Spiritual Fragrance of the Qur’an: An Introduction

By Jamal Rahman

“These Verses are a Book of Wisdom;
a guide and a mercy to the doers of good.”  [Qur’an 31:2-3]

The Qur’an is the holy book of the Muslim faith, believed to have been revealed to the Prophet Mohammad over a span of 23 years, during which he received revelations little by little directly from the Angel Gabriel. The word “Qur’an” in Arabic means “recitation,” and the Qur’an is meant to be recited and heard in its original language, Classical Arabic, in order to appreciate fully its beauty and intent.  Muslims all over the world who speak many different languages learn to recite passages from the Qur’an in Arabic at a young age for use in their daily prayers. The Qur’an has, of course, been rendered into many different languages, but these are all considered interpretations, since the original meaning can never be completely and accurately translated.

In this blog we will be presenting and commenting on various verses of beauty from the Holy Qur’an (in English) in an attempt to delve into its deeper meanings and its relevance to our time and our world today.  As in any sacred text, there are many layers of meaning in every verse in the Qur’an, and no one person could ever purport to have access to all of them. Nevertheless, in the Qur’an itself, there is a passage which says, “Indeed, We have made this Qur’an easy to understand and remember; is there anyone, then, who is willing to take it to heart?” [54:22]

The Qur’an was meant to be understood and its guidance followed by everyday people, and it was never meant to be an elitist document interpreted only by religious scholars or priests.  Many people spend their lives studying the Qur’an and without exception, they say that with every reading and recitation they go deeper into the true meaning and import. Famous poets such as Rumi have spent their lives writing verses and stories to illustrate and illuminate the deepest meanings of this sacred text.  

Like every other holy book, the Qur’an has two kinds of verses: particular and universal.  The particular verses are in desperate need of historical and textual context. The universal verses are timeless, placeless, and filled with wisdom.  In this blog we will be focusing on the universal verses. 

In my spiritual training since childhood, my treasured teachers would give me a Qur’anic verse along with another Qur’anic verse, poetry or teaching story which illuminated the deeper meaning of the original verse.  This method helped me to truly take the Qur’anic verses to heart.

In honor of this method, every blog will begin with a Quranic verse and an accompanying story or poem, followed by some reflections to help illuminate its meaning. I have invited my colleague Sally Jo Gilbert de Vargas, who is a serious student of the Qur’an and Associate Minister at Interfaith Community Sanctuary, to offer her personal insights on the same verse.  Periodically I have invited other guests from our community to share their reflections. 

We invite you to join us on this journey of discovery, to open your mind and heart to some of the myriad ways that the verses of this “Book of Wisdom” can shed light and hope into our lives and our world today. 

Leave a Reply