A.R.T

The Art Of Reflecting Upon The Quran

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Y’know something?
It’s absolutely insane if you think about it:

Allah tells us that if the Qur’an had been sent down upon a mountain – one of those “kick-off-mahoosive-don’t-mess-with-me-you-are-going-to-die-trying-to-climb-me” mountains – then it would have been utterly humbled.

Actually, more than that.
It would have crumbled into pieces.

If We had sent this Qur’an down to a mountain, you would have seen it humbled and split apart in its awe of Allah: We offer people such illustrations so that they may reflect. (59:21)

Imagine that for a sec. Picture it and let that play out. It’s both amazing and terrifying frankly.

But then there’s you and me. 

The Qur’an is sent down to our hearts, this teeny-weeny little bit of soft flesh compared to that huge kick-off mountain, and… nothing

We listen to it and read it and like, literally nothing happens. 

How many times have we done all that, and forget humbled we weren’t even affected by it hardly at all!

And there’s only ONE single reason for that: it’s because we didn’t reflect on it. We didn’t do TADABBUR of it. We didn’t think about it. We didn’t understand it. We didn’t let it impact us.

No Tadabbur means very little effect. Simple as that.

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Tadabbur is the personal process of pondering deeply over something, in this case the Qur’an. It has rules, principles, and it has genius moments that will change your life if you allow it to! In fact, the Qur’an was sent down for this exact reason! For you to make Tadabbur over! Allah says:

This is a blessed Scripture which We sent down to you, for people to do Tadabbur (think deeply) about its messages, and for those with understanding to take heed. (38:29)

Guys, let me pause right here to tell you something personal.

Now this is a story all about how, my life got flipped turned upside down, and I’d like to take a minute just sit right there, as I tell you how ART become the prince of all gems that I’ll share. 

See, I started practising in Manchester, England over 25 years ago. I met my mentor and teacher whilst at University and he taught me about the Qur’an in English before I knew any Arabic. And little did I know at the time but he was an expert in the Qur’an, and by that I don’t mean its recitation but rather its technical meanings (which is known as Tafsir) but especially in reflecting over it with his own gems (known as Tadabbur).

My mind would be blown literally every single day with how he interacted with the Qur’an. And it would always be something that you just couldn’t see in the verse first time round – it was almost as if he was operating in an alternative dimension, wearing Superman glasses that showed him angles and tangents that weren’t there for the rest of us. And oh my goodness, it would be so random. We might be driving along and he’d see something on the street and suddenly say, “Hey, maybe when Allah says such n’such in the Qur’an, perhaps this applies here” or we’d be in a circle just after some unique current affairs moment or big event and he’d would derive some insane benefit from a verse that for all intents and purposes seemed to have absolutely nothing to do with the subject in hand. Until it actually did when a creative, sound, blessed mind was allowed to reflect on it and apply it.

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You Can See Now Where "ART" Came From...

This approach of allowing ourselves to think outside the box, in an alternative way, whilst keeping it fresh and raw – indeed random – and not exceeding the limits of the actual meanings i.e. the Tafsir, but instead our own personal reflections for our own personal benefit i.e. Tadabbur.

It is no exaggeration when I say that studying the Qur’an with my teacher and indeed other scholars around the world in the years that followed, were the very best times of my life. And again I’m not talking Tajwid and I’m not talking Tafsir. I’m simply talking about how they gave me the confidence to express myself with the Book of Allah and to think about it personally, exactly as Allah wants me to do.

And wants you to do too.

And so throughout the last few decades as my teachers trained me how to approach the Book of Allah to keep my batteries charged and my lights bright, it became not just a skill alhamdulillah but a passion. Once they’d signed off on me, it was literally a case of release the Kraken!

And that passion turned into a series on social media in 2012 up until last year that has since gone viral and I still meet people almost every day who comment on how much they were affected by those various reflections and not just how unique they were but how relevant to their day-to-day lives they have proven to be. Add to that the requests for a commentary to some of those learning points that covered hundreds of subjects and modern issues, and it was obvious that this would eventually become just the perfect single weekend class to enjoy connecting in depth with the Book of Allah that we all need to do so much more of, but this time in a fresh, fun and super relevant way.

Quranic ART the class was born.

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Qur'an Has A Purpose...
To Reflect On It Deeply

See, what we have to understand is that the Qur’an has a purpose and that purpose is to reflect on it deeply, and let that Tadabbur resonate within you and strike that relevant personal chord at that exact relevant moment that has an intense, iman-boosting experience, again for you. This is why Tadabbur – deep personal reflection – is different to Tafsir – the actual technical meaning of the verse. That is why the Prophet (s) would sometimes not worry too much about the quantity he would recite at night, because sometimes just his deep personal reflection on even one single verse was enough to bring him closer to Allah.

And we should have that same attitude. Quality over quantity every day of the week.

But you still might be asking what will you achieve in this class?

Simply Put, You Will:

Develop the skill of being able to reflect on the Qur’an yourself, safely and powerfully, within the folds of our Deen but also allowing your imagination to power your iman to previously unseen levels. By that, I mean understand and create yourself those gems that you sometimes come across that blow your mind and leave you buzzing about being Muslim and a recipient of this Qur’an!

Implement the primary purpose the Qur’an has been sent down to you thus perfecting a fundamental act of worship that the vast majority of people are either unable to do or do not understand the importance of.

Study and debate in depth some of my highest rated reflections (individual pieces of ART) that have been chosen by students for their depth and variety on a plethora of subjects, ranging from modern politics, jihad, music, gender issues, ‘aqidah, love, sports, social media, celebrities and so much more, thereby allowing you to develop your own reflections as well.

Cover the entire Qur’an with gems from every one of its 30 chapters

I’ll end this introduction to the class with a statement from the great Imam Ibn al-Qayyim who said about the essential nature and skill and indeed necessity of excelling in the art of Tadabbur:

“Because reciting a single verse whilst pondering over it and understanding it is better than completing the entire Qur’an without reflection and understanding.”

See you in class iA.
It’s going to be lit.
Trust me

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Taught By
Shaykh Abu Eesa

Senior Instructor. Studied Arabic, Islamic Law and Quran with scholars in East and West. Launched LogicalProgression.org, advanced weekly Fiqh classes. Original founder of Prophetic Guidance; taught popular commentary of al-Adab al-Mufrad. Vice-Chair of Al-Qalam Sharī‘ah Panel, UK’s premier fatwa body for legal and financial concerns.