Many people think reciting the Arabic letters of the Quran (without knowing their meaning) is akin to ‘READing the Quran’. Some even think they are READing the Quran simply by reciting its translation. Though the aforementioned may be necessary as a preparation, READing the Quran is far beyond this.
READing the Quran is like reading the system. It's about grasping the spirit of its message.
But, how can one understand the spirit of the Quran?
For what purpose has the Quran been revealed?
What does the Quran aim to make people gain?
What kind of a life has the Quran been disclosed to prepare humanity for?
Which of the qualities of mankind does the Quran reveal?
Has the Quran been revealed to force and confine humans into a restricted lifestyle and shield them from progress, or has it come to show them the path to continual growth and development, to awaken them to their rights that have been ripped away from them, and to inform, both men and women, of the way to realize their inherent divinity?
Does the Quran aim to enable people to live in mutual respect and harmony, in continual growth and development, or to regress them back to the old?
If we can answer these questions we may begin to understand the spirit of the Quran and the gate to READing the Quran will be unlocked.
When people fail to do this, they ask:
“Muhammad came as a Rasul 1,400 years ago to a tribal community of approximately 5,000 people, most of whom were extremely primitive in thought. They buried their daughters alive, out of fear they would shame and dishonor them, and bought and sold their women, regarding them more as commodities than as human beings! Surely then, it was the issues that arose in that community and that time and their respective solutions which have shaped the Quran. Had Muhammad inhabited another area, say the North Pole rather than the Arabian Peninsula, the book he disclosed would have been in relation to the eskimos and their environmental conditions, traditions, issues, culture, etc.
So, how can modern man be governed by the laws contained in this ancient book, which has obviously been disclosed according to the intellectual level of that time and age? Let alone addressing future generations, these outdated laws would have rendered the book obsolete a long time ago. How can the innumerous nations of the modern world be addressed by a book that was written according to the understanding of 1,400 years ago? Is the Quran trying to lead the people to paradise by taking them back 1,400 years?”
Thus is the ‘intellectual objection’ of the atheists of late.
My answer is:
As long as humanity exists, the knowledge contained in the Quran will continue to shed light to humanity and enable them bliss in their eternal life if and only if the spirit of the Quran is understood!
To clarify this with an example:
The core reason that underlies the drafting of a new law is in fact the ‘spirit’ of that law. Appropriate wording will be drafted to correctly reflect that ‘spirit’ and thus the law will be passed. When a judge sets out to enforce that law, they evaluate cases based on the motive driving the case and its connection to that particular law.
When a judge evaluates a case based on the letter of the law rather than its ‘spirit’, they will often be misled – as understanding the motive of the law is essential to its application.
Laws should be applied based on their spirit, their motive, rather than their literal sense, lest deviations occur. The conscience of the judge exists for the purpose of acting based on the spirit of the law.
The same principle applies for the Quran. One must consider the motive behind the revelation of a particular verse, who it addresses and to which event it is a reference.