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Offline Reader Questions

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Is the Qur'an Easy to 'Remember' or Easy to 'Learn'?
« on: August 30, 2012, 01:06:51 PM »
Salamun Alaikum Joseph,

Is the Qur'an easy to 'remember' or easy to 'learn'? In many English translations of the Qur'an, it is stated that the Qur'an is easy to remember, however in other translations, authors have stated that the Qur'an is easy to learn. There is a difference between 'remembering' and 'learning'. 'Remembering' implies that that the Qur'an is easy to memorize. However, memorization does not mean a person understands the scripture. 'Learning' implies that a person can understand the message of the Qur'an.


Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Is the Qur'an Easy to 'Remember' or Easy to 'Learn'?
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2012, 01:12:43 PM »
Salamun Alaikum.

The complete verses in which such statements appear strongly suggest the best interpretation of the word 'dhikr' given the context.

An example is verse 54:40.

“And certainly We have made easy the Quran for ‘dhikr’, so is there any who will receive admonition (fahal min muddakarin)?”

The word 'dhikr' in this verse is hedged with the phrase 'fahal min muddakarin' which can be rendered as 'so is there any who will receive admonition'? If 'dhikr’ only implied 'memorisation' of the text, then how would one receive admonition from it? Therefore, an appropriate ability to learn / decipher its message is implied by the term 'dhikr'.

In Arabic, the word 'dhikr' is nuanced and does not simply mean to memorise. It also means to bear in mind, to study a book in order to preserve it in memory, to recollect, relate, warn, preach, extol etc.

For example, we note in verse 15:9 where God takes the responsibility to protect the 'dhikr'. God did not only preserve the 'words' (kalimat), but the 'remembrance' (dhikr) which is inclusive of its overarching message. The verse does not say that God has only protected his 'kalimat'. So the word 'dhikr' would capture both the meaning of memorisation (as text) and an appropriate ability to decipher its message by understanding and reflection.

In another verse 65:10, if we take only a restricted meaning for 'dhikr' as 'memorisation', then the Quran would only be for a restricted purpose of committing to memory. Again, we know that this is not the case from numerous other verses which make it patently clear that the Quran is also for guidance and admonition.

"...Indeed, God has sent down to you a 'dhikr' (message, reminder to receive guidance / admonition)"

Similarly a restricted interpretation of verse 43:36 "And whoever blinds himself / turns away from the 'dhikr' " would imply that everyone needs to memorise the Quran. Again, such a rendition would be implausible and the best meaning would arguably mean ‘message / reminder which provides guidance’.

Hence, if God says, we have made easy the 'dhikr' this clearly includes not only memorisation and recall, but also an appropriate ability to learn its message from the words (kalimat / text) of the Quran.

I hope that helps, God willing.
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