The 7 Stages of Being a Companion of The Quran Explained

How do you become a Companion of the Qur’ān? Qur’ān memorisation, wholly or partly, is an immense favour from Allāh. Being a Companion of the Qur’ān carries many benefits and rewards, and is all due to the Love and Mercy of Allāh. It is an immense blessing:

عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ إِنَّ لِلَّهِ أَهْلِينَ مِنْ النَّاسِ قَالُوا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ مَنْ هُمْ قَالَ هُمْ أَهْلُ الْقُرْآنِ أَهْلُ اللَّهِ وَخَاصَّتُهُ
Anas ibn Mālik (Allāh be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allāh, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Truly, Allāh has His own people among humanity.” They said, “O Messenger of Allāh, who are they?” The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “They are the people of the Qur’ān, the people of Allāh and His chosen ones.” (Graded Sahīh, Sunan Ibn Mājah)

This station comes with responsibility.

Shaykh Hishāmuddin al-Hindi is quoted to have said the following when addressing the one that has memorised the Qur’ān: “Truly the dwellers of the heavens make mention of your name before Allāh [out of the honour and greatness of the Qur’ān] so follow the commands of Allāh [in the Qur’ān]. Then Allāh will love you and place you into the group of people He Loves [His chosen ones].” (Kanz ul ‘Ummāl)

In other words, don’t restrict the Qur’ān to your lips, tongues and ears. Rather begin to live the words contained in the Qur’ān. Your name may get mentioned in the heavens (due to having the Qur’ān within your chest) but you will enter into the station of those beloved to Allāh if you begin to internalise and externalise those Words.

Al-Fuḍayl ibn ʻIyāḍ is reported to have said: “The one who has memorised the Qur’ān is the flag-bearer of Islām. Taking into account the rights and reverence of the Qur’ān, it is not befitting for them (the hāfiz) to sit with people engaging in heedless and idle talk.” (Ihyā’ al-‘Ulūm ad-Dīn, Imām al-Ghazālī)

In other words, because of what you have become (a hāfiz), you ought to bring about higher standards for yourself. Since you have been given a huge blessing of the Words of Allāh, you ought to grow an environment around you that allows you to sprout the flowers and bear the fruits of the Qur’ān in your life. You won’t fill your outward and inward environment with the fragrance of light and guidance until you make efforts to sprout these flowers and grow their fruits.

This blessing of carrying the Qur’ān is a form of knowledge. Knowledge has different stages; some say there are three and some say there are seven. The idea is that our knowledge remains imperfect until (if ever) we reach the final stage. Knowledge must go through acquisition, refinement, purification and growth.

When it comes to the memorisation of the Qur’ān and being a Companion of the Qur’ān, I have had an opportunity to reflect on the stages in like fashion. In this article, I intend to share these thoughts with you. Perhaps someone will benefit and one day act upon it.

Note: When I refer to the Companion of the Qur’ān in this article I include both the titles of Sāhibul-Qur’ān (companion of the Qur’ān) and Ahlul-Qur’ān (People of Qur’ān).

The seven stages

Stage one: Becoming a recipient of this knowledge

In the first stage, knowledge of the Qur’ān comes to those who truly seek it. This knowledge starts to become etched into their memory with the Help of Allāh. The mind becomes like a slate and what is written on them – that is, what one commits to memory, one retains.

Allāh grants you an opening and a desire for the Qur’ān at stage one. This is when you begin to desire to recite, listen and memorise the Qur’ān. You begin to develop an active interest in the Qur’ān. You begin to yearn and want to listen to recitation, lectures and conversations about the Qur’ān. You begin to meet people who have memorised and you start thinking about your own journey. Your desire starts to grow and grow.

You use everything you can to try to memorise the Qur’ān. Your motivation is high. Your optimism is high. So you work on your abilities and recitation. You start to memorise and struggle on the path to maintaining this.

During this process, you will also learn about the manners of recitation of the Qur’ān, creating an attachment with the Qur’ān, and reciting with a beautiful voice.

The majority of us are at this stage. This stage can take many years to get past. This is essentially the process of memorisation.

