No matter if you were born a Muslim or you’ve just converted to Islam; understanding the Quran may be hard for you, because the Holy Quran, unlike any other books, is not classified in chronological or in subject order. You can see that in many cases Quranic stories are repeated in different chapters with slight differences. And when you start reading one chapter, you realize that the topic changes from one point to another. You may think that there are many sudden transitions in the Quran that make understanding it much harder for you, especially if you don’t know Arabic language and you use a translation.
There are also some verses that have been revealed in specific contexts, and you may never understand the meaning or the wisdom behind that verse if you don’t know about the context. As well as translating the Quran into your language, using a dictionary, may not help you understand the whole concept of a verse or a chapter.
Here we are going to share some tips that you may find them useful in the way of understanding the holy Quran and therefore learning more from it.
At the beginning of the Holy Quran, Allah mentions that this book about whose truth is no doubt will be a guide for pious people.  Those “who believe in the Unseen, maintain the prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them; and who believe in what has been sent down to you and what was sent down before you, and are certain of the Hereafter. And who believe in what has been sent down to you and what was sent down before you, and are certain of the Hereafter.” (2: 2-4)
Here, God is enumerating the characteristics of those for whom the Quran will be guidance. It means that if a person does not have the above characteristics, he should not expect to be guided by the Quran. Therefore, one of the steps of understanding the Quran is to discover and obey its basic rules and regulations.
“Indeed this Quran guides to what is most upright, and gives the good news to the faithful who do righteous deeds that there is a great reward for them.” (17: 9)
Before finding solutions on how to understand the Quran, we need to find out the probable reasons for which the Quran is a hard book for us. As mentioned in the Quran, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) complains to Allah “O my Lord! Indeed my people consigned this Quran to oblivion.” (25: 30)
Hence, if one does not read at least a few verses of the Quran every day, he should not expect to comprehend its messages. However, for those who recite the Quran and are eager to grasp its insights, there are some instructions given by Allah.
“When the Quran is recited, listen to it and be silent, so you may receive [Allah’s] mercy.” (7: 204)
When you go to a classroom, and the teacher is describing something, you need to respect and adhere to the rules of the classroom. It is much more important to be polite and pious while we are being spoken to and taught by God. And as mentioned in the above verse, if we abide by the rules and be respectful, the real teacher of this world will start to teach us. Allah (SWT) promises in the Quran “Be wary of Allah and Allah will teach you, and Allah has knowledge of all things.” (2: 282) Allah enjoins his most faithful servants to ask Allah for knowledge. 
It is based on the same reason that Allah gives his pious servants knowledge and wisdom. “When he came of age, We gave him judgment and [sacred] knowledge, and thus do We reward the virtuous.” (12:22).
As you see in this verse, the requirement of gaining knowledge and wisdom from God is to be virtuous. Real knowledge and wisdom is not something that you can learn in any university or school or workshop. Wisdom is something given by God to His chosen people. And as mentioned at the beginning of this article, the chosen people who take the best benefits from the Quran are those who are pious, believe in the unseen, pray and give charity, and believe in all holy books. 
“…So recite as much of the Quran as is feasible...” (73: 20)
More important than listening to the Quran, is reciting it. In the above verse, God recommends us twice in one verse to recite the Quran as much as possible. This shows that even if we do not understand the real meanings behind the verses, the miraculous characteristics of the Quran will influence us. One of these characteristics as mentioned in the Quran is that when a person recites the Quran God will “draw a hidden curtain between you and those who do not believe in the Hereafter…” (17: 45- 46)
“Do they not contemplate the Quran?” (4:82)
Some people are very much concerned about reading a considerable number of verses every day. It is not condemnable as God Himself recommends us to do so. But let’s keep in mind that quality is sometimes more important than quantity.
Since the Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) gradually, some faithless people were complaining why the Quran is not revealed to him at once. Allah (SWT) replied the reason: “So it was, that We may strengthen your heart with it, and We have recited it [to you] in a measured tone.” (25: 32)
Therefore, if we want to understand the Quran comprehensively, we should recite it gently, so that we can contemplate its verses.
“… Ask the People of the Reminder if you do not know.” (21: 7)
God tells us to refer to people of wisdom and knowledge and ask them our questions if we cannot reach the answers by ourselves. With regards to Quranic questions, reading or listening to different interpretations of the Quran can be a great help. Different Quran interpreters have discovered different points about the meanings of Quranic verses.
The knowledge in interpretation of the Quran is limitless, and each commentator can find out some points about a verse, and there are still many points that have not been known. And it is one of the miraculous aspects of the Quran; that every individual may understand its points based on his/her conditions of time and place. That is why in Quranic interpretations there is always space for growth in understanding the meanings. Hence, do not stick to one interpretation and try to read and listen to different commentaries. Then you can compare them to each other, and at some points, with the help of Allah, you might find some new points about specific verses.
