Becoming Glass

In 1970, I joined the Nation of Islam. My understanding was that although the Qur’an was the basis of my new faith, there was no real need for me to read it myself. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad would teach me all that I needed to know. No problem, I thought. So, I accepted that and for six years I neither read, nor even saw this Holy Book. Then, in 1976, my eyes were opened.

While living in Nashville, I found a local mosque. And it was there that I began my journey to understanding the doctrines, the pillars of my faith. A brother gave me a copy of the Qur’an to read in the masjid. My heart was elated the first time I touched the book! And as I read the first and subsequent words of Surah Al-Fatiha, I felt a calmness that I’d never experienced – in my life. I realized that this was Allah’s Holy Book, His last revelation. It was a translation, true. But it was STILL the “unfiltered” Word of G-d!

I relate this to you, not to stroke my ego – nor to glorify my spiritual path, but rather to emphasize the importance of making the Qur’an an integral part of our lives. It is the foundation, the basis of our faith. And it is imperative that we read it and try to absorb as much of its message as is humanly possible – over the course of our lives.

Let me share a metaphor, one that was presented to me many years ago regarding the importance of this study. Let us consider glass. It’s made from a mixture of sand, lime and soda. Separately, they’re just elements. But when these ingredients are heated together, they form liquid glass. For most purposes, this is the final step before it is shaped into whatever it is intended to be. Finer quality glass though, has to be heated longer. The more heat one applies to it, the finer the glass becomes.

The Muslim (or human spirit in general) is just like glass. From nothing, we add first and foremost, the shahada, the declaration of faith. Then we add, prayer, fasting, charity, and hajj. But the most important element is the fire, that burning message, that guide that must pierce the very soul of everyone who professes a belief in Almighty G-d Allah. The more of that fire, the Holy Qur’an, that permeates the heart, the finer, the purer the soul becomes.

Yes. It is important. And as noted above, the study of this Holy book is mandatory if one is to fully understand the magnitude, the complexity of our faith. It’s great to say, “I’m a Muslim.” If you love G-d though, seek to be loved by Him! Read the Qur’an. Learn how to recite it in its revealed language. Study this great Book. Allow the fire contained within its pages to enter your heart and burn away all its impurities.

Al-hamdu Allah.

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