I remember a time when I was caught up in the fast-paced life of a university student; things that were habits to me eventually started slipping away. I could no longer find time in my day to read the Quran. Although I did not let go of my daily recitation, it did get shortened a bit. The Quran recitation cassettes of Qari Saleh Bukhtiar that I used to listen to regularly were to be found in the upper shelf of the closet now.

I just didn’t have the time anymore. Or maybe I had just lost the will. Whatever it was, I felt there was a void inside me, although my attention never went to the factor causing it. Then, one day, I just happened to open the closet, take out the cassette and put it into my cassette player. And when the beautiful sound of the Quran recitation reached my ears, my heart and my soul, I realized what I had been missing. I couldn’t help but remember this verse of the Quran:

“O mankind! There has come to you a good advice from your Lord (i.e. the Quran, enjoining all that is good and forbidding all that is evil), and a healing for that (disease of ignorance, doubt, hypocrisy and differences) which is in your breasts, ­­- a guidance and a mercy (explaining lawful and unlawful things) for the believers. Say: ‘In the Bounty of Allah, and in His Mercy (i.e. Islam and the Quran); – therein let them rejoice.’ That is better than what (the wealth) they amass.” (Yunus 10:57-58)

It is worth noting that the Prophet (sa) received the revelation of the Quran by listening to how it was recited by Jibrael (as). Moreover, the Prophet (sa) was commanded to ‘recite’ the Quran to the people. Many people converted to Islam after simply listening to the powerful recitation of the Quran by the Prophet (sa) himself or one of his respected companions. Such great companions as Umar (rta), Tufail Ibn Amar Adousi (rta), Usaid Ibn Huzair (rta) and Jabeer Ibn Muthim (rta) were moved by hearing the recitation of the Quran and reverted to Islam straight away. Contemporary Muslims also mention the powerful effect of listening to the Quran as the reason for their reversion to Islam.

The Prophet (sa) laid great emphasis on listening to the Quran. He used to ask his companions to recite an Ayah to him. Once, the Prophet (sa) said to Abdullah Ibn Masood (rta): “Recite for me the Quran.” He said: “O Messenger of Allah! Should I recite to you as it was revealed to you?” He said: “Yes, for I like to hear it from others.” “I recited Surah An-Nisa, until I reached the Ayah: ‘How (will it be) then, when we bring from each nation a witness and we bring you (O Muhammad) as a witness against these people?’ (An-Nisa 4:41) He then said: “Stop now.” I found that his eyes were tearful. (Bukhari and Muslim)

Allah (swt) mentions in the Quran that “the skins of those who fear their Lord shiver from it (when they recite it or hear it [Quran]).” (Az-Zumar 39:23)

The Quran has proven to have amazing inward and outward effects on its listeners and reciters, Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Dr. Ahmed Elkadi of Panama City, Florida, conducted a study to monitor the effects of the Quranic recitation on its listeners. In order to do this, he arranged specialized computers to measure heartbeat, blood pressure, blood viscosity, skin temperature and muscle conductivity. The soothing effect of the Quran was confirmed in 97% of the experiments. The recitation led to such physiological changes as spontaneous lowering of muscle tension and lowered blood pressure in both Muslims and non-Muslims. However, above all scientific evidences, any believer would vouch for the serenity and boost in Iman experienced when listening to the Quran, whether they know Arabic or not.

The power of the words of Allah (swt) is beyond doubt. And for those who understand it, the benefit increases manifold.