The nature of this life is that it is filled with ups and downs, and we humans are social beings who need friendships to help us navigate this journey. Though we interact with so many people – at work, at university and even at social gatherings – how many of the people around us do we regard as friends, and how many of these friendships do we find fulfilling?
Experts say that meaningful relationships are built upon three core characteristics, and it is the presence of all three that determines a healthy friendship: someone who brings us joy (positivity), someone to depend on (consistency) and someone to confide in (vulnerability) . The reality is that most of our relationships lack at least one of these and we are left with very few, if any true close friends. And even with our closest friends there will inevitably come a parting – either life growing a distance between us, a fallout that leaves a bitter taste, or death leaving us to nurse that wound alone.
But what if you were to make a friend who vows to stick by you through thick and thin, a friend who understands your heart when your tongue fails you, a friend who responds to you even before you call out. A friend who awaits you when you return late from work, who stays up with you when your worries drive away sleep, who watches the daybreak alongside you as the world stills. A friend that is your clarity in doubt, your light in darkness, your solace in heartbreak and your company in loneliness. A friend on your shelf, that belongs in your heart – the Qur’an.
The world we live in teaches us to nurture our physical needs – so when we read the Qur’an, our tongues recite it and our ears hear it, and then we close the book and move on to the next task. Our naivety deters us from expecting to find pleasure in an act Allah recommends for us so we do not think to search for it in our ibadah (worship). But if we were to tune out the world and listen, we would hear Allah say:
أَوَلَمْ يَكْفِهِمْ أَنَّآ أَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْكَ ٱلْكِتَـٰبَ يُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْهِمْ ۚ إِنَّ فِى ذَٰلِكَ لَرَحْمَةًۭ وَذِكْرَىٰ لِقَوْمٍۢ يُؤْمِنُونَ
Is it not sufficient for them that We have sent down to you the Book that is being recited to them? Surely in it there is mercy and advice for a people who believe. (Qur’an 29:51)
Allah SWT created us, and He alone knows us best. He knows our happiest moments and our darkest secrets, and He knows that the simple beings He created long to be heard and to be loved – He knows and He tells us that in all our affairs, this Qur’an is sufficient for us.
What is to our eyes a book on the shelf, is to our hearts a home and is from Allah, a gift He has bestowed upon His creation – a soul to accompany our souls:
وَكَذَٰلِكَ أَوْحَيْنَآ إِلَيْكَ رُوحًۭا مِّنْ أَمْرِنَا
And so We have sent to you a “soul” of Our command (Qur’an 42:52)
The Qur’an was revealed to pierce our hearts, an exercise for the soul, an escape from the harshness of this world and a window into the bliss that lies ahead of us as believers. Allah informs us that this Qur’an is the sole reason to rejoice. In it is true pleasure and happiness, and if we were to gather all that brings us a smile in this world, the Qur’an is far better for us than all that we can collate. And if that were not enough, scan its pages and count the verses that give glad tidings, an abode of gardens, palaces, and rivers from beyond our imagination and an eternity of peace and content. In the Qur’an is our joy, and in it is the promise of true everlasting happiness.
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّاسُ قَدْ جَآءَتْكُم مَّوْعِظَةٌۭ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَشِفَآءٌۭ لِّمَا فِى ٱلصُّدُورِ وَهُدًۭى وَرَحْمَةٌۭ لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ ٥٧ قُلْ بِفَضْلِ ٱللَّهِ وَبِرَحْمَتِهِۦ فَبِذَٰلِكَ فَلْيَفْرَحُوا۟ هُوَ خَيْرٌۭ مِّمَّا يَجْمَعُونَ ٥٨
O humanity! Indeed, there has come to you a warning from your Lord, a cure for what is in the hearts, a guide, and a mercy for the believers. Say, “In Allah’s grace and mercy let them rejoice. That is far better than whatever they amass.” (Qur’an 10:57-58)
We find in the Qur’an the definition of consistency. The Qur’an was revealed at a deliberate pace, consistently throughout Prophethood as a reflection of its breadth – whether you reach out to it at the darkest hour of the night or the brightest time of day it is always near, its hand outstretched awaiting yours. When we are purposeful with the Qur’an, and we listen and reflect upon it with our hearts present it becomes a part of us, a companion that quite literally lives within us. A heart that houses the Qur’an will find in it the most dependable of friends.
كَذَٰلِكَ لِنُثَبِّتَ بِهِۦ فُؤَادَكَ ۖ وَرَتَّلْنَـٰهُ تَرْتِيلًۭا
˹We have sent it˺ as such ˹in stages˺ so We may reassure your heart with it. And We have revealed it at a deliberate pace (Qur’an 25:32)
It is human to want to feel loved, but to be loved requires us to be known. It is not easy to find the trust to confide in someone, to share our secrets and rawest emotions – our proudest achievements, our deepest wounds, our shame and our guilt, our aspirations and our fears. Often when we are at our most vulnerable, our reflex is to withdraw and shut out the world.
