I have written a lot about ways to understand and connect to the Quran, including a series on thematic tafsir.
Here are general Tips and resources that you can use in your journey to understand the Last testament and the final message from God to mankind:
- DOWNLOAD: Bayan Quran App: on IOS or Andriod: One of the best apps in giving a word-by-word easy translation, in addition to an opportunity to dive deeper into the meaning of every single word through the Library -> “Word Root” feature.
- READ The Translation: My favorite English translation is that by Mohammad Abdel Haleem; here’s a link to the PDF version, although I strongly recommend ordering your own version from here
- ANALYZE: Divide the Surah into sections, based on the topic, content, stories, theme, etc… [More on this in a separate article insha Allah]
- ZOOM IN: sometimes you may feel like “zooming in” to a specific segment, verse, or even a word, in order to analyze its roots and appreciate the depth of the meaning of the Arabic and Quranic wording.
- ZOOM OUT: On the other hand, you can zoom out and look at the Surah from a “macro level”. You may check the unlocking Taraweeh series here for more information on thematic tafsir. Also you can watch Ustath Nouman Ali Khan’s excellent series on thematic tafsir “Get to know Surah …”
- WRITE: in order to build a personal connection with the Quran, a very unique activity is to write your own thoughts, reflections, and action items BASED on the tafsir that you read. You are not bringing something new or innovating in the Deen by doing so (this is a very common misconception). You are simply building your own Quran-o-pedia and you are constructing your personal map of Quranic wisdom. Check this link for a handout that I use in some of my Quran understanding workshops.
- COLLECT: The Hashtag table: Where you can link any verse in the Quran to your own custom “hashtags”.
- DIVE into the Tafsir: The summarized version of Ibn Kathir is a very good place to start. Check it out HERE!
- LISTEN: Remember that Allah’s book was not revealed in a book format, but in a speech format that was meant to be recited, heard, and transmitted in an “audio” format… While writing the book and documenting it has saved it from going into waste, scholars have always raised the issue that it should not be kept as a book.
- JOIN a Quran class in your local community. It does not have to be fancy or advanced, you don’t have to look for a super-scholar or an ijaza teacher (however if you have one in your community, NEVER let go of him/her). There are lots of barakah in reading and learning the Quran in groups and it adds a lot of spirituality to the experience.