“We did not send any apostle except with the language of his people so that he might make [Our messages] clear to them.” (14:4)
This verse shows that there should be many different reasons for which the Quran was revealed in the Arabic language; the most important reason is that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) was sent in a specific place and time and to people of a specific language. Perhaps it’s better for you to get familiar with Quranic Arabic which is not as hard as you think. Many of the words used in the Quran are repeated many times. This way you can start to memorize Quranic words that are most common, and gradually increase your knowledge of Quranic Arabic.
There is no problem in reading the translation of the Quran, as well as it is not a required condition for being a Muslim. But believe it or not, the joy of understanding the Quran in its real language is so different from reading the translation. It is like watching movies, with subtitles. We may understand the main points, but the real feeling is not conveyed to us.
In this article, we tried not to use any other sources other than the Quran itself to guide us in the way of understanding it.
"We send down in the Quran that which is a cure and mercy for the faithful, and it increases the wrongdoers only in loss.” (17: 82)
Therefore, as you try and read and obey the orders of Allah as mentioned above, make sure that He will reward your eagerness in understanding it by teaching it to you in a miraculous way.
- The Quran (2:1)
- The Quran (20: 114)
- The Quran (2:1)
Islam is a complete way of life, which deals extensively on both the spiritual, as well as the physical well-being of its adherents. Hygiene in Islam is one of the great privileges in Islam. This write-up is aimed at examining the Islamic perspective on physical cleanliness.
Cleanliness and purification is an essential part of Islamic life, and in fact, the philosophy behind it in Islam is much beyond the superficial concept of the conventional cleanliness.
In the Quran, Allah says:
"…Indeed Allah loves the penitent, and He loves those who keep clean." (2:222)
Similarly, one of the injunctions that were revealed unto the Prophet (PBUH&HP) following his call to rise and warn was the purification of his garments [i]. The Holy Prophet (PBUH&HP) and the infallible leaders (AS) have instructed the Muslims to maintain cleanliness and have seriously frowned at dirtiness and untidiness [ii].
When a child is born, Islam enjoins the Muslims to maintain a high level of cleanliness and purity concerning him/her, as this has an impact on the mind and soul of that child. If the parents neglect this duty, they should answer before God for the consequences. Similarly, circumcision of the male child-preferably on the seventh day- is a mandatory Islamic custom. That is because it “prevents the child against the possible infection of the male genital organ" .
Also, at death, it is mandatory to perform full body washing ablution (Ghusl) for a dead body of a Muslim.
In addition, ablution (Wudu) and body purity are considered as very crucial conditions for the validity of prayer (Salat), which is the most significant act of worship in Islam. In fact, on a normal circumstance, a Muslim cannot offer his prayers with an unclean body, clothes or use dirty premises. They are enjoined to use clean, pure water and keep it safe from any form of impurities.
Various full body-washing ablutions (Ghusl) after the release of semen, expiration of monthly period or childbirth, touching of dead bodies, etc. are prescribed in Islam to observe some religious obligations.
Cleansing of their genitals with water or other cleansing materials after passing urine or excreta are parts of the Islamic customs. Similarly, Muslims on an interval are enjoined to clip their nails and to shave the hair in their armpit and pubic area. Likewise, they are also enjoined to trim their mustaches in order to avert oral intakes, keep oral hygiene, good physical appearance and to make use of fragrance. Similarly, Islam emphatically enjoins a Muslim to keep his clothes, houses, and environment clean. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) said: “The Arch Gabriel continuously ordered me to clean my teeth until I thought it would be made compulsory” .
In the Quran and narrations (Hadiths) of the Prophet (PBUH&HP) and the infallible Leaders (Ahl-al-Bayt) (AS), great emphasis has been placed on the cleanliness and purity of the foods and drinks. For the importance attached to the well-being of the body as well as that of the soul, Islam has enjoined the entire human beings and the believers in particular to consume hygienic, pure and lawful foods [iii]. Similarly, it forbids the consumption or usage of all unhygienic, impure and unlawful foods/drinks (such as blood, dead animal, dogs, pig, intoxicants, etc.) and they are considered great sins in Islam and punishable under the Islamic laws.
Cleanliness and personal hygiene in the Islamic custom are aimed at keeping both the body and mind healthy. In some cases such as ablution (Wudu) and body-washing ablution (Ghusl), body purity is considered a prerequisite for the observance of prayers. Moreover, body purity is one of the necessary conditions for attaining an inner or spiritual purity. It is based on this that Muslims are strictly enjoined to uphold high standards of physical hygiene and to be ritually cleaned whenever possible.
