Reading the Quran but Practising Something Else
There is a prevalent culture among Muslims where they only view the Qur'an as a way of gaining reward for reciting out loud the Arabic words correctly. Such people think that they hold the Qur'an in high esteem, but this only keeps them away from studying the Qur'an as they should. Parents teach their children how to pronounce the Arabic words and send their children to evening schools to learn to recite the Qur'an correctly. Such people do not deny the importance of the Qur'an, but their idea of the role of the Qur'an is extremely mistaken and shallow. It is merely to either gain reward for each letter recited or to validate Salah by reciting some short chapters. Members of this majority group may even enjoy listening to recitations of the Qur'an, not because of the message in the Verses, but to appreciate the melody, or for relaxation purposes!
What Islam is, is merely everything else they hear outside of the Qur'an. Such people consider themselves highly religious, while they hold such an ignorant approach to the Qur'an. They recite the Qur'an frequently, but the recitation does not have any bearing on them. Then, they take all their religious guidance from outside the Qur'an - they think those practices amount to fulfilling their duty to the Qur'an. Many of such ignorant people's ideas and practices are even against what the Qur'an has to say, while they are not aware of it - or are aware of it but deliberately ignore thinking about it, laying excuses such as 'I am not knowledgeable enough' or 'I am a laymen, more knowledgeable people have said this, who are you and me to question?'
Real purpose of the Qur'an is to give guidance
The real purpose of the Qur'an is to give guidance to the individual human being who has been created to worship Allah. The Qur'an's guidance is in its meanings, not in the pronunciations of its Arabic letters. The guidance of the Qur'an is a mercy, cure and light for the true believers as it reveals many unknown secrets such as Allah's power, reasons to happening of events around us, and the true nature of Allah's religion. The Qur'an has been necessarily made easy to understand. But this majority have been bereft from this blessing, all while they are deceived into thinking they are following religion perfectly as they are fulfilling their own idea of what the purpose of the Qur'an is.
"We have sent down to you a Book containing your message. Do you not understand?"(Qur’an 21:10)
Thinking one is fulfilling their obligations toward the Qur'an by simply carrying out rituals such as prayer and fasting, without making the effort to find out what the Qur'an actually says about religion is a great deception. This is because the Qur'an is a Book to reflect upon, to learn from and to gain the necessary insight and wisdom it gives to be a real believer, this is a duty upon anyone who wants to be a Muslim. One cannot possibly be a true Muslim without having necessary knowledge and understanding of the Qur'an. If one only learns about the Qur’an from books written about the Qur’an, written by people, and does not feel the necessity to learn from the Qur’an directly himself, he is only deceiving himself. Allah mentions this ignorant approach in the words,
“Or do you have another book which you study?”(Qur’an 68:39).
Worship based on make-believing that Qur'an is being followed in the flow of the majority and under blind trust of leaders without a personal attachment to the Qur'an and knowledge of the Qur'an, holds little or no value in Allah's sigh.
Let us ask ourselves: how much do we know about the Qur'an? Not superficial knowledge like the number of chapters or verses, or which city a chapter was revealed in, but the message in its Verses and their many intricacies and secrets. How much wisdom have you gained from the Qur'an? Have you read the entire Qur'an even once in your own language? How many times a day do you refer to the Verses of the Qur'an as you lead your day to day life? Are you sure whether any of your outlooks are from the Qur'an, or is your religion muddled?
“The words of your Lord are complete in its truth and justice. Nothing can change His Words – He is the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing. If you obeyed most of those on earth, they would lead you away from the path of Allah. They follow nothing but speculation – they are merely guessing.”(Qur’an 6:115-116)
"This too, is a blessed Book which We have sent down – follow it, and be conscious of your Lord, so that you may receive mercy – lest you say, ‘Books were sent to two communities before us: we were not aware of what they studied’, or ‘if only the Book had been sent down to us, we would have been better guided than them.’ Now your Lord has brought you clear evidence, guidance, and mercy. Who could be more wrong than someone who rejects Allah’s Revelations and turns away from them? We shall repay those who turn away with a painful punishment."(Qur’an 6:155-157)
It is clear that being heedless of the Qur'an will lead to losses in this life and the Hereafter as Allah will call all people into account their level of adherence to the Qur'an.
“Surely, the One who decreed the Qur’an to you will summon you to a predetermined appointment. Say: 'My Lord is fully aware of who it is that brings the guidance, and who has gone astray.' "(Qur’an 28:85)
Follow the Book of Allah
As stated in the verse, all people are responsible for adhering to the way of life decreed by Allah in the Qur'an. Without direct knowledge of the Verses, practicing alleged claims about the Qur'an and following the majority, may not have any value in the sight of Allah.
Many people who do not have any Quranic insight or wisdom spread claims about the Qur'an's verses which are a far cry from the verses' true meanings. They usually get away with it as their audience have also been conditioned to simply follow 'sayings' about the Qur'an, rather than the Qur'an.
It is only when one opens his eyes and begins to comprehend the Verses of Allah, can he begin to follow the Book of Allah and hope to become a true Muslim.
"...Indeed there has come to you from Allah a Light and a Clear Book. With it Allah guides whoever follows His good pleasure to the ways of peace and brings them out from the darkness into the light by His permission: He guides them onto a straight path"(Qur'an 5:15-16)
All Muslims must consider their position in religion in relation to the Qur'an. Reciting the Qur'an without a sincere effort to understand the verses directly will not enlighten the human soul.