“(O Beloved!) Read (commencing) with the Name of your Lord…”
― Sura al-‘Alaq (96:1 The Glorious Qur’an)
“Our tradition is one rooted in reading… it is central in Islam…”
― Hamza Yusuf (How to read a book)
“You’re never alone when you’re reading a book.”
― Susan Wiggs
“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.”
― Groucho Marx
“Despite all of your health problems, how do you study and read books all day and all night?”
I definitely cannot do that. It takes something special to do so, this question is really asking about a secret: how can I read books all day and night without boredom.
This was actually a question posed to Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri (Founder of Minhaj-ul-Quran International). He replied saying the following:
“Despite my health problems reading all night does not affect my health. When I read, I do not get lost in the books, I get lost in the company (Suhbah). They are not books (of letters, word, and sentences), they are company, and they are companions. If (an author of a) book were to be your company, since when can the lover become bored of the companionship?
You must establish a connection of the heart and soul with a book, not just a passive intellectual one. That inner connection with the book in turn becomes a connection with the person of the book. Such that when you read the book, it is like you are physically studying and listening in their presence [of the author]. After that you will find the book will begin to speak to you. Once that connection becomes deep, a time will come where the author(s) of the book(s) begins to speak to you.”
This answer is rather beautiful, as a person that reads books (often the same book several times) I can see that it is an answer rooted in interest for, and a love for reading. This short blog piece is not intended to tell you how to read a book, but to tell you to establish a relationship with an author of a book. After all, it is often always the case that a person buys a book based on a name – the name of the author.
The key to reading then is to establish a connection to the author, in return the author establishing a relation with you. What greater reading worthy of such company is there other than the Qur’an and Sunnah?
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