The answer to this question seems obvious at first. For Muslims, Quran is their scripture, their holy book. Therefore, of course they should read it and know its contents. Even so, you will find that there is a pronounced lack of emphasis on Quran in the Muslim’s religious literature. Quran is quoted, more likely half-quoted, and that quote or half-quote is then taken and its meaning completely changed by the explanation. As such, Quran’s own voice is usually stifled or completely silenced.
In this essay, we take a practical route.After all, Quran and Human Being is about practicality rather than sentiment.
Why should we read Quran? Is there any actual benefit to be enjoyed or should we simply read it blindly because we are told that it is a ‘holy book’? To this end, we are fortunate because the Author of Quran, Allah, did not leave us without the answer. On the contrary, the answer is given and repeated so the Reader does not forget.
So what is the point of view of Quran itself on why should we read it? There are many ayat which talk about this but for the purposes of this essay, we will focus on one aya in particular and that is chapter 17, ayah 9. In this aya Quran declares about itself:
This Qur’an guides to that which is more established, and gives glad tidings to the believers who do good work that they will have a bountiful reward (Quran 17/9)
The first word we would like to focus on in the above ayah is the word ‘guides’ (yahdee). Quran says that it guides to what is more established. It is God’s guidance (referring to 55/1-2 since it is God who taught Quran) and God’s guidance, if followed, is declared to have the following results:
….so when the guidance comes from Me, then whoever follows My guidance, they will have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve. (Quran 2/38)
So whoever follows God’s guidance, his life will be a life free from fear or grief. Therefore, a practical reason for reading Quran is to have a blissful existence.
The second word we will analyse from 17/9 is the word ‘more established’ (aqwam). What does it mean when Quran says it guides to the more established?
We have sent Our messengers with clear proofs, and We sent down with them the Scripture and the balance to establish humankind with justice…(Quran 57/25)
In 57/25, we are told that the messengers are given ‘clear proofs’ (bayyinat) which is shown to be from Quran (Quran 98/1-3) in order to establish humankind with justice. The word ‘to establish’ (liyaqoom) which is used here is the verse same used in 17/9.
So we have another reason for following Quran, to establish ourselves, to find firm footing, to stand upright (these meanings are contained in the word ‘aqwam’ above).
However, referring back to 17/9 above, it is clear that simply reading Quran is of no use. 17/9 above continues by saying ‘and gives glad tidings to the believers who do good works that they will have a bountiful reward’
It is very interesting that this ayah which talks about Quran and its purpose ends with the emphasis on believers. Believers are people who ‘hear and obey’ the commands of Quran (2/285). Not only believers but believers who continuously do good works (ya’lamoona as-salihaat). Only then do they get a bountiful reward.
To summarise, Quran does talk about itself and its function for humankind. It aims to alleviate us from suffering and also to establish us and give us upright lives. However, this can only happen if we follow its commandments and continuously do good works. Therefore, there is a practical reason for reading Quran and that reason is the very betterment of our human existence.