بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
From: ‘How to Approach and Understand the Quran’ by Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo, pp.98-100:
The Companion ibn Abbass RA is narrated to have said,
For me to read Surat’l Baqarah and Surat Ale Imraan slowly, precisely and with concentration (on their meanings) is more beloved to me than to read the entire Quraan in a quick fashion.
[quoted in Mustafa, pp.32]
Ali ibn Abu Taalib RA is also reported to have said,
There is no good in a reading without knowing what [one has read] and there is no goodness in knowledge without understanding and there no goodness in worship that contains no concentration.
[quoted in al-Zabeedi; vol. 5, pp. 87, from Abu Nuaim’s Hilyat al Auliyaa]
Ibn Ashoor states that,
the jurists of his school stress that reading less of the Quraan but with concentration and understanding is better than reading more of it, while not comprehending it.
There are numerous important benefits that result from pondering over the Quraan in the proper manner.
Al-Saadi notes that,
pondering over the Quraan is the key to knowledge and understanding. From it, one can derie all good. From such pondering, one’s faith is increased and itrs fruits are watered because one begins to know his Lord and object of worship. One also sees the path to pleasing his Lord and the path that leads to one’s destruction. The more the person ponders over the Quraan, the greater his knowledge, deeds and awareness.
One must never, though, get the goals confused with the means. Pondering over the meaning of the Quraan is not the ends in itself.It is only part of the means to apply the Quraan. The goal is to believe completely, understand correctly and apply the Quraan properly in one’s life.
Al Fauzaan astutely noted,
If we stopped at just reciting and pondering over the Quraan and we leave acting [according to it], we have stopped at the beginning of the road and we have not attained anything. All of our efforts would have been lost wiyhout and benefit from them as we would have tired ourselves on the steps and we would have abandoned the fruits. This is because the fruit [of the efforts of reading and pondering] is the acting in accordance with the Quraan.
All, perfect and exalted be He, said,
“Those who recited the Book of Allah, establish regular prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them, secretly and openly, hope for a commerce that will never fail. He will pay them their wages, nay, He will give them (even) more out of His Bounty; for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Ready to apprceiate (service). [Faatir, 35:29-30]
These verses who that they did not stop at recitation but, in fact, established the prayer after they had established the practice of reciting the Quraan. Similarly, they gave out of what Allah had provided for them by giving the Zakat, charity and doing acts of goodness toward the Creation. That is the fruit of recitation, it is the acting in accord with it. If you act in accord with it, it will be a proof for you while if you do not act in accord with it, it will be a proof against you. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “The Quraan is a proof for you or a proof against you.”
The Companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) understood very well what were the means and what were the goals behind reading and studying the Quraan. They gave the goal preference over the means. Perhaps, Allah knows best, this is why ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ood could say,
“It was difficult [relatively speaking] for us to memorize the wording of the Quraan but it was easy for us to act upon it. For the people who came after us, it was easy for them to memorize the Quraan but difficult for them to act upon it.” [quoted in Abd Rabbihi, pp. 112]