Tadabbur (Reflecting upon the Qur’an Series)

It’s been just under a month since the blessed month of Ramadan arrived this year. As we reflect in this month, we should ask ourselves – how is our relationship with the Qur’an?

We are constantly called on by our Creator to reflect on His Book, The Qur’an, such as in the verse,Untitled-2

“Do they not reflect on the Qur’an carefully (yatadabbarun al-Qur’an)?” [Surah an-Nisa’ 4:82]

If we analyse this word in the verse, we can see that Allah is informing us about the importance of understanding Arabic and reflecting upon the meaning(s) of the Quran. But how?

Tadabbur is an Arabic word meaning “to reflect and think about something carefully, and to analyse its consequences”.

In the verse mentioned above, Allah could have used a plethora of other Arabic words that carry similar meanings of reflection and thinking, so why did He choose this one? If we look at the root letters of the word, we might be able to find the answer.

The word comes from the trilateral root DBR, which can also from the word “dabara” i.e. to turn one’s back, or the word “dubr“, meaning back. So what’s the relationship between DBR relating to the back and the word “contemplation”?

When you look at someone face on, you can only see the front of them, not their back. You’re only ever going to see one aspect of them, and if you want to see more, you’re going to have to exert some effort –  move around and look a bit deeper. Likewise, when Allah uses to word “tadabbur” in the Qur’an, He’s saying that if you want to truly understand the meanings of Qur’an, you’re going to have to penetrate beyond what’s necessarily apparent in the words and look deeper.

To be able to think about the Qur’an in this way, you’ll need to know Arabic. Allah is telling us about the importance of studying and knowing Arabic to be able to truly understand the Qur’an and connect with His Divine Speech. There are hundreds of other examples of the linguistic depth and miracle of the Qur’an. If we want to truly appreciate them, we’ll have to learn Arabic. We’ll soon find that we fall in love with this beautiful language.

Yusuf Chaudhary, Year 5

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