Stage two: Solidifiying the memorisation of the Qur’ān

In the second stage, due to your maintained efforts on intention and your relationship with the Qur’ān, Allāh grants you the ability to memorise the Qur’ān. During this stage, you’ll begin to focus more on solidifying what you have memorised. You are focused on maintaining your Qur’ān memorisation through a regular and consistent routine. You recite with good measure, flow, clarity and distinction (Tarteel).

Stage three: Beginning to experience the Qur’ān

In the third stage, you are still working on your solidification but it’s becoming more natural. To take things a stage further, you now begin to extend your relationship with the Qur’ān. You are now reciting day and night. You are reciting the Qur’ān more and more in prayers.

You are now beginning to seek more knowledge of the Qur’ān. Perhaps you are getting Ijāzāt and learning other recitations of the Qur’ān. You are trying to understand and reflect on the Qur’ān. You begin to learn and teach the Qur’ān.

Stage four: Seeking purification

Now you begin to purify the inward and engage in further devotional acts. You become inclined towards more good. The good deeds include the teaching and spreading of the Qur’ān. All of the knowledge you have been acquiring becomes a living reality and builds light into the heart. The knowledge of the Qur’ān begins to enter your inner reality and settles there. That light building in the heart is the light of guidance.

Many huffāz and scholars will memorise Qur’ān and other texts but they are unable to retain it. Either they become so busy in lifes pursuits that there relationship with the Qur’ān and knowledge is completely cut off – or they become religiously and morally corrupt to the extent that they are no longer able to retain extensive knowledge for a long time. Either you spend time with it or you don’t. The more you become distant, the more you begin to reshape yourself into someone else. That someone else becomes incapable of carrying the Qur’ān like it once did. Such a situation requires a reset and a return to good company. A move away from isolation to inclusion.

During his lifetime, the Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ) delivered his message to believers and hypocrites alike. The noble Companions took the message and learned from them. The hypocrites put in an appearance but left with no profit. One group illuminated their hearts and the others just heard words and moved on.

At this stage, the hāfiz will seek to improve. He/she will begin to see more good in their life and work on self-improvement. They will work to ensure their character and habits are refined so that they can retain the Qur’ān to the highest standards.

Stage five: Realities begin to reveal themselves

At the fifth stage, when one increases acts of worship and dedicates themselves to the Path of Allāh, removing sins in one’s life, they begin to become receptive to the realities around them.

At this stage, the hāfiz could be learning other narrations and recitations of the Qur’ān but their understanding of the Qur’ān begins to build. That understanding begins to grow to levels that they now see the verses manifest before them. They see the verses in mankind, in the animal kingdom and within the land.

Stage six: A love of acting upon the Qur’ān (obedience)

In the sixth stage, you begin to love more and more acting upon the Words of the Qur’ān and being obedient. You begin to walk the Qur’ān. You begin to cry when reciting and listening to the Qur’ān. You increase in your sincerity, purity, repentance, humbleness, steadfastness, love, manners, and piety.

Stage seven: Allāh blesses you with His Love and you desire Him

In the seventh stage, you begin to further yourself in your relationship with the Qur’ān that you spent time with it during your night. You dissociate yourself further from human disposition (nafs) and take on more divine qualities (spiritual), grasping the reality of things for what they truly are and what the final outcome of things will be. You are given gifts and favours from Allāh. You begin to desire more and more closeness, proximity, and the gaze of Allāh.

The ingredients of being the people of the Qur’ān

  1. Increasing in the recitation of the Qur’ān (day and night).
  2. Having a set daily amount of Qur’ān recitation.
  3. Dressing yourself with the manners and characteristics of the Qur’ān.
  4. Implementation alongside recitation.
  5. Spending time in learning the Qur’ān and everything attached to it.
  6. Striving to be proficient in recitation.
  7. Arranging and sitting in gatherings of Qur’ān, it’s recitation, commentary, and reflections.
  8. Teaching others from the knowledge you have recieved.
  9. Travelling away from the city of sin to the city of obedience.

May Allāh grant blessing!

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