I get amused to read the occasional newspaper article, describing the chagrin felt by well-established members of society at how educated Pakistani women are increasingly adopting the Islamic dress code. Whether by spotting a university bus full of black-Abaya-clad students or attending a hotel conference dominated by a significant proportion of women in Hijab, some people are definitely not too happy about witnessing this growing phenomenon of women covering up.

The reason behind this heartening or disconcerting – whichever way you see it – trend is, undoubtedly, the upsurge of regular Quran classes among the country’s educated women’s circles. Gone are the days when the Quran was opened only on deaths of relatives or to be recited without comprehension on other occasions for the sole purpose of gaining blessings. Now, commendable efforts are being made to understand its meanings and ponder over its deeper message.

Allah’s Messenger (sa) said: “The best of you are those who learn the Quran and teach it.” (Bukhari)

As a result, any random ‘aunty’ you’d meet at a wedding, grocery store or tailor’s shop will tell you that she attends such-and-such Quran class. Most of these classes, usually comprising Tajweed, translation, and Tafsir, are held in people’s homes.

Although studying the Quran is highly praiseworthy, the fact remains that the basic purpose behind gaining its knowledge is to act upon it; to mould oneself according to its commands; to change ourselves to how Allah (swt) wants us to be. The Quran should, in short, have a visibly profound effect on a person’s character, conduct, demeanor and overall dealings with people. This usually takes some time – perhaps by going through the Quran in-depth a few times – but, nevertheless, the Quran should have its intended effect eventually, one that is openly visible.

It should be a cause for concern if a person has been teaching the Quran for several years, for example, but finds it difficult to act upon it or to submit to its commands at the level of Ihsan (superlative degree). Teaching the Book of Allah (swt) – whether conducting a Tajweed class, translation review or Tafsir – is the best ‘professional occupation’ in the world, so to speak. It comes with the added responsibility of embodying epitomic Muslim behaviour and upright Islamic character. Of course, no one other than Allah (swt) can grant a person this level of action.

The Companions of the Prophet (sa) would not learn a new Ayah, until they had incorporated the one they had studied completely into their actions. As for us, we might claim that we are full-time ‘workers of Allah (swt)’ or Daees dedicated to serving the Quran, but how much have our actions and character changed according to it?

Ask yourself some key questions

  • Why is it that my prayers are different before people than when I am alone?
  • Why do I need to be woken up by someone else for Fajr?
  • Would I confidently recite the Quran to a Qari/Shaikh, or would it cause me shame as I still make too many mistakes?
  • Why do I wear an Abaya to my Quran class, but not to a wedding, market or a family picnic?
  • Why do I cover my face from one man at the Quran class venue, but leave it unveiled in public places when I am out with my family?
  • Do I still acquire clothes, jewellery and interior decorations with the same frequency and zeal as before studying the Quran?
  • Why do I still call up my friend/sister/mother/cousin to gossip when I’m bored?
  • How do I react when someone points out my weaknesses?
  • What thoughts occupy my mind when I am alone?

Muslims involved in Quran education, Sunnah propagation and Dawah have a greater responsibility to act upon what they are preaching and to cleanse their hearts from diseases of the self (Nafs) and desires of this world. So renew your intention today, and ask Allah (swt) to help you submit to every command of the Quran at the degree of Ihsan.