But the Qur’an promises us a refuge – it was made for our hearts, and so it recognises the hearts’ most silent calls. The Qur’an advises us, warns us and shapes us to be the best version of ourselves. Its verses inspire and strengthen us, and it is those verses that can hold us up when the weight of this world beats us down.
ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ وَتَطْمَئِنُّ قُلُوبُهُم بِذِكْرِ ٱللَّهِ ۗ أَلَا بِذِكْرِ ٱللَّهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ ٱلْقُلُوبُ
Those who believe and whose hearts find comfort in the remembrance of Allah. Surely in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find comfort (Qur’an 13:28)
The Qur’an is indeed a comfort, and in its comfort we find a friend – someone to bring us joy, someone to depend on and someone to confide in; the three characteristics of a fulfilling friendship exhibited in their best forms.
As with any friendship, building a friendship with the Qur’an requires you to be intentional, and to invest time and effort in your relationship. This Qur’an promises to be the best of friends, but that gift is granted only to those who are sincere in seeking its companionship – those who prioritise it, those who keep their tongues moist with it, those who spend the nights searching for its secrets and the days reflecting on its verses.
وَإِنَّهُ لَكِتَابٌ عَزِيز
It is truly a mighty Book (Qur’an 41:41)
Azeez is a characteristic of Allah, and it can be translated as Mighty. An ‘Azeez’ is one who has no dependence on anyone, but an ‘Azeez’ is also one who honours those who honour Him.
The Qur’an has no need for you, and so if you desire a friendship with it, you must show the Qur’an how much you want it.
Make an effort to befriend it, and you will no longer recognise a life without it
Ultimately to have this strong connection with the Qur’an is a gift Allah SWT grants only those whom He loves, so pray to Him SWT and ask Him for this blessing:
اللهم اجعل القرآن العظيم ربيع قلبي ونور صدري وجلاء همي وذهاب حزني
Allahumma ij’al al-Qur’an al-atheema rabee’a qalbee wa noora sadree wa jalaa’a hammee wa thahaaba huznee
O Allah, make the Qur’an the spring of my heart, and the light of my chest, the banisher of my sadness, and the reliever of my distress (Ahmad 1/391)
Persevere in your journey to befriend the Qur’an and know that this friendship is worth all that is in this world and much more beyond. For your friendship with the Qur’an, unlike any other friend, is not bound by the impermanence of this life. One who befriends the Qur’an has made for themselves a friend in this world, and a friend in the next.
Nothing in this world is guaranteed but death, and as Muslims we know that there will come a day when we stand before Allah SWT and be judged. On that day when even a mother flees from her children, no relationship will hold value.
وَلَا يَسْـَٔلُ حَمِيمٌ حَمِيمًۭا
And no close friend will ask ˹about˺ their friends (Qur’an 70:10)
That is the first day of the next life, our forever life, and that is the day we will be in more desperate need of a friendship than we have ever been. Amidst the panic and the fear, there will be a group of people who will be comforted by a familiar voice. The Qur’an will recognise its friends on that day, and it will reach out to them, and just as it guided them in this world it will hold even tighter onto them and guide them through the darkness of Day of Judgement.
Anas bin Malik said, “The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: ‘Allah has His own people among mankind.’ They said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, who are they?’ He said: ‘The people of the Qur’an, the people of Allah and those who are closest to Him.” (Sunan ibn Majah 215)
The friends of the Qur’an will stand out from amongst the crowd, levels above the rest of humanity, crowned with the title they earned for themselves in this world: The people of Allah. Those are the sincere friends of the Qur’an who honoured it in this world and so by virtue they will be honoured by Al-Azeez.
When you befriend the Qur’an, it becomes your best friend in this world, and when this world ends for you, your best friend will be all that remains by your side. The Qur’an will be your companion in the grave, your intercessor when there is no one else to intercede for you, your stability on As-siraat (the crossing) and your guide to Jannah (paradise). This friendship you built with the Qur’an does not just leave you at the gates of Jannah, for the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) says:
“The friend of the Qur’an will be told on the Day of Resurrection: Recite and ascend (in ranks) as you used to recite when you were in the world. Your rank will be at the last Ayah you recite.” (Abu Dawud)
When the Qur’an becomes your company in seclusion, your light in darkness, your calm amidst the chaos, when you find yourself longing for it – that is when you can call yourself a friend of the Qur’an.
The friendship you foster with the Qur’an is the only relationship that is not separated by death. You will part this world and your soul will part your body, but if your soul has befriended the soul that is the Qur’an, then the Qur’an will remain your source of joy, your confidant, and your most faithful companion – it will remain for eternity, your best friend.
Fatima is a 25 year old British-Arab Muslimah, based in London. Having recently graduated, she now works a junior doctor.