[ii] The Prophet (PBUHHP) said: "Verily, Islam is [the religion of] cleanliness, so cleanse yourselves. For surely, only the cleanly enter Paradise"  and "Observe cleanliness in every respect you are capable, for indeed God based Islam on cleanliness" .
[iii]. "O humankind! Eat of what is lawful and pure in the earth…" (2: 168). "O you who have faith! Eat of the good things We have provided you, and thank Allah if it is Him that you worship." (2: 172)
- Nahj al-Fasahah, Vol. 2, P. 998.
- Ibrahim Amini, Principles of upbringing children, chapter 25 P. 176 (published by Ansariyan publications, Qum)
- Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 76, P. 126.
Those who do not know Islam very well and those who follow the propaganda of the media, especially in this period of time when several terrorist attacks have been committed by pseudo-Muslim groups, which do not have anything to do with Islam, accuse Islam of encouraging violence and terror. That is absolutely wrong. Islam is the religion of peace and intrinsically promotes peace. The reasons for that will be reviewed next.
The greatest miracle of Islam is the Quran; a Book. Books are among the most efficient and prominent means of connecting thoughts and minds. This means that Islam has chosen a very civilized way of communication with human beings; by having dialogues with them. By the means of the Quran, Islam, in the first place, deals with the thinking power of humans and then their emotions. In other words, Islam tries to communicate with people through common sense, mutual understanding, logic and reasoning which consequently prevents harshness or sudden actions caused by the outpouring of emotions. That is while “Book” and “communicating through words” did not serve like that regarding the previous divine religions [i].
According to Islam, one should truly believe in the Islamic principles and axioms. It means that one should accept these Islamic facts by reasoning and rational search and demonstrate his\her belief in every act and deed; otherwise, if one has not really changed his\her mind to accept Islam or accepts Islam in words but do not practice it, he\she will be a “Muslim” but not a “believer” (Mu'min). This shows that Islam educates the people who are adherent to rational and commonsensical rules and regulations and consequently prevents apostasy and chaos.
Many suppose that Immanuel Kant was the first who formed and introduced the Golden Rule, a rule of ethical conduct, while this ethical code has been among the teachings of Islam since 1400 years ago. Imam Ali (AS) and other Imams (AS) have emphasized this ethical advice by words and acts and encouraged people not to consider themselves superior to others or do not prefer their benefits to others .
Imam Ali (AS) has addressed Imam Hassan (AS) as such: “What you prefer for yourself, prefer for others; what you find objectionable for yourself, treat as such for others. Don’t wrong to anyone, just as you don't like to be wronged; do good to others just as you would like others to do good to you; that which you consider immoral for others, consider immoral for yourself” . There is no sign of injustice or cruelty among these words. On the contrary, this is an invitation to get along with others, to respect their preferences and not to expect too much from them. This is simply an encouragement to peace.
When hearing about Jihad, the first thing that strikes to mind is Al-Qaeda, ISIS and fire, and blood. Many people think that Jihad equals aggression, but that is wrong. Jihad has a clear definition. There exist two types of Jihad in Islam: Defensive and Offensive. Defensive Jihad, as can be guessed from the name, is for the aim of defending the Islamic territory against the assaults and intrusions of outsiders and invaders.
Offensive Jihad aims at liberating people from unjust oppressive regimes and allowing them to search, read and choose the right religion and lifestyle. Many Islamic jurists believe that the Offensive Jihad to invite to Islam is only allowed under certain circumstances; i.e. in the presence of the Imams (AS) and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP). Otherwise, only Defensive Jihad is permitted which is actually obligatory to all Muslims in whatever condition. No one in the whole wide world would admit that defending oneself is aggression; Neither do the Muslims. Then, it is clear that unlike a widespread thought nowadays, Islam is against war and violence.
There is a theory in Islam: any harm to others or oneself is banned. It explains that a Muslim does not cause any harm to other people or do not misuse rules to cause harm to them . Through this theory, Islam protects the benefits and rights of others. This includes any individual or any group of people. It also covers both Muslim and non-Muslim societies and people, hence, this theory, in fact, reinforces and advertises the peace all around the world.
It was explained above that Islam also bans any harm to oneself. In this regard, suicide is illegal (Haram) in Islam. Some might suppose that they own their physical body while it is a divine trust offered to us to do good deeds (16:97), worship God (51:56) and practice the religion. This is another means by which Islam promotes peace all around the world.
Considering the Islamic approach described above in interaction with the humans, the efforts to establish ethical standards and to form the interrelationship among humans demonstrate the contribution and role of Islam to create a peaceful world.
[i] While Old Testament and New Testament are written by humans, the Quran is the divine revelation to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
[ii] Golden Rule is the principle of treating others as one would wish to be treated.
- Nahj al-Balaqa, Letter 31.
- peace in islam