Your better, best companion

In today’s modern world of hi-tech science and technology, most human activities are propelled by technological devices in the form of automated machines, desktop computers, laptops and tablets; making the life of most individuals in developed countries and many in developing parts of the world virtually dependent on these gadgets. For most young individuals in contemporary times, the mobile handset remains their closest ‘companion’.

In the pre-GSM world, people found companionship in individuals, not gadgets. A friend could be a good companion. A wife could be a good companion. An elder or younger brother could be a good companion. A near or distant relation could be a good companion. A schoolmate or a colleague in profession could also be a good companion. A pet animal such as catis some people’s better companion.

However, whether it is an individual or a device that one considersto be his/herbetterassociate, the relationship in many of such companionships could only be as imperfect as man’s character. A better company, in the view of this writer, is a book. A useful book is a better companion especially if it offers what others do not. It saves you from mingling with those who are vulgar in character or dirty in speech. A good book prevents you from sitting in front of your house to watch and gossippassers-by. If the only benefit of a book is itsefficacy to keep one away from frivolities, it can truly be considered a better companion. A book can actually keep you busy so much as to fortunately make you abandon the company of the idle. Your mind would thus forsakethe devil; leaving him without a workshop.

A good book, unlike other companions, neither praises nor flatters you in anticipation of a favour. A book never fails to answer your call anytime, anywhere. Even when other companionsdesert you, your book remains by your side. Nevertheless, a book can only be a better companion when it is not left to decoratethe shelf. Making use of your better companion through meaningful reading expels anxiety and grief.It further helps you to develop eloquence of speech. It also allows you to build a broad spectrum of vocabularies. The more you keep the company of a book, the more articulate you become. Apart from providing comfort for a lonely mind, it stimulates thoughts and guides to morals.

Reading increases us in knowledge and also improves the strength of our memory retention. When we read books, we benefit from the wisdom of the wise and from the understanding of learned scholars. Are you thinking of becoming an intellectual? If yes, you must be prepared to read beyond the scope of your academic or literary specialty. Most intellectuals are people who are widely read.

Every valuable book is a guide to a simple way of life. Most scholars have always led a simple and easy-going life because books were their better companions. They understood the purpose of life and got to know through books which issues were more important from others that were less significant. Persons who are fanatical in views are, most often, those who took other than valuablebooks as companions.

Now, if we accept that a book is one’s better companion, we may as Muslims go further to affirm that the Holy Qur’an is the bestcompany a believer could keep. It is certainly unlike every other companion including all books. By studying the Qur’an, one discovers Allah’s wonderful signs of nature that, in effect, could replace worries.Reading the Qur’an once or casually does not make it one’s best companion. To be one’s best companion, the Qur’an requires to be read repeatedly. Refusal to practice the message of the Qur’an does not make it the best companion;because the Qur’an is not a book of abstract ideas or theories which may be studied only for the sake of knowledge. A deep and true understanding of the meaningof the Qur’an could bring repentant tears running down an individual’s cheeks.

Qur’an is Allah’s greatest blessing to mankind. It is a strong weapon to help you surviveevil forces and temptations. It is the only lightwith which to find your way to a successful life as you grope in the darkness. There couldbenothing as companionable as the Qur’an if prosperity on earth and bliss in the Hereafter is what one desires to achieve. More than anything, the holy Qur’an bringsone nearer and closer to Allah (SWT). The blessings one derives by making the Qur’an his best companion are limitless. Imam At-Tirmithi reports that the Prophet (SAW) said “Whoever reads a letter from the Book of Allah, he will have a reward, and this reward will be multiplied by ten. I am not saying that ‘Alif, Lam, Meem’ (a combination of letters frequently mentioned in the Holy Quran) is a letter, rather I am saying that ‘Alif’ is a letter, ‘Lam’ is a letter and ‘Meem’ is a letter.” Nonetheless, it is required that we learn the rules of Tajweed in order to recite the Qur’an correctly.

Now, let us do a brief stocktaking. Which out of television, telephone, computer, books, political discussions or sports take the greater part of your time daily? If your answer is other than books, we could say you are yet to have a better companion. However, if you practically spend more time with books, what type of books are they? How much time do you dedicate to studying the Qur’an comparedto the time you spend reading other books?Those whose best companion is the Qur’an are the best of mankind. Imam Buhari narrates that Uthman (RA) said that the Prophet (SAW) said: “The best of you are those who learn the Quran and teach it to others”.

As believers, let us resolve to make the recitation of the Qur’an a routine affair. Let us create time to interact with the Qur’an on a daily basis; early morning, afternoon, evening or at night. Allah (SWT) states in Qur’an 17:78 “Establish regular prayers at the sun’s decline till the darkness of the night, and the Morning Prayer and Recitation: for the prayer and recitation in the morning carry their testimony.” Imam Muslim narrates that Abu Umamah (RA) related that the Prophet (SAW) said: “Read the Quran, for indeed it will come on the Day of Standing (Judgement) as an intercessor for its companions.” May Allah (SWT) guide us to make the Qur’an our best companion, amin.

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