The following is a written depiction of my mental psyche when reading the Qu’ran and does not reflect how I should read it, feel about it or how others experience the Qu’ran.
Over the past years, I have been a big fan of the “Race to the Finish”; reading an average 150 verses per day in order to successfully “read” the Qu’ran within the 30 days of Ramadhan. After which time, my Qu’ran gathers dust (not really because I keep the area clean) on my top shelf for the following 11 months.
I am not sure how that experience goes on for most of you, but for me, (it looks a bit like a train wreck:
DAY 1: Read the first chapter happily (7 verses) and then stare frightened at the second chapter (287 verses). Close the Qu’ran after deciding that I will plough through all of chapter 2 tomorrow.
DAY 2: Procrastinate of my Qu’ran reading until I’m just about ready to fall asleep and then begin to read the “jargon-esque” legal indictments only to inevitably fall asleep – most likely, before verse 141which is where I should have read to on Day 1.
DAY 3: Take on my Qu’ran reading early. Finish chapter 2 and congratulate myself for getting through it and decide to take a break before I continue. Never continue.
DAY 4: Complete Chapter 3 (171 verses) and get to where I was supposed to be in Chapter 4 (verse 23).
DAY 5: I begin chapter 4 incredibly enthusiastic but then I hit most of the “controversial” verses on hijab and marriage and reading gets slower and scattered between internet researches, but I finish chapter 4 ahead of schedule.
DAY 6–10: I keep on track and read only what I am supposed to day.
DAY 11–13: I will inevitably miss at least one day of Qu’ran reading some time in those days. I will nonchalantly attempt to catch up by reading “a few” extra verses every night.
DAY 14–20: I am in panic mode – not only did I not catch up, I’ve fallen even further behind because by “reading a few more verses” I no longer have the clearly marked notes of “juz” to help me keep track of where I should be. I spend those days reading through four chapters per day instead of one or two.
DAY 21–29: I’m mentally exhausted and am reading verses twice or three times. I keep “losing track” of where I am but I have read chapter 67 three times now so that should cover it, right?
DAY 30: I finish the Qu’ran, completely and on time. Don’t ask me to tell you what I read because most of it is a blur through food deprivation and over-reading.
As you can guess, this mental marathon is not helpful in terms of understanding the Qu’ran and while I encourage everyone to attempt the Ramadhan Qu’ran marathon, I also want to state that taking time to read Qu’ran at your own pace and in whatever order is also a prerogative – and some would say a responsibility – of all Muslims.
It’s with this in mind that I begin doing a much more in-depth research and reflection about the Qu’ran. I might come and share about my experience along the way but I do plan on keeping this mostly a personal experience, shared with close – or digitally close – friends.
So what are your feelings when attempting to read the entire Qu’ran? Do you feel you can connect with the text? Please comment below.