go astray, although he may think he's worshipping Allah. So every sincere Muslim who hopes to earn Allah’s Love by reciting and reflecting over Allah’s Book, then let him hold tight to the meanings explained by the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), and those taught by the companions and their immediate followers, and the early scholars of Islam. So, dear brothers and sisters! Know that reciting and pondering over the Book of Allah, devoting your time regularly to its study and its implementation has tremendous benefits in this life and the Next.
Let us now look to just a few of these benefits so as to attach ourselves more firmly to Allah’s Majestic Words. Each benefit stands as enough of an encouragement to shun any laziness we have and instead dedicate ourselves to the Qur’an.
1 - Reading and reflecting over the Qur’an fulfils an Islamic duty.
Indeed, the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) summarised the whole of Islaam with his statement:
“The Religion is naseehah (sincerity)!” Tameem ibn Aws (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “We asked, ‘To whom?’” He said: “To Allah, HIS BOOK, His Messenger, the leaders of the people, and their common folk.” [Muslim]
The sincerity that is due to the Book of Allah includes its regular recitation, learning the rules of tajweed and reciting it beautifully; learning about its tafseer and the reasons for its revelation; affirming that it is the Truth, the perfect Speech of Allah and not part of the creation; honoring it and defending it; abiding by the orders and prohibitions found in it; teaching it and calling to it. [See Jaami’ul-’Uloom wal-Hikam of Ibn Rajab Al-Hambalee]
So, by reading and reflecting over the Qur’an, one fulfills an obligation and is rewarded for it. Upon fulfilling this obligation, the Qur’an then becomes a proof for him on the Day of Judgment. And this is the second benefit that we will acquire by embracing this Noble Book:
2 - The Qur’an will be a proof for you on the Day of Judgment.
This is due to the statement of the Messenger: “And the Qur’an is a proof for you or against you.” [Muslim]
So one of two things will occur with this proof, the Book of Allah. It will either be in your favor, a proof for you on the Day when you will need every single good deed, or it will be something standing against you... the very Speech of your Creator, a proof against you! Who could be saved from the terrors of that Day if the very Speech of Allah is against him?!?! Think carefully, dear Muslim brothers and sisters, about your position with the Qur’an! Are you neglecting it, contradicting it, being heedless of its orders and prohibitions, are you thinking deeply over it?! Will it be on your side on the Day of Judgment?
O Allah! We ask you, by Your Glorious Speech and the rest of your beautiful Names and Attributes, to make the Qur’an a proof for us! O Allah! Don’t make the Qur’an a proof against us on that Day, and save us from the hellfire!
For, if Allah makes the Qur’an a proof in our favour on that Day, then it will also be an intercessor for us, when NO intercession will take place except by His Permission.
3 - The Qur’an will intercede for you on the Day of Judgment.
The proof: Aboo Umaamah relates that the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said:
“Read the Qur’an, for verily it will come on the Day of Standing as an intercessor for its companions.” [Muslim]
4 - Your status in this life will be raised.
In Saheeh Muslim we find a lovely story about how a man from the people of Jannah, ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattaab, understood this principle. Some men came to him in order to question him while he was a Caliph about the leadership of Makkah, they asked, “Who do you use to govern Makkah?” He said, “Ibn Abzaa.” They asked, “And who is Ibn Abzaa?” Umar replied, “A freed slave from those we freed.” They remarked, “You left a freed slave in charge of the people of the Valley (the noble tribes of the Quraysh)!?!?” So he answered them,
“Verily he is a reader of the Book of Allah and is knowledgeable about the obligations of the Muslims. Haven’t you heard the statement of your Messenger: “Verily Allah raises some people by this Book and lowers others by it.”
5 - You will be from the best of the people.
‘Uthmaan, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said:
“The best of you are the ones who learn the Qur’an and teach it to others.” [Al-Bukhari]
6 - There are ten rewards for each letter you recite from the Qur’an.
An authentic hadith in At-Tirmithee proves this:
“Whoever reads a letter from the Book of Allah, he will have a reward. And that reward will be multiplied by ten. I am not saying that “Alif, Laam, Meem” is a letter, rather I am saying that “Alif” is a letter, “laam” is a letter and “meem” is a letter.”
So increase your recitation of the Qur’an to gain these merits.
7 - The reciters of the Qur’an will be in the company of the noble and obedient angels.
‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, relates that the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said:
“Verily the one who recites the Qur’an beautifully, smoothly, and precisely, he will be in the company of the noble and obedient angels. And as for the one who recites with difficulty, stammering or stumbling through its verses, then he will have TWICE that reward.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
So dear brothers and sisters, do not allow the Shaytaan to give you false excuses, such as “I am not an ‘Arab,” or “It's not my language.” This hadith is a firm proof against such whisperings. Dedicate yourself to the Book of Allah, whether you are an ‘Arab or not! The excuses have been eliminated, and the path has been cleared for you to embrace the Book of Allah - without holding back.
Surely you will not hesitate to seek a teacher or a study circle for the Qur’an once you hear the last and perhaps greatest benefits of reading and contemplating over the Qur’an...
8 - Your position in Paradise is determined by the amount of Qur’an you memorize in this life!
‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Amr ibn Al-’Aas heard the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) saying:
“It will be said to the companion of the Qur’an: Read and elevate (through the levels of the Paradise) and beautify your voice as you used to do when you were in the world! For, indeed, your position in the Paradise will be at the last verse you recite!” [Aboo Daawood and At-Tirmithee, saheeh]
9 - The Qur’an will lead you to Paradise!
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“The Qur’an is an intercessor, something given permission to intercede, and it is rightfully believed in. Whoever puts it in front of him, it will lead him to Paradise; whoever puts it behind him, it will steer him to the Hellfire.” [An authentic hadith found in At-Tabaraanee, on the authority of ‘Abdullaah ibn Mas’ood]
Know, dear brother or sister, that these nine benefits from the many benefits available and acquired by reciting the Qur'aan can only be attained by a sincere commitment to the Book of Allah and not by a person’s mere statement, “I love the Qur’an, it’s beautiful.” Rather, the heart must be sincerely attached to Allah’s Book; then the limbs and tongue will naturally follow its injunctions. And Allah knows best.